Friday, June 24, 2016

Bernie climbs on the bandwagon

If you weren't asleep or kidding yourself, you saw it coming a long, long, time ago.

We can count on some Hillbots acting the predictable part of being assholes who can't be satisfied, some who are still parsing his words, and as best I can tell there's a not-insignificant number of Berners who aren't climbing on with him.

I'm #FineWithStein, have been for a long time now and not because Bernie's really done anything to lose me.  I don't object to his not-quite liberal gun stances (he's from a very rural state, after all, and he isn't a gun nut, despite what my pal Gadfly thinks) and only have had some mild objections -- call them sad realizations -- to his advocating for the military/industrial complex in Vermont.  It was the objective of the Defense Department long, long ago to tie military bases, production facilities, etc. firmly to the US economy in towns small and large (just look at the local angst and fury every time the military has closed a base) from sea to shining sea, gathering up all of the procurement votes of Republicans, Democrats, and yes, independent Democratic Socialists in executing that task.  Mission accomplished.

I'd like to have lived the past 58 years in a different world, but you get what you get and that's all that you get.  If we can thwart President Hillary Clinton's desperate urge to start a fresh war in Iran or somewhere else in the world... I can be okay with that alone over the course of the next four years.  Happiness = low expectations, you know.  That was my problem ultimately with Barack Obama: high hopes.  Far too high for the amount of change delivered that he promised (or that I mistakenly inferred he promised).

As for Bernie, he's put the right people in the right places to effect change in the Democratic Party platform and its other procedures that is his revised-downward goal.  The establishment Democrats -- more corporate, more hawkish, more conservative than him -- will probably succeed in making only the smallest revisions to their system.  If Clinton and her minions have spoken -- and acted -- truthfully about anything at all, it's that.  She's simply not going to do anything more than tinker around the margins of progress.

That's why my vote, unlike Bernie's, is #NeverHillary.

His greatest transgression in my view is swallowing all of the same mythology that has kept Democrats scared and inside the pen for a few generations now.  We used to have active Socialist, Progressive, and other political parties in this country that thrived before there was a mass media to ignore them, so it's partly the fault of our dumbed-down electorate.  And Democrats did make strides during the past decade or so to create their own media, like the GOP; Al Franken and Janeane Garafalo were the first on the radio to left-counter punch the Limbaugh-esque brain food, MSNBC early on had Phil Donahue opposing the Iraq war before they canned him due to corporate and "Merrcan patriot" objections, and then there was the rise of the progressive blogosphere in the new century -- when 'progressive' stood in for Democrat and 'liberal', a word made dirty by the conservatives going back to Reagan.

But this is about Bernie Sanders and his 'not wanting to be a spoiler' mentality from as far back as 2011 (thanks Blue Nation Review; this is the only time I will write that), a stubborn urban legend most recently perpetuated by the execrable Jonathan Chait.

I have grown weary of correcting people on social media that still believe and regurgitate the Gore/Nader/Bush/2000 lies.  Repeating them has become grounds for immediate friend/follow termination at this point.  If Jim Hightower and others figured it out in November of 2000, which was a couple of weeks before Gore conceded after his 5-4 loss at the Supreme Court, then it's a marvel of modern ignorance that so many Democrats still don't get it.

(For a treat, read this PBS transcript of the debate between Hightower and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone from October of 2000 and realize how long we have been having this conversation.  Two things worth noting: Wellstone advocated the 'safe states' premise, which Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb ran on in 2004, and underperformed badly.  And Al Franken, as we know, eventually took Wellstone's Senate seat back from the GOP... and endorsed Hillary.  In 2014.

So as this article carefully details, it's always been an illusion that progressives -- the modern definition, not to suggest those social but corporate and and 'foreign policy'-weighted liberals who have come to be known as neoliberals in their tack to the center-right over the past few years --  could reform the Democratic Party from within.  Nobody has written more cogently about the self-defeating mentality; indeed the Democratic delusions -- 'safe  states', 'inside-outside', 'party within the party', voting LOTE, and the Berners' cry of writing his name in -- than Howie Hawkins.  Here's just one must-read pull-quote.

