Following Gandhi’s example, I will vote for Hillary

Gandhi at 10 Downing St.

Gandhi at 10 Downing St.

Gandhi’s Achilles heal, when debates of such matters arise, was his support of the British during World War II. Churchill despised Gandhi, and if you got Bapu off message, he’d probably return the favor. And yet, Gandhi supported the violent empire whose boot was on his own throat, against a greater evil.

Alas, we face Gandhi’s choice in 2016.

A choice between two evils is all that remains of American democracy after Clinton neoliberalism unleashed capitalism from the New Deal for its victory lap over the Warsaw Pact.  Market nirvana’s excrement, Donald Trump, is capitalist resin scraped from the bottom of the bowl, an untaxed billionaire race baiting his way into another scam. Hillary Clinton is the enabler that created Trump, her entire public life defined by fealty to capital so thorough her picture at Trump’s wedding is the single most enduring image of this “election”. Today, the market stands so triumphant over the state, every decision we make as humans is now a calculation of money, rather than a human decision about fellow humans. The 1% laughs all the way to the bank, every time.

I have very personal reasons to never vote for another Democrat for as long as I live, let alone Hillary Clinton. I haven’t written much about those reasons lately, but as anyone knows who’s followed my writing since I took this battle online in 2004, I’ve lived, and still do, with Clinton neoliberalism’s boot on my neck. As an ex-offender, my life has been governed by the economic calculation the market makes about employment for 15 years. I’ve been reduced to nothing but a high cost, high risk, phantom forecast of doom imagined in the minds of people who see not a human before them, but instead conjure a paranoia about a penny or a nickel perhaps fleeing them one day. It took me a very long time to figure out that even the people closest to me surrendered my humanity, and theirs, to a money calculation. As Cornel West wrote this week, America has been in this spiritual decline for so long, a Clinton-Trump choice between two evils of capital was inevitable.

2010 Ex-Offender piece

2010 Ex-Offender piece

Thus, I’m done shaming the 2000 Nader voter, or the 2016 Stein voter. Further, I can no longer condemn the non-voter as I once did.  Refusal to grant legitimacy by your vote to a system rigged for capital is entirely defensible and reasonable. Since my deep dive into Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and through my volunteering for Bernie Sanders this primary, I’ve tried to live by Gandhi’s principles of nonviolent civil disobedience, and encourage everyone around me to do so as well. My first instinct this fall was to refuse to vote as such an exercise, in protest that voting in America today, at every single level of government, is a rigged game for the sole benefit of capital.

But I’m haunted by my Armenia work from 1997-1999; my friend Harout used to tell his fellow Armenians who asked “why vote?”, that the authorities would know how to use their vote if they didn’t use it. Haunted by my days as Democracy Guy, traveling the world with a camera. Fifteen years spent as debris of this rigged game confronted who I am to my core. I spent much of the last few months a proud non-voter. It was a relief to not invest my vote in this stench that was choking me every single day.

Me & Grandma Krakowski, 1985

Me & Grandma Krakowski, 1985

Donald Trump tipped the scale. I flirted with voting for Trump. As Michael Moore says, Trump is the perfect Molotov cocktail to toss into this sickening rigged system. But one cannot escape that Trump, and his base, are who my grandmother would have become had she been force fed a twenty year 24 hour live feed of hate upon which Trump now stands. Trump rallies are filled with the zombie undead shells of humanity my Grandma Krakowski escaped becoming. Hate today is a billion dollar market sucking humanity out of our loved ones for profit, to the point they now prance around in public on social media revealing their deepest ugliness for all to see, praising their own darkest weaknesses as America’s greatest strength. Our loved ones are Trump’s clickbait racist business model, making us love them less.

Conversely, Gandhian nonviolent civil disobedience is built on love. And as Gandhi so often taught, it is tactical. Supporting Britain in World War II was Gandhi’s most controversial tactic; within 2 years of the war, Britain would be gone from Gandhi’s homeland. Who knows where America will be in two years? Bernie Sanders took a lot of heat for standing by his word, and endorsing Hillary Clinton as the “winner” of the Democratic primary. I wonder if Bernie is finding strength in Gandhi too. Next year, I fully expect Bernie to be the same thorn in Madame President’s side that Gandhi was to His Majesty.

