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The Democrats’ Presidential Debates: Underway and Underwhelming


The Democrats’ Presidential Debates: Underway and Underwhelming

Ralph Nader

Who thought this up – Giving a private corporation (CNN) control of a presidential debate? In the most recent Democratic presidential debate, CNN controlled which candidates were invited, who asked what questions, and the location, Las Vegas – the glittering, gambling center of America. This is a mirror image of the control Fox News exercised during their Republican candidates’ circus. Corporatism aside, the debate with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee was not a debate.


Well said as usual, Ralph. You earned my respect decades ago and my vote a decade-and-a-half ago. I sincerely hope that you and Bernie are in communication as your advice is sound and grounded in practical experience. Only when people realize that America can only work when (well regulated) capitalism floats on a solid base of socialism will they wake up and beat the troglodyte profiteers privatizing the commons back into their caves.


It ain't gonna wash Bernie, being nice is one thing, being nice to the extent that it lets Hillary get away with a etch a sketch transformation into a progressive will hurt only you. In my opinion, calling her out on her own past positons is not, I repeat is not, negative tactics. If she is not called on this, her strategy of "seeming to be," will work.


US corruption is so weird. Look at Obama setting things up for his post office bribery payments. $5000/minute luncheons. Corrupt traitors should be imprisoned for war crimes as well as being rank stinking sell outs to endless war in exchange for expensive lunch tickets.


Bernie Sanders cannot call Hillary out on too many things since he needs his followers to vote for her when he does not win the Primary.


No, that line of nonsense will not wash, what a red herring. HIs followers are simply American citizens and they will do whatever they judge proper. I have no intention of voting for HIllary or anyone else if Bernie doesn't win. This sort of contempt for people in general, that is the reduction of people to sheep, is despicable. Who, pray tell, do you think Bernie supporters would support if Bernie were not in the race? What would these poor sheep do, out alone on the lea?


I agree with Ralph. Not much of a debate when Hillary can boast about her record as Secretary of State and her vigorous support for war and all its evils and no one challenges her. She brags that she is a progressive an no one challenges her. The discussion turns to inequality, bought and paid for politicians, subservience to big banks and Wall Street and everyone ignores the elephant in the room. She strongly supported illegal surveillance by the government on citizens' emails and no one dares to criticize her for dumping her emails and lying about it in the process. Instead, she gets a warm hug. She incorrectly states that Snowden could have used whistleblower protections and no one corrects her. The list goes on.

She pretty much proved that she could say anything, no natter how outrageous, without fear of being challenged. It wasn't a debate; it was a coronation.


As usual, a great article by Ralph Nader. Though he supports Bernie, he will not let him off the hook for refusing to go after HRC's jugular. No mention was made though about how CNN banned the only other Democratic candidate, Lawrence Lessig, who's only political platform is to remove money from the political process, but I'm sure that Ralph was aware of this anti-democratic sleight-of-hand by the right wing network.
In functioning democracies, at least one network is owned by the public. These networks exist ONLY to serve the public interest and have to fight to exist against the constant onslaught by corporations to dismantle them every single time they take power. It's on these same government owned networks that viewers flock to every time a political debate is aired. Canada's CBC and England's BBC are just two examples of this (both of which are under severe pressure by their current right wing governments to 'starve' them of the funds necessary to operate independently from corporate sponsorship). The U.S. doesn't have a publicly owned network, as PBS and other other attempts at an unbiased network failed miserably because right wing politicians undermined them by demanding that the network rely on corporate sponsorship in the same way that corporate media does. The result is that Americans are only exposed to corporate approved candidates with corporate approved questioning geared towards a pro-corporate agenda.
America's Ministry of Propaganda is cleverly veiled in the form of CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC which give the average American the impression that we have an 'independent media', free from "government control". In fact corporate media has been so successful at brainwashing its audience, that the average American surveyed has responded by saying that corporate media has a "left wing bias". This ridiculous notion has been nurtured by corporate spin doctors so as to create this conspiracy theory that a handful of anonymous, but very wealthy people have undermined a "fair and balanced" system of reporting for the sole purpose of replacing our "wonderful system of government" with a bunch of dysfunctional communists hiding in the wings.
Naturally a Left wing media would have no money (Corporations, banks and the rich have no desire for anything 'left wing') and would cover issues that every network avoids like the plague nowadays. No talk about dismantling the MIC, no discussions about ending poverty, no discussions about facing climate change head on, no debates about the advantages of universal healthcare, no mention of redressing our voting system and in fact there is no mention of establishing a system of fair and balanced debates in our current system! That hardly makes our media 'left wing' by any stretch of the imagination.
In a real debate, rhetoric would be replaced with pressing issues that affect us all and the solutions offered by each candidate. Their solutions would be debated and the viewers would be subjected to an intelligent array of possibilities to help everyone in the country beginning with our most vulnerable. Americans know quite well that our "debates" are pretty much empty spectacles, as is reflected in the small viewing audiences and the negative comments that flow from each 'debate', but they also know that we're powerless in our quest to see anything of substance on our airwaves. In the meantime we're forced to endure this media farce with the nagging feeling that this will never change in our lifetimes.


