June 27, 2016

Posted by orrinj at 1:54 PM


Is Hillary Clinton a neocon? (Trevor Timm, 27 June 2016, tHE gUARDIAN)

Another week, and another set of Republicans have endorsed Hillary Clinton. Is it because of existential threat of Donald Trump, or could it be because many of Clinton's potential policies conveniently line up with theirs?

Longtime Republican foreign policy stalwart and Iraq warmonger Robert Kagan became the latest neoconservative to endorse Clinton for president last week. He has even offered to host a fundraiser on her behalf, as Foreign Policy Magazine first reported on Thursday. Kagan has followed the likes of former Bush deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and a slew of lower-profile officials in their endorsement of Clinton over Trump.

Now, it's entirely possible that these Republicans are endorsing Clinton because Trump is an unhinged maniac who has given people of all political persuasions plenty of reason to not want him anywhere near the levers of power. But here's the thing: the neocon love affair with Clinton started well before Trump was even in the discussion of Republican candidates, let alone the party's likely nominee.

Several neoconservatives have spent years gushing about Clinton's penchant for supporting basically every foreign war or military escalation in the last decade, including Kagan, who said in 2014: "I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy ... If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue, it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."

A theocon would have been preferable, but you take what you can get...

Posted by orrinj at 1:35 PM


Hardly anybody wants to speak at Trump's convention : POLITICO reached out to more than 50 prominent Republicans. Few said they plan to attend the convention in Cleveland, let alone speak. (ALEX ISENSTADT 06/27/16, Politico)

With the convention less than a month away, POLITICO contacted more than 50 prominent governors, senators and House members to gauge their interest in speaking. Only a few said they were open to it, and everyone else said they weren't planning on it, didn't want to, or weren't going to Cleveland at all -- or simply didn't respond.

"I am not attending," said South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is overseeing the high-profile congressional Republican investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of the attacks on Benghazi. Gowdy, who said he was taking his family to the beach instead, hasn't gone to conventions in the past and didn't plan to now.

"I'm not," said South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a former two-term governor. "But hope you have a good Thursday!"

"Don't know," said Sean Duffy, a reality-TV-star-turned-Wisconsin congressman, "I haven't thought about it."

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo: "I won't be there."

The widespread lack of interest, Republicans say, boils down to one thing: the growing consensus that it's best to steer clear of Trump.

June 26, 2016

Posted by orrinj at 5:59 PM


Labour crisis: how the coup against Jeremy Corbyn gathered pace (Rowena Mason and Anushka Asthana, 26 June 2016, The Guardian)

The fireworks began at 9.59pm on Saturday when an article outing Hilary Benn as the chief plotter against Jeremy Corbyn was published by the Observer.

The Labour leader's aides scrambled on to a conference call to work out a plan to deal with the rebellion. It did not take long for Benn to be bombarded with a stream of messages from Katy Clark, Corbyn's political secretary, asking him about the truth of the story.

Shortly afterwards, Corbyn texted his shadow foreign secretary, the son of his political hero Tony Benn, directly to ask if they could speak.

During that calm call, Benn told his boss that he no longer had confidence in him to lead the Labour party and could not continue to serve in the shadow cabinet under him. The only thing he denied was having leaked details of the insurrection to the Observer. Corbyn sacked him straightaway.

It had not unfolded as either the plotters or the leadership team had expected, even though a small group of Labour MPs and advisers had been telling journalists for months to "expect movement" against Corbyn on 24 June.

Their plans had been based on the assumption that the UK would vote to remain, and hopes were not high that an overwhelming number of MPs would back a coup or that ousting him would be successful.

But Brexit changed the whole calculation, as many Labour MPs woke up on Friday furious with what they saw as Corbyn's lacklustre campaigning for remain and refusal to address the concerns of voters about immigration.

The ire was compounded by fear that huge numbers of Labour MPs would lose their seats if they fought a snap general election under Corbyn. By the end of Friday, several separate groups of MPs were involved in moves to get rid of their leader.

...failure to pretend passion for the EU is the least of his shortcomings.

Posted by orrinj at 5:07 PM


Fallujah Regained By Iraqi Forces After Five Weeks Of Fighting Against Islamic State Militants (CLARK MINDOCK, 06/26/16, IB Times)

The Iraqi city, which has been controlled by ISIS for about 2 1/2 years, was claimed by Iraqi forces after five weeks of battle that resulted in 1,800 dead militants. Clearing operations in the city are still ongoing, NPR reported.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Wahab al-Saadi, the commander of the anti-ISIS forces, praised the victory on state television during the weekend,  just a week after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the city and said there was only relatively minor opposition left. The United States backed the Iraqi forces in efforts to push the terrorist group out.

Posted by orrinj at 3:50 PM


The UK Will Survive, but Europe Won't (Sławomir Sierakowski, 6/26/16, Project Syndicate)

Brexit should be seen as a punishment for events like the 2014 European elections, when it was evident, even before anyone voted, who would become the head of the EU commission, who would lead the EU parliament, and which of the parliament's factions would be the largest. This sense of a rigged game alienates citizens and leads them to reclaim their democratic dignity by casting protest votes for figures like Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, or Donald Trump. Of course, no one truly believes that Trump can win the US presidency. Likewise, no one, not even bookies, believed that Brexit was a real possibility.

How is the EU to survive the loss of a major member state at a time when it already must deal with ascendant populists, economic malaise, a refugee crisis, and terrorism? The UK, for its part, can do without the EU. The EU, however, cannot do without the UK.

Unlike the EU, Great Britain is an island, its language is spoken all over the world, and it has nuclear weapons. Its continental allies do not enjoy such advantages (only France is a nuclear power). There is nothing stopping Great Britain from becoming a second Switzerland. (It may even come to resemble Switzerland in shape if Scotland and Northern Ireland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, now leave the UK.)

Posted by orrinj at 3:46 PM


Immigration needs reform, not Trump's bigotry (Hillary Clinton, June 24, 2016, Arizona Republic)

Let's be clear: When Trump talks about forming a "deportation force" to round up and expel 11 million immigrants - he's talking about ripping apart families like Karla's and Josie's.

