Saturday, April 30, 2016

Revolution news update

With Hillary Clinton’s emergence as the likely Democratic presidential nominee, online chatter about Green Party candidate Jill Stein as a November alternative for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting louder.


Bill Boyarsky writes at Truthdig that Sanders’ supporters “would be welcomed by Dr. Jill Stein. The physician-activist is favored to win the Green Party presidential nomination this year after heading the party’s ticket in 2012.” Stein told Boyarsky, “The whole reason for having an independent third party that cannot be silenced is there are 25 percent of Bernie’s voters who are not going into that dark night to vote for the No. 1 cheerleader for Wal-Mart, for Wall Street, for an endless war. They are looking for another place to hang their hat.”
Inquisitr reports on Stein’s outreach to Sanders, writing that Sanders has “refused the Green Party’s courting in the past, and he says he won’t play the part of the spoiler. Still, supporters of the idea point out that the Green Party National Convention takes place in August, following the Democratic National Convention in July. On social media, many have said that superdelegates should consider that hundreds of thousands of Sanders’ supporters might demand that he accept Stein’s offer” to join a Green ticket.
Sputnik News reports that according to journalist Sam Sacks, “If Sanders lost the Democratic nomination, millions of his voters could opt out from supporting Clinton, possibly seeking another candidate.” Dave Lindorff of Op-Ed News also writes about a possible Sanders spot on the Green ticket.

Stein has offered to allow Sanders to run as the Greens' presidential nominee, stepping back to V-P herself.  That can be heard in this interview.

It's probably nothing for ignorant corporate war-loving Democrats -- you know, the ones who still believe Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election -- to worry about.  Yet.  For the moment it's important for #BernieOrBusters to clearly understand how the election laws for write-in candidates in each of the 50 states very probably nullify their attempts to get him elected in that fashion, to say nothing of the chances of that happening on its best day, or the futility of trying to send a message when the telephones lines are all down (so to speak).  That part of the system is also rigged against them, you see.

In the meantime, I'll just refer to "#5", or "#2", or whatever number is appropriate every time a neoliberal gets his or her wings on social media.  I need some people to self-deport from my timeline and this seems like the best way to get the heavy trash to the curb.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Still going to need your ID to vote in Texas

Supreme Court says 'no' ... but might reconsider before the fall.

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach.
The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.
The challengers in the ongoing lawsuit argue there is no reason to allow the requirement to show picture identification at the polls to remain in place.
But justices rejected the plea in a brief order Friday. The full New Orleans-based appeals court will hold a new hearing on the Texas law in May.
The high court said that it is aware of "the time constraints the parties confront in light of the scheduled elections." If the full appeals court has not issued a ruling by July 20, the court said, it would entertain a renewed emergency appeal over the voter ID law.

Gerry Hebert, who runs the public interest law firm that represents Texas voters challenging the law, said Friday's order gives his clients a chance to again ask the Supreme Court for help if the appeals court does not rule quickly. "This order gives us the opportunity to protect Texas voters if the 5th Circuit fails to rule in time," said Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center.

Some of this delay by the 5th Circuit is because of Antonin Scalia's death early this year.  He oversaw the rulings for this appeals circuit; Clarence Thomas -- the weirdest dude you can imagine -- inherited that workload from his deceased pal.  The slow-walking of Merrick Garland's nomination has put the remaining eight justices in a bind.  Have you signed the petition telling the Senate to do its effing job yet?

Matt Angle at the Lone Star Project shines up the silver lining.

The Texas voter ID law has been ruled discriminatory by three previous federal courts. Yet Texas Republican leaders have continued to appeal the case and demand its enforcement despite previous rulings that it discriminates against hundreds of thousands of eligible Texas voters. The case is currently pending before the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals awaiting a formal hearing on May 24th. The Supreme Court’s ruling today should force an Appeals Court decision by July 20th, which will likely be immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the losing side. 

