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750 Sanders Delegates in Convention Walk-Out as Green Party's Jill Stein Joins Anti-Hillary Protests Outside

Moving beyond the Sanders campaign

Philadelphia -- While former president Bill Clinton last night spun a web of fabrications about his wife Hillary's progressive "accomplishments" as First Lady, senator and secretary of state in a featured speech to an embarrassingly depleted audience in the Wells Fargo Center where the Democratic Convention was being held, an impromptu demonstration outside on Broad Street by protesters from Bernie or Bust and Black Lives Matter was listening to Dr. Jill Stein, the likely presidential candidate of the Green Party, calling for them to continue their movement by backing her third party bid.

The protest action really began in the late afternoon when, at the end of a roll-call vote of delegates from all 57 primary states and territories which formally nominated Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. As Bernie Sanders was completing his surrender to Clinton by having his Vermont delegation offer their votes to Clinton, some 750 of his nearly 1850 delegates were staging a walkout from the convention hall. Several hundred occupied the convention press tent. Others went out on the street, with most heading up to City Hall, where many of them joined Bernie or Bust activists to announce that they were not supporting Clinton.

The corporate media couldn't seem to get its story straight on the walk-out, which caught many lazy reporters by surprise, though anyone talking with Sanders delegates on Monday would have known the idea was being worked out of a mass walkout. The NY Times and other pro-Hillary news organizations talked of "dozens" of delegates walking out, though hundreds filled the press tent alone and hundreds more just left the convention "green zone" altogether.

Some of the walk-out delegates then drifted back down toward the Wells Fargo Center and FDR Park, where a loud, energetic protest was held outside the fenced-in and heavily guarded convention site. There was reportedly some police use of teargas to break up the protest outside the gate to the convention, and a few incidents of people trying to climb the fence -- part of a four-mile exclusion perimeter set up by convention organizers, the city and the Secret Service -- the protest morphed into a march up the wide Broad Street roadway towards a waiting line of Philadelphia Police. The cops had been arrayed so as to block marchers from moving further uptown. As the protesters, bearing home-made signs that said things like "Jill not Hill" and "DNC Corrupt," pressed in towards the massed cops, and the scene started becoming increasingly tense, suddenly a second large march, this featuring the Black Lives Matter movement, appeared, marching down Broad street from the north.

The police, finding themselves effectively surrounded by converging marchers coming from in front of and behind their suddenly thin-looking line, fell back, allowing the two groups to merge. After a brief moment of confusion and indecision, the whole combined march opted to proceed in the direction of the Black Lives Matter protesters, heading back down to the outside of the Wells Fargo Center.

Bernie or Bust protesters, Sanders delegates who had walked out of the Convention in protest, and Black Lives Matter protesters marched together (photo by Akhil Kalepu)Bernie or Bust protesters, Sanders delegates who had walked out of the Convention in protest, and Black Lives Matter protesters marched together (photos offered by Akhil Kalepu)
 

I’m with Jill Stein!

No crooked sociopaths in the White House

 

Philadelphia -- Dr. Jill Stein, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Green Party, which holds its own nominating convention next week, Aug. 4-6, in Houston, had it right when earlier this year she offered to step aside and let Bernie Sanders, after failing to win the Democratic nomination, come in and head the Green Party ticket, running against Clinton and Trump in the general election.

Had Sanders taken her up on her surprising offer, instead of bowing to the corrupt powers that be in the Democratic National Committee and the oligarchic corporations that are backing Hillary Clinton, and ultimately endorsing Clinton, he could well have outpolled both Clinton and Trump and ended up winning the presidency as a Green partisan. He had a chance, even if he didn’t win, to upend the stifling Democratic/Republican duopoly that has been crushing progressive movements and gutting what’s left of New Deal and Great Society programs for generations, and to create the foundation for a new politics in the US -- to give American voters a true choice finally between one or two sclerotic pro-capitalist parties, and, at long last, a genuine people’s party.

Instead of that Hail Mary, Sanders decided to forfeit the game.

Some of his nearly 1900 pledged delegates, either after Tuesday’s roll call voting or on Thursday, when Clinton is nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, will likely stage a walk-out from the Convention Center. Hopefully they, and hundreds of thousands of Sanders activists or the millions of Sanders backers who voted for him in the primaries, or who supported his campaign but were barred from voting in the many closed primaries and caucuses, will decide to walk right into the welcoming arms of the Green Party. (See Wednesday's story above, about how 750 of Sander' delegates walked out Tuesday evening).

