Links & Commentary 2/19

U.S. Fate 2016
The Party Is Deciding On Rubio [FiveThirtyEight]
One of the more interesting debates so far this election cycle has been over whether the party decides. Do party elites — politicians, activists, media, etc. — have enough power to influence the nominating contest? Can they pick a winner? Can they stop someone from winning?
It’s not “one of the more interesting debates,” but the single biggest issue of the entire election. It’s “We the People” versus the plutocrats. Class warfare. And it’s causing the Republican Party to self-destruct.

Donald Trump confronted with past support for Iraq war [Guardian]
Oops. But it won’t matter for Trump supporters, and anyway who’s going to remember it by next week?

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right [WaPo]
An op-ed under his own byline. Fortunately not an endorsement, although I’m not sure what his goal was. Maybe to show us that he’s really just a reasonable, nice guy who has never met, talked to, or bargained with the Devil?

Fox News Poll: Clinton ‘feels the Bern,’ trails Sanders by three points nationally [Fox News]
This is the first time Sanders has been ahead of Clinton, who not long ago was regularly described as the “presumptive Democratic nominee.”
Yes, I’m sending you to Fox News. The poll was conducted by Fox News, which regularly conducts political polls. That actually makes Fox the best source on this story. And anyway, it’s great news, especially considering that polls show him trailing way behind in South Carolina.

Hillary Clinton’s Hypocrisy on Dissent [Consortium News]
Newly released e-mails from Clinton’s private server show that she didn’t consider it worth her concern when one of her close advisers recommended that she apologize to a protester who was brutally assaulted by security police at one of her speeches. The “protester” was Army vet and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, whose dissent consisted of standing with his back to the secretary of state, wearing a T-shirt printed with “Veterans for Peace.” Not only did McGovern not receive an apology, but he was put on a State Department watch list, even though Clinton adviser Sid Blumenthal wrote to her that he was not a security threat. By Bob Parry.

The Perfect Democratic Stump Speech [FiveThirtyEight]
We asked Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum to write a totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary Democratic presidential candidate. Now someone should get transcripts of the past few speeches of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, delete all lines that are exactly or very close to what Nussbaum has written, and then see what’s left.

Propaganda Wars
Millennials Are Not Here To Save Us [Jacobin]
Shaun Scott, a Seattle writer and filmmaker, argues that there is nothing particularly “revolutionary” about his generation, the so-called Millennials.
After voting overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, younger voters, ages 17-29, suddenly have been cast as game-changers who could upset the “inevitability” of Hillary Clinton’s election in November. Political analysts are making up all kinds of theories (most of them unflattering) about why younger voters would gravitate to a 74-year-old, white Jewish grandfather who uses the S-word. Alternative news sources call them “realists” who aren’t fooled by politics as usual. Astrologers have their own theory, based on outer planetary cycles in play from the mid-1980s to late 1990s. I’ll have more to say about this in a future article.

Phobos & Deimos
Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda? [Consortium News]
When President Barack Obama took questions from reporters on Tuesday, the one that needed to be asked – but wasn’t – was whether he had forbidden Turkey and Saudi Arabia to invade Syria, because on that question could hinge whether the ugly Syrian civil war could spin off into World War III and possibly a nuclear showdown. By Robert Parry.

New World Pecking Order
The Stressed-Out Oil Industry Faces an Existential Crisis [Bloomberg]
I’m out of my element on this one, so refer you to comments Ray Merriman made in his January 25 forecast.

State’s highest court intervenes in Freddie Gray case, halting trials pending review [Baltimore Sun]
In a rare move, Maryland’s highest court agreed Thursday to halt trial proceedings against the Baltimore police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case, taking up competing appeals on whether Officer William G. Porter can be compelled to testify against his five fellow defendants.

Sandra Bland family clashes with Texas over release of death details [Guardian]
Federal judge weighs whether to postpone civil lawsuit until after the criminal matter is resolved – but tells defendants to let family see footage.

Why DeRay Mckesson Is Running for Baltimore Mayor [The Atlantic]
An interview with the Black Lives Matter activist, who insists he’s not a politician, and says the city must work for everyone.
This is what Bernie Sanders means when he talks about getting involved at the local level.