- Help Outreach Working Group lift the fog of corporate media. Donate to help us maintain this website and distribute literature on the street.
- 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film Official Trailer 1 (2013)
- Articles ~ Actions ~ Events, Monday, Feb 17 – Thursday, Feb. 20 (from Adrienne Fong)
- Why the Buttigieg Campaign Tried to Have Me Arrested for Handing Out Information About Medicare for All
- Extinction Rebellion
- Why the Democrats Should Back Bernie Sanders: And Why They Won’t, If They Can Possibly Help It
- MANUFACTURING CONSENT: NOAM CHOMSKY AND THE MEDIA – FEATURE, DOCUMENTARY
- John Jay on who should govern this country
- Harvey Milk Club endorsements for March 3, 2020
- SF Bay Guardian Endorsements for the March 3, 2020 primary
- If Bloomberg Wants to Buy an Election, He Should Run as a Republican Against Trump—Not Sabotage Democrats
Upcoming EventsFeb17Mon12:00 pm Bernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQBernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQFeb 17 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pmSan Francisco Office Weekday Volunteers Hosted by Bernie Sanders for California Bernie 2020 San Francisco Office 2235 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110 Help us at the San Francisco Office weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 12-2pm, or 2-4pm! Phonebank Volunteer Recruitment Calls Event Confirmation Calls Data Entry/Administrative Tasks Event Prep Various other tasks as needed Thank you so much for your support for Bernie! ADA accessible: Yes Show details4:00 pm STOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS ... @ ICE immigration holding centerSTOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS ... @ ICE immigration holding centerFeb 17 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pmSTOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS at ICE immigration holding center (deportations) Mondays and Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm at 630 Sansome Street San Francisco, California Let’s build a permanent presence at I.C.E. to stop the deportations. Bring signs, Spread widely. Stop Deportations Block I.C.E. Melt I.C.E. with LOVE LOVE not HATE JOIN US NO BAN, NO WALL INSIST ON LOVE We are all immigrants Say it loud, say it clear, // immigrants are welcome here (two sides of a sign) Never Again *non-violence* Chants: No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here refugees are welcome here, No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all… Continue reading →Feb18Tue12:00 pm “Resist Trump Tuesdays” @ Diane Feinstein's office“Resist Trump Tuesdays” @ Diane Feinstein's officeFeb 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pmResist Trump Tuesdays every Tuesday from noon-1pm at 1 Post Street in front of Senator Feinstein’s office. Program differs weekly.12:00 pm Bernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQBernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQFeb 18 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pmSan Francisco Office Weekday Volunteers Hosted by Bernie Sanders for California Bernie 2020 San Francisco Office 2235 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110 Help us at the San Francisco Office weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 12-2pm, or 2-4pm! Phonebank Volunteer Recruitment Calls Event Confirmation Calls Data Entry/Administrative Tasks Event Prep Various other tasks as needed Thank you so much for your support for Bernie! ADA accessible: Yes Show details4:00 pm Bernie HQ Phonebank!Bernie HQ Phonebank!Feb 18 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pmPhonebank at SF Campaign Office! San Francisco Campaign Office 2235 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94110 Weekly Tuesday-Friday! Come together at our San Francisco Campaign Office with your friends, family, and neighbors to call voters and ask them to join our historic campaign to defeat Trump and transform America! Please bring a laptop or tablet, your phone, and headphones to phonebank. ADA accessible: Yes Show details7:00 pm Socialist Night School: The Soci... @ East Bay Community SpaceSocialist Night School: The Soci... @ East Bay Community SpaceFeb 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pmSocialist Night School: The Socialist Feminist Case for Bernie Sanders Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: February 18, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm WHERE: East Bay Community Space 55th St oakland, CA 94609 CONTACT: Event website EVENT Isn’t Bernie just another old, white man? Shouldn’t feminists instead support one of the smart, competent women on the primary ticket? These are valid questions, but whether we’re talking about the environment, healthcare and reproductive rights, immigration, or strengthening unions, Bernie’s policies are fundamentally feminist ones. His program addresses not only issues of gender, but tackles all of the intersecting oppressions that exist under capitalism.… Continue reading →Feb19Wed11:30 am Outreach at 101 Market @ The Federal Reserve BankOutreach at 101 Market @ The Federal Reserve BankFeb 19 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pmOutreach Working Group passes out Occupy literature in front of 101 Market Street, San Francisco, every Wednesday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, weather permitting.12:00 pm Bernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQBernie HQ Weekday Volunteers @ Bernie HQFeb 19 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pmSan Francisco Office Weekday Volunteers Hosted by Bernie Sanders for California Bernie 2020 San Francisco Office 2235 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110 Help us at the San Francisco Office weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 12-2pm, or 2-4pm! Phonebank Volunteer Recruitment Calls Event Confirmation Calls Data Entry/Administrative Tasks Event Prep Various other tasks as needed Thank you so much for your support for Bernie! ADA accessible: Yes Show details4:00 pm Bernie HQ Phonebank!Bernie HQ Phonebank!Feb 19 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pmPhonebank at SF Campaign Office! San Francisco Campaign Office 2235 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94110 Weekly Tuesday-Friday! Come together at our San Francisco Campaign Office with your friends, family, and neighbors to call voters and ask them to join our historic campaign to defeat Trump and transform America! Please bring a laptop or tablet, your phone, and headphones to phonebank. ADA accessible: Yes Show details4:00 pm STOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS ... @ ICE immigration holding centerSTOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS ... @ ICE immigration holding centerFeb 19 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pmSTOP DEPORTATION DEMONSTRATIONS at ICE immigration holding center (deportations) Mondays and Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm at 630 Sansome Street San Francisco, California Let’s build a permanent presence at I.C.E. to stop the deportations. Bring signs, Spread widely. Stop Deportations Block I.C.E. Melt I.C.E. with LOVE LOVE not HATE JOIN US NO BAN, NO WALL INSIST ON LOVE We are all immigrants Say it loud, say it clear, // immigrants are welcome here (two sides of a sign) Never Again *non-violence* Chants: No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here refugees are welcome here, No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all… Continue reading →
- Liberals Say Sanders’s Acceptance Of Rogan Endorsement Sends Dangerous Message He Trying To Win Election on
- “In All Seriousness” Podcast #4 | Subject: Blockchain on
- Rothschild Tells Trump to “Shut The F* Up” About Reforming Their Federal Reserve Bank on
- Rothschild Tells Trump to “Shut The F* Up” About Reforming Their Federal Reserve Bank on
- Rothschild Tells Trump to “Shut The F* Up” About Reforming Their Federal Reserve Bank on
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
Movieclips Indie Subscribe to TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/sxaw6h Subscribe to COMING SOON: http://bit.ly/H2vZUn Subscribe to INDIE & FILM FESTIVALS: http://bit.ly/1wbkfYg Like us on FACEBOOK: http://goo.gl/dHs73 Follow us on TWITTER: http://bit.ly/1ghOWmt
99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film Official Trailer 1 (2013) – Documentary HD A compelling portrait of the Occupy Wall Street movement. From personal stories to analysis of the big picture issues, supporters, participants and critics shed light on why and how this movement took off with such explosive force, and what it means. Made in a unique and unprecedented collaboration of 99 filmmakers across the country, the production process of this feature film offers a uniquely diverse way of bringing meaning and context to the movement that has swept up America, and much of the world, with its story.
