Fellow Travelers

Thursday, July 21, 2016

No, We Can't All Just Get Along With The Rise Of Genuine Textbook Fascism In America

A friend on Facebook who has the misfortune of having Trump supporters as friends asked them why they support Trump. What followed was a stream of Fox News propaganda and alt-right conspiracy theories, lunatic memes propagated through the American political zeitgeist like Kaposi's Sarcoma‎ through the body of an HIV victim. I won't punish anyone by repeating them all, but this one stuck out as particularly bad, and terrifying.
Obama had BLM in the WH. They are a terrorist group, and will be labeled as such soon. Cop killers in the WH sucks & so does the potus!
After 15 years of the War on Terror, what do we do with terrorists? We jail them indefinitely sometimes. More often, we kill them. Classifying someone as a terrorist means you take out their vehicle or wedding party or house with a Hellfire launched from Nellis, or you light them up with an Apache, or Marines take them out. We kill terrorists.

Black Lives Matter is a political movement, one I consider myself part of, that believes the police are far too ready to use and misuse deadly force, and that they do not have enough legal accountability for this, and that people are too ready to excuse them when people, predominantly African-Americans, die as a result.

For example, in florida this week a black behavorial therapist was shot by a cop while the therapist tried to calm an autistic patient in his care. When the black man, who thankfully survived, asked the cop why he was shot, the cop said "I don't know."

Let that soak in, because it's terrifying. It'd be even more terrifying if I was a black man, but as I possess empathy and common decency I can at least try to imagine how terrifying it would be to be in that position. What's more, that black man had been lying down on the ground with his hands in the air explaining to the police what was happening and that the autistic man had a toy truck. There is nothing more he could have done to comply and be non-threatening, but he couldn't change his skin color.

So, that's why Black Lives Matter exists. But to that Trump supporter, we're a terrorist movement. And in the US we kill terrorists.

After everything went to fucky fuck hell, the friend who'd asked the question initially made another post bemoaning the lack of unity and civility in American politics.
How can we expect our leaders to work across the aisle when we can't do the sane with our friends and neighbors? I asked a question to Trump supporters today and was shocked at how rapidly it turned partisan. What I found, in my opinion, is we share many of the same concerns. For me the only major difference is immigration. I do believe we need to put aside our preconceived notions of what a conservative and liberal are and speak to each other with a more open mind and try understand why others hold the beliefs they have.
The white woman who'd called BLM terrorists replied to this blaming us, and also quite inaccurately calling me a Clinton supporter, saying
Your Hillary friends started the insults & mud slinging. You asked your Trump friends for their opinion and we're getting good feedback until the Hillary supporters started attacking. Just saying. Go figure.
My own response to his post is reproduced below in its entirety:

I have no interest in a conversation with people who think Black Lives Matter activists, and I count myself among BLM supporters, are a terrorist movement.

Trying to "reach across the aisle" and sing kumbaya is a great thing but when you do that with the wrong people, people who hate you, people who want you dead, you're just putting your back in easy reach for them.

Americans need to wake up to the fact that we don't have gentlemanly political disagreements here any more than the competing political parties in the Weimar Republic had. We have open racist sexist fascism. Literal fucking fascism, and it wants us dead. 

Falling prey to the fallacy of the golden mean in this environment means you wind up half dead. Fascists who take power, people who think that annoying pesky protesters can be dismissed and summarily eradicated as terrorists, don't throw you halfway out of a helicopter just because you're a nice guy centrist. You either march in lock step or they will fucking kill you. 

The American South is littered with graves, marked and unmarked, of people during the civil rights movement who thought just being a good person was good enough until they ran into a deputy sheriff or sheriff allied with the KKK. 

I'm not a Hillary supporter (although it is easy for small minds capable only of binary thought to sort all "enemies" into one group), I'm not a liberal, I am an anti-fascist. That doesn't lead to me supporting friendly fascists like Clinton any more than it leads to me supporting unfriendly lowest common denominator fascists like Trump. 

