December 28, 2017

Instead of knitting for Hillary Clinton,
here are 12 other post-political jobs
that #Hillbots should think are just great

Since Hillary Clinton won't go away — despite Al Gore accepting his much-more-cheated loss with better grace, and Mitt Romney, John Kerry, and John McCain moving on more smoothly — and writing a fictional memoir about why she lost, some people have been trying to help her.

But, for many Hillbots, any suggestion she move along is unacceptable.



So unacceptable that Clintonista wingnuts (sic — you're getting enough like the Right) Tom Watson, Peter Daou and others) claim Vanity Fair's "knitting" video is not just unacceptable, it's sexist.

(The reality, of course, is that the actual sexists are the vag-hat #StillWithHer folks. First, they ignore that a woman made the "knitting" comment. Second, they perpetuate a boatload of stereotype in insinuating that only women knit. Or sew. Or cross-stitch. Or quilt.)

But, we can do better than that.

And shall.

People who know the history of Hillary Clinton, sometimes solo, sometimes in tag team with Bill, should easily get the references. To help out those who do not, I've provided some helpful links, etc.

1. Commodities futures trader, preferably in cattle futures, as we know her skill there. (See "Luck be a lady.") Let the SEC thoroughly reinvestigate her former luck while she applies for licensing.

2. Certified nursing assistant, any rural clinic in Haiti. (See "Wiper of other people's bottoms," from "Monty Python and the Holy Cholera Clinic," as co-produced by Tony Rodham.)

3. Death penalty administrator, state of Arkansas. (See "Rector, Ricky.")

4. Post-coup Honduran peasant.

5. Libyan slave market participant. And, yes, you can take "participant" in that way. (See neoconservative + neoliberal combined intervention clusterfuck.)

6. Baker of cookies — for funerals of military children of Gold Star parents, or at the funeral of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres.



7. Uranium miner in the Southwest — with Frank Giustra, along with other grifting, having sold workers' protection to Rosatom so she could work like a 1950s Navajo.

8. Donald Trump's Citizenship and Immigration Services assistant commissioner, Kenyan births division.

9. Walmart third-shift floor stocker. (See "Rose Law Firm.")

10. Teacher's aide, majority-minority Little Rock school. (See "Arkansas education reform.")

11. Gas mask tester, Syrian White Helmet video outtakes.

12. Lena Dunham's bottom-line tour gofer.

December 27, 2017

No, Jay Rosen, you're wrong:
This screed is NOT 'the story of the year'

Albert Camus wannabe Yascha Mounk
Journalistic overviewer and sometimes scourge of the industry Jay Rosen says this NYT piece by Yascha Mounk is "the story of the year." 

Well, to expand on a Twitter thread of mine last week, maybe, maybe not. Or, to move from the teaser? Probably not that close.

First?

Rosen also knows the history of US journalism, and that, before its alleged golden age, we had an openly partisan press. (See more below on this.) Now, there was no electronic media, let alone social media, and presidents were relatively weak. But, are these more differences of kind, or of degree? Rosen doesn't answer, and his Tweet did NOT appear to be part of a thread.

Second?

This is just a brief point, but I must note it. We must remember that this is an op-ed, not a news piece. Rosen knows that as well, but didn’t note that in his Tweeting either. Yeah, op-eds can at times include news analysis. This one doesn’t. It’s a straight opinion piece. So, Rosen's Tweet shout-out is itself a bit iffy.

Third?

We must also ask, which the op-ed does not, how much of this, or how little, in Trump's case is deliberate strategy? With Modi, Erdogan, etc., that's not a question; we know it. But in Trump's case, some of this is simply narcissism. Now, tis true that actual dictators may be driven by similar narcissism. But they aren't always so. Take Erdogan's predecessor Ataturk. He ruled with a relatively light hand over Turkey's media.

Related?

Mounk also ignores the clownishness of Trump and his ilk. That's related to the above. But, per the quip that Mussolini made the trains run on time, I'm not sure Trump could make his own bowel movements run on time. (I must add that John Kelly as the latest chief of staff appears to be doing some of that, while also appears largely simpatico with Trump's political beliefs.)

Fourth?

He ignores other factors.

If Hillary Clinton had a cakewalk lined up after Biden took a pass and Bernie treated her with relatively kid gloves, Trump had his own good fortune.

Mitch McConnell would never leave his Senate mancave. House GOPers were too fractious for anybody to emerge. That left smarmy Booger Ted Cruz as the most viable alternative after Jeb! Bush had an even worse campaign than his first try at being Florida's gov, Little Marco Rubio and his Marco Polo-ing himself, Carly Fiorina reminding us she is as inept a CEO as Trump, and god ... I mean George Pataki at one time talked about running, which shows how craptacular the GOP field was.

That's even as Trump henchman Steve Bannon claims Donald Duck is the best political orator since William Jennings Bryan. No,really!

Fifth?

Mounk — and Rosen, for good measure — also overlook bits of authoritarianism from Dear Leader even before Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to rig the Dem primaries for Hillary Clinton. That includes his AG, Eric Holder, spying on the Associated Press, and his AG's FBI impersonating an AP reporter, among other things.

And, speaking of? 

It's also "amazing" that neither Mounk nor Rosen notes the possibility of neoliberal authoritarianism, even as in France, as we speak, Emmanuel Macron seems to be acting sub specie Louis Quatorze with the idea of "L'etat, c'est Macron!" And here is a GREAT profile of him being just that. The author also notes that Mounk cluelessly thinks Macron is boosting democracy even as he's undercutting it. (Maybe it's not cluesless, though; per the piece, Mounk may be enough of a neoliberal elitist to claim that IS democracy.)

Related, to the new Mounk book behind this essay? Even Ezra Klein thinks Mounk is overblown.

Sixth?

Not everybody on Fox plays along with such things. Not even counting Shepard Smith, it's not as monolithic as Mounk claims, and I know Rosen knows that, and that it's not the same as World News Daily or even worse.

And, to the degree a relatively sane bigger conservative media player like Fox is involved, if it goes overboard for Trump, there's the possibility of getting burned even within the GOP later. Say a paleoconservative or Paulist is the next GOP president; to the degree Fox still has warmongers, it could be out of the loop.

Related to that?

As both Mounk and Rosen should also know, and maybe do know, the real authoritarianism isn't so much with Trump but with one faction of the conservative movement that has glommed on to him, starting with Rupert Murdoch — and Murdoch at the WSJ, which he still runs himself without as much interference from his kids as at Fox. Sam Tanenhaus has the details.

Granted, that’s not the same as governmental authoritarianism. It’s more cultism. But Trump would by no means have the same apparent power as he actually does if more of the conservative media and think tank world were more oppositional and stronger in it.

Seventh?

How about a sense of history?

