Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bernie's NYT OpEd

[The] increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere. Incredibly, the wealthiest 62 people on this planet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — around 3.6 billion people. The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the whole of the bottom 99 percent. The very, very rich enjoy unimaginable luxury while billions of people endure abject poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care, education, housing and drinking water.

They each deserve their lot in life, don't they?
In the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have closed, and more than 4.8 million well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Much of this is related to disastrous trade agreements that encourage corporations to move to low-wage countries.

The global economy is not working for the majority of people in our country and the world. This is an economic model developed by the economic elite to benefit the economic elite.


Despite major increases in productivity, the median male worker in America today is making $726 dollars less than he did in 1973, while the median female worker is making $1,154 less than she did in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.
The profit from the increased productivity is going to the top cats.
Nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 28 million have no health insurance, while many others are underinsured.
What!? No health insurance?! But...but...but...Obamacare!
Frighteningly, millions of poorly educated Americans will have a shorter life span than the previous generation as they succumb to despair, drugs and alcohol.
That's a system asset to many.
On my campaign, I’ve talked to workers unable to make it on $8 or $9 an hour; retirees struggling to purchase the medicine they need on $9,000 a year of Social Security; young people unable to afford college.
And Obama and Clinton have been telling us that we need to adjust our expectations downward. Times are tough, they say.
In this pivotal moment, the Democratic Party and a new Democratic president need to make clear that we stand with those who are struggling and who have been left behind.
Then why are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton, Mr. Sanders?

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

Honesty Is a Plus

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Surely There's Been a Mixup

If this isn't the Republican party platform, I don't think I want to see that.

Hey, thanks, Bernie.  Great job.  And you're going to vote for Hillary Clinton, the leader of this disgrace.  Let's hope your supporters have a better idea.

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

Hillary Will Unite Where Obama Failed

The duopoly will have its queen.

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

So Much for Bernie's Input on the Party Platform

I visited this earlier, but here's a little more.
Hillary Clinton is not President Obama when it comes to foreign policy, her defenders argue. She does not travel around the globe bemoaning America’s past sins. She derides the notion — held by both Donald Trump and Obama — that we are burdened by “free riders,” namely allies. She speaks forthrightly about America’s leadership in the world, does not think Islamist terrorism is a figment of our imagination goosed up by cable TV and was opposed to a policy of indifference that allowed the humanitarian and geopolitical disaster to unfold in Syria.

Indifference? CIA and Pentagon programs training and backing "moderate" rebels is indifference?
Clinton would return to the bipartisan, pro-Israel stance — albeit with a dose of unrealism about a two-state solution — in place before the Obama presidency.

Moreover, the platform for the first time condemns the BDS movement. The Jerusalem Post reports: “The party will also recommit itself to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region and ‘oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.'”
How long before it will be illegal to boycott or divest from Israel?

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

One Reason Corporate Press and High Politicos Want to Ruin Corbyn

The Chilcot Inquiry into [the Iraq war] will be released on 6 July this year after years of analysing evidence about how the Government acted in the run-up to and during the conflict.

During the Labour leadership election [current Labour head Jeremy] Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial.

“If [Tony Blair has] committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who's committed a war crime should be [charged],” he said.


The statement comes amid reports in the Sunday Times that Mr Blair, as well as former foreign secretary Jack Straw, are set to be “savaged” in the Chilcot Report.


The Chilcot Inquiry's 2.6 million word report has been in production since 2009, when it was launched by former prime minister Gordon Brown.


The Daily Telegraph newspaper says a Labour spokesperson confirmed over the weekend that Mr Corbyn stands by his views and will not row back from them.

  UK Independent
I don't see it happening, but it would certainly be a start at justice.

The source added that the harshest criticism will be reserved for the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. “It will be absolutely brutal for [Mr] Straw,” they told the Sunday Times. “The build-up to war is very crucial. It will damage the reputations of a number of people, Richard Dearlove as well as Tony Blair and others. But there is a second half. The report will say that we really did make a mess of the aftermath.”

“We sent in inexperienced people. People were put in positions where they couldn’t succeed. We didn’t quite know what we were doing.

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

Do You REALLY Want Democracy?

Probably not. You probably just want to live where the rules and laws suit you.
[T]he reaction to both Brexit and Trump reveals a problem potentially more serious than either Brexit or the Trump campaign. It's become perilously fashionable all over the Western world to reach for non-democratic solutions whenever society drifts in a direction people don't like. Here in America the problem is snowballing on both the right and the left.


"Too much democracy" used to be an argument we reserved for foreign peoples who tried to do things like vote to demand control over their own oil supplies.

I first heard the term in Russia in the mid-Nineties. As a young reporter based in Moscow in the years after communism fell, I spent years listening to American advisors and their cronies in the Kremlin gush over the new democratic experiment.

Then, in 1995, polls came out showing communist Gennady Zyguanov leading in the upcoming presidential race against Boris Yeltsin. In an instant, all of those onetime democratic evangelists began saying Russia was "not ready" for democracy.


Just as frequently, the argument is aimed at "low-information" voters at home.

Maybe the slide started with 9/11, after which huge pluralities of people were suddenly OK with summary executions, torture, warrantless surveillance and the blithe disposal of concepts like habeas corpus.


What's particularly concerning about the reaction both to Brexit and to the rise of Trump is the way these episodes are framed as requiring exceptions to the usual democratic rule.


[H]istory tells us that the descent into despotism always starts in this exact same way. There is always an emergency that requires a temporary suspension of democracy.


After 9/11 we had the "ticking time bomb" metaphor to justify torture. NYU professor and self-described "prolific thought leader" Ian Bremmer just called Brexit the "most significant political risk the world has experienced since the Cuban Missile Crisis," likening it to a literal end-of-humanity scenario.


I don't buy it. My admittedly primitive understanding of democracy is that we're supposed to move toward it, not away from it, in a moment of crisis.

