August 30, 2016

TX Progressives talk state elections, community newspapers

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges support for Louisiana flood victims as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff points out that at current levels of polling, Democratic statewide candidates in Texas have a legitimate shot at getting elected.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows Texas Republican racism, meanness and greed is behind the withholding of birth certificates to Hispanic children born in Texas.

Hearst's acquisition of nearly two dozen small newspapers circling the city of Houston points out one of the few bright spots in the industry, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs; the rise of community-based papers.

Socratic Gadfly, noting when all parties have "issues," defends Green Veep Ajamu Baraka from Swiftboating, while noting he opened himself to it by being a conspiracy theorist.

Bay Area Houston complains about Gilbert Pena in HD 144.

Dos Centavos eulogizes John Gabriel.

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

The Bloggess celebrates technology in parenting and friendship.

Grits for Breakfast calls for decarceration and closing prisons to reduce TDCJ's budget.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that campus miracle workers can only do so much with limited resources.

The Austin Chronicle posits nine reasons why Donald Trump came to Austin.

Better Texas Blog eulogizes Nelda Laney, wife of former State House Speaker Pete Laney.

The Schulenberg Forty-Eighter discusses how to fight oil pipelines.

Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick and the Star Spangled Banner (updated)

As Colin Kaepernick pledges to continue to remain seated during the National Anthem, here's a few quick thoughts.

First is the "why now" question. I don't know, but let's hope the MSM asks. That said, it appears at least tenuously connected to Black Lives Matter issues.

And, Francis Scott Key's song has plenty of room for fodder here.

First, as The Intercept notes, the third verse salutes the killing of slaves. Or rather, slaves attempting to escape to the British vessels that bombarded Fort McHenry and led to Key's words.

But, other people have other reasons to balk at the song.

The fourth stanza, per Wiki, is explicitly Christian, claiming America's motto is "In God is our Trust." And, now you know where Salmon P. Chase was inspired to inscribe our coinage in 1864; "In God We Trust" likely started with Key.

Update: Per Yahoo, Drew Brees, I "get." (I don't "accept," though, especially as Kaep had already said this isn't anti-military.)

Richard Sherman, with:
"At the same time, you’ve got to honor your country."

Still gets it half-wrong, as I see it.

That's just the old "my country, right or wrong," in new dress. And, it's kind of surprising coming from him.

And Jerry Rice [Tap-Dancing with the Stars?] has reportedly now taken the Sherman fade route. As has Tiki Barber. Maybe when black athletes get rich enough (see Jordan, Michael) they start shading their opinions more, or at least get tempted to. Jordan has now finally found a voice and LeBron James never ignored his. That said, if Kaep were the starter in the Bay???

And, Rodney Harrison has really doubled down on teh stupidz, saying Kaep isn't black. I guess Obama isn't either? 

Ken Silverstein notes that peer pressure can be pretty big as part of the Kaepernick ... "lynching," to quote one of our nation's Nine in Black.

On the side of sanity, fortunately, Jim Brown (no surprise) totally supports him.

August 27, 2016

Ranked choice voting and the 2016 presidential election (updated)

Various types of alternative voting, other than "first past the post" or "first past the post plus a runoff if no majority" (ignoring the Electoral College in presidential elections) get regularly touted by third-party backers, sometimes to the point of heated argument about which is best. (Common Cause compares a few.

Ranked choice, also known as instant runoff voting, is already used in a few places in the U.S. Approval voting, the normal second-most-common touted option, isn't used anywhere.

That said, in the world of the actual, these event aren't the only ways of voting.

For Congressional, state legislative and local races, FairVote looks at three multi-seat options.

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But, back to this year's presidential race.

Let's say we had no Electoral College, that we insisted the winner have a majority, not just plurality, of popular vote, and that we didn't want a messy, time-consuming physical runoff.

I think ranked choice/IRV (some particular Jesuitical types may still claim they're different things) is the best option.

With a mix of actual and idealized options, voting here in Tejas, here you go on my rankings.
1. The Science and Reason Party. This is an idealized desire.

2. Green Party, candidate and party faults and all. (For now)

3. Some Socialist Party. Problems: there's none on the ballot in Texas, and those that exist elsewhere are highly factionalized against each other. That said, I'd gladly not vote in the 2018 Texas Dem primary, should I still be in this state, to sign a Socialist ballot access petition.

Update: The Socialist Party USA candidate is trying to get write-in standing in Texas. If he and his Veep do, you'll get a blog post with analysis of their individual and party positions. If they pass the smell test ...

Update 2: Nope, nope nope. S-USA's party platform looks like Occupy Wall Street on Quaaludes, or flower children embedded in amber. Among the nuttier "wants"? Unilateral disarmament, and NOT just nukes — all weapons. Public referendums on every declaration of war. Soldiers' unions.

SIX weeks paid vacation, which goes beyond even the nice five weeks of Western Europe. Social Security at 55 with $25K/year minimum.

Others I disagree with? Repeal the Hatch Act? Wrong; I do NOT want federal employees having partisan involvement. Yes, this hurts the "little guy" federal employee, but, unless one would say "Hatch Act doesn't apply below GS-7," a unilateral repeal is stupid.

Given that other socialist parties are even more minimalist than S-USA, which has only four statewide affiliates in the nation, and most assuredly does not have more local elected officials than Greens, since the party's website doesn't even list local officials it's gotten elected, that's minuscule indeed. That means smaller Socialist parties aren't at all in play.

Oh, and, as busted on Reddit, it's anti-GMO, as much as Greens, and has a presidential candidate who may be almost as pandering as Stein on the issue. That's in the platform. Also in the platform is opposition to radiation of food.