So if it’s good enough for Gandhi, it’s good enough for me. I’ll vote for Hillary Clinton in tribute to Gandhi, who supported his oppressor two years before he defeated his oppressor once and for all. To my friends voting for Trump…no. Change does not come by hate, only love. Anger must be righteous to bring justice. This Tuesday, first, we must defeat Donald Trump, and everything he stands for, to let the Republican Party sleep in the fire Trump’s Molotov cocktail is exploding. On Wednesday, we can let Madame President know we haven’t gone anywhere.

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Davos Men bring the Uncle Leo “anti-semite” routine across the pond

You know you’re getting old when Seinfeld references fall on deaf ears. Thus, we must re-introduce Uncle Leo, Jerry Seinfeld’s uncle, who would leap to anti-semitism rants upon getting an overcooked hamburger at the diner. “Anyway,” Jerry says, “the point I was making before Goebbels made your hamburger here…”

Jerry ends up on the Tonight Show making fun of Uncle Leo, “Spaghetti’s not cooked al dente – anti semite! Loses a bet on a horse? Secretariat – anti-semitic!” Uncle Leo’s girlfriend thinks the bit is funny so Uncle Leo dumps her for being an anti-semite.

Donald Trump has veered into overcooking the hamburger territory on and off over the past year with his “globalist” language, which has now, predictably, caught the attention of the establishment. Anti-semite! Bernie Sanders made similar arguments about the rigged game in the primary, but escaped the anti-semitism smear perhaps because Bernie himself is Jewish. Jeremy Corbyn, during both his UK Labour leadership landslides this year and last year, was not so lucky.

The anti-semitism smear on Corbyn by the Blairite New Labour Third way…ahem…”cabal”, came swiftly and viciously. Through a series of guilt-by-association-with-Corbyn attacks, Labour, as a whole, was forced to spend an entire year proving that leftist socialism directed against neoliberal Thatcherite capitalism wasn’t, in fact, anti-semitism.  Blairite donors leapt to Nazi analogies with a gleeful flourish mainstream media outlets were only too happy to parrot. A commission was called, the works, leading some members to be suspended from Labour for utterances just as minimal as Uncle Leo’s overcooked burger. Even at the Labour conference in Liverpool this September, where Corbyn was re-elected massively, entire seminars were held to prove that Corbyn’s movement was in no way an overcooked Nazi hamburger, which Blairite media of course smeared anyway.

I’m sure there were party conferences in the year 1933 at which the Jews were this much discussed. But not, perhaps, in this country.

The Uncle Leo smear will continue against Corbyn’s Labour, picked up by the Tories, probably indefinitely. Trump’s Breitbart cess pit is certainly a more accurate target for this attack, but normally, as in the UK the past year, the target of an anti-semitism smear is almost always the left. That’s because the left, always, most loudly notices global capitalism is gutting the working class by rigging the game for profit. Now that the left also notices New Labour’s Third Way, and Bill Cinton’s DLC Democrats, were the indispensable enablers for global neoliberal capitalism’s rigged game, predictably, establishment Blairites become Uncle Leo.

A Hillary Clinton presidency will no doubt defend itself with the Uncle Leo attack, just as the Tories will use it against Corbyn’s Labour, any time the left stands up to fight, either through Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor, in the streets through protest, or in election campaigns against establishment Democrats at every level, local, state, or federal. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who knows better, is this hour trotting out Uncle Leo like a champ.

Certainly, Trump is closer to Goebbels in the kitchen overcooking Uncle Leo’s burger, than anyone on the left. The smear, though, needs to be seen for what it plainly has become – a Davos Man deflection in defense of a globally rigged game whose days are numbered. Despite the year long smear against Corbyn’s Labour, the party is finally showing unity, and closing in on the Tories. Bernie Sanders will be the single most powerful Senator in a Clinton presidency (or a Trump presidency), and will represent the same threat to the rigged game Corbyn does. The left can survive the Uncle Leo smear. But we should be aware that it is certainly coming, not just at Donald Trump, but at anyone who attacks Davos Man’s zombie undead grip on a world rigged for oligarchic profit alone.

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Ohio held onto Trump admirably

trumpstillwinningohioIn the first of this series, I put the blame for Hillary Clinton losing Ohio squarely on her and the Ohio Democratic Party. All that still holds, but as of this writing, Donald Trump has gone from up 5-6, to down 1-2. That will accelerate, and Hillary will now win Ohio. Here’s why.

