Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Daily Jackass: Misandry Angie

There's a lot of bile in her two-parter, but this is the only segment worth excerpting.

You may remember that the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore came down to Florida, where each major candidate took about 48.5% of the vote, and third party candidate Ralph Nader took around 3%. The closeness of the race, the suspected election fraud in Tampa, the hanging chads in Miami, and a conservative Supreme Court gave the win to Bush. If the 3% of voters who chose Nader (including me) hadn’t, they must [sic] likely would have picked Gore, for the entire country.

Regrettably, what we have here is someone who feels personally responsible for having elected W president, when nothing could be further from the truth (as has been pointed out time and time again). Jim Hightower, writing two weeks before Gore finally threw in the towel on the recount.

Now it gets really ugly for the Gore campaign, for there are two other Florida constituencies that cost them more votes than Nader did. First, Democrats. Yes, Democrats! Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush. Hello. If Gore had taken even 1 percent of these Democrats from Bush, Nader’s votes wouldn’t have mattered. Second, liberals. Sheesh. Gore lost 191,000 self-described liberals to Bush, compared to less than 34,000 who voted for Nader. 

Angie, bless her heart.

You don’t have to vote for Jill Stein just because you’re unhappy with the current situation. Based on the mechanics of electoral college voting, Clinton or Trump will be president, and a split left in contested races can deliver all of a state’s votes into his hands. You don’t have to actively make the situation worse, as I did when I voted from ignorance of electoral in Florida in 2000. [sic]

At least Angie's not advancing the debunked smear of Stein being "anti-vaxx".  (That's already produced plenty of fresh Jackass O'Day prospects for me.)

On the chance that it's simply new to her, I will hope this long-standing, widely-dispersed, easily-available factual data about Nader and Gore and Bush and the 2000 election can console Angie's guilt, but after 16 years of self-flagellation I have doubts as to whether the best of professional counseling will enable her to forgive herself.

Some people you just can't reach.

Jackasses on deck: local Democratic activists Kris Banks and Allan Brain, displaying their "kick-the-cat" responses to the Stein/anti-vaxx smear.

Sunday Funnies

There are other choices ...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Daily Jackass: Chris Hooks

The Texas Observer's political writer/Democratic gun-for-hire has been putting extra bitters in his cocktails while on duty in Philadelphia.

"Cranks", "dead-enders", "messianic" (in a description of Jill Stein and a hilarious comparison with Bob Bavakian) is nothing more than excessive spleen-venting from the most Green-hostile of Democrats sixty days ahead of the first scheduled presidential debate.

Dude.  I know it was hot and wet in the City of Brotherly Love (scroll down to 'Phooey, Philly') but maybe you should wait until the Greens start to actually register a little in the polling before you twist your knickers that tight.

Oh.  Well.  Maybe now is a good time to shit yourself.

With the counterpoint, Dr. Mark Jones of Rice University's Baker Institute has an exceptionally respectful, direct, and thorough advance of next week's presidential nominating convention here in H-Town.  Bold emphasis is mine.

Last week, national attention was focused on Cleveland and the Republican Party’s National Convention. This week, national attention is focused on Philadelphia, where the Democratic Party’s National Convention is being held. Houstonians should not feel entirely left out, however, since Houston will host the Green Party National Convention next week (August 4-7) at the University of Houston campus.

The main order of business at the Green Party Convention will be to nominate the party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. In doing so, the party will symbolically launch its national campaign, which includes not only Stein’s presidential bid but hundreds of other campaigns throughout the country for offices ranging from U.S. senator to state representative to county commissioner.

At present, Stein has formally qualified to appear on the ballot in 23 states (including the District of Columbia) and is expected to qualify in between 20 and 25 additional states before filing closes in early September. In addition to retaining the support of individuals who voted for her during the 2012 presidential election, Stein and her fellow Greens hope to capture the votes of Bernie Sanders’ supporters and others who want to cast a protest vote against Hillary Clinton, signal to the Democratic Party that it needs to move to the left, or who believe that the future of the country’s progressive movement does not lie within the Democratic Party but rather via the creation of robust alternatives to what they consider to be a two-party duopoly.

Stein’s prospects for victory are nonexistent. However, an improved performance by Stein would be positive for the Green Party in two principal ways. First, it would demonstrate the existence of popular support for the Green Party and its type of progressive agenda while simultaneously improving the party’s name recognition and brand among the general public.  Second, in a host of states, a good showing by Stein could represent the difference between guaranteed access to the ballot in 2018 and (in some cases) 2020 and either spending scarce resources on costly signature gathering campaigns to obtain ballot access or not being able to run candidates for public office.

Texas is one of the states where an improved Stein performance could be invaluable to the Green Party in regard to ballot access. In recent election cycles, Texas Democrats did not run a complete statewide slate of candidates, and the Green Party was able to maintain its ballot status by surpassing the required 5 percent vote threshold in the contests lacking a Democratic candidate. In 2016, however, Texas Democrats are fielding candidates for every statewide office, and unless a statewide Green Party candidate wins at least 5 percent of the vote in one of the eight statewide races, the party would need to undertake a very difficult ballot access campaign in 2018. To qualify for ballot access in two years, the Green Party of Texas would have to obtain 47,183 valid signatures in less than three months from registered voters who did not vote in the 2018 Democratic or Republican primaries. Since many signatures end up being invalidated, the Greens would need to gather close to a 100,000 signatures to safely cross this threshold and qualify for ballot access, a Herculean task for a party with very limited resources.

This year, in addition to Stein, the Green Party is fielding six candidates for statewide office in Texas (one for railroad commissioner, three for the Supreme Court and two for the Court of Criminal Appeals), almost 20 congressional candidates and around two dozen candidates for other offices ranging from state representative to sheriff to county commissioner. If Stein or one of her fellow Greens does not win at least 5 percent of the statewide vote on Nov. 8, this year could mark the last year for some time that Texas voters are provided with so many options to “vote Green.”

That covers every single base.  Nothing to quibble with and nothing to add.

Jackass on deck: Misandry Angie (who probably isn't capable of receiving whatever I blog as anything but 'mansplaining', but I'll offer it anyway).

Friday, July 29, 2016

Clinton sticks the landing (mostly)

If you've ever watched figure-skating compulsories ... well, that's what last night was like.

Hillary Clinton gave the most important speech of her political career Thursday and did not blow it.