4. Justice Party. Problems? Besides not being on the Texas ballot, I don't think it's as far left as Greens, and it was created in party from Naderite spite at the Greens.
5. Not voting. I've long said this is an honorable choice if done with due consideration.
6. Libertarian or Democrat. Yes, this is a coin toss. Gary Johnson's not as nutbar as some LP candidates, but the party is still "way out there" on many economic, and even more so, on many economic justice issues. BUT .... Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton.

August 26, 2016

I take voting MORE seriously than duopolists

I love duopolists who claim a vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is a wasted vote, or even worse, that it's a vote for Donald Trump, even in the face of the mainstream media's Chicago Tribune totally refudiating them.

Indeed, I've more than once said I wish I had multiple left-liberal choices. Should the Socialist Party USA get on the Texas presidential ballot as a write-in, I'll consider it.

However, unlike the recently delinked Dan Arel, I won't puff up socialists by creating a strawman out of Greens. And as I said there, Dan, lemme know when Socialists of any party conduct a ballot access drive in Texas like Greens.

Also let me know when socialists of various non-Communist stripes can quit splitting, quit renaming, and form one stable, unified party.

And, I mentioned the magic word. Just like the German SPD refusing to coalition in 1932, I'll never vote Communist. (That includes "Socialist Workers" parties, speaking of splinters.)

As for Arel talking about how long Greens have had to become more of a force? Socialist Party USA stem from the old Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, which self-destructed in the 1940s by opposing entry to WWII, after in the 1930s wanting to ape the Communist Party by admitting Trotskyites.

Also contra that claim? The SPUSA has run a prez candidate every year since 1976. Greens only since 2004 (there was no national level Green Party in Nader's 2000 run.)

I also take voting third part enough to know that, unlike Dan Arel and his professed thoroughness, Bernie Sanders has been a de facto Democrat for more than 20 years.

So, Dan, it's fine if you wanted to leave the Green Party.

But be honest about both it, and its relatively short history, and the Socialists, and the fact that they've long had the chance to at least get back to 1930s strength and have failed. And that they've continued to splinter, even as the Socialism and Liberation Party also fields a prez candidate.

(Judging by a few of his tweets, Arel may also be a bit more Gnu Atheist friendly than I first thought, but that's another story.)

Update: I don't have a problem starting a Twitter war with him, whether on "call me in 20 years on Socialists," which has already started, or his apparent ongoing belief that Bernie's an actual independent. (And, Bernie's new cash cow bid with "Our Revolution" refutes THAT!) Arel also claims that Bernie's really left (NOT) and that he doesn't get why I bring it up.

I brought it up because it's part of bringing into question your political discernment bona fides.

He also claims she's pro-chemtrails, just because she posted one link about GMOs from a website that also believes in them.

Swiftboating. I'd never heard that accusation before. I've posted links from Faux News before, Dan? Does that make me a wingnut?

In his world, apparently it does. I called Bill Nye an attention whore — because he is — and Arel said that's part of my anti-science stance.

And, Dan, I'll be able to do that about the Socialist candidates too, even with less of an online paper trail.

Took 30 secs of Googling to find out that Socialists USA want to ban all GMOs. And, that, when asked about that, its prez candidate, Mimi Solystik, engaged in either ignorance or pandering of his own, claiming he didn't know where the science stood: "the approaches to the science may have developed since this particular plank was written."

That's from last year, but, from what I know, and from one of Arel's own comments on Twitter, that hasn't changed. The hypocrisy grows.

Arel now claims Solystik's talking to a biochemist. Let's see what happens. (The only claim to that which I've seen is on that same Reddit post.) He also said that he's working to change that. Lemme know when that happens, actually happens. I also pointed out to him that he didn't post anything about S-USA's anti-GMO stance on his blog when throwing Stein under the bus.

It's hypocrisy by non-disclosure. Either he knows that and is in denial, or else he doesn't know that, which makes him even more another overrated Patheos blogger.

Dan also claims that Socialists have more local official than Greens. Given that Socialists USA, on the party's website, don't even have a link to "local candidates," no way to even prove or disprove that.

More hypocrisy on that, via Twitter:
It also, re the organizational claims, has only four statewide S-USA party organizations; all others are locals, per this webpage.

And, yes, I'll be expanding this into a separate blogpost, in all likelihood.

August 25, 2016

There's voter suppression and there's duopoly voter suppression

With federal court rulings striking down voter ID laws in North Carolina and Texas, and putting some dings, at least, on voting laws in Ohio and Wisconsin, it's a good time to talk about voter suppression, right?

Liberal activist groups like People for the American Way certainly think it's a good time to talk about it as a fundraiser. My email inbox has been hit by it and others.

But, there's a dirty little secret.

PFAW may truly care about minority voters who can't vote Democrat.

But, it doesn't care at all about voters of any color who can't vote Green (or Libertarian).

But the likes of Black Agenda Report, discussing the Green vice presidential candidacy of Ajamu Baraka, has their number.

August 24, 2016

What would #Hillbots, and Dems in general, say against Socialists?

Picture if, say, the Socialist Party USA instead of the Green Party, were America's leading left-liberl party.

Instead of attacks claiming the Greens are anti-science, we'd have attacks claiming the Socialists are anti-economics.

We know this from the attacks Hillary Clinton and her allies and surrogates launched against non-socialist social democrat lite Bernie Sanders.

See, national Dems are like Goldilocks, always wanting the bed that's "just right." Hillary just practices a more incremental version of this.

Well, first, the GOP, to turn the old Overton Window into a new parable, keep resizing, or to riff on an employment word, downsizing "just right," and national Dems then keep contorting themselves into tighter quarters.

Eventually, to riff on John Nance Garner, that "just right" isn't worth a warm bucket of piss.