Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DNC Inside Outside: Mass Sanders' Delegate Walk-Outs Merge with Black Lives Matter Demo in Philly

Moving beyond the Sanders campaign: 750 Sanders Delegates in Convention Walk-Out as Green Party's Jill Stein Joins Anti-Hillary Protests Outside

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening


July 27, 2016

Philadelphia - While former president Bill Clinton last night spun a web of fabrications [1] about his wife Hillary's progressive "accomplishments" as First Lady, senator and secretary of state in a featured speech to an embarrassingly depleted audience in the Wells Fargo Center where the Democratic Convention was being held, an impromptu demonstration outside on Broad Street by protesters from Bernie or Bust and Black Lives Matter was listening to Dr. Jill Stein, the likely presidential candidate of the Green Party, calling for them to continue their movement by backing her third party bid.


Bernie or Bust protesters, Sanders delegates who had walked out of the
Convention in protest, and Black Lives Matter protesters marched together 
(photos offered by Akhil Kalepu)


The protest action really began in the late afternoon when, at the end of a roll-call vote of delegates from all 57 primary states and territories which formally nominated Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. As Bernie Sanders was completing his surrender to Clinton by having his Vermont delegation offer their votes to Clinton, some 750 of his nearly 1850 delegates were staging a walkout from the convention hall. Several hundred occupied the convention press tent. [2] Others went out on the street, with most heading up to City Hall, where many of them joined Bernie or Bust activists to announce that they were not supporting Clinton.

The corporate media couldn't seem to get its story straight on the walk-out, which caught many lazy reporters by surprise, though anyone talking with Sanders delegates on Monday would have known the idea was being worked out of a mass walkout. The NY Times and other pro-Hillary news organizations talked of "dozens" of delegates walking out [3], though hundreds filled the press tent alone [4] and hundreds more just left the convention "green zone" altogether [5].

Some of the walk-out delegates then drifted back down toward the Wells Fargo Center and FDR Park, where a loud, energetic protest was held outside the fenced-in and heavily guarded convention site. There was reportedly some police use of teargas to break up the protest outside the gate to the convention, and a few incidents of people trying to climb the fence -- part of a four-mile exclusion perimeter set up by convention organizers, the city and the Secret Service -- the protest morphed into a march up the wide Broad Street roadway towards a waiting line of Philadelphia Police. The cops had been arrayed so as to block marchers from moving further uptown. As the protesters, bearing home-made signs that said things like "Jill not Hill" and "DNC Corrupt," pressed in towards the massed cops, and the scene started becoming increasingly tense, suddenly a second large march, this featuring the Black Lives Matter movement, appeared, marching down Broad street from the north.

The police, finding themselves effectively surrounded by converging marchers coming from in front of and behind their suddenly thin-looking line, fell back, allowing the two groups to merge. After a brief moment of confusion and indecision, the whole combined march opted to proceed in the direction of the Black Lives Matter protesters, heading back down to the outside of the Wells Fargo Center.

When we all arrived back where we had started, blocked by the convention's security fencing (how ironic that Democrats, who have been decrying Donald Trump's call for a "beautiful wall" at the Mexican border, chose to wall off their convention from the public!), we found Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein at the entrance giving a press interview. Cries of "Jill Stein is here!" spread through the length of the march, causing people to press forward in an attempt to hear the Green Party's likely presidential candidate (the Green Party's nominating convention is set for next week in Houston).

On learning of her presence, people began excitedly shouting :Jill not Hill!" and "We love you Jill!" so loudly that she could not be heard. People began shouting for silence but to no avail. Then one woman, harking back to the days of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement, yelled out "Mike Check!" Immediately others picked up the cry, and within less than a minute there was silence. Some marcher with a large battery-powered megaphone passed it up over the heads of the crowd to Stein, who was accompanied by anti-poverty and Green Party activist Cheri Honkala, and Stein gave an impromptu speech.

The Green leader repeatedly thanked the assembled Sanders delegates and backers for "starting this revolution and refusing to let it die." She called on them to move to the Green Party to continue their struggle, saying, "We're standing up to say we demand living-wage jobs. We deserve an emergency jobs program and a Green New Deal to create 20 million new jobs and give the US 100% renewable energy by 2030." She also called for free public higher education for all and added, to loud cheering, "We need to bail out the students like we did for the crooked Wall Street banks!"

Moving beyond the Sanders campaign, which sidestepped the issue of military spending, Stein said, "Foreign policy should be based on international law," adding that current US foreign policy, based upon wars and threats of wars, is "nothing more than a marketing strategy for the weapons industry." She said the hundreds of billions of dollars a year wasted on military spending should be instead "spent at home" on meeting human needs, including erasing the $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt for higher education. Stein noted that 42 million Americans are saddled with debt for college and that if they all voted for the Green Party and its debt forgiveness program, "We would win this election."



 Anti-Hillary protesters, angry Sanders backers and Black Lives Matter 
activists mass at convention gate facing riot police arrayed inside the 
convention 'green zone'


She concluded, "We should not allow Donald Trump to win the election, but we should not allow Hillary Clinton to win it either. Democracy needs a moral compass. Enough of lesser-evil voting. Fight for the greater good!: Don't let them tell you for a minute that we are an irrelevant footnote! We have the votes to win!"

Stein and Honkala joined the mass of protesters and Bernie delegate walk-outs as the march moved up to the main gate to the fenced-in sports arena district containing the Wells Fargo Center convention. Although the short, slightly-built Stein was almost lost in the crush of the crowd, she seemed remarkably at ease in the mass of protesters, taking time to converse with those she passed and shaking hands. At the gate, behind which stood a menacing-looking line of Pennsylvania State Police all decked out in full black riot gear with face plates and gas masks and carrying big batons, Stein gave another version of her speech.

Drifting back uptown as Bill Clinton's speech to the remaining delegates in the convention center dragged on, some Bernie Sanders delegates heading back to their hotels announced that they would be switching their support to Stein, and said they had tossed their delegate passes, apparently having no more interest in attending the final two days of the Democratic Convention, which will feature Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech.

"I got to cast my vote for Bernie for president," said one Bernie delegate from Florida. 
"That was all I wanted to be able to do. I tossed my delegate credentials over the fence. I'm done."


Links:
[1] http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/03/14/clinton_role_in_health_program_disputed/
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjpRwtbX3Lo
[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/us/politics/dnc-speakers-sanders-clinton.html
[4] http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/how-sanders-delegates-organized-walkout-under-everyone-s-nose-n617521
[5] https://www.rt.com/usa/353468-sanders-delegates-walk-out-dnc/

Refuge: Journey from Izmir to Greece

Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece

by Ramzy Baroud  - PalestineChronicle.com


July 27, 2016

(Based on interviews with Palestinian refugees from Syria.)


The refugee camp of Yarmouk was ever present in his being, pulling him in and out of an abyss of persistent fears that urged him to never return. But what was this refugee without Yarmouk, his first haven, his last earth?

How could any other spot in this unwelcoming universe ever be a ‘home’ when he had learned that only Palestine, which he had never visited, can ever be a home? When questioned, he always answered without hesitation: “I am from the village of so and so in Palestine.” Yet the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria was all that remained of Palestine, as the Palestine he knew only existed in books or the tattered map in his family’s living room. But at least he had her along to share his grief; without her he would have never embarked on his quest. His name was Khaled al-Lubani and her name was Maysam.

Their first attempt at crossing the sea was doomed to fail. The one thousand American dollars that Khaled’s father had given him in Yarmouk was almost depleted, and the money promised to him by his aunt in the UAE was still nowhere to be seen. By then, they had settled in Izmir at Turkey’s farthest western corner, and the closest in proximity to Greece. Wanting opportunities and a chance at a real life, they knew this was just a temporary stopover in their long-term plans.

