Tag Archives: Democratic Party

Elections matter – own it!


The Palestinians are struggling to hold local municipal elections which appear to be delayed (derailed?) once again. The Washington Post had an excellent analysis yesterday of the situation.

I really feel for the Palestinians who’ve been living under Israel’s boot since 1947. The average Palestinian (especially those living in Gaza) has learned from harsh experience that he can’t protest the Israeli occupation either violently or peacefully, can’t protest against Palestinian leadership (either Fatah or Hamas), can’t protest against America’s complicity in Israel’s military offensives, can’t protest one little twit, and can’t even cast a vote.  I don’t think they’ve had a national or local election in more than 10 years.

So my bellyache about the current Presidential election in the U.S. pales in comparison. But I’m bitching nevertheless.

I explained why I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils about a month ago. Nothing has changed in the political landscape or with the candidates’ positions to change my opinion. As the drumbeat gets louder, the accusations become more strident. “Either vote for Hillary, or own your responsibility in her defeat.”

My response: The DNC needs to own its reprehensible tactics to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign.  The Superdelegates need to own their disgraceful and undemocratic action to tip the scales in Hillary’s favor during the primary. They not only did a huge disfavor to Sanders and to every Democrat who voted, but they put poor Hillary in the position where she is today – fighting for her political life. Finally, Hillary needs to own the results of this election. This is her election to lose. Own it folks!

A friend penned the following response to a Clinton supporter which captures my sentiments, and so I share it verbatim.  Thank you to Mike Merryman-Lotze.

“As someone who argues for a pragmatic approach to voting while pushing for more radical change I find your take on this more than troubling. The arguments that you have put forward … are perhaps the least effective and most offensive arguments that a Clinton supporter can put forward to someone who questions her from the left.

“Your argument has primarily been that it is those on the left who will be to blame if Trump wins and we must therefore vote for Clinton. This isn’t an argument that shows any real concern for the actual policy considerations that lead many of us to see Clinton as problematic. It is blackmail based on fear and that is what continues to push many away from Clinton. That is the approach that Clinton and her camp have really taken towards many on the left. That is a big middle finger to everyone who has real concerns about the mainstream positions of the democratic party.

“While Clinton may be an incredibly qualified candidate on paper, her actual policy positions are not things that many of us find inspiring. Her foreign policy is right wing and militaristic and her domestic policy is solid middle of the road, right of Obama. Yes, she has moved somewhat to the left on some domestic issues as a result of Sanders, but it is hard to take those moves really seriously.

“The bigger issue is that opposition isn’t simply a rejection of Clinton as an individual. It comes as a result of general disillusionment by many with Democratic policies which maintain the status quo. Obama didn’t bring change we can believe in. While he did bring incremental change domestically and I respect that, he maintained a deeply problematic and militarized foreign policy.

“Clinton and mainstream Democratic policy positions just don’t do it for many of us and saying that we must vote out of fear or that those of us on the left must own right wing movements in the election is incredibly insulting. If Clinton wants votes she and the Democratic party as a whole must appeal to the left. They simply have not done that up until this point. This election really is theirs to lose and if it is lost, it is the Democratic party and those who vote for an unqualified right wing nut who will need to own that reality.”   — Mike Merryman-Lotze

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Obfuscating “occupation”

The Democratic Party bosses don’t want to include any mention of Israel’s occupation of Palestine in the party’s platform. Why?

Isn’t the occupation a well-established fact, just as climate change is today?

Unfortunately, there are climate change deniers and occupation deniers. Facts mean little to either.

The State of Israel has a very clear strategy to obfuscate their occupation of Palestine in order to escape legal responsibilities as the occupier, and to shift the burden of the plight of the Palestinians onto the Palestinians themselves and the international community. Attorney Noura Erakat educated me about Israel’s legal strategy in her law review piece that I summarized here.

The New York Times, in this respect, is Israel’s handmaiden by deliberately avoiding the term “occupation” in the context of Gaza, as I wrote about here.

Most members of Congress have sipped AIPAC’s koolaid and refuse to touch anything with the term “occupation” attached. Thankfully, 20 members had the courage last month to call it what it is.  See here.

The lawmakers sent the president a letter on June 20, urging him to appoint a “special envoy for Palestinian youth” in order to monitor the Israeli government’s violation of Palestinian children’s human rights.

The letter notes that Palestinian children are “growing up under military occupation with very few opportunities to improve their lives.”

The letter describes the occupation as “an unimaginably difficult and at times hopeless environment,” where children “live under the constant fear of arrest detention and violence at the hands of the Israeli military.”

Even pro-Palestine activists are confused about the term. Some label the creation of Israel and the ensuing Nakba that displaced thousands of Palestinians from their homes, businesses and villages as an occupation dating back to 1947. I completely understand their feelings, but wish we could use the term precisely and correctly. Activists only play into Israel’s strategy when they throw the term “occupation” around; just as unhelpful as politicians indiscriminately labeling everyone a terrorist.

