The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention

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+ The big news of the morning was the vindication of a ground-breaking story that Margaret Kidder wrote for CounterPunch several months ago. Buried inside the 20,000 DNC emails released by Wikileaks were documents confirming a tricky financial scam orchestrated by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, whereby money that was meant for state Democratic parties was re-routed to the Clinton machine in order to evade campaign finance laws, thus making a mockery of Hillary’s recent pledge to get the Big Money out of politics. We published Kidder’s explosive piece on the first of April and it spread like lightning across the Net. Within a few days her exposé had been read by more than one million people and had received more than 50,000 Facebook shares (whatever that means). The Clinton machine shifted into attack mode, their default position. The Clinton trolls first started rumors that the story was an April Fools Day prank. When that attack floundered, the Clinton slime operation set their sights on the author. The article was written by Margot Kidder, the actress, they said with misogynistic condescension. You know, Lois Lane. You can’t trust her. She had mental health issues. So much for feminism. This kind of viciousness is standard operating procedure in Clintonworld. But how wrong they were. Margot Kidder is one of the smartest people I know. She’s very well read, is a determined researcher and writes with clarity and force. She’s also fearless. Margot had the goods on them and now there’s no doubt. Heroic work, Margot!

+ The Democrats are working overtime to transform the DNC email episode into a story about Russian hackers, Putin and Trump. One Democratic Party flack called it the most outrageous political break-in since Watergate. Anything to divert attention from the scandalous content of the emails. But there’s little hard evidence that Russians were behind the hack. Cyber-expert Bill Blunden wrote to me this morning: “Note that Julian Assange has said: ‘We have not disclosed our source, and of course, this is a diversion that’s being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.’

“Thanks to documents released by Ed Snowden, and other whistleblowers. It’s part of the public record that intelligence services have invested heavily in tools that are designed to subvert the process of attribution. It would be risky to presume that such activities were limited to the NSA and GCHQ. Likewise classified programs like JTRIG and HACIENDA are conducted with the explicit intention of obscuring the source of cyber intrusions. Entities from the private sector are also involved in this sort of activity.

“When dealing with an organization with the requisite skill and resources, successful attribution is highly unlikely. Subtle operational signatures can be mimicked and telltale forensic clues can be counterfeited. Welcome to the wilderness of mirrors. Peace, Bill.”

+ Sanders spent the morning sternly lecturing his rebellious delegation. He warned them not to bolt the Democrats for the Green Party. This is how Bernie repays Jill Stein’s kindness in offering him her spot on the Green ticket. This was met by jeers and boos, as Bernie the Used Car Salesman was rebuked by his own cohort once again. They still ain’t buying the Lemon he’s selling.

+ What’s this? Anthony Weiner is now giving testimonials for Hillary? How can she possibly lose? (I thought Huma had him on home detention. Someone check Weiner’s Instagram photos tonight.)

+ David Swanson writes in yesterday’s CounterPunch that the DNC is now less popular than atheism. After today’s spectacle, the Satanists will be gaining on them fast.

+ The New York Times reported that Sanders is now faced with suppressing the revolutionaries he inspired. The man started out as Danton, ends up as Edmund Burke…

+ Jesse Jackson sent me his column this morning. It’s a dispiriting piece of writing. Few people could have a better understanding of how an insurgent movement like the one Sanders’ led was sabotaged by the party establishment. The Democrats screwed Jackson twice. Yet Jackson writes that Hillary is the “clear choice” for president. Not the “necessary choice” or the “lesser evil.” But the “clear choice.” This even though Bill Clinton has repeatedly race-baited Jackson. That’s a strange kind of loyalty.

+ Speaking of Hillary’s “life-long commitment to children,” very excited to hear the remarks of infamous child-killer Madeleine Albright tonight…

+ If only the Sandernistas had the guts to boo that artifact of the Red Scare Era (which never really ended) the Pledge of Allegiance, which is on its face an insult to the Constitution, trashing the values it claims to venerate.

+ Here comes Chairwoman Marcia Fudge on the stage with her gavel again. Hammers it on the podium. Gets shouted down once again! Shuffles off shaking her head.

