Conservative. Republican. Regressive.

Pace, Florida. This afternoon: Doughy middle-aged white guy. Clipboard. Stack of forms. Pen. The standard issue ballot…

Posted by Jim Wright on Thursday, December 13, 2018
Facebook – Stonekettle Station

The TL;DR version of the article goes like this “CONSERVATIVES NO LONGER BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY. REPUBLICANS DO NOT BELIEVE IN AMERICA.” which is also the last line in the article.

Completely unlike the “Trump voters are Nazis” comments and the “Trump voters are racists” comments of the past; in this particular instance I am thinking about you.

Yes, you.

You, the average self-identifying conservative, Republican, Just-too-busy-to-care going-with-the-winners Texas-is-conservative types all around me out there. I was thinking of you when I posted this piece. Why would anyone want to be identified as a conservative? Why would anyone want to be a Republican in this day and age?

I don’t need to hear your excuses. I don’t need to hear how you aren’t a Nazi or a racist. I don’t even need to hear how you justify identifying as conservative or why you vote Republican. I want you to ask yourself why you think or do these things, and I want you to look at yourself in the mirror when you ask yourself why? Because if you can look at yourself in the mirror while answering the question, then you probably are a Nazi. Probably are a racist. Accept what you are and decide if you like being that or not.

Facebook

Third Parties Are Wasted Effort

Dedicated to Another Anonymous Internet Troll

That isn’t what happened. What the meme image says? That isn’t what happened. Oh, I know the media casts things a particular way. They say cheated when what they can prove is conscious manipulation of existing rules to favor the Democrat within the Democratic party.

The troll who posted this image, both of the trolls that posted this image, have their sources that say Hillary Clinton cheated. They aren’t even propagandist sources; at least, as far as having a specific political agenda to advance goes they aren’t propagandizing. It’s just that democracy is a thing that is as elusive as freedom is when it comes to definitions.

You can’t rely on Wikileaks to deliver unbiased, unvarnished truth any more than you can rely on an author flogging her latest book to be completely forthright when it comes to her own complicity in seeing the biggest fundraiser for the Democratic party received the nomination of the Democratic party. This is why the accusation of cheating doesn’t stick. It doesn’t stick because the private entity that is the Democratic party isn’t beholden to advance candidates that are popular with people who aren’t Democrats. Democratic money, Democratic supporters, Democratic choice. This is party politics 101.

I’ve been working on a post for ages that I had titled Why Libertarians Lose. I can’t make the damned article gel out into a set of arguments and ideas that looked like a consistent narrative. An article that didn’t read as petty and vindictive. I can sum up the long, long argument that I’ve made over the years with a single sentence. There is no reason why libertarians lose aside from the fact that they insanely know the reasons they lose, and then they repeat the behavior that made them lose each and every election previously. The reason the article reads as petty and vindictive can also be summed up with a single sentence. Every other independent and every other third party in existence fails in the exact same way.

They all, independently and in all their third party forms, fall into the same trap. What trap, you ask? The trap of not understanding what politics is. Politics, by definition, discounts individual actors. Your beliefs, your feelings, your desires, are irrelevant to political machinations. This is true of every group effort everywhere. Politics is group effort. Working as a group. Achieving a goal, as a group. How do you achieve goals as a group? Compromise. Compromise is the name of the game and those unwilling to compromise are what makes governing impossible without resorting to the use of force.

Force is the jaw of the trap swinging shut. Force will be brought to bear if compromise remains an impossibility. This is a truism, a fact of human existence that anarchists and individualists everywhere need to understand. Unwillingness to compromise on ideological grounds requires force as a response in order to achieve any given goal. You may be right to say you own all the water in a particular area. You may be able to prove this in court. It will not make you any less dead when the people around you who are dying for want of your water kill you for it.

In this system if you don’t vote blue you had best be prepared to be ruled by red. Because that’s where we are headed in the long run. The ground has been staked out. The forces have been drawn up. Democracy on the one side, and authoritarianism on the other side. The Democrats, through sheer force of will on the part of the populace, have been wrenched into the position of supporting democracy. The Republicans represent the feudalist forces of corporate dominance and central authoritarian rule, as I outlined in Authoritarianism vs Humanism.

RAnt(hony)-ings

The Berners or Bernie Bros as they were labeled by some of the press are still intent on Berning it all down. That is an article I wrote during the election, detailing why these accusations of cheating leveled at Clinton and the DNC are fake. The accusation is simply more of the type of authoritarian bullshit that we’re getting now from the Tea Party neh Republicans. One guy can’t fix the United States by himself, and Bernie Sanders and his candidates still aren’t winning Democratic races. They aren’t winning because Democrats aren’t voting for them, and you can’t make people vote the way you want.

You have to alter the underlying system of primaries and party structure, and that means joining one of the two parties encoded into the system. I spent more than a decade in third party hinterlands. That pursuit is a fool’s errand. Good luck with that.

