Monday, May 04, 2015

A message to all Houston mayoral candidates

At the end of this piece from the inimitable Charles Pierce about Bernie Sanders, there's an excellent message for everyone running -- and considering a run -- for mayor of Houston.

To establish: the last Socialist to be elected mayor of a major American city was a fellow named Frank P. Zeidler, who served as mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1948 and was re-elected twice, holding that office until 1960.  He was actually the third of three Socialists elected Milwaukee mayor in the first half of the last century.  Zeidler won his first election in 1938, as Milwaukee County Surveyor, on the Progressive Party line, as a Bull Moose liberal.  Now here's the relevant part.

Once I heard (Zeidler) say that, when he was coming up, what made you a socialist was the fact that you believed your city should fix potholes and that it should have a fire department.

Is anybody calling Bill King a socialist because he wants to fix the potholes?  A few people are labeling Steve Costello that, derogatorily of course, because he supported a fee that would go to repairing the drainage infrastructure of the city.  A few more are calling Sylvester Turner a socialist because of his efforts to make sure our firefighters aren't impoverished in their retirement.  But those are all the same people who have been calling Barack Obama a "soshulist" for the last six years, who marked John Cornyn a RINO (and re-elected him anyway), and who believe that the US Army is preparing for an armed occupation of rural Texas.  So perhaps their judgment, not to mention their definition of 'socialist', is questionable.

But if or when a member of the Harris County Green Party or the Houston Socialist Workers Party or even the Houston Communist Party declares for mayor in 2015, try to keep in mind what actual leftists want to do, because it's the very same thing the Republicans and conservatives want: to fix the potholes and have a fire department.

Now the police, the roles they are supposed to serve in our community versus their original intent... maybe liberals and conservatives still have a difference of opinion on that.

The Weekly Wrangle

In a week filled with presidential campaign developments, a death in Baltimore followed by the arrest of six police officers charged in that death, the birth of a royal baby, a few high-profile sporting events, and even a blockbuster opening weekend for "Avengers: Age of Ultron"... the Texas Progressive Alliance would like to wish everyone a Happy Star Wars Day as it brings you this week's roundup of the best of the Texas left from last week.

Off the Kuff rounded up coverage of the voter ID appellate hearing at the Fifth Circuit last week.

Libby Shaw, at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos, weighs in on the overall disgust for the Texas governor's cowardice: The CT Freaks Win: TX GOV Panders to Paranoia.

Socratic Gadfly wonders if, given this was not the first outbreak -- and having other information about the Food and Drug Administration from whistleblower Ken Kendrick and more -- if we can really trust the FDA that much when it claims Blue Bell and other ice creams are safe.

Nonsequiteuse calls on Rep. Todd Smith and any other reasonable Republicans left in Texas to come collect their party.

Texas Vox documents the vote on the latest assault on the environment and local control, and Bluedaze blogs about the most recent frackquakes in North Texas... and in Austin.

Bernie Sanders declared for the Democratic nomination for president, and not even the events of Baltimore could keep him from extending his news cycle through the weekend. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reports on the money part of the equation in the opening days of his campaign, and wonders if the stark differences between he and Hillary Clinton might actually produce a meaningful primary contest.

McBlogger points out what is really hurting Hillary Clinton.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why so many Texas Republicans act to enable rapists.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson: Hooray, Obamacare is working! The Good News About Healthcare In Texas For Everyone But Republicans.

Neil at All People Have Value said as shameful as Governor Abbott is to pander to the Jade Helm paranoia, there are in fact serious reasons people believe crazy things. APHV is part of

And Dos Centavos collected some of the worst logo ideas for Cinco de Mayo.


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

HISD Trustee Anna Eastman explains her standardized testing philosophy.

The Texas Election Law Blog previews the arguments in the voter ID appeal.

In a flip-the-script, the Texas attorney general gets sued by the Houston Community College System over its disclosure of public records.  Hair Balls has the story.

Quoting the 2015 Teacher of the Year, the TSTA Blog says we do not separate people into groups that are more deserving than others.

Unfair Park and Paradise in Hell both wonder why Greg Abbott is giving comfort to the tinfoil hat crowd. Harold Cook may have the best explanation for it, and RG Ratcliffe joins the fun.

Grits for Breakfast has a summary of the good criminal justice bills still moving through the Texas Legislature.

Andrea Grimes notes that the Lege has coughed up 32 more anti-choice bills this session, and a few might still be passed.

Trail Blazers posted that several of the bills removing restrictions on marijuana use in Texas have gone up in smoke.

