By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. Originally published at at Down With Tyranny. GP article here.
It’s looking more and more that the Crossroad in Philadelphia, the 2016 Democratic Convention, will be a crossroad indeed. Wasserman Schultz is reported to be openly stacking the convention committees with Clinton supporters, despite Sanders having won, so far at least, 45% of the delegates.
And Ed Rendell — a “huge Hillary Clinton backer,” a “vocal proponent of shale gas extraction” (fracking), former governor of Pennsylvania, former DNC chair and current “DNC Host Chair” (under Debbie Wasserman Schultz) — is telling Sanders supporters, in effect, “You’ll get to vote before you watch him lose, and then he’ll make a nice goodbye speech, so don’t make trouble afterward. Play nice and play along.” (Note that Rendell has already called the rest of the race for Clinton. We’ll see about that.)
And over the crowd at the Wells Fargo® Convention Center will fly, at least virtually, all of the banners of every corporation that finances and maintains this Establishment — including the ones that finance, almost certainly, its nominating convention.
A Corporate Convention
We won’t know about corporate funding of the Democratic Party Convention until after it’s held (clever of the law to allow that), but here’s what happened in 2012 (my emphasis):
Corporate cash helps fuel Democratic convention despite pledges
New group accepts company money
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While Democrats have touted their grassroots fundraising efforts for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, deep-pocketed corporate donors are helping underwrite the event.
Among the corporate sponsors at the Charlotte convention: AT&T Inc., Bank of America, Duke Energy, Time Warner Cable, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth Group, Piedmont Natural Gas, US Airways and law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods.
The corporate sponsorship appears to fly in the face of the Democrats’ pledge to host a “people’s convention.”
The party’s 2012 “host committee” is not accepting contributions from corporations, lobbyists and political action committees. Democrats also capped how much money individuals can give at $100,000.
But the party is accepting in-kind donations from corporate firms. In addition, a second nonprofit, called “New American City” was established in May to “defray” administrative expenses and other costs. New American City does accept corporate money.
The exact levels of these companies’ financial support won’t be known until mid-October when filings will be submitted to the Federal Election Commission.
Banks, cable companies (like Comcast, which as you’ll see has a special seat at this year’s well-bought table), health insurance companies, fracking companies, airlines and lobbying firms — all are in all likelihood all lined up to foot the bill for the Establishment-run Democratic Convention. The Party fêtes its patrons. The patrons smile down at the Party.
By the way, I’d be shocked if Big Pharma weren’t a huge contributor funding this year’s Democratic Convention. TPP is an Obama high-value special order; drug companies are among the biggest winners if it passes; and how better to say thank you to a friend than to help the friend of a friend when she needs the cash. We won’t find out about Pharma sponsorship until after the nomination, of course, but watch for it.
Comcast’s Special Seat at the Democratic Party Table
You remember Comcast, right? They own MSNBC, one of the many networks that helped Hillary Clinton immensely when her pre-won nomination was suddenly put in doubt by Bernie Sanders voters. It took a lot of shoulders to shove that wheel nearer the finish line, and MSNBC (Comcast, $74 billion annual revenue) had a lot of shoulders to push with, as did CNN (Time Warner, $28 billion annual revenue), the New York Times (the New York Times Company, $1.5 billion annual revenue) and anyone else with a lot of money to lose if an actual anti-corruption candidate dared to win. (Don’t give up yet, billionaires. She could still lose. Keep fighting.)
So, Comcast. The name to remember (aside from the above-mentioned Ed Rendell, a Comcast employee) is David Cohen. Here’s Daily Kos diarist Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, one of my favorites over there, with the news:
Comcast EVP/Republican Fundraiser to Serve as Senior Advisor to DNC 2016 Host Committee
Earlier today, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter announced that David Cohen, executive Vice President of Comcast, will serve as senior adviser to Philly’s Host Committee for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
The same Comcast that is one of America’s least favorite companies.
And the same David Cohen and same Comcast that lobbied against Obama’s net neutrality proposal.
And the same Comcast that fought Philadelphia’s paid sick leave legislation, getting the mayor to veto it two times before he finally accepted a watered-down version today. …
And the same David Cohen that raised money for former Republican governor Tom Corbett and current Republican senator Pat Toomey.
But running America the way it’s currently run is a bipartisan joint, right? I just wish there were a Comcast banner flying high above the arena when the delegate votes are taken and Sanders speaks. Then Sanders could point repeatedly to it and rail against corporate governance, all without saying their name.
Care to Plaster Philadelphia with Posters?
I’m in the early stages of thinking about this, but consider this thought, and if you like it, you can join in. Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to make a fuss, especially an artistic one.
Corporations, many of them big polluters, spent a lot of money green-washing themselves by actually sponsoring, openly and nakedly, the recent COP21 Paris climate conference. It’s like a tobacco company contributing to a lung cancer clinic — and getting naming rights. But they did it anyway, hoping no one would notice the problem.
Then this happened overnight, in Parisian bus stops and other places that normally hold billboards. It looks like a simple product poster, but it isn’t:
And of course, the lovely piece at the very top.
It’s called “brandalism” and I hear it’s a lot of fun. Feel like joining the fun? You don’t need anyone’s permission to say yes. I even understand one could make smaller posters, some with adhesive backing and some suitable for nailing to nail-ready outdoors objects (but only where legal, of course). Philadelphia could be your playground if you want it to be. Or not; your call on that.
My thought: As decorative as Philadelphia already is (that’s the magnificent Comcast Center at the link, by the way), perhaps the city could use a little something extra — or a lot of it — a something that only you and your friends can provide, should you decide to go yourself.