The speech itself will not go down in history as great oratory; it was more like a talented figure skater working through required elements. There was at the top a plea for the restive Bernie Sanders supporters to join with her. She noted that the convention had approved a heavily Sanders-influenced platform and she promised that as president she would implement it. “Your cause is our cause,” she said.

It mostly worked. There was a bit of booing, but no major disruptions as she skated through the rest of her program: The promises to raise up working families; the repeated calls for the country to come together; the pledges that the rich must pay more and the poor must get paid more.

And then she turned her guns on Trump, which is guaranteed safe territory at a Democratic convention. Her take on her opponent could be summed up by her description of his acceptance speech last week: “He spoke for 70-odd minutes — and I do mean odd.”

Clinton’s speech was far more predictable but not quite as memorable. But she executed all her required moves and will likely be scored well by the judges.

Another POV from across the pond, same take.

Mrs Clinton, in an acceptance speech that occasionally soared and sometimes trudged along, did her best to frame the upcoming general election race in her favour.

Donald Trump had his shot last week in Cleveland. Now it was her turn.

And, like her Republican opponent, she did it by trying to paint herself as five different personas.

Leader, optimist, progressive, doer, ground-breaker (aka glass-ceiling shatterer).  Four out of five ain't bad.  Democrats collectively went from horrified a week ago to consoled and content.  What were y'all so scared of?

In the audience, Clinton supporters were moved to tears, including 16-year-old Victoria Sanchez.

"This is more than I ever could have imagined," she said. "I know that I have just lived history and I can follow in her footsteps. This changes my entire life."

I'm happy for all those who took the moment as historic -- as if constantly seeing and hearing the word during television coverage was ever going to let us forget it -- and let's not discount the value of the grassroots army she mobilized, from women to Latino to LGBTQ.

But back to the speech.  It was a real tour de force for those who crafted it; pitch-perfect in some spots.  Every box checked: direct appeals to the Sanders caucus, Trump's balls severely busted, no mention of her recent legal troubles or DWS (who has truly been a complete disaster).  The GOP butt-hurt was strong.

Many of the conservatives who watched with dismay as the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump have now watched with amazement as Democrats co-opted some of Republicans' favorite themes at the Democratic National Convention.

Democrats' thinking was clear: We're the only political party left for grown-ups, so we'd better make sure we have something to offer voters on both sides of the aisle.

There was a clear choice about tone, especially on the last two days of the convention: Speakers would not mock conservatives for getting into bed with Donald Trump. They would mock Trump and make the case that conservatives should be embarrassed and ashamed that their party nominated him – and should look across the aisle at a party that shares more of their goals and values than they may have realized.

So the Democratic convention had retired military officers making the case for Hillary Clinton's steady hand as commander in chief, paeans to Ronald Reagan, and optimistic messages about the indispensability and exceptional nature of America.

Marco Rubio was specifically one who was shitting bricks.  My least favorite moment was the Screaming General, John Allen, and the "USA, USA" chanting and flag-waving.  Straight out of Republican central casting, and as bad as it sounds.  Even Clinton's own segue-way into bellicosity couldn't match it, perhaps by design.  I'll just give you the whole speech and let you decide.  (Skip to the two-minute mark if you'd rather not hear his introduction by Rep. Ted Lieu.)

And Little Marco was also one of the few who acknowledged the protests in the hall.  And the media had a lot to complain about.

With the exception of the disruptions mounted by the Bernie or Bust delegates, the Democrats’ convention ran pretty smoothly — inside the arena.

Outside the arena was a different story. Unlike Cleveland, the Philadelphia convention site is about 6 miles from downtown, where the bulk of delegates were sleeping and the bulk of parties and events were staged. That meant an enormous amount of vehicle traffic that created gridlock around the arena at peak hours. Making matters worse, the state police closed a lane on I-95 to enforce a ban on overweight trucks, creating massive backups for anyone coming in from outside the city.

Media were housed in giant tents that were steamy hot by midday and freezing cold when not in direct sun. Summer downpours pounded the cloth ceilings, making everything else inaudible, and when lightning approached, reporters were advised to run across an open parking lot in the rain to take shelter in a baseball stadium.

The broad consensus of attendees was we would rather be in Cleveland.

See you in Houston next week. folks.  Can't promise cooler weather, but the crowds will be thinner and we might even have a hurricane.

I'd say Madam Secretary is in for a yuuuge convention bounce, and this poll from swingy Pennsylvania showing her with a nine-point lead may or may not be an outlier.

Watch for a new series coming this weekend: the Daily Jackass.  It will feature somebody in the media ragging on Jill Stein or voting Green.  First up: Chris Hooks at the Texas Observer.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One (mostly) big happy family

I need not recap the speeches of the president and the vice-president, should I?  Everyone who checks in here on a regular basis watched or streamed or followed on social media or read the transcript, yes?  If you didn't then you can find those hot takes anywhere you look his morning.  I suppose I should write something anyway ...

-- Obama was, as D.L. Hughley said on Bill Maher's thirty-extra-minutes of Real Time immediately following the president last night, on his game; holding the audience carefully in his hands before releasing them like doves to go forth and fulfill their destinies.  The swooning was effusive everywhere; more than a few "four more years" and "third term" requests were shouted.

Alas, for those who are disquieted by the chicken or fish options this go-round, and seemingly unaware that there are other restaurants down the street serving steak and lobster -- and as Bernie Sanders and his disillusioned band know too well -- the farce of democracy offered by America's only sane major political party has rules that are unbreakable even for Obama.

Which is why Bernie changed his party registration back to independent this week.

-- Uncle Joe performed the role of Irish mauler from Scranton, now fighting out of Wilmington, DE.  The parodies are as good as the real thing.

If you look closely at the Photoshopped head above and the one that was on your teevee screen last night, it's obvious Vice President BFD has had some facial work done recently.  Good on the old boy, I say.  One more misstep by the nominee and he would be speaking tonight instead of last, a proposition many Democrats wouldn't seem to have been all that unhappy about.

-- The surprise of the evening was a display of bristling animosity by former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg toward Trump, which I surmise predates this year's events and likely involves their dealings when Bloomberg held office.  The mayor jumped off the GOP train a few years ago, started calling himself an indy, and is best remembered as a pro-gun safety, anti-Big Gulp administrator.  We could have almost forgotten that he pondered running for president himself when it appeared that the two major party nominees were going to be Trump and Sanders.

Bloomberg's attacks on the GOP nominee were harsh and personal.

The former mayor of New York's words on the third day of the Democratic National Convention - in which he unequivocally stated his support for Hillary Clinton -- prompted most cheers when he stated of her rival: "I know a con when I see one."

