Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Clinton indictment, and a SCOTUS instruction to the 5th Circuit on TX Voter ID

-- One week from today, Clintonites, and your quiet misery and stoic endurance of the defaming of your standard-bearer will all be over.  Unless she catches an indictment, that is.  And if that happens, it really goes clusterfuck.  This dude -- a former DOJ employee when now-FBI Director James Comey served as deputy AG in the W Bush administration -- says essentially the same thing I did a few weeks ago.  The notable difference being that in the wake of the State Dept. IG report released last week, he does not believe she can escape a federal grand jury's verdict.

No, her self-serving email set-up was not “allowed” under the State Department’s rules.  No, she was not “permitted” to use a personal email system exclusively as she did.  No, what she did was hardly just a matter of her “personal convenience.”  No, there is no evidence that any State Department attorney (other than perhaps Secretary Clinton herself) ever gave “legal approval” to any part of her special email system. No, everything she did was not “fully above board” or in compliance with the “letter and spirit of the rules,” far from it.  Yes, she was indeed required by the FRA to maintain all official emails in an official system for proper review, delineation, and retention upon her departure.  Yes, her private server equipment was in fact the subject of multiple attempted intrusion attempts (i.e., hacks), including by foreign nations.  The list goes on and on.  (Note that this does not even include Ms. Clinton’s many serious “misstatements” about her handling of classified or potentially classified information.)

Now, even the general public is left with the unavoidable conclusion that Ms. Clinton either is ignorant of the law (which too many people know is not so) or else feels blithely untethered to reality in a way that necessarily serves her secretive interests regardless of any truth — the technical legal term for which is “pathological lying,” or perhaps merely “psychosis.”  Not a pretty picture for a voter of any stripe at any stage of the electoral process.

I still can't see it.  Nor can I see this scenario for selecting a replacement presidential nominee should I be wrong and an indictment happens.

So what you must contemplate, as a leader of the Democratic Party, is the very real possibility of your likely presidential candidate actually being indicted, on criminal charges, sometime between now and, say, (a) the time of the convention at the end of July; (b) the time of the general election in early November; or (c) Inauguration Day in January.  Which possibility would you prefer?

Obviously, the answer might well be possibility (d):  No indictment at all.  But if that were not a realistic possibility, and remembering that your absolute imperative in this election cycle is to avoid at all costs ending up with a President Donald Trump, your preference is clear:  You want a Democrat other than either Clinton or Sanders to go up against Trump in November, unorthodox as that might now sound.

In short, you want a Biden/Kerry ticket, a Kerry/Biden one (less likely), or a ticket with either one of them (preferably Vice President Biden) together with whomever Hillary Clinton picks as her running mate in July.

An already-chosen running mate?  Yes, her running mate, chosen by her as the presidential nominee — because you want Clinton to be replaced as your nominee (i.e., after the convention), but not with Senator Sanders, for all the reasons stated above.

That was a fun and fanciful read, but I remain of the mind that Clinton skates, becomes the nominee, and is elected president.  YMMV.

Update: This doesn't mean as much as they think it means.  The author of the original, Frank Huguenard, is fairly well-known crackpot (but Snopes should get his name spelled correctly).

-- It doesn't happen much any more that an op-ed outside the Lone Star State weighs in on the lavatory of democracy that is Texas, our Texas, but the WaPo did, and the headline is 'Texas Voter ID chicanery'.  It's a worthwhile rehash of where we are at this moment, but here's the nut graf.

It remains unclear whether the Texas law will apply in the November elections, but the Supreme Court, apparently eager for clarity by then, instructed a federal appeals court in New Orleans to render its judgment by July 20. 

If the en banc review upholds the law, then that decision will be immediately repealed to an 8-member SCOTUS.  No bets taken on that verdict.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Weekly Memorial Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance says that whether you buy a new mattress, grill a steak, go to the movies, or do nothing but rest, remember the reason for the seasonal holiday you're enjoying today.

Here's the weekly blog post roundup.

Off the Kuff rounds up coverage of Ken Paxton's latest anti-transgender lawsuit/publicity stunt.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos remembers Ken Starr and his role as the Republican Grand Inquisitor during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Socratic Gadfly, looking ahead to the general election and his mentions already of "Plan B" and Green Party voting, takes note of what he calls anti-third party electoral bigotry.

Some incredible pictures of the sky were included with flood photos from Houston's most recent monsoon at PDiddie's Brains and Eggs.

Asian American Action Fund writes about the 2016 Asian vote with references to Alexander Hamilton and the Fair Housing Act, and Egberto Willies also passes along news that the community is moving toward the Democrats in record numbers.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston says that when it comes to the Texas electricity website, all we really have is the Power to Complain.

The Lewisvlle Texan Journal reports that the fish are biting, but you may have a little trouble finding a place to put your boat in.

Texas Leftist praises Mayor Sylvester Turner for getting his municipal budget passed quickly and unanimously by Houston city council.

In his ongoing efforts to demonstrate that life is fun and hopeful, Neil at All People Have Value posted a photo of some Kroger shopping carts aligned with palm trees in the parking lot.  APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


Think Progress reports on Rep. Louie Gohmert's contention that Matt Damon's movie "The Martian" proves that anti-gay bigotry is justified.

