A Revealing Moment at the Democratic National Convention

no more war
Honest passion at the DNC

W.J. Astore

Yes, there was a revealing moment at last night’s Democratic National Convention.  No, it wasn’t President Obama’s soaring speech, or Joe Biden’s heartfelt appeal, or Tim Kaine’s “believe me” lampoon of Donald Trump.  All these were scripted.

It was the anti-war protesters who spoke out against drone assassinations and war while former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke.

Good for them.  This democratic convention has been at pains to please the military. Last night, Panetta called the U.S. military our greatest national treasure.  Obama repeated his claim that the U.S. military is the finest fighting force since Cain slew Abel.  Tim Kaine opened his remarks by mentioning the Marines and shouting Semper Fi.

The Democrats are the new Republicans: they’re going “all in” on military boosterism and ra-ra patriotism.

Which is why the anti-war protest was so refreshing.  End the wars — end the killing — what’s wrong with these protesters for expressing such crazy sentiments at a Democratic political rally?  (An aside: my favorite sign read “Fauxmocracy.”)

The DNC response was swift.  Apparently, they cut the lights to the section where the main body of protesters sat (the Oregon delegation), but the protesters simply pulled out their Smart phones for light.  Panetta, of course, ignored them, carrying on with his prepared speech that vilified Trump for his remarks about Vladimir Putin and hacking.  (Pretty dumb by The Donald, but the man is an empty barrel, an Archie Bunker who loves to make lots of noise.)

Most interesting of all was media response.  I was watching MSNBC (I think) when a commentator attacked the anti-war protesters for undercutting Panetta’s speech against Trump.  Yes, it was the protesters who were TOTALLY in the wrong!  How dare they chant “no more war” at a former CIA Director and secretary of war? How dare they challenge an olympian like Panetta while he’s on the stage?  How dare they organize and exercise their first amendment rights?

Expect more unbounded praise of the U.S. military tonight by Hillary Clinton. Expect more talk of war.  Just don’t expect any honest talk about the cost of America’s wars or any vows about ending them in our lifetimes.

Update (7/28):

I just endured General Allen’s jingoistic speech/scream and all the “USA! USA!” chants, followed by a short speech by a Medal of Honor recipient in favor of Clinton.

After which Brian Williams of MSNBC said, “Sadly,” you could still hear faintly the voices of protesters shouting “No more war.” Why is that so sad, Brian Williams? Why is it so sad for Democrats to be against war? Why must they shut up when a general speaks, a general who boasts of making the U.S. military stronger with even better weaponry with which to kill?

That’s the real “sad” part, Brian Williams: How the Democratic Party has become the war party.

31 thoughts on “A Revealing Moment at the Democratic National Convention

    1. The last time I was heart sick over what was happening in our National politics, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. I was 6 years old. It is sad how that sense of doom has raised its head again.


  1. Democrats have long struggled under that GOP claim that it was the GOP that was tough, and the Dems were soft. Soft on Communism and soft on crime. After all, “who lost China”? Bill Clinton proved that the Ds could be tough on crime, and Obama has proven that Dems could out-tough the Neocons when it came to war and the military. They have stolen the GOP’s lunch on the war/military front, and they are not about to give it back – EVER. Like Joltin’-Joe Biden said last night, “We own the finishing line”. Any country that resists that idea is going to have their asses kicked.


  2. Again, W.J., precise and on point. We’ve got to outgrow this Bully Boy mentality and learn the concept of peaceful coexistence before the Military Industrial Financial Complex eats all of our lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Go to War mentality needs to be over someday soon, or I feel this country is going to get a beat down again & hard… As I was watching Obama’s Speech on- line I couldn’t help reading all the hater’s out there Comments. So I’m going to double down till Nov. because I never counted Trump out from the outset…Another good piece of Writing, constrained and to the point!.


  4. During the continuous praise regarding Hillary protecting children, I could only picture the Syrian toddler kill by our drone strike last week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And when Michelle Obama talked about how well Hillary had raised Chelsea, I couldn’t help trying to picture Michelle teaching her girls by example that they should stay with a lying, cheating, sack of shit who continually humiliates them in public as long as he was rich, powerful and necessary to their own political ambitions. Somehow I couldn’t imagine it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I heard a comment on Russia Today’s Crosstalk program where one of the guests said: “So, if you vote for Donald Trump, you’re voting for Vladimir Putin, but if you vote for [You-Know-Her] you’re voting for Benjamin Netanyahu.” I know for a fact — as should everyone — which one of those foreign leaders has an open invitation to spy on America, interfere in the American political system, and speak multiple times before the American Congress trashing the foreign policy of America’s president — to nearly continuous standing ovations by Democrats and Republicans alike. The name of that foreign leader sounds nothing like Vladimir Putin.

