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Sykes-Picot and What Would Have King-Crane Brought?

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_89702551_mpk_1_426_8_may_1916Monday marks 100 years since the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. With the then-secret agreement, they planned to divide up much of the Mideast between them at the end of World War I, which was still going on at the time.

JAMES PAUL  james.paul.nyc at gmail.com
Author of Syria Unmasked, Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN, for nearly 20 years. He was also a longtime editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World and executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project.

He said today: “This is an opportunity to take the long view and see how Western powers have shamelessly drawn and redrawn Mideast borders as it suited their purposes. The story includes not only Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot but also T. E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Winston Churchill and many more. The redrawing borders continued after Sykes-Picot when the British seized Mosul Province from the French in 1918 by continuing fighting north and westward after the Armistice had been announced. Today in Washington there continues to be discussions of ethnically-based redrawing of borders in Iraq and Syria and the Kurds are part of this discourse, while oil remains the main driver.” See video about Sykes-Picot featuring Rashid Khalidi and other scholars.

RICHARD DRAKE, richard.drake at mso.umt.edu, @rrdrakesr
Professor of history at the University of Montana, Drake’s books include The Education of an Anti-Imperialist: Robert La Follette and U.S. Expansion about how the noted U.S. progressive awoke to the realities of U.S. foreign policy.

In his piece “This Is When Muslims in the Middle East Turned to Extremism,” Drake writes: “T. E. Lawrence, another eyewitness to the Paris Peace Conference [1919], recorded his impressions of the treachery that annihilated the legitimate hopes of the Arabs for independence. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the account of his exploits as ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ is a book chiefly about betrayal, his own and that of Britain in dealing with the Arabs. He presents himself as a double agent, ostensibly fighting for Arab freedom while really working for the British Empire. …

“He described the negotiations as the culmination of deep-laid plans of imperialist exploitation. British and French colonial policy, enshrined in the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, completely eclipsed the rights of the Arabs, as he had feared all along would be the case. The Balfour Declaration [1917] granting a homeland to the Jews in Palestine set a second seal on the fate of the Arabs. Oil, empire, and Zionism formed an invincible combination against them. Violence erupted in Palestine in 1920. It has not finished yet.

“That same year, in August, the Treaty of Sèvres made its long-deferred appearance, sixteen months after the Middle East first came up for discussion at the Paris Peace Conference. Sèvres took the form of a diktat even more draconian than the one inflicted on Germany. The Ottoman Empire ceased to exist, its territories stripped away by Great Britain, France, and Italy in blatant repudiation of the Fourteen Points.”

Drake writes in “The Hope and Ultimate Tragedy of the 1919 King-Crane Report” of an altogether different effort: “The King-Crane Report, a little-known and even less understood historical document, prophetically warned of the conflicts raging in the Middle East today. Created during the post-World War I Paris Peace Conference by President Woodrow Wilson, the King-Crane Commission set out in May 1919, to determine ‘the real wishes and true interests’ of the people in the Middle East. President Wilson, chief among the victors at the conference, which opened in January of that year, had become concerned by reports of Arab restiveness.

“The Arabs had hoped for fair and generous treatment under the auspices of Wilson’s Fourteen Points, reputed to be the moral foundation of the Peace Conference. In his famous address of January 1918, the president had proclaimed a new agenda in international relations, including open covenants openly arrived at and — most welcome from the Arab viewpoint — ‘an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development’ for nationalities under Turkish rule.

“Yet in Paris, the open covenants principle soon gave way to closed-door decision-making, and months went by without any word about the fate of the Arab lands long held by the defeated Ottoman Empire. …

“To lead the commission, Wilson chose … [Henry] King, the president of Oberlin College, [who] subscribed to Wilson’s vision of the war as a righteous struggle for democracy against German militarism. … Millionaire businessman Crane had been a major donor to the president’s political campaigns and a close adviser. Since the 1870s, he had traveled extensively in the Middle East and knew the region well. He, too, viewed the Fourteen Points as a sacred pledge for a moral renewal of mankind. …

“King and Crane feared that Zionism and imperialist policies of the Allies would introduce unprecedented mayhem into the Middle East and give an excuse for a pan-Islamist movement. They counseled that it would be wiser to respect the Arabs and work for the economic and moral uplift of the entire region than to appear before them as the worst kind of conquerors: exploiters mouthing fine phrases having nothing at all to do with the fundamental realities of their colonial rule.

