Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Resistance is Democrats against Trump. The Revolution is ...

... actual progressives -- Berniecrats, #DemExiters, Democratic Socialists, Greens, and nonpartisans, the commonality being those who have been failed by the Democrats -- against the entire corrupt, corporate-influenced establishment.

This is part one of three regarding how the Democratic schism betwen the Resistance and the Revolution is going to affect the 2018 Texas Democratic primary, happening in less than sixty days, with deadlines for requesting a mail ballot and registering to vote closing fast.

If you read here regularly then you know my bias; there will still be some 'YMMV'.  Part two will flesh out the differences between Ted Cruz challengers Irasema "Sema" Hernandez and Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke, and part three will expose some of the pros and cons of the various Democrats vying to take out John Culberson in CD-7.  I'll tease a bit of those two future posts below.

Once again for the record: being LGBTQ or an ally doesn't make you a progressive.  (Many of the members I know in The Caucus are as far from being progressive as any Republican on nearly every other issue other than the one most important to them.)  Being a feminist, a supporter of women's reproductive rights, an ally of #MeToo and #TimesUpNow, likewise does not convey automatic progressive bonafides by itself.  If you're both of those but think that the Houston firefighters lied on their ballot petitions last summer, for example... you probably work in Sylvester Turner's administration.  And that means you ain't no MF progressive.

The term 'economic and social justice' applies pretty well, but is not universal.  Progressivism is color-blind, gender-blind, identity politics-blind.  Progressivism fights the class war but calls for the end of all shooting wars, opposes the brutish, brutal aspects of capitalism and free markets, and discriminates harshly, but solely on the basis of ideas.

The premise of the title is to mean that the Resistance is comprised mostly of Clinton Democrats (aka neoliberals, conservaDems, Blue Dogs, and just a decade ago, Joe Lieberman Democrats).  A Resistor is the kind of Donkey who may vote for a progressive in the primary, but generally votes for a mush-mouthed moderate, too often the one who has raised and spent the most money or has the simplest name, and insists on voting a straight Democratic ticket in the fall, even when that ticket is populated by Texas *cough* Democrats *cough* like Grady Yarbrough and Jim Hogan.

A Resistance member -- beret tilted jauntily -- wants Oprah, or Joe Biden, to be the party's 2020 nominee as of this week.  In weeks past it was Kamala Harris or Cory Booker.  Next week it could be Julian Castro.  In short, the Resistance is about being a Yellow Dog Democrat.  Been there, done that, all I got was fleas and mange.  (From this point on I will Resist Talking About 2020.)

Repeating myself: the more money a Democrat raises, the less likely I am to vote for them.  This is the kind of Democrat who is NOT likely to be attentive to the concerns of the common people, but rather those of his/her donors.  One example is campaign language rooted in phrases like "access to healthcare".  Everybody has access to healthcare already, ladies and gentlemen (see 'emergency rooms'); not everyone has the ability to avoid being bankrupted by their hospital bills, by the cost of their medications like insulin and other life-saving drugs, or even by the co-pays and caps in their shitty employer plans.

And that's when they're not busy dying.  Because of the lack of affordable healthcare.

'Access to healthcare' is consultant-speak.  It is a dogwhistle to large donors -- or potential ones in the medical, health insurance, and pharmaceutical fields -- who prefer their medicine with a healthy profit margin, such as "Bob" O'Rourke. (And if the corporate media is going to keep up the candidate's pretense that Beto is his real name and not his nickname, then I'm just going to have to set off his birth name in quotes.)

Revolutionaries of tired of all this shit.

The Democratic candidates for governor, from top left: James Jolly Clark, Lupe Valdez, Grady Yarbrough, Andrew White, Cedric Davis, Demetria Smith*, Joe Mumbach, Thomas Wakely, Jeffrey Payne, Adrian Ocegueda.  
Courtesy/illustration by Sunny Sone/Texas Observer
Note: A more recent photo of Grady Yarbrough is here.

The best example lately of the friction between the factions -- it's a little under the radar, but you should trust that it hasn't gone away in the last year -- includes the developments in the race to challenge "MLK Parade Grand Wizard Marshal" Greg Abbott.  First, from the recent debate that featured most of the gubernatorial candidates -- even the one eliminated* because her filing check bounced -- in San Angelo this past Monday (the same night as the college football championship game between Alabama and Georgia, a surefire way to have everyone's attention.  The next one, no doubt, will be scheduled during the Super Bowl).

In a Texas Tribune event this morning, even as this blog post was composed, White pushed back on his reputation as being pro-forced birth, signaled that toll roads should be a solution to Texas' traffic woes, and reiterated his support for fracking, saying the process was "important to the Texas economy" and could be done safely, with environmental concerns in mind ("you can have safe fracking", LOL) but if local governments wanted to ban or restrict it, he'd be fine with that.