That's not to say this isn't some kind of a problem, or that it's not worse, even if "only" in degree, than the Gilded Age partisan journalism. Or, say, the Jefferson-Adams election. Or the Jackson-Quincy Adams battle of 1828. Trump's travel ban doesn't rise to the level of the Alien Acts, and nothing he's done comes close to the Sedition Act. If Mounk, a German native, doesn't know that, Rosen certainly does, or should.

Eighth?

While Mounk notes that Barack Obama might have had too much optimism about the American voter and that he might have had his own blind spots about Hillary Clinton's weaknesses,, he has written noting about things like the DNC fraud lawsuit, and appears to be a deep-fried "Putin Did It" person. Jay didn't note that, either. And, it took me just 30 secs with the Google to find his "Putin Did It" and his lack of concern about the DNC.

Finally, he's a fellow of both New America and the German Marshall Fund. In other words, some sort of left-neoliberal interventionist.

Yes, not everybody at New America is like that. I’ll call a Matt Stoller a left-left-neoliberal. ((I’m not ready to call him a leftist.) German Marshall Fund, on the other hand? Mix of straight neoliberalism on domestic issues with straight NATO/Atlanticist “consensus” on foreign policy. People at a think tank like that write "consensus" foreign policy pieces for places like the NYT, or CNN (the Obama link).

In other words, the type of people who might not like Trump because he might create a non-“consensus” foreign policy. The type of people who might, elsewhere, smear Jill Stein for appearing on RT.

Either Rosen knows these things better, too, or maybe he gives too much credence to the "Putin Did It" bullshit himself. (He doesn't actually write that often at his website, and what he has during this year doesn't even mention the Russiophobia McCarthyism 2.0, and the MSM's part in fueling it. He has, elsewhere, mildly scolded the Deep State but I don't think it's a fixation of him.)

What this does is remind me of why I don't follow Rosen on Twitter, why I think he's overrated, why he's rightly called a liberal not a left-liberal, and is certainly not a leftist. (Anybody who links multiple times to Josh Marshall in one piece, and uncritically, impresses me little.)

Thomas Frank is also not a big fan of Jay Rosen, and rightly so. (Their dialogue also underscores Rosen's political identification is correctly pegged.) That also said, per his dialogue with Frank, Rosen's website, PressThink, is not his alone. It's specifically labeled "a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University."

Ninth?

Jay, you're a wonk about how the media operates. The MSM's uncritical pushing of claims that the Russians hacked the 2016 election and that Trump is a Putin stooge, claims pushed in semi-lockstep with much of the Democratic party, is the story of the year as also noted at The Nation — and specifically the story of the year on media malfeasance.

Rosen also won't tell you, per the Macron link, that Mounk is at minimum, not a fan of the likes of Corbyn, and lumps all sorts of "populisms" together.

My guess is that Rosen is simply signal-boosting Mounk, while content to play along with worshiping neoliberalism in general.

December 26, 2017

TX Progressives look at #txlege filings

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and other seasonal greetings  as we bring you this weeks's roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at Democratic filings for State Senate and for races in counties neighboring Harris County.

SocraticGadfly took a look at various regional election filings by both D's and R's in Northeast Texas and in the Metroplex, while wondering when and how Joe Straus is going to stay active in GOP politics.

The lingering Russian obsession that has morphed into neo-McCarthyism has PDiddie at Brains and Eggs more than a little perturbed.

Even as the state continues to surge in population and become more concentrated in key cities and suburbs, any politician would be unwise to ignore the voices of rural Texans.  Texas Leftist believes that 2018 is the year for Texas Democrats to leave their urban safe zones and reach out across all areas of the state.  For those brave enough to run a true, comprehensive statewide campaign, this dedicated community of voters provides a great place to start.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about a great work of public art in Houston called Hubcap In Grass. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Lewisville Texan Journal reviews  
Jobsanger apparently wants Joe Biden to run in 2020. (Editor’s notes: 1. With #MeToo, would many Dems accept his apologies over Anita Hill? 2. But his age!)

 ======================

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

Texas Monthly announces this year’s Bum Steer Awards.

Jim Schutze says it's time for bike sharing in Dallas.

Jeff Balke celebrates the end of Christmas commercials on TV.

Better Texas Blog highlights the impact on Texas of a national DREAM Act.

Downwinders at Risk says the Metroplex needs to update its air quality sensor monitor system.

Paradise in Hell steals a look at Roy Moore's Christmas playlist.

Texas Vox calls for private industry to contribute to Harvey recovery.

The Lunch Tray bemoans the utter failure of "self-regulation" to limit exposure of junk food ads to kids.

G. Elliott Morris recommends the best political books he read this year.

Wired Magazine pens a long and deservedly appreciative profile of Eric Berger, the Space City Weather founder who everyone turned to for information about Harvey.

December 22, 2017

Jill Stein didn't do it — but Hillary and Hillbots did

As the Hillary Clinton coalition, and to some degree, national Democrats in general, refuse to let their anger at The Anointed One losing to Donald Trump because of a craptacularly run campaign, which the campaigner has lied about in her latest book, and which Uranium One shows to have been headed by a person and her husband with ethics problems far beyond her email server, they grasp at ever-wider straws.

The latest? Hauling Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Glenn Greenwald gets it. BOTH parties want to put Stein in their lasers. The GOP can make it look like the shambolic "Putin Did It" investigation covers more than just Trump, while Democrats can give the appearance that more people than Trump are Kremlin fellow travelers.

People like Casey Michael, who is clueless about Russia but in the tank for Hillbots, perpetuate what Michael, acting as one of Neera Tanden's flacks at Think Progress claim, now saying that Stein was MORE pro-Putin than Trump.

First, Michael — who actually cares nothing about the actual Green Party — has claimed elsewhere, by insinuation, as has the Crap Progress piece, that other Greens boycotted the Green presidential debate that Russia Today / RT hosted.

Not true! Three of five candidates were actually there. As shown by the RT video embedded at Crap Progress' story above.

The gig is up in this Michael Tweet. What Hillbots really hate is her showing the emperor has no clothes in American foreign policy. If one is charitable, Ukraine was only a semi-coup. In either case, it left neo-fascists running the country. And that's not to mention the full coup in Honduras that occurred while Hillz was Secretary of State. Nor to mention the coup by bombing in Libya that wrecked Africa's strongest economy.

Besides, Michael, as Mueller has uncovered so far, Flynn was so far, as determined, not working for either Vladimir Putin OR Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdogan, but for Israeli leader Bibi Netanyahu on settlements. Shouldn't you all be DEFENDING Flynn?

The image above is copied from Brains, who offers his own, briefer take. It IS new McCarthyism, and as he notes, not only for we Green-leaners and independent leftists, but also for BernieBros, as Hillbots on Twitter talk about trying to frame him on sexual harassment, is likely to backfire. In short, the Neera Tandens of the world are, if anything, helping to increase the likelihood of Trump's re-election.