Director: Nina Krstic Audrey Ewell Aaron Aites Lucian Read Producer: Ava DuVernay Brooke Devine Tyler Brodie: http://j.mp/14u9VRn Stephen Dotson Aaron Aites Brian Devine Williams Cole Audrey Ewell Karen Walton Editor: Nathan Russell Brad Comfort Jeffrey K. Miller Cinematographer: Jesus Silva Composer: Lesser
Please hold ♥ Clark Sullivan ♥ in your thoughts. Clark remains hospitalized at:
Kindred Hospital San Francisco Bay Area
2800 Benedict Dr.
Rise in Power and Rest in Peace ♥ Mike Zint ♥
-Mike transitioned on Friday, February 14, 2020. Future gathering is being planned
NOT back posting on a regular basis
– Please post events on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12
Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.
ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events!
A. BART police shoot, wound armed man at El Cerrito del Norte Station – February 15, 2020
B.Trial of the Four Embassy Protectors Ends with a Deadlocked Jury – February 15, 2020
C. Border patrol will deploy elite tactical agents to sanctuary cities – February 14, 2020
D. Press Release: California Immigrant Rights Advocates Condemn Militarized Escalation Against Sanctuary Cities – February 14, 2020
E. Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation –February 13, 2020
See events # 3 and # 9
F. Trump’s 2021 budget: More nuclear spending, less of almost everything else – February 12, 2020
G. UN publishes list of firms profiting from Israeli war crimes – February 12, 2020
H. Implicit bias trainer finds ‘extreme’ degree of anti-black sentiment within SFPD – February 12, 2020
1. Stop Mosser Rent Increases!
2. End the FCC’s War on the Poor
3. No cuts to SNAP (Food Stamps)
4. PENDING EXECUTION PETITIONS Click on the name to get to petition:
February 20: Nicholas Sutton in Tennessee
March 5: Nathaniel Woods in Alabama
March 11: Carlos Trevino in Texas
Monday, February 17 – Thursday, February 20
Monday, February 17
(referring to the current president)
1. Monday, 10:00am – 11:30am, Wake the ZUCK Up (at his house) –LOCATION CHANGE!!
Gather at his house!
3450 21st St. (21st St. & Fair Oaks)
This Presidents Day, we will gather outside Mark Zuckerberg’s house near Dolores Park to let him know that we won’t be quiet in the face of his company undermining our democracy.
We are not sure what billionaires brunch on, but let’s give him some food for thought and a piece of our minds. It will be fun. We will be loud. And we will bring plenty of democracy bagels for everybody who shows up with a sign or a noisemaker.
Why? Zuckerberg’s San Francisco Bay Area technology company — Facebook — refuses to take responsibility for lies, hate, and disinformation spread on its platform. This irresponsibility is alarming — especially in light of the 2020 elections.
Facebook sells ads to U.S. politicians but imposes zero restrictions on lies and false claims and is happy to profit from micro-targeted advertising that’s being used to misinform, manipulate and incite hatred among vulnerable voters.
Facebook should recognize it has created a monster and stop politicians from being able to “buy and lie” in their campaign advertising in 2020. But don’t expect Facebook to let go of so much lucrative attention and influence without a fight. We are ready to fight and to wake the Zuck up!
Hosts: Global Exchange, Media Alliance, Indivisible SF Peninsula and CA-14, Raging Granny Action League, and the crew at Don’t Let Facebook ZUCK UP Our Democracy.
2. Monday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Black Solidarity Week Opening Gathering & Processional
Lake Merritt Pergola
599 El Embarcadero
The procession will be kick off by a WOLFHAWKJAGUAR and WO’SE Community Church Led ceremony. Its a ritual Rooted in African traditions of honoring and being in solidarity with our ancestors who came before us and paved the way. This event kicks off #BlackSolidarityWeek.
Black Solidarity Week provides the springboard for organizing for Black liberation for the rest of the year.
Please wear all white!
Hosts: Community READY Corps and Black Solidarity
3. Monday, 6:30pm, Defend the Yintah – “Invasion” Film Screening + Discussion
223A 9th St.
Accessibility: No stairs
film screening of “Invasion”, an info session on the Wet’suwet’en struggle, information about our upcoming action, and a community meal!
We will have informative materials, a discussion about the current situation, and talk about ways we as a community can commit to ongoing Indigenous solidarity work here in the Bay Area.
Host: Abolish ICE SF
Tuesday, February 18
4. Tuesday, 8:30am. Court Support for NIa Wilson’s Family in BART murder trial
Alameda County Superior Court
1225 Fallon St.., 7th Floor, Dept. 12
Upcoming scheduled court dates:
2/18 – Tuesday
2/19 – Wednesday
2/20 – Thursday
2/24 – Monday
2/25 – Tuesday
Arrive by 8:30am – no costumes, shirts with Nia’s face allowed
5. Tuesday, 12:30pm – 1:30pm, No to U.S. Aggressions and Interventions
SF Federal Building
90 7th St. (7th & Mission St.)
Mothers on the March and Black and Brown for Justice, Peace, and Equality Demand:
– An End to the Genocide in Palestine, Yemen and of Native Americans.
– An End to the United States government’s interference in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran etc.
– An End to the United States funding of aid to these fascists governments and the $40 Billion to Israel.
We demand that United States of North America, military budget given to these governments be used in the U.S. to fund homes for the homeless and for healthcare for all, and NOT to fund the killing of people around the world!
All are welcomed – weekly demonstration every Tuesday.
6. Tuesday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Disaster Preparation Training
Joyce Gordon Gallery
406 14th St.
