Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Plan (Plus: A Caucus Observer's Tale)

The Plan
by C. A. Matthews

Coincidences happen. Serendipitous events do occur and can be taken advantage of. Conspiracies actually take a lot of work and plotting, though, something which implies its participants are energetic and coordinated. Most groups can’t be bothered with that level of sophistication in order to promote their agendas.

It’s just easier for organizations to make simple plans—long-term or short-term plans. Many on the Left are fairly certain they see the overarching plan of the Democratic Party’s leadership in regards to the 2020 presidential election fleshing out. The Dem leaders don’t like democratic socialism, socialism, or anything that hints at taking care of our neighbors and bringing everyone’s standard of living up to an equal level and providing health care for all Americans. The top dog Dems like PACs/Super PACs and accepting large sums of money from corporations and individuals. In short, they ain’t too bothered with overturning the Citizens United ruling and outlawing money as speech. 

And why would the DNC leadership want to change their ways? Getting rid of PACs and billionaires’ contributions is not in their best interests. Who really cares if poor folks can eat or pay their heating bills anyway! The poor don’t write big checks or put high-powered Dems on boards of directors after they’ve retired from their cushy party or government jobs. Democracy and fair play obviously aren’t important virtues to the DNC. Face it, they’re just not.

At least this time around they’re not hiding their tactics. If anything, they’re telegraphing them loudly and clearly. They allowed billionaire Michael Bloomberg to buy his way onto their debate stage by purchasing tons of commercial ad space on TV, the internet, print and billboards with what amounts to his pocket change. No one at the top of the party blinked an eye, either. No one said, "Hey, that's not fair to poorer candidates!" The DNC might say they hate a certain white male racist misogynist one-percenter in Washington, DC, but they’re more than willing to install another one in his place it seems.  

It's surreal. The DNC doesn’t really care about being seen as hypocrites while touting widely they’re the “party of workers.” What kind of “workers” are those, Dems? Professional butt-kissers? Amateur Boot-lickers? It boggles the mind how anyone with half a brain and an ounce of morality would have anything to do with such a morally bankrupt organization.

But then you stop and think and realize that the status quo establishment yields tight control over the ballot box and the debate stage. So the choices of the “major” parties in the November presidential election will be (once again)  Trump and Not-Trump or "Trump-lite" Bloomberg. Surprised?

Unless an outsider can get a foot in the door of this corrupt duopolistic system, don’t expect anything short of a revolution (a violent one) from changing how the system works in this country. “The Plan” says things stay the same and the money keeps flowing upwards into the billionaires’ pockets while We the People grow steadily poorer and sicker and our waters become ever more undrinkable and our soil turns to dust. Too bad, so sad you weren't born a Zuckerberg or a Bezos or a Bloomberg, right?

The outliers like Bernie Sanders or a third party candidate like the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins or Dario Hunter will not be allowed to compete. The Plan has already developed its "apps" and has the rigged electronic voting machines ready. The Plan doesn’t allow for the voters to actually have a choice to tackle the climate catastrophe and restore our lost civil rights. Oh no! The fat cats can’t have that. And so the DNC will (once again) rig their convention by using their Superdelegates to keep the “people's choice” Bernie from the nomination for the people's own good.

Lee Camp and Saagar Enjeti both give pretty good explanations of how this plan will come about in the following videos. A brokered convention all but puts the nails in the coffin of a Bernie Sanders presidency. The other Dem candidates on the debate stage in Las Vegas appear to be in on the fix, too, as they salivate at the chance to take power in Milwaukee. The will of the people doesn't even enter the picture.

And, of course, they DNC will try to blame any apparent lack of democracy in their primary process on the "Russians" or whomever is convenient rather than accept responsibility for their own heinous actions. I'm just waiting for it to happen. Oh, wow... They just did.

I apologize if this tirade comes across as a bit of a downer, but I thought you should be prepared for the worst. If by a miracle-upon-a-miracle the miraculous happens and the voters actually receive a “choice” at the voting booth this time, that victory will taste all the sweeter. 

But for those of us who were there in Philadelphia in 2016, I caution you to not hold your breath. You’ll need your oxygen to pick up your pitchfork and get marching immediately. As the song says, “We won’t be fooled again.” See you in the streets.



