Sunday, February 21, 2016

Punctuation Is Essential

Hyphens @

P.S.  Here's the source of the headline if you care to read the article.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

There's a mosque in a small town in Kentucky, and it may surprise you.
While mosques in other southern states have experienced increasing turbulence and threats, the Prestonsburg mosque has generally been met with nonchalance.

“I got one call after 9/11 from someone at 2 a.m.,” recalls Syed Badrudduja, the mosque’s imam who is also a well-known local surgeon. And that phone call, the imam notes, wasn’t even from the area; it was from Ohio.

The insular, protect-our-own culture of eastern Kentucky extends to the Muslims who call the area home. “People have been very kind. Even after 9/11 people would come up to me and say `if anyone gives you problems, we’ll take care of it for you, we have your back,’” Badrudduja says.


On a recent day, about 20 men gathered in the mosque for traditional Friday prayers. Almost everyone in the room was a medical professional: cardiologist, surgeon, pediatrician. There was one accountant. The professionals are drawn from all areas of southeast Kentucky and neighboring West Virginia. The vice-imam, a pediatrician, led the group in prayer. One man in surgical scrubs came with his son. Cell phones are ubiquitous. If someone were ever injured on the premises there’d be a doctor in almost any specialty to help.

Yassin Khattab, originally from Syria, is the only private-practice pediatrician in the underserved area around Prestonsburg. He has over 5,000 patients from a seven-county area. He says the Muslim physicians play such an important role in the community’s health that they are made to feel very welcome. Khattab said one of his nurses recently came to him visibly upset and asked:

“What will happen if Donald Trump is elected?”

“Nothing,” he said. “I’ll still be here practicing medicine.”


I've Already Been

It's Sunday

A Muslim woman was denied entry to a bank in Nebraska [Security National Bank] after refusing to remove her head scarf. Following the woman’s complaint, the bank then decided to adjust its security policy regarding religious headwear.

I bet they did. Lawsuit averted.

But, wait. That's not all.
The woman refused to follow the request saying she could not do it out of her faith. She was asked to take off the hijab multiple times before she finally gave in. However, despite that she was still denied entry. Police were called to the bank’s headquarters but did not file a report.
BIG lawsuit averted.
On Saturday the Security National Bank released a statement saying it has reviewed its security policy. “The bank revised its security policy to clarify that only items that obscure portions of a walk-in visitor’s face must be removed. Religious head coverings that do not obscure the face are certainly allowed and have been in the past. The recent situation was an unfortunate misunderstanding,” the bank said.
Not to mention actionable.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

Jihadist = religious extremist?

It's Sunday

Donald Trump, still feeling the aftershocks of his spat with Pope Francis who suggested he was “not a Christian” for proposing a border wall with Mexico, now faces the wrath of his own Presbyterian church leadership who say his hardline views on immigration are out of line with its teachings.

Gradye Parsons, the most senior elected official of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to which Trump was baptized as a child, said that the Bible is clear: followers of the faith have to care for the needy. “Donald Trump’s views are not in keeping with the policies adopted by our church by deliberative process,” he said.

Note:  "baptized as a child"- he has never been involved in any religion other than Trumpism as an adult.
He says he now worships at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, part of the Reformed Church in American denomination.
I'd guess about once every couple of months since he began campaigning last summer.
In an interview with the Guardian, Parsons said that the Presbyterian church had voted several times since the 1990s in its national general assemblies in favor of comprehensive immigration reform that would grant a route to legal status for the 11 million undocumented people currently living in the US. “Our official policy is to encourage immigration reform.”

He added that the founding narrative of Christianity contained a commitment to those most in need – widows, orphans, the oppressed and the alien. “It is clear that God wants us to act on behalf of the stranger. Jesus himself and his parents had to flee the country for their lives when he was born – there are lots of parallels.”
Didn't the Methodist church make an official statement against George W Bush's war-mongering? I seem o recall something like that.  These guys claiming to be Christians and their churches making statements clearly in opposition to their actions should be a little more influencing of their Bible thumping supporters.  However, since the Bible thumpers are no more Christ-like than the candidates, it's no surprise all they need to do is claim Christianity as a faith.

How come the thumpers don't believe Obama when he claims the same?

And, here's something we never hear about...
(You can click the graphic to enlarge it.)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

More Primary/Caucus Results

Hillary Clinton handily won the Nevada caucus Saturday, defeating Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a crucial step on the way to the Democratic presidential nomination.



Just last summer, they were sure of a coronation.  Martin O'Malley?  Hah!  Bernie Sanders?  Not in a million years!  They may talk big about a Nevada win, but I am quite sure the Clinton Camp is feeling the Bern.  


Jeb Bush suspended his presidential campaign on Saturday, following a bruising loss in the South Carolina primary he had hoped might revive his bid to become the third member of his family elected to the White House.

Forever to be referred to by his brother as "the loser of the family."

Shock: the Government Is Still Trying to Eliminate Privacy Rights

Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation forcing technology makers to install “backdoors” in their software. [...] But while the companies may have thought that was the final word, in fact the government was working on a Plan B.

It's like Whack-a-Mole. And dont't bother telling me that thy actually discontinued torture, black ops prisons, TIA or anything else they've been called to account on. Because they just go underground for a while, rename programs, and keep going.
In a secret meeting convened by the White House around Thanksgiving, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software and gain access to the most heavily protected user data on the most secure consumer devices.


