Monday, January 29, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

The primary season is in full swing, and the Texas Progressive Alliance was busy all week with candidate fora, state and regional meetings of activist groups, and catching up on livestreams and podcasts in-between.

From Our Revolution Texas' statewide meeting, 1/28/18.

Here's the lefty blog post and news roundup from last week ...

The Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze hopes that the county Democratic Party's ballot screw-up is not a precursor for the party's November chances.

Just ahead of the end of the #TrumpShutdown, Socratic Gadfly made the point that it might be more aptly named the #SchumerShutdown.

The Texas Tribune took note of Chuck Schumer's appearance in Houston over the weekend raising funds for several US Senate candidates, which prompted a chorus of bipartisan complaining.

The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week that Congressional candidate Tahir Javed will host the event. A wealthy and prolific fundraiser, he is running for the Texas 29th Congressional District, a Democratic-heavy seat that U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, is vacating.


Schumer's association with Javed is at odds with the local and federal Democratic establishments, who are lining up behind state Sen. Sylvia Garcia's bid for the seat. Garcia has the endorsements of Green, several members of the Texas delegation, and most recently earned the nod of EMILY's List, a powerhouse national Democratic fundraising organization.

While the grumbling was mostly private, it was plain on Friday afternoon that several Texas Democratic Congressional sources who were supportive of Garcia were not happy with the situation.

(Beto) O'Rourke told the Tribune he will attend the event at the invitation of Javed and Houston attorney Nomi Husain. "They asked me to come a long time ago, and I said, 'Absolutely,' and I'm going to honor that commitment," O'Rourke said.

Besides O'Rourke, the money raised at the fundraiser will be evenly split between U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Bill Nelson of Florida and U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen of Nevada.

Texas Vox shared a survey from Yale regarding voters' attitudes on climate change, and recommends asking the questions of your candidates in a forum, or a social media post, or email.

Texas Leftist published four candidate questionnaires: Mike Collier (Lieutenant Governor), Margarita Ruiz Johnson (US House, TX-22), Adam Milasincic (Texas House D-138), and Matt Harris (US House, TX-10).

The Lewisville Texan Journal detailed the campaign of blogger and self-described 'former conservative Republican' Laurie Haines, running in the Democratic primary against Tan Parker in HD-63.

Following up on news in Harvey's continuing aftermath, The Guardian has another foul-air update from the east Houston neighborhood of Manchester, and Space City Weather highlights the National Hurricane Center's post-storm report.  Two cities in the Golden Triangle, Nederland and Groves, registered over 60 inches of rain during the storm, smashing the United States record for rainfall associated with a tropical cyclone by 8 inches.

Also in Southeast Texas and from the Beaumont Enterprise, the Total refinery in Port Arthur was fined more than $300,000 by the TCEQ for illegal emissions during a five-year period from 2011 to 2016, and a large fire at Valero's Port Arthur facility last week (pictured here) was found to have released over one million pounds of toxic emissions.

The Texas Standard reports on an FBI raid in southwest Houston that sheds light on the countless human trafficking slaves hiding in plain sight in the Bayou City.

"We have more brothels than we have Starbucks in our city," Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, told the Houston Chronicle. The demand is so pervasive that at any given moment there are over 400 storefront sex businesses operating in Houston, said Sanborn.

And the Chron has the story of one victim who is suing the hotels, truckstops, and the website Backpage for profiting from the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Sophie Novack at the Texas Observer writes about the appalling lag of data associated with Texas' maternal mortality crisis.  Is it "a problem of political will?"

Dos Centavos gets that it's not just the border wall that's being debated.

Offcite blogs about the intersection of immigration and food.

At the Rivard Report, SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez demands immediate action on DACA.

The TSTA Blog calls out Greg Abbott's lousy job on dealing with the special education limits.

Zachery Taylor has a theory: those who worship freedom wind up with tyranny.

The San Antonio Current, covering the federal trial of state Sen. Carlos Uresti on fraud and money laundering charges, sees the defense team's strategy as portraying the accused as a clueless victim.

Sarah Becker at Houston Justice describes how her first trip to jail brought her hope.

Grits for Breakfast fact-checks claims about the incarceration rates of 17-year-olds.