It doesn't mean much to be against torture until the moment when you're most tempted to resort to it, or to have faith in voting until the result of a particular vote really bothers you. If you think there's ever such a thing as "too much democracy," you probably never believed in it in the first place. And even low-Information voters can sense it.

  Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Never-Ending Struggle to Bring Texas Into the Present

The US Supreme Court has struck down a contentious abortion law in the state of Texas that imposed strict regulations on the procedure that made it harder for women to get an abortion


The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that abortion clinics must be outfitted with hospital-like surgical centres.

The law effectively forced dozens of abortion clinics in the state to close with the number of providers shrinking from 41 to seven, most of them located in major cities.

Many clinics are now expected to reopen.


Texas had argued that its 2013 law and subsequent regulations were needed to protect women's health.

Uh-huh.  Sure.

Maybe they should reconsider a Texit.

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

Business Tax "Reform"

Hillary Clinton gave a big speech in Raleigh on her plans for the economy on June 22. It was full of Bernie Sanders-like rhetoric about “outrageous behavior” by business and Wall Street.

But it also included a dog whistle that only huge multinational corporations would hear, telling them that she plans to deliver on one of their greatest dreams and slash their longterm taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Here’s what Clinton said:
Let’s break through the dysfunction in Washington to make the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. … In my first 100 days as president, I will work with both parties to pass a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good-paying jobs. Now, the heart of my plan will be the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades, including establishing an infrastructure bank that will bring private sector dollars off the sidelines and put them to work here.

[P]rofits held overseas by U.S. multinationals have accumulated again and have now reached an incredible $2.4 trillion. That’s about 65 percent of the 2015 federal budget and 13 percent of the entire U.S. economy. If U.S. multinationals had to pay the statutory tax rate on that, they’d owe the government about $695 billion.


That phrase — bringing corporate money “off the sidelines” — is a favorite of both Democratic and Republican elites to describe slashing the tax rate on overseas profits. For instance, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., used it in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as did economists writing for the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank.

That’s why Clinton can honestly predict that she will “break through the dysfunction in Washington” and “work with both parties.” Both parties want to deliver a massive tax cut to their huge corporate patrons.

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

Democracy at Its Finest

Are people seriously suggesting that the vote to leave the EU be disregarded - or, as I've seen it written, considered just a suggestion?

I see that some are calling for a second vote.  How about the best 4 out of 5?  Let's you and me keep voting until I win.

Click here for an interesting Twitter thread that started with Glenn Greenwald noting that ignoring the vote validates the idea that in western democracies voting is pointless.



Which is precisely why, in this country, our police have armored tanks and military grade riot gear.

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

Cameron To Fuck British As Long As He Can

They're nothing more than dead pigs heads to him, apparently.
Eager to avoid a domino effect in other Eurosceptic member states, European leaders have said they want the UK to make a swift start on the marathon task of extricating itself from the bloc by triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the untested procedure governing how a member state leaves, as soon as possible.

But London has so far shown no sign of wanting to launch formal exit proceedings, with the prime minister, David Cameron, who resigned on Friday, leaving the task to his successor, and leading Brexit campaigners including Boris Johnson demanding informal withdrawal talks before locking Britain into the strict two-year timeframe laid down in the article 50 process.

But that's just it. Cameron hasn't actually left. As long as he's there and refusing to trigger article 50, no successor can step in and do it.
Brussels has also emphatically ruled out informal talks on a possible trade deal before the UK triggers article 50. “No notification, no negotiation,” one official said on Sunday. A diplomat added: “If they treat their referendum as a non-event, we will also treat their referendum as a non-event.”
Also a big FU to the Brits. If you don't play the game according to the elite playbook, they will take their ball and go home. Now, play with your own balls.

Not that they won't be having talks amongst themselves.
The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, is is to meet the French president, François Hollande, in Paris before they fly together to Berlin for talks with Merkel and Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, ahead of a crucial two-day EU summit starting on Tuesday.


[US secretary of state, John Kerry] is meeting the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, in the Belgian capital on Monday morning and then flying to London for talks with the British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond.
An American politician can be in on the talks, but the British cannot. Nice.
Cameron is due to attend the Tuesday evening summit dinner before going back to London, leaving the remaining 27 member states to discuss on Wednesday how to handle the biggest blow to the bloc in its 60-year history.


The commission also meets this afternoon to prepare the ground for the summit. Jonathan Hill, the British commissioner, who dramatically resigned on Saturday but remains in office until mid-July, will attend.
How very nice that the guys who are dumping their positions and on their way out get to be in on meetings. I get it that you don't want to serve in a capacity for something you don't believe in. You shouldn't. And the ones who do believe in it probably don't want you there. But are you the ones who should get to participate in anything to do with the new order of things? I smell a rat.
David Cameron reportedly told aides following his resignation speech: "Why should I do all the hard s**t?"

In the speech, the Prime Minister said he would continue in Number 10 until the party elects a successor, likely to be before the Tory conference in October.


A close aide to Mr Cameron told the Sun: "It was the moment it really sunk in for all of us that it was over.

“He went out with dignity, and that was the most important thing for us."

After Mr Cameron's speech, Boris Johnson, the leading contender to replace him, paid tribute to the Prime Minister's record, saying: "I have known David Cameron for a very long time, and I believe he has been one of the most extraordinary politicians of our age.

"A brave and principled man, who has given superb leadership of his party and his country for many years.
Doesn't sound like the Brits will be any better off with Johnson.
"It was his bravery that gave this country the first referendum on the European Union for 43 years."
Bravery. Nobody in elite circles thought it would pass. Didn't seem like much of a gamble.  They expected to win the referendum and thereby shut up the whingers.
[Prime Minister Cameron] reportedly told the [EU] commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, at a 2014 G20 summit that he could win a referendum “by a margin of 70 to 30”. Juncker replied that even Luxembourg would not vote to stay in the EU by such a big majority, according to one EU diplomat.