Here’s another article from earlier in 2016.

RAnt(hony)-ings

Pay attention to the graphic, the one where Austin is split into 5 different districts. How do you fix that? You fix it by participating in the democratic process and then voting for Democrats because Republicans currently run the state of Texas at all levels above county court. It will either be Democrats or Republicans that run the Texas state government because that is how the system in Texas is set up. It is even worse in several other states. Voting third party is no better than not voting at all; possibly worse than not voting. At least the people who aren’t voting aren’t completely wasting their time.

The Democratic party didn’t cheat Bernie out of the nomination because the Democratic party sets its own standards for who can lead it, and Bernie Sanders did not meet those standards. The Democrats set standards in much the same way that Republicans failed to set standards and so got a demagogue elected to the White House. This is the exact failure of faction that Madison opined about. The failure of faction playing out in front of our faces But that doesn’t alter the system that has to be maintained through the parties in the meantime. Someone has to and will do that work. I would prefer to actively participate in the reordering of American society rather than light the match that burns it all to the ground. That is the difference between me and the people supporting Bernie Sanders. The people supporting Donald Trump. I like the dream that the founders envisioned and tried to capture. Failed to capture. Always we strive to be a more perfect union, and we fail frequently. But we pick ourselves back up and try again. That is what being an American is all about.

Saying that the Democrats cannot win Texas, cannot do the job in front of them nationally, is to engage in the waste of time known as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Vote blue or be ruled by red. Stop serving the factions (including Greens and Libertarians) start serving the long-term good of the country. Vote Democrats like Joe Manchin out of office. Do it at the primary level. His vote for Kavanaugh proves what he is as a person. He’s willing to bend a knee before unearned authority. We don’t need his kind anywhere but behind bars.

The Bernie Bros lost because they (Bernie Sanders and his supporters) did not want to play the game the way the Democrats played it. The way The Clintons have played it since ascending to power in 1992. They played the system they knew, and they won. The Clintons won only to lose to Hillary’s high negative numbers, the highest negatives for any presidential candidate in history except for one. Donald Trump, the most hated president ever to be elected to office. Hated before he had done a single thing in office.

Trump played the Republican game exactly the way the Republicans set it up, and won. He’s president, in spite of the fact that the Clintons got three million more votes, and in spite of the fact that his negative numbers were higher than her negative numbers. This little set of facts proves out the game theory hypothesis concerning the worst candidates winning in straight plurality voting, but it proves absolutely nothing about law, or fairness, or cheating.

Cheating is getting the FBI to question your morality a week before the election. Cheating is getting in bed with foreign dictators (the same foreign dictators that Wikileaks is in bed with) and using their assets to hack your opponents campaign. Cheating is what Trump will finally be brought to trial for, if only the House flips and the Senate changes hands sufficiently that the writing will be on the wall for the surviving portions of GOP power. If congress flips and the Democrats follow through on promises made (and why wouldn’t they? They will after all have to answer to voters just as the Republicans do) there will be proof of cheating in the form of criminal convictions. There are already criminal convictions and Mueller is just getting warmed up.

I have news for anyone deluded enough to think that third parties can win elections. The Greens will lose in 2018 (they did) and 2020. Do you know why the Greens will lose? Why the Libertarian Party will lose? Why all third parties will lose? Because the system is set up to make sure they lose. You can call that cheating, just like the articles cited by Bernie Bros talk about cheating in the legal sense, all the while lacking actual laws to bring charges against perpetrators. The system works a particular way because it is set up that way. Making memes and spreading apathy and discontent will not win you elections. It will simply ensure that the GOP holds power just long enough to destroy what is left of the United States.

In the meantime Sanders, who is a consummate politician, has altered the Democratic party so that what happened in 2016 won’t happen again. He changed the rules of the game to make sure it doesn’t happen again. He changed the system from within, which is what you have to do if you want to make effective change.

You cannot, repeat cannot, change the system from outside the system, and the system is only set up to allow Democrats and Republicans on the ballot in the majority of states. That means joining and changing either the Democrats (like Bernie Sanders has done) or the Republicans (like the Tea Partiers have done) but you cannot elect national representatives from any of the dozens of third parties and make effective change. Bernie Sanders proved this with his entire career in Washington.

So good for you, Bernie Bros. You can point to articles to bolster you and your followers apathy and resistance. I hope that cold comfort soothes you when the Democrats don’t reclaim the House and the Senate and Donald Trump and his hold on all three branches of government makes sure that the presidency never leaves the hands of his family. Kiss the ring of the new American kings and be thankful for the crusts of bread they leave you.


Editor’s note. We avoided the worst. The House of Representatives flipped by 39 or 40 seats, depending on how the ballot stuffing inquest turns out in North Carolina. Even Texas went more blue this election than has been seen in a decade or more. So, imminent death of the union averted? Maybe? We’ll see.

