Friday, September 09, 2016

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Dateline San Antonio.

Eight months before the next municipal election, Mayor Ivy Taylor is ramping up her re-election bid — shaking up her campaign and winning support of her former arch political rival.

Just a little over a year ago, things had become so strained between Taylor and mayoral challenger Leticia Van de Putte, a former state senator, that Taylor refused to shake her opponent’s hand after a debate broadcast on Texas Public Radio. But after Taylor won the bitter runoff election, hatchets were buried, fences mended and olive branches extended.

This week, the two stood side by side at a Taylor fundraiser in Terrell Hills that raised $180,000 for her re-election bid and where Van de Putte heaped praise on the mayor.

“I generally thought I was better suited to be mayor simply because of my experience and maybe the style of leadership I have. I knew Ivy to be a good administrator,” Van de Putte said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News Thursday, describing what she said at the fundraiser.

“But she’s stepped up to the plate and she has shone. And so it is with those results that I wholeheartedly stand in support, and I said, ‘Voters got it right,’” Van de Putte said of her endorsement.

As a commenter at the OP noted ...

If Van De Putte can deliver the Latino vote to a token black anti-LGBT Republican with an ethics background that is totally shameful and who's in the lobby's fold, Latinos are in serious trouble. But the fact is she couldn't deliver it for herself, why should we think she can do it for Taylor. She's probably already lined up the city's lobbying contract for her and her Rino (Republican-in-name-only) friend Hope. At some point Leticia, it's time to move on and let the next generation of qualified and ethically responsible leaders step up and move the city in a transparent and accountable manner.

Bexar County Latin@s have, as throughout Texas, failed to drive their voters to the polls and take back (or take over) the city, county, and state for conservative Democrats since the Anglo Dems became Reagan Republicans in the Eighties.  Thus the Anglo Republicans -- we'd have to call them moderates for the most part -- and their considerable wealth are the ones who run the show.

Two more excerpts.

Van de Putte, who is now a lobbyist with former Secretary of State Hope Andrade, lauded the mayor for several accomplishments since she took over leadership of San Antonio, including ...


According to an email sent to a contributor, about 150 people attended the Wednesday fundraiser for Taylor that raised $170,000, nearly doubling what she had reported was left in her account on June 30. ...

The invitation to the fundraiser, obtained by the Express-News, shows scores of supporters contributing as much as $1,000 apiece. The list of 236 people, organizations and political action committees included dozens of well-known San Antonians, including (mega-auto dealer) Ernesto Ancira Jr., Louis Barrios, Bill Greehey, Gordon Hartman, Peter Holt, (former CEO of Clear Channel Communications, now iHeartMedia) Lowry Mays, Red McCombs, Gene Powell, (construction magnate) Bartell Zachry and (former General Motors chairman and former CEO of Southwestern Bell/ATT) Ed Whitacre.


In a campaign shakeup, Taylor replaced Justin Hollis, currently running a re-election campaign for U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, with Christian Anderson, a veteran political consultant.


Taylor’s bid was notable because she entered the race late, having originally said she wouldn’t seek the elected position after being appointed to the seat in 2014, and was under-funded in the race that included Van de Putte, former state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, and former Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.

Taylor said in a statement that she would still work with Red Print Strategies, a Washington-based Republican consulting firm. But she said it would be Anderson running the local operations.

"Van de Putte, who is now a lobbyist with former Secretary of State Hope Andrade ..." is just one nugget of data in this piece that reveals the merging of pro-business Democrats and Republicans in Texas.  It's an adjunct of the damage Trump is wreaking upon the GOP, and to a lesser degree the rejection of Hillary Clinton as the kind of Democrat that many longtime liberal Democrats can unite behind.  Neither group of centrists wants to be associated with its base of so-called 'extremists', the people who for the most part turn out for GOP primaries and don't in the Democratic one.

We're witnessing the birth of a modern-day American Tory Party.  It's likely to be the third party that everybody who isn't a progressive or a Tea Partier will ultimately join.  If either the Dems or Repubs can succeed in chasing off their base, they'll co-opt the name and ballot line of the hollowed-out shell of the former duopoly member and assimilate it.

And for the time being, they'll praise this as "bipartisanship", in the same manner as it is presented by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Scattershooting the blogroll

-- Because the "most recent posts" feed in the blogroll to the right is jacked, I have switched it to alphabetical order until it can be fixed.  I prefer "most recent", but the alpha listing will enable you to more easily find something that you have followed here previously.  There's lots of 'T's because of 'The' and 'Texas", so be patient in searching.

-- I've also made several additions and subtractions, so there is considerably more fresh content and minority POV.  And fewer Shillbots.

-- Here are some photographs from the Standing Rock camp, the swelling group of protestors joining the Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota -- and the support of almost one hundred other tribes -- opposing the latest response from the fossil fuel industry to work around the blocking of Keystone XL.  It's taking on a Camp Casey quality.

-- This is what the planet is up against.  It's the reason why you have Democrats, especially Texas Democrats, supporting fracking just as much as you do Republicans.  It does make that Peak Oil conversation look quaint though, doesn't it?  Do you think they'll be able to extract most of this vast supply of oil and gas for equally massive profits before we all fry?

None of the Above for CiC

The biggest loser appears to have been Matt Lauer.  First, to the duopoly combatants.

After months of what the military calls stand-off attacks, launched from a distance, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finally met on the same stage Wednesday night for hand-to-hand combat.

War analogies are almost as distasteful as football ones, aren't they?

Unfortunately for those seeking information on their respective military policies, they were separated by a half-hour, which meant there was plenty of unilluminating blather spewed by both candidates. That’s to be expected when neither has issued a detailed national-security blueprint or spelled out their plans to defeat ISIS with any specificity.