We should be absolutely clear about the term “occupation” and use it correctly. Under international law, Israel has occupied portions of Palestine since 1967 and must be held accountable as the occupier. That doesn’t mean Israel shouldn’t be held accountable for the Nakba, but the Nakba does not equal “occupation“……not legally.

And the Democratic Party bosses must wake up and smell the coffee. “It’s an occupation, stupid.”

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Filed under Israel, Occupation, People, Politics, Uncategorized, Video

Superdelegates = entitlement politics


Stop the printing press!

I’m working on a deadline, trying not to let myself be distracted by Facebook.  Thirty years ago, the distractions were young children running around in the house, or the radio blaring, or the damn telephone (not cellphone). Today the distractions come whenever I hear that signal beeping from my “smart/stupid” phone alerting me to the fact that a new email has arrived, or someone has posted on my Facebook or Twitter.

I must now stop writing my ALR (for those in the legal business, ALR will ring a bell) and turn my attention to responding to a provocative comment that a former elected official (Lt. Gov.) of state government wrote in response to my Facebook post.

My original post sets the context.

If the HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] campaign claims tomorrow [Tuesday, June 7, 2016] that she is the Party’s nominee, based on Superdelegates who haven’t voted yet and prematurely exclaimed their support before the electorate had a chance to cast their ballots, then I’m announcing my withdrawal from the Democratic Party.

This generated responses from many people, but the one that really lit my fire is the one from the former Lt. Gov. (a Democrat) —

“I personally resent your aspersions on the superdelegates who have all worked hard for the Party, to run for office, to be a part of the party, to represent their constituents, and been dedicated to the Principles of the Party.( for the most part) You are — totally drinking bernie’s establishment kool aid. They [meaning the super-delegates] have actually earned their right to have a say in the Party’s nominee thru many years of activism…Bernie is asking those people to vote for him although he has been a party basher for all of his career until now and it is unfortunate. I am surprised with your attitude that you don’t take some humbrage that Bernie is now lying to his supporters about his ability to win. He may resent the fact that HIllary is smarter and actually had a solid plan to win the nomination but the facts are the facts. Hillary is winning fair and square. Hillary has EARNED the superdelegate votes, not just by her huge majority in the popular vote, winning 8 of the last 12 primaries, but thru her years of service and hard work on behalf of the Party and yes, the country. If the party has left you by supporting gay marriage, a woman’s right to her own decisions, support for equal pay, against gun violence, climate change initiatives that protect the planet, penalties on Wall Street and big banks, then It would be interestsing to see what Party you will join. Don’t be so weak that a “process” and not a policy is your grounding stone to your new party…whatever it is.”

Now there’s certainly alot to take issue with in this response, but I’ll stick to only one glaring problem, which actually represents the biggest problem within the Democratic Party.

The one and ONLY way a candidate earns the right to be President of the United States is by convincing Americans that he/she can do the best job and then earning their votes, the hard way …. at the ballotbox. In a democracy, that is how it’s suppose to work, and before Citizens United, many of us believed that was the way it actually worked.  Since 2010, we’ve faced the reality that PACs and special interests with big pocketbooks can legally buy the elections, and voters are understandably fed-up.

Now comes a candidate without PACs and big money to support him, without the Party machinery to grease the wheels for him, and shows all of us that good ideas can prevail despite the odds against him. Instead of running as a Third Party candidate (which I presume he decided would hurt the Dem ticket and get the Republican candidate elected), he is running as a Democrat, playing by the rules of the game as established by the party bosses.

So why do the comments of the Lt. Gov. ….  “Hillary has EARNED the superdelegate votes ….  irk me so much?

Because the Lt. Gov. has exposed the ugly underbelly of the Democratic Party. It’s not our votes (your vote, my vote, the votes of the next generation) that count. Rather it’s the votes of the superdelegates and their belief that they and their cronies have an entitlement to the position simply by playing the inside game — the voters be damned.

This isn’t just Presidential candidates, but all politicians in the Democratic Party. They feel they are OWED something — reelection term after term in gerrymandered districts, best retirement perks in the country, and the right to sway elections if they are superdelegates.

This sense of entitlement makes me angry. If  HRC earns the majority of the  popular vote,  and  if  she earns the majority of the  pledged delegates,  AFTER ALL OF THE VOTES HAVE BEEN CAST, then I say “more power to her.”  Then, and only then, does she deserve to be the next President. 

But the Democratic Party machinery needs a good kick in the butt if it truly wants to be the Party representing the progressive values of the next generation.

And my short response to the Lt. Gov. who doesn’t get it ….. “Yes, process matters.”




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Filed under Elections, Uncategorized, US Policy