Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Feel the Bern

This, as Bernie Sanders might say, was pheNOMenal, not to mention specTACuluh. The candidate who all the experts say doesn't have a chance has been drawing in Obama-size (circa 2008) crowds. The clip above is from last night's Los Angeles rally, which attracted an overflow audience of nearly 30,000 people.

Meanwhile, Fox News now finds itself in the position of having to grovel to Donald Trump after failing to bring him down in last week's debate. His fans were actually threatening to boycott the propaganda wing of the Republican Party. 

Something is happening here. And whatever it is, as both Bernie and Donald would say, it is YUGE.

Any day when media attention can be deflected away from Hill vs Jeb is a good day in America.

Meanwhile, I'd love to see a debate between Bernie and Trump. Or else a pre-emptive debate among Bernie, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lawrence Lessig and all other comers. Who, besides Hillary and the DNC, decided that the Democrats must wait until October?

Certainly not the populace. Maybe some enterprising cable outlet can start doing some end runs around the corporate debate committee apparatus, which itself has been doing an end run around democracy for decades now. 

Informal and formal debates alike must also include Jill Stein of the Green Party, which has already filed a lawsuit against the authoritarian Committee on Presidential Debates. 


Jay–Ottawa said...

A rousing moment before an enthusiastic crowd in LA.

“This is an economy that is rigged ….”

“We need a grassroots political revolution.”

Can’t wait until Bernie’s appearances are recorded by professionals and aired across major networks. If that ever happens, he’s in the White House.

voice-in-wilderness said...

Don't rule out Vermin Supreme as a candidate. This performance artist is likely to run in 2016 and will stand out from all the other candidates! See his Wikipedia entry.

He has many unconventional issues and promises, but none that are any more bizarre than what we are already getting from the current bunch of Republicans. :-)

Meredith NYC said...

Msnbc reported 15,000 for Bernie in Portland and 28,000 in Seattle. Glad to see some reports on him on msnbc shows, since they axed Ed Schultz. And they had a labor leader on the other day.

But now the political news is getting unwatchable, so I miss most of it. How much Trump can we stand? And the horserace speculation. This will go on for over a year. Just imagine European campaigns of 3 months duration, with private paid political ads banned to a great extent. They wouldn’t stand for these big money prolonged commercial ad campaigns for almost 2 years, that turns the whole political process into advertising and PR.
They have debates on free media, instead of Fox sponsored.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen.....Krugman’s blog today pretends that in his wisdom he departs from the punditocracy and sees the ‘real truth’ of Trump leading the polls.
He says it’s the “real changes in America, which is becoming more socially and culturally diverse, plus the Fox News effect, which has created an angry white guy feedback loop.”
Gosh, this is some kind of revelation? It’s well known by most as the main trend of US politics rightward.

I don’t get why Paul thinks he differs from so many pundits, which he takes pains to point out in his post. And some of his commenter fans call his post a ‘thoughtful and witty analysis’. But it’s a commonplace, dressed up in Krugman’s cute verbal style ---like his derp and zombie stuff.

While he himself is getting to be centrist, an example of a former liberal dragged to the center by the gravitational force of the Gop rw and Fox.

Bernie Sanders--whose name cannot be breathed by Krugman---says about 6 corporations own the entire US media now. The media avoids discussion of this---they profit from media consolidation and the big donor fees for political commercials. .
I asked Krugman..... Why not branch out in the analysis here, and trace back to the repeal of media monopoly laws by Clinton in 1996, and how that enabled Fox to dominate from coast to coast? It started the ball rolling to rw dominance.

Then contrast with our political moderates and diversity before those laws were repealed. The repeal likely set the stage for the purge of moderates from the Gop. No opposing forces. So after the Gop moderates were purged, the Democrats have taken their place. How many people today even know this. Who is going to show the contrast?

But K’s blog does have a photo of a cat next to a similarly groomed Trump, which is superb. Thanks for that.

Jay–Ottawa said...

The contrast with Obama is Bernie’s greatest attraction. In the legacy race for the Hypocrisy Prize Tricky Dicky and Slick Willy are way, way behind Bunkum Barry. Bernie has extensive experience as a legislator and executive; we can believe his talk has something real behind it. Obama, on the other hand, played the part of the innocent bystander whenever it came to vote or to act for the right thing.

Obama still fools millions of Americans who don’t parse his sentences the way Karen does on occasion. This morning Glen Greenwald takes a turn at parsing Obama’s line on Guantanamo. Obama may sincerely have wanted to shutter Guantanamo. But that’s not the point. The heart of the matter was and still is indefinite detention. Bunkum Barry is definitely okay with indefinite detention. He just wanted to shift the indefinitely detained to other prisons on the mainland. Then, he would have pointed to Guantanamo saying, “Mission Accomplished.” While those who were rounded up were transferred elsewhere to wait forever for their day in court. Now he says, perhaps rightly, that Republicans stopped me. But, as Greenwald reminds us, that’s not the point.