Ashton Woods at Strength in Numbers keyboards an open letter to the Sanders campaign challenging their characterization of a meeting with HIV/AIDS activists.

Marian Wizard Vasquez at The Rag Blog, in her first dispatch from Belize, gets a glimmer of the 'colonial fatalism' that decrees "that's just the way things are".

Prairie Weather takes a look at the Clintons' "none of your business" trap.

Space City Weather examines the two days and two massive storms that hit Texas last week.

The Dallas Morning Views asks whether we should question the public reputation of Chris Kyle by considering his resume' plagiarism.

LawFlog takes a look at another alleged threatening e-mail from US Judge Walter Smith, Jr.

And Pages of Victory fondly recalls attending the kiddie matinees with his brothers.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Funnies, Grand Old Potty edition

Drip, drip, drip.  I still think she can skate over the thin ice all the way to Washington, but there are smart people who would rather not understand why Bernie stays in the race (seriously smart; see narcissism of small differences) and morons who will never get it.  Sanders gives them, and people like them, a flaming hemorrhoid.  They are most definitely still feeling the Bern, and I'm not giving them any aloe vera.

On our national holiday honoring those who died serving their country, let's make sure we don't neglect -- or condescend to -- those who made it back home.  And let's honor the service of both by not sending any more young men into war.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Photos from Houston's latest monsoon

There was a sky at dusk yesterday evening as the torrent finally relented that I have rarely ever seen. These pictures simply don't do it justice.

(all pics courtesy Houston Chronicle)

And after dusk.

Update: This collection from Melissa Law on Facebook ...

 ... with several of this apocalyptic cloud formation.

 Some cows got loose on 290, caused a little traffic backup.

The Texas Observer graphically explains our challenges.  We flooded like hell a year ago on Memorial Day weekend, you might recall.  At this point we're damned if we do and damned (or maybe it's dammed) if we don't.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Long Weekend Funnies: Hillary got served edition

Not to be seen on blogs drinking the Blue Koolaid...

Long weekend plans

Relaxing and reading.

-- Mrs. Diddie is recuperating from having the rest of her left rear quarter panel replaced (her knee was switched out in January; her hip yesterday).  Except for some post-operative high blood pressure which responded to medication, she's doing well this morning.

-- The best thing I have read about why the largest banks aren't being prosecuted is posted at ProPublica: they actually are, but the appeals courts are rescuing them.  Just as appalling as it sounds.

-- Andrea Grimes speaks for me on the subject of public bathrooms.

I’m more than a little creeped out about where the minds of men such as Paxton and Patrick seem to go when they think about public restrooms. There’s a certain predilection for prurience in drawing a straight line between “public restroom” and “opportunity to sexually assault a woman or child.” In the most disturbing example, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, the East Texas Republican, recently said in a radio interview that he’d have jumped at the chance to pretend to be transgender as a teenager in order to infiltrate the girls’ bathroom at his school.

When I think about public restrooms, I’m usually thinking about whether there’s going to be a functional soap dispenser or one of those fun Dyson hand dryers. I’m less likely to wonder if they will afford me an opportunity to commit a sex crime.

-- Alzheimer's may be due to bacterial infections.  An immune system response.  That would completely change the thinking about how the disease might be treated -- or warded off, if you have a genetic dispensation (as I do).

-- From Wikileaks, this e-mail passed through Hillary Clinton's private server.  Twice.  Maybe 'gold', 'oil', and 'Qaddafi' were just code words for Chelsea's wedding. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two bacon cheese triple patty nothingburgers to go, please.

This was the foulest load of crap I read on the topic yesterday.  It covered nearly every space on my Brockhole Bingo card.

Let's establish that my primary objection isn't the casual dismissal of this matter by Hillary Clinton herself -- I would expect no less than her condescending rejection at this point -- but the stubborn and rigid attempts of her lickspittles to aggressively discount her probable violations of the law with logic like "I don't care" or "nothingburger".

This is both Nixonian and Dubya-like in its unquestioning faith placed in a corrupt leader.

Once the FBI investigation concludes with no indictment, nobody -- but nobody -- will have the power to hold Hillary Clinton accountable to anything except the people resolutely lined up behind her.  She certainly doesn't give a good goddamn what anybody else thinks.  She will only hear the calls for full disclosure with the expectation of bringing an end to this episode if the stooges currently defending the indefensible rouse themselves from their intellectual torpor and start to question a few things.

If she won't come clean now... when?

In other news: a Trump/Sanders debate.  Priceless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Winners and losers from last night's returns

-- It's the battle of the incompetent politicos with fortunate surnames for the right to regulate the Texas oil and gas industry (aka the Railroad Commission).  Grady not-Ralph Yarbrough not-Yarborough won his runoff against Cody Garrett, and will face off with Wayne Christian (from now on, appearing in this space as Xtian), who defeated 7-time loser (don't get any Mucus on you if you click this link) on the GOP side, Gary Gates.  The news that broke in this race:

This is another Hobbsian choice, a Sid Miller/Junior Samples rerun of a statewide contest. Your best option will be the Green Party candidate, Martina Salinas (though she should update her Facebook page, maybe get a website).

-- Ed Gonzalez will be Harris County's next sheriff after besting Jerome Moore in the runoff.  Rebecca Elliott at the Chronic refries the beans for the fall tilt ...