“The final sentence of an appendix to the King-Crane Report echoed the many assertions scattered throughout the document about the crucial need for the West to adopt an intelligent and judicious policy toward the Arabs: ‘Dangers may readily arise from unwise and unfaithful dealings with this people, but there is great hope of peace and progress if they be handled frankly and loyally.'”

Afghanistan as “Longest War” Highlights Invisibility of Indigenous and Iraq Wars

indigenous_peoples_historyThe New York Times claimed in a lengthy piece this weekend that President “Obama has now been at war longer than any other American president.”

ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ, rdunbar at pacbell.net, @rdunbaro
Dunbar-Ortiz is author or editor of seven books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. She will be in New York City beginning Wednesday.

She said today: “President James Monroe ties with Obama, the First Seminole War, 1816-1823, the Army commanded by General Andrew Jackson, who as president oversaw the Second Seminole War, which Martin Van Buren continued, 1835-42; The Third Seminole War, 1855-58, was overseen by two different presidents, Pierce and Buchanan. A pattern very similar to the Iraq wars, 1991 and ongoing. The Seminole Wars were formative for future invasive wars that have been endless, few days in U.S. history without the U.S. military making war somewhere.”

In the conclusion of her book, Dunbar-Ortiz writes: “The conventional narrative of U.S. history routinely segregates the ‘Indian Wars’ as a sub-specialization within the dubious category ‘the West.’ But, the architecture of U.S. world dominance was designed and tested by the period of continental U.S. militarism, 1790-1890, the Indian Wars. The opening of the twenty-first century saw a new, even more brazen form of U.S. militarism and imperialism explode on the world followed by two major military invasions and hundreds of small wars employing U.S. Special Forces around the globe, establishing a template that continued after their political power waned.

“One highly regarded military analyst stepped forward to make the connections between the ‘Indian Wars’ and what he considered the country’s bright imperialist past and future. Robert D. Kaplan, in his 2005 book Imperial Grunts, presented several case studies that he considered highly successful operations: Yemen, Colombia, Mongolia, and the Philippines, in addition to ongoing complex projects in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq. While U.S. citizens and many of their elected representatives called for ending the U.S. military interventions they knew about — including Iraq and Afghanistan — Kaplan hailed protracted counterinsurgencies in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Pacific. He presented a guide for the U.S. controlling those areas of the world based on its having achieved continental dominance in North America by means of counterinsurgency and employing total and unlimited war….

“Kaplan sums up his thesis in the prologue to Imperial Grunts, which he subtitles ‘Injun Country':

“Kaplan writes: ‘By the turn of the twenty-first century the United States military had already appropriated the entire earth, and was ready to flood the most obscure areas of it with troops at a moment’s notice. The Pentagon divided the planet into five area commands — similar to the way that the Indian Country of the American West had been divided in the mid-nineteenth century by the U.S. Army. . . . [A]ccording to the soldiers and marines I met on the ground in far-flung corners of the earth, the comparison with the nineteenth century was . . . apt. “Welcome to Injun Country” was the refrain I heard from troops from Colombia to the Philippines, including Afghanistan and Iraq… The War on Terrorism was really about taming the frontier.'”

Brazil: Why It’s a Coup

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 1.45.45 PMThe Guardian reports: “Less than halfway through her elected mandate, Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her presidential duties for up to six months on Thursday after the Senate voted to begin an impeachment trial.

“After a marathon 20-hour debate that one politician described as the ‘saddest day for Brazil’s young democracy,’ senators voted 55 to 22 to suspend the Workers’ party leader, putting economic problems, political paralysis and alleged fiscal irregularities ahead of the 54 million votes that put her in office.

“Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, will have to step aside while she is tried in the upper house for allegedly manipulating government accounts ahead of the previous election. Her judges will be senators, many of whom are accused of more serious wrongdoing.”