"Most of us who have created a business know that we're only as good as the way our employees, clients and partners view us. Most of us don't pretend that we're smart enough to make every decision by ourselves," he explained.

"And most of us who have our names on the door know we are only as good as our word. But not Donald Trump.

"Through his career, Donald Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies and thousands of lawsuits, and angry stockholders, and contractors who feel cheated and disillusioned, customers who feel they've been ripped off.

"Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy."

That is one vicious smackdown.

It was nice to see Gabby Giffords walk out, haltingly but without either an escort or a cane, and deliver a few remarks.  But the coming-out party for VP nominee Tim Kaine was what everybody was waiting for, and as the dad who might bake you a cheap frozen pizza if you came home late and drunk when you were sixteen, he didn't disappoint.

He did imitations of Trump ("Buhlieve me!"), he shadow-boxed, he riffed easily between Spanish and English, he was avuncular.  Not everyone was a fan, however.

Once again, two completely different demonstrations of unity inside and outside.

Kaine's just as milquetoast as his preceding reputation, but two scoops of plain vanilla with some plutocracy sprinkles seems to be what the blue masses want to lick this time.

Day Four is Coronation Day, and we'll see if Clinton can raise her rhetoric to the level of the Obamas or even her husband's.  Those are tough acts to follow, but if she faceplants, I doubt anybody in the hall will even notice.

They are blissfully ignorant to anything negative that presents itself in rebuttal to their Queen.  The one consistent thing about the Hillbots throughout the past year is that they simply do not care about her foibles.  And against a gaffe machine like Trump, that ought to be just enough for her to be able to slide into the White House.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dems can't even get their convention bounce before fear takes hold

Now that U.S. authorities are confident Russian intelligence agencies are behind the hack of Democratic Party emails, political operatives and cybersecurity experts tell NBC News they are bracing for an "October Surprise" -- a release of even more potentially damaging information timed to influence the outcome of the presidential election and the course of the next administration.

The big question isn't whether more information will be disclosed, they say, but how destructive it might be to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and to broader U.S. foreign policy efforts.

Democratic Party and Clinton campaign officials are now doing an urgent "damage assessment" to determine what kind of information might have been stolen and the impact its release might have on a tight presidential race.

"That is a nightmare scenario, and let's hope we don't see that as an October Surprise -- emails from Hillary Clinton's server that have either been in the press or worse, the classified ones that no one in the public has seen," said retired Adm. James Stavridis, who as the former Supreme Allied Commander for NATO is familiar with Russian information operations.

Admiral Stavridis, you may recall, was a finalist -- maybe more like semifinalist -- in the Clinton veepstakes.   Talk about bitter.

The cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hacks says that two Russian security agencies had been accessing DNC servers and internal files for months, with at least one of them infiltrating the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other key U.S. agencies.
Russian hackers also accessed the private email accounts of some Clinton campaign staffers, and attacked and may have accessed internal files and email servers of the Clinton Foundation. Security officials also believe hackers accessed the private server Clinton used while Secretary of State. 

Isn't it a shame that these damaging reports are just coming out now, after she's been freshly nominated.  Oh wait ... FBI Director Comey said she didn't intend to do anything wrong.  Damn that pesky mens rea.  I suppose this Donald Trump joke -- you may interpret that phrase both ways -- shouldn't be taken too seriously.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 [Clinton] emails that are missing," Trump said at a press conference. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That'll be nice."

Oh wait; it already is.

"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue." 

Maybe the DNI could stop giving Il Douche daily foreign policy briefings.  You know, before he mishandles classified information.  Or Clinton's team has a collective stroke.  Or something.

Honestly, I expected the general election campaign to approach unprecedented levels of absurdity, just not before the kids went back to school.  One thing is certain: the media talking shitheads won't be able to say that 'nobody pays attention to the election until Labor Day'.

But doesn't it seem a little early for Democrats to be gripped with panic?

Big Dog and the Mothers

We got a tender love story to send us off to bed.

He was charming and steely-eyed, and owned the arena as he told his wife’s story in personal terms, from their courtship through to her time as secretary of State. As Hillary Clinton’s husband for the past 40 years, the popular ex-president was her ultimate character witness, portraying her as hard-working, persistent, and caring.

She is "the best darn change-maker I've ever met in my entire life,” he said.

*"Wave "change-maker" signs*

I suppose I'm just too jaded to be inspired any more by pep rallies.  Here's the least cynical POV I could find.

The bigger challenge for Mr. Clinton may in fact be his record as president – a record that Mrs. Clinton also owns to some degree, for better or worse. The Democratic Party no longer has the centrist cast that Mr. Clinton helped to shape in the 1980s and ‘90s, when balancing the budget and moving people off welfare were the name of the game. The party is no longer even Mr. Obama’s, in its new leftward tilt.
On issue after issue, Mr. Clinton has become “explainer in chief” for his own record. The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which Clinton implemented, is now under pressure from both Sanders and Donald Trump supporters.
Clinton has expressed regret for signing the 1994 crime bill, which led to mass incarcerations, particularly of minorities. He has also disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise that kept gays in the military closeted.
The mere fact that the Clintons have to explain or refute old policies points to a deeper problem: that the Clintons are figures of the past in an election where voters are demanding change. Though Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, is of the same vintage as the Clintons, he’s an outsider. The Clintons are the ultimate political insiders.
And they form the nucleus of a potential political dynasty. Daughter Chelsea, who will introduce her mother on Thursday before her big acceptance speech, says she too may run for office someday. The failure of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Republican primaries signaled, in part, a rejection of dynastic politics in America.
Here in Philadelphia, alive with politically engaged voters on both sides of the Democratic divide, the idea of politics as a family business gets mixed reactions.

Did you laugh at "mixed reactions"?  Outside the hall there was pretty much one reaction -- the opposite of the one inside.  I'll let the pictures (and one cartoon) do the talking.

The Mothers of the Movement segment was very emotional, and an appropriate call for action.  But if Obama can't do anything about police abuse other than say "this has to stop", then I don't know why anyone would expect Hillary Clinton to be more effective.

During the roll call, Bernie cried when his brother Larry, a delegate, announced his states' votes.  It was an emotional moment, but Sanders managed to ruin that for his supporters, too.

So as MOMocrat Mike wrote: "We wanted a revolution, but all I got was this lousy sign."