Only that last is even marginally acceptable.  The other positions are simply incompatible with Democratic policy, and White's belief that fracking is safe is just delusional.  It represents neither an informed reading nor a sane comprehension of the science.  The Texas Lege has, of course, already cut the guts out of local control -- from fracking to plastic grocery bags -- so a (thankfully fictional) Governor White would be reduced to a veto of future legislation.  The rest of us would remain at severe risk from the other hot gases billowing from his lips.

By this measure, a service dog is qualified to be a candidate for governor.  But still not White, as all he's got going for him is his father's name and the money he's made as a financial advisor.  Yet the corporate media seems to think White is/should be a front-runner, while castigating Democrats as Bum Steers for their generational ineptitude.  This is what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The state of the TDP being what it is, however ... should White make a runoff for governor, I'll be shockedIsay, but not surprised.  (See Grady Yarbrough and Jim Hogan above.)

Update: As predictable as an Austin lobbyist with a concealed carry license (to avoid the long screening lines at the Capitol, doncha know), the Texas Tribune tosses White's salad for calling for the end of the death penalty while soft-pedaling his "deep, personal" anti-choice views.  Progress Texas' Ed Espinoza gets credit for an assist.  Not so much as a peep from the greasy, fossil-fueled Trib about fracking.

White's policy positions (he does have a good idea on raising teachers' pay and how to do it) are considerably more disclosed than alleged/anointed co-frontrunner Lupe Valdez has managed to this point, as Gadfly has blogged.  Valdez gets an 'I' for Incomplete as of today.

You should already know that my candidate is Tom Wakely, who has extensively detailed and unequivocally progressive populist policies, has barnstormed the state, yet still fails to get much in the way of corporate media mention.  I will point out that Joe Mumbach is a second option.

As an aside to David w/r/t his passive aggressive screed from a couple of weeks ago, a Texas gubernatorial candidate does not need to have a position on Yemen.  That's outside the purview of the Texas Governor's responsibility and accountability.  Nobody on the 2018 ballot needs a position on the Jewish-Palestinian question either, unless they are running for federal office.  We all have enough to evaluate in keeping the focus on the people and the issues that matter, so avoiding pointless distractions by the ones that don't is crucial.

I just don't know why Greens do this same dumb thing over and again.  Anyway ...

Next week the Harris County Democratic Party will host several statewide candidates in an event that sounds more meet-and-greet and stump speech than debate.  (I'll try to attend but will live-reTweet if I don't, and if it's relevant beyond the typical pom pom-waving.)  The event is billed as a Johnson-Rayburn-Richards dinner kickoff; it's free but it's promoting the county party's most important annual fundraiser, which fetes as its keynote speaker this year ...

... wait for it ...

... Nancy Pelosi.  Pelosi is about as popular as shingles, as everyone knows, and that's without comparing her to Bernie Sanders, so it's no wonder some journalists have characterized Texas Democrats as *ahem* demonstrating reluctance to embrace the nation's most popular politician (remember, he's not a Democrat) and his movement to help Democrats get elected.  Note that the Chron's Austin bureau reporter writing the article at the link-before-last has just a few clues about the goings-on within Team Lone Star Donkey, and repeats every single bromide that I've refuted above, but does find some of the acorns that a blind hog would.

More coming, sooner than later, on the US Senate and the Congressional District 7 contests, and with this same prejudice in favor of the progressives and against the not-so-muches.  I've enjoyed my blogging respite more than you know, but with the primary elections a short sprint away, it's time to put some of these tired, diseased Blue Dogs out of their misery.

And ours.

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

With this week's blog post and lefty news roundup, the Texas Progressive Alliance tips their cap to all you very stable geniuses.

The Rivard Report covered the opening of Dream Week 2018 in San Antonio.

Socratic Gadfly blogged about Beto O'Rourke's visit to Northeast Texas.

RH Ratcliffe at Burkablog got reactions from some Texas mayors regarding US ICE director Thomas Homan's threat to lock up elected officials in 'sanctuary' cities.

Dos Centavos wonders if Latin@s will roll with Trump on the basis of him actually doing something -- no matter how terrible it might be -- on DACA.  (Senate Democrats who folded on a fix at the end of last year left the DREAMer activist community outraged.)

PoliTex saw and heard the backlash in Fort Worth to that city's selection of Governor Greg Abbott as the grand marshal of the MLK parade next week.  And the Houston Press is still wondering why there are two different MLK Day parades in the Bayou City.