Brains gives goofball dilettante writer Eve Peyser too much credit, and airspace, by linking to her as an alleged Stein defender. (Peyser's Twitter feed and other articles on Vice has led me to call Vice the kiddie pool for Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias wannabes.)

Brains also links to David Bruce Collins, who has a whole roundup of "Jill didn't do it" links.

Some of these links also point me to thinking about the likes of ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller and his late partner in spreading a certain brand of moral equivalence, Actual Flatticus. Sure, Haiti was a splendiferous example of grifting, per Doug Henwood. But, until Trump releases his taxes, we can't even fully compare him and them. We can point out Trump being sued by HUD for racist non-rentals, and his apparent Mob ties.

Chief of those is Stein being interviewed about this by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. That would be the Amy Goodman who Flatty slimed and came close to legally libeling about her pay and radio holdings issues. (This is also the same Flatty who hated not just Stein but the entire GP, and I think ShirtLost DumbShit is of similar mindset. And yes, Brains, I'm going to keep kicking Flatty when I don't have to reach too far to do it.)

Aaron Mate, who's also written for the likes of The Nation, has a good piece here, also a Stein interview. It's important to note again, per Brains, that Stein notes this is neo-McCarthyism. See David's post for the whole roundup of links.

Was Stein perfect as a candidate? Hell no. She was too much of an AccommoGreen during it, and even more after her Dems-only recount after the election. I have noted on my own that she has been less than forceful in standing up to antivaxxers, although also noting that she has distinguished between vaccine safety and vaccine business.

But, I can trump Michael there, too. A year ago, the California Democratic Party, in its platform, supported acupuncture as medicine. Or remind him of Clinton's own semi-quack doctor.

Back to what I said above — if it takes more Green (or Socialist Party USA, but NOT the DSA, which never endorses non-Dem candidates) pushback against this level of asshattery before the current Democratic Party implodes? So be it.

==

Meanwhile, most of the MSM has committed media malpractice on the Putin Did It issue, yet Jay Rosen wrongly thinks Trumpism — as overblown by Yascha Mounk — is the story of the year.

Meanwhile, leaders of the so-called "deep state" are now trying to sue away free speech rights and put them into capitalist oblivion.

December 21, 2017

A few quick thoughts on Uranium One re
#TrumpTrain and #GOPTaxScam

Bill Clinton with Frank Giustra
I'm putting something up because the wingnuts are blathering about the DOJ's announced investigation of the Clinton Foundation getting money from international mercenary grifter Frank Giustra and friends in exchange for about 20 percent of US uranium production capability

First, the wingnuts aren't asking a word about the timing. To me, it seems classic "wag the dog," diverting the Trump Train from looking more at the massive locomotive that's the light at the end of the tunnel, aka, how a country with massive new debt in a decade has done nothing for them in the meantime.

Related to that, the fake leftists like ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Heller will use this to further their claims that Bill and Hillary Clinton are more corrupt than Donald Trump. Actual Flatticus might do the same, were he alive.

Related to THAT is some left-liberals to actual leftists on Twitter retweeting threads by people who either in the thread at hand or others go off into semi if not full conspiracy mode.

(That reminds me of the proper rephrasing of an old cliche, especially for Twitter. "Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, but a temporary ally of convenience and nothing more." And sometimes, they're not even that.)

Reality? This actual leftist has no doubt they're corrupt, but still sees them as less corrupt fiscally in particular, or on broad ethics in general, than The Donald. Put that in your pipe and puff it, Zack.

Reality to this issue, now that the preliminaries are at hand?

Yes, the Uranium One deal is corrupt. Ethically corrupt for sure. In my opinion, possibly criminally corrupt, but that's going to be hard to prove.

What is the real problem behind Uranium One is that it's a bright, shiny mirror of bipartisan corruption. Beyond using it as a wag the dog to divert attention from the #GOPTaxScam, Trump's probably also using it to divert attention from the Robert Mueller investigation, which will show nothing about Vladimir Putin hacking US elections but which WILL show plenty about his own seeming money laundering.

So, no, Mueller's not being fired tomorrow. He's being overshadowed today.

The third thing is that Trump is probably jealous he didn't think of something like this. He's probably also jealous that he's not smooth enough to pull it off. (And he's not.)

Let's also remember that the Giustra grifting, related to uranium issues in Kazakhstan, started when Shrub Bush was still president. And, enough of this was known in 2012 that Mittens Romney had the chance to make a bigger issue out of it with Barack Obama's re-election campaign than he actually did.

Again: the real problem behind Uranium One is that it's a bright, shiny mirror of bipartisan corruption. The related issue is that the corruption is never dealt with until it becomes a handy political cudgel for one half of the duopoly.

And Jeff Sessions' investigation won't change that one bit.

One sidebar from all this is that, although Trump himself remains an idiot, somebody, whether White House staff or RNC staff, is thinking smartly on tactics issues. As news outlets noted yesterday, Trump getting Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to agree on a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown gave the Congressional GOP time to ram the tax bill home before Christmas. (And, assuming Doug Jones wouldn't be a total sellout, just a partial one, that time now appears to have been quite valuable.)

==

Damn, I forgot that I blogged about the Clintons, Giustra and Kazakhstan way back in 2008.

December 20, 2017

Environmental news roundup — #climatechange and #bucketlist problems

1. Climate change has become entrenched enough, and in northern latitudes, starting to produce feedback enough, that the Arctic of the last several thousands of years may be permanently gone. This, in turn, will have yet more feedback. Ocean shipping will put more big ships on the Northwest Passage and Northeast Passage. Their diesels will drop sooty pollution on remaining icecaps and glaciers, further speeding the melting.

Sadly, speaking of petrochemicals, per this piece, natives in the region are contributing their own feedback loops. And, by now, probably 80 percent of Inuit have either lost the skills, or abandoned the temperament, to run dogs rather than a snow machine.

2. Yellowstone's grizz may get re-protected under the Endangered Species Act. A bit of good news for the park and its wildlife in the middle of three red states with much of the population having a high animus toward grizzly, and wolves.

Temple of Sinawava 1

The Temple of Sinawava at the being-visited-to-death Zion National Park. More photos in this album.

3. Even as Utahans like Congresscritter Rob Bishop applaud President Trump for whacking away most of Bears Ears National Monument, thanks to the state of Utah's official promotional efforts and other things, visitation at national parks in the state continues to break records. The situation is worst (yes, worst, not best) at Zion. Rejecting Interior Dept. grifter-in-chief Ryan Zinke's plans for use-level pricing, I think Zion does need a reservation system. And, if that decreases visitation, not just controls it, fine. Nearly 5 million visitors a year would be tough enough for a park twice its size WITH most sections of the park visited equally.