The approach was formalized in a confidential National Security Council “decision memo,” tasking government agencies with developing encryption workarounds, estimating additional budgets and identifying laws that may need to be changed. [...] Details of the memo reveal that, in private, the government was honing a sharper edge to its relationship with Silicon Valley alongside more public signs of rapprochement.


White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice have the Obama administration’s “full” support in the matter.
Of course they do. The most transparent administration ever.TM
The government is “not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to their products,” but rather are seeking entry “to this one device,” he said.
And next: the hundreds of  iPhones being held in vaults (175 in Manhattan alone). Because the fix they want from Apple isn't specific to this phone. They're just saying they only want to use it on this one phone. Sure. Sure.


I heard a snippet on the radio recently that the Feds are saying they'll let Apple hold onto the software they want them to develop. Yeah, that makes all the difference.  They're going to have possession of the phone with the software installed.  The operating system doesn't sit on the same partition as the private data. Once they're in that phone, they can't copy its OS?  Surely I misheard.

You're phone is perfectly secure. Don't worry. Besides, you're not doing anything wrong. 
Security specialists say the case carries enormous consequences, for privacy and the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and [...] shows that technology companies underestimated the resolve of the U.S. government to access encrypted data.


Robert Knake, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations who formerly served as White House Director of Cybersecurity Policy [noted], “They said they wouldn’t seek to legislate ‘backdoors’ in these technologies. They didn’t say they wouldn’t try to access the data in other ways.”
Trust me. I'm from the government.  We still have to learn that?
“The government’s going to have to get over it,” said Ken Silva, former technical director of the National Security Agency and currently a vice president at Ionic Security Inc., an Atlanta-based data security company. “We had this fight 20 years ago. While I respect the job they have to do and I know how hard the job is, the privacy of that information is very important to people.”
They don't have to get over anything.  Twenty years ago was before "9/11 changed everything."

I have a question: doesn't the government not have developers who could create that operating system themselves? I'm sure it would cost a pretty penny, but would it be more expensive than the lawsuit they're pursuing? Perhaps they just want to bust Apple's balls and let everyone else know there's no percentage in fighting the machine.
Apple infuriated law enforcement when it announced in 2014 that it would encrypt data stored on users’ iPhones and iPads with a PIN code that the company could not access, even if ordered to by a judge. Prior to that decision, the FBI and local police agencies routinely sent seized devices to Apple to extract data relevant to their investigations.
And now, it's time for Apple to pay for that act of defiance.

Resistance is futile.

Feelin' the Bern

Get a load of THESE Bernie Bros...

Still Banksters

Because they can.
The 2012 National Mortgage Settlement with the five largest mortgage companies (Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Bank) included language committing the firms to end the production of false documents.


State attorneys general and the Justice Department have every authority to assert that companies are not following the terms of the 2012 agreement. But instead they’ve turned a blind eye, at best supporting the efforts of homeowners to challenge their own foreclosures.

The problem is that if homeowners had the resources to go up against deep-pocketed financial institutions in court, they would never have fallen into foreclosure in the first place. Precious few foreclosure cases are ever challenged, and those who try face a flotilla of bank lawyers on the other side. Only attorneys general have the ability to protect the public from false foreclosure documents on a wide scale.

  The Intercept
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Can't Do Anything But Help

The people who think civil rights activists are scum were not going to vote Democratic anyway.  Those who don't know about Bernie's history,  and especially blacks, who Hillary thought she had sewed up until just recently, will relate:

That is Bernie Sanders being arrested at a civil rights protest in 1963.  He was studying political science at the University of Chicago and was a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality.   (Chicago Tribune)

I doubt if Hillary can top that.

But, check out the smoking man.  Who is he?  If this were a TV show, it looks like the evil man giving the orders.

Great picture.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Nice try, Donald, but the people who buy Apple products are probably not your followers.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Trump walked back his defense against Pope Francis earlier on Friday. Then he proceeded to double down against Apple, reiterating his calls for a boycott of the company’s products over an encryption row surrounding the investigation into the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Minutes later the candidate took his boycott to Twitter by way of an iPhone. [emphasis added]


What Will She Do Now?

The Clark County Black Caucus, an organization based in Nevada’s most populous jurisdiction, announced its support Thursday for Sanders in his contest against Hillary Clinton.

Yvette Williams, chairwoman of the caucus, said that Sanders’s agenda most closely aligned with that of her nonpartisan group, saying the endorsement of Sanders “wasn’t a very difficult decision.”


“We are all registered voters and very much engaged and involved,” she said. “We’re the most active organization on black issues here in Nevada.”


The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, has been seeking to draw attention to a new report that questioned Sanders’s commitment to the priorities of African Americans in his home state.

After what she and her husband did to black supporters after they elected him? Good luck with that, Hillary.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Takin' It to the Street

Thousands of people marched and rallied in the frigid streets of Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday morning to demand a restoration of voting rights and voice broad support for a new progressive agenda to counter the current policies of Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled state legislature.


[T]he demonstration attracted a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations who say the systematic attack on state services—including healthcare and education—along with eroded democratic control and new voting restrictions, have disempowered and further marginalized the state's most vulnerable populations.

  Common Dreams

Surely This Will Come Back to Haunt Her

In context...