This is the launch of the Safety, Survival, and Self-Determination program. A training will be offered on disaster preparation and safety. #BlackSolidarityWeek
Sponsors: Community READY Corps and Black Solidarity
Wednesday, February 19
California ‘State of the State’
7. Wednesday, 8:30am – 10:00am, Stand up to Big Oil at 2020 at California State of the State
California State Capitol Building
1003 L Street
To sign-up for event: https://actionnetwork.org/events/lca-sots?source=RK&link_id=1&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&email_referrer=email_725951&email_subject=firstname-default-friend-join-us-wednesday-at-state-of-the-state
Signing up does NOT automatically sign you up for the bus!
You may receive info from sponsors Last Chance Alliance, 350.org., Rootskeeper, Greenpeace USA, & Sunflower Alliance
Fill out the form on above site!
STATE OF THE STATE BAY AREA BUS! *FREE*
On Feb 19th, the Last Chance Coalition is running a bus from San Francisco to the State Capitol in Sacramento!
We’ll be letting Governor Newsom know, on the date of his State of the State Address, that we want him to take bold action to protect the climate and stop allowing dangerous oil extraction to expand in California. To see our demands, go to www.lastchancealliance.org
The bus will be departing from San Francisco Embarcadero Area at 6:00 AM at Steuart and Don Chee Way across from Boulevard Restaurant
The bus will pick up passengers in Oakland at 6:30 AM pickup at Oakland Marriott Downtown on 11th Street near Broadway, just west of Broadway
The bus will be back in the bay area by 2pm at the latest, more likely 1pm, stopping at the pick up locations sequentially.
Once you sign up, we will be in touch with you and confirm your pick up location! Questions:
8. Wednesday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Enemy Alien: Civil & Human Rights in Time of War
San Francisco State University
Please join AMED Studies in collaboration with Asian American Studies and a host of community organizations to mark the Day of Remembrance. Co-sponsoring organizations include Buena Vista United Methodist Church; Neikki Resistance; and Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project (JPOHP) and Campaign For Justice: Redress NOW for Japanese Latin Americans! (CFJ).
As in the past, our annual commemoration honors Japanese people who were constructed as “enemy alien” in concentration campus throughout the US. We build on those legacies of “never again for anyone” and insistence on not repeating history.
Participating AMED classes:
* RRS 101, “Introduction to Arab and Muslim Communities”, Instructor: Jamal Dajani (M/W 12:30-1:45)
* RRS/WGS 566, “Gender and Modernity in Arab and Muslim Communities” Instructor Rabab Abdulhadi Online
* RRS 620, “Colonialism, Imperialism and Resistance”, Instructor Rabab Abdulhadi Online
* RRS 630, “Palestine: Ethnic Studies Perspective” Online
This open classrooms will screen a documentary that brings Japanese American director Konrad Aderer with Palestinian activist Farouk Abdul Muti who was unfairly detained after 9/11/2001.
A roundtable panel discussion co-moderated by professors Jamal Dajani and Rabab Abdulhadi will follow the screening. It is our honor to be joined by Pastor Michael Yoshii, Buena Vista United Methodist Church-Alameda and other community leaders.
9. Wednesday, 1:00pm, Emergency Rally to Defend the Yintah
Chase Building (in front)
560 Mission St.
Join us on Wednesday Feb 19th at 1pm in front of the Chase Building (560 Mission) to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. In the middle of the night on Feburary 6th, several people defending the Gidimt’en Yintah @gidimten_checkpoint were violently arrested while defending themselves and their land from the nonconsenual Coastal GasLink project. We need to act now in solidarity, and take on our responsibility to support those on the frontlines of this struggle. Join us to help support the autonomy of Indigenous communities defending their homelands and unceded territories.
1. Chase withdraw all support for Coastal GasLink (CGL)
2. Acknowledge their breach of Wet’suwet’en consent
3. Make a commitment to respect Indigenous autonomy
4. Consult with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs for best ways to support their efforts
Host: Abolish ICE SF
10. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Changing Climates: Lessons From Community Organizing in PR
UC Berkeley, Sibley Auditorium
( Bechtal Engineering Center)
Oscar López Rivera (OLR) is a Puerto Rican leader in the pro-independence efforts that has devoted his life to changing the unequal relationship between the conditions of Puerto Ricans and the U.S. government. His strong belief that Puerto Rico should be free from U.S. colonial control led him to an arrest in 1981 for seditious conspiracy and related charges. Sentenced to 55 years in prison, he became the longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence. After serving almost 36 years in prison, he was released in 2017 and has since resumed his role as an community organizer, founding the non-profit organization of Fundación OLR-Libertá. Its purpose is to raise awareness of and organize community projects in marginalized, disenfranchised communities in the metropolitan area of San Juan and in the Municipality of Loíza.
Hosts: Boricuas in Berkeley + 4 Other groups
11. Wednesday, 6:30pm, Food Not Bombs Food Sharing
16th & Mission
4:00pm Food prep and cooking!
We will prepare and cook at St. John The Evangelist Church, 1661 15th Street (at Julian) beginning at 4:00 PM every
Volunteers are welcomed
12. Wednesday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, APTP General Membership Meeting
East Side Arts Alliance
2277 International Blvd.
We’ll discuss our current efforts to build responses to mental health crisis and Intimate Partner Violence that do not lead with law enforcement intervention.
We’ll also be screening “Invasion” and a more current video re #Wetsuwetenstrong
Currently the Wet’suwet’en nation is being invaded by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in so-called Canada. Resistance is spreading both across Canada and internationally to support these frontline land defenders.
Host: Anti Police – Terror Project
Thursday, February 20
13. Thursday, 11:00am – 2:00pm, COH’s Black History Celebration!
280 Turk St.
Come to COH at 11am for soul food and an open mic in which anyone from the community can share their stories of displacement, eviction, and homelessness. Preference given to those who identify as Black of African American as those who are homeless.
After the open mic and some food, we will go to city hall where we will DEMAND elected officials to acknowledge the rampant displaceemnt of Black folks from San Francisco as well as fund a new replacement shelter for First Friendship, the only family emergency shelter in the San Francisco.
If you have any questions, please call 415-346-3740 and ask for Miguel or Olivia.
