Friday, July 03, 2015

DNC kills Texas Two-Step to protect Clinton from being Obama'ed by Sanders

That's my premise, anyway.

Seven years after Barack Obama earned the majority of Texas' delegates despite losing the primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic National Committee has put an end to the state's hybrid presidential nominating process, saying it "had the potential to confuse voters."

Under the two-step process, two-thirds of a candidate's convention delegates are awarded on the basis of the primary election results. The remaining third are chosen at caucuses, which are held after the polls closed on primary night.

Now, at the direction of the national party, delegates will be based solely on the primary results, a shift some party members lamented Tuesday.

"It's not the way we would prefer to do it," said Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis. "I still think that there is plenty of opportunity for individuals who want to participate in the delegate process to be able to participate."

The Frontloading blog agrees with me.

As a side note, it hard to resist viewing the denied waiver request as a signal of if not the Clinton campaign's pull on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, then the reality that there are folks on the committee (Harold Ickes comes to mind) that are or have in the past been aligned with the Clintons. That comment is not meant as some form of conspiracy theory. That is how the Democratic process has worked: Surrogates of the various campaigns get involved in the rules process. Given that Clinton folks were not fans of the two-step (and for arguably legitimate reasons) after 2008, it is not a real shock that it would meet its end now.

But why now and not four years ago? Parties holding the White House tend not to tinker as much with their delegate selection rules. And by extension, those in the White House at the head of their parties often prefer to maintain the same combination of rules that got them to the White House in the first place. The denied Texas request is as much about the DNC transitioning to life after Obama as it is about Clinton (and company) not liking the two-step because of 2008.

Back in Part One of my thesis on Bernie Sanders' even-more-difficult-than-you-may-think path to the Democratic nomination (Part Two is still under construction), I mentioned that Democratic muckety-mucks would start jamming Sanders if he began to get traction.  Well, he's been getting some serious traction, and sure enough, they're changing the rules to protect HRC and thwart him.

If you think this is not the case, I'd like to read your argument against it in the comments.

Update: Still don't think the insiders are working against him?

Richard Trumka has a message for state and local AFL-CIO leaders tempted to endorse Bernie Sanders: Don’t.

In a memo this week to state, central and area divisions of the labor federation, and obtained by POLITICO, the AFL-CIO chief reminded the groups that its bylaws don’t permit them to “endorse a presidential candidate” or “introduce, consider, debate, or pass resolutions or statements that indicate a preference for one candidate over another.” Even “‘personal’ statements” of candidate preference are verboten, Trumka said.

The memo comes amid signs of a growing split between national union leaders — mindful of the fact that Clinton remains the undisputed favorite for the nomination — and local officials and rank and file, who are increasingly drawn to the Democratic Party’s growing progressive wing, for whom Sanders is the latest standard-bearer.

[...]

His message wasn’t anything new for the federation’s state leaders: They know that endorsement decisions belong to the national leadership. Still, it was unusual for Trumka to call them out in a memo. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one before like this,” said Jeff Johnson, the president of the AFL-CIO’s Washington state labor council.

Johnson agreed that it was important for the AFL-CIO to speak with a single voice. But “there’s a lot of anxiety out there in the labor movement,” he said, “and we’re desperately searching for a candidate that actually speaks to working-class values. The Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders camp is very, very attractive to many of our members and to many of us as leaders, because they’re talking about the things that need to happen in this country.”

Similarly, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman said he agreed that Trumka had to lay down the law. More tellingly, though, he added: “Bernie Sanders has spent his life actually fighting for working people. He’s made no secret of it, and he’s used it as his mantra. And that I respect very much.” When asked about Clinton’s candidacy, Tolman was less effusive: “Who? Who? Please. I mean with all respect, huh?”

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Paxton faces first-degree felony indictment


The water just got hotter for the state's top law enforcement officer (who double-dips as minister of state religion).

The criminal investigation against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken a more serious turn, with special prosecutors now planning to present a first-degree felony securities fraud case against him to a Collin County grand jury, News 8 has learned.

Special prosecutor Kent Schaffer told News 8 Wednesday afternoon that the Texas Rangers uncovered new evidence during the investigation that led to the securities fraud allegations against the sitting attorney general.

