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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/8/16

How to Prevent Philadelphia from Turning into Far Worse than Chicago in 1968

Message Stephen Fox
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Phila. Mayor Jim Kenney
Phila. Mayor Jim Kenney
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First, let us examine for a moment: what is the reality of life in inner city Philadelphia, under the posh elitist corporatized exterior that will be on display and televised during the July Convention? A shameful picture, indeed....
From Chris Hedges' excellent article, Shut Down the Democratic National Convention, Hedges quotes activist Cheri Honkala:
"Philadelphia has a poverty rate of 26 percent. It has the highest number of people who die from drug overdoses in the country. The city has not housed anyone within the homeless population within 10 months. It has lost its state certification for the Department of Human Services child protection agency because of gross negligence and substandard conditions for children. Foster kids are stuck in an abusive system. Hundreds are not being placed.
And at the same time, the city will spend $43 million on security for the convention. It will spend upwards of $60 million to house millionaires and billionaires while it ignores the vulnerable and attempts, by denying us a permit to march, to render them invisible."
"We don't have any choices anymore. I have been doing this work for almost 30 years. In the documentary made about our march during the Republican National Convention in 2000, there are eight people in the film that are now dead. The poor live in a war zone.
I do not know if my kid will get to school or come back alive, and even if he has a school to go to, because they are talking about closing down more schools. We either do everything we possibly can to build an independent political party, or we will have to organize the next American Spring. The poor are barely surviving. The planet as we know it may soon not be in existence. Across the street from where I live, five people were shot, all on the same day. Three of them were teenagers who died. Our kids are exploitable or expendable."
Who is Chris Hedges? Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper's coverage of global terrorism. He received Amnesty International's Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002.
Thus, for an inner city Philadelphian or in any others of the dying inner cities all over this nation, killed by outsourcing and Neocon suppression, things look and generally are quite hopeless. None-the-less, within 24 hours, I will be mailing a letter to key officials in Philadelphia urging restraint and kindness to the Sanders supporters and the other protesters who will be coming there at the end of July.
To these Philadelphia officials I preemptively write to, well in advance of the Convention, to remind them to avoid the mistakes of the 1968 Chicago convention, so that that oppressive disgrace might not be repeated, a distinct possibility given the rage that is building across the nation.
The first will go to:
Mayor James Kenney,
Office of the Mayor, City Hall,
Office 215
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
Phone: (215) 686-2181
[Who is Mayor Kenney? Born in 1958, he is a Democrat and former member of the City Council of Philadelphia. He was the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Philadelphia in the 2015 election, having won the crowded primary election by a landslide on May 19, 2015 and defeating his Republican rival Melissa Murray Bailey]
The second would be to Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. leads the fourth largest police department in the nation with more than 6300 sworn and 800 civilian members. He was sworn in as Philadelphia Police Commissioner on January 5, 2016. Commissioner Ross brings more than 25-years of service, experience and expertise to the top post.
His address: One Franklin Square, Room 314
Philadelphia, PA 19106
3. Honorable Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania
Office of the Governor
508 Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA
[Tom Wolf, Clinton endorser, politician and businessman, is the 47th and current Governor of Pennsylvania, since taking office on January 20, 2015. He defeated Republican incumbent Tom Corbett in the 2014 gubernatorial election].
I had considered writing to former Governor Ed Rendell, but as a Clinton delegate, he has already tipped his hand with noises that come out grimly sounding like "They better behave. We will be ready for them." After reading what Rendell said, I had a dream of big Philadelphia cops pounding their night sticks into their open palms, and getting ready for those protesters by practicing with their stun guns and tasers. I woke up with a sense of horror, vowing to write to these key officials.
After US Senator Barbara Boxer stated that the shouting Bernie supporters asking for but being denied a recount in Las Vegas made her "fear for her life," certainly the Clinton delegates and super delegates are going to feel even more besieged in Philadelphia.
All of this could be deployed at the core of very nasty Draconian responses that will make Mayor Daley's beating of the protesters in Chicago in 1968 look like a walk in the park. There may be more than one million Bernie supporters are now planning to show up in Philadelphia.
I recently spoke with the reasonable and accessible Santa Fe's Mayor, Javier Gonzalez, a quiet early Clinton supporter, who said he was going to write about these matters. I urged him to take a national lead in this matter as a Mayor of an egalitarian open-minded community. He agreed to do so, and in due course, Santa Fe's Mayor will soon write his letters to these same three officials.