But, given that the Kolob Canyons get almost no visitation, and even within the main section of Zion, 80 percent of its visitation is in Zion Canyon, something has to be done. Sadly, many richer bucket-listers won't be affected.

What COULD help, and immensely, is charging a surcharge for RVs, and making it by the length. Say a $5 minimum, then say another $5 for being over 32 feet. When campgrounds are being reconfigured to accommodate an RV flood, they need to pay for it. Not just at Zion, but all parks.

And if the Park Service is going to preserve mega-parks for the long-term future, it needs
1. Zion-like shuttles at more parks
2. Said shuttles to be electric (Zion's are propane, and I believe Yosemite's are too), for global warming, for cutting local air pollution, and for cutting local noise pollution
3. They need to have better scheduling than Yellowstone's does.
4. Fines need to be higher for visitor non-compliance on entry restrictions and bus use, and other things.
5. Here's another. Ban smoking on all trails in national parks.

4. Grist notes that people should avoid touting China's new carbon market trading program before it actually rolls out. Among other things? It's been in the pipeline a decade but is only being rolled out now, and it will only have simulated trading its first two years. I agree with that, as well as noting that Chinese municipal-level corruption is reason enough not to trust a capitalist system like this.

5. The GOPTaxScam includes opening a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. If ANWR in general, and the 1002 Area in particular, are so environmentally important (and I know they are, I'm being rhetorical), why did neither the Slickster nor Dear Leader make it a national monument, especially one inside the park service?

Answers? "Triangulation" and "all of the above energy strategy."

Beyond that, Jimmy Carter was arguably the last real environmentalist Democratic president. At a minimum, he knew how the Corps of Engineers lied about claims for dam benefits and he probably suspected BuRec did the same. He strikes me as more of an outdoorsman in general than either of his successors.

December 19, 2017

TX Progressives talk primary filings, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Sen.-elect Doug Jones as it brings you this week's roundup, and suggests NOT watching "It's a Wonderful Life" for blues-free Christmastime.

Off the Kuff looks at the statewide and Harris County Democratic primary filings.

SocraticGadfly takes a look at candidate filings and backstory for the Texas Green Party.

After a shocking Democratic victory in Alabama, Texas Leftist is also left to wonder if something similar could happen for the Lone Star State.  What lessons, if any, can be learned by the Doug Jones campaign, and could they apply to Texas?  Here's Part 1 of that question, with some surprising observations.

Doug Jones' victory over Roy Moore was made possible by the surge of African American voters in Alabama, a trend Democrats in Texas and across the country would be wise to duplicate, blogs PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

David Bruce Collins offers additional Green thoughts on the Jones election.


Dos Centavos worries that national Democrats will go squishy on supporting Dreamers.


==========================

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

Better Texas Blog reminds you that if you were affected by Hurricane Harvey, your deadline to enroll in an Obamacare insurance plan is December 31.

Jim Schutze talks about the city of Dallas’ ongoing entanglements with HUD.

The Current gives you the heavy metal Christmas playlist you've been waiting for.

Nonsequiteuse warns of Republican dirty tricks in HD134.

Texas Vox rounds up a Texas 2050 climate change conference.

The Texas Observer looks at Big Springs vs Big Oil.

Grits for Breakfast looks at the police union contract that was rejected by Austin City Council.

Also at Grits, there’s good discussion about the stupidity surrounding forensic hypnosis.

Gregory L. Fenves and Danny J. Anderson, presidents of UT-Austin and Trinity University, explain how the Republican tax plan will hurt higher education in Texas.

Nancy Sims eulogizes former Houston City Council member and longtime urban planner Peter Brown.

December 18, 2017

Political polls and filings in the #txlege and more

Per the topmost of the politics-related polls here, Joe Straus isn't running against either Danny Goeb or Booger Cruz as an independent.

That said, he DID say he would stay active in Texas state GOP politics.

When?

Gov. Greg Strangeabbott has already attacked multiple "Straus Republicans" running for re-election in the Texas House, and so far, JoeBob Straus has been silencio.

==

Updates on a couple of Dallas area races.

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congressional wasted spot and halfway ConservaDem, is getting primaried by two Dems in CD-30. That's nice. Unfortunately, one of them is Barbara Caraway. That's "nice."

Carl Sherman looks to me to be the top candidate to replace Craddick hack ConservaDem Helen Giddings in state House 113. Let's hope he's a few degrees to her left.

Eleven Dems and five GOPers are running to replace self-disgraced Smokey Joe Barton in CD-6. Obvious runoff on both sides.

Brett Shipp, trying to trade in on his news name to run for Congress, has claimed that Medicare is one-third waste, fraud, and abuse. GOP bullshit from someone who voted GOP not once but more than once in the past. Brett was often good as a journo, but here's hoping he gets his ass kicked in the CD-32 Dem primary.

Kenny Marchant is facing three Dems, plus a Republican in the primary, in CD-24. Probably a sign the district is flippable.

==

In my current area of domicile, John Ratcliffe has one GOP primary challenger in CD-4 and not one but two Dems in that primary, surprisingly. I'll have more on Catherine Krantz (who seems to be above minimum candidate level, at least) and Lander Bethel in the future.

State Senator Dist. 2 Bob Hall, a true Danny Goeb level wingnut, has what should be a fun primary challenge from Cindy Burkett. She used to be a staffer for Hall's relatively sane GOP predecessor, Bob Duell. Kendall Scudder, who has struck me (in person) as a pretty progressive Democrat, is running unopposed on that side.

House Dist. 2 has semi-wingnut Dan Flynn, the incumbent, being primaried by real wingnut Bryan Slaton. Bill Brannon has filed on the Democratic side.

==

Per the other two polls? Turner wasn't visible enough to be THAT big a sheepdogger. Warren wins, by first not running, then not giving Bernie strong backing, on that poll.

Jesse, not Bernie, contra poll respondents, is the long-term top sheepdogger. (That said, give us another decade. With the hackery of the Sanders Institute, this could change.)

December 14, 2017

Hoops polls — more Lebron and destinations:
Rockets maybe? Lakers maybe? Sixers NO

LeBron James
Per respondents in my first poll, as many of you think LeBron James will stay in Cleveland next year rather than join Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, et al in LaLa Land. Only one thinks he'll go to the other side of LaLa Land with Blake Griffin and the Clippers. (OK, I confess, that was me.)

I think the likelihood of him moving is now less than when I ran the poll. But, I'm not yet 100 percent convinced he'll stay.

I personally was the one Clippers voter. But, with Blake injured again, and the team facing some tough choices, I think that option is gone. I mean, Austin Rivers is their top offensive option right now.

