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My Experience at the Democratic National Convention Protests in Philadelphia 2016

We will not yield!

We will not yield!

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

First I would like to thank 2 people for really making this happen – my wife, asthma Tatsiana, prostate and our friend, bronchi Betsy Bowers. Without their support, I would be a really sad panda. Thank you for being part of the team which assisted me in taking part in a historic moment!

This rather large post will not be so exciting due to a few factors which will be listed below, but I will talk through my experience here for my own benefit and for posterity.  Factors:

  • I arranged this trip quickly so I did not plan and research things as well as I could have
  • I am quite shy so talking to random strangers, even ones that I will most likely have a lot in common with when attending a protest, is not my thing
  • Cabs are really expensive to get around in
  • It was really hot and humid out there. I mean yikes!!
    It burns us! It chokes us!
  • I had limited time

I really, really wish I had a computer to sit down and write my thoughts, a notepad to take notes in, and a camera to take pictures with so I can organize a post like this with more detail. =(  Well, to be honest, an assistant would be even better! Let me know if you would like to volunteer for my next crazy adventure. =) Maybe next time.  I will really get to my thoughts on things in an upcoming post about the Bernie or Bust movement and why it matters, and why it is the only answer towards an actual solution. I think with the fraudulent coronation of Queen Hillary that things have come into a much clearer perspective.

Arranging the Trip and the Trip There

A week or so before the convention I had originally been looking at attending the whole protests from Monday through Friday, but as I was looking at flights on whichever site I was, it appeared as if the 1-way flights were $500-600 each which would be over $1,000 total for airfare which is ridiculous. We could not afford that and everything else that goes into a trip, especially the costs of hotels, so with a deep sadness in my heart I had to say that I could not go. Most likely, I was misreading it, but I looked several times to make sure, because these prices seemed crazy. Albeit, I  only checked that one site, so this would be my fault for not searching for alternatives to verify the seemingly crazy prices.

So, the Monday of the Convention, with a heavy yet wistful hope in my heart, I longingly did a little research on airfare again and found that they were $500-$600 round trip which is what I was expecting price wise. I contacted the wife and I received the OK for the second time. I had already previously made most of the arrangements I needed for babysitting, so I just verified those and then bought the tickets. That night was a mad night of some shopping for things (backpack, camelback, and other small items) and packing. I finished up preparing the next morning and we left at around 11pm for my flight leaving from Madison to Chicago to Philadelphia @ about 1:19pm.

I had only 2 carry-ons – a new backpack and a small roller suitcase, although they checked both into baggage on one flight and one in for the other flight, which had never happened before as far as I can remember and I have flown a lot (over 30 times), so that was confusing. When I arrived at both locations I had no idea where to pick up my bags. It apparently wasn’t the baggage claim. =( Apparently, they were going to be brought out near the gate, so that was stressful and a lot of missed time, and a lot of sweat and running. Although one airport lady was kind enough on first time to try to meet me to bring my baggage to me so I would not miss my next flight. =) The flights to Philadelphia went well other than my baggage confusion.

Arriving in Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 26 with 91 degrees and 62% humidity

While I was confused about my baggage situation I arrived in the Philadelphia baggage claim as the TV mounted over the silver baggage carousel announced that Bernie Sanders said let’s have the vote @ ~6:55pm local time. I took a picture of that screen and posted to Facebook the following message: “We just witnessed the death of democracy.” My stomach was a mess for the rest of the night. I can only imagine how horrible it was for Bernie to say those words out loud. It is bad enough to think them, but to actually have to say them and be part of the coronation of the person who orchestrated election fraud, voter suppression, money laundering and collusion to steal the election from him and the people. I do not think he will ever be able to recover from this. Only time will tell. Fortunately, Bernie’s superdelegates staged a walkout in protest to the stolen election, which is no real consolation, but we do have that moment.  =) =(

We have just witnessed the death of Democracy

We have just witnessed the death of Democracy

https://www.facebook.com/FreeXenon/posts/10153775356118354

First Night in Protest Area

Tuesday, July 26 with 91 degrees and 62% humidity

After that I called a cab and arrived at the 20th and Pattinson (I think these were the street names)  at one of the entrances to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park where the “Free Speech” zone was  =(  I could see the black fencing that was around the Wells Fargo Center where the convention was being held from here and the wall of police behind it. There were officers everywhere inside and outside of the Democratic National Convention (DNC)  area. Many streets were blocked off to control and restrict traffic, even parts of the interstate were limited too.  At the entrance on the road were city garbage trucks or other large similar trucks which were blocking the road to prevent traffic from passing through. Democracy? Where the voice of the people was so far away from those that needed to hear it, so far from the area of those who were supposed to “represent” us. =( Democracy? That word, I do not think it means what it is they think it means. =( Free speech is everywhere in the country just not behind a fence where our voices and concerns cannot be heard.

Outside the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia

Outside the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia

I wandered around and there were a lot of people talking and singing, and had signs protesting various things from the TPP, GMOs, War, electoral fraud, the drug war, and some that were pro-Bernie, anti-Hillary, or were various shades of Bernie or Bust, or pro-Jill Stein. I was at home here. I was with my people and it felt good, reassuring, heartwarming that I was really not alone. I was with those who understood me and I understood them. This was a strange yet comforting feeling, although I still felt quite alone since I knew no one here and was a bit too shy to start a conversation. Introversion is a mixed blessing. This is not one of those times when it  a blessing, unfortunately.

