Sunday, July 31, 2016

Allow Me a Digression...

This had to happen, didn't it?  We just don't give a rat's ass. We're almost out of here, and we don't have to pretend to be thrilled to be here any more.

This picture comes from an article about the waste and ostentatiousness of the McMansions on Martha's Vineyard. But, two things besides the fact that not one of them looks happy to be back in DC: 1) Michelle without her hair and makeup -Yikes! (I know, I know, but it's such a contrast to how we usually see her, I couldn't help but noticing. I probably could have helped remarking on it.) And, 2) Sasha (which I believe is the name of the younger daughter - the one on the right in this picture) is becoming a real beauty.

Back to your regular stations.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

This Is America

Hannah Cohen [traveling home to Chattanooga with her mother after treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude hospital] set off the metal detector at a security checkpoint at the Memphis International Airport, and she was led away for additional screening, reported WREG-TV.

“They wanted to do further scanning, (but) she was reluctant — she didn’t understand what they were about to do,” said her mother, Shirley Cohen.

Cohen said she tried to tell agents with the Transportation Security Administration that her 19-year-old daughter is partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed and easily confused — but she said police kept her away from the security agents.

The confused and terrified young woman tried to run away, her mother said, and agents violently took her to the ground [bloodying her as her head hit the ground].


[Ms. Cohen] was arrested and booked into jail.

Authorities eventually threw out the charges against Hannah Cohen

  Raw Story

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

Where Should Sanders Voters Go?

At Democracy Now!

Chris Hedges is lit up.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country's economy.

The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros - almost 40 percent of annual economic output - after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.


"By means that could be termed dishonest, deceitful and corrupt they manufactured 7.2 billion euros in deposits by obvious sham transactions," Judge Martin Nolan told the court, describing the conspiracy as a "very serious crime".

"The public is entitled to rely on the probity of blue chip firms. If we can’t rely on the probity of these banks we lose all hope or trust in institutions," said Nolan.
"And might as well be Americans," he probably said after that.

Faux News Does It Again

I'm sorry for Mr. Khan, but at the moment, I'm stuck on the part that says James Comey said a win against ISIS overseas could cause the terrorists to come west. WTF?! I thought the story was: we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. Megyn! Is he saying we're supposed to lose to them over there? Fight them over there, but lose. If we don't want to win, how about we just not fight them? Over there. Wouldn't that be a better idea? Did you not wonder when he said that?

But....back to Mr. Khan....

Apparently, he gave a very moving speech about Muslims in America (his son died as a US soldier in Iraq) and challenged Donald Trump in a stinging few sentences, but guess what?  Fox viewers didn't see it.
Instead, as Media Matters for America documented, the network’s hosts offered punditry as a video about Capt. Khan’s death played, and then showed an anti-Clinton attack ad about Benghazi, followed by commercials, as his father began to speak.

Then at 9:15 p.m., just as Khan moved to the climax of his speech, the Fox anchor Megyn Kelly alerted her viewers to what she called some urgent news.
  The Intercept
The Comey crap.

Keepin' it classy, Fox.

And now, back to Comey, because I missed this when it happened.
Eventual victory against the Islamic State could well lead to an uptick of terrorist attacks in the West, not a reduction in them, James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., said on Wednesday.

W. T.F?
“At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Mr. Comey said at a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University. “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”
Well, no shit, Sherlock.
“This is 10 times that or more,” Mr. Comey said. “This is an order of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen before.”


Mr. Comey predicted that the military coalition would eventually succeed in crushing the Islamic State, but that “through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people and they are going to flow primarily to Western Europe.” But some, he said, could well end up in the United States.
Then that's not exactly being crushed, is it?  But thanks for giving Fox something to run instead of the DNC speeches.

Good Choice, Hillary

Hooray for the first woman presidential nominee.  Women's rights must be at the top of her list.

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

Is This for Real?

Now that's what I call organization.  Watch and learn.

But, what's the "Join them"?

No. I Didn't Watch

The country’s two major political parties, emerging from their conventions to square off in the general election, are speaking to Americas unrecognizable to each other in voices that sound like a political and ideological role reversal.

For Republicans, the country is a place of near-apocalyptic gloom whose best days are fast receding.


Chants rose up Thursday night [at the Democratic convention] — “U-S-A! U-S-A! — as John R. Allen, the retired Marine general, thunderously addressed the Democratic convention. Delegates waved American flags in the air and held up signs that formed a sea of red, white and blue. The visceral shift in the parties’ political narratives represents a profound break from the way they have often spoken about the country and themselves.


Going at least as far back as Reagan, Republicans have prided themselves as being the party of optimism and confidence, leading an exceptional country whose greatness was coded into its DNA.

Going back further, to Franklin D. Roosevelt, it has been the Democrats who have made common cause with the aggrieved and the left behind, who have been criticized for dwelling too much on the nation’s flaws and being squeamish about asserting power internationally.

Hadn't you noticed? The poles have shifted.

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


Who's a good girl? Who's a gooooood girl?

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

Keep Calm and Stop Carrying On

The Director of National Intelligence says Washington is still unsure of who might be behind the latest WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, while urging that an end be put to the “reactionary mode” blaming it all on Russia.

“We don’t know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said speaking at Aspen’s Security Forum in Colorado, when asked if the media was getting ahead of themselves in fingering the perpetrator of the hack.

US intel may be unsure, but the American press and public know for certain.

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

So, That's It

Let's assess where we are now that both conventions are behind us.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Last Night Outside the DNC

This video is amazing. The first part of it looks like it could be a scene from Jurassic Park where the dinosaurs are trying to escape their pens.

Philadelphia Police said they detained seven people who breached the fence at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. The Secret Service arrested the seven and said they faced felony charges for entering a restricted area.


Police Commissioner Richard Ross said protesters were warned repeatedly not to breach the area.

"For whatever reason, they chose to do it anyway with multiple officers sitting there waiting for them, so it was over before it started," Ross said, explaining the situation never got tense for the officers, who were still in "soft" clothes rather than protective gear.

  NBC Philadelphia
Yeah, those officers didn't look tense.