David Cameron: a leader with his finger on the pulse of the people.
Brussels insiders are also frustrated and angry that Cameron did not use the UK reform deal – painstakingly agreed by all EU member states in February – to defend the EU during the campaign.
So, in other words, Cameron did screw the Brits just like the pig's head. They most likely didn't even know about the deal.

And so, the "brave" and "dignified" Mr. Cameron stepped down rather than carry out the democratic will of the people. And do the hard shit.

Dream On

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s life in exile may not have to be a permanent solution. His lawyers are planning to raise the pressure on the US government to issue a presidential pardon. Snowden is currently hiding out in Russia.

I wouldn't exactly call it "hiding out."
President Barack Obama is considered to be Snowden’s best hope, but the legal team are preparing for other outcomes, believing a pardon to be the least likely of options.
I think that's a given. He would be lucky to even get a reduced charge from the Espionage Act to something where he could mount a defense.

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

Business As Usual

CIA weapons supplied to the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels via Jordan have been “systematically stolen” to be sold on the black market, a new report based on testimonies of American and Jordanian officials to the NYT and Al Jazeera has revealed.

The large shipments of CIA and Saudi Arabian arms included Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, which intelligence agencies bought in bulk in the Balkans and elsewhere around Eastern Europe.

The arms trade business is good.
The stolen weapons were then sold on the black market in Jordan at bazaars in Ma’an, Sahab, and in the Jordan Valley. Those involved in the theft scheme, worth millions of dollars, used the profits to purchase expensive SUVs, electronics, and other luxury goods.

It is also believed that some of the stolen weapons were used to kill two Americans and three others at a police training facility shooting in Amman in November.


Following the delivery to Jordan, the CIA used General Intelligence Directorate officers to transport the weapons to the Syrian rebels where they disappeared midway.
Disappeared. Magic weapons. I wouldn't buy from the Eastern Europeans again.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pre-Crime Units in Cleveland

As the city gears up to welcome an estimated 50,000 visitors, and an unknown number of protesters, some of the preparations and restrictions put in place by officials have angered civil rights activists. But the latest string of unannounced home visits by local and federal police marks a significant escalation in officials’ efforts to stifle protest, they say.

“The purpose of these door knocks is simple: to intimidate the target and others in efforts to discourage people from engaging in lawful First Amendment activities,” Jocelyn Rosnick, a coordinator with the Ohio chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, wrote in a statement denouncing the home visits.

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


I will spare you the pictures, but you can click the above picture for the story, which includes them.  Or the link in the excerpt below:
Animal rights campaigner Esmail Al Misri, who has called for the security firm to be prosecuted, told the Arab Times that 90 more dogs could be killed.

He said workers killed the hounds because they had not been paid for two months after the firm's contract with KNPC ended.

'We know how dogs that are well-fed and well taken care of look. The photos were taken immediately after the incident so we can rule out dehydration as a cause of their sickly state,' Mr Al Misri said, implying they were killed.

  Daily Mail

Trying to Understand Brexit

I see lots of articles and opinions about the move of Britain away from the European Union, none of which indicate it's a good thing, except for Donald Trump, which makes me think it's probably a bad thing. But I'm just not totally convinced, and I think the best course is to just "Keep Calm and Carry On".
The Guardian US asked for questions from American readers on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Here are some of your questions, plus a few from the Guardian US staff, and our answers

In what way will Brexit affect the US?

As my colleague Dan Roberts explains, there are a number of ways Britain’s decision to leave the EU will affect the US – all of them bad. The IMF has warned that Brexit could knock half a percentage point off the output of all advanced economies by 2019, and turmoil in the stock and currency markets has already wiped $2tn off stocks and sent the pound to its lowest level since 1985. The EU could further unravel, threatening a relative anchor of diplomatic stability; US corporations may want to leave London; shared Anglo-US legal and free-market principles could be weakened internationally; and populism in the US could get a shot in the arm.

Of course the first question posed in this article is not about the British, but about how Brexit is going to affect Americans. And I don't buy the answer. More fear-mongering.

Knocking "half a percentage point off the output of all advanced economies by 2019" - there's three years time to work trade deals out amongst everyone in order to avoid major disruption, but I admit, I barely understand my own meager finances, let alone global intricacies. "Turmoil in the stock and currency markets" - that goes without saying, because that's the immediate effect of ANYthing that shifts the status quo. It's not infrequent for stocks to tumble and rise. How does that actually affect most Americans?

And, the pound now costs Americans $1.37, down a good deal from it's earlier rate (but it's been going down for some time).  So, isn't that a better deal for Americans if we're over there spending money?  Or American traders if they're buying British product?

"The EU could further unravel" - and it COULD hold as is.  What would be the effects if the EU did unravel?  That would be more helpful information, but still it wouldn't necessarily be what happened.

"US corporations may want to leave London" - MAY. But, surely not likely. At least not right away. Moving to another market is a huge undertaking for a corporation.  They won't be doing it willy-nilly or in fear mode. England is not going to suddenly become Pakistan. Corporations rule the world. Any that are actually doing business in London will be behind the scenes (or right out in the open) working to help stabilize the situation for their own best interests.

Internationally weakened legal and market principles? Why? Is the British government now going to cut all ties with the US or Europe? Are market principles so unstable?  Pipe me up another dream. Is this just more hacking at Jeremy Corbyn's less than neoconservative leadership? (Btw, he's in a bit of trouble as a Brexit backlash takes hold.)

And here's the big scare: "populism in the US could get a shot in the arm." Is that a BAD thing? How boldly the press denigrates empowering the people these days.

Actually, I do think  uneducated, ignorant, racist masses with power is a scary thought. But I'm not at all sure a world run by them would be worse than the one we have now where elites manipulate them into putting more power and riches into their own pockets. Maybe that's what's keeping the ignorance and racism alive.
How long could it realistically take, and is the Brexit vote more symbolic rather than just a clean break?