I wandered around to see what I could see and eventually made my way towards the very back depths of the Free Speech area at a rally with a black stage. Up there was a black rapper who was rapping some political stuff for us and also performed something political that he was working on. After that Debbie Lusignan, The Sane Progressive (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter) talked for a little bit and then introduced several people like her fellow YouTuber Tim Black (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), activist YahNe Ndgo (Facebook, Twitter), and 2 Bernie superdelegates, one of which was Tim Friend (if I remember correctly) who is also running for office somewhere and seems to be doing well. He is taking Bernie’s path to try to reform the Democratic Party from within and that is great, although Debbie was all #DemExit.

 Debbie Lusignan, The Sane Progressive @ a rally in Philadelphia protests

Debbie Lusignan, The Sane Progressive @ a rally in Philadelphia protests

I respect and value both methods of reform. I am #DemExit and #BernieOrBust which is easy for me since I have been a member of the Green Party for 3 years or so,  but we really need to attack the problem from both ends if we are going to see change. Not everyone could stomach, especially after this election, working inside the corrupt Democratic Party and not everyone is comfortable working outside the party. It is up to each person to contribute to the revolution in a way that plays to their strengths.

As I finished the night I walked towards the park exit to start walking to where I could get a cab. I walked near the fence to see what was going on and there were people there with signs and were singing ‘We are in this together’. I followed them for a little while on the right side  of the group and then decided it was time to call it a night. This video is of the group I was with  towards the front right, although I think I had left by the time this video was taken.

Now keep in mind I said that I arranged this trip quickly, which also means that I did not arrange for a place to stay. I was sort of hoping to talk to some people and see if I could crash with them. A lot of people were camping, but I could not do that because I would not be able to sleep in the horrible heat and humidity. I would die like that. Well, being that I am as shy as I am I did not talk to anyone, but I was able to get a room @ Motel 6 North East which, strangely, given its rather labyrinthine layout had no elevators and no signs pointing to the lobby. This was very annoying and meant I had to leave the building to figure out how to walk to the front to find the lobby without getting continuously lost. I showered to get all of the stink and sweat off and then went to bed to prepare for a long day tomorrow.

Only Full Day

Wednesday, July 27 with 95 degrees and 74% humidity

My Ukrainian Cabbie

In the morning (~ 11:00 am) I was taken to the FDR Park by a Ukranian cab driver, named Marcus. We had a good talk and he gave me his personal card and arranged for me to call him when I needed to go back to the motel that evening. We talked about politics, the convention, him coming to America with his family, life in Russia before he came here in the late ’80s and early 90s, and his life here since he came to America.

My Ukranian Cabbie named Marcus in Philadelphia

My Ukranian Cabbie named Marcus in Philadelphia

The Young Turks and Jimmy Dore

Shortly after I arrive in the sweltering humidity I came upon a few people standing around – 2 of which wore black The Young Turks (TYT) (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) t-shirts and one had a TYT microphone. My jaw dropped in shock at the possibilities. I was hoping to see them while they were here, because TYT rocks. They rock enough that I threw money at them this year to support their truly progressive news channel. I stood near and listened and after a little bit I was invited to join their circle. Three of them were TYT supporters and two of the three were prolific tweeters to TYT during their show. The guy holding the TYT microphone was TYT staff and the other was a local cameraman hired to work with them. They talked for a little while and I listened as they were trying to plan their day and talking about TYT stuff. It was just great to see them and know they were here. After a while, Jimmy Dore (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter) came with one of their producers. I was able to shake Jimmy’s hand! Squee!  Once Jimmy went to work interviewing people I shadowed them until they decided to call it quits for lunch and air conditioning. While I shadowed them and watched Jimmy Dore interview various people I was able to have some interesting conversations with the presence of TYT here acting as a catalyst for conversation. TYT, bringing people together!

Jimmy Dore of The Young Turks at the DNC Protests in Philadelphia

Jimmy Dore of The Young Turks at the DNC Protests in Philadelphia

https://www.facebook.com/FreeXenon/posts/10153776847843354

Conversation with a Libertarian

My first conversation was with a Libertarian while Jimmy was interviewing some Libertarians who were camped out in the park and congregating. A Libertarian who was very unhappy with Jimmy  ended up growling while he passed and sprayed some pamphlets at him.

I talked Middle Eastern Foreign Policy with him, although he did not have too many answers or any answers that were better than mine, but my thoughts revolve around the following ideas:

  • An incredibly aggressive 5-year plan to shift from fossil fuels to alternative energy (most likely end up being a 10-year plan, but we can start with 5 years and see what happens). This would work on the national security issues of climate change, energy independence and getting us out of the Middle East. Oil is one of the only reasons we are there. Once we dump fossil fuels and remove the leverage that the OPEC nations have over us then their economy will start to tank which will drastically change the balance of power.
  • Arms embargo to all nations in the area including Israel. Hell, almost all of the weapons there are American made and provided since we trained and funded all of the terrorist organizations there. An arms embargo would starve the region of weapons. Hell if we really wanted to sock it to ’em, when our troops leave we should confiscate as many weapons and ammo as possible too.
  • Have Saudi Arabia (and other regional Islamic countries) provide the front-line soldiers in the war against the Jihadists and ISIL with NATO and the US providing ancillary support
  • We cannot defeat a religion because it is a concept, an idea, and henceforth can never die, so the next step would be a guerilla education program to drop educational materials, radio programs and TV programs into the fundamentalist Arabic countries to reduce the control of religion against the imposed ignorances of their religious practices

These are just my modest thoughts on this horribly complicated issue.

