- DNC Convention
- Anti-Eyster Push-poll
- AVHC Funding
- Stenberg Arrested
- Second-class Citizen
- Yesterday's Catch
- Estranged Couples Address Bill
- Blaming Ralph
- The Hollow Men
- Moratorium Days
- Flawed Delta Premise
- Harper's Appalling
- Eviction Protest
SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER: Notes From The Democratic Convention
by Jeffrey St. Clair
+ First things first. I want to apologize to the Sandernistas, to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you, after Bernie wiped out your votes and muted your voices, after he turned you over to the DNC’s thuggish floor managers and security guards, after he sat passively as your brave chants of “No More Drones” were drowned out by the fascist war-cry of “USA! USA!!” I want to apologize for doubting your resolve. I want to apologize without qualification. You didn’t cry when Bernie betrayed you. Not for long. You marched right back into the Wells Fargo Center intent on spoiling the party. You didn’t sour on your ideals. You refused to be domesticated. You pissed on their carpet. You shouted down their war criminals. You made this squalid affair fun for a few precious hours. And that ain’t bad. Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is cracking a smile (though perhaps not at the spectacle of Meryl Streep ripping off his wardrobe during her bewildering performance, an act so incoherent it made one long for the Absurdist theater of Clint Eastwood and his empty chair routine.)
+ I woke up this morning with a hangover that has defied the usual remedies. Too much mezcal from the Kaine Drinking Game (one shot for every reversal of a long-held position). Too many hours of tedium, dread and bombast. For relief, I turned to the Holy Text itself, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: 72 and drank in HTS’s savage denunciation of lesser-evil voting:
“How many more of these goddam elections are we going to have to write off as lame but ‘regrettably necessary’ holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me at least the 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils? I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing, this year, is Beating Nixon. But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 — and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.”
Ah, I feel better now. Will someone please fax that to Professor Chomsky?
+ Trump took to Twitter early this morning, as his hair was being replastered into place, and denounced the All Star lineup at the Democratic Convention last night as an orgy of “empty rhetoric.” He wasn’t wrong. The whole affair had the feel of one of those rock concerts featuring bands from the 1970s. The first few phrases were thrilling, then it all started to fade away into a nostalgic stream of familiar hooks and licks you’ve heard a thousand times before on Classic Rock AM radio. All played very well with magnificent staging and a dazzling light show, yet utterly antiseptic. The curious Tim Kaine interlude was the lone exception. It was hard to tell if his performance was camp or kitsch.
+ Here’s another reason to like Harry Reid and lament his looming retirement from the Senate. Shortly after his speech at the Democratic Convention, Reid laid some wood on the DNC. He said he was appalled by the DNC’s efforts to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ campaign, saying “Sanders didn’t get a fair deal.” Reid was asked if the Democratic Party has a back-up plan if further damaging emails emerge that might cripple Clinton. He shrugged his shoulders and said flatly, “No.” Then again maybe Bernie deserved his fate. After all, he went along with the crushing of his campaign willingly enough, kind of like Al Gore in 2000, when he refused to challenge his own stolen election. Bernie basked in the spotlight of his great betrayal, a surrender marketed as “unity.” He savored each small, patronizing mention of his name last night by Kaine, Biden and Obama. Meanwhile, Sanders capitulated to demands from the DNC that he agree to prohibit own of his most ardent supporters, Nina Turner, the black former state senator from Ohio, from appearing on stage to place his name in nomination. “If it were Beyoncé,” Susan Sarandon fumed, “they would’ve made it work.” It’s even worse than that, Susan. The DNC is giving prime time slots on the stage to lesser talents than Beyoncé, including Carole King and Katy Perry. Turner’s crime? She’s refused to kneel down and endorse Clinton. Bernie’s crime? He choose Hillary or Nina Turner. I tell you again: there’s a reason so many blacks were suspicious about Sanders from the very beginning.
+ The New York Times reports that after spending most of the spring in hiding, mega-donors are flocking back to the Clinton campaign. With Bernie vanquished and pacified, it is now safe for the powerbrokers of the Clinton cash machine to re-emerge, after being asked by the campaign to be discreet during the primaries. Now hedge funders, insurance execs, Big Pharma lobbyists and securities traders can get back to the business of wining and dining the Clinton Team with style. Don’t worry though. This is their last hurrah, before Hillary, you know, Citizens United and slums shut the access door on them permanently (wink, wink)…
+ Ned Sublette, author of the monumental American Slave Coast, writes to remind me that Bill Clinton did a 180 on Cuba policy. He campaigned on a pledge to normalize relations with Cuba, then in 1996 did the opposite when he signed the vicious Helms-Burton Act, which tightened the embargo on Cuba nearly to the point of strangulation. The man who prodded Clinton to do so? Leon Panetta. Hit the replay button and shout him down again, in Spanish this time.
+ We will no doubt be bombarded tonight with a cluster bomb of references to Hillary’s brittle little book, It Takes a Village, which Cockburn savagely reviewed in The Nation, earning him a raft of rebukes from the feminist lobby. Here’s a nugget that sums up the Clintonian approach to the exploitation of children for their political advantage:
“The Clintonite passion for talking about children as ‘investments’ tells the whole story. Managed capitalism (progressivism’s ideal, minted in the Teddy Roosevelt era) needs regulation, and just as the stock market requires—somewhat theoretically these days—the Security and Exchange Commission, so too does the social investment (a child) require social workers, shrinks, guidance counselors and the whole vast army of the helping professions, to make sure the investment yields a respectable rate of return.
“The do-good progressives at the start of the century saw the family—particularly the immigrant family—as a conservative institution. So, they attacked it. Then their preferred economic system—consumer capitalism—began to sunder under the social fabric, and so today’s do-gooders say that the family and the children, our ‘investment,’ must be saved by any means necessary. When the FBI was getting ready to incinerate the Branch Davidians they told Janet Reno the group’s children were being abused. Save them, she cried. They went at it and all, including the children, were burned alive.”
+ Chuck Schumer: “I’m not worried about the white working class voters. For every blue collar white male we lose, we’ll gain two college educated women voters in the suburbs.” I’d put my money on the TPP passing before Christmas.
What else would you expect from Schumer? The only regular interaction he has with working class people is the elevator operator at Citibank when he rides up to the executive suite to pick up a campaign check.
I’ll give Schumer this much. Though the Senator looks a little awkward, he must be a remarkable athlete. All these years racing from one TV camera to the next and not even a sprained ankle.
+ I used to admire Laurence Tribe. I don’t remember why now. I have a vague memory of him as a fierce defender of free speech and civil liberties. But here he is serving as a Clinton attack dog for the red-baiting of Donald Trump. In lockstep with the National Security elites, Tribe ludicrously said Trump’s snarky remarks asking Russia to return Hillary’s missing emails may have violated US law. If so, then you’d expect someone like Tribe to rush off to court to have such a law stricken down as unconstitutional. He knows it’s all bullshit, but is apparently happy to play his role in the new McCarthyism. Perhaps Tribe thinks he’s finally going to land on the Supreme Court. I’d support a Rand Paul-led filibuster against him. Have you no shame, professor?
