SocraticGadfly: 12/13/15 - 12/20/15

December 18, 2015

Why does the DNC and DWS hate Bernie Sanders?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
First, both the Democratic National Committee and its chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz do hate the Bernie Sanders campaign, if not Sanders as an individual. Let's not even argue that. He's peeing on the coronation parade, and showing how much of an establishment candidate Hillary Clinton is.

A Sanders staffer was fired Wednesday for allegedly accessing Hillary Clinton campaign information from Democratic National Committee databases.

That said, as Sanders threatens a federal lawsuit, as reported by many sites, the DNC's vendor for this, NGP VAN, has had repeated data breaches. (Update: That's perhaps not true; but, still. Along with that note, here's what was actually downloaded.)

Update, 5:15 p.m.: As promised, Team Sanders has filed that lawsuit.

Update, 11:45 p.m.: CNN reports a deal has been reached between the Sanders campaign and the DNC. Sanders manager Larry Weaver speaks about reported past NGP VAN data breaches.

Per that leak, the staffer explains his motivations:
ABC News spoke to Josh Uretsky, the Sanders campaign staffer who was fired after viewing Clinton campaign data. 
Uretsky said he was trying to investigate the data issue, to see what information was vulnerable on their end, so he could adequately report it to the software company. He said his team did not export any data. He said he intentionally left a record of what he was doing in the system and did not try to hide his actions.

Plausible, since the Sanders campaign says it doesn't care about Clinton's data. 

Update, 9:20 p.m. Dec. 21. NGP VAN says no, none, zip, zilch data was compromised. That's on its blog. Hey, DWS? Time for a fucking apology.

Also plausible that, per the New York Times piece, Sanders just got the endorsement of the Communications Workers of America and Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's been a mix of a general neolib clusterfuck and an in-the-tank Clintonite clusterfuck, is trying to bury that news.

More proof DWS and the DNC hate Bernie?

Why are Dems having a presidential debate on the Saturday before Christmas? That is certainly an attempt to bury it.

Hence, my brilliant idea, first posted on Twitter. Maybe she and fellow neoliberal Clintonite (and Dear Leader pal) clusterfuck Rahm Emanuel could change jobs.

At the same time, even as word has come out that Bernie pulled a "negative" ad from running, he needs to get more "negative" on Hillary's Wall Street ties. Brains has the details.

Bernie, you'd better "go negative." Hillary definitely is.

The nut graf in his piece is that, per a new poll, while 60 percent of Sanders backers will support Clinton in the general election, 40 percent won't.

Go Greens. Go Jill Stein.

And, it's nice that Sanders filed the lawsuit. Too bad he's already promised not to run an independent campaign.

Go Greens.

December 17, 2015

Calling #hyperbole on 80-hour work ... and Gravity Payments and Dan Price and bounty wages (updated)

I applauded Dan Price and his plan to raise all wages at Gravity Payments, a credit card processing service company, to $70,000. I didn't think about all of the fallout he'd face, from customers (even in Seattle!) calling him "socialist," or grumbling among longer-term employees about the amount of raises this gave to newbies.

At this point, we should cue Jesus' parable of the wages and the vineyard, arguably even more socialist, on one reading, than Acts 2, though, sorry liberal Xns, or worse, New Atheists and SJWs trying to sow tares among the wheat it's not about that. The parable is mentioned near the end of the story, in fact.

But ...

Do people really put in 80-hour weeks in something like customer service, actually visiting people? That would be 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Saturday, with 45 minutes a day for lunch.

Time to call the hyperbole police, workforce division. Sorry, Leah Brajcich, but I just don't believe it.

As for Price? The story makes him out to be more interesting, too.

Update, Dec. 17: A Dec. 1 story by Bloomberg makes him out to be hypocritical, not just "interesting." The big pay raise came only after a lawsuit against the company. He was, and arguably still is, overpaid as CEO for a company his size, even within the US's generous allowance of CEO pay. And his ex-wife, in a pending book, alleges spousal abuse.

BIG NEW UPDATE from the author of that same piece, now with the New York Times, on Aug. 18, 2022: After further probing, including charges that he's a Rohypnol, or "roofies," date-rape dude, and Karen Weise's asking questions for her story, Price has resigned as Gravity Payments' CEO. Read the full story. It also adds many other details to the other bullshit that popped up when I first blogged this.

Back to the original.

Yes, there's a measure of altruism. It seems like, given his citing of "Acres of Diamonds" by Russell Conwell, founder of Temple University, and namesake of Gorden-Conwell Theological Seminary, that there's a fair amount of prosperity gospel, too.

And it has deep roots:

Every day he and his four brothers and one sister rose as early as 5 a.m. to recite a proverb, a psalm, a Gospel chapter and an excerpt from the Old and New Testaments. Home-schooled until he was 12 and taught to accept the Bible as the literal truth, Mr. Price also listened to the Rush Limbaugh show for three hours a day — never imagining he would one day be the subject of a rant by the host. Then it was time to help his mother with organic gardening, composting and recycling.