Conversation with Michael Pellagatti of Occupy Wall Street

Next, I talked with Michael Pellagatti (Facebook, Twitter), the man who is known as the Occupy Wall Street Tour Guide and he seemed to have some anarchist leanings. He had no problem with people destroying other people’s property and said that he was a pragmatist. I said that promoting that ‘it is not good to destroy other people’s stuff’ was the most pragmatic thing and to only care about property destruction when people were destroying your stuff was very Republican or Libertarian mode of thought – as in – you do not care about others and their plight until it affects me, then I care. Uggghhh! But, the rest of the conversation was interesting enough, especially to have met a person who was one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Michael Pellagatti, The Occupy Wall Street Tour Guide a the DNC protests in Philadelphia

Michael Pellagatti, The Occupy Wall Street Tour Guide a the DNC protests in Philadelphia

https://www.facebook.com/FreeXenon/posts/10153776953353354

edit: An interesting analogy he left me with was about climate change – global warming is analogous to our fevers. Earth has been infected with a virulent strain of humans who are poisoning and destroying the Earth’s form. In an effort to combat this infection, Earth’s defenses are starting a fever (global warming) in order to create an environment  hostile to the infection in hopes of destroying it to restore balance to its biological systems. I am sure others have heard this before. I am sure I have too, but I have definitely forgotten it. He brought this up in our conversation and it was refreshed anew in my mind and for that I am thankful. This metaphor really gets to the heart of it. We are the disease, the problem, and we have the power to fix it all. We, the people of Earth, need to stop being a virulent an infection and need to make a radical attempt to restore balance to Earth’s ecosystems and environment or this “fever” will destroy us all. It has happened before and it will happen again. Earth will remain but we humans will be wiped from existence since we are heading for an extinction level event. Our willful ignorance and unwillingness to stop the problem when we definitely can will be our undoing. Our hubris will destroy us as is typical of most decadent societies unwilling to face its corruptions.

Conversation with a Veteran

I talked with a Navy vet who was interviewed by Jimmy Dore and who was a part of anti-narcotics ship based off the east coast. He has handled a big gun in the process of his work and a moment in time that inspired his diligence was what the horrible tragedy that happened to the USS Cole. We praised the Young Turks, thanked each other for our service, and consoled each other on the state of things, especially the stealing of the election.

David Cobb, The Move to Amend Guy

The very last interview they did that morning was with David Cobb, the man who started to Move to Amend movement (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) which is about amending the constitution to overturn the Citizens United to remove money from politics. He was great. Jimmy let him just run with it and he did his very well-practiced spiel until he was done. He has definitely done this a few times. Yea!

David Cobb, the man who started to Move to Amend movement at the DNC protests in Philadelphia

David Cobb, the man who started to Move to Amend movement at the DNC protests in Philadelphia

https://www.facebook.com/FreeXenon/posts/10153776990213354

3.6 Mile March to Philly Town Hall with Just Us Riders

Following the TYT’s last interview with David Cobb I wandered around a little bit and found a man with an alpaca named Shae… an alpaca in the middle of Philadelphia. Naturally, I was curious about this. The man’s name is Ethan Abbot (I think)  and he started JustUsRiders.org (Facebook, Twitter). He goes from town to town staying at various farms with his menagerie of animals – something like 2 alpacas, 2 sheep, 2 pigs , and 4 chickens, I think.  He has taken that alpaca right into the middle of a boardroom or town hall meeting to bring attention to the issues. An animal is a good gimmick to attract attention.

Ethan Abbot of JustusRiders.org and his alpaca, Shae, at the DNC protests in Philadelphia

Ethan Abbot of JustusRiders.org and his alpaca, Shae, at the DNC protests in Philadelphia

With Shae in tow he marched about 8 of us from the FDR Park protest grounds through town to the city center at the Town Hall with him occasionally saying through his  megaphone something like:

“Yes ma’am, this is an alpaca!

Are You fed up?  Time to take back:

…our farms,

…our families,

…our food

…our freedoms,

from the corporations.

Get off your couches, turn off your TV’s and do something about it.

Come Join Us.”

There was a little more to his megaphone spiel, but this is all I can remember. He really enjoyed the megaphone and watching people’s responses and their attraction to the alpaca. He said that the day before he made that 3.6 mile trip many, many times over a period of 12 hours. I am glad he was there, but that is a crazy level of dedication especially in that heat and humidity.

We arrived in the center of town, where Black Men for Bernie (Facebook) were holding a rally. I was tired, hungry, sweaty as hell, my knees were burning and my camelback had run out of water for the first time. With another person from the march (the green shirt carrying water in the picture) we went to the bathroom, got water, and ate at Subway. Normally, I do not order a foot long, but after that 3.6 mile march through the heat and humidity,I ordered and summarily devoured a foot-long tuna sub. Once we rested a little bit and finished our subs we then took the subway back towards the FDR Park and returned to the “Free Speech” protest area.

Black Men For Bernie rally at Philadelphia town hall

Black Men For Bernie rally at Philadelphia town hall

Jez Coulson, Photojournalist for the Sunday Times

After we returned to FDR Park I spent some time near the tent that was providing free food to protestors so I could rest my feet and knees and to listen. Among the nearby tents and people talking I was a bit surprised to find many people were smoking normal cancerous cigarettes and some were smoking pot too. I rested, sat, and listened for a while and then walked over and sat on the only bench I have noticed in the park.  Eventually, I made my way back towards the tents, people, and the food tent and saw this thoroughly British looking guy dressed all in black (shirt and pants) with a camera or two and some equipment strapped to him so I thought I would hear his story.

