Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trump is fading

Suddenly drooping in the polls (read it all) and flagging in his desire to be the president because it's not actually a monarchy or a dictatorship, Donald Drumpf may be the only person that can defeat Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

Drumpf may be taking the lead.

When it comes to a classic narcissist like Donald Trump, it’s hard to say when (or if) he’ll begin to find the process of running for president so humiliating that he’s tempted to just drop out. He clearly doesn’t care that “respectable” people are routinely calling him a racist and comparing him to some of the most notorious fascist dictators of the 20th-Century. He doesn’t seem to care that the intelligentsia and the media elite are condemning his character and his intelligence. But he’s also obsessed with his image and he’s financially dependent on his brand. His campaign has already cost him business relationships and partnerships, yet that hasn’t tamed or dissuaded him so far.


Trump’s already getting a little squirrelly. He’s under pressure after his campaign manager was indicted yesterday for battering a Breitbart reporter, and now he’s reneging on his pledge to support the eventual nominee because he feels the RNC has treated him shabbily and he can sense that the party elite are plotting to deny him the nomination at the convention. There’s increasing talk that he could cost the Republicans control of the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.

Due to sore loser laws in many states that will prevent Trump from running as an independent after failing to secure the Republican nomination, he cannot run a successful third party candidacy. But he could get on the ballot in some red states, split the vote, and hand Electoral College delegates to Clinton or Sanders. I can see him doing that out of spite.

Ted Cruz never stood a chance of winning the presidency anyway, Drumpf or No Trump.

He’s very unpredictable. He seems to be getting enough validation at the moment to make all the hits he’s taking seem worthwhile, but this doesn’t seem to make much sense from a business or branding perspective, and he surely knows that history is written by the same intellectuals who increasingly despise him with the heat of a thousand suns.


... what terrifies him more?  The humiliation of losing?  Or the responsibility of winning? 

Relative to sinking popularity (Clinton 54, Sanders 42 in the latest NY poll) as familiarity becomes more contemptible, it was understood that was supposed to be Hillary's problem exclusively.  I am sensing the rising paranoia of those Republicans who claimed long ago he was a stalking horse for Clinton.  Down or out... you go, Donnie.

THIS should be an interesting development.


Warning: This May Be as Unpopular as Trump Gets

Trump makes surprise closed-door visit with RNC

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wisconsin town hall serves up smelly cheese

In going to the town hall format for the remaining three GOP presidential contenders, let's at least give a little credit to CNN and Anderson Cooper for their attempt to bring some civility to the discourse.  The two front-runners just aren't up to the task of elevating it.  Too heavy a lift.

It came well into the second hour of a Republican town hall event Tuesday night, in which CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and a cast of carefully curated ordinary Americans got a chance to ask each of the three remaining GOP presidential candidates questions, one by one, and those candidates each got the chance to completely ignore those questions and spray clouds of rhetoric like startled, flailing squids. It was a rerun, in other words, of the same episode that's played out over and over again during this interminable primary campaign.

First went Cruz...

The night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began with Cooper asking Texas Senator Ted Cruz about his suggestion that US law enforcement should patrol "Muslim neighborhoods" as a way to combat terrorism; a plan that has been roundly condemned by New York City law enforcement officials who tried monitoring local Muslims and realized it didn't help anything. Cruz shrugged off the criticism, calling New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a "left-wing radical," and raising the specter of Europe's Muslim-dominated "no-go zones" where the police fear to tread, a fairly common myth floating around the far-right wing.

The exchange set a pattern: Someone would ask Cruz a question and he would either avoid answering, or find a way to bend it to his purpose. A job interview-style query about Cruz's biggest weakness prompted a monologue about how dang much he loves the Constitution. A father asked Cruz if he would support a bill aimed at stopping the Department of Veterans Affairs from overprescribing drugs—a measure named after his son, who died of an overdose while in VA care—and the Senator just repeated vague platitudes about VA reform and the War on Drugs.

A woman asked what Cruz would do specifically for women and he rambled about how great his mom and wife are (in other words, he isn't going to do anything in particular for women). When Cooper brought up the ugly campaign fight over a National Enquirer story accusing Cruz of infidelity—a story that Cruz has accused Trump's campaign of planting—and asked whether the Texan would support Trump as the party's nominee, Cruz hemmed and hawed for long minutes, then basically refused to answer the question.

Trump used up most of his fourth-grader-on-the-playground vocabulary early in his segment.

When it came to foreign policy, not day-to-day Twitter spats, however, Trump seemed less prepared. The most substantial exchange came when Cooper challenged the candidate to clarify some of his statements about nuclear proliferation, since Trump has said he's worried about more countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but also OK with Japan, South Korea, and maybe Saudi Arabia getting nukes. Trump's response was, basically, Whatever, if it means the US does less to police the world, fine. Later, he pulled the same light-on-details act when he said the US government should provide healthcare and education, and then said no, the states should, or the private sector should get involved, or something.

We've seen this all before—the avoidance of questions, the pandering, the almost pathological focus on talking points. The latter was most grossly displayed Tuesday when a police officer who'd been shot 15 times while fighting a white supremacist who was attacking a Sikh temple asked the Republican frontrunner what could be done to combat prejudice. Trump had a chance to soften his tone, to look presidential while interacting with a man universally regarded as a hero. Instead, he trotted out some stuff about Muslim terrorism, and once again, completely ignored the question.

That Kasich had to go last meant most everyone tuning out before he came on, another sad reality of the state of play for the GOP this cycle.