+ Expect some flood warnings as the tears begin to flow when the nation celebrates its own enlightenment in finally nominating a woman for president. The rest of the world will view this “historic moment” as something of a participation trophy. Eighty-five women from 54 different nations have already been elected or appointed as heads of government starting in 1960 with Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Women have led governments in: India, Israel, Central African Republic, UK, Portugal, Dominica, Norway, Pakistan, Lithuania, Bangladesh, France, Poland, Turkey, Canada, Burundi, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Haiti, Guyana, New Zealand, Mongolia, New Zealand, Northern Cyprus, Senegal, South Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Finland, Peru, Mozambique, Macedonia, Urkaine, Bahamas, Germany, Jamiaca, Ukraine, Moldova, Haiti, Iceland, Croatia, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Slovakia, Mali, Thailand, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, Slovenia, Latvia, Transnistria, Poland, Namibia, Greece, and Myanmar.
+ Terry O’Neill, head of Now, was asked about the tardiness of the US in relation to the rest of the world in electing a female head of state. Her response was a strange, almost misogynistic putdown of other women world leaders. “Many of them weren’t feminists. Hillary was a born feminist. It was a harder road for her.” USA! USA!
If Elizabeth Dole or Sarah Palin had somehow been elected president, I wonder if NOW would have put an asterisk by their names?
+ Working class hero Sherrod Brown, the Ohio senator who was snubbed for the VP slot, told CNN that: “We’re going to win in part by showing that Trump is a hypocrite on trade.” Did he run this message by Hillary and Kaine?
+ So far it’s 6 for 6. 6 speakers 6 “God Bless Americas.” There goes Tammy Duckworth. Make that 7 for 7. Despite the allegation by Ben Carson that Hillary communes with Lucifer, it’s looking like it will be another big night for God.
+ Here comes Elizabeth Warren to give yet another testimonial to her new BFF, HRC: “Hillary is a fighter who never gives up for the people who need her most.” Like Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and Benjamin Netanyahu. You can take it to the bank.
+ Joaquin Castro, the rising political star from Texas, is now on stage talking about how sensitive Hillary is to the plight of Mexican immigrants and undocumented aliens. This wasn’t always the case and who really knows if it is now. During the NAFTA debates, the Clinton administration went hard after the perils of Mexican immigration, using language that Trump may have cribbed. Al Gore even went so far as to blame Mexican immigrants for the spread of Satanic abuse in the US. This was a double lie. First, Mexican immigrants weren’t practicing Satanic abuse (or Santeria, as the Clinton people also alleged). And second there was NO Satanic abuse epidemic. Hard to document even a single real case. But these pernicious and racist lies helped sell the deal that continues to debilitate people on both sides of the border.
Remember that Hillary strongly backed the cruel Obama administration policy of rounding up thousands of immigrant children and sending them back to Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. When Sanders confronted her once or twice, she essentially pulled a Madeleine Albright and said it was the right thing to do. All for the children, you understand.
+ Chris Cuomo is giving a tribute to his father Mario Cuomo, both of whom worked as lawyers for…Donald Trump. Trumps and Cuomos go way back. In fact, Donald encouraged Mario to run for president in 1988 (he hated Bush) and Mario urged Donald to run for governor of NY, after he stepped down. Bi-partisanship you can believe. (See Wayne Barrett’s Trump: the Deals and the Downfall)
Cuomo is attacking Trump for “selling fear,” as he simultaneously sells fear of Trump. The Republicans sell a dark dystopian fear. While the Democrats sell fear with a smile and a drone strike.
+ Melania Trump’s petty crime of word theft was much less noxious than the Democrats flagrant cribbing of the GOP’s rabid USA! USA!! chants.
+ Nancy Pelosi, defender of the poor & alleged inside stock (Visa) trader. Net Worth: $58 million. Who says West Coast liberalism doesn’t pay?
Pelosi mumbles unintelligible syllables into the microphone for five minutes and flies off to check her portfolio to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”
+ Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have shown up to talk about how Hillary practices the “poetry of doing.” Doing what, one might ask? Steenburgen, a native Arkansan, is the woman Bill Clinton took out to dinner the night he executed the brain-damaged Ricky Ray Rector to boost his poll numbers in the 1992 campaign. There’s ice running through those Clinton veins. Mary Steenburgen, the woman Bill Clinton took out to dinner the night he executed the brain-damaged Ricky Ray Rector to boost his poll numbers in the 1992 campaign. It’s one thing to mock the disabled; it’s something else entirely to put them to death for your own political advancement.
+ Have the speakers tonight been instructed to be boring in order to make Hillary seem livelier by contrast? Or are they just flatline boring by nature?
+ I said last night that Obama’s speech was written in the key of Reagan. Now here is one Reagan’s speechwriters, Doug Elmets, giving a full-throated & unconditional endorsement of Clinton, as the true heir of the Reagan legacy. Can anyone prove him wrong?
+ Yet another cop at the Mic, a moment of silence for the fallen police and speeches from relatives of dead officers. The Democrats have featured more cops as prime time speakers than the GOP, all of them lecturing about how “violence isn’t the solution” to anything. Since January 1, 668 civilians have been killed by police.
+ DNC Convention Motto for Coronation Night: “God, the flag and drones.”
There seem to be more flags in the hall tonight than at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Curiously, despite the non-step odes to the dead, none are being waved at half-staff. Thanks for the memories…
+ Rev. William Barber: “Jesus, a brown-skinned, Palestinian Jew…” Can’t wait to see how Bill O’Reilly explicates that tomorrow night.
Whoops, he said Palestinian again! They may have to pull Rev. Barber off the stage to keep him from saying the word “Palestinians” once more. By a special order of the convention rules, “Palestinians” are only allowed two mentions for the week.
+ The chants of USA, USA!! during Khizr Khan’s moving and powerful speech about his slain son is revolting. Do you have to be a “patriotic” American Muslim to enjoy the rights of the constitution that Khan showed? If you are a “patriotic Pakistani” does that protect you from a CIA drone strike?
+ Gen. Allen’s deranged speech could have been written by Donald Rumsfeld. Perhaps it was. I feel like I’ve just watched the first 45 minutes of Full-Metal Jacket again.
+ Trump has really gotten under the skin of the military-security establishment. His repeated swipes at NATO did it. They’ve united behind HRC. You’ve got to give him that. On the other hand, it gives an ominous new meaning to “Stronger Together.”
+ Who knew the Democratic National Convention would turn into a military recruitment video?
+ How can they possibly top this? A live drone strike on the big screen?
+ Two parties, both proto-fascist. How to choose?
+ If I were the Iranians and North Koreans, I’d be hardening my bunkers, pronto. Assad should probably book a room at the nearest Ecuadoran Embassy.
+ Gen. Allen just annihilated every humane sentiment expressed in Rev. Barber’s powerful sermon. Perhaps that was the point.
+ We begin to see the outlines of Hillary’s economic plan: military Kaine-sianism.
+ Bernie, how do you like your party now?
+ I wouldn’t be shocked if those super-charged delegates goose-step out of the Wells Fargo Center tonight to invade Delaware, waving their flags and chanting USA, USA!!! all the way to Dover.