Forget Trump's wall. Hillary and the DNC, fearing protesters, had a 4-mile fence erected around the convention center, creating an exclusionary 'Green Zone' for party honchos and delegates.Forget Trump's wall. Hillary and the DNC, fearing protesters, had a 4-mile fence erected around the convention center, creating an exclusionary 'Green Zone' for party honchos and delegates.
 

Bob Nelson, a Sanders delegate from Pasadena who is at the convention, says that the California delegation, which includes factions of people including those who say they will in the end stay in the Democratic Party and ultimately will back Clinton (as Sanders is asking them to do, often to loud boos), those who will stay in the Party but who will only support down-ticket candidates but not Clinton, those who will quit the party -- perhaps as part of a public walk-out from the convention hall -- but who will still vote for Clinton in November so as not to allow Trump to win the state in a close contest, and those who will quit the party entirely, and probably support the Green Party. He predicts that the Green Party and its presidential candidate, and possibly candidates for other state offices, could fare very well in California this year as long as polls show the race Clinton-Trump to be not even close. He notes that the state is overwhelmingly Democratic, and also that more than half the state is people of color and either immigrants or the descendants of recent immigrants, meaning Trump is unlikely to do well there. “You could see a significant vote for the Green Party in California this year,” he says. Certainly the level of anger among Sanders delegates at the convention and outside on the street, especially after the Wikileaks release of 20,000 emails showing the blatant, coordinated efforts by the DNC and the Hillary campaign to undermine and destroy Sanders’ primary chances and to manipulate media coverage of his campaign, is unprecedented, and is not likely to go away after the convention is over.

At a breakfast Monday morning of the Florida delegation, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Florida Congresswoman and Democratic Party Chair outed as an anti-Sanders saboteur by Wikileaks but still scheduled to gavel open the convention that day, was booed so severely by both Clinton and Sanders delegates that she had to leave the room, after which the DNC hastily cancelled her appearance as convention convener, handing it off to a minister (who herself was booed loudly when she ended her ecumenical prayer with a word for Hillary Clinton).

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Green Party's Stein Walks With Poor While Democrats Party

'Clintonville' reflects true horror of poverty in US"

 

Philadelphia -- On the day before the opening of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, as top Democratic Party members settled into swank hotel suites around Philadelphia, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein spent much of that day interacting with the homeless and others in one of Philadelphia’s poorest communities.

Stein, a physician, walked the streets of Philadelphia’s Kensington section, hosted by anti-poverty activists in that community.

Kensington is a community where poverty in certain sections exceeds 57 percent. The unemployment rate in Kensington averages 19.1 percent, a figure that is nearly five times the current national average. Kensington is also a community with high levels of drug addiction and numerous drug sale locations. Stein stopped at an intersection in Kensington known as one of Philadelphia’s top drug sale/use locations.

“Kensington is what too much of America looks like,” Stein said. “In America today most people either live in poverty or are near poverty. This must change! Government today works for the wealthy special interests and not in the interests of most people.”
Jill Stein (left) Cheri Honkala (right) LBW PhotoJill Stein (left) Cheri Honkala (right) LBW Photo
 

Obama Calls for Peace and Comity at Home, But Favors Wars and Killer Drones Abroad

Misusing a quote about peace

 

President Barack Obama made an eloquent plea for sanity and peace following the latest deadly assault on police officers -- this time a gunman with an assault rifle shooting and killing three cops in Baton Rouge and wounding another three, one critically injured.

He struck just the right tone, condemning the killings but also warning against politicians and media talking heads using the incident to stir up more divisions. As he put it:
 

Someone once wrote, “A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work we need to be reminded of its existence again and again and again.”
 

The president continued:
 

“My fellow Americans, only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided. And we’re going to have to keep on doing it “again and again and again.” That’s how this country gets united. That’s how we bring people of good will together. Only we can prove that we have the grace and the character and the common humanity to end this kind of senseless violence, to reduce fear and mistrust within the American family, to set an example for our children.”
 

It was a moving call to bring this violence-plagued feuding country together -- people respecting the police, and police respecting the people, black, brown, red, yellow and white.

And yet I found myself wondering, why did the president say this only applying to the violence in our own country? This is, remember, the same president who chairs weekly meetings to decide who will be killed next somewhere in the world by our high-tech drones -- remotely piloted killing machines with grotesque names like Predator and Reaper, armed with their obscenely but aptly named Hellfire missiles. Victims who include not just suspected or alleged “terrorists” but also innocent members of their families, including young children, not to mention the all too many innocents who either happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or who are simply victims of targeting errors or “intelligence” errors.