Such is the nature of lost opportunities.  Some will take their clothespins and pinch their nostrils,  some will pick up the pieces and move on, some will go home and cry into their pillow.

The revolution will continue, but how far it goes and how hot it burns is a question we're still waiting to learn the answer to.

Day 3 sets up with Obama and Biden passing the torch, and Kaine taking the relay handoff.  I'll look for reports that demonstrate how well the Berners are receiving or rejecting that message.

I shouldn't have to look too hard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fear itself (again)

Ezra Klein at Vox has his fear explained to him by Morgana Visser at Medium.

The whole “vote for third parties will cause Trump to win” makes as much sense, and has as much validity, as saying: “A vote for Hillary is a vote for Trump because it takes votes away from Jill Stein.”

The idea that not voting Hillary causes Trump to win only makes sense if you believe she’s entitled to win. I’m as horrified of Hillary as I am of Trump because Hillary poses a direct danger to me, my family and other communities of marginalized people in America and around the globe.

And with y’all voting for Hillary because you put yourself above others, I’ll be worrying about my safety and protection. Stop pretending like you’re voting for Hillary because you care about other marginalized people — you fucking don’t. You’re voting for Hillary because the other proto-fascist, Trump, threatens you directly. You’re voting for Hillary because you’ll get yours and you don’t care about the other marginalized people that it will come at the expense of — that will be severely harmed and put in danger under a Clinton presidency.

I first got hit with the "privileged" rebuttal some months ago.  What I said at the time was that if people of color (I said specifically Latinos and poor people of any color who do not exercise their right to vote) couldn't be compelled to cast a ballot in favor of their own self-interest or otherwise, why should I be guilted into a LOTE vote solely on their behalf?

How far is my responsibility to my fellow man supposed to extend?  Farther than theirs to themselves?  That sounds like patriarchy to me.  Isn't the Lord supposed to help those who help themselves or something like that?

Hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil if you feel you must.  But acknowledge that your vote against your progressive principles has only a miniscule chance of producing a negative outcome in the Electoral College in about seven or so states.  And if you're being guilt-tripped to vote for Clinton in Texas -- or California, or New York, or about forty other states -- then understand that you're surrendering to fear yourself: fear of a potential undesirable future outcome as dictated by others, fear of ridicule by your so-called friends.  These phobias have clinical names: fear of the future (chronophobia) and fear of loss of approval by your social network (ostracization).

Here's the truth again, more bluntly.

If you’re going to vote for Hillary to stop Trump, at least be fucking honest and stop pretending like you’re some heroic person while you vote for somebody that is going to destroy marginalized communities, put marginalized people at risk and murder marginalized people around the globe.

I have some extra Bern creme if you need it, just let me know.

DNC Day 1: a rocky road smooths out

Passions in Philadelphia ran hot starting at breakfast with the Florida delegation, as DWS stubbornly continued to keep a prominent role in the Democrats' confab, and was repeatedly told  -- by both Berners and other DNC officials -- that it was time to hit the road.

Monday was supposed to be simple. After months of acrimony, the Democrats were ready to present a united front. The lineup spoke volumes: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were the headliners. Lions of the left, Warren and Sanders were there to set the tone for the convention. Booming endorsements from them was a smart way to symbolically undercut the intra-party bickering, to signal unity.

But then WikiLeaks released thousands of DNC emails and, well, everything changed.

Sanders has lamented the DNC’s pro-Clinton bias for months, and now there’s indisputable evidence that he was right. The DNC seems to have violated its own charter by clandestinely backing Clinton over Sanders before any votes were cast. There was plenty of writing on the wall before this story broke, but the hacked emails are damning. So damning, in fact, that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign hours before she was set to gavel in the convention.

To anyone on the fence about Clinton and the DNC, it won’t matter that Russia was behind the data-dump or that some of the emails were likely fabricated in order to maximize the damage – there’s enough truth in them to confirm the anti-establishment narratives.

Wasserman-Schultz was indeed finally muzzled, and there was some admonishment directed at the dissenters by her temp replacement, Marcia Fudge, about respect.  That also set a tone.


Yes, it was great to hear (Bernie) say, “Hillary Clinton must be our next president.” It was good for party unity that you publicly declared, “I am proud to stand with her.”
But you did not personally address your most ardent supporters. You know, those “Bernie or Bust” people who have vowed to sit out the election, vote for Trump or vote Jill Stein’s Green Party.
You needed to personally address your most militant revolutionaries: the ones who now think of you as a sell-out, a fake, and a fraud.
Your diehards needed a “come-to-Jesus” moment, something like this:

Let's not go there.  Sarah Silverman's spanking of the boobirds was received well by the Hillbots, and poorly by the spankees.

Silverman — a former Sanders supporter — is known as absurdist provocateur (she once jokingly accused sweet, avuncular, octogenarian New York talk show host Joe Franklin of raping her) and she made a serious miscalculation. When she called for the audience to back Clinton (“Hillary is our Democratic nominee, and I will proudly vote for her”), they responded with deafening, unifying applause. But then she taunted the vanquished, a rookie political mistake. “To the Bernie-or-Bust people, you are being ridiculous!” she said, standing next to a puckered 'Saturday Night Live' stalwart-turned-Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

The upper tier erupted in a cascade of “Bernie!” — out came the signs — and the kumbaya narrative was momentarily shattered.

Demi Lovato and Paul Simon alternately rocked and soothed the savages in both camps to a degree ('Bridge Over Troubled Waters', indeed) and then Sen. Cory Booker summoned the image of a happy warrior -- perhaps symbolic of the one who is preparing to depart the White House.  His rollicking ten minutes made some delegates wish he had been tapped VP.

Why, you could almost forget that he's so deep in bed with Wall Street that he could massage Hillary Clinton's toes under the covers.

Then it was Elizabeth Warren's turn, and she got her own hero's welcome.  But her speech was lackluster in delivery and included some content that simply wasn't factual, like how hard Clinton had fought the big banks and opposed unfair trade deals, and suddenly the oxygen seem to go out of the room again.

With the crying and disgust mostly at ebb tide, Michelle Obama seized the moment.

But something happened on the way to the Democratic crack-up: Michelle Obama, something of an afterthought on the opening-night program, delivered the best speech of Hillary Clinton’s career.


Over the years, much has been made of the first lady’s supposed animosity toward both Clintons (mostly fiction, with a soupçon of truth), a vestige of the bitter 2008 campaign. But on Monday night, Michelle Obama delivered a more passionate and concise case for Clinton than the candidate has ever made for herself — and perhaps the single most effective political address delivered in 2016.