It's easy to understand why other people have the ideas they have. The economy is shit in the US thanks to capitalist exploitation. As during the Depression era Weimar Republic, in the absence of class consciousness people who are poor or middle class, who have enough to be afraid of losing it, can be easily manipulated by a charismatic rabble rouser into hating different races and ethnic groups. Until we find a way to increase class consciousness racism will still be the default go to for the explanation of how shitting poor peoples lives are.

It's easy to understand why Mussolini rose to power, or why Franco's fascists in Spain rose to power, or why Pinochet came to power in Chile and started chucking intellectuals out of helicopters. It's easy to understand the motivations for people who enable tyrants. Hitler wrote extensively about what he was doing and how he was doing it while he was doing it, and there are no great secrets there. That we understand them doesn't make them any less imminently dangerous. I can understand sarin gas or botulinum or a scorpion but it doesn't make them any less deadly.

I'm distinguishing genuine racist fascists from all Trump supporters. There's a lot of overlap in the venn diagram, but there may be some people who support Trump who aren't fascists and who can be talked to and reasoned with. However, it would be extremely difficult because the one single overarching common element I see between every single statement I've ever seen made by Trump supporters is uniformly they are profoundly misinformed. They have a view of the world that demonstrably doesn't match up to reality. 

And what's worse is that when you point it out, they don't care. You can point out extensively sourced rebuttals of what they hold as articles of faith, and it just washes over them. You can't have a discussion or gentleman's agreement with that either. It isn't a philosophical difference or different values prioritized, it's a belief that 2+2 = 9/11Benghazi.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daenerys has dragons that can mass produce Obsidian

I made the point recently on /r/gameofthrones that the dragons can make dragonglass.
Obsidian kills White Walkers, and obsidian is formed from lava. Dragonfire can melt stone and sand, as evidenced by Harrenhal. Dragons can turn sand into things that can kill White Walkers.
Somehow this was considered a "logical leap" and "video game logic" by some.

Which is ridiculous.

First, "Dragonglass" is just obsidian.
Dragonglass is a common name in Westeros for the substance known as obsidian, a form of volcanic glass.
Second, "Obsidian" is just "a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization."
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.
Third, "Felsic Lava" can be produced at temperatures of 1200-1400 Fahrenheit if the chemical composition is correct.
Felsic Lava
 Felsic or silicic lavas such as rhyolite and dacite typically form lava spines, lava domes or "coulees" (which are thick, short lava flows) and are associated with pyroclastic (fragmental) deposits. Most silicic lava flows are extremely viscous, and typically fragment as they extrude, producing blocky autobreccias. The high viscosity and strength are the result of their chemistry, which is high in silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, forming a polymerized liquid rich in feldspar and quartz, and thus has a higher viscosity than other magma types. Felsic magmas can erupt at temperatures as low as 650 to 750 °C (1,202 to 1,382 °F). Unusually hot (>950 °C; >1,740 °F) rhyolite lavas, however, may flow for distances of many tens of kilometres, such as in the Snake River Plain of the northwestern United States.
Fourth, the question now becomes, is Dragonflame  hot enough to melt stone? Well, yes. This was done to make the dragonroads, the Black Wall of Volantis, and to thoroughly wreck Harrenhal. The color of the dragonfire of Dany's younger dragons indicates it is roughly 2000F give or take. More than enough to make Felsic Lava.

No leaps of logic, no video game logic, just a combination of the fantasy rules already established within the Game of Thrones setting (for example, "dragonflame is hot" and "dragonglass kills white walkers") and of real world science.