After a short stay at a cheap hotel, they sought an even cheaper accommodation, a small flat that cost them 400 Turkish liras each month. But with money running out, and Maysam’s anxieties increasingly suffocating her every thought, Khaled felt the pressure mounting. As he waited and waited for his aunt’s money, he felt as if she were dangling him off the side of a cliff.

When the Syrian war started, Khaled cared little for the politics of war. He had reached the conclusion a long time ago that nothing good came out of politics and that anyone wearing a government or militia uniform could not be trusted. However, the war inched closer to Yarmouk, despite the pleas of the refugees to the warring parties to spare them more agony.

And when Yarmouk was roundly destroyed, Khaled, pressured by the tears and pleas of his parents, fled. A long, costly and agonizing journey landed them both in Izmir.

Their first attempt to cross the sea was with Abu Dandi. There was something about his shady looks and face that suggested he lacked honor and could not be trusted. In his fifties, he was heavy, with a large, protruding belly, and short white hair. He was addicted to overcooked black tea, and spent most of his time at the ‘Syrian Club’ playing backgammon, oozing the crude confidence of an unatoned gambler.

Other Palestinian refugees pledged all of their faith to finding a new life via this no-guarantees trip. But an hour after their journey began, the dinghy’s small engine came to a complete halt.

In one single, heavy choke, without any sign or introduction, it completely expired. As alarm permeated Khaled from head to toe, he knew going back was just not an option. Adding to the acute drama, Maysam’s fears and anxieties were culminating into unintelligible mumbles about the scary sea below.

Left without any options, Abu Dandi called the Turkish coast guard, who eventually showed up and hauled them back to an Izmir prison.

They had met the captain of the second dinghy, Abu Salma, while in prison. Captured freshly after his own failed expedition, Abu Salma promised them deliverance or their money back, guaranteed. Sadly, their original payment was never refunded by the miserable smuggler with the protruding belly.

The second expedition was not successful, either, although, this time, the smugglers managed to take the boat much further. The engine did not abruptly stop, but nervously made a ticking sound before it quickly began to hemorrhage a line of dark diesel fuel into the crisp, blue Mediterranean Sea. The pathetic dinghy then suddenly stalled, immediately on reaching Greek waters. When the coast guard intercepted them, they threw out a rope from their large boat so that they could haul the unwelcome passengers to safety.

Trying to circumvent the Greek boat, the passengers rowed frantically and with all their remaining energy. It was as if this was their final task in their epic struggle to feel human again. But the dinghy was brought to a forced halt as the crushing emotions of defeat weighed heavy on their slouched backs.

With little interest in bringing the refugees to their side of the sea, the Greek coast guard robotically tuned out their chronicles of death and disgrace, and quickly telephoned the Turkish gendarmes who hauled the dinghy back to square one, holding its passengers prisoner for two more days.

Swearing in the name of his three-year-old daughter once more, Abu Salma insisted he was still the best smuggler in the business, and if it were not for their cursed luck, they would have already reached Greece and would have been dining like kings while the Greek gods watched from above. Promising the group a bigger and faster engine for their fourth try, Abu Salma, once again, led the passengers back to the same old designated spot where the dinghy was supposedly tucked away; but the boat was nowhere to be found.

Emotionally drained and tired, they walked back to the main road, only to find the gendarmes waiting for them.

When they attempted again, the group of nine had materialized into twenty, and included other war refugees, longing for the safety they were denied at home. This dinghy was slightly larger than the last one, but the engine was even smaller than their first. Heated reactions by the men ensued as they yelled and roared in anger. The women cried out in pain, some grabbing their hearts, some dropping to their knees. Maysam broke down and buried her sopping wet face into the sand.

Most of the passengers just walked away and stood in the sand trying to conjure up a plan that no one had envisioned prior. But the Palestinians, along with Khaled and Maysam, stayed. Their will was just too strong to give up after all they had gone through. Assuming the role of leader, they were urged on by Khaled, yet again.

“Just go this way,” the smuggler pointed his stubby fingers into some direction in the dark. And that is just what Khaled did. He challenged the darkness and what he saw as the final push towards freedom. For the entire journey, Maysam quietly sobbed and held onto his arm for dear life.

Then, finally, the much awaited lights of the Island of Mytilene glittered in the distance. “Ya Allah, Ya Allah, Ya Allah,” muttered Maysam in a final attempt to cram in as many prayers as she possibly could so that the dinghy would reach the shores, bringing an end to the Syrian and Turkish nightmares, and freeing them from the abyss of the condemned.

A small jar of crunchy peanut better was all that Khaled and Maysam had left in their small duffel bag when their feet first touched the sand of Mytilene late one night. The exhilaration of their success blasted up their spines as they cried and jumped for joy.

But as they tried to process the unbelievable comfort the white sand offered them, it was quickly overshadowed by a haunting, unforeseen and unexpected fear of the future. The water soaking through their trainers suddenly felt like a cold omen.

Dr Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'm With Jill: Burning Bernie

I’m with Jill Stein! No crooked sociopaths in the White House

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening


July 26, 2016 

Philadelphia - Dr. Jill Stein, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Green Party, which holds its own nominating convention next week, Aug. 4-6, in Houston, had it right when earlier this year she offered to step aside and let Bernie Sanders, after failing to win the Democratic nomination, come in and head the Green Party ticket, running against Clinton and Trump in the general election.

Forget Trump's wall. Hillary and the
DNC, fearing protesters, had a 4-mile
fence erected around the convention
center, creating an exclusionary
'Green Zone' for party honchos and delegates.

Had Sanders taken her up on her surprising offer, instead of bowing to the corrupt powers that be in the Democratic National Committee and the oligarchic corporations that are backing Hillary Clinton, and ultimately endorsing Clinton, he could well have out-polled both Clinton and Trump and ended up winning the presidency as a Green partisan. He had a chance, even if he didn’t win, to upend the stifling Democratic/Republican duopoly that has been crushing progressive movements and gutting what’s left of New Deal and Great Society programs for generations, and to create the foundation for a new politics in the US -- to give American voters a true choice finally between one or two sclerotic pro-capitalist parties, and, at long last, a genuine people’s party.

Instead of that Hail Mary, Sanders decided to forfeit the game.

Some of his nearly 1900 pledged delegates, either after Tuesday’s roll call voting or on Thursday, when Clinton is nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, will likely stage a walk-out from the Convention Center. Hopefully they, and hundreds of thousands of Sanders activists or the millions of Sanders backers who voted for him in the primaries, or who supported his campaign but were barred from voting in the many closed primaries and caucuses, will decide to walk right into the welcoming arms of the Green Party.

Bob Nelson, a Sanders delegate from Pasadena who is at the convention, says that the California delegation, which includes factions of people including those who say they will in the end stay in the Democratic Party and ultimately will back Clinton (as Sanders is asking them to do, often to loud boos), those who will stay in the Party but who will only support down-ticket candidates but not Clinton, those who will quit the party -- perhaps as part of a public walk-out from the convention hall -- but who will still vote for Clinton in November so as not to allow Trump to win the state in a close contest, and those who will quit the party entirely, and probably support the Green Party.

He predicts that the Green Party and its presidential candidate, and possibly candidates for other state offices, could fare very well in California this year as long as polls show the race Clinton-Trump to be not even close. He notes that the state is overwhelmingly Democratic, and also that more than half the state is people of color and either immigrants or the descendants of recent immigrants, meaning Trump is unlikely to do well there. “You could see a significant vote for the Green Party in California this year,” he says. Certainly the level of anger among Sanders delegates at the convention and outside on the street, especially after the Wikileaks release of 20,000 emails showing the blatant, coordinated efforts by the DNC and the Hillary campaign to undermine and destroy Sanders’ primary chances and to manipulate media coverage of his campaign, is unprecedented, and is not likely to go away after the convention is over.

