Sunday, July 31, 2016

A list of Berniecrats provide real hope for change

There is good news for progressives. I happened upon a really cool list of Sanders supporters that are running for office at the state and federal level, and I see even one running for city council in Los Angeles. This is a comprehensive list of what are now known as Berniecrats. There are at least 280 of them and they represent a good start for our revolution. I mean, Our Revolution, an organization built by Bernie Sanders to recruit Berniecrats to run for office across the land.

Another arm of this revolution is the Sanders Institute. So far, it's an informal association of organizations dedicated to educating and electing people based on the issues rather than the personalities and big money. Here is an interesting summary of the organizing efforts in the aftermath of the coronation of Hillary Clinton:
The Sanders Institute will be an educational organization to raise awareness of the real problems Sanders thinks America faces. Another organization, Our Revolution, will, according to USA Today, recruit progressive candidates who want to run for office and help to fund their campaigns. (As of this writing, the organization's website is sparse, and the only option offered on the site is to donate.) Sanders told USA Today that he might also get involved with a third organization responsible for campaign advertising.
Now let's get back to that list. Here is a screenshot so you can get an idea of what it looks like:

It's very detailed and current. We see the state, the candidate name, the level of office sought or held, and the primary date. Candidates endorsed by Bernie are noted. Upcoming primaries are in yellow. We can even see that those in green have won their primaries already. We're already winning primaries for Berniecrats! We already have people in office who support the revolution!

When establishment Democrats see Berniecrats winning, they know that a change is a comin'. These people will be able to uphold progressive and populist ideals and work to implement progressive policies where they serve. This is how it gets started.

That there are already so many Berniecrats in office or winning primaries looks somewhat similar to another part of our history. I refer to the story of what happened in North Dakota, where the Non Partisan League openly infiltrated the Republican Party early in the last century. In that story, they took over the party and implemented populist and progressive policies that benefited most people rather than a select few.

That Berniecrat list is evidence that we can do the same thing, too. I like the Green Party, I really do. But as one comment in my social media circles pointed out, to paraphrase, "I'd have more respect for them if they didn't just pop up every four years to tell us that both major parties are bad." While I share that concern, I also see a lot of good that the Green Party can do.

According to their Wikipedia page, as of July, 2016, there are over 100 elected Green Party candidates scattered across 23 states, mostly at the local level. They seem to do well in non partisan elections, too.

The point here is that we cannot depend on just one party to make America progressive again. I like the idea of getting Berniecrats into office as Democrats for one really good reason: it can push out the money grubbers and forces them to acknowledge that there is more to life than collecting money for re-election. More to the point, if the Democratic Party can be overwhelmed by Berniecrats, and I think by 2018, we can do that, then the media is going to have a tougher time ignoring issues that progressives feel are the most important.

The low hanging fruit of change is at the state and local levels. I note with interest that most of the claims concerning election rigging were pointed at state and local officials. If Berniecrats and Green Party members were manning those same posts, election rigging would be much, much harder to pull off. There would actually be adult supervision in and around the polling places, with the ballots and with the machines. This is why real change starts from the bottom. That's where the votes are collected.

Bernie was right. Change never comes from the top. It always comes from the bottom up. Now we are in a position to cultivate it and watch it grow.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The diminishing returns of neoliberalism and the rise of The Green Party

A few days ago, I happened upon this meme:

The obvious implication of conservative economic policy is that it tends to make more people broke and a tiny fraction of them very, very rich. We are a country steeped in extreme inequality as a result of our hard turn to the right since the 1980s. To get an idea of just how bad it is here, watch this video:

There are some who want to blame the conditions we contend with today upon one party or one person. The effort expended to get here was tremendous, very well organized and assembled rather sneakily. Another word for conservative economic policy is "neoliberalism". It's not like they were openly selling neoliberalism as a philosophy. Over time, conservatives, also known as neoliberals, found ways to insert their way of thinking into college courses on economics. Although they tend to justify this philosophy on ideological grounds, there is very little empirical evidence to show that neoliberalism actually works to grow economies, in the long run.

To put it very simply, neoliberalism was adopted in American economics not because there was any merit to it. It was adopted because politicians blindly followed the money rather than using their sense of discernment to see if it would actually work. Really, they've been telling us that neoliberalism works for at least 30 years and that we just need to give it more time so that everyone can see the benefits. But anyone familiar with the business end of it knows that all it really does is generate vast asset bubbles. Asset bubbles are wonderful "accidents" that allow for massive and rapid transfers of wealth, if you happen to have the knowledge to be in the right place at the right time. Neoliberalism has given us the bubble economy we live in today.

I believe that neoliberalism has brought us to the place where we are right now. Neoliberalism permits multinational companies to shift costs and labor around the world while withholding the gains in productivity from the people who do the work. But when you take money away from the people you serve, essentially bankrupting your customers, you have to look somewhere else for money. If you're a business, you look to the government. If you're a politician, you spend a lot of time calling those people with the money.

It's kind of like this. We went from a nation of industrialists who made money building things here, to a nation ruled by industrialists who build things in other countries and try to sell them here, to people with no money. To pump their profits, they've engineered wage stagnation into the economy and force people to buy things on time with credit and debt.

Over time, dependence on big money in politics becomes more than a habit, it becomes a necessity. Worse, politicians begin to look at the money behind a bill or even a trade agreement before they look at the merits of whatever it is they want to pass off as rational public policy. This explains why people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and even Tim Kaine will hide their support of the TPP until the election is over. Then when the election is over, they will dive head over heels in support of the TPP. There is a huge amount of money riding on that agreement and they want to be sure that the Democratic Party gets their share of it, progressives be damned.

The folks at Naked Capitalism have noticed this drive for the money in spades. For enlightenment, they have republished an article by Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Hudson makes the following observation about the Democrats and the southern states and Bernie Sanders:
The DNC designated these “neglected” states to come first in the presidential primaries. They were the ones that Hillary won. Sanders won most of the swing states and those likely to vote Democratic. That made him the party’s strongest nominee – obliging the DNC to maneuver to sideline him. His criticism of big donors and Citizens United threatens to dry up the source of funding not only for Hillary but also for the DNC. They are going after the money – whose chief providers are Wall Street, neoliberal corporatists and New Cold War neocons.
They sought to deny Sanders not for his progressive views, but for his severe criticism of big money in politics. Senior Democrats are scared out of their minds that with Sanders, the big money will dry up. During this election, those big donors sort of went into hiding until Sanders quit running as a Democrat. The day after he named Hillary as nominee at the convention, he returned to his independent status.