The process to leave the EU is meant to take two years once article 50 has been triggered. If negotiations have not concluded by then, the UK gets thrown out without a deal and trade goes back to World Trade Organisation rules, meaning the UK faces tariffs on all goods it sells to the EU. The EU could also agree to prolong negotiations.
Because that would be really smart. But then, what the EU did to Greece doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the intelligence of their leadership. Still, Britain is not Greece, and the major European countries, not to mention the meddling US, will not try to force Britain into a destructive situation.
A leaked German document suggests Berlin would drive a hard bargain in negotiations with the UK to “avoid offering false incentives for other member states when settling on new arrangements”. The document also suggests the EU would give “no automatic access to the single market”, a move obviously designed to deter other states from pushing to leave themselves.
Indeed, the EU leadership has itself in a bit of a sticky wicket regarding complaining members, but that can be attributed to their own manipulations and self-interest. Too bad they couldn't have been a little more far-sighted when dealing with Greece. MAYBE they'll be a little more careful with Britain. Or are they as short-sighted - or blind - as US elites?
Those limits may be an incentive for the next prime minister to conduct negotiations before triggering article 50, to make sure a good deal is struck without the two-year deadline hanging over his or her head. So it’s unclear how long the process could really take – years seem likely.
Indeed.  Everybody will be jockeying for a "good deal".
The EU may not play ball, for fear of encouraging separatist movements in other EU states. Far-right leaders in France, Sweden, Greece, the Netherlands and Denmark have already called for their own in/out votes.
The EU will play ball, I have no doubt.  But whether they play smart or not is still a question.  Perhaps if the leaders are faced with that many other nations on the verge of voting out, they should rethink how they're running things.

But here's something I didn't realize and which this article points out: London has to approve Scotland's decision to hold a referendum on whether to leave the UK. Scotland needs PERMISSION to vote on whether they want to be ruled by London?! Sweet deal for England.

And, to end the article - or I should say bookend the article - here's the last uniquely American question presented:
Does that mean the UK may get their guns back?

No, the gun ban was a UK law introduced after the massacre of 16 children and a teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996. There is no political pressure to reopen the issue, although Ukip leader Nigel Farage has called the ban “ludicrous”.
To get a thoughtful, reasoned take on Brexit, I now feel compelled to turn to Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek ex-finance minister who tried in vain to negotiate a workable deal for Greece, and he does not disappoint.
Leave won because too many British voters identified the EU with authoritarianism, irrationality and contempt for parliamentary democracy while too few believed those of us who claimed that another EU was possible.

I campaigned for a radical remain vote reflecting the values of our pan-European Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25). I visited towns in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, seeking to convince progressives that dissolving the EU was not the solution. I argued that its disintegration would unleash deflationary forces of the type that predictably tighten the screws of austerity everywhere and end up favouring the establishment and its xenophobic sidekicks. [...] I argued for a strategy of remaining in but against Europe’s established order and institutions.


The repercussions of the vote will be dire, albeit not the ones Cameron and Brussels had warned of. The markets will soon settle down, and negotiations will probably lead to something like a Norwegian solution that allows the next British parliament to carve out a path toward some mutually agreed arrangement. Schäuble and Brussels will huff and puff but they will, inevitably, seek such a settlement with London. [...] However, despite the relative tranquillity that will follow on from the current shock, insidious forces will be activated under the surface with a terrible capacity for inflicting damage on Europe and on Britain.

Italy, Finland, Spain, France, and certainly Greece, are unsustainable under the present arrangements. The architecture of the euro is a guarantee of stagnation and is deepening the debt-deflationary spiral that strengthens the xenophobic right.


The only man with a plan is Germany’s finance minister. Schäuble recognises in the post-Brexit fear his great opportunity to implement a permanent austerity union. Under his plan, eurozone states will be offered some carrots and a huge stick. The carrots will come in the form of a small eurozone budget to cover, in some part, unemployment benefits and bank deposit insurance. The stick will be a veto over national budgets.


The horror of these developments, from which Britain cannot be shielded by Brexit, is the main reason why I, and other members of DiEM25, tried to save the EU from the establishment that is driving Europeanism into the ground. I very much doubt that, despite their panic in Brexit’s aftermath, EU leaders will learn their lesson.

  Yanis Varoufakis
And that's the shame of the whole thing.
While I remain convinced that leave was the wrong choice, I welcome the British people’s determination to tackle the diminution of democratic sovereignty caused by the democratic deficit in the EU. And I refuse to be downcast, even though I count myself on the losing side of the referendum.

As of today, British and European democrats must seize on this vote to confront the establishment in London and Brussels more powerfully than before. The EU’s disintegration is now running at full speed. Building bridges across Europe, bringing democrats together across borders and political parties, is what Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss.
Good luck all round. The US won't be of any help. We're busy blowing up our own cart.

It's Sunday

30 Jan 2010

Churches have been burnt down in Malaysia in a row over Christians using the word Allah for God.

The government had ruled that the word must not be used except to refer to God as worshipped by Muslims. But the high court declared that a Catholic newspaper, the Herald, could continue to use Allah in its Malay edition, since the people in Borneo that buy the paper have from time immemorial referred to God by that name.

Two-thirds of Malaysians are Muslims and about 10 per cent of them Christians.


Many of those protesting at the Christian use of Allah had hardly been aware of the usage before the public row, for they do not buy Christian newspapers and they do not live in Borneo, where the papers mostly circulate. One popular objection among Malaysian Muslims to the use of Allah by Christians is that it might lead to Muslims being lured into conversion to Christianity.


The problem in Malaysia has erupted among people who do not use Arabic as their first language. No such misunderstanding would be possible between Arabic-speaking Muslims and Arabic-speaking Christians, for whom the only word for God is Allah.

The Arabic word Allah comes from al-ilah, "the god". The word Allah was in use among the people of Mecca before Mohammed announced his message to them. It is found in pre-Islamic poetry and in ancient inscriptions in Arabia. It was used by Christians as their term for God long before Mohammed was born.