Here's another video, presumably of the same protest. Some folks thought it would be a good idea to burn the American flag. And one idiot set herself on fire in the process. Looks like she was trying to stomp out the fire, in an ankle-length skirt. Brilliant.

The U.S, Secret Service said seven people entered through the outer perimeter fence and into a Secret Service designated secure zone. They were detained without incident by Philadelphia police and are expected to be federally charged with entering a restricted area.

  USA Today
Without incident, eh?

Meanwhile, in Palestine

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem revealed in a report released on Wednesday, in a worrying confirmation of Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank.

The report, which was also presented by the Arab Joint List during a Knesset conference on Israel’s home demolition policy the same day, said that 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking hard to obtain Israeli-issued building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless.

B’Tselem’s report did not include punitive demolitions enacted on the home of suspected Palestinian attackers and their families.

  Juan Cole
This will not stop with a best friend of Israel Hillary Clinton as president. I suspect it will increase.

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

Anti-Russian Rhetoric Has Meaning

But not much any more.
In their zeal to portray Donald Trump as a dangerous threat to national security, the Clinton campaign has taken a starkly anti-Russian stance, one that completes a total role reversal for the two major American parties on U.S.-Russian relations that Hillary Clinton will now be committed to, if she becomes president.

It's a good point, but a false one. Hillary Clinton will not be committed to anything she says before she's elected (nor even afterward). No politician is. Look at Barack Obama's record, if you need proof.
[I]n the past year, Trump’s Russia-friendly policy has filled the pro-engagement space that Democrats once occupied.
Now that's the point to be pondered. When you have a political system that operates like a sports event (two teams vying for the top position), you invite disingenuous politicking. When one side comes up with something, the other side has to oppose it. If Donald Trump is good for one thing, it's to point a finger at this absurdity.
And now, for mostly political reasons, the Clinton campaign has decided to escalate its rhetoric on Russia.
Exactly. While there are still plenty of die-hard anti-communists in the Democratic Party, this posture is for mostly political reasons.
Russia clearly does not need Trump’s permission to hack U.S. political organizations or government institutions. And there’s no consensus that Russia released the Democratic National Committee emails in order to disrupt the presidential election. In fact, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has his own personal vendetta against Clinton, claimed that he alone chose the timing of the release of the DNC emails.


Former national security adviser Tom Donilon said that Russia is interfering with elections all over Europe and said Trump is helping Russia directly.

“The Russians have engaged in cyberattacks in a number of places that we know about, in Georgia, in Estonia and in Ukraine. . . . In the Russian takeover of Crimea, information warfare was a central part of their operations,” Donilon said.
How dare they? Interfering with international elections is our prerogative.  1  2  3, etc.

Oh, and...

A Time magazine "exclusive":  The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win.

That would be Boris Yeltsin, of Russia, in case you're very young.  You need a subscription to read that.  Here's the LA Times story.

And wasn't Yeltsin a boon to Russia?  Yeah, right.  Yanks "to the rescue" indeed.
Former defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta said that if Donilon was still in the White House, he would have tasked the CIA to retaliate against Moscow. Panetta then doubled down on Sullivan’s argument that Trump’s comments by themselves are making the United States less safe.
Yeah, yeah. We know. Be afraid. Get in line. Do not say anything other than what is state sanctioned. Loose lips sink ships. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.
"It has already represented a threat to our national security,” Panetta said. “Because if you go abroad and talk to people, they are very worried that someone like this could become president of the United States.”
Yes, and if you went abroad when Dubya was elected, you heard the same thing.
Now that the Democrats are the tough-on-Russia party, they should explain exactly what that means. What would Clinton do about Russia’s increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage and information warfare in Europe and around the world? Would she expand sanctions on Russia in response to the hacks? Would she use U.S. cyber forces to retaliate? Would she abandon President Obama’s plan to deepen U.S.-Russian military and intelligence cooperation in Syria?

The Clinton team hasn’t said.
And it wouldn't matter if they did, because after she's in office, she can do whatever she likes, no matter what she's said.

If your interest was piqued by the Yeltsin "election", here's another article.
With Russians on the streets protesting yet another fraud-riddled election, and Hillary Clinton lecturing the Kremlin on the evils of election fraud, we are reposting this important background story on Russian election fraud, and how the West, led by Hillary’s husband Bill, enabled and whitewashed Russia’s 1996 fraud-riddled, stolen elections, which assured that the hugely unpopular Boris Yeltsin, “the butcher of Chechnya” and the creator of Russia’s oligarchy, would remain in power for another term–thanks to the Chechens overwhelmingly “voting” “for” Yeltsin by an overwhelming 73% vote (of 1 million votes even though there were only an estimated 500,000 voting-aged people living in Chechnya at the time of the 1996 presidential elections). Yeltsin’s Western-backed victory allowed him to pick his own successor, Vladimir Putin, in 2000–and here we are today. Among the top whitewashers of 1996’s stolen elections was none other than Michael McFaul, President Obama’s nominee to become the new US Ambassador to Russia.


Read the whole thing here.

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

Are You Voting Against Trump?


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

What Actually Happened with those Joint Funds

The Clinton campaign and the DNC persisted that the JFC was being used to help support 40 state parties, but in reality, that seems to be a little suspect. A recent analysis shows that, in actuality, only a fraction of a percent of the JFC’s funds were being kept by those state parties.[1] Instead, filings with the FEC suggest that the money being distributed to the state parties were being sent right back to the DNC, which was doing all it could to help the Clinton campaign. Since the Hillary Victory Fund was created in September, state parties received approximately $7.7 million from the JFC, but within a few days of receiving those funds, $6.9 million was transferred by those state parties to the DNC.