Obama steals and misuses Irish writer's words of peace, while pursuing endless wars and drone killingsObama steals and misuses Irish writer's words of peace, while pursuing endless wars and drone killings
 

The Post-Dallas Kumbaya Window Begins to Close

The Ultimate Attribution Error Fuels War

 

Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
- From the Gullah song meaning, Lord, come by here and help us
 

There was a true kumbaya moment after the Dallas cop massacre similar to the moment after 9/11 when sympathy was expressed for America from many unexpected quarters around the world. That window began to close when US leaders took a hard line and vengefully attacked an un-implicated nation to counter the very sense of vulnerability that moved people of the world to sympathize with us. Similarly, the sympathy for attacked cops in Dallas may be evaporating thanks to a familiar sociological dynamic involving in-group, out-group identification.

Sociologists and psychologists call this “the ultimate attribution error.” As explained in an interesting New York Times article by Amanda Taub, it’s when people “attribute another group’s positive actions to random chance or circumstance but assume that [the other group's] negative actions reflect the group’s core nature.” That is, in times of stress, people “circle the wagons” around their own kind based on a belief that their motives are human and honorable; those of the projected enemy are the essence of pure evil. "Once you dehumanize them, it's easier to justify violence," says Professor John Dovidio of the Inter-Group Relations Lab at Yale.

This can be seen on both sides of the Black Lives Matter versus Blue Lives Matter conflict. For me, it involves anger, laziness and a failure of courage to see or listen to or talk with a perceived enemy. Better to huddle up with your own pack and project your fears on the other guy.

Sean Hannity and a Black Lives Matter protesterSean Hannity and a Black Lives Matter protester

As I bounced around cable news in the days following the Dallas cop massacre, no one was worse (maybe I should say “better”) at this than the odious Sean Hannity. (I confess, I’m biased: Sean Hannity is the root of all evil.) Hannity loves to point out his enemy’s shortcomings: that is, for them, examples of bad-cop behavior become an overarching metaphor for all-cops-are-bad and the System is totally based on white supremacy. Good point; that does happen. The trouble is, he then does the same thing ten times over; there's not a dialogic bone in the man's body.

Bernie Sanders Endorses the Candidate of Wall Street and Corporate Power, Hillary Clinton

Dead end in New Hampshire

 

Bernie Sanders threw in the towel today in his epic campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, standing on a stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire beside the woman he had spent the whole primary season denouncing as a tool of the corporate elite and especially of the Wall Street banking cabal, and saying he endorsed her as the party’s candidate for president of the United States.

The event marked the sad, if widely predicted, end to what for a brief time had electrified millions of young and working class voters: a major party candidate for president openly calling himself a socialist, proudly harking back to his days as a radical civil rights activist instead of trying to hide his past and his arrest record, and unabashedly condemning the greed, corruption and lust for power of the nation’s ruling elite.

Bernie Sanders as a brave youthful activist and today, endorsing Hillary Clinton, a woman he had condemned as a corporate shillBernie Sanders as a brave youthful activist and today, endorsing Hillary Clinton, a woman he had condemned as a corporate shill
 

I confess to having been inspired by Sanders’ quixotic campaign myself, and while I’m disappointed that he has ended it in such a dismal and humiliating manner, I’m not sorry he ran. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, the word “socialism” is no longer a pejorative in American politics. It is a political philosophy to which millions of young people are now drawn. That is something that can and will be built upon. For at least two generations it was not possible to call one’s self a socialist and be taken seriously in the United States of Capitalism. Of course, Sanders didn’t achieve this breakthrough by himself. His campaign built directly upon the struggles of the Occupy Movement, which in 2011 gave us “We are the 99%!” and made it clear that it is the 1% of the nation’s wealthiest people who basically own and run the country.

Bernie Sanders took that movement’s legacy and ran with it, literally, taking the country by storm and winning 22 states’ primaries along the way – and he probably would have won and maybe did win more had elections and counting been fairer (a month after that state’s primary was held they were still counting ballots in California!).