Meanwhile, the latest story says the Lakers aren't likely — but the Rockets may be. Of course, there's no way they can give LBJ a max contract right now. James Harden plus Chris Paul block that. Plus, the rising Clint Capela will want more.

There's a sidebar to all this, and that's his mileage. Yes, the King is having an incredible year this year. But, by the end of the year, he should be in the top 20 all time in career minutes. And, he'd probably be in the top 15 by the end of next year. The "finish line" is surely getting closer. How well will he make a transition to no longer being, at least not all the time, the alpha male on his team? He's been a great passer so far, but, at some point, there may be a point where he's simply no longer the best crunch-time scoring option.

That could certainly be the case if he went to the Rockets. Harden would be the first option in most cases.

And, per this story, why would I want LBJ in Philly? The Process, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric et al? Why screw that up with an aging LBJ who will want to be the center of action?

December 13, 2017

OK, Texas Greens — it's ballot access petition time
(Update: That's if it does any good)

The Texas Secretary of State reports no Democrat filed for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 8.

Assuming some Green DID file for that spot, that's an obvious chance for the party to get 5 percent in a statewide race and have automatic party ballot access in 2020. (I left a message on the newest post on Texas GP's Facebook page, and I've already tagged it on a Tweet.

Update: No Green did file for that race. Sadly. Unbelievably.

When the Greens have maintained their 5 percent in the past, it's ALWAYS been because of a CCA race. When they lost it in 2016, it was because of a CCA race.

The party had four applicants, three of them for statewide office. Jan Richards is far more qualified for governor than Brandon Parmer of four years ago. Her platform is not bad, but as of right now, it appears to fall short of Democrat Tom Wakely's. Jamar Osborne is running again for AG, as he did in 2014. George Reiter (the UH physics prof?) is running for the Railroad Commission. And, James Partsch-Galvan is running for CD 29.

Note: Expect a post 10-20 days or so after the date of this this one to compare platforms of Richards, Wakely and Loopy Lupe Valdez in more detail, with updates as primary election day approaches.

A week before the filing deadline, Dems announced a slate of state Supreme Court and CCA candidates. At that time, CCA Place 8 was the donut hole. And state Greens couldn't get anybody to run for it?

The skinny on petition driving? The party will need about 48,000 valid signatures. Petition drive time period is March 14-May 27, 2018. More details here and at links on that page.

I live in a highly conservative small town area. Plus, arguably, it wouldn't be ethical for me to run a petition drive.

That said, not only will I sign a petition, if asked, I'll tell people where they can go to sign, if somebody like Dallas Greens announces a date in advance.

Update: I think. Because, barring Justin Nelson as the Dem for AG or either Chris Spellmon or Roman McAllan for the RRC being a clusterfuck, the Greens aren't getting 5 percent. (Sorry, Ms. Richards, but you sure aren't against either Wakely or Loopy Lupe Valdez. I might well vote for you if Loopy Lupe is the nominee, but 5 percent of voting Texans won't join me.)

This presumes the state party says yes to a drive, which it sure as hell should do, given the info in the first paragraph.

Update: Well, maybe not. If it couldn't think ahead and recruit ahead on the legal races, will it have a good, organized petition drive? And, if it does, and gets on the ballot, to what end? Three candidates to be listed in most the state. And an almost certain loss of ballot access again.

So, I think the state party needs to ask whether the effort in a petition drive, to list just three candidates if successful, followed by the almost certain loss of ballot access again, and having to start from ground zero, would be better for the party's future than simply waiting until 2020.

I don't know. I don't claim to have that answer. But, it's a question that needs to be asked. 

That's especially true given the racism-related charges and other infighting that fueled this year's state party convention.

==

Additional update, re a GOP story: I'm not sure if the Texas GOP's claim that it has until Dec. 19 to submit candidate names to the Secretary of State gives any leverage to a late Green candidate for CCA or not.

Rob Manfred and Giancarlo Stanton trade:
Where's the Bowie Kuhn action?

Giancarlo Stanton: The Yankees' fire-sale Christmas present
When I read the ludicrous trade return that Miami Marlins hack pseudo-GM Derek Jeter got back from the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton I was outraged. I mean, Starlin Castro plus A-ball low-tier "prospects" Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers? Odds are Guzman never sees a major league stadium from the inside unless he's buying a ticket. Jeter arguably got a better deal from the Mariners for Dee Gordon.

Not just because I'm a Cardinals fan, but because of the ludicrousness of the trade in general. After all, the Giants made a better offer than did the Yankees, and the Cardinals, even if they haven't made the playoffs the last two years, have had winning records, undercutting Stanton's using his no-trade to steer the trade there.

First, last week, Commissioner Rob Manfred promised to investigate the Shohei Ohtani signing to make sure there were no under-the-table offers. So why isn't he investigating a fake trade with over-the-counter shenanigans?

There IS precedent.

I'm old enough to remember when Bowie Kuhn voided the trades that A's owner Charlie O. Finley made of Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers and Vida Blue. (I disagree with Kuhn voiding a later trade of Blue to the Reds for prospect players.) They were just as lopsided as this, and Manfred should take the same action, or at least look into it. As far as I know, he still has the power to do so.

In another sport, there's more modern precedent. Then NBA-Commish David Stern voided the three-way trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers from the Hornets for Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Pau Gasol moving to either the Hornets or the Rockets.

As for Jeter and his gutting of the team even more than Jeff Loria slimed it? If he's honest about the team losing, not just money in general, but THAT MUCH money? Then, commish? You need to either move that team or contract it. Ditto on the Rays. You need to be honest about owners books for the fans, and for the players at the next collective bargaining talks.

Add up that the Yankees have dumped Chase Headley on the Padres for scrubini Jabari Blash, who has no chance of OF playing time with Stanton there. (Yes, the Padres also got Bryan Mitchell, but he's a sucky set-up reliever who the Pads are surely overvaluing.) Seriously, the Yankees are being allowed to get away with this shite, since Brian Cashman may now get under the lux tax line with dumping Headley PLUS the Fish eating part of Stanton's contract?

In reality, Manfred has no cojones and will do nothing.

I don't begrudge Stanton his no-trade clause. Nor his exercising it. I said that in my piece about the trade. I do begrudge Brian Cashman acting like a vulture because of it, because of the Jeter group's overpaying for the team and because of how he's handled the team since then.

And, above all, I begrudge Manfred for not addressing it. And, Stanton? With the full no-trade, YOU made the decision to jump in the Marlins' boat in the first place.

Also, when are more people, including Manfred and those around him, going to admit that Central/South Florida just ain't good MLB territory, and also stop making excuses for Tampa-St Pete that don't wash?

December 12, 2017

TX Progressives wrangle about state election filings, Jerusalem, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders if Donald Trump has ever heard of Krampus as it brings you this week's roundup.

