WikiLeaks and The DNC: Is Operation Mockingbird Still at Work, and other Questions

Analysis by Reporting San Diego

July 23, 2016 (San Diego) What if we told you that a national party favored one candidate for the Presidency over the other? What if we told you that some of the supporters of that candidate believe that things went so far as to coordinate with media, and other means to keep one candidate out? None would blame you if you believed that this was the situation in elections in the developing world. But the United States would not cross most minds. Well, it seems that the Democratic National Committee has graduated to those standards, and the suspicions of many of Bernie Sanders supporters that the primaries were at the very least heavily manipulated have found proof. This is due to a wiki leaks release of a treasure trove of over 20,000 email exchanges.

You can go explore this for yourself at the Wikileaks site. We do recommend a pot of coffee to go with it.

Other media has been doing the same, and some have already found some jewels that they call the most damaging, Among them Heavy.Com.

I must admit, their selection is interesting, and I personally found questioning Sanders’ belief in God before the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries a political low blow. The email party reads:

It might be no different, but for KY and WVA we can get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an Atheist.

There are several points why this is troublesome. The first is that there is no establishment clause in the Constitution. Yes, an Atheist is qualified to run for office. Moreover, Sanders’s family suffered great losses during the Holocaust. So this is somewhat low. Moreover, this is part of dog whistle politics, which the Democrats claim only the Republicans use. Now we have it in black and white, both do.

There is another that drew their ire, but we went, we would be shocked if they did not. The DNC is collecting the data from Sanders’ donors. That is politics, and if you donate to a candidate for city hall, your name will end up in somebody database. We did donate before we started writing news, in 2008. I had no end of amusement from the Michelle Backman emails. So if you donate to any candidate, take our words on this one, you will get emails asking for donations until the cows come home. This year we have not gotten anything that funny though.

The Intercept has looked at another aspect of this and it related how much the campaign mocked the Sanders campaign.

It also betrays the thin skin on the part of Debbie Wasserman Shultz, after Mika Brzezinski called for her resignation. We found that part of the story amusing, except for one thing. Shultz instructed her communications director to call MSNBC President Phill Griffith demanding an apology. Though this story also betrayed something else, and that was the role of the media played in this campaign, whether it was on purpose or not, one story in particular raised many questions.

The Nevada Democratic Convention, and Mockingbirds 

The Nevada caucus had some irregularities that raised the anger and concern of Sanders voters. So by the time the state party got to the convention, things were primed. And there was a story that emerged from that convention that was principally pushed by Joe Ralston, who was considered the premiere political reporter for the state. If Ralston wrote it, it happened. That was his reputation. One of the things that he wrote was that angry Sanders supporters started to throw chairs at the convention. There was only one problem, he did not count on the legions of conventions goers with smart phones. No photo emerged of the chair thrown and the only video that emerged was of a person lifting a chair and putting it down.

The story though was not just picked by national media, but the DNC. Once Ralston’s story came out this is a section of the internal email that was exchanged between the Director of Communications Louis Miranda and a staffer:

From: “Miranda, Luis” <>
Subject: RE: Ralston article
Date: May 17, 2016 at 8:57:17 PM PDT
To: “Garcia, Walter” <>
Cc: “Paustenbach, Mark” <>

Let’s get this around without attribution

Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

——– Original message ——–

From: “Garcia, Walter” <>
Date: 05/17/2016 23:11 (GMT-05:00)
To: “Miranda, Luis” <>
Cc: “Paustenbach, Mark” <>
Subject: Ralston article

Good read, particularly this section.

These are small-picture people. Instead of accepting the plain facts that Clinton won the caucus and out-hustled Sanders at the state convention, they want to talk about arcane rules being imposed, whether chairs were really thrown and if anyone should make a fuss out of chalk on walls and sidewalks (even if the messages were hateful).

These are people who think it’s fine to scream obscenities at a sitting U.S. senator, Barbara Boxer, believe it’s part of their First Amendment rights to call a state party chair corrupt and who insist they are cheated out of something that was never theirs. If this is the Sanders revolution, give me the Establishment.

Sanders had a chance Tuesday to apologize to Lange, to concede his supporters were out of hand, to try to calm his troops stirred up by local troublemakers. That would have been leadership.

Now if you were around social media, you saw this. You did not imagine it. Sanders supporters were called all kinds of names, including violent and social misfits. This email, and the role of Ralston in this mess does raise a question as to why Ralston would do that? 

In another era, this story would not have spread as fast or as hard as it did. The debunking would have taken many witnesses, months after the fact, talking to reporters. In this case it took 72 hours and video that emerged from the convention floor that did not fully neutralized this, but added to the theory that the DNC was heavily favoring Hillary Clinton, if we are to be kind.

If you are wondering, Ralston, the dean of the Nevada Political Reporter Corp. got this into a fast spreading media narrative, picked up by all major media outlets, including Reuters and the Associated Press.

This led to stories on reforms to prevent this chaos. 

It got worst, and this betrays the view of the staff of both Sanders supporters and the process. After Nevada this jewel came out of the server:

Walter, Eric
To Com D
NBC and Politico Stories are up

Only flag is that Bernie-land could spin this is as Dems trying to silence him at convention, but on the whole, these stories aren’t bad.

The email chain had other jewels that raised as many flags as well. Miranda wrote:

Jesus Just don’t want it to look like we’re preventing people from speaking at all.

So they were already aware of some of the backlash that this was going to cause.