Price said he's no longer that religious, but, at the same time, that this is in his cultural DNA now.

He's also at least a bit of a libertarian:
He did not actively oppose Seattle’s minimum-wage increase, but a reason he urges other business owners to follow his lead on pay is to avoid more government regulation.
Which, then, undercuts any real liberal gospel thought, contrary the SJW blogger linked above, making her wrong twice.

And, judging by one of the longer-term employees who eventually quit, it sounds like he's a pretty strong taskmaster on working long hours.

December 16, 2015

The GOP's worst candidates for 2016

I don't have a lot to add to Brains' "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" take on last night's GOP presidential debate, fortunately the last one of this year. No Scrooges stealing Christmas fun from the general public or whomever. That's better than the other side of the duopoly.

(Dems get their last on Saturday, which will probably get drowned in Christmas-related events. "Nice," and possibly deliberate from Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Teh Google sez it's going against a rerun of "The Wiz Live," which means younger black voters for sure won't be watching, and many Americans in general will be at Christmas parties.

Oh, wait, it gets worse, possibly. The next debate after that, for Dems, is on the Sunday of MLK weekend.)

That said, the tenor of the debate and ISIS issues aside, or even including them, I actually don't think The Donald is the worst GOP candidate for the general election.

Look, we know a lot of Americans love money. We also know that, other huffing and puffing aside, if Trump has a plurality of delegates, a brokered convention might be hard to pull off, and that, if he has an apparent pre-convention majority, at least not counting GOP superdelegates, a brokered convention would cause a revolt.

It's actually Cruz who would be the worst. Trump's nuttery is sprinkled with populism enough that he might garner independents. Cruz has none of that skin in the game. Plus, as Brains notes, he got shown to be a public hypocrite for the first time, though Cruz will probably claim Big Biz, vs Big Gummint, has a right to do whatever it wants to your privacy.

So, Havana Ted would be the worst GOP candidate for the general election, in my book.

Second worst? Christie Kreme, or whatever name you want for him.

Why? Picture Bridgegate indictments coming through at about the time of a Chris Christie nomination. Plus, the man can be louder than Trump at times.

Third? We'll slot The Donald here.

Anybody not named Jeb! or possibly Marco, though he seemed to morph into Jeb! Jr. last night, which he can't afford, is probably tied for fourth.

That said, the GOP also had another kids' table debate last night. Lindsay Graham eyerolling at Rick Santorum ... there's a Log Cabin Republicans plus "Santorum" (if you know what I mean) plus Graham joke in there somewhere ... were the highlight there.

Per my poll at top left, why some of the clowns haven't decided the clown car isn't taking them anywhere, I don't know. Why some of their financiers haven't decided that for them is an even greater mystery. I guess vanity candidates have vanity funders willing to pound sand down ratholes, which is what makes the Merika where Donald Trump thinks he was "great," or, per Ann Richards,

The America where George H.W. Bush was born on third base thinking he'd hit a triple ...


Merika. On sale now at your local Walmart.

Of course, they're all lying. And Merikan Xceptionalism means denying that Merikans are so base and lowly.

And, any media pundits that didn't award at least one grade of D or lower last night are Inside the Beltway, or locally, Inside the Mopac.

December 15, 2015

A 2016 election note to Texas Greens (updated)

You face a new challenge. (And, I know you know it, of course.)

For the first time since getting state party-line ballot access, Democrats are running for all statewide offices.

So, to get 5 percent, you're going to have to target one race, maybe two, just maybe three, with your best viable candidates. Real viable candidates. Brandon Parmer types need not reply.

Of the three positions max, this means the Railroad Commission, one of the three Supreme Court places, and/or one of the three Court of Criminal Appeals places.

Given that the Railroad Commission is right up the alley on Greens being green, promoting cleaner energy, etc., and that there's no incumbent in that race, that's the first thought.

All incumbents are running for the state supreme court.

Cheryl Johnson is NOT running for Place 5 on the CCA, though. And, the Democratic candidate, Betsy Johnson, is in a solo practice, which means she probably doesn't have a lot of legal depth she brings to the race. Her Texas Bar page lists, besides criminal practice, real estate and wills/probate.

So, there you go.

And, Texas Greens party leaders, start now. It may sound undemocratic, but, before the party conference, be looking at whoever filed for these two races. (That's assuming people did.) If there's more than one candidate, then by all means, start unofficially picking winners and losers in advance.

And, since you're not playing cat-and-mouse with Democrats on these races this year, don't wait to start publicizing people.

Via David Collins, here's the list of Green candidates for 2016. Martina Salinas is running again for the Railroad Commission. Can she draw more than 2 percent this time?

