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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)