Please read Ernest Canning's original Los Angeles Progressive article, later revised for the Facebook page for Veterans for Bernie:
DNC Poised to Repeat Mistakes of 1968 (II)
Ernest Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Adviser to Veterans For Bernie.
This is a superb analysis and speculation of these issues. Chicago was all about the Draconian over-response by Mayor Daley and his goon squads to use force and beat the protesters who went there because they were basically enraged about the endless Vietnam conflict. In California, I was in similar marches in San Francisco, and the police were always polite.
This 2016 rage is far more personal: a candidate comes along who re-inspires aging skeptics and idealists like me, and who also galvanizes tens of millions of youth, who realize the fact that Bernie Sanders is the only truthful major political figure in the US. They more than just "believe him."
He gets screwed out of victories by a DNC, the oblivious press, his own gentlemanly and tolerant personality, but mostly by an opponent and her team of operatives who goes all out with every dirty trick in the book to win, plus a whole bunch of new dirty tricks we haven't even assessed yet because they are being kept secret but still being compiled, enough to make a whole new Second 2016 Book of Dirty Tricks....
The Bernie Believers are going to the City of Brotherly Love to the convention and make their voices heard. Philadelphia has a long tradition of tolerance in our history, especially in terms of the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the Bill of Right, but all of this could be quickly forgotten by the city officials responding to DNC officials who feel besieged and then cry wolf that their "lives are in danger," like US Senator Boxer stated recently in Nevada when Bernie supporters were shouting for a re-vote, which was of course denied to them.
Remember that these officials I listed above are the same ones who will tell the Police what to do and what not to do: they are not the same as the DNC blind-sided brass who are obviously going to be feeling very besieged.
There have been five parade permits granted. I am concerned for the safety of the protesters more than I am the safety of the delegates who were duly elected.
The super delegates are quite another matter. If they are belligerently denying the will of the people from states who voted overwhelmingly for Bernie, then they deserve not violence, but certainly do deserve to feel our wrath, criticism and efforts to unseat them in all future elections, especially Senate and Congressional super delegates. To be oblivious in the face of large voter pluralities and majorities, compiled by widespread documentation of fraud, flipping, and purging? This would make anyone anywhere in the world angry!
I will be submitting some op/ed pieces similar to this one to Philadelphia and PA papers, plus the letters to key officials, asking that they be tolerant and respectful of the protesters, that such is coming from the heart of what is left of American Democracy, and that they refrain from 1968-Chicago-style oppressive tactics in Philadelphia, the real center of the Founding Fathers' efforts.
They need to see that not only is the entire nation watching, reminiscent of the 1968 Chicago debacle, but in fact so are the rest of the nations, including emerging nations struggling with the same issues, the same kind of nations we are quick to criticize for voting "irregularities" that pale by comparison to the Heist and Hijack that went on in the New York Primary.
And what about Bernie? I do truly believe he will prevail after Hillary's legal baggage explodes. Will that take place in the next six weeks?
However, in a worst case scenario, even if does come before the
convention, the DNC guiding the lemmings to jump off the cliff may still prevail, given America's seemingly overwhelming inoculation to yet more Clinton scandals.
Regrettably, in a worst case scenario, nothing at all may come from our legal efforts to replace or to prosecute the wrongdoers behind the purges in the heisted New York Primary, given the indifference and the outright collusion of most of the media, and the acquiescence and silence from key legal officials in New York.
Some speak of what a good VP candidate Bernie Sanders would be. Such a turn of events has happened before in American history. But this won't happen in 2016 for two reasons: first, Sanders' moral principles would make such a ticket repugnant to him, and second, purely Machiavellian factors combined with half a billion dollars in RNC-Trump advertising would result in a loss even for a Clinton-Sanders ticket, and I am sure that Bernie can clearly see that.
Returning to the Senate would be his best bet. He would be by far the most powerful Senator.
I immediately think of Gandhi's position without office as Founder of modern India, and more recently, of Myanmar's Aung Sung Suu Kyi.
Denied the Presidency by the military, she is the Burmese social
democratic stateswoman, politician, diplomat and author who serves as the First and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy.
I don't want to see Philadelphia turned into a blood bath. That would snap the sole remaining strands holding up the American Democracy. Because I am sure if you have read this far that you agree, please write your own letters and send this article to these 3 key Pennsylvanians, the Mayor and Chief of Police in Philadelphia, and the Governor of Pennsylvania.
Stephen Fox
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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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