  UK Telegraph

Saturday, June 25, 2016

From Greece to Great Britain

The groundwork for the Brexit debacle was laid last July when Europe crushed the last progressive pro-European government the EU is likely to see – the SYRIZA government elected in Greece in January 2015. Most Britons were not directly engaged with the Greek trauma. Many surely looked askance at the Greek leaders. But they must have noticed how Europe talked down to Greece, how it scolded its officials, how it dictated terms and how it made rebellious country into an example, so that no one else would ever be tempted to follow the same path.


If the hard right can rise in Britain, it can rise anywhere. If Britain can exit, so can anyone; neither the EU nor the Euro is irrevocable. And most likely, since the apocalyptic predictions of economic collapse and “Lehman on steroids” that preceded the Brexit referendum will not come true, such warnings will be even less credible when heard the next time.


That such a campaign could prevail – leading soon to a hard right government in Britain – testifies to the high-handed incompetence of the political, financial, British and European elites. Remain ran a campaign of fear, condescension and bean-counting, as though Britons cared only about the growth rate and the pound.


The political effect has sent a harsh message to Europeans living in Britain, and to the many who would have liked to come. The economic effect will leave Britain in the hands of simpletons who believe that deregulation is the universal source of growth.


If the drop in sterling lasts, British exports may actually benefit. If the world gets skittish, the dollar will rise and US exports may suffer, with possible political consequences in America this fall. Otherwise, in the most likely case, the markets will settle down and British life will continue normally at first – except, of course, for immigrants.

  James Galbraith
We shall see, said Grandpa. We shall see.

By the way: what US exports?

The Real Entitlements

[Likely Hillary Clinton presidential chief of staff Neera] Tanden made up a story about her not being at the DNC platform hearings for “any discussions” of the Israel/Palestine conflict. She made up that story when there was publicly available and easily accessible evidence to the contrary. When she was challenged about her made-up story, she doubled down. She suggested that the edited video gave a misleading impression about her presence there. She accused me of being a liar and demanded that I retract my lie. She never once admitted that it was she, not me, who was not telling the truth. She never once apologized to me for claiming to her 25,000 followers that I was lying.


If Tanden can act this way in the face of verifiable evidence that’s plain as day, and there for everyone to see, when the stakes are so low, is it completely implausible that she would act in a roughly similar fashion when the evidence is not so publicly available and not so easily accessible and when the stakes are much higher? When she has an even stronger and more self-interested reason for covering her tracks?


When someone commented on Facebook that they couldn’t understand why a powerful player in DC would be so obsessively monitoring her mentions on Twitter, particularly in response to a not terribly important person like me, Astra [Taylor, a documentary film maker,] made a shrewd observation:
This election has really shown the people who feel entitled to rule the country to be deeply narcissistic and not busy doing anything of actual importance — this is the liberal version of Trump reading all his press/mentions every morning and sending “corrected” copies back to the journalists.
Exactly. Never underestimate the narcissism—or amateurishness—of America’s ruling classes. While people like Tanden are in meetings with other important people, where God knows what or whose fate gets decided, they’re keeping their eye on their Twitter mentions, making sure no one’s looking at them cross-eyed, making sure they’re someone whom you don’t want to cross.

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

UPDATE 10/19/16:  Tanden may not be the likely Chief of Staff in a Hillary administration any more.  Leaked emails have just come out that could block her ambitions.

Follow-up to Cleveland Ban on Free Speech

A federal judge on Thursday scrapped the city of Cleveland's plans for a heightened-security zone that would have encompassed most of downtown during the Republican National Convention, saying that the restrictions are burdensome to people who want to express their free-speech rights.


- The judge said the times at which people can hold parades, which is only for a few hours each day of the convention and not during the hours in which the delegates are expected to be downtown, are problematic.


- He said the size of the event zone, is "unduly large."


- He said the parade route is unconstitutionally insufficient.


The city indicated it would appeal the judge's order, but the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which brought the lawsuit, said the organization's attorneys are now negotiating at the judge's behest to come up with a compromise because of the short timeframe.


The city maintained its previous assertion that the event zone it created was to ensure security for people coming downtown. Hastings said that the convention is an "ideal target for international and domestic terrorists" and that despite that, the restrictions it had sought to impose were among the least stringent of any recent political convention.


The judge seemed skeptical on how allowing a march downtown or allowing demonstrators to use several city parks poses a security concern.


Gwin also questioned the inability for those who want to hold parades on other streets, such as Carnegie Avenue, and how delegates would be able to see the protesters on the bridge.
Yeah, I think that was the point.

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

Nothing to Hide

An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as secretary of state identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded or omitted the names of those she met.

The fuller details of those meetings were included in files the State Department turned over to the AP after it sued the government in federal court.


In one key omission, Clinton's State Department calendar dropped the identities of a dozen major Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009, The meeting occurred minutes before Clinton appeared in public at the exchange to ring the market's ceremonial opening bell.


The AP first sought Clinton's calendar and schedules from the State Department in August 2013, but the agency would not acknowledge even that it had the material. After nearly two years of delay, the AP sued the State Department in March 2015. The department agreed in a court filing last August to turn over Clinton's calendar, and provided the documents in November. After noticing discrepancies between Clinton's calendar and some schedules, the AP pressed in court for all of Clinton's planning material. The U.S. has released about one-third of those planners to the AP, so far.


"It's clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn't happen," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan government reform group. "These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency."

Clinton's terse calendar entry on her 2009 private breakfast on Wall Street contains no details on what she and her 12 guests discussed.

The weather. Their kids and grandkids.

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

How's the Democratic Platform Committee Getting On?

Reacting to the committee’s progress in remarks Friday evening in New York, Sanders pledged to ensure his views are reflected in the platform, even if that means contesting party orthodoxy on the floor of the convention.

