Nuisance: Wed 7/27: After FDR Park, I return to Broad and Pattison and witness #DNCGateBreach. [Timestamped highlights]

0: Michelle: Our supporters “did some Amazing things to get here. They made me feel a little bit shamed for wanting to go [home]… I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I’m staying.”

She was not going to return the DNC, Her stuff is already packed, but after listening to the supporters and FDR Park, she has changed her mind.

1:30: Jeff: “We are slowly working our way back to the hotel, but I can’t fucking resist doing this [livestreaming] again.”

Sign: “The police killed Jesus.”

150 police are lining the streets on the other side of the gate. In the middle of the road, with some horse mounted police in the shadows behind them.

2:40: A man in the street: “They’re out there to look intimidating to everybody else.”

“I don’t see tension. I see a bunch of uniformed officers doing their job… They’re out there to look intimidating to everybody else.”

Regarding the security gates:

I do think this is a bit draconian. To have it so far away from the actual event. It’s still a five/ten minute walk to the actual building…

It’s a peaceful event

At 5:26 exactly, he says “It’s a peaceful event”. But as he continues, his focus and his words start to drift to the action occurring behind him.

At 5:31 exactly: Jeff: “Whoa! Oh my gosh. They broke open the gate.”


Partially open towards protesters (by police) full-res

Fully open towards protesters full-res

Later, closed again full-res

The helicopters are suddenly closer.

7:29: Bicycle cops start lining the inside of the gate.

7:44: Jeff: “And there’s a whole flood of policemen coming down the road.”

400-800 more policeman quickly enter the area on the opposite side of the gate, from the Wells Fargo Center. Difficult to capture in still pictures, but easy to see in the video.

100-200 officers now on the supporter side. 2/3 on foot, rest on bicycle.

11:27: Cops: “Step forward!”

Bicycle cops used as a barrier to create space between the supporters and the gate, so it can be fixed.

11:50: A mother and her 12-year-old son talk to me about what they think happened.

They briefly lost each other.


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15:55: Boy: “I feel embarrassed for not being able to answer that question.”

Regarding my asking why he’s here.

Jeff: “Okay, I’ll tell you why you’re here…”

18:30: Jeff: “It’s brave of you to bring a child to this intense of a thing…”

19:40: Mother: “Your individual vote does not seem to make a difference.”

“You don’t have any say at what’s going on, at all… It just doesn’t make a difference. You really don’t make a difference.”

She keeps talking as a man in an red Anonymous mask gently picks up her arm and writes on her forearm in permanent ink: “Yes it does.”


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Mother: “I’m 20 years older than you I know what the hell I’m talking about.”

He picks up the boy’s arm, and writes “It’s all rigged.”

20:50: “It’s going to kill me to vote… My father once told me ‘It’s a choice between bad and worse.'”

22:40: Jeff: At least we can continue the fight. “And he is the one that’s going to help us fight.”

23:50: Mother: “If I can’t feel safe bringing my child to an event where there are literally the entire Philadelphia police department, and then some, where else can you bring your kid?”

You didn’t vote for Bernie Sanders?!

25:15: Billy is on an electrical “stump”.


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25:44: Eric Beechwood reports what happened, And what he feels the cops reaction to this incident was.

Jeff: “So the cops were strong but acted appropriately.”

27:45: Billy Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Philly.FYI, gives his perspective of what happened.

We are in the middle of a very peaceful demonstration and there’s a select few individuals that want to burn a flag and make us all look bad. There’s approximately 3 to 5 of them with masks on…which is a shame, because you have thousands of people here right now. But that is what is going to be shown on the fucking news…

32:30: I see Jamhar and update him.

35:40: Protester with beard: “they were holding the bolt cutters low. They were rusty and red… [Some of them] started throwing water balloons” as a decoy.

37:00: Closeup of the spot on the gate where the breach occurred. There is now a heavy duty chain holding the two gate sections together. The chain that was cut was much smaller.

38:30: Beard: “I’d say 99%–go figure–were peaceful.” The cops reaction was “100% professional… This is like ridiculously peaceful.”

40:20: Woman standing directly at the spot where the breach happened, as it happened: The police response was “Meh. Meh. Very meh. They were hitting people over here… There is a little 90 pound girl.”

My interpretation, which Beard agrees with, is that those standing exactly in the spot where the cops needed to be, directly at the gate, were indeed roughed up a little bit, as they tried to clear the area. It was inevitable that there was going to be some roughness in the immediate vicinity.

41:20: A heated exchange with Brian from FDR Park

(Go to full article on Brian. The entire dialogue is below.)

Brian:

They’re [the police are] not interested in quelling the violent ones, they’re interested in beating the front line when they get the chance…

When the [Police came in on their bikes], they pushed on us right?

Beard and me: “Yeah?”

Brian: “And then a cop goes to a guy, ‘Take your fucking bandanna [mask] off’.”

Beard: “Yeah!”

Brian: “And then he says, ‘Step the fuck back.’ And he’s like, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful.'”

Jeff: “He said, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful’?”

Brian: “Yeah.”

Jeff: “Well that’s not very fucking peaceful.”

Beard: “But he had a mask on right?”

Jeff: “If you say, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful’, That’s not so peaceful.”

Brian: “Well after cops fucking rush and throw people around in the front…”

Jeff: “But why did they rush?!”

Woman: “Whose side you on, bro?”

Jeff: “What side am I on?!”

Beard: “He’s a Bernie delegate!”

Jeff:

I’m a Bernie delegate. But there are two sides two every story. There are two sides to every story. And to talk about their side doesn’t make me a traitor. If you want to call me a traitor by suggesting that I’m not–

Woman: “I’m not saying you’re a traitor. You’re saying he wasn’t being peaceful because he wasn’t saying it right.”

43:45: Brian:

So no matter what response, it would’ve been right for the cops? What if the cops started pushing us all the way towards the highway. People are just going to stand there and let us? […] You’re just saying any response is okay?

44:04 Jeff: “I must say. [We had a long conversation at the park], and I’m sensing–I sensed over there, and I sense over here–pessimism about them.”

Brian: “You weren’t here on the front line.”

Jeff: “I’m acknowledging that I wasn’t. But the reports that I’ve seen so far are that they were strong but appropriate. And what you seem to be suggesting is that they were threatening violence against peaceful protesters. And I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.”

46:00: Brian:

You weren’t on the front lines. You didn’t see what I fucking saw. [After telling the person to take off his bandanna and step back], and then the fucking cop gives him the fucking, the most disgusting fucking smirk I ever heard of in my fucking life…

The point is to go through the wall. We were talking about going to the wall before. We shouldn’t be met with the fucking army, to go through three walls. What is this a fucking police state? This is a fucking police state.

Jeff, referring to tonight only: “This is a police state.”

Brian: “Two fucking fences. A fucking army of police.”

Beard: “You have a president in there.”

Brian: “After what happened? After our government rigged an entire election.”

46:55: A new man joins the conversation: “So when you get into the DNC and you break past the cops, what do you want to do?”

Brian: “Fucking…protest inside.”

Damn. I short-circuited that discussion. The new person exposed something important in Brian, and I stopped them before they could flesh it out.

51:00: A funny misunderstanding about the words “inanimate” and its opposite, “an animate”.

51:35: Brian: “Our presence is not violence.”

53:00: Things gradually get much louder and aggressive sounding. Bernie supporters are being told to go into FDR Park.

54:15: The man from DNC Action Committee, Shouting into a megaphone: “Bernie Sanders called for a mass movement of millions! This system is broken! The system is rigged! … That mass movement is right here in the streets of Philadelphia, where this sham democracy was founded!…

Bernie Sanders got arrested change himself to another [unintelligible]. Bernie Sanders knew that it took direct action to influence our corrupt legislators to do what they need to do for the American people! That many are sitting out here today doing what we need to do, to affect changes to this rigged corporatocracy!”

56:00: At least two people are chanting “Bernie supporters! Back to the park!”

One of them, with a black bandanna mask on:

We’re trying to separate from this other anarchist group, that came in and is being shady… They threw stuff over the fence, they instigated the police coming in and attacking us, and they lit something on fire. None of that was our people. There’s a group with a megaphone and they’re trying to riot [rile] up their people… We’re trying to separate our people out so we don’t look like the bad guys.

57:30: Another woman reports that these people yesterday tried to breach or climb the gate, resulting in a bunch of people around them being maced. “They were carrying metal PVC [sic] pipes last night, trying to instigate the police.”

1:03:55: Damian Green From Baltimore, Clasping his hands together around his water bottle in a pray symbol: “Thank you guys [delegates] so much. I just literally want it peaceful. That’s all.”

Woman in Anonymous mask holding a Bernie head sign. She seems to be a peaceful protest are not involved with the more aggressive group.

1:08:00: Jeff: “I’m going to tell you my personal opinion is I think the mask is…threatening.”

1:09:45: People in full black, including covering their faces.

1:00:50: Izariah, African-American woman from Olney Section of far North Philadelphia, near LaSalle, is upset at how the press has been recording them every day, but not using that coverage on their stations going to websites.

1:11:30: Woman 2:

Wow. Big big shocker. It sounds like the whole Bernie campaign, right? Oh, I can’t believe it, they’re not showing the people who turned out from across the country to be upset that our Non–divisive candidate that people from both sides were rallying against [that she mean for?], Denied? Woh!