When I wrote a critique of [the 'inside-outside' tactic] in the Summer 1989 issue of New Politics, I was addressing the left wing of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, which proposed an inside-outside strategy of supporting progressives inside the Democratic Party and running progressive independents against corporate Democrats. By the time the next iteration of the inside-outside strategy was promulgated by the Progressive Democrats of America, which grew out of the Kucinich campaign in 2004, outside was now reduced to lobbying the Democrats for progressive reforms. Running independent progressives against corporate Democrats was not part of the outside strategy anymore.
The inside-outside proponents from the Rainbow Coalition believed their strategy would heighten the contradictions between progressive and corporate Democrats, leading to a split where either the progressives took over the Democrats or the progressives broke away to form a viable left third party with a mass base among labor, minorities, environmentalists, and the peace movement. But the logic of working inside meant forswearing any outside options in order to be allowed to inside Democratic committees, campaigns, primary ballots, and debates. Many of the Rainbow veterans became Democratic Party operatives and politicians whose careers depend on Democratic loyalty. Meanwhile, the corporate New Democrats consolidated their control of the policy agenda. And today the “outside” of the inside-outside strategy has been scaled down to pathetic attempts at political ventriloquism – clicking, lobbying, and demonstrating to try to get corporate Democrats to utter messages and enact polices that are progressive.

So it's very frustrating for this observer to have to watch leftish Democrats and even avowed and elected socialists like Kshama Sawant (who absolutely ought to know better)  perform this quadrennial insanity definition ritual again.  Running as an independent for president is now something to do in 2020, because it's too late to do so in 2016.  Sanders hasn't figured out something many of his smartest supporters have: it's time to Go Green.

Make your own choice about whether to accept the blame for Clinton's defeat in November after a close swing state loss, like Ohio maybe.  As Matt Taibbi points out, lesser evilism means Democrats can be lazier than ever this year.  Know that the blame will be applied irrespective of how shitty a campaign Clinton runs to lose the election at this point.  I don't think she'll lose, close or otherwise, but there's plenty of time and lots of unpredictable developments that could occur over the course of these remaining 120 days (remember we'll be voting early in late October).  Essentially the one thing that can upset her applecart is a federal grand jury indictment for mishandling classified information, and I'm on record as doubtful of that happening despite the evidence for it.

If you're a leftist who wants peace and not war, to start the process of healing the Earth (it might be too late already), to remove the corporate money from our political system and a whole lot of other democratic principles, then it's time to abandon the so-called Democratic Party as your default voting option.  Don't be an enabler of bad behavior.  They're still the only leftish choice locally you'll have in too many races on your ballot as it is, and some of those aren't really all that left, so you'll have to decide if ethical pillars of the community like Ron Reynolds, an "environmental rock star" who loves fracking like James Cargas, Dems who are terribly confused or determinedly misleading when they call themselves 'progressive' like Chris Bell, and all but invisible flakes with semi-famous names are worthy of your vote.

My own choices have gotten a lot clearer over the years.  As Eugene Debs observed, I'd rather vote for something I want, and not get it, than vote for something I don't and get that.

'Chaos' predicted in wake of Supremes' immigration tie

Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, writing for The Hill:

The 4-4 split affirms the Fifth Circuit’s decision to maintain Judge (Andrew) Hanen’s injunction establishing a binding precedent in that circuit only. But one key, closely related-question arises: will the underlying injunction apply across the country as Judge Hanen intended or will it be likewise limited to the Fifth Circuit by the Supreme Court. If the former, the Justice Department, pro-amnesty attorneys-general, and open-borders groups will be using all their firepower to challenge it in states where they’ll argue the precedent doesn’t apply leading to conflicting rulings around the country. If the latter, DAPA will basically go into effect nationwide because a ‘confined injunction’ against freely moveable people is absolutely meaningless. In other words, chaos is inevitable.

Click here, and make sure you understand which side of the discussion the IRLI, legal arm of the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) is on.

