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"It's Armageddon Time for the Democratic Party"


And the Oscar goes to parasites. Thank you very much everybody. Wow we've all been through a lot together over three years Andy Vodkas here and my my sons and my whole family is the crooked most dishonest dirtiest people I've ever seen and they're vicious hell downright nasty and mean these people are corrupt. In my opinion they want to destroy our country. You never thought it was as bad as is it is tremendous corruption tremendous corruption. I want to apologize for our country. We're have I got God. I'm sorry I'm really not a bad person. Much my life nothing happens. It's unbelievable believable. But think of that. God impeachment all hell broke out for me trump. I didn't have time to think. Think too much but I said this is not good and they brought me to the final stages of impeachment. And you know you could be George Washington. Thank you very much every bottle factory This is intercepted I'm Jeremy Scahill coming from the offices of the intercept in New York City and this is episode one sixteen of intercepted as far as Michael Bloomberg is concerned I I think that his his involvement in this campaign will be a positive one last fall a few months ago the third most powerful figure in the US Government House Speaker. Nancy Pelosi had a phone call with a man who is undoubtedly one of the most hated people bull among her base of Democratic Party supporters. I'm talking about the famed consumer advocate and former independent presidential candidate. Ralph Nader their phone. Call took place as the Democrats. Were getting ready to launch their impeachment case against Donald Trump on that call nater says that he laid out a strategy strategy for attacking trump that he believed could have resulted in his actual removal from office Ralph Nader who has spent his entire life working to implement a wide range of consumer and environmental protections argued that it would be a mistake to narrowly focus on the Ukraine phone call and that there were issues far more pressing to millions of Americans regardless of their political affiliation in a moment. Ralph Nader is going to share with us. The details of what he said on Matt Paul and what Nancy Pelosi told him but what is clear right now. As Donald Trump continues his victory tour and purges dissidents from his administration the public servants who obeyed the law and appeared before Congress. Is that the past three years of democratic leadership and decision making has made trump trump stronger at several crucial moments in trump's presidency. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer have blown it. They have run scared and and brought pea shooters to a gun fight and now as the Democratic primary process intensifies the Institutional Democratic Party appears once again to be doing everything in its power to hurt the effort to unseat Donald Trump later in the show. I'm going to be joined by my intercept colleague and terrific investigative reporter Lee Fong to discuss the candidacy of Michael Bloomberg his emerging strategy to block Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren from winning the nomination. And and how the Democratic National Committee and its head. Tom Perez are changing rules and abetting Bloomberg's campaign to essentially purchase the nomination Asian with his vast wealth but I to discuss the failed impeachment move against Donald Trump and the state of the Democratic primary. I'm joined now by Ralph Nader. He ran for president in two thousand two thousand four and two thousand eight and throughout his life. He's been one of the most important voices for Justice Justice the Environment Consumer Protection in US history. Ralph Nader's latest book with the Consumer Advocate Mark Green is called fake president decoding trump's gas lighting corruption and general bullshit. It really is an important book and it could serve as a roadmap for unseating donald trump trump if anyone in the leadership of the Democratic Party would take the time to read it. Ralph Nader welcome back to intercepted germy. Let's begin with the impeachment and your assessment of the strategy that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats employed in going after trump well I and others beseeched her to go with a a strong full hand of impeachable offenses and have them reflect kitchen table issues. Well that didn't happen We did see that major committee chairs wanted to put a rivalry provision in. She turned down. They wanted to expand the obstruction obstruction in defiance of subpoenas a critical impeachable offense beyond the Ukraine matter. She turned down. The Democrats were basically subjected to one person decision. Nancy Pelosi the house speaker well. She gambled and lost badly. Not only he was acquitted witted but pose went up for trump which was a sounding so now the question is will the committee chairs who's expanded expanded Recommendation to her was rejected will now come back to her and say round to she has stated repeatedly that she she thinks trump quote is a liar a crook a thief and he should be in prison and quote. S- pretty good start. She also stated she wants the five committee chairs to continue their investigations into the corruption and wrongdoing and refusal to enforce laws on behalf of the health safety and economic wellbeing of people. That's the Banking Committee Oversight Committee Judiciary Committee Tetra. And if they do AH THEY'RE GONNA run up against a trump stonewall for further information witnesses which means they're going to be obligated to issue subpoenas which will be defied that is a per se impeachable effects when trump defies these subpoenas for witnesses and documents commits speaker. Pelosi will have to face up to the constitution. The constitution does not require her to go to court. They can enforce I their own subpoenas so they go to the floor. No witnesses are needed clean. Cut Trump defied the subpoenas you defy the essential. Oh Power Congress without which all other authorities are debilitated if they cannot get information under the constitution from the executive branch how debilitated will be the war power the appropriations for the tax power the confirmation power. You defied it. You're GONNA be impeached. These subpoenas would be associated with all kinds of kitchen table issues where people have a stake in these impeachments. Teach minutes. Didn't have a stake much. Ukraine important designed is too remote but they do have a stake. In for example his destruction of life saving consumer protections environmental protections workplace safety protections in his destruction of social safety net protections Russians for children but those impeachable offenses yes. They are when they're associated