Bernie gets a Dove; Hillary gets the Bird

Why is this man smiling? Guess.
Why is this man smiling? Guess.

It is apparently harder to rig caucus results than primaries, since they are based on people actually showing up and registering their views on the condidates. Hence Bernie Sanders Easter Saturday Sweep.

Washington and Alaska have gone solidly for Bernie Sanders, fulfilling expectations that, once the Dems got over canvassing the solid South, the weight of popular opinion would shift inexorably to the Sanders campaign.

Of course, as usual, the corporate media have done their best to downplay the results and keep emphasizing Hillary Clinton’s lead, but the truth is that without her political machine manufacturing false wins through electronic hacking, she would not now be the frontrunner, even with the deep South solidly behind her. Discrepancies between exit polls and electronic vote tallies in Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri and now massive vote rigging in Arizona, have all put a cloud over the Democratic Party’s establishment and their stop-at-nothing to get Wall Street Hillary as their standard bearer.

Despite all the Republican bellyaching over Trump, the truth is that the other GOP candidates in the clown car are no better and when he takes the candidacy (or else) like good little clones all the party stalwarts and mindless voters will line up behind Umpa Lumpa Trumpa and vote for him. In contrast, the Democrats pin all their hopes on a record turn-out to overcome the Republicans vote suppression tactics. But while that strategy will work with Bernie Sanders at the helm, Hillary Clinton simply cannot generate the enthusiasm and idealism necessary to succeed.

In too many primaries this season, voting irregularities favoring Goldwater Girl have occurred.  Can her vote hackers outsmart Karl Rove's GOP voter hackers this fall?
In too many primaries this season, voting irregularities favoring Goldwater Girl have occurred. Can her vote hackers outsmart Karl Rove’s GOP voter hackers this fall?

The Democratic Party abandoned the rural states and abandoned the blue collar workers and let the Republicans savage Unions for decades; Gays got marriage equality thanks to the Ultra-Conservative Supreme Court (think about that one for a minute) and so they will not turn out in large numbers; there is no Black Hope running for the White House, so don’t expect the kind of turnout among them that we saw in 2008 and in the deep South, where Hillary did so well in the primaries, it is guaranteed that the GOP will keep as many Blacks from voting as possible.

Yes, Hillary will get the party stalwarts, some of them; she will get the aging 70’s women’s libbers who will vote for her because simply because of her gender and ignore her Wall Street connections and her support of Honduran murders squads. But millennial women and progressive females who seem to be paying close attention to what the candidates really stand for and will do, are going to vote for Sanders in large numbers but are unlikely to turn out for Goldwater Girl.

The Corporate Media wants us to believe it is a done deal with Wall Street Hillary (CNN’s parent company is one of her biggest contributors, surprise, surprise) but perhaps a higher power has different ideas about the 2016 Election, as witnessed at the Sanders Rally recently in Portland: Sanders Portland Rally. We shall see.

Bernie is visited by the dove of peace; Hillary and Wall Street get the bird.
Bernie is visited by the dove of peace; Hillary and Wall Street get the bird.

 

 

 

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A Terrible Beauty: Easter, 1916

Easter_Proclamation_of_1916

In consideration of the season, following is William Butler Yeats’ famous poem, Easter, 1916.  It is both commentary on, and witness to, the Easter Rebellion in Dublin of that year.  For those familiar with the events, it needs no commentary; however, I will comment on it nevertheless.

The rebellion occurred nearly two years into the Great War, but the “Irish Question” (so-called) was festering well before the war.  In fact, it could be argued that The Troubles” had more to do with Britain’s entry into World War I than any secret alliances His Majesty’s government had argued prior to August of 1914.

Easter Rising Art
“A Terrible Beauty is Born”

Consider this: in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of war, trainbands of volunteer “militia” were forming all over the British Isles, large quantities of munitions were being smuggled into the Emerald Isle and the issue of Irish sovereignty was threatening to break out into open civil war.  Add to that the fact that on the eve of war England had a banking crisis and the prospect of a brief war on the continent may have seemed a preferable alternative to the government then in power at 10 Downing Street at the time. 

When Britain did enter the war, both the Green and the Orange factions competed to see who could volunteer for service in greater numbers to prove their patriotism, so in a sense the ploy did work—for a time.  However the Sinn Fein movement, comparatively small to begin with, did not sympathize with this surge of loyalty to King and Country and during Easter Week of 1916 they launched their ill starred rebellion against the Crown.