I don't think it was a good idea.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

"Skewed" Intel

[O]fficials charged with overseeing all U.S. intelligence activities were aware, through their own channels, of potential problems with the integrity of information on ISIS, some of which made its way to President Obama.

The analysts [who blew the whistle] have said that they believe their reports were altered for political reasons, namely to adhere to Obama administration officials’ public statements that the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS is making progress and has put a dent in the group’s financing and operations.

Administration officials have denied that the intelligence reports came under political pressure.

  Daily Beast
They would, wouldn't they?

This isn't the first time we've heard about pressure to come up with something accceptable to those at the top of the chain of command, and it won't be the last.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Speaking of Bernie and Hillary...

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sat in front row pews opposite each other for Sunday service at Victory Missionary Baptist church in Las Vegas. Last week, Sanders met the Rev Al Sharpton in New York. On Tuesday, Clinton arrived in New York to meet Sharpton and a group of prominent civil rights leaders, many of whom Sanders will meet later this week.

And for much of the day, the candidates held duelling events. While Clinton delivered a major speech on race in Harlem, Sanders headed to Georgia where he will continue his tour of historically black colleges and universities.

That strikes me as a shrewd move on Bernie's part. Get to the young voters who can be energized to go out to vote. Don't waste much time on old folks set in their ways, minds already made up, or who are too sick of the whole stinking business to care.
“You can’t just show up at election time and say the right things and think that’s enough. We can’t start building relationships a few weeks before a vote,” [Clinton] said to applause.
Wanna bet?


And, this is more than "a few weeks".

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

So We Won't Get a Coronation

A new poll finds that Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a dead heat nationwide.

Clinton narrowly edges Sanders with 44 percent support, compared to the Vermont senator’s 42 percent support, a result that is within the Quinnipiac University poll’s margin of error.

  The Hill
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is in a dead heat[in Nevada] with rival Hillary Clinton just days before this weekend's Nevada caucuses, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

Clinton leads in the state with 48 percent support, followed closely by Sanders with 47 percent support.


The CNN/ORC poll, which surveyed 282 likely Democratic voters in Nevada from Feb. 10 – 15, has a margin of error of 6 percent.


The former first lady led in the poll by 16 points in October, besting Sanders by a 50 to 34 percent margin.

  The Hill
Six percent is a big margin,so I wouldn't count on this poll for anything as a stand-aone. But if it's the same polling group and same polled group as the one in October, that would say quite a lot.

Also, I expect Bernie's numbers to keep growing simply on the adage that people will vote for a name they recognize, and Bernie hasn't yet had much national press.

And it's early yet.

Trump! Trump! Trump!

It seems as though poor white conservatives have finally realized that the Republican party has nothing to offer them but increased poverty, and so they've turned to Donald Trump, who isn't really a Republican, but an Opportunist and a thug. But maybe this isn't a sudden realization.  Maybe they've known it for a long time but just haven't had anyone they could vote for, since they damned sure weren't going to vote for a Democrat who would give their hard earned money to illegal immigrants and welfare blacks and cut back military spending.

They have certainly found their boy in Trump. He doesn't even lose his popularity when he says disparaging things about GOP icons.  Nor, presumably, will he lose any support after his campaign's national spokeswoman Karina Pierson said this on TV:
"Donald Trump didn't say that the Twin Towers coming down was George Bush's fault," Pierson said. "He said George Bush didn't keep safe, and there are thousands of families that would agree with that. But I will have to define safe for you. Donald Trump's measure of safety is very different than the Bush's. Donald Trump wants a border wall. He wants to stop illegal immigration. He wants to deport illegal aliens. There are a number of things that Donald Trump would determine safe that the Bushes just didn't quite agree at that time."


"We don't know for sure if [the 9/11 attack] could have been prevented, but what we do know is that the hijackers did come into this country on visas from hostile territories." [...] "We know that one was here on an expired visa and we know they trained in Florida under Jeb Bush's watch to take down those towers."

  Real Clear Politics
It won't shake his supporters, but it rings bells for the GOP Establishment.
Appearing [Monday evening] on Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier," [Dick] Cheney listened to the anchor read a list of [Trump's] recent comments about Bush and 9/11 earlier in the day and during Saturday night's debate, including Trump's assertion that Bush and Cheney "lied" about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as an impetus to invade the country in 2003.

“He sounds like a liberal Democrat to me, Bret. He’s wrong, and he’s I think, deliberately promoting those views in order to advance his political interests," Cheney responded.


"The other areas, for example, if you look at what we did in the aftermath of 9/11, we did in fact keep the nation safe for seven and a half years," Cheney said.


Trump likened that argument on Monday to saying, "The team scored 19 runs [on us] in the first inning, but after that we played well."


“I’ve said I’ll support the nominee of my party," Cheney said. "If he operates the way he’s operating, sounding like a liberal Democrat, I don’t think he’ll get the nomination.”

Donald Trump - liberal Democrat. I don't think even that is going to work.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

By the Way...

Just because there were only three people permitted to speak in the Democratic debates doesn't mean there isn't a Republican alternative.  Jill Stein is running for president on the Green Party ticket (again).  And, if you're a woman wanting a woman in the White House, go vote for Jill Stein.

