Friday, February 26, 2016
Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein or Revolt in the Streets?
First of all, as I've said before, Bernie Sanders isn't running against Jill Stein unless he gets the nomination; and if that does happen it will be the best choice we've had since I can remember. So we shouldn't let anyone divide us so that the establishment can continue to rule without addressing the will of the people.
Also in the long run we need Instant Run-Off Elections so the establishment can't use the wasted vote argument to continue rigging the elections.
But before I get back to the political election I want to mention a couple news stories that haven't received much attention in the national media.
(Edit: additional stories have been added below to this post about hundreds of schools with lead in water around the country which haven't been widely reported in mainstream media.)
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg and will have enormous impact on our country and political activity.
Rachel Maddow recently opened her show with a couple news stories to let her viewers know that the election wasn't the only thing going on, even though the traditional media doesn't seem to be reporting anything else. I think one of them was Story So Far Porter Ranch gas leak updates (02/18/2016) and the other was about With most of City Hall facing criminal charges, what's next for Crystal City, Texas? 02/25/2016
What's next is that their water is black.
Not only is this in addition to the problems in Flint Michigan with their water problems; but it is also in addition to hundreds of other environmental problems around the country and the world that the media is hardly reporting on at all. But the local people in most of these areas are aware of them and so are people that check with a fair amount of alternative media outlets or read some of the books, routinely ignored by traditional press but promoted by alternative media outlets, that cover these stories like "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein, "Days of Destruction Days of Revolt" by Chris Hedges, "Blue Gold" by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, "Who Stole the American Dream" by Hedrick Smith, "Savage Inequalities" and "Shame of the Nation" by Jonathan Kozol, and many more.
Jumping Jack Flash Maintains an Extensive list of Fires And Explosions and on several occasions I have done my own searches (results listed in a few links below) and found much more than I suspected and the only reason I didn't find much more is I didn't have time. The amount of environmental damage being done to this country is much worse than most people realize.
It is incredibly obvious that neither Hillary Clinton or any of the Republican candidates have any intention of doing anything about this threat which is much bigger than the "Terrorism" they keep warning us about. Not that there isn't a threat of terrorism but one of the leading contributing causes is that despite all the rhetoric about religious fanaticism most of these terrorists do have some legitimate concerns, even if they don't express them very well, which includes the fact that we keep bombing Muslim countries and the enormous amount of environmental damage being done by both the military and multinational corporations.
The bigger problem is not who wins the election but how we're going to address escalating problems which are already threatening to explode, even if the media isn't reporting it and when things do explode assuming we don't address them then a lot of people are going to be taken by surprise. However if we have Hillary Clinton or one of these fanatical Republicans in office when things explode then we'll have to fight the establishment tooth and nail to get the smallest improvements done and there is a real possibility that there could be riots in the streets or worse. Even though the recent attention to police brutality has brought about a small amount of reform it might only be a token amount of accountability, so when some people stand up for their rights they could face police brutality. If they need a scapegoat it will be the police with the least political power like at Abu Ghraib when those following orders got all the blame and those giving orders weren't held accountable at all.
If on the other hand we have a sincere president in office and he or she has enough grassroots support to pressure the rest of the political establishment then there is a much bigger chance to avoid a foolish explosion of riots in the first place, or if it can't be completely avoided it can be kept to a minimum assuming legitimate concerns are finally addressed.!
Judging by a few articles from Chris Hedges including, Chris Hedges: Why I Support Dr. Jill Stein for President 02/21/2016, Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement 02/14/2016 and VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges and Jill Stein Confront the ‘Corporate Leviathan’ 02/24/2016, he doesn't think the Democratic Part can be reformed from within and he doesn't believe that Bernie Sanders can win the nomination. We'll find out soon if he can win the nomination, but whether or not Bernie Wins, Hedges still has some legitimate concerns even if I don't agree with all of them.
The Democratic Party certainly can't be reformed from within. If Bernie does win and helps reform the Democratic Party it won't be with the help of the political establishment, it'll have to be with the help of an enormous amount of grassroots pressure. Hopefully that grassroots pressure will include efforts to bring about major media reform, Instant Run-Off elections, proportionate representation, and a chance to hear from all grassroots candidates without giving an enormous advantage to the most corrupt. The interview process needs to be controlled by the public not the political establishment as I pointed out in several posts including Election Reform and Saving Project Vote Smart and improving it or replacing it.