A Real Witch Hunt

I didn’t watch the witch hunt that was televised today (Thursday September 28th, 2018) although I have seen several stories in the media telling me how everyone else did watch. That would be their time to waste in watching the execution of a good woman’s reputation. I didn’t watch just like I didn’t watch the debates with the Orange Hate-Monkey. Brett Kavanaugh is lying now, just like the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) was lying then. Everyone knows Kavanaugh is lying. They know he is lying because he refused to ask for an FBI investigation when prompted. Repeatedly. So everyone in that Judiciary Committee hearing knew he was lying, but they all have to stick to their scripts.

The Judiciary committee Senate did burn the woman. The professional. The established doctor with a life and reputation of her own on the line. They always burn the woman, or as I said recently, #IBelieveHer and That Still Isn’t Enough People.

Do you know how we know that Mueller’s investigation isn’t a witch hunt? There are no women accused. There are no women accused and the Orange Hate-Monkey is still in office two years later. If the OHM had been a woman, if Hillary Clinton had won the election in 2016, there would already be a high rise built on the spot where her body was burnt eighteen months ago. Because witch hunts come to a speedy conclusion and they inevitably convict innocent people.

I started to watch the debates between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz last week. Ted Cruz was lying before he even got out of his opening comments. What’s the point of listening to defacto, demonstrable liars? People who start off lying and never stop lying, playing dirty, blaming others for their behavior? Save yourself some time, spare yourself and the furniture the wear and tear of torment like that. They’re lying, they’re going to keep lying, so let’s get on to the next thing. What is the next thing, you ask? filling the streets of Washington DC with enough people that normal life comes to a standstill until this travesty of a Presidency comes to an end. That has been the next thing that needs doing since January 20, 2017.


Illness got in the way of my documenting the travesty of the Kavanaugh confirmation (as mentioned here) I’m going to append the material I intended to include in the further documentation to this post in a largely unedited format.

LatinoUSA, The Immigrant Woman Who Confronted Senator Flake, Oct. 2, 2018

I’ve shared that post widely. Many people who don’t follow Stonekettle Station expressed agreement with the words. It hadn’t occurred to me to think what might have happened had Kavanaugh not channeled the Orange Hate-Monkey until I read that post. Then it struck me. He was right. Kavanaugh’d be on the court already, if he had simply done the standard wring your hands I’m sorry bullshit. If he had done that instead of blow his top, they would have held the full Senate vote that day. Trump inspired him to destroy his own career by telling him to go hard. Whatever it is he’s hiding will come to light now, just as Trump’s dirty laundry airs on a nearly nightly basis these days.

…tell me again, why do people think the OHM knows anything about politics? Because I don’t think he knows thing one about the subject. 

…also, I’m hoping the FBI does what the interrogator did to Kavanaugh at the hearing. Probed in sensitive spots in such a way that the skeletons fall out of the closet. “Oops, we didn’t mean to do that!” But you are probably right. The White House is going to try to orchestrate the investigation.

Facebook comment backdated to the blog.

However, there was a ton of pushback that Jim got from elsewhere on Facebook, leading him to write an even longer post on the subject two days later.

I was NOT suggesting Kavanaugh cop to rape. Again, you MUST have seen enough of this to know how it works. There’s a list a couple hundred deep on Wikipedia of American politicians caught with their pants down.

I mean, you guys read the paper right? You watch the news? You know this is NOT the first guy with a shady sexual history nominated for office, right?

Lawyers write non-apology apologies for politicians all of the time without admitting anything. Kavanaugh IS a lawyer. The Senate committee confirming him are almost all lawyers. The SENATE is mostly lawyers. You people HAVE to know how this game is played? Right? You’ve seen it often enough.

There’s a formula for this: The guy makes some sort of vague tearful apology written by a lawyer without admitting anything. The powers-that-be use that to justify their approval AND their dismissal of the victims and any public protest. Confirmation. Business as usual.

Now before you start misinterpreting THAT statement, I didn’t say it was right. This formula. I said it IS. Call it the Patriarchy. Call it White Privilege. Call it Politics As Usual or the Swamp or whatever.” 

Stonekettle Station

It literally blew my mind that people did not understand what the first post was getting at. That he had to write a post three times longer than the first one just to get the key points across. As if this was grade school and you have to lead these people by the hands to get them to understand. I write, too. I get that narratives are hard to construct. But seriously, some people should stick to watching children’s cartoons rather than trying to master big words and hard concepts.

Reviewing the evidence revealed by the talking heads I listened to, talking heads endlessly discussing the hearings, I came away with the fact that Christine Blasey Ford, the prosecutor that the Senate Judiciary Committee had hired to cross-examine now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, got him to reveal his character by making him lose his cool. He had secrets he was hiding, and he wasn’t going to reveal them willingly. He probably should have played with himself before going into that hearing. It might have made him less of a raging asshole, but I doubt it.

