Wednesday, July 20, 2016

As the Country Revolts Against Trump and Clinton, Police and Anarchists Dine At Cleveland Chipotle

Last night, at Chipotle in downtown Cleveland, police officers in bulletproof vests and anarchists wearing “Fuck the Police” t-shirts sat side by side eating from their burrito bowls -- looks like both got extra rice and beans -- with guacamole and chips. Not that it was all warm and fuzzy. It wasn’t. The police were eyeing the kids as they ate. Had my hand on my phone camera just in case all hell broke loose.

Earlier in the day, our press shuttle bus taking us to Quicken Loans Arena was turned back. The security guy tells us that there is a disruption on 9th Street and “out of an abundance of caution” we were turning back.

Thomas Frank
I get off the bus and walk over to the disturbance to see what’s going on. At the center of the scrum were a group of about five anarchists -- maybe the same ones eating dinner at the Chipotle? -- standing off with some Trump supporters. That rump group was surrounded by maybe 200 reporters. And they were encircled by a similar number of police, including fifty on bicycles and twenty on horses.

No riots in the streets of Cleveland -- yet.

But across the country, a revolt is brewing against both parties, with polls showing a majority of Americans opposing the both Trump and Hillary.

The more we see, the less we like.

Unfortunately, the elites want us to believe that it’s take Hillary Trump or leave it.

The best Republican campaign slogan is -- Not Hillary.

The best Democratic campaign slogan is -- Not Trump.

As Chris Christie puts it -- “it’s a binary choice” -- it’s going to be either Clinton or Trump.

“Every Republican who is not working for Donald Trump is working for Hillary Clinton,” Christie says.

Democratic liberals -- even left liberals -- are pushing the same line.

Noam Chomsky. Juan Gonzalez. Thomas Frank.

Gary Johnson
Frank, author of the best seller What’s the Matter with Kansas? and most recently Listen Liberal, appeared on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour and blistered Clinton and both parties.

“Hillary Clinton is a person who is temperamentally and ideologically aligned with the Wall Street way of looking at the world,” Frank says. “She doesn’t agree with Wall Street because they pay her for these speeches. She agrees with them because this is who she is. She is a woman of the meritocracy. She profoundly believes in it.”

Nonetheless, Frank says that he is “probably going to vote for Hillary this fall.”

Nader says -- “you are contemplating voting for Hillary, even though you have demolished her record and documented it because obviously you think Trump is even worse and more dangerous and unstable.”

“When she starts another war, when she knuckles under to Wall Street, and you already have voted for her, would you feel complicit in any way?” Nader asks.

“I’ve been voting for a long time,” Frank says. “I would have to feel pretty lousy about a lot of things. I did vote for Obama. I voted for Bill Clinton. Do I feel complicit, or bad when they do bad things. I really don’t."

“Let’s say you wrote a book denouncing Pepsi and Coke. You would probably recommend another drink,” Nader says. “For Thomas Frank to say to Hillary Clinton -- I’m yours take me -- there is something oxymoronic about that.”

“I probably will vote for Hillary,” Frank says. “But there is a big asterisk to this. You have two of the worst major party candidates ever. They are both deeply unpopular. The biggest issues of our time are basically off the table.  The middle class of this country is coming apart. The lack of power for workers. The power of Wall Street. Neither one of them is going to address it. Trump talks about it in this kind of bombastic, bigoted way. And Hillary hints at it, but neither one of them is going to do anything about it. This is the moment, if there was ever a need for a third party, this is it.”

“What is Thomas Frank going to do in the next five or ten years?” Nader asks.

“I just went out and invested in a big bottle of bourbon,” Frank says.

That’s the liberal solution in a nutshell -- expose the problem, condemn the problem, but vote the problem into office. Then drink away the problem --  and if things get really bad, move out of the country -- Vancouver or Nova Scotia are preferred destinations.

“Why not the Green Party?” Nader asks.

Maybe Frank says.

Carol Miller says -- maybe not.

Miller was a leader of the Green Party in New Mexico. She’s now supporting the Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Johnson's running mate is former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.

Johnson is making the rounds here in Cleveland, as a recent CNN poll puts him at 13 percent, within striking distance of the 15 percent threshold needed to get into the Presidential debates.

Miller ran for Congress twice as a Green. In 1997, she won 17 percent of the vote and in 1998, five percent. She ran again as an independent in 2008 and garnered 15 percent.

Miller became an independent in 2006 and is now disillusioned with the Green Party.

Miller says she was offended when the presumptive Green Party nominee for President, Jill Stein, offered Bernie Sanders the slot at the top of the ticket. Miller believes that the Greens will cave to Democratic Party pressure and run a safe states strategy -- campaign only in safe Democratic or Republican states and not challenge for power.

“Jill Stein will never say it, but many Greens nationally have that attitude,” Miller said.

“Many of the Greens see themselves as a pressure group on the Democratic Party, rather than as an independent political party,” Miller says. “Many of the Greens I know here want to build a party the way it has internationally been built -- without being yo-yoed back and forth based on what the Democrats are doing.”

Miller is concerned that this year, the national Green Party will cave to the Democrats.

“Gary Johnson is going to do very well here in New Mexico,” Miller says. “The fact is that the Libertarian Party is serious, worked very hard to get on all 50 states. (The Greens won’t be on all 50 state ballots.)  I agree with Johnson’s anti-war policies. The most unregulated entity in government is the Pentagon. Nobody is talking about that. There is no anti-war platform coming out of the Democrats. The Republicans are promoting more wars.”

“The Green Party in New Mexico and nationally was so divisive,” Miller said. “It never established itself as a permanent party. It was like a yo yo. You could never imagine trying to convince people to vote Green Party."

“Very few of the Greens were committed to grassroots community organizing -- actually being out where people are,” Miller said. “It was too insular. It was like talking to yourself at every meeting.

“Other community organizations here host food banks, organize anti-war speakers, do other activities in the community that were real. The Greens mostly met and argued and turned off a lot of people who came to the Green Party."



“I haven’t found people who want to do the hard work,” Miller says. “Much of the Green Party platform is rhetoric without a plan. Gary Johnson took a stand on decriminalizing drugs in New Mexico and had cabinet officials quit his administration. The Republican Party rejected him. He didn’t bend to that kind of pressure. He insisted on holding public meetings. He acted on his idea. I don’t know Jill Stein.”

But Miller is involved with The Peaceful Skies Coalition -- which is organizing to stop the Air Force  from creating a Low Altitude Training Area (LATA) for military training flights over the skies of New Mexico and Colorado. Miller says that the Peaceful Skies Coalition approached Jill Stein and never got a response.

And Miller likes Johnson’s stand on ending military interventions abroad.

"And then, when it comes to terrorism, there is a very real terrorist threat,” Johnson told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now earlier this year. “But the fact that we put boots on the ground, the fact that troops are on the ground, the fact that we drop bombs, the fact that we’re flying drones and killing thousands of innocent people, I think that that is making the situation worse, not better. The unintended consequence of taking out Saddam Hussein, who was the check when it came to Iran—we take out Saddam Hussein, we cut off the head of the hydra, and, lo and behold, now we have Iran to deal with. But it’s on and on and on, when it comes to the unintended consequences of our military interventions."

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