Even if either Bernie or Jill wins we can't rely solely on them, and even they need to be held accountable. I doubt if they would disagree especially since they keep asking for help from the grassroots after the election, assuming they win, unlike most other politicians who only want it before the election to get them elected then expect us to trust them even after they betray that trust one time after another.
Unlike Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, I don't think either Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein want cult followers that believe everything they say, which is just as well since they haven't come up with plans that are good enough to finish the job even if they are much better than the corporate puppets.
In Bernie Sanders, who at this time seems to have a much better chance of winning, a couple of the concerns that antiwar critics like Chris Hedges have of him is that he still support the military industrial complex, even if it isn't nearly as much as the other traditional candidates. He has attempted to bring military jobs to Vermont, he has said that he would continue arming and training Muslims to fight ISIS, and he refused to speak out against indefinite detentions. If we didn't arm so many rebel groups in the past while simultaneously bombing one Muslim country after another we wouldn't have this problem in the first place. If there were still a few terrorists that were fanatical they wouldn't be able to attract support and we wouldn't be constantly helping their recruiting process.
I can't rule out the possibility that he is catering to a public that has been indoctrinated to believe we have to fight ISIS so he could get in office and stop inciting them; however I wouldn't consider this a good excuse from anyone else so it shouldn't be a good excuse from Bernie Sanders.
I've also expressed other concerns like both Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders haven't updated their Project Vote Smart questionnaire this year. And on a few occasions when he has campaigned for free college tuition I have tweeted him recommending that he cut college costs by reforming the inefficient copyright system and improving disclosure of education expenses. These are just a couple of the improvements that need to be done which he could do better if he's open to suggestion. However Bernie Sanders has done a far better job indicating that he's willing to listen and address voters concerns than Hillary Clinton.
Chris Hedges and other activists seem to agree that education the public is more important than supporting anyone candidate but until we have much more reform enabling an educated public to control more of the government we'll also need elected officials to do a large portion of the work. Hedges seems to support a revolution that would involve more marching in the streets like the Occupy Wall Street movement, and at least to some degree that will probably be necessary but the best educational and reform efforts will happen with more people paying attention to more reliable media whether it is alternative media before we get significant media reform or the new media after the reform that provide educational opportunities, or actual work restoring our infrastructure, economic system and cleaning the environment.
In all fairness if Hedges is right about the media and political establishment being able to rig the election for Hillary Clinton or the fanatical Republican that wins the nomination they can almost certainly rig the election against Jill Stein like they did the last time by simply refusing to cover her at all.
This is the most obvious and common method that the media rigs elections! In order to qualify for higher office a candidate needs to get media attention but they won't give it to them unless they get an enormous amount of bribes thinly disguised as campaign contributions and they also need to participate in the debates but the Commission on Presidential Debates rigs that as well so that only candidates with corporate support can get in. This guarantees that only candidates approved by corporations have chance to get elected which isn't remotely democratic.
The only way around this is for a candidate to slowly get an enormous amount of grassroots support to pressure the media to actually do their job and cover them. Bernie Sanders was able to do this since he comes from a progressive state which holds their candidates for local office much more accountable than most of the country and he slowly rose from Mayor to Representative then Senator, enabling him to get some coverage. But even then the media didn't give him fair coverage until their was an enormous amount of pressure from the grassroots. Jill Stein also manage to get enough grassroots pressure to obtain a token amount of coverage but it seems unlikely that the media will cover her more than they have to and unless there is much more it will be difficult if not impossible for her to win.
The most likely possible exception for her is if the media and political establishment rig the election for Hillary and enough people are angry enough to speak out loud and clear. If Chris Hedges is right and we are going to have a revolt marching in the streets it might happen before the election in this scenario, giving Jill Stein her best chance.
This could be more likely if the two establishment candidates get in an escalating mud slinging match, which seems like a possibility under the circumstances. Even though Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spenjd all their time among the ruling class catering to their wishes, they've both indicated that they'll do all the mud slinging they need to get elected. If one of them does get into office they'll make up after and serve the political interests of the ruling class, which seems to be standard operating procedure. When Hillary Clinton was Senator or Secretary of State she made up with both the Republicans and Barack Obama to serve corporate interests. After promising not to hire lobbyists and to put on "comfortable shoes" and march with protesters Barack Obama did the opposite on both occasions, as most other establishment politicians.
