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.