Thursday, February 13, 2020

Who Will Save The Grotesquely Corrupt Democratic Party Establishment From Bernie's Zeal For Reform And Fair Play?


Votes have finally still dribbling in from the New Hampshire primary when I was finishing up on this post. 100% of the votes have now been counted and all the candidates-- except Status Quo Joe, who was in South Carolina-- were already off to Nevada. The New Hampshire numbers were catastrophic for Biden but didn't cause him to drop out the way they did for Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick. These were the numbers available (with all 100% in):
Bernie- 76,324 (25.7%)
Mayo Pete- 72,457 (24.4%)
Klobuchar- 58,796 (19.8%)
Elizabeth- 27,387 (9.2%)
Status Quo Joe- 24,921 (8.4%)
Steyer- 10,7727 (3.6%)
Tulsi- 9,655 (3.3%)
Yang- 8,315 (2.8%)
Deval- 1,266 (0.4%)
Bennet- 963 (0.3%)
Wednesday morning, the media spin was how Bernie didn't do well, how well conservative candidates Mayo Pete and Amy Klobuchar did, how badly Biden had done and, most of all... who will stop Bernie?

Do you remember how Harry Reid and his Las Vegas thugs fixed the Nevada primary for Hillary in 2016? Reid, a shady status quo establishment character, is, naturally enough, a big Bloomberg booster. He told Vice that Bloomberg "has a plan, that’s for sure. You have to recognize, the man-- he really was a good mayor of a huge, huge, city, the largest city in America. I like him, I’ve always liked him. Nobody’s done more on guns and climate than he has. No one." What's Mini-Mike's plan beyond spending a million dollars a day on Facebook ads? And what's he done for Climate? And what does Reid know about Climate? It sure looks like the remnants of Reid's greasy political machine is up to its old tricks. The Nevada Independent got its hands on a flyer the Culinary Union sent out to its members. Imagine for a moment that someone wants to give you a dollar, but that that entails you giving up your dime pr even half-dollar. That's how the Nevada Democratic establishment is framing Bernie's Medicare-for-All plan-- giving up your half dollar and neglecting to mention the dollar. [It's also the way the Republican Party explains Medicare-for-All.] The establishment warned Culinary Union members-- in both English and Spanish-- that Bernie is trying to "end Culinary Healthcare."
The Culinary Union, which provides health insurance to 130,000 workers and their family members through a special trust fund, strongly opposes Medicare for all on the basis that it would eliminate the health insurance they have negotiated for over several decades. Health insurance provided by the Culinary Health Fund is considered to be some of the best in the state, and the union even opened a 60,000-square-foot state-of-the-art health clinic a couple of years ago for its members.

The union, considered an organizing behemoth in the Silver State, has been known to tip the scales in elections in the past. Though the 60,000-member union has not yet decided whether it will endorse in the Democratic presidential primary, the flyer appears to be part of a coordinated campaign ahead of Nevada’s Feb. 22 Democratic presidential primary and shows the union will not be sitting idly by, with or without an endorsement.

A spokeswoman for the Culinary Union said the flyer is also going out to members Tuesday night via text and email.

Another handout that the Nevada Independent reported on last week obliquely accuses Sanders and Warren of wanting to take away union members’ hard-fought health plans and warns that electing a candidate who supports Medicare for all would lead to four more years of a Donald Trump presidency.

The new flyer makes more clear the distinction the union is drawing between Sanders’ and Warren’s plans. The flyer also lauds the four other presidential hopefuls-- former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and California billionaire Tom Steyer-- for backing more modest plans to establish a government-run public health care option that would “protect Culinary Health care.”

The only other difference the flyer draws between the six candidates is on the issue of “good jobs.” The flyer says that all of the candidates all would work to “strengthen organizing, collective bargaining, and right to strike,” but only Klobuchar would “work with unions on regulations about technology at work,” which has been a major concern for the Culinary Union given the rise of automation in the service industry.

The Intercept noted that "the DNC is acting shady in managing the Democratic primaries... [and] As Michael Bloomberg buys his way into the Democratic primary, he is plastering the airwaves with hagiographic advertisements that ignore his awful record on race, labor unions and how he escalated the Stop-and-Frisk program as mayor of New York."