Gonzalez's victory set the stage for a potential replay of 2008, when former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, a mentor to Gonzalez, unseated longtime Republican Sheriff Tommy Thomas amid a Democratic resurgence led by Barack Obama.

Garcia resigned last May to run for Houston mayor, prompting members of the county's Commissioners Court to tap Ron Hickman as his replacement.

Gonzalez, who has called on the sheriff's office to help reduce recidivism through correctional education, boost transparency and increase jail inspections, distanced his leadership style from Hickman's.

"I think we can do much better," Gonzalez said. "He's had about a year to kind of make his mark on the agency, and I think there's been some questionable decisions that have been made, so I'm looking forward to a very contested general election battle."

Hickman, who sailed through the March 1 GOP primary, has touted improvements to agency morale and cost-savings initiatives. However, he has come under fire in recent months for understaffing and overcrowding at the jail, as well as the death of four inmates who were assaulted or suffered head trauma while incarcerated.

Gonzalez, for his part, is likely to face renewed scrutiny for taking home six homicide case files when he left the Houston Police Department in 2009. Police charged a suspect in one of those murder cases within two weeks of receiving the file years later.

Hickman starts with a sizable financial advantage over Gonzalez, with $227,000 in the bank in February, compared to Gonzalez's $43,000 as of mid-May. 

I voted for Gonzalez because he was the only candidate in the race who opposed 287(g), a callously inhumane Obama immigration policy.  And I was appalled by former sheriff Garcia's active prosecution of it.

Latinos have every right to demand -- and expect -- progress from a Hillary administration regarding this, and if the long-awaited Latino surge in voter turnout finally shows up to vote against Drumpf, Clinton and Gonzalez and many other Democrats in Harris County and Texas and the United States -- and as referenced above, perhaps even a Green Latina -- will be the beneficiaries.

-- Winning their elections but still losers in life include Jarvis Johnson (as predicted), Ron Reynolds (as predicted) and Judge Elaine Palmer and JP Hilary (ex-wife of former City Controller Ron) Green.  You had better options, voters, but the real blame goes to the 97% or so who couldn't be afflicted to participate in this runoff.  When you allow cronies, flacks, and insiders to pick your representatives, you get governed by your inferiors.

... Reynolds attracted support from an array of elected officials including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green and the Democratic party chair of Fort Bend (Don Bankston). Reynolds noted that none of his legislative peers were calling for his resignation.

(Challenger Angelique) Bartholomew's campaign sought to capitalize on the criminal allegations involving Reynolds, as did Annie's List, a statewide group supporting progressive and pro-choice women that endorsed Bartholomew. "The pattern of wrongdoing is stunning!" one news release from Annie's List stated.

In a press release, Reynolds described that characterization of him as "negative smears."

As I have reminded the most ignorant of Clinton supporters, facts are not attacks.

Other events that trailed Reynolds included a ruling from a Harris County judge in April that ordered the representative to pay $504,000 in damages for failing to give a mother her share of a settlement in lawsuit related to her daughter's death in a car crash.

That same day, in Austin, the State Board of Disciplinary Appeals held a hearing to consider whether Reynolds could continue to practice law in Texas. According to an order subsequently filed, Reynolds was suspended pending the outcome of his criminal conviction.

This man is not qualified to serve, but only further convictions may deter him from doing so.  The Democratic voters of Fort Bend County certainly won't exercise due diligence in this regard.

So things are looking good for African American Democrats locally, as they swept nearly every single race across the region.  Harris County Latinos, similarly, have lots of bright prospects for the fall.  Despite my snark, Team Blue has a strong lineup to take back the county in a little over five months, and I'll hoist a glass in their general direction this holiday weekend.

Now that we'll shortly have more Democrats in office, how about some better ones also?

Update: Goodbye, Mary Lou.  The only time you will have been mentioned here, and with your Lord's help, never to be seen or heard from again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Revolution News Update, Vol. 5: Inevitability is almost here

-- According to Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight.com (who has only been wrong a time or two), Hillary Clinton will clinch the nomination on June 7 -- two weeks from today -- once the polls close in New Jersey, a couple of hours before the polls close in California.   So maybe that's what she meant when she said California's votes won't be counting.

(But Ted will still be an asshole long after that.  Those will be the last clicks he gets from here for a while; you won't be finding him in the Wrangle or in the blogroll to the right any longer.  He voluntarily deported from my Facebook friends list recently, which saved me four seconds' worth of my time and trouble purging him myself.  Bye Felicia, Ted.  Hope to see ya in San Antone next month so I can punch you in the nose.)

-- So we'll see what kind of good Democrats Sanders delegates plan to be in San Antonio at the TDP state convention three and a half weeks from now. The people organizing the delegation are stressing harmony and cooperation, which really isn't tasting like my brand of tea at the moment.

I have media and delegate credentials, but except for a sudden desire to straighten Ted and a few other people out, I'm disinclined to attend the convention at all.  Just won't be able to stomach all the Clinton slobbering and fawning.

-- Let's emphasize: Hillary Clinton is in no danger -- not at the moment and probably not ever -- of failing to be elected president of the United States.  Disregard national horse race polls that show her neck-and-neck with Drumpf, and remind yourself that we do not elect presidents by popular vote.  That is and always has been nothing more than careless media spin.  Pay attention only to state polling in an Electoral College scenario.  Those polls continue to hold Clinton as a prohibitive favorite.  The WaPo's first take, for example, has several states as tossups that really aren't:

Their very conservative estimate above gives Clinton 201 EC votes and Trump 164.

Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada -- by Cillizza and Bump's own admission -- are not seriously swing states.  Add them (51) to Clinton's tally and she is just 18 votes from the White House.  That's Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Iowa.  Or either one of Florida or Ohio.

This premise gives no weight to the formidable (relative to their history) challenge to Trump's electoral prospects by the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and former MA Gov. William Weld, mentioned at the end of RNU Vol. 4.  Whereas the US Green Party is currently ballot-eligible in just 21 states, the Libs are on in 32.  That turns a couple of tossups blue all by itself, IMHO.

And if Arizona and Georgia are truly in play, then Drumpf has no chance at all.  Go ahead, play around with the map yourself.  It's not going to be Landslide Lyndon territory for the former Goldwater Girl, but it's not going to be very close, either.

With these thirteen states -- I contend it's less than ten -- being the only ones where anybody's votes might matter, that leaves a lot of Americans with the opportunity to vote their conscience.  Their votes for Trump or Johnson, in California or New York or every other solidly blue state above, won't elect Clinton president.  Likewise, a vote for Jill Stein in Texas will not -- cannot -- elect Trump.  But you'll continue to see this logical fallacy repeated by Hillbots from now until Election Day.  It's no more true than blaming Ralph Nader for Al Gore's loss in 2000.  Now, it's possible that a vote for Johnson-Weld in a swing state could be blamed for Clinton's victory in November, but only if you believe the false premise that Libertarian votes belong to the GOP ... just as Green votes are owned entirely by Dems (sic).  Ross Perot caught grief for Slick Willie and his two terms in 1992 and '96, but let's leave the GOP to fight amongst themselves over that.

Let's call the Clintons extremely lucky in politics, if nothing else.

An indictment of Hillary Clinton by a federal grand jury, presented with evidence that she criminally mishandled classified information could upset the apple cart, but I believe that's simply unlikely to happen (even if she is guilty of the crime, which she very likely is).  And certainly there's a slight chance that she could fuck up a sure thing in some other way.  But I can't see it happening.  Clinton may be a monster; absolutely capable of serious errors in judgment but she is not quite as self-destructive as Trump, and certainly not to the same magnitude.

From the standpoint of a handful of social issues -- women's reproductive freedoms, extending civil rights to all of the LGBTQ community, perhaps some ground regained in voting rights, and some for the obstructionists lost in voter suppression and disenfranchisement -- a Clinton 2.0 administration is a good, good thing.  From the view of incremental advancement in other areas (the federal minimum wage, maybe some of that old Clinton magic dust sprinkled around the economy), Hillary's definition of 'progressive', like Nevada being a swing state, is a charade.

And as for more wars, drone assassinations, the continuing Svengali-like control of corporate lobbyists over her and Congress, and the resulting legislation that further enriches the banks, pharmaceutical companies, and Big Oil and Gas to the detriment of our environment and our health, financial and otherwise ... we might be in worse shape than if we somehow got Trump.  Il Douche, the neofascist, would make no pretense of exceeding capitalism's worst and greediest dreams; Clinton would say she'd do something about it and then not.  Yes, prevarication coupled with the pillaging is worse.

So a lot of Americans, perhaps many more than ever in history, will see no difference between the Demoblican and the Republicrat and won't vote as a result.  That has the odd consequence of making the votes of those who do worth more ... just as our historically low turnout elections for runoffs in Texas and municipal elections in Houston do the same.  Enabling the most fanatical about politics, however, aggravates the system's and its players' worst instincts.

Your vote has more influence in a low-turnout scenario, but simultaneously produces lousier representation and a shittier democracy.  The smallest number of people carrying the greatest weight -- as with the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 -- often produces Murphy's Law-like consequences ... such as 9/11, My Pet Goat, pre-emptive wars based upon lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, American soldiers and the CIA performing torture on innocent Iraqi citizens, Congressional reports about the torture being destroyed accidentally, all while the drones and bombings and special forces' boots on the ground in country proliferate, inflaming Muslim extremists in a dozen nations around the world ... which inevitably results in more wars.

Round and round we go, until there's nothing left.

So vote or don't, Berners.  You may not perceive that it makes any difference in your lives either way, and from a certain point of view you're not mistaken.  As for me, I'll vote my principles.  That lets me sleep well at night.

Runoff election today, Harris Commissioner forum, and more

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance doesn't get paid for not working for Ken Paxton or George P. Bush as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff just shakes his head at the Supreme Court punt on birth control.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos explores the deep disconnect between the recently ratified Texas Republican Party's platform and the views of residents in Houston, the state’'s largest city. Political Divide: Texas GOP - Its braying buffoons and "penurious reactionaries" are not who we are.

Socratic Gadfly looks at the most recent imbroglio, or whatever, involving Dallas County DA Susan Hawk, and fires both barrels, saying she needs to resign AND the Dallas media needs to do a MUCH better job covering this issue.

The latest revolution update is posted by PDiddie at Brain and Eggs.

McBlogger says the Dark Ages have descended in Austin with the departure of Uber and Lyft.

Egberto Willies detailed his own bad medical experience to underscore the continuing problems with for-profit health care in the USA.