While reporters scanned the arena eaves for signs of discord, Obama offered a case for unifying around the first female major party nominee in the country’s 240-year history — voice breaking as she talked about Clinton’s role in teaching her daughters that a woman could be president. It was an appeal to the better angels of the electorate, a hybrid of her husband’s classic hope-and-change message and Clinton’s “Glass Ceiling” 2008 concession speech. “We insist that the hateful language that they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country,” she said, clearly — if not explicitly — referring to Trump. “When someone is cruel and acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. … When they go low, we go high.”

That's an accurate description.  The first lady absolutely mesmerized the hall.

She handed off to Bernie, who got a thundering one-minute standing ovation.  It took a few minutes for him to get to the point, but he too let the air out of the tires of the #NeverHillary faction.

It seemed, though, as if the #DemExit bunch quieted down on Twitter, and the rancor might indeed be dissipated, so I'll keep an eye peeled today to see if it returns and the intensity if it should.  With the roll call vote and the Big Dog on tap to speak tonight, things could just as easily go south again for party kinda-sorta unity.

This piece from Chris Cillizza about Bernie's revolution having passed him by is the most cogent thing I read yesterday.  Whatever number of Berners abandon ship on July 29, the election dynamic has surely changed.  To what degree is still to be determined.  We might have more evidence of that next week in two weeks, when the Greens and Jill Stein come to Houston for their convention.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

Off the Kuff looks at the effect of the voter ID ruling for this election and going forward.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme was appalled at the GOP hatefest of a convention. Chanting violence and fomenting hatred of others encourages recent bad actors in death. Looking forward to a sunny week in Philly.

SocraticGadfly takes a look at the #DNCLeaks, specifically the comment about Sanders' religious beliefs, and then wonders if this was related to a question for Sanders at a March town hall.

Texas Leftist thought the RNC convention was "historic".

Ted Cruz squandered another opportunity to repair his frayed relations with the GOP, as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs saw it. How many more chances do you think he'll get?

Teddy Wilson at Rewire writes about Klansman David Duke's inspiration for a Louisiana Senate bid, and it's Trump, of course. 

Texas Vox saw elements of dysfunction in the local emergency alert system in the wake of a recent Baytown Exxon pipeline leak.

Txsharon at Bluedaze advances the Texas Railroad Commission's Sunset Review town hall meeting in Grapevine.

Neil at All People Have Value continued his sidewalk blogging campaign to change society's tone in the East End with a bilingual sign.

Dos Centavos' latest concert review was Los Texmaniacs at West University's legendary dive bar, Under the Volcano.

And the World Tamale Eating Championship is now open for contestant registration, reports the Lewisville Texan Journal.


Here's a few more great blog posts from around the Great State!

Texas Election Law Blog saw the Fifth Circuit's decision on the voter ID law as a Pyrrhic victory.

Grits for Breakfast thinks Black Lives Matter is well-positioned to win some concessions from police if ... (it's a big 'if').

The Grimes County grand jury needs to investigate the Grimes County district attorney, according to Ty Clevenger at Lawflog.

TFN shows us who's behind that controversial Mexican-American studies textbook, and Better Texas Blog thinks that pre-K needs to be a part of the school finance debate.

Zachery Taylor posts Mark Twain's from-the-grave endorsement of either Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson.

Andrea Grimes (no relation to the county mentioned above) at the Texas Observer takes note of the gaslighting of America by the GOP during last week's convention.

Somervell County Salon, like so many others, finds the leaked e-mails revealing the DNC's collusion with the Clinton campaign as the last straw for her and the Democratic Party.

A MOMocrat named Mike is headed to Philadelphia to cover the Democratic convention.

And Pages of Victory carefully explains to his "a vote for Clinton is a vote for Trump" friends why that is just not so.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Despite a "win" on the superdelegates thing ...

On Saturday, after a lengthy debate during the Democratic Party’s rules committee — as Occupy protesters marched outside — the Sanders and Clinton delegates agreed to create a “unity” commission. The commission will be charged with developing rules that would reduce the number of superdelegates by two-thirds. It will also give Sanders, Clinton and the Democratic National Committee each the responsibility of picking members for the commission.
“This is a tremendous victory for Senator Sanders’ fight to democratize the Democratic Party and reform the Democratic nominating process,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a statement. “We were pleased to work with the Clinton campaign to enact this historic commission.” 

 ... and DWS's head on a pike ...

“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” she said. She also stated that she would still open and close the convention, and address the delegates, though that remains to be seen.

... the Sandernistas assembling in Philly continue to demand nothing less than their man as the party's nominee.  Let's splash some cold reality in their faces:

  1. the 'unity commission' is not a win for Sanders;
  2. Sanders is not going to be the nominee in any imaginable scenario;
  3. Wasserman Schultz's falling on her sword does not resolve the inherent corruption exposed in the leaked emails of the DNC's management of this primary's debates, rules, the Sanders voters' disenfranchisement in states like Arizona, California, New York and Nevada, and other conduct revealing the organization to be exactly like -- and in some cases worse than -- the GOP.

Hundreds of thousands and perhaps a few million Democrats are threatening to exit the party following the convention as a result, a story yet to be reported in the corporate media.  Until the exodus starts to show up in the polling, however, it ain't really hap'nin.

Trump has shown no discernible convention bounce, although there should be a raft of polls Monday morning that may suggest otherwise.  I'll update here or in a new post, either way.

Update (Monday 7/25. 7 a.m.): Trump has a six-point lead over Clinton in CNN's post-RNC national horse race poll.  The Clinton sheep will be nervous.

The story to watch next week, however, is what the Berners do next.  Jim Hightower's opinion of what that is seems to missing something of the verde shade.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fear and loathing of the Green Party

"First they ignore, you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then ..."

Lots of atrocities to document this past week, probably stirred up by the GOP convention's scare-mongering and Trump's unvarnished fascism.  Fear of Il Douche leads to fear that Clinton won't be able to defeat him, which leads to "it's going to be the Greens' fault again, just like in 2000".

-- Famed sexologist Dan Savage led the way with a (somewhat dated in Internet chronology) screed from May.  The gist of his animosity seems to be rooted in "Greens need to start at the bottom".  He appears not to understand that they have, but even as his original premise bites the dust, he pivots to the old "a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump" trope.


Frankly, Savage of all people should know better.  Let's help him along in his understanding so that he doesn't repeat his mistakes made supporting the Iraq War.