When he repeatedly suggests that a distinguished American judge's "Mexican heritage" means that he cannot do his job, it's the "textbook definition of a racist comment," to quote the Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

When he praises local figures like Gov. Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he's endorsing their heartless and divisive policies. And when he speculates about ending birthright citizenship, he's suggesting undermining the Constitution and tearing American children away from the country they know and love.

Instead of building walls, we ought to be breaking down barriers. Our country has always been stronger when we lift each other up, not tear each other down. We're stronger together.

That's why, as president, I'll fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to full and equal citizenship, starting in my first 100 days in office.  We should do everything we can to keep families together, better integrate immigrants into their communities, and help those eligible for naturalization take the last step to citizenship.

Posted by orrinj at 3:35 PM


New Post-ABC poll: Trump's June has been an utter disaster in every way (James Downie June 26, 2016, Washington Post)

When last month's Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters, it was the third poll in a week to show the presumptive GOP nominee in a surprising lead. Many Democrats began to worry (or at least worry more openly) about the Clinton campaign. Now they can breathe a little easier: The June Post-ABC poll, out Sunday morning, shows Clinton leading 51 percent to 39 percent, a 14 point swing.

Just about everything that could have gone right for Clinton in the past month has. It's bad enough for the Trump campaign that he remains unable to improve his image: 70 percent of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Trump administration, unchanged from six months ago. Sixty-four percent call Trump "not qualified" for the presidency, up six points from May. That may have something to do with the fact that 68 percent of voters agree that Trump's attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican-American background was racist.

Time for him to go.

June 25, 2016

Posted by orrinj at 7:39 PM


Former Bush Treasury secretary: 'I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton' (NOLAN D. MCCASKILL 06/24/16, Politico)

Paulson suggested that Trump's pledge to do for America what he's done for his businesses isn't a promise but rather a threat. "The tactics he has used in running his business wouldn't work in running a truly successful company, let alone the most powerful nation on Earth," he continued. "Every good businessman or -woman carefully analyzes all the available facts before making a decision. Trump repeatedly, blatantly and knowingly makes up or gravely distorts facts to support his positions or create populist divisions."

Paulson blasted Trump's business acumen, highlighting his bankruptcy filings, accusing him of exaggerating his wealth and arguing that his marketing and self-promotion are irrelevant to running a country. He also slammed the real estate mogul's divisive rhetoric, questioning how such a polarizing figure could unite the country.

"Simply put, a Trump presidency is unthinkable," he wrote, though he maintained that he plans to support conservatives in statehouses and Congress.

"They have a big job to do to reinvent and revitalize the Republican Party. They can do so by responding to the fears and frustrations of the American people and uniting them behind some common aspirations, while staying constant to the principles that have made our country great," he added. "When it comes to the presidency, I will not vote for Donald Trump."

Posted by orrinj at 4:43 PM


Dozens Of Suspected IS Militants Killed In Afghanistan (RFE/RL,  June 25, 2016)

Dozens of suspected Islamic State (IS) militants have been killed in fighting in eastern Afghanistan. 

At least 40 suspected IS fighters were killed in clashes with Afghan security forces on June 24 in the eastern province of Nangarhar, located along the volatile border with Pakistan.

These clowns even lose to Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian security forces.

Posted by orrinj at 4:37 PM


'This Is Not My Party': George Will Goes from GOP to Unaffiliated (NICHOLAS BALLASY, JUNE 24, 2016, PJ Media)

"Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House," Will said during an interview after his speech at a Federalist Society luncheon.

Will said he changed his voter registration this month from Republican to "unaffiliated" in the state of Maryland.

"This is not my party," Will said during his speech at the event.

He mentioned House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) endorsement of Trump as one of the factors that led him to leave the party.

Many experienced GOP strategists unwilling to work for Trump (STEVE PEOPLES. Jun. 25, 2016, AP)

From Texas to New Hampshire, well-respected members of the Republican Party's professional class say they cannot look past their deep personal and professional reservations about the presumptive presidential nominee.

While there are exceptions, many strategists who best understand the mechanics of presidential politics fear that taking a Trump paycheck might stain their resumes, spook other clients and even cause problems at home. They also are reluctant to devote months to a divisive candidate whose campaign has been plagued by infighting and disorganization.

"Right now I feel no obligation to lift a finger to help Donald Trump," said Brent Swander, an Ohio-based operative who has coordinated nationwide logistics for Republican presidential campaigns dating to George W. Bush.

"Everything that we're taught as children -- not to bully, not to demean, to treat others with respect -- everything we're taught as children is the exact opposite of what the Republican nominee is doing. How do you work for somebody like that? What would I tell my family?" Swander said.

Posted by orrinj at 12:17 PM


Blaming Muslims, at First, in Norway (As told to WILL BOAST JUNE 24, 2016,NY Times Magazine)

As I was hanging my clothes, I saw my neighbor down in his driveway. He was just coming home from work, and he looked up and saw me. And then he was shouting.

"You people, you come here and ruin our country!" he yelled. "Norway is peaceful, and now you're destroying it! Go home. Make your own country crap. Leave ours alone!"

Actually, he said a lot worse than that. He kept shouting and shouting. But I stayed quiet. I just went on hanging my clothes. My hands were shaking.

I went inside, sat with my roommates and told them what he said. We kept watching the television, scared and upset, wondering what would happen. Back in Kabul, I had a good life, family, friends, a community. I had published a book on the Taliban, condemning terrorism. That made me visible, a target. A gang kidnapped me, held me ransom, beat and tortured me. I escaped, and we went to the police. They arrested some of my kidnappers.

But the threats kept coming. The gang found my home. They killed my father, my brothers and my sisters. My mother and I fled. We moved in with some friends. But it wasn't safe for me to stay in Afghanistan. So I went to Norway to apply for asylum.

I was glad to have an apartment and roommates from home. But no one knew us in Kongsberg. They didn't care if we were educated or what we'd been through. That afternoon, my roommates and I just kept watching the TV, waiting for the police to come for us.

Suddenly, all the headlines changed. There had been another attack, on an island outside Oslo. A man shot more than 60 people, many of them children. They were saying it was the same man responsible for the bombing. A name came on the screen -- Breivik -- a Norwegian name. He had surrendered and confessed. My roommates and I were shocked. Everything that happened, to those children especially, was just too horrible.