with corruption and shredding in other words. This isn't just normal deregulation what they're doing now to the EPA is stripping it of its capacity to enforce the law. They're pushing out scientist. This downgrading other professionals they're cutting budgets without congressional authority and they're run by people who have conflicts of interest and are corrupt Already left like Scott Pruitt. It's the failure to execute the laws. That's one of the impeachable offenses in the constitution. Now if Nancy Pelosi doesn't do that. Trump will go all over the country all over his tweets all over the obsequious media with his disparaging nicknames and Taunting gloating. I told her a conversation I had with her three months ago. I said Nancy you know what he's is GonNa do. He's GonNa say Nancy Pelosi had the majority in the House and she had all these crazy charges and she didn't want to get him through. You know why she couldn't get him through because they're our allies. They're all fake. I did nothing wrong rough. What did Pelosi say to you when you were laying? All of this is out. She said I want an air tight case and she thinks Ukraine is an airtight case number. Two she thought the public attentions fan couldn't endure multiple impeachment charges and number three. I think she cut a deal with her twelve blue dog Democrats rats. That was the only thing she was going to bring forward because it had a national security military sheen about that insulated them in. What's really really important here? Is She wanted to tie up. The Republicans in knots in the Senate and she only used one not she used one finger out of ten tin. That could have been curled into tough fist. Why did Nancy Pelosi meet with you? Given the way that you're to this day vilified by the establishment Democratic Party for daring to run for President Multiple Times. Well it wasn't a meeting it was a telephone conversation I take because they're interested in what I have to say. I mean I could give them all kinds of strategies to landslide donald trump. If they would listen I could show them how to argue their case. I mean it just give you example example. You've got some currency in the Democratic Party now for Universal Basic Income Andrew Yang most prominently and it's viewed as giveaway and pandering to the people. How do you argue universal basic income in addition to alleviating dire poverty edition addition increasing consumer demand for goods and services which stimulates the economy far better than a corporate tax cut? Well one way as you say. Hey these corporations. Preparations have already had universal basic income. What what do you mean? Yeah what do you think. Massive corporate subsidies handouts giveaways and bailouts are. They're massive universal basic income giveaways. They are not only getting all these taxpayer freebies but they also get trillions trillions of dollars in the last decade of free government research and development which built Silicon Valley and built the biotech nanotech. A A lot of the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries. That's pretty good Universal basic income. They don't know how to argue it. That's why once in a while I get through on the phone call is the strategy. You're advocating putting forth those charges getting an impeachment on those charges sending it to the Senate for trial as a way of educating the public or revealing these crimes because it seems very unlikely in this day and age that more than one or two Republicans no matter how much such evidence was out there would've jumped ship on trump over the issues you're describing. They love that form of deregulation and they seem to not really care at all about the overt corruption in that. We're witnessing not winner preceded by dozens of highly televised House Committee hearings on Miss USA presidential power power that is harming in kitchen table manners where people live work and raise their families. The American people aren't watching. MSNBC SPANNER CNN. I mean Fox Fox News is the single most powerful news entity as well as social media and has trump has said. He's his own media outlet. I see it Ralph. Has Part of the problem is there. Is such low trust in media such a low approval ratings of the Democrats in Congress that it doesn't matter if you hold those hearings given the media landscape today this is not like the seventies where it's every single night on the news. People are seeking out information. They want not seeking out the truth wrong analysis. This all right. Tell me when you see. The kind of witnesses at the house could abrupt the kind of empathy the kind of residents just the way they did when they brought some of those civil level servants you have to admit their test. My reached a lot of people. faulk says its own constituency so the other networks the other cable the social media the newspapers the word rid of mouth these are very easy abuses by trump to understand unlike the more arcane diplomatic situation with Ukraine right. How does this impact the broader move at the ballot box to try to defeat? Donald Trump producer slippage by the democrat. Gordy acknowledged it in the last two weeks you see. The Democrats cannot defeat Donald trump by themselves because they don't use all all the arguments and all the issues there has to be a parallel movement to get out to vote against trump because the Democrats are not listening. It's almost it's impossible to get through. Tom Perez the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. It's very hard to get any of these people. They think they know it all and what what kind of. Not The caution of Nancy. Pelosi has broader defeat in four out of five congressional elections. Two Thousand Ten twelve twelve fourteen sixteen squeeze through in two thousand eighteen with the help of progressive candidates but it's not exactly a confirmation that her cautious approach is winning for her. It illustrated itself in the Senate debate recently over the Ukraine impeachment articles. Also at the same time you have the sort of establishment Democratic Party and figures like you know he's not so significant in many ways right now but his history is worth earth reminding people of James Carville who was one of the brains behind Clinton's sent to the presidency. Basically having an aneurysm over the notion that Bernie Sanders could be the Democratic nominee. The only thing between the United States in the abyss is the Democratic Party. That's IT and if if we go to way to British Labour party if we nominate Jeremy Corbyn is going to be to indicate so I am. I am scared to death. I really am your current assessment of how Tom Perez. The establishment elites of the Democratic Party are mobilizing against Bernie Sanders in particular but also against anyone with a truly progressive