The deck was clearly stacked against Sanders’ campaign by a Democratic National Committee leadership that was solidly committed to Clinton and used every trick in the book, from scheduling primary debates at inconvenient times for viewers, like during the Superbowl, to shutting down the Sanders campaign’s access to voter contact records for a time, by a media that never ceased to disparage Sanders, first with red-baiting, then with false stories implying ignorance or incompetence, and finally, in an orgy of pro-Clinton PR, publishing reports that Clinton had “clinched” the nomination while Californians and voters in six other states were still casting their ballots in the last primaries of the season. Throughout the campaign the major corporate news organizations all continued reporting that Clinton had over 500 “super delegates” in her delegate total, an almost unassailable amount for Sanders to overcome, though in fact those delegates were not bound to vote for Clinton at all, but were elected Democrats, lobbyists and wealthy funders who had simply stated their preference for Clinton. By doing this, the media made it appear that Sanders never had a chance from the get go, though he actually came amazingly close to Clinton in pledged delegates without ever taking any corporate payola to fund his campaign.

Seattle's 'Liberals' Get Chance to Finally Start Addressing Police Brutality

Initiative-873 gives small flicker of hope

 

Seattle, WA -- Ever since moving to Seattle it’s become clear to me that though most of its inhabitants identify as liberals, the dominant white culture enables a culture of armchair liberals. When it comes to LGBT rights, Seattle will stand up, but when it comes to addressing issues that actually threaten the comfortable, largely white and privileged population of the Seattle, it’s another story.

In 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court started fining the state government $100,000 a day for continuing to underfund K-12 public education. In 2011, after a 9-month investigation, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice sued the Seattle Police Department for a "pattern of excessive force” that violates the US Constitution and federal law.

This year, Washington has a second chance to address police brutality and in compliance with international human rights laws.


  

As it currently stands, Washington has some of the most feudal police use-of force-laws in the country. It is essentially impossible to prosecute a police officer for murder. As it is currently written, Washington law states that if a police officer kills someone, as long as the cop acted “without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable,” he or she is immune from prosecution. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg stated, “This almost perfect defense to a mistaken use of force has kept police officers out of court as defendants."

In fact, according to an analysis done by the SeattleTimes, from 2005 to 2014, 213 people were killed by police officers in Washington only one of whom has been prosecuted.

Earlier this year, House Bill 2907 was considered which would have struck the “malice” clause from the state law, but it wasn’t even voted on. Frustrated with the lack of action from politicians, an activist group called Washington for Good Policing have proposed Initiative-873, which if passed, will strike the “without malice and with a good faith belief” clause from state law. The initiative will need over 250,000 signatures to get placed on the ballot for general voting.

A poem about this

 
 
I’m looking at a box of tissues.
It is my supermarket’s brand.
The photo on it is very beautiful and understated.
It shows a swan gliding from the left.
There are no words on the box.
In the background is a man in a rowboat.
He is so far off
That at first I thought he was in a kayak.
Both images are tiny.
The water is close and expansive and there are
Undulating mountains low in the background,
Also understated.
And as I say, there are no words.
(The barcode and the name of the store
Are printed on the bottom of the box.)
The box is mono-tone, mustard-yellow
Like just after the sun has set
And everything is saturated by the afterglow.
There are no waves, only stillness
And perfect reflections.
The subdued color enhances the feel of the scene.
I dreamed of a supermarket last night.
I was passing down spacious aisles
Crammed with food.
I was leaving the store without any items
And felt the need to explain to the cashier why
I wasn’t buying anything:

. . . Because our friends give us food
And because we grow just about everything we need.
In my dream the supermarket is closing for the day
And each time I list another food we grow
Another cashier disappears
Until there is only one checkout station left.
I know that when I leave
This last cashier will disappear.
 
It is July 1, 2016.

An Emancipation Proclamation for the Digital Age

The problematic relationship of Black people and the Internet persists

 

We just celebrated "Juneteenth" (the start of the end of slavery in the U.S.) amid tumultuous and sometimes confusing politics and what appears to be an increase in racist mobilization. For internet activists the situation begs the question: what, at this moment in our history, is the relationship between technology and black people?

It's a critical issue for us all.

Regular readers of this site have read it many times: with expanding globalization and the information economy, the internet has become a major, if not the major, communications technology in today's world. In the United States, it's the most popular tool for direct and group communications, study, research, diversion, journalism, intellectual collaboration and news consumption.

Most people reading this would agree that black people must be a part of that. But that truth is not a function only of a commitment to equality or justice. It's a necessity if we are to preserve the Internet's freedom and functionality and build a truly just and democratic society.

The use of the Internet by Black people has grown...and so have the problems.The use of the Internet by Black people has grown...and so have the problems.
 

That kind of society requires that Black people "sit at the table" of equality in this country and, to do that, they must enjoy a full, robust relationship with the internet that is equal to all other groups of people.

That, today, is simply not the case.

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