Then there was a knock on the door. We didn't know if we should answer. But we thought, No, it's O.K. They know it wasn't a Muslim who did these attacks. I opened the door.

It was my neighbor. He was speaking very quickly, apologizing, telling me how ashamed he was for what he'd said. He was crying. This big, pale, redheaded Norwegian man who worked in an office and sometimes on his car on the weekends, he had tears all down his face. He hugged me. He insisted that my roommates and I come to his apartment that night for dinner.

I remember we had fish and potatoes, a very Norwegian meal. His daughter was very bright, very intelligent. Three years in Kongsberg, waiting for the final decision about my asylum application, and I had never spoken to this man or his family. From that day on, he opened his heart to my roommates and me.

Posted by orrinj at 11:53 AM


After Brexit, what? U.S. secessionists hankering for 'Texit'  (JON HERSKOVITZ, 6/26516, Reuters)

Emboldened by Brexit, U.S. secessionists in Texas are keen to adopt the campaign tactics used to sway the British vote for leaving the European Union and are demanding "Texit" comes next.

The citizen-driven vote in Britain can be a model for Texas, which was an independent country from 1836 to 1845, and its $1.6 trillion a year economy would be among the 10 largest in the world, said Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement.

"The Texas Nationalist Movement is formally calling on the Texas governor to support a similar vote for Texans," the group said on Friday. The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott was not immediately available for comment.

The group, which claims about a quarter million supporters, failed earlier this year to place a vote on secession on the November ballot but aims to relaunch its campaign for the next election cycle in 2018, buoyed by the British vote, Miller said.

"Texit is in the air," he said.

Calexit or Caleavefornia? Brexit lifts Golden State independence campaign (Valerie Richardson, June 25, 2016, The Washington Times)

Pro-independence Texans weren't the only ones energized by the vote by Brexit vote.

The California secession movement has been riding a wave of interest since Thursday's vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. The campaign has already gained a Brexit-inspired nickname: Calexit

"We have a lot of people sending us messages and a lot of people want to find our online digital version of our independence referendum," said Louis Marinelli, who heads the Yes California Independence Campaign. "We have a lot of people who have joined our Facebook page, a lot of people who are talking about this issue on Twitter. The #Calexit hashtag for example has begun organically. There's another one called #Caleavefornia."

When small is beautiful : How big should a nation-state be? (The Economist, Dec 18th 2003)

OF THE ten richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per head, only two have more than 5m people: the United States, with 260m, and Switzerland, with 7m. A further two have populations over 1m: Norway, with 4m and Singapore, with 3m. The remaining half-dozen have fewer than 1m people. What do such variations imply about the link between population size and prosperity? [...]

One implication of this analysis is that, where the preferences of a country's people count, their country is likely to be smaller than it would otherwise be. Dictators typically suppress dissent, regional or ethnic. They see the benefits of size (and grab many of them); democracies are more conscious of its costs. So there are few recent examples of mergers between nation-states (North and South Yemen and the two Germanies are rare exceptions) but many of secession. The main reason for the resulting rise in the number of mini-countries is the shift from empire or dictatorship to self-determination, especially in the past quarter-century. "Borders need to satisfy citizens' aspirations," observe the authors.

However, the trade-off between the costs and benefits of size is affected by another factor: trade restrictions. The importance of economic size for prosperity depends crucially upon how open a country's economy is. Small countries that may not be viable in a world of trade restrictions can prosper when trade is liberal and markets are open. "Henceforth," say the authors, "one should expect economic integration and political disintegration to go hand in hand, in a mutually reinforcing process." 

It will be impossible to avoid the implications of the idea of self-determination on ourselves, nevermind the economic reality of how successful smaller state are.

Posted by orrinj at 8:24 AM


Officials: German hostage taker had no real firearms (Deutsche-Welle, 6/25/16)

The man who took over a cinema in western Germany carried only air guns and dummy grenades, German prosecutors have said. Police killed the 19-year-old while storming the scene. [...]

The attacker's weapons turned out to be air gun replicas made to look like real firearms, prosecutors said. The investigators found no live ammunition at the scene and the alleged hand grenades also turned out to be fake.
None of the hostages, who also included children, was hurt in the incident.

Sources within Germany's security forces have claimed the man acted alone and probably had mental issues.

After its own mass shootings, Germany beefed up gun control laws. The number of shootings dropped. (Erik Kirschbaum, 6/15/16, LA Times)

Germans are known to admire America and its freedoms, but they were horrified by the arrival of distinctly American-style school shootings in their backyard in Erfurt in 2002 and Winnenden in 2009. They have been equally as shocked by the shooting deaths by a lone gunman at a nightclub in Florida on Sunday and baffled by the United States' inability to stop the scourge.

Germans so universally condemned the loss of life after Erfurt and Winnenden that there was nary any protest when lawmakers unceremoniously imposed a draconian clampdown on guns in the wake of the shooting rampages that left 31 victims dead. 

Germany, where gun ownership had already been treated as a privilege rather than an inherent right, made it even harder to own a firearm. It is now the only country in the world where anyone younger than 25 has to pass a psychiatric exam before he or she is allowed to apply for a gun license. Anyone applying for a gun has to wait a year, pass rigorous tests and have a legitimate reason for owning a gun.

"The numbers of people killed in Germany by guns has been falling steadily for several years, and a large part of the reason for that is the tougher laws and diminished availability of guns," said Dagmar Ellerbrock, a history professor and authority on gun crime at Dresden's Technical University.

"In the 19th century, guns were really popular in Germany, and the situation was similar to the way it is in the United States now. But tough laws changed all that. On top of that, there has been widespread social repudiation of guns in Germany. Since World War II and the Red Army terror wave of the 1970s, guns have not been seen as anything masculine at all but rather reactionary and in a really negative light," Ellerbrock said.

