December 10, 2016

Another nagging #Cardinals blogger goes off on John Mozeliak



Per the video, we're talking about the overpay for Dexter Fowler.

In detail, the reasons it's an overpay are critiqued here, along with wondering if this will be as bad as the Mike Leake signing last year

Questions about why not Adam Eaton, Lorenzo Cain, or even Jon Jay, or about standing pat with Randal Grichuk in center, are raised here.

Speaking of Jay, and other things, it's kind of fun to throw shade at Mo, and wonder if maybe the alleged Cardinal Way doesn't paper over more internal problems than normally leak out, anyway.

And, nagging bloggers aside, the MSM St. Louis sports media will fawn over Mo's genius soon enough. Many have already started. Here's Derrick Goold, the dean, ignoring totally the Jay and Cain angles, talking about payroll the Cards have coming off the boards and more, with nary a question of "was this the best angle to pursue"?

Maybe that's why we nagging bloggers nag, Mo.
In any case, thanks for listening as well as reading. I'll probably do another video about the time spring training starts.

#Recount2016 — It's over in Michigan

Ted Rall explains the reality of massive Detroit undervotes to Jill Stein.
The Michigan state Supreme Court, by a 3-2 margin with two self-recusals, has said Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved candidate" and ended her recount bid.

There are several things both right and wrong with this.

On the right side, the letter of the law, with a reasonable dash of spirit, seems correctly applied by the court. If "aggrieved candidate" means one who would directly benefit from a change in outcome? She's not.

That's probably about it.

On the wrong side?

First, is state judges elected in partisan elections. Never have been a fan. This just adds to that.

Via Liberal Values Blog, this shows the reality of undervotes.
Second is Stein again thinking and hinting that a doubling of presidential undervotes vs. 2012 is indication of faulty machines, or even something nefarious.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. It's an indication of two things, expressed in four words — "Hillary Clinton" and "Donald Trump." If you, Gary Johnson, or other third party candidates couldn't get the presidential undervoters to name one of you, then that's your problem. Sadly, it's also the Green Party's problem, etc. (I'll assume the typical Michigan ballot was not designed in a way to deliberately bury your names.)

Further refutation of Palast's conspiracy theory, or of bad machine scanning of ballots, even? Wisconsin set a record for write-in votes. People just didn't like either Clinton or Trump, even whlie caring enough to vote in other races.

Third, as for de facto Jim Crow? Per Mark Hertsgaard on Ohio 2004, it happens — but not by bad, old, or hacked voting machines. It happens through perfectly legal, if despicable means, by shortening early voting, by putting fewer machine locations in poor or minority precincts, etc. A recount addresses none of that.

Fifth, it IS wrong that there's some sort of mismatch in 59 percent of Detroit precincts. It's also wrong that those precincts can't be recounted. But, again, that is by state law, and a recount itself won't affect that.

However, given that NONE of the precincts in either the city of Detroit or suburban Wayne County varies by more than five ballots, this wouldn't flip an election.

Here's the real wrong, from that:

Besides Wayne, Clinton carried Oakland, Washtenaw, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Marquette and Muskegon counties.
None had nearly as many problems as Wayne. But at least 13 of 222 precincts in Genesee County are not balanced. More than half of those were in heavily Democratic Flint, according to county canvassing reports. The election was still certified by its board of canvassers.
“The trouble is there’s too much leniency with the board of canvassers,” said John Gleason, Genesee County’s clerk. “They’re not as stringent as need to be because they think it won’t affect the outcome of the election.”
And, they're probably not paid enough to want to be more stringent. Or else they're political time-servers in a sincecure job.

And, it still wouldn't matter. Between all of Wayne County, and the outlying counties, we're talking around 350 problematic precincts. At an average of 3 mismatches per precinct on initial recount, even if all were rectified, and all were rectified with 3 additional votes, and all 3 additional votes were for Hillary Clinton, that's 1,000 votes out of 10,000 needed to flip the state.

It ignores the possibility of similar problems in strongly Republican areas, not all of which are totally rural.

Sixth, it is wrong to have scanners that are as crappy as Detroit's. Yes, it's World Nut Daily, but it does have a comment from the Detroit City Clerk explaining the problem.

Seventh, per all of the above, it's wrong for the alleged cradle/arsenal of democracy to not spend more on its elections process. But, a recount won't fix that either. Maybe, by highlighting the problem, it will stimulate reform. But, probably not.

So, Stein can protest at Cobo Hall. That's her right. Most necessary fixes won't happen until Michigan political leadership changes parties, and maybe not after that.

Look, I totally agree that we need to spend more money on running elections better. Just like we need to spend more money on aging bridges, better mass transit and other things.

This is ultimately a sociological problem as much as a political one. It's a fundamental cheapness in the American cultural DNA. Skinflint Yankee jokes aside, there is a degree of truth to it. It's the same fundamental cheapness that has many Americans not blinking at free trade agreements even as they buy ever more made in China crap at dollar stores. I wish it were different, but it isn't. That fundamental cheapness is why anti-government political campaigns run so well in this country.

Details of how #Cardinals GM John Mozeliak overpaid for Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler: Get used
to him, Cards fans!
So, former Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler is now a Cardinal. So much for rumors, reported by Bernie Miklasz and others, that he did not want to play for the Cardinals. Also so much for rumors that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak did not want to give him a long-term deal, as in not above four years.

I guess 5 years, $82.5 million WITH full no-trade will make Dexter slobber all over Mo, Mike Matheny and whoever else needs slobbering.