I'm not the first person to make the connection either
Dragonfire can be used to make more than just castle ruins, it can also turn sand to glass.  Dragonglass seems to be obsidian made with dragonfire instead of a volcano.   When lava rich in feldspar and quarts is cooled very quickly, there isn't enough time for the molecules to align neatly and form a crystal.  Instead, the molecules harden in a disordered fashion and become glass.  The resulting "volcano glass" is more commonly known as obsidian.  This is a distinct two step process.  First the rock is melted and becomes liquid and is then cooled quickly.  However, in certain cases this two step process happens very quickly and it seems the glass is produced in one step.  At the Trinity test site, it is not unusual to find what is called Trinitite or Trinity Glass.  During the bomb test the desert sand, composed mainly of quartz and feldspare with hints of other elements, was sucked up into the bomb blasts fireball, melted and cooled rapidly as it rained down.  It can be found in several colors depending on what trace elements are present, some types are even red when copper from near by electrical cables was brought into the mix.  It is mildly radio active.  This whole process can also happen when sand is struck by lightning.  The sand melts with the heat of the lightning then solidifies into glass very quickly.  It seems that there is no reason this shouldn't happen with dragonfire.  Interestingly, the temperature needed to melt rock and form obsidian is very close to the temperature needed to melt granite.  Seems like these dragons were made to conquer Westeros and create the weapons needed to rule Beyond the Wall.  If any one of the great dragons blew fire on sand or other glass-forming compounds, the sand would melt then harden quickly into the Walker-killing glass.
Hilariously, after I pointed all this out, the one who'd said
You got some heavy video game logic going on there.
Replied to my science with
In a fantasy world, yes I am going to assume that not everything in it is similar to the real world.
Now who's using video game logic? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

With Thunderous Applause

It is really starting to look like we're going to get a "compromise" of a semiautomatic rifle ban coupled with state repressions of Muslims, and it'll be presented as a compromise between left and right instead of a solid win for authoritarianism. If not after Orlando, then after the next one, or the next one, or the next one.

ISIL/Daesh has not been shy about saying that their goal is to make western liberal democracies intolerant of moderate Muslims in order to push moderate Muslims into feeling like they have no choice but to radicalize or abandon their religion and become apostates. The part two of their plan is to have those Muslims either come to Syria and fight in the apocalypse or stay in their home countries and carry out further attacks towards that goal.

When somebody like Bill O'Reilly goes on the Colbert Report and talks about how he'd be open to banning "assault rifles" so long as Congress literally declares war on Islamic terrorism so that suspected Islamists can be indefinitely detained until the "end of the war", *and gets cheered* by a vocally "left wing" audience, that's where we're headed.

Oh sure, some people will say there are good Muslims and point to examples of these and say we're only putting the bad ones in camps, the ones that can't adapt to be peaceful. If this script sounds familiar, it's because we dusted it off from when it was used on the Native Americans and the Jews and the Australian Aborigines.

How could this happen? Wouldn't the left not stand for it? Well, except for the atheist left, led and inspired by luminaries and media figures like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, who make the argument that there can be no moderate muslims. With our society's fetish for the fallacy of the golden mean, the argument to moderation, the rest of the left will take the midpoint position that it's okay to indefinitely detain the "bad" muslims so long as we respect the "good" muslims. That will be enough to get the camel's nose in the tent, and the alliance between the atheist left and the anti-muslim Christian right will take care of the rest, probably after a few more attacks from previously moderate muslims.

There are only 1.6 million Muslims in America, that's not a big enough group in a country of 320+ million people to keep them safe, the tyranny of the majority in a democracy comes into play.

I don't know that there's a way to stop this either. I think the carrot of an AWB will be too much for the authoritarian left to resist, and the carrot of anti-muslim pogroms too much for the authoritarian right to resist, and the genuine anti-authoritarians in America are a minority probably comparable in size to the Muslims. Will Orlando be enough to push us over the edge? Maybe, maybe not, but these attacks are not going to stop and they *can't* be stopped. How many more attacks do you think it would take? Pick a number and check back with me once we reach it.