(Kasich), it must be said, actually did answer questions, including those about unpopular stances he's taken in the past. As the campaign's third wheel, he doesn't have the luxury of ignoring the queries of interested voters. He won't be president no matter how well he performs at events like these.

Kasich's hopelessness, like Trump's bluster and Cruz's smarm, was nothing new. When Wisconsin primary voters cast ballots next week, they'll be choosing from the same menu they faced before the town hall; the same spread of squabbling and half-truths will be laid out, growing increasingly stale for the next few months, until the Republican Party finally lands itself a nominee. In that sense, Trump's complaint about being tired of debates was the truest moment in a night that was short on them—he's as eager to see the end of this as voters are. 

Kasich's last luxury is that, as the winner of one primary -- his home state of Ohio -- and the possessor of 143 delegates, at least nobody (except Ted Cruz) is calling for him to drop out.  Contrast that with the hourly exit calls to Bernie Sanders, who owns 15 state wins to Clinton's 20 and trails her by only 200 delegates ... the human, mortal, democratically-chosen ones, not those of the super varietyAll numbers here.

Republicans thought that they would be safer holding town halls than presidential debates, and they were wrong. The top two Republican candidates made a great argument for supporting the Democratic nominee. The town hall was a total disaster. Neither of the top two Republican candidates is electable, and there is no sense in discussing John Kasich because he will never be the nominee.

I sourced PoliticsUSA -- a questionable opinion site, poorly edited being my main objection -- for the above excerpt because some people think it's a propaganda outlet equal to Blue Nation Review.  That's what is known as a false equivalency.  Click over and look at their stories and tell me if you agree or disagree.

Yes, we need to see some grown-ups do this debate thing, but we won't get that.  Because somebody is a little miffed about someone else's tone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why Clinton won't debate before the NY primary

The last public poll conducted two weeks ago showed her with a very comfortable 71-23% spread.  (You may recall that her win here in Texas at the beginning of this month was by a 66-33 margin.)  So what does she have to gain by debating?  Nothing, and she stands to lose some if she does.

The ever-cautious and calculating leader much prefers to sit on her lead, run out the clock. projects an almost even split of the NY delegation, which strikes me as ass-covering on their part after their earlier embarrassments.  Fresh polling, somewhere in the pipeline, will likely show the lead shrinking; that's what the polls have done throughout this cycle, tighten up as election day draws closer.  So in the three weeks between now and April 19 -- when New Yorkers vote -- her campaign has probably calculated that can withstand some Twitter flak and even the grievous attacks of her nasty handlers and their enabling, sycophantic third-rate media (Blue Nation Review, need I say more?) and still come away with both a convincing victory and the talking heads on teevee spinning as loudly as we have yet heard for Sanders to exit the contest.

California's primary in early June, where she holds just a 7-point lead, looks long in the distance.

I still see a Democratic convention where Bernie gets a prime time speech in one of the first couple of nights, concedes gracefully, and politely herds his supporters onto the Clinton bandwagon.  There will be some larger-than-usual quantity of bitter-enders, but the safe bet is that like the PUMAs in 2008, most of the #NeverHillary-ites fall in line.

On a side note, has anybody been called a Sandbagger (scroll down to the comments) yet?

Just as boring as being alive.  Let's hope for a minor miracle, like a little bird alighting from the closed-auditorium sky, or another polling error, or the *ahem* usual something-unforeseen.  Clever and seriously snarky hashtags aren't going to be enough.

Otherwise the hearse bus is waiting.

Update (3/30): Nate Silver applies the numerical coup d'grace.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

In presenting this week's blog post roundup, the Texas Progressive Alliance is sad that Rick Perry won't come out of retirement to run as a third-party alternative to Donald Trump. (Sad for all the missed comedy opportunities, of course.)

Off the Kuff would really like to see some general election polling of Texas soon.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos exposes how the Republican Party cleverly stoles fear and hate among its religious base voters for the sole purpose of winning: How the GOP Foments Outrage and Fear Among Christian Fundamentalist Voters.

SocraticGadfly takes a deep look at the problematic background and connections of Tulsi Gabbard, the Congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee vice-chair who resigned the DNC spot to endorse Bernie Sanders.

Dan Patrick touts xenophobic, racist memes at the border while forgetting about community building trade. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes Patrick is a Republican and that's what they stand for nowadays.

Hillary Clinton is eager to get her war on, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs really doesn't want to go down this road again: war protests, war criminals, torture, disabled vets who can't get their VA benefits handled properly, etc. and so on.

Egberto Willies talked to an insider about why we no longer get the truth from our media: news is packaged and sold for ratings and clicks.

TXsharon at Bluedaze was at the seminar in Denton where experts from across the country said that a 100% renewable community was possible, ending the need for additional gas plants.

Dos Centavos posts some of the races and candidates he's watching in the Harris County Democratic Party's runoff election, to be held May 24.

Neil at All People Have Value encountered a Donald Trump window sticker on his travels around Houston. APHV is part of

And the Lewisville Texan Journal had a concert review of Texas legend Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son Colin who put on a music show locally.


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

In an Easter ritual where the most evil thing  is cleansed, Trail Blazers reported that Mexicans burned effigies of Trump (as 'Judas') in the streets of that country.

Grits for Breakfast revealed the business model for the company that manufactures Tasers: they also supply police bodycams and intend to be the dominant vendor in that market.

Prairie Weather points out the Democrats' forty-four-year-old paranoia, and its name is George McGovern.