What Bernie Can Do for the Country

The Bernie Sanders people are, naturally, quite excited by polls that say their candidate has drawn virtually even with Hillary Clinton among national Democrats. Some folks might think that we at Black Agenda Report might be upset with those numbers, since our managing editor, Bruce Dixon, has said that Bernie is a “sheep dog” for Hillary.

But, the truth is, it’s a good thing that Sanders is doing well in the polls. It’s a measure of public sentiment against corporations and Wall Street, among Democrats. We should all welcome such expressions of public sentiment. The problem is, the Democratic Party is not a vehicle that is capable of actually challenging Wall Street.


There is also a lot of talk about how Bernie has succeeded in “moving Hillary to the Left.” That’s ridiculous. The Sanders campaign has only succeeded in forcing Hillary to tell the biggest lies of her non-stop lying career.


Blacks are the most re-distributionist constituency in the country, but they rejected Dennis Kucinich, a genuine social democrat, and John Edwards, who kicked off his campaign in New Orleans and pitched it directly to Blacks, in 2008. Instead, they rallied around the two corporatists, Clinton and Obama, as the anti-dote to the White Man’s Party.

Is there something wrong with African Americans? No, there is something wrong with America, its history and its race and class dynamics. There is something wrong about this two-party system, where both parties are Rich Man’s Parties, and one of the parties is always the White Man’s Party.

The duopoly system traps Blacks in the Democratic Party, and keeps them there on the premise that only Democrats can beat the White Man’s GOP.


Democratic Party politics kills Black politics. The two cannot coexist. If you want a real Black grassroots movement, you have to fight the Democratic Party, tooth and claw.

Bernie Sanders’ supporters think they can transform the Democratic Party “from below.” They are wrong.

Black people ARE the “below” in America, and we make up a quarter of the Democratic Party. But, Blacks haven’t transformed the Democratic Party by our overwhelming presence. Instead, the Party has transformed us.


The turning point in history comes with masses of people in the streets, fighting BOTH Rich Man’s Parties.

  Black Agenda Report: Glen Ford
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

High Politics

Last summer—otherwise known, in election time, as a long time ago, in a land far away—when Hillary Clinton unveiled her campaign, she was positioning herself as the inheritor of FDR, championing the little guy and inveighing against…economic inequality.


But that was June. This is February. And Clinton now has a candidate to beat who takes these ideas seriously. So what does she do? She declares that it’s not the economy, stupid, that Sanders is too focused on the billionaires and wages. Now she’s channeling Goldwater, claiming that Sanders is too fixated on economics, and complaining that Sanders’s proposals will cost too much money and expand the size of government.


June was FDR Month, February is Goldwater Month, what will we see in the fall?

  Corey Robin
We'll just have to wait. But there's a spring and summer to go first. She could win an olympic gold medal for the backflips and contortions she might do by that time.

Flashback: Candidate Clinton in 2008


"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.


Clinton rejected any idea that her emphasis on white voters could be interpreted as racially divisive. "These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election. Everybody knows that."

  usA Today
Everybody knows that. And by "everybody" she means all political analysts and politicians.
Clinton lost North Carolina by 14 percentage points and won Indiana by 2 points after competing full-out in both states. She had loaned the campaign $6.4 million in the past month. She said she might lend more.
Thanks to her superPAC this year she doesn't have to fork over her own money.

The West's March Toward Fascism Continues

Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, as part of a controversial crackdown being announced by the [British] Government.

Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said.

  UK Independent
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) – modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa – is succeeding.


This trend to outlaw activism against the decades-long Israeli occupation – particularly though not only through boycotts against Israel – has permeated multiple western nations and countless institutions within them. In October, we reported on the criminal convictions in France of 12 activists “for the ‘crime’ of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel as a means of ending the decades-long military occupation of Palestine,” convictions upheld by France’s highest court. They were literally arrested and prosecuted for “wearing shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Long live Palestine, boycott Israel'” and because “they also handed out fliers that said that ‘buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”


In Canada last year, officials threatened criminal prosecution against anyone supporting boycotts against Israel. In the U.S., unbeknownst to many, there are similar legislative proscriptions on such activism, and a pending bill would strengthen the outlawing of BDS. As the Washington Post reported last June, “a wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.”


[As Eyal Press in a New York Times Op-Ed] notes, under existing law – which is almost never discussed – “Washington already forbids American companies to cooperate with state-led boycotts of Israel.”


As we reported in September, the University of California – the largest academic system in the country – has been debating proposals to literally outlaw BDS activism by formally equating it with “anti-semitism."


As part of the controversy at the University of California, the mega-rich Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, threatened the university that his wife would take adverse action against the university if it did not adopt the harsh anti-BDS measures he was demanding.


The New York State legislature actually passed “a bill that would suspend funding to educational institutions which fund groups that boycott Israel.”
Florida became the fifth state in the US to introduce a resolution to confront the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement when it passed a law on December 21, similar to the first anti-BDS legislation introduced in Tennessee last April.

By doing so, Florida has joined Tennessee, New York, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Another 35 states are reportedly considering similar legislation.
  Glenn Greenwald

Monday, February 15, 2016

Seriously, I Don't Think This Will Help Bernie

The [New Hampshire] state Republican Party on Monday launched an online petition urging the state Democratic Party's superdelegates to “listen to their constituents” and support New Hampshire primary winner Bernie Sanders at the party’s national convention.