But surely, St. John of Mozeliak would offset the no-trade clause (on the likelihood Redbirdster Dexter would accept a trade) by front-loading the contract, like he did three years ago with Jhonny Peralta.

You would be wrong.

Per Cot's Contracts, the contract is NOT frontloaded. Yes, it's not likely that Fowler would waive the no-trade. But maybe? Maybe, three years in, if he was "getting his" anyway, he might get more tired of one or the other of the M&M brothers?

Yes, we're in the land of overpays. And, if Keith Law thinks the Birds "got good value," I know the team didn't. Mark Saxon, also at Great Red Satan, says its a contract "some in the industry view as market-altering."  Count me as part of that; the full no-trade for a person on the back half of their career is indeed that. In fact, I will likely do an update on this.

Once again, we're in the land of overpays

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really. And now, Boras is boo-hooing that the new CBA hurts Latino players not yet inside the MLB system.

I had expected 4/$70 for Fowler, which would have been a little higher AAV, but a year shorter. All of that without a no-trade, of course.

I later wondered why the Cards didn't consider something like what the Cubs actually did, which set Fowler loose — sign former Card Jon Jay back to the team. I still wonder that. Is he another former Card with some sort of animosity toward the team? I mean, not everything in Shelby Miller's souring relations with the team before he was traded was his fault.

Adam Eaton sounded great in trade, but reportedly the Chisox wanted Alex Reyes as part of the deal. Before details of the Fowler signing were reported, I said I was glad Mo didn't do that. Now? Of the two options, trading Reyes and whomever else, as long as it didn't empty the cupboard, versus this? I think I'd rather he had pulled the Eaton trigger. Again, that's all pending who else might have been in the White Sox ask. I don't think I would have paid the Nationals' price. That said, Jim Bowden and his ugly wig at ESPN hate both Eaton and the trade, so he might not be that bad.

This isn't perfect. I wish they had kicked the tires further on Lorenzo Cain, if they didn't. Of course, maybe Fowler is in "buy me now" mode, and west on I-70, Royals GM Dayton Moore is NOT in "I'll trade now" mode. Ian Desmond seemed another possibility, one talked up by Mo just before he signed with the Rockies. What happened there? How did Mo let that fish get away?

Otherwise, per my scenario above, of a short-term flyer on Jay while seeing if Charlie Tilson or Harrison Bader or somebody else on the farm might be the longer-term center field answer Fowler's moderately better than Jay at drawing walks, maybe a touch better as a baserunner, but not as good a defender, which makes a deal with Fowler more puzzling yet, if it's for five years and partially because the team doesn't think Grichuk can patrol center. Why they think Fowler will help, I don't know. Even with allegedly having problems with balls straight over his head, Randal Grichuk is right now a better defensive center fielder than Fowler.

Hell, since Jimmy Edmonds is still around, why didn't anybody inquire this offseason if he could help Grichuk on going in or out on balls hit directly at him?

All still pretty head-scratching to a nagging blogger like me. With what may be a worse free-agent signing than Mike Leake. (No, Cards fans, I don't expect that one to get any better.)

And, nagging bloggers aside, the MSM St. Louis sports media will fawn over Mo's genius soon enough. Many have already started. Here's Derrick Goold, the dean, ignoring totally the Jay and Cain angles, talking about payroll the Cards have coming off the boards and more, with nary a question of "was this the best angle to pursue"?

Maybe that's why we nagging bloggers nag, Mo.

December 09, 2016

Looks like #Cardinals WILL overpay for Dexter Fowler (updated)

So much for rumors, reported by Bernie Miklasz and others, that Cubs free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler did not want to play for the Cardinals. Also so much for rumors that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak did not want to give him a long-term deal, as in not above four years.

Derrick Goold at the Post-Dispatch and others are reporting a 5-year, $80-million deal is in the offing.

Oh, it's even worse. 5/$82.5 WITH full no-trade.

On salary, it may not be a huge overpay, especially if Mo front-loads the contract, like he did three years ago with Jhonny Peralta. But, he only gave Peralta four years. And, unlike with Peralta, per Cot's Contracts, the contract is NOT frontloaded.

Yes, we're in the land of overpays. And, if Keith Law thinks the Birds "got good value," I know they didn't. Mark Saxon, also at Great Red Satan says its a contract "some in the industry view as market-altering."  Count me as part of that; the full no-trade for a person on the back half of their career is indeed that. In fact, I will likely do an update on this.

Overpay.

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really. And now, Boras is boo-hooing that the new CBA hurts Latino players not yet inside the MLB system.

I had expected 4/$70 for Fowler, which would be a higher AAV, but by "just" $1.5M per year. (Update: at $82.5, not $80, the AAV is equal.) I later wondered why the Cards didn't consider something like what the Cubs actually did, which set Fowler lose — sign former Card Jon Jay back to the team. C'mon, Redbird fans, you'd have taken him, even with recent injury concerns, at 1 year, $8 million. (Is he another former Card with some sort of animosity toward the team?)

Adam Eaton sounded great in trade, but reportedly the Chisox wanted Alex Reyes as part of the deal, and I'm glad Mo said no, if that was true.

This isn't perfect. I wish they had kicked the tires further on Lorenzo Cain, if they didn't. Of course, maybe Fowler is in "buy me now" mode, and west on I-70, Royals GM Dayton Moore is NOT in "I'll trade now" mode. Ian Desmond seemed another possibility, one talked up by Mo just before he signed with the Rockies.