Posted by orrinj at 8:16 AM


Autonomous Vehicles Shift into High Gear : Self-driving systems may have bugs but they are free from the myriad distractions and risk-taking behaviors that are the most common causes of crashes today (Dr Bernard Meyerson, June 23, 2016, Scientific American)

We are now on the cusp of an equally transformative technological shift in transportation: from vehicles driven by humans to vehicles that drive themselves. The long-term impact of autonomous vehicles on society is hard to predict, but also hard to overstate. The only certainty is that wherever this technology becomes ubiquitous, life will be different than it was.

Google and other companies have been testing self-driving cars for several years now, with good success. These autos process vast amounts of sensory data from on-board radars, cameras, ultrasonic range-finders, GPS, and stored maps to navigate routes through ever more complex and rapidly changing traffic situations without any human involvement.

Consumer use of vehicles with autonomous capabilities, however, is just beginning.  Adoption will proceed gradually, through the steady implementation of increasingly intelligent safety and convenience features in otherwise ordinary cars. Some models, for example, already offer hands-off parallel parking, automatic lane-keeping, emergency braking, or even semi-autonomous cruise control. Last October, Tesla Motors made available a software package that enables a limited form of self-driving operation for owners of its vehicles to download.

This trend is likely to continue as such technology matures and as legal and regulatory barriers start to fall. Half a dozen states have already authorized autonomous road vehicles, and more have plans to do so. Discussions are well underway among auto insurers and legislators about how to apportion liability and costs when self-driving cars get into crashes, as they inevitably will--although it is widely expected that these cars will prove to be much safer, on average, than driver-operated cars are today.

There is plenty of room for improvement on that front. In the United States, crashes and collisions claim more than 30,000 lives and cause some 2.3 million injuries annually. Self-driving systems may have bugs--the software that runs them is complicated--but they are free from the myriad distractions and risk-taking behaviors that are the most common causes of crashes today. In the near term, semi-autonomous safety systems that engage only to prevent accidents, but that otherwise leave the driver in charge, will also likely reduce the human cost of driving significantly.

Posted by orrinj at 8:09 AM


This vote shows that people do care about democracy (JEREMY GILBERT, 24 June 2016, Open Democracy)

If the left and our political leaders - above all the Labour leadership - do not come forward with loud and explicit demands for serious democratic reform in England and Wales, including radical devolution, an English parliament with real powers, conversion of the Welsh Assembly into a full parliament, Proportional Representation for the House of Commons, and a radical programme of participatory democracy in local government, then the people will not believe that we have any credible plan to end austerity or represent their interests in any other way.

Just proposing an economic programme - which is all Corbyn and McDonnell are talking about - will not work, because people will not believe that we will implement it. The left only captured the political mainstream in Scotland by attaching its economic and social programme to a radical programme of democratic reform. If we don't do the same then we will continue to sound like just another bunch of politicians making promises, and we will lose.

The residual vulgar Marxist belief that all this stuff doesn't matter, that all people care about is jobs and housing, is a huge problem here. 

...yet the elites in London thought they could deny it to their own people? This is what globalization (the End of History) consists of -- democracy, capitalism, protestantism.  Transnationalism never stood a chance.

Posted by orrinj at 8:05 AM


Solar panels have gotten thinner than a human hair. Soon they'll be everywhere. (David Roberts, June 23, 2016, Vox)

South Korean scientists have created solar PV cells that are 1 micrometer thick, hundreds of times thinner than most PV and half again as thin as other kinds of thin-film PV. (The research is in a paper just published in Applied Physics Letters.)

The cells are made with gallium arsenide as the semiconductor, "cold welded" directly onto a metal substrate, with no adhesive to make them thicker. Remarkably, they produce roughly as much power as thicker PV cells, though in testing, "the cells could wrap around a radius as small as 1.4 millimeters."

With cells this thin, solar PV can be integrated in all sorts of "wearables" -- clothes, glasses, hats, or backpacks with solar cells integrated, continuously feeding power to our portable electronics. More to the point, PV could be integrated into just about anything.

Posted by orrinj at 7:52 AM


THE ROMAN WAY : Rémi Brague explains why the Romans' inferiority before the Greeks was so important to European culture. (MAY 2016, spiked review of books)

review: One of your most important insights into the meaning of Europe is the centrality of 'la voie Romaine', and your idea of 'secondarité'. Could you explain how Rome's sense of its inferiority to Hellenic culture has proved so productive for the development of Europe?

Brague: I am not especially keen on the Romans of history. They built a ruthless empire, albeit one no worse than any other empire, and even better than some. But they did have the great merit of inventing law and a citizenship grounded not on race, language, family ties or whatnot, but on merely juridical principles. For me, however, their greatest merit consists in having realised they were no match for the cultural achievements of the Greeks, and then having the courage to sit at the Ancient Greeks' feet and learn. This provided Europe with a practical version of a theoretical truth: what is mine is not necessarily better than what comes from elsewhere. We have to be ready to accept foreign goods and to prefer them to our own traditions. Hence, we should be curious and keep an eye on other cultures that might have something to teach us. This same attitude was to be found and proved fruitful many centuries afterwards, when America was discovered, and when ancient languages of India, Egypt, Mesopotamia and so on, were unearthed and deciphered. All this happened earlier than the colonial adventure, and it happened independently from it. [...]

review: You have written about the expansion of Europe outwards, from a heartland to a realm of influence, of the remarkable success of what one could call European achievements in law and science, and, although non-European in origin, the development of Christianity as a global religion. Is there something universal about European culture?

Brague: Any foreign cultural product has a tendency to spread if it is considered to be better than its home-bred equivalents. This is almost a law of economy. The great inventions of the Middle Ages made European expansion possible. They came from remote China, like the magnet, gunpowder, the water-mill, etc. But they found in Europe a soil on which they could thrive and find new applications. For instance, whereas the Chinese used powder for fireworks, the Europeans used it for warfare and made guns.

Undoubtedly, there is, or was, something like a European dynamics, in contradistinction to more static cultures. The main sources of European culture - the Bible, Greek philosophy and Roman law - all have a claim to universality. [...]

review: Do you think the European Union builds on the cultural heritage of Europe?

Brague: First, let me belabour the obvious: The European Union is not the same thing as Europe. There is a symbol of sorts for this lack of coincidence: Switzerland. This small country is a small-scale image of Europe. Located in the very heart of Western Europe, it has three official languages and the bulk of its citizens belong to the two main denominations of Western Christendom. Yet, this emphatically European country doesn't belong to the European Union and hardly wants to join.