DBC Green blog reviews Moxie, by Texas author Jennifer Mathieu (a Houston Press alumna).

Neil at All People Have Value wondered how it came to be that a big giant gun out in the open is fine, but sticks on a banner need to be addressed by law enforcement. APHV is part of

And Steve Russell at The Rag Blog notes the passing of a few progressive titans: Hugh Masekela, Rosie the Riveter, and Ursula K. Le Guin.  And the son of Consortium News founder Robert Parry celebrates his life and legacy of investigative journalism and pledges to continue his work.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Part 4: The Resistance against The Revolution

(Parts one -- the Texas gubernatorial candidates, two -- Sema Hernandez versus Beto O'Rourke, and three -- the seven TX-07 candidates, my Congressional scrum -- posted previously.)

As much as I enjoy being mean to Democrats who insist on losing, their way --  destroying the party, alienating every potential ally under, or recently exited, their big tent -- Ted Rall always tops me.

Leftists want to change the world. They want peace, equal income, equal wealth, equal rights for everybody.

Democrats are not part of the Left. If Democrats have their way, the fundamental inequality of American capitalism, a system in which 1% of the people “earn” 82% of the income, will never change. Democrats apply identity politics as a distraction in lieu of systematic solutions to class-based discrimination. Democrats demand more women directors in Hollywood, more African-Americans admitted to Ivy League schools, transgendered soldiers in the military so they can join the slaughter of brown people in other countries.

Donald Trump represented a rare opportunity for the Left. After eight years of fascism with a smile, the American system got a figurehead as visually and tonally repugnant as its foreign policy (drones, aggressive wars, coups, undermining popular elected leaders) and its domestic reality (widespread poverty, crumbling infrastructure, no social safety net, for-profit healthcare and education). “Hey,” the Left could finally say, “the U.S. is a disgusting monster headed by a disgusting monster. Let’s get rid of that monster!”

It has become painfully apparent that Democrats have hijacked the anti-Trump Resistance.

This is going to really sting, Donkeys.

Definition of revolution: “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.”

At those very same marches, however, (establishment Democratic) speakers like Nancy Pelosi and Kirsten Gillibrand urged women to run for office (presumably as Democrats) and to support Democratic candidates (whether they’re women or men). Even if you think that is a beautiful and important idea, it is not revolution.

Running for office and validating the status quo by voting for major-party candidates is the exact opposite of revolution.

It gets worse in more specific ways from there, so if you're not already a Resister grinding your teeth -- or a Revolutionary nodding your head -- go ahead and click over and finish.

But maybe you dismissed Rall a long time ago.  If so, then you won't care what Ryan Grim and Lee Fang at The Intercept wrote about the DCCC's debacle in PA-16 as a microcosm of the problem, either.  The excerpt following doesn't do justice to the depth of the festering neoliberal cancer that has metastasized nationwide.

Christina Hartman, by the Democratic Party’s lights, did everything right during the last election cycle. She worked hard, racking up endorsements from one end of the district to the other. She followed the strategic advice of some of the most sagacious political hands in Pennsylvania, targeting suburban Republicans and independents who’d previously voted for candidates like Mitt Romney, but were now presumed gettable.

“For every one of those blue-collar Democrats [Donald Trump] picks up, he will lose to Hillary [Clinton] two socially moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, suburban Cincinnati, suburban Philadelphia, suburban Pittsburgh, places like that,” Ed Rendell, the state’s former governor and titular leader of the state party, had predicted to the New York Times.

Hartman, with the energetic support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, used her fundraising prowess to go heavy on television ads to drive her moderate message, confident that the well-funded Clinton ground game would bring her backers to the polls.

It did not.

Hartman was swamped by Smucker by 34,000 votes, badly underperforming even Clinton, who lost the district by about 21,000 votes. Trump and Smucker had indeed picked up some blue-collar Democrats, but not enough Republicans switched over to make up for the loss.

After spending $1.15 million in 2016, she had finished with 42.9 percent of the vote. In 2014, a terrible year for Democrats, a little-known Democrat spent just $152,000 to win almost the same share, 42.2 percent of the vote.

In July, Hartman announced she would make another run at it in 2018.