Otherwise, per my scenario, Fowler's moderately better than Jay at drawing walks, maybe a touch better as a baserunner, but not as good a defender, which makes a deal with Fowler more puzzling yet, if it's for five years and partially because the team doesn't think Grichuk can patrol center. Why they think Fowler will help, I don't know. Even with allegedly having problems with balls straight over his head, Grichuk is right now a better defensive center fielder than Fowler.

Makes me wonder yet more if Mo doesn't have some tiff with Jay or vice versa.

And, of course, Mo will blame naggers among social media users and bloggers for riding his case over this. Yep, that's me.

Missing from Trump's generals cabinet? #MAGA

A lot of people have noted that Trump seems to be picking a lot of former generals to his cabinet.

(That said, maybe he forgot to watch Seven Days in May. A coup would trump [I see what I did there!] impeachment, would it not?)

In the spirit of fun, let's suggest some nominees for positions Trump has not yet filled.

More generals for the generals' cabinet:
1. Biggus Dickus for Secretary of State. If not him, Gen. Jack D. Ripper. I had actually thought of Ripper, with his fluoridation concerns, to run the EPA.
2. General Tso for what, FDA?
3. Gen. Phil Sheridan, of infamous mal mot about "the only good Indians I saw were dead" to run the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
4. Gen. William T. Sherman needs to be named to a newly-created Cabinet position, which would, of course, be Secretary of Texas. Or, since he preferred hell, he could run the White House faith-based initiatives program.
5. Gen. Smedley Butler is, of course, our Secretary of Commerce. Might as well be fully honest about this.
6. Quintus Fabius Maximus (we'll see who gets the reference) will be White House special counsel for Obamacare repeal.
7. Alexander the Great will be White House press secretary. Why? #MakeAlexanderGreat-Asiatics!
8. Gen. Lee could be our Secretary of Transportation. (Think about that one, too.)
9. "Gen." Jeffery Immelt is our Secretary of Energy.
10. The Donald could rename himself, or be renamed by others, as General Zod.

We do need a Secretary of the Navy, too.
Adm. Horatio Hornblower? Capt. Bligh? Capt. Ahab? Lt. Com. Queeg? The Navy guy from Village People? Gilligan?

Many American Generals and Admirals!

Make Admirals and Generals Autocrats!

Make All Generals Accountable!

December 08, 2016

#Recount2016 — quick Michigan update

A federal district judge, Mark Goldsmith, has changed his earlier ruling and deferred to a Michigan state appellate court saying Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved party" and therefore put her recount effort there back on hold. She's apparently going to next appeal within the state court system to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Quick analysis.

1. She should have followed this route all along. Failure to do so is probably why the 6th Court of Appeals on the fed side overruled Goldsmith. It probably mentioned deference to the state court process.

2. At the same time, this shows some of the things wrong with federalism.

3. This also illustrates the "why" of my call to use the Constitution's stipulation of the presidency as America's one national race to use that to implement national vote standards for, at least, that one race.

4. The Michigan electoral statute seems pretty clear. Stein is not an aggrieved party. Did her lawyers check that in advance? Hey, David Cobb, YOU are a lawyer, too!

December 07, 2016

Bryce Harper and Scott Boras, crack-smokers (updated)

Bryce Harper, $400M man?
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really.

Other than his career year of 2015, which currently seems to be an anomaly of major size, Harper has never posted more than a 135 OPS+ nor more than 6 WAR.

He's an average defensive right-fielder, and not hugely above average there offensively.

As somebody else said on Twitter, if Harper actually is "worth" that, then Mike Trout is worth $1 billion.

Along with that, let's include blogs like this one, calling it "a great deal," among the crack-smokers while we're at it.

Update, Dec. 7: If Adam Eaton is headed TO the Nationals, then our $400M man is surely headed AWAY as soon as the Nats get the right offer, right? Just how long they hold out for what seems to be the "right" offer?

"That's a clown question, bro."

Of course, the Mets get part of the blame this offseason. A 4/$110 contract for Yoenis Cespedes was itself an overpay.

These winter meetings will be silly season indeed. Pretty soon, the contract last year for Jason Wayward, I mean Jason Heyward, will get called small potatoes, especially if he rebounds. And, owners will continue to not help themselves.

That said, from the Cardinals' point of view, this just jacked up the free agency price for Dexter Fowler. He's going to want 3/$50 at a minimum.  And 4/$70 would not surprise me.

As for Harper, Boras and the Nats? The Nats have two more arb years with Harper, so they have time to figure out how serious Boras and Harper are before deciding to make counteroffers, or already start entertaining trades. I could see a slumping team trade a hot Harper in midseason next year if the price is right.

Overpay for Fowler? Try a trade? It's Mo's move for the #Cardinals

Yes, it looks like outfielders could be pricey indeed this offseason.

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really.

Other than his career year of 2015, which currently seems to be an anomaly of major size, Harper has never posted more than a 135 OPS+ nor more than 6 WAR.

He's an average defensive right-fielder, and not hugely above average there offensively.

As somebody else said on Twitter, if Harper actually is "worth" that, then Mike Trout is worth $1 billion.

That said, from the Cardinals' point of view, this just jacked up the free agency price for Dexter Fowler. He's going to want 3/$50 at a minimum.  And 4/$70 would not surprise me. That said, the Cardinals' initial offer of 4/$60 would not be so much an overpay — if he took that. That's the team, not him.

So, the trade route? Adam Eaton sounds great, and just like another player the Chisox just traded, Chris Sale, young and under contractual control.

