Hillary’s Problem Isn’t Bernie – It’s Hillary

“The Republicans have sold their soul to the devil. The Democrats would never do anything like that. They’ve rented theirs instead.” — Swami Beyondananda

It used to be that elections in America were dismissed as popularity contests and beauty pageants. Not anymore. Should Trump and Hillary face off in November, the opposite would be true. We would have an unpopularity contest, and an ugly pageant.

And while the Hillary folks are complaining about the unreasonable “Bernie or Bust” people, the bare truth of the matter is that Hillary’s most formidable opponent is her own record. This isn’t even about her personality, or about her being a woman or any of that. It’s about what she has stood for over the past 20+ years, and what the Democratic Partyelectionbutton copy has become under the influence of the Clintons — undemocratic. It has abandoned blue-collar workers, and the economic wellbeing of the underclasses, and has become the party of a small, out-of-touch liberal elite. It has focused almost completely on “identity” issues — the symbolic rights of women, gays and minorities — while conveniently ignoring the “identical” issues we face, like clean air, water and soil, and an economy that works for all.

With the notable exception of the nuclear deal with Iran, neo-liberals like Hillary and Obama have largely continued the neocon foreign policy of Bush and Cheney. And if we move from the Middle East to our own “neighborhood”, the Americas, their record is even more disturbing. Shortly before she was assassinated, Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres called out Hillary for helping to install the regime that ended up killing her.

And while Hillary now says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would essentially allow multinational corporations to overrule the wishes and rights of American citizens, she has always been a supporter of such deals.

No wonder she wants to focus on that upstart Bernie raining on her party. Except “her” party is really OUR party …

The Democratic Central Committee’s lament that insurgents from the left will put Donald Trump into the oval office is reminiscent of blaming Ralph Nader for the Gore-Bush fiasco sixteen years ago. As their narrative goes, that pesky devil Nader insinuated himself into the election and took votes from Al Gore, putting Bush in the White House. This notion conveniently ignores three factors:

  1. Gore’s biggest obstacle in 2000 was having to run against not just George W. Bush, but Bill Clinton, whose narcissism and duplicity completely occupied and ruined the final four years of his presidency.
  2. The main reason why Nader was in the campaign in the first place — the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the “Battle in Seattle”, where more than 40,000 protestors showed up to oppose the World Trade Organization and globalization.  More than anything else, the Clinton administration’s response to the protests and their whole-hearted support for globalization (what Swami calls “gobble-ization”) set them apart from their constituency and led to the Nader candidacy in 2000.
  3. The Democrats’ own unwillingness to stand up to Republican bullies in Florida and demand a full and complete recount of all precincts.

All of these add up to what Hillary is up against now. She represents — whether she likes it or not — the Democrats’ complicity in the corrupt plutocracy that has replaced rule of, by and for the people. Instead of being able to represent working folks against the excesses of capitalism, she is having to fancy dance her own support for the “rule of gold” over the Golden Rule. While Trump can fully embracing being a narcissistic asshole and use it to his advantage, Hillary has to pretend she isn’t the poster child for the status quo — the same status quo that so many Americans have come to despise.

With Trump gaining on Hillary every day and Sanders beating him by ten points, maybe it’s Hillary who needs to step aside.

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How “Pravda” Reported Bernie’s Win in Michigan

“Mainstream media is a brainwashing machine stuck on spin.”

— Swami Beyondananda

Those of you who are old enough probably remember that the “official” Soviet press was called Pravda, which in Russian means “truth”. We Americans always had a good chuckle out of that obviously Orwellian term. Of course what we didn’t know was that inside the Soviet Union, one of their jokes was:

  1. What’s the difference between Pravda and the American press?
  2. The Soviet citizens know they are being lied to.


Fortunately, there is an upwising afoot and more and more Americans recognize the sad truth that our press is more interested in crowd control than truth. And the crowd is getting harder to control. Consider that the energy this election cycle is around the two candidates that have NOT been handpicked by the power structure, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Yes, Trump — or as I prefer to call him T-Rump — is to me the last gasp of the dominate-or-be-dominated paradigm. He is the past. He is the invitation to “look back” and be turned into a pillar of assault. He is scary to the Republicans not only because he could destroy that entire party, not just because they recognize him as a fascist menace, but also as a wild card he could say anything, and that “anything” might be disruptive to the carefully-manufactured consent that passes for “democracy” in our sadly isolated country.