-- Savage's logic is essentially the same as Paul Ryan's and Chris Christie's.  Pretty certain Savage doesn't want to find out he's sitting at that table.

“This is not like a political science class. This is the real world. There is a binary choice here,” the New Jersey governor said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Donald Trump was not my first choice for president. I was, right? It didn't work out. And so as a result, you've got to decide, and I said this to Jeb Bush the other day: It's chicken or fish, man. It's one or the other.”

Actually you do have choices other than chicken (shit) and fish (piss).  And the Chicago Tribune's ed board, thankfully, has clearly explained it.

The existing two-party system has been the mainstay of American politics for a century and a half. But the discontent felt this year among Democrats as well as Republicans suggests there is an opportunity for the Greens and the Libertarians to establish themselves in the national consciousness in a lasting way.

Can either win? Not this time. But that's no reason Americans disgusted with the major party choices have to settle on either. It's not "wasting your vote," as the old bromide says, to cast a ballot for a long-shot candidate because he or she offers something valuable that mainstream candidates don't. Attracting voters is how small parties get bigger.

A strong showing by Stein, Johnson or both might not transform America's political landscape. But it could push a reassessment of old policies that have acquired immunity from reform. It could put provocative new ideas on the national agenda.

It also could force the major parties, which have disappointed voters so badly this year, to do better in 2020 and beyond. If so, Democrats and Republicans might thank Stein and Johnson for running.

And so "wasted vote" needs to be pinched off and flushed.

-- Last: Trevor Noah, who is clearly suffering some cognitive dissonance.  At least he's focusing on the "I won't vote" crowd.

Trevor Noah, comedian and host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” said people who would rather stay home on Election Day than cast a vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are essentially giving their vote to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“If you’re a Democrat and you say, ‘I’m not voting for Hillary,’ then you are voting for Trump,” Noah told reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. “Let’s not beat around the bush ― not voting is voting.”

Half right: not voting is voting, but it's a vote for none of the above.  Only.

Let's repeat: a vote for Trump is a vote for Trump, a vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton, a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is an actual and meaningful protest vote against the two parties and their worthless nominees, and not voting -- whether you refuse to do so or leave the top race on your ballot blank or, worst of all, write in someone's name who has not "qualified" as a write-in candidate in Texas or several others states -- is a vote for nobody.

I give Noah a little credit for this.

This election ― which has left many saying they won’t vote for either candidate ― might force people to re-evaluate the United States’ “strange” two-party system, Noah added.

“You are not living in a two-party world,” he said. “There is not left or right, there are varying degrees, there is nuance.”

“If you’re a young person in America, this is your country going forward ― don’t be fooled by the fact that old people are running it now,” Noah said. “You will be dealing with the effects of what these people have voted for for the rest of your life, which is going to be hopefully much longer than the people that are much older than you.”

“There will be a time when you look back and go, ‘Wow, I could have changed that and now I live in a wasteland,’” he continued.

He's speaking to his millennial generation, so he's being a little obtuse (purposely, I believe, although that might be reading more into it than there is).

The Republicans and Democrats are making it easier every single day for people who think like me to step away from the two-party trainwreck, but let's not encourage our children and grandchildren to drop out by our own actions.  The legacy options are indeed the poorest they have been in a long, long time, but that's not a good enough reason to give up on the system.  We'll always have some time later for revolution outside the ballot box if we need to go there.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Clinton-Kaine 2016

"When you want to get down, down on the ground ..."

Not exactly the candidates for the working class.

Kaine has expressed vocal support for free trade pacts that have become a central economic issue in the campaign, and one on which Clinton has had a complicated history. She voted against the only free trade deal to come before the Senate in her eight years there, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, but Bill Clinton negotiated and pushed through the precursor, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now, more than six in 10 Americans believe NAFTA has resulted in U.S. manufacturing jobs to move to Mexico, a partner in the agreement.

Additionally, as secretary of state, Clinton supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal negotiated by President Barack Obama. Now as a candidate she has indicated she would be unlikely to support it in its present form because she said it lacks sufficient environmental and labor protections for U.S. workers from cheaper-cost Asian nations.

Kaine voted to fast-track approval of TPP in the Senate last year and has defended NATFA.

Pushed for banking deregulation just this week.

Kaine signed two letters on Monday urging federal regulators to go easy on banks ― one to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another to help small banks avoid consumer protection standards.

Feels like a slap in the face, doesn't it Berners?

(Kaine) is setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party. He has championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that both Sanders and Warren oppose, and he is now publicly siding with bank deregulation advocates at the height of Clinton’s veepstakes.

The big bank letter would help major firms including Capital One, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank, all of which control hundreds of billions of dollars in assets. Such large “regional banks,” Kaine writes, are being discriminated against based solely on the fact that they are so big.

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry and FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg, Kaine argues that it is unfair for these large banks to be required to calculate and report their liquidity ― a critical measure of risk ― on a daily basis. Kaine wants to change that reporting to once a month. Kaine, along with Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.), argues that bigger banks don’t necessarily carry bigger risks, and thus shouldn’t face more aggressive oversight.

“This distinction is applied unevenly across regional institutions despite similar risk profiles, simply by virtue of an asset threshold,” the letter reads. Translation: just because they’re big, doesn’t mean they should be regulated more closely.

So I'd have to say that I would find myself surprised if a majority of Berners are so scared of Trump that they fall in line behind a Clinton-Kaine ticket.  But not all that surprised, knowing Democrats as I do.  The binary thought process is strong with them.

More reactions posted tomorrow.

The only thing they have is fear

Donald Trump painted a picture of a dystopian America -- and sold himself as the only one who can fix it.

As he accepted the Republican nomination here Thursday night, Trump delivered tough talk, promising to eradicate crime, build a border wall, defeat ISIS, rejuvenate the economy and prod U.S. allies to step it up or else.

Not quite Ronald Reagan's 'Morning in America'.  Most of the analogies I'm reading mention Nixon.  I'd be more inclined to go with Mussolini.

Trump channeled Americans' grievances at home and abroad, pinning blame for spikes in violence and drugs on undocumented immigrants, casting the battle on terrorism as one being lost and demanding a return to law and order.

This is what presidential means to Trump. To his critics, it will come off as vacant and dictatorial. But to his backers, it's the very embodiment of they've been thinking, but not feeling welcome by society to say.


Channeling Richard Nixon, Trump insisted that he'd preside over "a country of law and order." He pledged -- without explaining how he'd fulfill the promise -- that crime would drop as soon as he took office.