At the beginning, the original intention of the European construction was moral in nature: right after the Second World War, the founding fathers wanted to make a further conflict impossible. Putting coal and steel into a common pool would nip in the bud any economic cause of conflict. They didn't want thereby to maximise profit, but to ensure peace. As a matter of fact, peace did happen, but not thanks to the EU. It's the other way around: the EU was made possible by peace. And this peace was the result of the Marshall Plan and of the military superiority of the US over the Soviet Union.

In order better to describe the relationship that obtains between the EU and the cultural heritage of Europe, I'm afraid that the right phrase would not be 'building on', but rather 'preying on'. This implies that we, in the long run, destroy what we use, as parasites do. This destruction has recently taken a particularly acute form. I am struck by the rage with which some higher civil servants, in my country [France], act as if they wanted to weigh anchors from our past by doing away with the study of classical languages, by trying to get rid of the Biblical influence, and even by flatly denying that it ever happened.

The problem for Europe is, and always has been, that only the Anglosphere/Scandinavia adheres to that set of ideas. In the Long War we have faced off against the Franco/German preference for Socialism, Napoleonic Law, continental philosophy, nationalism and atheism.  There was never going to be a fit between the two in a single governing institution and there's no reason for the North to decline along with the South.
Posted by orrinj at 7:39 AM


Scotland's Sturgeon presses ahead with preparations for independence vote (Reuters, 6/25/16)

Scotland's devolved government is preparing to present legislation allowing a second independence referendum while continuing discussions on its place within the European Union, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday.

"A second (Scottish) independence referendum is clearly an option that requires to be on the table, and it is very much on the table," she said in a live statement.

Posted by orrinj at 7:35 AM


Leave campaign rows back on key immigration and NHS pledges (The Guardian, 6/25/16)

The leave campaign has appeared to row back on key pledges made during the EU referendum campaign less than 24 hours after the UK voted for Brexit, after it emerged immigration levels could remain unchanged. [...]

[W]ithin hours of the result on Friday morning, the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, had distanced himself from the claim that £350m of EU contributions could instead be spent on the NHS, while the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said free movement could result in similar levels of immigration after Brexit.

Hannan said: "Frankly, if people watching think that they have voted and there is now going to be zero immigration from the EU, they are going to be disappointed."

Posted by orrinj at 7:23 AM


A private letter written by Margaret Thatcher reveals she would have campaigned for Brexit, claims Eurosceptic MP (Laura Hughes, 11 Feb 2016, Telegraph)

A private letter written by Margaret Thatcher reveals she would have campaigned to leave the European Union, according to the Eurosceptic Conservative MP who has released the note.

Sir Bill Cash MP has revealed the private correspondence he had with the former Prime Minister, in which she describes the EU project as "contrary to British interests and damaging to our Parliamentary democracy".

He says it is "inconceivable" Lady Thatcher would have supported David Cameron's current deal and that she gave him the letter to make public if there was ever any doubt over her views on the European Union.

The letter to Sir Bill was composed shortly after the European Union was established under its current name in 1993 following the Maastricht Treaty.

Lady Thatcher had stepped down and was no longer an MP in 1993, so was unable to vote.

However, in her note the former Prime Minister writes: "I understand it is being suggested in some quarters that I would have agreed to the Maastricht Treaty. May I make it clear that I would NOT have done so."

The roots of Euroscepticism : Why Britons are warier than other Europeans of the EU (The Economist, Mar 12th 2016)

What this history shows is that Britain has an essentially transactional relationship with the club. Membership has been evaluated in terms of costs and benefits, not as an emotional commitment. Moreover, as a latecomer, Britain has often found the EU's organisation and policies uncongenial. This was reflected in Margaret Thatcher's battles in the 1980s to cut the outsized British budget contribution.

Over the years the political base of British Euroscepticism has moved from left to right. In the early years Labour was the more suspicious party. In 1962 its leader, Hugh Gaitskell, warned that joining the common market would end 1,000 years of history. In 1975 Harold Wilson dealt with Labour splits over Europe by staging a renegotiation and putting the result to a referendum--a tactic remarkably similar to Mr Cameron's today. In the early 1980s, Labour was once again set on withdrawal.

The pivotal moment came in 1988, when the European Commission's president, Jacques Delors, promised the Trades Union Congress that Europe's single market would be buttressed by tougher labour and social regulations. This reinforced Thatcher's growing Euroscepticism, and led directly to her Bruges speech attacking excessive EU interference in the same year. Her political downfall two years later was triggered by her denunciation of Mr Delors's plans for closer EU integration and a single currency. This marked the point when the Tories replaced Labour as the party of Euroscepticism.

September 21 1988: Thatcher sets face against united Europe : PM's 'Gaullist' tirade shocks senior EEC officials (John Palmer, The Guardian)

The Prime Minister yesterday served notice on the rest of the European Community that her government would oppose tooth and nail any attempt to turn it into an economic and political union in which Britain might have to cede power to EEC institutions.

Mrs Thatcher chose the magnificent setting of the medieval Hall of Bruges to unfold the banner of a British 'Gaullism' in the face of those who want ultimately to see a united states of Europe.

The first reaction of commissioners and other senior EEC officials to Mrs Thatcher's speech was critical. "Frankly I am shocked. It was much more
negative than I had expected," one commissioner said.

Mrs Thatcher consciously followed in the footsteps of the late French President in asserting that the best way to build the European Community was "willing and active co-operation between independent sovereign states" - a
new version of De Gaulle's "Europe des Patries".

Dismissing the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe - as some of the EEC's founding fathers believed - Mrs Thatcher launched a frontal assault on those within the community who want to take some steps towards that goal.

The Prime Minister launched a thinly disguised attack on the president of the EEC Commission, Mr Jacques Delors, who earlier this year said that, over the next few years, the European Community would become responsible for some
80 per cent of all legislation in the Twelve, during which time an "embryo" European government might emerge.

"It is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, some in the community seem to want to move in the opposite direction," she declared.

"We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels."