+ Boomer, our Australian Shepherd, still hasn’t emerged from the closet where he fled during Gen. Allen’s war rant. Who can blame him?
+ Hillary has already out-Thatchered the Iron Lady and she hasn’t been elected yet. She’s made the complete metamorphosis from a Goldwater girl to a McGovern woman to a Reagan granny.
+ Mission Impossible: Chelsea trying to humanize her mother after the blood-thirsty madness of the previous 30 minutes.
+ Chelsea says her mother lost the fight for “universal health care.” Not true. Her plan wasn’t for “universal health care”, another market oriented scheme called “Managed Competition” and she fucked up that through her own incompetence and hubris, setting back the cause of single-payer by at least a generation. No wonder Chelsea decided not to go to med school.
+ “How many times will she leave her mark? How many ways will she light up the world?” the disembodied voice of Morgan Freeman asks. Well, how many drones and cruise missiles can Lockheed and Boeing manufacture in four years?
+ The word of the night is fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. I don’t know if the children are scared, but I am.
+ I am Woman, hear my missiles ROAR!
+ People in the audience are crying. I’m crying. I don’t think we’re crying for the same reasons.
+ Hillary looks and sounds more and more like Cersei Lannister with each new speech.
+ Hillary once again embraces Reagan to bash Trump. Reagan left the Democratic Party in the 1950s, but the Party apparently never left him.
+ I’m getting a weird vibe that they might actually bring out Qaddafi’s head on a pike.
+ HRC says the “service part” always came more naturally to her than the “public part”. Well, that explains the private email server…
+ In her brisk recitation of the Rodham family history, Hillary somehow left out the fact that her father was a John Bircher. Of course, by the end of Hillary’s 2nd term her father may seem as meek as George McGovern.
+ Does Hillary cough every time she lies, or does she cough every time see stumbles into the truth?
+ Note the repeated emphasis on “believe” instead of “know” in Hillary’s description of her political ideology. My friend John Trudell used to warn against the “believers.” “Think more, believe less” he said. In Hillary’s case, “believe” is likely shorthand for “make-believe.”
+ The comparisons of HRC to Lady Macbeth are grossly unfair…to Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth had a conscience.
+ She says she loves to talk about her “plans.” Has she started yet? I haven’t heard one specific plan. Maybe she’s talking about her invasion plans. Oh, yes, she getting around to that now…
- Pledge fealty to Israel. Check.
- Defend NATO. Check.
- Bash Russia. Check.
- Destroy ISIS (by funding Al Qaeda?). Check.
- Praise the Generals. Check.
- Hail our military (and its defense contractors) as a national treasure. Check.
- Salute the troops. Check.
- America is great. Check.
- America is good. Check.
- America is not a bully. Check.
- Manifest Destiny. Check.
- God bless America. Check.
+ Unlike Hillary’s idol Ronald Reagan, there was no pledge to eliminate nuclear weapons. Just a vow to have a more stable hand on the button than Trump. Like that Harry Truman. Duck and cover.
+ How appropriate that it all ends with Hillary and Kaine standing before a golden (or is it, Goldman?) shower raining down on America!
+ As a final blessing, Hillary’s preacher has come out to confirm at last what we’ve long suspected: there’s a Methodism to her Madness.
+ All Sandernistas should leave the Wells Fargo Center before they lock the exits. (See Red Wedding.)
+ Hillary passed her audition. She’s the authentic Queen of Chaos and when she stoops, she stoops to conquer.
* * *
Night Of The Hollow Men: Notes From The Democratic Convention
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Since my CounterPunch co-editor Joshua Frank prefers to go surfing rather than do his reportorial duty and watch the DNC Convention from gavel-to-gavel, he’s telling me that I have to write another account of Wednesday night’s proceedings. I’m not sure I’m up to it ‘frankly.’ What would Hunter Thompson do? Oh, yes, he would get his body and mind in fighting form by having breakfast. I guess I’ll follow the good Doctor’s example: “Four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned-beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert.” All to be consumed while naked. Snarf! Sniff! Belch! ALRIGHT! I’m primed. Bring on Biden!
Margie Kidder was one of Hunter Thompson’s best friends. I asked her if this menu remotely resembled his real appetites. Margie told me that she and Hunter were together during the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco, where his main obsession was in scoring some cocaine to get him juiced for covering the tedium of the convention.
“Here’s what Hunter would do,” Margie told me. “He believed firmly in getting your cocaine first, which at that convention involved spending a lot of time with a gay friend of mine he referred to in his writing as ‘the bowl of fruit.’ Then you got your drinks lined up and we would sit and watch the TV in the press room. I kept insisting in going out onto the floor to interview what often turned out to be ex-lovers of mine, who I couldn’t really quote for obvious reasons. He was disgusted with me. At one point, back at the St Francis hotel, Hunter screamed down the hall at me ‘You are a political neophyte! You are a dangerous woman!’ Then he went off to a party at Ann Getty’s house or apartment and called her a fascist dyke and punched a hole in her living room wall and Pat Caddell (the Democratiic pollster) and I had to race over with my trans driver Greta and our 1960s Cadillac convertible loaned to me by the gay community and rescue Hunter from the well-dressed and horrified Democrats. Sen Patrick Leahy thought he was funny. Few other Democrats did. But then Leahy often rode around with us in that Cadillac.”
Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton’s former BFF (second now to Elizabeth Warren), mentor to Tim Kaine in the art of political grifting and current governor of Virginia, has an ego the size of Trump Tower. McAuliffe knows all of the Clintons secrets. He knows what they think and how they deal. McAuliffe gave an early morning interview to Politico, where he confided to the reporter that Hillary was only pretending to oppose the TPP to neuter one of Bernie Sanders’s main campaign themes. The governor assured the reporter that after the election Hillary would once again support the job-killing trade pact with a few cosmetic adjustments. The McAuliffe Leak exposed the worst kept secret in Washington.
Bill O’Reilly did his best last night to calm a perplexed nation, still reeling from Michelle Obama’s allegation, which had not been vetted by the Texas School Book Commission, that slaves had built the White House. Yes, it’s true, O’Reilly told his anxious viewers, but relax the slave construction workers were, in fact, “well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” With these ameliorating words from a professional historian, Fox Nation slept soundly.
A few days ago, Michael Moore hauled himself like a stranded walrus onto the set of the Bill Maher Show, where he predicted that Trump was going to win in the fall. Those of us who know Michael Moore knew that this was a con, a scare tactic to drive potential Greens, Libertarians or stay-at-home anarchists to vote for HRC. Michael Moore does this every general election. Flirts with a Third Party candidate, then folds. He has previously confessed his obsession with Hillary, an obsession that borders on the sexual.
In his book, Downsize This!, Moore confessed his “forbidden love” for Hillary. He described her as “one hot shitkickin’ feminist babe.”
Now into my inbox lands a message from Moore under the subject heading: “Add Your Name?” How quaint, I thought, I didn’t think we’d been on speaking terms since his deplorable betrayal of Nader in 2004. I was crushed to discover that this was actually a fundraising letter for MoveOn.org, imploring me to join with Moore and Lena “friggin‘” Dunham to “do everything we can to stop Trump.”