There was some masterful psychological manipulation -- if you're weak of mind, that is.

The billionaire proceeded to lay out a dark vision of America: "Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life."

"Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities," he continued. "Many have witnessed this violence personally. Some have even been its victims."

But he positioned himself as the country's singular savior.

"I have a message for all of you," he said. "The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored."

A lot of conservatives buy straight into this nebulous scare talk, and far too many Democrats, too.  They're the ones who are so terrified that they think Trump can actually get elected this way.  In a sense, they're no more intelligent than the angry apes in Cleveland.  Here's Frank Luntz to spook them a little more.

"Mark my words," Luntz tweeted, "This speech will put Trump even or ahead of Hillary in polls by Monday, when the Democratic convention begins." 

This isn't very bold of Frank despite his nationwide reputation; I predicted the same thing over a week ago.  Later today, in a move to blunt this bounce, Hillary Clinton will name her running mate.  I'm expecting her to pick Tim Kaine, but she could just as easily go with another milquetoast, Tom Vilsack.  Tom Perez still has an outside shot but he's just too far to the left for her.  Expect the predictable reaction from the Berners if it's one of the first two, as they gear up for their own doomed-from-the-start insurgency in Philadelphia next week.

In the same week that Roger Ailes was removed at Fox, Il Douche asserts himself as the country's leading merchant of bigotry.  Karma, I guess.

More coming; a collection of binary thinkers on both sides of Election 2016.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ted Cruz misses another shot at glory

Elephants have long memories, and they won't forget how Lyin' Ted refused to play the game.

In the most dramatic, off-script moment in a Republican convention that’s been full of them, the second-place finisher in the party’s contest didn’t endorse the man who bested him—effectively launching his own 2020 presidential bid in the midst of Donald Trump’s effort this year.

He refused to endorse the Republican Party’s nominee, merely congratulating him on winning the nomination and not so much as mentioning Trump’s name thereafter. “We’re fighting,” Cruz told the crowd, “not for one particular candidate or one campaign.”

In November, the Tea Party senator said, “vote your conscience… vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

He did not say that Trump was this man—and the crowd noticed, loudly booing him at various points during the speech. “I appreciate the passion of the New York delegation,” Cruz responded at one point.

Trump himself seemed to notice as well, as he entered the convention hall and took a seat with his family a few minutes before Cruz finished his speech.

The entrance drew raucous applause, as many delegates turned their backs on Cruz to face Trump and cheer him. Trump sat there, stone-faced, as Cruz continued his remarks. Not once during the address did Trump or his family clap.

The Intercept breaks it down with a handful of videos recording the uprising.  This is going to cost Ted something dearly at some point, whether in four years as he consolidates his bid for the White House again, or in some circumstance that comes sooner in the Congress.  Even Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan played along with the charade of the convention.  Ted's going to be on an island somewhere ... with a small gaggle of supporters.

Though his last rally was months ago, there was a familiar feeling in the air Wednesday afternoon at a riverside Cleveland restaurant as the senator held a thank-you event for his supporters. There were familiar faces and familiar, campaign-trail-rhetoric.

Cruz fired up his crowd—and seemed to revel when the restaurant crowd erupted into boos at the mention of Trump. The timing was perfect. “Our party now has a nominee...” the senator began.

Just as Cruz brought up Trump for the first time, the mogul’s private jet—with “TRUMP” emblazoned on its side, clearly visible from the ground—flew into view over the nearby Cuyahoga River.

At the sight of the plane, the crowd started booing so loudly that Cruz nearly had to shout as he cracked a joke about the outburst of disdain toward his party’s presidential nominee.

“That was pretty well orchestrated,” Cruz quipped. He called out to his former campaign manager, Jeff Roe: “Jeff, did you email them to fly the plane right when I said that?”

The afternoon gathering brought the old Cruz crew back together; a number of long-time Cruz staffers were there, including John Drogin, Tyler Norris, Catherine Frazier, and Roe. Other Cruz boosters attended as well, including Wisconsin state Senator Duey Stroebel, Virginia state Senator Dick Black, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


“I don’t know what the future holds,” Cruz began at one point, lingering for a moment on the thought.

His supporters filled the silence.

“2020! 2020!” they shouted.

I have never been able to discern the differences between Cruz and Trump, save for the fact that Trump's people early on in the campaign said that because of his wealth, Hair Furor couldn't be bought off like all the rest of the DC crowd.  They appear to be wrong about Trump's income bracket, which is probably why he's been so secretive about his tax bracket, but  once again, truth and facts don't deter them.  And the conservative Christian bloc fell in line behind Drumpf as well, a demographic Cruz was surely counting on.

The GOP lesson for us this cycle is there is no discounting the motivation of bigotry. And the louder and more strident the hate, the farther it resonates.

So four years away and with a myriad of Clinton failures yet to come, I don't see a Ted Cruz 2020 campaign making up much electoral ground on a Hillary re-election bid.  Maybe W Bush is right.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fifth Circuit rules TX voter ID law violates VRA

But does not quite strike the law from the books.  Here's Rick Hasen to explain.

In 203 pages of opinions, the 5th Circuit, sitting en banc, issued an opinion holding that Texas’s voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.


The bottom line is that the majority of the 5th Circuit has done what the panel opinion had originally held: there is a remand on the question whether Texas acted with a discriminatory purpose, but there is enough evidence of a discriminatory effect so as to render the Texas id law a Voting Rights Act violation.

BUT, and this is a big but, the remedy is NOT going to be to strike the Texas voter ID law as a whole, but instead to fashion some kind of relief that give people who have a reasonable impediment to getting an id the chance to get one. This might be like the affidavit requirement just approved yesterday in the Wisconsin case, or something else (like an indigency exception affidavit). Further, given the timing of the election, the trial court has to craft some kind of interim relief and then can figure out a more comprehensive solution after the next election.

BUT, BUT there is a very strong dissent from the 5th Circuit’s most conservative members, and that might give Texas a reason to go to the Supreme Court to try to get this emergency interim relief stayed.

BUT, BUT BUT: the Supreme Court has now lost Justice Scalia, and at best Texas could hope for only 4 votes to reverse what the 5th Circuit has done. Indeed, I’m not sure that even Justice Kennedy/Chief Justice Roberts would be on board. If the court ties, the 5th circuit en banc decision stands.  (There’s also the possibility of an argument that the interim relief ordered for this election comes too late under the Purcell Principle, but given that the 5th Circuit acted just within the soft July 20th deadline the Supreme Court set, I think the plaintiffs will be safe in this regard).