  Gober Group
That does sound a lot like money laundering.
This may seem a little odd, but state parties and national parties can transfer funds between each other without limitation at any time. So, it is not illegal for the state parties to receive funds from the JFC and then send them to the DNC. What is problematic is that the allocation formula, which donors must be shown, was seemingly just a pretext. What is worse is that what the Clinton campaign and the DNC were saying publicly about their JFC’s activities did not line up with how the funds were ultimately being treated.
Yeah, I think the former is worse, but, whatever.
The DNC was claiming that the JFC was going to be used to help state parties, and presumably the allocation formula suggested as much, but in actuality all the funds eventually ended up in the coffers of the DNC. Though not illegal, it is certainly very embarrassing.
I'm still trying to get at just what the actual allocation formula was. If they were telling states it was one thing when in fact that's not what they got, then that is illegal. Or I would think it would be, since that would amount to fraud. And, essentially, be a con job.
In addition, these emails suggest that even more egregious and possibly illegal activity may have been occurring between the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Beyond normal interactions between a primary candidate and the national party, it appears the DNC had already become an arm of the Clinton campaign. That being true, it is possible that the DNC was already making coordinating expenditures on behalf of the Clinton campaign, which have so far gone unreported. Unlike the JFC issue, that would be a violation of FEC regulations. Future email leaks from the hack might show more on this subject, and thus be even more damaging.

Two lessons: First, although a JFC’s allocation formula does not have to be released to the public at large, a curious press will discover how JFC funds are treated. So, it is a good idea to have statements about the JFC jive with FEC filings. Second, you can never spend too much money on cybersecurity.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You Have GOT to Be Kidding

Obama has adopted Bush/Ridge color code of fear to rate cyber crimes. Have we become so juvenile and/or simple-minded that even our top agencies need color-coding?
Yesterday, President Obama rolled out yet another new cyber-directive, this one aiming to better coordinate response to attacks. (PPD, annex, fact sheet) Along with all that, the White House released a guideline on the ranking of cyberattacks, including the Orange Alert type table that reminds me of Tom Ridge’s discredited system.

White - good; black - bad.

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


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

Democrat Timely Reminder

And how many Democrats have told Nader voters that they lost that election?

Not to mention media headlines.

No, it was the Supreme Court and Florida Democrats (and perhaps Gore).  Never miss an opportunity to arm yourself with facts.

Besides, when they start squawking at you for voting other than Hillary, remind them that, in not trivial ways, Obama has been worse for the country and the world than even Dubya was.  (You can start with drones, kill lists, domestic surveillance, deportations, whistleblower prosecutions, and no prosecutions for torture or banksters and go from there.)

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

Sounds About Right

[Braile] believes the party is strongest when it speaks to its base of loyalists: union members, ethnic minorities, environmentalists, and gays and lesbians. In her first hours on the job, she has tried to be a unifying figure. One of her first steps was to apologize to Bernie Sanders’s supporters outraged by leaked emails that suggested a preference for Clinton through the primary race.

I wonder if she'll apologize to them for her own attitude toward them in this leaked email.

..but hey, do what you will anyway.

Trump Explained

At one point, I thought Trump was actually trying not to be elected, just wanting print - and maybe he is, even now trying to get out of actually being president, but this explanation seems even more likely, since he's such a publicity hound.

Night 2 of the Democrats' Dog and Pony Show Convention

Once again the world owes a debt of thanks to Wikileaks, an organization dedicated to revealing what the powerful want to hide. Wikileaks released a trove of more than 19,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The emails revealed the extent of establishment fears of the Bernie Sanders campaign and also the incompetence and pettiness of Democratic “leadership.” They also made clear what critics have long contended. The Democratic party is devoid of any ideology. It exists to further the interests of rich people and corporations and to expand imperialism. All claims of concern for workers or people of color are marketing gimmicks meant to get votes and keep their racket in business.


The Democratic role in the political duopoly is to engage in pretense about inclusivity. Yet these people who claim to welcome diversity referred to Latino voters as “brand loyal consumers” who “respond well to story telling.” Of course every part of the Democratic constituency is viewed as a consumer who must buy what they sell. They are corporate actors after all.


Hillary Clinton had nothing to fear from Bernie Sanders. She had more money, the support of black voters in the early southern primaries and obviously support from the party establishment. Sanders never wanted to challenge Clinton, he passed up every opportunity to seriously attack her and made clear that he would endorse her in the end. Yet the DNC went out of its way to hit a fly with a sledge hammer.


While the Democrats went about the business of hammering the nails in Sanders’ coffin he went along with being the sheepdog who keeps progressives in line and in the Hillary camp.

  Margaret Kimberley at Black Agenda Report
"Sen. Sanders was a true champion," [Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons] said. "He sent out texts, his speech last night said we have to come together. He's done everything we've asked him to do. This is a hard business, it just takes time. I think this convention made a lot of progress."

Bernie obediently played his part in the ritual nomination of Hillary Clinton for presidential candidate on the Democrat ticket.

Don't try to click on that to play the video, I haven't provided the link, but if you really want to see that bit of theater, go to the Guardian article.
Clinton said, in part: “And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman president but one of you is next.”

Awwww. Hillary and Obama - firsts. They'll share that, but I'm feeling confident that if Hillary is president, her major legacy point won't simply be the fact that she was the first, which is pretty much what I suspect Obama's will be. Unless it's that he was actually a Republican. As I think of it, the Democratic Party some time back morphed into something else: The Neoliberal Party. They just didn't change their name.
The Republicans released a statement that said in part: “Tonight Democrats formally nominated the most scandal-plagued and disliked candidate in the history of their party.”
While true, I think the same could be said of their candidate. Pot, meet Kettle.
An overwhelming number of voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton. That credibility and character gap is the one thing that might stop Americans from electing a second President Clinton. And so the master of persuasion bragged on and on about his wife: career highlights, familiar anecdotes, and enough warm and cheesy sentiments to launch a thousand wedding toasts.

“If you were sitting where I am sitting and you heard what I heard at every dinner conversation and … on every long walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo about anything,” Bill Clinton said. Having been the candidate of change in 1992, Bill Clinton knows his wife faces headwinds against Donald Trump’s promise of radical, unruly change. “She always wants to move the ball forward,” Bill Clinton said. “That [is] just who she is.”

  The Atlantic
I love Bill Clinton. But I didn’t love his speech Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Given the job of humanizing his wife, he came across as genuinely smitten. But he failed to do what he’s done in every convention speech he’s delivered since 1992: tell a story about where America is today and what can be done to move it forward. He called his wife a great “change maker” but didn’t define the change America needs right now.