I admit it – this proud Bernie Bro considered making Trump my first vote for a Republican. The odious bilge he’s spewed for the last year didn’t really bother me, although the open racism does. White bigots like Trump never change. I grew up with a lot of ’em. All our relatives’ racism once sat quietly in their hearts, unstoked by a 24 hour news cycle billion dollar “market” encouraging that racism to prance around like a braying jackass. This long gone, quiet acceptance of a behavioral norm, on both sides, allowed us to love our racist relatives anyway despite their racism. As I wrote about my Grandma Krakowski, knowing that human weakness in our loved ones, and allowing for it, I believe helps us love each other more fully.

So I set aside the racism, telling myself it was another act to hoodwink my relatives. Just like every two bit snake oil salesman collecting email addresses since Rush Limbaugh rolled his corpulent ass onto radio. I’m not proud of it. I’ve watched and fought the bigot economy, neoliberal capitalism’s engine room, for decades now. It’s turned so many friends and family into shriveled racists obsessed with hate so deeply it governs their every thought. So I know the okie doke. Sure. I’ll play the game for a minute here.

Thus, I focused on the central deceit of Trump; that being a rich asshole who’s rigged the game for himself his whole life, Trump both (a) knows how to unrig it, and (b) can’t be bought. If I could believe that about Trump, I could maybe vote for him, despite the ugliness. The ugliness can be a con which he will no doubt reneg on, if the unrigging isn’t. That’s what I told myself. “She came to my wedding because I paid her. She had no choice”.  Now that’s a message.

Trump became bought very quickly – the self-funding brag disappeared more quickly than I expected. Even Ross Perot in 1992 at least followed through on the self-funding, and that was before campaign contributions became Citizens United gargantuan guided missiles for oligarchs’ profit. Bernie Sanders & Donald Trump both drew their deepest strength from a belief they were outside the funding cess pit. It’s why I became a Bernie Bro. When Trump turned into just another whore to capital, even making a Goldman Sachs alum his chief fundraiser (just like Hillary), both A and B were gone.

I gave Trump one last shot at my vote during the first debate. As he tore into Hillary over trade in the first 20 minutes, I could feel my heart rate go up. Finally, she’s getting it between the eyes on her neoliberal free market failure, from a neoliberal free market oligarch Clinton policies created. Hillary couldn’t even look at him. Not even Bernie Sanders had blasted her so effectively on the Clinton trade legacy, which Trump kept pegging (accurately to me) at “30 years”. I couldn’t wait for him to get to Citizens United.

GoldmanHillaryTrumpWeddingThen, Trump’s line of coke, which I’m sure he snorted off a hooker’s ass backstage, wore off. It was visible. Hillary sure was lookin’ at him now! The babbling, the sniffing, the robotic retreat to “law and order”. How can a guy who says he’s a TV star be so unprepared as to bomb so spectacularly on the biggest stage of his life? Turns out Trump really is just a rich asshole conning you out of your very soul, partying the whole way. I guess it was a relief, but I was still a bit disappointed. Citizens United remains unmentioned in this fall’s “debates”.

So that’s how Hillary Clinton wins Ohio. Trump exposes himself as a buffoon in the biggest nationally televised political event in American history, then spends a week complaining about Miss Universe. Ohio still, still gave him another shot after the debate performance, which shows in the polls pictured above. Huge post debate national swing to Hillary, except Ohio for a minute. Ohio held on! Go Bucks! Then, after a week of Miss Universe, we learned Trump doesn’t even pay federal taxes. The End.

Hillary Clinton won’t win Ohio so much as Donald Trump has lost it. Whether or not Hillary loses Ohio more ridiculously than Trump does, who knows.

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Psst. Hillary. Labour defeats capital, again, this Saturday

CorbynWinningVoting in Labour’s second leadership election in a year today closed, with a massive turnout nearly 50% higher than last year, despite persistent, repeated, concerted efforts to purge new members. On Saturday, the result will be announced at conference in Liverpool. All expect Jeremy Corbyn to crush the pointless Blairite challenger Owen Smith by an even bigger margin than the 59% Corbyn won last time. A Quixotic, opportunistic, post-Brexit temper tantrum from the tools of capital, summer 2016’s New Labour Blairite coup never had a chance.

The coup attempt has a shining silver lining – Labour is now the most battle tested it has ever been, with a brand new, younger membership so huge it is now the largest political party in the history of Western Europe. Corbyn’s Labour is today a muscled out Jaguar, Rolls Royce, pick your favorite British made car, with nitrous oxide turbo boosters.

