Posts tagged - hillary clinton

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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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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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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Hillary Clinton begins America’s Brezhnev era

BerniBirdieGoodbyeWoot. Once, Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee would have made me very happy. Now, she’s just another Clinton who bent the rules for herself, got caught, lied about it for a year, and now expects the rest of us to back up his (OOPS SORRY her) arrogant stupidity, for which she will never be punished, unlike the rest of us, who’d be rotting in prison today our lives destroyed.

Loyalty is such a one way street with the Clinton machine. Trust me.

Worse, at least when all us Democrats lied for Bill in the name of “unity” 18 years ago, it was just a blow job we defended. This time, Hillary’s term as Secretary of State was a 4 year long COME ON IN to hackers, who no doubt spread like termites from Chappaqua, even into the DNC. Edward Snowden was small potatoes compared to Hillary. Now that it’s all comin’ back to haunt her, whole lotta schadenfreude in that karma.

That’s before you get to ideology. Hillary began America’s Brezhnev Era this week in Philadelphia, complete with corpulent rigged apparatchiks gloating at their victims on live national television while being fellated by a pliant media drooling to sweeten their beats. All in between Cialis ads, veterans begging ads, Pete Peterson’s debt con job ads, and as always the finely spun tapestry of ads for oil, oil, oil. I’m an Energy Voter! America’s beggar prostration before the market dwarfs Brezhnev’s soviet propaganda, because we all buy it hook, line, sinker. (See Gramsci.)

Or at least we all used to.

The idea keeping the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact afloat hadn’t yet begun to die when Lenoid Brezhnev became leader of the USSR in 1964. By Brezhnev’s death in 1982, the Soviet idea was dead, too. Call it what you will; communism, pure or otherwise, or some nationalistic bootstrapping thereof, the idea keeping the Soviet bloc alive was rotting from within as Brezhnev aged. The peoples over which Soviet dictatorship ruled had long begun ridiculing their lot in life, resigned to a futureless grinding descent into total poverty. Once Gorbachev began admitting the idea’s death with perestroika and glasnost in 1986, the clock began to tick on collapse.

Brezhnev’s USSR is where America is today ideologically, as Hillary Clinton claims her nomination to be president, which, thanks to Hillary’s aforementioned stupidity, is now documented as rigged from the very start. Capital rigging politics is the intended end result of neoliberalism, birthed in a 1930’s right wing corporate funded rejection of FDR’s New Deal. Neoliberalism as an idea was so absurd at the time it was ridiculed (Steadman Jones, p. 136), spending decades nursing on global capital until the Thatcher Reagan moment raised the idea to a commanding transatlantic height not even Friedrich Hayek, neoliberalism’s 1930’s originator could imagine. Democrats surrendered by 1992, Bill Clinton embedding neoliberalism into the Democratic Party so thoroughly, not only is the Democratic party itself enslaved to capital, the state Hillary Clinton seeks to lead is now shackled by capital. Scholars call it the “fiscal straight jacket”, a state incapable of governing at all, let alone the market. Neoliberalism’s 21st century victory has unleashed capital beyond Hayek’s wildest dreams.

Now that a massive movement led by 1900 Bernie Sanders delegates this week in Philadelphia has proven the idea of neoliberalism a failure, how long will it take to die?  Depends. Powerful, but failed ideas die slowly, leaving behind deep, widespread, generational wreckage. The pigs who feed at its trough become desperate, and cling on quite tightly, lest they slip into their own idea’s gaping black hole and never get out; like their serfs did. Like the rest of us did.

I’ll probably not even vote this year, the first time in my entire life. Whether the next president is another Clinton or Donald Trump frankly doesn’t matter to me. The idea that gave rise to both hideous caricatures has begun its slow, certain, death throes. Maybe another Berdie will give us hope to get up, torpedoes be damned, and try to finish this thing off. Maybe I’ll just wait it out.