"The Rangers went out to investigate one thing, and they came back with information on something else," Schaffer told News 8. "It's turned into something different than when they started."

Schaffer, a Houston criminal defense attorney, said the securities fraud allegations involve amounts well in excess of $100,000. He declined to comment specifics of the fraud allegations.

A first-degree felony conviction is punishable by up to life in prison.

Just ponder that last sentence for a moment before we proceed.  It's nice to have friends in high places, like Rick Perry, when you screw up and break the law.

News 8 also learned Wednesday that Paxton had hired a former federal district judge.

"I met with General Paxton and he had retained me to look into the matter," said Joe Kendall, who practices in Dallas. "I am honored that he did. He's a good man."

Kendall told News 8 that he met with Paxton "very recently" in Dallas and confirmed that he was hired within the past two days.

"I'm going to be helping look into the matter," Kendall said, declining to comment further.

Yes, he's a good Christian man, one who has advised county clerks across Texas in recent days to violate their oaths (sworn on a Bible, mind you) and refuse to process marriage applications if they have religious objections to the people who wish to be married.  Never mind that state law defines this function of county clerks and their surrogates as ministerial, a definition everyone ought to acquaint themselves with.  (Paxton's been forced to fold his tent for the most apart in this regard, although he is still 'fighting the good fight', like a Japanese soldier hiding in a cave years after his nation's surrender in WWII.

As with our illustrious former governor and erstwhile presidential candidate, Paxton could still skate across the thin ice.  It's the good old grand jury 'pick-a-pal' system that may save him, the perverse details of which earned the Houston Chronicle's Lisa Falkenberg a Pulitzer earlier this year, and which compelled the Lege to pass and the governor to sign into law a statute that eliminates it.  (That law does not go into effect until September.)

I can't bet against Paxton hanging on to his job.  God is on his side, after all, and the prayers of something in excess of 50% of registered Republicans in the state may lift him up to even more exalted status in the wake of all these "libruls' trying to persecute him.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

How many fundraising e-mails did you get?

Did you delete them without reading them?  Did you actually make any contributions?


This is what democracy looks like now.


Enter to Win: Who doesn't love a shot at winning something? Ted Cruz invited supporters to "come shooting with me." It was free to enter the contest to win a shooting outing with the Texas senator, but Cruz told supporters: "After you've entered, make a generous Shoot With Ted contribution of $35, $50, $100 or more to my campaign." Jeb Bush threw a $3 contest promising that three winners would get a photo of Bush and his father "battling it out on the tennis court," signed by both the candidate and the former president.

Fake Deadlines: Tuesday's end-of-quarter fundraising deadline is the real deal. The candidates all have to report how much cash they've raised during the quarter and then face judgment on what those numbers say about their viability. But, hey, why wait for a real deadline when you can make up one? Marco Rubio's campaign urged supporters to help raise $44,000 in a day in honor of his 44th birthday. Columba Bush asked people to contribute to her husband in the first 24 hours of his campaign because "everyone is watching to see how much support we have out the gate."

Pivot Off the News: Republican candidates turned last week's Supreme Court rulings in support of the president's health care law and same-sex marriage into a barrage of fundraising emails. One Rand Paul subject line on the health care ruling: "I'm afraid this is bad news, Fellow Conservative." Rick Santorum took aim at the gay marriage ruling in a fundraising email urging supporters to help rescue America because "the relentless liberal agenda knows no pause." $100, please.

Family Affair: Candidates trot out glowing endorsements from spouses and kids to gin up cash. Rick Perry's wife, Anita, told supporters: "He's the most principled man I've ever known" — and please donate to "have a front row seat to history."


Size Matters: Big contributions are nice, but the little ones add up — and can say something about the depth of support for a candidate. Bernie Sanders made a decidedly lowball pitch as a way of making a statement in his Democratic campaign. "Stand up to the Super PAC attacking us by making a $3 contribution to our campaign today, and send a powerful message that you have had enough of the billionaire class buying elections," he wrote.