While Sanders was proving that a run for president was possible without big money donors, the Democrats were running scared, uncertain of their future. Establishment resistance to populism belies their claimed support of economic and social justice. Sanders was trying to save the Democratic Party, but they would have none of that. Hudson in his article, goes on to make the following point: "The solution is not to save the Democratic Party, but to replace it."

He's not the only one. In Hillary’s Economic Justice Incompatible with Her Corporate Relationships, Bill Curry, former adviser to the Clinton Administration is seen on Real News video pointing out the following:
“In response to Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech, Bill Curry, former counselor to Bill Clinton’s White House, says that progressives must focus on building an independent political movement.” ~ The Real News
This is the second post I've seen in the same day suggesting that the goal is not to save the Democratic Party, but to replace it. I'm sure there are more, but I believe that the rapid rise of interest in the Green Party is a sign of a growing consensus that the Democratic Party is no longer the progressive party that it once was. We must acknowledge that progressives must replace it with a truly progressive and independent party that does not accept large donations from wealthy donors.

Over the last three decades, we have witnessed the consolidation of wealth to the point that, according to Harvard professor and former presidential candidate, Larry Lessig, a mere 132 Americans financed 60% of the SuperPAC spending in 2012. During this same time, we went from a nation that builds the things we buy to a nation ruled by oligarchs who make most of their money by rent seeking. The TPP is a trade agreement with an aim to maximize rent seeking. Isn't it a nice coincidence that a recent report shows that 74% of billionaire wealth accrues from rent seeking?

When we let the wealthy put their money in politics, we allow them to write the rules and as we have seen, that has not worked out so well for the rest of us. If the Democrats are not willing to represent us, then they must be replaced by a party that is willing to represent progressives and do so, honestly. That party is The Green Party. I've seen their platform and by my reading, they are a political party of economic, social and environmental justice.

It's time to replace the Democrats with the Green Party. Unless Democrats decide to change, I just can't see any other way to restore our democracy.

Friday, July 29, 2016

For a moment there, I thought I could hear the crickets

Hillary Clinton has won the nomination by acclamation. The press is overjoyed, so happy that their pro-Clinton bias has finally paid off. They must be quite sure of the benefits they will accrue under a Clinton administration.

Half the delegates walked out in protest and nobody flinches on camera. This was the scene, the best wide shot I could find of the auditorium:

Word on the street is that they hired people (video at end of post) to come and sit in for the departed Sanders delegates. This is a public relations disaster for the Democratic Party.

I tried to read an annotated, fact checked version of her speech, really, I did. But I could feel the rise of anger in me. As I read it, I could imagine the delegates filing out of the auditorium. So, how did that feel, Hillary? Did you enjoy watching your call for unity disintegrate before your very eyes?

That's what I wanted to say. I can see why Bernie Sanders went right back to being an independent the next day. He tried to help and perhaps save the Democratic Party. But they would have none of it. Sure, Hillary thanks Bernie for his help in bringing new people to the party, but many of those new people are registering as "no party preference", or with the Green Party. The great #demexit is now underway.

No big deal right? We'll get over it and come back, right? That's what they say when they believe that we have nowhere else to go. Check out what the Guardian has to say in the UK:
But I don’t know how any of the flaws of Trump can be explained to his supporters, especially when the Democratic party can’t offer an economic vision to their own angry voters. Indeed, the Democrats seem bent on putting up people and policies that will redistribute money to Wall Street and ignore the 99% when their base been screaming at them to stop this. 
This year, I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party. Oh, they might hang on for a few years more, maybe a decade. But the millenials are getting screwed out of their future. Why have kids if you're going to feed them to Wall Street oligarchs?

That half empty auditorium should ring alarm bells all over the DNC.  Millions of people will not vote for Hillary Clinton and I am one of them. I just cannot get past all of the evidence of corruption, the voter purges, the claims of voter fraud and the collusion between the DNC and Hillary. Don't even get me started on all of her little wars she engaged in for fun and profit.

That empty hall at the DNC represents an opportunity for a new party to rise. A new party that truly represents progressive liberals who want to see a better world for their kids. A new party who wants to see a clean environment for their kids. A new party that wants to build an economy based entirely on renewable energy. A new party that actually considers the merits of a bill before they let it become law.

That's why I'm going Green. That empty hall at the Democratic National Convention represents an opportunity for Dr. Jill Stein to be the first woman president of the United States. If we're going to elect a woman as president, let's do it right. Let's elect someone who actually lives under the laws we already have. Let's elect a woman who is accountable to the rest of us. Let's elect a woman who understands that "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

I urge you to give serious consideration to the Green Party by reviewing their party platform, their candidates and their philosophy. I did exactly that yesterday as I drove home in 100 plus degree heat, and through the brown hills of my state. I cringed at I thought of the carbon my car puts into the air, and I wondered what this is all for. What is this for?

Can we really afford to be ruled by a two-party system that openly defies the people they claim to represent? I don't think so. I'm going Green.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wait. Did someone say this this over? I didn't think so.

Just when I thought things were safely settled, they're not. Sure, Sanders handed the nomination to Clinton and there are people who are supremely pissed off about that. I was for a brief moment, very brief. Then I went back to work. Even yesterday morning, I was ready to concede that we may have to accept Hillary Clinton. But that all changed only a few hours later when I read this:
"One day after calling for Democratic party unity, Bernie Sanders says he’s an independent"
Bernie is still in it. Now he's an independent. I heard that he never formally released his delegates and he sure as hell didn't let them have his email list. The revolution is still on.

Now that he's an independent again, I'm going all out for Jill Stein. I really love the Green Party. I want to see them in all 50 states on the ballot, and there are millions of other people that want that, too. We have the numbers, all we really need to do is organize. Remember, Democrats have been polling lately at about 45% as not being willing to vote for Hillary. Roughly 30% of the voters are registered Democrats, though that may have changed some with the #demexit. 43% of voters are independent and they now have a choice. That is a massive number of disaffected voters.

I found myself watching the morning news today and I just could not believe the theme: All Hillary, all the time. "Hey, look at that! We just nominated a woman to run for president! Character? C'mon. This isn't about character, this is about making history! This is about election a woman for president!" Sexism is only cool if you support Hillary Clinton, right?

In social media, there were reports from people who were there, of how officials at the DNC were taking away Bernie signs and kicking people out who didn't comply. They are literally strong-arming conformity of support at the convention. And there was not a word of the walkout by a large contingent of Sanders supporters on the CBS segment I happened to be watching. They want to give the impression of solidarity behind Clinton, but that's not what is happening.