Texas Election Law Blog reports that the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals in its entirety (en banc) will review the Texas voter ID lawsuit, and the plaintiffs have asked the Supreme Court to block the law from implementation in the 2016 election.

Zachery Taylor is on board the "Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, but never Hillary Clinton" bandwagon.

Carl Davidson at The Rag Blog premises that there are actually six political parties in the United States (and that's within the two that wear the "major" label), and has some suggestions for working within them for progress.

The TSTA Blog highlights a rural school district that is trying to hang on.

Better Texas Blog celebrates the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

The Texas Campaign for the Environment advocates for a Zero Waste plan for Houston.

Paradise in Hell asks the tough questions about Ag Commissioner Sid Miller.

The Current reminds us that SBOE candidate Mary Lou Bruner is still deranged.

Austin On Your Feet lists nine barriers to building housing in Austin's central city.

Pages of Victory saw a nice dance.  A strange one, but a nice one.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Graham, Bush reluctantly climb on Cruz bandwagon

(God love Charles Kuffner for doing the blogging I cannot bring myself to do: Ken Paxton, Sid Miller, the statewide and Harris County runoffs.  There's just no resolve in me to commiserate about causes lost two years ago, and barely any for the Houston political scene.  Maybe next month I can manage a post or two about our awful state officials and our stultifying local elections.  I'm hoping.  For the moment it's just too dreary.)

Last week when Miz Lindsey picked poison over a bullet to the temple, I didn't bother with anything but a single Tweet to note the moment.  A blog post?  Why?  I just figured ... well, Lindsey Graham.  Once a dumbass douchebag, always, ya know?

But Jeb!?  That's quite a bit more craven.

We can only hope, Mr. Lowe.

"Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests," Bush said in a statement provided to CNN.
"Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential."

It's no surprise this ringing endorsement was posted to Facebook instead of holding a presser.  Had Bush done so in more conventional fashion, he wouldn't have been able to suppress his gag reflex, and the media wouldn't have been able to suppress their guffaws.

But to be certain, this is the ongoing "lesser of two evils" balsamic reduction for the GOP.

Like Graham, Bush seems to have made his decision based on whom he hated least. The former governor had refrained from endorsing Rubio while he was still in the race, a Republican source told Politico, because he believed his fellow Floridian and one-time protégé “was not up to the job of being president.” In endorsing Cruz, a Tea Party-aligned extremist, Bush follows in the footsteps of Chris Christie, who was driven to endorsing Trump by his obvious disdain for Rubio, and Ben Carson, who threw his support behind Trump in part out of animosity toward Cruz, whose dirty tricks in Iowa the retired neurosurgeon never forgave. 

Please clap.  With one hand.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Scattershooting Arizona and Brussels

But thankfully no more about war-mongering at AIPAC.

-- The Apache State sets this week's record for futility, incompetence, and/or fraud at the polling place.  Be sure you understand the difference between unicorns (Greg Abbott's voter "fraud") and actual election fraud.

1. Lines were so long people literally spent an entire work day waiting in line

The queues were lengthy because the election administrators failed to properly allocate resources.

Maricopa County (Greater Phoenix, nation's sixth largest city, 1.5 million people as of 2010) Recorder (the chief elections official) Helen Purcell blamed the voters for the delays.

Purcell may have been responsible for a new Maricopa County record: The last ballot in her county wasn’t cast until after midnight local time, or 3 AM Eastern time. The elections are such a mess in Arizona that the Secretary of State and the Office of the Maricopa County Recorder are admitting they can’t handle running an election. Both Purcell and Secretary of State Michele Reagan support legislation that will turn the administration of elections over to state party organizations.

2. Clear voter suppression in Latino neighborhoods

Just click over and read about it, and then ask yourself if you're surprised that a place that elects Joe Arpaio sheriff conducts its elections this way.

It gets worse.

3. Democrats mistakenly registered as independents, given provisional ballots

As Arizona voters were still waiting to cast their ballots, US Uncut reported on allegations that voters who had previously registered as Democrat were instead listed in the voter database as “independent” or “no party listed.” In Arizona’s closed primary system, independent voters are denied their voice by having to vote with a provisional ballot. But what voters classified as “independent” who cast provisional ballots don’t realize is that their ballots are never counted.

Emphasis mine.  A reminder: NEVER ACCEPT a provisional ballot if offered.  It's nothing but a pacifier.  Its sole purpose is to fade heat; to shut you up, making you think you participated in an election when you actually did not.

42-year-old Kelly Thornton, who worked as an Election Day Technician in Yavapai County voting center 5 on Tuesday, told US Uncut that roughly two thirds of voters who came to her precinct had been mistakenly identified as independent by the election software. All of those voters were subsequently forced to cast a provisional ballot.

“One man was a lifelong Democrat who was listed as independent. He left the precinct, went to his house, and came back with a card showing that he was registered as a Democrat,” Thornton told US Uncut. “But when I called the election center (administered by the county recorder’s office), they told me to just give him a provisional ballot anyway.”


Thornton was also given a script by the Yavapai County recorder’s office to read to voters, verbatim, when they asked if their provisional ballots would be counted. The script outright tells the voter that if they cast a provisional ballot when the system lists them as independent, their vote will not be counted...

This is where it gets ugly for Democrats.

“I called the Arizona Democratic Party office around 1 PM, and I said, ‘Something is not right here.’ They said someone would call me back, and nobody called me back,” Thornton said. “This is the exact same thing that voters have been experiencing in Pima and Maricopa County all day.”