On the other hand, that means Cards GM John Mozeliak will have to shovel out the prospects, just like Boston did with Yoan Moncada and three others to get Sale. I'm OK with Luke Weaver being in such a package from the pitching side, though not overenthusiastic, but really don't want other AAA/AAAA players to add in. If the Chisox need an MLB player back, give them Tommy Pham. I would prefer NOT to include Carson Kelly; young catchers with potential don't come along a lot.

Update, 7 p.m. Eaton's moving — to Washington. Which, in turn, means that Bryce Harper is even more likely to be moving somewhere else. Heh, heh.

Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain are other rumored trade options. Dyson's a poor man's Fowler with just one year of contract left. He might partially fill a gap, but why? If you're thinking of him, let Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk further develop on their own instead. If that's Mo's idea of an "answer," it would be sad indeed.

Cain is certainly a better defensive player, though Dyson isn't bad. He's also a cut, but not two cuts, above Dyson with the bat. He might be worth resigning, but in the longer term, I think the Cards would have to do that with the proviso of moving him to right. And, AFAIK, MLB doesn't allow trades to be made with part of the trade value contingent on resigning a player.

The third answer, to riff on Dyson vs. current players, is to stand pat, and possibly think about 2018 free agent outfielders, though that crop isn't great either. Assume that Carlos Martinez moves another step forward, Adam Wainwright will be somewhat better, that the later two-thirds of the season Lance Lynn will be like he was in 2015, and that "whomever" can fill out the back part of the rotation decently, the bullpen will be straightened out, and that, if Mike Matheny is serious, fundamentals of play will be improved.

Mo said "some clarity is starting to shake out" Wednesday morning. That said, kind of weirdly and with interesting timing, he mentioned Ian Desmond. More weirdly yet, the Rockies just signed him to a contract with some very interesting creativity on salary structure.

Since the Cardinals have sucked on baserunning ever since Matheny became manager, it's kind of hard to take him seriously here, though. 😣😣😣 Ditto on Mo wanting more speed, as he knows enough about Matheny at this time to know his weaknesses. 🍋🍋🍋

So, sorry to new Post-Dispatch columnist Jose de Jesus Ortiz. Turd-polish him all you want, but I'll believe Matheny is continuing to improve ... when he actually does so. And, according to Redbird Rants, John Lackey complained about management at end of 2015. Whether he meant Mo or Matheny, I don't know.

#Recount2016 — Is the #GreenParty at the end of its tether?

The North Star's Mark Lause certainly seems to think that may be the case. He does a good job of explaining all the rabbit trails and spider webs within the national Green Party, its relation to various state Green Parties, and more.

Part of that includes blasts at "paper parties" among various state parties.

Funnier yet? He's from the Green Party of Ohio — the same Green Party as Bob Fitrakis. 

Lause also does a good job of calling out the third member of the recount troika — 2004 Green Party prez candidate David Cobb.

I had no idea, until seeing this piece, he was that involved with Progressive Democrats of America. PDA seems to have a rabid following, stereotypical Berniebros who had been waiting for their Bernie to appear, and then refused to believe he couldn't win when it was clear by May that he couldn't.

Like Barack Obama, Cobb has been compromising away the compromises in advance, it seems. And, per part of my concern about Jill Stein's vote recount, her flirting with Bernie Sanders — even talking about a deal to step aside as Green Party presidential nominee, which she could not do — illustrates just what's wrong with such dances.

Lause's nutgraf is about halfway down. It's a good one on explaining how the party works, both that the national and state levels:
Except for a few states, the Greens are not a membership party and there are no national standard of what membership entails.  It describes itself as an alliance of autonomous state parties, an organizational structure that represents a kind of synthesis of the ideology of John C. Calhoun with impulses of a particularly flakey and apolitical New Age libertarianism.  Some states have organizations of tens of thousands of members and others consisting of handfuls of people whom get to represent their entire state.   Although often no more than paper parties, the latter can do anything pretty much anything it wants, including a decision to not run in elections at all and even to support Democrats that seem acceptable for one reason or another.  As far as that goes, the same applies to local groups.  This has permitted the party in my city and state to endorse Democrats with depressing regularity while regularly running no more than a handful of Greens statewide.
That's a pretty damning indictment.

I'm going to add to it with an analogy. It's like NPR or PBS, which are also bottom-up, for those who don't know. Picture your local PBS phoning it in during most the year, which cutting a deal or two with the local NBC, CBS or ABC station to rebroadcast some PBS show in exchange for some dinero, and a tip jar of publicity, or something like that.

(That said, from what I know of the Texas Greens, and the fact that one of its leaders shared Lause's link when I posted it on Effbook, says that it's not a paper party. It's got room to improve along with Greens national, as I recently blogged. But, not a paper party.)

That indictment hits hard enough by itself.

It needs to be read in part in context of the previous paragraph, too:
Nevertheless, others saw the party’s function as less that of a political party or a movement than that of an NGO.  They saw victory coming through court cases, and lobbying to influence Democratic officeholders.  They felt the sting of Democratic disapproval much more deeply than those of us uninterested in fantasies of a convergence of the Democratic party with Green values.  And the peculiarly undemocratic structure of the GPUS left their views grossly over-represented.

Agreed, totally. You run as your own party first, first of all. Second, right. You run as a party, not a parallel to the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense or whatever. Third, yes, while it's gotten more democratic, the national party still has problems, and until recently, I didn't realize just how bad the problems were in the past. 