The easiest part of this would be the legal side of it. You'd need nothing more than a constitutional amendment saying simply "The First Amendment does not apply to the Muslim religion. The Second Amendment does not apply to semiautomatic or other military weaponry, which may be further regulated by Congress and the states." The phrasing can be finessed around, like "The First Amendment does not protect criminal organizations which operate under the color of religion" or something like that. Same for the phrasing of the second part. It will seem appealing to a broad number of people. All it takes is a Constitutional amendment and it'll be totally legal.

And when it happens, it will be hailed as bipartisanship and met with thunderous applause. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Why I'm #NeverHillary and how the DNC and the GOP have killed my sense of civic duty

First, a clip from Seven Psychopaths.

Hillbot: Vote for Clinton! Me: No. Hillbot: What? Me: I said no. Hillbot: Why not? Me: Because I don't want to. Hillbot: But they've got a Trump... Me: I don't care. Hillbot: It doesn't make any sense! Me: Too bad!

There is a lot of speculation that Bernie may be negotiating with Clinton and Obama and the Democrats to drop out on his terms. Obama endorsed Clinton earlier today after a meeting with Sanders. There is speculation that Warren may endorse Clinton soon. Let me be perfectly clear. I was never going to vote for Hillary Clinton. The reasons go back to her Patriot Act and Iraq War votes, and everything since then has only added to it. It's a long list.

If her main primary opponent had been Jim Webb, or Lincoln Chafee, or Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, I would have voted for any of them. I was fortunate that the one closest to my political views was the one who had the most staying power. But I was never supporting Bernie Sanders because he was Bernie Sanders. I was supporting Bernie Sanders because he wasn't Hillary Clinton.

"Party Unity" does not interest me. "Coming together to beat the Republicans no matter what" does not interest me. I have at times in the past voted for Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and Socialists. In the run up to an election I go to the Ohio Secretary of State's website, get a sample ballot, and research every candidate and issue on it. I vote based off of which candidates I think would be best in the positions for which they're running.

Which means that I don't care enormously if he stays in, drops out, endorses Hillary, any of those. I don't care if Obama endorsed Clinton. I don't care if Warren endorses Clinton. I'm not voting for her because of her past and current actions, not because of who does or doesn't endorse her. No call for "Party Unity" will *ever* sway me, because I vote for the candidate, not the party.

The most common response to this is "Well then Trump wins!"

I don't care. I'm not supporting either. And as a left wing gun owner, I've got plenty of reasons.
I have plenty of people from what in the US nominally passes for "the left" telling me I should vote for Hillary because she's "basically liberal", and not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump. I have plenty of people from what in the US nominally passes for "conservatives" telling me I should vote for Trump because he's "basically pro-gun", and not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary. Not voting for Hillary, the one group says, endangers civil rights. Not voting for Trump, the other group says, endangers the right to self defense.
And you know what? I think Hillary has been and will be shit on civil rights. Her role in illegal coups and in mass incarceration and in mass surveillance and her statements against gay marriage shouldn't be underestimated. And I think Trump is quite likely to return to his anti-gun roots, as well as follow in the footsteps of every previous Republican president and presidential candidate going back to Reagan in supporting increased limitations on gun ownership that would be considered unacceptable under a Democratic president but a reasonable compromise under a Republican one. I think both of them are dangerous to the causes supported by their supporters. But on top of that, Clinton is nakedly and blatantly anti-gun, and Trump is nakedly and blatantly anti-civil rights, so I clearly can't choose either one of them.
If both groups of party loyalists are correct, then my not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump, my not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary, and both sets of vote and non-votes cancel each other out. Which means there's no reason for me not to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. My motivation for either would be to try and get them over the 5% mark to get 2020 federal election funding. But honestly it doesn't look like either of them will have a problem with that this year. And I might not vote at all.
I could come out and vote in the downticket races, but I've studied my downticket races. The House Representative seat is gerrymandered to be a safe Democrat seat. The Senate race is between a Clinton loyalist and one of the first Republicans to support gay marriage, and both have effectively identical views on gun ownership. No governor race this year. The state house and state senate seats are both safely gerrymandered and not going to switch sides. No interesting ballot initiatives are up for voting. I'll have to look at my sample ballot once the secretary of state gets it together but as it stands now, there is nearly zero reason for me to come out on Election Day except to cast a protest vote.
And that's a situation for which both parties can be blamed. I've voted in every election I could vote in for at least a decade now, including off cycle elections. This year they've killed it.