Four More ExecutedHis Name Was Connolly

The Easter Rebellion was many things: hopeless, quixotic, foolish; but it ultimately proved successful.  It was a blood sacrifice which turned Irish opinion away from loyalty to Great Britain and towards the goal of a Republican government. 

Eamon de Valera
Eamon de Valera, the only one of the sixteen leaders of the Rebellion not to be executed.  As each leader went to his death, public sympathy for the rebels grew and turned against the English government.  Ultimately, their deaths were a blood sacrifice which led to Irish independence.

But the Easter Rebellion also invoked the terrible specter of civil war in Ireland.  Of course, this was an old ghost insofar as Ireland was concerned; centuries before the English crown had consciously setting two religious groups against each other in Ireland as strategy for maintaining control. 

After World War I, His Majesty’s government would employ the exact same strategy in Palestine to hold on to its conquest from that war—and we can all see how well that worked out.

 Easter, 1916

I HAVE met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse –
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

—–William Butler Yeats

 

 

Hillary LOSES March 22 Candidate Races!

Why is this man smiling? Guess.
Why is this man smiling? Guess.

In a carefully unpublicized upset, Bernie Sanders has managed to win in the trifecta of western elections Tuesday night.  Although Sanders won in number of committed delegates (the only numbers which truly matter in the race) you would not have known it from the major media’s coverage of it last night.

The March 22 races for the Democratic Party candidate were crucial to win for the well-funded Clinton political machine.  The Sanders insurgency has so far upset all the plans for Wall Street’s anointed candidate, Hillary Clinton, to effortlessly be crowned the Democratic candidate for President.  Their anointed Republican candidate, Jeb Bush, despite being well-funded, failed to gain any traction in the early Republican primaries and caucuses and finally admitted defeat.  This just leaves Goldwater Girl Hillary as their last best hope, although in the end any candidate willing to take their money will do.

Clouding the election night results was the terrible tragedy of Terrorist attacks in Brussels, which ISIS managed to carry out despite Belgian authorities having their leader in custody. The big news yesterday would have been the electoral results had it not been for this unexpected event.  Regardless of the facts, the major networks, whose bias against the Sanders campaign has been apparent from the very beginning, managed to turn the election results on their head and somehow proclaim Hillary Clinton the winner last night.

For those who did not stay up to watch the complete results, or who, like the media pundits, are incapable of doing the math, the result are these:

Arizona: 85 delegates total.  Hillary: 41  Sanders: 22

Utah: 37 delegates total.       Hillary:   5   Sanders:  17

Idaho: 27 delegates total.      Hillary:  5    Sanders: 18

Net Delegates Gained:            Hillary 51     Sanders: 57

The Arizona primary was closed to any new voters wishing to join the electoral process, so in essence it was only legacy democrats voting, who, if the past is indication, will not be enough to secure the Democrats the White House this year.  Even though it was open only to party stalwarts, Bernie Sanders still managed to secure about 37% of the votes in that primary.  In Utah and Idaho, which were open to new voters as well as old, Bernie Sanders enjoyed landslides in both states.

As the race for the Democratic candidacy heads west, the Sanders Campaign will gain more momentum.  Sanders Rally in Portlandia.
As the race for the Democratic candidacy heads west, the Sanders Campaign will gain more momentum. Sanders Rally in Portlandia.

So who won?  The Corporate news media is trying desperately to spin it as a Clinton win, yet with a majority of delegates going to Sanders and a majority of states under consideration also going to the Sanders camp, Tuesday night’s results cannot be considered anything but a clear win for the Sanders Campaign.

 

Legacy Voters and the Looming Demise of Neo-Liberal Democrats

Since the Reagan Era, the Democratic Party, despite having once been the standard bearer of the basic values of the New Deal, has continually failed to live up to anything remotely resembling its responsibility to the American public.  The reasons for this have been obvious for some time, yet the party establishment continues to turn a blind eye to its own fundamental flaws.

The fundamental changes began in the late sixties, in particular with the 1968 Democratic Convention.  That event was a disaster for the New Deal Democrats in a number of ways.  First off, the convention marked the last gasp of the Democratic Party Dixiecrats.

Ever since the advent of the New Deal there had been an inner struggle in the Democratic Party between its Progressive Wing and the Segregationists.  In 1968 the Segregationist "Dixiecrats" left and joined the GOP.
Ever since the advent of the New Deal there had been an inner struggle in the Democratic Party between its Progressive Wing and the Segregationists. In 1968 the Segregationist “Dixiecrats” left and joined the GOP.