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Blairites stick a middle finger in Labour memberships’ eye on the way down the bin

CorbynHipHopThe post-Brexit Labour Party’s internal Blairite coup against new leader Jeremy Corbyn has descended into total farce. (Relatedly, why is Brexit even a Labour problem? It’s a Tory problem, full stop.)  Blairites didn’t merely bungle every step of their incomptent post-Brexit coup over last summer’s leadership election, which Jeremy Corbyn won in an emphatic 60% landslide less than a year ago. Blairite intransigence now features the party’s Blairite-packed governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), whistfully imposing rules willy nilly designed to suppress Corbyn’s vote, and keep new members out, as if no one is watching.

Not only has the NEC imposed clearly discriminatory arbitrary membership cut-off dates for voting eligibility, the NEC has even raised the fee for voting membership from £3 to an absurd £25 (isn’t Labour a party for, you know, workers?), and even if you pay that, you still might not be allowed to vote for leader, depending on your speed to the post box. One wonders how creative the NEC will get all summer attempting to plug the cracks in their collapsing neoliberal dyke. Will new members using pencil instead of ink on their ballot be denied a vote for leader? Must the ballot paper be folded a certain way? It really is that ridiculous at this point.

Call me crazy, but new members are the entire ball game in politics. Any politics. Anywhere. Anytime.

First, I very much doubt such stupidity from the NEC survives a legal challenge (perhaps the European Court of Justice? Blairites do love the EU!), as these machinations are transparently discriminatory and might even rise to breach of contract. Second, even if a court never takes a look at this nonsense, it’s a near certainty Corbyn will still win any membership vote, with coup plotters unable even to decide on a single candidate to challenge Corbyn.

Third, even if despite all this, the coup somehow, someway, results in the Blairite fever dream of a leader other than Jeremy Corbyn at conference this September, that “result” will be universally seen as illegitimate, corrupt, and deeply oligarchic. Labour will have told the vast majority of its current membership and any future members it does not matter what, or who, you vote for in the Labour Party, the rules will be changed afterward against you. What remains of a post-Brexit-coup Labour won’t really be a socialist party, will it, but instead an empty vessel for the safe movement of capital.

One of the reasons the British Labour Party liked having us Yanks around back in the neoliberal glory days of the late 1990’s was an uncanny Clintonista ability to deal with political reality. It’s largely a function of the European style British parliamentary electoral system, in which all the marbles ride on relatively rare general elections. America’s system of constant elections at every level from local council to the presidential primaries features high stakes at every level, all the time. Labour thus tends to be a pretty navel-gazing bunch, internally focused to a fault, while American political strategy is more head on a swivel, always looking around the next corner, then the next one, sort of a political radar turned GPS.

In this way we see Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal to her core, making all the right moves in victory before her convention in Philadelphia, while Labour’s Blairites make all the wrong moves in their precipitous decline into the bin of history. Hillary is adjusting to the political reality before her. She did not need to allow the DNC to adopt more than 80% of the Bernie Sanders platform at the convention in Philadelphia. Running against the trainwreck that is Donald Trump, an argument can be made Hillary does not even need the Bernie or Busters’ votes at all. Yet, the Clinton machine is doing the opposite of the Blairite rump – Hillary is changing the Democratic Party to meet the political winds all around her.

Instead of putting a finger in the breeze to see which way the wind is so obviously blowing, Blairites stick a finger in the eye of their own members, future supporters, and the British electorate as a whole. Neoliberalism, the chief governing theory of capitalism, is precisely this blind, as it only sees capital as power, not people. Fortunately for Britain, and for Labour, this worm long ago turned. Blairites are blindly putting themselves into traffic to get run over by the amply documented worldwide tectonic shift in our politics against neoliberal world order. No matter how clever they think they are, this will not end well for Blairites.

 

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Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton & movement politics

PD photo, 2001, when I still bought the con

PD photo, 2001, when I still bought the con

It’s over. So many Bernie people are completely new to politics, so I want to address them first.

