Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Do Not Repeat These Errors!

Toledoans for Safe Water organizer Markie Miller addressed the Interactive Dialogue of the United Nations General Assembly on Harmony with Nature during the commemoration of International Mother Earth Day, April 22. Here what she had to say about the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and Rights of Nature in general:

Markie demonstrates how We the People can't afford to sit on the sidelines and let another algal bloom disaster happen again. Our guest blogger Bern Notice points out even more American history we dare not repeat.

An Open Letter to the Democrats — Do Not Repeat the Errors of 2016 

by Bern Notice

The 2020 election is in full swing. The field is being filled with contenders with large national profiles, and with others without as much name recognition. Having a great number of people in the election is a good thing as it presents an array of options which were limited in 2016.

Choice is truly a wonderful thing as long as those choices are respected. That is the great concern that should be on everyone’s mind as we progress through the 2020 electoral cycle. The whole point of democracy — which is the root of the word “Democrat” — is found in its definition:

Definition of democracy
: government by the people especially : rule of the majority
: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
: a political unit that has a democratic government
3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S. from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy — C. M. Roberts
: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges
Reference: Merriam-Webster

In short, the will of the common people is the source of political power and authority. It is their vote and support which grants you the ability to be an arbiter of justice or a writer of laws. Without their support, that power and authority is lost. It is their consent to your laws that gives you any authority over the masses.

For those reasons, it is imperative that the will of the people is obeyed. When that will is undermined, it is no longer a democracyand that is when tyranny and revolutions begin.

If you are wondering what the point is for explaining this, I will make it plain. The DNC and their shenanigans in 2016 directly led to Donald Trump becoming President of the United States. If the DNC is perceived as tipping of the balance toward any candidate, it can alienate supporters of other candidates.

If the outcome of the election is determined by the voters and perceived to be done without bias of the power brokers in the DNC, I think even the weakest Democratic candidate can beat Donald Trump this election. The progressives and liberals would coalesce around that candidate and put a Democrat in the White House.

Before we get too deep into the weeds, lets get this out of the way now: 2016 is over and done with. There is no changing it. We have the results we have, and there is no changing that fact. There is no point in re-litigating it. That being said, there is value in learning from the mistakes of that year so they aren’t repeated.

The perception of the DNC trying to help the Clinton campaign may have been the difference between a Clinton presidency and a Trump presidency. Some would quickly argue that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and the antiquated electoral college system is what put Trump in office. This is true.

It is also true that the Electoral College is the system we currently elect our presidents under. It is also arguable that there was a sufficient margin of Sanders voters who voted for Trump in 2016 to have affected the results in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Reference: Here’s How Many Bernie Sanders Supporters Ultimately Voted For Trump — NPR

Reference: MSNBC’s Morning Joe

The problem isn’t solely that they voted for Trump, but also the fact that a great number of Sanders supporters thought they were screwed in the primary by the DNC. It’s not as though they were thinking this in a vacuum. They had reason for it. Even corporate news networks noticed it.

Then there’s Donna Brazile, DNC chair, who said explicitly that the primary “wasn’t rigged” but mentions the memorandum between the DNC and the Clinton Campaign that “prevented the DNC from running it’s own operation”.

Reference: ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos

Whether it is called rigged or not, just the perception of the DNC having a clear preference was enough for certain individuals to vote for Trump, Jill Stein or stay home. According to FiveThirtyEight, the number of voters who voted for Jill Stein account for more than the victory margin in certain key states that many expected Clinton to win.
harry (Harry Enten, senior political writer): The case, as far as I see it, is twofold: First, the number of votes cast for Stein in the three states that proved to be pivotal (Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) exceeded Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton.
Jill Stein is now officially the Ralph Nader of 2016.
Stein votes/Trump margin:
MI: 51,463/10,704
PA: 49,678/46,765
WI: 31,006/22,177
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 1, 2016
Reference: FiveThirtyEight — Jill Stein: Democratic Spoiler Or Scapegoat?
Is this to say that all of these voters who defected to Stein or Trump would have voted for Clinton? (Editor's note: Most Green Party supporters do not automatically vote for the Democrat over the Republican when there is a Green on the ballot, so calling Stein a "spoiler" is inaccurate and denigrates the important place third parties play in American politics.) No, of course not. You can try to mitigate your losses by simply staying out of the fray and letting the voters decide for themselves who will represent them.

As long as the election is run fairly, it doesn’t matter which candidate wins, Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Yang… They are all substantially better than leaving Trump in power. They will likely get the support across the board.

If the DNC tips the scales again, or even appears to be doing it, then they are undermining the very process that they profess to care about. They would be undermining democracy. Period. It will alienate anyone who feels burned by it. Still, it seems as though certain members within the DNC do not want to let this play out.

'Stop Sanders' Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum
WASHINGTON - When Leah Daughtry, a former Democratic Party official, addressed a closed-door gathering of about 100… from www.nytimes.com

Why does the DNC insist on doing this? This is how we got into this mess in the first place. Regardless of the candidate, this should not be how elections are decided. Make your case on the debate stage. If a candidate is not viable, the people should make that choice based on what they find out on the debate stage or on the news.