After this groundbreaking revelation, that Kavanaugh was lying on the stand, an impeachable error for a sitting justice, the Republican leadership of the committee fired Christine Blasey Ford, burning another witch. They had two witch burnings in one Senate hearing, and they counted that as a success. I know that Lindsey Graham saw it that way. The Senate Republicans burned the witches and pretended none of that bad stuff that Justice Kavanaugh was accused of ever happened. Just as they did with Justice Thomas. #IBelieveHer and That Still Isn’t Enough People. The outcome of the hearings was preordained by the Republican leadership of the Senate. Holding the hearings were just a sham.

On top of that, justice Kavanaugh was drunk on the witness stand. Pull up the video of his Senate hearing. Look at the flush on his nose and cheeks. That man is one angry drunk. I pity his wife and children.

Only stupid people like the Orange Hate-Monkey and his MAGA supporters fell for the charade that the Senate performed that day. Now we have two people accused of sexual assault sitting on the SCOTUS and the stage is set for the drama that conservatives have been waiting breathlessly for ever since Roe was decided, convinced that they’ll be able to put women back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant as often as they can put them there. They’ve got their pandering Trump card stacking the federal courts in conservative favor. A task that was made possible by a Senate Majority Leader who should have been removed from office for dereliction of duty in 2010 when he stated his plans to do nothing for Obama while he was president.

McConnell’s Hypocrisy

A woman has accused a Supreme Court nominee of drunkenly pinning her to a bed, groping her and covering her mouth when she screamed. She has provided therapist notes from well before the nominee was a public figure. She has taken a polygraph test. She is willing to undergo an FBI investigation and testify under oath before the Senate. The man in question has been nominated to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land, where he will be interpreting the Constitution, and is likely to be the key vote for overturning a woman’s right to choose.

Yet at today’s conference for social conservatives, the Senate’s Majority Leader said none of this matters: “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”

Robert Reich on Facebook

McConnell should be convicted for his crimes, his breaches of professional ethics. In 2008 when he set the Republicans to oppose everything Obama proposed, he should have been censured, right then and there. But instead of punishing him for his malfeasance, the Republicans doubled down and doubled down again, and then again, until we get to this impasse we are in now.

After all of their racism directed at Barack Obama. After all of their hypocrisy decrying programs they supported before Obama, and Clinton before him, proposed and passed the exact same programs. After all the Republican backstabbing and double-dealing to get their way. Denying Merrick Garland, President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, any hearing for a year. Forcing the entire nation to wait a year with an evenly divided Supreme Court, just so that they could use the 2016 general election as a referendum. The Republicans are now caught in their last act of criminality, if not their last act of hypocrisy. They have someone they want on the Supreme Court. Someone that they know is their last chance. Their last chance to get a conservative on the court before the tide turns against them, and they won’t give up this guy no matter how much loathsome activity is dug up about him. None of it matters to them.

Why would it? They voted for and then willingly followed a guy who bragged about being able to commit murder in broad daylight in front of witnesses and not lose a single vote. They still support this weasel of a man, this Orange Hate-Monkey. They have no conscience, no honor. They have nothing left but obedience to their leader, obedience that should cost them their very souls. It won’t because they’ll skate away just like the wealthy criminals that they are. I have no sympathy for craven people like that. A pox on all their houses.

…I will never vote for a Republican again. Never.

Facebook comment copied to the blog.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked legislation on Wednesday that would reopen most of the government currently closed during the partial shutdown.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) went to the Senate floor to ask for consent to take up the House-passed bill that would fund every agency and department impacted by the partial shutdown, except the Department of Homeland Security, through Sept. 30.

McConnell, however, objected. It’s the fourth time he’s blocked the bill to reopen most of government. He has also blocked, as recently as Tuesday, a House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

The Hill: McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government January 23, 2019

Take this man’s job away from him. Mitch McConnell should not still be in the Senate, much less leader of the Senate majority. Why have we not taken his job away from him yet? Oh, right, because Republicans still own the Senate and Republicans love power more than country. They love power more than truth. They reward loyalty to party over loyalty to the American people. Republicans have become the party of authoritarians and corporate fealty. They would be beneath notice if they didn’t still hold such high office. Time to alleviate that problem. It’s up to you, Senate Republicans.


Vox.com January 30, 2019

Only Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans could manipulate something as benign and well intentioned as making Election Day a holiday into a vast left-wing conspiracy. It really shows how scared to death they are of the American people actually having a say in our democracy.

Robert Reich on Facebook

This just proves my long time assertion, an assertion laughed at by many. The Republicans are only in it for the power. They are only in it for themselves and their party. They no longer care about the great experiment that is the United States and they don’t care about democracy or the rule of law unless it is law they dictate from above.

