1. Will 712 Democratic
Officials Decide 2016 Election?
Uncovering the Secret History
2. Bubba's Toxic Economic Legacy:
Anti-War Democrats Try to Repeal Authorization for
4. Copps’s Plea for You and Me
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, May 19,
is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about the state of "democracy" in America's Democratic Party: taken
over by non-elected super- delegates; item 2 is
about Bill Clinton's enormous economic know-how (that gave extremely
much to the very rich, but who knows that, among the present American
voters?); item 3 is about an attempt (after a mere
15 years) to end the authorizations of endless wars, started under Bush
Jr. and continued - "Change!", "Change!", "Change!"
- under Obama; and item 4 is about honesty
about who pays for the 45 bits of propaganda most Americans
receive, relative to 1 bit of media information: There is
endless propaganda without honesty in the USA, regardless
of the American law: The rich want it that way, and nobody discusses
this (in the main media).
1. Will 712 Democratic Officials Decide 2016 Election?
Uncovering the Secret History of Superdelegates
And there is less than yesterday, but
this is normal variation.
The first item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy
This starts as follows:
The relationship between the
Bernie Sanders campaign and the Democratic Party leadership has been
challenging from the start of the 2016 election campaign, when former
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began the primaries with a more than
400-delegate lead by securing support from superdelegates—the 712
congressmembers, senators, governors and other elected officials who
often represent the Democratic Party elite. Now a new article from In
These Times by Branko Marcetic uncovers "The Secret History of
Superdelegates," which were established by the Hunt Commission in 1982.
We are joined by Jessica Stites, executive editor of In These Times and
editor of the site’s June cover story, and Rick Perlstein, the
Chicago-based reporter and author of several books, including
"Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America."
That was the introduction.
Note that it takes a bit over 1200 delegates to win the presidential
candidacy, which means that Hillary Clinton started with a
400-delegate lead, none of whom was elected (in the
election of a presidential candidate).
I quote one more bit:
JESSICA STITES: (...) And
basically, what had prompted this were the losses of Carter and
McGovern, and so this fear that the Democratic Party wasn’t nominating
sort of electable, winnable candidates. And so, these sort of party
insiders sat down and said, "What do we do?" And their instinct was,
"Well, we need to take control. We need to take control of the
nominating process. We’re worried that sort of if we let the people
decide through primaries, they’re going to pick the wrong person." And
so they instituted the superdelegate, who could act as a corrective,
essentially, to the popular vote by, at the convention, casting votes
for whomever they chose. And what really the sort of psychology you saw
there—and this comes up a lot in the transcripts—is this fear of the
activist or the outsider candidate that might disrupt the party, might
not work with the Democrats the way they want once that person comes to
the presidency, and so in this sort of sense that the elites kind of
know best, and "we have a particular political acumen."
is considerably more in the article, but this is what it comes down to:
The Democratic Party relies on a completely NON-democratic
procedure to nominate only those candidates that the
arrived elite of the Democratic Party approves.
And indeed this may cost Bernie Sanders the presidential candidacy,
together with massive discriminations by the former free press,
that no longer is free (just as the Democratic Party only is
"democratic" for candidates approved by the elite).
Toxic Economic Legacy:
second item is by Conor Lynch on AlterNet, and originally on Salon:
This starts with the
following subtitle (after a very long title):
Hillary Clinton recently stated
that her husband would be a key player on economic policy. That's not
I agree, though it seems to me very
good news for the very rich and for the CEOs of the big banks, though
indeed bad news for the rest.
Then there is this (after a considerable amount that I skip):
But even more importantly, it
should be recognized that the economic policies of Clinton not only
exacerbated the bubbles (and made the later crashes worse), but
undermined the longterm economic interests of the working and middle
Yes, indeed! And here is why
this is so:
It was, after all, the Clinton
administration that oversaw widespread financial deregulation,
repealing Glass-Steagall, which contributed to the rise of
too-big-to-fail financial institutions, and signing the Commodity
Futures Modernization Act into law, which ensured that the
derivatives market that eventually led to the financial crisis was
not regulated. The first financial institutions to benefit from
Glass-Steagall’s repeal were Citicorp and Travelers Group, two
companies that merged to form Citigroup, where Clinton’s Treasury
Secretary, Robert Rubin—who pushed for the legislation—would go on to
receive $126 million in compensation (after
the bank was bailed out by the federal government). Clinton also
signed legislation (Riegle-Neal) that removed restrictions on
interstate banking, leading to a rapid decline in local commercial
Beyond financial deregulation, Clinton
passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which
undermined manufacturing jobs and unions, while benefiting the biggest
corporations who could shift production to Mexico; he signed the
aforementioned welfare reform, which led to a system rife with racial
bias and left more in deep poverty; and he
reappointed Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
In brief, it was especially Bill
Clinton who liberated the American economy from the constraints
that kept the rich legally in their place (though still very rich).
Clinton liberated almost everything for the rich, and seems to
have gotten the same reward as the - horrible, egoistic,
extremely greedy - Robert Rubin did (namely a mere $126 million
dollars, in Clinton's case for a few speeches for bankers).
The article ends as follows:
The question is good, but only
for the minority that is well informed, and not for the
majority of the others, who mostly vote on the basis of their political
faith in some candidate, without having good rational reasons
for doing so. It is this majority Hillary tries to reach, and naming
Bill as her prominent economic advisor ("Didn't the economy prosper
under Bill?!") may well help her (and see item 4).
To sum it all up, Bill Clinton’s
economic legacy should repel all progressives who believe in economic
justice and fairness. Bubba did a lot as president to advance the
interests of big banks, and precious little to help the working class
and poor in the long run. Which begs the question: Who is Hillary
trying to appeal to with Bill’s neoliberal economic legacy?