Given that one of Bernie Sanders’ largest bases of voter support comes from independents, it isn’t hard to see why the Vermont senator lost Arizona handily: his core supporters’ ballots weren’t counted.

So when you hear calls from Democrats for Bernie Sanders to drop out -- on the heels of the calls that Sanders isn't/wasn't a Democrat anyway, that he should play by the Democrats' rules, i.e. superdelegates -- be clear on the understanding that these are the rules they are talking about.

Democrats predictably might just blame Purcell, the Republican elections official, who is certainly the right and proper scapegoat.  She's of course blaming all the dysfunction on Democrats for registering wrong.

Helen Purcell might be worse at her job than Harris County's own Stan Stanart, which makes this episode a similar Catch-22 we have in Texas' largest county: not enough Democrats voted in the election when Republicans like Purcell and Stanart were on the ballot themselves, due in no small part to the Republicans in charge practicing voter disenfranchisement of Democrats as hard as they can ... and round and round it goes.  Like the water in the toilet when you flush it.

There's more at the link about how this set things up nicely for Hillary Clinton's comfortable win in the Grand Canyon State last night (or this morning), and it's certainly not one of the two reasons I anticipated when I predicted nearly a year ago that Sanders would be ultimately be denied the Democratic nomination.  The bottom line, unvarnished ...

Still, for Sanders to emerge as the nominee, he has to win a majority of the remaining states and win by some very big margins. On Saturday, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington hold Democratic caucuses. 

-- As a result of yesterday's (or today's) returns, calls grow louder for Bernie to take a seat on the bench.  Markos Moulisas has no standing -- whatever he believes about the power of his influence -- to bring the contested primary to an end, or even to censor posters to his blog who disagree with his choice of presidential candidates.  Yesterday, in the richest of ironies, he sent me a blegging e-mail, touting Daily Kos traffic stats and asking me to chip in $5 'to continue their work'.

So over and done with that guy and his shitty blog.

But more to the point: when Bernie finally does leave the race, he's taking a lot of Democrat votes with him somewhere.  Whether they are going to the Greens' Jill Stein, a futile Sanders write-in campaign, or back to sleep on the couch is to be determined.

More and more people are coming to the same realization I did last summer, and there's significantly more anecdotal evidence on my social media feeds -- and, I'm guessing, yours -- that indicates D voters in droves are getting off the bus.  Probably doesn't mean anything for Hillary's electoral prospects countrywide, but could have severe ramifications for Democrats downballot in places like Harris County.  This is more evidence that Clinton's value at the top of the ticket in Texas is unlikely to change the electoral color of the Lone Star State.

No need to get your hopes up, Chuck; any early poll will probably be done by the Texas Tribune/UT/YouGov conglomerate, which has consistently demonstrated its extraordinarily lame predictive value on its best day, and its absolute worthlessness this far out.

-- As the results in the two states with heavy Mormon populations that voted yesterday suggest, Trump is a hard sell in the LDS caucus.  Ted Cruz took advantage with an ad showing a little too much of Melania Trump's assets, and that started the weekly catfight we have come to expect now from the GOP 'presidentials'.

Nothing to add.

-- In the aftermath of a horrible day in Belgium, one message is clear: Yerp, specifically the EU and its "capital" city of Brussels, faces the most serious threats of instability from terrorism of every kind that can be conceived.  Anarchy and chaos cannot be very far away now, with immigrant xenophobia in full rage throughout the continent before the Belgian attacks.  Read this comment at No More Mister Nice Blog and decide for yourself whether the deep-seated problems, particularly in the Molenbeek ghetto, are understated or not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton rattles a mean saber

Balloon Juice called it beating the Likud war drums, another appropriate description of America's former top diplomat publicly slobbering for a pre-emptive strike on some brown people in the eastern Mediterranean.

Palestinian and human rights advocates were aghast over remarks made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention on Monday, saying that her speech represented "everything that is bad" with U.S. imperialism and policy in the Middle East.
During the address, Clinton vowed to take the U.S.-Israel relationship to "the next level"—a level which seemingly includes more war and imperialism, few, if any, rights for Palestinians, and definitely no economic boycotts of Israel.

She even used hawk talk against the BDS initiative, exhorting the young draft-eligible warriors in the crowd to arm themselves and run to the front.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at an annual conference held by AIPAC and praised students at colleges and universities who are on “the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS.”
The part of the speech on BDS was specifically directed at young people attending the pro-Israel lobby group’s conference, and it received roaring applause.
During her speech, Clinton declared, “Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate, and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.”

Just your standard neoconservative talking points.  Credit her for swinging the terrible, swift sword of  'anti-Semitism' as swiftly and strongly as she uses 'sexism' and 'misogyny' (and her supporters use "Berniebros").  The best defense is a good offense, after all.

Politicians like Clinton and groups like AIPAC use a State Department definition of anti-Semitism. Palestine Legal argues this definition “erroneously includes criticism of Israel as a nation state in the definition.” This departs from the “conventional understanding of anti-Semitism as hate and ethno-religious bias against Jewish people.” It redefines anti-Semitism to include “demonizing Israel,” “applying a double standard to Israel,” and “delegitimizing Israel.”

Words matter, you see.  Did you ever think that Hillary Clinton could get to the right of Donald Trump on foreign policy American hegemony continuous war in the Middle East?