The Guardian notes that a new election, favored by many Brazilians as a way of stabilizing the situation “has been ruled out by Vice President Michel Temer, who has now maneuvered to replace his running mate. He has spent the past few weeks canvassing candidates for the center-right administration he is now expected to form. Advance lists of ministerial posts in the domestic media suggest his first cabinet will be entirely male and overwhelmingly white.”

ALEXANDER MAIN, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @ceprdc
Main is senior associate on international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, specializing in Latin America. He said today: “Rousseff’s opponents have been searching for a way to oust her since the beginning of her term.” See pieces by his colleague, Mark Weisbrot: “Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil” and “Has the Left Run its Course in Latin America?

MARIA LUISA MENDONÇA, marialuisam222 at gmail.com
Currently in the U.S., Mendonça is director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights. She is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio De Janeiro.

She said today: “The vote in the Senate was predicable since most of the senators had already expressed their opinions. But this has been a political trial. It’s not about the alleged reason for the impeachment. If the same criteria used against her were used against state governors, 16 of them would be impeached. They all used the same mechanism to cover a budget shortfall. You can’t impeach a president because you don’t like him or her. That’s why we call this a coup.

“Temer is incredibly unpopular — he has two percent support. He’s already naming a new cabinet, which is highly legally questionable. He’s moving a rightwing agenda to cut education and healthcare and abolish the culture ministry.

“He and over half of Congress members in the Lower House and in the Senate are under investigation for corruption and now have much more power over federal police and the legislature to try to prevent those investigations from moving forward.”

Glenn Greenwald notes in “Brazil’s Democracy to Suffer Grievous Blow as Unelectable, Corrupt Neoliberal is Installed,” that: “Her successor will be Vice President Michel Temer of the PMDB party. So unlike impeachment in most other countries with a presidential system, impeachment here will empower a person from a different party than that of the elected President. In this particular case, the person to be installed is awash in corruption: accused by informants of involvement in an illegal ethanol-purchasing scheme, he was just found guilty of, and fined for, election spending violations and faces an eight-year-ban on running for any office.”

What’s a Conservative Today?

1-CoverPresumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to meet House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday. NBC writes: “Sources tell NBC News that Ryan wants Trump to more clearly commit to conservative principles and work to unify the party.”

KELLEY VLAHOS, kv at kelleyvlahos.com, @KelleyBVlahos
Vlahos is a Washington, D.C-based writer and contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine.

She said today: “Many are lecturing about what being a ‘conservative’ means. Certainly there are tensions between people who identify as intellectual conservatives and a Donald Trump, who is appealing to public anger and populist tendencies.

“But people who profess to be ‘intellectual conservatives’ — who may cite Edmund Burke when it’s convenient to do so — frequently don’t abide by rather clear conservative principles when that gets in the way of prevailing agendas. There’s nothing conservative about warmongering. There’s nothing conservative in the classical sense about the government eavesdropping into your private communications while exercising secrecy for itself. That’s not conservative. That’s not small government, that’s tyranny.

“Classical conservatism fully embraces the free market. But government actions — including those backed by Democrats as well as Republicans — like subsidies to various industries, distort the free market. Certainly, bailing out Wall Street firms — which Paul Ryan and other leaders of the Republican establishment backed — is not abiding by the free market. Such individuals are in no position to be offering lectures.

“Certainly, political terms largely mean what people say they mean. There are clearly schisms between the Republican blue bloods and people who have identified with the Tea Party.

“But lots of people who identify as conservative adopt positions not typically thought of in those terms. There are writers we publish at The American Conservative who embrace living off the land. They are adamant environmentalists. They want to conserve the environment. They want to be left alone. This runs contrary to a Sarah Palin who seems to take pride in running roughshod over the environment.”

Paul Ryan “Wildly out of Step”

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05:   U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C), chairman of the House Budget Committee, holds up a copy of the 2012 Republican budget proposal during a news conference April 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Republicans have unveiled their version of the budget proposal for FY 2012 which would cut government spending $6.2 tillion more in 10 years than the version by the Obama Administration.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan is set to meet with Donald Trump on Thursday.

LINDA BENESCH, lbenesch at socialsecurityworks.org, via Lacy Crawford, lcrawford at socialsecurityworks.org, @SSWorks
Benesch is a digital and communications strategist at Social Security Works, a national organization working to protect and expand our Social Security system. Social Security Works is also the convening organization of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition comprised of more than 350 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.