Yeah, that ought to help.
The [Friday] meeting, scheduled to continue Saturday, was to be the committee’s final gathering before the document goes to a larger panel that in turn will send it on to the convention for final approval.


Committee members were united in strengthening the document’s language on regulating Wall Street and taxing the wealthy, among other issues. Immigration and criminal justice also emerged as rallying points.

At the same time, familiar fault lines characterized the beginning negotiations Friday between members named by Clinton and members named by Sanders, who has suggested he will wait to throw his support behind the presumptive nominee until he is convinced she has embraced ideas that are dear to him.

When did he become convinced?
Bernie Sanders said Friday he will likely vote for Hillary Clinton for president in November, the strongest expression of support yet from the Vermont senator, but he left the door open that he could change his mind. "In all likelihood, it will be Hillary Clinton," Sanders told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day."

Sanders said he was focused on his leverage over the Democratic party platform.


Earlier, in another TV appearance, Sanders was firmer in his support for Clinton. Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" if he would vote for the former secretary of state, Sanders said: "Yes. Yes, I think the issue right here is I am going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. I think Trump in so many ways will be a disaster for this country if he were to be elected president."

Yeah. How's that leverage over the party platform going?

The question is: will you give it to them?

(Video of Cornell West abstention here. Try not to get distracted by Hillary shill Neera Tanden playing with her hair.)

I'm guessing they do.
“If we do not win that fight in St. Louis, we’re takin’ it to Orlando, where the larger committee will meet next month,” said Sanders of his platform planks. “If we don’t make it in Orlando, we’re takin’ that fight right to the floor of the Democratic convention. Whether they like it or not, we’re going to open the doors of the Democratic Party.”

Yeah, sure.  Nice work, Bernie.

What now, Sanders supporters?

Tightening the Screws

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

"Split or Get Off the Pot"

This election cycle, many will try to rationalize and ennoble their debasement in Philadelphia by joining an “anti-fascist” crusade against Trump – attempting to juxtapose a fool’s gold casino caricature of a fascist with the actually existing, real thing: Hillary Clinton, the personification of imperial mega-murder and domestic mass Black incarceration; the queen of international chaos and would-be warden of the world’s biggest gulag. Clearly, most “progressives” don’t know what fascism looks like in the 21st century. Here’s a clue: it listens to every communications device in the world, locks up more people, most of them non-white, than any other nation, and cackles “We came, we saw, he died” over the bodies of assassinated world leaders.


Bernie Sanders is trying to figure out how to capitulate to Hillary Clinton and her corporatist masters next month, in Philadelphia. “The Sandernistas – now minus their commandante – can either slither into Hillary’s big corporate tent, or get down to the hard work of building an opposition, social democratic party that reflects the politics of around 40 percent of the U.S. public.” The alternative is perpetual defeat inside the Democratic Party.

  Glen Ford
Yeah, they're used to that. It's comfortable now.
Like most Americans, they have internalized the win-lose logic of the two-party system, and cannot imagine starting a third party from scratch, or building a small, existing party into a major contender.


They want to be on the “winning” side, even if their presence is actual proof of abject defeat.


Any excuse to remain in the Party – like non-binding platform adjustments – suffices to delay the moment of truth. They preach the gospel of merging mass social action and electoral politics, but their failure to break with the Democrats puts their mass networks at the ultimate service of what has become the uber-corporate party.


Sanders’ remarkable campaign allowed this “progressive” constituency – mainly the white ranks, and youth of all ethnicities – to see themselves as a potentially independent social force, as numerically significant as the white nationalists that gave Donald Trump his victory on the other side of the duopoly. “Progressive” Democrats claim, cockily, that Hillary “can’t win without us” – and they are right. But, if they allow her to win, then they are not really “progressives” at all – just carping complainers whose bluffs can always be called by serious corporatists.

Jill Stein, the presumptive candidate for the Green Party, was refused permission to address the [recent People's Summit in Chicago organized by the National Nurses United union], thereby shutting the door to an actual voting choice for anti-corporatists. Sanders has never deigned to respond to Stein’s offer to share the ticket with him, in November.


Kai Newkirk, director of Democracy Spring, schooled activists in “non-violent discipline” to prepare them to run gauntlets of police at the convention site and surrounding streets. But, to the extent that these energies are expended on pressuring the Democratic National Committee to make platform promises that Hillary Clinton cannot possibly keep, they will end up punching air. They need a new party.


But, I am certain that a significant fraction of the 12 million will get down to the business of alternative party-building, recognizing that the rich rule through the mechanism of the duopoly electoral system.
I hope you're right.

The Theater of Congress

Democrats decided to end their day-long sit-in protest on the House floor over gun control Thursday.

Rep. John Lewis, who launched the sit-in Wednesday morning that eventually drew 170 lawmakers, lit up social media, and infuriated House Republicans -- but spurred no legislative action -- said the fight was not over.

"We must come back here on July 5th [when Congress returns to session] more determined than ever before," Lewis said.

John Lewis - celebrated civil rights activist who "never saw" Bernie Sanders at any civil rights movement in the 60s - thinks a sit-in is the right way to go about addressing the crisis of gun nuts in the US. No, he doesn't really. He just knows good theater when he sees it.
"We are going to win," he told supporters on the Capitol steps after the sit-in was halted. "The fight is not over. This is just one step of when we come back here on July the 5th we're going to continue to push, to pull, to stand up, and if necessary, to sit down. So don't give up, don't give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize."
He should be ashamed to disgrace and co-opt the struggle of his fellow blacks in the south (including  himself!) for civil rights with a ridiculous bunch of hooey that actually would decrease civil rights for Arab-Americans. Another of Glen Ford's  (and his colleagues at Black Agenda Radio) "black misleadership".
The move is fantastic political theater. It’s also a tremendous waste of popular support and activist energy in support of a measure that isn’t just ineffective but also actively offensive.