Lee Fang, also writing for The Intercept yesterday went after Mini-Mike's barrages lies, a barrage that is starting to define his campaign, The most obvious place to start is the Stop-and-Frisk policy that most New Yorkers viewed as an outgrowth of Bloomberg's low-key racism but that he is trying to bullshit his way away from, just the way Mayo Pete has tried too do about his own mayorial racism. Let's start by watch this clip from Ari Melber's Tuesday show:

Fang wrote that "In response, the Bloomberg campaign released a misleading statement on Tuesday claiming that he simply inherited the policy and later reduced the practice. 'I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused... 'By the time I left office. I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized-- and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.'"
The statement drew immediate backlash over its twisting of history. In 2001, New York City maintained an aggressive program of stopping and searching people throughout the city, with an overwhelming focus on young African American and Latino men. But, under the Bloomberg administration, the program vastly expanded, from around 97,296 stops in 2002 to a height of 685,724 in 2011-- a more than sevenfold increase during the former mayor’s tenure.

Far from changing course over the mayor’s focus on “racial equity,” as he has since claimed, the practice was clawed back by several lawsuits, which charged that the law enforcement program violated the basic constitutional rights of residents. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, in a scathing decision, noted that over the course of 2.3 million frisks, weapons were found only 1.5 percent of the time. The decision pointed out that over half of the stops included African Americans and about third Latino, with less than 10 percent targeting white people.

The Bloomberg administration fought alongside New York’s notoriously aggressive police union to continue the program, arguing that the stop-and-frisk effort was focused on suspects with “furtive movements,” in “high-crime areas” and those with a “suspicious bulge.” But the judge knocked down those assertions, noting that such claims are vague and subjective.

In the comments that circulated online this week, Bloomberg can be heard speaking at an Aspen Institute conference in 2015 defending the program’s racial slant as justifiable given the proportion of crime in African American and Latino communities. “You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” said the billionaire former mayor. “They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York; that’s true in virtually every city.”

While data does reflect that violent crime tends to cluster in particular neighborhoods and among young men, the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk program went well beyond targeting based solely on objective evidence. Expert testimony in federal court found that the New York Police Department carried out far more stop-and-frisks on African American and Latino residents even when controlling for precinct-level crime statistics and socioeconomic characteristics. In other words, the evidence showed that minorities were targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of suspicion than white people.

The charge of racial bias was also backed up by multiple investigations and media scandals. In one case, a low-level police officer recorded his superior instructing him on how to target residents for stop-and-frisk in a particular neighborhood. “I have no problem telling you this: male blacks, 14 to 20, 21,” the officer said in the recording. In another case, a young Harlem teenager surreptitiously recorded officers stopping and frisking him. Asked why they had targeted him, the officer replied, “For being a fucking mutt.”

What’s more, the true extent of the program may never be known. Every time a New York police officer engages in stop-and-frisk, they are expected to fill out a form for the action to be recorded by the city. Court monitors have noted that there is evidence that many stops go unrecorded or are improperly documented. Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who succeeded Bloomberg in 2014, dramatically curtailed the police program, prompting backlash from the police union. Last year, the New York Police Department reported 11,008 stops, a small fraction of the amount of stops during the Bloomberg era.

Bloomberg has attempted to use his vast fortune to rebrand his image. The Bloomberg Philanthropy has given grants to various civil rights groups and worked to build schools, libraries, and community centers in low-income and minority neighborhoods, a fact often cited during Bloomberg’s campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

The billionaire executive’s largesse, however, can’t conceal Bloomberg’s own words defending the racial bias in his approach to law enforcement. The Aspen Institute comments in 2015 were among many instances in which he defended the program. In 2013, during a radio program, Bloomberg declared, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say.”

And by the way, you've heard about the two billionaires-- one relatively benign and one possibly as bad as Trump-- trying to buy the election, right? This chart from Kantar's Campaign Media Analysis Group shows spending on TV (just TV) advertising through January 29. It is absolutely jaw-dropping! I've never seen anything like it.

What is the Democratic Party establishment so scared about-- and why are they right to be scared? No more feathering of nests at the expense of them working class, for one thing. Chris Maisano: "Forty years of neoliberalism have beaten down and disorganized the US working class. The Bernie Sanders campaign is showing how electoral politics can be used to re-politicize working people-- and organize collectively for their class interests... In an environment of profound social fragmentation, it should not be surprising that popular discontent has found expression through the Sanders campaign and the 'political revolution' it spearheads. The decline of organized labor and the social disintegration of many working-class communities means that only a relatively small fraction of workers are positioned to pursue effective forms of collective action in their workplaces or communities. Election campaigns are therefore one of the few channels currently available to engage and politicize a mass working-class audience, reconstitute the working class as a political subject, and create a more favorable environment for workers to organize both inside and outside the electoral arena. The Sanders campaign is priming working people to think of themselves as members of a class with an interest in political revolution. How could this be anything but a boon to the Left and the prospects for labor movement revitalization?"