Democrat superdelegates are going to do what Republicans want?  I think not.

Some states allow voters to change their party affiliation right up to the day before the election, so the Republicans could change to Democrats in order to vote in the Dem primaries and cast their votes for Bernie before re-registering as Republicans for the November election.  It wouldn't be the first time that trick has been pulled.  But, I don't understand why they're trying to promote him, since a number of polls show him doing better against the Republican candidates than Hillary is.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

DNC Screwing Bernie Sanders

But, of course, Bernie knows that. Every political candidate in both parties knows it's a rigged game, and not a democratic election. With the exception maybe of Ben Carson.
Though Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide over Hillary Clinton, he will likely receive fewer [state] delegates than she will.


New Hampshire has 24 “pledged” delegates, which are allotted based on the popular vote. Sanders has 13, and Clinton has 9, with 2 currently allotted to neither. But under Democratic National Committee rules, New Hampshire also has 8 “superdelegates” [6 of which are committed to Hillary Clinton], party officials who are free to commit to whomever they like, regardless of how their state votes.


In the overall delegate count, Clinton holds a commanding lead after a razor-thin victory in Iowa and a shellacking in New Hampshire. Clinton has 394 delegates, both super and electorally assigned, to only 42 for Sanders.

  Daily Caller
Sanders leads in pledged delegates; he has 36 while Clinton has 32, according to ABC News estimates. But Clinton has a huge lead in superdelegates, with 362 to Sanders’ 8. (There are a total of 712 superdelegates).

Superdelegates account for about 15 percent of the total delegates to the Democratic nominating convention.

The DNC is going to eventually split the Democratic party.  The younger generations don't like to be played.

If you really want to elect Bernie, you can only hope he'll change his mind about supporting Hillary "if" she's the party's nominee, which is all but guaranteed under these machinations, and run as an independent. It will be a terrible betrayal of the people supporting him if he doesn't.

There have been speculations (eg. from Chris Hedges and - at least at one point - Cornell West) that Bernie is only running to force Hillary to move left and to drag more Democrats out to the polls.  (Voter turnout is essential to defeating Republicans.) If true, that's both disgraceful and dishonest on his part.  And it wouldn't make any sense, because once Hillary gets into office, nothing she says or does in the campaign matters.  She reverts to who she really is: a warhawk and a corporatist.
Pro-Sanders threads on Reddit have been burning up with calls for action, with some supporters even reaching out to superdelegates (who are typically Democratic governors, members of Congress, and top state and national party leaders) to lobby them on the Vermont senator’s behalf. Progressive groups are also taking a stand: There are currently two petition campaigns designed to urge superdelegates to reflect the popular vote, rather than the sentiment of party elites.

That will only succeed if they include a threat to abandon the Democratic party.
When asked Friday on CNN what she tells voters who view the delegate process as ‘rigged’ on Clinton’s behalf, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave a roundabout answer.


"The only thing available on the ballot in a primary and a caucus is the pledged delegates, those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support. And they receive a proportional number of delegates going into the — going into our convention.

"Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don't have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists."
Rigged, you think?  Do you think Bernie doesn't know this?
The Sanders campaign is banking on a similar scenario to 2008, when Clinton also built up an early lead among superdelegates. But as Obama won more caucuses and primaries, previously uncommitted superdelegates came into his camp, and he even earned some defections from Clinton.
And I'm sure the Hillary campaign has been on top of that this time around.

The voting system in this country is broken.  No, make that rigged.  It's smoke and mirrors.  Considering superPACs and "superdelegates", voting machine "glitches", and everything else you know, including the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and its snatch of the Bush-Gore election, if you still think your vote counts, you are deluded.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Calling Out Hillary

Hillary Clinton has come up with a plan to blunt Bernie Sanders's attacks from the left: reframe them as attacks not on her policies but on President Barack Obama's record.


Clinton's strategy was in clear evidence during Sunday's Democratic debate, where on question after question she tried to drive a wedge between Sanders and liberals by recasting his proposals and principles as criticisms of Obama. And if you happened to head to in the days after the debate, you were greeted with this splash page:

Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Clinton, unleashed a $5 million infusion of spending on her behalf, upending plans to hold its fire until the general election.

[Bernie] Sanders was reacting to reports that the DNC has quietly reversed the long-standing ban on donations from lobbyists and political action committees, put in place by Barack Obama when he became the party’s nominee in 2008.

“We support the restrictions that President Obama put in place, and we hope Secretary Clinton will join us in supporting the president,” Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs told the International Business Times.

Ouch. Now what, Hillary?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Trump Show Has Jumped the Shark

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has threatened to sue Ted Cruz over the senator’s eligibility for president, saying that unless his rival stops telling “lies” he will take the issue of his birth in Canada to court.

With less than a week to go until the next Republican primary contest in South Carolina, Trump also lashed out at party leaders, making a veiled threat to run a third-party campaign. The warning came in response to Trump’s complaint that he had been booed during Saturday night’s debate because the audience had been stuffed with wealthy donors who opposed his maverick run.


Earlier on Monday, the billionaire hinted he may still run an independent campaign for president, despite a pledge he signed last year to stay within the party.


Trump declared said “the pledge isn’t being honored by them”, without elaborating on what the Republican party’s obligations would be under the agreement. He said the debate was “a disgrace” and “the RNC does a terrible job”.