The Lewisville Texan Journal reviews the art show "Strictly Texas", on display there.

An oily substance covering the town of Mansfield, TX couldn't be blamed on pickles, by the account at TXsharon's Bluedaze.

Neil at All People Have Value walked around downtown Houston this week with a sign that called for us to respect one another. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

And Dos Centavos eulogizes Emilio Navaira.


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

Trail Blazers reveals that like Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush has also been paying state employees not to work; the difference is he's paid them not to sue him or the department.

The WAWG Blog observes that the Gig Economy enables you to have the right to work for slave wages as your own CEO.

Make West Texas Great Again notes that even newly re-elected RPT chair Tom Mechler sees the fallacy of having God as your campaign manager.

Jonathan Tilove at First Reading is all aTwitter about Don Willett,  the state SCOTX justice whose name appeared on Donald Trump's short list of potential SCOTUS nominees.

The Texas Observer's review of HBO's All The Way, the biodrama about LBJ, suggests a kindler, gentler, somewhat less crude portrayal of the nation's 36th president.

Robert Rivard excoriates the Supreme Court decision upholding the school finance system, and Better Texas Blog forecasts a scary future for Texas' children as a result of that ruling.

Christopher Hooks contemplates Ted Cruz's future.

Leah Binkovitz rethinks urban design in the wake of recent flooding.

Offcite reviews several new books on transportation.

The Lunch Tray documents a falling-out between the School Nutrition Association and House Republicans.

Save Buffalo Bayou reports on the sieges of herons and the skewers of egrets.

And Pages of Victory is adjusting to his chronological age.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Revolution News Update, Vol. 4 Surrender Bernie edition

(Yesterday), Chris Cuomo had the temerity to use conditional language in speaking of Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for President.
It didn’t go over well.
The relevant portion of the transcript is below:
CUOMO (CNN): So you get into the general election, if you’re the nominee for your party, and —
CLINTON: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.
CUOMO: There’s a Senator from Vermont who has a different take on that —
CUOMO: He says he’s going to fight to the end —
CLINTON: Yeah, it’s strange.
It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race — even though it’s now widely accepted that Clinton can’t win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don’t vote for more than two months — at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds — and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.
CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

Seth Abramson is a dreamer, a bit ungrounded, but it's the Queen's reality I'm having more trouble with.  Just a bit too dictatorial for my taste.  "California, your votes won't be counted because they don't matter"?  Once upon a time -- not too long ago, in this galaxy -- Democrats called tactics like that voter suppression and disenfranchisement.

I had a brief conversation with one of David Brock's employees on Twitter this past week, mentioned something about 'tyranny of the majority", she didn't know what that meant and refused to try to figure it out.  You can't make the horse's asses drink the water.

My two observations about Hillbot behavior this cycle are 1) they just don't care that she's a war-mongering, lying, corporate shill, and 2) they see people like me saying things like that about Hillary as a personal attack upon themselves.  This is chosen ignorance.  The blind who will not see.

It's hard to hold them fully accountable for their obtuseness and misdirected anger when it is coming directly from the top.  I'm trying real hard, Ringo, to give 'em a pass, but on some level the only thing left to do is disengage.  That's what I have done and am doing with the worst and dumbest among their lot.

-- Maha:

I told someone this morning that it’s starting to feel like 1971 again; Sanders supporters are the antiwar movement, and the Democratic Party and its loyalists are the Nixon Administration. What should have been a temporary disagreement is turning into a generation-changing moment that will hurt the Democratic Party for years to come.

It feels more like 1980 to me, with Sanders as Ted Kennedy and Clinton as Jimmy Carter.  That ugly split in the Democratic Party gave us Ronald Reagan, and the Dems, in their shock, awe, and fear turned toward more autocratic, top-down authority in their candidate selection process, aka superdelegates, the unelected Democratic nobility.

What parties do tend to do is to react to the last election. 1972 was a real trauma for the Democrats—the beginning of the end of the New Deal coalition. Then Jimmy Carter loses in 1980—two Republican landslides in 10 years. In each case, the Democrats were very unhappy with their nominees and their president, for different reasons. They thought George McGovern was too far to the left, that his coalition alienated the regular party and so on. 1972 was also what created the Reagan Democrats who by 1980 were voting Republican.


How did the bitter fight between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy for the Democratic nomination in 1980 figure in the Hunt Commission’s deliberations?

It was a particularly ugly fight that left very deep wounds in the party. As those floor debates were going on and Kennedy was making his statement speech, there were no party leaders on the floor. There was nobody there to put things back together.

The McGovern-Fraser reforms were aimed at opening up the party to other factions, particularly the anti-war faction in the late ’60s and early ’70s. But that didn’t mean that they wanted to cut out the entire party apparatus, which is what happened. A lot of what the Hunt Commission talked about was restoring the balance at the nominating convention.

The Hunt Commission brought the theory of superdelegates into practice; that, as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has enunciated, "Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists."

Those dirty hippies.  Freaking peasants, what do they know?

-- The Bradblog interviews Jill Stein on their most recent podcast, which means you can listen to it at your leisure.  Here's bit from it.

