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“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those (rainbow) flags in God’s face if I were you. …this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
- Rev Pat Robertson, Christian Fundamentalist tele-evangelist, predicting - and perhaps inciting - violence against the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida.
The homophobic Robertson was critical of LGBT organizers who were putting up rainbow flags around the city in celebration of the city’s stance on diversity issues. (Quote from The Washington Post, 06-10-98)
The 2016 Democratic primaries have been frustrating for many progressives who have had their political juices awakened and energized by the nonviolent political revolution of Bernie Sanders, his New Deal/Fair Deal politics, his democratic socialist candidacy and his support of oppressed and discriminated-against minorities (including Latinos, African-Americans, Native Americans, Palestinians, Muslims and the LGBT community, among others).
But the Democratic Party, once the mortal enemy of fascism, governmental rule by wealthy elites and fraudulent elections, has sabotaged, through any number of backroom deals (and with the willing help of the corporate-controlled media), Sanders’ highly respected, altruistic candidacy. The Democratic national leadership has unfairly denied him the well-deserved candidacy of the party. Because of the intransigency of their pro-Wall Street, pro-War Street, wealthy insiders in the party hierarchy, they will soon regret what they have done as much as the GOP will soon be regretting the choice of the xenophobic, paranoid, narcissistic megalomaniacal Donald Trump as their party’s leader.
Both political parties have had their agendas shaped by corporate and militaristic billionaire plutocrats and Wall Street tycoons who have purchased large numbers of mercenary lobbyists, lawyers and federal and Supreme Court judges and also the loyalties of the vast majorities of elected legislators (both at the state and national levels) via massive amounts of campaign cash. The classic truism of “whoever pays the piper, calls the tune” still holds in 2016.
It is truly rare to find altruistic politicians in America who are capable of igniting the imaginations and hopes of millions of folks, especially the younger generations, who have been obviously “feeling the Bern”.
The Wall Street/War Street NeoCons (now tragically in total control of the GOP and in positions of majority power in the Democratic Party) have been somehow allowing a small minority of idealistic politicians to exist in America, I suppose partly for window-dressing. As Rush Limbaugh once proclaimed (after the GOP started feeling its oats in DC in the mid-90s): “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
But there have been other American idealists throughout history that have also felt something resembling “the Bern”. Such people-power movements have happened only a handful of times over the past American century. Each movement’s progressive leadership has been disappeared, snuffed out, either by intimidation, assassination, smear campaigns or some other political intrigue such as imprisonment (as in the case of democratic socialist and labor union leader Eugene Debs who was convicted in 1918 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his antiwar activism [where he ran for president on the Socialist Party ticket in 1920, garnering nearly a million votes]).
History tells us about the brief appearances of past progressive movements that promised to benefit the “common man”, like “Fighting Bob” LaFollete’s Progressive Party era, Eugene Debs’s persecuted Socialist Party, FDR’s New Deal era, the antiwar, liberal efforts of JFK, RFK and MLK, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone’s people’s campaign, Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy, Occupy Wall Street’s efforts, the disappearing democratic wing of the Democratic Party and, most importantly, all those millions of eager progressive-minded college-age Bernie supporters who so clearly see the dire need for a true political revolution.
The Democratic Party is shooting itself in the foot by rejecting the idealism of America’s energetic, progressive youth.
Those clear-headed American youth know that there must be a sea-change in American politics and economics before they and their planet are “disappeared” down the rat hole of perpetual war, the hopelessness of perpetual predatory educational loan repayments, unstoppable environmental degradation and enslavement by the many amoral, entrenched elites who are refusing to give them a break or a hand up because such merciful actions might endanger their personal investment portfolios.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the heart and soul of America may or may not be over, but there is information regarding the Democratic Party’s voter suppression and election fraud that has not been reported on. Inquiring minds need to know about it.
To find out more about the backroom deals that occurred during the Democratic primary season, watch https://youtu.be/MoGeDGHmwJU or click on https://youtu.be/MoGeDGHmwJU (the website of Election Justice USA) or http://trustvote.org/ (the website for the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity).