The newbies may not realize it, but us tired, scarred old veterans needed your energy. We gave up on America, too. For me personally, until ya’ll showed up Feelin’ The Bern, American politics had become just as repulsive as post-soviet politics has been for 25 years to my old friends in Armenia. A sick joke, whose inner workings I knew so well, the joke got sicker every hour, year, decade. So first – even though we all got a few more scars outta this, thank you for getting me to engage and believe (if only just a bit) again.

Now, my grizzled veteran speech. Politics ain’t beanbag, the saying goes. There are winners, and losers. Sometimes it’s better to be the loser, and in the case of the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary, the Bernie Sanders’ “loss” and today’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton strikes me as one of those cases.

We all know this rickety system of exploitation is the governing bargain broken to pieces. Whether you call it end stage capitalism, or Washington Consensus neoliberalism, capital’s capture of the state is bound to collapse at some point, likely within Hillary Clinton’s presidency. If she cannot prevent this collapse, it will be Hillary’s responsibility to fix the coming trainwreck, establish the American economy on a New Deal foundation again, to remake the compromise between the state and capital which FDR got right. That’s a big job. It’s coming. Pretty sure Hillary Clinton herself knows it, too.

1996 Clinton Gore Campaign

1996 Clinton Gore Campaign

Our job now, as a movement, is to hound Hillary every step of the way, from within her own party, to hold her to the promises her party makes in the 2016 platform, and then some. The platform is a good start, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to the delegates who fought to change the Democratic Party from the inside out. True, they are just words on a page, and none of us think a President Clinton will just deliver these promises without a fight.

But we are a movement, so we know how to fight. I’ve written many times how the Bernie Sanders campaign for president is relatively new to the worldwide movement against neoliberalism. This movement began in the Tea Party reaction to the 2008 bailouts, exploded into the Arab Spring in late 2010, crystalized in the Western world on the streets with Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and is now at the ramparts of the establishment, with the Jeremy Corbyn takeover of the British Labour Party in 2015, and Bernie Sanders’ ideas now sitting firmly within the Democratic Party in 2016. Nineteen hundred elected delegates in Philadelphia in two weeks will march our movement directly into the halls of American power, representing millions of people.  Today, we make up close to half, if not more, of the oldest political party on earth.

Bernie Sanders is correct – this political revolution marches on. Only now, the stakes are much, much higher. With power comes responsibility. We used our power to transform the Democratic Party platform, and now we must keep that power fresh, deployed, at the ready, to enforce those ideas on President Hillary Clinton. In this endeavor, we have the advantage, because this movement has a long history largely outside of electoral politics, pushing political actors, not succumbing to them.

Bernie's Lakewood Office opening, Jan. 2016

Bernie’s Lakewood Office opening, Jan. 2016

And make no mistake, the interests of capital are like a cockroach. Fights there most certainly will be. In the UK, even though Jeremy Corbyn defeated Blairite neoliberalism utterly last summer, the zombie undead Blairites still mount an absurd post-Brexit coup from the shadows. Donald Trump, the hideous metastacized progeny of neoliberalim’s worst ugliness, stands in front of us. After Trump is vanquished, Hillary will be surrounded by the same neoliberal oligarchs who surround Trump.

Do we have to vote for Hillary Clinton because Bernie endorsed her? No, we don’t. She must come to us, not the other way around, if she wants our vote. She has work to do. But so do we.

Congratulations Berners – we continue to change our world. Thank you for helping me give it another try.

 

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According to international standards, Hillary Clinton is already illegitimate

GentleWayShakeTheWorldBernieCongratulations, Nevada Democratic Party. You’ve provided clarity. Any international election observer knows that by the time armed police are deployed to defend the arbitrary decision of a political party, your democracy is already dead. It’s too late for any election observation mission to have a prayer of detecting fraud, let alone prevent it. Too late for domestic civic institutions to affect the integrity of the process. Too late for the political party itself to claim legitimacy. Just, too late.