“But even Obama’s current Guantánamo plan – like all his previous ones – does not seek to end indefinite detention. It does the opposite: it insists on the right to continue to indefinitely imprison detainees: most of whom have already been kept in a cage for more than a decade with no charges or trial. In that regard, Obama – as has been true since the first day of his presidency – is not seeking to “close Guantánamo” but rather re-locate it….”

Today, a top tier story in the digital version of our beloved NY Times has another sorry story about prisons: the fate of prisoners left behind on the honor block after two of its inmates recently escaped. The guards and the wardens, greatly embarrassed, took revenge on those left behind. Governor Andrew Cuomo, tough chief executive that he is, stepped in to Dannemora and set the tone for the episodes of torture and abuse that followed.

As one Times commenter put it tersely: “It is realy hard to feel good about the United States of America.”

Good luck, Bernie, at turning this around.

Pearl said...

At last, the NYTimes has an article about Bernie Sanders' increasing popularity, threatening Hillary's possible reign. As you said Jay, when the major media start paying attention to Bernie, he has a better chance of getting into office.

He made a great statement about the environment in an e-mail to democrats. Not only an honest man but a politically brilliant one. We can only hope and pray if so inclined. I think he may well win black voters as well.

I hope he has some kind of protection as he speaks publicly to large crowds and wonder whether they check people coming in to his speeches.

Pearl said...

Now I can't find he article about Bernie

Now I can't find the article quoted above about Ernie Sanders in the NYtimes. attributed to CBS on Google. I thought it appeared in the Times but I was probably mistaken. But several other major newspapers did report that article so all is not lost.
I don't see how they can continue to ignore such major news items in tne nytimes. We'll see.

Pearl said...

And now, (this item about Bernie keeps appearing and changing) some media are dismissing the "surge" in Bernie's poll numbers against Hillary as possibly a temporary blip, etc. Interesting how we hear all the different interpretations in the news. We will have to keep tuned for the truth.

Valerie said...

For the life of me, I can't find the article, but I read a great one saying that one of the reasons people like Trump over Bush and Bernie over Hillary is that they both are saying that Free Trade doesn't work. I think we all can see that while Free Trade allows us to have a lot of cheap junk, in the end, we need good manufacturing jobs that pay decently to keep our consumer driven economy going. No jobs, no spending.

Glad to see Bernie is doing so well. I agree with Karen - Who is controlling the debate schedule? Let's get going on the debates and let's allow the Green candidates to join in.

Valerie said...

Not the one I am looking for but an OK article to start with on Trump and Free Trade. Would that all this anti-Free Trade talk will kill the TPP. (Sorry, Karen, this isn't meant to distract from your main posting. But the Trump - anti- Free Trade thing is probably why he is doing so well despite his corporate ties.)


Gaston Bachelard said...

Karen, you really think the oligarchs are trembling? If the American voter had any real power, maybe they would. But what we are seeing is not new. I remember Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern turning out huge crowds. Same for Howard Dean...and George Wallace and Ross Perot. Occupy Wall Street was supposed to produce a political/economic tsunami.

I just don't see evidence that populist candidates serve any purpose other than catharsis (which, granted, is no small thing). Then the plutocrats pat everyone on the head and do exactly what they want....like buying the election, rigging voting machines, keeping minorities out of the polls, etc., etc.

I'm getting active in Bernie's campaign, because it feels good to be with like-minded people who, like me, have been royally screwed by economic politics. But I know quite well that self-empowerment does not equate to electoral power. I wish I were as optimistic as you seem to be!

Erik Roth said...

As you know, but the arrogantly ignorant American populace doesn't, prior to 1988 the presidential debates were managed and moderated by the League of Women Voters, an impartial, independent, and competent agent.

Thereafter, the Tweedle-dum Republican Party and the Tweedle-dee Democratic Party have been in cahoots and exclusively in control.

Moreover, since then purported journalists and "news" networks have produced and moderated them, thereby becoming part of the story they immediately "cover."
That blatant, brazen breach of professional ethics pathetically goes unnoticed, let alone contested, by the dumbed-down public, and worse, by those who should know better.

To our disgrace, and impending demise, this circus debacle, posing as debate, is unconsciously condoned, even celebrated, and criticized only on style, not structure.

As for substance, it is stupid to expect and foolish to demand anything for the public good (aka "commonwealth") from corporate networks who obviously have private agendas.

Networks and their moderators have no proper business whatsoever in presidential debates besides broadcasting them over the public-owned airways, then reporting on and analyzing them.