If Republicans cared, they would be on the same side as the Democrats, promoting participation and a level playing field across the board. They haven’t been for any of these things for quite some time, at least since the day that Mitch McConnell declared that Barack Obama should be a one term president even though Obama won the office by greater margin than any President in recent memory. Mitch McConnell should spend the rest of his life in an orange jumpsuit. At the very least, he should be kicked out of the Senate and denied the pension and healthcare benefits that former members of the Senate enjoy. He is a prominent stain on the party of Lincoln. Maybe not the worst, but he’s been there longer than most. Time for him to go, and his party will have to do this themselves, if we are going to save this country.

Facebook comments embroidered and backdated to the blog. Virtually the same comment all three times for all three instances.This is the depth that the GOP has sunk to. To have a Senate delegation lead by a Trump toadie like McConnell has proven to be. He should be put on trial with Trump.



The Xenophobia of the Orange Hate-Monkey

The Orange Hate-Monkey says “open borders” as if there are terrorists just waiting across the river for us to let down our guard. Terrorists got into the country even in World War Two when the entire country was on a war footing and reporting suspicious activity all the time. There is no such thing as a secure border, because the border is in every international airport and in every seaport and every inch of coastline. When he says border he means the Mexico border. There is no confusion here. He means brown-skinned people coming over the Southern border. Brown-skinned people that he then hires to work at Mar-a-Lago. But that is part and parcel of his racism. Dark-skinned people are lesser people and should be afraid of white people. Should be grateful to be allowed to survive in his America.

I don’t have a problem with open borders. If you thought about it, you wouldn’t have a problem with it either. It’s called tourism, letting people come in because they want to visit a place. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

That is why we have to reject his America. Why we have to bring this machine to a grinding halt until he is removed from office. I make no bones about it now. He has to be removed. His Vice President has to be removed. The entire election should be voided because of Russian tampering and party shenanigans on the part of the head of the FBI, James Comey, who thought he was crippling the next President, Hillary Clinton, not putting a known criminal in the White House.

These GOP and Democratic party shenanigans have gone on long enough now. Time for them to stop. So first we take over the Democrats, and then we make the system sound again by passing state legislation that ends gerrymandering, institutes jungle primaries and mandates public financing for all elections. With those measures in place every dollar that gets into a representatives hands from outside the government will be criminal and prosecutable. Their parties will be largely irrelevant aside from the issues the party represents. Whoever best represents an area will be the representative because there won’t be a corrupting influence involved in drawing the districts. It’s a long haul, but we can do it. First we have to keep the OHM from making himself dictator of the United States, and that means keeping him from securing power in his hands. Stop the takeover of the SCOTUS. Say no to any appointments he makes until after the next congress is seated.

Facebook comments posted to the blog.

Not Bedazzled. GroundHog Day.

I’m here to tell you that there is an enormous difference between those who want power only to benefit themselves and those who seek power for the betterment of us all.

Stonekettle Station, Hunting the Unicorn — to Extinction

That take home line from Hunting the Unicorn to Extinction is worth including in the blog based on its own merits. But the subject of that Stonekettle Station article is something that is at the core of all politics and one of the reasons I find myself restless in the Democratic party right now; uncomfortable but determined to see this thing through to the end.

Jim was telling liberals and progressives that claimed they could not vote for Democratic candidates to stop it. Conservatives, we know you won’t vote Democratic. You proved that when you held your nose and voted for the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) instead of Hillary Clinton. As I’ve said many, many times, first saying it in Hillary for President? the Republicans were going to nominate a nutjob in 2016 because the Republican party is certifiably insane. They don’t know what they want and they just couldn’t vote for that woman. So they voted for a serial-philandering, money-laundering tax cheat instead when they could have had John Kasich, a perfectly reasonable fellow, someone that is quite demonstrably sane if a little preoccupied with eating. The Republican party has grown more and more dysfunctional as the Tea Party and Religious Right exert more and more control of the process of selecting its candidates, wresting control from traditional Republicans who find themselves ill at ease in the presence of so much openly expressed white nationalism and Christianist dogma. The current state of schizophrenia that the Republican party is experiencing is also proof positive that plurality voting does lead to the worst candidates rising to the top of the ticket and attaining office. Never argue with math.

So when the Democrats nominated Hillary, and why not, she was the most admired woman in the world more than once; and the inevitable misogynistic blurring of the lines between Bill Clinton’s actions and her still being married to him occurred, creating this illusion of taint on Hillary that the media was more than happy to feed on, a distinct vein of fear of Democratic corruption emerged. I see most of this as sour grapes. You never get the candidates you want, and if you do get the candidates you want, most of the time they can’t win anyway because you are not we and we elect leaders. That simple phrase is politics in a nutshell. But this dissatisfaction with Democratic business as usual persists. How much of it is real and how much of it is counter-intelligence operations by Russian disinformation services is entirely open to question.

