Friday, 3 November 2017

USA Senator Elizabeth Warren says Yes to question whether USA Democratic party primary in 2016 USA presidential election was rigged

Last updated on 8th Nov. 2017

How one word from Elizabeth Warren exposed the massive split in the Democratic Party, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/02/politics/elizabeth-warren-democratic-party/index.html, 3rd Nov. 2017.

Given below is a remark I made on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2007080632841837, on this matter, to a Facebook friend who was a public supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 USA presidential campaign:
--Name-snipped--, Your allegations in 2016 (or perhaps from 2015 itself), in this regard, seem to have been true. [Please see update below where I have changed my opinion.] In my considered opinion, I think it will be best for the Democratic party to have a transparent and thorough inquiry into the matter, paving the way for rules and norms that will prevent such rigging, if true and which seems to be true given that Sen. Warren says so publicly, of future presidential nominee primary elections within the Democratic party.

Update on 5th Nov. 2017

I think both Donna Brazile and Warren are referring to unethical BUT LEGAL ways in which the Clinton campaign got extraordinary power (through funding as the Democratic party was in heavy financial trouble) over the Democratic party well before the nomination was decided.

While I don't want to delve into the details, I think there was outrage even in 2016 over what was seen as an unfairly tilted to Clinton Democratic party nomination from a lot of people in the USA. That perception must be removed in the Democratic party now. It is an inner party democracy and transparency matter (and not a legal or criminal matter), the way I see it. And that cleanup and reform should be done well before 2020, perhaps in time for 2018.

USA politics is overwhelmingly dominated by just two political parties. In other words, for all intents and purposes, it is a two party system as of now. It is important for USA democracy to keep both the Republican and Democratic parties in good health and run their affairs in such a way as to earn the trust of the American public.

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Donna Brazile is being criticized in this article: Donna Brazile Needs to Back Up Her Self-Serving Claims, by Josh Marshall, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/donna-brazile-needs-to-back-up-her-self-serving-claims, 3rd Nov. 2017.

My (Ravi) thoughts:
I was forced to do a lot of learning about community leadership, community level politics and even state and national level politics when I went through the horrific trauma, confusion and chaos in Puttaparthi after Sathya Sai passed away bodily in April 2011, which situ took upto nearly upto mid 2017 (6 years) for things to settle down now as two clear factions - the Sathya Sai Puttaparthi based group which doesn't believe in mediums who claim to communicate with Sathya Sai, and the Sathya Sai Muddenahalli based group which is heavily into mediums in general, and two in particular who are the joint leaders of that group. I think now the Sathya Sai fraternity in general, including me, have come to accept the reality that, unless there is some extraordinary development, we will have these two factions/sects/groups in the Sathya Sai movement for at least some years, perhaps even a decade or two, down the road.

Note that some top political leaders of the states of Andhra Pradesh (where Puttaparthi lies) and Karnataka (where Muddenahalli (and Bangalore) lie), as well as a few top national level Indian political leaders kept an eye on what was going on in this matter during this period. So I came to know, through some contacts, about how they viewed this matter and how much influence and power political leaders in India have. I mean, they can cut off state facilities like longer duration in the day (almost full 24 hours typically now but with some unscheduled outages for few minutes every day) electric power to Puttaparthi, and make it like it is in the surrounding villages (at least a few years ago they had power cuts lasting hours, on a regular basis), thereby crippling the institutions like hospitals, schools and even a deemed university! The ministers in India have ***enormous leverage*** in such matters and so spiritual groups/movements ensure that they do not offend them in any way.

One key learning that I got from these traumatic years was that a lot of unpleasant stuff that happened is kept hidden from the public/group. Bringing all that info. into the public domain would hurt the public/group as one would come to know about unpleasant aspects of leaders not only in political field but also in spiritual groups. Enemies of the spiritual group/political party would take that info. and use it as very powerful ammunition to greatly damage the spiritual group/political party by exaggerating it and publicizing it endlessly.

So, in India, one has to read the situ by seeing actions taken by the group leaders (e.g. removal of a tainted person from position of authority) and sometimes, a few words critical of the tainted persons/process, without any/significant evidence to back them.

I also have to say that to some extent I understand Donna Brazile's position as both she and I share the commonality of being whistle-blowers (she through her book and op-ed, me through my blog and Facebook posts), about inner workings in our community in the recent past. I did my main whistle-blowing in 2015 and 2016 about events that happened from June 2011 to Nov. 2014 when the Sai university was completely in the hands of the Muddenahalli medium group as the Vice-chancellor was a staunch believer in the key medium; Brazile is doing it in end 2017 about 2016 events. Of course, there are orders of magnitude scale differences between the large and powerful USA Democratic party and the Sathya Sai fraternity. But even then I think the human issues involved have striking similarities.

I could not reveal all as there were certain things whose revelation would have been very harmful to our Puttaparthi group but I broadly hinted about it. Perhaps Brazile is in a similar position. Brazile has been attacked as being self-serving. I too was attacked, rather viciously, by Muddenahalli group supporters (the vicious stuff being done via Facebook fake Ids with one Id being traced to Melbourne, Australia and suggestions that there are more of such fake Id fellows based in Melbourne, Australia), as self-serving and worse (corrupt). Perhaps some of what Brazile has written is self-serving. Perhaps some of what I have written can be viewed as self-serving. But I have not made one single Rupee or paisa (equivalent to cent) from my whistle-blowing. I have only spent time and money from my side for it, and earned enemies, especially those who I exposed in my whistle-blowing. Brazile surely would have earned the enmity of the Clintons and their major supporters. These are realities of inter-personal relations that get entwined with the ideology/beliefs of the political group/spiritual group involved. That is another significant learning for me from my challenging period from June 2011 to around mid 2017.