She quickly found the support of the state’s Democratic establishment, led by Rendell. “I’m proud to support her run for Congress in 2018. With her track record of success, we can count on Christina Hartman to show up for the people of PA-16 and to be part of the solution to end Washington gridlock,” Rendell said.

Along with Rendell came failed 2016 Senate candidate Katie McGinty ...

And on it goes.  Down With Tyranny (you won't like this, either, establishment Dems):

If you've been paying any attention since around 2006 or so, DWT has been blasting away at how the DCCC, and the Democratic establishment in general, rigs primaries against progressives in favor of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party -- Blue Dogs, New Dems, "ex"-Republicans, self-funders, anti-choice freaks, homophobes... the whole panoply of candidates who make voters scratch their heads and say "what's the difference?" Nothing deflates turnout from the Democratic base like the DCCC and EMILY's List and associated groups offering a lesser-of-two-evils strategy. It doesn't work, but the DCCC is incapable of learning the lesson. Sure, their shit candidates can be sometimes swept into office -- as they were in 2006 -- but in the next midterm they are invariably swept back out of office (as they were in 2010) when Democratic voters realize they've been tricked -- and stay home in droves.


The DCCC still blatantly lies about not getting involved in primary battles. They do it every day and in every way. And the whole purpose is the kill progressives in the cradle. Their own Red to Blue website currently lists 18 crap candidates they are backing, almost all of them also backed by the New Dems and/or the Blue Dogs and almost all of them in hot races with progressives. As Grim and Fang reported, "the Democratic Party machinery can effectively shut alternative candidates out before they can even get started. The party only supports viable candidates, but it has much to say about who can become viable."

Look for the Emily's List-endorsed candidate in a Congressional race, and more often than not you'll find a conservative, corporate Democrat ready to blow lots of cash and lose.  (In TX-07, that candidate is Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.)   The DCCC claims neutrality using the same reverse psychology that Ajit Pai and Ted Cruz do with regard to the Internet.

In Texas, where everything -- especially the Democrats' losing streak -- is bigger, over the past quarter century Team Blue has managed to nominate bold progressives (LMAO) like Victor Morales, Gene Kelly, Ron Kirk, Paul Sadler, and David Alameel for the US Senate; and Tony Sanchez, Chris Bell, Bill White, and Wendy Davis for governor.  In 2018 the Democrats' nominees are once more being pre-selected well in advance, and strictly on the basis of how much money they have raised, by the corporate media and party and labor bosses.

Pass.  Not falling for that banana in the tailpipe thing again.

Sadly, it gets worse.  Case in point: even with every single card in the deck already stacked against her, US Senate candidate Sema Hernandez has attracted a crew of Resistance smear merchants working overtime.

You'll need to click on these to read them clearly.

I have about 15 more screenshots of this thread.  I like to know who my enemies are.

So let's review.  If you're the kind of Democrat ...

-- That thinks Russia hacked the election (nope, still no proof);

-- That wants to see Trump impeached (ain't hap'nin' unless you flip the House and Senate, and that ain't hap'nin' if you're spending all your time hating on Bernie Sanders and all of his supporters who #DemExited last November;

-- Thinks a "deeply, personally" pro-life elder in his Presbyterian church -- which harshly condemns homosexuality and gay marriage -- who sees no conflict in his personal views and how he might govern; who holds no experience in government save being the son of a former governor (but does have the ability to self-fund his race) is a front runner for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination;

-- That supports a three-time loser running for TX-07 who still doesn't live in the district, and still proudly supports fracking ...

-- That thinks hosting Nancy Pelosi as keynote speaker for the county party's most important fundraiser was a great idea;

-- That is making excuses for Chuck Schumer, et. al. as they leave DREAMers twisting in the wind again, and again, rather holding on to that silver lining ...

... then you're part of the Resistance.  Or as some call it, the McResistance.

I'm still going to give your nasty party one more chance this year ... despite the fact that you pretty much hate me and everybody who thinks like me.  But those second chances have breaking points.

And without something on the order of 10-15% of your former base vote, you're probably not flipping anything in November except your wig.  Again.  You gonna blame Jill Stein and the Green Party for that?  Again?