Last month, Trump suggested he was “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that he could negotiate with both parties.
“I think making a deal would be in Israel’s interests,” the brash billionaire said on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “I don’t know one Jewish person that doesn’t want to have a deal, a good deal, a proper deal, but a really good deal. But I would say it’s probably one of the toughest deals. Me being a dealmaker, it’s probably one of the toughest deals in the world to make, because there’s just so many — there’s just so many decades of hatred between the two sides.”
Clinton seized on Trump’s reluctance to take a stand.
“America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security or survival,” she said. “We can’t be neutral when rockets rain down on residential neighborhoods, when civilians are stabbed in the street, when suicide bombers target the innocent. Some things aren’t negotiable. And anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president."

More "Let's Make a Deal" from Donald.  Sounds kind of pussified to me.  At least we know, between the two front-runners, who's got the bigger fingers.  

Maybe the Nobel Committee could award her a pre-emptive Peace Prize, like they did for Obama.  That worked out pretty well.  Not so much for American soldiers or Afghani wedding parties or Syrian children, but Lockheed Martin, sure turned a tidy profit.  There will always be Republicans who believe Clinton is not more pro-Israel than Trump, however, and Sheldon Adelson is helping with that (hat tip for this link to No More Mister).

In the meantime, tough-talking theocrats like Ted Cruz are sufficiently blocked from their own pandering to the Jewish lobby.  No matter how much he'd actually like to carpet-bomb some country or turn the desert into glass, Cruz and his devout Christian-soldier ilk are only in the fight to see if the prophecies in their favorite book can come true: their Savior floating down from the sky with a thousand angels on white horseback in tow, and them floating up to meet Him.

This Easter season, it's not rebirth being celebrated.  It's death.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Texas Green Party state convention scheduled for April 9, 10

The pastoral Grey Forest community in Bexar County will host the state's Green Party delegates, candidates, and conventioneers in early spring.

The GPTX state nominating convention will take place April 9. Voting delegates were elected at the county nominating conventions on March 19, where the party also voted to grant the Green Party nomination to candidates who will appear on the general election ballot in November. This process is similar to the major parties' primary elections, except it is done 'caucus-style'.

Delegates will also consider any resolutions brought up from the counties.

The GPTX state meeting occurs the following day -- Sunday, April 10th -- when delegates elect party officers and conduct other party business. There will be three At-Large SEC positions filled in addition to Co-Chair, Treasurer, & Secretary. If you are interested in running for one of the party officer positions, please inform the state co-chairs at the contact below so that you can be listed in the agenda packet. Nominations will be accepted at the meeting. Party-building and candidate support workshops will also be held.

Delegates from the counties to the GPTX state convention and meeting are kindly requested to RSVP for planning purposes as breakfast and lunch will be provided. There is no charge to attend the state convention, but donations to offset the costs are requested.

WHEN: April 9, beginning at 8 a.m. and April 10, 2016


Grey Forest Clubhouse
18249 Sherwood Trail
Grey Forest, TX 78023

Google map and directions

CONTACT: valkyrie at calicodmp dot com

Harris County's Greens approved the following candidates for the November ballot:

  • Joshua Darr, US House District 2
  • Thomas Kleven, US House District 18
  • James Partsch-Galvan, US House District 29
  • Joseph McElligott, Texas House District 127
  • Brian M. Harrison, Texas House District 147
  • Laura Palmer, State Board of Education District 6
  • Natalie Upchurch, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector

A full list of Green Party statewide filings can be found here.  (George Reiter, the US House candidate for District 9, and Deb Shafto, the Texas Senate District 6 nominee, withdrew from their respective races without a candidate selected to replace them.  In doing so, they cited conflicts with their positions on Houston Pacifica affiliate KPFT's local station board.  If they were to run for public office, that board's by-laws would require that they resign their posts.)

The GPUS will hold its presidential nominating convention this August at the University of Houston's main campus.  Registration -- including meals and lodging -- is open for that event.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes we could be in Cuba with President Obama right now -- instead of looking over these busted NCAA brackets -- in bringing you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at the legislative and judicial primary runoffs for Harris County.

When Libby Shaw at Daily Kos learned some of the drinking water supplies in the state exceeded the federal standard for arsenic, she asked how will small government -- government-loathing lawmakers -- react? What will they do? Nothing, of course. Pretend the problem does not exist. No Worries Texas. We Can Shoot the Arsenic Out of the Water.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is disgusted to see Greg Abbott leading the charge against legal voters in Texas, but, he is not the only one. The wrongly-named American Civil Rights Union wants to disenfranchise voters, too.

Socratic Gadfly, with new news about it, updates a major blog piece from last fall about the First Amendment, politicization of academics, academic freedom, and fired professor Melissa Click.

Hillary Clinton admitted to Chris Matthews that she sold her vote to invade Iraq for $20 billion, to George W. Bush. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is glad that's finally cleared up.

Guest columnist Judge Brian Holman writes a guest column in the Lewisville Texan Journal about that city court system's improving indigent defense.

Bluedaze posted details of the "100% renewable" Denton town hall this week, and Texas Vox announced the upcoming public hearing calling for better city management in Austin.

Neil at All People Have Value said that people in the Houston area should stop doing dumb things that cause wildfires. APHV is part of

Dos Centavos advanced H-Town's Cesar Chavez parade.


Juanita Jean contemplates the sheer awesomeness of a Trump/Carson ticket, Election Law Blog has Ted Cruz's "Voter Fraud Joke of the Day", and Trail Blazers helps shoot down the rumor that Rick Perry will be drafted for president at a brokered GOP convention this summer.