The power brokers within the party should not be trying to make that decision for them. That would be no better than the voter suppression that they rightly demonize the Republican party for. That would be the height of hypocrisy. In fact, it’s hard to accept the notion of “Any blue will do” when you go against the democratic principles your very own party is named after.

The power to decide elections should reside solely with the voters, not the power brokers within the party.

Let me be clear, this is not a argument for one candidate. It is an argument for any and all candidates who run for office, even ones I am not in favor of. Nor is this a request for a coronation. This is simply a request to allow the democratic process to take place organically. Live up to the meaning of your party name. Let the voters decide who wins without your influence.

If you ignore this, then you risk repeating the results of 2016 and giving Trump another term. None of us wants that— or at least, I hope we don’t.

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy
  2. https://www.npr.org/2017/08/24/545812242/1-in-10-sanders-primary-voters-ended-up-supporting-trump-survey-finds
  3. MSNBC youtube site, clip from Morning Joe “https://youtu.be/dGeyhgp2N8A?t=292"
  4. This Week “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZcl9fCEvi8"
  5. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/jill-stein-democratic-spoiler-or-scapegoat/
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/bernie-sanders-democratic-party.html

Bio: Bern Notice is closely observing the candidates this election cycle, and he's reporting all the facts he can get his hands on. Visit his blog, Seeing through the B.S.,  today to learn more about the political personalities we'll be seeing more of in the coming year.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the U.K last week and the reaction coming from the Democratic Party is astonishing. Instead of opposing the Trump administration’s campaign to extradite him and criminalize journalism, the Democrats are debating whether they should drag Assange before a congressional committee, interrogate him on his connections to Trump, and use him to ignite a new round of Russiagate.

The world owes a huge debt of gratitude to Julian Assange. It’s thanks to him and WikiLeaks that we know that the 2016 American presidential election was rigged, not by Republicans and Russians, but by the Democratic Party.

Assange exposed war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, mass surveillance through our personal electronic devices, corruption spanning many governments with the State Department cables, and ensured that Snowden wouldn’t end up in a U.S. blacksite. He has publish documents pertaining to every country in the world, exposed governments and corporations alike, and has a perfect record of accuracy in his reporting. He has paid an enormous personal price to shine light on the crimes of the powerful, having been confined to a small room inside the Ecuadorian embassy in the U.K. for nearly seven years before his arrest.

Trump’s indictment of Assange is a dramatic escalation in the war on press freedoms that Bush and Obama waged. The government’s indictment charges Assange with receiving classified information without the proper security clearance and soliciting government secrets through his publishing platform WikiLeaks, activities that are both central and routine to investigative journalism. By that standard, every journalist and newspaper that reports on government secrets could be prosecuted.

The same Democrats who have spent three years consumed with righteous indignation over Trump’s attacks on the press are now cheering him on as he criminalizes journalism. Democratic Rep. Jim Himes from Connecticut, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the party might try to force Assange to testify on his connections to the president, in an apparent attempt to salvage the imploding Trump-Russia conspiracy. Other congressional Democrats said they might want to force him to bolster American counterintelligence.

Determined not to be outdone by Trump, the Democratic Party is on its own crusade against press freedoms. The DNC sued Wikileaks last year for publishing its emails in 2016. The ACLU and other civil liberties organizations consider the suit so damaging to press freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment that they called on the judge to dismiss the case, pointing out that it arbitrarily singles out Wikileaks among news outlets “for publishing truthful information that is unquestionably of public interest.”

In fact the threat to journalism is global. If Trump and the Democrats succeed in extraditing and prosecuting a foreign journalist for publishing U.S. government documents, it will set a precedent allowing governments around the world to extradite and imprison American journalists for reporting on their classified materials. Anytime a reporter at the Washington Post, New York Times and other U.S. publication covers leaks emerging from foreign governments, they would be at risk.

In December, the New York Times exposed Ecuador’s motivation for expelling Assange from the embassy after nearly seven years. Ecuador’s new neoliberal president sought to trade Assange to the U.S. for debt relief. It finalized the deal in February, receiving $10.2 billion in loans from the IMF, World Bank, and other U.S.-dominated financial institutions two months before handing Assange to the U.K.

In 2016 the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had ruled that Assange was being held unlawfully without charge and called for his release. The Trump administration claims that Assange will be tried for a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, but it is merely giving Ecuador and the U.K. plausible deniability that Assange won’t be subjected to further human rights violations upon his extradition to the U.S. On Wednesday CNN reported that more charges are coming. He is likely to be charged with espionage the minute he is in U.S. custody.

Perhaps better than any of us, Julian Assange understands that the Democratic and Republican parties are extensions of Wall Street and the military industrial complex. They are committees of corporations, much like ALEC, where lobbyists come together to rule with a veneer of democratic legitimacy.

I’m proud that a few months after our movement began, Assange wrote this essay urging progressives to form a major new party in America, and echoing us on why it can and must be done. Here is a preview of what he said:
Powerful governments and corporations perpetrate the biggest crimes on the planet. They fear what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks represent: a world where reality is not filtered through their censors in the corporate media, where opinions are not warped by their prisms of interests.

They fear a world where we make up our own minds.

Here's to that world,

Nick Brana
Founder and National Director
Movement for a People’s Party

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