1:12:00: The woman in the anonymous mask, from before, but not in the mask this time: “I just wanted to let you know that I’m not afraid to take my mask off.

These people don’t see us as individuals, they see is dollar signs. And that’s why I wear the mask.”

She’s not a part of any group. She’s just there by herself. She’s from Massachusetts, And used her vacation time to be here.

1:15:00: Woman 2: “The anarchist people don’t usually have the Bernie bling flashing.”

1:20:00: Woman 3, self-described mixed (black and white): “We love our country, we hate our government.” That’s the message were trying to send to the media.

1:23:30: Izariah: “If you’re going to be an anarchist, if you’re going to do what you’re going to do, take the mask off. Show your face. If you’re going to do it, go balls to the wall… If they’re going to do it, make it mean something.”

They’re teasing the violence. Either do it or don’t do it. Don’t hide behind the masks, and don’t get other people involved.

She’s from Philly. “Philly cops are really cool people. They actually talk to people on the street.”

1:29:30: She thinks they handled the gate breach “very well actually.”

1:32:25: What does she want to say to our 40 viewers? I

want people to understand that literally Black Lives Matter is something that’s peaceful. It’s not meant to be taken as something where people want to invoke violence. We just want to be purred and we just want to have, you know, recognition about these cops. These bad cops, shooting, you know, innocent people for no reason. We just want to be able to take this to a bigger platform without being crucified every time… Treat all lives with respect when it comes to police brutality. No one should have to die at the hands of people who we call on to protect us.

1:37:15: Sign: “19-year-old against globalism.”

1:37:30: Woman on megaphone: If you woke up black, you would shit your pants. If you woke up black, you wouldn’t leave your house.”

1:38:15: Sign: “America is a cancer.”

1:41:40: A man and a woman in bandanna masks. What are they going to do November? The woman: “It’s hard to say. For me, I’m considering Jill.” The man: “Absolutely. I can’t vote for Hillary, and I can’t vote for Trump.”

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: Brian: We must stage a dramatic and drastic protest before the DNC ends tomorrow. “It’s now or never.”

Part one: In the grass at FDR Park

(Full dialogue.)

On Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Kerith, Michelle, Richard, and I joined many delegates at FDR Park to speak with their supporters. Afterwards, Kerith and I spent two hours talking to some of our supporters, sitting in the grass, in the dark.

Halfway through (at the two-hour mark), we meet a young man from Brooklyn, New York, named Brian. Brian is 21-years-old, soft-spoken, Hispanic, with a small goatee on the very bottom of his chin. He is wearing a gray tank top, and his left ear is pierced once on the bottom and twice on the top. The piercings are subtle (it was also dark) and I didn’t notice them until after watching the video several times. Sitting with us is Claudia from Western Kentucky.


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Like most of us at FDR Park tonight, Brian is disgusted at the corruption in our government, and that Hillary was “installed by the Democratic Party,” not voted in by the people.

He speaks with an intense urgency, about wanting to make a statement before the convention ends the next night. About needing do something right now, to show the Democratic Party that we know what they are doing “and we’re not going to take it anymore.” That we also need to convince the rest of America, those outside of our progressive bubble (“the people who only have MSNBC”), on the depth of corruption.

[W]e’re acting as if the rally is already over. [If we don’t do anything before the convention ends], it’s speaking in a way that–making it seem that we have already like–we’re past this DNC already. It’s over. We’re just sort of biding time until the next step. […] The whole point of this protest was to show how outraged we are at a rigged election.

I didn’t think of this at the time, but while protesting the potentially rigged democratic primary is an important part, the real reason we’re here is to start Bernie Sanders’ political revolution. To discuss and start the plan of getting people like us into all levels of government, to create the government we deserve.

Jeff: The revolution is “a marathon, not a sprint.”

Claudia: “It’s a long game.”

Kerith: “This is not a tomorrow thing.”

But with as little time as is left in the convention and with how much injustice has been done, Brian says the time has to be now. He points to all of the people standing around us at the park, who have the same energy and anger, with the window of opportunity slipping away. Everyone is going home tomorrow.

I understand [the long-term goals of the political revolution]. It’s perfectly logical. But I’m saying this isn’t pressuring anything. This isn’t showing power, this isn’t showing unity. This is showing a mass of people who want change, and are not doing anything with the numbers that they have. And they’re not organizing in a way that’s going to have an immediate effect now.

[We need] real, immediate change. We’re not just idealists looking towards, ‘Oh tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll get a seat in Congress.’ If we look impotent [to the Democratic Party and to America] what are people going to do…?

While actual change is important, it is more long-term. The perception of change by others is a more urgent and immediate concern. He wants “to do something drastic,” since that is the only way we will have a chance of being heard.

His idea is to walk into the Wells Fargo Center, led by delegates, and to peacefully sit. “And then we demonstrate that America is not going to take a completely corrupt system.” His goal is to be covered by mainstream media and ultimately be seen by the general public.

Claudia: “If we weren’t pissed off, we wouldn’t be here talking right now. We’ve already done something…”

Claudia talks about how this DNC is different, given the amount of supporters from all around the country that are already here. How remarkable it is that she, someone from western Kentucky, is talking to Brian from New York, on a livestream, here in Philadelphia. During the DNC, Claudia was interviewed by CNN and the New Yorker, (and I was interviewed on television and quoted in four newspaper articles).

She concludes: “We’re not going to get [the coverage that we want] from the mainstream media–”

Brian:

Unless we do something rash. […]

We have to address the fact of how ridiculous of a picture it [this] is. There’s two walls and SWAT preventing us from showing our outrage of a rigged election.

We press Brian to walk us through his plan. Setting aside all the police and barriers that divides FDR Park and The Wells Fargo Center, if you try and walk into the convention, the first thing you encounter is the Secret Service security checkpoint.

Jeff: “And you don’t think the Secret Service is going to stop you?” He does believe they will be stopped.

Jeff: “And then what?”

Brian: “And then we demonstrate that America is not going to take a completely corrupt system.”

The point of any protest is to express a message or execute an action. To do it as effectively as possible before being stopped, and especially before the potential for violence. At some point, the protest will indeed end, either by choice or by force. But if there is confidence that the message was heard by many, and that it will make a difference, then perhaps even the possibility of violence is worth it. But an effective message or action is paramount.

Since the Secret Service will clearly not allow their checkpoint to be breached, I don’t see how it is possible to ever reach that point–let alone for it to be seen, covered, or broadcasted by the media. These ideas do not occur to me until now, as I write this article.

Brian:

What do you think it’s going to happen? […] It’s like you’re saying if we go in there we’ll be massacred or something. That something dire will happen when peaceful people that want to be heard, walk into a place that directly concerns them. […]

Do you think the civil rights movement, That people don’t get hurt? … Don’t you think people are prepared for that? … If we are being peaceful, then why would they attack us?

We are not going to reach a resolution tonight.

I’m not saying don’t do it. If you want to do it, do it. But I absolutely will not participate in it, and–I won’t sabotage you, but–if people asked me, [I would say] I don’t think it’s a good idea unless we get some really seasoned advice on how to pull it off.

I don’t think that any of us here have the experience or knowledge to do something this serious.

Brian:

I have the experience and the knowledge to know what the hell to do against a two-party system that has literally done every corrupt thing in the book.

We shouldn’t be this scared to do something peaceful. […] This is like something out of a third world country. Peaceful people will be killed if they do anything that is against the rules.


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Jeff:

We should not have to not have to do this much [planning and preparation]. This should not be the country that we live in. But this is the country that we live in.

Brian: “It’s now or never.”

Claudia and Brian, realizing they don’t know each other’s names, introduce themselves: “I don’t want you to die today.” They hug.

Jeff: “I want you to die two days after that.” Laughter.

Claudia: “Whatever you do, please be careful.”

Part two: Brian, after witnessing people being roughed up by police at #DNCGateBreach: “Our presence is not violence”

(Full dialogue.)

Within minutes after leaving FDR Park, a group of at least five people dressed fully in black use bolt cutters to breach the gate at Broad and Pattison, which divides FDR Park and the Wells Fargo Center. About two of them run out into the street towards hundreds of police officers and are immediately detained. Police officers swarmed into the protester area, extremely quickly, creating a line between them and the gate. They repair the gate, and exit the area completely within 20 minutes.

For the next two hours, I intensively investigated what happened, and six witnesses agree that the police’s response was strong but reasonable. People who were truly right next to where the breach occurred did indeed get roughed up a bit. But as it was critical for the police to create some space in order to repair the gate and regain control, and in the chaos of the moment it was not possible to distinguish between perpetrators and peaceful protesters, this is to be expected. There were no reports of injuries or arrests of peaceful supporters, and, again, they left the area within 20 minutes.

I did get some reports of phones being smacked out of peoples hands in the first moments, and the audio cable to the TYT Politics camera was pulled out. But the vast majority of those I interacted with agreed that, given the intensity of the situation, the police could not have done a better job.

During this time, I once again encounter Brian. He was very close to where the breach occurred, and, unfortunately, witnessed people being pushed around by police officers. This has only increased his sense of injustice, and urgency at doing something right now.