3. Anti-War Democrats Try to Repeal Authorization for
The third item is by Lauren McCauley on Common
This starts as
After years of bombings and a
new, protracted conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. House on
Wednesday is expected to vote on a measure that could end or extend
President Barack Obama's "blank check" for war, which is now currently
used to sanction attacks against the Islamic State (or ISIS).
As I write this, it is early Thursday, but I
do not know the outcome of this new legislation. I expect that
it will be defeated, though I agree with the legislative
The legislation, proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), "would
require the repeal of the 2001 AUMF, which Congress passed to allow
operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the wake of the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks, within 90 days of the defense policy bill’s
enactment," Washington Postexplains.
Included in a roster of other defense policy measures, Lee said last
week that she wants to "force a debate on this war and repeal the 2001
blank check for endless war that got us into these perpetual wars."
proposal (in so far as I know about it).
Two reasons this is important is that it seeks to end the ""blank check" for war" (which this
year functions for 15 years!) and that the questions Barbara
Lee wants to see discussed are good.
Here they are:
(..) Lee issued
a memorandum titled "Unanswered questions about yet another war in the
Noting that the "U.S. mission in Iraq
and Syria creeps closer and closer toward all-out war," Lee asks the
- Since 1991, the U.S. has spent
trillions of dollars, dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs and lost
thousands of brave servicemen and women in Iraq. Do you feel any safer?
Are we any safer?
- The last four U.S. Presidents have
bombed Iraq. Will Congress allow a fifth President the same blank check
to continue this open-ended war?
- How many Americans or associated
military personnel are actually in Iraq and Syria? How many
contractors? How many sneakers on the ground?
- For 25 years, the Pentagon has
pursued a “bombs, bombs, bombs” agenda in the Middle East. Why will it
be successful this time? Why hasn’t the Pentagon made the case that
more bombings will bring stability and security?
- ISIL is an heir to Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Do we have a plan to support the needed political reforms in Iraq and
Syria that will prevent an ISIL heir from emerging?
- For months, the U.S. has been
training and equipping different factions. Do we know who these
individuals are? Can we guarantee that their training and new weapons
won’t be used against U.S. troops or our interests? How much does this
- In January, both Speaker Ryan and
Leader McConnell called for an AUMF debate and vote. Why have neither
moved anything to the Floor? Why have they decided to take potshots at
the President for their own inaction and inability to control their
I think these are good
questions, and I would like to see the answers they received in the
House, although (as said) I am not optimistic about Lee's
attempt to end the endless wars that Bush Jr. and Cheney started, 15
Copps’s Plea for You and Me
The fourth and last item of today is by Ralph
Nader on his site:
This starts as follows:
The plain-spoken, public-spirited former
Federal Communications Commissioner, Michael Copps, is indignant—and
for good reason: The FCC is not enforcing the law requiring the “dark
money” super PACs and other campaign cash conduits to reveal,
on-the-air, the names of the real donors behind all political
advertisements, which are now flooding the profitable radio and
It is bad enough that political ads far
overwhelm political news stories. One study of the 2014 election
campaign found Philadelphia stations gave 45 times more air time to
political ads than they devoted to their news stories which were
designed to inform viewers about the candidates. Political ads have
become a huge cash cow for the television and radio stations that use
OUR public airwaves free of charge. We citizens, who are the owners of
the public airwaves, receive no rent payment from these tenants.
(Thanks to a corrupted Congress!)
I say! And while I know Philadelphia is
only a small part of the USA, I take it
that the situation in the rest of the USA is similar - which is
to say that the
American voters get something like 45 : 1 = Propaganda : Information.
In case you don't understand this: The average voter gets something
like 45 bits of political propaganda for 1 bit of
Also, Ralph Nader is quite correct
that the public airwaves belong to the people, and quite
correct the people are not paid for the - totally sickening -
oceans of propaganda
etc.) that are poured out over them.
But not only do the media give 45 bits of propaganda for 1 bit of
while not paying their viewers a single cent for all the
amounts of utter bullshit
and crap that they are served with, they also are thoroughly corrupted
by the rich:
Well, as Michael Copps writes,
“Broadcasting and cable companies fear that honest ads might lead to
fewer ads and less money in their coffers. Corporate and dark money
interests hide in the shadows of anonymous attacks. Even our major
newspapers shy away from covering this issue, perhaps looking more
toward their bottom-line interests than the public interest. Some of
them own other media properties…”
That is, although it is the law
that political advertisements need their sources revealed, the rich
don't like that, and don't do it. And the broadcasters, the
cable companies, and the paper press do not cover the
issue, because this
will loose them money (from advertisements/propaganda -
which are essentially lies,
and intentional misstatements).
Here are first a statement of the relevant American law that is
now systematically ducked, without their being paid any attention to,
by a statement of the former Federal
Communications Commissioner, Michael Copps:
Apart from recent exertions on net
neutrality, the FCC has been subservient to big media companies and
their docile Congressional allies who don’t want to properly enforce
the 1934 Communications Act, which stipulates that radio and television
broadcasting companies adhere to the legal standard of the
“public interest, convenience and necessity” in presenting programming.
That standard implies a fair balance between serious content and
entertainment/advertisements. The FCC, mercilessly harassed into
slumber by members of Congress, has been AWOL from its legal duties.
On the bigger picture Copps writes, “Big
money is corrupting our electoral process, strangling our civic
dialogue, and endangering American self-government. The agency, the
FCC, should respond to the petitions and complaints that have been
filed and indicate if it is going to live up to its obligations.” Law
and Order anyone?
And that's it - and indeed Copps first
statement covers a lot more than the FCC:
“Big money is corrupting our
electoral process, strangling our civic dialogue, and endangering