Olga Yurkova, TED2018 Inside the fight against Russia’s fake news empire

The same people who refused to vote for Hillary, but were not Conservatives or Republicans, are still insisting that they can’t vote for Democrats who won’t swear an oath to support every, single, thing that these people think are important. They’d rather stay home and pretend they are doing us all a favor than to participate in the process and maybe be responsible for some candidate or other that they might disagree with getting elected. The point, as Jim makes several times in his essay, is that even not voting is a choice and if you don’t vote then you voted for the OHM and all his supporters anyway. And you did this because even not choosing is a choice with consequences which you cannot avoid. The current administration is a poster child for the fact that not voting leads to outcomes which are every bit as undesirable as any other you can possibly imagine. A textbook case for mandating voting and participation in the process at all levels, but that is an argument for another essay.

This essay is about the allusion that Jim chose to make in order to relate his point. He picked Bedazzled. He made a pretty decent case for it. But everything that applies to Bedazzled as an allusion goes just as well with a different, better film. The movie he should have drawn comparisons to is Groundhog Day. In Groundhog Day the title character doesn’t even know what he wants in the first sequence that he is doomed to repeat for years of time during the film’s duration, just like more Americans have no clue what it is they want. It is only after he has dallied with every other distraction in the terrifyingly small world he is stuck in that he seizes on the one thing that might save him, the wholly genuine character of the producer he’s been stuck with for all these years, all those years one repetitive day at a time, a character beautifully played by Andie MacDowell. It is at that point that he begins to move in positive directions, finally able to leave the hell of Groundhog Day that he’s been stuck in for much longer than the audience that watches the film is. He gets to leave because he finally becomes worthy of moving on from that place and time. Is the universe interfering, saving him from wasting his entire life on pursuits that were beneath him? Who knows? What we as the audience know is that the criteria set out for Phil have been met. He is more than he was. He can appreciate others for what they are.

It is true that the protagonist does learn his lesson by the end of Bedazzled as Jim outlines. Maybe the plotline of Groundhog Day is too highbrowed for beer swigging average joes. Maybe Jim has it right and Bedazzled is the film that the people he’s trying to appeal to prefer. I’ll happily step aside and let the parade march on. But the journey of Phil Connors is demonstrably the exact same journey that the malcontents who refuse to make themselves better citizens need to take. If you want better government, you have to be better citizens, Jim’s mantra for several years now. They have to accept that the problem is them and not every around them. Hopefully they manage to do this before killing themselves more than a score of times and spending a purported thirty-four years stuck in a time loop. In the meantime I’ll still be here repeating what I’ve been saying for the better part of two years now myself. There is no way forward until we acknowledge and atone for the mistakes that were made that brought us here. Caveat Emptor.

Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

Phil Connors

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

It is the easiest thing in the world to belittle the weak, and the Texas Democratic party has been almost catatonic since J.J. Jake Pickle and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Democratic force fell by the wayside. Texas Democrats had a brief resurgence in the 80’s and 90’s with Ann Richards as governor and with the Clinton’s in the White House; but truthfully, the Texas Democratic party of old died with Jake Pickle at about the turn of the century.

Which is probably a good thing, because the way the Democrats used to do business is mirrored in the way that the Texas Republicans currently do business. Gerrymandering. Stuffing ballot boxes. The outright purchase of votes and candidates by the wealthy class.

Media pundits know who holds the power now. It’s evident in every broadcast you listen to, every telecast you watch or any article you read. Oh, sure, they pay lip service to the notion that the Democrats are due for a comeback; but the corporate media, the corporation, that most feudal of all still existing human social structures, they make their money ass-kissing the powerful, just as their forebears did to kings and sultans, czars and sheiks. They ass-kiss the Republican party because the Republican party has shown their willingness to engage in a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence by letting a known money launderer and populist dictator wannabe take the reigns of power in the US.

As an example, here is the darling of the liberal press, NPR’s weekly politics podcast, talking about the first in the country primaries in Texas this Tuesday,

MARCH 7, 2018 Takeaways From Texas, As Midterms Kick Off

Even a casual listener of that podcast and the one that follows it can’t help but notice that the only voices heard aside from the hosts are conservative leaders. They even play the entire Ted Cruz ad, as if I haven’t heard it several times already on other liberal news organizations, as well as an interview with Ted Cruz! Free advertising and free airtime for the sitting Senator from Canada, er, Texas. Do we hear anything from his opponent in this race, Beto O’Rourke, aside from their making fun of his showing and his name, yucking it up right along with that son of a dominionist Cruz?

No, of course not. He’s never going to have any power, in their eyes. He’s just not pulling the interest of the news consumers, that skewed demographic that sits at home watching FOX news as if this was still the 1990’s or something. One might think the media would have learned a thing or two from the mess they made of the 2016 races, following the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) around like little puppies afraid they’ll miss the next tidbit of tasty gossip. All the while certain that their free advertising for this dangerously jingoist, nationalist, uninformed conspiracy fantasist wouldn’t help earn him the White House all on its own. Never consciously realizing that their dismissal of the favorite, a savvy, political insider who had been hounded by the press for nearly 40 years would end up creating a vacuum that something had to fill.