+ Bernie should have negotiated to get Tulsi Gabbard a keynote speech in prime time, since she’s about as close as the Democrats are likely to come presenting someone who will speak out against interventionist wars. I bet we go through the entire convention without hearing one word about drone strikes.

+ Sanders delegate Shyla Nelson has moved Bernie to tears! To misquote Tom Hanks from “A League of Their Own”: “There’s no crying in Revolutions, Bernie!”

+ Senator Barbara Mikulski apparently didn’t get the memo that “brother” Democrats and “sister” Democrats no longer covers all the bases.

+ Deb Haaland, the first Native American chair of any state party, had the best line of the day so far when she introduced New Mexico’s vote. “I’m proud to be from New Mexico, where our state question is: Red or Green? … Chile that is.”

+ The dilated and euphoric Oregon delegation seems to have spent their afternoon consuming edibles of unknown origin.

+ Great to see the Puerto Rico delegation holding up “Free Oscar Lopez Rivera” t-shirts. Maybe Obama was tuning in, instead of playing golf. Perhaps he will even take action to finally right this lingering injustice. The South Dakota delegation put Hillary over the top. Too bad the delegation didn’t take that opportunity to call for the pardoning of Leonard Peltier.

+ At 6:53 EST, Bernie wiped out of all his delegates votes. Sandernistas you have now officially cast your votes for HILLARY CLINTON. Now you can really cry.

+ So you find yourself suddenly transformed by Bernie’s procedural magic wand from a Sandernista into a Clintonoid and the first face that you see upon awakening to this new reality is that of…the political grifter Terry McAuliffe, who earlier in the evening told reporters what everyone else already knew that Hillary was going to “flip on the TPP.” Get used to it. It will only get worse from here on out. Here comes Nancy Pelosi!

+ It’s surely an ominous sign for Hillary Clinton that the loudest applause of the Democratic Convention will almost certainly be for the forced surrender of Bernie Sanders and the public humiliation of his delegates.

+ The cognitive dissonance of this convention is at max volume. How else can you explain how demurely Sanders just delivered his movement to the machine that represents everything he was allegedly waging war against: bailing out the banks, destruction of Glass-Steagall, fracking on a global scale, abandonment of organized labor, trade pacts from NAFTA to WTO to TPP, the death penalty, continuation of the drug war, gutting of welfare, interventionist wars from Iraq to Syria, fealty to Wall Street money, vindictive and racist criminal justice policies, inaction on climate change, and blind loyalty to Israel.

+ Most of the Sandernistas walked out after Bernie transferred (without their consent) their votes to Hillary and had a sit-in outside of the convention center, where nobody saw them or cared. What kind of Civil Disobedience is that? Why not protest inside the hall, where the cameras are and the action is? A last blown opportunity to shake the establishment.

+ Chuck Schumer just said that “when Hillary tells you something you can take it to the bank.” Would that be Citibank or Goldman Sachs? Schumer was followed on the stage by Elizabeth Banks. Not making this up.

+ It was good to see Jimmy Carter looking so fit after his brain cancer. Too bad they didn’t let him talk about Palestine and the Last Apartheid state, which would risk exposing the real fissures in his supposedly “unified” party.

+ Every time a politician closed their remarks with “God Bless America” another bit of the Constitution died. This obnoxious tradition, which has infected politicians on the Left and the Right, has become a homegrown version of the dreaded Sharia Law.

+ Eric Holder prefaced his remarks on criminal justice reform by arguing that the police need to be better armed. With what? Guided missiles and drones? Hillary Clinton’s pimping for her husband’s vicious Crime Bill by labeling young black men “super-predators” seems to have been elided from the institutional memory of the Democrats. The drug war will be retooled, with opiate users the new villains.

+ Holder says the Hillary Clinton will be a champion of voting rights. This must come as a shock to the hundreds of thousands of potential Sanders voters who found their polling places mysteriously moved or closed, their ballots destroyed, or their votes not counted.

+ I confess. In a tear-stained convention, I misted up during the testimonials of the Mothers of the Murdered, especially when Travyon Martin’s mother said that she was “an unwilling participant in this movement. I would not have signed up for this. I’m here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who’s in heaven.” Too bad this heavy ceremony was diluted and demeaned by giving an hour to the Incarcerator-in-Chief, Bill Clinton, whose Crime Bill put 100,000 new cops on the street. Since the passage of that infamous law in 1994, police have killed at least 20,460 civilians.