The Lewisville Texan Journal has a profile of Willie Hudspeth, the civil rights activist and Vietnam vet running for Denton County Judge.  And from the Texas Observer: Austin community organizer and self-described 'democratic socialist' Lewis Conway Jr. wants to find out if a convicted felon can get elected to, and then serve on, city council.

The Lion Star blog sees a state district court judge in El Paso who wants off the 2018 ballot, and DBC Green blog links to Kuff regarding all the Democrats who have filled the primary that are gunning for a seat in the US House.  And Elliott Morris at Decision Desk HQ also has five numbers that frame where the 2018 Congressional elections stand.

With so many candidates on the primary ballot, Texas Leftist has his candidate questionnaire, TLCQ 2018, up and ready to go, so check it out and look for responses to come in soon.

The TSTA Blog urges teachers to be the voting bloc some state legislators fear they can be.

A Trump social media guru previously based in San Antonio (having relocated to Florida in preparation for the 2020 re-election campaign) has been called to testify before Congress in the ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, reports the Current.

Neil at All People Have Value noted that Trump was making a case for street protests against corrupt government in his tweets about demonstrations in Iran.  APHV is part of

The Texas Tribune takes a look at the furniture rental outfits across the state who threaten their customers with jail time, and follow through on it, if they miss a payment.

Mike Snyder at the Chron wants to consider the question of how Houston should grow post-Harvey.

The Texas Living Waters Project talks to Dr. Andrew Sansom about his freshwater environmental activism.

And Harry Hamid reported some issues with an arson investigation in his 'hood.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018's first Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone reading this has a happy, healthy, prosperous, and very progressive 2018.  (No substitutes or pretend-progressives will be accepted.)

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs picked his Texan of the Year, and unlike the Dallas News, neither Joe Straus nor white supremacist Richard Spencer were ever in contention.

SocraticGadfly riffed on the idea of the Twelve Days of Christmas and found 12 jobs even better than knitting for Hillary Clinton.

In its own state news roundup, Texas Standard wants you to know that the Parks and Wildlife Department is hosting more than 75 hikes in state parks across Texas today.

Texas is leading the nation in flu cases, reports the San Antonio Current.

Grits for Breakfast has Brennan Center data that shows murder rates were down in the largest Texas cities in 2017, but violent crime was up slightly.

Save Buffalo Bayou asks more questions about Houston's 'flood czar', Steve Costello.

A poll graphed by jobsanger indicates that the American public wants action on gun safety legislation in 2018.

A poll reported in the Dallas Observer shows Mark Cuban leading Trump in Texas.  The poll, conducted by PPP, has the billionaire investor listed as a Democrat, but Cuban has said that if he runs for president in 2020, he will do so as a Republican.  (There's a point about shitty polls or dumbass Texas Democrats -- or both -- to be made here, but I'll save it for later.)

Jeremy Wallace in the SAEN's Austin bureau sees Texas Democrats in a quandary as to whether to embrace the Bernie Sanders/Our Revolution progressive movement ... or not.  The article details the awkward fence-straddling of presumptive Senate front-runner Bob "Beto" O'Rourke, who got another puff piece in Texas Monthly's latest issue.

Neil at All People Have Value thinks Democrats running for office at every level of government in 2018 should be asked how they will respond to the threat of authoritarian government in the US. APHV is part of

Down With Tyranny was first with the news about gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely, who will be rocking out in South Texas in late February as part of a Latin@ GOTV effort.  There will be six free concerts -- in six cities in six days -- by Comba, led by Jorge Guevara, the former lead singer with Elefante, and past and current members of Maná, a Gualdalajara rock band who own 4 Grammys and 8 Latin Grammys.

Blogging El Paso Democratic politics (not new but rediscovered, and added to the right-side column) is Jaime Abeytia's Lion Star blog, while Off the Kuff took a closer look at Democratic Congressional candidates around the state.

DBC Green blog has some thoughts on killing one's inner Trump, and Zachery Taylor has a long and righteous rant about Trump's unqualified judicial appointees.

Michael Agresta at the Texas Observer writes about photographer David Taylor's exhibit (at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, through January 28) documenting the monuments marking the true Texas-Mexico border, and the pictures tell their own story of how the line between the two countries has shifted through the years.

The Texas Tribune passes along the details about a South Texas bureaucrat who became a multi-millionaire when the federal government ordered construction of sixty miles of border fencing ten years ago.

And as crude oil climbs back to a profitable range for drillers, frackers, and refiners -- the Permian Basin shattered production records going back to 1973 -- Texas Monthly's Energy Report prefaces Lawrence Wright's long piece in the New Yorker about the resource's long Texas history and influence on everything in the state.