So it isn't the chaos of muddying the waters for the lives of the millions of men, women, and children who have come to America seeking a better life, or the abomination of treating economic refugees humanely, it's the travesty of the laws (invalidated presidential executive orders in this case) not being applied evenly and fairly across the land.  Wilcox at IRLI excoriates the Obama administration in advance for a predicted 'end-around' the Hanen/Fifth Circuit judgment might produce in other states and circuits, and bemoans the fate of "minorities, single-mothers, the elderly, the mentally handicapped, teenagers, recent legal immigrants, etc." who have "traditionally worked these jobs".  In other words, the mostly white and legal poor and not the brown and Ill Eagle really poor.  Gotta keep our class distinctions carefully delineated, even if racists like Wilcox intentionally conflate and obfuscate them.

Immigrants and the nativist backlash to them has now become, in the immediate wake of BREXIT, a global political concern.  A British MP has already paid for her activism for a humane resolution with her life, at the hands of a modern-day Bill the Butcher.  And a right-wing British politician has already made a wildly inappropriate statement about it.

The coming fall election for a new prime minister in the UK is going to mirror in many aspects the choice we have in the United States between Trump and Clinton.  It doesn't change anything about the predictable Electoral College result -- except in the small number of swing states, like always -- but it is going to be a loud, shrill national discussion during the two nations' political football seasons.

Update: Starring Raw Story as Captain Obvious.

Republicans cheered after the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday thwarted President Barack Obama’s plan to offer millions of undocumented immigrants relief from deportation, but any sense of triumph might last only until the November presidential election.
If recent history is a guide, the stalled cause of immigration reform could energize Hispanic voters in support of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, hurting Republican Donald Trump’s chances of reaching the White House.

Unless, you know, a global recession takes precedence.  Not to worry: the bottom-feeding capitalists already have advice for those who are waking up this morning scared about their stock portfolios.  As long as the wealthy don't suffer too badly, allegedly the rest of us will get more trickle-down instead of devastation.  If we're lucky.

Update: Charles' take is somewhat thin and antiseptic, but he does have some good links to the immediate reactions from the usual Democratic/liberal-but-not-so-much-progressive sources.

BREXIT, SCOTUS decisions, and another troublesome Clinton email

Burying the lede today because what's happening across the pond is more important.

-- Markets across the world are being whipsawed by the UK vote -- 72% turnout, by the way -- to leave the European Union.  Britain's currency, the pound, has hit an 31-year low -- that's 1985, the Reagan-Thatcher years -- to the dollar, stocks in Germany and elsewhere in the EU are plummeting but the stock futures markets are melting down.  The carnage has spread to Asia, as Chinese and Japanese equities are down almost 10% overnight.  Investors are leaving 'on paper' assets for safe havens like gold.  US stocks are slumping and even oil is down again, under $50/bbl as a global recession suddenly looms.

When the rich get hit this hard, it's the middle class and the poor who get slammed harder.  Any possible recovery -- and US election years generally present enough uncertainty to stall markets all by themselves, to say nothing of what  2016 has already wrought -- is by the wayside now.  Central banks are going to be forced to pump money into their economies to stave off calamity.  "It's the economy, stupid", a Clinton 1.0 rallying cry, is going to get a remodeling.

The most adverse ramifications are yet to be felt.  Capitalism is going to take a body blow in the months to come, as economic pain exacerbates the stress in nations like Greece and Puerto Rico, which will infect other countries.

 As this is posting, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his intention to resign.  A new PM will be in place by the fall.  Considering the rise of the British right-wing, and particularly the anti-immigrant backlash in the stunning BREXIT results, don't expect it to be Jeremy Corbin.  Oh and meet the UK's Donald Trump.

Here's the BBC's "what we know at this time".

Update: Let's jump ahead in the action and take note of this political climate advisory from Down With Tyranny:

The vote in Britain wasn't entirely about racism, bigotry and xenophobia-- though that was certainly part of it. A lot of people who felt they had no stake in the status quo-- no stake in Britain's financial good times-- voted to smash he system. Many of Trump's supporters are what we've been referring to as "life's losers" and their motivations are not unlike many of the Brexit voters. "When you ain't got nothin', you ain't got nothin' to lose."

David Atkins got it right when he pointed out that we can "blame Brexit on racism and a lunatic fringe all [we] want. People are freaking pissed off and want to destroy the system they have because it's not working for them. A lot of people with conservative tendencies take it out on immigrants and 'the other.' But a whole lot of other people just want to get 'their' jobs and 'their' country back-- even if it means doing something patently stupid like Brexit or electing Donald Trump. Middle-class people forced into lower living standards do stuff like this. And the most shocked people about it are the centrists who clutch their pearls and tut tut over how untoward it all is."