(Just before seeing him again, one of those six witnesses joins us. He wishes to remain anonymous. Since he has a beard, I call him Beard.)

Brian:

They’re [the police are] not interested in quelling the violent ones, they’re interested in beating the front line when they get the chance.
When the [police came in] they pushed on us right?

Beard and me: “Yeah?”

Brian: “And then a cop goes to a guy, ‘Take your fucking bandanna [mask] off’.”


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Beard: “Yeah!”

Brian: “And then he says, ‘Step the fuck back.’ And he’s like, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful.'”

Jeff: “He said, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful’?”

Brian: “Yeah.”

Jeff: “Well that’s not very fucking peaceful.”

Beard: “But he had a mask on right?”

Jeff: “If you say, ‘I’m being fucking peaceful’, That’s not so peaceful.”

Brian: “Well after cops fucking rush and throw people around in the front…”

Jeff: “But why did they rush?!”

Woman: “Whose side you on, bro?”

Jeff: “What side am I on?!”

Beard: “He’s a Bernie delegate!”

Jeff:

I’m a Bernie delegate. But there are two sides two every story. There are two sides to every story. And to talk about their side doesn’t make me a traitor. If you want to call me a traitor by suggesting that I’m not–

Woman: “I’m not saying you’re a traitor. You’re saying he wasn’t being peaceful because he wasn’t saying it right.”

Brian:

So no matter what response, it would’ve been right for the cops? What if the cops started pushing us all the way towards the highway. People are just going to stand there and let us? […] You’re just saying any response is okay?

Jeff: “I must say. We had a long conversation at the park, and I’m sensing–I sensed over there, and I sense over here–pessimism about them.”

Brian: “You weren’t here on the front line.”

Jeff: “I’m acknowledging that I wasn’t. But the reports that I’ve seen so far are that they were strong but appropriate. And what you seem to be suggesting is that they were threatening violence against peaceful protesters. And I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.”

Brian:

You weren’t on the front lines. You didn’t see what I fucking saw. [After telling the person to take off his bandanna and step back], and then the fucking cop gives him the fucking, the most disgusting fucking smirk I ever heard of in my fucking life.

It turns out Brian may very well have witnessed some pretty rough behavior. I believe he is at the 40-45 second mark in this video:

The point is to go through the wall. We were talking about going to the wall before. We shouldn’t be met with the fucking army, to go through three walls. What is this a fucking police state? This is a fucking police state.

Jeff, referring to tonight, not the country as a whole: “This is a police state.”

Brian: “Two fucking fences. A fucking army of police.”

Beard: “You have a president in there.”

Brian: “After what happened? After our government rigged an entire election.”

A new man joins in the conversation: “So when you get into the DNC and you break past the cops, what do you want to do?”

Brian: “Fucking…protest inside.”

This new person tried to push him in the same way that Claudia and I did at FDR Park. Unfortunately I got distracted and interrupted the conversation.

Brian: “Our presence is not violence.”

Nuisance: Thurs 7/28: Visuals of security tent and outside of WFC. Great conversation with Hillary delegate [Timestamped highlights]

Worried that I can’t won’t be allowed to enter, because I join walk out. I did not go at all on Wednesday. The Secret Service let me in, and the person checking credentials let me in. It seems that not getting credentials from your state is how you were shut out. M

0:30: Inside the Secret Service security tent. The first thing he encountered after getting off of our state delegation buses at Broad Street, just across the street from FDR Park.

3:40: Citizen’s Bank Park, And Lincoln financial center open paren “the link”), both of which are right across the street from the Wells Fargo Center.

4:00-7:20: Walking on the outside, towards the west side of the Wells Fargo Center. I enter into what I believe is the same door through which people exited for the walkout on Tuesday night*.

Talking about how The Wells Fargo Center replaced an older stadium called The Spectrum, which is a big memory for people in Philadelphia.

5:05: Looking back at the two Secret Service security tents. One likely for those coming off of the subway, another for those getting off of the official state delegation buses.

5:30: I mention how I saw a billboard on I-95 and saw a billboard that said

Dear Hillary,

We’ve got your back.

Love,

The media

I talk about how Sam and Sam* drove me in today, and dropped me off at the Oregon subway station, exactly one stop from the AT&T station on the property of the Wells Fargo Center, which is the end of “the Orange line”. They are going to park their car north of City Hall, and then take the Orange line down to FDR Park.

7:20: brief view of The sections of media in the upper, main hallway.

8:00: I review how, at ZZZ in the second part of my D&C coverage, I unknowingly encountered Roger Ailes, who is just fired from FOXNews for sexual-harassment, And how his reporter was asking the most ridiculous, unrelated questions, such as, “What do you think about Hillary Clinton renting a private jet?”

9:45: Walking through the upper main hallway, looking for my section, Which is 110/111. Showing the entrances to sections 116/117, 115/116, 114/115, 112/113, 111/112. Also showing some tables with buttons and stickers and computers and other tchotchkes.

14:00: I find Richard in New Jersey section on the floor.

He is wearing masking tape that says #BlackLivesMatter, Saying how it is more meaningful because it is handmade, and not this corporate, pre-pressed, Pro Hillary signs that are continually being given out.

15:10: I see Kristin. She says she just got a picture with New Jersey senate president and gubernatorial candidate Steve Sweeney.

She talks about a big issue in New Jersey where pensions for 800,000 people are not being funded. If the New Jersey send it passes “SCR2”, then a question can go on to the ballot regarding this.

16:25: I got a text on the subway on my way here, that there was some protest action being taken. Kristin says some Bernie delegates were singing after the national anthem, but it wasn’t very organized and a not lot of people were involved.

She also talks about a text that she got from the Bernie Sanders campaign, about and event occurring after the closing gavel tonight, in Xfinity Live, a building within the security perimeter, but outside the Wells Fargo Center building. “To celebrate the political revolution, join fellow Bernie delegates…”

17:50: Panning through the crowd, finding my seat.

18:25: Panning the New Jersey section, with a significant number of empty seats.

19:15: I answer some viewer questions:

Are you in in? (Implying, were my credentials stripped?)

As I’m standing in the middle of the DNC floor: “I think this is pretty close to it ‘in in’. I think there’s only one more level of ‘in’ and that’s on the stage, and I don’t think I’m going to try that hard.”

Did you come so you could protest?

My style is not to protest. My style is to give those around me, who do indeed like to protest, a larger voice, by filming them and supporting them. By making sure that you out there get to see what’s going on. That you get to see the protest in the reaction to it. I don’t choose to directly get involved in protest like that. So you can decide for yourselves.

How did you get to the convention today?

I was driven in, because I wanted to get here faster. I could’ve taken an official hotel shuttle bus, but being driven to a close subway station was much faster. I happened to be with people who were driving into the city anyway.

20:35: “Can I sit anywhere, guys, entered New Jersey section? This is my state.”

It turns out that all of those empty seats are being saved. There is nowhere for me to sit in my entire state delegation section, which is explicitly supposed to have enough spaces for everyone and it’s delegation.

I end up taking a seat that is being saved, and just anticipate being kicked out of it when someone comes back. A Hillary delegate is the one that finally encourages me to sit down.

21:15: Richard: “Come on in. It’s all OK, my brother.”

Jeff: “Diane, I’m going to sit on your lap, OK?”

21:30: Hillary delegate: “come on! Come on in! Join us.” Big smile.

Jeff: “I have not felt welcomed by some people, but you have made it all better for me. I appreciate it.”

She’s from Summit New Jersey, Union County, west of Newark airport. Near Plainfield, Providence, and Short Hills. She is the chair of the Summit Democrats

23:00: I ask her what her perspective was of the walk out on Tuesday night. She was sitting near the bottom, near the New Jersey sign, and did not even realize that it happened. She was engrossed in the rollcall.

She found out about it on the bus yesterday, on Wednesday. She was going to the Constitution Center and happen to be sitting next to Liz Maratea.

24:55: Hillary delegate: “And then she shared with me how not welcome she felt as a Bernie delegate. And I said that I was sorry to hear that, because I really appreciate all that all of you did to broaden the platform.”

Liz told her how she was not allowed back in, despite not actively choosing to participate in the walk out. She was at the top in the hallway, calling her two-year-old daughter at the time. And unfortunately, all the commotion suddenly surrounding her scared her daughter into thinking that people were screaming for some reason.

26:25: Hillary delegates says that Liz did not participate in the “booing and the bad behavior that happened” against Elijah Cummings on Monday night, and that she herself did not appreciate it.

And I think it’s really rude when someone is speaking–but I totally understand the disappointment and I know that we have to get better about having dissent. How to unify.

27:00: Frustration and resentment that arguments promoting Hillary Clinton often end with “because we must unify in order to defeat Donald Trump.”

She talks genuinely about appreciating parts of Bernie Sanders platform and his supporters. She ends by saying, “But in the end, we have got to come together for the Democratic Party to be Trump.”

Jeff:

Not to disparage anything that you just said. Because I’m actually very grateful for much of what you just said. I’ve basically being an open minded person who disagrees with us… But the argument often ends with, “Because we must come together as a party to defeat Donald Trump.

I really wish we were in an election where we could come together to vote for someone. And to have to come together out of fear is something that really turns us off. It’s the difference between, “Earn our vote and we will give it to you,” as opposed to, “Give us your vote or we will threaten you with Trump.” …

[30:10] My advice to Hillary supporters, is if you want to come together on what unifies us, then stop telling us that we have to come together to defeat Donald Trump.