Host: Coalition on Homelessness
14. Thursday, 6:00pm, UnTold & UnSold- Poor Press Book Release Events 2020
SF Main Library
100 Larkin St.
Two other dates & places of event:
6:00pm Feb 26, 2020- West Oakland Public Library – 2801Adeline – Oakland
7:00pm March 13th – IntegriTea 717 Marin st Downtown Vallejo- Vallejo Art Walk
In February & March Poor Press will be releasing eight powerful and beautiful books including Black Disabled Ancestors by Leroy Moore, Unwritten Law by Dee Allen, When Mama and Me Lived Outside by Lisa”Tiny” Gray Garcia, Disturbance Within Myself by Audrey Candycorn, Chimalli by Muteado Silencio, Horse Tuuxi: My Name is Kai by Angel Heart, Everybody Jesus by Katana Barnes the most diverse Poor Book making program in the history of Poor Press topics include homelessness and street survival of a mother and daughter to police brutality to having Jesus in your live to Native America children story to Black disabled ancestors to a single mother surviving her son being murder to a pre internet world seeing the future and finally the beautiful art and stories of indigenous P’urepecha from the lands of Michoacán, Mexico, displaced here in the United States, his intention is to inspire his indigenous people to take the blanket, the paintings, the mud, the brushes and remember that we are craftspeople.
All of these powerful, ground-breaking publications are informed by the original theory of Poverty Scholarship- Poor People-led Theory, Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth which was released in 2019 with an national tour and will be re-released in 2020 as part of this powerful collection.
POOR press is the poor people-led publishing arm of the grassroots, homeless and poor people-led movement known as POOR Magazine which has been dedicated to publishing and producing the books, art, education and culture of very low, no-income, homeless, indigenous, disabled and incarcerated youth, adults and elders since 1996.
Hosts: DeGentrification Zones, Poor Magazine, Homefulness
15. Thursday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Black Housing Union Discussion
Joyce Gordon Gallery
406 14th St.
Discussion around support for a housing justice agenda in Oakland. #BlackSolidarityWeek
Host: Community READY Corp and Black Solidarity
FEBRUARY 11, 2020 (counterpunch.org)
You’d think that a presidential campaign backed by 40 billionaires and untold numbers of bundled rich people wouldn’t worry about just one leaflet on Medicare for All.
But minutes after Pete Buttigieg finished speaking in an auditorium at Keene State College in New Hampshire on Saturday, a Pete for America official confronted me outside the building while I was handing out a flier with the headline “Medicare for All. Not Healthcare Profiteering for the Few.”
“You can’t pass that out,” the man told me. I did a double take, glancing at the small “Pete” metal badge on his lapel while being told that he spoke on behalf of the Buttigieg campaign.
We were standing on the campus of a public college. I said that I understood the First Amendment. When I continued to pass out the flier, the Buttigieg campaign official (who repeatedly refused to give his name) disappeared and then quickly returned with a campus policeman, who told me to stop distributing the leaflet. Two Keene city police soon arrived.
The Buttigieg official stood a few feet behind them as the police officers threatened me with arrest for trespassing. Ordered to get off the campus within minutes or be arrested, I was handed an official written order (“Criminal Trespass Notice”) not to set foot on “Keene State College entire campus” for a year.
So much for freedom of speech and open election discourse in public places.
Why would a representative of the mighty Buttigieg campaign resort to such a move? A big clue can be found in a deception that Buttigieg engaged in during the debate on Friday night.
Buttigieg’s dishonesty arose when Amy Klobuchar, a vehement foe of Medicare for All, attacked Bernie Sanders for allegedly seeking to “kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years.” Klobuchar was reciting a key insurance-industry distortion that neglects to mention how a single-payer system would provide more complete health coverage, at less cost — by eliminating wasteful bureaucracy and corporate profiteering.
But Klobuchar then pivoted to attack Buttigieg: “And Pete, while you have a different plan now, you sent out a tweet just a few years ago that said henceforth, forthwith, indubitably, affirmatively, you are for Medicare for All for the ages, and so I would like to point out that what leadership is about is taking a position, looking at things, and sticking with them.”
Buttigieg was far from candid in his response: “Just to be clear, the truth is that I have been consistent throughout in my position on delivering healthcare for every American.”
That answer directly contradicted an early 2018 tweet from Buttigieg: “Gosh! Okay. . . I, Pete Buttigieg, politician, do henceforth and forthwith declare, most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages, that I do favor Medicare for All, as I do favor any measure that would help get all Americans covered.”
No doubt if the flier I was handing out at Keene State College had praised Buttigieg, his campaign would not have called the police to have me ejected. But the Buttigieg for President staffer recognized that Buttigieg’s spin on healthcare was undermined by facts in the flier (produced and financed by RootsAction.org, which is completely independent of the official Sanders campaign).
“Buttigieg is claiming that Medicare for All would dump people off of health coverage and deprive them of ‘choice,’” our flier pointed out. “Those are insurance-industry talking points. He is deliberately confusing the current ‘choice’ of predatory for-profit insurance plans with the genuine full choice of healthcare providers that enhanced Medicare for everyone would offer.”
February 13, 2020 (Rebellion.earth)
More beautiful and courageous action from XR groups around the world. There is so much to tell.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
About 50 activists, led by XR, picketed outside the Gauteng Legislature, calling on the government to declare a climate emergency. Photo: Zoe Postman.
Kandy, Sri Lanka.
XR Youth had a plant donation day in front of the Tooth Relic Temple and donated 300 plants to people.
February 13, 2020 by Common Dreams
This could represent the beginning of a real healing of America’s tragic history around race and class.
by Ted Morgan
The real hope represented by Bernie Sanders’ campaign is that he can pull together these sharply separated populations—in the process shifting the focus to the elite forces whose propaganda has kept them apart. (Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images)
If they were smart, the Democratic Party would support Bernie Sanders as their nominee. But of course, they won’t, if there’s any way they can prevent his nomination.
Not surprisingly, Sanders’ PAC-supported or big money opponents, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Bloomberg, have belittled his candidacy. But the Party’s old guard –Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barney Frank— have also publicly attacked and/or worked against Sanders. Barack Obama has intimated that he would try to prevent a Sanders nomination.
Even worse, the liberal corporate media have repeatedly dismissed, attacked, and underreported Bernie and his campaign. New York Times opinion writers –Paul Krugman, Timothy Egan, Frank Bruni, Bret Stephens, and David Brooks— have virtually lined up to dismiss the Sanders campaign; ‘he can’t win,’ ‘he’s like Trump only his opposite,’ are common refrains. Washington Post columnists follow suit, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went off the rails implying Sanders’ rather tame version of democratic socialism could lead to public executions.