It's on track to be settled before we vote this year.  Photo ID is probably DOA once we get a ninth justice, whether that is Garland in December on recess or someone President Hillary Clinton appoints in January of 2017.  Either way, there's no need to allow yourself to be bullied onto the Clinton bandwagon by some neoliberal with a SCOTUS bat.  (The Notorious RBG is just short of being bulletproof, and speculation about the health of SCOTUS judges is rude at any time.)

Scattershooting while mourning Blackie Sherrod

Felix McKnight (seated) joined co-publisher James Chambers Jr. (left), 
Blackie Sherrod and A.C. Greene as the staff of the Dallas Times Herald 
worked on coverage of the JFK assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. (Courtesy DMN)

Blackie Sherrod, the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation or any other, now and forevermore, died Thursday afternoon at age 96.

Sherrod died at his home in Dallas of natural causes, said his wife, Joyce. He had been in hospice care for the past week.

Sherrod was voted Texas Sportswriter of the Year a record 16 times and was honored with the prestigious Red Smith Award, national recognition for lifetime achievement. He won so many awards over more than six decades at Texas newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News starting in 1985, that he stopped keeping plaques or certificates for anything other than first place.

But his greatest trophies may have been the lasting memories he created for legions of readers and his peers, in particular.

He was nicknamed "Blackie" by a newsroom boss when he came in to the office one morning having absorbed a little too much sunshine, a story that speaks to the extraordinary unacknowledged white privilege of his era.  His soft bigotry didn't suffer from low expectations; it was just soft bigotry like most everybody else's in the '40's up to the present day, but especially in the '60's.  You'd have to read a lot written by and about the guy to get to that POV, and I have.

You might like to start here with this 1975 Texas Monthly piece.

Blackie Sherrod inspected the three or four manicured acres surrounding A. C. Greene’s semi-mansion in a much-advantaged section of Dallas, cocked his head to monitor the sweet calls of summer-morning birds, and sat down at an outdoor table loaded as if to accommodate a threshing crew: platters of eggs, bacon, cantaloupe slices, exotic breads, jams and jellies, coffee, pitchers of fruit juice, and maybe assorted samples of caviar or candied yak’s ass. He took in the grandly bent weeping willows, the sun-dappled swimming pool and bathhouse, the tall hedges hiding the green grounds from the gazes of Democrats or other riffraff. Sipping a spiced bloody mary, he said, “Boy hidy, A. C., all this sure is . . .”

Sherrod hesitated, as if determined to choose the exact right word—it is, after all, the way he makes his living—and you could see ol’ A. C. Greene, a Depression-era Abilene boy who was not born fast friends with money, puffing with the pride of ownership and preparing to respond to some record-breaking gracious compliment.

“. . . totally,” Blackie said, “and completely . . .”

Out of this world, he might say. Or beyond belief. Somesuch. A. C. nodded and beamed like a politician being bragged on, patting a well-shod foot as if impatient to deliver his own pretty little acceptance speech.

“ . . . vulgar,” Blackie Sherrod finished.

Before the manor’s lord could blink good, Sherrod smote him again: “What’d you plant the most of this year, A. C.? What time you commence whupping-up on them slaves?” A. C. Greene, knowing when he’d been out-country-boyed, threw up his hands and laughed a crippled giggle.

He was indeed the best there's ever been, at a time when good newspaperin' was at its best, when people read the Fort Worth (and Dallas) papers for news about the Cowboys from all over the state of Texas and probably all of Oklahoma and certainly parts of Arkansas and Louisiana.  Sherrod also covered Democratic conventions when Democrats were still riding high 'round these parts, which tells you how blessed he was with longevity.

He spawned a legion of great writers like Larry King (who wrote that TM piece forty years ago) and Dan Jenkins and many more, not necessarily including those of us who cribbed from him.