policy platform. Well the democratic corporate establishment deepen the Democratic National Committee in the Super Delegate Fiasco imagined that nobody elects them but they can tip the balance undermined burning two thousand sixteen. But they're at it again. They have to Stop Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Because they're hegemonies over. If one of those people get elected and hand they want to continue dialing for corporate dollars and want to continue Obama's record setting fundraising from Wall Street which exceeded his his Republican opponents. Your magic he got more money from Wall Street and John McCain in two thousand eight. That's the internal struggle this business about socialism that's just a cover but they're willing to immolate themselves this year and let trump win by basically stereotyping any kind of progressive legislation as socialism. The argument should be by the Progressive Democrats. Look here's what you mean by socialism. It means full health insurance It means a living wage It means a retirement security. It means Protecting people people from serious erosions of their rights as workers means the ability to repeal the Taft Hartley Act and reflect majority desires in the retail trades like Walmart to join unions. And so on. But if you want more examples of people well. Let's see the Post Office Josh. Socialism public drinking water departments all over the country who gets that social and public libraries get such socialism public electric electric utilities over a thousand around the country including Jacksonville Florida. How `bout the Tennessee Valley Authority deepen red state territory? You think you can repeal Latte Latte by conservative voters in Tennessee and Alabama. They'd run you out of town so they don't know how to argue this. And here's the umbrella argument. Jeremy Look Look. It's a choice between trump's corporate socialism which you cannot do select and throw the rascals out because it's Wall Street controlling Washington or Democratic Socialism. Where if you don't like it? If you don't like law and order to corporate domination of your lives and the corporate state eight which Franklin Delano Roosevelt called Fascism and message to Congress nineteen thirty you can always throw the rascals out that's the difference and what is corporate socialism. Listen to your tax money. Bailing out the creeks and Wall Street in two thousand with trillions of dollars corporate socialism shoveling. Out Your hard earned Dollars the company subsidies handouts giveaways etc and above all. It's taking your money away. By giving Senate to tax breaks for the rich and powerful which creates huge deficits that are going to be paid by your children and your grandchildren. Instead of putting putting the trillion and a half dollars of trump's tax cut including cutting his own families taxes into rebuilding America. That's the way arguing Germany. What is the emerging elite democratic corporate wing of the Democratic Party strategy in this primary? What are they trying to do? Who are they going to get behind in your assessment they like People like Joe Biden. You know he comes out of the corporate state gotta the Obama World Out of the Clarence. Thomas enabler alert chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee mistreating Anita Hill. And and he comes out of that they like him and if he falters they'll they'll go for Bloomberg Berga because they know he's got a lot of money to go up against the Republicans it's just redux. Its Corporate State Democrat redux that is almost identical in military and foreign policy with the Republicans. They're almost identical and booming bigger military budgets and lathering arena the military industrial complex. Whatever they want? They're almost identical with avoiding applying Law Enforcement to Wall Street all that is deliberate. All that is part of the REP damn consensus the two party duopoly that stereotypes third parties and when they start seeing an insurgence in their own. Farney the go to work on a behind the scenes tipping close primary elections ago to work on them slandering them by stereotyping and the most interesting person emerging here is Pete. Buddha check east coming on almost like a new Obama or renew Clinton this kind of smooth moderation he signaling with his fundraising parties with billionaires and billionaires that he's going to be acceptable to them Donald Trump according to news reports and his allies raised. Twenty five million dollars today. We we need to go into that fight with everything that we've got. We need politics that is defined not by who reject but how we bring everybody everybody into the fold and if you are low income or if you're able to contribute a lot if you've always voted Hillary Clinton also really early on in Tulsi Gabbard 's candidacy see for the Democratic nomination smearing her as essentially a Russian agent Tulsi Gabbard is of course suing her for defamation. Now I have a lot a lot of problems with some aspects of Tulsi Gabbard history. Her record her relationship with some very frightening individuals in India some of her positions on gay rights that have now shifted and I think she has some questions to answer about some of her positions on Syria. But it reminds me also of how you were treated. Read it. And I'm wondering what your assessment is of that preemptive strike against Tulsi Gabbard by Hillary Clinton to say. Hey this is the new Jill Stein this is who the Russians have chosen Hillary Clinton if she continues Berating Tulsi. Ghabra's afraid the SHOGO independent Tako so-called takeaway some votes in key states. I don't think that's going to happen. The more serious attack is the use of the word electability. If they can't use the word Democratic Socialism they use the word elect ability to marginalize main progressive candidates in the Democratic primary. Now this is basically a symptom of the defeatism defeatism of the Democratic Party. How can anybody running for president against this relentless Savage Sexual Predator later this constant liar on matters of serious import to the American people separating millions of people from reality into his commercialized personalized fantasy? This person who's a bigot. And a racist and he follows up with actions reflecting that. How can the the Democrats even raise the issue of trying to find a candidate? WHO's electable against this person? That's just a technique to marginalize progressive candidates and they use the words moderate and centrist and leftist extremists to pursue the same strategy to mainstream dream their corporate democratic primary candidates for example Joe Biden is called a moderate Joe Biden for example as supported a Wars abroad there. Unconstitutional why's that immoderate. Joe Biden has been totally of