Trump is a carnival barker of bullshit. This morning at his press conference in Scranton he tweaked Clinton by calling on the Russian hackers to release her emails. The reaction was seismic. Trump is inviting a foreign nation to spy on the US! Trump is calling for an enemy of the US to interfere in the American election! Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
The Democrats reacted with predictable hysterics, calling Trump’s remarks “treasonous,” which is ridiculous. What Trump actually said was that “if” Russia did in fact hack into Hillary’s email account then they should release the emails, especially the 30,000 emails that her lawyers deleted AFTER they were subpoenaed.
Shortly after offending all of the foreign policy elites in both parties with his remarks on Russia, Trump broke with Republican orthodoxy again by announcing that he would support a $10 an hour minimum wage. Mike Pence, who opposes any minimum wage, must be having a hard time keeping up with the new talking points. The liberals, of course, reflexively denounced Trump’s plan as “incoherent.” But it is one more sign that Trump is trying to outflank Hilary on a range of issues. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t have to veer his Rolls that far to get to the left of Clinton.
The US is shocked! Shocked, I tell you!! That any government might want to interfere in US elections. It is morally wrong. It violates international law. It’s the kind of action that violates every sacred principle of Democratic governments. (See Bill Blum, see Zoltan Grossman.)
In their quest to ensure a fully-informed American electorate, the Russian hackers should also release Trump’s tax returns and the text of Hillary’s Goldman-Sachs speeches.
The neoliberal ticket is now consecrated. The nomination of the unapologetically pro-fast track, pro-TPP Tim Kaine approved without objection. Change (of positions) you can believe in. “At least he’s not Putin,” Jelle Versieren told me. “Nominating Putin would definitely be worse.”
Hillary’s new BFF, Elizabeth Warren, refused to say whether Tim Kaine was the “right pick” for the Democratic Party. Instead Warren mumbled that Kaine “is a good man, he has a good heart, and he has a lot of experiences. I think he is going to be a valuable member of the team for Secretary Clinton and a valuable member of the team when she is president of the United States.”
New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is now on stage (Wednesday night). Wonder if he’ll do a reprise of his “Colored Person Time” routine as a way to win back some of those Trump voters in western Pennsylvania?
Bernie Sanders hasn’t left the building with the Sandernistas. He gave a speech this morning to the Texas delegation, where he called Trump the “worst candidate in modern history.” If that’s true, what are they scared of? The election should be a cakewalk.
Almost every speaker on stage today has repeated the phrase “scary Donald Trump.” They are working overtime to scrub away the image of Madeleine Albright from last night, which caused so many Democratic children to have a sleepless night.
Jesse Jackson is a hollow shell of his former self. Once one of the most electrifying speakers of our time, he now is thoroughly pacified and house trained. He can’t really believe what he is saying about the woman who called black teenagers “super-predators”? What does he really mean when he says that you can “trust” the woman who pushed for the destruction of welfare that further impoverished the lives of poor black mothers and their children? “Hillary Time? Hope Time?” Jackson couldn’t even look at the camera when he wrenched out those tortured phrases. If Jackson wasn’t embarrassed for that speech, I was on his behalf. Once he was a rebel against the System. Now he is a hired gun for the elites.
Who is up for a drinking game during Tim Kaine’s speech!? One shot of mezcal for every formerly long-held position that Kaine’s reverses himself on tonight. If you don’t pass out, then congratulations, you are probably one of Hunter Thompson’s illegitimate children…
The Clinton campaign is saturating the airwaves with a commercial featuring a montage of some of Trump’s most offensive remarks with shocked children looking on. In fact, most children probably watched few if any of Trump’s heresies before they saw all of them at once in Hillary’s commercial. Is it really about protecting the kids, Hillary?
Harry Reid and his wife just shuffled on stage wearing sunglasses they must have picked up at the House of Blues in Vegas. This is probably the last time we’ll see Harry Reid at one of these things. I like Harry Reid. I don’t know why. If I thought hard about it, I probably wouldn’t. But I do. He’s a former boxer and is still a fighter, even if he is so often punching the wrong targets. Alex Cockburn and I interviewed him about 10 years ago. He was totally unpolished and unvarnished. We could have been talking to somebody in a bar. In fact, we were talking to somebody in a bar. Reid stood up to the nuclear lobby and won. He single-handedly kept nuclear waste out of Yucca Mountain. You won’t see his kind in the future Democratic Party of pre-packaged Westworld-like clones.
The ambitious Lt. Gov. of California Gavin Newsom just praised the “sunny optimism” of Ronald Reagan, specifically referencing the Gipper’s “tear down that Wall” speech, one of the most rabid rants of the Cold War era.
The Boho Gov. of California Jerry Brown, proponent of fracking and oil drilling, is who the DNC picks to speak about climate change? Is Bill McKibben committing seppuku? One fracker endorsing the environmental bonafides of a ticket of two frackers. Give them points for consistency. Is Brown auditioning for Secretary of Interior or the board of Exxon? Is there a difference?
Why did the Democrats feel as if they could send out Jerry Brown to talk about global warming? Because Gang Green is already “all in” for Hillary and the DNC thought they could stick it right in their face with impunity (they’d be right).
This gun violence sequence is unfolding like a flashback to Death Night at the Republican convention.
There’s Chief Charles Ramsey, the former police commission for Washington, DC., talking about gun violence and the “war on cops.” You remember Ramsey don’t you? He’s the man who instituted traffic checkpoints in largely black sections of DC where information on detained motorists who were committing crimes was entered into a massive police database. Ramsey also ordered the illegal mass arrests of more than 400 protesters (perhaps even one of you) in Pershing Park during the World Bank and IMF protests in 2002. The city of DC was ordered to pay nearly $2 million in fines as compensation for this trampling of civil rights. So much for the Constitution. Perhaps Hillary is auditioning Ramsey for the next Secretary of Homeland Security. Do you feel more secure?
Cpt. Mark Kelly, Space Cowboy, just praised the “awesome extent of American power and capability” that engineered the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The Democrats are doubling down on the Iraq War.
Naturally, Commander Kelly’s homily to the Iraq War is followed by a group sing of ‘What the World Needs Now’ as a statement against gun violence! Maybe Yoko denied them the rights to ‘Give Peace a Chance?’ No matter which way you turn people are living in an Alt Reality.
In a strange cinematic interlude, the big screen behind the stage just aired a surreal film warning that Trump couldn’t be trusted with the “nuclear button”, which was partially narrated by … the nuclear bomber himself, Harry Truman!
Leon Panetta, the CIA’s master of drones, is being shouted down with “No war, No drone” chants, most of them coming from the Oregon and Washington state delegations. Play on, Sandernistas!
Leon Panetta sniveling about Russian hacking is the best laugh of the night. Didn’t his own hackers, working with their cohorts in Mossad, unleash the malicious Stuxnet worm on Iran?