A columnist on the Texas Gulf Coast so persistently thieved from Sherrod’s column that Times Herald authorities ultimately complained and the would-be genius was fired. In 1950, when Sherrod was a columnist for the Fort Worth Press and I was the rookie one-man sports department for the Midland Reporter-Telegram, it was my urgent habit to be on hand at the Scharbauer Hotel each day to buy all six copies of the Press left at the local newsstand. Five were pitched into the handiest trash can. This wasteful practice guarded against my bosses and readers learning where I got those many little funnies shamelessly sprinkled throughout a daily column carrying my own by-line. Had the Midland paper observed a policy of granting raises, I’m confident Blackie would have earned me one.

Not that the whole world was fooled. No, for when I moved on to the Odessa American, a resident sports scribe named Ben Peeler wigwagged me into a neutral corner to whisper that our newspaper wasn’t big enough for both of us to crib from Blackie Sherrod, and, by gum, he claimed certain inalienable seniority rights. Within the last fortnight I enjoyed a magazine piece by a freelance writer who’d stolen enough lines from a single Sherrod column to retire on. All that doesn’t bother Blackie much more than the running colic, “seeing as how I’ve robbed ole Shakespeare and S. J. Perelman purty good myself.”

He was just as solid when he wrote about moonshots and presidential assassinations.

There's more at both links above and I'll stop here before I get in the way of myself.  I've long needed an editor and now I'm afraid Blackie's gonna be looking over my shoulder.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

We're set for November. Woo hoo.

In a front-runner's rout, Republican Donald Trump roared to victory Tuesday in five contests across the Northeast and confidently declared himself the GOP's "presumptive nominee." Hillary Clinton was dominant in four Democratic races and now is 90 percent of the way to the number she needs to claim her own nomination.
Trump's and Clinton's wins propelled them ever closer to a general election showdown. Still, Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted Cruz and John Kasich, vowed to keep running, even as opportunities to topple the leaders dwindle.

Trump is a little further away but is bragging louder as usual.

Trump still must negotiate a narrow path to keep from falling short of the delegates needed to seal the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July. Cruz and Kasich are working toward that result, which would leave Trump open to a floor fight in which delegates could turn to someone else.
Trump was having none of that. "It's over. As far as I'm concerned it's over," he declared at his victory rally in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. He now has 77 percent of the delegates he needs.

In the clearing stands a boxer.

News organizations called all five states for Trump within 30 minutes after the polls closed – a victory that should net him around 100 delegates when the counts are finalized. However, analysts believe Trump will be hunting for at least 250 more delegates even as his celebratory boasts Tuesday oozed confidence. Indeed, he went so far as to declare, “I consider myself the presumptive nominee.”

His rationale: “When a boxer knocks out another boxer, you don’t have to wait for a decision. That’s what happened tonight."

If you take him at his word, he'd rather be fighting... someone else.

“If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote,” he said to close out a press conference after sweeping five northeastern primaries. “And the beautiful thing is, women don't like her.”

Yeah, that's just gorgeous, Donald.  Women like you even less (shocking, isn't it).

This is going to be such a hideous path through the summer and early fall to the bitter end.

With Clinton's four victories — she ceded only Rhode Island to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — she now has 90 percent of the delegates she needs to become the first woman nominated by a major party. Clinton kept her focus firmly on the general election as she spoke to supporters Tuesday night, urging Sanders' loyal supporters to help her unify the Democratic Party and reaching out to GOP voters who may be unhappy with their party's options.
"If you are a Democrat, an independent or a thoughtful Republican, you know that their approach is not going to build an America where we increase opportunity or decrease inequality," Clinton said of the GOP candidates. She spoke in Philadelphia, where Democrats will gather in July for their nominating convention.

We'll see how that goes.  Still sounds like condescension and scolding to me.