He is a very well known British photojournalist named Jez Coulson (Facebook, Twitter) who works for the Sunday Times. He has traveled all over the world even into some war zones to get pictures. He was mostly based in the US, but still did a lot of traveling for work. We talked about the election and how the British saw Trump and the stealing of our election. He saw parallels between the elections and our sad pair of candidates and the Brexit movement, both of which are sadly very bad for all involved. After a little while, he moved on to get more pictures of the event.

Rally Speeches

I had considered not staying for any of the rally speakers that night, but I tried to endure for as long as I could. I was here, so let’s do it! I heard some speakers talk about the Monsanto and other GMO corps poisoning Hawaii and their kids. I heard a speaker from the Organic Consumers Association talk about bioremediation of soiled lands. I heard some other speakers on a few other important topics that I cannot remember as of this writing. I really needed to bring a notepad and pencil on this trip. I am an idiot for not packing one. =( To take advantage of what little time I had here in Philadelphia I stayed as long as I could to listen to as much as I could.

I was so tired and exhausted from the heat and the humidity and the march earlier that day that I decided to call it quits near 8:00 pm. I felt bad since there was so much more going to happen later in the night, but I just could not take it anymore, or perhaps I am just getting old. If there was an easy place to sit down out of the heat and humidity, or even take a shower I might have endured late into the night, but these were not to be found, so I called Marcus, my Russian cabbie, and, sadly, I made my way to the motel to retire for the night.

Last Partial Day

Thursday, July 28 with 95 degrees and 74% humidity

Wandering the Park

Marcus, my wonderful Russian Cabbie, brought me to the FDR Park @ 8:00am, nice and early, so I could still check things out before I had to leave. I expected that there would still be a bunch of people there since there was one more full day left of the convention, but as I was walking through the park it was empty, a ghost town, like no one had been there before, as if nothing had happened. The only signs that there were protestors here over the last few days were  the portapotties off in the distance and the occasional orange and white barriers which still had been not returned to their homes with the city’s street department. Even though cars are now able to drive through the park and joggers were jogging the park paths, the spirit of the protest still lingered. You could still feel the spirit of anger, rage, defeat, hope, and an emotional viscosity still palpable in the air. I did not see any tents or signs or any sort of gathering. It was quiet with just a few people lingering.  It was as if the corruption that spawned such protests and anger had consumed it again, like it was a natural part of the cycle.

Slowly I walked further into the park with my backpack and camelback on which soaked my back with sweat while my carry-on suitcase rumbled behind me. I came upon a large open pavilion near the lake with 4 people talking. A man named Michael ,who traveled here with his tribe and was here in support of Shailene Woodley’s (actress from Divergent series) organization and their work here at the convention, was talking with 3 people and was telling them that he and his crew were arranging a live streamed healing ceremony @ 2:00pm for people to be heard as to why they are angry or why they are protesting in a hope to diffuse their anger. Feeling like we are being heard can be powerful. I sat there and just listened as he courted a few more passers-by with his event.

Another person came up who seemed to know him, perhaps from his tribe in one way or the other. Michael seemed to have a unique skill set – perhaps he was trained as non-violent communication facilitator or experience in tantric communication. I asked him a few times what his training was in but he would not divulge. =) He worked with this friend who had made his way here and had no money at all for the ride back or for his family back home, but he was here to be a part of history and to try to make a difference. Michael used his skills to negotiate helping him with his financial situation and to help him get a ride back home, hoping that some of his tribe would be able to get him some of the way home when their tribe started their migration home. I eagerly threw in my cash as soon as he said something even before the negotiation had begun. I was thankful for the experience and to have witnessed and to have been allowed to help out what little I can.

On my way further into the park in I picked up a few pieces of plastic garbage, stuff that would normally just be there due to careless park-goers, but I knew that it was here because of the protests, lingering here as the city finished its clean-up, the last remaining vestiges of the people gathered to protest the widespread corruption and fraud in our government and in our political parties. As I traveled deeper into the bowels of the FDR Park near the tennis courts I saw there was still a bit of life left in the park – a bottled water tent  was still open and a few tents with people here who were still here conversing, sharing, perhaps even mourning the death of democracy, and celebrating their time here. This group was all hidden away from prying eyes with no indication that they were here for a protest, that perhaps they were here just for camping  for the week.

Leaving the Revolution

I left a little early to go to the edge of the park to rest my feet and wait for Marcus to come pick me up. I sat on one of the few large rock there at the edge of the park entrance and waited for to Marcus pick me up near 12:00pm so I could go to the airport and begin my return from the Revolution. In our talks we made arrangements to go to Bells Market which are a series of grocery stores which are owned by a group of Russians and sell a lot of international food in the Philadelphia area. He was excited to show me this and to take me there. It was pretty big and had an incredible amount of international food. I bought some sweets for my sweet back home in hopes that these would help to assuage any of her annoyances with my trip. Happy wife, happy life, right? I knew she would like this. I bought for her something Russian called Zephyr which are like our pinwheels, and a few other sweet things. I arrived at the airport two hours early and was whisked through security with a crap load of time to wait for my flight.