the big banks. Why is that a moderate? Why is it considered leftist to support universal health insurance and a living wage and cracking down on corporate crime? Those receive enormous results in the polls left-right frights support sixty five seventy seventy five eighty ninety percent. Why is that considered extreme or left is because the Progressive Democrats? Don't I don't know how to argue their case Germany. As a result the media which follows them gets jaded. They hear the same wind up. It's a good wind up but it's too repetitive. And it excludes a whole range of factual conditions on the ground that will alert more and more millions of people to to say to themselves. She's on my side. He's on my side and they don't do that therefore they don't generate any news even though they're in the eye of the media during the primary season day after day we know that there were very dirty tricks played in the two thousand Sixteen Primary Primary by Hillary Clinton and the DNC against Bernie Sanders the Iowa caucus made a lot of sanders. Supporters believed that that already is is happening opening right now not just the over kind of war against the Sanders and to a lesser extent. But still there warren candidacy but if you have a DNC that is willing willing to rig its own primary what is Bernie Sanders Path. Not just to winning that nomination but then running a national campaign against a humongous war chest chassis. That trump already is amassing. First of all he has to attack the caucus system the caucus system is is a form of voter suppression. Let's face it. I mean how many people can take out four five hours travel to a location. Stay there at night. Leave their kids. We can barely get people to just go and vote in a poll in a normal Primary like New Hampshire so he lost an opportunity after two thousand sixteen eighteen to go after them. Although he did change some rules he reduced the number of super delegates which is away the Corporate Democrats Jab in at the end to tip the close race between their candidates and progressive candidates and now the super delegates only kick in at the Democratic National Convention attention on the second round but still they can be decisive and you know the super delegates are members of Congress who are Democrats and former Democratic governors such search. They haven't been elected to anything as far as this election is concerned but they can decide the outcome if sanders does get the nomination. What will that mean in for the Democratic Party? I mean would it be akin to you know to sort of what the tea party and ultimately trump did to the Republican party. I'm not drawing a comparison between their individual Joel Policies with their morality in terms of Bernie and and trump but in terms of what it does to the party. It seems to me like Bernie. Winning would effectively shatter parts parts of the Democratic Party for the better like get rid of of some of these toxic elements that dominate. That party Bernie wins the election against trump. Should he get at the nomination. It has to be a massive surge of voter turnout which rule sweep out a lot of the Republicans in the Congress so he will have have a much more receptive congress. It will sweep out the Corporate Democrats in the Democratic National Committee and it will reorient the Democratic Party to where it should be which is a party of by and for the people. That's why they WANNA fight them. Is there a future for third party organizing in this country country given what is happening right now with the assent of Donald Trump and the threat of an even more authoritarian second term. If the Democrats lose I see see two scenarios here for third parties one. They proceed as they are proceeding. Maybe get some more votes to nudge. The major party eighty that's closest to their views in the right direction. A second scenario if the Democrats lose to the worst president in history that the the crudest the most overt disgusting foul Mouth Corporate Toady. WHO's destroyed the rule of law and constitutional observance Servi- if they lose to him? I can see the Republican Party. Breaking Open I can see some reminiscent of the the Republican Party being created eighteen fifties splitting and replacing the whig party in an era of billionaires who are willing to fund new parties that is not outta range they will call it a new centrist party. Something the way Bloomberg's been talking about and then the third word and this is the one that Democrats gotta be really afraid a progressive third party with hundreds of millions of dollars in their war chest enough enough to get five to ten twelve fifteen percent. So this is really Armageddon time for the Democrat Party. They've been losing and losing to the worst Republican Party in history. The stupidity ignorance the bigotry. The corporatism the self-serving enrichment CETERA. They're a mirror of trump. If the Democrats lose this one there's going to be a lot of Fisher a Lotta splits. Ralph Nader thank you very much for being with us. Thank you Jeremy. Legendary consumer advocate and former presidential candidate. Ralph Nader is with Mark Green author of the new book fake President Decoding Trump's gas lighting corruption and general bullshit. You can check out. More of Ralph Nader's work at Nater Dot Org. After many years of trying to figure out a viable way to run for president former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally decided in late November to enter the crowded democratic race for president a few months earlier when Bloomberg was on the Economist podcast he pretended to have no interest. I entering the race. Even if Joe Biden's prospects for the nomination started fading the polls say that the most likely voters in the Democratic Attic Party are much more liberal than I am and would not vote for me now. If I was the only one they would vote if I was the only one that they thought could be. Donald Trump. They might but our conclusion was. You could not get the nomination and there are plenty of other ways to make a difference. Apparently things have changed in the short few months since Bloomberg officially entered the race. He has used his massive fortune as the eighth richest person in the United States to fuel his campaign purchasing his way into a position as one of the top five candidates in several national polls. So let's take a closer look at Mr Bloomberg the guy who just said he was probably too conservative for many Democratic voters and you said has a May along with a real guns it does eh and say Oh God you are arresting. Its marijuana going as this is true. Why yes that's true lies and the way she it is? That's a clip of Mike Bloomberg justifying New York. Stop and Frisk policy in remarks. That he made made the Aspen Institute back in Twenty fifteen