Ever since FDR there had been an uneasy coalition of Southern Democrats, who espoused white supremacy but remained with the party for the benefits that the New Deal conferred on the South: rural electrification, the TVA, Federal road programs and other perks of being part of party which promoted national recovery; all this outweighed its increasingly progressive stands regarding its tilt towards civil rights for Southern Democrats.  Also, the Democratic Party wasn’t the hated party of Lincoln—in essence they continued to vote Democratic because they were legacy voters.   But when the party began seating integrated delegations for certain Southern states, the Segregationist wing finally walked out of the Democratic Party—and walked straight into the Republican Party.  Since that time GOP has continued to use “dog whistle” politics to rally racists to their party, without overtly espousing racism.

"Dog Whistle" Politics: using code words to appeal to racists that may sound innocuous but lets the target audience know you're one of them.
“Dog Whistle” Politics: using code words to appeal to racists that may sound innocuous but lets the target audience know you’re one of them.

 

Once upon a time, the Republicans had also benefited from their own legacy voting block—African Americans.  For generations, the GOP was still the party of Lincoln to African Americans, even though the party had sold them out in 1876 to Southern whites, promising to end Reconstruction in order to retain the presidency.  Then, in 1927, a massive flood of the Mississippi River inundated large parts of the deep South: 27,000 square miles of land was inundated up to a depth of 30 feet.  200,000 Blacks were flooded out of their homes and lived in relief camps for long stretches of time.  While Whites and Blacks alike were affected, Blacks were neglected by the white leadership of the South.  The Republicans made promises to African Americans to help them recover from the widespread destruction of their homes and livelihood, but many of the promises made by President Herbert Hoover to Blacks were broken.  This caused widespread disillusion among a core constituency of legacy voters of the GOP and Hoover lost to FDR in 1932.  From 1932 onward, Blacks began voting Democratic—not initially because the Democrats were all that much better, but because the Republicans had abandoned them.  As time went on, however, the Democratic Party sided more and more with African Americans needs and wants.

Hillary Clinton talks the talk but walks with the banksters and Wall Street oligarchs.
Hillary Clinton talks the talk but walks with the banksters and Wall Street oligarchs.

Today we see a Democratic Party which, like the GOP of the 1920’s, has neglected and abandoned not one, but several of its core constituencies.  In the 1980’s blue collar workers began voting Republican—the so-called Reagan Democrats—not because the Republicans were doing all that much more for them, but because the Democrats had taken them for granted and were doing nothing to secure their loyalty with positive programs.  Worse still, many Democrats, seeing the perceived ideological success of the Reagan presidency, decided to abandon the ideals of the New Deal and started cozying up to the big money of Wall Street and started promoting anti-labor, job killing programs such as NAFTA (thanks for nothing Bill Clinton).  These so-called Neo Liberals retained the superficial trappings of the party: nominal support of civil rights, paying lip service to women’s rights, and the preservation of Social Security and Medicare, if half-heartedly.  But more and more, Neo-Liberals have been anything but liberal and more and more the docile lap-dogs of Wall Street banks.  In effect, they have turned the Democratic Party into what has been dubbed “Republican Light” and as more than one political pundit has observed, why should voters turn out for a watered down Republican agenda, when they can simply vote for the real thing?

"Goldwater Girl" Hillary worked for Conservative Barry Goldwater in 1962 even as Bernie Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights in Chicago.
“Goldwater Girl” Hillary worked for Conservative Barry Goldwater in 1962 even as Bernie Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights in Chicago.

Americans of African Descent turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012 in record numbers, largely based on his race, but also for his promises of real economic change.  In 2008 Obama promised all Americans a fundamental change in the way politics would be done in DC; the Republicans vowed to block him at every turn.  Sadly, the Republicans have largely succeeded, while most of Obama’s promises have been broken.

Even when he had a majority in Congress, President Obama did next to nothing to pursue the Progressive promises he had made to the American people.  His political opponents labeled him a “radical leftist” and socialist, but in truth, Obama proved to be yet another Neo-Liberal, yet another Wall Street Democrat.  To be sure, he passed some healthcare reforms; but it was the program first proposed by the Conservative Heritage Foundation—basically Romney care writ large.

On other fronts, Obama proved himself even less progressive and less reformist: his appointee for Attorney General was a Wall Street lawyer who refused to prosecute any of the criminal actions of the banksters and corporate thieves who nearly brought about world fiscal collapse.  His Secretary of Education, it also turns out, was a big promoter of privatization of public schools—something which enriches private corporations at public expense and leaves public education worse off than if nothing had been done.