The actual progressive Texas Democratic candidates -- as well as the ones pretending to be -- are in PDiddie at Brains and Eggs' latest post.

SocraticGadfly offered his take on Trump, with egging on from top Democrats, naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.


EgbertoWillies.com covered Indivisible Houston's tax protests and Net Neutrality protests.

Neil at All People Have Value said even if the external world is in disorder, we can still move up and up and up. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

As Texas Leftist slowly makes an effort to get back in the saddle for 2018, heís thankful for the incredible work of all of his blogging colleagues. Before we leap into next yearís political hopefuls, itís worth note that a former Texas elected official made a big move this week. Get ready to see and hear more from Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker in 2018.

Dos Centavos is looking forward to the 2018 Democratic primary.

=================

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

Texas Standard notes that the Texas Legislature approaches a day of reckoning over sexual misconduct by lawmakers.

Texas Vox wants part of the Volkswagen settlement with the state to go to electric vehicles.

Chuck Smith breaks down the Colorado bake shop/same sex marriage case that was argued at SCOTUS.

The Bloggess is once again spearheading a grassroots effort to help people in need for the holidays.

Dwight Silverman has some advice for people who are looking for gifts for their techie friends and family.

Better Texas Blog explains how the Republican tax cut bill threatens local and state public services.
Mean Green Cougar Red tries to wrap his min around flat earthers.

Free Press Houston interviews Silky Malik, one of the candidates to replace Ted Poe in the Second Congressional District.

Paradise in Hell applauds the selection by Sports Illustrated of JJ Watt and Jose Altuve as co-Sportspersons of the Year for 2017.

December 11, 2017

Hoops polls — LeBron, Knicks

Per respondents in my first poll, as many of you think LeBron James will stay in Cleveland next year rather than join Lonzo Ball et al in LaLa Land. Only one thinks he'll go to the other side of LaLa Land with Blake Griffin and the Clippers.

I think the likelihood of him moving is now less than when I ran the poll. But, I'm not yet 100 percent convinced he'll stay.

I personally was the one Clippers voter. But, with Blake injured again, and the team facing some tough choices, I think that option is gone.

Meanwhile, the latest story says the Lakers aren't likely — but the Rockets may be. Of course, there's no way they can give LBJ a max contract right now.

There's a sidebar to all this, and that's his mileage. Yes, the King is having an incredible year this year. But, by the end of the year, he should be in the top 20 all time in career minutes. And, he'd probably be in the top 15 by the end of next year. The "finish line" is surely getting closer. How well will he make a transition to no longer being, at least not all the time, the alpha male on his team? He's been a great passer so far, but, at some point, there may be a point where he's simply no longer the best crunch-time scoring option.

That could certainly be the case if he went to the Rockets. Harden would be the first option in most cases.

==

Next, the Knicks-Thunder trade of Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter. Only one of five thinks the Thunder won this now or will win it in the future. Two called it both a short-term and a long-term win for the Knicks, while I and one other called it a short-term draw, long-term win.

I wasn't specific, but I meant short-term to be this year, not the first one-quarter of this year.

At worst, from the Knicks POV, I think it's a short-term draw, and may wind up being a short-term win. If they make the playoffs this year, it's definitely a win. Ditto if, even if they don't make it this year, the Thunder don't get past the first round out West. Kanter and Unicorn Kristaps Porzingis are playing pretty well together — when both are healthy.

December 09, 2017

#Cardinals look to Plan B after Stanton spooks out

Giancarlo Stanton 
So, Miami Marlins $295 million albatross Giancarlo Stanton won't waive his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis, even while remaining clueless about the lux tax — especially since it gets tougher in some ways in its new version and not realizing that it is highly unlikely either the Dodgers or the Yankees are going to trade for him — unless, as appears, Brian Cashman has done a volte face on lux tax issues in Gotham, with Great Red Satan reporting that Marlins-Yankees talks could be near fruition.

So, what's next in St. Louie?

The Plan B of some sort that informed fans have always known was on the back burner of the Hot Stove League and now is on the front burner.

And, let's at least be thankful the Iron Galoot said no before the start of winter meetings, so Mozeliak and Girsch are already in position to deal.

Marcel Ozuna
Christian Yelich
One portion, or one fork, of that Plan B is looking at Stanton's current outfield running buddies Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. For a mix of reasons, from adding a lefty bat to seeing his peak potential dampened more by Miami's stadium, to seeing a steadier player, and seeing one under club control for five more years, the Cardinals reportedly lean toward Yelich. (I expect Ozuna to attract something in the $10 million range on arbitration this year, or at an absolute minimum, more than the $7 million Yelich gets next year. Yelich is also a year younger.

But, that's not the Cards' only option.

Florida's other low-budget baseball team (and more on that later), the Tampa Bay Rays, could also become a trade partner.

Evan Longoria
The Cardinals have already hinted at Alex Colomé being a trade target to be their new closer. More recently, the Birds have also hinted at asking about Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.

If the ask by Miami, in turns of return players, isn't too, too high for Yelich or Ozuna, it's certainly possible Longoria could also be a target. His next three years are at or under $15 million. He goes to $18M and $19M after that, with a $13M team option in the sixth year left on his contract. Yelich has a $15M team option that same year. Even without exercising his opt-out, Stanton himself, at $29M, would be making a million more in 2022.

So, yes, both are affordable in terms of salary, Yelich, or Ozuna possible, plus Longoria.

Now, are they affordable in terms of trade, of players?

Let's think. For Yelich or Ozuna?

Either Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty for starters. Either Yelich is in left, and Tommy Pham is your likely center fielder with Dexter Fowler in right, or Ozuna is in right and Fowler in left. (Though he needs to be out of center, I'm OK with Fowler in right.) Add other players as necessary without breaking the prospect bank.

For landing Longoria? Cards third baseman Jedd Gyorko would of course be redundant. As with the Miami OF trade, add other players as necessary. Gyorko is somewhat cheaper, with the Pads picking up $3M of his contract each of the next two years, and a bit younger. After that, the Rays could pick up his team option, and after that, decide whether to give him a QO or just let him walk. Throw in a mid-level prospect to sweeten the pot, maybe, or otherwise add players as necessary.

Especially if the Cards made both these trades happen?

Giancarlo Grifter, if we throw out 2017, while at the same time normalizing his previous years, with their injuries, to 162-game stats is a 5-WAR guy who doesn't walk a lot and isn't that fast.

Yelich + Longoria are 6 WAR or better. And, they have more stable stats, generally, than Stanton, or Ozuna.

But, the Cards may need to temper their thoughts on Yelich or Ozuna. If Jeter is successful in dumping Stanton for no bigger salary back than Starlin Castro, as is being rumored, he may not have a major urgency in moving other players.