by the way the video of that has been online for about five years on Youtube. But the clip resurfaced officed after podcast host. Ben Dixon posted it to twitter on Monday night. And then with that. The Bloomberg is racist Hashtag went viral L.. CNN eventually reported on it and responded to the Post questioning the integrity not of Bloomberg. But of Ben Dixon the podcast or and the writer that released the sound is clearly a Bernie supporter if you look at his. Twitter feed is very anti Bloomberg. He is promoting a past. Had Bloomberg is a racist. We don't know how he got the sound to begin with by the way the CNN business reporter who made those comments yes. She worked for Bloomberg News News before joining CNN. The stop and Frisk policy peaked in two thousand and eleven at nearly seven hundred thousand stops per year under Bloomberg's administration in twenty thirteen. A federal judge. said that the New York City Police Department tactic amounted to what she called a policy of indirect racial profiling noting that nearly ninety percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons and or arrest in response to the judge's ruling which found that the police departments practice violated the constitutional rights of those targeted mayor. Bloomberg Greg at the time had this to say throughout the trial that just concluded the judge made it clear. She was not at all interested in the crime. Reductions here or how we achieve them after years of justifying the aggressive use of stop and Frisk under his administration Bloomberg Changed Course and apologize just before or he announced his bid for the Democratic nomination lawyer and activist Abbie Barkin who clerked for the federal judge. Who made the ruling in that case and reviewed the NYPD's ipt's records said quote? Stop and Frisk was illegal and racist policy. That did nothing to make New York safer bark and went on to say Bloomberg quote quote apologizing as he announced presidential campaign alongside and add prominently featuring photos of himself with black. New Yorkers is particularly cynical and disingenuous after the aspen recording went viral on Tuesday and began to be reported on by large media organizations including the New York Times Michael Bloomberg released a statement saying quote. I have apologized for taking too long to understand the impact of stop and Frisk on black and Latino communities I inherited rated stop and Frisk in an effort to stop gun violence. It was overused. I cut it back by ninety five percent. I should have cut it back sooner. Well what Michael Bloomberg conveniently left out of that statement is that stop and Frisk actually peaked under his administration. But this isn't the only policy that should cause voters to question Russian whether Bloomberg would champion the needs and issues of everyday people if he was elected president as mayor. He frequently fought against unionized. Workers pledging to reform pensions right now. He's singing a different tune but just a few years ago. He said he was not in favor of raising the minimum wage. You don't solve the problem as the populace would argue by taking things away from the rich. Solve the problem by giving opportunity to everybody and by creating jobs and some of these things I think some of the policies are misguided I for example and not in favor of never been in favor of raising the minimum wage now Bloomberg has been an advocate hit at times for important issues like gun control and to an extent combating climate change but in many cases as he himself has previously noted he is to to the right of most likely Democratic voters joining me now to discuss. How Michael Bloomberg is essentially buying his way into the presidential race is investigative negated reporter for the intercept Li Peng Lee? Welcome back to intercepted Adamy. CNN showed a chart that detailed how Bloomberg's AD spending far outpaces all of the other top presidential candidates more than three hundred fifty million dollars. Just by contrast Tom Star is at about one hundred and seventy eight million and Bernie Sanders. Thirty seven million Bloomberg ran this ten million dollar ad during the Super Bowl when I heard Michael is stepping into the ring. I thought now we have a dog in the fight. I know Mike is not afraid of gun lobby. They're scared of him and they should. He also ran an ad. During trump's state of the Union address. The real state of the Union a nation divided by an angry out of control. President what what impact is Bloomberg's ads strategy having on the Democratic primary and and what can we read into the intent being of Michael Bloomberg's ads campaign. I mean you mentioned some of the figures here but just to put it. In Perspective Bernie has the largest grassroots fundraising machine. We've ever ever seen in democratic politics over one point. Three million individual donors giving repeatedly on a month to month basis. Small donors raising a lot of money and and within just two and a half months or so Bloomberg has already spending nearly ten times. The amount of Bernie the figures that you're citing three engine fifty one million dollars that Bloomberg is spent that's in disclosable radio and TV buys some online buys but we don't know the full figure because he's also doing some of these semi earned media kind of gray area at strategies around influencers. You know he's. He's apparently paying folks who go on on instagram. And promote the Mike Bloomberg campaign the actual extent of the money is kind of limitless. We've just never seen this in American politics. Even going back to the gilded era of a plutocratic an oligarchy. Coming in and spending this type of money even makes Tom Star. WHO's a billionaire? Maher worth between one and two billion dollars former hedge fund manager look like a paper a peasant in comparison because star broke previous records. It with one hundred and seventy eight million dollars or so in TV ad buys and Bloomberg just a few months has nearly doubled that and just in terms of net worth Bloomberg worth over sixty billion dollars. We see in election after election folks. Who can spend the most TV ad buys online ad buys have a huge edge? The folks who had not considered Bloomberg before are suddenly talking about him You see his name recognition skyrocket. He's up in the top five or six in national polls which seemed inconceivable for someone just a few years ago who had been funding Republican campaigns and considered himself an independent or a Republican now. Oh He's considered a potential Democratic nominee. So that's that's what money can buy you Robert Rice the public policy professor at UC Berkeley. And of course under Bill Clinton he was the secretary criteria labor. He noted in the Guardian recently that Bloomberg is in the top four in many Super Tuesday