Prairie Weather commented on the media narrative about the presumptive winners in our nation's presidential nomination process, but doesn't specify the actual losers.

Grits for Breakfast wants to know why the Texas Rangers seem incapable of rooting out local corruption when they are called upon to investigate it.

Ty Clevenger complains about the State Bar of Texas' refusal to take action against Ken Paxton, and The Houston Press realized that state Sen. Donna Campbell of San Antonio apparently doesn't understand the (almost worthless) medical cannabis bill she voted for in the last legislative session.

Lone Star Ma focuses on the 9th of the United Nations' new sustainable development goals: "Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation." And Houston Strategies took note of the recent Atlantic piece that pointed out the inconvenient truth about income inequality and affordable housing in "liberal" cities.

Dan Solomon talks to Wendy Davis about Dawn Porter’s abortion law documentary Trapped, among other things.

The Makeshift Academic reminds us that Merrick Garland has a lot of company in the confirmation process.

Pages of Victory paraphrases one of Charles Dickens' most famous sentences in compiling a list of his own.

Kate Braun of The Rag Blog observed the convergence of pagan and non-pagan spring rituals: the vernal equinox and Palm Sunday.

And congratulations go to Somervell County Salon on her blog's eleventh anniversary.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Three-dimensional chess not necessary

When checkers is too tough for your opponents.

My favorite of all was LDS Bishop Hatch saying this ...

... and then Jake Tapper elbowed the Utahn in the teeth with this:

Even when you consider the mean IQ of these Republickin pigs running the Senate, Judge Garland is still a sacrificial lamb to the politics of the extremists.

Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit will most likely not become Justice Merrick Garland of the Supreme Court, at least not while President Barack Obama remains in office. He seems unlikely to get even a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, or a vote either by that panel or the whole Senate. 
And it may be partly because it’s hard to imagine an Obama nominee more likely to win confirmation, if the Republicans allowed a vote.

He wouldn't have been my choice, but as when Antonin Scalia asked for Elena Kagan in 2009 (he got Sonia Sotomayor that year and Kagan in 2010) the opinion of the current SCOTUS judges as to who might be worthy to join them is apparently given serious consideration.

So respected is Garland as a judge that Chief Justice Roberts, at his confirmation hearing (in 2005), answered a question about one of his majority opinions by noting that Judge Garland had dissented and, said Roberts, "Anytime Judge Garland disagrees, you know you're in a difficult area."

Yeah, but still no, and that's a win-win.

(T)he pitched political battle over Garland’s fate could turn in unexpected ways, and will shape – and be shaped by – the 2016 race: Not just Donald Trump’s unprecedented presidential bid but the fight to control the Senate, in which a platoon of Senate Republicans are facing stiff challenges. 
Garland’s nomination would need 14 Republicans to disrupt an inevitable filibuster, and five to be confirmed. Even if (SML Mitch) McConnell had not drawn that early line in the sand, that would not have been easy, but it would not have been impossible, and surely would have carried shorter odds than if Obama had chosen a nominee closer to the base of the Democratic party. Put differently, there would be comparatively little political danger to the GOP in considering, and rejecting a liberal firebrand, even one plucked from the ranks of women or minorities.

So who do you want picking your next Supreme Court justice (if it can't be Bernie Sanders, that is)? Trump with a Democratic Senate, or Clinton with a Democratic Senate?

For the Republican base, the issue is even more stark: it’s not just a question of how Garland would vote, it’s their refusal to countenance handing Obama any sort of victory. Polls conducted before Garland’s nomination found nearly seven in ten Republicans saying Obama shouldn’t even try to fill the seat
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus captured the two notions – the court’s potential shift, anger at Obama – on Twitter. “We won’t stand by while Obama attempts to install a liberal majority on #SCOTUS to undermine our Constitution & protect his lawless actions,” he said.

Overlook the misuse of the definition of the word 'lawless' here; this is the expiring establishment GOP making one last symbolic stand for their rebel base.  There's a little more back-and-forth at the link about whether McConnell will fold, whether the Republican senators on the verge of being swept out of office in a blue wave will convince him to at least hold a hearing, even if it's to turn down the best nominee suited to their philosophy they will ever get.  

Obama's already standing at the finish line while they are lacing up their shoes.

“We have forced them into a telescoping series of untenable positions, where even agreeing to meet with the guy is a cave in the view of their base,” said a senior Democratic congressional aide. 
“It’s a win-win situation. Either we get the confirmation, and change the balance of the court for a generation, or they have to fight to November defending the most extreme, untenable position of no-votes, and we’ll annihilate them on that,” the aide said. “And then President Clinton nominates” Scalia’s successor. 
So, the aide said, “I don’t care if McConnell caves or not.”

Checkmate, Mr. Turtle.  Care for a game of checkers?  You can be black this time ...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The hearse is waiting outside

There's room for another casket.  The one already in the back is ... little.

Clinton’s victories in Ohio, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina put her firmly on course to defeat her primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. As the results were announced on Tuesday evening, she took the stage before a boisterous crowd of supporters here and seemed to pivot towards the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, who also won in Florida.

“We are moving closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November!” Clinton declared.

No polling versus reality shockers to be had on this night.

It looked as if Sanders might prove the Clinton campaign’s bullish prediction wrong after he won a stunning upset in Michigan on March 8, but Clinton’s victories on Tuesday helped her stop Sanders’ momentum and establish a seemingly unbeatable lead.