Posted by orrinj at 7:15 AM


Who Is a Jew? Maybe Not Woman Converted by Esteemed New York Rabbi (ISABEL KERSHNER, JUNE 23, 2016, NY Times)

The rabbi, Haskel Lookstein, is one of the most respected Orthodox rabbis in New York, where he has led Manhattan's Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun for decades, after taking over the pulpit from his father. He recently received an honorary doctorate from Israel's Bar-Ilan University in recognition for what it called "the influential role he has played in deepening Jewish values and heritage among American Jewry."

The case raises the question of whether Ms. Trump -- who said in a Vogue magazine interview last year that she and her husband were "pretty observant," keeping kosher and the Jewish Sabbath -- would be accepted as Jewish herself in all quarters in Israel.

More broadly, it illustrates a growing divide between Israel's increasingly strict ultra-Orthodox religious establishment and many Jews abroad over the age-old question of "who is a Jew" that has complicated Israel's relationship with the diaspora for decades.

The Israeli rabbinate, which controls Jewish marriage and most Jewish burial sites in the country, does not recognize non-Orthodox streams of Judaism like Reform and Conservative, with which the majority of affiliated American Jews identify. In rejecting Rabbi Lookstein's conversion and those of others in similar positions, the rabbinical authorities now risk alienating Jews abroad who practice modern Orthodoxy according to Halakha, or Jewish law.\

"Ten years ago, if an Orthodox rabbi in good standing performed a conversion, it would have been a given that it would be accepted here," said Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder of Itim, an Israeli organization that has been critical of the rabbinate and is pressing the case of Rabbi Lookstein's American convert.

He added, "I'd say this is unprecedented in Jewish history, that one group of rabbis rejects another."

Ex-Orthodox Feel Pushed From Their Communities -- But Still Cherish Being Jewish (Ari FeldmanJune 23, 2016, Forward)

Many formerly ultra-Orthodox and Modern Orthodox Jews who no longer hold the beliefs of their communities feel "pushed off the derech," yet still retain their sense of Jewish identity, a groundbreaking new study of the group has revealed.

A third of those surveyed have yet to physically leave their communities, and may maintain outward displays of religious observance while having "left" the community in their beliefs and private lives. When they do leave, over half the respondents reported feeling disconnected to any Jewish community, and nearly a quarter have trouble with dating, holding relationships, or finding a job.

The report surveyed 885 people who once identified (or currently reside in) Chasidic, Chabad, Yeshivish, Modern Orthodox, or other Orthodox communities. Many of these individuals now identify as Off The Derech, or OTD, and go to organized OTD Meetups or are members of OTD social media groups.

Other important factors cited by respondents included the treatment of women within ultra-religious communities and the widespread perception of contradictions, double standards, and hypocrisy. Contrary to widely held assumptions about those who leave Orthodox Judaism, only 2% of respondents cited the influence of the Internet or weak secular education as significant spurs to leaving .

June 24, 2016

Posted by orrinj at 7:04 PM


The tea party spirit crossed the Atlantic during the Brexit campaign :H British politics became Americanized. (Alex Massie June 24, 2016, Washington Post)

 This people's revolt represented, in many respects, the Americanization of British politics. The "leave" campaign's slogan -- its devastatingly effective slogan -- of "take back control" was positively Trumpian. Indeed, some of the same forces of alienation, discontent, economic insecurity and racial animosity that produced Trump in the United States have now hauled Britain out of the European Union. This past week's revolution, arguably the greatest political insurrection since the dawn of the democratic era, offers further evidence that some political trends recognize no borders or boundaries. It was more than just a political battle; it was a culture war, too. And it bore the hallmarks of the one that began in the United States 50 years ago.

The campaign, at its crudest, pitted the "people" against the "establishment," the powerless against the powerful. The "leave" side cast itself as a guerrilla insurgency against a complacent and out-of-touch governing elite. Like recent U.S. campaigns, this one was marked by a distaste for experts. There were shades of Barry Goldwater and the United States' 2010 tea party wave in this; shades, perhaps, of the Reagan revolution, too. Brexit might break everything, the thinking went, but unless things are broken, nothing can change. This is Year Zero now.

The referendum laid bare the fault lines in British society, and they turn out to be as stark as the divisions between red and blue America. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in Europe; England and Wales opted out. Within England, London -- cosmopolitan, liberal, wealthy -- voted for the status quo, but rural areas, from the sleepy shires to the rusting post-industrial towns of the north, chose to leave. In doing so, they revolted against more than just Brussels and the institutions of the E.U.; they delivered an Anglo-Saxon rebuke to London and Westminster (as Parliament is known), too. Only a quarter of members of Parliament came out for Brexit: The gap between the people and their representatives has never before, at least on an issue of this significance, been so wide. You do not speak for us, voters said, and we hold you in some contempt for your failure to represent, or even understand, our concerns. G.K. Chesterton's lines seem hauntingly appropriate: "Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget/For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet." Now the people have spoken, and the whole world has heard their roar.

This is backwards: The American Revolution and Founding were English.

Posted by orrinj at 6:32 PM


 How this Colorado history teacher and 400 of her fellow delegates are planning to block Trump in Cleveland (Andrew Romano, June 24, 2016, Yahoo : Unconventional)

One week ago, the Washington Post reported that dozens of Republican convention delegates had hatched "a new plan" to block a stumbling Donald Trump in Cleveland by adding a "conscience clause" to the convention's rules.

As regular Unconventional readers know, there is a convincing case to be made -- and in his new e-book Unbound, Rules Committee member Curly Haugland of North Dakota makes it -- that Republican convention delegates are already technically free to nominate whomever they want in Cleveland, despite the impression that they are bound by the results of the primary votes in each state.

A conscience clause would make this freedom explicit by saying that every delegate is allowed to vote his or her conscience on the first ballot -- even if state laws or party rules say otherwise.

At first, this new "Dump Trump" faction was fairly small. Roughly 30 delegates from 15 states participated in a conference call last Thursday night. Since then, however, the unlikely campaign appears to have picked up steam. A second conference call on Sunday night attracted a claimed 1,000 participants, and this week, both the RNC and Trump have begun to fight back with delegate strategies of their own.