I end this column with an expose of the sabotage of the Sanders campaign, written by my favorite Floridian writer Bill Annett, who has summarized the issue better than I am able. Bill has been writing “A Bernie Sanders Newsletter” for most of the past year. You can get on his contact list to receive his incisive political and economic commentaries by emailing your request to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Extinguishing The Bern… and A Phoenix Proposal
By Guest Columnist Bill Annett
(from the last edition of Bill’s A Bernie Sanders Newsletter)
Amid the current media orgasm over the wonderment of a woman achieving something or other (not quite the Presidency), the corporate media are gratuitously admitting that Bernie Sanders did a wondrous thing in overcoming big money and the status quo. Good show, as the British say.
First of all, big deal. The mountain of America after 229 years has succeeded in bringing forth a mouse, compared to Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, all of whom many years ago actually pulled it off - something Hillary has yet to do. Hell, closer to home, Kim Campbell was Prime Minister of little old Canada in the 1990’s, and Senator Therese Casgrain won the vote for the women of Quebec 80 years ago, both without the benefit of a $100 million foundation or a sack of gold from Goldman Sachs.
What none of the flacks or jaundiced politicians mention is that Bernie Sanders did infinitely more than that. He took on (and possibly, truthfully won against) the entire Democratic Party, its manipulative arm, the DNC, every senior Democratic bigwig, Congressman and Senator (with the exception of a handful of free thinkers) and the President they rode in on. He, Bernie, overcame the American corporate media and their scandalous partisanship and all of their bias and blatant rigging of public opinion.
How did they burn the Bern? As Smutty Bill sonnetized, let me count the ways:
(1) Debbie (the Washerwoman) Shultz, chair-thing of the DNC, from the outset proceeded to handicap Bernie in the debates, supposedly impartial, by delimiting the number of debates to eight (8?), knowingly fearful that more rather than fewer encounters would allow more people to learn about Bernie and how he has labored in the vineyards for 30 years for all of us, whereas Hillary and her geriatric, formerly cuckholding husband have been boring us for 25 years while parlaying the Presidency into a $100 million personal fortune.
(2) Next, the debates were artfully staged on (a) dates with lots of media opposition – heavy stuff like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and NFL games – or, (b) just as negatively, picking low viewership times. She, the Washerwoman, even pulled off an additional coup by staging one debate on a Saturday, when devout Jews wouldn’t be watching because of their Sabbath. (Both she and Bernie are Jewish.) Bernie’s request that the more debates the better was ignored.
(3) Moving on to the happy hunting grounds of the Primaries, Iowa – where Bernie began as an underdog and rapidly closed the gap – was actually a wash, in fact it was so close that in several precincts the results were a dead heat. Here they used that sophisticated modern technique of resorting to a coin toss. In six out of six precinct coin tosses, magically, Hillary won all six, which must set a Guinness Book of World Records record. Hillary was announced as the winner in Iowa, which nobody among the Iowan burghers contested because they were too busy gearing up for the Bix Jazz Festival.
(4) New York State was an even bigger boff for the Democratic establishment and their complicit reporters – the most concentrated crowd of media machinery in the world. Here, independents were not allowed to vote, but magnanimously they – who probably amounted to 40% of Bernie’s followers - were informed that, had they re-registered as Democrats eight months earlier, although they were not so advised eight months earlier, they would have been able to vote for Bernie. Bernie of course was creamed in New York State. And this strategy was fine-tuned and compounded in California, as we shall see.
(5) With the approach of the final Super Tuesday, it became apparent that to release the results in New Jersey polling at 8:00 P.M. EST might influence the voters in California not to bother, where the results would be released at 11:00 EST. What happened? Hillary won New Jersey and that result was released just as Californians were being subjected to a tougher voting process than even the Republican Governors could have devised in voter suppression.
In California, an Independent voter was required to jump through this series of hoops, which would require a Philadelphia lawyer to navigate: first, application had to be made in advance for a registration card stipulating “no party preference.” This card next had to be taken to the polling place, where it could be exchanged for a Democratic provisional ballot, and these “ballots” were then tossed into cardboard boxes at each polling place, the contents of which have still not been fully tabulated, according to some precincts. Sound like an election in Rwanda or the most politically sophisticated country on earth?