Trump heaped insults on Cruz in both the press conference and statement, calling the Texas senator “a totally unstable individual”, “a basket case” and “unhinged”.

Did Cruz respond by saying, "It takes one to know one."?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

What Would Hillary Do?

A recent poll showed Sanders tied with Clinton in Nevada, a striking comeback for the Vermont senator, who trailed by 23% in a late December poll.

Small nitpick here. I think you have to be somewhere and go down before it can be called a comeback. Let's call it a leap or a gain. Or a whammy.
Clinton’s campaign has tried to temper expectations that it would dominate the Nevada caucus, a shocking turnabout in a state it once considered a potential firewall against Sanders’ momentum. Iowa and New Hampshire are both more than 90% white, which has allowed Clinton to argue that Nevada – and its 25% minority population – offers a more accurate reflection of the voting bloc Democrats need to win the general election.


“We’re going to surprise a lot of people,” said Cesar Vargas, Sanders’ Latino outreach strategist. “We’re seeing amazing energy in Nevada that is really reflective of what we’re seeing across the country.

“High school students are getting active and literally dragging their families to get registered. On college campuses in Vegas and Reno we’re seeing a really organic grassroots coalition for Bernie. We are demonstrating that there is no firewall.”
Uh-oh.  She was counting on the minorities, and they seem to be slipping away.

So, what did Hillary do?
Clinton tried to shore up support in Las Vegas’s minority community at a rally on Saturday.

“Not everything is about an economic theory,” she said, echoing a new attack ad portraying Sanders as a one-issue candidate. “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow … will that end racism? Will that end sexism? Will that end discrimination against the LGBT community?

“Will that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”
She buffered bankers!? Brilliant.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Got Mine

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

Scalia is dead.
Twenty-four hours ago, Republicans were headed into what remains of the current Supreme Court term with a solid majority and a docket strewn with some of the most consequential cases in decades. Affirmative action, abortion, birth control, immigration, an effort to shift congressional power to Republicans — all of these issues are before the justices this term.

  Think Progress
God has spoken.

Another Distraction for Hillary

Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.


There is no indication that the watchdog is looking at Clinton. But as she runs for president in part by promoting her leadership of the State Department, an inquiry involving a top aide and the relationship between her agency and her family’s charity could further complicate her campaign.

Good thing she's a robot. Running for president in the midst of a federal investigation into her use of a private email server while Secretary of Defense, demands to produce her speeches to Wall Street, and now this, would be taxing for a human. Her crown may be tilting.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Fitting Epitaph for Scalia

"The Donald Trump of the Supreme Court"
If you want to understand how Donald Trump became the soul of the Republican Party, you need look no further than Antonin Scalia. Scalia is the id, ego, and super-ego of modern conservatism. He was as outrageous in his rhetoric (his unvarying response to any challenge to Bush v. Gore was “Get over it!”) as he was cruel in his comportment. Sandra Day O’Connor was the frequent object of his taunts. Hardly an opinion of hers would go by without Scalia calling it—and by implication, her—stupid. “Oh, that’s just Nino,” she’d sigh helplessly in response. Even Clarence Thomas was forced to note drily, “He loves killing unarmed animals.” He was a pig and a thug. [...] And he was obsessed, as his dissent in PGA Tour v. Casey Martin shows, with winners and losers. They were the alpha and omega of his social vision. He was the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court.

  Corey Robin

I Have a Question

In what was a closely watched case, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts.

The justices were unanimous in ruling that extending a buffer zone 35 feet from entrances to the clinics violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.

Then why do they allow Free Speech Zones?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


At the conclusion of the NBA's Celebrity-All Star game that was played in Toronto, Win Butler, the American lead singer of the Montreal-based rock band Arcade Fire who won the MVP award, tried to use his time at the microphone to tell voters in the U.S. that they might learn a lot from their northern neighbors, specifically their publicly-run health system that affords every single resident equal access to quality care.

"I just want to say that it’s an election year in the US," Butler stated. "The US has a lot they can learn from Canada: healthcare, taking care of people, and I think..." But that's as far as he got when ESPN correspondent Sage Steele took the mic away.

"So we’re talking about celebrities and not politics," said Steele, turning away. "Congratulations on your MVP!"

  Common Dreams

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

John Lewis Walks Back - a Little

On Thursday, as the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) political action committee endorsed Sanders’ rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, Lewis appeared to play down the Vermont senator’s involvement in the civil rights movement in its 1960s heyday.

“I never saw him,” Lewis said. “I never met him.”

On Saturday, he said he had not meant to express doubt “that Senator Sanders participated in the civil rights movement, neither was I attempting to disparage his activism”.

Just his run for the presidency.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Looks Like I Missed Another Debate

Yeah, I can't watch Jerry Springer, either.


I hope that does'nt spoil your breakfast.

Where's Babs?
The policies themselves don’t matter as much as the Sturm und Drang: either you are finally convinced that the other guy is a cretin after your guy has yelled enough, or you just stop caring about all the loud men yelling and no longer run the risk of suspecting that your guy might be a cretin, too.

But this debate veered fully into absurdity somewhere around the third time that Donald Trump told the actual truth about things that actually happened in actual history and was booed by the audience for his trouble.