The floor managers are in crisis mode. They have given all of the delegates on the floor “Stronger America” placards which they are waving with patriotic vigor and have them shouting “USA! USA!” to drown out the anti-war protesters. Did they import these people from the Trump rally in Scranton? They cut the lights to the anti-war protesters section and they responded with their Flashlight apps on their cellphones. Be prepared people!
Are they arresting and waterboarding the protesters in the Oregon and Washington delegations now before Biden and Obama speak? Please text home!
Right on cue, Rachel Maddow denounced what another MS-DNC hack called the Lunatic Left for heckling Leon Panetta, director of the CIA’s remote control killing program. “It made no sense,” she said. Which means it must have been impeccably timed.
And now an important message on decency, justice and morality by Joe Biden, the man who betrayed Anita Hill and wrote the Clinton Crime Bill.
Did they run the Biden speech through the plagiarism software? They should make sure to use the UK edition.
For the Democrats the only man on Earth scarier than Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin, who Biden seems to believe is the Dr. Moriarty of Moscow.
Introducing Michael Bloomberg to present the Billionaire Seal of Approval to Ms. Hillary Clinton!
Bloomberg: “We don’t need a bomb thrower as president.” Apparently, we need another drone launcher, instead!
Leave it to Bloomberg to give the most coherent indictment of Trump. There’s no hate quite as pure as that between rival billionaires.
Re: Lenny Kravatz: They seem to be alternating the Love Songs with the War Speeches.
Get the mezcal out, here comes Citizen Kaine. Will he embrace his inner neoliberal? Or make a false confession about his sudden epiphanies on trade, bank regulation, the death penalty, abortion, and collective bargaining rights?
Tim Kaine is off to a halting start. Perhaps they should have had Kaine on at 3pm? He has a goofy quality that would be endearing in a TV weather personality.
If Hillary and Kaine are elected, will Toni Morrison dub Kaine the first Hispanic VP because he spoke some snatches of Spanish tonight?
Tim Kaine, the Jesuit Missionary, talked about witnessing the horrors of the Honduran dictatorship without mentioning that it and its death squads were entirely supported by the US government and that the same generals were put back into power in a coup supported by Hillary Clinton!
Tim Kaine looks like he honed his rhetorical chops by watching home videos of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Did the Clintons ever see him give a speech or did they just take Terry McAuliffe’s word for it? Nothing against the great Fred Rogers, of course.
Kaine, the Wall Street bag man, quoting John McCain’s economic advisor for the 2008 campaign as an expert witness is probably not the most compelling testimonial against Trump.
Obama enters to the banal mewling of Bono! How apt. At least he didn’t profane James Brown or Smokey Robinson.
Obama may have been impotent to stop the killing of the kids at Newtown or the church members in Charleston. But he had complete authority to stop the killing of children, doctors, nurses, and wedding parties in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan killed by his drone strikes.
Optimism is the word from the O Man, which means things must be much worse than we think.
With a smile on his face, Obama claims “gay marriage” as a victory on his resume, even though he opposed it.
Obama: “There are pockets of the country that never recovered from factory closings.” Pockets? Those pockets are big enough to shoplift the Great Lakes.
Now Obama is quoting Reagan. Truman and Reagan have been quoted more frequently than any other figures at this convention. In fact, Obama’s speech is played in the key of Reagan. He has said that he sees himself as a “transitional figure” like, yes, Reagan. He has exceeded beyond his expectations.
Obama just said Hillary has been caricatured by some on the Left. I assume he’s referring to the jacket cover of Doug Henwood’s deliciously vicious book, My Turn.
Obama could sell Trump Steaks to a vegan.
Obama swears that Hillary is the “most qualified person ever to run for president.” Perhaps. But she’s qualified in all the wrong directions.
Exit to Stevie Wonder. When Hillary surprised Obama on stage, she had the look of love in her eyes, as if she had just jilted Bill for Barack. But then wouldn’t you after Bubba’s creepy stalker speech last night?
This was a night dominated by the hollow men of the Democratic Party: Panetta, Kaine, Biden and Obama. Men who knew better, but did worse. The theme was liberal virility, strength, and managerial efficiency. Missing was any empathy for the homeless and the hungry, the poor and the downtrodden. It was a frontal embrace of the neoliberal order, a demonstration that the Democrats have the competency and toughness to manage the imperial order in a time of severe internal and external stress.
The last three hours weren’t a full-throated repudiation of Sandersism, so much as a casual dismissal, as if the core concerns Bernie’s movement gave voice to regarding the ravages of economic inequality didn’t even merit their attention. And Bernie sat passively in the imperial box seats with Jane squirming at his side, watching it all unfold.
Barack Obama possesses so many scintillating skills, perhaps more skills than any other political figure of the modern era. Yet he put those magical gifts to such meager, timid and often brutal uses. What a waste.
His is the tragedy of a squandered presidency.
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
ANTI-EYSTER PUSH POLL?
A mild push-poll apparently originating in Redwood Valley seems to be implying that DA David Eyster has some vague dirt in his background that someone is trying to explore or raise. Today we got a computerized push poll originating from a 485 prefix that asked us what we thought of Eyster and whether we favored a ballot initiative that would prohibit prosecutors who are under investigation for misconduct from prosecuting cases. The poll also asked several gun-rights questions which may indicate that the originator of the poll has a gripe about Eyster’s prosecution of a gun owner or owners. We replied that we have no objection to the Second Amendment but we also supported the California assault weapons restrictions. We answered “Yes” to a question that asked if we have a favorable view of DA Eyster. Perhaps the DA knows more about where this poll is coming from.
* * *
DA EYSTER COMMENTS
I received a call from a constituent who asked the same questions. She thought it was a local poll and wanted to know what if anything was behind it. No idea on this end. First I've heard of it was this afternoon. Haven't done anything wrong and we follow the law so not worried about "anonymous" stirring a non-existent pot (so pun intended).
THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER will receive a share of $500,000 in federal funding from the United States Health and Human Services Department to support health information technology, the agency announced last week.
The Redwood Community Health Coalition, a health center controlled network, was awarded the funding for 13 of its participating health centers, including its location in Anderson Valley, out of more than $36 million available to health center controlled networks nationally.
“Health center controlled networks are a key tool in providing quality primary care to medically underserved communities,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “By using these networks, individual health centers can work together to share resources, leverage buying power, and improve access to health information technology, leading to a better care experience for vulnerable populations.”
Strategic funding plans, according to the HHS, include adopting and implementing certified electronic health record technology; enhance comprehensive, integrated data collection, analysis and reporting; meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records incentive programs; and improve clinical and operational quality, reduce health disparities and improve population health through health information technology.
STENBERG GOES OVER THE WALL
My ex-wife arrested at Democratic National Convention
Anna-Marie Stenberg of Fort Bragg, was arrested along with three others for scaling a fence outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia yesterday. (See story below.)
Anna-Marie, 69, and a retired successful paralegal and businesswoman, is a career troublemaker for all levels of government and has been arrested many times mostly for trying to save the last remaining redwood trees of Northern California from voracious logging companies.
In a protest demonstration in San Francisco against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, she was photographed by the press laying in front of a bus trying to stop traffic. She was of course arrested.