(6) Even worse than that, the California Primary itself was a nightmare in this, supposedly the most progressive and diverse State in the Union. There is a distinct possibility that as many as 1.5 million California primary votes either disappeared or have still not been counted. You didn’t hear a single word about this in the popular media, although Huffington Post did produce a widely ignored report on California’s messed-up system.
Writing in Dissident Voice and Counterpunch (“Where Are The Missing California Votes”), Rick Sterling reported:
As of noon the day after the election, the total count is shown to be 1.94M for Hillary and 1.50M for Bernie for a total vote count of 3.44 Million votes. This contrasts with a total vote count of over 5 Million in the 2008 California primary election. Where are all the missing votes? How many provisional votes have not yet been counted?
…given the huge excitement over the Sanders campaign and high interest in the election race, it’s hard to explain such a large decline when the population has increased. One might argue that news reports that Hillary Clinton had already won the race, broadcast on the eve of the election, reduced participation. This is evidence of media bias and spin but it’s hard to see it suppressing the participation of Sanders’ supporters who came out in tens of thousands day after day in cities throughout the state. Huge crowds of Sanders supporters waited for hours to participate enthusiastically in Stockton, Vallejo, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Diego and beyond. It’s hard to see them being fooled or dissuaded from voting by a dubious AP story possibly promoted by the Clinton campaign. (And repeated by MSNBC, all of which just happened to occur the night before the California Primary. –Ed.)
(7) And semi-finally, like Hamlet’s marriage table coldly setting forth the funeral meats, President Obama’s gratuitous hosting of Bernie on the Thursday following the California Primary on Tuesday was inconsequential.. Although Bernie graciously acknowledged that Obama and Biden had withheld support for Hillary during the Primaries (they actually did provide support, although obliquely), but before Bernie and his wife Jane had reached the Rose Garden on his way out of the meaningless meeting, the President had already released a lovely video that had been filmed on the previous Tuesday, extolling the virtues of old Dimple Cheeks, the standard bearer for what is arguably the Obama Third Term.
I don’t know, perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I think there’s something greasy and immoral (even though it may be legal and politically correct) for an incumbent President to support and campaign for a member of his party when he’s supposed to be supporting and equally treating ALL Americans.
(8) And finally, to complete the anvil chorus of Hillary supporters, Senator Elizabeth Warren finally got off the fence, admitting that while her views were closer to Bernie’s than to Hillary’s, she added her endorsement to all the other right-thinking Democrats (Obama is after all a great act to follow). What Clintonesque reward may result isn’t too hard to imagine. In fact, a day later, Hillary mused nationally that Warren “is fully qualified” to be Vice-President.
What is also tempting to imagine is what might have resulted had Warren joined Bernie earlier, and had none of the DNC and Democratic establishment atrocities that we’ve listed taken place.
Instead, the total campaign to extinguish the Bern makes Al Gore’s screwing-over by Florida’s Republican Attorney General and a biased Supreme Court in 2000 look like a cheating game of mumble-peg. And THAT was done by the bad guys.
The year-long hatchet job done on Bernie Sanders is now being sublimated by everybody from Rachel Maddow to Joe Biden, crooning a bygones-be-bygones libretto that Bernie should “work for party unity,” i.e. that all of the 11 million of us should lick the hand that flogged us. As former State Senator Nina Turner (perhaps Bernie’s staunchest surrogate) said on California’s Tuesday night, they screwed us over by blocking independent voters, and now they’re whining to those same independent voters to vote for Hillary.
Not this kid. Regardless of what Bernie does, I’d rather vote for Spongebob Squarepants than the Lilly Maid of Wall Street.
Anybody for a Sanders-Jill Stein ticket? (Imagine what a Sanders-Stein Administration would do to the oriental fish market that is contemporary Washington.) With 11 million voters added to Jill’s current probable 6% following, we might just disrupt the Hillary coronation ceremony.
Would we be helping the lunatic in Trump Tower? I doubt if he’ll still be around, the way he’s been alienating the Republicans lately. Maybe Gary Johnson and his Libertarian candidacy will take care of that.
A four-party system. Now wouldn’t that begin to make a little sense?