But the worst moment of the speech came near its end, when Clinton began to riff about the different kinds of people who should join Hillary’s effort.

  The Atlantic
This will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog on any kind of regular basis (if anyone like that exists):  I didn't watch the convention proceedings either of the two nights it's been going.  And I won't be watching any time in the future.
Clinton said something dreadful: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” The problem is in the assumption. American Muslims should be viewed exactly the same way other Americans are. If they commit crimes, then they should be prosecuted, just like other Americans. But they should not have to prove that they “love America and freedom” and “hate terror” to “stay here.”
Indeed, a subtle (or maybe not) implication that only Muslims in this country who need to show they "hate terror".
Clinton hedged his opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban by suggesting that America should welcome good Muslims, the ones who don’t hate secretly hate America.


It’s a time for clarity. And Bill Clinton failed to provide it last night, thus reminding even those of us who admire him that his political instincts sometimes overwhelm his moral ones.

The Democratic convention is a sterling affair if you have [a] credential. If you don’t, you will be herded behind steel gates to stare at those who do. You will be mocked by reporters who sit in an air-conditioned fully comped lounge as you sweat outside. You will be simultaneously asked for your support and threatened with a materially worse life if you withhold it. The dynamic is the same in the Republican Party, but the repugnance of many of the positions its outsiders hold make it harder to sympathize with them.

Everything is not good. The Democrats can enjoy this convention behind the security barriers and closed doors. When they emerge, an angry country will be there waiting for them.

The Democrats must be replaced. The task of leftists is to work towards the establishment of a party that represents the interests of working people.

  Margaret Kimberley at Black Agenda Report
And while the Democrats were congratulating themselves in their police-protected bubble, this was happening in St. Paul...

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

People Are Upset

People are upset. Yes, “Bernie or Bust” is an unrealistic and counterproductive position to hold. Yes, it is foolish to imagine, as some expressed, that Bernie would stage a last-ditch floor battle for delegates and somehow pull out a great populist triumph at the last second. Yes, the Democratic nominee is far preferable to the Republican one and will do far more to advance (at least a little) towards these progressives’ ideals.

But people are upset. People are fucking enraged. All is not well. People are not just mad at Hillary Clinton, or at the current crop of Republican losers. People are mad that they have gone fifty fucking years without a raise. People are mad that it’s been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act and we have the same segregated slums and the same people getting shot by police. People are mad that life in America is unfair, not due to an act of god but due to many small acts of the two political parties that are celebrating themselves this month. This is a hole that has been dug over years, over decades, over generations. The people at the bottom of the hole can’t see the sun any more. They will not be satisfied with a small stool to stand on. They want to live on solid ground.

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

From Someone Who Might Actually Know

Hillary has made a remarkable flip to claiming she doesn't support TPP.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons, said Tuesday that he believes Hillary Clinton will support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks.

Later, McAuliffe’s spokesman sought to clarify the governor’s remarks after this story published, saying he was simply expressing what he wants Clinton to do if she is elected president. “While Governor McAuliffe is a supporter of the TPP, he has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation and she has never told him anything to that effect.”

Ha. Damage control.

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


Eastern European countries have approved the discreet sale of more than €1bn of weapons in the past four years to Middle Eastern countries that are known to ship arms to Syria, an investigation has found.

Thousands of assault rifles such as AK-47s, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns are being routed through a new arms pipeline from the Balkans to the Arabian peninsula and countries bordering Syria.

The suspicion is that much of the weaponry is being sent into Syria, fuelling the five-year civil war.

So, it's only "suspicion", but I think that's probably a pretty good bet.
The weapons pipeline opened in the winter of 2012, when dozens of cargo planes, loaded with Saudi-purchased Yugoslav-era weapons and ammunition, began leaving Zagreb bound for Jordan. Soon after, the first footage of Croatian weapons emerged from Syria.


Arms export data, UN reports, plane tracking, and weapons contracts examined during a year-long investigation reveal how the munitions were sent east from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania.

Since the escalation of the Syrian conflict in 2012, the eight countries have approved €1.2bn (£1bn) of weapons and ammunition exports to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey – key arms markets for Syria and Yemen.

In the past, the region had virtually no track record of buying from central and eastern Europe. But purchases appear to be escalating, with some of the biggest deals approved in 2015.

Arms export licences were granted despite fears from experts and within governments that the weapons could end up with the Syrian armed opposition, arguably in breach of national, EU and other international agreements.


“The evidence points towards systematic diversion of weapons to armed groups accused of committing serious Human Rights Violations,” said W[Patrick Wilcken, an arms control researcher at Amnesty International]. “If this is the case, the transfers are illegal under … international law and should cease immediately.”
Like that will happen.

What this reminds me more than anything is what one of my adult English language students in Mexico said to me when I was there shortly after the US invaded Iraq and feeling the need to apologize for my country. "No need to apologize. War is a business."

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

Freddie Gray Killing

After seven months and four trials, Baltimore prosecutors have not secured a single conviction against officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained fatal injuries in the back of a police van.

And if you read that article, you will be convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the last trial coming up will not get a conviction either.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

American Culture

This was the problem with George W Bush and Ronald Reagan before him. Each in his turn emboldened stronger racism, tribalism, elitism, selfish interest and greed. We've been on this course for quite a while.  Trump is the ultimate Republican creation, and the GOP doesn't want to claim him.

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

Analyzing the DNC Hack

One expert in the field, who is well aware of the evidence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government, is Edward Snowden, the former Central Intelligence Agency technician and National Security Agency whistleblower who exposed the extent of mass surveillance and has been given temporary asylum in Russia. “If Russia hacked the #DNC, they should be condemned for it,” Snowden wrote on Twitter on Monday.


What’s more, Snowden added, the NSA has tools that should make it possible to trace the source of the hack. Even though the Director of National Intelligence usually opposes making such evidence public, he argued, this is a case in which the agency should do so, if only to discourage future attacks.


"To summarize: the US Intel Community should modernize their position on disclosure. Defensive capabilities should be aggressively public."