Lause does partially give back with his other hand:
In the end, vote fraud is superfluous to ensuring an unrepresentative outcome, but that ethos of cutthroat competition leaves plenty of room for it.  The problem Robert Fitrakis and other grass roots activists have demonstrated this repeatedly in their investigations of state and local elections. … 
But that’s a far cry from the comic book universe in which elections are “rigged” by some centralized national management. . . . . And it is only in that universe that someone can seriously believe that one recount aimed at fixing that one problem is going to eguarantee the honesty of future elections that will put Greens into office. 
That fact is that all the efforts of the Democratic Party, combined with those of the Republican Party–and of all the courtrooms and legislative bodies in the country–have failed to restore confidence in the system, and I don’t think that that any party that can’t get 5% of the vote has the power to do so.

What's key is next.

He says trying to play this way is a mug's game in the first place:
That election system here is grounded in the two-party system established by slaveholders to maintain slavery.  It’s a winner-takes-all structure in which almost each and every officeholder in the U.S. has to be in one or the other of those parties. … 
So when we try to participate in that with an excellent candidate running a laudatory national campaign, that “election system” excludes our candidate from the debates and keeps her as far off the radar as possible.  This is the system in which we want to secure confidence?

I disagree that that's why the two-party system was established. I've posted on social media about the untrueness of this "Electoral College was to support slavery" myth. It was founded for many reasons. Besides, parties already existed at the time of the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention, no matter the spin of the founding fathers.

But the rest of this is spot-on. 

On the broad constitutional issues Mark mentions, Daniel Lazare's "The Frozen Republic" is a great read. 

Personally, I think the following, as someone who has voted Green downballot as well as presidentially, but is not a regular dues-paying member at the state level:
1. The party needs to stop running a safe states strategy at the presidential level.
2. It needs to move on beyond former candidates who think that way.
3. It apparently needs to push some state parties to clean house.
4. It needs to partner less pre-election, or intra-election, with Democrats in general.
5. It needs to move in a more explicit eco-socialist direction.
6. It needs to become more reality-based on all scientific issues related to environment and more, not just climate change.
7. Related to No. 6 would be stop believing in conspiracy theories in general, or people who like to trade in them, whether Fitrakis or Greg Palast, who I have already demolished.

And, if the Green Party isn't the vehicle like this, then I agree with Lause it's time to hop into another existing vehicle of the left, or else create a new one.

==

Sidebars:
1. I owe Counterpunch's Jeff St. Clair, notably, and others like him a partial apology over 2004. The Green nomination system then was indeed rigged. Could Nader have overcome that, had he run again himself in 2004 instead of his 2000 Veep, Peter Camejo? (Camejo was Nader's independent run Veep in 2004.) Possibly. If nothing else, he could have done to expose this undemocratic process to daylight.


That said, Nader brought this on himself. He made a pledge to run a safe states campaign in 2000 — then broke it. Yes, I just said above that I oppose such campaigns. However, starting with my first piece on this year's recount, I've repeatedly chastized Stein for breaking party loyalty and unity.

Besides that, though, he could have challenged the paper parties directly, as just noted. Rather than do that, though, he eventually played a hand in creating the Justice Party — in part perhaps for real worries, but in part for spite, IMO.

So, the apology is partial, not full.

2. I owe Stein thanks for leading me to learn more about the Green Party in the last month than I had in the previous 16 years, possibly.

December 06, 2016

Could Bernie have beaten Trump? Maybe not

It's fashionable to say so, but ....

The GOP, going beyond commonplaces raised by the odious Kurt Eichenwald (Kurt Waldheim?), living proof of the amount of Peter Principle in the mainstream media, would have been ready.

As for the four Rust Belt states Trump flipped from 2012 Obama, in the Democratic primaries, Bernie narrowly won Michigan and handily won Wisconsin, whereas Clinton handily won the other two. So, there may be nothing special about Sanders.

And, if we give the 26 EVs of Michigan and Wisconsin to a candidate Sanders, Trump still wins. (Clinton won the Florida Democratic primary.)

Anyway, that ammo?

The 1980s videos of Sanders visiting the Sandinistas would have been red meat in the heartland, including to working-class whites, even unionized or formerly unionized ones. Remember, American unions have generally been ardently, even hysterically, anti-Communist, and not much better on non-Communist socialism.

That stuff would have been red meat for Trump backers. And, for mainline and neocon GOPers who wouldn't have given public support to Sanders, unlike their doing so for Clinton.

Plus, although Trump does have a Jewish son-in-law, and a religiously Jewish daughter by conversion? We know the alt-right types would have had a field day with Sanders' Jewish ethnicity, and Trump, in his semi-mysterious way, would have tried to quell it, or look like he was, without actually doing so.

Plus, the GOP probably would have raised Jane Sanders' failed presidency of Burlington College plus the pricey (to me at least) golden parachute.

I'm actually surprised Clintonistas didn't raise this issue. It was the perfect counterattack on Sanders' claims of favoritism, elitism and insiderism against Clinton and her top dogs. (For the record, I believe Jane was indeed trading on Bernie's name and position with her grandiose expansion ideas. I believe she's been pushing his campaign, his legacy and more this year, too.)

Otherwise, people who know how polls work know that polls of hypothetical matchups don't always translate into reality, or at least, not fully.

Finally, as for appealing to workers, Trump might have caught Sanders in some economic hypocrisy, kind of like that Sanders engaged in last week when calling out Trump over Carrier.

Add to this the likelihood that conservative PACs and sugar daddies lukewarm about Trump facing Clinton would likely have been pretty energized to fight Sanders.