Related articles and videos:

Nick Branna, Former Bernie Staffer Tells What Will Happen Next in the Primaries (video)

Why Does Anyone Think Michael Bloomberg Would Beat Donald Trump?

Leaked Audio: Bloomberg Says Only Minorities Commit Crimes (video)

And for those who try to dig up "Russiagate" and use it as a reason to eliminate Bernie Sanders from the DNC nomination:  

US Intelligence Briefer Appears To Have Overstated Assessment of 2020 Russian Interference

Analysis Show DNC Servers Locally Hacked

And now a special report courtesy of Our Revolution--Northwest Ohio:
How Bernie Sanders Learned from 2016

Last week a group of four activists from Our Revolution – Northwest Ohio traveled to Iowa to canvas, knocking on hundreds of doors and driving vans of people to their caucus sites, and then serving as observers. Below is a brief memoir from Dennis Slotnick, Caucus Observer.

Observing a Caucus in Iowa in 2016

In a small precinct 25 miles north of Davenport, Iowa, a roller skating rink turned into a Democratic Party caucus site. Voters checked in on paper sheets and sat in the skating area in two almost equally populated sections. I counted heads: Bernie 65, Hillary 57. The organizer wrote on a white board different numbers. He was the only other person visibly counting. He put reverse numbers up: Bernie 56, Hilary 63. Numbers are approximate because it was not possible to know who were caucusers from observers. Children and teens wandered about getting food and drinks, sitting in the area to be counted. After presentations to the groups by pro-Hillary and pro-Bernie campaigners the realignment occurred. When I counted again, the second count was about the same, although nothing was written and no paper trail could be made. There were no ballots, no cards or documentation.  Just the whiteboard. I was stunned. In shock, I looked to the guy from New York who also observed and we both agreed that anyone could walk down on the floor to be counted. We shook our heads in bewilderment. There were not any Bernie campaign precinct captains. There was not presence of organized observers. There wasn’t a way to identify who was an observer or caucus member. Other problems occurred as you may recall. Many precincts were so close that a coin flip settled the question in eight districts--7 of the 8 flips went to Clinton. What was the probability of that occurring? 1 in 256.

Apparently, this was not an isolated case, and apparently word got
back to Bernie because caucuses were run differently in 2020.

Top: At caucus site, Des Moines, 2020. Observers were identified with labels. Bottom: These people are holding their voter cards with name, address, ID number and their signature.

February  3, 2020: Des Moines, Iowa, Caucus Precinct at 3500 2nd Street
  There were three precinct captains from presidential candidates Sanders, Warren, and Biden. They assisted with the caucus in handing out voting cards, taking count by raising of hands, and announcing the count out loud as each person was called. This occurred both before and after realignment and then the cards were all collected, counted and recorded by the precinct captains for the caucus. This is where the internal Sanders campaign caucus result numbers come from. There were also a dozen observers for Bernie Sanders available to assist in the caucus as needed and performed the witness role.
Vote Count Precinct 3500 2nd Street: 

Bernie Sanders 138
Joe Biden 9
Elizabeth Warren 1


Since neither Warren or Biden got 15%, all delegates from this precinct would go to Bernie Sanders. There were a dozen Bernie observers available that performed the witness role. Sanders' internal numbers were not the same as of the Iowa Dems. 

Sanders Reporting Numbers        Iowa DNC Reporting numbers  
Sanders 29.4%                                   Butigieg  26.8%
Butigieg 24.87%                                Sanders 25.9%
Warren 20.65%                                 Warren 18%
Biden 12.92%                                     Biden 15%
Klobuchar 12.92%                           Klobuchar  12%


How could this be?  
The reporting came to a halt when the Sanders campaign revealed their internal numbers to the Iowa Democratic Caucus organizers. This data was accompanied by five lawyers to challenge the results. The five Bernie lawyers approached the Iowa Dems demanding to know why the Bernie inside list votes were so different from the Iowa Dems' count.   
A faulty app was blamed for the delay and “inconstancies” in reporting while a recount of cards began. Dems withdrew their first release of numbers and decided to count the cards to verify the electronic numbers. (Recall that if Sanders campaign did not work with the Iowa Democratic Party to get these cards and use them in the caucus, this manual recount would not have been possible.)