As my colleague Glenn Greenwald told WNYC on Monday, while there may never be conclusive evidence that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russian intelligence operatives to extract the trove of embarrassing emails published by WikiLeaks, it would hardly be shocking if that was what happened.

The theory gained some traction, particularly among Trump’s detractors, in part because the candidate has seemed obsessed at times with reminding crowds that Russian President Vladimir Putin once said something sort of nice about him (though not, as Trump falsely claims, that the American is “a genius”).


“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son Donald Jr. told a real estate conference in 2008, the Washington Post reported last month. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”


Unhelpfully for Trump, his most senior adviser with knowledge of the world of hacking, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Bloomberg View that he “would not be surprised at all” to learn that Russia was behind the breach of the DNC network.


Since very few of us are cybersecurity experts, and the Iraq debacle is a reminder of how dangerous it can be to put blind faith in experts whose claims might reinforce our own political positions, there is also the question of who we can trust to provide reliable evidence.


Last month, one of the firm’s founders, Dmitri Alperovitch, explained in a detailed technical analysis of their findings that CrowdStrike discovered “two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May.”

   at The Intercept
How many Sanders' supporters? After all, they're the ones who were vindicated by the release of the emails.
One day after this initial attribution of the attack to Russian intelligence was made public by CrowdStrike and the DNC, someone using the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0, in reference to the Romanian hacker who famously uncovered George W. Bush’s secret career as a painter of selfies, started publishing documents stolen from the committee’s servers on a WordPress blog set up that day, and taunting the security experts on Twitter.

Guccifer 2.0, who claims to be a Romanian who dislikes Russians, told my colleague Sam Biddle that he or she had carried out the attack with no help from anyone else, just to expose “all those illuminati that captured our world,” and had provided hacked documents to WikiLeaks.
Nope. It was the Russians.
Although WikiLeaks describes the hacked DNC emails as “part one of our new Hillary Leaks series,” Assange himself rejected the charge that he is helping in a partisan attack. “This is a quite a classical release,” he told Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” on Monday, “showing the benefit of producing pristine data sets, presenting them before the public, where there’s equal access to all journalists and to interested members of the public to mine through them and have them in a citable form where they can then be used to prop up certain criticisms or political arguments.”


Parsing the documents on Twitter, the blogger Davi Ottenheimer and an information security analyst who writes as @pwnallthethings pointed out that copies of the stolen documents uploaded to WordPress rendered the hacker’s username, Iron Felix, in Cyrillic characters, and gave error messages for links in Russian.


Doubts were also cast over Guccifer 2.0’s identity by his or her apparent lack of fluency in Romanian in an online chat with Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard.
See. We told you. A Romanian couldn't possibly be in Russia or using a Russian processor. After all, unhappy immigrants or infiltrators don't exist anywhere in the world, let alone Russia. And nobody online claims to be someone they're not when taking responsibility for doing something illegal.

And, finally, everyone knows Russian hackers are stupid and easily caught.

And, seriously, it could be the Russians.  Not sure that matters except for the case that Snowden brought up: if it is them, they should know we know it is.

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

Cyberhypocrisy and Cyberineptitude

Attorney Jack Goldsmith has some interestingly logical things to say about the DNC email leak. He cites the US Government's use of cyber attacks on other governments and concludes:

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

They Haven't Given Up

Here's that hope Obama was talking about.

Don't you know the Obamas and the Clintons and all the Dem leaders just hate Bernie at this point?
[T]he TPP is not actually a free trade pact. It won’t lower tariffs, the most common trade barriers.

In fact, the TPP is more focused on crafting regulatory regimes that benefit certain industries. It would expand corporate and investor rights at the expense of medical affordability, the environment, and labor rights.

For Bernie Sanders supporters — and some Trump supporters — TPP has become shorthand for corporate control of the political process. Hillary Clinton was a late convert – and not particular sincere at that.


[S]everal Clinton delegates told The Intercept that they trusted Clinton’s judgment on the issue and would not take part in any protests of Obama’s speech.

There's some gullible folks who haven't been paying attention.
“When [Hillary] takes the reins of the country, she is going to make a decision that she believes is best for the country. I’m very certain that whatever decision she does…she will have analyzed it, she will have researched it, and she will do what is best for the country,” [Elena McCullough, vice-president of the Democratic Hispanic caucus of Florida] said.
Just like she did with Libya. Don't let that Hispanic caucus bother you. It's Florida. Where the Hispanics are largely Cubans whose business interests didn't mesh with Castro's communism.

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

No Protesting Outside Governor's House in Minnesota



The city of St. Paul has just now put up new signs on the street where the protesters are outside the governor's house.  So, there will be no "obstucting the roadway" there, either.  Nice job.  In a bit of a rush?

Protesters Outside the DNC

Only Fifteen?


What has he said that he shouldn't have? Or what pictures did he post that he shouldn't have?
State Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican and vocal legislative ally of Gov. Bruce Rauner, is resigning from the Illinois House after saying he's had "cyber security issues" in recent days.

Sandack had been facing a re-election race in November and is well known in Illinois politics for his heavy use of Twitter and Facebook, as well as his role as a floor leader for Republicans in the Illinois House.


"It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the people of the 81st district for the past four years in Springfield," he said in the statement. "But after some cyber security issues arose, I began to re-evaluate my continued public service."


"I have always recognized there is no greater privilege than being a father and husband," he said in the statement. "My duties in Springfield has meant missing a lot of events in the lives of my children. I am no longer willing to miss important family events."

  Daily Herald
He's done something really naughty, hasn't he?

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

Meanwhile in Turkey

The purge continues.

More from the Leaked DNC Emails

Leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee scrambled this spring to conceal the details of a joint fundraising arrangement with Hillary Clinton that funneled money through state Democratic parties.

But during the three-month period when the DNC was working to spin the situation, state parties kept less than one half of one percent of the $82 million raised through the arrangement.


[P]rivately, officials at the DNC and on Clinton’s campaign worked to parry questions raised by reporters, as well as Sanders’ since-aborted campaign, about the distribution of the money, according to a cache of hacked emails made public late last week by WikiLeaks.