Take a look again at Real Clear Politics. They keep polling averages for the candidates in numerous races, including this presidential election. Trump is now polling an average of 1.1% ahead of Clinton. Before the endorsement, Clinton had an average of an 11 point lead in the polls over Trump. That went down to about 2% just before she secured the nomination. Now she's underwater.

I mentioned the current polling average in a comment on a post in Google+ and someone asked about Mitt Romney. I guess he had been polling better than Obama at one point and still lost. So let's put this in perspective. According to RCP, on July 27th, 2012, Obama was at +2.7 favorable/unfavorable. Romney was at 43.1/43.1, a tie between favorable and unfavorable. Romney wasn't polling any better than Obama.

Both Clinton and Trump are deeply negative with the following averages showing Hillary at -17 points and Trump at -21, but Trump was actually much worse only a few weeks ago. In other words, his polling has vastly improved from before Hillary received the endorsement and the nomination. On July 9th, Trump was polling at -33, Hillary -22. Granted, both are still near historical lows for any presidential candidate, as they are still unloved by a pretty good chunk of Americans.

It's worth noting that the 538 blog went from confident that Clinton would win to forecasting a win for Trump: Shock Poll: Nate Silver’s Election Forecast Now Has Trump Winning. Check this out from Business Insider:
"Most bookies now give him odds of 13/8 to win the election in November — far shorter than the 150/1 outsider odds he started with."
If you're a member of the DNC, these numbers are nothing to celebrate. This trend should instill serious panic among Democrats. Still feeling warm and fuzzy about the nomination? Probably not.

So while Hillary is pivoting to the right to snub progressive liberals, Trump is proving to be the end of the conservative movement, at least according to Katherine Miller at Buzz feed. There is a populist wave in the GOP that has put Trump on top. He's against trade deals like the TPP and NAFTA. He's talking about putting Americans first and he's left out much of what was considered standard GOP fare in his acceptance speech for the nomination:
Nearly absent from this speech — Trump’s coronation before millions of people — were many of the issues that have defined and dominated the Republican Party in recent years (abortion, Israel, soluble entitlements) at the exclusion of one (immigration). More to the point: Trump is all about government. He is for a government that takes care of you. He is disinterested in talk of democratic principles. He is concerned with the inactivity of the state, not the tyranny of power. The idea that you don’t want government in your life, the premise of movement conservatism for six decades, is gone.
It's a great long read, so dig in with your coffee. You'll need it. Miller goes on to say:
The reality is that there we’re currently witnessing rapid shifts in: the geopolitics of Europe and the Middle East, the politics of U.S. and Russian hegemony, the demographic makeup of the United States, the way we buy things, the way we communicate. The reality is that Hillary Clinton is the last globalist, the last interventionist, the last corporatist left in the race. The American tradition for a century has been globalist, interventionist, corporatist. But traditions can end, parties can change, ideologies can die out. We are living through the end of an inflection point that started 15 years ago. Do not underestimate that what happens next could be something you’ve never seen before.
I believe that most Americans are finally seeing through the facade of standard American politics for what it has been for about the last 40 years, particularly with respect to Wall Street: hey, 99%? Screw you, I've got mine - now get lost. That's the message we got, with even greater intensity from the Reagan Administration going forward. If the millenials have anything to say about this one, I'd say we're seeing the end of the neoliberal agenda of the Republicans and Democrats. I would even go so far as to say that we may well see the end of the dominance of the two major parties within 10 years as people seek meaningful alternatives.

That's why I feel some hope for Jill Stein. She may yet have a chance to win or at least make a deep impression upon Americans that there is actually an entire political party that is not built on large contributions from very wealthy interests. Stein is not dependent on the billionaire class for money. She wants to get big money out of politics just like many of us do and admits it openly.

Yesterday, my post was about the realization that if we're not happy with politics today, we must acknowledge that it is a reflection of our participation in it. I also got an earful from someone (you know who you are, and thank you :) ) who pointed out that I should not wait until the Green Party makes their way to the ballot on all 50 states. it is worth noting that all the candidates for both major parties had to petition to get on the ballot for all 50 states to compete in the primaries. The Green Party is no exception and to be a worthy contender, that status should have been achieved by early this year.

This is not to besmirch them, it is to acknowledge that getting on the ballot in every state is difficult. It requires organization. Winning elections requires observers everywhere. As we have seen in this primary race, there were irregularities in many of the states and there is a lawsuit underway to undo the damage done. But it may not be in time for this election.

As I said yesterday, we may need to work from the bottom up to make effective change happen. We may still have a shot at getting someone we truly want in the White House, and for me, that is Jill Stein. I want to see an economy built on renewable energy, I want to see social and racial justice. I want to see big money out of politics. I want to free up the economy by abolishing student debt and making public education free. The Green Party platform is almost a mirror image of the Sanders platform. It reads a bit like the talking points of Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is now an independent. I don't know how much time he will spend campaigning for Clinton if at all. But we can count on him to work for down ballot candidates like Tim Canova, in opposition to people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I think that a strategy is emerging, at least in my mind: promote Jill Stein while promoting progressive down ballot Democrat candidates.

Yes, I wish I were still pushing for Sanders as the nominee, but that's done. At the very least, by doing everything we can to get Jill Stein elected, we can send a clear message to both parties that the old games are not working for us. We simply won't play them anymore.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Be still my beating heart - where to go from here?

What a long and difficult day it was yesterday. It would seem that Sanders has capitulated to Clinton. I can hardly believe what has happened, but it's done. His campaign is finished, as hard to believe as it may be. This article may ramble a bit as I'm still trying to gather myself up, so please bear with me. 

I think there is still plenty of fight in him. I can see him as Senate majority leader if we can take back the Senate. It is possible that we can take back the House, too. I know, some of you say that both parties are broken, but I say that there is hope. Read on let me share some ideas with you.

I cannot pretend to know what Sanders had in mind. He says that he knows Hillary Clinton and has known her for 25 years so there must have been some level of trust in her on his part to give him reason to do what he did. I do not see his acts as betrayal. I believe that he really does have a plan.