Similarly, the well-endowed Democratic PAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel, funded attack ads on Bernie in Iowa, while the corporate Partnership for America’s Health Care Future has mobilized to “change the conversation around Medicare for All” to protect the for-profit healthcare industry. And, of course, the powerful right-wing attack machine, from Charles Koch’s organization to the Federalist¸ have been mobilizing propaganda attacks on Bernie.
There will be a great deal more of this in the coming months, as these interests try to bury Bernie Sanders’ truly populist message.
Let’s look at their arguments: “Sanders can’t beat Trump” and “Bernie is too far left.”
The latest Quinnipiac national poll (pre-New Hampshire) has Bernie 8 percentage points ahead of Trump, shortly after Trump’s post-impeachment bump, and Bernie’s campaign will vividly bring out the enormous contradictions in the Trump administration.
But more fundamentally, are any of the centrist Democratic candidates likely to beat Trump with their ‘more of the same’ arguments?
The New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks revealed data showing that tens of thousands of voters in the key swing-to-Trump states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin voted for Bernie in the primary and Trump in the election –in sufficient numbers to cost the Democrats the election.
However, Brooks draws a dubious conclusion from the data, suggesting Bernie voters will sit out the election if a different Democrat is nominated. Voters who voted for Bernie in those primaries but Trump in the general election are not Bernie’s fervid young supporters, but in all likelihood largely alienated white working class or rural Americans, fed up with a Democratic Party that long ago deserted them.
In short, the data don’t suggest abandonment of Democratic nominees as much as they suggest the potential for Bernie, alone among Democratic candidates, to pull working class and rural votes away from Trump.
A second way that Bernie expands the potential Democratic voter base is the fact that hundreds of thousands of diverse young people have been inspired by his sharp critique of corporate-dominated inequality, his advocacy of the Green New Deal, and generally his vision of a more democratic future.
Among other things, these young people see in Bernie someone who recognizes the profound economic, social and ecological problems which will plague their future lives. They bring enormous energy and enthusiasm to a Bernie candidacy.
They and others, recognize the authenticity of Bernie’s politics; he has consistently fought for the concerns he raises. As political writer Robert Scheer has observed, Bernie “actually believes in the grassroots. He actually believes that an ordinary person in Vermont can make intelligent decisions about the human condition, and about justice and freedom… [one] reason Bernie Sanders can survive the rhetorical assaults [against him]….”
On the one hand, Bernie’s candidacy inspires political activism among the young and those with long-held social justice grievances. On the other hand, he speaks authentically to long disenchanted working class whites and rural Americans. As Scheer put it, “I think what makes Bernie Sanders authentic is his respect for the ordinary person.” It’s no accident that he easily won the Vermont primary in every town in the state, so widely is he respected by constituents who have come to know him.
Bernie is not “too far left” for these voters; his essentially New Deal-type programs are too far left for Democrats like Bill Clinton who moved the Party into the corporate center some 40 years ago.
The real hope represented by Bernie Sanders’ campaign is that he can pull together these sharply separated populations –in the process shifting the focus to the elite forces whose propaganda has kept them apart.
This could represent the beginning of a real healing of America’s tragic history around race and class. It could also represent what the political scientists like to call a “realignment” of American politics, one which promises far more democracy than the sad democratic façade we live under.
Ted (Edward P.) Morgan (email@example.com) is professor of political science at Lehigh University and author of What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American Democracy (University Press of Kansas).
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
Encore + Manufacturing Consent explores the political life and ideas of world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky. Through a collage of biography, archival material and various graphics and illustrations, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick’s 22-award-winning documentary highlights Chomsky’s probing analysis of mass media and his critique of the forces at work behind the daily news. Manufacturing Consent examine la vie politique et les idées du réputé linguiste, intellectuel et militant Noam Chomsky. Ce documentaire vingt-deux fois primé de Mark Achbar et Peter Wintonick allie éléments biographiques, documents d’archives et illustrations diverses pour mettre en lumière l’analyse approfondie que Chomsky a faite des médias de masse et sa critique des forces qui influent sur les nouvelles quotidiennes.
Subscribe to the Encore+ channel: http://bit.ly/EncoreSubscribe Abonnez-vous à la chaîne Encore+: http://bit.ly/EncoreSubscribe 1992 Available only in English. / Disponible en anglais seulement. Produced by/Produit par : Necessary Illusions, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick. Director/Réal. : Mark Achbar, Peter Wintonick. Encore+ invites you to discover – or rediscover – memorable Canadian films and TV shows, wherever you are in the world. Brought to you by the Canada Media Fund and its partners. Follow Encore+: http://www.facebook.com/EncorePlusMediahttp://www.instagram.com/EncorePlusMediahttp://www.twitter.com/EncorePlusMedia
Those who own the country ought to govern it.
John Jay (December 23, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, abolitionist, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States. WikipediaB
Sanders for president, Yes, Yes, Yes on Prop. E, and reforming the Superior Court … our complete endorsements for the March 3 primary.
By Guardian Editorial -February 10, 2020 (SFBG.com)
Below are our complete endorsements for the March 3, 2020 primary elections.
Two elements come into play in the presidential primary, and we think both favor Sanders.
The first, of course, is beating Trump. We do not subscribe to the “Bernie or bust” theory, and in November, we will be endorsing and strongly supporting any Democrat who wins the nomination. But we are also convinced (as are many writers and political scientists, including Steve Phillips and Rachel Bitecofer), that there are only a tiny number of “swing voters” who might defect from Trump to a more moderate Democrat. This election will not be won on a cautious, centrist agenda. Hillary Clinton tried that; it didn’t work.
The 2020 election will be about turnout, about inspiring voters, particularly young voters, to get out and go to the polls. Trump has his base, and it won’t change. In the swing states, Trump won because so many Democrats either stayed home or voted for a third party.
We still believe that Sanders would have beat Trump if he were the 2016 nominee. And we think he has the best chance of energizing Democratic voters, creating a political movement, and defeating the incumbent.
He also has the best political positions of any of the candidates.Sponsored link
Sanders is the only candidate with an unwavering stand in favor of single-payer health care. He’s the only one who consistently opposed the worst foreign policies (and wars) of the past five presidents. He seems to understand more deeply than anyone else in the race that economic inequality and climate change are both existential threats to humanity—and are linked. His “Housing for All” program is far superior to Warren’s and simply outpaces all other candidates for President.