states in Texas and North Carolina. He has overtaken Buddha Judge for fourth. He has the third highest polling average in Florida ahead of Elizabeth Warren fourth-highest in Michigan. Ohio Georgia Pennsylvania Nia and New Jersey. WHO's primaries all fall after Super Tuesday? It does seem like a naked attempt to purchase the nomination nomination for the Democratic presidential candidacy but at the same time it feels like part of what he's trying to do is sabotage any left candidate particularly particularly Bernie Sanders from winning this nomination. Is there any credence to that line of thinking. We're not inside of the Bloomberg headquarters we don't know his exact strategy Veggie but just looking at the overall dynamics here we can conjecture a little bit. He did not run in the first four early states in large part because most election observers. No it's those first. Four states are not about the delegates. These are relatively small states. That don't award a lot of delegates. It's a lot about the narrative coming coming out of each of these states who has the momentum who's everyone talking about. WHO's getting that earned media? Who looks like a winner to voters and for Bloomberg? He's not playing in those states so we can shape the narrative. He can come out and say look. I didn't even compete so I'm not a loser. Given all the chaos the inviting of the current Democratic field. I'm the one you can look towards as the unity candidate if you look at Bloomberg very public comments in the last few years. He's very hostile. Hostile to the ideas and the individual in terms of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He hates the idea of a wealth tax and a much higher minimum wage on a lot of these other kind of big economic issues advanced by those two candidates and this is an unusual democratic convention or nomination process because we so many people running many of these candidates have their own constant fundraising machine. So even if they do poorly in the first few states so they can continue fundraising and financing their campaigns and going into the convention the nominee has to have something like one thousand nine hundred pledged delegates to get the nomination or the candidate needs that many delegates if a single candidate does not have that magic number then it becomes a brokered convention and anything can happen. The super delegates members of Congress can then vote people can trade delegates and if Bloomberg can simply run on up his numbers so that he gets enough pledged delegates going into the Convention he can deny Warren or Bernie that magic number and then use his influence within the Democratic Party. Now you have to remember. Many of the lobbyists the Distinguished Party leaders these other folks who are the super delegates The the members of Congress they owe their seats to Bloomberg money or they have consulted for Bloomberg or they're literally hired by Bloomberg right now to advise his campaign paint so the folks who are actually going to make the determination of the final nominee are loyal or or literally working for Bloomberg. So we don't know the exact endgame strategy here. Will they give the nomination to Bloomberg or will he act simply as the king-maker and use his block delegates to Deny Bernie and Warren Orrin or whomever the nomination and give it to someone else. We don't know but It's looking a lot like he'll play deciding role if there is a broker convention well and it's hard hard to not conclude Lee that the DNC under. Tom Perez seems to be doing everything at Ken to promote Mike Bloomberg As a candidate. Not Saying that they're saying this is our candidate but changing the rules for participation in the debate coming ahead of of Nevada for instance Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Both Have criticized that decision Tulsi. Gabbard of course is calling on Tom. Perez to resign as chair of the the DNC. But this is what Bernie Sanders said last Thursday in New Hampshire about the DNC changing its rule and now suddenly our guy comes in and does not campaign. One bit in Iowa New Hampshire. He's not on the ballot. I guess in Nevada or South Carolina. But he's worth fifty fifty five billion dollars on. I guess if you're worth fifty five billion dollars you can get. The rules. Changed for debate so to answer your question. I think that that is an absolute outrage and really on fail I just explain the rule change or the new rule that would allow Bloomberg to participate in the next debate in Las Vegas will early last year the DNC released the rules for qualification in these DNC endorsed debates and essentially. They were two prong one prong was you had to score high enough in a certain number of polls and you have a certain number of donors owners you had to have a large enough donor base to qualify. And that. That's part of the reason why Tom Star ran ads asking people to give him one dollar so he could. uh-huh qualify for the number of donors rule to qualify for the debates Cory Booker Tulsi. Gabbard came incredibly close to qualifying defying for some of these debates but were denied just because they received a high enough number in some of the polls but not the certain qualified polls of the DNC. There's a lot of debate about you know. Should the rules be changed. Just slightly to allow greater participation greater inclusion more voices on the debate stage of folks who certainly have a lot of supporters orders out there and you know maybe the Democrat Party would benefit from having them there to have these different viewpoints and the never budged. They refused to change the rules going into the fall even though there were less and less people appearing on the stage and now here we are the DNC suddenly changing their rules potentially getting rid of the donor requirement keeping only the poll requirement which appears to be Just a tip of the hat to allow Bloomberg onto the stage because again Bloomberg isn't accepting any outside donations. He's not receiving any grassroots donor support. But he is now pulling very high because of the TV ads. He's airing so so here. We have the DNC bending its rules to allow Michael Bloomberg on onstage whereas the DNC refused to budge to allow cory booker or Tulsi to get on stage when they were very close to qualifying in both candidates have had a large amount of support. Bloomberg does seem to be spending money money in some of the upcoming states particularly Super Tuesday aimed at harming the candidacies of Bernie Sanders. And if she's still in the Race Elizabeth Warren Orrin Bloomberg's airing ads casting himself as the higher statesman who can come and fix this messy process. That's a very advantageous position in for a person like Bloomberg who avoided the early states intentionally. And if you