It might look bad, but still, it's only a problem if the states didn't know that's what the deal was when they signed on.
[T]he emails show that officials and lawyers at the DNC and the Clinton campaign became frantic after POLITICO’s May 2 story [questioning the arrangement], which led to substantial follow-up coverage that put the Clinton campaign and the DNC on the defensive. It led the Sanders campaign to accuse the Clinton campaign of “money laundering”


The arrangement, called the Hillary Victory Fund, allowed the Clinton campaign to seek contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John. That’s resulted in criticism for Clinton, who has made opposition to big money in politics a key plank in her campaign platform.


[DNC communications director Luis] Miranda argued in the emails that the committee should try to shape any coverage by claiming that “while the funds are going to the DNC right now to build tools and capacity for the general election, there will be a point when the funds stay in the states to fund coordinated campaigns that are now beginning to get organized.”


Officials from the DNC and the Clinton campaign did not respond to questions about why so little of the cash raised by the fund has gone to — and remained with — the participating state parties. But they have previously argued that, even when state parties aren’t receiving cash transfers, they are benefiting from the political infrastructure.
Tell that to the Democratic candidate for state representative who's going up against a moneyed incumbent Republican.

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

Jill Is Still Here

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein made a direct appeal to Bernie Sanders

“Forget the lesser evil, fight for the greater good,” Stein said, referring to her Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton while the crowd chanted “Jill, not Hill!”


In response to the DNC’s apology to Bernie Sanders for the emails that caused chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down this week, Stein said: “They did much more than say bad things. They sabotaged a revolutionary campaign.”


The medical doctor also said she would step down as the Green Party’s candidate if Sanders wanted to run on that ticket.


A recent poll taken after last week’s Republican Convention shows Stein in fourth place behind Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson with three percent of the vote, according to a RealClearPolitics aggregator.

She requires 15 percent to be included in the upcoming debates.

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

We Are Not Amused

The Democrats' convention began last night.
[D]espite a direct plea for calm from Sanders, many of his 1,846 delegates in the arena repeatedly jeered at mentions of the party’s presumptive nominee for the first hour or two of the evening.


“Any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said, after three minutes of trying to quiet the floor.

Then I must not be objective. Or observant.
“Because of Hillary Clinton our daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that woman can be president of the United States,” said [Michelle] Obama with evident emotion in her voice.


"Between now and November we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago,” added the first lady. “We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America.
Yeah, that's not exactly what "we" did four years ago. Or eight years ago. We poured it into electing Barack Obama.
Earlier, even a live rendition of Bridge over Troubled Water from Paul Simon, ripe with symbolism, could not disguise scenes of open revolt that proved far more vocal than expected and caused consternation on stage.

“Can I just say to the Bernie or Bust people: you are being ridiculous,” said Sanders-supporting comedian Sarah Silverman as she called for unity and backed Clinton “with gusto”.
Oh, VERY unifying, Sarah.
“I will be respectful of you. And I want you to be respectful of me,” demanded Ohio congresswoman Marcia Fudge of the vocal Sanders supporters after she was repeatedly interrupted. “We are all Democrats and we need to act like it.”
Tell that last part to your nominee.

Marcia Fudge? Yeah, I don't know who she is either. Somebody from Ohio.
The tone of the evening was set when the religious invocation at the start of the session was interrupted by rounds of competitive chanting for different corners for the room: “Bernie! Bernie!” drowned out by “Hillary! Hillary!” and back again, as the pastor stood awkwardly on stage.
But then, God isn't voting.
[S]peakers nervously approached applause lines not knowing whether they would be booed or cheered by the fractious crowd.

At times, there was a faint echo of the mood at the Republican convention last week, where every mention of Clinton’s name also prompted boos.


A text to Sanders delegates was also sent to try to calm the storm inside. “I ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protest on the floor,” said the text signed “–Bernie”. “It is of utmost importance you explain this to your delegations.”
As a courtesy to the guy who gave them voice and now wants to hand them over to Hillary Clinton. Maybe their protests should have been directed toward him.
After [Sanders] left the stage, an email to supporters announced he was creating a new organisation, called Our Revolution, which would “transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families”.
Uh-huh. Sure.

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Neocons for Hillary

Of course.  Hillary is a Wall Street Corporate Warmonger, just like all neocons.  Trump is a loose cannon.
“I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told a group gathered around him, groupie-style, at a “foreign policy professionals for Hillary” fundraiser I attended last week.


As the co-founder of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, Kagan played a leading role in pushing for America’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, and insisted for years afterwards that it had turned out great. Despite the catastrophic effects of that war, Kagan insisted at last week’s fundraiser that U.S. foreign policy over the last

25 years has been “an extraordinary success.”

  The Intercept
Begging the question: For whom?
The event raised $25,000 for Clinton. Two rising stars in the Democratic foreign policy establishment, Amanda Sloat and Julianne Smith, also spoke.

The way they described Clinton’s foreign policy vision suggested that if elected president in November, she will escalate tensions with Russia, double down on military belligerence in the Middle East and generally ignore the American public’s growing hostility to intervention.
And they say Bernie isn't a Democrat.
“Nothing that [Clinton] did was more clear than the NATO coalition that she built to defend civilians in Libya,” said Sloat, referencing the Obama administration’s overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. That policy, spearheaded by Clinton, has transformed a once stable state into a lawless haven for extremist groups from across the region, including ISIS.
So, a win for US arms manufacturers and defense contractors.
Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s hardline assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. Nuland, who would likely serve in a senior position in a Clinton administration, supports shipping weapons to Ukraine despite major opposition from European countries and concerns about the neo-Nazi elements those weapons would empower.
And they say Trump is a Nazi wannabe.
Another thing neoconservatives and liberal hawks have in common is confidence that the foreign policy establishment is right, and the growing populist hostility to military intervention is naïve and uninformed.


The neoconservative Weekly Standard celebrated Clinton’s 2008 appointment as secretary of state as a victory for the right, hailing her transformation from “First Feminist” to “Warrior Queen, more Margaret Thatcher than Gloria Steinem.”
The slogan of neoliberalcons: Who needs democracy? What we need is more war.
“If, as I hope, Hillary Clinton is elected, she is going to immediately be confronting a country that is not where she is,” he said. “She is a believer in this [international order that we’ve been living in]. But a great section of the country is not and is going to require persuasion and education.”
Mostly persuasion.