Of course, there's a different path in Plan B, too.

Josh Donaldson
On Twitter, James Cameron suggested a week ago he thought this was better for the Cardinals. He has a proposed trade on Fangraphs: The Cardinals send Gyrko and current first baseman Matt Carpenter to Toronto for top-flight third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Pluses? Donaldson has higher performance than Giancarlo Stanton, and certainly above Yelich or Ozuna, and about what one of them plus Longoria have combined in WAR.

Minuses? A free agent after this year. And, Donaldson is four years older than Stanton, and several years older than Yelich and Ozuna. and at a position where people don't play much after 35. Plus, in the first version of Plan B, Longoria's available for a lot less.

And on contracts, remember the last one-year player for whom the Cards traded? Jason Heyward crashed and burned here, then got the Cubs to overpay him.

So, I'm against Cameron. But, it is theoretically an option.

Now, an additional word or two on the lux tax. The Dodgers are miles over. The Yankees are a fair bit over. We should note that tax is based on salary on the 40-man roster, too, not the 25-man roster. It also includes about $11 million in pension and medical benefits. PLUS — starting next year? If a team is more than $40 million over the cap, its first pick in the First Year Player Draft, per MLB, gets kicked down 10 spots. ALSO, the new tax includes surtaxes, in addition to repeater rates. These aren't too bad for each dollar in the $20-$40M overage, but each $ over $40M is hit at 42.5 percent — the first year. A repeater rate for that is at 45 percent.

So, through the life of the current CBA, through 2021, there's two numbers to watch. One is whatever the lux tax line is, and the other, even for richer teams, is that number plus $40 million. The draft choice penalty kicks in every year that's exceeded, not just for repeater teams.

Cashman in New York WAS under orders to get below the lux tax line. The Yankees were not too far over the threshold last season and are now losing the old $25M/yr contract of CC Sabathia. The Dodgers would, at a minimum, I think, like to get below that $40M-plus threshold for 2018, and absolutely for 2019.

But, if Cash Man makes this trade, they're possibly still above the lux tax and at the multiple repeater 50 percent rate. (This was written before the Yanks dumped Chase Headley for a scrubbini.) In fact, they're probably at the smaller 12.5 percent tax level at the $20M-plus mark. And, when others want their paydays in the future? Almost surely at that $40M-plus threshold. They're lucky to still have two pre-arb years on Aaron Judge. Wonder if MLBPA is going to use his case to ask to further address arbitration-related issues down the road.

More details on some of those issues at this post of mine.

If both Ozuna and Yelich get traded, and the Yankees deal falls through, that lets the Iron Giant play with a team full of AAA players next year. It should fall through, but Manfred won't investigate it.

Sidebar — When are more people, including Commish Rob Manfred and those around him, going to admit that Central/South Florida just ain't good MLB territory, and not make excuses for Tampa-St Pete that don't wash?

December 08, 2017

Screw you Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton 
So, Derek Jeter, the public face and everyday executive of new Miami Marlins ownership, is trying to dump salary, as already shown with the Dee Gordon trade, and with hinting to $295 million albatross Giancarlo Stanton that if he won't waive his no-trade clause, more salary will have to be traded away elsewhere.

Well, the Iron Giant still believes in tooth fairies in either the Bronx or Chavez Ravine, apparently, as he has refused trades to both the Cardinals and the Giants.

OK, let's look and see just how delusional Stanton's Yankees and Dodgers hopes are.

First, the Yankees.

Well, no, first, a word or two on the lux tax. The Dodgers are miles over. The Yankees are a fair bit over. We should note that tax is based on salary on the 40-man roster, too, not the 25-man roster. It also includes about $11 million in pension and medical benefits. PLUS — starting next year? If a team is more than $40 million over the cap, its first pick in the First Year Player Draft, per MLB, gets kicked down 10 spots. ALSO, the new tax includes surtaxes, in addition to repeater rates. These aren't too bad for each dollar in the $20-$40M overage, but each $ over $40M is hit at 42.5 percent — the first year. A repeater rate for that is at 45 percent.

So, through the life of the current CBA, through 2021, there's two numbers to watch. One is whatever the lux tax line is, and the other, even for richer teams, is that number plus $40 million. The draft choice penalty kicks in every year that's exceeded, not just for repeater teams.

NOW, the Yankees.

Brian Cashman is NOT trading Aaron Judge. And likely not Aaron Hicks. So, that blocks two outfield spots right there. Jeter is not taking back Jacoby Ellsbury and three more years of $21 million per if he's trying to dump salary. He's probably not taking back two years of Brett Gardner at roughly the same salary as the just-traded Gordon. So, that blocks ALL starting outfield spots. Besides, Cashman is reportedly under mandate to get below the $195M lux tax line. (The Yankees were not too far over the threshold last season and are now losing the old $25M/yr contract of CC Sabathia.) Besides, the Yankees went to the ALCS last year with a young team and a manager disconnected to some degree from many players. They don't really need you.

I stand by that as of this time even in the face of Great Red Satan reporting that Marlins-Yankees talks are heating up. In a note on the Yankees' webpage at ESPN, Andrew Marchand admits it would have to be a convoluted deal, with the Yankees trying to shove salary down Jeter's throat, which he's already indicated he won't do, with the Gordon trade. Plus, Marchand also reminds that Ellsbury had a no-trade clause of his own. Is he going to Miami? Nuh-uh. (Oh, and note to Buster Olney? If the Dodgers ain't interested, there's no "leverage" for the Marlins to gain.)

Now, it might be just possible for Cashman to do a three-team trade, but he'd probably have to send at least a couple of prospects of some sort to that third team, then.

Update: Apparently Cashman pulled off his deal. Either he's worse on lux-tax math than he would appear to be, or else he's dumping more salary back to Miami besides Starlin Castro, or else there's going to a modern America version of income inequality on that team. Per Cots, with relatively low estimates (I think) on what the Yankees' arb-eligible and pre-arb players will get offered, swapping Stanton's contract for Castro's puts them at $170M. Add $11M or so for medical/pension contributions and you're at $181 without accounting for the 15 players not on the 25-man but who are on the 40-man. At a minimum, it's not going to be as easy-breezy as Andrew Marchand seems to present it.

Next, the Dodgers, for whom Miami talking to the Yankees is NOT a stalking horse.

First, they've got the highest payroll in MLB, well over the luxury tax line. They got down to "just" $241M last year, after $249 in 2016 and $271 in 2015. And, Clayton Kershaw has an opt-out on his current contract after this year. They could dump Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig after next year, but their two contracts combined will be less than Stanton's out-years one. (Technically, the Dodgers do have a year of arb control with Puig in 2019, though his current contract ends after next year.) The team would surely love to get below the tax line in 2019 (it almost surely can't this coming year) to get a reset from being a repeat offender, as they're paying a 50 percent tax on the overage rate right now, and that's without the surtaxes and draft spot punishments in the new version of the tax.