Hillary and those around her are exactly who those tut-tutters are in our country. That's why Bernie outpolls her and outpolls Trump in every general election match-up. Trump knows exactly how to exploit this kind of toxic brew-- and count on him doing just that.

-- Among the decisions announced yesterday at the Supreme Court, mediocre white legacies at the University of Texas failed to take down affirmative action, as Wonkette bluntly wrote.  Obama's immigration executive orders were undone by a Supreme tie, leaving in place the appeals court's decision to strike them down.  Ken Paxton gets to declare victory, and Lyle Dennison at SCOTUSblog declares the orders -- one of Obama's hoped-for legacies -- as 'doomed'.  If Latin@s needed another reason to turn out and vote in November, they have one; the immigration policies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could not offer a more striking contrast.  Oh, and the cops can test your breath without a warrant if you get pulled over for drunk driving, but not your blood.

Personally I'm still reeling from the SCOTUS rewrite of the Fourth Amendment earlier this week.

We still await a momentous decision on the case of the restrictions on women's reproductive freedoms in Texas (and elsewhere) to be announced.  That will dominate another day's news cycle when it finally gets handed down.

-- All of this news shoved Drumpf out of the headlines for another day, but Hillary Clinton still has email problems.

Former Secretary Hillary Clinton failed to turn over a copy of a key message involving problems caused by her use of a private homebrew email server, the State Department confirmed Thursday. The disclosure makes it unclear what other work-related emails may have been deleted by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The email was included within messages exchanged Nov. 13, 2010, between Clinton and one of her closest aides, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin. At the time, emails sent from Clinton's BlackBerry device and routed through her private server in the basement of her New York home were being blocked by the State Department's spam filter. A suggested remedy was for Clinton to obtain a email account.
"Let's get separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible," Clinton responded to Abedin.
Clinton never used a government account that was set up for her, instead continuing to rely on her private server until leaving office.
The email was not among the tens of thousands of emails Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. Abedin, who also used a private account on Clinton's server, provided a copy from her own inbox after the State Department asked her to return any work-related emails. That copy of the email was publicly cited last month in a blistering audit by the State Department's inspector general that concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers.

So Abedin had the email, but Clinton didn't (and she wrote it).  The timebomb is still ticking, Hillbots.  Keep hoping and praying it doesn't explode.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sit-ins and town halls

-- The Congressional sit-in yesterday seems to suggest that Hillary Clinton is going to be the president of a much different nation psychologically than has been the case before this year.

Democrats turned the floor of the House of Representatives into the stage of a wild effort to force a vote on gun control on Wednesday.
CSPAN covered the event live and you could watch the event from the Periscope livestream brought onto the floor by one House member, but it’s hard to convey the sense of chaos and outright insanity that gripped one of the most august institutions in American politics on Wednesday.
Among the unusual things that happened on the floor of the US House in just under a couple of hours on Wednesday night:

  • Most of the Democratic House caucus breaking out into a "We Shall Overcome" chant for several minutes, sprinkling reference to overcoming cloture amendments and passing gun control legislation. Outside the Capitol, well over 50 protesters led a song of "We Shall Overcome" and later a call and response of "No Bill, No Break!"
  • Democratic House members shouting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" at the top of their lungs at House Speaker Paul Ryan.
  • Ryan’s attempts to address the Democrats breaking down several times amid shout and chants from the floor. They chanted "No Bill, No Break!" as Ryan lamented the decline of "decorum in this institution to which we belong."
  • Capitol police asking people in the galleries to quiet down with the possibility of removing them.
  • Democrats physically sitting on the floor in an apparent attempt to slow Republicans’s access to vote.
  • Republicans sitting beyond a scrum of the Democrats interrupting speeches by interjecting criticisms. "Rule of law means order!," one shouted as a Democratic House member tried speaking over him from the front of the chamber.
  • Two members of the House of Representatives — Republican Louie Ghomert and Democrat Corrine Brown — screaming in each other’s faces just a few feet away from each other. (Some reporters said on Twitter that it looked as if they were about to get in a physical altercation.)
  • Audible laughs from reporters breaking out in the House press gallery when one Democrat shouted, "This isn’t about partisan politics!"
  • Police escorting out someone after Republicans complained about a gallery visitor who shouted something.
  • Some Congressmembers brought food, pillows, and even sleeping bags, according to CNN.