The debates must be restored to independent control, just as every aspect of our failed republic must be recovered from the insatiably greedy oligarchy that has seized it.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Gaston & Erik, Erik & Gaston,

Well put, but I think we know all that and have written as much in our comments over the past few years. However, Bernie's raspy-voiced performances just might break out of the enclosure traced by the PTB if enough people set aside their defeatism, send him ten bucks and get out of their armchairs. Even if, in the end, the oligarchs win this time, we can all learn the the proper way to bring about a grassroots revolution if we just keep practicing.

We can join the stuffy dinner party trapped in Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel" or we can learn and follow the ways of a bunch of hardhats in Solidarity who made it impossible for the Russian Bear to breathe easy Poland. The choice of resistance in countless ways is still open to us and we can eventually overwhelm the 1% and the sellouts who prop them up, at least until their thugs lock us all up, which they will do if we simply stand around wringing our hands.

There are real handcuffs and there are make-believe handcuffs. It is not a mark of intelligence or honor to give up each time somebody declares "You can't."

Pearl said...

Jay: Bravo to you for criticizing some of the comments from people who see the problems ahead for Berny Sanders instead of the possibilities for a "revolution" beginning. It may or may not happen with Berny but he is opening doors for eventual change and if people refuse to fight and act because of the challenges, nothing will happen.
I am amazed at the extent and intensity of the people who are attending his speeches which proves that maybe people are not being fooled any longer. We owe our support and help to those who are bravely speaking out and influencing others. If nothing else, the vision of an honest man, speaking truthfully and clearly is great comfort in these times and is a miraculous gift we must pay serious attention to.
Thank you Jay, I agree strongly with you.

And we may have a miraculous change of leadership here in Canada shortly because the people are united in their vision for the future.

Karen Garcia said...

Bonjour Gaston,

Bonjour Gaston,

The oligarchy as represented by the two legacy parties is indeed nervous. Hillary Clinton's campaign just sent out a hysterical "please don't worry" email in the wake of her relinquishment of her email server to the FBI and tanking poll numbers. Fox News, the propaganda arm of the GOP, finds itself in the unusual position of accomodating a candidate it loathes for all the wrong reasons.

BlackLivesMatter, so far anyway, has proven itself impervious to legacy party co-optation. They shut down both Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush. They would have shut down Hillary were it not for her armed guards being on the alert. That private meeting she had with them has me a bit worried, but maybe it means nothing. They are equal opportunity abusers of the status quo. More power to them.

Pearl said...

It is interesting that the Republicans are doing a good hatchet job on Hillary and exposing many of her past discretions which are well documented.
The Hillary democrats may be angry but more and more questions are beginning to affect their support which cannot be ignored any longer. Also Berny is affecting many democratic support for Hillary. Hopefully the collaboration will be effective and the lesser of two evil philosophy wears thin.

Gaston Bachelard said...

Pearl, I hardly oppose a "revolution" because I am not optimistic about Bernie's success. There will, however, be nothing like a revolution by electoral process. Many people thought Obama's election was going to bring about revolutionary change. Instead we got someone who lied through his teeth and formally legalized the worst of Bush's illegal practices.

I don't think Bernie is a liar but he has certainly compromised. He is running as a Democrat, after all. Were he president right now, I doubt he could accomplish a thing. Do you really believe he could by political process disempower the 1 percent?

Karen, there is no causal relationship between Sanders' popularity and Hillary's plunging ratings...and the election is over a year away.

Pearl said...

Gaston: I really resent people like you talking to those of us who have been in the trenches politically most of our lives. You do not offer an alternative and until others provide a possibly better future I doubt you would even appreciate it if it happened.
I am 92 years old next month, grew up with a socialist father who was an official in a famous cooperative in NYC (the Amalgamated) where he contributed his political and cultural knowledge to the many appreciative residents and who all survived the Depression together.
They didn't speak of doom in a difficult time, they worked and voted and fought for a decent president who also, like Bernie, spoke the truth. He was not perfect but he was the best we ever had.
Thank god that atmosphere of not letting go of the possibilities regardless of the odds took root until it was destroyed over the years by the kind of people in power now.
I could go on about the people I admire and may I ask you what you have done in your lifetime to try to improve people's lives in a hostile atmosphere?

And the kind of revolution Bernie talks about is more than voting - it is working and fighting in one's community to better or change the larger structure and not putting down those who have the guts to step outside the box and leave their imprint behind.

You have nothing to offer the great people on Sardonicky who are steps ahead of you when it comes to political realities. And Karen could run rings around you on any political topic she writes about because she is free to speak her brilliant mind in her own setting without ties to the 'owners' of our lives. People like yourself could learn a lot from her values and personal courage.
And I use my democratic membership to fight the poor record of Obama and have from Day One.
Don't try and destroy the dreams of the people listening to Bernie'speeches because you don't know for sure how it will turn out in this sensational situation. Join them with honest support and if others do so, who knows what might be created.