    On the other hand, Donald Trump has invited the Russians to commit journalism in the United States — where one seldom sees it practiced — when he ought to give all the credit to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. But Donald Trump knows the outrage business: just threaten the Democratic Party with journalism and the entire corporate media goes up in a firestorm of copycat libel against one of the premier foreign leaders and statesmen of our age. The Democratic Party has, naturally, condemned the practice of journalism in America as a “crime” or “treason.” Can’t have Americans knowing how their elected and appointed officials really act and think, as opposed to how they tell us that they do.

    Finally, good for the few delegates shouting “no more wars.” Then the lights go out so no one in the television audience can see them. That told me everything I needed to know about “democracy” in the corporate-sponsored stage-managed Demcoratic Party. Hardly an ounce of authenticity left in it — like its annointed puppet pretender, You-Know-Her. Hopefully, Wikileaks and Julian Assange will have some additional journalism for us in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Netanyahu rejoinder is perfect. Good to see some pushback on the Russian aggression nonsense gone wild. Putin is a premier statesman and should be understood as a serious man with a great capacity for dialogue and complexity. I guess Western “journalists” aren’t up to the task of being serious people. It’s too complex to go beyond caricature and spoon-fed paychecks.
    The lights go down on democracy.


    1. I just caught a clip of Senator Al Franken on the PBS Newshour castigating Donald Trump for wanting to take his time in assessing America’s relations with Russia. Senator Franken went so far as to claim that America should not “encourage Putin” and should even strive to see Crimea — a part of Russia for centuries — somehow separated from Russia. That. Will. Never. Happen. Ukraine has imploded under the thieving incompetence of about eight oligarchs and the neo-Nazi mobs (and American tax dollars) that currently keep them in power. And Senator Al Franken thinks that Crimea will ever again find itself in the criminal clutches of America’s newest Ukrainian bad-puppet clowns? This man simply has no grasp of geopolitical reality. If this kind of “thinking” truly permeats the Democratic Party establishment, then the the Russians and the Chinese will eat You-Know-Her’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner before she even finishes putting on her morning make-up. And Senator Al Franken will have done a great deal to see that this happens. What a fool. What a pack of fools.

      The Chinese have a saying: “The Hen Crows at Sunrise.” By this they mean the equivalent of “The World Turned Upside Down.” Unfortunately for the United States, the saying needs a slight revision this year: “The Hen Crows at Sundown.” Before even listening to You-Know-Her’s nomination acceptance speech this evening, I already know its title and its meaning. Here comes the night.


  7. I just endured General Allen’s jingoistic speech/scream and all the “USA! USA!” chants, followed by a short speech by a Medal of Honor recipient in favor of Clinton.

    After which Brian Williams of MSNBC said, “Sadly,” you could still hear faintly the voices of protesters shouting “No more war.” Why is that so sad, Brian Williams? Why is it so sad for Democrats to be against war? Why must they shut up when a general speaks, a general who boasts of making the U.S. military stronger with even better weaponry with which to kill?

    That’s the real sad part, Brian Williams: How the Democratic Party has become the war party.


  8. Patrick Lawrence of Salon.com (Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016) remembers Nixon-McCarthy red-baiting as practiced by Republicans against Democrats for a generation. Thus, he can easily recognize it when he sees the Democrats practicing the same discredited tactic against a Republican, in this case Donald Trump. Historical irony and schadenfreude aside, the Democrats — under the Clintons and Barack Obama — have now run all the way over to the right hand margin of the political spectrum, displacing the Republicans and adopting the worst of their shameless corporatism and underhanded political methods. See:

    Shades of the Cold War: How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal —
    Leaked revelations of the DNC’s latest misconduct bear a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting

    The Democrats get caught red handed with their knickers down around their ankles screwing one of their own candidates and what do they do? They conjur some instantly risible Putin-baiting hysteria to distract attention from the obvious fact of their own cupidity. What a pack of cold-warrior-wannabes. Tricky Dick and Tailgunner Joe would heartily approve. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” indeed.


  9. Putin, China, Trump lovers are so hating we the people, they have decided to keep placing comments. If Bernie supporters don’t get over their sore butts and realize nothing is fair in life, they will never grow up. You better hope Hillary wins, if she doesn’t your life will be WAY different!


    1. Speak for yourself. You do not speak for “the people.” Please use the first person singular pronoun “I” when offering your own opinion. And you can take your neo-McCarthyite trashing of You-Know-Her’s many anti-war critics and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I don’t support Donald Trump — or Senator Bernie Sanders or You-Know-Her for that matter — but Donald Trump has never sent anyone to die in America’s stupid imperial wars. Senator Sanders and You-Know-Her, on the other hand, have. You might want to acquaint yourself with the Congressional history of these two endless-war-supporters before asking other U.S. citizens — especially war veterans — to “grow up.”