The Democrats began a sit-in on the House floor early Wednesday a week after a Senate filibuster forced a vote on gun control measures ...

In the modern world of Twitter hashtags ruling the national conversation, #NoBillNoBreak was meekly countered by #StopThisStunt, which shows how effective Paul Ryan has been throughout the demonstration.  There was also the cynics club that weighed in with #DemsNeverSat (for a whole bunch of other atrocities real and imagined, a truism but a digression for pessimists).

Let's neither overstate nor understate the value of yesterday's protest.  Last week it was Chris Murphy's filibuster which grabbed attention -- but alas not any guns, in the hyper-bloviated right-wing response.  These things have importance and meaning so long as they are part of of an ongoing effort toward progress, which really hasn't been the case previously.  If the worst conservatives in the world can surreptitiously record and edit video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue and call it "baby-killing for profit", then surely a few folks could camp out in front of Wayne LaPierre's house or the NRA's headquarters and call those bastards practitioners of genocide.  Couldn't they?

-- The Libertarian town hall on CNN, upstaged to some degree by the House demonstration, did get to point out a few inconvenient truths to the D/R political duopoly.

"I'd feel just fine" if Libertarians acted as a spoiler in the election, (Gary) Johnson said. "I believe that the two-party system is a two-party dinosaur and that they're about to come in contact with the comet here. I think that's a real possibility." 
Johnson outlined the challenge of reaching the presidential debates — a feat that could be their only chance of having a significant impact on the race. 
"The only opportunity to win is to actually be in the presidential debates, the Super Bowl of politics. To do that, we've got to be at 15 percent in the polls. To be at 15 percent of the polls you've got to be in the polls," Johnson said. "And right now we see day after day where really it's two candidates running for president — occasionally they throw in our names." 
(William) Weld followed by conceding that merely getting into the debates would be "harder" than the task of persuading people they were the better alternative than the Republicans or Democrats.

There's a significantly greater percentage of the American electorate that no longer wants to think -- or play -- inside the two-party box.  Sign the petition to open the debates.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clinton up by nine, but down 5 since mid-June (post-Orlando)

I mentioned last week that we should take note of polling in the wake of the Pulse massacre, and today's Reuters/Ipsos results do indeed reveal that the American sheep are nervous.

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Republican rival Donald Trump has slipped by about five percentage points since mid-June, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday, bringing the race for the White House to within nine points.
The poll showed that 44.5 percent of likely voters supported former secretary of state Clinton while 35.5 percent backed businessman Trump. That compares with 46.6 percent support for Clinton and 32.3 percent for Trump on June 12, a date that marked her widest lead for the month.
Trump has focused much of his energy in recent days on the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, by a U.S.-born gunman pledging allegiance to Islamic State militant group. Trump vowed to ban people from entering the United States from countries with links to terrorism against America or its allies.

Raw Story does not link to the poll nor does it reveal the third-party results, so I tracked that down and found them lumped into the "other/wouldn't vote/refused" category, totaling 20%.

So as a two-horse race national survey, it's just not worth anything beyond the spin for Trump and Clinton and the various media outlets who think it is worth something.  What's more telling is this poll from Quinnipiac for the battleground states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, via NYT.

Donald J. Trump’s recent rough patch has taken a toll on his standing in three crucial swing states, according to a new poll that shows voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania viewing Hillary Clinton as being better prepared to be president.

A survey from Quinnipiac University found Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump by a margin of 47 percent to 39 percent in Florida, where they were essentially tied in May. Mrs. Clinton also erased Mr. Trump’s narrow lead in Ohio, where the candidates are now deadlocked at 40 percent. In Pennsylvania, Mrs. Clinton leads by a single percentage point.

The polls had margins of error of plus or minus three percentage points, rendering Ohio and Pennsylvania very much up for grabs a month before Republicans hold their nominating convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.