31: Discussion on the nature of protest, and how Elijah Cummings, in a private conversation on Tuesday (he did not want me to Record him) told me just how angry he was at Bernie supporters for booing him.

The act of a protest is almost by definition, rude and inappropriate. But it is the job of who is being protested against to understand the reason, The motivation, behind that rude and inappropriate act.

(If you protest the protest you are missing the point.)

But as someone who I believe played a significant part in the African-American struggle, I would think he more than others should understand this concept. But in the moment that I was talking to him, I got the impression that the rudeness and inappropriateness was more important to him then the message behind it.

I then compare this to how Bernie supporters have been complaining throughout this entire election and have not been listened to, so here at the DNC were upping our game, such as by billing Elijah Cummings, and now we are being told that the rude Ness of our protest is by far more important than the motivation and the message behind it.

Hillary delegate: “With newness comes some inability to hear. With some experience comes an inpatience, And the forgetting that we need to teach.”

Jeff: “That you were new at one time.”

36:10: We talk about getting involved and running for office and Brand New Congress. Talk about running with Bernie in New Jersey as surrogate, she talks about her failed campaign 2011, but that it was a great experience, and now she is chair of the Summit Democrats, Which is an unelected position

39:40: She talks about how she was appointed to school board, which is unusual to her part of the state of New Jersey. She was on it for six years, and was president for one year.

She was elected as chair of the committee in June of 2015.

We discuss the false dichotomy that our government gives us, to either fundraise, or connect with your constituents.

48:30: A Hillary supporter, Millie, sitting in front of me, asks me “Did I miss something?”

She heard me reading a few minutes ago the texts trying to organize Bernie supporters into doing another walk out, which I’m not interested in participating in. She misstook it as instructions for all people, by the Democratic Party/DNC itself.

It takes a minute for us to figure out this misunderstanding. I don’t tell her the specifics, because I joke that she is “the enemy”. She doesn’t appreciate that.

She talks about how she herself was disrespected by some Bernie supporters, although does not want to go into specifics, and that if we’re going to unify that need to be more sensitive about our language, even if it is just joking.

Millie:

You know, I think it’s unfortunate for going to talk about each other as “the enemy.” … when you lead with, “the enemy, air quotes”, it sort of sends a message, it almost sets up a barrier that I don’t think should exist. Because I think there are a lot more people here that are open and want to have a conversation. And want to figure out how we actually make sure that the issues that we all care about our front and center. And that only happens when there’s openings on both sides.

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: #DNCGateBreach: The full story (from two points of view)

First, mine

It is late Wednesday, the third Day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and President Barack Obama is about to speak at the Wells Fargo Center, closing out the day’s official, well polished, and highly scripted activities. He honestly may already be speaking. I have long since lost track of time, currently in my third consecutive hour of live streaming for Citizens’ Media TV; not to mention having already streamed 7-1/2 hours earlier in the day.

Fellow Bernie Sanders delegate, Michelle McFadden-DiNicola, and I are standing in the middle of the intersection at Broad and Pattison in South Philadelphia, which sits between the Wells Fargo Center and FDR Park. We are surrounded by thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters, miles of serious, industrial-strength security gates, and many hundreds of police officers, on foot, on bicycle, and on horseback. There are lines of officers both in and outside of the protester area, since keeping Bernie Sanders supporters at least a half mile away from the DNC is a top priority.

Thirty minutes previous, Michelle and I were sitting in the grass at FDR Park with our supporters, capping off what, for us, was the most meaningful event of the week. Bernie Sanders delegates and their supporters have been struggling to communicate all week long, and we finally did something about it.

We are standing at a corner of the security gate, where, were it not dark, we could see it stretch south the entire length down Broad Street, until it reaches Interstate 95 at the far end of the block (because the interstate is so close, a number of its exits are shut down). Broad Street is the longest street in Philadelphia, and the longest straight “urban” street in the world, and this is one of its southern most blocks. Going east, in the distance, the gate extends to the other side of the street, makes a 90° turn left (north), lining the other side of Broad Street for two more blocks. So north of and at Pattison, protesters can be on Broad Street itself. South of Pattison, only officially sanctioned security, governmental, and state-delegation buses can be on it.

Michelle tells me how she has decided to return to the convention the next and final day, despite leaving in last night’s walkout, because it’s what our supporters want us to do. They “did some amazing things to get here. They made me feel a little bit shamed for wanting to go [home]. I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I’m staying.”

A man with a white cloth facemask hanging under his chin notes the lack of tension. “I see a bunch of armed officers doing their job… They’re out there to look intimidating to everybody else, [but not to us].”

What about the security gates?

I do think [they are] a bit draconian. It’s still a five/ten minute walk to the actual building, so I do think it’s a bit too far… But for where it is, the officers are doing a good job. Everyone here protesting is doing a good job. It’s a peaceful event. We’re speaking our minds. Everything is…

As he says, “It’s a peaceful event,” his words gradually slow, and his attention drifts behind him. A helicopter becomes noticeably louder, and the energy of the entire crowd gravitates to a single point. Distant screams and struggles are heard. On the opposite side of the gate, where for hours there were calm lines of police standing straight on the double yellow lines, there is now commotion.

Me: “Whoa! Oh my gosh. They broke open the gate.”

Halfway down the east west portion of the gate, two sections swing in towards the crowd, its metal flickering in the helicopter’s spotlight. It is being pushed in by masses of police.

(Note the roses in the foreground.)


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Michelle joins many others who go north on Broad Street to escape the potential danger. The next day she tells me that she caught a cab back to her friend’s house where she is staying.

I hear people screaming, not not in pain or fear, but exhilaration.

Within one minute, much of the east-west portion of the gate is lined with about 100 police officers. They are creating a space between the gate and the protesters, in order to fix the break.

To get a better view, I ask a woman standing on top of one of the many concrete security barriers (like those that divide highways) to help me up. As soon as she grabs my hand, I realize how precarious this is. How careful we need to be so she doesn’t fall. When I reach the top, I tell her, “I’m glad I didn’t kill you.”

Ten feet away from me, I see Billy Taylor standing even higher, by himself, on a metal utility box.


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The police start yelling.

“Move!”

“Go go go!”

In another 30 seconds, a line of approximately 70 bicycle cops fill in between the gate and the officers on foot. At the same time, many hundreds more officers, perhaps up to 1,000, stream in from the Wells Fargo Center. It is dark and difficult to see, but at the same time it is clear that what was originally about 150 officers standing behind the gate on Pattison Avenue, on the opposite from of the protesters, is now approaching 500. They are continually shifting positions.

The crowd begins chanting, “We are non-violent! We are non-violent!” There is also a steady drumbeat coming from somewhere in the crowd. The chant soon becomes, “Sit down! Sit down!”

Over the next minute, the standing officers move behind those on bicycles, and after loud “Let’s step forward! Step forward!”, those on bicycles take a large step towards the crowd, creating a bigger space between the protesters and the broken fence.

Twenty minutes later, all of the police standing between the gate and the protesters, including the helicopter, are gone. Although tensions remain through to the end of the DNC the next night, this incident is over. Aside from the initial moments of the breach, there are no noticeable conflicts between officers and protesters.

The truth

Now with the situation settled, my focus turns to getting the truth. A direct confrontation with police occurring right next to Bernie Sanders supporters, regardless who caused it, will likely be blamed on them. While nothing can be done to stop the lies and misleading coverage, what we can do–the very reason Citizens’ Media TV was created–is to make sure the entire truth is revealed and shared as widely as possible. So those who do want to know the truth–who are “woke” and brave enough to question the narrative, can easily find it.

I spend the next two hours investigating what happened, and get corroboration from six witnesses from various perspectives. With little exception, the consensus is that the police handled this intense situation as best as can be expected; they were “strong but reasonable.” All week long, both before, during, and after this incident, the Philadelphia police are spoken of in almost exclusively positive terms by Bernie Sanders supporters.

After the DNC is over, I comb through many additional sources of coverage, and confirm almost everything I discovered was correct. But the most important source of all, which I will discover in about one hour, is a video filmed by the son of a fellow Citizens’ Media TV correspondent.

Sam Jr.: A truly first-hand perspective.

I walk north on Broad Street and catch a taxi back to my hotel. The driver misunderstands the hotel name, drives me to the wrong one, and then tries to charge me a lot extra for the extra distance caused by the mistake. I give him the benefit of the doubt and a few dollars extra. Maybe I wasn’t clear or loud enough.

Anyway! At what time I can only guess is significantly after midnight–I exit the elevator to my hotel floor. As I approach my room, I pull the key card out of my wallet. Before reaching my door, I receive a phone call from Sam Calhoun. He tells me his son, Sam Jr., is currently sitting in a Philadelphia police station–voluntarily!–giving a statement and providing the footage that he captured of the perpetrators who breached the gate.

After exiting the station, he uploads the footage to YouTube and sends me the link.

It is extraordinary.

It also turns out to be Citizens’ Media TV’s first genuine exclusive. Unless the perpetrators themselves release their own footage, there is nothing that captures the incident like it. Not only does it show the entire breach, it also captures the five minutes leading up to it, showing the perpetrators preparing and rehearsing. It is also not a choppy and square livestream, but a high-quality video.