We were married briefly but separated when I decided to move to France. I'm very proud of Anna-Marie and pray she doesn't end up in a FEMA prison camp. Of Roma ancestry, she has vowed to not go peacefully to any prison camp like so many of her blood did in Nazi Germany during the 1940s.
I only regret not being with her as we had been arrested together for civil disobedience a number of times in the past. I feel sorry for any federal prosecutor trying to make Anna-Marie squirm. Her brain is too well-connected to her tongue for her to cry "uncle" (Sam).
If you don't know what its like to be a tiger in a zoo, you'll never know what its like to be a black man in America.
So yesterday I'm sitting in my kitchen relaxing and the kids come back from the Bay front and pull in the driveway and they're yelling, "dad! dad! raccoon! raccoon!" So I jump to attention and they say the raccoon is back and they saw him run the driveway and jump the back fence and then climb up our tree. They say they want to watch him from the back porch as he climbs the tree and gets to his perch. They say they want to keep track of him and see what he's doing. I stopped everyone in their tracks. We have watched the raccoon before from the porch in his perch. I told the kids that today the raccoon came in the early afternoon to find his tree and has been running from the urban landscape all day and been caught unaware and has been getting away from people for as many hours as the sun has shone and is totally scared and has found his place of respite and must be left alone and of this I had absolutely no doubt. I told them forcefully that they need to respect that his big ass finally found a tree with some safety and relief and to do more than peek out the door at him for two seconds would be wrong. I saw the fear in the raccoons eyes. Don't disturb the one who has been disturbed all day. Do not afflict the distressed, how much more simple can we make it? I thought of Katt Williams immediately and as quick knew the analogy was an indictment. "If you don't know what it's like to be a tiger in a zoo, you'll never know what it's like to be a black man in America."
The analogy is only as racist and as wrong as America is racist and wrong.
Like Bootsy Collins said, "America eats its young."
Let me explain.
So today, I was kicking back in my kitchen contemplating the world, hiding from the world, when it all came crashing to my doorstep, or rather running down my driveway. I heard the running footsteps and knew something was up. It was about 4pm on wed. july 27. I looked out my back window to see just the legs of some young kid in basketball shoes sitting on the steps to my laundry room. I quickly got the adrenaline rush of an impending confrontation and grabbed my shoes, thinking all the while what's happening, Fin go see who this guy is cause he shouldn't be there, and most importantly deal with it as judiciously as you can. I ran down my back steps and soon I approach an out of breath sweat drenched kid who immediately looks up and stares at me with bugged eyes and open mouth and I say to him,
"Hey man what are you doing here?"
"Why are you here?"
"You gotta go!"
"You cannot hide here!"
As I descended the stairs I was expecting a boy or a man but instead what I was confronted with was just a kid no more than 5 foot, looking pretty thin and unhealthy (diabetic?) dripping with sweat and completely out of breath. Honestly the kid had the terrified look of a runaway slave which makes me feel terrible to say, but is nonetheless probably something felt in the collective unconscious (by everyone?). Maybe I felt so bad because he was just a kid. If he was a man I would have put hands on him because I would have seen him as a threat.
Needless to mention my emotions, I was resolved to perform my civic duty and inform this child that theft was not socially permitted in these parts and probably strongly discouraged in his. So I proceeded to march him out the driveway and said to him "who the hell are you running from boy?"
He said someone was trying to beat him up and I took him for his word to start because he was just a kid. If you cannot give a kid his word to start with, what can you give him?
Nonetheless I told him by the end of the driveway that I did not believe his story. My mind raced and I thought all the while what am I going to do with this kid and in hindsight maybe I worked entirely too quick. I took control of this person verbally and I was that eager to be rid of my rashly claimed responsibility. I just thought whatever crime he committed how could I take charge of what he has done especially if its petty crime? What am I gonna re-school the kid? I knew it could not have been murder, it could not be that bad. Without acknowledging it aloud I saw and I knew that he had taken a phone. I did not see a weapon in his hands or blood on his shirt or arms. I marched him to the end of the driveway in 30 seconds and I said "I am going to cut you loose if their is no one at the end of this driveway who is looking for you." Perhaps I wanted to cut him loose or I didn't want to put hands on the kid. After all am I the captor of young black males? Am I the captor of young black males? I think not. I had the ancestors in my head at this point. I only tell this story to elucidate the awesomeness of the conflict.
As I approached the end of the driveway walking the young lad out I said, Hey man this is my block and you better get the fuck out of here and don't steal people’s shit around here and you can't run here because I will be here to stop you.
In retrospect I should have confiscated the phone but really in the recesses of my mind, fuck phones. In reality, fuck phones. In reality, woe to the girls who stay on their phones and get them stolen. "Educated" girls should not be on their phones 95% of the time that they appear in public as is the current social norm, I'm just sayin'.
It turns out the kid tossed the phone right there as he ran away down my block.
Honestly for the dude speaking right here, in this kind of situation the citizen goes from chilling solo in their domicile, smoking a joint, hiding from the issues of the day Police and Thieves, Black versus White, System versus Outcast, to full on confrontation with these issues right in your face.
That is if you think or care about these issues; if not, you're just oblivious.
Honestly I was torn, because in my mind of minds this kid is cruisin for a bruisin in his own right, I know his mom should kick his ass, to soon after that when my mind shifts because I see these cops swarming like Fallujah, and my mind started to race and I know I am not a captor of black youth.
Who raised this kid and how was he treated? All of this is running through my mind at an accelerated and demanding pace and honestly I thought they would grab the kid right after I told him you better run, but would they kick the shit out of him? Would they kill him?
I really don't think so in this really "liberal" town, but what does that even mean? Was this kid being compelled by some adult to do what he was doing? So many questions. So many questions running through my mind in such a short period of time. Zero to sixty in seconds.
I think we need to step back and ask some really big questions. What are black people actually doing to disturb the social contract? In the ancient books you return stolen property and you rebuke the sinner, but this whole upending of the social contract for minor theft is a sure sign of things in complete disorder. Is there a longstanding property complaint at hand? "40 acres and a mule, Jack." Do we deal with it or upend the whole social contract? Or is that the social contract? Black people are second class citizens. You decide, America.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 28, 2016
JOSE AVENDANOSARMIENTO, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Pot cultivation, sale.
SKYLER BAILEY, Willits. Under influence, failure to appear.
MARTIN BALL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
MARTIN HERNANDEZ-CRUZ, Covelo. Pot cultivation, sale, armed with firearms, interfering with police communications.
DENISE HLUCHY, Laytonville. Failure to appear.
MARK LANFRANCHI, Concord/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SYLVESTER MAREK, Ukiah. Battery.
MARTIN PENA, Leggett. DUI, probation revocation.
CHARLES SAMS III, Willits. Under influence.
ROCHELLE SWOPES, Probation revocation.
JUST IN FROM THE MARITAL FRONT
Governor Brown has signed into law permitting estranged couples to share the same address while pursuing life without the other.
Under SB1255, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday and effective in January, a married couple’s date of separation will be defined as the date that a complete and final break in the marriage has occurred, even if the couple continue living in the same home. The court will consider the stated intention of one or both spouses to end the marriage and whether their behavior toward each other shows they have broken up.