Clinton Campaign Curated Content

There was a suspiciously "authentic" hashtag yesterday that was spontaneously "going viral" and announced as such on the "Trending" sidebar, referring to Sanders supporters grudgingly but ultimately inevitably accepting that they will vote for Clinton this fall. Hashtag "GirlIguessImWithHer", which is exactly the sort of convoluted awkward shitstorm of a hashtag that would be designed by committee.

Today Facebook announces in Trending "Hashtag DeleteYourAccount: Hashtag Surfaces After Hillary Clinton Uses Phrase in Tweet to Donald Trump", a picture of this "Trending Topic" is attached.

Now, there are two things we know as fact.

First, the Hillary Clinton campaign has spent "more than" one million dollars "to engage in online messaging both for Secretary Clinton and to push back against attackers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram." We know this because they said so.
Correct The Record will invest more than $1 million into Barrier Breakers 2016 activities, including the more than tripling of its digital operation to engage in online messaging both for Secretary Clinton and to push back against attackers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram. Barrier Breakers 2016 is a project of Correct The Record and the brainchild of David Brock, and the task force will be overseen by President of Correct The Record Brad Woodhouse and Digital Director Benjamin Fischbein. The task force staff’s backgrounds are as diverse as the community they will be engaging with and include former reporters, bloggers, public affairs specialists, designers, Ready for Hillary alumni, and Hillary super fans who have led groups similar to those with which the task force will organize. 
Lessons learned from online engagement with “Bernie Bros” during the Democratic Primary will be applied to the rest of the primary season and general election–responding quickly and forcefully to negative attacks and false narratives. Additionally, as the general election approaches, the task force will begin to push out information to Sanders supporters online, encouraging them to support Hillary Clinton.
We don't know how much they actually spent or how widespread their operations really are, because they only said "more than" one million. Was it $5 mil? $10 mil? No way to know, and given the backlash after the initial Correct the Record statement, they're not likely to be forthcoming going forward.

But we do know from this that there have been similar groups in the past lead by Hillary "super fans". And we know that they outright said that after the primaries and going into the general election the task force said they will begin to push out information to Sanders supporters with the goal of encouraging us to support Hillary Clinton. We know they said they'll be doing this on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, and we know that we're seeing this "organic" trending topics showing up on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.

Second, we know that in the past Facebook "news curators" both suppressed trending conservative stories and artificially injected selected stories into the trending module. We know this because former content curators said so.
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
Knowing these two things, the question and conjecture becomes this:

How many of these "Trending" pro-Hillary topics are *actually* trending? How many are the result of paid campaigns working with the knowledge and perhaps assistance of Facebook?

Is it happening? Right now we don't know. Could it be happening and is it likely to be happening? Absolutely.

Remember that no matter if it's Trump or if it's Clinton, they are a product, and you're being sold that product. Remember also that products are sold for the benefit of the salesmen and the investors, and any benefit the customer receives is incidental to that process.

Caveat emptor

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Vote against Clinton

Things like this are why I will never ever vote for Hillary. Ever. I don't care if Trump wins. I don't care if Cruz wins.