Spitting in the face of this movement, rumors of New Labour dead enders splitting off continued all summer. The parliamentary Labour Party, the PLP (members in parliament) made pathetic noises about somehow detaching themselves from Corbyn’s Labour by forming their own faction from Parliament, suing to keep Labour’s assets, all manner of nonsense. That didn’t last.

Reasonably, members began wondering aloud how to remove these recalcitrant coup plotters in Parliament if they cannot accept a democratic decision of membership for a second time. In America, we call this a primary challenge. In Britain, this is called “deselection”, local members meeting to choose a different candidate to stand in their parliamentary constituency. Every MP in Labour knows that if the gargantuan size of this new membership mobilized to deselect them, they can kiss all those Westminster perks goodbye, and like the rest of us, start looking for a new job that pays them to talk all day in the neoliberal hellscape their policies created. Sort of concentrates the mind.

labourleadsthewaylordsLabour is now the strongest fist worldwide punching up at the scourge of Third Way, Clinton DLC, Reagan Thatcher “There is no alternative” free market purist neoliberalism. Is Hillary Clinton listening? In America, Donald Trump has captured this sentiment with racism. No longer immunized against 1930’s style nationalism by the long dead New Deal (which Bill Clinton with his own pen himself dismantled most), America is falling victim to the predictable rise of hate that persistent economic decline at the hands of capitalism always produces. Blaming the problems on the brown people doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. It means average Americans are on the hunt for a scapegoat responsible for the end of the American Dream, and through Trump, they’ve been given the oldest scapegoat in human history.

It’s understandable that Hillary is so obviously reluctant to attack the failed neoliberal legacy her own husband created. However, tectonic plates worldwide are rolling over that legacy, right now, and in Liverpool next week, Labour will take its place standing atop that shift, ready to fight. Blairites will either cry uncle, finally (hint!), or put themselves in the crosshairs of this movement merely to be crushed a third time.

Hillary can either join Labour, capture that same movement stateside, or prattle on in irrelevance, watching powerlessly as Donald Trump, like every ugly dictator before him, scapegoats his way into the White House. She should seize this moment. This movement.

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How Hillary Clinton loses Ohio

When news broke that Hillary Clinton left the door to America’s internet wide open in her basement server, my Tweet was…

Two months out, with Russian hackers having spent 7 years burrowing like termites from Chappaqua into every crevace of the DNC, Donald Trump’s about to win Ohio. The Ohio Democratic Party’s last statewide candidate foisted onto us whether we wanted him or not also flouted the law, lied about it, got caught, and lied some more during the campaign; Ed FitzGerald, who got 34% running for governor in 2014 after being found to not have a driver’s license for 10 years. Hillary is tied with a stinking racist at 43% in Ohio, and heading downward toward Fitzy’s glory. Ohio voters don’t like candidates who get off scot free for something average folks would be tossed into jail for. Who knew.

"sure beats a blow job, Bill"

“sure beats a blow job, Bill”

Ted Strickland’s US Senate campaign against Rob Portman is a Ford Pinto held together with duct tape leaking oil. Poor Ted. When Ted was governor, Ohio Democrats barely put up with what we all called “the best Republican governor Ohio ever had”. Now, what’s even the point? Visibly old and tired, Ted’s barely making it across the finish line, with a voting record reliably in the pocket of the NRA, a legacy of prostrating Ohio’s budget before the market gods seizing every inch of public space. Now Ted reaps what he’s sewn, with the added insult of Hillary Clinton dragging him down just as Lee Fisher’s pathetic (just as rigged) US Senate attempt dragged Ted down in 2010, giving us John Kasich. Karma. Shoulda kept the downstate good ol’ boy preacher act on the farm this time, Ted; all them hillbillies votin’ for Trump, dawg. Ohio Democrats have had quite enough of triangulation.

All this stench is piled atop an ODP racket so corrupt for so many decades it’s incapable of mounting the most basic get out the vote campaign at the grassroots in 2016. Chris Redfern’s farcical departure as chair after the FitzGerald comedy, gave us not one, not two, but three attempts at keeping the game rigged, landing ODP on David Pepper, son of a Proctor & Gamble billionaire. Pay dirt, literally. No one is going to volunteer for a rigged game benefiting a 20 year hustle just this side of a RICO case, just as they wouldn’t for Al Gore after being made fools of in defense of a blow job.