The Philly airport and Philidelphia itself, what little I saw of it, was really clean. My flight was delayed by at least an hour because of rain. I had an almost a two-hour layover in Charlotte, NC so I was not worried too much.  By the time we arrived in Charlotte there was just enough time to get to my gate in time to board. I was freaking out while trying to run through the crowds of people. With a heavy breath, I stopped one of those airport cart people and he agreed to take me all the way to my gate which was quite a bit away. The glorious black man’s name was Jason. He was my hero. Although I did arrive there right at the time when they were supposed to be boarding, it turns out that there was a delay in the flight because the first officer’s flight was delayed and had not arrived yet. We waited almost an hour before we could board. I did all of that running and worrying for nothing. =(

In closing

On my drive home with the wife and kid, while thinking to myself while they slept, I kinda also wished that I had approached this as an opportunity to as research for a blog post and not just a post about being there as a part of history and for the experience. This would have me paying more attention to picture opportunities, having a camera with me, actually knowing what is going on and when, and so on. It would have made the trip even more productive.  I also wish it had not been so hot and humid. I wish I had been more prepared. I wish that I was not confused by the airfare screens. I wish I was not so shy. =(

I can say that I was there, that I tried to do my part. I have a post titled What did I do to Help Bernie? and spreadsheet to prove it. =) I can not add this to the list the ways I participated in the Revolution. I can tell my daughter and my grandkids that I tried to do my part and to explain it to them. I will have the satisfaction that we did not go down without a fight and, hopefully, my daughter and eventual grandchildren will remember this example that I have set so they will not be so complacent when it comes to politics and to try to be politically aware so when the moment comes they can lend their voices and make a difference.  This whole movement is not about Bernie. It is about us, our children, and the future of the human race.

Viva la revolution!

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

#DemExit #BernieOrBust #BernieSanders #StillSanders #BernieSanders2016

#JillNotHill #JillB4Hill #JillStein #Green2016 #29ForStein #ImWithHer #JillStein
#TimeForStein #SteinBaraka2016

#NeverHillary #HillNo #NeverHillary #StealingIsNotWinning #HillaryClinton
#WikiLeaks #DNCLeaks

What have I done to help Bernie?

Together - Bernie Sanders

Together – Bernie Sanders

Here is a summary of the things I have done to try to help us all through Bernie Sanders and the movement he has inspired and awoken:

Party Registration

First, what is ed This I am not sure about. I do not think I have officially registered for the Democratic Party, although I may be on their roles. I have just contacted my local party leader to be sure, although I have been a member of the Green Party for a few years now.

Blogging

Second, First, I have written quite a few blog posts throughout this electoral cycle:

Contact the Democratic Party

Third, I have contacted the Democratic Party through their contact form and have sent them the text of my Letter to the Superdelegates and the text of my Why I will NOT vote for Hillary Clinton 2016 post.

Unsubscribe from the Democratic Party

Fourth, I have also, with the publish of my Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren, unsubscribed from any Democratic newsletters and politicians. I did not have any donations going there, but I made sure that I did not.

Contacting our Super Delegates

Fifth, I have used the Lobby Delegates’ Engage Delegates page and sent a link to my Letter to the Superdelegates of the Democratic Party to all of the superdelegates.

Sixth, I have downloaded the spreadsheet from Lobby Superdelegates which has much of their contact information and then I:

  • sent a mass email (~400) to all who had email addresses listed. The text of the letter was my Superdelegate Letter. About 100 bounced in one form or another. I have even engaged in some back-and-forth with one Clinton superdelegate.
  • tweeted a link of my Letter to the Superdelegate to each person that had a twitter account listed, which is a lot of tweets
  • started to post to each Facebook account that allowed me to until I was blocked (~14)

In all of this, I am hoping to get at least two solid points of contact with as many superdelegates as I can. I will continue with this trying to get as many as I can.

Preparing to Attend the Protests for the Democratic National Convention

Seventh, I got the OK from the wife to attend the protests at the convention, so I am working making those arrangements. Babysitting first, then everything else…

Well, I found out that tickets from Madison to Philly are about $800-$900 which is too much. I was expecting them to be about half as much. I would have spent almost my entire budget on just the plane tickets and nothing left for hotel or food, etc. Me sad panda. I was really excited about being able to be there and to be able to tell my daughter when she gets older that I was there, that I was a part of history.

What Have You Done?

I have done all of this for Bernie and for us.

What have you done?

Letter to Superdelegates of the Democratic Party

Quote from my Letter to the Superdelegates of the Democratic Party

Quote from my Letter to the Superdelegates of the Democratic Party

Esteemed Superdelegate, opisthorchiasis

My name is Jim O’Neill and I am a father, infertility husband, sale small business owner, home owner and a Navy Veteran who was a part of Desert Storm. Over my 42 years of life I have come to value the electoral process  and having a voice in our government. I had formerly voted for Obama twice, although times have changed and our country has not changed, and, by virtue of that, we have found ourselves over the last few decades falling so far behind other first-world countries. The tides are changing and we, as a country, are being left behind – a laughing stock on the world’s stage where we were once a shining beacon of freedom and democracy.

We are behind pretty much all other European countries in a wide variety of ways – poverty, rate of incarceration, police violence, electoral fraud and voter suppression, climate change, quality of education, civil rights, the war on drugs, converting to alternative energy, and energy independence. I can go on and on with listing the ways in which we trail, but what matters is what we do about it. Our only hope is that we have a candidate and a platform that they will stand behind to make the changes needed to correct these problems.

We cannot use the same people that created the problems and expect them to magically decide that the real solutions now finally sound good. We need change, not just incremental change, because our planet and our children do not have time for that. We need a principled and ethical candidate who will enact radical change and drive us forward to be able to begin to recover from decades of war and economic, social, and political stagnation.