At a breakfast Monday morning of the Florida delegation, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Florida Congresswoman and Democratic Party Chair outed as an anti-Sanders saboteur by Wikileaks but still scheduled to gavel open the convention that day, was booed so severely by both Clinton and Sanders delegates that she had to leave the room, after which the DNC hastily cancelled her appearance as convention convener, handing it off to a minister (who herself was booed loudly when she ended her ecumenical prayer with a word for Hillary Clinton).

I have no illusions that Stein or another Green candidate will win the election in November, absent the hugely popular Sanders as the standard bearer. There are just too many obstacles to that happening, ranging from a corporate media that will violate all standards of journalistic integrity to avoid reporting at all on the Green campaign and its political positions (which include such radical stances as a slashing the US military budget, self-determination for Palestinians and suspension of foreign aid, including military aid, to Israel as long as it continues occupying Palestinian land, replacement of Obamacare with a single-payer health system like Canada’s, college debt forgiveness, 90% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2050, etc.), an electorate habituated to thinking only in terms of voting for the “lesser evil,” or for a candidate who meets some single standard (black, white, a woman, a “believer,” or some other identity-politics category), and of course money. Sanders as a Green could have probably counted on continuing to garner tens of millions of dollars a month in small donations from his backers as during the primaries, but without him, that is hard to imagine any Green candidate managing to do.

Although it must be noted that since Sanders threw in the towel, Stein’s campaign has reported that donations have jumped an astonishing 1000%, with many contributors giving $27, the symbolic amount favored by the Sanders campaign during the primaries. As of mid-July, the Stein campaign has reported raised over $650,000. That’s a far cry from the tens of millions raised by Sanders in month after month of campaigning, but it’s miles beyond what the Green Party has managed to collect in years past, and will likely continue to climb after the Green Party’s campaign starts in earnest after their convention.

At this point, the Democratic Convention is mostly denouement, with Clinton’s nomination a foregone conclusion, barring a panicky stampede to Sanders by the 500 convention super delegates fearful of a Trump victory over a badly wounded Clinton (highly unlikely). The only other excitement this week would be either some colossal blunder by hubby Bill who is the final speaker Tuesday evening -- something that would further inflame Sanders delegates or scandalize more voters (always possible), or a surprisingly large walkout by Sanders delegates (possible too) either Wednesday or Thursday.

What’s needed now is maximum support for the Green Party which needs to rise from 3% to 15% in the polls in order for its candidate -- probably Jill Stein -- to land a spot in the presidential debates this fall -- the one way that her campaign could really become a challenge to the two tottering major parties.

Here in Philadelphia, where we have our own temporary version of Baghdad’s “Green Zone,” with an impenetrable four-mile fence barricading the aptly names Wells Fargo Convention Center and the delegate hotels, and an army of police enforcing separation from the masses -- a good indication of the current popularity of what was once considered to be the party of the people, we will celebrate the departure of the corrupt power elite and their latest White House wannabe Hillary Clinton, leaving behind just our own city’s and state’s small-time political con-artists and crooks.

Our city delivered George W. Bush to the country in 2000. Now we’re bequeathing it Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Peter Lee, Janine Bandcroft July 27, 2016

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com



July 27, 2016

It may be America's most fractious elections ever; not so much because of the bitterness accrued during the gridlocked Obama years by both Republicans and Democrats, but more due to toxic levels of acrimony within each of the parties between grassroots activists and a ruling elite seen as hopelessly corrupt.

As we go to air, president Obama is preparing to address Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and award-winning print journalist, broadcaster, and founder of the web news site, This Can’t Be Happening.net, Dave Lindorff is there, on the streets of his native Philly covering the extravaganza.

Dave Lindorff is also the author of: ‘This Can’t Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy,’ ‘Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains,’ and ‘Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.’


Listen. Hear.
 

Dave Lindorff in the first half.
 
And; poor old Hillary is getting it from all quarters; now Vlad the E-mail Impaler is jumping on the dog pile.

Yes, the latest out of the embattled Clinton camp has Russian president, Vladmir Putin teaming up with cybervillian Julian Assange and Wikileaks hacking into the former first lady's privates in order to make their secret agent, fifth columnist, Donald -codename "The Donald"- Trump 45th president of the United States of America.

It may make for a thin film plot, but that's the script Hill's people are shopping around.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US global policy. He is the moving force behind the Asian affairs website China Matters which provides continuing critical updates on China and Asia-Pacific policies. His articles to appear at Asia Times, and CounterPunch.org, among other internet news sites, and his latest takes a look at the latest scream meme coming from the Clinton camp.

Peter Lee and 'Trumputin! And the Leak(s)' in the second half.

 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of what's good going on in the coming week for the streets of our town, and beyond. But first, Dave Lindorff and a questionable amount of brotherly and sisterly love among Democrats in Philadelphia at the DNC.



Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.

Leaving Home: Running Away from Hillary (and the Democrats)

A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!

by Kshama Sawant - CounterPunch


July 26, 2016

A serious and wide-ranging debate has been taking place among Sandernistas in the two weeks since Bernie endorsed Hillary. And now with the Democratic Convention underway, the unresolved questions become more pressing by the day.

The central issue is whether we should follow Bernie’s lead in supporting Hillary’s corporate politics, or continue the political revolution by building our movement independent of the DNC. While I supported Bernie’s primary campaign, spoke at Bernie rallies, and initiated Movement4Bernie, I believe we simply cannot follow him in his decision to back Hillary. Our political revolution now risks being turned into its opposite, and funnelled into support for the DNC’s neoliberal agenda.

Backing corrupt establishment politicians is no way to defeat the right-wing – it will only embolden them and allow the political agenda to continue to be pushed further rightward. This failed strategy of lesser evilism is what has brought the 99% to this point.

And now genuine outrage at the corporate politics of the establishment has allowed a right-wing populist within striking distance of the presidency.

We cannot continue down this dead end.


As Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine for her running mate shows, she and the DNC have not in any significant way been “pushed to the left” over the course of the primary, in spite of some limited concessions being made with the non-binding platform and in minor reforms to superdelegate rules.

With Kaine, Clinton has chosen her neoliberal political twin, and earned Wall Street’s emphatic seal of approval. As if to underscore the political meaning of her VP choice, and perhaps as a signal to Corporate America, in the days before the announcement Kaine made clear his full commitment to both the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to further bank deregulation. And now Donald Trump is set to use both Clinton’s and Kaine’s pro-corporate, “free trade,” anti-worker policies against them in the general election – and in this the Democratic ticket has provided him a near perfect target.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks’ exposure of the DNC has made crystal clear how rigged the (un)Democratic primary was from start to finish, with thousands of emails showing the absolute non-neutrality of a corrupt party leadership who made the primary into utterly hostile terrain for the democratic socialist challenger.

The leaks also completely exposed the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party leadership, which claims that its key priority is to defeat Trump. Yet they have fiercely and undemocratically backed Clinton in spite of the fact that the polls have shown Sanders to be the far stronger candidate in every matchup.

With the attention of the country and world focused on Philadelphia we now have some serious choices to make, as well as some powerful opportunities. The actions of Bernie delegates and activists both inside and outside the convention have the potential to make history this week.

Thousands are joining protests and rallies on the streets of Philadelphia. There are also many protest actions taking place inside the convention such as the tremendous anti-TPP action that took place yesterday, which temporarily halted the proceedings.

