Saturday, August 26, 2017

While Harvey was wall-bangin' ...

-- Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio and fired Seb Gorka. That's how you makes every white nationalist in the United States happy and sad at the same time.  Oh, he's also using Harvey as an opportunity to deport people.

Guy's got a gift for chaos.  Probably could call it god-given (if there was a god).

-- The city of Houston failed to certify the signatures on the petitions collected by the firefighters in time to put their pay raise proposition on the November ballot.

Despite weeks of outcry, the push by Houston firefighters to put equal pay with police officers on the November ballot will not be coming to fruition, as the deadline for City Hall to validate the petition has elapsed.


(Fireman's union president Marty) Lancton said he had offered the city financial assistance verifying the signatures if it needed to pay more employees for overtime (the mayor's office accused him of an ethical violation and asked the city attorney to open an investigation; the city attorney concluded no action was necessary). Former KTRK reporter Wayne Dolcefino's consulting firm also offered help, and Lancton said at least two council members offered district resources; but "the mayor smugly ignored the offers and the City Council took no action on the issue," Lancton wrote.
City Secretary Anna Russell, who has held her post for 45 years, said earlier this month that her office could not begin verifying signatures on the firefighters union petition because it hadn't finished verifying a petition submitted in April related to pension reform, filed by an outside political group, Texans for Local Control. Alan Bernstein, spokesman for the mayor, maintained that Mayor Turner had no influence in this process, saying she has always verified petitions in the order they're received.

How convenient for the mayor.  Let's point out that he also lost in court in his effort to legally prosecute the homeless, but at least he's making some progress on that bullet train to Dallas.  And he needs to cut HillCo loose and do his own lobbying, enlisting his governmental relations staffer Bill Kelly, who worked for Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen when she served in the Texas House.  Those three could squeeze a few phone calls onto their calendar, maybe a drive over to Austin during the session a couple of times, saving the city a little money.

Kuff is wrong again.  That's been happening a lot lately.

-- At least the mayor is smarter than Greg Abbott, so there's that.  The goobner calls for an evacuation of Houston, but Turner and County Judge Emmett say, "hold on there".

Abbott urged all Texans to heed any mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders issued by local city and county officials—but even urged people to "strongly consider" evacuating even if no evacuation order has been issued.

He made comparisons to Houston's catastrophic Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, saying that Harvey is bringing rivaling amounts of rain. The National Weather Service has forecast between 18 and 24 inches of rain for the Houston region. As such, he even urged Houstonians to consider evacuating farther north, a suggestion that contradicts advice from local officials and Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"I would urge people to strongly consider the evacuation process," he said, "because there is the possibility that people may have to go a long time without access to basic necessities, without access to water, food, power. If you have the ability to evacuate and go somewhere else for a little while, it would be good."

At a 4 p.m. press conference, Mayor Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett re-emphasized that there has not been nor will be any evacuation order for Houston, nor would they recommend voluntarily evacuating. Turner had recalled the disaster that a mandatory evacuation order during Hurricane Rita created in 2005, when people died of heat exhaustion on the highway and had to be rescued during the immense gridlock. At the presser, he and Emmett said that, given Houston is not in Harvey’s hurricane path and is dealing instead with a large rain event, this is not the type of storm that would prompt evacuations.

“In the City of Houston, this is a rain maker,” Turner said of the tropical storm that Harvey is bringing to Houston. “There’s no need for people to be thinking about leaving, getting on the road and putting themselves in danger. Quite frankly, you can be putting yourself in more danger by getting on the road.”

Turner said he and Abbott have not spoken on the phone, but Emmett said when he talked to Abbott this afternoon, Abbott assured him the message to people would be "listen to your local officials" about evacuations.

Abbott is a stone cold moron.  Someone should have told him that Houston's masses attempting to evacuate from Rita -- a week after Katrina -- resulted in virtually the same number of deaths as the storm itself did over the entire region.

In the Houston area, the muddled flight from the city killed almost as many people as Rita did. An estimated 2.5 million people hit the road ahead of the storm’s arrival, creating some of the most insane gridlock in U.S. history. More than 100 evacuees died in the exodus. Drivers waited in traffic for 20-plus hours, and heat stroke impaired or killed dozens. Fights broke out on the highway. A bus carrying nursing home evacuees caught fire, and 24 died.

The story later became about whether the haste was an over-reaction to Katrina. Houston Chronicle science writer Eric Berger argued (on Sept. 22, 2015; ten years after) that the pre-storm anxiety made sense. Rita looked terrifying and was headed straight toward Houston with 175 mph winds and worst-case scenario potential.

Nevertheless, Berger wrote, “state, county and city officials were unprepared.” The haphazard evacuation plan –  no contraflow lanes; inadequate policies to keep gas flowing – created bedlam. 

I blogged extensively about my own attempt to get out of town at the time, 11 years and 11 months ago.  Berger now blogs at Space City Weather, and is the only source I consult for hurricane-related news (though I look at the maps at Accuweather and Weather Underground, nobody has demonstrated more predictive reliability than Berger).  My teevee has been on the Travel Channel or the movie channels; no local weather hypesters nor panic-inducing hysteria for me.

-- The fraud lawsuit against the DNC was dismissed yesterday.