Judgement Matters

I have written at length about the many problems with Hillary Clinton as a candidate in my blog post:

http://www.arionshome.com/2015/09/17/voting-hillary-clinton-2016/

… although if you choose not to read my really long post let me leave you with one quote which can summarize it – the TLDR; version if you will:

“If you take nothing from this writing, then please take the following: Why would you vote for someone who has been on the wrong side of so many issues and has had to “evolve” her stance on almost every issue to be on the right (DOMA, gay marriage, Iraq War, NAFTA, Patriot Act) or is still wrong (Glass-Steagall, GMOs, fracking), when you can vote for the person who has been consistently right for the last 30+ years.”

As another example of this – you will find that for almost every bad decision that America has made in the past 30+ years there is a video (or picture) of Bernie Sanders trying to stop it. In contrast, you will find video, transcripts or pictures of Hillary voting for or supporting these bad decisions in the few years she has been able to. In the end, judgement matters and this is what is really going to matter to the world and our children’s future, and is the only way to bring about real change.

The potential legacy for Hillary as a president will very likely mirror her current decision making pattern and history in government. It will be a stream of bad decision, apologies, scandals, and ‘Oh, crap! I was wrong!’ moments. Is that what you really want for the future of our country, for our children, for our businesses and workers – ‘Oh, crap! I was wrong!’ or would it be more prudent to choose someone whose lone words have been consistently quite prophetic and historically on the right side of the issues? Why choose the person who has been consistently wrong when you can choose the person who has been consistently right?

Trust and Favorability

Even with Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement and Bernie’s endorsement as a sacrifice to his candidacy so he could get non-binding platform concessions we do not trust Hillary at all as her dismal trustworthy numbers well show. She has a record-breaking low for a trustworthy rating  which is even lower than Trump’s if that tells you anything. This is also true for her favorability rating. For Sanders, the reverse is true in both cases. He tops all of the candidates – seen as the most favorable and trustworthy of all of the candidates. These two factors combined with her ever dwindling small lead over Trump, or being behind in some key states now, does not bode well for Hillary’s electoral performance especially when everyone is allowed to vote for their preferred candidate in the General Election, and even more so when you take into account how independents will vote as I will cover in the next section.

Polls show that Bernie Sanders would absolutely destroy Donald Trump or anyone else in a fair election by 10% or more. Hillary, in contrast, because of her marred reputation and all of the scandals has a good chance to lose versus Donald or any other candidate. Keep in mind that in the previous primaries she lost to Obama twice. The American people have already said ‘NO!’ to her twice already, although now, strangely, under questionable circumstances and amidst stream of electoral fraud, voter suppression, collusion, and money laundering allegations, the numbers seem to show that she has almost achieved the nomination, but her potential win would not ever be a real win. =(  One study points to a 1 in 77 billion chance that Hillary actually won the nomination in a way that did not include widespread and systemic electoral fraud. Even if we reduce their numbers by several orders of magnitude to compensate for potential errors – a 1 in 77 million or even a 1 in 7 million chance she won without fraud is not a good number to have hanging over this potentially historic election. A win without cheating is not a win. It is a steal and this fact will hang over her presidency and will greatly affect how other countries see her – an usurper and someone whose word cannot be trusted along with her government.

The Democratic platform is non-binding so the Democratic Party can tell us and Bernie Sanders whatever we want to hear, but they do not need to have any intention of truly following through with it. We cannot trust Hillary Clinton or the current Democratic Party as we have seen with her political history and the current shenanigans performed by the Democratic Party to ensure that Hillary is elected. She has already started to pivot to the center on some issues and is already changing her stance to show us that her word changes with the moment. There have plenty of studies and lawsuits to go around to show that she could not have won the primary without systemic and widespread  electoral fraud, suppression and collusion. Because of all of this we do not trust either of Hillary or the Democratic Party to be honest and to follow-through with the concessions that Bernie has arranged for if Hillary is president.

There was a study that showed that congress does not care what the people think, that they serve the corporations and their interests, and Hillary is the embodiment of that. She has taken too much money from corporations and foreign countries while Bernie has not. Bernie is only beholden to the people whereas Hillary is beholden to her donors. We need a candidate that we the people can trust, that the world leaders can trust, and one that represents the people. Bernie is that candidate. He is the only candidate.

Bernie or Bust and the Independent Voting Block

The Bernie or Bust movement is real. In a poll I posted on Facebook following Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary, Berners chose Jill Stein 5-1 over writing-in Bernie Sanders (or any other option) if he does not win the nomination. I know you may have been fed some false numbers about 90% of Bernie supporters will support her, but that is just mainstream media trying to keep you superdelegates and other Hillary supporters under control. She will get some of us, but not anywhere near what those deceptive propaganda articles say. At most, and from what I have seen from our polls and from social media sites, I could see her getting maybe 20-30% of us, which will not be enough for her to even come close to winning. To think otherwise is to not understand the Bernie or Bust movement and what has motivated us. Many of us, because we are tired of electoral fraud, voter suppression, and corporate ownership of our government will either write-in Bernie, vote for Jill Stein, or any other candidate but Hillary. Now that we are awake we could not in good conscience vote for Hillary because she is part of the problem and is truly the lesser of two evils, but still an electoral evil. Our single electoral voice, our children, and our country deserve better than that.

Us, as independents and the largest voting block (~ 40% of the electorate), are saying NO to Hillary and her legacy of harmful decisions and the corrupt practices of the Democratic Party.  We want change. If you want to win this election you will need to give us change or we will go elsewhere with our votes. This is not a threat. This merely a fact. This is what will come to pass for we are Bernie or Bust. For too long have we had to vote our fears. Now that we are awake we will no longer vote our fears or for the lesser (or greater) of two evils. We shall vote our hopes and values which do not in any way lie with Hillary. Bernie is our champion. Bernie speaks for us. Bernie is our leader. Bernie is the future. Hillary is the past that we wish we could shove under the bed to be able to forget about it.