Texas Watch excoriates the Senate for choosing insurance company profits over families and businesses.

Mean Green Cougar Red gives his thoughts on the proposed I-45 rebuild in Houston.

Mari Aguirre-Rodriguez demonstrates some of the tools and technologies that a modern campaign can use.

The Rag Blog is hosting a happy hour in Austin this Saturday, with guests Jim Hightower and Ellen Sweets, author of "Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins".

The Quintessential Curmudgeon takes on the Amarillo city council (again).

Fascist Dyke Motors recaps her blog's story to this point, and adds a warning that it is coming to an end.

And Prairie Weather asks: are men really just cowards?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Left, right, left, right

Bernie Sanders is already doing what everyone expected was the most he could do.

Even without a high-profile challenger in her way -- and in part to prevent one from jumping in -- Clinton has been moving left. What's remarkable about her shift is that it's occurring even at a time when her approval ratings within the Democratic Party are strongest among self-described liberals. She's shoring up the base now, moving from constituency to constituency.

That paragraph was written after Sanders' entry last Thursday.  He raised more money in the first 24 hours of his campaign announcement than any of the other declareds.

(Sanders) kicked off his dark horse campaign for the Democratic nomination on Thursday with an email to supporters and a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol. Since then, more than 100,000 people signed up for the campaign and 35,000 people donated money, according to a campaign press release.  The average donation was $43.54.

Sanders' 24-hour fundraising haul puts him ahead of what every currently declared Republican presidential hopeful posted in their first day.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's campaign announced that it had raised $800,000 a day in. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign raised $1 million in the first 24-hours of its existence. And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign raised $1.25 million in its first day.

The only other Democrat in the race -- former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- did not announce what her campaign raised in its first 24 hours and declined to do so on Friday.

Gee, I wonder why.

Of course, even humble-bragging about the money (note the average donation amount again, above in the excerpt) might be a little, teensy part of the money-in-politics problem.  For Democrats who have now aligned themselves with the benefits of Citizens United... hey, Hillary all the way.

When the ruling was handed down, Democrats were outraged, and Hillary Clinton herself has recently suggested she wants it overturned. Yet with revelations that firms with business before Clinton's State Department donated to her foundation and paid her husband, Clinton's campaign and rank-and-file Democratic activists are suddenly championing the Citizens United theory.

In campaign statements and talking points—and in activists' tweets and Facebook comments—the party seems to be collectively saying that without evidence of any explicit quid pro quo, all the Clinton cash is acceptable. Moreover, the inference seems to be that the revelations aren't even newsworthy because, in the words of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, “there’s nothing new” here.

"Nothing to see here, move along."

— While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Bill Clinton was paid $2.5 million by 13 corporations that lobbied the State Department. Ten of the firms paid him in the same three-month reporting period that they were lobbying Hillary Clinton's agency. Several of them received State Department contracts, worth a total of almost $40 million.

— Hillary Clinton switched her position to back a controversial U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement as millions of dollars flowed into her foundation from an oil company operating in Colombia, and that company’s founder. Amid reports of violence against Colombian unionists, she also certified Colombia's human rights record, thereby releasing U.S. aid to the Colombian military.

— Hillary Clinton's State Department delivered contracts and a prestigious human rights award to a technology firm that donated to the Clinton Foundation—despite allegations from human rights groups that the firm sold technology to the Chinese government that helped the regime commit human rights violations.
The same Democratic Party that slammed the Bush-Halliburton relationship now suggests that this type of behavior is fine and dandy, as long as there wasn't, say, an email detailing an explicit cash-for-policy trade. The insinuation also seems to be that journalists shouldn't even be reporting on any of it, if there is no such email.

Is it morally acceptable for firms to pay a public official's spouse while those firms are getting government contracts from the agency headed by that same public official? That’s a matter of opinion, and if the Democrats want to now champion the ideology behind Citizens United, that’s their right.

Right.  So please stand over there, Democrats.  No, farther to the right.

You'll be hearing a lot of yellow dogs call themselves progressive in the coming months, but be clear that if they're saying they are voting for Clinton, then they've mislabled themselves.  Deceiving themselves certainly, maybe even trying to deceive others.  Pay attention to that as Secretary Clinton makes the rounds of constituencies on her latest listening tour, telling people what they want to hear.  In these early days, judging them by their past works, and not their recent words, is the best lesson they have demonstrated as to who they really are.

See?  Even an atheist knows there's something you can use in your life from the Bible.

Sunday Funnies, justice edition