No, they just go on blithely doing the mindless reporting that they always do, looking to see what will get them the most viewer or listener numbers. Never really asking if these were the stories they should have spent their precious time talking and writing about. And so the numbers stack up in the conservative column, and the people follow the media who follow the assumed power, none of them ever asking if that leadership is a judas goat or not.

Let me break this down for you, the layman who doesn’t live and breath politics like I do. Republican primary turnout in Texas is high because in Texas you can only vote in one primary for one party. So if you are interested in selecting the leadership of your county or state (cities are generally non-partisan races by design)  you will go and vote in the primary of the party you think will carry statewide offices. And that party in Texas has been the Republican party. Democrats last won statewide office in 1994, the longest dry spell in recent US history. Only a fool votes in a primary for a party that will not control the state after the next election, or so the average voter thinks.

Ted Cruz was essentially unchallenged in his primary race, so Ted Cruz got every vote of every Texan who voted in the Republican primary unless they took the time to not vote for him. And since most Texans voted Republican he got more votes than the Democratic candidates did. Does this mean anything in the grand scheme of things? Only that most people want to be on the winning side in an election and will change their stances on subjects after the fact just to prove how right they always were.

If Texas had jungle primaries like California does, you would see something you’ve never seen in Texas before, cross-party voting on the primary ballot. You would see a lot less racism and persecution of the transgendered and homosexuals, because there would no target demographic that would vote on issues that arcane without partisan primary grandstanding. If Texas had districts that weren’t gerrymandered to a fraction of a percentage point on average party turn-out (like Pennsylvania) but were instead drawn by a non-partisan commission, you might see people voting for the other party just to get a change of government in their district. But we don’t have those things, and so the self-fulfilling prophecy of Republican victory is underscored by pundits who aren’t interested in how the opposition is hobbled in Texas, they just want to congratulate the victors no matter how rigged the races are at the outset.

Back in LBJ’s day, the Democrats did all this stuff too. It’s hard for them to criticize the Republicans for doing things that they did, that they will do again if we let them. The trick is to inform your leadership that you want a level playing field before you send them to office. That you want maximal voter turnout, sensible districting, wide-open primaries and real discussion of issues. Good luck on getting the media to stop following the easy story, the quick click reward. In the meantime you could just stop believing that pundits know what the future holds anymore than you do yourself right now. Then you might at least stop fulfilling the prophecies that they keep making.

The Blue Wave was real, and then it wasn’t, in the course of about a week. Stranger still, the made-up national story arc seemed to influence in-state coverage as well. Even though Democratic turnout was better than in any midterm primary since 2002, and more than than double 2014, commentators have consistently described the night as at least a mild disappointment, where the Democrats “fell short” of a goal that had been imagined for them.

The thing is, the way the state goes on the electoral college map doesn’t mean very much at all for the way Texas is governed. And while it’s possible that the party jumps back to life with the shock of winning one or two statewide elections — that there will be a proof of concept, and then everyone suddenly gets serious — it’s more likely that things change slowly, over an extended period of time, and that small gains and positive signs feed bigger gambits. What’s most important in the long run is the overall composition and strength of the Texas Democratic Party at the local and state level.

In that light, the fact that Democratic turnout doubled in urban counties while Republican turnout stayed essentially flat is significant. There are quite a few winnable legislative districts around those cities. The whole ballgame for the party is getting people to vote and to make a habit of voting. Trump is helping them do that — the trick now is to get it to stick, which it most certainly did not after the elections of 2006 and 2008.

Christopher Hooks – Texas Observer – The All-or-Nothing ‘Turning Texas Blue’ Narrative Needs to Be Retired

The interview with Christopher Hooks on the Texas Standard today spells out exactly what I’m talking about. The media, focused on national races and their outcomes, never even considers the fact that the truism all politics is local holds sway even in places as large as Texas.

Texas Standard, Is It Time To Stop Talking About ‘Turning Texas Blue’?

Progressives are making inroads in Texas, and there isn’t a damn thing that Republicans and conservatives can do about it. For Democrats to win they have to offer real improvement on what the Republicans are doing now. Funding schools. Improving safety. Protecting the environment and moving Texas into the the next century. Listening to the OHM and his canuck croney Cruz talk, you would think that there aren’t fields of windmills in West Texas providing essential electricity to the grid. That solar wasn’t the future and that the emergence of electric cars in the cities isn’t a thing that is happening. You would think that Texas lives and dies by coal, which was never true, and that we’re still in the wildcat days of the oil boom in Texas, which we aren’t.

It’s time to put the conservatives where they belong, in the past with their fear of the transgendered and the homosexual. Their need for their religion to be front and center in everything they do. We cannot afford to be side-tracked into meaningless crusades against the different and the strange. There is real work being left undone because of their fear-mongering and immigrant hating. Time to roll up the sleeves and get back to work. 