That's not to say the Dodgers won't consider nosing around next year, if they're willing to pay the repeater tax again, but on salary of no more than $235M, to get below that higher surtax level.

For shits and giggles, since he's from the Southland, let's talk Angels. No dice. The Ghost of Albert Pujols' contract has four years left. (Supposedly, Phat Albert is working to slim down this offseason, but we shall see. For my take on him in the middle of last summer, go here.) At the same time, they have just three years on the Mike Trout deal and will want to extend him. Plus, there's Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron and just-signed Shonei Ohtani to play the outfield. Besides, Arte Moreno is more averse to the lux tax than his cross-town rivals, and adding Stanton, unless he could dump a certain amount back on Jeter, would push him just a bit over.

So, the Cardinals will move on to Plan B. With Miami, that includes looking at Stanton's outfield running buddies Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. For a mix of reasons, from adding a lefty bat to seeing his peak potential dampened more by Miami's stadium, to seeing a steadier player, and seeing one under club control for five more years, the Cardinals reportedly lean toward Yelich. (I expect Ozuna to attract something in the $10 million range on arbitration this year, or at an absolute minimum, more than the $7 million Yelich gets next year. Yelich is also a year younger.

Bonus? If the trade price in players isn't too high, his salary is low enough that the Cards can ask about Evan Longoria from the Rays, who has a quite club-friendly contract for the next couple of years, and then a neutral one at the tail end, as a package with desired closer Alex Colomé.

Some other teams may nose around for whichever outfielder the Cards don't get of Yelich and Ozuna.

That lets the Iron Giant play with a team full of AAA players next year. Have fun, dude.

You're now with an owner who fired a staffer last month while he was in the hospital!

#ActualFlatticus — A Chopin duet

I have had several people ask me over the past several weeks if they thought that Florida lawyer Chris Chopin's famous, infamous, notorious, interesting, thought-provoking and more Twitter account Actual Flatticus was run by him alone. The amount of time tweeting, the hours of when Tweets were made, the speed of reactions and more all seemed almost superhuman — which was an attraction to his groupies.

But, what if it were a tag-team with his sister, lobbyist and media spin doctor Alexandra Chopin / Wise?

I found her shortly after Flatty died, on LinkedIn and company website, based on facial features and her getting her undergrad and law degrees both at Chris's undergrad alma mater, Emory. Given that during her time with Patton Boggs and post-merger Squire Patton Boggs, her CV says she's done so-called "Congressional appearances" (lobbying) and media work for candidates (spin doctoring), arguably, Chris should have been as angry at her as at his Trump-loving, Jeb Bush-loving before that, dad. However, given that she, not his wife, took over his sacrosanct Twitter account after he died, that apparently wasn't true.

Let's repeat and rephrase this.

She's a lawyer for Squire Patton Boggs, per the "company website" link. A PARTNER, no less! Yes, THAT Patton Boggs. White shoe law firm to the DC insider grifters. Per Wiki, it's the third-largest lobbying firm in the US! And, it says she has past experience with political campaign media, too.

And, this is the sister of Flatty, the attacker of campaign finance and hater of corruption.

Now, the time of posting? A one-person Twitterer can do that ahead with Tweetdeck.

The information involved? Not THAT difficult, in most cases, if you know the FEC donations website and Open Secrets. It still goes faster the higher the degree of familiarity.

Nonetheless, Alex's expertise would help a lot with this.

Given that during her time with Patton Boggs and post-merger Squire Patton Boggs, her CV says she's done several presentations on social media, social media and privacy and related issues, she has relevance there as well as relevance on the numbers and figures Flatty posted.

And, as she currently is two time zones separated from Florida, there would be that angle, too.

As for quickness of responses otherwise? There's always the possibility of deliberate softball questions and other things.

My suspicions about this were HIGHLY raised earlier this month.

While not smearing either Chris Chopin or his sister, note that this new Tweet, from ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller, responded to by Man from Atlantis (who lies in claiming I doxxed Chris), in essence says that the Church of Flatticus is being founded on Twitter. It specifically cites family involvement, which would be his lobbyist and political media flack sister, Alexandra.  I have posted a screengrab in case that Tweet is hauled down or your account is blocked.

Given that she appears to be running his Twitter account, and is working with professional IT type people, it increases my suspicion level, and further makes me wonder just how much of a Dem sheepdogger, or even agent provacateur, Flatty was. The fact that this is released as an "official family statement" is another eyebrow-raiser.

Let's just read through this more.

First, they're getting (presumably paid) IT pros to help with special archiving beyond the normal. Will there be a tip jar for that?

Second —protecting the privacy of the family?

Puhleeze.

We know all about L. Frank the daddy and Alex the sister. Several people before me, even, wrote about L. Frank Baum Chopin, the Chopin family Wizard of Oz, as soon as Chris's name was connected by more people to the Flatty Twitter account. I think I may have been the first to explore what Alexandra was about. There's no privacy to protect on those two, and not a lot on his brother and mom.

Chris's wife is not interested in any of this, at a minimum, I would venture. And, I can only speak for myself, but as far as I know, nobody is invading her privacy. And if Lawyer Killer on Twitter is right, they had arguments about his Twitter work from its early days — as in, around the time of his domestic battery case.

Besides that, hell, per his obituary tribute card, Chris card about his dog more then did his wife.

This actually sounds like Cosa Nostra type bullshit. "It's the family!" Chopin pinkie handshakes all around.

Third — "trying to figure out how to put our lives back together"?  Sounds like stereotypical cult groupies. Next line sounds like it comes from an AA meeting.

Trust me, there's going to be more manipulation of emotions down the stretch.

By people — whether family or paid outsiders — who know how to do it.

I had said, in the last or next to last Flatty post before this, that I was probably near the finish line.

Well, that was before groupies decided to enshrine and deify him and his family decided to exploit that. Speaking of, Flatty's original account has "like" a couple of tweets by Twitter friends. The person apparently behind the two #RIPActualFlatticus legacy aggregator accounts has followed me on Medium.

And, even if Twitter groupies like ShirtLost DumbShit initiated this, the statement specifically says it's from his family.

Oh, this effort costs money. And, this is officially becoming a religious cult.

So, expect a tip jar, or a PayPal button, or something somewhere, as the online version of an offering plate.

Besides, AFAIK, there's no need for this anyway. I don't think Twitter deletes inactive accounts. If it did, Alex has the log-in info anyway. She could just send out a "ping" account once every 90 days or whatever.

So, no, I'm not going away. Neither are my "what" and "why" and "who" speculations.