June 28, 2016

TX Progressives eyeball pre-convention Democrats

The Texas Progressive Alliance admires the Scottish facility for creative insults and salutes the preservation of some reproductive choice rights as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the first general election poll of Texas, which has some encouraging bits for Democrats.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos explains, with the help of two award winning political writers, how the Republican Party has become like a religious cult.  The Cult Called the Republican Party.

Socratic Gadfly notes how the Supreme Court's rcent anti-Fourth Amendment ruling was decided by the fifth vote of a Democrat-appointed justice, notes its not the first time this has happened, and uses this to undercut one argument against third-party voting.

As Bernie Sanders climbs on the Clinton bandwagon, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs steps away from the Democratic Party.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why Mark Scott is so anti-wind farm for Corpus Christi.  One smells a large rat.

Neil at All People Have Value kept an eye open for the value of everyday life. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Grits for Breakfast looked beneath the surface of the latest numbers on homicide rates.

TransGriot congratulates Lou Weaver for being the first ever out trans masculine Texan to serve as a national Democratic delegate.

BOR observes the difference between "thoughts and prayers" and actions.

Scott Braddock reports on worker misclassification and how it may affect the upcoming Uber/Lyft legislative debate.

Juanita has had it with Paul Ryan.

June 27, 2016

Kennedy, Scalia, abortion and the lamestream media

WAY too many lamestream media, starting with Texas shame The Dallas Morning News, are writing "false drama" stories over the Whole Woman's Health ruling, claiming the death of Antonin Scalia, per the Snooze:
The contours of the case changed in February when conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — a staunch abortion opponent — died suddenly, leaving the court with an even ideological split.

Not at all.

That's nice as fake drama but bullshit as truth. 

Were Nino alive, the case always was going to go down to Anthony Kennedy's vote for  5-4 one way or the other.

And Tony Kennedy had made clear for a couple of years that he had a bright line on this issue. Until today, he hadn't made clear where it was, but many court watchers had some idea it was in the vicinity of where he wound up placing it.

This isn't about publishers cutting reporters and editors, or their salaries, to keep more spending green in corner suites and thus hamstringing coverage.

No, this is simply about crappy, or lazy (or both) reporting.

That said, though the Chronic doesn't follow the Snooze into fake drama, it still gets the narrative wrong:
The chances of victory for the state dropped with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a fierce abortion opponent who died just before the oral arguments in Washington, D.C., in early March. 
Nope, the chances didn't change at all.

It's at times like this that I despair of the current hand that feeds me ... 

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That said, a delicious sidebar is that this undermines the 'oh the SCOTUS' cry of Hillbots vs. Green voters like me.

Could the British chicken out on #brexit?

First, it's true that the vote was a purely advisory referendum, as FT notes, so the Commons legally could decide to never invoke the Lisbon Treaty's Article 50.

That said, it's possible, per that link, that Brussels bureaucrats could fudge and hope the above happens, or it's possible that the Commons, where a majority of current members allegedly were 'Remain' (if only for public consumption) could indeed do nothing, as discussed further here by Slate.

Each in turn.

Brussels, having the measure of the UK Independence Party, the long run-up to the referendum, and, for good measure, decades of British soccer hooligans traipsing across Europe,, probably is in no such mood.

Contra the 'no drawbridges' words of former London mayor and 'Leave' leader Boris Johnson, the EU is determined to have no shilly-shallying, judging by first, the comment by the foreign ministers of the original six members, urgings from leaders of member nations and now, the note to David Cameron, or hint, or push, that he can start the process on Tuesday. (Even if Angela Merkel is a bit more charitable.)

It's true the EU cannot force the ball to start rolling. However, it can clearly indicate from the start, in ever more forceful terms, that any halfway house associate membership is not up for negotiation.

As for the Commons doing nothing?

That first presupposes Theresa May winning the Conservative leadership vote over Boris Johnson, I think. It second presumes that Labour ousts Jeremy Corbyn after a party no-confidence vote against him passes and that his replacement is fully Remain. And, I do not think Hillary Benn (now sacked) was some eminence grisé behind Corbyn; his muffled mouth was his own choice — and votes of rural Labour in Sunderland were their own choice. And if the party really had serious concerns about Corbyn on this, the non-confidence vote should have been brought at the start of the campaign.

(That said, how a Labour-leaning area thought voting for a measure favored by the right wing of the Tories, and even further right, would help their plight, I don't know. Another sign that many British voters are at least as dumb as American ones.)

Let's say Johnson is tapped on the Conservative side as leader.

It seems clear that if a Johnson (I doubt Nigel Farage had this attitude) thought of playing a Leave vote as part of a renegotiated associate membership deluxe or similar, that's not in play across the Channel, per the note to Cameron link.

And if he tries to backtrack, when Brussels spells that out again?