With Obama no longer around to turn out the Black vote, unless the Dems can offer solid economic and political reasons for them to go to the polls, it is likely African Americans will sit out the 2016 elections.  Hillary Clinton has the endorsement of many Black leaders, true; but her Neo-Liberal policies will do nothing to help African Americans and may well prove very harmful to them economically.

Bernie Sanders in 1962 organizing a protest against police brutality in Chicago.
Bernie Sanders in 1962 organizing a protest against police brutality in Chicago.

Democrats of this Neo-Liberal stink tank school put great faith in demographics; they look at the growing numbers of Hispanics and other minorities and assume that these ethnic groups will automatically vote Democratic in coming election cycles.  This is a delusion; if you do not give them a reason to support your party they will not go out and vote.  The Neo Liberals want to have their corporate cake and get to eat it as well.  They are so very, very, wrong.

Just as Blacks deserted the Republicans because the party had abandoned them, the majority of middle class Americans, as well as all those minority demographic groups Neo Liberals assume will vote their way, are at the very least likely to stay home and allow the reactionaries of the newer, uglier GOP to continue to rule.  Sadly, many adherents to the Tea Party who call themselves Conservative don’t understand that the party they serve is out to savage their own Social Security, Medicare and VA benefits; by the time they wake to their mistake, it may well prove too late to undo.  So it is very important for some alternative to the reactionary right to be presented to voters, and so far the Democratic Party has failed dismally at that task.  If all the Dems can offer is the same old Neo-Liberal lies such as Goldwater Girl Hillary offers, the party has only a marginal chance of winning the White House and no chance of taking back Congress to actually get things done.

The future of the Democratic Party—if there is one—lies with listening to the voices of insurgents such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  People of all backgrounds, races and age groups are flocking to Bernie Sanders’ banner, not because he is particularly charismatic or charming—he is not—but because of the policies and issues he espouses.  Bernie Sanders policies are not radically new, far from it; they are a basic reaffirmation of the New Deal agenda and its Progressive predecessors, adapted for the modern day.  This is what voters are responding too and will turn out in record numbers for; not the failed policies that have transferred the wealth of the middle class to the 1% who seek to turn our nation into an oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders being arrested in a non-violent Civil Rights demonstration in 1963.
Bernie Sanders being arrested in a non-violent Civil Rights demonstration in 1963.

So long as the Dems remain wedded to Wall Street and economic abominations such as the TPP, the party will fail. Eventually, if both parties continue to kowtow to the Wall Street oligarchs, the banksters, and the neo-fascist Koch suckers, new parties will arise to replace them.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

 

 

Which side is the Black Lives Matter Movement on?

In a primary season fertile in unpredictability, extremism and just plain weirdness, you have to go some way to stand out as the wild hamster of politics, but the Black Lives Matter and allied movements have managed to achieve that status.  Unfortunately, BLM and others who are new to Progressive politics and Civil Rights are, so far, doing their cause more harm than good.

The Obama Presidency, which started out as the crowning achievement of African Americans’ quest for full equality and integration into American society, has instead presided over a resurgence of overt racism and bigotry.  That’s not President Obama’s fault, but his passivity in the face of overt racism and bigotry is.  No longer content to simply use the ‘dog whistle’ politics, the Republican Party has chosen to enable the worst elements of their party and legitimize them.  Dog Whistle politics is nothing new to the GOP, but along with it they are engaging in massive efforts to disenfranchise Blacks, Latinos and whoever else they think might not vote their way.

Meanwhile, the American public has been horrified to witness unarmed African Americans murdered in cold blood by police, with government officials colluding in and whitewashing these outrageous acts.  Even some right wing politicians took pause at what has happened to our country when they witnessed armored cars and machine-gun armed cops dressed more for Iraq turn out to suppress peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri.  Part and parcel with these acts of police brutality is the militarization of police forces across the nation.  Of course, what do you expect when you are continually declaring war on crime, war on drugs, war on running stop signs, war on jaywalking, etc.  and while politicians are being bribed and goaded by the Prison Industrial Complex to lock as many people up to enrich for profit prison corporations?

Enter Black Lives Matter and others of the same ilk from out of nowhere, outraged and angry.  The outrage and anger is legitimate and most Americans of any color would agree with them, except that they have gone about it in a manner calculated to alienate those most sympathetic to the cause.  Jumping up on stage when a candidate is speaking, in an age of terrorism and when we have seen too many Progressive politicians murdered since the sixties, seems more calculated to put themselves as individuals in the spotlight, rather than the issues the purport to support.  Too many in BLM seem interested in self aggrandizement rather than real progress.