      I live in Taiwan and have worked before in Mainland China. Lots of great people in both countries. And, yes, I even love some of them. Why shouldn’t I? I’ve never been to Russia, but I see no reason to heap gratuitous insults on that nation and its people. They have never done anything to harm us Americans and without their dependable rockets, for example, our astronauts couldn’t even make it up into orbit for work aboard the International Space Station. Seven years of President Barack Obama and we can’t even get one of our own astronauts off the planet without asking for help. Pathetic.

      Russia and China have proven reliable partners for the United States in any number of ways, but I fail to see what Donald Trump has to with either of these countries or their relationships with the United States. Did you even pause for a single moment’s thought before dumping your brain drool all over this subject thread? I don’t think so.

      I support and will vote for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party (I can count higher than the number two) because she has accurately described U.S. foreign policy as “a marketing strategy for the weapons industry.” She has called for a weapons embargo on the Middle East. Right on. She demands that we stop arming and funding jihadi terrorists with one hand while claiming to oppose them with the other. Right on. I would go further than Dr, Stein, though, and agree with Marine Corps General Smedley Butler who called the U.S. military “racketeers for capitalism.” I call our vaunted visigoths, their attendant dogs-of-war mercenaries, and corporate camp followers nother but a vast money-laundering scam dedicated to Hoovering up the country’s dwindling resources into the alerady stuffed-full pockets of the fabled 1% who own most of everything. I consider You-Know-Her a Wall Street hooker and war-bimbo. I wouldn’t vote for her sorry ass for any reason under the sun.

      I spent almost six years in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club and eighteen months in Vietnam, so I ought to know about the likes of You-Know-Her and Bubba Bill, two no-shows for that “sacrificing” thing we had going on in our youth four decades ago. In those days we had the CIA running drugs out of Burma just like they run drugs out of Afghanistan today. But in all the years then and since then, I have never seen any Bushes, Cheney’s, Clintons, or Obama’s on the “battlefield” to do any “sacrificing.” But these REMFs sure seem damned eager to send someone else’s son or daughter to die for their hothouse orchid vainglory. Again, Donald Trump — whatever else he may have done in his life — has never done that, and seems actually rather inclined not to do so. Good for him. He, too, hasn’t sacrificed anything, but unlike the others of his generation, he hasn’t ordered anyone else’s kid to his or death.

      Finally, I do not support Senator Bernie Sanders, since I consider him the usual Pied Piper of Hamlin that the “liberal” Democrats always trot out at election time to lure the little voter children away from their “idealistic” homes and out into the forest where the wicked coporatist witch can devour them — principally, so as to save the Republicans the troubole of doing that themselves. As Bill Astore says, the Democrats have beome the War Party, joining up with the Republicans. I want nothing to do with either of these corporatist factions. I survived their likes before in Southeast Asia so I know their kind as well as anyone can. A pox on both their houses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. NASA hasn’t been given the funding to do any further manned launches. Blame Congress. They hold the purse strings. The President may request funding but does NOT control it.

        “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

        “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

        US Constitution, Article I, Sections 7 and 9


    2. My motivation for reading and “placing” comments is the natural outgrowth of curiosity, interest, and the elucidation of thought. Sometimes my comments arise out of conscientious objection or righteous indignation, so they may times seem a bit flavored with emotion, but I assure you that that emotion is never a hate of “we the people”. I am a violence-rejecting humanist with a sense of ethics and compassion that I do my best to apply evenly and consistently.
      I think Sanders’ supporters are legitimately “sore” and have a right to be heard.
      My opinion of Clinton, and my opinion of Putin, are evidenced-based and supplemented by contextual understanding. I do my best knowing full well that elucidation of evidence, context, and understanding requires continual outgrowth, effort, and modification.


  10. The lights were shut off over both the Oregon and Washington Delegation (I’m CD9 Del from WA for Sanders) we used our cell phone lights and waved them back at CA. I attempted to pick up the phone for a Point of Privilege but was rebuffed by party officials as, “I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t work here” It never was a real meeting. I knew it would be a 4 day commercial, but the rampant bullying and mistreatment I didn’t expect from the party.


    1. Thanks so much for clarifying that. A shame that at the Democratic National Convention, democracy was forbidden.

      And thanks for doing your best to advance a strong message against perpetual war.