For one thing, I cannot allow blatant rulebreaking and reward it with my vote. Because that's what we're doing if we vote for her. We're saying we don't care what you do, we only care about our team winning. It'd be like being a Patriots fan. They blocked polling locations, there are multiple first-hand accounts of this. They campaigned in polling locations, and yes, Bill Clinton being there in person gladhanding people and standing outside with a megaphone does count as campaigning, whether or not the Massachusetts Secretary of State has been browbeat into saying they did everything legally. They broke fundamental and nationwide laws because they knew they couldn't be touched. I cannot support that.

Also, I don't want to be expected to spend the next 4 years defending an administration that will be dominated by blatant rulebreaking and disregard for the laws that the little people are expected to follow. Look at how Clinton has run her campaign and tell me you want to see a country run the same way. Do you want to spend the next 4 years defending every petty vengeance, every act of collusion with the bankers bleeding us dry, every smarmy denial of wrongdoing, every favor handed out to her party loyalists, on and on?

If she wins the nomination and wins the presidency it will be fatal to the Democratic Party. There will be no way for Democrats to win in 2020. We'll have 4 solid years of scandal. And a lot of it will be dismissed as right wing noise, but there will be some truth to much of it.

If she loses, the Democrats can be an opposition party and go on offense for the next 2-4 years. They'll have much better chances of taking House and Senate seats in 2018 and 2020, and winning in 2020 will control redistricting and let us fight gerrymandering.

Of course, that'll only happen if the Clinton Old Guard gets swept out in 2016 and 2018, because otherwise they'll just gerrymander for Democrats and we'll still be in the same boat.

A Trump or Cruz presidency would be disastrous for the Republicans. Being their own crazy selves will do a great job of driving opposition and outrage, and get people motivated in 2018 like they were in 2006. But you cannot tell me honestly that Hillary Clinton as President in 2018 and 2020 will do anything to help turnout and voter involvement.

2020 is the most important election for a decade. Redistricting after the 2020 census matters way more than whoever sits in the office from 2016 to 2020. A resurgent progressive candidate running against a primary-unchallenged Republican idiot will galvanize voters and turnout and lead to a blue sweep.

But only if Clinton loses.

This is all moot if Sanders wins the primary, which he still might. A lot of big and favorable states are coming up, and Clinton could still be indicted for mishandling classified material and intentionally trying to find a way around laws regarding classified material. A Sanders presidency wouldn't be constantly marred by scandal and he could actually motivate voters to show up in 2018 and 2020.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The "Hillary Clinton Victory Fund"

A Win For Hillary Clinton's Methods Is A Loss For Participatory Democracy

From the 18th century to the 20th century Tammany Hall was one of the most powerful political organizations in New York City. It was also one of the most corrupt. Among its more notorious leaders was old Boss Tweed in the late 19th century;

William Magear Tweed (April 3, 1823 – April 12, 1878) – often erroneously referred to as William Marcy Tweed (see below),[1] and widely known as "Boss" Tweed – was an American politician most notable for being the "boss" of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of 19th century New York City and State. At the height of his influence, Tweed was the third-largest landowner in New York City, a director of the Erie Railroad, the Tenth National Bank, and the New-York Printing Company, as well as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel.[2] 
Tweed was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1852 and the New York County Board of Supervisors in 1858, the year he became the head of the Tammany Hall political machine. He was also elected to the New York State Senate in 1867, but Tweed's greatest influence came from being an appointed member of a number of boards and commissions, his control over political patronage in New York City through Tammany, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters through jobs he could create and dispense on city-related projects.
According to Tweed biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman:
It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.[3]
Tweed was convicted for stealing an amount estimated by an aldermen's committee in 1877 at between $25 million and $45 million from New York City taxpayers through political corruption, although later estimates ranged as high as $200 million.[4] Unable to make bail, he escaped from jail once, but was returned to custody. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail.

Boss Tweed's ghost is alive and well in the Democratic Party today. Establishment political figures are backing Hillary Clinton for money and favors.