"The guys running the show in the Democratic Party are basically the funders --- and that's predatory banks, fossil fuel giants, war profiteers, and insurance companies," Stein tells me. "With the Democratic Party you see basically a 'fake left-go right' situation, where they allow principled, inspired campaigns to stand up and be seen, but they sabotage them when push comes to shove. That, unfortunately, is what we see going on right now with the Sanders campaign, which is making a valiant effort here to do the right thing and change the party."


"This politics of fear that tells you you have to vote against what you're afraid of, instead of for what you believe in --- the politics of fear has a track record. It has delivered everything we were afraid of. All of the things you were told you had to bite your tongue and let the 'lesser evil' speak for you --- we've gotten all those things, by the droves. The expanding wars, the meltdown of the climate, the offshoring of our jobs, the attack on immigrants. We've gotten all of that." Stein says. "Not that there aren't some differences between the two parties, but they're not enough to save your life, to save your job, or to save your planet. This is a race to the bottom between the two sold-out corporate parties."

-- And just so we don't leave anybody out: Gary Johnson of the Libertarians has picked his running mate for 2016, and it's former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.  That's the #NeverTrump wing of the GOP's very best option.  Need to do what I can again to help those folks along, if only so that the Hillbots don't keep hatin' on the player, and not the plutocratic game.

Related to that, a report that the Koch Bros would funding the Johnson-Weld ticket to an eight-figure tune was gently denied by the campaign.

Five and a half months to go 'til November, the TDP state convention in a month -- I predict another Hillaryian shitshow like Nevada, what with the odious Gilberto Hinojosa already spreading his hate of Sandernistas in a now-deleted FB post -- and then the disrupting going on at both national conventions this summer.  Hurricanes or no, we're in for a really rough ride.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

And starring Ron Reynolds as Ken Paxton

Hasn't been within disgust tolerance limits for me to weigh in on, so thanks to the Observer for doing the dirty job.  The only difference between this guy and the AG is he's playing the race card instead of the 'persecuted Christian' card.

If Texas state Representative Ron Reynolds loses his fight against a 2015 conviction for ambulance chasing, the popular Fort Bend County Democrat may go to jail. But the three-term House member is running for reelection anyway — and using the conviction, which he says is racially motivated, as fuel for his campaign.

No wait, it's the Clarence Thomas card.

Since Reynolds’ conviction, which was handed down by a Montgomery County jury in November, the incumbent has [been] saying that he was “singled out because of [his] status as an African-American elected official.” He has also characterized the conviction as a “modern-day lynching” coming from a predominantly white county.
“Those are strong words,” Reynolds told Houston’s ABC affiliate. “I believe that this was so severe in the way that they went after me, and the way they went out to attack my character. They wanted nothing more than to paint me as a bad, bad black politician.”
Mustafa Tameez, a Houston area communications and public affairs consultant, says the conviction seems to be working in Reynolds’ favor.
“We’re seeing scandals, rather than [negatively] affecting the candidates, are becoming a rallying cry to galvanize the base,” he said. “There is a tactic in American politics now, that if you attack the media and you attack the system … that your primary electoral base is likely to give you a pass.”

Tell me about those differences between the GOP and the Dems again?

It’s a strategy that’s worked well for Republicans in recent months. In his run to secure the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked reporters. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has come under fire for spending taxpayer dollars on personal trips, has attributed his troubles to the “liberal left” attacking his Christian beliefs.
And then there’s Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was facing a potential securities fraud indictment during his 2014 runoff against Dan Branch. He still managed to win 66 percent of the vote. In July 2015 — seven months after taking office — he was formally indicted and now faces an additional federal lawsuit.
Like Reynolds, Paxton is vowing to fight the charges to the end.

It's gone like this for a long time now for Reynolds.

Reynolds entered his first primary race with more than just a conviction: Former clients have filed multiple lawsuits alleging legal malpractice, and he’s racking up significant legal expenses. Reynolds also can’t practice law during his appeal, and the Houston Chronicle called for him to drop out of the House race.

I'm sure it's all a conspiracy.

I just can't tolerate this kind of behavior as well as I used to.  If Democrats want this kind of person representing them, then that's on them.

Reynolds has the support of Houston bigwigs such as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and state Representative Senfronia Thompson, and says dropping out would be a “disservice” to his constituents.
“The people here they think I’m doing a great job,” he said. “So why would I appease a small fraction of my constituents that don’t want to see me in office?”
Don Bankston, chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats, describes HD 27 voters as intensely loyal, and many give Reynolds a pass.“Most people don’t relate to [ambulance chasing], they don’t see a real issue with it,” Bankston said.

That's almost exactly what RNC head Reince Preibus said about Trump and women on This Weak with Snufflelugas last Sunday morning.  Congratulations, Mr. Chairman; you've also passed your sell-by date.

Hazel Lundy, a 65-year-old Fort Bend County precinct judge and Democrat, has supported Reynolds “since day one.” Rather than the legal issues, Lundy judges Reynolds on his legislative record, especially his joint sponsorship of a bill expanding the use of police body cameras. While Lundy hesitates to call the conviction racially motivated, the way officials orchestrated Reynolds’ arrest — complete with a grey and black striped jumpsuit and handcuffs — gave her pause.
“Some of that is a bit disturbing,” she said. “I don’t want to call everything racial … but even a blind eye could see some of that.”