From the moment I read the news, the words of Sting were running through my mind, from his song, Be Still My Beating Heart (video):
Be still my beating heart
It would be better to be cool
It's not time to be open just yet
A lesson once learned is so hard to forget
Be still my beating heart
Or I'll be taken for a fool
It's not healthy to run at this pace
The blood runs so red to my face 
I've been to every single book I know
To soothe the thoughts that plague me so
I sink like a stone that's been thrown in the ocean
My logic has drowned in a sea of emotion
Stop before you start
Be still my beating heart

Yeah, that was me. From the moment I read the news of Clinton's nomination, I had to stay focused on work while that news was swimming in the back of my mind.

Is she really as bad as some people make her out to be? I don't know. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I want to believe that there is a compassionate bone in her body, really, I do. But for now, I don't believe it and I can't see it in her.

The irony of her victory is plain to see. She was caught sneaking around with her emails. She did that so that she would not have her emails subject to the FOIA. She just wanted to avoid scrutiny. She has won the nomination and if she wins in November, she will have the most scrutinized presidency the world has ever seen. We can bury her office in more FOIA requests. We can follow every bill she is even thinking of signing. Adding further irony to injury is that we would not have known about her transgressions with email without the Freedom of Information Act.

I believe that there is still a way forward. Let her have our vote and keep Trump out. For everyone else down ticket, make sure that anyone who ever supported Clinton gets voted out and replaced in the remaining primaries. Let us make life difficult if not unbearable for any elected Democrats who supported Clinton. Let them get the business end of the primaries in the next mid-terms. We can do it, really, we can. I would make an exception for Bernie Sanders and here's why. I believe that he will be her most ardent critic.

Let us take over state and county level party machines. Let us do to the Democratic Party what the Non Partisan League did to the Republicans in the state of NorthDakota early in the last century. But this time, we do it to every county and every state. Let's make sure that the conservatives and neoliberals among us have only one place to go: the GOP. Then let them deal with their own demons while we deal with ours.

I trust Hillary about as far as I can throw her. But I'm not completely convinced that she is evil. Confused, maybe, but probably not totally evil. I see her as someone who is completely convinced that she must rely upon big money in politics to win elections and become president. For someone of her character, yes, big money is required. 

I can recall reading comments by someone who read the diplomat cables originally released by Wikileaks years ago. That person said based on her reading, that Hillary Clinton really cared and wanted to help. I don't recall the specifics of the example that person cited, but it does indicate to me that there is hope.

Half the DNC delegates have walked out as of yesterday. The establishment has lost face with their move to get Clinton nominated. People do not trust either party now. Clinton's numbers are going to sink further still. Same with Trump. As people seek alternatives, it may well become apparent that Sanders has given us a gift, one that won't be revealed without our hard work.

Sanders has told us before that real change doesn't come from the top down, it always comes from the bottom up. I am still Sanders and I plan to write him in if I still can come November. I will always remember the fire and the hope he kindled in me. I still have it. But I carry that flame knowing something that he said long ago. This is not about him. This is about us.

Bernie Sanders really does have a plan. I'm sure that he has thought this through many times before he acted. He really believes that he did the right thing. He may have seen or heard of actual threats to his family and friends and his campaign. He may have decided that Clinton's backers want it bad enough that he had to let it go. We don't know. Only he knows. So he has now set the gauntlet for Clinton. This will not be a cakewalk for her.

Clinton is going to have to make the case that she is genuine. She is going to have to unite the party on her own now. It matters not what comes out of her mouth. What matters now is her action. She will face enormous resistance now and after the election. I have seen comments suggesting that Berniecrats have made progress in several state Democratic Party organizations. There are at least 12 very good Berniecratsrunning for office. That is just the beginning.

I think that Sanders truly believes what he says about change and how it originates. Let's consider what might have happened if he had fought and won. Would he have a firm foundation to operate upon as president? Maybe. 88% of the seats in Congress are up for election this year. Will they be voted out? Not likely. Their re-election rate is about 94% and their approval rating is about 11%.

That is a reflection of us. That is a reflection of our level of participation in politics. If Sanders had won, would we become complacent, thinking that change comes from the top? Perhaps. But by his action, he is forcing us to become more involved. We must build a firm foundation from the ground up. Yes, that will take more time. But if we're not committed now, will we ever be?

We are waking up from a dream, only to realize that we're the ones in the bathtub filled with ice and water, one missing kidney and a sign floating in front of us that says, "Call 911". We've been rolled. This is not about Sanders and it never was. What Sanders wants us to realize is that we don't need him to win. We might want him, but he's not our savior. He's just a messenger and he's OK with that.

It is time for us to stop sucking on the pointed finger for comfort. We must now follow it to see where it leads. I believe that finger points to freedom, justice and equality.

For anyone who thinks this is over, it's not. Not by a mile.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Puzzled by DNC bias? Completely explained by the weakness of Hillary Clinton as candidate for president

First, take a look at this picture:

The latest release of emails from Wikileaks is getting the full scrutiny of the world to show just how much Hillary Clinton colluded with the DNC to rig the election against Bernie Sanders. A clear pattern of collusion and deception has emerged in the emails released by Wikileaks, so much so that now, an interesting question has been raised:

Did Hillary Clinton win the delegates she has fair and square?

I think, based on the available analysis of the emails so far (meaning there is more to come), the answer is no. The Sanders campaign was treated with hostility and venom in the emails, attitudes that were not communicated openly to Sanders campaign officials. The extent of the candor in these emails is breathtaking.

Have a look here at a sample of items from a list compiled by at least one researcher already:

DNC member killing horses for insurance money.

DNC requesting a pull an MSNBC commentary segment.

DNC controlling the narrative with time released stories.

DNC Hillary supporters infiltrated Sanders campaign.

DNC members going to complain to Morning Joe producers about his mentioning of a “rigged system.”

Why would the DNC have any pull at all with the media? Shouldn't the media be able to make its own mind about what stories to run or not? Isn't our free press supposed to be independent and unbiased, free of the influence of the people they investigate and report on? What do they have to gain by colluding with the Clinton campaign?

Here's an email where they wanted to get someone in the press to ask Sanders about his belief in God. He's already stated that he is of the Jewish faith, but apparently they wanted to embarrass him on TV to sway Southern Christians:

See for reference. Seems ironic that someone from the DNC would try to introduce a religious test for a candidate for president. Why is the DNC looking for proxies to ask embarrassing questions of Bernie Sanders?

Why is the DNC doing opposition research on Bernie Sanders? Shouldn't opposition research be reserved exclusively for members of other political parties? You know, like Donald Trump?