The next morning, Sam and his son, along with a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, come to my hotel room and we thoroughly discuss his experience. It ends with Sam narrating the raw footage.

Sam Jr. is a 22-year-old from Baltimore, currently attending community college and working in home-improvement. Before this election, his only involvement in politics was to volunteer as the Democratic Chief Judge in a polling place in both 2012 and 2016 (there is also a Republican). A Chief Judge “oversees a polling place to make sure that everything is kosher. [That] we’re not handing out an excessive amount of provisional ballots, we’re not doing wrong by the people.” He says he did not feel any pressure to do anything questionable in Hillary Clinton’s favor.

How did he discover Bernie Sanders? Earlier this year, from his father. He laughs. “Normally the younger generation is the one who talks about the older generation [being] out of touch.”

After watching the delegates speak at FDR Park, he and his friend participate in the candlelight vigil/funeral March for the DNC (this is the third and final time that this March occurs during the week). Before Michelle and I arrive at the same spot, the life-size coffin is thrown over the fence, which the police are obviously prepared for. With 150 cops standing between twenty and 100 feet away, only a single officer with a bomb sniffing dog approaches it, and it is soon carried away. Michelle I did not witness any of the March or the coffin being thrown over.

“Something’s wrong. I can feel it in my gut.”

Sam’s friend:

It was the first thing, as soon as we walked over to where all of the rest of the protesters were. I looked at him [Sam Jr.] as soon as we got there… And I said, ‘Something’s wrong. I can feel it in my gut. Something’s going to happen.’ [As] soon as we walk over, the first thing we noticed is a guy [dressed fully in black] digging in his bag…grabbing out a full gas mask.

Sam Jr.:

This was just an intimidating presence that you could feel in your gut. You could tell something was going to happen… When we were at the main stage with Billy [Taylor of Philly.FYI, who led the procession and constructed the coffin], there was somebody who was trying to rile the crowd up. Talking about how Bernie Sanders was assaulted… They did a “mic check” [style call-and-response] and tried to get the whole crowd to look on their phones [to confirm the assault]. Billy just shut them down and said, ‘That’s not true’ after looking on the guy’s phone. And everybody clapped, saying, ‘Right on Billy, don’t let the [rumors] spread.’

Sam’s friend:

We walked in later on, so they were [already] there. But what we assume though, is that [at least some of them] were hidden within the crowd of protesters, and walked with us from FDR Park.

In Sam’s video it is clear that there are approximately five people dressed in black (although his friend’s estimate is, “lowball, at least a dozen.”), but many others are working with them. This includes a woman chanting into a megaphone, “We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!” She’s wearing a red hat and skirt-dress with a halter top, and has shoulder length brown hair.


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The apparent leader of the group is a thin male in his mid-30s, wearing a grey tank top, with the sleeve holes going halfway down his midsection. He has buzzed hair and a round bald spot at the top of his head. He is walking back-and-forth, gesturing and seemingly reviewing and rehearsing what is about to happen. One of the men dressed in black awkwardly dances to the chant.


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Billy Taylor is seen standing on the electrical “stump” in the background, close to the gate.

The leader goes away, and in a couple of minutes (at the 4:15 mark) returns, gesturing “come” with the pointer and middle finger of his right hand, his thumb sticking out to the side, the remaining two fingers loosely folded to his hand. A steady rimshot begins. The five in black, and a man in a white t-shirt huddle together.


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Within 10 seconds, they all walk briskly to the gate.

At least a dozen others join them, two holding professional video cameras, both held high and pointing down, one attached to the top of a stick. All of these people start moving at exactly the same time, and towards exactly the same point. As soon as they start moving, the rimshot and megaphone-chants end.


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Sam’s friend holds his position, but Sam follows closely behind with the camera. A loud snap is heard, which I can only guess is not the chain being cut.

Chants, seemingly from others, are heard. “Who streets!? Our streets!”

“Keep it peaceful!”

Sam Jr. starts chanting, “Keep the peace! Keep the peace!”

The perpetrators run through the crowd, directly to the planned spot on the gate. Water balloons are thrown over the gate as a distraction. They use large, rusty, red-handled bolt cutters to cut the thin chain connecting two portions of the fence together, and push them out towards the line of police officers standing on Pattison Avenue. The bolt cutters are left on the ground.

Aside: The chain


full-res original chain, from this article

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From the 37 minute mark in my video, a man who witnessed it firsthand says that the original

was a small chain that fit through the mesh [of the gate itself]… These are a lot bigger now. You’re not going to get bolt cutters around those.

Continuing

The gates silently swing out towards the police.

Four of the men dressed in black run through the gate, along with at least two of their accomplices, the man with in white T-shirt and the woman with the megaphone. The woman goes late and is abruptly tackled.

From this tweet.


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The peaceful protesters who are now in the middle are trying to escape backwards.

“They opened the gate!”

“They just broke in!”

“They broke it!”

The police response is remarkably fast. The police push the gate closed, continue pushing it back into the protester area, and then immediately close it again. As evidenced by this video:

No officers come through the gate. Those unfortunate to be standing directly in the arc of the gate, are naturally resisting so they aren’t hit by it. A poor fellow now finds himself standing in the middle of what is now gaping hole, and is about to be roughly pushed by one of the first officers. I am guessing that he is choosing that capturing the moment with his phone is a higher priority than his safety.

The following video shows some admittedly rough treatment by some of the first officers, against supporters standing at the gate (and as likely witnessed by Brian):


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There are also reports, with video to confirm (from this tweet), that phones are deliberately knocked out of peoples’ hands. Also, it is known that the audio wire for TYT Politics was pulled.

Others who were with the perpetrators are now pretending to be among the original peaceful crowd. This includes a man filming the group, who pushes back against the gate on the viewer’s right. When facing the police, he puts his other hand, the one not holding the camera, up in peace or surrender. Also, the leader himself pumps his fists in the air to cheer, aggressively pushes the gate closed, then blends in with the crowd and put his hands up, pretending to not be involved. In fact, you can just make him out in the very first picture of the open gate in this article, under the “my version” section above. Both men are seen in this video:

From this tweet.

In order:


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Many are seen walking away, escaping the danger, but more are walking towards it, filming with their phones.

A man in his late 30s, wearing a light blue Bernie t-shirt, walks away from the action, with hands sticking animatedly in the air. He seems sincere, trying to make it overly obvious that he is not involved.


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One of the men in black is taken away by a police officer, back through the protester crowd. Another, who I believe is a woman, walks right through the line of cops, down and out of frame, seemingly getting away.


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Sam Jr., still with a steady hand on the camera, briefly pulls away, and once again chants, “Keep the peace! Keep the peace!”

He walks back and starts forcing people right next to the cops to give them some space. “Everybody get back!”


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The first man he pushes says, “The criminals are in there!”

“OK, sorry man. But back it up.”

He pushes another. “Back it up! Back it up!”

The next person Sam pushes away is a Fox News reporter.

“Sir, back it up! Back it up! Back!”

The reporter (in the video in this article) confirms that Bernie supporters did not do this, rather provocateurs. As Sam pushes him–guides him–he is so engrossed in his phone and microphone, he does not respond as he is moved away.

The officers closest to the protesters are holding billy clubs diagonally across their midsections.


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Sam says to the crowd, “Keep some distance! Keep some distance!”

The crowd briefly chants, “The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!”

The most consistent chant during this time becomes: “We are non-violent! We are non-violent!”

Bicycle cops are are now forming a line behind those on foot, and a few minutes later those on foot go behind the bicycles.


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“Behind the bikes!”

“Yo! Yo! Get behind the bikes!”


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Someone screams, “The criminals are in there! Go get them!!”

A brief chant of, “Election fraud! Election fraud!”

As the police approach, a man in his early 30s places a flag on the ground and attempts to burn it. It is taken by police. He is also seen participating in a separate flag burning. He has a short brown hair, a close shaven and thin beard going under his chin, but no mustache. He is white or perhaps Hispanic, muscular, and is wearing a shirt that says “Black Guns Matter”, written in the same style as Black Lives Matter. He is holding a sign on a yardstick that says on the top half, in yellow-on-black, “America was never great!”, and on the bottom in white-on-red, “We need to OVERTHROW the system!”.

The man is moving erratically, almost like a boxer. Each movement brings him closer to the officers facing him. He then jumps back to his original position, perhaps three feet away, and repeats the process. At one point he suddenly tenses, juts his chest forward, elbows out and back, and tenses and extends his fingers, all as if threatening to attack. He is yelling and violently bobbing his head, gesturing “come on!” with fingers, pointing to his own face, daring them to strike.

The officers remain calm and do not react.


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Later in the video (at around the 12 minute mark) the same man is seen in the background, away from the police, still dancing and bobbing in the same jerky fashion, to no one, and with no apparent music or chants accompanying him.


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The crowd chants: “Sit! Sit! Sit!”

A Native-American woman in a yellow headscarf says, “Sit! They are not the problem! The DNC is the problem! Show them respect! Sit! Sit down or get out! Sit down or get out!” She takes off the scarf before continuing.

Many sit, some with their hands clasped on the top their heads as if surrendering.

And now the police are gone.