Bernie has, at one point, won an election with 70%+ of the votes and that is only possible by winning cross-party and independent votes. Hillary cannot and has not ever come close to doing that in the way that Bernie has. He can get conservatives, moderates and liberals to vote for him unlike anyone else in history due to his prophetic view and principled career. These are the traits of a leader and this is what our country needs to move forward and fix the many problems plaguing our country. If you really want to keep the Republicans from winning the White House and from choosing the next few Supreme Court Justices then there is only one real answer that will get independents to vote en masse for a Democratic candidate and that is with Bernie Sanders.

In Closing

I know if that if you are a superdelegate that currently supports Hillary Clinton that my words may fall on deaf ears, but please at least consider my above words and take a moment to read my above blog post. When you are at the National Convention please consider voting for Bernie Sanders and his uncanny ability to be on the right side of the issues, who has great ratings, and massive support from independents. He really is our only hope and the only way to truly court independent voters of all stripes, and even some conservative voters. He has the principles and the plan to help right our slowly sinking freak-show; or because independents will not vote for her, we will see the Republican candidate, whoever they end up nominating, in the White House. The choice is yours -Bernie or a Republican as lepresident

Thank you for your time and you consideration,

Good luck at the convention.

Yours truly,

Jim O’Neill

Wisconsin

Bernie’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton and the Real Beginning of the Revolution

Quote from my post titled 'Bernie's Endorsement of Hillary Clinton and the Real Beginning of the Revolution'

Quote from my post titled ‘Bernie’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton and the Real Beginning of the Revolution’

To all of my fellow Berners out there – I know we all feel a soul-crushing sorrow with Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton yesterday (Tue, information pills 12 July 2016) at a rally In New Hampshire.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders/index.html

Rage Against…

We felt the stabbing knife of betrayal when Elizabeth Warren betrayed her progressive values to vehemently endorse Hillary and never endorsing Bernie like she should have as I mentioned in my Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren. Now Bernie has endorsed Hillary Clinton too. Yes, he has endorsed her. None of us like to say it. None of us want to admit it. We really want to pretend that it never happened like a horrible nightmare. These two moments are too much to handle in such a short time period. Two of the most seemingly progressive icons failing to live up to our dreams. With the absolute sickening and acrid taste of swallowed vomit in our mouths, we realize that this really happened. A bitter taste to accent the anger, betrayal, and loss we are feeling, like we may have been living n lie, like the yellow brick road really led to a prison camp for tortured unicorns. I feel it too – deep in the roiling pit of my stomach, a torturous knot signaling there is no hope left for anything but despair. Abandon all hope ye who pass this point….but, please do not despair quite yet. I know it may not seem like it, but there is much more to come. This may sound trite, but this really is the beginning if you are willing to embrace it. Bernie has slogged on for 30+ years, so please hold on a few moments longer while I try to explain. We need to start embracing a much longer view than just one electoral cycle, than just one presidency.

We all love Bernie, so please do not turn on him for he has had to endure much over the last year or so, and even through the last 40 years of his service to humanity, to enact what change he was able to accomplish. Do not lose hope. Do not rage against him. Thank him for all that he has done – for awakening us – for giving us hope – for raising awareness of the issues and being prophetic to the truth – for unleashing and informing our slumbering rage. We need to thank him for trying to fix whatever he could while slogging through the treacherous, filthy and betrayal laden trenches of the corporate owned Democratic Party which absolutely despises everything we stand for. We also need to thank him for successfully moving the Democratic Party’s platform far to the left from where it was near the horrendously corporate center. He is only one man in a den of thieves, but together we helped him to make these changes. He could not have done that without us. We could not have done it without him.

Bernie Sanders, the Amendment King

What follows is quite a bit of speculation on my part, but what is super-important to remember is that Bernie is known as the Amendment King for a reason and I think that this is required to understand what is going on here. We also need to remember that he said that this is not about the presidency or even winning elections. This whole movement and his candidacy is about the policies, which is something that I think we were not really prepared for. I think, as much as I hate to admit it, that his endorsement of Hillary exemplifies this sentiment. He may have been willing to deal a blow to his immediate candidacy to get a more progressive Democratic platform – getting the platform amended which, for him, is the point of what his candidacy was really about. I know we all want to see him in the presidency. I do too. My daughter deserves that. The world deserves to see President Bernie Sanders and the glory which would come of it, but to him, I believe, getting the platform and policies changed may be more important, especially in light of the tremendous amount of corrupt forces arrayed against him in this election.

What follows is not something I have verified, but have I have heard from quite a few sources – I think this also has to do with being able to speak at the Democratic Convention. He has to have been willing to support the other candidates throughout the process in order to maintain his superdelegate status in order to speak at or attend the convention. Also, since she is so far ahead in delegates and superdelegates we need to also understand that there are no concession speeches given by the loser, so if he does lose and wanted to speak and did not support her then he would not have the chance to speak at the convention. Again, this is about having the chance to speak to sway some more people, to pull them to our side, to have our voice heard as much as possible.  There is a lot of internal party politics going on here that is affecting what he is doing and it is not just what he wants to do, but some of it is what he is required to do in order to keep moving forward, to keep having the opportunity to make changes.