But the most powerful protest of all will be for delegates and activists to reject the neoliberal Democratic establishment altogether, and walk out of the convention in the largest possible numbers later this week.

Delegates have been organizing for just such a walkout action, and there is the potential for several hundred delegates to collectively walk out. This will take real courage. The convention is a huge, scripted spectacle with a carefully chosen procession of Democratic nobility, including people like Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren. But this year, perhaps in recognition of the political uprising that has taken place, the Democratic leadership has gone so far as to give the event a populist veneer, with some workers and activists also speaking. The scale and intimidating character of the 50,000 person event will no doubt have a psychological impact.

But for those who do take the bold step of walking out on the DNC and its neoliberal politics, there will be a rally with media, livestreamers, and fellow activists ready to greet them on the other side of the walls of the so-called “free speech zone.” Mass media have already been contacting Movement4Bernie in anticipation of the event. I hope I will see you there.

Delegates have had to organize underground, with a campaign of fear by party leaders being directed at any delegates advocating for strong protest actions or third party candidates, with the specific threat of having their delegate status revoked (called “de-credentialing”). But last week the organizing came above ground to some degree, with Occupy Wall Street coming out in favor of the walkout on their Facebook page and in Twitter, along with Bernie or Bust and Movement4Bernie. For updates on the walkout action you should follow all three twitter feeds. To help out, see the Q&A created by the organizers.

One of the most common arguments being made against the walkout is that delegates will somehow abandon their chance to fight for Bernie’s politics and lose their voice by leaving. But the walkout will happen well after the platform and nomination votes are over. After the nomination roll call, the convention becomes ever more purely ceremonial, undemocratic, and scripted: The Hillary Show™

As genuine reactions to the horror show of last week’s Republican National Convention already suggest, fear of Donald Trump will drive many votes in November. The danger of right-wing populism is all too real, but also for that reason it would be completely counterproductive to support Clinton and the DNC.

Over the past decades, effectively unchallenged by the left, the Democratic establishment has joined the Republicans in carrying out the neoliberal project, differing more in degree than direction.

If the 99% continues to support neoliberal politicians on a lesser-evil basis, it will only create more space for right-wing populism, as we have seen in other countries. This year, failure to stand up to the DNC would mean the anti-establishment space would be thrown wide open to right-wing candidates like Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson. Already, Johnson has received 9% in some polls. This would be a disaster, and millions of anti-establishment votes for Trump and Johnson could help create an ongoing base for right-populism and potential for a new right-wing party, like the National Front in France. The danger was already shown after 2009 by the rise of the Tea Party, when the right exploited the genuine fury at the Wall Street bailouts to build a new political force, while the left was busy making excuses for Obama.

We absolutely need to defeat the right but this requires a serious strategy. To succeed we will need to build the strongest possible movements completely independent of both parties of Wall Street. We will need to build our own mass political party of the 99%, that will work alongside those movements, rather than against them. Concretely, right now, we need to build the broadest possible support for Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, whose campaign is the clear continuation of our political revolution.

A new mass party of the 99% will need to reject all corporate money and influence, and fight unambiguously for our interests. This is what Bernie began to do in the primary, and it is why he had broad and genuine appeal not only for Democratic voters, but also for independents and even some Republicans. There is no “secret” as to why he fares much better in the polls against Trump than Hillary does. Hillary’s support for “free trade,” pro-corporate, anti-worker policies is clear for all to see. Bernie was able to bring a historic challenge to the DNC, despite all the undemocratic attacks on his campaign, precisely because he called for a political revolution against the billionaire class, advocated for bold policies in the interests of the 99%, and welcomed Wall Street’s contempt.

Unfortunately, Bernie has now walked out on that strategy, and called for a vote for the very establishment we have been fighting against.

Now it is left to us. To win the things we have been fighting for, our movement will need to stand on its own feet, go beyond Bernie, and begin laying the basis to build our own party, a mass party of the 99%.

And to do this we cannot afford to let moments like this one pass us by. A walkout of hundreds of delegates from the convention, combined with the mass protests already happening on the streets of Philadelphia, will be a bold stand pointing towards political independence for working people and youth.

Enough is enough. Join me in supporting the brave delegates walking out on this rigged process and the (un)Democratic National Convention.
 
Kshama Sawant is Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative.
More articles by:Kshama Sawant

Dread Trumputin and Hillary's Leaky Campaign

Trumputin! And the Leak(s)

by Peter Lee - China Matters


July 25, 2016

Opportunistic foreign intervention into domestic democratic processes: it happens.

I’m reading Sterling Seagrave’s epic account of the Philippines under Marcos, The Marcos Dynasty, and just happen to be at the part where Edward Lansdale and the CIA are painstakingly molding Ramon Magsaysay into the magnificent vessel that will contain American aspirations in the Philippines.

Lansdale did everything but tie Magsaysay’s shoes. Then Magsaysay died in a plane crash and it was time for rinse-and-repeat with Ferdinand Marcos.

Democracies, for all their virtues, are especially vulnerable to manipulation during election season, when pols need money, good press, and, sometimes impunity. You don’t get those quadrennial opportunities when wrassling with a dictator-for-life. I suspect that’s one reason why the United States, George Soros, et. al. are so keen on promoting democracy overseas. The process creates an attractive portfolio of weak, venal, and competing clients.

Tempting to exploit that. Especially for Putin since it’s been bruited about that his bete noire, cookie merchant Victoria Nuland, will be running the State Department if Clinton wins the presidency.

So I’m not averse to the theory that Vladimir Putin is behind the Wikileaks DNC leak.

Putin probably doesn’t consider himself the first offender when it comes to leaking embarrassing and destabilizing info.

He believes that the Panama Papers dump—sluiced by a noble anonymous hacker into that responsible Western whistleblowing conduit, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, for loving curation by mainstream journos, instead of transomed into the hands of that irresponsible and oh-so-interesting gotta-dump-it-all Wikileaks anti-American cowboy channel—was part of an effort to target him.

I think Panama Papers was a US-orchestrated inflection point in the American campaign to destroy international bank secrecy, but whatever. Plenty of anti-Putin hay was made out of the leak.

More to the point is this report on statements by Senator Bob Corker via Radio Free Europe, natch!

A senior U.S. lawmaker says revelations about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth will be “destabilizing” to his rule as the Russian population becomes increasingly aware of them.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Voice Of America on February 1 that the Russian people "are beginning to realize they have a leader that amassed tremendous personal wealth."

Corker said that revelation was "going to create some additional instability in Russia."
… Corker’s remarks come in the midst of a diplomatic dispute between Washington and Moscow over a BBC interview given last week by Adam Szubin, the U.S. Treasury's acting secretary for terrorism and financial crimes.

Szubin told the BBC that Putin was "a picture of corruption," and the White House later said that his remarks reflected the views of the Obama administration about Putin.
The Kremlin reacted angrily to the interview and Earnest’s statement, calling it "outrageous and insulting."

Szubin declined to comment on a 2007 CIA report estimating Putin's wealth at $40 billion. …
Both Russian and Western media outlets during the past year have reported previously undisclosed details about the affluent, well-connected lives led by Putin’s two daughters.

Putin's younger daughter, according to Reuters, also has identified herself as a "spouse" of Kirill Shamalov, the son of wealthy Putin associate Nikolai Shamalov.

The couple is thought to have corporate holdings worth about $2 billion.

Treasury’s “terrorism and financial crimes” operation is in the business of hoovering up financial information by any and all means on America’s enemies, especially by compromising the confidentiality of banks doing sanctions-busting business with Iran. Undoubtedly, it has acquired a nice thick Putin folder thanks to various savory and unsavory ops, and dropping that file is a threat they like to brandish before Putin.