Sam approaches an officer who seems to be in charge, unknowingly choosing the Philadelphia Chief of Police. This is the same person that attended multiple meetings between Philly.FYI and the Philadelphia city government, in which I participated.

“People did not start storming the gates, sir. I caught it on tape and I’ve been watching the whole thing.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes sir.”

“Let’s see what you’ve got.”

After watching the video, Sam and his friend are invited down to the station to make a statement and submit the video as evidence.

Back in my hotel room on Thursday morning, I joke with Sam Sr., how he must be “so proud that my boy is running right into the middle of the most dangerous thing of the entire convention.”

Sam Sr. says that he did the exact same thing the night before. Here is the video he is referring to, called “Bringing the peace”. He suggests reading the description first for context.

Finally, here is a preview we recorded in anticipation of releasing the above raw video:

Note: About half of the people in my own investigation stated that water balloons were thrown over the gate as a distraction, I could find no video evidence to corroborate it.

Nuisance: Thurs 7/28: Nevada’s Roberta Lange confronted at DNC, in chaotic and private state delegation meeting.

A private meeting with the Nevada delegation (I was a New Jersey delegate). A man at the microphone protests Roberta Lange’s and the Democratic Party’s behavior at the Nevada State Democratic Convention. He is confronted, the microphone is removed, and he ends up lying on the floor, right in front of the stage for minutes. Allegedly assaulted.

Another man protests the same by handcuffing himself to a chair.Both are outraged by the treatment at the Nevada State Democratic Convention, and especially the blatant smears of violence and vandalism used as an effort to cover it up.

Lange shouts them both down.

Here is a followup livestream by Dan Rolle, the person who handcuffed himself.

Nuisance: Thurs 7/28: Walking around DNC stage, kicked out while trying to find seat

0-2:15: Walking on the floor directly next to the DNC stage, in the Pennsylvania section. Pennsylvania is the host of the convention, and therefore closest to the stage.

I encounter Jim Gardner, the lead anchor of Philadelphia is ABC6 station, who I grew up with. I also see Melissa Robbins, who is one of my primary Pennsylvania contacts in the Bernie campaign.

4:05: At the edge of the actual floor, Behind Pennsylvania and in front of, and just to the left of New Jersey, is set ups for three major news networks, with fancy solid glass tables and someone. I see Chris Matthews.

4:58: I see Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper at the scene and set up. I sarcastically praise them all.

5:10: Jeff: “OK, I’m getting tired and punchy and sarcastic… And I’m not looking forward to the speeches. But this is my job.

5:36: A good view down a sub-hallway, used by DNC staff only. Also looking up at one of the lower diagonal levels of people sitting, including the state of Vermont. New Jersey is just to the left of the camera.

6:05: I reach the bottom of the New Jersey section. I do not see any seats. Speculation is that there are many seat fillers now.

735: I see some guy who, from the back, looks just like Bernie Sanders. Sitting in when I guess to be the back of the Pennsylvania section. Can’t be him.

8:55: Kristen mouth’s, “I’m tired.” I agree.

Kristen: “I said I’m tired, and I’m kind of bored.”

Jeff: “Kind of?”

Kristin: “Very.”

I sit down in the stairwell next to Kristen, and realize just how tired I am.

9:30: I receive a text “Our campaign would greatly appreciate if you would extend the same respect during Secretary Clinton speech…”

10:00: I show the ceiling with all of the balloons ready to fall tonight.

I get kicked out.

There are no seats in New Jersey, although their most certainly are supposed to be for all delegates. So who is picking up those seats?

10:10: A security guard: “Excuse me. You need to get up and go. You can’t sit on the steps.”

I go to see that as being saved for another delegate. “So I’ll get up when they come back.”

12:45: Someone is passing out officially sanctioned signs, and is trying to have the colors evenly distributed. Having certain people pass certain colors in different directions.

A DNC worker: “We’re trying to mix them up.”

14:20: I’m on the stairs again. No seats.

14:45: Security guard: “Do you have a seat here?

“I’m in New Jersey delegate.”

“I didn’t say you weren’t. Do you have a seat here?”

“I don’t know where–”

“Do you have a seat here?”

“Can you just talk to me?”

“Can you just answer the question I’m asking you?”

“I’m looking for a seat!”

“There’s no seats here. Come on! You can’t stand here and block the aisle.”

“I don’t know where to sit in my own state.”

“If you don’t have a seat–”

“I am looking for a seat–”

“Come on. Come on.”

He starts to push me up the stairs.

“I am looking for a seat–”

“Come on. Come on.”

“Is this free? Where can I sit?”

Continuing to push me: “I have no idea. I have no idea.”

“How can I find a seat if you’re not even going to let me–”

“Right now you can’t. Because they are trying to do a program and they need the aisle clear. I’ve asked you three times, can you–I asked you nicely three times. That’s why am getting–”

“No I don’t think you–”

“Thank you. You’re taking it personally.”

I give up and walk up the stairs.

16:25: Kristen is up in the hallway, and saw what happened. She sympathizes but says he’s just doing his job. I’m not sitting regularly in a spot so I am making it more difficult to find a seat.

Jeff: “He is doing his job. He’s just being an asshole while he’s doing his job. This is the state of New Jersey, and you would think that they would have space for their own delegates.”

17:55: I thank the viewers for sticking with me, despite not being in a position at the moment to be able to share anything significant.

I walk through the hallways.

18:50: “I’m just biding time until Chelsea and Hillary speak. And I’m not that excited to hear Chelsea and Hillary speak.”

Nuisance: Thursday 7/20: Screw it. I’m done. Leaving the DNC for FDR Park. [Timestamped highlights]

Walking away from the Wells Fargo Center in the parking lot. You can see it lit the background. It’s now dark.

“I’m tired, and I’m just done, listening to all the happy happy speeches. I’m going to FDR Park to be with the people who care about what I care about.”

2:55: “It’s right across the street, but I have to walk…a block or two up, then over than a block or two back.

3:10: Militarized police with serious automated weapons.

4:10: A five-story high broadcast antenna that is a temporary structure. Brought in just for the DNC.

4:40: “All this flash and slickness and big bright lights…”

And none of it does anything to address any of the real problems that are facing our country. It only temporarily distracts us. But it seems that they want to permanently distract us with a constant stream of temporary distractions.

5:00: A viewer asks: Is the DNC over?

No. Chelsea is going to introduce her mother, and then “our Democratic nominee” is going to give her speech.

“I don’t feel there is anything I really need to listen to. It doesn’t matter what she says. It matters what she does. So she’s going to say amazing wonderful things tonight. She can ask for my vote all she likes. But I’m waiting for her to actually earn my vote by doing what is necessary.”

5:45: Has it made my stomach turn?

No. I’ve just chosen to be numb by this point… We knew what we were getting ourselves into. We were going to somebody else’s party. Try and tell them that something is wrong, and they’re just not interested in listening to that.

6:00: Will there be another walkout?

I hope there’s no protester in Hillary’s speech. The campaign set a text requesting that no protests happened during her speech. But some are indeed trying to organize one.

If you were says: “And that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Jeff: “It doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it.”

7:15: A viewer says Katy Perry is performing.

Jeff:

Oh that’s so unbelievably exciting I can’t even take it. That’s what I’m saying… All of the flash in the famous people, and the incredible technology… In some contexts that might excite me, but in this context, with all the problems that we have, and the injustices that we have… To me it feels like a huge distraction. Go and enjoy Katy Perry. Don’t worry about the big issues that are on your mind.

10:30: A viewer says, “It is it an infomercial for the nominee.”

10:45: A viewer says “Why did you call her our next president?”

Because it seems very likely that she’s going to be our next president, as much as I don’t want that.

11:00: I asked some security guards next to a secret service gate how to get to FDR Park across the street.

Still a long way to go.

12:40: Walking through some parking lot.

14:30: Approaching a wall of cops in front of a permanent fence on the side of the parking lot.

15:45: I see Sam Calhoun. He sees me and is walking to meet me.

16:20: I freak out a cop, who thinks that I’m a protester who magically somehow got onto the other side of the fence. I tell them on the delegate, and he seems OK with that, but he accompanies me, so I think he’s still a bit suspicious.

A minute later he seems convinced.

17:25: In reaction to a viewer: “Oh yeah. They don’t fuck around. They’re not fucking around. There will not be an incident today.”

17:50: There is an opening in the gate, and the police allow me to go through to join the demonstrators. They are kind and accommodating.

18:10: “Excuse me. I’m a delegate…I’m going to the demonstrators.”

“All right man. Rock on.”

“You going out there?”

“I’m going out there. I’m going in.”

“All right. Be careful. Have fun.”

18:25: I meet Sam. Now to walk back to two blocks to FDR Park.

“Sam and I started the day together, and we’re ending the day together.”

19:15: Sam expresses concern with a new group that has joined the protesters. He says numbers are higher, and police presence is stronger.

Sam: “They’re just being precautious.”

22:00: Sam asks if it’s true that people are wearing glow-in-the-dark shirts. It is true, but I didn’t know it at the time. I never saw it myself. Only in pictures and being told by people after the convention ended.

23:00: A viewer thanks me for continuing my coverage and sharing what I’m sharing.

