Daily Archives: July 17, 2016

Cornel West, fresh from Democratic platform committee, endorses Jill Stein

Cornel West, who is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in his presidential run, at a fish fry on Saturday in Charleston, S.C., organized by Representative James E. Clyburn.

New York Times photo

Cornel West, whom Wikipedia describes as “an American philosopher, academic, social activist, author, public intellectual and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America,” recently finished his stint as one of the 15 members of the 2016 Democratic Party platform-drafting committee (he was one of Bernie Sanders’ only-five picks to the committee) — only to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. West, shown above campaigning for Bernie in Charleston, South Carolina, in January, correctly calls Stein “the only progressive woman in the race” for the White House.

Here is Cornel West’s piece for The Guardian, in full (the links are the original links, not mine):

A long and deep legacy of white supremacy has always arrested the development of U.S. democracy. We either hit it head on, or it comes back to haunt us. That’s why a few of us have pressed the president for seven years not to ignore issues of poverty, police abuse and mass unemployment. Barack Obama said it very well, following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, that some communities “have been forgotten by all of us.”

And now – in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and beyond – this legacy has comes back to haunt the whole country.

Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies. Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration it’s been a question of “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality.

I have deep empathy for brothers and sisters who are shot in the police force. I also have profound empathy for people of color who are shot by the police. I have always believed deliberate killing to be a crime against humanity.

Yet, Obama didn’t go to Baton Rouge. He didn’t go to Minneapolis. He flew over their heads to go to Dallas. You can’t do that. His fundamental concern was to speak to the police; that was his priority. When he references the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s to speak to the police. But the people who are struggling have a different perspective.

The very notion that Dallas is the paragon of policing is something that needs to be interrogated. The Dallas mayor said we have done nothing wrong, but look at your history. Ask people in southern Dallas about the police. Ask Clinton Allen, an unarmed black man fatally shot by the Dallas police in 2013. I was with his mother, Collette Flanagan, the founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, last year. Countless people came up and told us about all the struggles black communities are having with the Dallas police.

Unfortunately, Obama thrives on being in the middle. He has no backbone to fight for justice. He likes to be above the fray. But for those us us who are in the fray, there is a different sensibility. You have to choose which side you’re on, and he doesn’t want to do that. Fundamentally, he’s not a love warrior. He’s a polished professional. Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Ella Baker – they were warriors.

Obama’s attitude is that of a neo-liberal, and they rarely have solidarity with poor and working people. Whatever solidarity he does offer is just lip service to suffering, but he never makes it a priority to end that suffering.

Obama has power right now to enact the recommendations made after Ferguson: better training, independent civilian oversight boards, body cameras. But he has not used executive orders to push any of these changes through.

This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between [Donald] Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and [Hillary] Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster. That’s why I am supporting Jill Stein. I am with her – the only progressive woman in the race – because we’ve got to get beyond this lock-jaw situation. I have a deep love for my brother Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him on Hillary Clinton. I don’t think she would be an “outstanding president.” Her militarism makes the world a less safe place.

Clinton policies of the 1990s generated inequality, mass incarceration, privatization of schools and Wall Street domination. There is also a sense that the Clinton policies helped produce the right-wing populism that we’re seeing now in the country. And we think she’s going to come to the rescue? That’s not going to happen.

The American empire is in deep spiritual decline and cultural decay. The levels of wealth inequality and environmental degradation is grotesque. The correct response to this is: tell the truth about what is going on. Bear witness. Be willing to go to jail to fight for justice if need be.

When the system is declining, it can bring despair. That’s why Black Lives Matter – and all other young people of all colors who are mobilizing – is a beautiful thing. We are having a moral and spiritual awakening. It gives us democratic hope. Its not about having hope but being hope. It’s time to move from being spectators, to being actors.

Among his many other points, I share West’s contention that Barack Obama hasn’t done enough for black Americans, irrespective of Obama’s race.

In fact, I’ve long speculated that Obama has done even less for black Americans than would a president of another race even with a similar political ideology — out of Obama’s fear of being accused of doing too much for black Americans because he is a black American himself.

And yes, of course all lives matter and of course Obama is supposed to be every American’s president, but these assertions often if not usually are made to whitewash the fact that black Americans still struggle mightily — by most socioeconomic measures more than any other racial group — in a largely racist, white supremacist nation.

As I’ve noted, I don’t hold it against Bernie that he endorsed Billary. Because he ran as a Democrat, he pretty much had to. But he didn’t have to do so wholeheartedly, and he didn’t do so wholeheartedly. In my view, he did it with a major wink-wink.

And, of course, we Berners are free to vote for whom we wish, and like Brother Cornel (who, again, helped to write the Democratic Party platform, for fuck’s sake), I intend to vote for Jill Stein, who is not only the only progressive woman in the presidential race, but is the only progressive, period, who still is in the race.

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No, Billary Clinton does NOT have the support of 85 percent of us Berners

2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

The actual number of those of us who voted for Bernie Sanders who plan to vote for Billary Clinton in November is probably around 60 percent. Indeed, a CNN poll taken last month showed that only 57 percent of us Berners would support Billary in November, while 18 percent of us would support Green Party candidate Jill Stein (pictured above), 13 percent would support Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and 8 percent would support Donald Trump. The widely quoted Pew poll that showed that 85 percent of Berners would support Billary did not give the respondents the explicit choices of Stein or Johnson, wildly skewing its results.

How many of those who voted for Bernie Sanders in a primary election or caucus plan to vote for Billary Clinton in November?

The poll numbers have varied widely.

A Bloomberg poll taken a month ago found that only 55 percent of Berners would vote for Billary, while 22 percent would vote for Donald Trump and 18 percent would vote for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Very apparently and very revealingly, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, the natural candidate for Berners who can’t bring themselves to support Billary, wasn’t even among the Bloomberg poll respondents’ choices.