Watching a democracy die with your own eyes is a scarring experience, especially for a true believer. My long time readers recall I began my online writing in 2005 with a long dead blog called Democracy Guy, a self-therapeutic serialized manuscript from my 1997-98 work in Armenia for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs as a political party and election observer trainer during the two-round, post-military coup 1998 presidential election.

The entire international community knew the 1998 Armenian presidential election was too far gone before the first international observer even booked their ticket to Yerevan, not just due to the military coup kicking things off. Media played the key role, as it always does. From the OSCE’s international observer mission statement on the first round, emphasis mine.

  • Media bias. While an early review of the editorial coverage by State media indicated a continuation of the 1996 practice of extreme media bias, steps to correct this problem were taken. Despite efforts to treat candidates fairly, statistical monitoring showed continuing imbalance. State media gave disproportionate coverage to the incumbent candidate in comparison to all others; in the case of certain private media, this was also true for their favoured candidate.

Here’s how that measure of legitimacy measures out in America in 2015.

MediaCoverage2015Presidential

Like all good election riggers, Hillary Clinton has left nothing to chance, including the rules of the convention she claims will “nominate” her for president. Clinton has named former congressman Barney Frank as co-chair of the Rules Committee of the DNC in Philadelphia in July. In an election where Wall Street power and their bailout is front and center, Frank chairs the Rules Committee while simultaneously being paid six figures to sit on the board of Signature Bank, whose survival depended on the TARP bailout, which Barney Frank himself wrote, lobbied for, and hand walked to George W. Bush for signature in 2008.

BarneyDNCCaviar

This would be top news in any system other than one ideologically rigged by neoliberal Washington Consensus capitalism. Such bald faced, arrogant corruption would be attacked on sight by any international observation mission in any post soviet republic. It would be the subject of meetings in ambassadors’ residences, with demands for an immediate reversal with the implicit threat the stench would make it into the OSCE preliminary statement. In America, Barney Frank’s Rules Committee/Signature Bank two step isn’t even covered for a single second in the Trump/Clinton mass media.

Meanwhile, the newest national polls show Hillary Clinton (still refusing to release transcripts of her $225,000 per hour speeches to Goldman Sachs) and Donald Trump (who himself now relies on a Goldman Sachs alum for finance) are, surprise, tied at around 48-45% each, with the same polling showing Clinton and Trump are the two most unpopular presidential candidates in the history of American polling. The remaining voters are still “undecided” between shit and crap, exactly as every US election has gone for decades.

Today, as police deployed in Nevada, and Barney Frank writes the DNC rules from a desk at Signature Bank, the media environment has, in broad daylight, switched on demand to a divisive, cultural, spitball match over genitalia (the “woman card”, let alone transgender bathrooms). The predictable result will be ever lower voter turnout as most reasonable voters continue their decades long self-removal from an obviously rigged game in which it matters not one iota who wins a fake staged fight between crap and shit.

If Hillary Clinton “wins” the Democratic nomination, then “wins” the presidency, hers will be the most illegitimate presidency since Bush v. Gore put W into the White House; if you look hard enough, you won’t be able to tell the difference between 2000 and 2016. Which is the point.

Americans in 2016 are thus left with the same decision citizens in developing democracies (post soviet or otherwise) face as they watch their democracy die; what to do? What to do.

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Tim Ryan, Ohio Superdelegate, could be ripe to flip in Philly

RyanSignHoldingArticle

Tim Ryan and I have a long history, dating back to the day he walked into my state director office at the NH Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 1998 as a wide-eyed student looking to help while at Franklin Pierce Law School. We had a write in state senate candidate who needed immediate help, and when I told Tim to go hold signs on the street corners for this guy named Steve DeStefano, as he told the Tribune Chronicle in the article above, Tim was visibly perplexed.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ He said, ‘No’.”