This is my–I’ve made this my job this week. This is not fun, it’s not exciting… This is my job. This is what I can do. It’s Sharon with you guys who actually care what’s going on

23:50: I finally reach the crowd of supporters.

24:10: looking for John Laurits. After talking with math-blogger John Laurits online for months, I finally have a chance to meet him in person. He is also doing a livestream right now. Sam thinks he has found him. He has John’s feed on his own phone, and based on the people in signs that he sees, is trying to narrow it down for me.

25:25: Addressing rumors of people being paid to fill seats after Tuesday’s walk out. Can’t know the truth, the only thing we can know is that it is very difficult to find a seat, when there is supposed to be a seat for every single delegate. Unless you stay in your seat for hours, you will likely lose it.

27:40: Chant: “Show me what unity looks like! This is what unity looks like!”

28:45: I see Sam Jr. He is helping to create a line between the protesters and the police, to provide provocateurs from causing further problems, as they did last night. Sam says that there are a lot of different groups tonight, and it’s more difficult to keep the peace because of it. I agree that it’s a more precarious and aggressive feeling tonight. It is more of a struggle to keep things in control.

31:30: Sam says that he is actually following suspicious people around and videotaping them.

31:50: A gentleman from Eugene, Oregon is listening to us and chimes in (and is live streaming us) that he is also trying to keep protesters and police safe. He says that the people who want to “stir up trouble,” ultimately want anarchy.

35:15: Panning over the crowd. Likely more than 1000 people.

35:30: Chant: “We! Are! The 99%!”

36:10: I see someone named Rachel, who I met back in October at a debate watch party for the second debate in the Democratic primaries.

36:30: Close-up of a person with a gas mask.

37:00: Signs: never Hillary, Bernie DNC, Jill Stein #JillNotHill

37:20: One of the people holding those signs, says that she’s been watching me on my life streams, and is thankful for me speaking on the stage yesterday evening. She’s from Kalamazoo Michigan.

37:30: An interesting sign with a bunch of unity fest. Being held by the woman who’s watching my life streams.

“We love you guys and we’ve been out here just rooting for you. We love you. And we will all do whatever we can.”

We hug.

38:25: A woman with a megaphone does a call and response with the crowd.

39:15: They put me on the mic. I address the crowd for five minutes.

40:20: Jeff: “I did not walk out as a protest, I walked out to be with you guys.”

40:30: John and I finally meet.

41:00: I continue to address the crowd. I think them for supporting us, tell them that we were on the stage yesterday, tell them how we saw them on Tuesday in the morning as we got off of the bus.

I address him questions and rumors.

I continue to address the crowd through 45:00. Answer questions about is there any danger inside? (“just extreme boredom”), are seats being filled by paid people? (“Sprong speculation but can’t prove anything”). Can the protesters be hurt even outside of the building? (“No. That’s why we have life streams.”)

45:00: I speak with Jon briefly.

46:50: Eric Reynolds, a California delegates speaks on another megaphone. He talks about the glow-in-the-dark shirts that were given to Bernie delegates (I did not know about them at this point), as a protest when the lights go off. He talks about the different protests that were organized and led by his state throughout the week.

49:45: He states that a delegate was escorted by police to the bathroom inside the Wells Fargo Center. He states that the delegate was hit, and that the act of protecting himself was interpreted as hitting back, and therefore the police started being aggressive with him.

He talks about delegates being arrested, and other things that I myself did not witness.

53:50: I address this to the camera. I do not have an opportunity to address the crowd. I don’t know if these things are true, but the way that they were sad is riling up the crowd, as if there is consistent violence and the rest towards delegates, and it is clearly not true.

54:10: a woman approaches me who’s remembers me from being on stage last night.

More people continue to approach me, recognizing me from last night. With a little exception, this is as close to being a celebrity as I have ever been.

58:15: according to supporters, delegates are indeed walking out. I have not heard anything about this myself.

58:55: I state how tonight does not feel calm, in comparison to the rest of the week. “This is just a lot of disorganized anger.”

1:00:00: Panning the police presence

1:01:45: A supporter approaches me, recognizing me from the stage last night, says that he got credentials from a delegate, and use them to go in last night to see Barack Obama speak. This was when the gate reach happens. He says that he did not hear about that until today.

He is amazed at the rigid structure of what happens on the inside, and the complete absence of any of these protests, or their sentiments. “It’s like an alternate reality.”

Nuisance: Thurs 7/28: I’m quoted in the Burlington County Times (NJ): “I’m really not interested in her [Hillary Clinton’s] words, because her words don’t match her actions.”

“There’s nothing that she can say that will change anything that I’m feeling,” Sanders delegate Jeff Epstein, of Maple Shade, said Friday. “If I see her doing things to earn my vote, then that would be wonderful. I’m really not interested in her words, because her words don’t match her actions.”

Original link, behind a pay wall.

Full article text:

With the close of the conventions, the real race begins
By David Levinsky and Kristina Scala, staff writers Jul 31, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night, bringing an end to a Democratic National Convention full of protests, parties, speeches and political intrigue, not to mention performances by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

With a little over three months to Election Day, Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, who closed his own convention in Cleveland on July 21, will now try to ride any momentum to a victory for the White House. Recent polls put the billionaire ahead but don’t take into account any post-convention bump Clinton may see. And while the candidates fight it out for the Oval Office, New Jersey politicians will continue to set their sights on Trenton and the 2017 governor’s race, with some early conflict playing out at the convention.

In a political year and a presidential race that have been anything but conventional, here are a few takeaways from the four days in Philadelphia:

Party unity was paramount

Uniting the party behind Clinton was a key theme for all four days, as Democratic leaders tried to bring supporters of Bernie Sanders into the fold following the surprisingly tight primary battle between the former secretary of state and the senator from Vermont. The task became all that more difficult at the convention’s start after leaked emails revealed that several top Democratic National Committee officials had been working against Sanders during the primary.

Sanders’ supporters were vocal and visible throughout the convention, staging several protests outside the Wells Fargo Center and other locations in the city, but Clinton received some high-profile support as the likes of President Barack Obama and vice presidential pick Tim Kaine told Democrats to “Feel the Bern!”during their addresses, while other key party members praised Sanders for spotlighting issues such as poverty, campaign finance reform and corporate greed, driving the party platform and Clinton’s own positions further left.

Clinton also reached out to Sanders’ supporters in her own speech, saying his campaign “inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people, who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.”

“And to all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know, I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause,” she added.

The results appear to be mixed, with some Sanders delegates saying they were moved by his own endorsement of Clinton and the words of leaders like Obama and The First Lady. Others said they would support Clinton as the only realistic alternative to Trump.

“The No. 1 goal for everyone in the country right now should be to stop the narcissistic sociopath that is Donald Trump, and the only option to make that happen is Hillary Clinton. You’ve got to deal with reality,” said Jim Keady, a Sanders delegate and recent New Jersey congressional candidate.

Some Sanders followers said Clinton’s nice words didn’t sway them.

“There’s nothing that she can say that will change anything that I’m feeling,” Sanders delegate Jeff Epstein, of Maple Shade, said Friday. “If I see her doing things to earn my vote, then that would be wonderful. I’m really not interested in her words, because her words don’t match her actions.”

Making diversity an issue

Throughout the convention, the Democrats paraded minorities, women, young voters and transgenders onstage, with the goal of building the same diverse coalition that helped elect Obama to two terms and contrast some of the racially-charged rhetoric of Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and building a wall across the United States’ southern border with Mexico to block illegal immigrants, as well as the GOP platform’s opposition to gay marriage and transgender access to bathrooms.

Celebrating diversity was a repeated theme at the convention, as Kaine sought to welcome Latino voters by speaking Spanish, Clinton referenced her status as the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major political party, and Booker celebrated New Jersey’s status as the first state to have two minority senators.

New Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton, of Palmyra, said the party’s diversity better reflected the country.

“I came over on a bus ride with our team and looking at the diversity of the different people who are associated with our delegation. And when I checked into the show last week with the Republican convention, you didn’t see that same level of diversity,” Singleton said. “Our party is often talked about as being more inclusive, but we’ve actually physically shown it.”

The governor’s race was in full swing

For most of America, the DNC was about electing Clinton to the White House. But for New Jersey’s delegates, a more distant election quickly became the main attraction: choosing the next governor.

While over a year away, the jockeying among potential Democratic candidates to replace Gov. Chris Christie was front and center during the convention, as several of the major contenders held breakfasts, receptions and other events designed to garner attention and favor from key party leaders, volunteers and power brokers.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney started things off Sunday evening when he hosted a mammoth DNC kickoff reception aboard the Battleship New Jersey, which was adorned with a huge “Sweeney 2017” banner, a not-so-subtle reminder of his unofficial intentions and status as the likely Democratic frontrunner should he enter the race.

“It says I’m running for something next year,” he said, when asked about the banner, a nod to his Senate seat, which is also up for re-election along with all 120 seats in the Legislature. ” ’17 is a big year.”

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is considered Sweeney’s chief competition in a primary election for the party nomination, was also coy, telling reporters at a delegation breakfast meeting he sponsored that he held the event to highlight Jersey City’s successes and to promote veterans issues.

“I think anything I do, you guys say it’s for 2017,”Fulop said after the event. “I’m just trying to ultimately do a good job in Jersey City.”