Don't Ask: Sometimes, it's nice to check in with supporters without hitting them up for cash. Supporters are more likely to keep opening a candidate's emails if it's not always about the money. There's no purchase necessary to enter Hillary Rodham Clinton's contest to win dinner with the Democratic candidate, for example. And Carly Fiorina's campaign sent out a chatty email from her friend and former business colleague Deb Bowker describing the Republican candidate as "a strong, determined, optimistic woman with a heart filled with a passion for service." There's no "ask" in either email. But recipients will surely be hearing more.

Since we also have a municipal election going on in Houston, some of us also got a daily boxcar load of e-mail solicitations from mayoral hopefuls, council candidates, and even judicials running for office in 2016 (some of them are trying to scare off primary challengers).

Nobody seems the least bit embarrassed by all of this money-grubbing.  A recent NYT poll showed...

  • More than four in five Americans say money plays too great a role in political campaigns;
  • Two-thirds say that the wealthy have more of a chance to influence elections than other Americans;
  • This is true across the partisan divide: Republicans were almost as likely as Democrats to favor restrictions on campaign donations;
  • Despite all this – almost no one in the poll ranked money in politics as the most important issue facing the country.

So what's it going to take the change it?  I just don't believe that voting for the same old people in the same old two parties over the years has done much to fix it, despite what few mumblings are being uttered.  Do we just keep on bumping down the road with a flat tire and nobody in the car willing to stop and get out and change it?  That's not what we teach our teenagers to do: ignore your problems, hope they'll resolve themselves.

There are other better options on your ballot; we just need more people to come to that realization and stop perpetuating the decay.  Because what we've been doing in the past isn't going to produce a result any different than what we have previously gotten.  Definition of insanity and all that.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The two things that will keep Bernie Sanders from the Democratic nomination (part one of two)

(Before I get to Supreme Court decisions from last week -- good overall,  but "pro-life" conservatives still get to keep their hazardous chemicals; the ones they like to inject into condemned prisoners, and the ones they want us all to keep breathing -- this post, drafted a week ago, needs to get published before the march of time updates the topic.  To the premise in the headline, then...)

One of the two things, to the surprise of many I'm sure, will not be the questionable intelligence of the average American voter.  They seem to be coming to the realization that Democratic socialism is, in fact, what they believe; they just didn't know it was called that.

There will be some Red scaring going on.  It just won't be coming from Republicans, unless and until -- my keyboard to the FSM's ears -- Sanders upends Hillary Clinton's all-but-sure-thing and wins the Democratic nomination.
The two significant hurdles he must overcome to do so are practical and procedural.

1. He must begin to draw minority voters to his campaign and message.  He cannot win the primary, much less the general, if Latino and African American voters don't begin to peel away from Clinton.  This is her greatest strength; the two largest minority Democratic voting blocs know her and love her.  In this post a few days ago, I linked to the suggestions that Sanders is not experienced in making appeals to voters of color; Vermont is, after all, 94% Caucasian.  In recent days he has played up his own 'son of immigrants' story, he's always had the right position on their economic concerns, and his appeals are getting a fair hearing and a receptive audience in places like Nevada.  But black voters do not, for the most part, know him nearly as well as they do Clinton.  That may be changing.

Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is already enjoying success that few could have predicted. Bernie is a big deal. Well, OK, if you’re a white progressive he’s a big deal.
Otherwise, you may have no idea who he is, according to reporting (last week) in the New York Times. The Times‘ Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin write that “black voters have shown little interest in [Sanders]” and that “[e]ven his own campaign advisers acknowledge that Mr. Sanders is virtually unknown to many African-Americans, an enormously important Democratic constituency.”

But as his presidential campaign gains altitude and attention, Sanders may be on the way to securing the most difficult black progressive endorsement there is: the blessing of Professor Cornel West, one of America’s leading public intellectuals. Celebrity is rare in American academe, but the eccentric West (along with MIT’s Noam Chomsky) is something of a superstar scholar. He’s our Slavoj Žižek, but with far better hair and a sense of fashion.

Speaking with Grit TV’s Laura Flanders in early June, the black academic icon was asked by the host if he will be supporting the increasingly popular candidate for president.