      1. Indeed. The subject of America’s perpetual war — exclusively waged against relatively poor and defenseless nations who never threatened the United States — unsurprisingly did not make it onto the agenda for a convention dedicated to honoring one of that perpetual war’s principle architects and cheerleaders, You-Know-Her, if not one of its minor enablers, Senator Bernie Sanders, as well. Senator Sanders, to his credit, did vote against Deputy Dubya’s stud-hamster vendetta against the toothless Iraqi tinpot Saddam Hussein, but he did vote in favor of President Bill Clinton’s bombing of Serbia and Dubya’s illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which started the whole chain reaction of middle-eastern wars now spinning out of control — as if anyone has ever “contolled” war.

        In any event, Senator Sanders proved woefully ineffective as a champion of the anti-war cause which now must go on without him. Same story every four years with the slavishly pro-war Democratic Party. I can’t say that I feel the least bit sorry for the Republicans who now have no reason at all for their existence. They have spent decades taunting the Democrats for their less-than-far-right fealty to the corporate oligarchy. But now that the Clintons and Barack Obama have given them nearly everything they ever dreamed of — especially the expanding perpetual war — the Republicans have nothing of their own to offer. With “two for the price of one” the corporate oligarchy learned that they could purchase two Clintons for what they formerly paid for one Republican. No surprise who gets most of the corporate cash now.

        You-Know-Her may become the first woman President of the United States, but if she continues baiting and threatening the Russians and Chinese, she may very well become the last President of the United States, as well. Someone needs to stuff a wad of smelly socks in her mouth before she gets half the world blown to bits. Donald Trump may preach insanity much of the time, but You-Know-Her promises to “get it done.”


  11. So what are we to do in this election? How can we stop this “sundown?” I see lovely articulate comments, anger, sadness at the ‘night’ of democracy, yet no real suggestions or ideas to empower voters, to find a way to change our government and make it again “for the people.”

    Argue, postulate, angrily comment all you want. We need productive argument, some way of releasing us from this mess, and the answer is not all of us moving to Canada.


    1. I agree that we should, each of us, advance suggestions for how to improve our democracy, and many of us have. Take, for example, the elimination of the Electoral College. We need to eliminate this abomination because it clearly violates the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. No American’s vote should count more or less than any other American’s vote simply because of where that American voter lives.

      Your turn.


  12. Michael…..all good points….but don’t forget…..if you are in a critical state……Ohio,Pa, Mich. Etc. The beauty of Voting for Trump is that you get to vote twice against the D Establishment. Once for Trump and once because the did not get yours. Unfortunately unless something dramatic happens Stein, who I like as well is going nowhere. Things could change…I’ve sent them money…..


  13. If you are so pro military and Semper Fi, how about taking care of the soldiers, sailors and airmen in the field? How about not sending them to fight wars for profit? How about taking care of them when they get home or leave the service? How about streamlining the benefits application process? How about taking their certified honorable service and take it to mean they are too honorable to file a false benefit claim? How about approving ALL benefit claims with a random audit with STIFF penalties for fraudulent ones, including perjury? It works for the IRS and millions of annual tax returns, why not the VBA and the 10s of thousands of annual benefit claims? Why does it take 5 years to be denied a claim, another year for an appeal hearing, another 2 years for a decision on the appeal from a VBA Judge, and another appeal after that? When the majority of claims end up being approved anyway, why go through this long drawn out process? Are you hoping we die first?


    1. I hope that when you say “you” you don’t refer to “me,” since as a Vietnam veteran, I largely agree with the points you raise. My younger brother, who served in the Army (on Okinawa) has also told me of many obstacles and delays in receiving benefits from the VA. On my last trip to the United States (I live in southern Taiwan) a man told me that I might qualify for a health benefit because of my long exposure to Agent Orange for over a year in South Vietnam. Still, I’ve heard so many nightmare stories of dealing with the VA that I’ve never had the heart to apply. Besides, I have excellent and affordable health care here in Taiwan, so except for a little additional monthly income, which I could certainly use, I don’t know if I have the time and energy that it would take to avail myself of this benefit. It costs so much to travel to the U.S. that I don’t know if I can afford it.

      I fully realize that the U.S. government wants nothing to do with wounded or ill veterans. It prefers those war-lovers in the VFW who cheer for war as some sort of Boy Scout adventure, which for them in the rear echelons it probably was. Instead, the U.S. government wants a few raw recruits to provide a thin veneer of “service” over the much more lucrative and profitable mercenaries and corporate camp followers who make a financial killing off perpetual war. None of this involves me, since I long ago understood what an alien I had become in my own land. I just got lucky and married a Chinese lady which qualifies me to live here in Taiwan. If I had stayed in the United States without a job or employer health care, I would have died broke many years ago. Like Forrest Gump, I just got lucky — the story of my life, from Vietnam to today. Others, I know, had no luck at all. For my part, I try my best not to forget them.


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