We also like Elizabeth Warren. There are real differences between the two progressive front-runners, and they amount to this: Sanders thinks the political and economic systems of the US needs profound, fundamental change. Warren thinks most of the problems can be fixed with better regulation of the existing system. But Warren is talking seriously about a wealth tax, which the economist Thomas Piketty, who is probably the most important analyst and critic of modern capitalism in the world today, says is the only way to keep the current system from completely melting down with catastrophic consequences.
The reality is that, barring a radical change in Congress and the Senate over the next few years, Sanders isn’t going to get a Medicare For All plan that eliminates the private insurance industry passed in his first term. But it’s possible that he could start implementing a Green New Deal, and move the US into position as a nation leading the fight to save the Earth.
Warren might not get a wealth tax in her first term, either. But she would repeal the Trump tax cuts and the wholesale deregulation of industry that has damaged the economy and the environment.
Frankly, either one of them would be a transformative president.
And if no candidate emerges from the primaries with enough votes to win a first-ballot nomination at the convention, it’s absolutely critical that the Sanders and Warren delegates realize that together, they can probably name the nominee—and that, in the real world of Washington politics, they would both be sending the country in a much better direction. In a brokered convention, a fight over minor policy differences between the two camps could lead to a centrist nominee and Trump getting re-elected.
Today, right now, we think Sanders has the better chance of beating Trump. If that shifts, and Warren looks to be the stronger nominee, we would be thrilled to support her.
CONGRESS, DISTRICT 12
We haven’t endorsed Rep. Nancy Pelosi in more than two decades, since she decided to privatize the Presidio and let George Lucas get a huge tax break constructing an office building in a national park. For much of her career, Pelosi hasn’t represented San Francisco; she’s represented the center of the Democratic Party, serving as a speaker and minority leader whose primary goal has been to raise money to elect Democrats, even if those Democrats are almost as conservative as Republicans.
She’s never had a heavy progressive policy agenda; it’s all been about politics and power. (In 1986, when Pelosi, who had never held any office, ran as the candidate of the power structure, we backed Harry Britt, who was a Democratic Socialist. He won on election day, and won the Democratic Party vote, but vote-by-mail ballots and Republicans put Pelosi over the top.)
That said, we don’t think this is the year to put a lot of time and effort into challenging Pelosi.
Pelosi right now is, for better or for worse, the voice of the Democrats resistance to Trump. It took her a while, but she came around to impeachment (although she knew that the Senate would never convict and remove the president). Her aggressive legislative agenda, basically ignored by the press, has expanded her opposition to Trump far beyond cable TV’s endless preoccupation with his personality and has actually attacked his policies, forcing Mitch McConnell to bottle up scores of bills passed by the House.
More important, this is her final term. Pelosi promised the more conservative Democrats elected in 2018 that she would step down in 2022 if they would support her for two more terms as speaker. We expect her to keep that promise.
So the real question for San Franciscans who look at local politics in the long term (and we’ve been doing that for more than 50 years) is this: Who is going to take over that seat two years from now—and how do we make sure it’s a real progressive, not someone like state Sen. Scott Wiener?
There are potentially strong candidates for that seat, including David Campos and Jane Kim. Wiener would be formidable. (We also hear that Pelosi’s daughter Christine has her eyes on continuing the family legacy). And the stakes will be incredibly high. The next person to hold that seat will probably be there for 30 years or more, defining San Francisco politics for the nation—and wielding massive influence back home.
Shahid Buttar, who is challenging Pelosi, has raised all the right issues. He’s for single-payer health care, he’s against pointless foreign wars, he supports higher taxes on the wealthy… We have no argument with his political positions. He has never held any local office, and his main involvement in local politics has been running for Congress; we tend to support candidates with a long record of local activism. If you want to vote as a protest against Pelosi for all the obvious reasons, he’s a fine choice.
But the political energy around this seat, in this city, should be focused not on 2020, when Pelosi will almost certainly be re-elected, but on 2022, when it will really matter.
STATE SENATE, DISTRICT 11
When Scott Wiener ran against Jane Kim for this seat four years ago, we said that Wiener was hard-working, had an ambitious agenda—and was wrong on some of the key issues affecting the city, particularly housing. His first term has demonstrated exactly that.
We would like to say that Wiener has done some good things, but in the past his campaigns have taken our words completely out of context in an unfair and inaccurate effort to suggest that he has our endorsement. We would urge him not to do that again.
That said, Wiener’s bill to extend the hours that bars can sell alcohol will be a big help to the local nightlife community. He has taken strong stands on LGBT issues. And he just introduced a groundbreaking bill to do what Gov. Gavin Newsom should have done long ago: Authorize the state to buy up all of PG&E’s stock (at what is now a really low price) and turn it into a publicly run venture.
Then there’s SB 50.
Wiener is a leader in the Yimby world, which argues that the private sector can solve the state’s housing problems. He wants to deregulate housing development all over the state—without any meaningful funding or mandates for affordable housing. He equates density with affordability, which is just factually inaccurate.
His housing bills are everything the private developers could want. But they will just lead to more gentrification, displacement, and destruction of existing vulnerable communities in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.
That’s why every tenant organization and every group that fights displacement in San Francisco has opposed his bills.
We are not fans of the concept that growth is always good. In fact, while the city economist predicts that the SF economy could grow by more than 30 percent in the next 20 years, that seems unlikely; if the global North can’t reduce growth and consumption in an era of finite resources and climate change, Mother Earth is going to do it for us. We are big supporters of Prop. E, which would link office growth to affordable housing (Wiener is not backing that measure, and his allies the Yimbys are opposing it).
But if we want to say, for the purposes of argument, that the city is going to grow, and that San Francisco will need more housing for more people, we’d like to think that our state senator would be able to work with existing organizations that have been working on this issue for decades and come to a compromise that everyone could accept.
That would involve not just private-sector solutions but public approaches—say, an investment by the state of five percent of the annual budget ($10 billion a year) for non-market affordable housing—enough to house every homeless person in the state in five years.
It would involve Wiener going to his allies in the real-estate and development world to say that any new legislation that requires greater density also has to guarantee that people who currently live in the Bay Area can’t be forced out by richer people who want their homes (which means repeal of the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins).
It would mean a commitment that new density comes with adequate funding for transit and other public infrastructure—that growth pays for growth.
Wiener has shown no interest in that approach. Instead, he has put his full faith in the idea that developers, given fewer rules, will bring down housing prices. And in the process, he has been terribly divisive on an issue that requires community-based solutions.