No way this can be stalled out to 2020. A no-confidence vote would happen (I assume Cameron was at least somewhat accurate on his intra-party worries) and fat chance of some bizarre Remain coalition being formed, at least not before the fall of the government and a general election.

Related to that, wouldn't UKIP and Farage, on a stall, resurrect the old NDP referendum to take Commons to national list voting or similar, and make that part of its next election campaign? And wouldn't it be more likely to succeed with both Conservatives and Labour in tatters?

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Sidebar to the Scottish Nationalist Party — call for second referendums on independence all you want. The EU isn't likely to admit you. In a word, on why: Catalonia. (OTOH, a Merkel ally says Come on Down!)

And, as I said last week, the idea behind Brexit wasn't totally wrong. Whether Brussels listens is anybody's guess.


June 24, 2016

The not-so-bad side of #brexit

I'm not Pollyanna and I did not say "good side," just "not-so-bad side" of #brexit, Britain's leaving the European Union. And here are a few things.

1. The EU does suck in some ways. Beyond austerity for Greece and Ireland (noting Greece needed some sort of butt-kicking), a bloated bureaucracy in Brussels that is often arrogantly tone deaf is one problem. The Dutch are among people of member nations who hate the EU more than Britain.

1A. The related fact that, as the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have noted, it's like the old U.S. Articles of Confederation government.

Maybe brexit forces Brussels to face 1, and member states to face 1A. It will take 5 years if not a full decade for even the first stirrings, but stand by ...

At a minimum, more citizen of its various members will see how illiberal it is. (Counterpunch - a grain or two of salt may be needed.)

2. David Cameron leaving office.

2A. British Conservatives imploding, with the toffs portion facing the common man portion.

Neither of these can be too bad unless Labour moves further right.

3. Britain honestly realizing what its "special relationship" with Washington is, especially with Obama's pivot to Asia.

4. Trump and the Trump Train drawing false idea for overconfidence.

5. London hypercapitalism may get kneecapped, and  the remaining EU run more away from UK-style neoliberalism, per Reuters.

I may have more later, but those are starters.

June 23, 2016

Gawker 1/3 right, no more, on #NoBillNoBreak — #DemsNeverSat for real #guncontrol

I know, I know— blind squirrels, acorns, etc. But Gawker is at least half right on this — all the Dems' bill would do is stop a few alleged Mooslims and the late Ted Kennedy from buying assault weapons, when in reality ...

Any civil libertarian knows the no-fly list is bigoted, violates the spirit of constitutionality, and per my Ted Kennedy crack, is still far, far short of perfection, and ...

Any gun control advocate worth his or her salt does know that handguns are the real problem, even more on childhood accidental deaths and suicides than murders.

Senate Dems did try, and failed, on better background checks. But Dems have had less than nothing about trigger locks.

Is it 100 percent political theater? Nom starting with the GOP claiming the link to the no-fly list would violate due process, when the Guilty Old Party has never expressed that concern about the list itself, let alone a serious desire to fix it.

Right now, in it takes two to tango, this is probably 65 percent Dem/35 percent GOP on the kabuki. And, Gawker first missed the background checks, and never called out GOP hypocrisy either. Alex Pareene used to do better.

So, we'll give him his own 65 percent kabuki. And maybe this is part of Nick Denton's fundraising — pseudo-contrarian clickbait.

June 22, 2016

The fifth vote was Breyer, and don't lionize Sotomayor

Have to disagree a tad with friend Brains' original framing (now corrected) of the Strieff case that just gutted the Fourth Amendment even more.

The 'fifth vote' was NOT Tony the Pony Kennedy, it was Stephen Breyer. A Democrat.

Not the first time he's been a squish outside two hot-button social issues. You can go Google.

And, in the second half of this review of her stance on privacy issues, Sotomayor has herself been a squish at times on the Fourth Amendment, as in the Howard case. She's also shown a fair amount of deference to the Imperial Presidency.

The bottom line? This shows that outside two hot-button social issue, Democaratic Supreme Court justices aren't always "reliable" votes. "My Democrats right or wrong" types like to say "oh the SCOTUS" against us Green voters every 4 years. And this lets me throw it back at them.

Yes, the right called Roberts a squish on Obamacare. But, wth his ruling being used to undercut the Commerce Clause, he wasn't really, especially if you add in the Hobby Lobby case.

Yes, on two hot-button social issues. there's five reliable votes, as on the best interpretation of the Second Amendment,. However, on a number of issues besides Fourth Amendment ones, there's plenty of squishiness. I mentioned some issues with the imperial presidency. War on Drugs issues often tempt liberal justices to vote law and order. They also often have little problem letting schools restrict the First Amendment rights of juveniles.

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And Tony Kennedy's fifth vote to preserve some abortion rights also undercuts this bullshit.