So, no question Putin coulda done DNCleaks and not lost any sleep over it.

But did he?

Maybe we’ll never know.

I’ve written before on the attribution circus: how it’s necessary to sculpt an incriminating dossier even when all you’ve got is ambiguity and circumstantial evidence, because America can’t have foreigners hacking the bejeezus out its servers and then saying, Well, looks like X but…can’t really say for sure.

Instead, we get cybersecurity companies massaging assumptions and cherrypicking data—and downplaying indications that US government hacking tools have been turned against us-- so they can say “we believe” in an impressively scientific manner. This conclusion is fed to the media machine and eventually emerges from the journalistic nether parts as “X did it.”

Or, Clinton campaign manager: Russians leaked Democrats’ emails to help Donald Trump.

Did Putin orchestrate DNCleaks? Maybe, maybe not. Coulda been the FSB team. Coulda been China. Coulda been Anonymous. Doesn’t matter too much in my opinion. The dirt was left lying there for somebody to scoop up.

One thing for sure is that the Clinton campaign is desperate to find a bigger villain to shift the focus away from the DNC’s abysmal security practices and sleazy electioneering revealed by the leak.

Cue Trumputin!

Aside from the possibility that Putin passed the DNC trove to Julian Assange to embarrass and discommode Hillary Clinton, I’m considerably more skeptical about the “Donald Trump is Putin’s agent” story that’s been burning up the Internet.

Trump doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that could be run safely and reliably as a foreign agent, either directly or through a cut-out like Paul Manafort. I suspect the US government has a huge embarrassing file on Manafort thanks to his relationship with Dimitry Firtash, the gas industry fixer who was Russia’s main man in Ukraine, but I’m wondering if unpacking Manafort’s and Trump’s interests in Eastern Europe will reveal more than a lust for oligarch cash and the first-hand perspective that the US/NATO anti-Russia policy orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland is a dead-end sh*t show.

To me, the most interesting perspective on the allegations of perfidious Russian involvement in the Trump campaign is the effort to gin up an outsized moral panic around the prospect of the Trump presidency.

He’s a grafter and a scammer who probably expects to lose the election and milk his followers for a few more millions over the next decade via a cheesy post-Fox media/political conglomerate.

Trump, I think, would make a terrible president. But a terrible president whose best as well as worst impulses would be swiftly neutralized by threats of resignation/insubordination/impeachment/mutiny by the Beltway pros if he really tried to color outside the lines.

I don’t think he’s a fascist with the energy or inclination to seize state power as leader of a racist mass movement with paramilitary power employing riot, murder, insurrection, and genocide to achieve supersized ambitions for national and world mastery.

Is anti-Trump hysteria just part of the electoral race to the bottom, the need to make him appear even less attractive than Hillary?

Or is it…something more?


At this point, everybody pause for a moment and put on their tin-foil hats.

OK…everybody ready? Good.

Here’s my take on the whole megillah.

The Clinton campaign is in a quiet panic that the notorious e-mail server in Hillary Clinton’s basement got hacked and the 33,000 e-mails were exfiltrated for release at the worst possible moment during the election. Like maybe during the convention in Philadelphia.

The possibility that the leak is coming has been a staple of right-wing sites for weeks if not months.

If the 33,000 deleted e-mails are just yoga appointments and instructions to florists, it’ll be bad but not fatal.

If they reveal embarrassing political and media canoodling, worse, politically survivable, but electoral poison.

If it turns out that there was official business discussed in some e-mails and Clinton’s lawyers deleted them instead of turning them over to the State Department, I think it’s Hello, President Trump.

If the deleted mails contained classified info, then it’s lights out. Democrats push her to withdraw from the race soon enough so that nice Mr. Kaine can carry the ticket, and Clinton spends the next few years in court.

Nobody knows what could come out, I think. If there were some skeletons in the e-mail server, only Hillary Clinton and her closest associates know. For everybody else, it's pucker up, hope for the best, and expect the worst.

All they know is, any leak of e-mails from the Clinton server is bad. What to do? What to do? What’s the plan? How does the campaign inoculate against such a potentially devastating development?

How about a major redirect, one that turns any leak into evidence of Putin perfidy? Aha!

Here’s how I think it works.

First, harden the narrative that Putin is backing Trump. Time to reach out to prestige media!

Instantaneously and simultaneously, serious chin-stroking erupts in the liberal commentariat concerning the seemingly unhealthy relationship between Putin and Trump.

Carrying the flag are Franklin Foer (New Republic: Putin’s Puppet), Paul Krugman (New York Times: Donald Trump: The Siberian Candidate), Jonathan Chait (New York Magazine: Is Donald Trump Working for Russia?), Daniel Drezner (Washington Post: Is Donald Trump a Putin Patsy?)

Jeffrey Goldberg does the Clinton campaign a solid over at the Atlantic with It’s Official: Hillary Clinton is Running Against Vladimir Putin.

Over in digital media, Talking Points Memo has been pushing the story relentlessly. Most recent iteration: It Can’t Be Dismissed.

What’s interesting to me is that none of these pieces offer conclusive evidence. We are in the zone of those two glorious media and rhetorical exemplars, Peggy Noonan and Donald Rumsfeld.

As in:

Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.

Peggy Noonan, on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, as to whether Fidel Castro used incriminating phone-sex recordings to blackmail President Bill Clinton into returning miracle dolphin lad Elian Gonzalez to his father in Cuba.


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


Donald Rumsfeld, on why we shouldn’t worry that UN inspectors found no WMD in Iraq pre-invasion.

What is most amusing, profiles-of-courage wise is that both Drezner and Marshall are hedging their bets (or covering their asses) in case the story doesn’t pan out in the body, while pushing the theory in the headline of their articles.

Anyway, Trumputin now part of the zeitgeist and the Clinton campaign has done the best it can to prepare for a leak to drop during convention primetime.

What happens next? The leak drops at convention time. Not the server leak. The DNC leak.

What the heck. Let’s go. Time for Stage 2, Baking in the Narrative.

The Clinton campaign has a ready-made response: Putin dunnit. Because Trump is Putin’s candidate. As we all know.

Therefore, true significance of these leaks is that Vladimir Putin is trying to elect Donald Trump president of the United States.

Even though, if Putin has the contents of the e-mail server, he’s got an extremely worrisome hold over Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

But isn’t it a matter of patriotism to make sure that Trump can’t profit from Russian intervention?

If Russian leaks threaten to knock Hillary Clinton flat, how should the patriotic journo respond?

Maybe it means Donald Trump has to be knocked even flatter, in compensation. By any means necessary. To save democracy.

Media, you’ve been tasked.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Husky Head Apologies to Shareholders for Massive Saskatchewan River Spill

Pipeline Pathology

by Daniel Johnson - The Media Co-op


July 25, 2016



As Saskatchewan River Runs Black Wall and Notley respond to oil spill with defence of pipelines  

 

 

While communities in southern Saskatchewan were still recovering from extreme flooding due to climate change last week, a fresh disaster broke out in the north.

On Thursday, July 21, a Husky Energy oil pipeline burst, releasing around 250,000 liters of oil down the North Saskatchewan river.

Husky's immediate response was to lower a boom over the water to scrape the oil off the surface, but this has failed. Communities along the river are preparing for the worst.

North Battleford, a neighbouring town in Saskatchewan, shut off its water intake after filling resevoirs and the town water tower to capacity ahead of the flow, Prince Albert, SK, is doing the same while urging residents to fill bathtubs and bottles in case of a long term shortage.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall responded to the crisis immediately, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley quickly offered her help.