The candidates ran through their talking points—little they haven’t said before—set apart by stirring martial music, a “live exclusive” MSNBC logo on the screen, and nasal-spray and bladder-control advertisements. Of course, with each candidate limited to about 25 minutes, they couldn’t say much. Clinton spent much of her allotted time responding to questions over her lousy email security while serving as secretary of state. By the time a veteran asked her a serious question about defeating ISIS, moderator Matt Lauer jumped in, encouraging her to answer “as briefly as you can.”

Fun.  The lies and bullshit got thicker, though.

Clinton said she would follow the plodding path blazed by President Obama. “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we are not putting ground troops into Syria,” she said. “We’re going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops.” Trump didn’t address the issue, except to confirm he would destroy ISIS quickly. “The generals have been reduced to rubble,” he argued of the U.S. military’s high command, their hands tied by an overly cautious White House.

But Trump, who said last year that he knew “more about ISIS than the generals do,” has suddenly done an about face and says he will order “my generals”—itself a jarring construction—to devise a plan to defeat ISIS. Obama, of course, has done that as well, and has decided on a go-slow approach to grind the caliphate into dust. Sure, the U.S. could steamroll into the Syrian city of Raqqa, crushing at least ISIS’s physical capital. “I’ve talked to some U.S. generals who are really frustrated,” retired Marine general Anthony Zinni told Time Aug. 31. “They could be in Raqqa in a week.” But that would only set off a new wave of problems, as the U.S. has learned, relearned, and learned again in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Trump dismissed such concerns. In a non-sequitur, he suggested that a Trump Administration would “take the oil” to end such turmoil.

I'm as repulsed as any Clinton supporter.  Believe me.  But because of her lack of press availability over the past year, she was once again forced to refry the email beans.

She may have wanted to talk about why she is qualified to be US commander in chief, but she spent nearly a third of her time on the defensive about her emails.

She talked about classification "headers" and explained that there was "no evidence" her server had been hacked. She even said it may have been safer than those of the state department's, given that the government's (non-classified) system had indeed been breached.

When it came to handling classified information, she was unapologetic. "I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously," she said. "Always have, always will."

For those keeping track at home, Mrs Clinton has gone from asserting that she never relayed classified information to that she never sent "marked" classified documents to that she never sent material with classified headers.

That's the rhetorical equivalent of rear-guard action that ends with your army pushed into the sea.

Her Iraq War authorization as a senator and the Libyan matter were also parsed.  As usual, she was unable to mollify the critics.  But leave it to Lauer to lower the bar enough for both Trump and Clinton to slither under it.

So Lauer didn't correct Trump on his record about Iraq?” The Washington Post’s Phil Rucker tweeted.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote that the forum was “an embarrassment to journalism,” while his colleague Paul Krugman wrote that “everyone knew this would happen,” but Lauer didn’t “have a follow-up planned” for Trump’s answer.

"I hate media-on-media violence, but Trump's support for the invasion of Iraq has been. .. rather well documented. No Lauer follow-up?” wrote Yahoo News’ Olivier Knox.

NBC News’ own political unit fact-checked Trump's claim later, calling it “false”.

To be sure, Lauer got credit for pushing Trump on his plan for defeating ISIS and confronting Trump with a tweet of his from 2013 on the thousands of unreported sexual assault in the military where Trump said: “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” Many also lamented the short amount of time allotted for each candidate, just 30 minutes including audience questions.

But that didn’t take away from what many journalists saw as a quick and easy fact check.

"How can someone like @MLauer not set the record straight on Trump's bogus claim of being against the war in Iraq?” wrote the Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler.

Trump was buffoonish on the military rape question as well.

Trump [...]  began by  saying that it is  a "massive problem" and that "we're going to have to come down very, very hard on that."

"The best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military," he said according to Time. "Right now the court system practically doesn't exist."

[...] Lauer quickly interjected to read a tweet from Trump three years ago. In May 2013, Trump said that sexual assault was to be "expected" when you put women in the military:

After Lauer called Trump out on his 3-year-old tweet, Trump maintained saying, "It is a correct tweet. There are many people that think that's absolutely correct."

Lauer then asked if that means Trump would take women out of the military and the Republican nominee said, "No, not take them out, but something has to be happened [sic]. When you have somebody that does something so evil, so bad as that, there has to be consequences for that person. You should have to go after that person. Right now, nobody is doing anything."


Despite the whining in advance that Hillary would "lose" because Trump is graded on a curve, and the predictable and rote complaints about sexism and misogyny (spawning its own hashtag, naturally), it's the macro view of this forum that leaves me disgusted.

The most dispiriting thing Wednesday night was the grim view of the world the candidates gave Americans, with their relentless focus on fighting and terror. That, in part, comes from candidates eager to court—some might say pander to—the military vote. There was scant optimism, reflecting the hunkered-down nature of U.S. politics since 9/11. The frontier spirit that made the U.S.—a national character trait for more than two centuries—was nowhere on the deck of the USS Intrepid, docked in the Hudson River.

More than 500,000 Americans have died on U.S. highways since 9/11. A U.S. resident is 1,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than a terrorist attack. While the federal government has succeeded in reducing the number of vehicle fatalities, few blame the federal government for the asphalt carnage. But because such deaths are an everyday occurrence, they have become part of the white noise of American life.

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the candidates, but the world today is less violent than it has been in generations. If the candidates had focused on that Wednesday night, instead of heightening fears over relatively small threats, the evening could have been inspiring, as well as informative.

With these two odious people?  Not a chance.