What we can see yet again, is that party unity was *never* a priority with top DNC officials. They seemed to think of Sanders as a trespasser rather than a legitimate candidate. The same can be said of our national news media. They treated Sanders as a trespasser, denying him the free coverage they gave to Clinton, denying access to Sanders surrogates and accepting planted stories from the DNC.

Impartiality must come before unity.

To summarize, they infiltrated Sanders' campaign, fed stories to reporters and news agencies, and generally, sandbagged his campaign. All in the name of what? Electing the first woman president of the United States before the Republicans do it? Does anyone seriously believe that the GOP even wants a woman as president of the United States?

Now there have been calls for accountability. Respondeat superior, "let the master answer', is appropriate here. So far, we have seen Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) be removed from the speakers list for the Convention. Then she announced her decision to resign after the convention. But she is not the master. Lucky for her, she got a job with the Clinton campaign as honorary chair on the same day she announced her intent to resign. How convenient. I guess the corrupt take really good care of their own, don't they?

How about Hillary Clinton? Well, she had the gall to hire DWS the same day as campaign manager. That is how Hillary has answered. But she is not the master.

Now there are calls for President Obama to answer. He did. Obama and Biden issued glowing statements professing the virtues of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

There is also talk of an illegitimate nomination. The DNC was supposed to be impartial, fair and balanced in terms of service to the candidates. They were not. People are beginning to seriously question the legitimacy of the presumption that Hillary Clinton is indeed the nominee.

What we see now, with the evidence at hand, is an enormous effort to assist Hillary Clinton with her campaign, assistance which was not provided to any other candidate, including Bernie Sanders. This assistance, at the expense of all the other candidates, shows how little confidence that the DNC had in Hillary Clinton as a candidate.

Despite enormous opposition from the Democratic Party, Sanders managed to win 23 states, raise more than $220 million, and won 1900 delegates, more than anyone had ever imagined. Is it reasonable to think that with a level playing field, he would have easily won 2383 delegates before the convention? I think so.

The superdelegates now have something else to think about. Clinton had an 11 point lead in national average polling before "the endorsement". Now that lead has shrunk to a rounding error of 0.4% according to Real Clear Politics. Check out the graphic below:

Where are the polls for Sanders? They seem to have stopped doing them at the end of May. I guess that free and independent press wouldn't want us to know how other people feel about seeing Sanders as nominee now, would they?

Any superdelegates out there still willing to tar their name and reputation with a vote for Hillary at the convention? If so, I've got a mid-term election to sell you. We have a sale on them right now straight from the 132 people who financed 60% of the superPAC spending for the 2012 presidential election. All you have to do is pass laws you won't follow anyway that place people you don't even care about at a disadvantage to you. We'll call it "neoliberal economics" so your voters will have no idea what you're talking about when you run for office again.

There is a very well written petition circulating for the delegates and superdelegates, requesting their help to nominate Bernie Sanders. I urge you, dear readers, to sign and share that petition. Hillary Clinton's campaign is engulfed in scandal, intrigue and corruption. I just don't see how any voter could now, in good conscience, vote for her. I know that I won't. I'm #neverhillary and #stillsanders.

In the next 3 days, we'll see if there are any "faithless delegates" who would rather vote their conscience and vote for Sanders. We will see if the superdelegates who pledged their support for Hillary long before the first primaries were even held are still determined keep their head in the ground. We may well see if they have the courage to change their mind in a very public way. It is up to us to sway them. If we want to see Sanders as the nominee, now is the time to apply the pressure.

Bernie or Bust.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

At the bottom of the wine dark sea is the TPP

By chance, the TV was on during lunch yesterday so that we could find news about a fire a few miles from our house. That fire filled the sky with a smokey haze that covered the Salt Lake Valley, so I wanted to learn more.

But instead of getting news that I wanted, I got something else, entirely. I got to watch Tim Kaine's acceptance speech. I heard him talk about raising the minimum wage to "a living wage". I find it interesting that he could not bring himself to be specific about the number, $15 an hour. I heard him talk about making college debt free, not free.

They are already walking back anything that was said on the day of "the endorsement." As I watched, all I could think of was Tim Kaine's support for the TPP. Whatever he was saying about public policy didn't matter. As far as I was concerned, he was lying. I could hardly stand to listen to him tell his folksy tales of his life as a normal human being knowing that he supports the TPP.

Kaine is probably a nice and charming guy, but I could see through all of that charm and down-home rhetoric. I know about his ties to the banking industry. His smile hides his support of the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, a deal that if enacted, will affect 40% of the world's economy. This deal, the TPP, is the goal of the neoliberal elite. It is one more handcuff on the economy and the people. It will add a rounding error to the economy in terms of growth, but it will further confine us to the bubble economy that we inherited from NAFTA.

"Get the chalice." That's the phrase that comes to mind as I write this. I can imagine the global business community chanting it as if they were praying for another digit to add to the end of the number at the bottom line. The chalice that I speak of is buried in the TPP: the investor state dispute system, aka, ISDS. ISDS is a system designed to subordinate the will of the people to the will of corporations. It was originally built into trade agreements to prevent hostile governments from nationalizing industries with significant American investment. ISDS was originally intended to defend against banana republics. You would be forgiven if you thought that ISDS was only for banana republics. Now they want to use ISDS to defend against democracy.

You might remember NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. That "free trade" agreement pitted American manufacturing against the world with rules that favored and protected the professional class over everyone else. If you're a doctor, lawyer or some other "professional", you're good. But if you actually make things for people to buy, you're going to have trouble making payments on your mortgage. With the TPP, we're going to see a repeat of the Big Short (now on Neflix, BTW).

I watched Mr. Kaine make his speech behind a podium with the Hillary campaign logo, "Stronger Together". Stronger together, huh? I guess we're only stronger together if we have Clinton as the nominee, but not Sanders, right? No mention of Sanders at all. No mention of the millions of voters he brought to the Democratic Party during the primaries. Not even a thank you. Oh, wait. She did say "thank you" with a smile no less after "the endorsement", but not at this event. As I watched Kaine's speech, I could see it from here: Trump is going to win unless we change course.

Even Michael Moore thinks that Trump will win. Why? Because Hillary is already polling in a tie or is under water in the swing states of the Rust Belt. They remember NAFTA in spades. Any state that once had a thriving manufacturing sector now does not. They will see Trump coming to town to hammer Clinton for NAFTA and her support of the TPP. In January 2016, Trump said, "I will stop Hillary’s Obamatrade in its tracks, bringing millions of new voters into the Republican Party. We will move manufacturing jobs back to the United States and we will Make American Great Again."