She said today: “One unfortunate consequence of the rise of Donald Trump is that many media outlets are portraying other Republicans, chiefly House Speaker Paul Ryan, as less extreme in comparison. In fact, Ryan’s plans to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are wildly out of step with the American people. While Trump is no friend to Social Security, he has been running against cuts this year, and Republican primary voters have taken notice. The real story here is that Ryan’s plans for cuts have now been resoundingly rejected by primary voters in his own party.”

See fact sheet on Ryan’s budget proposals from Social Security Works, which it states are “based completely on misinformation that enemies of Social Security have been pushing for years.” [PDF]

“Orwellian” Visit to Hiroshima as Obama Modernizes U.S. Nuclear Weapons

hiroshima_1The Japan Times reports: “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday said that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima during the Group of Seven summit later this month. The visit, which will be the first to the A-bombed city by a sitting U.S. president, is scheduled to take place on May 27, the final day of the two-day summit, Abe said, adding that he will accompany the leader.” For a calendar of upcoming events, see: accuracy.org/calendar.

JOSEPH GERSON, JGerson at afsc.org
Director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee in New England, Gerson’s books include With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination and Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.

He recently wrote the piece “Orwell (and the President) Come to Hiroshima.” Gerson said today: “The symbolism of Obama’s visit has the potential to focus world attention on the increasingly urgent need to abolish the world’s nuclear arsenals, which could end all life as we know it. In fact the United States is obligated by Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to engage in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. However, the best way to divert attention from the world’s 7,000 nuclear weapons and $1 trillion in spending for a new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems would be a distracting, symbolic and Orwellian presidential visit to Hiroshima.”

“It is important to change the current ‘first use’ doctrine of most nuclear armed states. For years, the Soviet Union said it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons while the U.S. government refused to make such a commitment. Unfortunately, Russia has since adopted the U.S. stance. Now, China is the only nuclear armed state with a no first use stance. That policy should be adopted by the others, or else it’s only a matter of time before China adopts the more belligerent stance.

“There have been more than 30 times since the Nagasaki A-bombing that the U.S. government has prepared and/or threatened to initiate nuclear war during wars and international crises, most recently with the simulated nuclear attacks against North Korea and the nuclear-capable bomber flights in response to China’s building new military bases in contested waters of the South China Sea.

“It is also important to address the forces that are fueling the 21st century arms race: the U.S. weapons labs and profiteering military-industrial complex companies; NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders and massive U.S. military superiority in so-called conventional and high-tech weapons and the militarization of space; and the U.S. military pivot to Asia designed to manage China’s rise.”

Gerson is a co-convener of Peace & Planet, an international network that he notes “has urged people to contact the White House urging that President Obama go to Hiroshima, but not to go empty-handed. Peace and Planet has urged President Obama to meet with representatives of Nihon Hidankyo, the Japan Confederation of A- & H- Bomb Sufferers Organizations, and to use his visit to Hiroshima to call for the beginning of negotiations to eliminate the world’s nuclear arsenals and to end the $1 trillion program to create a new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.”

Note to producers: You may want to use the song “Enola Gay,” by OMD as a musical lead-in; this version by Elisa Salasin includes audio clips of President Harry Truman claiming that Hiroshima was “a military base,” and J. Robert Oppenheimer saying: “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” See on YouTube.

Brazil Impeachment Agenda: Stop Corruption Investigations

aroeira.lemondediplomatiquebrasil-702x336The New York Times reports today: “In a stunning twist in the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, the new speaker of the lower house of Congress has changed his mind — less than 24 hours after announcing that he would try to annul his chamber’s decision to impeach her.”

MARIA LUISA MENDONÇA,  marialuisam222 at gmail.com
Currently in the U.S., Mendonça is director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights. She is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio De Janeiro.