Mind you, their basic premise is absolutely correct.  For example, there was the case where a black couple is killed in a hail of gunfire by cops because their car backfired while passing a precinct station; one of the cops, jumped on the hood of the car and pumped 16 bullets into the elderly couple; but he was not indicted because, the judge said, they couldn’t know if those 16 bullets out of the 150 shot were the fatal shots!  A black man is shot down in Walmart because he is handling a toy gun; a black youth in an OPEN CARRY state is shot down with another toy gun without even being given a chance to drop it.  Cops shoot first and think later and do so with impunity.  So yes, these and other acts are outrageous and should not be tolerated anymore—as they never should have been tolerated to start with.

But rather that protesting against the Republican legislators and district attorneys who enable this psychopathic behavior by police, BYM disrupts Bernie Sanders rallies, purposefully discrediting and disrupting the one candidate who is seriously committed to ending police abuse today—and who was protesting police brutality in Chicago long before they were ever born.

Bursting into a private Hillary fundraiser was perhaps more justifiable, although no less obnoxious.  But even here, the real issue of that meeting–that those attending it were billionaires, banker and oligarchs who were all backing Goldwater Girl Hillary with their millions—was ignored. The BYM protester managed to distract the media pundits from her civil rights message by the manner of her performance art.  In this and other incidents, their reason for disrupting the meeting is lost on the media pundits—their own grandstanding becomes the main focus of the news media.

The shutting down of the Trump rally last week in Chicago was not the doing of BLM, admittedly, but here again the intent of disrupting that rally was lost on the media and in the end did more harm than good.  Corporate media immediately portrayed Trump as the victim and the protestors as aggressors.  Trump even managed to pin the blame on Bernie Sanders for the disruption, despite the absurdity of the accusation.  Way to go, protesters!

What the mainstream media mainly focused on in this case was that demonstrators were throwing punches at Trump supporters.  In fairness, Trump’s choice of a U. of Illinois campus, whose student body was predominantly composed of ethnic minorities and immigrants, was probably deliberately provocative; filling the campus with Trump’s redneck and radical right supporters were the equivalent of waiving a red flag at a bull.  Also, from the footage, it was unclear who began throwing the punches first; perhaps the demonstrators were simply defending themselves against assault.  But that doesn’t matter: the message of that Chicago student protest was totally forgotten in reports of the melee.  Left wing violence was what got reported, whether that was a true portrayal events or not.

More than a generation ago, I produced a syndicated radio news show, where we taped an interview with Marshal McLuhan and another University of Toronto associate.  It was rather like an intellectual tag team wrestling match, with the two authors completing each other’s sentences in the interview.  McLuhan’s ideas about media and communications have become so familiar as to become trite; but many of McLuhan’s ideas remain relevant and especially in this present instance.

Marshall McLuhan coined the term “the Media is the Massage” which, besides being a clever turn of phrase, implied that the form of your communication is often more important than the actual content of the message itself. If you are trying to protest violence against minorities by police, yet you yourself visually communicate a message of violence, you hurt your cause, not help it.  It doesn’t matter one bit whether your intentions are good, if you give those who oppose you propaganda  to continue to obstruct that progress.  Others may disagree with me, but I maintain that BYM and other newbies the Civil Rights have been counterproductive, if not outright inimical to their stated goals.

In the 1960’s, demonstrators like Bernie Sanders and others used non-violent demonstrations, passive resistance, sit-ins and similar tactics for good reason; these methodologies employed was carefully thought so that opponents could not claim the moral high ground, especially when their racist opponents perpetrated violence against them.

Non-Violence is not an easy program to carry out; it not only requires self-restraint, it requires a great deal of moral courage.  When verbal insults and physical threats are hurled at you, it is natural to react in kind, but that is exactly the wrong sort of response; that defeats the very message you are trying to convey. The Civil Rights demonstrators of the sixties knew all this.  Apparently that lesson needs to be learned all over again–otherwise it is doomed to failure.

In just the last few years we have seen a dramatic rollback of voting rights and civil rights, this coming after a generation of rollbacks in worker’s rights and the rapid disintegration of the middle class,  as the top 1% have accrued more and more wealth and power to themselves.  Always bear in mind that racism is almost always based in economics; both the white trash racists and their minority victims are playing a game of musical chairs and are both fighting for the remaining chairs that haven’t been taken away from them by the 1%.  So wise up and stop playing by the billionaire’s rules.

A re-dedication to social and economic justice is needed and those new to the struggle, like the members of Black Lives Matter and the other recent arrivals are welcome—but don’t attack those who are on your side and don’t enable the enemies of social and economic justice with actions and images that end up hurting that cause.  Just sayin.