Too damn bad that Ralph could not be in the debates, but of course, even if he were running again for POTUS, we all know that like Dr. Jill Stein, Ralph would not allowed to be any where near the debates.

" Hilliary a progressive. "
Yeah Ralph, talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing!


Ralph, giving back power to the people could be as easy as "Uber Voting". That's casting an encrypted vote by a touch of a cellphone key, used as an adjunct to traditional voting methods. Snowden recommends encryption for security. Bernie is right, we need to increase voter turnout to win.


"so-called democracy" - and that is the crux of all things American.


How are you specifically going to make ‘we the people’ a political reality, and how are you going to give more voice and power to people like me over elected representatives like you?

It stands as an embarrassing shame that all the anointed powers cannot reach to truth. Worse, it remains a vivid depiction of bad faith and finally conspiratorial criminality that where they would they are prevented by each other, merely because of their fear that they all hold too much to loose.

Ralph's right that it's all just a show in the midst of which the words are betrayed and the people are lied to as normative practice merely so that nothing will change to rock the corporate, industrial, consumption, and violence for profit war machine boats.

The words to define the failures go on forever. Division is the mantra of the status quo.


Even if every person in this country voted, I still would not trust the results.
The results that are given on election day come not from the voters but the people who counted the votes.


Although I have little use for the site, a site that removed a post of mine critical of this guy Blum, Truthdig, I was informed, has a piece by Robert Scheer that pretty much covers the gamut of Bernie's failures vis a vis Clinton at the Debate, it is worth the read:


It is kind of harsh, but I think Bernie should take it as good advice for the next debates. Don't let her get away with it Bernie!


I would like to make "me the person" more powerful by enacting Single Payer. How many of us suffer jobs we had just so we have health insurance, because the threat of the loss of everything we have if we get injured or sick? We the People also require Election Reform. National Holiday, Automatic Registration, Open Primaries, Public Financing. So I've named 4 things that can be rammed through Congress by a passionate and lucky President (and State Secretaries), backed by an enthusiastic and informed electorate. I then would have time and money to focus on my community. Maybe if it were in Movie form it would make sense.


Really? Have you forgotten the electoral revolution? Do you really think the people don't have a plan B that's worse for corporatistas the Bernie? Get real. Bernie has called for revolution and the people are doing it.


La dee dah. If Hillary kicks Bernie out of the debate? Big deal. Very fun idea.


Yes, and that needs to be repeated so often that something is done about it! And good luck with that in this electronic frenzied era- Hand written-hand counted ballots by an independent third party Nation!


I don't think Sanders is marginal enough now to be kicked out of the debates for anything he might say in them. Anything he says can be twisted any which way by the 1% media, so why not speak as much righteous, illuminating truth as possible? He's not, however, going to tell liberating truths about things he doesn't see as lies, for example, the lie that his votes for the U.S. war machine, or going forward, more or less, with U.S. murderous hegemony as it is now in the world, in the basic Democratic Party mold, is okay. I didn't listen to the whole debate--was there a word about the U.S. bombing of the Kunduz hospital in Afghanistan, a story that can rip clear to people the depravity of U.S. war-making under either Republican or Democrat? Maybe if Chafee, as Nader notes, had been allowed equal time to articulate himself, the U.S. people would have heard just enough of compassionate anti-war language to consider war a legitimate subject of debate, too.


MICHAEL PARENTI on Bernie Sanders (they knew each other in their youth!) (self.socialism)
submitted 4 months ago by angrycommie
Found on Facebook.
BERNIE AND ME by Michael Parenti
People have asked me what I think of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Bernie and I used to be close political friends up in Vermont in the early 1970s. We ran together on a third party ticket (the Liberty Union Party). I ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and Bernie ran for the U.S. Senate. (I got 7% of the vote; he got 3 or 4%--but who's counting.)
Bernie stayed in Vermont. I wanted to write rather than run for office in one-sided campaigns. So I spent the years writing books, articles, teaching courses, giving interviews, doing guest lectures all over the country, and marching in demonstrations. But I remained good friends with Bernie. I gave him moral and monetary support in his successful campaigns for Mayor of Burlington, then U.S. House of Representatives.
But I eventually broke with him because of his position on the Yugoslavia war, the "humanitarian war" as Bill Clinton and his national security state people called it. As did many liberals and some Trotskyites and anarchists, Bernie stood shoulder to shoulder with NATO and the CIA and the Clinton White House in the destruction of Yugoslavia, the 78 days of bombing, drenching Serbia in depleted uranium, leaving Serbia with the highest cancer rate in Europe and breaking up Yugoslavia, one of the best social democracies in Europe, though not without its serious blemishes.
Today, I wish Bernie the best. He is a Democrat although he calls himself a socialist and an independent. But he takes very good stands on Social Security, human services, and curbing the banksters. However, he has voiced not a word about what his foreign policy might be. I suspect it has not improved. I will most likely not be voting for him. Probably I will support some third-party candidate who will run a hard hopeless campaign---of the kind we used to do in Vermont years ago. ----MICHAEL PARENTI