CorbynWinningThe energy on the left is organizing not to assist but to destroy that hustle, as the Lakewood Democratic Club learned when the revolution descended upon them in force last month. Lakewood Dems robotically repeated the exact same machinations of capital displayed by this summer’s coup mounting Blairites rejecting this same movement electing Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour party by a landslide in 2015. Moving the goalposts, trying to outrun a flood of new members with rigged votes, refusing new members’ right to vote for leader, heading to court to do so, spitting in the face of a movement ready to spit back. Corbyn will repeat that mandate September 24 at Labour conference in Liverpool, likely with an even bigger margin. Capital is on transatlantic notice; we ain’t buyin’ it anymore.

Ohio in fall 2016 is, as the saying goes, “woke AF”. After the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and now the Bernie Sanders campaign for president, Ohio is boiling with revolution from the bottom up in all 88 counties. In 2000, for Al Gore, Democrats were expected to get up, brush themselves off, and start right over again after defending Bill Clinton’s blow job for 3 solid years. Al Gore was out of the state by Halloween. Another Clinton whose stupidity and arrogance we must defend? Who will then give us yet another Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury? As out of touch as a red rightward pointing arrow in the H logo. They’re completely clueless.

What can she do? Water’s already under one bridge, unfortunately. She should have mea culpa’d her way around the server issue in March, 2015. Hand over the server immediately, beg forgiveness. Instead, she parroted her husband’s “What blow job?” for a year, which worked just as well.

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton "helping cure AIDS in Africa"

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton “helping cure AIDS in Africa”

Another missed opportunity – Hillary could have used her convention to cut ties with her Citizens United funding model, and promise to rely only on individual donations, like Bernie Sanders. Is there time yet for that change? Perhaps a moment in the first debate where Hillary responds to Trump’s inevitable attack on the Clinton Foundation by making a spectacular funding U-turn on national TV could save her.

Alas, these are the Clintons we are talking about. Their political radar long ago stopped working, left somewhere at the bottom of Harold Ford Jr.’s punch bowl in the Hamptons. With Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 10-15% statewide, turnout going ever downward, a Democratic base that would rather watch the Browns lose by 30 on a Sunday than knock on a single door with that stupid H-logo on their chest, Ohio is Trump country.

HillaryLogoNewYorkerAmerica survived many stinking racist presidents, some of whom turned out to be pretty good presidents despite their bigotry. When Trump said in the first Fox News August 2015 debate “she came to my wedding because I paid her, she had no choice,” this die was cast. Ohio would have been the center of a historic Democratic tidal wave if Bernie Sanders was at the top of this ticket. Instead, we are on our own, preparing to kick in the teeth the next day whoever “wins” neoliberalism’s ultimate “lesser of two evils” display then predictably gives Goldman Sachs another Treasury Secretary.

On November 9, the movement will either have Trump’s Goldman Sachs appointment to Treasury to fight, or Hillary’s. Whether we have to fight the building of an idiotic, racist wall, too, really doesn’t make much difference. We know where this country is headed. Hillary Clinton certainly does not.

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Another Supreme Court election okie doke

The only time I really cashed in on a presidential election reduced to the Supreme Court was Al Gore’s collapse in 2000. I had recruited 6 British Labour Party staff to come to Cleveland and plug into the Gore campaign exactly the same way I had done with Labour in 1997. Found ’em nice places to stay for two weeks, and hustled a “GOTV” contract from the local consulting grand poobah (who I shall not name to save him further embarrasment) which paid for car rentals and reimbursed stateside expenses. I treated it like a visiting international delegation, which it was. A kind of “thank you” to my British friends.

Ahhhh....memories.

Ahhhh….memories.

The client was People for The American Way, the campaign was a door to door “issue” thus “non-candidate specific” canvass, thus technically legal. Through this contract, I put my eight Labour mates to work knocking on doors in Cleveland delivering this door hanger. The targets were high Democratic high turnout precincts, because a turned off Democratic base was a major issue for Al Gore in 2000, just as it is for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Despite Al Gore having pulled out of Ohio by the time the Brits arrived two weeks out, it was a blast, of course. My Labour colleagues were mini local celebrities, and they got to see the Florida recount horror begin. “We left and you Yanks still didn’t have a president!” was the joke in later years.

Democrats have thus heard this argument when their presidential candidate is nose diving before. Repeatedly, in fact. Especially in Ohio, the dumping ground of millions in “GOTV” cash every four years. My Labour mateys knew the score, too. Their popularity was based not just in their accents, but mostly in their ability to show up in force as a team of six people, volunteers being extremely rare commodities in Ohio in 2000. To boot, door knockers weren’t all that welcome on those Democratic doorsteps, British or not. We were having zero impact on the election’s outcome. Our international delegation did cross polinate our transatlantic freindships, so it was all a success nonetheless.  We drank a lot of beer.