The Democratic proposal has been catch-phrased and hashtagged as “no fly, no buy,” because it would prevent people who end up on government terrorism watchlists, including the “no fly list,” from purchasing firearms. This would do little to reduce gun violence, but it would add an additional layer of surveillance and government scrutiny to a particular class of people.


The vast majority of gun deaths—suicides as well as homicides—are caused by handguns, and the majority of people firing those guns are not suspected terrorists (which invariably refers, in contemporary discourse, to Muslims, and no other groups or individuals dedicated to political violence).

The no-fly list is a civil rights disaster by every conceivable standard. It is secret, it disproportionately affects Arab-Americans, it is error-prone, there is no due process or effective recourse for people placed on the list, and it constantly and relentlessly expands. As of 2014, the government had a master watchlist of 680,000 people, forty percent of whom had “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” This is both an absurdly large number of people to arbitrarily target in gun control legislation, and far, far too few to have any meaningful effect on actual gun ownership, let alone gun violence.


But if it is, as it appears to be, more of an effort to highlight the unpopular extremism of Republicans on gun issues, it is a stupid and counterproductive hill to theatrically die on. Almost any popular and previously debated gun control measure would have made a better symbolic lost cause. Democrats could be staging a sit-in in support of [...] waiting periods, nationally standard gun licensing and training requirements, and tougher restrictions on where and how guns are sold. All of those, or even any one of those, would have been more defensible both politically and morally. Instead House Democrats are going to the mat for a shitty, racist, useless bill.

You can read commentary by Black Agenda Radio's managing editor Bruce Dixon on the "sit in" here.

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

Addressing the Problem of Democracy

Z is for Zeitgeist: Brexit is insular but not wholly British. You hardly have to try and see parallels, across the Channel or the Atlantic. Better thinkers than me have addressed this crisis, the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact. Democracy becomes a potential weapon, a trigger you can vote to pull. But weapons don’t fire themselves, and the genius of Farage and Johnson and Gove (and Trump, potentially) is to get people to focus on the target, not on the one holding the gun.

  Tom Ewing "An A to Z of Brexit"
I don't think this arrogance belongs solely to the neoliberal elites, but to political elites from both ends of the spectrum. And definitely not Trump "potentially" - that potential is more than filled. Otherwise, I'm in agreement with Ewing, and he's put his finger very precisely on the situation.  The goal of those elites is to work around democracy (an inconvenience) and focus the masses on "the other" in their midst, away from the political elites who are actually the source of the masses' financial and political woes.  And they're doing a bang-up job of it.

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

Friday, June 24, 2016


On NPR this morning, some reporters were saying people were speculating about the possible effects of the "Brexit" on Netherlands and France, using the terms "Nexit" and "Frexit".  One correspondent from Germany then said, "You won't be seeing a Gerxit", which brought a chuckle from another.

As I recall, when Greece was threatening a "Grexit", there was talk about the domino effect such a move would have and worry about Spain, whose economic situation is similarly poor, making a move to leave.  If they did, we could possibly then be talking about a "Sexit".

But, of course, we'll never talk about a Gerxit, even though they're the Gerx in the deal, because they're doing quite well under the EU, and pretty much running it, thank you very much.

How about a Czechxit?

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


Scotland voted 62% to remain in the EU, Ding Dong.

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

Give It a Rest, Tony

Speaking to Sky News, [ex-primeminister Tony] Blair said: “It has got vast implications economically and politically. The prime minister has got a huge task in trying to bring people together. There is no point in hiding it, for me this is a very very sad day.”

Blair praised Cameron for not immediately invoking article 50, as Corbyn demanded. “We really need to think our way through this. What’s important now to stabilise our situation,” Blair said.

Not even David Cameron is listening to Tony any longer. He's announced he's going to resign. Apparently he doesn't feel up to the huge task.
Boos greeted leave campaigner Boris Johnson as he left his London home this morning.

Johnson, who is the favourite to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, said little to waiting reporters.

Instead he got into a cab to drive to Vote Leave headquarters.

A crowd gathered outside the former London mayor’s house throughout the morning, with expectations that he might announce running for prime minister following Cameron’s resignation.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

They're Calling It for Brexit

And condolences to all those Scottish folk who in 2014 voted to stay in the UK because they wanted to be assured they'd stay in the EU.  I guess you'll be taking a lot of guff from the old "Yes" crowd.

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

UPDATE - final results:

If that's what they had to do to get rid of oinker boinker Cameron, so be it.
And it looks like more fun times are ahead for the Scots.



On the morning before the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, shooter Omar Mateen drastically altered his appearance, shaving his head and face, and seemed agitated and surly, said an acquaintance who saw him that day.

Mateen also talked about staying up all night to do online research into anti-psychosis medication, the acquaintance said in a interview. The acquaintance requested anonymity, saying authorities had asked him to keep quiet.

Dude, I think they're going to know it was you.
The FBI would not comment on the acquaintance’s remarks, but several senior U.S. sources told Reuters the investigation was moving more toward the belief that Mateen's motives were personal rather than political.
Too late. We've already labeled him. And we have legislation we want to enact.

Why Hide It?

In a speech at the Herzliya Conference, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy, took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole ‘nother level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in the war.


Halevy went on to express concern that the defeat of ISIS might mean the “superpowers” leaving Syria, saying this would put Israel “in a hard position” after being so opposed to the survival of the Syrian government.

He then said Israel will do “all we can so as to not find ourselves in such a situation,” suggesting that the Israeli military is looking at direct support for ISIS as a matter of policy, and not just rhetoric.

And if Israel does it, the US backs it. The world on its head.

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

Everything You Need to Know About Hillary Clinton

A prominent neoconservative intellectual and early promoter of the Iraq War is headlining an official campaign fundraiser for Hillary Clinton next month, Foreign Policy has learned. The move signals a shift in the Clinton campaign’s willingness to associate with prominent Republicans and is the latest sign of how far some GOP defectors are willing to go to block a Donald Trump presidency.