Trump’s GOP in a Nutshell

MSNBC

This racist is the poster child for today’s GOP. If they don’t like him as their poster child, they should kick him out of their party and primary him. Because he is a joke. A laughingstock. A parody of every KKK member and Nazi saluting clueless rube in the country.

Seriously. Why do the Republicans not understand what they are allowing to grow in their midst?

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. Steve King, racist.

Who brought up Hillary? That Was Last Year.

Baltimore Post Examiner McCain’s Thumbs down.

They will take this embarrassment out on America. These are the people who can’t let abortion go. These are the people who can’t let their goddamned religion go. These are the people who can’t let Benghazi go. These are the people who remember every slight and every offense and they cannot let their overwhelming desire for revenge go. It’s nearly two hundred years, they still can’t let the Civil War go. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T LET EITHER BARACK OBAMA OR HILLARY CLINTON GO — hell, 20 years later and they are STILL determined to get even with BILL Clinton. They will learn NOTHING from this, in fact they’ll become even more secretive, intolerant, scheming, and revengeful.

Stonekettle Station

Every single argument I have with Trump supporters (even with relatives) ends up with the question,

but what about Hillary?

I keep wanting to ask in response, who brought up Hillary? I didn’t bring her up. I wasn’t even thinking of her. I couldn’t care less about her now than I did ten years ago (Go look. Harsh, yes I know) I only voted for her because she was who the Democrats picked, the presumed Democratic nominee that was so certain to win that I resigned myself to voting for her two years ago when I wrote Hillary for President? I resigned myself to voting for her because I knew the Republicans would pick a lunatic. Wonder of wonders, one of my predictions came true and they did pick a lunatic from a group of ten lunatics (and Kasich) and now that lunatic is president.

They’ll make this about Hillary too. Hillary and Barack Obama at the same time, if they can. It was Hillarycare that started them all down this long, deep slope into madness. I can easily see how this is all linked to Hillary Clinton somewhere in their minds.

Saying I only voted for her because she was the nominee is selling my support for her a bit short. After she won the nomination. After the Orange Hate-Monkey co-opted the Republican convention and Republican party and made it his own personal propaganda vehicle. After all of that, I decided I did really like Hillary Clinton after all. I mean, at least she wasn’t a lunatic. Wasn’t a fraud. Wasn’t engaged in demonstrably criminal activities that have simply never been prosecuted. I mean, the haters (now Stormtrumpers) tried to prosecute her (#Benghazi) but there simply wasn’t anything that they could get a conviction on. This is more than could be said for the Orange Hate-Monkey, as we are now discovering. So yeah. Knowing real estate developers the way I do, and seeing the cluster fuck that a Trump presidency was going to be, I wholeheartedly embraced Hillary Clinton in 2016. But that was 2016.

Republicans are so caught up in the past, with all these grievances that they just can’t abide, that they can’t even begin to think about what comes next. Which is how we find ourselves here in this mess today, them still talking about what happened in 1998, and the rest of us outraged about what is going on around us right here and now.

The Orange Hate-Monkey’s race baiting. The Orange Hate-Monkey’s misogyny. His probable coordination with Russia during the election. His continued money laundering for the Russian mob. The Orange Hate-Monkey’s uncontested control of 2/3’s of the federal government, with the last third one simple SCOTUS nomination away.

How about we, the sane 3/4’s of the United States, start talking about what comes next for a change? Let’s start now so we know where we’re going in 2018. Screw the Republicans. They’ll still be nominating lunatics twenty years from now. #SignedByTrump

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

Her explanation for the Gap is simple enough. “There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,” she says. “As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that.”

Understanding Hillary – Ezra Klein – July 11, 2016
09/12/2017 – What Hillary Clinton really thinks – The Ezra Klein Show

Consider, for a moment, two people. One, as a young woman at the beginning of a promising legal career, went door to door searching for ways to guarantee an education to the countless disabled and disadvantaged children who had fallen through the cracks. The other, as a young millionaire, exacted revenge on his recently deceased brother’s family by cutting off the medical insurance desperately needed by his nephew’s newborn son, who at eighteen months of age was suffering from violent seizures brought on by a rare neurological disorder.

Huffingtonpost – Larry Womack – Stop Pretending
They’re with her. Are you? | Hillary Clinton

The Suicide of the GOP

This behavior is part and parcel with the dismissive way that Republican pundits speak of Democrats and their policies “we don’t want any of that socialism ’round here”. They think, just like they always have, that they will retain power. They never think that they won’t win (see the ham loaf’s reaction to Romney losing in 2012) can’t even imagine that it is possible. That is why they were brave enough to touch the third rail of American politics in the AHCA and try to defund Medicare. We must defeat all of them now. All of them.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.