look at Bloomberg strategy in his unlikely two thousand one mayoral race. He played a very similar role fighting incredible odds with nothing more than high hopes and sixty million dollars of his own money. Republican Michael Bloomberg defeated Democrat Mark Green by fifty to forty seven margin Bloomberg overcame many obstacles in his race for mayor including a complete lack of political article. Experience minimal name recognition and a debilitating fake smile Fernando Ferrara who lost Mark Green and the Democratic primary in two thousand one and felt that the Democratic Party had taken minority voters not seriously not treat them with respect and Bloomberg spoke to those fears. He gave massive grants to two local African American and Hispanic nonprofits. He forged alliances with the major religious groups and pastors there and argue that the Democratic Party couldn't be trusted to truly serve marginalized communities and simultaneously sponsored ads and engaged and get out the vote activities in Staten Island. That that play to racial fears of white voters. I wish I could say that. I was surprised by this. But of course you had an MSNBC Pundit Jason Johnson reacting apoplectic apoplectic Nina Turner of Bernie Sanders top campaign officials and top surrogates called Michael Bloomberg and oligarch on their airwaves. If you WANNA name uncalled people that's not gonNa Bernie if he becomes the nominee and he's going to need nine name calling anyways then. I I know you guys have this campaign. This is the latest in what I think is clearly a pattern of MSNBC using its airwaves to smear and attack Bernie Sanders on the one hand but also to run defense for anyone that is not Bernie Sanders. you also had Chris Matthews who famously said he the ad you know a tingling in his leg listening to Obama speak recently saying I remember the Cold War I have insurance Castro I believe if Castro and the reds had won the Cold War executions in central park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed and certain other people would be there cheering. Okay so I have a problem with the people who took the other side. I don't know Bernie Bernie supports over these years. I don't know what he means by social. Why don't talk about the role of the so called liberal media in in playing defense on the one hand for Michael Bloomberg or you know more right of center? Democrats and also smearing Bernie Sanders. We'll look at these cable. News programs television broadcast news companies. These are for profit corporations that are trying to sell ads. They're not interested in thoughtful conversation around the complicated political and policy issues at play here. What's before voters? They're trying to dive into the most sensationalist tabloid aspects of the presidential race to get a lot of viewers without pushing from the party or the country to the left look at twenty sixteen. CBS stories showing that at their own investor conference their CEO had been cheering on Donald Trump. Said we're GONNA make so much money from Donald trump running just in terms of ratings and selling TV ads to super pacs they were CHEERING ON DONALD TRUMP. And just in the same situation here with the Democratic primary comcast which owns MSNBC has through its pack and through roots executives have given a lot to donald trump giving a lot to the centers candidates. Joe Biden launched his campaign with a fundraiser at the home of comcast ask chief lobbyists. If you're if you'RE WATCHING MSNBC you're not getting a detailed explanation of what's going on. In Congress of the regulatory moves of of the Donald Trump administration really diving into the actual policy impact on any economic policies with Donald. Trump is doing on. You're getting this kind of tabloid treatment enough. The race and many of the host here are just so clearly biased against any candidate that proposes structural economic change. They can be very progressive move on social issues on immigration on issues that don't affect the bottom line of big business but when it comes to changing the economic order raising taxes reeling back American empire the MSNBC host with some notable exceptions are certainly to the right also on MSNBC James Carville. I believe it was on morning. Joe went on a rant is a certain part of the Democratic Party. That wants us to be a coat. I'm not interested in being in a coke Carville Carville who was the top strategist for bill. Clinton's rise really seems to be completely and totally worked up and terrified of what the Sanders Movement represents and the notion that the elites could lose control of the Democratic Party you also have have Hillary Clinton intervening in the form of the. Nobody likes Bernie Clip. The Hollywood reporter noted that in the Documentary Clinton says that sanders quote was in Congress for ears. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney she said Said and I feel so bad. That people got sucked into it. Also early on saying Tulsi Gabbard was Russia's choice of a candidate. I'm not making any predictions. But I think they've got their eye on somebody's currently in the Democratic primary and our grooming her to be the third party candidate. She's a favorite of the Russians. They have a a bunch of sites and Batson other ways of supporting our so far. What's your assessment of what their freak outs mean for the situation that we now see unfolding in the Democratic primary number one? We've seen this before in twenty sixteen just had a chorus of pundits. Tell us that that Hillary Clinton would be the most electable Democrat possible. Many of them secretly working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and not disclosing that on air and they were wrong. And you know ahead. Another chorus of pundits on television saying Donald Trump could never be elected to the presidency and they were wrong and another point I want to make. Is that a lot of these former word democratic strategist or former elected officials. Who now go on television and tell you exactly what you're supposed to think and feel about the Democratic primary on on? They're not disclosing what they do. On a paid basis day to day. They're not working actually to elect Democrats many of them They're working for the corporate interests that WANNA maintain their power over the economy. They don't WanNA see higher taxes. They don't WanNa see greater regulations or antitrust James Carville many people don't know this is is now consultant to technologies the Silicon Valley firm. That's helping ice and police agencies round up immigrants and deport them. Look at the actual biographies Agra Fay's of many of these quote unquote democratic strategist who are appearing on CNN or MSNBC Maria Cardona on another pundit you see on CNN constantly opining against the left against