I am finding that Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders' response to Donna Brazile's op-ed in Politico (and book too, I guess), is similar to how Indian political leaders handle such issues within their party! So I read it as Brazile, Warren and Sanders holding the view that the 2016 Democratic primaries were unfairly tilted in favour of Clinton. Warren and Sanders don't want to get deeper into the matter and expose any details as that would give more ammunition to Trump. Warren has publicly stated her view that it was unfairly tilted in favour of Clinton, stuck to that view in her tweets, but not said anything about them being illegal. She does not want to give more political oxygen to this, and instead wants to focus on fighting USA President Trump on his tax plan. Sanders too put up a Facebook post referencing one of Trump's tweets on this matter, where Sanders said nothing about Brazile's words, but asked Trump to stop diverting the attention (or something like that) from Tax and other issues, and Sanders asked Trump to do his job of governing as President.

As I think about it, I think this is sensible. Earlier, in this post (above), I had written: "In my considered opinion, I think it will be best for the Democratic party to have a transparent and thorough inquiry into the matter, paving the way for rules and norms that will prevent such rigging, if true and which seems to be true given that Sen. Warren says so publicly, of future presidential nominee primary elections within the Democratic party."

At that time I thought that in the USA, transparency for such matters involving one of its two main political parties is best. But as what I have expressed above has begun to sink in, in my mind, I think that even in USA perhaps some inner-party matters are best left hidden as exposing them fully to the public may hurt the party. What should be done is to prevent or reduce the possibility of it happening again in the political party.

Political parties and spiritual groups share a lot of similarities, I was rather surprised to learn! Donation money is the oxygen that is vital for running the show in both. And for that, public perception is a vital factor. So, like in private small and medium scale business companies, both these groups market the positives and try to suppress the negatives.

From what little I have seen, I tend to agree with the view that the Democratic party is moving towards the views of Senator Sanders. Sanders has emerged as a very important opposition voice to Trump, even though he is now an Independent. With what Warren said, I think one can assume that Warren is aligning with Sanders, and is heavily in favour of doing changes in the Democratic party to attract supporters of Sanders to it.

Sanders has emerged as the champion of the poor and lower middle class, and seems to have found some favour in the middle class as a whole. That he ran a campaign which came close to defeating Clinton in the Democratic party primary ***without a Super-PAC*** and so, as per his claims, without BIG MONEY support, perhaps is a game-changer for USA politics in the foreseeable future.
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Update on 6th Nov. 2017

One-on-one with former DNC chair Donna Brazile, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZcl9fCEvi8, published on 5th Nov. 2017.

Around 8:20 in the above video, George Stephanopoulus asks Donna Brazile, "Do you think this joint fundraising agreement was anything illegal at all?"

Brazile: "As I said at the time George, I did not like the fact that there was an additional memorandum that spelled out what the Clinton campaign could do in exchange for bailing the Democratic party out. I give Secretary Clinton credit for bailing the Democratic party out because we were in debt."
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At around 9:52, George Stephanopoulos asks Donna Brazile whether she agreed with Elizabeth Warren that the primaries were rigged.

Donna Brazile says, "I don't think she meant the word 'rigged' because what I said George, as you well know, after I left this show back on July 24th, I said, I will get to the bottom of everything and that's what I did. I called Senator Sanders to say - you know I wanted to make sure there is no rigging in the process. I am on the rules and bylaws committee. I found no evidence, none whatsoever. The only thing I found which I said, I found the cancer but I am not killing the patient, was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation."

Ravi: So Donna Brazile clarifies here that she does not say that Hillary Clinton benefited from any unfair non-compliance of the rules and bylaws for the primary election. What she was talking about was the extra influence that Hillary Clinton campaign had over the DNC due to a special arrangement (the memorandum) which came about due to Hillary Clinton campaign providing funds to the funds-starved DNC, thereby bailing out the DNC.

Further, Donna Brazile clarifies that she does not consider 'rigged' to be the correct word to describe this additional influence the Clinton campaign had over the DNC.

Ravi: My understanding of the above is that Donna Brazile sticks to her stand that Hillary Clinton campaign had more influence over the DNC than the Bernie Sanders campaign but she rules out any improprieties (rigging) in following rules and bylaws of the primary election.
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A USA based correspondent wrote in response to the above (and was OK with public sharing): "Money speaks and rules these days in politics!"
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I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Actually, I think money has been speaking and ruling not only in politics but also in war, over the ages. War, many times, is an extension of political disputes to military battles to decide the winner of the dispute by military battles!

Today the difference is that people write books, give interviews and/or write social media posts exposing the role of money in politics and war. I think even half a century ago - the 1960s, the same things would have been going on in USA politics at a time when, in the post World War II world, USA was viewed as the most powerful and most prosperous country in the world. But at that time, even in the USA, the people in the know would not have dared to write or give tell-all interviews about such matters.

This early 21st century which has to now, in 2017, be viewed as an Internet powered age I think, has brought a very high level of whistle-blowing and sharing of inside info with the public in societies that enjoy freedom of speech which includes India, which was unimaginable in the past history of human society.
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Please note that I have a PUBLICLY NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about USA politics. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in USA elections.

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