“I love brother Bernie,” West replied. “He tells the truth about Wall Street. He really does.”

There's plenty more there about West's numerous and harsh objections to Obama, his lack of enthusiasm for Sanders's not speaking forcefully enough about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza (the red flag for American Jews of both liberal and conservative inclinations), the distinctions between neoliberalism, actual liberalism, democratic socialism, and the like.  With all of that said and read, West could be the black symbol of economic and social justice authority that Sanders needs.

Though he’s become something of a pariah in black academic circles, West is still a captivating and rousing speaker and Sanders could perhaps use West on the campaign trail. He might not be someone Sanders brings along in Iowa or New Hampshire, but once the campaign trail swings south and to the cosmopolitan coasts, West might be a valuable voice in places Sanders’ unpolished, heavily Brooklynite earnestness doesn’t work as well. And Sanders could be the candidate West thought he was getting in Obama.

There's also the recent endorsement by rapper Killer Mike of Sanders, an encouraging development.  Bottom line reading today: Sanders simply cannot win the Democratic nomination without attracting significantly more minority voters than he currently does.  But even if that happens...

2. The Democratic party insiders/super delegates/elected officials must be driven back from rigging the game in Hillary Clinton's favor.  Bernie has essentially no institutional support -- not a single Washington Democratic elected official has endorsed him -- at the moment.  And the institution is likely to harden against his presidential bid as he gains additional traction.

The clearest example of the ramifications of being an actual outsider in the run for the presidency isn't the extreme party disunity in 1972, nor the retooling of the nominating process after George McGovern was swamped by Nixon that year.  Even when Eugene McCarthy was crowded out in '68, there were so many other dynamics in play that McCarthy as stand-in for the slain RFK was ultimately usurped -- not by Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ultimate nominee who had avoided the states' party primaries altogether -- but by McGovern himself at that memorable Chicago convention.

Go all the way back to 1944 -- when Henry Wallace was pushed out of the vice-presidency, replaced by Harry Truman in smoke-filled room negotiations -- and reacquaint yourself with how the corporate interests of the Democratic Party react when they feel threatened, and then hope history doesn't repeat itself.  As it did more recently with the TPP trade bills' back-and-forth, down-and-then-up votes.

The Wobblies had it right, more than a hundred years ago.


Here's more from the NYT on what Sanders needs to do to win, and here's HuffPo's Bob Cesca with five "nearly impossible" challenges.  He counts fundraising first.  You should already know how I feel about that; you definitely know how Bernie Sanders feels about it.

In Part Two: What should US progressives do if Sanders falls short of the Democratic nomination and subsequently endorses Clinton, as he has promised to do?  Should we fall in... or fall out?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Weekly Wrangle

As the Supreme Court prepares to release the last of its opinions this session -- including one on redistricting -- it's possible that we are at the start of a very ugly year for women's reproductive freedom.  The Texas Progressive Alliance hope the justices can do the right thing and stay the 5th Circuit's decision to shutter nearly all women's clinics in the Lone Star State while they deliberate the HB2 case... in the term that begins on the first Monday of next October.


Here's the blog post roundup...

Off the Kuff discusses the next steps for equality advocates.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos shares personal stories about the heartbreaking impact of overt racism. And though he has come to hate prejudice and racism with a white hot passion, Lightseeker said the time has finally arrived for sharing the truth, change and healing. Time for Truth, Change and Healing is NOW.

Lost in the earth-shaking Supreme Court developments last week was a report from a former Harris County deputy sheriff that Adrian Garcia did not tell the truth when he said he did not know about the mentally ill jail inmate in a littered, feces-filled cell over a year ago. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says it's a headache for the Houston mayoral contender, but shouldn't damage his prospects... unless things take a turn for the worse.

Stace at Dos Centavos looked at the first poll in Houston's mayor's race and found some interesting results.  And John Coby at Bay Area Houston made his predictions on who won't be the next mayor.

Socratic Gadfly notes that new polling from Yale shows that people concerned about global warming are NOT a minority, even in a red state like Texas, even to the point of supporting a carbon tax, and suggests there are political activism and outreach lessons to be learned.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson was not surprised by the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. ACA, aka, Obamacare subsidies, upheld by SCOTUS.