This is like assuming Clinton would actually have won an election without an electoral college. Don't know that; real-world political strategies for both her and Trump would have been different.

December 05, 2016

TX Progressives look for a week of tax-breaks blogging

The Texas Progressive Alliance plans to send half its members to Mexico unless it gets a tax break as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a deeper look at the judicial races in Harris County to get a better sense of the partisan mix this year.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos  notes that Trumpís promise to drain the swamp by packing it with billionaires, bigots, homophobes, Islamaphobes, climate change deniers and white supremacist believers is not helpful to his working class voters.  In fact, with this crew in place, Trump promises to stiff his base. Welcome to Trumpís United States of Texas.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is still processing Donald Trump, the racist, misogynistic con man as president-'elect' while Greg Abbott acts out the White Nationalist agenda here in Texas.

Socratic Gadfly, in the third of a series of posts on the Jill Stein presidential vote recount snarks on Greg Palast while taking a serious look at recount and Green Party issues.

Neil at All People Have Value says he does whatever graffiti instructs him to do. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

In evaluating the Trump Cabinet picks to date, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs discovered there was also a much deeper hole than initially perceived that the Democrats have dug themselves into ... and must dig their own way out of.


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

BeyondBONES asks for your assistance in helping the scientists of tomorrow.

The Texas Election Law Blog comments on vote "fraud" and recounts in our post-truth country.

The TSTA Blog highlights the problems with private school vouchers.

Katie Singh lists some Texas organizations that could use your support.

The Texas Living Waters Project asks what steps your utility is taking to conserve water.

Grits for Breakfast complains about falsehoods about crime being reported as fact.

December 04, 2016

#Recount2016 — Green Party split, calling out BS (newly updated)


What does Jill Stein hope to do with a selective recount based on partisan,
largely Clintonista, spinning in just three states?
Building on my original thoughts about the recount that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein called for in the "flipped" states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, here's the latest updates, and my analysis of them, and opinion of them.

First, via friend Brains' update, Wisconsin and Michigan seem to be moving ahead straightforwardly. Pennsylvania state law is a much tougher nut to crack.

But, now, the analysis and opinion.

As for some Wisconsin precincts showing more than 100 percent voting? Even Brad Friedman of Brad Blog (no links; I don't link to JFK conspiracy theorists or fellow travelers, as well as 9/11 truthers or fellow travelers, and Brains already knows what I think of Friedman) admits that this is due to same-day voter registration and the number of registered voters not yet being updated. Yes, he's right, this could be done sooner. Other than that sub-issue, though, this doesn't seem to be a huge issue, IMO. (And, no, Friedman can't be well nailed down on either conspiracy theory, but he has enough of an online electron trail that I feel comfortable calling him a fellow traveler on both. Plus, he has demonstrated other douchery elsewhere, in my opinion.)

As for Richard Hayes Phillips' claims in an interview with Friedman that 80 percent turnout in some places in Ohio is a clear indication of fraud? Bullshit.

Fair Vote, looking ahead a couple of years from 2004 to the 2012 election, notes that five states had statewide voting turnout above 70 percent in 2012. I have no doubt that a great number of precincts, and a fair number of counties, passed 80 percent. And, I think it's reasonable to extrapolate that back to 2004. So, the idea that Phillips, per his book's title, was "Witness to a Crime," I highly doubt. Mark Hertsgaard, linked in my original piece, and here, has addressed his undervote claims on Kerry vis-a-vis a gay black judicial candidate. And, Robert F. Kennedy's involvement? Robert F. Kennedy is also a conspiracy theorist about his uncle's assassination AND an antivaxxer, an antivaxxer so bad Salon officially withdrew a story of his. And, no, when one believes in multiple such conspiracies, it's not an ad hominem to bring it up.

Further refutation of undervote conspiracy theory, or of bad machine scanning of ballots, even? Wisconsin set a record for write-in votes. People just didn't like either Clinton or Trump, even whlie caring enough to vote in other races.

(Update, Dec. 12: While the FBI and CIA disagree on their motivation on alleged Russian hacks into the Democratic National Committee computer system (along with possible alleged Republican National Committee hacks as well), the two agencies agree that the decentralized nature of US voting, among other things, make a hack of voting systems highly unlikely.)

Eventually, yes, TWO (and no more) Ohio elections officials were convicted on what was a technically a fraud charge but really was laziness in producing non-random ballot samples for recounting. Nothing more.

This is exactly the whole can of worms, or better, hovel of cockroaches, being opened that some people worried about when Stein first started the recount.

Snopes, meanwhile, has already tackled most of the mainly right-wing claims about the 2012 election. That said, many of them already apply to this election.

As I snarked on Facebook a week ago about Clintonistas, the same applies to the alt-left — if you're only going to be selective members of the reality-based community, I don't have a lot of use for you.

Now, the Green Party split, documented on the website of Green Party Maryland Senate candidate Margaret Flowers.


First, this:
The decision to pursue a recount was not made in a democratic or a strategic way, nor did it respect the established decision making processes and structures of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).  The recount has created confusion about the relationship between the Green and Democratic parties because the states chosen for the recount are only states in which Hillary Clinton lost. There were close races in other states such as New Hampshire and Minnesota where Clinton won, but which were not part of the recount. And this recount does not address the disenfranchisement of voters; it recounts votes that were already counted rather than restoring the suffrage of voters who were prevented from voting.
This has several points that need unpacking. If you're going to bust the chops of Ralph Nader for rejecting the party executive committee in 2000, and refusing to run a safe-state campaign, then this holds true for Stein as well. (I actually agreed with Nader's idea, because you either run to win, and believe you should, or you don't. But, I disagreed with his action, just as I disagreed with British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for not following his party's executive and offering a full-throated rebuttal of Brexit.)