However, the content of the responses show us something about what gets prioritized.

For example, Brad Wall did not offer emergency crews to supplement Husky's efforts, nor did he announce efforts to determine the cause and prevent this from happening again.

Instead, the Saskatchewan Premier's response was to say that pipelines are still safer than rail, and to talk about how important pipelines are to the economy. Rachel Notley echoed the same sentiments.

Husky responded with an apology to shareholders for the potential disruption in profits, with optimistic reassurances that the company still had a 'rock solid balance sheet'. Husky added it was rapidly recovering from the losses caused by the Fort McMurray fires earlier this year.

With floods and fires on the rise, and oil flowing down the rivers, our leaders can still assure us that the economy is going strong.

The Virus Hunters: What Do the Fish Farmers Fear?

A Courageous Woman With a Microscope is Seen as a Threat to Salmon Farmers

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson


July 25, 2016

Dr. Alexandra Morton’s research and investigation into viruses and parasites in British Columbia salmon farms has opposition, first from the B.C. Salmon Farm Association themselves, secondly by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean and thirdly from the British Columbia government.

The First Nations however welcome this investigation into viral threats to wild salmon populations and these relatively few First Nations communities that oppose her research have commercial connections with the salmon farms.

What ties the voices of opposition to this research project is money. All the opponents have a vested financial interest in avoiding exposure of potential viral threats to wild salmon.

Yet the headline of this article screams “Two First Nations say Sea Shepherd ‘not welcome’.

We are hardly surprised. Those who do not welcome Dr. Morton all received their marching orders from the BCSFA.

A more accurate headline would have been, “Majority of First Nation Communities Welcome Dr. Morton.”

The question here is very simple. What are they afraid of? If they believe there is no viral threat why would they be worried? Dr. Morton will not publish without scientific verification of her findings. In fact her findings should be considered a benefit to their industry. Surely they don’t wish to sell diseased salmon to the public. Or do they?

Tlowitsis Chief John Smith said in a press release:

“Any visitors coming to its traditional territory in Clio Channel needs permission. The Sea Shepherd Operation Virus Hunter group are not welcome in our territory”

The Ahousaht First Nation, which has a partnership with another Norwegian company, Cermaq, likewise has made it clear it doesn’t want the Sea Shepherd in its waters either. Cermaq has a fish farm operation in Clayoquot Sound.

Legally the Sea Shepherd research vessel MARTIN SHEEN cannot be prevented from entering waters adjacent to tribal lands as the right of free passage is the law and the waters are under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Federal government.

However Sea Shepherd will respect the position of the Ahousaht and the Tlowitsis unless permission is given by the traditional council and Elders. There are supporters within both communities that will provide the samples needed.

The article also stated, “It’s not clear what Morton hopes to find that a $9 million scientific study led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada might miss.”

The key words here are “led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.” The Federal government has a history of not being transparent about what they know and a history of backing the industry and they have certainly been hostile to Dr. Morton.

So again the question must be asked. Why would the DFO not welcome independent scientific research?

Securing these samples is in the interest of humanity and the integrity of B.C. coastal eco-systems.

Dr. Morton follows in the footsteps of courageous scientists of the past who made discoveries despite opposition from governments; bureaucracies, corporations and their peers in the scientific community.

Are there pathogens? Yes, even the salmon farm industry confirms that there are? How dangerous are these pathogens? The industry holds the position that just because a fish is sick, it does not mean it’s unhealthy. Sea Shepherd’s position is that these threats are serious.

It is amusing that politicians, bureaucrats, corporate lawyers, fish farmers and even a couple of First Nations chiefs see Dr. Alexandra Morton with her microscope and testing equipment as a threat. The only threat she represents is that she may expose a truth and for those who wish to deny reality, the truth can indeed be very threatening.

If salmon farms are found to be the source of viral infections in wild salon it is the legal responsibility of the Federal government to shut such virus factories down. The profits from this industry can never be a justification for the destruction of indigenous salmon species and for the negative consequences to human health.

Operation Virus Hunter conintues…

Wheels Within Wheels: Constructing Reality the CIA Way

Stories within Stories: The CIA's Strategies to Dupe the American Public

by Mark Taliano - Global Research


July 24, 2016

Recently Paul Craig Roberts recounted a conversation he had with James Jesus Angleton, a former head of CIA counterintelligence, in which they discussed strategies that the CIA employs to dupe the American and global public, with a view to perpetrating criminal agendas, cloaked beneath the lie of “national interests”.

Angleton explained to Roberts,

intelligence services create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions. Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes … Then if the official story gets into trouble, the backup story can be released in order to deflect attention into a new false story or to support the original story.

The strategy of “stories within stories”, and using competing narratives to confuse, to distract, and to lead the public down false paths (red herrings) is entirely consistent with the 9/11 crimes, the subsequent “War On Terror”, and the criminal invasion of Syria.

The official stories explaining the 9/11 false flag are bundled with hidden stories, “limited hangouts”, and “distance from accountability” strategies — all serving to daze and confuse North Americans in particular, to the point where we revert to passively accepting the narrative of the day and the overarching lie that supporting the neo-con war agenda is patriotic.

The first 9/11 story – Story A – identified al Qaeda and Bin Laden as the primary perpetrators, but this story is being supplanted by another story – story B – which features Saudi Arabia as the villain. No doubt Saudi Arabia played a role in the crime and the on-going cover-up, but “Story B” is also a “limited hangout” in the sense that only a limited part of the story is “hanging out”. It also serves to provide cover or “distance from accountability” for some of the major villains who are still shielded from the glare of the spotlight. Additionally, it serves to lead us down false trails (red herring) that divert public attention from the hidden agenda of global war and poverty.

The Saudi Arabia limited hangout does beg an important question though: Will the CIA’s Wahhabi mercenary outfits — ISIS, al Qaeda/ al Nursra Front, and all the fraudulently labelled “moderates”, be targeting Saudi Arabia next?

The same strategy of “stories within stories” is occurring with the West’s criminal war of aggression on Syria.

Professor Tim Anderson explains in an interview that

“Washington’s plan for a New Middle East – with compliant states across the region – is failing. Their Plan B is to partition or otherwise divide Syria and Iraq. Their Plan C will be to withdraw while pretending that they have helped bring peace to the region.”

The original Plan A: to quickly destroy democratic, pluralist, non-sectarian Syria with Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) backed terrorist invaders — with a view to setting up a stooge Wahhabi-style dictatorship, is failing. Not only are the terrorists being defeated on the battlefield, but the psy op “strategy of disassociation” is crumbling as well. More and more people are seeing through the lies of the “moderate rebel” story: the Western/GCC – backed “moderates” (all of whom share the same strategic ambitions as ISIS and the West) are at least as bad, maybe worse than their “comrades in arms”, “ISIS”.

When U.S State Department spokesperson Mark Toner explained that they might put a “pause” on funding the so-called “moderates”, who publically and brazenly chopped off the head of a Palestinian boy, the “strategy of disassociation” was beheaded as well.




Plan B is also failing, at least in Syria, since the “balkanization” efforts at creating ethnically or religiously-based enclaves within Syria is hitting the wall of Syria’s longstanding culture of religious freedom and pluralism. Syrians identify themselves first and foremost as Syrians, and not according to their religious affiliations.

Hopefully, Plan C is around the corner. The West will pretend that it has achieved peace, and it will withdraw its disgusting terrorist proxies.

The ugly truth about the genocidal Western designs for Syria – well documented for years by sources including former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Michael Flynn, by Generals Dempsey, and Clark, by Vice-President Biden, and by publicly available Defence Intelligence Agency documents, as well as from other open source documents — is increasingly being accepted.