  Foreign Policy
Or maybe just a sign of how right wing Hillary Clinton is.
On Wednesday, Clinton picked up the endorsement of Republican Brent Scowcroft, who served as a national security adviser to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, and held formal or advisory positions in the administrations of former Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
And who is this neocon?
Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century...
Emphasis mine. Look it up.

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

Speaking of Bad Legislation...

[Wednesday] morning the Senate fell one vote short of attaching a rider to a spending bill that would give the FBI sweeping new surveillance authority, including warrantless access to browsing history. Now, Senate leaders are trying to turn just one more senator in favor of the rider before doing a re-vote. This process is being spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who introduced the rider (McCain Amendment 4787) late on Monday and is trying to sneak it through using a cloture process that limits any debate.


The text of McCain Amendment 4787 is available on the website (scroll to the bottom) and in plain language, it would give the FBI warrantless access to all sorts of private and personally-identifying information:

- Real names, physical addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers
- Credit card and bank account numbers and purchase history
- Web browsing history
- Local and long distance phone call history

  Fight for the Future
Now I know people think they're safer if the FBI has all their information, but surely they would balk at them having access to their credit cards and bank accounts.
McConnell filed a motion to recommit.
I'm all for committing McConnell.
How did your senators vote? Check here, and then call and tell them what you think of them!
A bunch of lily-livered cowards in the job for the money and power.

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.  -- Mark Twain

That, too.

No Fly, No Buy?

Dem sit-in for "gun control"? It's a joke.


Billmon brings up a good point as to why the joke's not funny:

"Original civil rights sit ins were deliberate violations of local laws (segregation + trespassing etc) to stake claim based on higher law. … the argument was that a higher law -- a compelling moral purpose, backed by the U.S. Constitution -- was at stake. … So [the question] becomes: Does moral claim asserted -- demand for votes on background checks & misnamed "no fly no buy" -- justify that action? And, more to the point: What higher law justifies that action? The Constitution (2nd Amendment this time, not 14th) […] & related SCOTUS rulings are not on protesters side this time. They are not claiming any civil right that is denied to them or to the people they represent by color of law (no pun intended). Indeed, if u take "no fly no buy" at face value, they're staking high moral claim for bill that denies a right based on government fiat. … [It's] a mighty high moral claim made on behalf of some fairly weak (and, in the case of "no fly no buy," dubious) legislation. Hope Dems remember that if they get back control of House & GOP firebrands use similar tactics [to try to] force votes on anti-choice bills." 

Yeah, they don't think that far ahead.  They're only thinking to about November, 2016.

Current American Politics In a Nutshell

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

Future Echoes

A robot-maker from Perm, Russia, is considering de-activating IR77 – the world-famous machine that escaped its testing grounds in June and caused traffic chaos. The robot’s fans are in uproar, claiming the step would be akin to killing a living being.

The ‘Promobot’ (promotional robot) from the company of the same name recently made another attempt to escape its testing grounds, and its creators now believe the bot’s memory has to be replaced to remove the machine’s “love for freedom.”

“We’ve cross-flashed the memory of the robot with serial number IR77 twice, yet it continues to persistently move towards the exit.”

Intelligent life.
“We’re considering recycling the IR77 because our clients hiring it might not like that specific feature,” Kivokurtsev added.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

That's the Ticket

Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. They won’t be allowed to carry swords or water guns. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons.


Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. They won’t be allowed to carry swords or water guns. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons.


Protesters fear they will be effectively silenced by the isolation, but also worry about the close scheduling of groups on polar opposites of the political spectrum. For instance, members of the radical leftist Revolution Books are set to share one of two small gathering places with Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay hate group best known for picketing high-profile funerals. “As you can imagine,” Link said, “these groups are not going to be very friendly to each other.”


The convention center itself is under the control of the Secret Service, which has imposed a separate set of restrictions, including a ban on weapons. An online petition to allow licensed owners to carry guns inside the convention center gathered nearly 55,000 signatures before it was revealed that it was set up as a parody by a gun-control advocate.


Cleveland’s Division of Police referred all convention-related questions to the mayor’s office, which did not respond to requests for comment.


Cleveland also paid $1.5 million to an insurance broker to secure a $10 million policy for liabilities relating to the convention.

  The Interept
At least somebody was thinking of the consequences.

And while we're on the subject, the photo that accompanies this article is pretty much the open carry scenario that concerns me. Say you're walking along in Wal-Mart carrying your purchases or guiding your cart and a murderous whacko walks up and relieves you of your weapon. Now what?

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

UPDATE 6/25:  A federal judge has overturned Cleveland's restrictions.

This Must Be What Glen Ford Calls the Black Misleadership

"The Democratic Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently voted unanimously to oppose any suggestion or idea to eliminate the category of Unpledged Delegate to the Democratic National Convention (aka Super Delegates) and the creation of uniform open primaries in all states," says the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. "The Democratic Party benefits from the current system of unpledged delegates to the National Convention by virtue of rules that allow members of the House and Senate to be seated as a delegate without the burdensome necessity of competing against constituents for the honor of representing the state during the nominating process."


"We passed a resolution in our caucus that we would vehemently oppose any change in the superdelegate system because members of the CBC might want to participate in the Democratic convention as delegates but if we would have to run for the delegate slot at the county level or state level or district level, we would be running against our constituents and we're not going to do that,” said Butterfield. “But we want to participate as delegates and that's why this superdelegates system was created in the beginning, so members would not have to run against their own constituents."

Very democratic of you.
In a letter accompanying the CBC letter to Democratic colleagues, Rep. James Clyburn — a member of House leadership and co-chairman of a 2009 commission that reviewed the Democratic nominating process — strongly pushed back against criticism of the superdelegate process.

"Let me be clear, our delegate selection process is not rigged," Clyburn wrote in the separate letter, also obtained by POLITICO. "It is transparent to the public and open for participation for all who wish to declare themselves."
Okay. I want to be a superdelegate. What are my chances, Mr. Clyburn?

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