The Bloomberg poll is, methinks, bullshit, and, by omitting Stein, among other things, quite intentionally skews to the right; no, I don’t see a bit more than a full fifth of Berners actually voting for Donald Trump (I don’t see any Berner voting for Trump, really, unless it’s a Fuck-it!-Bring-on-Armageddon-already! vote).

And the Libertarians are mostly wingnuts, and certainly aren’t diverse, but are mostly white dudes; the Libertarians aren’t a natural fit for Berners, either (although I’m sure that the misandrists who use the defamatory [but thankfully-also-self-defeating] term “Bernie bro”* disagree).

Further, a pillar of the Libertarian Party is “the abolition of the welfare state,” whereas a pillar — actually, the pillar — of Bernie Sanders’ campaign was the strengthening of the welfare state.

Wikipedia defines the “welfare state” as “a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the social and economic well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life.”

I am a staunch proponent of the welfare state — no, not as defined by the wingnuts (whose definition is something like this: a bunch of lazy people mooching off of the gubmint and our tax dollars), but as defined in the paragraph above.

So no, this Berner isn’t going to vote for Trumpence or for Gary Johnson, but most likely will vote for Jill Stein, in large if not most part because she supports the welfare state as defined above. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein subscribes to my belief that the federal government should exist primarily to improve the life of every common American — not to further enrich and to further empower the already rich and the already powerful, which is what the right-wing Repugnicans and the right-wing Libertarians very apparently believe is the main role of the federal government.**

Another, much-more-bandied-about-because-it’s-good-for-Billary poll is a Pew poll taken earlier this month that found that a rather whopping 85 percent of Berners will vote for Billary and that 9 percent plan to vote for Trump in November.

But, tellingly, Stein and even Johnson weren’t explicitly listed as possible responses in the widely quoted Pew poll, demonstrating amply that exactly how a poll question is worded already loads the dice.

Indeed, The Atlantic noted late last month:

… A CNN poll released Tuesday [June 21] shows that 74 percent of Sanders supporters would vote for Clinton in a choice between her and Trump in the general election.

Yet support for Clinton dropped when other options besides Trump were included in the poll. 

When asked to choose between Clinton, Trump, the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, only 57 percent of Sanders supporters said they would back Clinton. Eight percent said they would vote for Trump; 13 percent picked Johnson; and 18 percent went for Stein. … [Emphasis mine.]

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the corporately owned and controlled mainstream media, a la George Orwell’s 1984, want us proles to support only corporately owned and controlled presidential candidates, so when they poll us proles, they won’t even ask us about third-party or independent presidential candidates.

The CNN poll’s results — with all four candidates included — are, I think, the closest to the truth.

Yes, give Berners a choice in your little poll of only Billary or Trump, and anywhere from around 75 percent to 85 percent of them might pick Billary, but give them the choices that they’ll actually have on their November ballots, and the result is quite different.

My best guesstimate as to the percentage of Berners who truly plan to vote for Billary Clinton in November as I type this sentence is around 60 percent (in line with CNN’s finding), maybe as high as around 65 percent, but certainly not as high as 85 percent.

Note that when CNN included in its poll of Berners the choices of Billary, Trump, Stein and Johnson, Stein garnered the largest amount of support outside of Billary, with 18 percent. Again, Stein is the most natural inheritor of the support of Berners (like yours truly) who can’t bring themselves to vote for the center-right Billary in November.

It’s quite possible, of course, that that percentage of Berners who plan to take an anti-emetic, hold their noses and actually vote for Billary will creep up over the coming months as the full horror of a Trumpence White House becomes clearer and clearer. A lot can happen between now and Election Day.

In the end, Billary might actually capture in November something like 85 percent of those who voted for Bernie. But I don’t believe that she has that level of support today.

And given how close polls have her with Trump, she will need it.

Real Clear Politics’ average of recent polls right now puts Billary at only 4.5 percent ahead of Trump nationally in a four-way race and only 3.2 percent ahead of Trump nationally in a two-way race. The Huffington Post’s average of recent polls right now similarly puts Billary at only 3.5 percent ahead of Trump nationally in a two-way race.

I’m sure that it’s comforting to the Billarybots to believe that 85 percent of us Berners already are in the bag for Billary, but the polls indicate that the Billarybots easily could be in for a big November surprise.

*Glenn Greenwald has written of the term “Bernie bro”:

The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-[Billary] Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace.

It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior.

Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate). …

My best guess is that the Billarybots’ invention of the term “Bernie bro” at least in part was meant to shame the “Bernie bros” into supporting Billary (lest they be called sexist and misogynist), but methinks that this tactic for the most part has had the opposite effect.

I mean, I, for one, never was going to support Repugnican Lite, DINO Billary Clinton anyway, but then to be called sexist and misogynist for refusing to support the self-serving, center-right, sellout Billary (whom I’m “supposed” to support only because she is [as far as we know] a biological female and because she calls herself a Democrat) — that only reinforced my repudiation of Billary and her ironically sexist and misandrist bots.

**To be more precise, the Repugnicans want the federal government to actively aid and abet the rich and powerful in their continued war on us commoners. This is, to the Repugnicans, the only real legitimate use of the federal government: to continue their class warfare, using our commoners’ own tax dollars in their war upon us.

The Libertarians, on the other hand, want a dog-eat-dog nation in which the federal government (which has been shrunk as much as possible if not eliminated altogether) just sits back (if it still even exists at all) and lets the canine cannibalism happen.

In either case, the rich and powerful right-wing white men continue to run the show and those who historically have suffered the most in the nation continue to suffer the most.

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