Update: Raw Story does better with this republish of's Jonathan Salant and five takeaways from Q's swing state polls.

Polls this early blahblahblah and other cautionaries aside, if Florida is moving out of contention then Clinton is a shoe-in.  If she picks a Latino (and Julian Castro is being rumored as a finalist -- I like Tom Perez and Xavier Becerra better now that I have scrutinized them) then a swath of states move closer to purple -- not Texas, but a Castro selection forces the GOP to play defense on turf that they should have easily been able to hold.  Rice's Mark Jones got this one right.

Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones put some parameters on what "better" could look like for (Texas) Democrats.
"'Better' is keeping Trump's victory in the single digits, and taking back somewhere around a half-dozen state House seats, taking back Congressional District 23 and turning Harris County blue," Jones said.

Let's also note for the record that among the vice-presidential contenders, Elizabeth Warren and Perez have drawn the most objections, from Wall Street to Big Business.  That may actually mean something in Hillary's thought process about her pick.

In other news, Jonanthan Chait screwed the "Nader/Gore/Bush/2000" pooch for all to see and take selfies of.  There's a cottage industry that thrives on this guy's foibles, so I'll only repeat the truth  for those that still don't get it.  And if you don't believe me, you really should believe Jim Hightower.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

And starring Sonya Sotomayor as The Voice

The voice of freedom, of conscience ... the liberal lion on the SCOTUS roared yesterday.

"It is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny," she wrote. "For generations, black and brown parents have given their children 'the talk' -- instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger -- all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them. 
"By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time," she added. "It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged."

Co-starring the Five as The Police State.

In a 5-3 decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police have the right to detain anyone without cause and then arrest them on the spot if that person has an outstanding warrant.

For you budding constitutionalists out there, that is the direct opposite of what the Fourth Amendment guarantees.  Is this a conservative court or a fascist one?

In Monday’s ruling on the Utah vs. Strieff case, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts, argued that a police officer who randomly detains someone on the street without cause is not violating the rights of that detainee if they run their identification, find an outstanding warrant for a past offense, arrest them, and proceed to charge them with additional crimes based on what they find in a search. Any evidence found as part of such a search is now admissible in court.

So even if police violate the Constitution by stopping someone without suspicion, an arrest warrant entitles them to conduct a search.  In that circumstance, five justices said there is no "flagrant police misconduct."  Nina Totenberg at NPR:

The decision came in the case of Edward Strieff who was stopped after leaving a house that was under police observation because of an anonymous tip that it was being used for drug dealing. Though narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell later admitted he had no reason to believe Strieff had done anything wrong, he stopped him demanded that he identify himself and detained him while radioing in to see if there were any outstanding warrants against Strieff.

As it turned out, there was one for a minor traffic offense, so the detective searched Strieff and found a small amount of methamphetamines. The Utah Supreme Court later threw out the drug conviction because it stemmed from an illegal stop. Today, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the conviction. Writing for the five-justice majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said that officer Fackrell's discovery of the outstanding warrant broke the connection to the unconstitutional stop. And that therefore the evidence found in the search could be used to prosecute Strieff. The generally liberal Justice Stephen Breyer provided the fifth vote to make a majority. 

I have to say that I'm stunned.  Not so much by Kennedy Breyer's fifth vote (thanks for the correction, Gadfly), but by all of the rest of the Supreme conservatives.  There's no life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to be found in this decision.  And it's not law and order, it's extending your local po-po a few more liberties as judge, jury, and executioner.

The decision was controversial because in some cities thousands of people have arrest warrants pending against them, mostly for traffic violations as insignificant as unpaid parking tickets.
There were 16,000 outstanding arrest warrants in Ferguson, Mo., as of 2015 — a figure that amounts to roughly 75% of the city’s population — the Justice Department found during its investigation into the 2014 police shooting of an unarmed, 18-year-old African-American man. Cincinnati recently had more than 100,000 warrants pending for failure to appear in court. New York City has 1.2 million outstanding warrants.

If you have a traffic ticket that you haven't paid, you have created probable cause to be arrested for something else.  Do you feel safer now?

