Talking with Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein at the Bernie Or Bust The DNC rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Democratic Party Convention—American Babylon asks the candidate, "Is your new campaign slogan 'Bernie or Bust?"
Sharing helps, sharing is love, share, or don't, as long as you share...with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and even Donald J. Trump.
A few thoughts going into Tuesday at the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia:
There is a big difference in the geographic layout of the two conventions. In Cleveland, everything was right downtown. The convention itself was less than a mile walk from Public Square, where most protest and democratic activity was located over the four days. In Philadelphia, the main protest activity is going on downtown near Penn Station and City Hall, with the actual convention itself going on nearly five miles up Broad Street inside the relative sterility of Wells Fargo Arena. There are protesters at the arena, but they are separated from all convention activity by a well-constructed metal wall and a distance of a few football fields. There is no realistic opportunity to voice grievances, which is kinda the whole point of protesting and exercising one's democratic/free speech rights.
Protests will continue. A few animating issues are present everywhere you look: "The system is rigged" and #NOTPP and #DWS and "Lock Her Up." Anti-Trans Pacific Partnership sentiment runs rampant, the image of the letters TPP slashed out in a circle is ever present. Whatever the reality of TPP, the issue is proving to be the wedge with which Trump is attempting to peel off Bernie supporters. For those who are incredulous that Bernie supporters would or could ever become Trump voters, you really should come down and talk to people in Philly right now. I met three dudes outside Wells Fargo Arena who would blow your mind with their "We support Bernie but we want to build the wall" talk. The point being that these protesters and eventual voters are deeply motivated to get involved by specific issues, not specific candidates. Which is to say that many of Bernie's most ardent supporters have abandoned Bernie for suggesting they should throw themselves behind Hillary's campaign. It is complicated.
"Lock Her Up" sentiment every bit as strong here in Philadelphia as it was in Cleveland. Many sport t-shirts and signs with some turn on the phrase. When pressed, a variety of offenses are named, none of them criminal according to the FBI Director James Comey and others. The question of those in power playing by different rules lingers over all of this. The day started out as a slow-motion debacle, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz booed and humiliated at her own delegation's meeting, then stepping down but immediately accepting some kind of functionary role in the Clinton campaign. The protesters were animated by all of this, to be sure, and were not interested in anything anyone pro-Hillary had to say. I witnessed numerous arguments along the line of "The system is corrupt and she's a big part of it. The emails prove they were actively trying to bring down Bernie from the get go" and the response: "Hillary's a flawed human being like all of us. So what? Do you want Trump?"
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Congresswoman Martha McSally has told The Range she won’t be endorsing Donald Trump in this year’s presidential race, although she might vote for him.
“I have never endorsed a politician in my life and I’m not going to start now, so you can ask me for the next three and a half months, but it’s not happening,” McSally said on Friday, July 22. “Who we each vote for is our responsibility as a citizen and a voter and, in that role, have a vote just like you have a vote and I personally believe that is between me, God and the ballot box.”
The two Democrats who are competing in the Democratic primary, former state lawmakers Matt Heinz and Victoria Steele, have both worked to link McSally to Trump, as has the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They’re hoping that Trump will prove so unpopular with voters that he’ll affect down-ticket races.
After Trump clinched the nomination, McSally said via a prepared statement that she would spend time between now and Election Day evaluating Trump’s character to determine if she could support him.
There was a great deal of talk about the “low protester turnout” problem at the GOP Convention last week. Many people in the media and on the ground in Cleveland expressed dismay at the ratio of media to actual protesters. It is true that certain times at Public Square resembled a summer camp for media trainees, everyone clamoring for access an argument between a geriatric “Bikers for Trump” delegate and a People’s Resistance spokesman or an anti-fascist and a “Jesus hates everything” enthusiast.
Months ago I was at a Donald Trump rally in San Diego and witnessed some intensely wrought protests and counter-protests which repeatedly devolved into violence. By and large, Cleveland was not that. Certain members of the media expressed private dismay at the “lack of action” - the relative tranquility seemed welcome to everyone on a personal level but could prove challenging on a professional one. “If it bleeds it leads” is alive and well. There was little to no bleeding at the GOP Convention. There was intense conversation and argument and protest. There was back and forth. There was democracy, but it didn’t get to fists. This is good progress.
Which leads us to the first day of the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia. We just arrived in Philly an hour ago and downtown is packed. There are traffic jams everywhere you look. There is a vastly smaller police presence here as compared to Cleveland, where it was customary to look to your right and see a dozen cops waiting in riot gear across from two dozen of their counterparts on the same street. There are small protests going on each corner. The obligatory “Jesus loves you but wants you to suffer” guys have been reduced to a small sideshow on a block far away from the main stem.
I'm against for-profit schooling. It's possible for a school designed to make a profit to offer its students a quality education, but the lure of the almighty dollar makes the urge to recruit students who don't have the qualifications to benefit from the school and to scrimp on staff and supplies, because every dollar you don't spend is another dollar in your pocket, is nearly irresistible. I don't like it when charter schools are run as for-profit enterprises, and for-profit colleges are notorious for getting most of their money from government-based student financial aid and supplementing that with student loans, then giving their students a substandard education and leaving them in debt.
That means I don't think much of Laureate Education, a for-profit higher-education company that runs schools around the world, or the fact that Bill Clinton was paid a total of $16.5 million to serve as honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2014.
Laureate Education has 85 campuses around the world. The greatest number are in Latin America, 31, followed by Europe, 23. The U.S. has 8. Some are brick-and-mortar institutions, others are online schools. Laureate spends more than $200 million a year on advertising, uses aggressive student recruiting techniques and sometimes increases enrollment without expanding its faculty or facilities to properly serve the larger student body.
If you want to know more details about Laureate Education, the best article I found is in a Bloomberg publication from 2014. Here's the key sentence in a very long story.
Laureate has thrived by exporting many of the practices that for-profit colleges adopted in the U.S., such as offering career-oriented courses and spending heavily on marketing. Such strategies helped build what was a booming industry until 2010, when recruiting abuses and mounting student debt spurred a regulatory crackdown by President Barack Obama’s administration.
That pretty much sums it up. The owner saw a flawed, roundly criticized, very profitable U.S. education model and decided to take it worldwide.
What did Bill Clinton do to earn his money?
In this paid position, Clinton has trekked to Laureate’s campuses in countries such as Malaysia, Peru and Spain, making more than a dozen appearances on [Laureate Education's] behalf.