From there, the madness spread through the debate: a great circle of abuse spun around fast enough to fling all sense away.


The crosstalk overwhelmed all comers and CBS moderator John Dickerson lost all control (apart from Carson and Kasich, whose brand-management plans forbade them from joining in).

And neither of whom are anywhere near being able to take the title anyway. So why put yourself in that position?
It’s hard to tell which is sadder: that millions of people are stuck with these jerks; or that millions of people want to be.
That's easy for me: that millions of people want to be.
That said, the most depressing of all possible acknowledgements is that it probably doesn’t matter what a mess this was.
On the contrary, it probably brought out more voters. And that's what the GOP needs.
Trump and Bush’s fiery exchanges [...] were as personal and vicious as any moment so far in the 2016 presidential election. The Republican frontrunner ferociously challenged the Bush family legacy and GOP orthodoxy on foreign policy. At the end of one clash, Ohio governor John Kasich was left slack-jawed. “This is just crazy,” he said.

Probably wasn't as exciting as that. Was it?
Trump openly accused the Bush administration of knowingly lying about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in order to justify an invasion of Iraq in 2003, a step beyond anything that most Democrats, let alone any Republican, have said.
Only if you're talking about presidential candidates.
“George Bush made a mistake, we can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty.”

He added, forcefully: “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction – there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

Bush fired back, showing his most fight in any debate yet.

“I am sick and tired of him going after my family,” he said. “While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and I’m proud of what he did.”

The two men even squabbled about Bush’s mother. The former Florida governor said proudly, “My mother was the strongest person I know.”

Trump’s response: “Maybe she should be running.”
Zing! And really, what is this with Jeb and his Mommy? Does he ever talk about his wife in such glowing terms?
All the while, Trump was lustily booed by the audience.
Which just egged him on, no doubt.
Eventually, Marco Rubio jumped into the scrum in defense of George W Bush but Trump fired back: “I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush.”
He had hundreds of friends? That's a bald-faced lie. But a great rant. Except, why attack Jeb? He's nowhere near close to the top of the pack.
Rubio’s response was to cast blame for 9/11 on Bill Clinton’s failure to kill Osama bin Laden during his administration.
You've got to be kidding me.
Cruz claimed that Rubio has said in a Spanish-language TV interview that he would not revoke Obama’s executive actions. Rubio responded: “I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish.”

Cruz trotted out his rudimentary Spanish language skills as disproof.
I wonder how many of their supporters just found out these guys have Latin blood. Oh wait, those people are Trump supporters.
[Cruz] reiterated an attack that he has frequently used on the stump, saying that the New York real estate mogul has spent most of his life as a liberal Democrat who supports socialized medicine and partial birth abortion.

Trump responded by telling Cruz: “You are the single biggest liar. You are probably worse than Jeb Bush.”
He's on the TV. And he knows people are lapping him up. What do you expect? If these other guys think getting him to show his "true self" is in any way going to diminish his support, they're dreaming. Or maybe they are just trying to emulate him since he's top of the polls.

Except Kasich and Ben Carson, who's still going on his own path in his own world.
Ben Carson used a quote from Stalin – that in order to destroy a healthy body “you have to undermine three principles: their spiritual life, their patriotism and their morality” – that appears to be utterly and entirely fabricated.


It seems the blood red curtain was a fitting backdrop.
The febrile mood continued, at times closer to gladiatorial combat in the coliseum than a policy debate over the future of the nation.

At one point, Kasich warned: “I think we’re fixin’ to lose the election to Hillary Clinton if we don’t stop this.”


The debate took place only a few hours after the death of Scalia. The six candidates on stage held a moment of silence before the debate began and then stood almost unanimously against the Senate confirming any Obama nominee to replace him in the next 11 months. As Trump put it, Senate Republicans should “delay, delay, delay”.
And they will. They don't need to be told.
George W Bush is set to campaign at his brother’s side in South Carolina, where Republicans vote on Saturday.
Is that a good idea?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The full chart is here.  PDF

Happy Valentine's Day

Have a great day with someone or something you love.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

The campaign of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas released a biting negative ad against Senator Marco Rubio of Florida on Thursday, featuring a mock focus group and a woman decrying Mr. Rubio as nothing more than a “pretty face.”

Few will see that ad, however. The woman who made the comment in the ad is a soft-core pornography actress.

The woman, Amy Lindsay, as first reported by BuzzFeed, has appeared in multiple movies with titles like “Carnal Wishes,” “Insatiable Desires” and “Private Sex Club.” Ms. Lindsay told BuzzFeed that she was a Christian conservative and a Republican, deciding between supporting Mr. Cruz or Donald J. Trump.

The Cruz campaign pulled the ad soon after the report on Thursday.

I don't know why they pulled it. Christian Conservative porn is pretty common, I think.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

But We Can Imagine and Speculate

"We can say, without speaking to specifics, that the inert training missile has been returned with the cooperation of the Cuban government," Mark Toner, the State Department's deputy spokesperson, told CNN on Saturday. "The department is restricted under federal law and regulations from commenting on specific defense trade licensing cases and compliance matters, so we cannot provide further details."

"The reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of our embassy in Havana allow us to engage with the Cuban government on issues of mutual interest," he added.


Ding Dong, Antonin Scalia Is Dead

Since I'm not supposed to speak ill of the dead...

Couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

Okay, then.  One less chauvinist, hateful, pro-torture pig in the world.  How's that?

Okay, that's much wittier.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a leading conservative voice on the high court, has died at the age of 79, a government source and a family friend told CNN on Saturday.

His death set off an immediate debate about whether President Barack Obama should fill the seat in an election year, and sources told CNN Saturday night that the President plans to nominate a replacement. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama should wait until the next president comes into office.

Why? Would a Republican president in this situation do that? I think not. In fact, I know not.

Well, there is that.  So perhaps it's a win-win situation.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with loathing [any] person with political influence and power based upon perceived bad acts, and that doesn't change simply because they die. If anything, it becomes more compelling to commemorate those bad acts upon death as the only antidote against a society erecting a false and jingoistically self-serving history.

  Glenn Greenwald on the death of Margaret Thatcher


A Video Worth a Thousand Words

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Economist/Public Policy Wonk Robert Reich Looks at the Candidates

The other day Bill Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health plan as unfeasible and a “recipe for gridlock.”

Yet these days, nothing of any significance is feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock. This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system.

I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have.

But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.

The upcoming election isn’t about detailed policy proposals. It’s about power – whether those who have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well.


[A recent Princeton study concluded:] “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact upon public policy.”

Instead, lawmakers respond to the moneyed interests – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

It’s sobering that Gilens and Page’s data come from the period 1981 to 2002, before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in its “Citizens United” and “McCutcheon” decisions. Their study also predated the advent of super PACs and “dark money,” and even the Wall Street bailout.

If average Americans had a “near-zero” impact on public policy then, their impact is now zero.


[A] few months ago when I was on book tour in the nation’s heartland: I kept bumping into people who told me they were trying to make up their minds in the upcoming election between Sanders and Trump.

At first I was dumbfounded. The two are at opposite ends of the political divide. But as I talked with these people, I kept hearing the same refrains.


If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who are working harder than ever but getting nowhere, and who understand that the political-economic system is rigged against you and in favor of the rich and powerful, what are you going to do?

Either you’re going to be attracted to an authoritarian son-of-a-bitch who promises to make America great again by keeping out people different from you and creating “great” jobs in America, who sounds like he won’t let anything or anybody stand in his way, and who’s so rich he can’t be bought off.

Or you’ll go for a political activist who tells it like it is, who has lived by his convictions for fifty years, who won’t take a dime of money from big corporations or Wall Street or the very rich, and who is leading a grass-roots “political revolution” to regain control over our democracy and economy.

  Robert Reich
So I guess we can pick, but then what? We have zero impact on public policy. Can either one of them fix that?

There are 167 more economists and financial experts signatures on this document.

David Fry's Payback Begins

The final four holdouts in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge appeared one by one in federal court Friday afternoon, a day after they surrendered to end a 41-day occupation of the federal bird sanctuary.


David Fry, 27, the last of the occupiers, was led into court wearing a thick full-length anti-suicide smock, his arms and chest bare beneath it.

  Oregon Live
I never heard of an anti-suicide smock before.  It's something designed so that there's nothing a person can use to hang himself.  Here's an example (not Fry):

Now, there's no way a person is going to use their clothing to hang in the courtroom, so the only reason I can think of to keep them dressed like that in court is to humiliate them.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

From Libya to Syria

There was a bit in the last debate between Clinton and Sanders where she tired to stick him with having voted for "regime change" in Libya. But, according to this post from Marcy Wheeler, he didn't vote to take Qaddafi out. (Not to mention, she voted for the same thing.)

[The resolution Sanders endorsed] certainly called for Qaddafi to resign and transfer power to a democratic government. It even endorsed the “outreach” — which ultimately involved barely covert support for rebels — as a means to “transition to a legitimate democratic government.” And it called for the UNSC to take further action, which it did weeks later in calling for a no-fly zone. Famously, Russia and China only permitted that resolution to pass because Susan Rice had led them to believe it did not entail regime change (which is why Russia refused to play along with multilateral efforts to do something about Bashar Assad’s massacres).

I hadn't seen that bit of information before. Why is it that our government continues to bait and switch, and flat out mislead people it claims to be negotiating with? It has consequences. But of course, in public, in American press, they can claim that the other side - Russia in this (and other) cases - is the bad guy. Oh, didn't we mention that we lied to them on that last deal?

Clinton Super PAC Checks In

In what some see as a sign of the tightening race between the two Democratic candidates, Priorities USA Action is pouring $5 million into pro-Clinton voter outreach and radio ads.

The majority of the money — $4.5 million — will go to voter outreach in early-voting states, which started on Friday with Georgia and Illinois, and others will be added on a rolling basis. The group has teamed up with other pro-Clinton organizations for the early-voting campaign.

“We want to make sure that we’re educating voters on where, when and how they can vote,” spokesman Justin Barasky told POLITICO.

And for whom.
“It is truly unfortunate that the largest pro-Clinton super PAC has decided to infect the democratic primary process with its haul of Wall Street cash. Democratic voters expect more,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement.
No they don't.
“Doesn’t the Clinton campaign have the funds to run its own ads without resorting to its super PAC, which is funded by the very people Secretary Clinton has promised to take on?”
Apparently not.
As of the end of January, Priorities USA had $36 million in the bank.
If that won't buy you an election, nothing will.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.