Neil at All People Have Value said that the 14th Amendment -- cited this week by the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage -- is the product of blood and sacrifice. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

jobsanger had the Texas attorney general's decree that county clerks could refuse marriage licenses to gay couples based on their religious objections.

Texas Leftist is still trying to recover from this weekend's monumental Houston Pride celebration. Fair warning... What "turns up" must eventually come down.

And the Lewisville Texan Journal passed along the police blotter that indicated a city councilman had gotten busted for DWI over the weekend.

======================

More posts from other Texas progressive blogs!

The Quintessential Curmudgeon, TFN Insider, and Trail Blazers all reported on Ken Paxton's legal opinion that Texas county clerks were OK to break the law and refuse to issue a marriage license if their religion told them not to.

Culturemap Houston talked to a Texas farmer who has come up with an ingenious and inexpensive solution to those itchy pests called chiggers that are thriving this summer.

The Rag Blog asks: whose race and/or gender is it, anyway?

Texas Vox wants you to know what's going to be different the next time you vote.

Scott Braddock adds up the success rate for getting bills passed for legislators who opposed Speaker Joe Straus.

Texas Watch responds to Rick Perry's claims about his record on health care.

BEYONDBones explains why we should eat bugs. No, really.

Juanita Jean updates us on the activities of one of Dan Patricks's citizen advisors.

The Lunch Tray says we all have a Sid Miller problem now.

The Texas Election Law Blog highlights a respected federal judge's change of heart on voter ID.

Better Texas Blog evaluates the legislative session.

Paradise in Hell bids an un-fond farewell to the ideals of the Confederacy.

Lone Star Ma addresses some of the crazy objections that have been made to the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision.

Prairie Weather pointed out the self-limitations of the candidate named Clinton, and Fascist Dyke Motors scored an interview, entitled "I, Rodham".

Friday, June 26, 2015

#LoveWins, #Pride Toons

More on Sunday.

SCOTUS approves marriage equality, strikes down state bans in 5-4 vote

In order to form a more perfect Union...

Here's the opinion.  More reaction in updates here.

Amy Howe and others at SCOTUSblog:

The opinion seems to go out of its way not to state a standard of scrutiny. Instead, it says, "It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality . . . Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry." That's page 22.

The Chief Justice has the principal dissent, which is 31 29 pages long. Toward the end of it, he says, "If you are among the many Americans--of whatever sexual orientation--who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not Celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

From the concluding paragraph of the majority opinion: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. ... [The challengers] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

From the majority opinion, addressing the role of history in the constitutional analysis: "The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a character protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning."

Now-expected sneering contempt in the usage of the word 'pride' in Scalia's dissent.

(Scalia) leads off by saying that the decision is a "threat to American democracy." He concludes by saying that "Hubris is sometimes defined as o'erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall ... With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them -- with each decision that is unabashedly not based on law, but on the 'reasoned judgment' of a bare majority of this Court -- we move one step closer to our own impotence".

The majority bases its conclusion that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right on "four principles and traditions": (1) right to person choice in marriage is "inherent in the concept of individual autonomy"; (2) "two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals"; (3) marriage safeguards children and families; (4) marriage is a keystone to our social order. "The majority finds that these principles and traditions apply with equal force to same-sex couples."

Yes, Antonin Scalia is a toad, a troll, and an execrable human being.

Scalia's dissent has an awesome footnote on page 7 (note 22): he says, "If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie." He is not happy with Justice Kennedy.

(T)he majority opinion rejects the claim that marriage is about procreation, even while saying that protecting children of same-sex couples supports the Court's ruling: "This is not to say that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State."

That's all I'll roll out from the live-blog. Here's some MSM coverage.  First, CNN:

In a landmark opinion, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, handing gay rights advocates their biggest victory yet.

The 5-4 ruling had Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

The far-reaching decision settles one of the major civil rights fights of this era -- one that has rapidly evolved in the minds of the American pubic and its leaders, including President Barack Obama. He struggled publicly with the issue and ultimately embraced same-sex marriage in the months before his 2012 re-election.

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Kennedy wrote. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were."