After one day of sign waving, Tim Ryan was hooked on it. Grassroots, baby. We were soulmates thereafter.

Soulmates, that is, until I helped Tim win his 2002 congressional primary against NAFTA poster child Tom Sawyer, who outspent us 10-1. Sign holding is how we won that primary, too, plus a little magic conjured out of thin air by yours truly. (Ask Tom Sawyer’s consultant Jeff Rusnak. He remembers it very well.) Despite my help (the only person more responsible than me for Tim Ryan’s congressional career is Tim Ryan himself, that includes you brother Al) immediately after the 2002 congressional primary, I got cashiered thanks to the Dickensian American nightmare of living with a criminal conviction. Your best friends will use you like a cheap tampon to get where they’re going, forget you existed the nanosecond they get there. ‘Murica! I haven’t talked to Tim since 2008. I got tired of waiting for help from all these people whose jobs in Congress I was responsible for. It’s a long, depressing story, and I might start to cry soon, so let’s move on, ok?!

Tim Ryan has been talked about for Ohio governor, or US Senator, since the day after that 2002 primary stunner. When Ted Strickland failed to win re-election in 2010, that talk got louder. Now, with an open seat up in 2018, Tim Ryan is the front runner if he runs for governor. Cuyahoga County Executive, known money laundering senior fleecing pimp Armond Budish, will likely also run in that primary, along with a few other no hopers. All of which is likely why Tim Ryan is currently the loudest Ohio Superdelegate in support of Hillary Clinton; gotta line up that statewide organized crime racket…er…I mean…state party.

Problem is, Hillary Clinton is the polar opposite of Tim Ryan on issue after issue. The Iraq War vote itself was held in October during Tim’s 2002 general election campaign (a deliberate George W. Bush tactic to help swing vulnerable folks on the ballot that month), and Tim was loudly, bravely, on the record against, as Hillary voted yes. Tim won his 2002 primary on the strength of NRA support and organized labor rage about NAFTA. As your typical Ohio Irish Catholic, Tim Ryan is pro-life, but also pro-choice, which is indeed a coherent position. Hillary Clinton is none of these things.

Which means Tim Ryan is kinda out on a limb.

The only rational reason for Tim Ryan to support Hillary Clinton, just like his fellow Ohio Superdelegate Ron Malone, is naked self-interest. Period. This means Tim can be flipped if he believes his self-interest is better served by Bernie Sanders.

Given the leftward, FDR energy exploding in the Democratic Party electorate, that’s an easy argument to make. If Tim Ryan wants the Bernie Sanders energy when he runs for governor in 2018, or in any future run for higher office, he needs to switch, at the convention in Philly, loudly, on the floor, not just on the nominee, but on every platform roll call vote on every single issue. Glass Steagall, Wall St. Speculation Tax, Single Payer Medicare For All, Fracking Ban, Carbon Tax, Tuition Free Public College, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Even if Tim Ryan isn’t planning to run statewide, and is instead hoping to continue climbing the House leadership ladder from his safe House seat toward a Speakership, all the national polling suggests it’s in his interest for Bernie Sanders to be the nominee in 2016. With Bernie at the top of the ticket, against Donald Trump, it is increasingly likely the House flips Democrat, AND the Senate, putting Tim’s good buddy Ted Strickland in Rob Portman’s seat. Hillary Clinton as nominee will destroy the energy on the left, consign Bernie folks to the wilderness, or even to Trump; she will lead an empty shell of a party into November against the Trump phenomenon. Even if Hillary manages to beat Trump, Tim Ryan would wake up the next morning quite an Ohio scapegoat, forced to drag Hillary around like a millstone around his neck in 2018, and beyond.

Once upon a time, Tim Ryan could be counted on to do the right thing. At the Democratic Convention this July, Tim’s got another chance, and it happens to coincide very nicely with his self-interest. Buy him a beer in Philly. Tell him I said hi.

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