Bernie — as I have been saying all along — is the future. His worldview is about relatedness, not separation, about authenticity and congruence. Hillary — like Bill — is the “Clintessential” politics as usual. The power structure — the military industrial complex, the neoliberal neocons, agribusiness, etc., etc. — loves Hillary. Bernie? He can bern as far as they’re concerned.

Maybe that’s why the Washington Post ran 16 anti-Bernie articles in 16 hours, kind of like Pravda might have.

So from here on in, I will refer to the mainstream American press as “Pravda”.

To clarify, I am not being cynical here. Quite the opposite. In order to hold the space of “upwising”, to moving forward in awareness, functionality and a world of thrival for all, we must open ourselves to the truth, even the unpleasant parts. I was amazed — but not surprised — a few months ago when a well-meaning progressive said to me, “Well, if 911 were an inside job I would have heard about it on NPR.”

If we turn our noses up at the “ignoranuses” voting for T-Rump, then surely we should hold ourselves to a higher standard as well — in recognizing some of the inconvenient truths about the mainstream press. For this self-education, I recommend two sources that both get high “marks” in my book. First, the courageous journalist Mark Crispin Miller (http://markcrispinmiller.com/) who stood alone in reporting the stolen election in 2004 in his book Fooled Again.

The other Mark is Mark Robinowitz, whose website Peak Choice (http://www.peakchoice.org/) offers some key new distinctions in how to discern the difference between good information, disinformation, misinformation and missing information. Check out his website, and you’ll understand how partial truths are allowed to “hang out there” while the deepest truths are hidden.

Again, this not about cynicism. It’s about awakening!

And finally, how DID Pravda spin Bernie’s victory in Michigan?

Here is the New York Times lead line after announcing Sanders’ victory: “Mr. Sanders’s upset in Michigan threatened to prolong the Democratic campaign.”

Imagine that. The extent of the Sanders “threat” is to prolong the campaign.

The only thing they can extract from that victory to feed the intelligentsia who read the Times is that his victory is a temporary, minor inconvenience on the way to Hillary’s “let them eat cake-walk” to the nomination. Why don’t they just confess that voters themselves are minor inconveniences, a necessary evil in a “democracy”?

Bernie’s victory in Michigan is perhaps his most important one yet. It’s a shift of momentum and it’s about a key blue state. With the unions and the well-established Democratic Party infrastructure, they could have gone for Hillary. A short while ago, Hillary was ahead by 25 points.

And while there may have been some Harry Reid hanky-panky in Nevada, and some truly disturbing interference in Massachusetts (See this and this) it is going to take more than lying and cheating to stop the Sanders express.

Get ready for a wild ride.


Support Bernie’s campaign here: https://go.berniesanders.com/page/content/splash

And … go ahead. PATRONIZE ME!

If you feel so moved, you can make a contribution now via PayPal to help financially support Notes From the Trail. And in any case, I love getting your feedback … and feel free to share this post widely.

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Where To Invade Next, OR … How Did the USA Get So %#!&@ STUPID?

Swami’s Dictionary:

Ignoranus: Massive ignorance meets massive arrogance; the kind of thinking behind Mad Cowboy Disease. See “assaholism”.

Last week, Trudy and I went to see Michael Moore’s latest, Where To Invade Next, and we were heartened by the positive — yes, positive — message. Iconoclastic Moore traveled the world looking for ideas to “capture” on behalf of the USA, and the result was a glimpse into the relative “sanity” of the rest of the world, compared to the USA.WheretoInvadeNextPosterSML

There was Italy, where ordinary working people enjoy at least six weeks paid vacation, and France, where school lunches consist of REAL food, Slovenia where higher education is free, and Norway where maximum security prisoners are greeted with a video where the guards and other prison employees sing, “We Are The World.” Seriously. Not tongue in cheek.

Then there is Iceland, where banksters were put “on ice” and got to serve prison terms for their perpetrations. And lots, lots more.

Moore does a good job relating disenfranchisement of black males via prison to the southern states remaining largely Republican. (In most European nations, prisoners still have the right to vote and candidates actually campaign in prisons!)

In every one of these cases where our common wealth could have been spent to enhance the wellbeing of the commonwealth, in the USA that money has been scarfed up the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex, drug companies, agribusiness, the petrochemical industry, and of course corruption and speculation.

The movie begs the question, how did the American people get so %#&&@ STUPID?