With four major decisions due in the next week, including cases on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, Sotomayor's anger signals that what has been a quiet term since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could get increasingly contentious.  

And three of the eight remaining decisions due are Texas cases.  Summer is about to get a lot hotter.  If some of you people living in swing states feel like the whole Supreme Court argument suddenly works for you, here's your hall pass.  And along that note, Quinnipiac's fresh polling suggests that Ohio and Pennsylvania still are, bur Florida may not be.

A lot of food for thought this morning.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is celebrating the summer solstice with a cold beverage and toes in the sand as it brings you his week's blog post roundup.

Off the Kuff sets a couple of hopefully attainable goals for Texas Democrats in 2016.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos has had it with political inaction after yet one more tragic mass shooting. Enough is enough. The carnage has got to stop. Fire the cowards who enable gun slaughter: When Political Cowardice is Lethal.

Socratic Gadfly reads Bernie Sanders' call for election reforms and wishes he had real reform that included third parties.

The Texas Democratic Convention was held in San Antonio this past weekend, and by all accounts was underwhelming, as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs predicted.

Oil and gas exploration is threatening the health of all Texans, and TXsharon at Bluedaze has it all mapped out.

Egberto Willies interviewed an East Texas secessionist who's closely following the Brexit scenario to see if Texas can apply any lessons.

Texas Vox takes note of the 17th and most recent state, New York, to call for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.

Dru Murray at the Lewisville Texan Journal toured that city's newest whiskey distillery.

Neil at All People Have Value took his efforts to the streets to promote the value of everyday life to the corner of Cesar Chavez and Harrisburg in Houston. APHV is part of


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Diana Wray recaps Dan Patrick's very bad day on Twitter following the Orlando massacre, and TFN Insider reviews state Rep. Matt Krause's claims that it "doesn't matter" that the Orlando victims were gay.

Kris Banks asserts that gun safety is an LGBT issue, and Nancy Sims mourns the tragedy in Orlando and asks what we all will do about it.

The TSTA blog calls for educators to unite against Donald Trump.

Highlighting the divide among Texas bloggers (and the rest of the Texas Democratic electorate), Somervell County Salon didn't attend the TDP convention this year and won't be voting for Hillary Clinton in the fall.

Ben Becker has some questions for TEA Commissioner Mike Morath about the STAAR test.

Alamo Heights ISD Superintendent Kevin Brown and several of his colleagues warn that we can no longer fool ourselves into believing that just because many students seem to do well and graduate prepared for college and career, that we can sustain those results over time.

Scott Braddock peeks behind the curtain at the handful of rich radicals who were trying to buy this year's legislative elections.

Grits for Breakfast goes beyond the narrow, politicized explanations for the spike in homicides last year.  He also has a terrific aggre-post regarding the limits of Politifact, crime wave hype, police pension politics, and Harris County as a driver of mass incarceration.

And in the latest installment of 'West Texas Exceptionalism', Make West Texas Great Again retells the stories of the Texas Cowboy Reunions from the 1930s up to the present day.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Revolutionary News Vol. 8: The Wisdom of Dads

Is your mind capable of holding competing thoughts simultaneously?  Here we go ...

-- Donald Trump does NOT have a path to victory in November.

To reach 270, Trump’s team is aiming to capture America’s Rust Belt — specifically, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin — where polls generally show him performing better than Mitt Romney did at this point in 2012. If he can capture Florida and keep North Carolina — the 2012 red state of the lightest hue — a strong showing that includes capture of the Rust Belt could, Trump’s team believes, put him over the top.
But the odds are long, veteran strategists said.
“It’s a fantasy. Romney got 19 percent of nonwhites. Is Trump going to do better? I don’t think so,” said Stuart Stevens, Romney’s 2012 campaign strategist. “It’s a joke. It’s just talking. It has no grounding in reality.”

-- Neither should anyone expect the entrenched insider Republicans to overthrow the will of their voters and install someone -- anyone -- else as the GOP nominee at their national convention in Cleveland next month.  There would be an actual revolution, complete with lots of shooting from many guns and real blood running in the streets if they tried.  Bernie Sanders does, in fact, have a greater chance of being the Democratic nominee than (fill in the blank with any name you like) has of being the Republican one.  And Bernie has essentially no chance at all.  Better chances of winning the Powerball.