Clinton and Kaine know they can talk progressive policy all they want and that it won't happen. Why? They know that their ticket will depress the vote. Millions of disappointed voters will stay home because they don't believe that they have a meaningful choice for president once again. They know that down ballot votes will go to more conservative candidates when the voter turnout is low. They must know by now that inequality is tied to voter turnout. The lower the turnout the better for the 1%. They can talk about a progressive agenda until the cows come home knowing that the votes will not be there for it in the next Congress. Then they can trot out their "3rd way", "we'll take what we can get from the Republicans" leadership and say that they really did try.

Voters will have to choose between Trump, who they hate, and Clinton who they hate, but not as much as Trump. Millions of us wanted Sanders there, front and center.

But the DNC decided not to be so fair and neutral. They did everything they could to sandbag Sanders. Someone is already planning a movie to show how rigged the primary elections were against Bernie Sanders. They have plenty of material to work with including 20,000 emails from the DNC. The latest Email leaks that tell us the story of how DNC staffers mocked Bernie Sanders, worked against his campaign and used the media against him to prevent him from having an even chance to secure the nomination. They knew that party unity was not a priority from the beginning.

In 5 days, the DNC will very likely see millions of people register with another party in a protest known as the #demexit. In November, we will very likely see an alternative on the ballot that is not Democrat or Republican. We may very well see Green on the ballot.

Bottom line, one way or another, the global business community sees their number one goal as getting the TPP ratified and signed.

I love Bernie Sanders and what he is doing for the country, but the #1 goal is not to defeat Trump. We can deal with a buffoon in the White House for 4 years, for we have already survived 8 years under Bush. What we can't deal with is 3 potential paths for the TPP to get through. If Trump wins, the TPP will be quietly signed by a lame duck president. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will sign so that Obama can have his presidential library, his foundation and his book writing deals, so he can live the rest of his life in obscurity and peace with guaranteed income for life. If Hillary is somehow impeached or indicted, Kaine will find a way to get it passed and signed.

I think we need to re-assess our priorities and make it clear that the elite agenda is not about who gets elected. It's about getting the TPP passed. Isn't it an interesting coincidence that, despite what she says, Clinton is the only remaining presidential candidate strongly in favor of the TPP?


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Economic accountability is the subtext of this election

It would be easy to forget that the biggest issue in politics today is big money in politics. If you watch national news or frequent websites run by the likes of Time, CNN, even USA Today, you're going to get the cult of personality as entertainment. The mainstream media would like us all to believe that this is a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and implore us to please forget Bernie Sanders even though he's still running for president. You would be forgiven if you didn't think the Trumps and the Clintons were friends at all.

Have a look at this picture:

That picture was taken in 2008. Trump is on the left and who could miss Bill Clinton in the center? So they're all playing a friendly game of golf, right? How many times has this happened? How come I'm not a member of this club?

Because this is the club of high finance. Who is standing between them? Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the 8th richest man in the world, and this photo is from an article in the New York Times from last December. What is the opening line of that article (followed by the next paragraph)?:
For years, President Bill Clinton was the best friend Donald J. Trump always hoped to have.
When scandal engulfed Mr. Clinton’s White House, Mr. Trump leapt to the president’s defense. “He’s probably got the toughest skin I’ve ever seen, and I think he’s a terrific guy,” Mr. Trump told CNN.
Best friends? You're kidding, right? Trump defended Bill Clinton when he was president? Well, it's a pretty tight little club, and we're not invited to join.

What kind of club is this? It's very exclusive and only very special people are ever selected to join the club of high finance. This club is one of the most expensive clubs in the world to join. But who would guess that the middle class pays for their membership? What do they do in this club? They just do mergers and acquisitions in high finance, right? Well, have a look here at a very well written article from the LA Progressive to find out what they've done to America:
These conditions are prevalent in America today, described by a popular newspaper:
  • 66% of American families say they must choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.
  • 108 million Americans have no dental coverage. 25% of adult citizens have untreated cavities or infections.
  • 59% of our people worry they won’t have sufficient retirement funds. 20% of those near retirement age have been unable to save anything.
  • 25% of American families have no emergency savings at all. 50% have some, but not nearly enough.
  • An average family can no longer afford to buy a new car, except in Washington, D.C., the city with the highest per capita income in the nation.
  • Fifty years ago General Motors was the nation’s largest employer. Workers earned, in today’s inflated dollars, an average of $50 per hour. Working for today’s largest employer, WalMart, employees take home $8 per hour.
Above you see a laundry list of conditions created by the club of high finance. Why any captain of industry would be proud of these accomplishments, I don't know. But if you look at Wall Street, they seem awfully proud about it. What I find so interesting is that the economic policies put forth to create these conditions just don't work and the people who put them in place simply refuse to be held accountable for their mistakes.

The economic conditions that prevail upon us today are exacted by a class of politicians known as "neoliberals". The economic philosophy promoted by this class of politicians is "neoliberalism". More from the same article at the LA Progressive on the subject of neoliberalism:
The Reagan years transformed public policy with the crackpot ideology of neoliberalism: cut taxes for the rich, slash social programs, bloat the military, deregulate corporate enterprise, privatize public services and public assets. Reagan’s Republican successor unleashed America’s military power to assure continued access, for U.S. energy corporations, to Persian Gulf oil.
Now that Clinton has chosen vice president as a running mate, Tim Kaine, what can we learn about him? He loves the TPP and he loves the big banks. He's a rent-seeker's dream candidate. He's also a neoliberal, just like Hillary Clinton and just like President Obama. Even Republicans like George W. Bush, his dad and Bill Clinton are neoliberals. Oh, wait. Did I say that Bill Clinton was a Republican? He sure acted like one as president.

Some economists are starting to wise up to the ruse of neoliberalism. Nobel Prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz has been leading a team for years to document the problems inherent in neoliberal economics. From trade to monetary policy, they've been documenting the cause and effects of neoliberal economics. You can find it all here at The Roosevelt Institute. Their latest offering is called "Overcharged: The High Cost of High Finance".

In that paper, they estimate that the total cost of diverted resources and lost productivity, including the financial crisis of 2008, to be roughly $12-22 trillion. If there is any wonder why the economy is slow, it's because an unregulated, unaccountable financial industry has been taxing the economy. Guess who wants a slice of that money for their campaign financing? The Democrats and Republicans. They get a small chunk of that money from the 132 Americans who financed 60% of the superPAC spending in the 2012 election cycle, and they don't want to piss them off during this election.