Sixteen years later, the Supreme Court looks likely to end up the Clinton campaign’s closing argument, again. There is some cosmic explanation for all this, I’m sure.

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Trump shows leadership, Clinton clings to cash

The door in Trump's wall can't match this.

The door in Trump’s wall can’t match this.

Leadership is bringing people somewhere they would otherwise not go absent your leadership. The Donald Trump base simply would not go beyond a racial, nationalist, deportation rage unless Trump himself dragged them there. We thus see the first evidence of Donald Trump acting presidential.

Trump’s recent loud, openly meandered “softening” on immigration comes as he co-opted the hardest core anti-immigrant Brietbart alt-right at the very top of his campaign. Just imagine the conversation (argument from hell?) between Steve Bannon and Trump the last few days, as the softening softened. What’s Bannon gonna do, go back to his stupid blog and whine about the wetbacks some more? Talk about getting Trumped. Machiavelli couldn’t do better.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton could have shown precisely the same leadership by adopting the central core of the Bernie Sanders campaign at her convention; refusing corporate money, superpacs, the entire architecture of the Clinton funding machine, and pledged to rely only on small donors. A mere sniff of the political breeze would have made that leadership mandatory. Instead, Hillary and the Clintons just can’t quit the cash. The Clinton Foundation’s reeking stench of corruption, the Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, millions of tendrils in email leaks suddenly visible, now engulf the Clinton campaign like a fog. Instead of leading, the Clintons cling to their cash cow like grim death, on live television.

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton "helping cure AIDS in Africa"

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton “helping cure AIDS in Africa”

Will Trump lose base voters who will see another “softening” on immigration as yet another betrayal? Some, perhaps a lot. Rick Perry collapsed in the 2011 GOP primary not due to the famed “oops” brain fart in a debate, but when he sounded humane on immigration.  The alt-right racialist base of the GOP piled the political corpses atop Rick Perry for years, after each attempt at the same leadership Trump is now forcing onto his own voters. Many of Trump’s hardest core base will probably just stay home and not vote, for this “softening” is the ultimate betrayal.

The gamble of course is that Trump picks up more undecideds than he loses base voters. Has Trump made himself untouchable to undecided voters in the year he’s spent proving to his base that he’s with them before he leads them? Possibly. Trump’s a salesman; he closed the deal with his base, and kept on closing it with ugliness well beyond when the sale closed. Do swing voters believe him now? Will they ever?

Trump is gifted with an opponent who is now collapsing under the weight of her own corruption. A sprinkling of leadership pixie dust could have solved Hillary’s problems, just as Trump is attempting to solve his problems with leadership. The good news for Hillary? Plenty of time to show that leadership, and cast the fog away with one blown goodbye kiss at her corrput to the core funders. Cut the cord, Hillz. Trump is taking a far greater risk with his base than Hillary would risk by kissing off the Citizens United model of her entire campaign.

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Back to school, graduating in spring; a Tim update

Leaving The Closet by force, one should never build another one. This is the story of my journey against The Next Closet, another leg of which will be my graduation from the MAGI program at CSU Spring, 2017. I write this for anyone who’s interested, including future employers, or future voters for that matter! Put the kettle on.

So I met a boy.

FreeTimesCoverJune2008UnforgivenOnce I was granted early release from probation in December, 2002, I fled to London in January, 2003 to leave it all behind and start a new life. Soon a hot summer romance with an American Labour Party student intern bloomed; totally my type. I was finally exploring my bisexuality openly for the first time, in a city I love. One day he was stepping out the front door of Labour HQ, saw me turn down Old Queen Street (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), ran to kiss me; and I broke his heart. Couldn’t kiss him in front of a place we both worked; fear seized me, and I became my conviction that instant. My New Closet’s walls appeared everywhere. Probably irrational, I know! But that’s how a criminal conviction governs you sometimes.

Came back home after my life got exploded, the first of the pattern I would not yet recognize for years. I spent a month in a nonprofit job before some jerk blew me up in March 2004, days after I signed a year long Tremont apartment lease, and a three year car lease. Thus began the Tremont Era, a years long drunken stoned blur tailspin during which I turned to writing and video online, college radio at WRUW (that glot blowed up too), clinging to the hope of something working out abroad. The blind side hits just kept coming.