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court's "threat to American democracy."

"The substance of today's decree is not of immense personal importance to me," he wrote. "But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today's judicial Putsch." 

This dude needs his medication.

Final Update: From Slate, the last paragraph in Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion.

Former deputy claims Garcia knew of county jail abuse

While we wait to see if the Supreme Court makes history again on June 26 (about an hour or so from this posting) let's excerpt, link, and comment on Adrian Garcia's latest headache.

When former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said he was kept in the dark by his top deputies about a mentally ill inmate found in a trash-filled, feces-littered cell, he was not telling the truth, according to an exclusive ABC-13 interview with Garcia's former chief deputy.

The interview with former Chief Deputy Fred Brown, who oversaw jail operations under Garcia, casts doubts on Garcia's claims that he never knew about the deplorable conditions inmate Terry Goodwin was kept in until Ted Oberg Investigates began asking questions about Goodwin in September 2014.

As late as April 24, 2015 Garcia said he knew "nothing" about Goodwin's condition before questions by ABC-13.

"What I know today is nothing that I can recall," he said in an April 24 press conference. "Not to that magnitude."

So the timing of these allegations is a little suspect, seeing as how the first poll in the mayor's race, released a couple of days ago, had Garcia in a statistical tie with Sylvester Turner.

But Brown told ABC-13 that he informed Garcia about Goodwin in October 2013, just days after a jail compliance team found that the inmate had been left in a cell for weeks. When jailers opened his cell door, Goodwin was found wearing a tattered orange jail uniform and surrounded by swarms of bugs. The compliance team took photos of Goodwin and the fetid cell.

Brown also said he showed Garcia those photos of Goodwin.

"I said, 'Sheriff, look at this,'" Brown said in a recent interview. "I told him about it. I showed him the pictures. He saw the pictures. We were in the executive conference room. He went through the pictures and looked at them."

When asked if Garcia was telling the truth in his steady and consistent denials that he knew nothing of the incident before ABC-13 broke the story on September 29, 2014, Brown was blunt in his reply.

"No he's not," Brown said. "No he's not."

Ted Oberg is as solid an investigative reporter as they come.  I'm sure he did due diligence on the veracity of Brown's claims.  The question is whether Brown is as credible as he seems in calling Garcia a liar.


Garcia launched a criminal investigation after the story broke, and ultimately called in the Harris County District Attorney, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department to probe the incident. Brown's narrative also raise questions if Garcia waited until the Goodwin incident became public to begin acting on it.

Ultimately, two jail detention officers were indicted in April for felony tampering with a government document after they allegedly signed off on cell checks that Goodwin was in good condition, officials said. Garcia fired those two, as well as four others. In addition, he disciplined dozens other jail workers and forced Brown to retire.

What do you see or sense that seems off?

Garcia declined a request for an on-camera interview, but on Thursday maintained he had no knowledge of Goodwin's conditions until September 2014.

"When I first found out about the condition of Terry Goodwin's cell last September, I was furious," Garcia said in an emailed statement. "I took decisive action. I launched an investigation, and as a result of that investigation, I fired and disciplined those responsible. I immediately issued orders to put procedures in place to see to it that something like this would never happen again and never be tolerated.

"Had I known earlier, I would have acted earlier with the same strong and responsible actions the record shows I took when I was informed. I will always take responsibility and act rapidly to deal with problems."

There's more from Brown at the link, including the fact that his memory was a little fuzzy on what he did or didn't show and/or tell the sheriff.  I see this as probably hardening the support of Garcia's backers; he doesn't lose many votes unless something comes out that verifies Brown's somewhat shifting recollection, or if there's more bad news behind another curtain.

Keep in mind, however, that 50% of those polled said they were undecided about whom to support. What remains to be seen is whether they choose to hold this development against Garcia, or not.

As regular readers here already know, I haven't been -- and won't be -- a supporter of Garcia's, from the beginning to the end of the municipal election cycle, for reasons that have nothing to do with this matter.  Garcia simply isn't my kind of Democrat, and I think there are more qualified individuals to lead the city.

In the long run, this affair won't damage him much at all.  Unless it gets worse, naturally.