Like Bernie Sanders, Stiglitz and his team are aware that a revolution is needed to help set things right, a peaceful revolution. The Rooselvelt Institute now has a website called, Rewrite the Rules, where they show how inequality is a choice, it's a matter of public policy. They go on to show us the public policy objectives and goals needed to set things right again. They understand that the extreme inequality (video) present in our economy now has created a class of people who seem to be "untouchable". That might explain why Hillary Clinton has escaped indictment and prosecution so far.

Perhaps it is not too late then. Wikileaks released some 20,000 emails to confirm that the DNC had known all along that they were going to support Hillary Clinton to the exclusion of all other candidates. The emails show a clear pattern of prejudice against Bernie Sanders and favoritism towards Hillary Clinton. Examples in the press show emails that have mocked the Sanders campaign and brainstorming conversations about how to use Sanders' religious beliefs to hobble his campaign.

Isn't the DNC supposed to be neutral? A lawsuit claiming fraud on the part of the DNC as a cause of action has been filed to answer that question. Plaintiffs are seeking monetary and punitive damages for the people who donated to the Sanders campaign and the DNC trusting that the DNC was looking for the best candidate, not just the candidate that would bring in the most money from the biggest donors.

All of the notable events of this primary election smack of a sort of strategy to shoot first, talk about it in court later after the damage is done. From being cut out of the VAN database in December, to voter fraud allegations, to "the endorsement", I believe that the DNC and their backers seem confident that they are beyond the reach of the law, at least in time to change the course of history. They seem more intent on electing a woman as president than electing an honest candidate.

With so much money riding on this election, accountability doesn't even get a mention in the mainstream press. Did you see the story about the man who was shot by the police while laying on the ground, unarmed? They asked the officer why he shot him. The answer? "I don't know." But one thing we can be sure of based on prior history: he will not be held accountable.

I support Bernie Sanders because he is not "untouchable". He is not so wealthy that he is immune from prosecution if he should commit some wrong. He is not so powerful that allies would shield him from any wrongdoing. He does not have a massive, entrenched political network of corporate financiers expecting him to do their bidding should he be elected. He knows that "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

He has not conceded the nomination and he is still running for president, despite "the endorsement". We can expect to see him on the floor of the convention, using every available and legal means, to secure the nomination. He is accountable and that why I want Bernie Sanders for president.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An attempt to put the polling in perspective with regard to Bernie Sanders

I happened upon this article, "That’s the pattern across the nation.", an interesting account of how little pay many degrees are fetching these days. From the article:
A part-time position after four years (a small miracle that a baccalaureate can be completed in four years at any state school in California — you can’t get scheduled for all of your courses — too few full-time profs — most are adjuncts paid $3k for a 3 credit hour course) obtaining the baccalaureate and another four years to complete the doctoral degree. Eight years of higher Ed, in applied science — and national chains only call the Pharm.D. In to mix up the chemo. As recently as 2006 I had a Pharm.D. with a disability as a client. That client was recruited out of graduate school with a $200k signing bonus!
Today we have highly-educated people, carrying the massive student debt that a terminal degree entails, being told they are not worth a full-time job.
A decade ago they had signing bonuses.
Today, they can’t find a full-time job.
That story and millions more like it, represent what we are up against and what we are fighting. Now, even if you have two or three college degrees, it's become very difficult to find a job that would pay off that enormous student debt. Unless you find a way to go into business and make a tidy profit, you're out of luck.

This is what big money in politics is doing to our country. Even if you have a degree to flail at your next hiring manager, six figures will be hard to come by. You'll be lucky if you break $60k. The big money in politics has for years been writing rules that will extract every last cent from the economy and force people to get on the credit treadmill so that they earn money, but never really get ahead and begin to save money.

I know, it's a long digression but I'm just setting the stage. Now for the fun. Check out these polling numbers from Real Clear Politics. First, have a look at favorable/unfavorable. Here's Trump:

Trump has a net favorable rating of -25 (that's a NEGATIVE). Now have a look at Clinton:

Clinton is not all that far behind with a -17 net favorable rating and that score too is negative. These scores are not all that far beyond the historical net favorable averages from many other candidates for president in modern history. Most have been negative. This is what the establishment is dishing up for us, two of the worst candidates in American history.

On the other hand, we still have Bernie Sanders. He's still a candidate and he's still running for president. Of the three, he's the only one with a positive favorable rating:

He has a whopping 11 point favorable rating. But the mainstream media would much rather prepare dog food for us to vote on. Do we want dog food with chicken or beef? That is the question being prepared for us in November.

Well, there's another interesting trend in polling that I think we should all be aware of. We know that Clinton has been losing her lead in the polls. It's been quite a struggle, especially since "the endorsement". Here are the numbers for Clinton v. Trump:

What we see above is that Clinton is holding a thin lead above Trump of less than 3%, which is well within the margin of error for most polls. She does noticeably better in a 4-way poll when we throw in a Libertarian and a Green Party candidate, but she's not storming off towards the White House in that poll, either.

Now have a look at the trend:

Before "the endorsement", she had a strong lead of 11%. Now she's down to 2-3%. Given the trends so far, I don't think she will recover that lead. We're being asked by establishment media to believe that Clinton actually stands a good shot at winning. Even after "the endorsement", the bump that Clinton supporters hoped she would get did not appear. Note that she received Sanders "endorsement" on July 12th. From there on, she can be seen bouncing along the tie line after going negative the day after.

Now recall the story of the degreed pharmacist who can only get a part time job. Imagine a nation of people with degrees and debt who can only get a part time job. This is what Trump and Clinton are selling.

What has Sanders brought to the table? $1 trillion for infrastructure spending. Medicare for all so that there is a public option that we can all use, supported by taxes that would prevent the cost shifting we see now in health care. We see free college education at public universities regardless of income so that when people leave college, they actually have money to pump back into the economy.

I know, Clinton mouthed the words of Sanders on the day of "the endorsement". But as we all know, "She will say anything and do nothing." -- Barack Obama, 2008

For those who think there is no hope at the convention, there is. Sanders is planning a roll call vote for all his nearly 1900 delegates and even Susan Sarandon has helped get them funded. Thousands of people will be there to protest and march in the streets during the convention. Unlike the RNC, Sanders supporters will easily outnumber the press and police.

Even if Clinton is nominated, your vote in November will still count. 88% of seats in Congress are up for election this year. So get out there and vote. Here is a list of all Berniecrats running for office. And don't forget that there is still time to lobby the superdelegates. More than 400 superdelegates declared support for Clinton before the first primary was held. There is no reason we can't try and talk some sense into them before they vote at the convention.