DEMS DROP N-WORD: WHEN IN TROUBLE BLAME RALPH
by Ruseell Mokhiber
With the nomination officially sown up, Hillary Clinton supporters came out of the closet and started firebombing their opponents with the N word. Even Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, in a debate with Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, dropped the N word on Democracy Now! this week.
“We can talk about sort of fantasies, visions for the future, but we can’t deny the facts of the past,” Jealous said. “George W. Bush got into the White House because Al Gore lost by about 900 votes in Florida. Ralph Nader got 90,000. The reports, the studies that went back and looked at those voters said 60 percent of them would have gone for Gore if Nader wasn’t on the ballot there.”
That would be one discredited study — not studies — as Nader lawyers Oliver Hall and Theresa Amato have repeatedly pointed out.
But that won’t stop Hillary forces, including Bernie Sanders, from, starting now, and lasting until election day, firebombing all independent thinking voters with the N word.
Show even a hint of independence, and the Hillary supporters here in Philadelphia are all locked and loaded and ready to drop it.
Chris Hedges fired back on Democracy Now!, in a debate against N bomber Robert Reich.
“Is Trump a repugnant personality?” Hedges asked. “Yes. Although I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind. But the point is, we’ve got to break away from — which is exactly the narrative they want us to focus on. We’ve got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power.”
“And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party. This is something that Ralph Nader understood long before the rest of us, and stepped out very courageously in 2000. And I think we will look back on that period and find Ralph to be an amazingly prophetic figure. Nobody understands corporate power better than Ralph. And I think now people have caught up with Ralph.”
When Goodman asked Hedges what Sanders should have done instead of endorsing Clinton, Hedges said — he should have run as the Green Party candidate.
But if he did, he would be N bombing himself, right?
Feel the burn?
“Let’s not forget that Bernie has a very checkered past,” Hedges said. “He campaigned for Clinton in ’92. He campaigned for Clinton again in ’96, after NAFTA — the greatest betrayal of the working class in this country since the Taft-Hartley Act of 1948 — after the destruction of welfare, after the omnibus crime bill that exploded the prison population, and, you know, we now have—I mean, it’s just a monstrosity what we’ve done — 350,000 to 400,000 people locked in cages in this country are severely mentally ill.”
“Half of them never committed a violent crime. That’s all Bill Clinton. And yet he went out and campaigned. In 2004, Sanders called on Nader not to run, to step down, so he could support a war candidate like John Kerry. And I’m listening to Jealous talk about the Iraq War. Sixty percent of the Democratic senators voted for the war, including Hillary Clinton. The idea that somehow Democrats don’t push us into war defies American history.”
Reich said that he was actually all in favor of third parties — but not now.
Maybe after Hillary is elected, Reich said.
Not in 2000.
Not in 2004.
Not in 2008.
Not in 2012.
Not in 2016.
But in 2020?
“I think political strategy is not to elect Donald Trump, to elect Hillary Clinton, and, for four years, to develop an alternative, another Bernie Sanders-type candidate with an independent party, outside the Democratic Party, that will take on Hillary Clinton, assuming that she is elected and that she runs for re-election, and that also develops the infrastructure of a third party that is a true, new progressive party,” Reich said.
Hedges kindly pointed out to Reich that for N dropping neoliberals, tomorrow never comes.
“Well, that’s precisely what we’re trying to do,” Hedges said. “There is a point where you have to — do I want to keep quoting Ralph? — but where you have to draw a line in the sand. And that’s part of the problem with the left, is we haven’t.”
(Russell Mokhiber will be reporting from the GOP Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic Party convention in Philly at DumpsterFireElection2016. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
THE HOLLOW MEN
Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us — if at all — not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
MORATORIUM DAYS, 2016: NOVEMBER 7 & 8
by Jerry Lembcke & Jeremy Kuzmarov
With the collapse of the Sanders’ campaign and WikiLeaks revelations that DNC operatives worked behind the scenes to undermine it, the only efficacious vote for progressives in this election is NOTA, None Of The Above, a vote against the electoral system as it stands. As Chris Hedges has pointed out, liberals are replicating the GOP in promoting a politics of fear to try and get people to vote for Hillary Clinton as the anti-Trump. However, we are not under any illusions that she represents anything but a perpetuation of the neoliberal and militaristic policies which have bred disaster for our country and fueled the rise of anger and disillusionment underlying Trump’s neo-fascism. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-kuzmarov/democratic-platform-atroc_b_11154002.html)
The Jill Stein campaign has offered a set of sound alternative principles to continue with Bernie’s political revolution; however, a much bigger grass-roots mobilization is needed before these principles can be fulfilled. At this time a vote for her may do nothing to challenge entrenched corporate-power and what Sheldon Wolin has called the system of inverted totalitarianism that has gripped the United States since the Bush administration. (see Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. Princeton University Press 2012).
Under this system dissent is increasingly marginalized or repressed and the populace is lulled into acquiescence with neoliberal economic and militaristic policies through a media entertainment complex that renders them immune to the human suffering going on all around them.
The election extravaganza this year has already cost probably billions of dollars - money that could have been invested in our communities - and the outcome is the nomination of two of the most unpopular and morally tainted candidates in American history. A simple call to stay home from the polls is too passive to produce real change and would face the objection that it is “too negative.” What could the NOTA strategy combine with to present a reasonable and promising alternative to voting?
What we need is a “Moratorium Days 2016” that turns November 7 and 8 into days of mass participation in teach-ins and rallies for reform of the electoral system (including the thorough renovation of the political parties). Like for the Moratorium Days of October and November 1969 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moratorium_to_End_the_War_in_Vietnam) that brought business as usual to a halt while a broad swath of Americans protested the war in Vietnam and spent those days contemplating the ways and means by which the war could be brought to an end, students, workers, and citizens can once again be mobilized—this time for a massive withdrawal of political energy from the electoral system while they bring focused attention to the depth of the national crisis, together with concentrated engagement with the issues of strategies and tactics for change, and consideration of the alternatives at hand.
Today, the massive disaffection with the system cuts across the left-right spectrum. For weeks, political pundits have speculated about the lure of Trump-campaign rhetoric to working class democrats, and the appeal of Sanders’ “political revolution” to republicans disgusted with the shenanigans of their own party. With Sanders’ capitulation, millions of Americans are now politically adrift and vulnerable to the TINA appeal of the Democratic Party (There Is No Alternative), the comfort in the do-nothing political apathy that is all-too familiar, and the siren-song of Republican Party revanchism (http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/12/03/gop-eve-destruction); (http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/category/3).
With the embers of the Bernie “bern” still aglow, the troops recruited for Sanders’ political revolution should stay the course and Jill Stein should lend her inspiration, popularity, and media presence to the New Moratorium Days campaign that sends the same kind of message to the political establishment in November 2016 that was brought to the military establishment in 1969 and led to the ending of the Vietnam War. Atop the Moratorium docket, and for planning in the weeks between now and November, can be the question of how far down the ballot the NOTA declaration should be enforced, with consideration given to local and regional contests. But organizers should be clear that Moratorium Days, 2016 is not just a threat—we’re out!
