Monday, May 16, 2016

The Weekly Tinkle Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like for everyone to be able to pee in peace as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff is encouraged by a surge in voter registration from people who can't wait to vote against Donald Trump.

Libby Shaw, attending a roast of Dan Patrick at Daily Kos, received a fair share of push back when she suggested GOP primary voters defaulted to Trump because most of them understand that they've been conned by the GOP establishment. They lost because they serve billionaires. Voters finally figured it out.

SocraticGadfly looks at the Texas Supreme Court's school finance ruling and says Texas GOP voters have reaped what they have sown.

Dos Centavos expresses outrage about the administration's latest immigrant raids, and hopes that Bernie Sanders delegates to state conventions will hold fast -- and hold the Clinton delegation's feet to the fire -- on deportation issues.

A new report on fracking setback distances in Texas shows them to be inadequate, according to Txsharon at Bluedaze.

jobsanger listicles the two biggest lies Republicans tell about employment.

Egberto Willies passes along a Washington Times story about Newt Gingrich, which says that he would "probably" accept a VP slot with Donald Trump if asked.

Texas Vox says that if you are concerned about a chemical explosion similar to the one in West happening in your town, consider writing to the EPA.  Because our state government simply isn't going to do anything.

The difference between murder and manslaughter is "I didn't mean to", observes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value sees a lot of value in everyday life. You should as well. APHV is part of

And John Coby at Bay Area Houston eulogized Carl Whitmarsh.


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

Chris Hooks at the Texas Observer writes about the Lyin' Ted in winter.

The WAWG Blog has a few questions for millennial Sandernistas, on behalf of boomer ones.

Grit for Breakfast asks: What does an Austin cop have to do to get charged with official oppression? Something worse than Tasering a confused, homeless man lying on the ground?

Lawflog passes on the latest from Booger (aka Robertson) County, which details a few liars, thieves and sore losers.

Lone Star Ma highlights the 10th of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): "Reduce inequality within and among countries."

Space City Weather salutes the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for their stalwart flood mitigation.

The Great God Pan Is Dead updates us on the Rokudenashiko case.

Phyllis Randolph Frye explains what the law really says about bathrooms.  And Cody Pogue would like us all to get over our bathroom issues already.

John Nova Lomax questions Houston ISD's school renamings.

BOR frets that the combination of Zika virus and anti-abortion laws could have a large and negative effect on public health in Texas.

Everything Lubbock takes note of the Hockley County game warden who got a laugh out of a woman reporting a chupacabra sighting there.

And Pages of Victory shares some of his unpopular notions.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Obama's eight years of war

Nobel Peace Prize winner and war president.

President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

The greatest fear every future president will continue to have in the post 9/11 period, at least for the next 25 years or more, is being held accountable -- politically or otherwise -- for not "keeping Americans safe" from terrorists.

'My primary job is to keep our country safe' is a line repeated in various iterations often by this president.  It has translated into the extrajudicial killing of American citizens via drone for the crime of posting inflammatory YouTube videos, the crafting of so-called heroes like Chris Kyle who shoot down women and children with Oswald-ish precision via long-range sniper rifle, and by responding to theocratic guerilla warriors in five separate countries -- not counting whatever we're doing in Syria -- with an Israeli-like hamhandedness that only breeds more of the same.

America's former top diplomat under this president -- the person whose mission is to avoid war and bombings and such -- has already promised to unilaterally strike Iran if she is elected president.  She wanted to "big-stick" China, and that was too much for Obama.

(Former SecDef Robert) Gates laid out the case for diverting the (aircraft carrier) George Washington to the Yellow Sea: that the United States should not look as if it was yielding to China. Clinton strongly seconded it. “We’ve got to run it up the gut!” she had said to her aides a few days earlier. The Vince Lombardi imitation drew giggles from her staff, who, even 18 months into her tenure, still marveled at her pugnacity.

Obama, though, was not persuaded. The George Washington was already underway; changing its course was not a decision to make on the fly.

“I don’t call audibles with aircraft carriers,” he said — unwittingly one-upping Clinton on her football metaphor.

When I read people writing about Hillary's strength in foreign policy, I wince.  (That's a cringing liberal admission for my friend J. R. Behrman.)  'Foreign policy' these days -- if you're not including global trade pacts that hollow out the middle-class -- means more war: more drone killings, more long-range jets bombing more places, more special forces boots on the ground infiltrating, patrolling, shooting and dying.  A more technological and precise imperialism beyond longbows, or blankets laced with smallpox, or mustard gas, or P-51 Mustangs and B-29 Superfortresses, or even Fat Men and Little Boys, but psychopathic imperialism nonetheless.

His managing continuous war over the course of his time in office has occasionally replaced the failure to use his political capital to get universal single-payer done, in terms of my greatest objection with this administration -- and the next one -- but at the moment it's the perpetuity of this most exceptional American legacy I dread the most.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The difference between murder and manslaughter

is "I didn't mean to".   (IANAL)

Even if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's motives for having a homebrew server were far from nefarious, "mistakes were made" and somebody must -- and will -- be held accountable.  There's eventually going to be a fall guy/gal, and today my money's on Cheryl Mills, known as the only person who says 'no' to Hillary.

Sandy Berger -- Bill Clinton's former NSA advisor -- paid a $50,000 fine, performed 100 hours of community service, lost his security clearance and his law license, all for stuffing classified documents down his pantsDavid Petraeus similarly got his charges reduced to a misdemeanor, with a $100,000 fine and two years of probation for sharing classified info with his mistress/ biographer.  (He was not demoted in rank after some deliberation of that consequence by the former secretary of the Army and secretary of defense Ashton Carter, and receives a $220,000 annual lifetime military pension.)

Both cases angered investigating agents because of the leniency of punishment.

From what I can tell and from what Clinton's IT professional Bryan Pagliano may or may not be saying as a result of his immunity from prosecution, Hillary very likely is -- like Berger and Petraeus -- criminally responsible for the "mishandling of classified data".  The conversation about what is, what is not, and/or what should be classified data or not is a word-definition distraction that nobody, not even the most sycophantic of Clinton supporters, is indulging in any longer.

As we know, people who are guilty of a crime are not always prosecuted for it in the American judicial system, and whether she is eventually indicted or not, whether misdemeanor or felony if so, is to be determined by the conclusions and recommendations of the FBI's investigation, director Comey, AG Lynch, and I suspect even Barack Obama himself.

(Insert "Law and Order"'s DUNH-DUNH sound effect here.)

If Guccifer is telling the truth -- and can provide evidence that backs up his allegations -- the only question I have left is: what should Clinton's penalty be for mishandling classified data?  For the record I hold no illusions that Andrew Napolitano is serious when he says the Russians are coming with 20,000 of her emails.

My final concern about this matter is when we will have the conclusions of the investigation made public: before November... or after.

Kindly note that I draw no conclusions about political consequences, though that will be at the forefront of everyone's reaction.  Once we know what we do not know today, whenever that may be.

(Too dramatic?)

Update: Hillary's got a long and tortured road ahead, no matter the outcome of the email business.