Despite the fake reporting, the fake NGOs, the “stories within stories”, the indolence and criminality of the corporate presstitutes, the ugly truth is imposing itself on Western audiences, whether they like it or not.

Just peace requires a foundation of truth. 



The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2016

A Righter Shade of Fail: Clinton Abandons Progressives to Chase Trump's Disaffected

Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans

by Ted Rall - CounterPunch


July 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s strategy for the general election is to try to peal away anti-Trump Republicans. That’s why we are seeing her move to the right.

Sorry, Bernie Sanders supporters. She’s just not that into you.

To those of us who have been paying attention, Clinton’s post-primary migration toward conservatism comes as no surprise. There’s a reason her campaign appealed to progressives primarily by referencing her work for the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s, when David Bowie was an up-and-coming glam rocker. Team Clinton had to go that far back to find evidence of her supposed liberalism.

Nevertheless, many lefties drawn to the Sanders campaign have been struggling to convince themselves that voting for the She-Wolf of Goldman Sachs is acceptable because (a) Trump and (b) somewhere down deep under Hillary’s Dr. Evil outfits there’s an adorable Bernadette waiting to get out and do some good for the world.

Now we have three crucial pieces of evidence that proves that that’s wishful thinking.


First came the revelation that her hawkish approach to foreign-policy sprang not out of the vacuum but from her hobnobbing with a bunch of disreputable neoconservatives who belong in prison rather than advising a possible future president: war criminal Henry “Secret Bombing of Cambodia” Kissinger, Iraq War schemer Robert “Project for a New American Century” Kagan, Bush deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and Max Boot, renowned as the unstupid neocon.

The second tell was her back-and-forth flip-flopping over the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or “free trade” agreement designed to destroy whatever is left of America’s manufacturing industry. As Secretary of State, she was for it. Under pressure from Bernie, she came out against it. Now her minions on the Democratic platform committee have arranged to omit her supposed opposition to TPP from the platform — and her pick for vice president, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, is a virulent supporter of outsourcing American jobs. She’ll sign the TPP.

Kaine, a conservative “Third Way” Democrat in the, well, Clinton mold, is the third giveaway. “If Clinton has reached out to Bernie supporters, it appears that she has done so to stick triangulating thumbs in their eyes,” commented progressive icon Normon Solomon.

If your Democratic Party is the party of FDR and JFK, Clinton’s predictable return to her right-wing roots is a betrayal of core values. Working people need one of America’s two major political parties to care about them.

But even if all you care about is winning, and defeating Donald Trump is Job One because you’re that kind of pragmatist, this rehashed Dick Morrisism of the 1990s looks like political suicide. It comes down to a simple question: where is there more potential for Hillary Clinton to expand her voting base? Among progressives who supported Bernie Sanders? Or among anti-Trump Republicans?

My instincts say – scream! – the former. As the cliché goes, Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. As we saw last week in Cleveland, Republicans (Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio) who swore swore swore that they would never support Donald Trump wound up doing exactly that. Republicans are wired for obedience, conformity, rah rah rah.

Not to mention, for mysterious reasons entirely outside the historical record, they’re convinced that Hillary Clinton is a radical socialist communist feminist and they hate her for it. (If only.)

Like Fox Mulder in the X-Files, Bernie’s people want to believe. Most are scared of Trump, but they need some concessions before saying #ImWithHer: a promise to back a federal $15 an hour minimum wage, a public option in the Affordable Care Act, free public college tuition, fewer wars.

Let’s do a little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic.


The latest national polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump neck and neck. According to the survey that is most favorable to her, 85% of Sanders supporters plan to vote for her, 9% for Trump. But those votes for Hillary are extremely unenthusiastic ones. Soft. Squishy. On Election Day, many of those people will end up staying home or supporting Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Not counting caucus states, over 13.1 million people voted for Sanders. Conservatively, 15% of these Berners – just shy of 2 million voters – currently say that they won’t vote for Clinton. Extrapolate those results to the approximately 66 million Democrats who turned out in the 2012 general election, and you get 10 million.

Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by fewer than 5 million votes.

Bear in mind: I’m calculating this using the most favorable scenario for Hillary. Odds are, it will be worse.

Based on her move-to-the-right strategy, Clinton’s advisers believe they can get more than 10 million Republicans to move to her from Donald Trump — in other words, nearly 20% of the Republican general election turnout in 2012.

An obscure April poll found 19% of Republicans voting for Hillary were Trump to win the nomination, but I don’t buy it. The Republican Party is a mess to be sure. But it isn’t that fractured. Republicans aren’t so opposed to Trump that they’re open to Hillary Clinton. I think anti-Trump Republicans are more likely to move over to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian.

Are Clinton’s advisers stupid? Or is she so completely enthralled to her corporate donors that she can’t be anything other than a Wall Street stooge? Only those inside the campaign know.
 
Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.
More articles by:Ted Rall

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Apres Moi, America

The World After Me: Eternal “Wartime” in America

by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch

 
July 25, 2016 
 
I recently dug my mother’s childhood photo album out of the depths of my bedroom closet. When I opened it, I found that the glue she had used as a girl to paste her life in place had given way, and on many pages the photos were now in a jumble.

My mother was born early in the last century. Today, for most of that ancient collection of photos and memorabilia -- drawings (undoubtedly hers), a Caruthers School of Piano program, a Camp Weewan-Eeta brochure, a Hyde Park High School junior prom “senior ticket,” and photos of unknown boys, girls, and adults -- there’s no one left to tell me who was who or what was what.

In some of them, I can still recognize my mother’s youthful face, and that of her brother who died so long ago but remains quite recognizable (even so many decades before I knew him). 
 
As for the rest -- the girl in what looks like a gym outfit doing a headstand, all those young women lined up on a beach in what must then have been risqué bathing suits, the boy kneeling with his arms outstretched toward my perhaps nine-year-old mother -- they’ve all been swept away by the tides of time.

And so it goes, of course. For all of us, sooner or later.

My mother was never much for talking about the past. Intent on becoming a professional caricaturist, she lit out from her hometown, Chicago, for the city of her dreams, New York, and essentially never looked back. For whatever reason, looking back frightened her.

And in all those years when I might have pressed her for so much more about herself, her family, her youthful years, I was too young to give a damn. Now, I can’t tell you what I’d give to ask those questions and find out what I can never know. Her mother and father, my grandparents who died before I was born, her sister whom I met once at perhaps age six, her friends and neighbors, swains and sidekicks, they’re all now the dust of history in an album that is disintegrating into a pile of black flakes at the slightest touch. Even for me, most of the photos in it are as meaningless (if strangely moving) as ones you’d pick up in an antique store or at a garage sale.

Lost Children on a Destabilizing Planet


I just had -- I won’t say celebrated -- my 72nd birthday. It was a natural moment to think about both the past that stretches behind me and the truncated future ahead. Recently, in fact, I’ve had the dead on my mind. I’m about to recopy my ancient address book for what undoubtedly will be the last time. (Yes, I’m old enough to prefer all that information on paper, not in the ether.) And of course when I flip through those fading pages, I see, as befits my age, something like a book of the dead and realize that the next iteration will be so much shorter.

It’s sometimes said of the dead that they’ve “crossed over.” In the context of our present world, I’ve started thinking of them as refugees of a sort -- every one of them uprooted from their lives (as we all will be one day) and sent across some unknown frontier into a truly foreign land. But if our fate is, in the end, to be the ultimate refugees, heading into a place where there will be no resettlement camps, assumedly nothing at all, I wonder, too, about the world after me, the one I’ll leave behind when I finally cross that border.