+ Taser me when Lena Dunham’s stopped talking.

+ Skip that. Taser me when Barbara Boxer stops sputtering clichés.

+ Did Rudy Giulani co-produce the 9/11 video? The fact that they’ve brought up a NYPD detective, instead of a fireman or EMT worker, suggests the DNC is compensating for the time devoted they devoted to the Mothers of the Murdered.

+ 15 years later and 9/11 remains a go-to political tripwire, shamelessly exploited by both parties. Here by Hillary’s surrogate as an invocation to “defeat and destroy ISIS.” Sound familiar?

+ What’s with Howard Dean? He can barely read the teleprompter. Did he share a joint with Lincoln Chafee backstage?

+ Note to Hillary: You didn’t bring about the ceasefire in Gaza. The bombing stopped after the Israelis ran out of targets, having destroyed 70 percent of the structures in that narrow strip of defenseless land.

+ So it’s all about making women and girls more secure, is it? Have many women and girls have been killed in Hillary’s wars in Libya, Honduras, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Probably in the 10s of thousands. So cheer up. Her body count is about 400,000 lower than Madeleine Albright’s. But give her 8 years and she may yet catch up.

+ Here comes Albright. Someone serve her an arrest warrant! Lock her up! Lock her up! Albright’s sanctions on Iraq led to the deaths of a half-million Iraqi children. When asked by Leslie Stahl whether this death toll bothered her, whether the price was worth it. Albright didn’t hesitate. “We think the price was worth it.” She must be the world’s most evil grandmother.

Typically, Albright began by invoking the Red Scare moved on to praising Harry “A-Bomb” Truman and ended by demonizing Putin. The Cold War lives.

+ Shouldn’t Wellesley College lose its accreditation having matriculated both Albright and Clinton?

+ What an odd short film trying to sell everything that Bill Clinton (Madeleine Albright’s student) did for poor people, neglecting to mention his destruction of welfare. Some of these people called themselves Clinton Babies? It’s possible, of course, but did they all have paternity tests?

+ Bill’s creepy account of his courtship of Hillary at Yale makes him sound like a stalker.

+ Does Bill have Parkinson’s? Whole lotta shaking going on. (Marc Solomon informs me that my diagnosis is off the mark. Solomon said Clinton is suffering from a drug reaction: “They’ve had him on Thorazine to shut him the fuck up during the campaign.”

+ Bill just can’t help from making his speeches all about himself. More “I”’s in Clinton speech than Trumps.

+ Clintonian Revisionism: Bill now blames his defeat for reelection as governor on the Reagan landslide, instead of his own hubris and incompetence.

+ In Bill’s tedious narrative of the Life and Times of the Clintons there was sadly no mention of the most honorable member of the clan: Socks the Cat.

+ Senator Warren is sitting in the Clinton box with Chelsea, cheering every banality uttered by Bill Clinton, even the whopper about how he “tried to bring peace and prosperity to America.” Tell it to the people of Rwanda, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Serbia, President Bill. Et tu, Elizabeth?

+ This being a family hour show, Bill was forced to redact several inconvenient chapters of his Scenes From a Marriage speech.

+ According to Bill, you can take it from his friend Newt Gingrich that Hillary’s “tough on national security.” That seals it for me.

+ The Clintons gave Machiavelli a bad name. In fact, as my friend Jim Nicita says, “they make Machiavelli look like a Prince.”

+ Jane Fonda. Once she went to Hanoi to stop a war. Now she’s appearing in a music video for a war criminal. Make it stop. I can’t watch anymore.

+ This whole night went off like a Neutron Bomb of Identity Politics, where the only ones left standing were demographic subsets and the Hedge Fund managers who fund the party. Is that all you’ve got? Doesn’t that play right into Trump’s trap? Or have I totally lost all political sense? The Democrats seem to have totally abandoned class politics. We are witnessing the complete triumph of neoliberalism.

Notes From the Democratic Convention

Day One: Don’t Cry for Me, DNC!

Day Two: The Humiliation Games

Day Three: Night of the Hollow Men

Day Four: She Stoops to Conquer

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3