Jackie Fielder is a relative newcomer to local politics. An LA native, she graduated from Stanford in 2016 with a BA in public policy and a Master’s in Sociology, moved to SF, and worked on the campaign for a public bank. She teaches at SF State, and ran the No on H campaign in 2018 to keep the cops from overruling the Police Commission and getting Tasers.
Fielder is a Native American/Mexicana queer activist; she’s lacking experience and when we first talked to her several months ago, she was a long way from creating a credible housing plan. But now she supports the concept of the state spending $10 billion a year for 10 years (again: just five percent of the state budget) on non-market housing, supports a Green New Deal for the state, and wants to repeal the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins.
She has the support of Sups. Gordon Mar and Dean Preston, Democratic Party Chair David Campos, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, among others.
We’re endorsing her, too.
STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 17
Incumbent David Chiu has no opposition. He represents one of the most progressive districts in the state, but has allied himself with Wiener on housing and has been a part of promoting the most moderate, centrist candidates for local office. It’s time somebody thinks about challenging him.
STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 19
In some ways, Assemblymember Phil Ting, who represents the West Side, is more progressive than his East Side colleague David Chiu (certainly when it comes to local endorsements). We like Ting, the only Democrat running; we would like to endorse him. Then he goes and supports SB 50. And that’s a deal-breaker.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES
The very fact that there are three open seats, and thus three elections, for Superior Court are a testament to the fact that two years ago, four public defenders decided to challenge sitting judges. The judiciary freaked; judges don’t like to run for office or (gasp!) defend themselves against challenges.
So this time around, three judges who wanted to retire did so at the end of their terms, so there would be open seats. Then the conservative judiciary establishment got behind three candidates they found acceptable—none of whom are public defenders.
Meanwhile, most progressive leaders in the city are endorsing three different candidates.
All six candidates for the three seats are women of color. All of them have significant experience as lawyers. But despite the argument of the sitting establishment, courts are political, judges bring their own experience and background to the bench, and we would like to see more people from the Public Defender’s Office and the tenant bar join the former prosecutors and corporate lawyers who dominate the local courts today.
Seat 1: Maria Evangelista
Evangelista had the courage to take on a sitting judge two years ago. She’s a longtime public defender who has handled more than 50 trials and has an understanding not only of the legal system but of the need for restorative justice. Her opponent, Pang Ly, is a former prosecutor.
Seat 18: Michelle Tong
Tong has been a tenant lawyer (at the Eviction Defense Collaborative), a civil-rights lawyer (at the Asian Law Caucus), and for the past 16 years, a public defender. She has exactly the level of skill and experience we need on the bench. Her opponent, Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, is a former prosecutor who doesn’t live in the city.
Seat 21: Carolyn Gold
Gold is a career tenant lawyer and litigation director at the Eviction Defense Collaborative. She has spent 30 years representing people who lack the resources to hire private lawyers. Her opponent, Kulvindar “Rani” Singh, is a career prosecutor.
DEMOCRATIC COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE
The DCCC has become a major political battleground in San Francisco, with competing slates promoted by, in this case, Party Chair (and leading progressive) David Campos, and Assemblymember (and centrist) David Chiu.
The stakes are significant: The DCCC will play a role in this fall’s local elections with its power to give the party’s endorsement to candidates for supervisor. And the Chiu camp would love to oust Campos as chair.
There are candidates on the progressive slate who give us pause; not all, for example, have pledged to back Sup. Dean Preston in D5 this fall. But we are going with the best choices available.
Li Miao Lovett
Kelly Akemi Groth
STATE PROPOSITION 13
Yes … But
Prop. 13 seems like a simple measure: It’s a $15 billion state bond measure to fund public school projects. It would also allow local governments to increase the amount of money that they can raise in bonds for schools and community colleges.
All of these are worthy goals, and we support them.
We are concerned, though, by this, from the ballot analysis:
“The state would establish new limits on developer fees. Specifically, school districts would be prohibited from assessing developer fees on multifamily residential developments (such as apartment complexes) located within a half-mile of a major transit stop (such as a light rail station). For all other multifamily residential developments, currently allowable developer fee levels would be reduced by 20 percent moving forward. These limitations would be in place until January 1, 2026.”
The teacher’s unions are all in favor, and since the limits are short-term, we are willing to go along. But we don’t support limits on developer fees.
City College bonds
It’s easy to say that that the current City College chancellor is bent on destroying the historic mission of the school. It’s easy to say that the current board hasn’t been vocal enough about standing up to him.
But Prop. A has nothing to do with that. This is a bond issue to fix structural problems at the existing campuses and bring some of the aging buildings into the future (there are some classrooms at City College where it’s almost impossible to get an Internet connection). This is about the future of City College; don’t get distracted by the current issues. Vote Yes.
This one’s simple: It would upgrade the city’s critical infrastructure, including water and sewer lines, to be more resilient for the inevitable earthquakes. There is no credible opposition.
Health-care benefits for Housing Authority workers
A little strange and bureaucratic, but here’s the deal: The feds have asked the city to take over some of what used to be federal funding and responsibility for public housing. That means workers who used to be in the federal system are no going to be city workers. Because of the City Charter, if these (underpaid and overworked) people are going to get health benefits, it will take a vote of the people. Yes, of course.
YES, YES, YES
Prop. D is one of the two most important measures on the local ballot. It seeks to address the problem of landlords leaving commercial spaces in neighborhood vacant because, as Sup. Aaron Peskin put it politely, “the have unreasonable expectations of the rent they should be able to charge.” We are more blunt: This is real-estate greed choking small businesses.
Prop. D would set a tax on vacant storefronts that could rise over three years to a level ($25,000 for a typical space) that would be a serious incentive to owners to find tenants and charge them affordable rents. Which would be good for neighborhoods, small businesses, residents, and the city as a whole.
Vote Yes on D.
YES, YES, YES
Office development and affordable housing
Prop. E is probably the most important land-use measure to face voters in this city in more than 30 years. It directly addresses the most fundamental issue framing life in San Francisco: the imbalance between job growth and housing.
The urban planning under former Mayor Ed Lee, who encouraged the tech boom that has transformed the city, and under the current mayor, London Breed, has been indescribably bad. The city has encouraged a massive increase in tech office space, bringing tens of thousands of new workers (many of them high-paid) into a city that had no available housing.
Then those new tech jobs created tens of thousands of service-sector jobs, many of which pay barely minimum wage—and there’s a vast shortage of affordable housing for those workers.