The group that started all this commotion calls itself Free the Delegates. Its founder -- and self-proclaimed "loudmouth" in chief -- is Kendal Unruh. She is a history teacher, a born-again Christian, a Rules Committee member, and a former Ted Cruz supporter from Colorado. On Thursday, she hopped on the phone with Unconventional to discuss how Free the Delegates came together, why she is "anybody but Trump" -- and what exactly she's planning to do in Cleveland.

Posted by orrinj at 6:30 PM


Donald Trump's Really Big Brexit Flip-Flop : The presumptive GOP nominee once said "we will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity." (DAVID CORN, JUN. 24, 2016, Mother Jones)

In early 2013, as part of its coverage of the Davos global conference, CNN's website asked Trump to contribute a column addressing the global financial crisis and Europe as an investment opportunity. It identified Trump as "one of the world's foremost investors." And in his article, Trump waxed on about the need for international economic interdependence. He wrote:

The near meltdown we experienced a few years ago made it clear that our economic health depended on dependence on each other to do the right thing.

We are now closer to having an economic community in the best sense of the term -- we work with each other for the benefit of all.

I think we've all become aware of the fact that our cultures and economics are intertwined... It's a time for working together for the best of all involved. Never before has the phrase "we're all in this together" had more resonance or relevance.

He summed it up this way: "We will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity when it comes to financial stability."

This was, he observed, particularly true regarding Europe:

Europe is a tapestry that is dense, colorful and deserving of continued longevity and prosperity. There are many pieces that must be carefully fitted together in order to thrive.

Our challenge is to acknowledge those pieces and to see how they can form a whole that works together well without losing any cultural flavor in the process. It's a combination of preservation along with forward thinking.

No surprise, Trump cited his golf course in Scotland as a perfect example of investment in Europe. But his larger message was that economic cohesion was necessary for global prosperity: "The future of Europe, as well as the United States, depends on a cohesive global economy. All of us must work toward [sic] together toward that very significant common goal."

Trump was clearly an advocate of European economic cooperation, noting, "we're all in this together." But that was before he became a candidate crusading against the "system" who smelled a shot-term political investment opportunity. So he has dumped that grand talk of global economic cohesion and embraced Brexit. After all, this allows Trump to promote his own agenda--and his golf course.

Posted by orrinj at 4:45 AM


The biggest threat of Brexit is not to the UK but to the rest of Europe (Simon Jenkins, 24 June 2016, The Guardian)

A silly question was asked and a silly answer was given. That is democracy. But so is leadership. As the good ship Tory government smashes on to rocks of its own devising, David Cameron has, perhaps inevitably, decided to desert the bridge for any refloat. He made a massive misjudgment, but it was one in which almost the entire British establishment has colluded.

They must all now perform a U-turn. They must behave as if Project Fear was overstated. Every muscle must be strained for a new relationship with Europe. Other leaders of the EU, fearing similar disintegrating pressures, must know they all have a vested interest in minimising the damage. The idea of "punishing" Britain will merely compound the stupidity and risk to European stability.

The immediate job is not to reflect on causes but to get down to work. The referendum is consultative. Procedures must be followed. For the time being, Britain remains a member of the European Union, but parliament must honour the government's commitment to the British people to adhere to their decision. Officially that takes two years, though in Europe anything can happen. The French government in 2005 contrived to disregard a popular rejection of the Lisbon treaty.

As some advocates of leave claimed, leave can mean many things. No one has an interest in exaggerating the harm. Britain will have to reach a deal, on trade and other things, that will be novel and peculiar whatever the cost. It is Cameron's parting duty to negotiate it. No one can have the slightest interest in his past threats of closed borders, collapsing trade and punishment budgets. The slate is wiped clean.

The biggest threat from this referendum is, in truth, not to Britain but to the rest of Europe, which is why the EU should think carefully about how to respond. It has been judged by this referendum and found wanting. Britain will not be the last to tell it so. Polls have shown between a quarter and third of people across Europe are now deeply hostile to the European project. The economies of southern Europe are in a Germany-induced lock-down. Brussels, and its German paymasters, are in trouble.

Brexit Will Be Britain's Fourth of July : The Leave campaign is winning, and it's obvious why. People are rebelling against the consolidation and concentration of state power. (Joel Kotkin, 6/22/16, Daily Beast)

The campaign to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, widely known as "Brexit," is potentially on the verge of a huge victory Thursday despite overwhelming opposition in the media and among the corporate and political establishment. The outcome matters not just as an expression of arcane British insularity, but as evidence of a growing rebellion against the ever greater consolidation and concentration of power now occurring across all of Europe, as well as here in the United States.

In many ways, this rebellion's antecedents include our own revolution, which sought to overturn a distant, and largely unaccountable, bureaucracy. Like Lord North, George III's prime minister, today's Eurocratic elites spoke of obligations and fealty to the wisdom of the central imperium. What shocked the centralizers then, and once again today, was the temerity of the governed to challenge the precepts of their betters.

England is Anglospheric, not European.  

June 23, 2016

Posted by orrinj at 7:34 PM


Justices Against Drunk Driving (MATT FORD, 6/23/16, tHE aTLANTIC)

The U.S. Supreme Court outlined new parameters for testing suspected drunk drivers on Thursday, ruling that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless breath tests but forbids warrantless blood tests.

"The impact of breath tests on privacy is slight, and the need for BAC [blood alcohol content] testing is great," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the Court in Birchfield v. North Dakota and its consolidated cases.

Posted by orrinj at 7:28 PM


The racial profiling Trump so admires doesn't even work in Israel (Akiva Eldar, June 23, 2016, Al Monitor)

"What are you getting so upset about?" one of the young men asked me. "This is nothing. You should come here in the midday hours and see the line straggling through here."

A guard who overheard the conversation shrugged and said, "What can we do?" with just a hint of apology. "Those are our instructions."

Yisrael Katz, the minister of transportation and intelligence, doesn't think there's any reason to apologize for Jews screening other human beings on grounds of their racial background. He is even proud of it. "The Shin Bet security agency acts according to assessments of certain communities," the minister told members of the foreign press in response to Trump's remarks. "Anyone who thinks that you can ignore the need to locate and prevent threats for the benefit of the entire population, including the Arab one, is simply wrong."