There's a reason we suddenly have so many establishment Democrat politicians backing Hillary. They want the big donor money she brings them for their own campaigns. To go into greater detail, let's read about the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC and the new rules are likely to provide her with an advantage.
The new rules have already opened up opportunities for influence-buying “by Washington lobbyists with six-figure contributions to the Hillary Victory Fund,” said Wertheimer, suggesting that lobbyists could also face “political extortion” from those raising the money.

The move to create the “Victory Funds” – in which the money raised would be divided between the state parties and the Clinton campaign – comes as efforts to form a joint fund-raising agreement with the Democratic National Committee have repeatedly hit snags over concerns in the Clinton campaign about the current party leadership’s controlling the money in any shared account. The national committee, which is intended to remain neutral, has been accused by Mrs. Clinton’s rivals for the nomination of taking actions that could benefit Mrs. Clinton, such as restricting the number of debates.

According to a Wednesday night FEC filing, the states set up agreements with the "Hillary Victory Fund," ensuring that each state party "collects contributions, pays fundraising expenses and disburses net proceeds for ... the authorized committee of a federal candidate." Many key primary states and battleground states signed the agreements, such as Florida, Ohio, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire. 
In addition to the 33 state agreements, the Hillary Victory fund also has set up joint fundraising agreements with Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee. By doing so, Clinton's fundraising dollars can aid Democrats in each of the participating states and allow donors who give to the state parties to aid her campaign, thus linking the success of other Democrats to her own dollars and vice versa.

The Clinton campaign’s super joint fundraising committee is out of the ordinary for two reasons. First, presidential candidates do not normally enter into fundraising agreements with their party’s committees until after they actually win the nomination. Second, Clinton’s fundraising committee is the first since the Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon v. FEC decision eliminated aggregate contribution limits and Congress increased party contribution limits in the 2014 omnibus budget bill.

A great example of the corruption we're seeing in this new fundraising reality is the chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, Andrea McGuire. She has been a dedicated Clinton campaign operative since 2007, even going so far as to have a HRC2016 license plate:
One of the first Iowans to buy "Hard Choices" was Dr. Andrea McGuire, who was co-chairwoman of Clinton's 2008 campaign in Iowa. "I want to see what she has to say about what she did as secretary of state and how she's become the great leader she is," she said. 
It wasn't a leap to suspect McGuire would add the book to her collection. The license plate on her Buick Enclave says "HRC 2016."
"It was a Christmas gift from my kids," said McGuire, who lives in Des Moines. "They said what would their mom like best and what she would like is for Hillary to be president."

Sanders aides asked to sit down with the state party to review the paperwork from the precinct chairs, Batrice said.
"We just want to work with the party and get the questions that are unanswered answered," she said.
McGuire, in an interview with the Register, said no.

But it's not like there was any sign of top-down incompetence and disorganization in the Iowa caucus, except for later in that article:
Democratic voters reported long lines, too few volunteers, a lack of leadership and confusing signage. In some cases, people waited for an hour in one line, only to learn their precinct was in a different area of the same building. The proceedings were to begin at 7 p.m. but started late in many cases. 
The scene at precinct No. 42, the one with the final missing votes, was "chaos" Monday night, said Jill Joseph, a rank-and-file Democratic voter who backed Sanders in the caucuses.
None of the 400-plus Democrats wanted to be in charge of the caucus, so a man who had shown up just to vote reluctantly stepped forward. As Joseph was leaving with the untrained caucus chairman, who is one of her neighbors, "I looked at him and said, 'Who called in the results of our caucus?' And we didn't know."

Expect to see this repeated in other primaries and caucuses, as a political system bought by the Clintons and coerced into a symbiotic relationship where the local and state level Democratic political leaders cannot survive without the Clintons makes perfectly clear that the voices of the little people are not desired or heeded. 