What the Future Holds

Hopefully, Bernie’s long-term view and plans may have out-played them. We will only know for sure as the next few weeks or so unfolds. Please do not #DemExit until a day or two after the convention, because then we will know the truth as to who is the real nominee and to what his plans for the future of our movement may be. In a campaign email yesterday he said that he is creating a successor organization and I think this is really what is going to matter for the movement and what will guide us going forward with or without him as president. Since he has repeatedly said that he is really concentrated on transforming the Democratic Party from within and from the description below it does not really appear to be a new political party, which is what we desperately need, but more of an organization that helps to promote and work with progressive candidates and get them into office:

“In the coming weeks, I will be announcing the creation of successor organizations to carry on the struggle that we have been a part of these past 15 months. I hope you will continue to be involved in fighting to transform America. Our goal will be to advance the progressive agenda that we believe in and to elect like-minded candidates at the federal, state and local levels who are committed to accomplishing our goals.”

Keep in mind also that he has neither suspended his campaign nor released his delegates as of yet, so there is quite a bit more to come at the convention. There are also massive protests and a rally arranged for the convention too. Please, take the time to show up in Philadelphia to let the establishment that even though Bernie has endorsed Hillary, which I think has been required for platform concessions, that we are even more angry now, that we stand behind Bernie and what he stands for, that we will take nothing less than real change, that we will not compromise or accept false promises, that our movement is not really about Bernie, but it is about the policies. The Democratic Establishment needs to hear the zealous roar of “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” ringing over the gates and fences and through the convention to know that we are not defeated or done, that they have not ended these pesky populist social-democrat Bernicrats, that our movement has just begun.

A key part of the future is the new organization from the newsletter is to help to support progressive candidates. This is important for our future work. If we are serious about fixing everything that is broken by enacting electoral reform, single payer health care, tuition-free university, and opposing the reprehensible TPP then it has to be done from the inside out – from the local to the state and federal levels, for it will not be done with the current establishment politicians. This electoral season has seen a flood of Bernicrats running for office and this is amazing. Some long standing establishment Democrats and Republicans risk being unseated this cycle and this needs to happen for real change to occur. If you have a Bernicrat running locally then please send them money and spread the word about them and your support for them. This is truly how change will be won, from the bottom up with a flood of new progressive candidates. Remember what Bernie Sanders has done in Vermont. Once Bernie was just a lone voice, a single mayor of a small town in Vermont, and now he is a long- serving congressman for what is one of the most progressive states in the Union. This is our path. This is where we need to work to make change permanent and to show the people that it can be done and that it works. We need progressive candidates to run in all local, state and federal elections to be that change that we want to see.

We have to be THE champions now. We have to be OUR champions. We have to be HIS champions. Once the Democratic National Convention has finished, assuming he is not the nominee, then it will be up to us to carry the torch from there. Yes, the Democratic National Convention is not over yet and the Superdelegates have not technically voted. I have very, very slight hopes that, perhaps by some miracle that he will get the nomination, especially with a new round of looking at Hillary’s lies and perjury with her email server scandal. I am not holding my breath for this especially with his endorsement and the collusion that is happening, but it is a sliver of hope which I still carry with me. This is, hopefully, the beginning and not the end. It can be if you do not give up hope.

In closing

I will also report the unconfirmed rumors that he has qualified to be on each state’s ballots in such a way that he could run as an independent. I really do not expect him to do so as I mentioned in my Open Letter to Bernie Sanders. He is too principled for that, so please do not hope for it. I would love to see a Sanders/Stein Green ticket in any form, which would absolutely annihilate anyone who opposed them, but I cannot see that ever happening. Me sad panda. =(

Do not focus your rage against our beloved Bernie. Keep you rage aimed at the corporate-owned establishment Democrats that have never ever considered giving Bernie a fair chance while having to engage in voter suppression, electoral fraud, collusion, money laundering, and corruption to have a chance at beating him. If they did not do this then Bernie would have crushed Hillary. Keep your rage focused and sharp for it is this rage against the corporate owned politicians and our corrupt electoral process that is needed to force it to change. We need you to be angry so you will keep pressure on your representatives, so you will run for office, so you will protest and raise the alarm when the corruptions that are happening in congress and other governmental places. We the people need to hold our government responsible and this will be possible only if we are united together. We will need your rage for what is to come, to demand that change happens on our terms and not theirs. We must be united as progressives otherwise we lose our power. If we lose our power to make change then they win and our children and the world will lose. We cannot let those who are willing to lie, cheat, and steal from the democratic process and our people to live fat lives while the 99% suffer.

Most of us Bernie supporters are #BernieOrBust, so following the convention we may be left with a difficult decision. Do we vote for Jill Stein, write-in Bernie Sanders, or something else? I have previously posted a poll on Facebook asking just that question and that has turned out to be votes for Jill Stein @ 5-1. Where do we carry our movement? Should we rally around Jill Stein and the Green Party or should we unite under the newly formed United Progressive Party? An email from Bernie’s campaign has alluded to a new organization to carry the movement’s torch. Perhaps we should wait until we receive the email with details about this. In either case, we will need to decide both questions quickly – by a few days after the end of the Democratic National Convention so we can charge forth and try to have our voices heard through the establishment’s continued suppression, so that they know that we will not give up, that we will not go quietly into that dark night, that the dragon of the American people has risen from its slumber and nothing will be the same again.

For we are Bernicrats and we are legion.

#DemExit #BernieOrBust #Sanders2016 #StillSanders #UnitedUnderBernie

#JillNotHill #NeverHillary #CrookedHillary #LiarLiarPantsuitOnFire