Reynolds and his supporters haven't just blamed the vagaries of the criminal justice system with respect to black folks, which is a legitimate concern that Reynolds has parlayed into a sympathetic appeal for himself.  What's happening to Rep. Reynolds and what happened to Sandra Bland are not comparable.

He and his runoff challenger, Angelique Bartholomew, have gone at each other hammer and tong.

Bartholomew also frequently reminds voters of Reynolds’ legal rapsheet, and Reynolds has starting firing back, highlighting Bartholomew’s four bankruptcies, which she largely attributed to the economic downturn.
Reynolds has also targeted Bartholomew’s 2005 involvement with a local Republican organization, which she confirmed, adding that she got involved at a time before she became interested in politics. She told the Observer she’s “definitely” progressive, supporting Medicaid expansion, increases to public education funding, and birth control and abortion access.
“In the process of getting active and volunteering in the community, I worked with Republican women, and I still will work with Republican women,” she said. “I work with women, and I think that women’s issues are unique to any other issue.”

Reynolds nearly won the first round with 48.5 percent of the vote, and conventional political wisdom says an incumbent would be in serious danger in a runoff.  But this part of Fort Bend County isn't conventional.

Bartholomew, who is also African American, and Reynolds are fighting to represent Texas House District 27, one of the fastest growing counties in the country. The predominantly African American and Hispanic district is home to about 170,000 voters and hasn’t seen a Democratic primary since 2010, when Reynolds beat seven-term incumbent Dora Olivo.

So I expect to see Reynolds sent back to Austin to represent the people of the 27th... for as long as he can stay out of prison, that is.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Revolution news update (3rd in a continuing series)

(If you missed the first two posts, they're here and here.)

As the dust is still unsettled following the events in Nevada and the results in Kentucky and Oregon from last night, one thing is clear: the battle between insurgent progressives and the Democratic establishment is now fully engaged.

And the sheep are nervous.  Their lackeys in the media have turned ominous.  Twitter is the zeitgeist this cycle and if you want to see what's unfolding, look at these two trending topics the morning after the tie in the Bluegrass State last night.  Look fast, though, because it won't be relevant to this conversation a week from now.

The first thing we should establish, for the benefit of the slow-thinking Hillaryians among us, is that the revolution is here, and it's here to stay.  It's not going away after Bernie finally loses the nomination fight in a week or two, it's going to be heard one final time in Philadelphia, and then it's on to November.  Calling the revolutionaries 'violent', using the D Team's rules against them in a tyranny of the majority, and even a little putzy snark casually directed at anybody who dares to think outside the two-party box just feeds the beast.

I don't think most Hillbots get that, though, and I'm lovin' that.  On to the headlines ...

-- The pot's boiling over.

It was really just a matter of time.
With the Democratic presidential primary in its twilight, frustration within the ranks over the party's handling of the primary process spilled out this week as Bernie Sanders supporters lashed out at party leaders, arguing that their candidate has been treated unfairly. 
The public outpouring of anger began last weekend at the Nevada Democratic Party convention, where Sanders supporters who said Hillary Clinton's backers had subverted party rules shouted down pro-Clinton speakers and sent threatening messages to state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange after posting her phone number and address on social media. 
That led Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other top party leaders to demand an apology and publicly ruminate on the possibility of violence at the Democratic National Convention in July as they prepare for a general election battle with Donald Trump.

A Democratic Party managed by the likes of Ms. Lange and Ms. Wasserman-Schultz is simply not a party I can stand to be a part of. 

Throughout the year, Sanders and his supporters have complained about the nomination process and ways they believe it has helped Clinton, including debates held on Saturday nights, closed primaries in major states such as New York, and the use of superdelegates -- essentially free-agent party and union stalwarts who are overwhelmingly backing Clinton.

This has to change, because if it doesn't, their Democratic Party has set themselves up for a massive and catastrophic failure in November.

But whether that happens or not:  What kind of loser will Bernie Sanders be?  I'm hoping it's a sore one, because his supporters certainly are ... and have every right to be.  In the best example I've seen yet of the establishment's cluelessness, there's so much wrong in this piece I almost didn't include it, but you know, blind hogs and acorns.  Here's the nut.

The next chapter of Democratic politics isn’t about Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders; that battle has already been resolved. It is the war between Clinton-ism (the pragmatic progressivism that has defined the party since 1992) and Sanders-ism (an unapologetic socialism that is more ambitious, and more risky, than anything the party has proposed since the New Deal). And wars tend to be bloody.

Yeah, in revolutions chairs tend to be thrown.  Sometimes elbows and even punches.

-- In this, from Mimi Swartz, you see the same mistakes being repeated by the Elitist Caucus of the Clintonite Party, Houston chapter ... which has given the nation the very worst of the Republican Party (Tom DeLay, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, etc.).

Hillary Clinton is coming to town, but not for any public events. Instead, she plans to appear at a fund-raiser at a loyalist’s grand Houston home. The cost of attending is detailed on the Evite: $2,700 for a Champion, $1,000 for a Fighter and $500 for an Advocate (not surprisingly, first to sell out).

No doubt Mrs. Clinton could draw an adoring crowd, but it’s accepted as a waste of time for national Democratic candidates to come here to seek actual votes, as opposed to cash. Texas has become as predictably red as California and New York are blue, with the predictable result that it has become nearly irrelevant in the presidential races.