Politicians clearly consider promises only necessary for duration of campaigns to get elected then they can be quickly forgotten or glossed over with propaganda if necessary.
Even if the establishment does rig it and we don't have enough marching in the street to get her elected then supporting her will be far better than accepting the lesser of two evils since the new progressive views of Hillary Clinton have little or not credibility and she might even be the greater of two evils.
More importantly if we get a much stronger showing, preferably accompanied by at least a few truly Independent, Progressive, Socialist or Green elected officials then at least it will let the establishment know that the public is waking up and unless they do their job they're going to get voted out and the Duopoly will fall apart.
This may not be enough to stop a major break down so it would be far better to elect someone who is actually going to try to do a good job. If a revolt comes it may not be because someone like Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein or anyone else is calling for it, including me. It might come because our political and economic system is no longer carrying out basic functions like providing clean water roads or education.
We can't afford to keep waiting another four years so that we can fall for the same trick again and wait eight years etc.
As I write this many of the media pundits and Donald Trump have already written off Bernie Sanders and if the polls are close then it could get worse for him before it gets better; however intentionally or not the order of the primaries seems to benefit Hillary Clinton who supposedly has stronger support in the South. And in addition to the South Carolina primary most of the contests on Tuesday are in the south. The states where Bernie can do best except for handful like Massachusetts and Vermont are coming later so if he falls behind there could be a good chance for him to catch back up especially if word get out about his positions on the issues. Hillary Clinton supposedly leads big among African Americans and Latinos which is surprising since her policies and record has been terrible for them, the only thing they might like about her is her propaganda.
The bigger problem if he does come back with more victories or does better than expected Tuesday might be the establishment using "Super delegates" to rig the nomination against the will of the people. These delegates are clearly designed to help rig elections if the establishment feels the need. The only reason they call them "Super delegates" is presumably because "Incredibly corrupt and undemocratic delegates" doesn't sound as good. Instead perhaps it gives people the impressions it is a superhero like Mighty mouse coming in and saying, "Here I come to save the day!"
This might fool four year old's.
We may also need people marching in the streets or expressing outrage one way or another if the establishment decides to rig it this way for Bernie too.
The following are some of the posts I did in the past compiling long lists or environmental disasters ignored by the media and one about Indigenous Protesters having more success than more comfortable people in the United States; if we keep going the way we are we'll see first hand how much destruction is going in our own back yards perhaps after it's too late:
Indigenous Protesters in Brazil, Burma, Nigeria and other poor countries lead the way protecting the environment
BP is just the tip of the iceberg
North Dakota explosion forgotten already now Walpole, Omaha, Mississippi, and many others also quickly fading into memory hole.
Media blackout of environmental disasters and protests continue
Edit: Shortly after I posted this a growing number of reports began coming out about lead in the drinking water in many schools around the country; however most of these reports only covered part of the problem. The first one I noticed was about lead in drinking water in five of the biggest states in the country, including, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and California. They didn't specify whether it is all around these states but the example they highlighted was a poor city in New Jersey. A few days later there was a report that added schools in Maine and an internet search also indicated that there are problems with some school in Oregon.
We are already slowly poisoning a lot of the poorest people in this country, and it is hard to imagine that Hillary Clinton, who promoted Fracking for a long time, and also supported many other corporations including those profiting from the TPP, Keystone pipeline, coal plants in South Africa and many others, will fight vigorously to reverse this. During the campaign when it became clear that there is enormous opposition to some of these including TPP, Fracking and the Keystone pipeline she reversed herself with her promises, but some executives clearly believe this is only for duration of campaign.
This has been going on much longer than most people realize; if establishment politicians wanted to address this they would have done so by now. None of the Republicans seems overly concerned with even pretending to do a better job. If there is someone who will do a better job than Bernie Sanders it is clearly Jill Stein or another candidate the corporate press refuses to cover.
The following are a handful of back up links updating these problems but a Google Search will clearly turn up much more the closer you look:
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Failing our children: lead in U.S. school drinking water. 2010
Lead taints drinking water in hundreds of schools, day cares across USA 03/17/2016
United States Environmental Protection Agency: Testing Schools and Child Care Centers for Lead in the Drinking Water
Lead Found In Drinking Water In 10 Oregon Schools 03/20/2016