Second, yes, on the recount. Minnesota is as close as Pennsylvania, as Wikipedia shows, and New Hampshire is closer than Wisconsin and almost as close as Michigan.

That leads to this subpoint:
As a candidate, Dr. Stein has the right to call for a recount. However, we urge the GPUS to distance itself from any appearance of support for either Democrats or Republicans. We are well aware of the undemocratic actions taken during the primaries by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Greens cannot be perceived to be allied with such a party.
In fact, I agree, re the recount issue, that I signed the letter (the Flowers link) myself. So has Green Party Texas chairman Aaron Renaud, among others.  And, as I said in a comment on his post, Brains may disagree. Wake me up when Stein calls for Minnesota and New Hampshire recounts. This is ESPECIALLY true since Friedman claims that hacked Diebold machines gave Clinton a primary victory in New Hampshire in 2008 over Obama. Damn, I love the sound of petards hoisting.

That's despite Stein telling Gail Collins of the the New York Times op-ed staff that she doesn't consider one candidate preferable to the other.  (Of course, Collins went semi-Krugman in her bashing of the Green Party. Stein's right; most of us weren't voting for Clinton no matter what.)

Besides the fact that Stein is now officially supporting "lesser evilism," she appears to be supporting the "Putin did it," despite retiring Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saying a week after the election (nice timing) that his office has no proof Putin was behind most of this stuff. And, beyond that, as I've said repeatedly, anybody who Googles "Frank Giustra" + "Russia" + "uranium" knows Vladimir Putin had plenty of reasons to be cozy to Hillary Clinton, despite her warhawking on Syria and elsewhere. In fact, Clinton as a "known commodity" might have been appreciated more in some ways than Trump as a loose cannon, even if a potentially weak one.

As for paying for this additional recounting? Simple. You solicit rich Republicans as well as rich Democrats. If they don't pony up, you cut the recount to just Michigan and New Hampshire. (Actually, the RNC could in Minnesota, at least, use it as an excuse for voter roll purging, except for Minnesota having an all-Democratic state government.) Besides, in New Hampshire, in 2004, it was just $2,000 for the filing fee, plus additional actual costs. That's it, per Nader's overlooked 2004 recount. A Democratic recount of the 2008 primary there cost $67,000 and change; per the Secretary of State, the GOP primary recount cost $57,000, suggesting $130-140K for actual costs plus that filing fee for the general election presidential race this year. Out of $5 million or whatever in funds raised, that would be a drop in the bucket.

(Sidebar: New Hampshire showed some of the same non-anomalous urban-rural vote splits as this year's states in question.)

Heck, even Stein's own Veep nominee, Ajamu Baraka, opposes the recount.

I haven't found info yet on a price for Minnesota recounts; here's the basics of the mechanism, per its secretary of state's office. Per another site, I can't find a filing fee, just a discussion of actual costs to be paid for the work itself. Here's an overview of how two previous recounts in other statewide offices went there.

Anyway, the bottom line is the issue of propriety. Greens, including any on the executive committee, or other national committees, surely know this. Had Stein asked for a recount in just one state, the red/blue issue wouldn't come up. But, she's clearly bird-dogging computer scientists Alex Halderman et al, per my initial post.

There, I noted that Michigan State's Halderman had deliberately picked the three states that would push Clinton past 270. Even a blind fucking monkey could see that. So too can someone who's been active with the Green Party more than a decade. I've unfollowed my discussion on FB on this with Gil Obler (he posts to "public," so not violating privacy there) for that reason.

Third, yes. Now, Stein has touted Maine's 2018 ranked choice voting adoption. But, it doesn't address voter suppression by race or income class — or by party affiliation. She has spoken on all of those before, though, as a partial counter.

Finally, as Brains has hinted elsewhere, this is about Stein's political future, then her 15 minutes of fame are more than over. The Green Party no more needs her to run a third time than Democrats, and the nation, need a third Hillary Clinton run. And, if she's the only thing standing between a Cynthia McKinney or worse in 2020, then that's the party's fault first, the anti-third party structure of laws in 50 states second.

Besides that, Counterpunch exposes the backstory of her relation to the party's executive committee and her degree of dalliance with one particular Democrat. Did you know that, before she offered to step aside for Bernie, she explicitly endorsed him in the California Democratic primary?

That said, Brandy Baker lost me at "make (Greg) Palast relevant again." No, no, no. That man and his mythic fedora are both fucking loons in the Friedman/RFK Jr. class.

==

Update: Stein (NOT the Green Party) has a recount FAQ on its website, which leads to further issues.

First, she essentially tap-dances around why she's only recounting the three states in question.

This:
We are conducting these recounts because independent election experts have pointed to 'statistical anomalies' in the presidential election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Has been refudiated by me in my first post.

Alex Hackerman's claims have been refuted by other election analysts, first. Second, Hackerman elided over the fact that Michigan has paper, or at least a paper trail, for all ballots in the state; he comes off as intellectual dishonest. Third, it's surely no coincidence that those are the three closest Trump-won states that would push Clinton over 270 EVs. Fourth, had Trump lost, we'd have other election experts saying the same about Minnesota and New Hampshire, and also likely wrong.