These Democrats, like their GOP counterparts, have more money than sense.  Sheep passively lining up to be shorn, and then sent to slaughter.  Have you ever heard of a lamb sacrificing itself, though?  A mutton cutting off its own wool, or slitting its throat?

(While the Republicans took over the state), Texas Democrats’ case of learned helplessness became chronic. They hardly bother to run for dogcatcher. Wendy Davis’s ignominious defeat in her 2014 run for governor proved it was time to start over, but strategic efforts have not taken off.

“They spend a lot of time updating voter files, but nobody knows how to use those things,” one longtime Democrat told me. The difference between pragmatism and self-pity has become hard to discern. That was never the norm.

It's tragic, I know.  Brutal self-examination prior to a pending emotional breakdown is hard intellectual work, but the alternative is full collapse.  It could get worse than it already is, if the people in charge of the Texas Democratic Party state convention -- already in possession of a three-to-one margin of delegates to national, and more than that overseeing the rules, credentials, and other committees -- try to pull off a Nevada-style purge.

-- I don't think my warnings are going to stop them, however.  So then we get to ...

Most voters are not excited about their current presidential options. Polls show that only 36 percent of the country has a favorable view of Trump, who is currently cleaving the GOP establishment in two without a hint of remorse. Hillary Clinton is doing only slightly better at 42 percent.
Only Bernie Sanders has a favorability rating above 50 percent, but his campaign has been unable to usurp the entrenched powers in the Democratic Party and is largely seen as an exercise in movement building at this point.

Another excerpt that doesn't do the original justice for its insights.

Whether widespread cynicism will motivate voters to support third-party long shots or simply drive down turnout may largely depend on how much exposure the alternative candidates get. Front-runners like Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarians John McAfee and Gary Johnson are enjoying some media coverage and appearances on network TV, but it's nothing like the daily obsession over Clinton, Sanders and especially Trump, who regularly generates headlines by offending pretty much everyone besides guaranteed Republican primary voters.
It's clear that television exposure is one key to electoral success; Trump's made-for-TV personality propelled him to the top of a major party. Thus, the Greens and Libertarians have ramped up legal efforts to force the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to require the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the nonprofit that sponsors the debates, to include their candidates during prime-time programming.

That's pretty even-handed, yes?

(Green Pary spokesman Scott) McLarty said it appears clear that Sanders will not stage an independent campaign and will endorse Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination. However, McLarty emphasized that the movement Sanders inspired will continue, and its first challenge to the dominant political system should be to demand that a Green Party candidate is included in the presidential debates.
"You know, if you're in the movement for single-payer universal health care, which Bernie very strongly supports, as the Green Party does too ... [and then] to say, 'well, we are not going to push for the Green Party candidate to get into the debate because we want Hillary, the lesser evil, to get elected' ... then you are basically silencing your own point of view," McLarty said. "And I don't see any movement having any success if it participates in its own silence."

So -- despite that elbow to the Berners' ribs from McLarty -- on a more direct observation, and not to let anybody off the hook here: it's on the Greens to do what they need to do in order to capture the revolutionary movement's most fervent supporters.  Either that or more "violence" (sic) is in the offing.  Sanders isn't going to move his people over to the Peace Party for them.

Clinton and her ilk is going to do all the chasing off that gets done, and that's going to be significant enough, but Stein, et.al. needs to get the net into the surf and scoop.

There's more to say and to link to, but if I wrote any longer then nobody would, you know, be able to finish reading it all or fully digest what's already in this.  So I'll probably have a fourth edition of RNU by this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Runoff voting period opens; P Slate isn't enthused

Readers made inquiries over the past few days, and I responded pithily that I wasn't all that interested in local Democratic politics, politicians, and low participation runoffs any longer.  But I realized we have to pick a county sheriff candidate, a state railroad commission candidate/ sacrificial lamb, and  a couple of county judges, so I took out my mailings and consulted a few folks online, then I went and voted about noon yesterday at the Fiesta on Kirby.

About fifty had already done so ahead of me; two or three came and went while I was there, which was less than 5 minutes.  It took me longer to walk in from the parking lot and to sign in than it did to cast my ballot.  According to the spreadsheet I got from Stan Stanart last night after the polls closed, that was half of the 104 who also showed yesterday at the grocery store and made their voices heard.

The only one I had to ponder was sheriff.  I was originally in the bank for Ed Gonzalez, but Cody Pogue wrote something thoughtful that made me consider -- but ultimately reject -- Jerome Moore.  He's a fine candidate and would make an excellent sheriff if elected, and so will Gonzalez.

I voted for Cody Garrett for RR, quite obviously.  Fredericka Phillips is a nice lady but she's already a vice chair in the TDP, a DNC member and allegedly an uncommitted superdelegate, and that's just too much establishment cred for me so I voted for her opponent, Julie Countiss.

I flipped a coin for the other judgeship on my ballot and it came up Rabeea Collier.

JoAnn Storey and Cheryl Elliott Thornton are running against two of the lousiest people holding office in Harris County (whom I won't name again, it just gets old having to mention electeds that seem to lack basic morals or values), so vote for these women and not the incumbents.

I don't get to decide between Jarvis Johnson and Kim Willis in HD-139, but if I did, Willis would be far and away the best choice.

Charles runs down the data you need to cast your ballot (you'll get some of these races but not all of them, like I did) and Stace lists his preferences.