The imbalance is the main reason why so many poor, working-class, and middle-class people and families have been forced out of San Francisco. It’s a primary cause of homelessness. It’s an urban disgrace.
Prop. E would restore some sanity. It would simply say that the city should stop approving more office space until there’s enough affordable housing for the new workers.
Prop. E won’t damage the city’s economy, as opponents claim. It would do the opposite: Today, hundreds of small businesses are closing, neighborhoods are facing either displacement or decay, and conventions are fleeing because of the homeless crisis. Restoring some balance to the jobs-housing situation would help the city recover from a tech-boom earthquake that has shaken us to the core.
By Robert McChesney (commondreams.org)
February 11, 2020
If Bloomberg Wants to Buy an Election, He Should Run as a Republican Against Trump—Not Sabotage Democrats
The mega-billionaire should be running against Trump in the Republican primaries, not as a Democrat. If he actually cared about this country more than stroking his massive ego that is exactly what he would be doing.
by Robert McChesney, contributor
Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is one of the 10 richest persons in the world, with a net worth approaching $60 billion, depending upon the vagaries of the stock and bond markets on any given day.
For anyone who is not a billionaire, it is almost impossible to grasp just how much money this is for a single human being. It would be like calculating the distance of our planet to a distant galaxy in centimeters. Bloomberg could spend $100 million every single day on his presidential campaign between now and election day in November—basically more than any candidate except Bloomberg and fellow billionaire Tom Steyer have spent so far in the entire 2019-20 election cycle—and he would still have a net worth greater than $30 billion. He would remain one of the 30 richest people in the world.
Think about that. Money basically means nothing to Bloomberg. It makes no material difference to his life—anymore than losing a penny would to most people—to spend all this money. At age 77, why the hell not? And wouldn’t it be fun to be president? You only live once.
Bloomberg may well be successful. He has already made media corporations hugely profitable by flooding the airwaves with his expensive and slick advertising—he has shown something corporate America knows well: carpet-bombing advertisements works if you can afford it—and this is just the beginning. He has bought off everyone with a pulse so he has a large chunk of the political class on his payroll, with many more to come. He will accordingly get terrific mainstream press coverage, the type any other candidate would like, and Bernie Sanders can’t even begin to imagine.
In short, Bloomberg is demonstrating the deep problems of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that permits candidates to spend unlimited amounts of their own money on their own campaigns, especially in a period of breathtaking wealth inequality. Why be like the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson and spend a fortune on other people running for office? You are the smart guy after all; spend it on yourself.
If Bloomberg is successful, this could well become the new normal. Presidential elections will be contests between the wealthy who put their own money on the line. Bloomberg demonstrates that no one else could possibly compete with them in terms of resources. We are already a way down that road in Congressional elections. The already fading notion that this is a functional democracy will take another sharp turn in the wrong direction.
Bloomberg explains his decision to run for president as a concern with how Trump is such a dreadful president and that he is best positioned to defeat Trump, restore integrity to governance, and change his deplorable policies, especially on the environment and guns.
Fair enough. But aside from the issue of billionaires buying elections, there is one other extraordinary flaw in his thinking: Bloomberg should be running against Trump as a Republican, not a Democrat. If he actually cared about this country more than stroking his massive ego that is exactly what he would be doing.
This is not such a crazy idea. For starters, Bloomberg is a Republican, or he was until the tea party and then Trump showed up. He fits the profile of the sort of traditional Republican most Americans have been familiar with for generations. He is pro-business, pro-empire, anti-labor, and not especially sympathetic to the concerns of minorities or the dispossessed. These old-school Republicans were committed to the rule of law, however, and to majority rule.
Now Trump has come in and crystallized currents already growing in the Republican Party, like the “tea party” explosion in 2009-10. With his endless lying and rejection of the rule of law, Trump has led the Republicans toward a stronger embrace of authoritarianism, even, dare I say it, fascism. There are discussions about whether Trump would even leave office were he to lose the 2020 presidential election! The career Republican politicians have capitulated to Trump en masse, hence discrediting this party in toto.
Because of the way U.S. elections are structured, we have a two-party system and it is very difficult to replace one of the existing parties with a new one, despite popular support for introducing new ideas into our politics. So the United States is moving toward an exceptionally dangerous place where one of the two main parties is flirting with fascism and dedicated to maintaining political power with only a minority of the country supporting it. It holds the rule of law in contempt.
Bloomberg could have been a real patriot and applied his billions of dollars to challenging Trump and the fascist trend within the Republican party. He could have done everything possible to expose Trump and to locate and encourage anti-Trump Republicans. He could have supported primary challengers on the Republican side to defeat Trump’s allies and enablers. He could have built up a parallel party apparatus employing thousands of Republican operatives at big salaries. He probably would have lost, but you never know for sure until you try. Bloomberg could outspend Trump 20 to 1. He would have been able to force public attention to this issue, and keep it there. He might have made Trump completely crack up. At any rate, he would have had an enormous impact that might have helped to slow and begin to reverse the Trumpian drift.
Then, if he failed to get the Republican presidential nomination, Bloomberg could throw his support and his resources to the Democrats, as he claims he plans to do now.
He would have been a patriot, perhaps even a hero.
Instead, he has opted to bring his takeover project to the Democratic Party. The Democrats are currently in a profound struggle for determining the course of the party between their progressive and establishment wings. By most accounts, patching it up by November will be crucial for electoral success. Bloomberg’s entrance as an establishment savior has won him understandable support from those Democrats who dislike the progressive trend, and believe, erroneously in my opinion, that Bloomberg is the best bet to defeat Trump in November. If Bloomberg is successful in buying the Democratic nomination, or being the kingmaker who decides it, it will generate such anger and antipathy in the progressive wing of the party to the point where even his billions cannot buy off people to see things his way. The party could disintegrate enough that Trump waltzes to a second term, precisely what Bloomberg claims he does not want to have happen.
The moral of the story for establishment Democrats is don’t be seduced by Bloomberg and his billions. He will break up the Democrats and cost them the election if he or someone he supports takes the nomination.
So Bloomberg’s legacy would be that he left his own party to the neo-fascist crowd and went on to blow-up the Democrats, keeping the Republicans in control.
That is 180 degrees away from being a hero, or a patriot.
# # #
Robert McChesney, a Common Dreams contributor, is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Co-founder of Free Press, McChesney is the author of numerous books on the political economy of communications and the role media plays in democratic and capitalist societies.