Though Clinton was expected to win the primaries in North Carolina and Florida on Tuesday, polls showed her potentially losing in Ohio, Arizona, Missouri and Illinois. Even if Sanders had won all of the states that were in play on Tuesday, he would still have faced an uphill battle. However, by taking Ohio and Illinois, Clinton definitively pulled ahead.

Elsewhere, the mood was more that of a wake.

Sanders took the stage shortly after Clinton’s appearance in Florida and addressed more than 7,000 of his cheering supporters in a convention center in Phoenix with his usual stump speech. The 74-year-old senator mentioned raising the minimum wage, getting money out of politics, fixing free trade deals and reforming the criminal justice system, among other typical stump-speech issues.

What Sanders didn’t mention were the five states that voted in the Democratic primaries Tuesday night, and what the results meant for his viability as a candidate. This was in contrast to Sanders’ election night appearance on Super Tuesday, when he explicitly downplayed his mixed showing and reassured his supporters he would take the fight to “every” state. In contrast with most election night gatherings, there were no TVs showing primary results in Phoenix, so Sanders’ supporters were not shown Clinton’s wins racking up in the background as the evening progressed. Arizona’s Democrats vote next Tuesday, and Sanders is expected to do well in the state.

Thanks again, corporate media.

No major cable network carried his speech, which coincided with Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s remarks and later, as Sanders continued speaking, with Donald Trump’s victory speech.

So we wait a bit longer for Team Sanders to wake up and smell the coffee, bust a move, and instruct his support network which way to go.  If you know any Sanders people, you already know that they're considering all options.  Since so many of them aren't Democrats -- like Sanders himself, allegedly -- we should expect to see wholesale defections among the blue ranks as Clinton turns her battleship to the right and steams ahead for the fall.  And there ought to be plenty of Republicans for them to recruit.

That's the only interesting storyline left to unfold (as far as I'm concerned): post-Sanders, how do the Democrats plan, go, and do in the general.  They may have been gifted with another Goldwater ... or perhaps will deliver us the nation's worst nightmare.  There's a bitter pill the #NeverTrumps have to swallow.  Will they?

Some Democrats say it's just like 2008 and  Hillary's PUMAs: everybody will get over their upset and fall in line, get onboard.  Eventually.  By November.

I'll just be glad to get to blogging about some things beside the presidentials every day after the past two months.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Against Bernie Sanders

(Open Source Dem, aka J. R. Behrman, infrequent poster here, former SD-13 committee chair, former presiding judge of the Harris County EVBB, former chair of the Texas Democratic Party's Progressive Populist Caucus -- among other honoraria -- posted this to his Facebook page after sending it to me.  I offered him my deepest condolences on the loss of his wife last week.)

I oppose the nomination of Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont. 
That is a surprise to some who fancy me a "left-wing" member of the Democratic Party. After all, I supported George McGovern back in the day. I supported Howard Dean there for a while. Moreover, I did not just support Barack Obama in 2008, I fought the pro-Clinton state party establishment tooth and nail through the highly contested primary and convention process. 
No, Belinda and I are so conservative we come around from the other side to a sort of traditional liberalism. 
Moreover, I have grave reservations about Secretary Clinton and her "permanent campaign" entourage, not least their reprise of the "inevitable" campaign. It is not doing her any good now, and it will be a burden for her when she challenges whoever or, dare I say, whatever the GOP comes up with. 
So why my change now? 
First, it will take not a "village" but an entire national party to defeat the GOP at all echelons of government today in 50 gerrymandered states and dozens of rotten Congressional Districts. 
Sanders is an independent and has kept his distance from the Democratic Party -- unlike, say, Howard Dean. Our nominee must first take the reins of the Democratic Party. 
Second, Hillary Clinton has been an altogether loyal and constructive contributor to the administration of President Obama. 
Sure, Sanders' socialism is somewhat attractive to me, as far as it goes. Labels do not scare me. But, President Obama is not a socialist (or a Muslim). He has pretty much exhausted the limits of what can be done in just one of the nine echelons of our dysfunctional government and politics. These accomplishments do not deserve Sanders' conceited dismissal. 
No, his socialism is almost a museum piece and does not even begin to provide a robust intellectual foundation for future governments. As Paul Glastris at Washington Monthly says, Sanders is "intellectually consistent but not intellectually honest." 
Even venerable socialist governments and even the formidable Green parties in Europe or charismatic leaders like Yanis Varoufakis are struggling to dump obsolete or delusional intellectual frameworksto govern their own parties, and to fix a broken socialist international. 
Finally, Bernie Sanders is simply a novelty. Sure, he is charming and attractive to political junkies who are disillusioned with and critical of our party and government. 
(Yes, that could be said of me.) 
But I stand with those like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, who expect to see more actual progress from a Clinton administration than a Sanders crusade. 
In any event, here is what I would like to do: 
Build a strong party 
Sanders would need and Clinton will need a new kind of political party to actually govern. This is where the most radical of new ideas can flourish, because a political party is "lightweight" -- a good thing in engineering -- even "flimsy". It is easily transformed almost overnight. No negotiations or "deals" with the crazy-right are necessary or even possible. 
Not a lousy claque 
A political party is not, actually, an extension of government, though you would not know that here in one-party Texas with its kludge of cornpone state and county parties. No, my party should be a check on government and an instrument of the people. In our case, that is a party rooted in republican principle and built on democratic aspirations. 
Make it work 
This means that the Sanders and Clinton supporters will have to have a voice in party affairs, will have to cultivate party loyalty, and will have to stop political exit on the left that is manifest as despair and apathy. Otherwise, right-wing extremism will just keep growing and poisoning everything. 
Right here, right now! 
There is actually no better place to start that transformation than Harris and eight surrounding counties in Texas. It will take strategy, planning, and finance. That is where I hope to play a role. 
But not for a while. 
The wheels are off my life right now, following Belinda's death. I will sign in at the desultory Senate District Convention, but not attend the silly state convention. 
After the national election, it will be time to consider robust reconstruction of the post-Reconstruction Texas Democratic Party. It is now just an antique facility for bi-partisan concession-tending that is no longer viable at any echelon of government or politics.