Meredith NYC said...

Gaston.....just curious, what are you doing to volunteer for the Sanders campaign?

We have to realize...the main media can't treat Sanders seriously, tho his policies were once centrist here and are now in many places abroad. The media tries to stay mainstream and not be labeled left wing, thus out of the loop and non influential. To give Sanders too much attention is to lose prestige in the media hierarchy. so they take care to treat him as non consequential, or avoid him. Self fulfilling prophecy? That's how warped our definitions of left,right, center have become.

Here's maybe the best Borowitz yet?

"Sanders Shamelessly Pandering to Voters Who Want to Hear Truth." By Andy Borowitz, Aug 13, 2015 New Yorker.

NEW HAMPSHIRE (The Borowitz Report)—Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is gaining legions of new admirers by shamelessly pandering to voters who want to hear the truth, critics of the Vermont Senator say.

According to those critics, Sanders has cynically targeted so-called “truth-based voters” to build support for his Presidential bid.

“People come to Sanders’s rallies expecting to hear the truth, and he serves it up to them on a silver platter,” said the political strategist Harland Dorrinson. “It’s a very calculated gimmick.”

But while Sanders’s practice of relentlessly telling the truth might play well in states that are rich in truth-based voters, like the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, critics say that his campaign could stall in states where the truth has historically been less important, like Florida.

“At some point in this campaign, voters are going to get truth fatigue,” Dorrinson said. “Right now, the novelty of a politician who doesn’t constantly spew lies is grabbing headlines. But after months of Bernie Sanders telling the truth, voters are going to start wondering, Is that all he’s got?”

Dorrinson is just one of many critics who is eagerly waiting for the Sanders phenomenon to come down to earth. “Telling the truth may be working for Bernie Sanders, but it shows a serious lack of respect for the American political system,” he said.

Gaston Bachelard said...

Pearl, I do not mean to get into an argument with you. I'm 66 and, believe me, I've been engaged in political action since I was 15 -- everything from the anti-war and free speech movements to founding two follow-up Head Start programs and, in most recent years, working with the queer movement. I helped found ACT UP and Queer Nation in my city and was active in Sex Panic.

I also edited two alternative newspapers for 10 years (when they were still actually alternative) and wrote three weekly columns -- two of them very controversial -- for more than 20 years.I did my PhD in a program whose focus was community action.

I've devoted most of my life to this kind of work and never made more than enough money to make ends meet. I face retirement with practically no resources.

I get very weary -- and I've written about this countless times -- hearing your admonition that one should not critique something without providing an alternative. It is the classic argument people use to silence dissidence on both sides. It is a perfectly valid enterprise to explore a subject without coming to an immediate conclusion, a pat alternative. You cannot demand hope, despite what Barack Obama insisted.

The argument to remain silent if you have no alternative to present also relates to broader censorship. I well remember my early days in the New Left when any talk of queer liberation was silenced. In fact, most of the people I worked with were explicitly homophobic. I'm sure you recall the same phenomenon in the feminist movement when the word "lesbian" was a no-no. I was the first out gay person in my city's media.

I'm delighted that gay people can marry now and that trans people are gaining acceptance, but I will continue to criticize the movement for its purely assimilationist agenda -- something that has earned me plenty of ire.

Unlike you, I'm from a family of active Republicans -- nothing could be more inspirational to become a socialist like me.

I'm sorry I offended you. I've read this blog for years and recommended it to many people. I always make the point that Karen is a razor-sharp lefty and also has a note of optimism in her work.

Someone asked what my involvement with the Sanders campaign. I'm working to bring gay people into support of him.

Anonymous said...

Gaston: thank you for explaining yourself. We have had those who attack our work and I am especially concerned about people like yourself whose attitudes are mysterious with possible shades of destruction intended.
You have paid your dues and I commend you for doing so. But splitting hairs at a critical time like the present weakens the overall purpose of what Bernie is trying to accomplish and then we have articles about him like today in the NYTimes that damn him with artificial faint praise. The first reply from a reader was a deserved exposure of NYTimes policy which I hope others will follow.
We need people like you to add strength and encouragement to what people are yearning for and not find loopholes in an attempt to right the wrongs that prevail.

I wonder what you have been criticized for in the "assimilation" thinking of gay people and what that is all about. Yes, any attempts to create change is not free of dissidents and questioners but the importance of the basic change is what counts.

I appreciate your honest response and am sorry you have had to struggle financially in your attempt to find justice for those who are not wholly accepted in society. A worthy cause as well to add their numbers to Bernie's battle.

Pearl said...

The above is from Pearl, not anonymous. Wrong button pushed.