So keep the chin up, sunny smiles, the debate civil and the facts at hand in case anyone should try and talk you into voting for Clinton. Bernie or Bust!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A brief psychological analysis of political oppression in the context of the 2016 US election

On July 3rd, 2016, I published an article to describe the relationship between child abuse and corruption. It was called, "Corruption is the symptom, child abuse is the cause". I believe that my article fairly described the urgency of the problem of child abuse in the political context. Until the entire human race decides to put an end to child abuse in all of its forms, reducing preventable human suffering will remain difficult at best.

As serendipity happened to prevail upon me, I found the following meme (I couldn't save the image, so I took a screenshot):

For me, the meme evokes an almost visceral response. I'm an older white male. I can't even begin to comprehend the kind of life blacks must endure in the face of institutionalized discrimination. I can only empathize and do what I can to help. The meme inspired me to write the following text when I shared it myself for my followers on Google+:
The subjugation of the blacks by the whites who perpetuate the myth of black inferiority can be characterized as the projection of the internalized shame of the whites onto the blacks.
When whites who perpetuate the myth of black inferiority resolve their own shame, they may at last see the the folly of their ways.
Notice how I qualified my statement. I did not castigate all whites. There are some heroic white activists who fight for racial justice that we know of from history. There are legions of white activists that we may never read about in the news, who are working behind the scenes, to do what they can to promote racial justice.

There is simply no such thing as an inferior person. The notion of an inferior person makes about as much sense as the notion of an inferior water molecule, atom or proton. From a genetic perspective, we're all pretty much the same except for a few minor details, like the color of our skin, eyes and hair (if we still have it). We all have brains, hearts and a deep yearning to be a part of something greater than ourselves. To deny that sense of belonging to anybody is the ultimate betrayal of the human spirit.

In the context of the current American political environment, it has become clear to the oppressed that they are indeed, being oppressed. They are making it known that they do not appreciate how they are being treated. All of us feel it, but the Black Lives Matter movement make it apparent who is feeling it the most. Blacks suffer the highest rates of unemployment as a demographic constituent of the United States. They experience far greater casualties and incarceration at the hands of police. They are, as Rosa Parks once was, at the back of the bus.

When one class of people subjugate another class, it must be justified in the minds of the oppressors. Where people get that justification can often be found in the roots of their childhood. Kids are raised to be racist, they are not born that way. Babies and toddlers have no context for racism. But young kids who can begin to see outside of themselves and use language to communicate ideas and feelings can learn racism. If you teach a kid that one person is better than another, absent any other influence, they will believe that notion.

Parents who teach racism are revealing their own shame. Parents who teach that blacks are inferior are attempting to hide their own shame about who they think they are. The shame of a family is passed down through generations of teaching and is reinforced to the point where it becomes "common sense".

Two movies were influential in my thinking about the concept of racism and helped to give rise to this post: Django Unchained and Seven Years A Slave. If you have not seen them, I urge you to do so at your earliest convenience. Both of these movies illustrate well, the violent and institutionalized oppression of American blacks. There are quite a few movies and documentaries that offer an illustration of the experience of a racist culture. But few have really delved into the cause of racism. Most movies of this type highlight the oppression, violence and discrimination against blacks. But few actually venture into the cause of how racism came to be.

I believe that all forms of oppression and violence are a result of child abuse. Teaching kids that racism is "common sense" is child abuse, very much in the same way that hitting a child is child abuse. All child abuse is caused by shame and all child abuse transfers shame from one generation to another. As one Buddhist said somewhere on the internet, "The lesson will be repeated until it is learned." This is a fact universally recognized by those who are aware and want to learn how to relieve themselves of preventable suffering. When we resolve our own shame, we can stop child abuse and therefore, political oppression.

I hope that in a political sense, we are coming to the realization that we no longer need to be oppressed. You might say, "What? No one 'needs' to be oppressed!" Sorry, it takes two to tango. A man only has as much power as others are willing to give to him. We the oppressed, have created the opportunity for the oppressors to act the way they do.

What Bernie Sanders represents to me, is the start of a movement where we begin to recognize that we are just as responsible for the oppression we feel as the people who perpetrate the oppression. Yes, we have been deceived, that is true, and we may even have some anger and resentment about it.

But take a look at the voter turnout results in the last 70 years or so. In the last 6 years, we've seen the lowest voter turnouts since the Second World War. Bernie Sanders has been telling us all along that if we want to stop the oppression, we must participate in politics. He has reminded us more than once that he cannot do it alone and that he needs our help. It is a fact that inequality has a strong correlation with lower voter turnouts and a lack of participation in politics.

We are not healthy as a nation and we are just now allowing ourselves to notice. I think on an intuitive level, we have known this for a long, long time. But it is possible that shame has held us back. We may have shame for letting it happen. Shame for being a victim of it. Shame for not being willing to speak about it sooner. Better late than never.

I want to point out something else. The oppression we feel as a nation is not simply reserved to blacks. This is not just a case of racial oppression. This is economic oppression. If you don't have money, you're out of luck. The millionaires and billionaires who perpetrate this economic oppression feel justified in doing what they are doing, just as much as the people who fight the oppression feel the same. The rest of us only gave them the opportunity by being "apolitical", apathetic or just too busy to vote. I can empathize. Politics is hard to track when working two or more jobs.

The oppressors and the oppressed are expressing anger and under anger is fear. There can be no expression of anger without fear underneath it. When a dog is eating, don't touch his meal, for if you do, you will find yourself face to face with the dog's instinct for self-preservation. The middle class and everyone below them have become that dog. Even the billionaires are feeling it, but won't let on that much. They know the pitchforks could come at any moment. We are looking at the possibility of our own destruction, economically, socially and perhaps physically.

Bernie Sanders is offering us a chance to step back from the precipice and turn around. This not just a metaphorical expression. Hillary Clinton is losing steam. Trump is starting to show leads in some polls. Trump epitomizes racial oppression, the shame underneath it and he has stirred up the passion for racial oppression in the GOP. We could stop him, not with Hillary, but with Bernie.

Now is not the time for regret. Now is the time for action. We must recognize how powerful shame is and that it is a driving force behind the oppressors. Shame may give rise to violence, but we must not go to the dark side. Let us now resolve our differences with compassion and a firm resolve to err on the side of peace. Our fate is in our hands, as it has always been, and it is up to us to do what is right.