The other key candidate is Judith Sanders-Castro for CCA Place 5. Collins cautions about the unseemliness, even the ethical concerns, about campaigning for judicial offices. That said, the line between "campaigning" and "issues advocacy" is at times blurry on judicial races, and I'm OK with Sanders-Castro pushing that in CCA 5, since, as I note, that, after RRC, is the best target for the 5 percent. Sanders-Castro ran for CCA Place 4 in 2014, so she's got background. Plus, per her Texas Bar page, she brings more legal background and certifications to the table than Betsy Johnson.

Brains has more insight on the state offices, and Jill Stein, Kent Mesplay and other Green presidential nominees.

December 14, 2015

TX progressives talk #climatechange, voting issues, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Houston Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff examined the legal arguments in the latest voting rights case before SCOTUS.

Libby Shaw contributing to Governor Greg Abbott Brings out the Worst of Texas. This time itís attacks on Muslim families.

Socratic Gadfly offers up an environmental twofer. First, he looks at the Paris climate deal and calls it toothless bullshit. Second, he reviews a new book about the attempt to ban fracking in Denton, which includes comments from Texas Sharon.

And TXSharon (BlueDaze) has been in Paris for the climate change negotiations, and her organization, Earthjustice, had this press release at the conclusion of the negotiations.

In a post about the GOP squandering the youth vote (along with women, minorities, and even sane Republicans) PDiddie at Brains and Eggs suggests a ready-made platform issue for progressives: hiking the minimum wage.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is actually shocked at John Cornyn's hypocrisy over a Senate confirmation. Shouldn't be surprised, though.  Hypocrisy is a Republican stock in trade.

Neil at All People Have Value expressed hope that Houston Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner has the insight and imagination to look past the insiders and organized interests that seem to form his outlook, and to instead see the whole of the great City of Houston. APHV is part of

John Coby at Bay Area Houston takes on arbitration clauses in retail contracts.

nonsequiteuse has a few snapshots of Abigail Fisher's childhood.


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

The Lunch Tray calls for a truce in the mommy food wars.

Fascist Dyke Motors has a question for you.

David Ortez wants to know why DPS is more likely to stop and search Latino drivers.

The Current documents a racist meme (and the excellent reply to it) making the rounds about the first turbaned Sikh basketball player in NCAA history.

Mary Flood gives us the top ten Texas legal stories of the year.

Newsdesk and the Press were on the scene at the "mass shooting" protest and counter-protest in Austin.

Trail Blazers catalogues the short journey of Garland's Katrina Pierson, from tea party star to "So, what, they're Muslim" fame.

Rick Green, a longtime associate of extreme fundamentalist Rev. David Barton, will run again for the Texas Supreme Court (via TFN Insider).

Wendy Davis and Hillary Clinton are equal opportunity opportunists, writes Somervell County Salon.

Jobsanger quotes Bill Clinton on climate change.

Trail Blazers catalogues the short journey of Garland's Katrina Pierson, from tea party star to "So, what, they're Muslim" fame.

Shut the city of Marlin before Marlin ISD?

The school district in Marlin, Texas, making statewide news over possible shutdown by the state of Texas, got a one-year reprieve from Mr. Bow Tie Bush buddy, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, last month.

But, that was immediately followed by worse news, namely, a catastrophic failure of the city's water treatment plant (bad enough to close those schools itself), a problem that could lead to criminal charges. (It's too bad criminal charges aren't possible against who sold the city a bill of goods a decade ago on a water plant bigger than its needs, but that's a whole nother story.)

Meanwhile, the city has a new police chief to replace the late Darrell Allen. That said, unless other changes had happened in the last four months, while Damien Eaglin might make a fine chief, he was NOT the senior ranking officer under Allen before Allen was shot, though Allen named him as acting chief before he died, and this surely will have some repercussions in the department there. Capt. John Cornish is still listed on the city's website, so he apparently didn't leave. And, the city council should have had the final call on "acting chief" decisions, just like it did on hiring Eaglin permanently.

Add in that some Marlinites made claims that the city used to have a population of 13,000 at one point, which the U.S. Census clearly refutes (at the decadal censusing, it was never above 8,000, though Falls County at one time had twice its current population, before modern farming advances), and you have yet another problem.

So, in combination, you have:

  1. A city with a massive overbuild on water (combined with a massive undermaintenance on streets and other infrastructure);
  2. A school district that, especially at the elementary level, has for long fallen far short of meeting the population it DOES have, and a school district that, even by Texas standards, was resistant to integration in the 1960s and shows the effects of that to this day to some degree;
  3. Possible controversy at the police department (not to mention that, while Darrell Allen was a good chief in some ways, rumors about some "personal control issues" and city officials never looking at them are another concern;
  4. Residents believing in a mythical past.

I don't think the state of Texas has a legal mechanism to disincorporate a city, at least not a home-rule one, and voters surely won't take that action themselves.

However, maybe it does need to have the doors closed.

As for the school district, I'm not sure how that would work. The state has shut school districts before (I lived in south suburban Dallas when Wilmer-Hutchins was finally killed off), but in the past, those have been urban or suburban districts with larger ones nearby. Marlin's the largest school district in its county.