Only a federal indictment can stop her now, and perhaps not even that.

That won't stop the Sandernistas from their #SeeYouInPhilly mission, and whatever they accomplish beyond a few platform positions that some will characterize as "transforming" the Democratic Party will be, in reality, negligible.  Their hearts are in the right place, I suppose, but they're using their heads to beat against the castle wall.  It will feel so good to them when they stop that.

The head of Debbie Wasserman Schultz on a pike comes about three months too late.

-- More evidence that they aren't getting on the Clinton bandwagon.

Hillary Clinton may be the presumptive Democratic nominee, but the fight to unify the party and its traditional allies in the wake of an unexpectedly long and contentious primary is poised to go on much longer.
The more than 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters and progressive activists gathered here at the "People's Summit" have engaged in little open talk about Clinton, preferring instead to plot a path forward in the wake of the Vermont senator's defeat -- and questioning the motivations of the Democratic Party and the legitimacy of its nominating contest. 
"There is massive corruption in the machinery of the Democratic Party," said RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of National Nurses United, the powwow's principal organizer, who had endorsed Sanders. "The only way that we can overcome that corruption and manipulation is for all of us not to work in isolation."

The People's Summit folks shut out Jill Stein and the Greens.  Everybody seems to want to start from scratch; I'm getting email now from the United Progressive Party. Their website is inoperable at this posting, but their logo should tell you everything you need to know.

The progressive left in the United States -- which has one foot inside the tent and one foot out -- has always been fractured and disorganized and ineffective as a result, and it may be even more so in 2016.  That would be unfortunate but not unexpected.

-- So Stein is going full-bore after the ruling duopoly.  Read all of this profile of her and her party; it's the best one yet.  Here's a snip about "safe states":

Sanders has drawn fire from Democrats for staying in the race despite lacking the delegates to win the nomination, but Stein may be even more politically brash than Bernie. Not only does she lack Sanders’ squeamishness about tipping the race to the Republicans, she is burying the tentative approach to presidential campaigning tried by 2004 Green candidate David Cobb. Following the 2000 election, when many blamed Nader for contributing to Democrat Al Gore’s defeat in Florida, Cobb pioneered a “safe-state” strategy—hunting only for votes in deep blue and deep red states, thus successfully protecting the Greens from the “spoiler” label. But he wasn’t successful in winning votes, garnering only 120,000 votes compared to Nader’s 2.9 million.

Stein defiantly told Politico Magazine she has a “No Safe State strategy,” because “there is no safe state under a Democratic or Republican future.” She’ll be stumping in Pennsylvania later this month.

--  Noam Chomsky has co-written a treatise about it; Counterpunch has counter-punched it. Bold emphasis below is mine.

[Chomsky and co-author John Halle] ... make an argument that by electing Clinton (i.e. by voting for her in swing states) this allows for the continuing growth of the left and reduces the amount of harm that will be caused over the next four years. I do not doubt their desire for radical change, nor do I doubt that they make these arguments because they find them morally justifiable in consideration of the consequences of our actions. Yet, it is dubious whether we can consider Clinton an LEV, just as much as it is dubious whether electing Clinton would enable the growth of the Left. I am not arguing from what they call a “politics of moral witness”, but argue in the same analytic vein that they have placed their brief. That is, is Clinton on topics such as climate change, trade, and militarism actually an LEV in comparison to Trump? Taking their criteria of consequences over rhetoric, there seems at best a “dimes worth of difference” on these topics.

Go ahead and try it on, see if it fits.

I'm an advocate of the "safe states" mission, but am swiftly moving in the direction of the "fuck 'em all" premise.  Some people say that's white privilege.  I say if someone wants to fix white privilege, then they need to go vote it out of office.  I won't be bothered one little bit by that.

-- The Texas Democratic convention this weekend past was, as I predicted, a joke.  These accounts of the steamrolling of Sanders delegates are essentially all you need to know about why there is a #SeeYouInPhilly movement.  But it was funny/not funny in pretty much every other way you can think of.  I'm glad John had a good time, though.

Sunday Keepin' Bear Funnies