Bernie Sanders. She's a partner at Dewey Square group. What do they do? They're helping hospital corporations lobby across the country. They're helping the GIG economy firms fight against a minimum wage standard or labor rights for drivers in California. You know these are quote unquote pundits who to say that they're democratic strategist but really their consultants to the ruling elite took to corporations that want to maintain the current economic order last month. You wrote a piece about Mike Bloomberg you talk about how. He claims that his decision to rely only on his massive fortune to finance his campaign makes him uniquely incorruptible but then you write quote in his bid for the presidency. Bloomberg has retained a circle of staff and advisers who have a long history of working as consultants and lobbyists for corporate interests who are some of the notable people working on Bloomberg's campaign right. Now I mean he is a unique figure in that he's completely self-financing where Donald trump made that claim but he actually relied on the donations and SUPERPAC support for many other billionaires special interests. The exception exception to Bloomberg's pitch is that he staffing much of his campaign with lobbyist with special influence peddlers who've made a fortune working to to undermine the public interest as a profession. One of Bloomberg's top advisors is Bradley. Tusk who is Bloomberg's former campaign managers when he was running for Mayor Bradley Tusk is reshaping. The Labor rules that govern our society. I mean he's not a very well known figure outside of New York City politics but he's someone who has uber's chief lobbyists for many years he's gone on to lead a coalition of GIG economy firms to lobby states all over the country for a new set of labor rules that could really reshape the future of work for the next century basically creating new laws that say if you receive Zeev your work duties through an APP normal labor standards no longer plotter you. That means you're automatically classified as an independent contractor meaning that you can't get a minimum wage. You can't organize a labor union. I mean this is really radical stuff. That's slowly reshaping. The American economy. He's advising advising Michael Bloomberg another person Michael Bloomberg spokesperson Stu Lahser as Purdue Pharma was dealing with the crisis that they cause brought stew on fine as a crisis communication consultant and then another person. One of the main organizers behind the Obama Two Thousand Eight Campaign Mitch Stewart is now a political consultant. He's worked for multiple corporate campaigns to advance. Free Trade deals also working on the GIG economy. So Michael Michael Bloomberg. He's honest when he says he's not real relying on anyone else's money but he is staffing his campaign with consultants and lobbyists who actually do represent sent special interest given the state of campaign finance laws as they exist right now. What does this mean for elections going forward in terms of of spending and dark money and soft money etc after the Nixon Watergate scandal? Congress got tough on campaign finance because part of the way that Nixon carried out so many dirty deeds was through briefcases of money secretly given to him to engage in this kind of subterranean effort to sabotages cheers opponents. So Congress passed big campaign finance reforms but then within a few years after its passage we had Buckley Vallejo which knocked down about half of those reforms and since Buckley v Vallejo candidates can give unlimited money to their own campaigns allowing people like Bloomberg and then also the government is restricted from preventing spending limits. We have some campaign finance limits in terms of how much you can give to a campaign but there are no limits for how much a campaign can spend because of the Buckley Vallejo rule a lot of our fundamental problems with our campaign finance system. Go back to Buckley v Vallejo and and then the other point. I want to make about campaign finances. That if you've got a lot of money if you're a multi billionaire or a special interest group you form interlocking set of consulting firms and NGOs and charities that look like they're designed to benefit the public interest but they're really designed to create a political critical network that can advance a policy or candidate goal. Hillary Clinton tried to do this with the Clinton Foundation and many for different nonprofits. She had five or six different. Quasi Alizai political nonprofits that either attacked her opponents or defended her personally but Bloomberg has something exponentially bigger Bloomberg philanthropy spends about seven hundred million dollars a year in various grants. He's also giving money directly and indirectly to other groups but this has created a whole all new set of goodwill for Bloomberg and it goes beyond our traditional campaign finance system. Because none of this has to really be disclosed right. You know we see some of the AD spending thing. We see some of this other stuff because it has to be reported but when he's collecting endorsements from dozens of mayors around around the country. They're lining up and thanking him for the grants that he gave to their city for these innovation. Grants to these art grants these mayoral boot camps. That mayors attend. We have pretty much half half of the Democratic Party. Folks were in prominent roles who ran in competitive elections who can thank Bloomberg in one way or another either for philanthropic gifts or direct campaign contributions. So half of this money or maybe even more than half of this money is not even considered traditional campaign finance even though there's it certainly playing a political political role Lee Fong. Thank you very much for your work and thanks for joining us again intercepted. Thanks for having me Lee. Fong is an investigative reporter for the intercept with a long standing ending. Interest in how public policy is influenced by organized interest groups and money. You can find him on twitter at L. H.. Fong and that does it for this week's show. You can follow us on twitter at intercepted and on Instagram at intercepted. podcast if you lake what we do on this program you can support our show by going to the intercept dot com slash joined to become a sustaining member intercepted as a production of first look media and the intercept. Our lead producer is jacked as Adora. Our producer is Laura Flynn Elise Swain our associate producer and graphic designer. That's read is editor in chief of the intercept required mixed. The show transcription for this program is done by nudie Marquez Martinez our music as always was composed by DJ spooky until next week. Nick Jeremy Scahill

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