A year-long legal battle over the Democratic National Committee’s handling of the 2016 presidential primary came to an end Friday, with a federal judge in Florida dismissing a class-action suit brought by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“To the extent Plaintiffs wish to air their general grievances with the DNC or its candidate selection process, their redress is through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech — not through the judiciary,” Judge William Zloch, a Reagan appointee, wrote in his dismissal. “To the extent Plaintiffs have asserted specific causes of action grounded in specific factual allegations, it is this Court’s emphatic duty to measure Plaintiffs’ pleadings against existing legal standards. Having done so . . . the Court finds that the named Plaintiffs have not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court.”

Caitlyn Johnstone at Medium speaks for me.

The oldest political party in the world has died. It doesn’t know it yet, it isn’t acting like it yet, but it is dead. By successfully getting the DNC fraud lawsuit dismissed by Judge William J. Zloch today, the Democratic party has succeeded in killing any argument for its continued existence as a legitimate political party.

The premise of the DNC fraud lawsuit was simple: the Democratic National Committee promised voters an impartial party primary, and in 2016 it did not deliver them what it promised. By taking donations from people who believed its promise of impartiality, it committed fraud, in the same way a company selling a product labeled “sugar free” would be committing fraud if its product was loaded with maple syrup.


Documents released by WikiLeaks such as the conversations in the more egregious DNC emails, the Podesta emails showing that the DNC and the Clinton camp were colluding as early as 2014 to schedule debates and primaries in a way that favored her, then-DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile acting as a mole against the Sanders campaign and passing Clinton questions in advance to prep her for debates with Sanders all demonstrate a clear and undeniable violation of the Impartiality Clause.

The DNC Charter was revised with this promise to the American people in order to prevent a DemExit after the 1968 fiasco in Chicago, and in 2016 they undeniably broke this promise.


If you are American, whether Democrat, Republican or otherwise, you should read through Judge Zloch’s Order of Dismissal in its entirety when you have time, because this is a historic moment in your nation’s history and this ruling affects you personally. Had the case been allowed to proceed, it could have seen the DNC suffer tremendous consequences for its blatant Charter violation with the promise of more penalties should they repeat the behavior again. Former DNC leaders could have been forced to testify under oath about their behavior, and people who donated to the Sanders campaign could have been refunded their money. The DNC would have been forced into a situation where it could no longer actively sabotage progressive candidates without expecting severe consequences for that behavior.

Instead, the DNC has elected a virulently pro-establishment replacement for Debbie Wasserman Schultz in its new Chairman Tom Perez, and has to this day admitted no wrongdoing nor given any indication that it will make the massive, sweeping changes that would need to be made to prevent Impartiality Clause violations from happening in the future. There is no reason to believe that 2016 was the only time the DNC weighted its scales for a preferred candidate just because 2016 was the year it got caught, and there is now no reason to believe it won’t do so again, since it has no incentive not to.


The DNC violated its Charter, and it will not be penalized for doing so. It will march right into 2018 and 2020 using its same dirty tactics and its same fake primaries to sabotage progressive candidates and make sure that America remains dominated by not one but two right-wing parties. It therefore deserves to die.

And die it will. People like myself and countless other voices in US political commentary will forevermore be able to legitimately say that the Democrats run a novelty joke party which does not feel any obligation to hold real party elections. The Dems now have as much party legitimacy as Vermin Supreme or the Rent Is Too Damn High party. Stop taking these people seriously. DemExit and do not look back, because it’s only going to get worse from here.

You are right back where you were in 1968, America. Don’t let them fool you again.

In Texas, the Green Party has been unable to capitalize (pun intended) on the ineptitude of the Texas Democratic Party because of their own incompetence and infighting.  That leaves a small band of Democratic Socialists, who seem to be gathering a bit of momentum of late.  Should be of some interest as to whether a group of progressives -- Greens, DSA, independents running on the Donkey line, like Tom Wakely -- can muster candidates to the 2018 ballot.  I'm not holding my breath.

As I peruse my early options for next year, I do find some Democrats I could vote for, though not in their primary: Beto O'Rourke, Wakely, Almost Anybody But Cargas in CD-7, Judge RK Sandill running for SCOTX.  With Deb Kerner out of the scrum to replace John Culberson, I need to vet the candidates bidding to replace my shitbag Congress critter.  Alex Treehousesyphilis seems progressive, at least as Democrats go, but he has raised a metric shit-ton of money and that does nothing to elevate him in my eyes.  Laura Moser would be a good choice if she weren't so attached to Hillary Clinton last year.  Jason Westin abruptly unfollowed me on Twitter, probably because he figured out I'm well to the left of where he is.  Joshua Butler has some promise as the African American millennial in the race.  So if any of these managed to escape to a runoff next spring, I could swallow hard and wheel in the red square beside their name if I had to.  But there's plenty of time for the field to winnow itself before next March (or April).


Gadfly said...

You forgot to mention SPUSA on your party and group options roundup. If you want to really bat left ...

Gadfly said...

And, it takes a city secretary four months to verify, or non-verify, a petition? Anna Russell should be fired along with Stan Stanart, maybe?

PDiddie said...

SPUSA has no local or state chapter of any consequence. Not a factor for accessing the ballot until 2020, earliest.

Russell has been the city's clerk for 45 years. She's not an elected or appointed official. They're carrying her out feet-first when she goes.