I wonder, too -- how could I not with my future life as a “refugee” in mind? -- about the 65 million human beings uprooted from their homes in 2015 alone, largely in places where we Americans have been fighting our wars for this last decade and a half. And it’s hard not to notice how many more have followed in their path this year, including at least 80,000 of the Sunni inhabitants of Iraq’s recently “liberated” and partially destroyed city of Fallujah. In the process, tens of millions of them have remained internal exiles in their own country (or what is left of it), while tens of millions have officially become refugees by crossing borders into Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan, by taking to the seas in flimsy, overcrowded craft heading for Greece (from Turkey) or Italy (from Libya) moving onward in waves of desperation, hope, and despair, and drowning in alarming numbers. At the end of their journeys, they have sometimes found help and succor, but often enough only hostility and loathing, as if they were the ones who had committed a crime, done something wrong.

I think as well about the nearly 10% of Iraqi children, 1.5 million of them in a country gripped by chaos, war, ethnic conflict, insurgency, and terror who, according to a recent UNICEF report, have had to flee their homes since 2014, or the 20% of Iraqi kids (kids!) who are “at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, and recruitment into armed groups.” I think about the 51% of all those refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere who were children, many separated from their parents and alone on Planet Earth.

No child deserves such a fate. Ever. Each uprooted child who has lost his or her parents, and perhaps access to education or any childhood at all, represents a crime against the future.

And I think often enough about our response to all this, the one we’ve practiced for the last 15 years: more bombs, more missiles, more drone strikes, more advisers, more special ops raids, more weapons deals, and with it all not success or victory by any imaginable standard, but only the further destabilization of increasing regions of the planet, the further spread of terror movements, and the generation of yet more uprooted human beings, lost children, refugees -- ever more, that is, of the terrorized and the terrorists. If this represents the formula from hell, it’s also been a proven one over this last decade and a half. It works, as long as what you mean to do is bring chaos to significant swathes of the planet and force yet more children in ever more unimaginable situations.

If you live in the United States, it’s easy enough to be shocked (unless, of course, you’re a supporter) when Donald Trump calls for the banning of Muslims from this country, or Newt Gingrich advocates the testing of “every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in sharia they should be deported,” or various Republican governors fight to keep a pitiful few Syrian refugees out of their states. It’s easy enough to tsk-tsk over such sentiments, cite a long tradition of American xenophobia and racism, and so on. In truth, however, most of this (however hair-raising) remains bluster at this point. The real “xenophobic” action has taken place in distant lands where the U.S. Air Force reigns supreme, where a country that once created the Marshall Plan to raise a continent leveled by war can no longer imagine investing in or creating anything but further vistas of destruction and destabilization.

The Muslims that Donald Trump wants to ban are, after all, the very ones his country has played such a part in uprooting and setting in motion. And how can the few who might ever make it to this country compare to the millions who have flooded Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, among other places, further destabilizing the Middle East (which, in case you forgot, remains the oil heartland of the planet)? Where is the Marshall Plan for them or for the rest of a region that the U.S. and its allies are now in the process of dismantling (with the eager assistance of the Islamic State, various extremist outfits, Bashar al-Assad, and quite a crew of others)?

What Bombs Can’t Build


We Americans think well of ourselves. From our presidents on down, we seldom hesitate to imagine our country as a singularly “exceptional” nation -- and also as an exceptionally generous one. In recent years, however, that generosity has been little in evidence at home or abroad (except where the U.S. military is concerned). Domestically, the country has split between a rising 1% (and their handlers and enablers) and parts of the other 99% who feel themselves on the path to hell. Helped along by Donald Trump’s political circus, this has given the U.S. the look of a land spinning into something like Third World-ism, even though it remains the globe’s “sole superpower” and wealthiest country.

Meanwhile, our professed streak of generosity hasn’t extended to our own infrastructure, which -- speaking of worlds swept away by the tides of time -- would have boggled the minds of my parents and other Americans of their era. The idea that the country’s highways, byways, bridges, levees, pipelines, and so on could be decaying in significant ways and starved for dollars without a response from the political class would have been inconceivable to them. And it does represent a strikingly ungenerous message sent from that class to the children of some future America: you and the world you’ll inhabit aren’t worth our investment.

In these years -- thank you, Osama bin Laden, ISIS, and endless American politicians, officials, military figures, and terror “experts” -- fear has gripped the body politic over a phenomenon, terrorism, that, while dangerous, represents one of the lesser perils of American life. No matter. There’s a constant drumbeat of discussion about how to keep ourselves “safe” from terrorism in a world in which freelance lunatics with an assault rifle or a truck can indeed kill startling numbers of people in suicidal acts. The problem is that, in this era, preserving our “safety” always turns out to involve yet more bombs and missiles dropped in distant lands, more troops and special operators sent into action, greater surveillance of ourselves and everyone else. In other words, we’re talking about everything that further militarizes American foreign policy, puts the national security state in command, and assures the continued demobilization of a scared and rattled citizenry, even as, elsewhere, it creates yet more uprooted souls, more children without childhoods, more refugees.

Our leaders -- and we, too -- have grown accustomed to our particular version of eternal “wartime,” and to wars without end, wars guaranteed to go on and on as more parts of the planet plunge into hell. In all of this, any sense of American generosity, either of the spirit or of funds, seems to be missing in action. There isn’t the faintest understanding here that if you really don’t want to create generations of terrorists amid a growing population loosed from all the boundaries of normal life, you’d better have a Marshall Plan for the Greater Middle East.

It should be obvious (but isn’t in our American world) that bombs, whatever they may do, can never build anything. You’d better be ready instead to lend a genuine hand, a major one, in making half-decent lives possible for millions and millions of people now in turmoil. You’d better know that war isn’t actually the answer to any of this, that if ISIS is destroyed in a region reduced to rubble and without hope of better, a few years from now that brutal organization could look good in comparison to whatever comes down the pike. You'd better know that peaceful acts -- peace being a word that, even rhetorically, has gone out of style in “wartime” Washington -- are still possible in this world.

Lost to the Future


Before those tides wash us away, there’s always the urge to ensure that you’ll leave something behind. I fear that I’m already catching glimpses of what that might be, of the world after me, an American world that I would never have wanted to turn over to my own children or grandchildren, or anyone else’s. My country, the United States, is hardly the only one involved in what looks like a growing global debacle of destabilization: a tip of the hat is necessary to the Pakistanis, the Saudis, our European allies, the Brexit British, the Russians, and so many others.

I have to admit, however, that my own focus -- my sense of duty, you might say -- is to this country. I’ve never liked the all-American words “patriot” and “super-patriot,” which we only apply to ourselves -- or those alternatives, “nationalist” and “ultranationalist,” which we reserve pejoratively for gung-ho foreigners. But if I can’t quite call myself either an American patriot or an American nationalist, I do care, above all, about what this country chooses to be, what it wants to become. I feel some responsibility for that and it pains me to see what’s happening to us, to the country and the people we seem to be preparing to be. We, too, are perhaps beginning to show the strains of the global destabilization now evidently underway and, unnerved, we are undoubtedly continuing to damage the future in ways still hard to assess.

Perhaps someday, someone will have one of my own childhood photo albums in their hands. The glue will have worn off, the photos will be heading toward the central crease, the pages will be flaking away, and the cast of characters, myself included, will be lost to the past, as so many of those children we had such a hand in uprooting and making into refugees will be lost to the future. At that moment, my fate will be the norm and there will be nothing to mourn about it. The fate of those lost children, if they become the norm, will however be the scandal of the century, and will represent genuine crimes against the future.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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Copyright 2016 Tom Engelhardt