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At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what Bloomberg meant to say on his racist stop and frisk program was "I expanded it by over 500%, and then when we had thrown enough minorities in jail over a period of many years and I was losing challenges in court, I cut back on it."

At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer to the titular question is obvious. it shall be voters who save the "grotesquely corrupt democrap party".

The DNC will continue to ratfuck Bernie every way they can think up. And voters will continue to fall for the petes and mikes of the party's establishment. Bernie is toast.

But you know what? Bernie himself will end up helping the "grotesquely corrupt democrap party" when he endorses the declared winner.

so... basically all leftys who participate will keep the "grotesquely corrupt democrap party" whole.

Forgot to include DWT. You all KNOW the call for "holding your nose..." is coming.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats (along with their Republican corporatist ally Bloomberg) are waging a desperate fighting retreat against the American popular front. The wage slaves are in rebellion, and nothing ruins a billionaire's day like hot pitch and chicken feathers and the fear that something worse could follow.

To paraphrase Marlon Brando's character in On The Waterfront, "They coulda been a contandah. Now they're palookas who took a dive."

Because of the dive taken by the Democratic Party no later than 1980, the lie that the Party is better than Republicans is wearing thin. Logic holes are beginning to appear in the truthiness fabric which covers their unabashed naked avarice and their sycophantic toadying to wealth. Their worst worry is that they could no longer claim they are superior in some way to those they once represented proudly. They would again just be one of us - and they have become addicted to the same superiority disease which has affected Republicans since the end of the Civil War.

Share our pain now, assholes!

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I like Mike Figueredo's answer the best he nailed it.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure 7:58 will take this as a blanket defense of the Democratic Party. It isn't. What needs to be pointed out to some regular anonymous posters here is that as bad as it has become - and it has - it's still galaxies apart from the Republicans in shameless evil.

1. Compare the Supreme Court (and Appeals Court if you feel ambitious) nominees by Clinton & Obama to those of Bush and Trump. No matter how disappointing C & O were (I'd say 'Very'), the record of Ginsburg, Breyer, Stotmayor & Kagan stands proud. Compare to Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch & Kav.

2. Paris Climate Agreement, JCPOA: both signed by a Democrat, both renounced by Trump. Was either a perfect document or a complete solution to a problem? No, but both are better than John Wayne-style going it alone (Gawd, I hate John Wayne!).

3. Weak-tea gun-safety measures vs bowing down at the altar of the NRA.

There are dozens of comparisons of awful-beyond-comprehension Republican actions and way less than satisfactory Dem actions. But right now, at this very minute, the task isn't to make the Democratic Party perfect. It's to defeat the Republicans, to rip them out root and branch because the lesser evil is always lesser. After November is the time to improve the party. If we fail then, we can try again; but at least we've gotten rid of the greater evil.

Now, Mr 7:58, go ahead. Wag your finger and accuse me of supporting a candidate who doesn't live up to your standards. Rest assured, you'll guess wrong.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Knockout Zed said...

I’m afraid you’re right on each and every point. I see it all coming.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll see, 8:46. Hillary had it in the bag also.

How'd that work out again?

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:46, I agree about judges but only to a point. the guy who refused to bury obamneycare was Roberts.

AS for symbolic and pandering tweaks passed on occasion when the democraps have numbers and it must look like they are doing something?

I'm going to offer you perspective again: put these parties back in '32 and elect a congress with this shit in it. FDR's "New Deal" loses by multiples in both chambers. They might pass a tweak or two... but nothing like SSI or WPA... and certainly nothing like Glass-Steagall to interfere with wall street's duty to extract every single fennig from every hapless rube across the face of the earth.

You're defending the indefensible. And I know it is true because I know what the Democrats and FDR *DID* then. And I know how the electorate rewarded them, iteratively, for their service to the needs of the nation then.

This shit is indefensible. But, as I say, the actions of voters has also been indefensible.

At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If an author can write "Grotesquely Corrupt Democratic Party" with no irony... how can anyone even defend the best one of that lot?

So, we're going to be expected to embrace a "Grotesquely Corrupt Democratic Party" because the Nazis are worse? All arguments FOR the former become specious. Gimme the shit taco instead of the shit burrito because is smaller?

No wonder this is such a shithole.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son is a member of the culinary union in Nevada and he makes a lot of money but most of it is in tips as they get very small raises working for a company that laid off 3500 people in order to replace them with robots. The CEO makes $25MM and just announced he is retiring. I hope the union listens to Bernie about the M4A. They do have the most fantastic health insurance benefits and that is probably why they raises are so small.


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