The reason so many state and local level politicians have come out supporting Hillary Clinton's presidency, the reason she has so many more superdelegates this time than in 2008, is because of matching funding through the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund. They raise funds for Hillary, and they get a cut of those funds. Here's how it works:
  1. Donations to the "Hillary Clinton Victory Fund" are spread out among campaigns in the participating states. 
  2. Politician campaigns for Clinton and calls on people to donate.
  3. Donors donate to the "Hillary Clinton Victory Fund"
  4. Donations are shared between Hillary Clinton and the politician who was campaigning for her.

It's all documented. And that donation-sharing goes not just for small time internet donors but for big campaign fundraisers.

If this is successful in 2016, we won't see an end to it.

Superdelegates have been a big topic of opinion pieces recently, same as they were in 2008. They're going to be irrelevant soon. The Democratic Party can do away with them in order to create the illusion of reform.

Even though many places have gone into the history of delegates and superdelegates recently, I'll do another brief overview. The 1968 Democratic National Convention was an utter disaster for Democrats. Party leaders selected a candidate over the complaints of the base, there were protests and riots, and ultimately the election was handed to Richard Nixon. In the aftermath, the McGovern-Frazer Commission recommended reforms to the process that ensured state level party leaders couldn't simply select their own delegates, and everyone in the party would have a say in the process. This was, for a time, the end of the “smoke filled back room” and these reforms were implemented by the 1972 election.

As a result, George McGovern was selected in 1972 as the Democratic candidate, and Jimmy Carter in 1976. These selections were seen as too extreme by party leaders, and the political insiders wanted a greater say in the process so that going forward they could spike any candidate unacceptable to the Democrat political establishment. From this, the superdelegates were born.

Now that the Clintons, and their successors in 2020, 2024, 2028, and onward, can simply purchase all levels of state leadership, there's no need for them to worry about superdelegates. It'll be a pretty simple process:

  1. The establishment's chosen candidate, based on whoever's “turn” it is, sets up a Victory Fund that links funding between their primary campaign and the re-election campaigns of all incumbents, as well as the campaigns of anyone chosen by party leadership to challenge a Republican
  2. With the full might of the national, state, and local Democratic Party leveled against any potential challengers, the challenge becomes clearly futile (especially if Clinton's plan works in 2016) and every primary is a coronation.
  3. Campaign contributors, including business interests, are able to simply buy not only the candidate they want but the support of the entire state level party. The candidates who get through the process will all be corrupt, as it will be impossible for an honest politician to survive politically.
  4. Scare tactics will be used to coerce the voting base into voting for whoever is presented, no matter how bad they are, because they aren't on the opposing team.

Understand that I'm not talking about a presidential primary process made meaningless. I'm talking about every primary process made meaningless. And if this works for the Democrats, the Republicans are going to pick it up too. It will not be stopped or overturned by anyone who gets through this political process. Anybody who thinks that Hillary Clinton will appoint Supreme Court Justices, that will overturn the decisions which made the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund and Hillary Clinton's subsequent election possible, is unbelievably naive or an outright idiot.

If this becomes successful in the primary, the only way to fight it is vote against Clinton in the general. Vote for whoever else is closest to your politics. I'm 92% aligned with Jill Stein, 55% with Gary Johnson, so I'll be voting for Jill Stein if the Democrats are successful in shutting out Bernie Sanders. Voters must boycott any candidate selected using these methods, until the parties using those methods stop or are destroyed.

The alternative is a government nakedly owned by the wealthy where as voters we have no say in the process whatsoever. That means that whatever social, economic, or foreign policies you may like would be absolutely irrelevant, government would instead work exclusively for their financial backers. Participatory democracy where a voter's vote actually matters in any meaningful way would cease to exist. To be sure, we don't have much of that now, but what's there would be gone. 

Replaced by the Establishment Candidate Victory Fund.

And in an echo of Tammany Hall, we'll see a return to the days of patronage and unchecked cronyism. Government will exist purely as a mechanism to transition money from the taxpayers to the wealthy. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the middle class gets fucked, and we finish our headlong rush into a new "Gilded Age".