Also, from that same subpoint in her FAQ, which is about hacking, if Putin were behind this, as I noted in my original post, he would have covered his trail better, with the possible exception of wanting to rub it in American faces. (And, this ignores the massive degree we intervened in Russia's 1996 election and more.)

She then talks more directly about "why these states" in another subpoint, but adds little new. She then tries to pass it off by saying "many filing deadlines have already passed."

Next is her tagging the Party in Tweets responding to questions, even though a majority of the executive committee has condemned the recount. "Interesting," at least. At least she's honest enough to admit in another subpoint that this is her personal project. In yet another subpoint, she does mention Ohio 2004, without giving full details. As for whether the Ohio recount prompted California to ditch DRE machines, without links to news stories, as I Google for myself, we'll just let that lie. Well, no we won't. California was casting a skeptical eye on Diebold before the Ohio recount, per this subsection of a Wikipedia article about the company formerly known as Diebold Election Systems.

Versus people above, Bruce Schneier has a good, straightforward article on the basics of accuracy issues and paper trails with voting machines. And with that, I've wasted enough time on the update.

Well, let me add one thing.

This shows why I vote for ideas and ideals first, ahead of individuals.

I'll probably have a third, briefer post in the next several days about this.

Well, now Palast and his mythical fedora have weighed in, started with a blanket claim that Stein isn't hunting Russians. It's true she's never directly used the word "Putin," BUT — both she and the Haldermans of this issue have hinted at "foreign elements," and one would have to be an even dumber fuck than Palast to think Halderman and Stein meant anything other than Vlad the Impaler.

And claiming that most "undervotes" were actually machine-read intended votes, without any proof to that end. (I've undervoted myself, including in the current election, very deliberately.) I'll definitely have more later.

And, I do have more, including a weigh-in from Palast's doppelgänger, Greg AtLast. It's a must-read!

==

Update 2, Dec. 3/4: Stein has dropped her petition for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania after being ordered to post a $1 million bond. Given the $140,000 or so that a recount in New Hampshire would cost, that's probably not an unreasonable request. And, given that she's raised now, what, $7 million and counting, even if Wisconsin has an estimated price tag of $3.5 million, or more, she has the money for the bond.

I'm also with Andrea Merida Cuellar that the money could be better spent here in Texas, in the hopes of getting Martina Salinas above 5 percent on the RRC race and so avoiding a 2018 petition drive. (That said, with Salinas at 3.3 percent, the likelihood of a recount pushing her to 5 percent is as unlikely as Stein flipping any states from Trump to Clinton.)

That said, I am even more with her on this:
“At this point after Election Day, we do have to recalibrate within the Green Party toward the Green Party and away from the Jill Stein campaign,” she added.
 Stopping the Pennsylvania recount only makes that more necessary.

Stein's response? Move the Pennsylvania recount request to federal court. Sidebar result, per Merida above? NBC gets headline in link wrong, talks about Green Party recount. And, Stein is no more likely to gain traction from the federal court system than she was from state courts. Federal district court will likely simply remand her case to the state system.

A Michigan court has ordered the recount there to continue.

==

Update 3, Dec. 4: We're now officially in silly season. Reform Party/independent candidate Rocky de la Fuente is seeking a recount in Nevada, a state Clinton won by 2.4 percent. OTOH, per the main theme of this post, he says he wants to counterbalance Stein's recounts, so, there's that.

==

Update 4, Dec. 4: This is something I will expand on in a post in about a week or so. The North Star's Mark Lause does a good job of explaining all the rabbit trails and spider webs within the national Green Party, its relation to various state Green Parties, and more.
Except for a few states, the Greens are not a membership party and there are no national standard of what membership entails.  It describes itself as an alliance of autonomous state parties, an organizational structure that represents a kind of synthesis of the ideology of John C. Calhoun with impulses of a particularly flakey and apolitical New Age libertarianism.  Some states have organizations of tens of thousands of members and others consisting of handfuls of people whom get to represent their entire state.   Although often no more than paper parties, the latter can do anything pretty much anything it wants, including a decision to not run in elections at all and even to support Democrats that seem acceptable for one reason or another.  As far as that goes, the same applies to local groups.  This has permitted the party in my city and state to endorse Democrats with depressing regularity while regularly running no more than a handful of Greens statewide.

Funnier yet? He's from the Green Party of Ohio — the same Green Party as Bob Fitrakis. 

==

Update 5, Sept. 26, 2017: The AP confirms that Homeland Security says Wisconsin was never targeted by the Russkies, further undercutting the Stein-Cobb recount rationale. It is true that Wisconsin's voter ID law seems to have deterred thousands from voting. But, that's not the Russkies, and besides, both halves of the duopoly try to deter third-party voters all the time.

Glenn Greenwald has more on this.

And now, Texas is pushing back, saying we weren't hacked. California says the same.

What's even sadder from a Green Party point of view is that, even before Election Day last year, the David Brock/Peter Daou attack dog Democratic apparatus was already sliming Stein with the "friend of Putin" fake narrative, based on her trip to Moscow and sitting at the same table as Putin.

And, what happened?

She either unwittingly fell for fake news related to Putin, or else knowingly propagated it, as part of her call for a recount. I'm honestly not sure which. In either case, if she wanted to lessen the AccommoGreen slime that she and Cobb attached to themselves, she could make a statement now that she's sorry the duopoly keeps peddling the "Putin Did It." But, so far, I've not really seen that.


A lot of individual Greens are rejecting it — and many rejected it long ago. That said, many still are attached to it themselves.