Does screening really serve the fight against terror, or do the humiliation and discrimination sow hatred and alienation that generate fury and violence? Can Israel, as Trump said, serve as a success story of the racial screening model, or is the conservative millionaire perhaps like a doctor who prescribes medication that worsens the condition of his patient?

One answer can be found in the report of the Or Commission that investigated the October 2000 clashes between Israeli security forces and Arab Israeli citizens, in which 13 demonstrators were killed by police fire. "Humiliation during a security check, which has nothing to do with real needs, as well as an offensive attitude in the contacts of Arab citizens with run-of-the-mill Israelis," warned the commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or, "risk residues of burning affront that will not be easily erased."

Another answer came from Bernard Harcourt, a law professor at the University of Chicago, in a 2006 paper on the issue of racial profiling. He wrote that he had not found any empirical proof that its usefulness outweighs its contribution to terror attacks.

David Harris, a University of Toledo law professor considered one of the world's leading authorities on racial screening, holds that the use of racial profiling cannot contribute to maintaining public order, reducing crime and drug dealing or preventing terror attacks. According to Harris, racial and ethnic affiliation are very weak indicators for predicting a person's behavior and threat level. Among other data, Harris cites statistics according to which the use of racial profiling in the war on drugs and crime in the United States, where the targets are mostly black and Hispanic citizens, did not contribute to a drop in drug offenses, but rather to the social alienation of members of these minority groups. According to Harris, the same is true of the profiling at airports, where the targets are Arabs and Muslims.

Posted by orrinj at 7:08 PM


Fed's Kaplan drops call for near-term U.S. rate hike (Reuters, 6/23/16)

A top Federal Reserve policymaker on Thursday dropped his promise to advocate for a U.S. interest-rate hike soon, and suggested that current near-zero rates may not be stimulating the economy as much as thought. [...]

[Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan] used much of his speech to recap a growing body of research that suggests the Fed has less room than in the past to raise rates without putting unwanted brakes to the U.S. economic engine.

Evidence is growing that the so-called neutral rate has declined sharply. Fresh forecasts released last week show Fed officials now believe that a healthy U.S. economy can maintain full employment and stable prices with a policy rate of only 3 percent, well below the 4.25 percent rate they saw just four years ago.

"I am strongly persuaded by arguments that aging demographics in advanced economies, a decline in productivity growth and the continued emergence of the U.S. as a source of safe assets have all contributed to the decline in the neutral rate," he said.

The reality, of course, is that they had no room the last four times they hiked either, which is why the economy slowed every time.

Posted by orrinj at 4:56 PM


Trump's charity claims could violate fraud laws : He could be held liable if he failed to fulfill promises to donate proceeds from his book 'Crippled America.' (BEN SCHRECKINGER, 06/20/16, Politico)

The charity claims made their way into numerous news reports, social media posts and online reader reviews of the book. "Thank You For Donating Proceeds To Vet Charities!!!" reads the subject line of one review on Amazon. "Proceeds to charity GREAT BOOK!" proclaims another. [...]

"In general you can't promote a book by saying the benefits will go to charity when that's false, and that's where general consumer protection laws would come in," said Dan Kurtz, a former assistant attorney general of New York in charge of the state's Charities Bureau.

Kurtz added that Trump might also be subject to New York's charitable solicitation laws. Those regulations generally apply to instances where a business markets its goods as benefiting a particular charitable organization, but Kurtz said Trump's vaguer marketing claims arguably also fall under that law as well.

Kurtz said that the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, might be "on the hook" as well for claims Trump made. A spokesman for the publisher declined to comment on the record.

"Crippled America" is not the only money-making venture that Trump has publicized as benefiting charity. He has also claimed that proceeds or profits from Trump University, Trump Vodka, "The Art of the Deal" and a Trump board game would benefit charity.

Promoting Trump Vodka in 2006, Trump told Larry King, "I'm giving the money to charity." But the only apparent donation related to Trump Vodka is a "few hundred dollars" given to a group supporting Walter Reed Hospital in connection with a specific promotion, as reported by CNN last month.

Trump marketed Trump University as a charitable venture and said he would give any money he made off of it to charity, but he has not given money from it to charity, as Time reported in November. Trump's lawyer told Time that the New York billionaire transferred the $5 million he made from Trump University, which is embroiled in multiple fraud lawsuits, back to the business when it landed in legal trouble.

Posted by orrinj at 4:50 PM


Trump's stumbles fuel convention delegate revolt : Staff shakeups and fundraising shortfalls have emboldened Trump's GOP critics to pursue a bid to block his nomination. (KYLE CHENEY and ALEX ISENSTADT 06/22/16, Politico)

Throughout Tuesday, as Trump's campaign sought to quash concerns about his anemic fundraising and decision to fire campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, anti-Trump delegates seized on glimmers of hope.

First, they snagged the endorsement of former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who told POLITICO he'll work full-time to help encourage New England delegates to rebel against Trump and to connect his allies with mid-level GOP fundraisers who can sustain their push through the convention. Later, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsed one of their preferred methods for stopping Trump: freeing all 2,472 Republican National Convention delegates to vote their conscience, rather than abiding by rules and state laws that bind them to support Trump.

"Delegates are and should be able to vote the way they see fit," Walker said, according to an Associated Press account.

At the same time, Saul Anuzis, a top adviser to Ted Cruz's former presidential campaign who has long dismissed attempts to unhorse Trump, floated the notion that a Walker/Cruz ticket would provide the only political mix to tempt conservative delegates away from Trump at the convention.

Delegates leading the stop-Trump efforts have largely been coordinated by New Jersey's Steve Lonegan -- a former Cruz adviser -- and Colorado's Kendal Unruh, a delegate serving on the convention's rules committee, a 112-member body that will set the terms of convention's nomination process. They've arranged two conference calls in the past week, including one on Sunday in which organizers claimed nearly 400 convention delegates and alternates participated. Another is scheduled for this weekend.

His defeat is going to be so comprehensive and humiliating you'd think he must want out.  Especially if he can whine about being betrayed.

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