I learned another lesson in that blur. Jobs, gigs, proposals, partnerships, business plans, every single hustle I stooped to for survival blowing up in my face was never really about my conviction. It was about money. People imagined losing a nickel if associated with me, a phantom paranoia that turned even friends (very close ones, too) into vicious animals toward me in the blink of an eye, whenever it suited the ghosts they conjured circling their pocketbook.

Project Whole Tim

West Bank election observation mission, 2004

West Bank election observation mission, December, 2004, still in Closet #2

Over time, this pressure of another secret (my conviction) forcing me to live two lives became too much. My crime being so minor I didn’t have to register as a sex offender just didn’t matter. No difference in the real world. I still sometimes safely navigated my old world with none the wiser, to Latvia in 2003, even into the West Bank, my last well paid international politics gig from late 2004 to early 2005. It would take Congressman Tim Ryan’s own wife calling me during the 2005 Labour Party campaign and asking me (me!) for a job to be the last straw. As I imagined myself on the cover of The Sun for a week (Labour Perv!), it became clear. This wouldn’t work. At 37 years old, I would have to start over as if I’d just been born.

So I decided, as the Kennedys might say, to hang a lantern on my problem, as painful as I knew that would be. If I kept the conviction to myself, it would blow up in my face predictably. People would hurt me, and I would hurt people I loved, just like my First Closet did. Every time I wonder if this road is the right one, I think of my London fling, who I’ve never heard from again. Maybe he finally Googled me, or maybe he just couldn’t be bothered with a hot mess who couldn’t kiss in broad daylight in the middle of London. We should have made out right there in front of Labour HQ like star crossed London lovers. Instead, I hurt him, and shouldn’t have. No More Closets.

It’s kinda working

Basically, I had a political problem, and using my skills and experience, I would proceed to solve it. Like I always did. I threw myself into that decision as I would any political campaign. PR rollout, online investigative journalism, two runs for public office, I started planting stories I knew would be hit pieces just to get that Kennedy lantern ever higher on my problem. Over the last year, I even went through the motions of attempting an expungement I knew would never happen (Judge Ambrose rejected the motion without so much as a hearing this spring). Project Whole Tim is now about 10 years old. It should be an HBO series, so many twists and turns, trials & tears, with tiny triumphs here and there.

My 2010 campaign yard sign in Tremont

My 2010 campaign yard sign in Tremont

After winning my very public battle to get into CSU, using the votes I earned countywide to fight my way in, it was like I crossed the finish line of a marathon with a sprint then collapsed in a heap. Boy did I need the rest. Still do. Slowly, I felt myself become older, and suddenly very tired. The MAGI program can be done in 2 years, but I took it slow. I’ll brush up on international law in the fall, my last class being international economics this spring. I’ve had some battles on campus, all minor skirmishes associated with Project Whole Tim. But I’ve kept a 4.0 GPA throughout, am interning with a highly respected international attorney in town, and have contributed to my community in the MAGI program with my experience abroad like an extra professor in the room. The MAGI program as a whole is excellent, helped me put theoretical meat on a lot of old bones, even producing some of my best writing. And I’ve made some new friends from all over the world, who met the Whole Tim the first time, and accept me.

I kinda feel like I’m back at NDI. I’m consulting on politics, training, helping build power for the powerless, at home, because I want to, and have to. Not for a handsome salary in a far off land (which would still be nice). My long battle with the internet has given me a unique understanding of its political power, which I’ve put to use successfully. I’ve written at length about the duality of this power, how it can create dystopia or utopia in equal measure, in what I think is a pretty solid theory about how the internet works globally. My hope is to find work where the skills I learned on this long journey can be useful. I know for a fact they are quite useful, indeed.

Bottom line, I’m starting to feel whole now, like I’ve never done before. Project Whole Tim is working, slowly. Took a lot longer than I wanted it to, but that was (is) the road ahead of me. Please feel free to forward this along to folks who might be interested. And thanks to everyone who helped along the way.

 

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A Corbynista on the inside must be sabotaging the Blairite coup

CorbynWinningOne of my favorite qualities of the Blairite apparatchiks who used to be my closest friends was their ability to make the hard left Trots think they were getting what they wanted, while at the same time knifing them in the back.  “You won’t believe this one, mate,” would begin the latest war story, followed by uncontrolled cackling laughter at pulling another fast one. Nothing would bring them more delight.