One clue emerges during Michael Moore’s visit to Germany, where children get an unflinching look at the Holocaust. Some 70 years ago at Nuremberg, the world’s eyes were opened to the Nazi’s perpetrations. Instead of shrinking from this horrific moment in their history, the Germans have “owned it.” They have nothing to hide. They have scanned and scoured their history, and they are spiritually richer for it. No skeletons in the closet. No closet.

Here in the USA, we have of course acknowledged slavery … and the genocide of Native peoples not so much. Conversation has devolved into the toxic substitute for truthful discourse, “political correctness” and arguments continue about whether it’s proper to call the Washington football team the Redskins or our baseball teams the Indians and the Braves.

I’m sure on reservations or casinos, the day it is announced that the Atlanta baseball team has reverted to its pre-major league nickname, the Crackers, a huge audible cheer will go up — not.

Nobody — except a few political poseurs and their well-meaning white liberal allies — will care. The life of Native peoples will pretty much go on as before. Just as the lives of black folks matter about as much as they did BEFORE Obama became president.

But that’s not even the biggest reason for the America public’s willful ignorance.

I would chalk it up to PTSD.

Ever since the United States entered Orwell Country when it renamed the Department of War the Department of Defense, ever since the moment where our leaders imagined we could use the Nazis’ scientists and technologists without being tainted by their heart of darkness, the stage was set for our experiment in self-governance to become consumed by its own shadow. Several years ago, the dark joke came to me that with the Civil Rights era, the KKK morphed into the KKK-KKK … Kill Kennedy, King, Kennedy and the Kent Kids.

If you’re one of those “coincidence theorists” who cling to the self-serving myth that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, I double-dog dare you to read James Douglass’s book, JFK And the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

Interestingly and appropriately, the picture of the year at the Academy Awards last night was Spotlight, a film about exposing pedophile priests in Boston. Using their clerical garb — and the mighty sword of their religious dogma — these individuals intimidated and traumatized young people, leaving them to believe they were somehow responsible for bringing on their own abuse.

Same with the American people.

We have been abused by the American empire since the beginning of the Cold War. We now know that Stalinism killed more civilians than Hitler did, and the worker’s paradise was a living hell. True enough, and … much of postwar American foreign policy was really about thwarting economic justice across the globe, making the world safe for United Fruit and US Rubber. Disguised as anti-communism, it was really anti-populism, anti-economic justice, and anti-human. Imagine if we HAD been on the right side of those issues … communism could never have gotten a popular foothold.

With the JFK assassination, America’s body politic was so traumatized that half a century later, we are still unable to discern truth from lies. We “bought” the 9/11 story, the anthrax scare, the “Patriot” act, the invasion of Iraq, etc., etc., etc.

Today, one third of our electorate is poised (or is it “poisoned”?) to elect Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the mainstream Democrats rather than standing up for the working people and middle class seem reminiscent of the timid tourist asking a New Yorker, “Excuse me … could you tell me how to get to Times Square — or should I just go f— myself?”

As Trudy and I walked out of the movie theater, it became clear that for the United States to reclaim its political and spiritual heritage there would have to be a “peoples upwising” — where we collectively awaken to what has been done in our names, and wise up and rise up to a higher view that we humans are indeed all it in together.

Perhaps it will take something like what South Africa did, a “truth and reconciliation” movement … where truth, justice and forgiveness replace the desire for punishment and an “eye for an eye”. Keep in mind that at the root of every religious, spiritual and ethical path is some version of the Golden Rule. Now science too is telling us, cooperate and survive.

No law, no policy, no elected official will be able to change things one iota in this country until and unless this shadow is faced, and healed. With nothing left to hide and protect — either in our governance or in our psyche — we will actually be able to “go sane”.

Meanwhile … see the movie. See what we’ve been missing. Support Bernie because his candidacy represents a movement for awakening. Discover and embrace the truth, speak it from your heart, and watch the relief on people’s faces as they recognize their truth as well.


Support Bernie’s campaign here: https://go.berniesanders.com/page/content/splash

March Forth 4 Bernie. Join Swami for a fund-raising event for Bernie Sanders on March 4th in Santa Cruz. Details below.

And … go ahead. PATRONIZE ME!

I’ve recently discovered a crowd-funding site called Patreon that allows fans to support worthy endeavors that are given away rather than sold (like blogs and podcasts). Prior to setting up on that site, I would love to get a sense of how my audience values my contribution. If you feel so moved, you can make a contribution now via PayPal, and if response warrants it, I will set up a Patreon page. And in any case, I love getting your feedback … and feel free to share this post widely.

Click here to donate via PayPal to support Notes From the Trail Donate Button


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