$20 billion for her Iraq vote

“I’m sitting there in the Oval Office, and Bush says to me, ‘What do you need?’ And I said, ‘I need $20 billion to rebuild, you know, New York,’ and he said, ‘You got it.’ And he was good to his word,” Clinton said in response to Matthews’ question on why Bernie Sanders was right on the Iraq War vote and Clinton was wrong. 
“Literally, that same day, I get back to the Capitol, and the Republicans are trying to take that money away. We kept calling the White House, Bush kept saying, ‘I gave them my word, I’m going to stick with it.’..."

About the four-minute mark in the video embedded here.

I suppose we should take her word for it.  I mean, she's probably not lying about this.  This is how a "progressive who gets things done" operates, after all.

She is either clueless about the things she says and does, or she just doesn't care what anybody thinks about it.  We already had one president like that, and he's in the photograph above.

Y'all go ahead and hug it out, though.  I'm done.

Update: I'll let the Republicans handle this one (the other gaffe from last night):

In comments that are sure to draw the ire of her Republican critics, Hillary Clinton sought to contrast the war in Iraq with the intervention in Libya during her stint as secretary of state. 
“I’ve said Iraq was a mistake,” Clinton told Chris Matthews during an MSNBC town hall event on Monday night. “Libya was a different kind of calculation. And we didn’t lose a single person. We didn’t have a problem in supporting our European and Arab allies in working with NATO.” 
As Politico noted, Clinton was probably referring to the U.S.-backed overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and not the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, were killed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A few predictions for tomorrow

I've previously forecast that March 1 -- and then March 15 -- would be the day of reckoning for Bernie Sanders and his erstwhile presidential campaign.  I have to extend the deadline further out for that because he continues to rise in the polling, even as Hillary Clinton keeps shooting herself in the foot, the one which also happens to be in her mouth.

New Public Policy Polling surveys of the 5 states that will vote on Tuesday find that the Democratic contests in Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio are all toss ups, while Hillary Clinton maintains a significant advantage in Florida and North Carolina. [...] 
Clinton leads Bernie Sanders just 46/41 in Ohio and 48/45 in Illinois, while narrowly trailing Sanders in Missouri 47/46. Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri are all open primary states and Sanders is benefiting from significant support from independent voters and a small swath of Republicans planning to vote in each state, putting him in position to potentially pull an upset sweep of the region on Tuesday night ...

The race is going to go on for some time; more debates and town hall fora should ultimately be on tap despite resistance from the buffoonish Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the primary schedule is somewhat lighter ahead, with more states moving to 'winner take all' upping the ante.

And the polling could be askew, as it was in Michigan.

Here's what we know: down by 37 in Illinois just five days ago, Sanders is now up by two according to CBS News; down by 30 in Ohio five days ago, Sanders is now down by only single digits; the only polling in Missouri has Sanders in a statistical dead heat with Clinton, per the poll's margin of error; and while the polling in Florida at first blush seems less favorable -- Sanders has "only" cut 17 points off Clinton's 45-point lead in the last 48 hours, according to CBS News -- the Sanders campaign reports its internal polling shows a race in the high single-digits, and given that this internal data turned out to be correct in Michigan, it seems we should all be paying it some mind.

Go read more there as Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook is already sounding the "we're losing!" alarm bells.  Time -- as in tomorrow evening -- will tell, but it looks as if Bernie is going to make it a race for awhile longer.  How much longer?  Won't hazard another guess.

For the Republicans, the outcome seems more certain.

Billionaire Donald Trump has slightly increased his overwhelming lead in Florida to 24 percentage points, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) looks set for a crushing defeat in his home state, according to a Quinnipiac poll released (today).

Everyone say "goodnight, little Marco".  More looking-ahead from Non-Prophet News.

The expectation is that Rubio will drop out after he loses in Florida. If Kasich is able to pull (the upset) off in Ohio, then he will likely stay in the race for the foreseeable future. That's a problem for Ted Cruz less because Kasich will be taking stealing his delegates, but because he will be stealing his media coverage. Kasich is the only one left who hasn't gotten any time in the limelight, and Rubio dropping out sets the perfect stage for everyone to start talking about Kasich and not talking about a two-person race. 
After these states cast their ballots, the calendar cools down until April 26; until then, only four states (Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin, and New York) will vote. That's a long time for a great deal of speculation about the race to occur and conspiracies theories to spread. What happens on Tuesday will go a long way towards setting the narrative of what happens over the next month.

There is no reason to believe that Trump is going to be upset, blocked, or otherwise prevented from the GOP nomination.  Not today, not tomorrow, not at the convention, brokered or not.  There is some reason to believe that Hillary Clinton will.  Everything you'll read and hear after Tuesday night will be spin about the polls or the he said/she said bullshit.  Until we have more debates or more election results, take everything with a shaker of salt.