Gaius Publius: A Corporate Convention: “Comcast Presents … The Democratic Party. Welcome to Philadelphia.”

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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.

climate_posters_01.12 COP21 posters #7 revolt


The above is a real fake ad — it’s a fake Air France ad that really showed up in Parisian ad spaces during the recent climate conference. “Care about climate change? Of course not. We’re Air France. If we cared we’d stop flying planes. We’re just sponsoring the climate conference to confuse you, and to make sure we keep making money” (or words to that effect).

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.


When you’re the only one with money, they all have to come to you eventually. This is from a USA swimming national championship event (source)

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:


Also this:


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.

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  1. Roger Smith

    Ahh….I get it now. So the July 25-28 plan is actually the service window, during which, at some point, the DNC(onvention) will be held.

    Thanks Comcast…

    I am really interested in this “brandalism” and attending marches to the rally.

  2. Wake Up, Democrats!

    The primary voters keep trying to send a message to the leadership of the Democratic party, but nobody is listening. With each passing day, it becomes clearer that this fish is rotting from the head on back, and that Wasserman-Schultz, the Clintons and the rest of the DLC DINOs are steering the party toward what could be a TITANIC-like disaster in November.

  3. Wake Up, Democrats!

    The primary voters keep trying to send a message to the leadership of the Democratic party, but nobody is listening. With each passing day, it becomes clearer that this fish is rotting from the head on down, and that Wasserman-Schultz, the Clintons and the rest of the DLC “incrementalists” are steering the party toward what could be a TITANIC-like disaster in November.

  4. oho

    I do find it ridiculous that Obama’s Dept. of Justice can stop the Office Depot – Staples merger, but rubber stamp Comcast + NBC/Universal.

    America for the win!

  5. sid_finster

    The “bad record company” is a common trope in pop music going back at least to the 1970s. “Working for MCA” being first example to come to mind.

    Record companies didn’t care if they were mocked or not. They care about money.

    The same can be said for the brands mocked by “brandalism”. As long as their bottom line is unaffected and their persons and physical plants are secure, they do not care.

    1. weinerdog43

      I wish you were correct, but I’m afraid not.

      My Fortune 100 company employs more than a half dozen people to monitor social media and developing stories so we can ‘get in front’ of any negative/disparaging commentary immediately. My unit (OGC), can whip out a cease and desist letter pretty darn fast. Trademark and branding are huge (pardon the recent pun) in the corporate world. Messing with the brand is an enormous no-no.

  6. Be careful protesting

    As a Philadelphia area native, I don’t feel safe going down to this convention to protest. Neither should anyone else. If the Pope’s visit to the city was any indication, it will be locked down and anyone stepping out of line will be handled in an enterprising manner.

  7. ke

    The shshow is getting obvious to the host.

    DNA focusses input, to create a shared frequency, or time event horizon (RNA is the stack heap vortex in the multiplexer). The majority breeds as colonists. They do not understand their position, except relevant to others. The keep up with the Jones and go backwards economy repeating itself is just a manifest symptom. As such, the majority is easily exploited as a host by a parasite, to exploit natural resources, so the mafia parasite is even more insecure than the host, upon which it is dependent. The only possible outcome is a market for fear and greed, in a feedback loop that can only implode.

    Born in the event horizon, you have to collect activation energy to jump the hurdle, sticking out like a nail to be hammered, for prosecution (or a detonation pin). The alternative is to be unrecognizable. And it just so happens that the majority limits itself to a narrow band of energy as input, easily manipulated by media. If you look, every media outlet preaches compliance to the ism colony. Once the eyes are fooled, the only possible outcome is devolution of input processing, divide and conquer, with Silicon Valley providing the infrastructure in this iteration.

    Education is about learning to see what you are not shown, not efficiently processing arbitrary information into arbitrary knowledge, to be imprinted on children the moment they come out of the birth canal, to confirm the colony and feed the parasite.

    Human beings are more complex, but they are not smarter than the plants anticipating human behavior. Neither the host nor the parasite is capable of economic mobility, because they compete in groups to collect sunk costs, assuming that someone else’s kids are going to pay for their pensions, with compliance.

    The knowledge workers are the easiest to replace, which is why they are being saved for last, as the aspiration symbol.

  8. ke

    Now that the majority is inverting the input signal to a not function, even the Democrats are going to have a difficult time not indicting the Clinton Machine in some way, swinging the superdelegates to Bernie, while Biden, representing the tax haven corporatistas, continues to whistle past the grave. The problem for the socialists is that they are fighting to redistribute from an economy producing nothing of value, dependent on capitalists who still believe gold, a flow of funds reversal, is the exit. The difference in this iteration is that the bridge is collapsing on both ends. There is no retreat. There is a leap of faith, and bipolar implosion.

    Selling increasing maturity bonds at lower interest rates to dealers created for the purpose, as reputed risk free investments for pension funds to juice the stock portion of the portfolio, more of the same, is clearly not the answer, and calls for Brexir, Euro/UK/London exit continue to grow. God save the Queen. As the man said, it was the Prussians entering at the last, because the passive aggressive masons just would not put down the shovel, until everyone was in the ditch. Hard to clean up the split milk when the brats in their high chairs are still throwing it down on the kitchen floor.

  9. ke

    On this part of the coast, the majority is voting for Bernie, and the rest for Trump, in the primary. As of now, the Hillary supporters are hiding in the closet.

    1. ke

      The plant is essentially an energy transformer, an uphill pump feeding a downhill turbine to charge a battery. The lithium battery, along with the rest of political green energy money is a sad joke, providing nothing more than extend and pretend, extortion on more planned obsolescence. It’s always a bait and swap, with the rocket scientists simulating intelligence by presenting a biased collection of data to project the future, and building a portfolio of such projections is a waste of time.

  10. Jay M

    Facial recognition databases developed in social networking expansion will be used via a concealed camera network to trip up the Bernie dead ender, surreptitiously jostle them and cause the milkshake, beer or hotdog to soil their outfit. Nearly invisible splashback mechanisms, similarly guided by ingenious software and massive databases, will make many of the Sanders supporters look like incontinents. By so discommoding the opposition, it is thought that the thousand uncalled for cuts of the class system will be salved in the manner of a Bluto Blutarsky (Senator).

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