Bernie still stands with his numbers.
See statement from Bernie campaign

Top: Cards raised by caucus goers used for oral count. Holding high for Bernie Sanders.
Bottom: Recording and reporting the collected cards for Bernie Sanders'  internal numbers.

It is profoundly revealing to me that the the campaign of Bernie Sanders has learned from the primary elections four years ago. The campaign has built a massive network of skilled precinct captains in every precinct, instituted the voter card system, and kept a methodical record of the numbers. Anticipating the problem, there were lawyers on site to challenge the data and make a case as soon as the results came out. 
The media has now revealed that the app used by the Iowa Dems was bought for $85,000 from Shadow, Inc., a media company that Pete Buttigieg has a vested interest. Furthermore, Pete Butigieg paid $40,000 to assure this system was used.
From the Move to Amend:
There is some debate about whether he said this but we're thinking about these words attributed to President Abraham Lincoln:
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

And here we are. The top tenth of a percent owns more wealth than the bottom 50% of people in this country -- and we have no mechanisms in place to stop or even mitigate that upward flow of wealth. Help grow the movement to end corporate rule and get big money out of politics by sharing the Motion to Amend today.

If we weren't sure whether or not we live in an oligarchy, we are watching in real time as a multi-billionaire is purchasing his way into a lead spot in the Democratic Party primary. If Bloomberg succeeds and gets the nomination, the American people will have a choice between two grotesquely wealthy politicians, both with corrupt histories. 

This isn't random or just an unfortunate blip in our history -- this is the culmination of a century and a half of corporate domination over political system (not to mention our communities, our environment, our bodies, etc). Now is the time for us to come together to amend the Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people, and money is not free speech! There is a solution -- share it with your friends and family today, by sharing our petition on your social media and email networks!

The #WeThePeopleAmendment is the only amendment that gets to the root of corporate rule by getting big money out of politics, and abolishing ALL corporate constitutional rights. 

It is the only way to turn this ship around and correct this disastrous course -- that Lincoln so presciently warned about -- toward real democracy. 
But it takes a movement. Share the petition far and wide, so we can build that movement for democracy!

Thank you for being in it with us --
- Move to Amend National Team

P.S. Help us grow the movement to fundamentally change the system that even President Lincoln could see was tilted in favor of corporate interests by sharing our petition today! 

Day by day, Amazon is extending its reach into everyday people’s lives through new technologies marketed as helpful and harmless. That cannot be farther from the truth. We are on the brink of a mass surveillance crisis and Amazon is ushering in this dangerous new era via Ring.

Ring, owned by Amazon, is a doorbell camera that allows the user to monitor activity through the Neighbor app, to see what’s happening outside of the home and many times, inside as well. Amazon not only has access to this footage, they own the content in perpetuity. But it gets worse-- Amazon makes insidious deals with local law enforcement agencies, rapidly targeting cities and writing marketing scripts for police officers to convince residents to buy Ring, often at a discounted rate or even for free.

Innovative technologies should not be used to increase policing at the expense of our privacy and freedom. Sign the petition to tell your mayor or local police chief to put an end to shady partnerships between law enforcement and Ring.

It has been proven time and time again that Black and brown communities suffer the most at the hands of technology bias. Algorithms that supposedly function without racial bias, in fact do. Facial recognition technology supposedly created to increase accuracy, often get it wrong-- especially among people of color. Pairing what we know about these problems in emergent technology with the widely reported flaws and hacks that have already happened with Ring, is clearly a recipe for disaster.
Our people are already overpoliced and over-surveilled through practices ranging from Stop and Frisk, to Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) which specifically targets MASA (Muslim Arab South Asian) communities. Technology has no place in further terrorizing people of color. It’s time we demand an end to over policing and it starts with holding Ring accountable.

The future of technology is ours to shape. We need to demand proper safety and privacy standards now or run the risk of living in a tech fueled 21st century police state tomorrow. We must take a stand before it’s too late.

In solidarity,
Kim Flores and the ACRE team

P.S - Are you being watched at work? Read the Medium post from our friends at Coworker.org and take the brief survey at the end to tell your story of surveillance. Coworker.org is a global platform to advance change in the workplace. Surveillance and control in the workplace is an authoritarian dream come true and we can’t be silent while everyday workers are being impacted.

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