FINALLY, these kinds of softening devices are not all they are cracked up to be, and there’s lots of evidence they are not used by lots of voters who need it. (I discuss this disjunction between theory and practice in Softening Voter ID Laws Through Litigation: Is it Enough?, Wisconsin Law Review Forward (forthcoming 2016; draft available). One of the 5th Circuit judges, Judge Higgonson, concurring, has a footnote reading: “I also disagree with the opposite criticism that this interbranch engagement ameliorates too little, though that argument is contributory. See Richard L. Hasen, Softening Voter ID Laws Through Litigation: Is it Enough? ...

This is a win for the plaintiffs, no doubt, but not nearly as good as getting the law thrown out for everyone.

Hasen cautions that attorneys are still pouring over the ruling, and more interpretations/potential 'relief' possibilities are forthcoming from him and others.  So we'll update here when that happens.

The Texas Tribune timelines the long and winding legal road to this point.

The literal shitshow in Cleveland

It's understandable that some of those in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday evening were on the edge of their seats; they might very well have had to rush to the toilet at any moment.

A gastrointestinal outbreak that could be norovirus has spread to almost a dozen GOP staffers from California at the Republican National Convention.

The show must go on.

The second night of the 2016 Republican National Convention centered on the GOP disdain for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

While Tuesday’s theme was billed as “Make America Work Again,” almost everyone who appeared on stage offered criticism for Clinton, bashing everything from her
email scandal to her accent. A video called “Hil-LIAR-y” played early in the evening, and there was vigorous fault-finding with her resume.
There was far more focus on the contempt for Clinton than on any admiration for Donald Trump, who was formally named the Republican nominee for president earlier in the evening and briefly appeared via video, thanking supporters.
Several of the night’s big-name speakers barely acknowledged Trump, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said Trump would sign Republican-backed bills and fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but little else about the business mogul.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) mentioned Trump only twice during his 10-minute speech, while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) mentioned the newly minted nominee once.

This was expected.  Ryan and McConnell are putting on a brave face, having desensitized their own nausea at the prospect of their majorities in Congress going down with the Trump-tanic in November.  And Chris Christie reminded us again that he was once a federal prosecutor, livening up a morose crowd with a mock trial of the Democratic nominee.

“We’re going to present the facts to you, as a jury of her peers, both in this hall and in living rooms around our nation,” the former 2016 presidential candidate said in opening his address to the Cleveland convention Tuesday night.
“I’m going to render a case on the facts against Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he continued.
Christie made the case that Clinton’s character and her record as secretary of state disqualify her for the nation’s top job, specifically accusing her of “ruining Libya,” being a terrorist apologist for not naming an al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria a terrorist group for two years and linking that to the “Missing Girls,” and turning previous words of praise for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against her.
“She fights for the wrong people, she never fights for us,” he said.
As Christie made his "case," delegates on the convention floor periodically broke into chants of “Lock her up, lock her up!”

But it was Ben Carson who went off script and delivered the most searing and Biblical condemnation, pulling out the old "she's the devil in disguise" routine. 

In a bizarre, meandering departure from his prepared remarks, Dr. Ben Carson suggested that electing Hillary Clinton would be the same as endorsing the devil himself.
Speaking near the end of Day Two at the Republican National Convention former rival of nominee Donald Trump, Carson brought up Saul Alinksy, the community organizer whose work Hillary Clinton wrote about while at college in Wellesley.
“Her senior thesis was about Saul Alinsky,” said Carson. “This was someone that she greatly admired and that affected all of her philosophies subsequently. Now interestingly enough, let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky: He wrote a book called “Rules for Radicals.” On the dedication page, it acknowledges Lucifer, ‘the original radical who gained his own kingdom.’”
“This is a nation where our founding document the Declaration of Independence talks about certain inalienable rights that come from our creator,” Carson continued. “This is a nation where our pledge of allegiance says we are one nation under God. This is a nation where every coin in our pocket and every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’ So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer? Think about that.”

Carson has been the conduit for evangelical Christians throughout the 2016 cycle and has managed to channel that fervent support to Trump without any examination of the Republican nominee's glaring spiritual shortcomings. 

Carson’s riff on Lucifer was not part of his prepared remarks distributed to reporters earlier Tuesday night, nor did it appear on the teleprompter in the arena. But it was not the first time he has mused on a Hillary Clinton-to-Saul Alinksy-to-Satan connection. Just last month, Carson launched into a similar digression a the New York City gathering where conservative evangelicals met with Trump.

When asked by a reporter earlier Tuesday what he planned to talk about in his speech, Carson replied, “Only God knows the answer to that.”

The journalist's request for comment was referred to Carson's deity, but received no reply prior to Ben taking the stage.  At least the brain surgeon didn't plagiarize anybody, which was a controversy that arose again during another Trump's speech.

For the second night in a row, a speech given by a member of Donald Trump's family is raising eyebrows for lines previously used elsewhere.
Donald Trump Jr. in his headline address at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland delivered a near-exact repetition of a small part of an American Conservative article written by F.H. Buckley, titled "Trump vs. the New Class."
"Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they're stalled on the ground floor. They're like Soviet-Era Department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers," Trump's son said in his speech Tuesday night.
The line in Buckley's article reads, "Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers." 

Some people don't think plagiarism is a big deal.  Those people are wrong.

This is why I don't think Hillary is going to name Julian Castro V-P; because of the prevailing concept of injustice that some crimes simply aren't based on the person who commits them.  Castro won't be prosecuted for violating the Hatch Act, you see, just as former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius skated away from the same violation.  But like hers, his political career is probably over, and certainly any shot at a promotion.  "Clinton-Castro" feeds the repetitious and unfortunate narrative that certain people are above the law.  The more common examples of this outrage are the white police officers who shoot or strangle black people to death every week in this country, but those who protest the killings or videotape the encounters are convicted and jailed.

So while last night's RNC spectacle was hyperbolic and overblown, it wasn't a false narrative.

Day 3 will pick it up with V-P nominee Mike Pence, more of Trump's vanquished rivals (Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio), and the speaker most likely to go over the top, Newt Gingrich.  But if you decide to watch anything tonight, catch Cruz.  He's busy setting himself up for 2020.

Personally I never turn on my teevee for these productions; I just follow the #RNCinCLE Twitter feed.  It keeps my own gastric distress to a minimum.