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

New Rules

The rule-making body of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday defeated an amendment brought by Bernie Sanders delegates to abolish superdelegates. [...] But the rules committee did approve a compromise measure that binds some superdelegates to the results of their state primaries.


After the defeat of the first amendment, the Sanders and Clinton camps met and came up with draft language for a “unity commission” to meet shortly after the general election to draw up changes to the party’s nominating process.


[T]he commission will be charged to “make specific recommendations providing that members of Congress, governors and distinguished party leaders … remain unpledged and free to support their nominee of choice, but that remaining unpledged delegates be required to cast their vote at the convention for candidates in proportion to the vote received for each candidate in their state.”

  The Intercept
Why do governors, congresscritters and "distinguished party leaders" get to retain their right to vote any way they want? It seems like that leaves lobbyists who are superdelegates to be chained to the "will of the (little) people". What's the point in allowing them to be superdelegates at all if you make that requirement? Just knock them off the damned list.
The Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel reports that this would effectively bind two-thirds of superdelegates to voting as their states vote in the presidential nominating process.
When, in fact, democratically speaking, three-thirds should be.

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

Oh, Look! The Bernie Bros Are Women

[Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's] fellow Floridians loudly booed her when she spoke at her home state's delegate breakfast Monday morning.


"We know that the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive — we know that that's not the Florida we know," she told the crowd. "The Florida that we know is united."


Security also escorted her out after she spoke, as U.S. News' Dave Catanese reported.

So, maybe we suspect they might be the Florida we know.
"I stepped down the other day because I wanted to make sure that having brought us to this momentous day and to Philadelphia and planned the convention that is going to be the best one that we've ever had in our party's history that this needs to be all about making sure that everyone knows that Hillary Clinton would make the best president."
That might have blown.

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

We're Number One!

Hillary is now trying to outrump Trump.

And wasn't that the stance of the Republican Party when George the Petulant was king of America?

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

Assange Re Clinton & Trump and American Politics

"Our civiliation can only be as good as our knowledge. [...] We can't possibly hope to reform that which we do not understand.  So, those Hillary Clinton emails, they connect together with the cables that we've published [...] , creating a rich picture of how Hillary Clinton performs in office, but more broadly, how the US Department of State operates.  For example, the disastrous, absolutely disastrous, intervention in Libya: the destruction of the Qaddafy government, which led to the occupation of ISIS of large segments of that country; weapons flows going over to Syria, being pushed by Hillary Clinton to jihadists in Syria, including ISIS - that's there in those emails.  That's more than 1700 emails in Hillary Clinton's collection that we've released just about Libya alone."  
That's from a Democracy Now! interview, during which Amy Goodman asks Julian Assange what he thinks of the choice of Trump v. Clinton (citing a new CNN poll that now puts Trump ahead).  His answer was, "You're asking me, do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea?"   Not sure which is whom.
"We know how politics works in America.  Whatever political party gets into government is going to merge with the bureaucracy, pretty damn fast, [and when it's] in a position where it has some levers in its hands,  [...]  corporate lobbyists will move in to help control those levers, so it doesn't make much difference in the end.  What does make a difference is political accountability - deterrents set to stop political organizations behaving in a corrupt manner.   [...]  Almost always you should choose the principled position, which is to send a disciplinary signal about acting in a corrupt way and take a philosophical position which is that our institutions can only be as good as our understanding of our institutions."
I have to agree.

h/t Glenn Greenwald Twitter for posting this excerpt of Assange's response to Amy Goodman's question about whether the Russians were the source of the DNC emails:

I would encourage you to watch the whole video segment (in three parts).  Or read the transcript.

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

Democracy Now! Asks Julian Assange About the Russian Claim

Also: Hillary Clinton has hired Wasserman-Schultz to work for her campaign. Nothing different, except now Clinton has to pay W-S for what she gets from her. Or maybe not...
On Sunday, Clinton said in a statement that she was appointing Wasserman Schultz as "honorary chair of my campaign's 50-state program."


Watch it here.

In light of the revelation of Clinton campaign coordination with the DNC, I think Bernie ought to withdraw his support of Hillary and run as an independent, or run as the Green Party candidate, since Jill Stein has graciously made that offer.

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

(Transcript is also at that link.)

DNC Email Leak

Here's one of my favorite revelations (from the Washington Post report):
In a May 16 exchange about where to seat a top Florida donor, national finance director Jordan Kaplan declared that "he doesn’t sit next to POTUS!" -- referring to President Obama.

“Bittel will be sitting in the sh---iest corner I can find,” responded Kaplan's deputy, Alexandra Shapiro. She also referred to other donors as "clowns."

Wait till those clowns cancel their checks.
Kaplan directed Shapiro to put New York philanthropist Philip Munger in the prime spot, switching out Maryland ophthalmologist Sreedhar Potarazu. He noted that Munger was one of the largest donors to Organizing for America, a nonprofit that advocates for Obama’s policies. “It would be nice to take care of him from the DNC side,” Kaplan wrote.

Shapiro pushed back, noting that Munger had given only $100,600 to the party, while the Potarazu family had contributed $332,250.

I bet they're not laughing now.
Several people I talked to put the blame — or at least a large portion of it — on President Obama and his inner circle of political advisers who never cared about the DNC in any meaningful way and, as a result, left Wasserman Schultz to wither on the vine as they worked around her time and again.

Is there anything that's not Obama's fault these days?
From the start, Obama was never a big "party" guy. He explicitly ran against the party infrastructure and elites in 2008 — Hillary Clinton was their candidate — and once he got into office was openly disdainful of many of the traditional apparatus of the party.


"Obama was not into party building, or party anything."
Hell no. The man's a Republican.
Even some of Wasserman Schultz's harshest critics acknowledge that part of that problem was structural: She was in elected office while also serving as the party chair. She was looking to move up the ladder in House leadership and saw the DNC job as a way to do that.