The event also gave Fulop the chance to share his biography, air a video highlighting Jersey City’s aid to veterans. But it also attracted South Jersey political boss George Norcross, Sweeney’s longtime friend and ally, who told reporters that Fulop was a “politically correct politician” who “says what people what to hear.”

Asked if he meant that as a compliment or slight, Norcross was happy to clarify: “I mean it in a bad way,” he said. “He tells people what they want to hear, and he patronizes people.”

Fulop responded that Norcross was not an elected official, but a businessman “who has made a lot of money off the public sector.”

The exchange wasn’t the only example of early campaigning for governor at the convention.

Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and the only declared candidate for governor, also hosted one of the delegation breakfasts where former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell spoke and delivered an unofficial endorsement.

“I never approve of people from one state endorsing candidates of another state, and I won’t do that today,” Rendell said. “But I will tell you that I am impressed with Phil Murphy. His resume is extraordinary impressive.”

What’s next?

Hours after the convention’s end, Clinton and Kaine attended a campaign rally at Temple University to kick off a bus tour across Pennsylvania and Ohio, which are considered key battleground states in play for both campaigns.

Meanwhile, Trump attended his own rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he warned that he would pull no verbal punches in his battle against the new Democratic nominee.

“Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy,” he said during the rally. And for the first time he encouraged his supporters’ anti-Clinton chants of “lock her up.”

“I’ve been saying let’s just beat her on Nov. 8,” Trump said, “but you know what? I’m starting to agree with you.”

The FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private internet server while secretary of state didn’t result in criminal charges, but it has raised questions in voters minds about her honesty and trustworthiness, that Trump and Republican surrogates will look to exploit.

During the Republicans’ convention New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie staged his own mock prosecution of Clinton, accusing her of awful judgement and lying about the email scandal.

“Lets face the facts, Hillary Clinton cared more about protecting her own secrets than she cared about protecting America’s secrets. And then she lied about it, over and over again,” Christie said, adding later, “We didn’t disqualify Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States; the facts of her life and career disqualify her.”

Clinton has fired her own broadsides back at Trump. In her convention speech, she accused him of stiffing contractors and small businesses in nearby Atlantic City, and of manufacturing his Trump-label products overseas.

“Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again — well, he could start by actually making things in America again,” she said.

Political watchers expect plenty more verbal slings and arrows will be fired by both candidates and their campaigns before voters head to the polls. In fact, in a political year punctuated by surprising twists and turns, the most certain prediction is that the upcoming campaign will be one of the nastiest in U.S. history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nuisance: Bernie or Bust at the 2016 DNC, and an interview with the movement’s founder, Victor Tiffany

The topic of Bernie or Bust came up a lot during my coverage of the DNC with Citizens’ Media TV. I decided to take each of these pieces and make this article. To round it out, I interviewed one of the founders of the movement, Victor Tiffany (see the bottom of this article).

From this episode of The Jimmy Dore Show.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman has been one of my biggest and most appreciated Bernie Sanders celebrity supporters. Some highlights from Sarah during this campaign have been her introduction of Bernie at an early LA rally, her Bernie pitch-commercial, and a great appearance on Bill Mahar, where she compares Citizen’s United to steroids in sports.

While her full speech at the DNC was well received, her unscripted statement of

“And to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous”

while a reasonable opinion, expressing it in this context, was humiliating. Bernie delegates were being unappreciated and silenced and minimized, and in front of those doing the minimizing and silencing, on national television, was not the time to express it.

From a conversation with a Hillary delegate while waiting in line to get my credentials and vote for Bernie Sanders in roll call

Jeff: “I’m not Bernie or Bust, but I have a lot of friends who are Bernie or Bust. They’re in a really difficult position. They’re being blamed before it’s even happened. That if they don’t vote for Hillary, then they’re the cause of Trump. I personally think that’s not totally fair, because, what has the Democratic Party done to earn their vote? Did they leave the party or did the party leave them?

I’m absolutely passionate about Bernie.”

Hillary delegate: “Clearly”

Jeff: “I’m not Bernie or Bust, but I don’t see that she has worked very hard to earn my vote.”

Conversation with Kristin, a Bernie delegate from my own delegate district, while waiting in the same line as the above conversation.

Jeff: “Was Bernie or Bust ever a consideration for you?”

Kristin: “I’ll be honest, it was. But when I think about what’s going to happen and the role of the president has to take, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I really removed myself to figure out what would be the best strategy for the country. And I think that it would be keeping a Democrat in office as President of the United States, leading this country that makes it so great.”

Jeff: “Anything else you would say to the people that you know or Bernie or busters?”

Kristin: “Listen, that is completely your choice. But honestly, this is a very important election. We cannot allow Trump to nominate our Supreme Court justices. We can’t allow him to destroy our jobs, to keep folks down, right? You need to hold your political appointees accountable. I mean, this is exactly what we’re doing with Hillary, with what’s going on right now. We are really making the progressive platform. So just keep it going.

Bernie supporters, you have to make sure you hold folks accountable. Run for your own office. Get involved in your own area. And don’t just stand there and complain. Be the change you want to see in this world.”

Jeff: “So let me ask you from a different point of view. If Trump does win, do you blame the Bernie or Busters?”

Kristin: “No no. I mean if Trump does win, that’s just a damn slap in the face to Americans everywhere. I don’t blame anybody except for the people that voted for him, and the people that didn’t go out and vote.”

Jeff: “a lot of the Bernie or Busters may not go out and vote.”

Kristin: “You know what? If you want to go out and vote and write Bernie Sanders name in? Cool. Go out and vote.”

Jeff: “So as long as they go and vote, even if it’s for Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, then that’s OK.”

Kristin: “Yes. That’s it. Go out and vote.”

Jeff: “But if they don’t go out and vote, then you have a problem.”

Kristin: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Jeff: “OK, that’s fair.”

Two more delegates on Wednesday morning give their opinions of Bernie or Bust

Pat Merton Coyle and Anna Payne, Bernie delegates from Bucks County, PA.

10:25: Anna’s views on Bernie or Bust.

Anna: “To me, voting for Trump, or maybe even voting third party to a point of view, is like a slap in the face to Bernie, if Trump ends up winning this election.”

Jeff: “So what is your point of view on Bernie or Bust?”

Anna: “I understand it completely. And I’m not totally against it. But at the end of the day, you really have to look at what…what’s important to you? Now, some people will not be able to sleep at night voting for Secretary Clinton. Because they do not believe in her. And they do not believe that she will hold the platform up. That she will make good decisions. And if you cannot sleep at night voting for Secretary Clinton, I completely understand why you are Bernie or Bust.”

Jeff: “So what about those that say that Bernie or Bust is effectively a vote for Trump?”

Anna: “…I hope that the Bernie or Bust people, at least come out and vote down ticket. Because that is what matters… If they vote their conscience, I can’t argue with it. I can’t. Would I like to sit down and talk with someone that’s Bernie or Bust and talk with them? Of course. And explain to them, ‘The issues that you care about’–The Supreme Court is a huge issue. And I don’t even know if many people know about the Supreme Court. The person who gets into office is going to get two to four Supreme Court nominations. Those people are going to be on the Supreme court for years. And I don’t mean three years or four years. Decades.”

13:30: Pat’s views on Bernie or Bust: “We’re mourning the loss of our campaign.”

Pat: “I want people to vote their conscience, but I want people to make informed decisions. They call them throwaway votes. I don’t believe it’s throwing away if it’s what you absolutely believe in. But for every action there’s a reaction. And if too many people are Bernie or Bust, it could hurt the whole Democratic Party, up and down the ticket…

I think right now you have to realize that we’re mourning the loss of our campaign. We’re mourning the loss of Bernie as our candidate. We have to get past that and go on. And there’s a lot of people today who are saying, ‘I’m not going to vote at all, I’m going to stay home election day and cry maybe.’ And I understand that totally, because it is such an emotional thing. But I hope as the hurt goes down and people start to heal, that they well look at the issues, and look at the important things, such as the Supreme Court, such as how we treat our fellow citizens, whether or not we’re sending our children to war. And they do vote for who they believe is the best person.”

Post-DNC interview with Victor Tiffany, co-founder of the Bernie or Bust movement.

Victor and I talk about

  • Exactly where the “Bernie or Bust” term came from,
  • How the movement began as a potential write in campaign for Bernie Sanders, and morphed into one where vote your conscience (and many are expected to vote Green),
  • How Bernie Sanders has never disrespected Bernie or Busters, despite endorsing and supporting Hillary Clinton,
  • Why Bernie or Busters do not deserve the blame for a potential Trump presidency, how the Democratic Party left them long ago, they did not leave the Democratic Party,
  • How the Democratic Party, through superdelegates, rubber stamp our corrupt system including all of the questionable things occurring throughout the primary,
  • “Hillary Clinton is the spoiler.
  • Victor’s recommendations on voting all the way down the ballot in November,
  • “I see the green party winning the popular vote, and then getting robbed five machine who will elect of Hillary Clinton.”
  • My views on not being a Bernie or Buster, but spending much of my time during the campaign with friends who are.

Here is Victor’s speech on the Sunday before the DNC, at Thomas Paine Plaza, directly across the street from City Hall, at the Bernie or Bust rally:

How voting third party–voting your conscience–is never a wasted vote.