She said today: “The procedures to impeach president Dilma Rousseff in Brazil are looking more like tragic theater every day. Yesterday, the speaker of the lower House, Waldir Maranhao, canceled the decision taken by the plenary on April 17, which approved the impeachment, pointing to several illegal measures in that vote. Late last night, Maranhao canceled his own decision. Earlier yesterday, the speaker in the Senate, Renan Calheiros, ignored Maranhao’s decision to cancel the April 17 vote, and declared that he would move ahead with the Senate vote, which could make the whole impeachment process illegal. Last week, the Supreme Court accepted charges of corruption against former House speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who orchestrated and conducted the impeachment vote on April 17, in which the accusations against the president were rarely mentioned during the vote. Most Congress members declared that they were supporting the impeachment in the name of God, their families, and one of them even praised a former military commander who tortured several political activists during the military dictatorship in Brazil.

“President Dilma Rousseff is accused of using a common financial mechanism to cover social program expenses in the federal budget by borrowing funds from public banks, which previous administrations also used, as well as local administrations. On the other hand, most Congress members in favor of the impeachment face serious investigations of corruption.

“Media outlets in Brazil play a key role in this process, calling demonstrations against the government. A key player is Globo TV, which is known for supporting the military dictatorship that lasted more than 20 years in Brazil. Globo executives were recently mentioned in connection with the Panama Papers, and in the investigations against FIFA for illegal procedures in negotiating broadcast rights of soccer games.

“At the same time, large demonstrations against the impeachment and in defense of the democratic process that elected president Rousseff have been ignored by mainstream media. If the electoral process is undermined in Brazil, major political institutions will lose credibility, including the National Congress and the Judiciary, given the contradictions and irregularities that can put democracy at risk. The vice-president, Michael Temer, who hopes to assume the presidency, will not have legitimacy as his popularity is extremely low and he is currently facing corruption charges.

“The main agenda for impeaching President Rousseff is to stop investigations of corruption against Congress members and media executives, and to implement severe austerity measures and cuts in social programs, which will increase social inequality and economic instability.”

Urban Institute Attack on Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Plan is “Ridiculous”

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on May 9, 2016. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER, M.D., via Mark Almberg,  mark at pnhp.org, @PNHP
Dr. Woolhandler co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program, which does research and advocacy for single-payer health care, but does not endorse candidates. She is a professor at City University of New York at Hunter College who sees patients in the South Bronx. Almberg is communications director for PNHP.

She just co-wrote the piece “The Urban Institute’s Attack On Single Payer: Ridiculous Assumptions Yield Ridiculous Estimates,” which states: “The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center [Monday] released analyses of the costs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance. They claim that Sanders’ proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade.” This report has been covered by NPR, CBS News, PBS, Bloomberg, the Washington Post and other major media.

Woolhandler writes: “To put it bluntly, the estimates (which were prepared by John Holahan and colleagues) are ridiculous. They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations — which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.

“The authors’ anti-single-payer bias is also evident from their incredible claims that physicians’ incomes would be squeezed (which contradicts their own estimates positing a sharp rise in spending on physician services), and that patients would suffer huge disruptions, despite the fact that the implementation of single-payer systems elsewhere, as well as the start-up of Medicare, were disruption-free.

“We outline below some of the most glaring errors in the Holahan analysis (which served as the basis for Tax Policy Center’s estimates) regarding health care spending under the Sanders plan.

1. Administrative savings, Part 1: Holahan assumes that insurance overhead would be reduced to 6 percent of total health spending from the current level of 9.5 percent. They base this 6 percent estimate on figures for Medicare’s current overhead, which include the extraordinarily high overhead costs of private Medicare HMOs run by UnitedHealthcare and other insurance firms. However, Sen. Sanders’ proposal would exclude these for-profit insurers, and instead build on the traditional Medicare program, whose overhead is less than 3 percent. Moreover, even this 3 percent figure is probably too high, since Sanders’ plan would simplify hospital payment by funding them through global budgets (similar to the way fire departments are paid), rather than the current patient-by-patient payments. Hence a more realistic estimate would assume that insurance overhead would drop to Canada’s level of about 1.8 percent. Cutting insurance overhead to 2 percent (rather than the 6 percent that Holahan projects) would save an additional $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. …”

Panama Papers, How Global Rich Siphon Wealth and Obama’s “Window Dressing”

no-shelter-from-the-panama-papers-displayThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists today published a searchable database of the Panama Papers.