Given the suicide mission of this year’s Blairite coup, which is now so obvious the plotters are literally using members’ money to fight their own membership in court, repeatedly, I can only conclude that Jeremy Corbyn has someone at the very top of Labour convincing Blairites to continually chop their own heads off spectacularly. As we all know, Britain has a long history of expertly deployed counter intelligence. Who could it be? And when will Billy Bragg pen a working class Woody Guthrie style ode to this unnamed hero of the movement?

One imagines Our Hero dragging on a cigarette in the Stranger’s Bar at the House of Commons, cuff links gleaming, collar pressed, eyes telling nothing, surrounded by whispering coup plotters awaiting Our Hero’s next word to set them racing to their own guillotine. Our Hero is no Fredo Corleone, flailing about in desperation, easily discovered. Oh no. Our Hero is quiet, elegant, may be a femme fatale in stilletos mingling amongst the City boys, flowing effortlessly through Westminster. He, or she, will never be known, but for her heroic service to the revolution.

The plant would have to be very high up, with enough credibility that party lawyers leap into court to self immolate at his (or her) mere suggestion. Someone with a political compass that still functions well enough to sniff the breeze, who can feel the political tectonic plates worldwide about to bury neoliberalism, and its hideous progeny Blairism. Could it be Tony Blair himself? Blair’s political radar was once this accurate. After Blair’s very public takedown in the Chilcot report, and Blair’s personal defense thereafter, he would make the perfectly unsuspected saboteur.

A far more likely Jezza’s Jihadi James Bond would be Gordon Brown. Brown once claimed the mantle of the left, famously feuded with Blair for years, thus has precisely the self-interest to help Blairites salt the earth over their own graves. Brown can still call on a clique of MPs, members of the House of Lords, former and current staffers, right up and down the country. And Brown has been conspicuously quiet throughout this entire squalid affair.

Either way, this summer has been a display of political strength by Jeremy Corbyn none of the Blairite coup plotters could have foreseen. British voters reward such strength handsomely, whatever their political beliefs. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and unwittingly, this coup has made Jeremy Corbyn infinitely stronger than he was before the coup oozed out of neoliberalism’s backside. Before the coup, Corbyn seemed easy pickings for the Tories. After the coup, Corbyn is now the strongest figure in British politics.

If you’re going to try to kill the king, better get it right the first time.

 

 

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Zombie Blairite Undead prepare to refuse another thrashing Corbyn victory

LabourZombies

You know you’ve got Blairite neoliberal capitalist pigs in a corner when they start leaking to the Torygraph, anonymously, how they’re going to sue to grab the Labour Party for themselves. Such a cunning plan!

…it emerged frustrated Labour politicians – many of whom expect Corbyn to retain the leadership in September – are looking at proposals to choose an alternative figurehead in the Commons and pick their own shadow cabinet, as well as approaching Commons Speaker John Bercow to try to be named the official Opposition on the basis of having a greater number of MPs.

They could even launch a legal bid to take control of the Labour Party names and assets, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, which confirms plans which are known to have been in circulation in Westminster for some weeks.

The Tories couldn’t be more tickled. It’s as if the Lord Mayor convened a sanhedrin of the Worshipful Company of Suicide Bombers in the Guildhall, Chukka Umunna circled the room in a fuzzy hat lighting candles, they drew lots, and Owen Smith (a ten year BBC whore, then Pfizer lobbyist, which makes him perfect for the job) got the short straw to go blow up Labour, the one political party standing in the way of total Tory control of Britain. Masterful.

As us Yanks might say, we now see the whites of their eyes. Only Blairites could see hundreds of thousands of new members come in the door and spit at them. Spit some more. Then cry to their toadies in the media about how abused they’ve been for spitting in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of new members. Then threaten to sue and keep those members’ donations (best part), take the buildings, the party name, create their own fake rump PLP…this will all make excellent British comedy someday. Already is!

When the hundreds of thousands of new members literally repeat the exact same leadership election result they delivered a year ago, here’s what needs to happen after Jeremy Corbyn crushes these morons, again, at conference in Liverpool this September. Every tea room on Merseyside should boil with CLP members planning to deselect every single MP who participated in this nonsense. Why? Because they’ve revealed themselves to not be Labour Party members anymore, but naked tools of capital. As such, they won’t stop until they are out for good. They’ll be happier with the Tories anyway, deselection will be doing them a favor.

The lesson for us Bernie Sanders Yanks stateside? The fight to contain capital never really ends. Never.

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