Wasserman Schultz's emphasis on her own political future — and the need to make sure she was front and center when it came to media attention and interviews — rubbed lots and lots of people the wrong way.
I don't see why this should put her prospects of moving up in the House in any jeopardy. Isn't this the kind of scum that rises to the top?
What her increasingly large enemies list could never find was a spark that could set all of the tinder they had gathered aflame. That long-awaited moment came late last week when a hacker group released more than 20,000 hacked DNC emails.
Yeah, but it was probably the Russians, right?

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

Why Would the Russians want Trump to Be President?

Are these claims that the Russians are behind the Wikileaks DNC documents because Trump said something nice about Vladimir Putin? Or what?
Attribution, simply put, purports to answer the question of who is responsible. For example, CrowdStrike investigated the DNC network breach and determined that the Russian government was responsible. FireEye investigated the Sony Entertainment network attack and determined that the North Korean government was responsible.

It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.

So, I have just as plausible a suggestion: The DNC leaked the documents in order to blame Putin in order to scare American voters off Trump. Not plausible, since the emails are damning, but just as plausible as blaming the leak on Putin.  And with just about the same amount of evidence.
Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).


[N]o one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there’s no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.


Even if cyber intelligence managers and analysts were trained to apply the latest techniques to counter things like fundamental attribution error, confirmation bias, and bias blindspot, they would still have a huge deficit to overcome — the inability to measure the accuracy of their assessments.


Many of the cyber intelligence analysts who work at companies like CrowdStrike, FireEye, and Mandiant have come out of the military or the Intelligence Community with prior analytic training.


The solution to this problem is a simple one. If you can prove attribution, do it.

If you can’t, say so.
This weekend, Wikileaks revealed thousands of hacked emails from within the DNC that showed what the New York Times described as “hostility” and “derision” towards the Sanders campaign from top party officials.


While it’s impossible to know whether systemic pro-Hillary Clinton bias at the DNC was decisive in the 2016 Democratic primary race, we now know beyond any doubt that such a bias not only existed, but was endemic and widespread. DNC officials worked to plant pro-Clinton stories, floated the idea of using Sanders’ secular Judaism against him in the South, and routinely ran PR spin for Clinton, even as the DNC claimed over and over it was neutral in the primary. The evidence in the leaks was so clear that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned her role as DNC chair—after her speaking role at the Democratic National Convention this week was scrapped—while DNC co-chair Donna Brazile, who is replacing Wasserman Schultz in the top role, has apologized to the Sanders camp.


Clinton partisans decided to focus on the alleged Russian links behind the DNC hack. Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall (7/23/16) released a rather paranoid rundown the day of the leaks on how Putin was conspiring with Trump (a fairly good debunking of which can be found here), soon after dismissing the substance of the leaks as Russian propaganda white noise. Many soon followed suit: The DNC leaks as Russian spy operation was the preferred talking point of the day, omitting or glossing over what the leaks actually entailed.


The actual culpability of Russia for those leaks, it’s worth noting, is still unproven. The only three parties that have audited the hack are contractors for the US government.


Thus far, the Obama administration has avoided any such claims. Indeed, if one reads carefully, so have the security firms in question. Buried in the followup report by the Washington Post (6/20/16) alleging “confirmation” of Russian involvement is the admission by the three firms (the “experts” Clinton’s camp refers to) that they cannot be sure WikiLeaks’ alleged source Guccifer 2.0 is Russian, let alone an agent of “Putin”.


The “outrage” over Russia’s “hidden hand” is being used to outweigh the damning substance of the leak itself. Parlay this with the recent uptick in “Trump as Putin puppet” conspiracy takes, and what you have is a clear picture of a partisan media that would rather float pitches for a Manchurian Candidate reboot than confront the repeated attempts by an ostensibly neutral DNC to undermine one candidate in favor of another.

  Adam Johnson @ Faiir
Of course they would.  And good riddance to Wasserman-Schultz, but we can't get a do-over.  So, Clinton mission accomplished.

I, on the other hand, would have little problem saying I have serious doubts.

And, I have NO problem admitting to that (even though it wasn't directed at me.)

So what else do the emails reveal besides the DNC acting as a Clinton hack that makes them want to refocus public attention elsewhere?  (Here's a Washington Post rundown.)
The DNC emails show how the party has tried to leverage its greatest weapon — the president — as it entices wealthy backers to bankroll the convention and other needs. At times, DNC staffers used language in their pitches to donors that went beyond what lawyers said was permissible under a White House policy designed to prevent any perception that special interests have access to the president.


White House officials said Obama’s attendance at DNC events is well within the law and the administration’s own ethics policies.

“As presidents of both parties have done for decades, President Obama takes seriously his role as the head of the Democratic Party,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman said in a statement. “To this end, the President participates in a range of events to raise awareness and support for the party, and to outline his priorities for making progress for the American people, in line with federal election and ethics laws.”

As you would expect a president to do - support the party that has his agenda. Of course, in this case, the party was pushing its own agenda.
The top-tier donor package for this week’s Democratic National Convention required a donor to raise $1.25 million or give $467,600 since January 2015, according to a document in the emails. In return, a contributor got booking in Philadelphia at a premier hotel, VIP credentials and six slots at “an exclusive roundtable and campaign briefing with high-level Democratic officials,” according to the terms.


DNC finance officials did not respond to requests for comment. A party spokesman said the DNC had “revolutionized online fundraising and worked to rein in the influence of special interests” during Obama’s time in office.


[T]he emails show several instances in which DNC fundraisers pitched donors with promises of a “roundtable” chat with Obama.


The emails also show the intensive efforts to get corporations to sign on as sponsors of the convention’s host committee — a reversal from 2012, when Obama prohibited such donations.
But apparently they were okay with Hillary taking money from lobbyists.
Last year, the DNC, in consultation with Clinton’s campaign, also decided to reverse a ban on donations from the PACs of corporations, unions and other groups.

After those limits were lifted, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other top party officials showered corporate lobbyists with calls, emails and personal meetings seeking convention support and PAC contributions to the party, according to a spreadsheet logging the contacts.
Gee, I wonder why Trump's constant wailing that the system is rigged finds traction with American voters.

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