"I applaud Senator Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality," she said, "and I know together we will get that done."
She acknowledged that "too many people" feel powerless, and worried "that those of us in politics put our own interests ahead of the national interest." But she reminded her supporters, in a message to Sanders' supporters as well, that bold goals must be "backed up by real plans."
"After all, that is how progress gets made," she said. "We have to be both dreamers and doers."

Doesn't seem to register that her definition of 'progress' isn't what Sanders folks are looking for.  How much of his support transfers to her is essentially the last question left to answer, and it will be six months before we know for sure.

Robert Reich observes that the endgame for anti-establishment forces in the GOP and the Dems are mirror images of one another (which is not to say that they're the same), and invokes the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy to make his point.

Will Bernie Sanders’s supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?
If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries that year ended up supporting Barack Obama in the general election. About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John McCain.
But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.
Outsiders and mavericks are often attractive to an American electorate chronically suspicious of political insiders, but the anti-establishment sentiments unleashed this election year of a different magnitude. The Trump and Sanders candidacies are both dramatic repudiations of politics as usual.
If Hillary Clinton is perceived to have won the Democratic primary because of insider “superdelegates” and contests closed to independents, it may confirm for hardcore Bernie supporters the systemic political corruption Sanders has been railing against.
Similarly, if the Republican Party ends up nominating someone other than Trump who hasn’t attracted nearly the votes than he has, it may be viewed as proof of Trump’s argument that the Republican Party is corrupt.
Many Sanders supporters will gravitate to Hillary Clinton nonetheless out of repulsion toward the Republican candidate, especially if it’s Donald Trump. Likewise, if Trump loses his bid for the nomination, many of his supporters will vote Republican in any event, particularly if the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton.
But, unlike previous elections, a good number may simply decide to sit out the election because of their even greater repulsion toward politics as usual – and the conviction it’s rigged by the establishment for its own benefit.
That conviction wasn’t present in the 2008 election. It emerged later, starting in the 2008 financial crisis, when the government bailed out the biggest Wall Street banks while letting underwater homeowners drown. 
Both the Tea Party movement and Occupy were angry responses – Tea Partiers apoplectic about government’s role, Occupiers furious with Wall Street – two sides of the same coin. 

Pick it up from there over here, where he adds in the mega-bank bailouts, Citizens United, and the rest of the past eight years' worth of history.

My mission beginning a year or so ago was to more actively facilitate the departure of progressives -- what we can now call BernieDems -- away from Team Blue and toward Team Green, or Team Red as the case may be.  Contrary to Kos' latest change of tone, a revolution within the Ds -- as Sanders has learned the hard way -- just isn't the most effective tool to affect change (no fear of loss on their part if you just slouch slowly back into the fold).  So I'm going to keep doing that in my own signature style around here, which ought to further alienate my old pals in the blues party some more (too bad about that).

As a result I'm going to be posting excerpts and links to articles that reinforce that message and much, much less about the he said/she said bullshit.  You'll see more like yesterday's about intriguing matchups downballot in states other than Texas, because Texas is once again a foregone conclusion.  Just not that interested in what the world's worst conservatives will do, and plot to do, with absolutely no political consequences whatsoever.

Update: Charles cites the Houston Area Survey's latest revelation -- which I had read before posting here and wasn't nearly so encouraged by -- as reasons for the local Donkeys to be hopeful.  Its conclusions about Houston turning slightly more purple are not based on turnout, just a mild 'leaning' affiliation, and links to Campos, who again blames Dems for not getting his community to vote for them.  My question for soft Latino/a Ds who aren't voting is: WTF are you waiting for?  Us regular folks, white and black alike, aren't sitting around for engraved invitations to perform our civic responsibilities.  Whatever it is that's holding you back, you might consider not waiting for somebody to knock on your door and/or send you a mailer.  And please don't blame anybody but yourselves for the policies Republicans are going to continue to inflict upon you if you're staying home on Election Day.

That's the most I can do to help Hillary get over the Trump hump.  (She really shouldn't need it.)