Out of school, out of work, and out of the voting booths on November 7 and 8! It’s time for students, workers, and a broad-based citizenry to report for civic duty at their coffee shops, union halls, and city centers for political engagement. “No work, No School, No Vote”—the iron is hot, it’s time to strike.
(Jerry Lembcke is Associate Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA. He can be reached at email@example.com. Jeremy Kuzmarov teaches at the University of Tulsa, is author of two books on U.S. foreign policy and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
DELTA TUNNELS: RESTORING AN ESTUARY BY DIVERTING ITS WATER?
by Dan Bacher
After covering fish, water, and environmental justice issues in California and the West for over 30 years as an investigative journalist, I’ve concluded that the California Water Fix, the new name for the Delta Tunnels, is the most environmentally devastating public works project I've ever encountered.
I’ve published hundreds of articles about the Delta Tunnels, Governor Jerry Brown's plan to divert Sacramento River water 30 miles under the California Delta to facilitate its export to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies, in a wide array of publications.
In my reporting, I’ve covered many aspects of the controversial plan. These include:
<> How the project won’t create one drop of new water while spending up to $67 billion of taxpayer and ratepayer’s money.
<> How the project’s former point man Jerry Meral, in a moment of candor in 2013, claimed the Delta “cannot be saved,” after years of promoting the peripheral canal and tunnels as the solution to the co-equal goals of water supply reliability.
<> How the reports of scientific panels, ranging from the Delta Independence Science Board to federal EPA scientists, that have given the alleged “science” of the tunnels project a failing grade.
<> How the project won’t help Californians during the drought, fund innovative water conservation, storm water capture, or water recycling projects that are desperately needed.
<> How the plan will push endangered fish species, such as Delta and longfin smelt, winter Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead and green sturgeon, over the abyss of extinction, while failing to address the state's long-term water supply needs.
<> How the project will devastate not only San Francisco Bay and Delta fisheries, but recreational, commercial and subsistence fisheries up and down the West Coast; the salmon fishery alone is worth $1.5 billion annually.
<> How the tunnels will also imperil the salmon, steelhead and other fish populations on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers that are an integral part of the culture and livelihoods of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley tribes.
<> How the tunnels would devastate the Delta’s $5.2 billion agricultural economy and $750 million recreation and tourism economy.
<> How the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other California Indian Tribes have been excluded or marginalized in the Delta Tunnels process.
<> How documents for the tunnels projects, in an overt case of environmental injustice, have not been translated into Spanish and other languages, as required under an array of state and federal laws.
<> How the current petition before the State Water Resources Control Board and all of the previous plans, EIRs and documents of the plan have failed to address other alternatives, such as the Environmental Water Caucus’ Sustainable Water Plan for California, for achieving the dual goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply.
I’ve also covered the lack of scoping meetings for the new plan; lack of details regarding financing, addition of 8,000 new pages for public comment on top of the existing 40,000 pages that were previously submitted by the state and federal governments last year; and the lack of a cost-benefits analysis.
But in the many hours I’ve spent covering the California WaterFix and its predecessors, there’s one terminal flaw with the project that stands out among all others: the false assumption the project is based upon.
The Water Fix is based on the absurd contention that taking up to 9,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River at the new points of diversion, as requested in the petition by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to the State Water Resources Control Board, will somehow “restore” the Delta ecosystem.
I am not aware of a single project in US or world history where the construction of a project that takes more water out of a river or estuary has resulted in the restoration of that river or estuary.
Based on this untenable premise and all of the flaws that thousands of Californians have uncovered about the project, I am strongly urging the State Water Resources Control Board to reject the petition of DWR and Reclamation requesting permits for new water diversion intakes on the Sacramento River and water quality certification under the Clean Water Act. These are essential permits required before the Delta Tunnels could be constructed.
The California WaterFix is a massive water grab for corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies, subsidized by the taxpayers, that must not be allowed to go forward.
DOWN GOES HARPER’S
Dear Harper's Magazine:
When I was working on my Master’s Degree in Education and Teaching English As A Second Language at Temple University, I took several courses in linguistics.
I was fascinated by the work of Sapir and Whorf on the relationship of culture and language, the emerging theories on generative grammar, and the hypotheses that all languages could share universal characteristics.
I enjoyed reading the work of Noam Chomsky, who wrote with precision and clarity; he thoroughly documented his work. I appreciated Chomsky’s demolition of Skinner’s silly conclusion that language could be understood as a system of stimulus and response.
An important difference between theology and science is that theology is rigid and based on an inalterable mythology as recorded in authoritative scripture. Science is always evolving. Theories, even those of Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein, are corrected and refined. Sometimes they are discarded and replaced.
I admire both Noam Chomsky and Daniel Everett. When I read Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes, which is a wonderful book, I was excited by the challenges it posed to the theories of Chomsky and others who had become the dominant voices in the field of linguistics. This is science: there’s always a brilliant newcomer to shake up the dominant paradigm.
I would have enjoyed reading a scholarly article on the implications of Everett’s work for the theories of Chomsky and other establishment linguists.
However, Tom Wolfe’s article is despicable: it’s a hatchet job on Noam Chomsky. Everett and Chomsky are reduced to stock characters in Wolfe’s snarky little melodrama. Harper's should be collectively ashamed of printing such an article.
I’ve been unhappy with Ellen Rosenbush’s transformation of Harper’s into an erudite Ladies Home Journal or Cosmopolitan. She’s converted “Readings” into a theme park, included tedious articles on family and fashion — Simone White’s article is appalling, and the current issue follows up the Wolfe article with some cryptograms by the favorite poet of The New Yorker, John Ashbery.
I despise John Ashbery. John Ashbery is the Maya Angelou of wealthy white people. John Ashbery is the house poet of The New Yorker and NPR. John Ashbery is the poet of people who have read Finnegan’s Wake and enjoyed it.
He is the poet of the snot nosed bourgeoisie who prefer cryptograms and acrostics, but who enjoy the edification and prestige of reading a poem now and then: especially one that no one understands.
Wolfe's article is demeaning. Wolfe is a grotesque, mean-spirited dwarf — a Truman Capote clone. Neither Willie Morris nor Lewis Lapham would have published anything written by him.
However Harper’s is no longer the magazine of Willie Morris or Lewis Lapham. It is no longer my magazine either. Please cancel my subscription immediately.
Louis S. Bedrock
Roselle, New Jersey
This Thursday, July 28th, neighbors and members of The City's poetry community will rally to support 81-year-old North Beach poet Diego Deleo, who is set to be evicted from his home of over 30 years under the Ellis Act. The rally will be held at Washington Square Park from 12-1pm.
Deleo first learned of his potential eviction from his Chestnut Street apartment on July 1st, 2013, when landlord Martin Coyne sent notice of his intention to use the Ellis Act to remove Deleo from the backyard cottage that he and his wife shared for years until she passed away in 2012. The controversial California state law allows landlords to get out of the business of being a landlord as a last resort, but critics say that it's being used too frequently by real estate speculators to flip buildings for a quick sale...