 The Weak Candidate

You might remember a White House staffer at one point telling Politico that they feared Clinton was a weak candidate. That was back in May. There were denials that this happened. Well, not quite. In April there was a Fox News Channel panel that was transcribed on the database.

Before the Pennsylvania primary the DNC was concerned, and they even said it. Sanders was hurting her. “He’s doing damage by hitting her on trust, honesty, authenticity, judgment.” This is also when the DNC decided they had enough of this, and wanted to end the contest as fast as possible. They were in for a surprise. Sanders was not going to concede until all voters had a chance to cast a ballot.

After that this theme took on a more organized view, with people like Nate Silver speaking of this with Democrats.

clare.malone: Yikes to that survey Harry just noted, by YouGov, which found that one-third of Democratic voters have an unfavorable view of Clinton, and her unfavorables have jumped of late. Is this where the political revolution curdles?

By way of personal anecdote, my downstairs neighbors put a “Bernie or Bust”-type sign in their window only about a week ago. People are taking the Sanders campaign’s cues of frustration.

So there is that sense of at the very least, coincidence, if not outright coordination. That said, there seems to be some of that too. It got so bad that maybe there was a party with the Washington Post, the same WAPO that ran 16 negative Sanders Stories in less than 24 hours.

 Trump… How Naive can they be?

Donald Trump seems to have surprised the political media, but also the Democratic National Committee. First off, as of at least May of 2016 they were sure they were going to get the Presidency. Some Sanders supporters have suspected this far longer, but we have a smoking gun here:

The elites in Washington almost uniformly believe Hillary Clinton will be elected president in November. The conventional wisdom underlying coverage of 2016 is that Donald Trump will go down in flames and probably take the Republican Senate with him.

The presumptive GOP nominee has a well-documented history of misogyny, xenophobia and demagoguery. He has alienated women, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans. He has mocked the disabled, prisoners of war and Seventh-day Adventists. The Speaker of the House and both living former Republican presidents are withholding endorsements.

This is the same party that was surprised that Trump became the presumptive nominee. There is an awareness that Clinton is her own worst enemy. But also an inability to deal with Trump. There is also a fear that she will be defined as an insider. We believe that her VP pick will do most of that work for Trump. Tim Kaine is an insider, and so is she.

There is another aspect about Trump. He dealt with it in a debate earlier in the year when fellow Republicans pointed to him that he donated to Dems. He has, perhaps he still does, but it is the price of doing business


Trump has never been shy to say that he works within the system, and social media readers (at places like both Twitter and Jackpine Radicals, not to mention Reddit) uncovered this little jewel. In normal politics this would be the kiss of death for both campaigns. We are not living though normal politics. But when the Republican nominee, though one of his companies, apparently still does payroll for the DNC, that is curios.

The Real Big Picture

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich put it best on Facebook. Mind you, we are quoting him in full:

Robert Reich
5 hrs ·
Hillary should fire Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Now. Don’t wait until next week to replace her. Yesterday WikiLeaks published roughly 20,000 leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that confirm what most of us already knew: Wasserman Schultz and other top officials of the DNC tried to sandbag Bernie’s campaign.

When the director of communications wanted to complain to CNN about a segment the network aired in which Bernie said he would oust the chairwoman if he were elected, Wasserman Schultz emails back, “he isn’t going to be president.” In reference to a Washington Post piece that said Bernie was seeking a more balanced approach to Israel and Palestine, she emails “the Israel stuff is disturbing,” prompting another official to email back that Hillary’s campaign had pushed the story. In other emails Wasserman Schultz refers to Bernie’s campaign manager as a “damn liar,” and “an ASS.”

Another email shows one DNC official trying to get reporters to write that Bernie’s campaign is “a mess.” In another, the DNC’s chief financial officer seeks ways to bring attention to Bernie’s religious beliefs, “for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps.” Other emails show officials of the DNC using “us” language when referring to Hillary supporters and “them” language in reference to Bernie’s.

Fire her now.

What do you think?

What the Democratic Party faces the weekend before the party convention is nothing short than old wounds being reopened. They also face a party that will go to the Convention extremely divided. There are things that the party could do to make some of this at least diminish, but it looks to us that they won’t.

Ironically, one of the ways that Clinton can loose is by unforced errors. This is a classic one. I admit, they tried to get rid of Sanders early on, with the server issue, but instead got a headache, from the party perspective. After all, as we noted earlier in the week, the New Democrats do not like their left flank. In fact, would prefer it if the left flank staid home in November. But the trust issues that the candidate has, have now expanded to the party.

Under internal party rules the party should be neutral. It was not. We just gave you the tip of the virtual iceberg. In our mind, the fact that they paid the Trump organization up to 2016 for payroll services, actually paints a picture of an incestuous relation in the top that many suspected, and now it is confirmed.

This of course includes the major media. The way media has reported throughout the race has created many questions. Ralston in particular is baffling though. Cell Phones strike again, and did destroy quite a bit of that media narrative, but we must quality it, with those pegged to social media.
There were a few other things confirmed though emails, including the hiring and deployment of trolls, to push back against Sanders supporters. While we did not see any on “bernie bros,” we saw enough material painting Bernie supporters as the violent kind though.

We are at the beginning of a new political system, so I suppose some really old habits do die hard. Such as not counting on cell phones. We are also at a point when many voters are truly wondering who chooses Presidents, because they are positive it is not them. This is extremely dangerous in a democracy, or a nation that likes to say it is one.

Jeff Weaver, campaign manager, has said this according to John Nichols of The Nation. So we are a adding this as a reaction to this story by one of the people who lived through it. 


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