JAMES HENRY, jamesshelburnehenry at mac.com, @submergingmkt
Henry’s books include The Blood Bankers: Tales from the Global Underground Economy and the forthcoming The Pirate Bankers.

He recently completed a study on tax havens which the Guardian just reported on: “More than $12tn (£8tn) has been siphoned out of Russia, China and other emerging economies into the secretive world of offshore finance, new research has revealed, as David Cameron prepares to host world leaders for an anti-corruption summit.” This event is to take place Thursday. For a calendar of events, see: accuracy.org/calendar.

Henry — who was also just interviewed by The Real News about the release of the Panama Papers — said today: “A large part of what people are overlooking is that countries in the West are themselves tax havens. The documents are called the ‘Panama Papers’ because that’s where the law firm — Mossack Fonseca — where the documents came from is headquartered, but that’s not where the money stayed. It goes to Western banks. The latest example of this is New Zealand.” See this new report from Radio New Zealand: “NZ at heart of Panama money-go-round.”

Henry continued: “But this is an old game, it’s just getting bigger and bigger and more complex. It puts the idea of global development on its head: Investments are supposed to come from rich countries to poor countries so they can build up and those investors get a higher rate of return. But what we’re seeing in reality is the opposite: Wealthy people in poorer countries take their money out of those countries and get a low rate of return in rich countries. And of course, the wealthy in rich countries use havens to avoid taxes and for other reasons that don’t do anything beneficial.

“Switzerland has traditionally played this role. But the U.S. is now a huge player and it’s telling that the ‘reforms’ President Obama is now proposing don’t have requirements for a registry of who owns what in U.S. states that act as havens, especially Delaware, Wyoming, Nevada, North Dakota and Alaska. All these states have financial secrecy on a massive level.

“Until the U.S. and other Western governments address that, any changes are window dressing.

“We have mass surveillance of the general public, but the global rich can hide trillions of dollars in assets without any serious transparency.”

Ballot Choices Beyond Clinton and Trump

maxresdefaultRICHARD WINGER, richardwinger at yahoo.com
Publisher and editor of Ballot Access News, Winger said today: “Some establishment Republicans seem to be trying to line up an independent presidential run to stop Donald Trump. Contrary to what many in the media are claiming, it’s not too late for a major independent candidate to get on the ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Anderson v. Celebrezze in 1983 that early ballot deadlines were unconstitutional. June deadlines have been struck down in five states in recent years: Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, South Dakota and Kansas.

“Our ballot access laws are chaotic and onerous. The ballots are printed weeks before the election — which is six months away. In Britain, you can get on the ballot three weeks before the election.

“The mainstream media seem especially oblivious to the fact that there are 17 states with right-leaning one-state parties. For example, there’s the Independence Party in New York — an offshoot of the Reform Party Ross Perot founded in the 90s. These could be strung together to form an independent run.

“But, the Republican establishment unhappy with Trump can’t do anything — including having a lawsuit to strike down these state restrictions — without a candidate.

“Whether or not that effort materializes, minor parties may play a much larger role this year than in recent memory. The Libertarian Party will probably be on all 50 states this year. The Green Party, by November, I’d estimate to be on 40 to 45.

“While such minor parties have generally been ignored by the media, this year, the New York Times has written twice about Gary Johnson, one of the Libertarian candidates. When Johnson was the Libertarian nominee in 2012, he didn’t get anywhere near that level of attention.

“The Greens have reached out to the Sanders campaign, to see how they might work together, but he has apparently not responded. But the Greens are increasing in capacity — they did qualify for primary season matching funds this year. They haven’t seen the same increase in media coverage as the Libertarians yet, perhaps partly because Sanders is still campaigning.”

Winger also noted the restrictive nature of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is facing lawsuits.

See: “RT America gives Green, Libertarian candidates a voice with 3rd-party debates“: “Green Party candidates Jill Stein, Kent Mesplay and Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza Curry will face off on Monday, while Libertarian Party candidates Darryl W. Perry, Austin Petersen and Marc Allan Feldman will debate next Thursday. Both debates will cover foreign policy, domestic issues, and electoral reform. … The debates will air on RT America from 4 pm to 6 pm Eastern time. You can also watch them on the RT America YouTube page.”

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