Small groups, big influence

The Houston Realty Business Coalition hosts monthly breakfast meetings featuring some of the most influential figures in state and local politics. Founded in 1967, the HRBC, formerly called the Houston Realty Breakfast Club, is an institutional hub for Houston’s business conservatives.

Breakfast with the HRBC offers an opportunity to meet, hear or button-hole ambitious political figures at every stage of their career. If you are considering a run for office in the Houston area, particularly on the Republican ballot, the HRBC is a room you will probably have to work successfully to win. If you have a political issue you want to bring to the attention of someone in charge, or someone who might one day be in charge, a table at the HRBC is an excellent place to get yourself heard.

Speakers invited to address a meeting get a valuable free forum to promote their campaign or explain a policy agenda. The real action, though, is around the tables. Breakfast at the HRBC is a chance to meet tomorrow’s Congressional candidates as they campaign for the courts, school board, county executive offices or other local positions. It is an opportunity to learn what these people are like in person before placing them in a position to impact your life.

What makes the HRBC and groups like it particularly powerful is their multifunctional nature. The HRBC is not a political party. It is closely tied to the GOP, but it often features Democratic speakers and guests. Activism is its primary function. It is officially registered as a PAC and makes open political endorsements. The real power of the group, though, is its deep roots that extend beyond politics.

HRBC is also a business club. The members and leadership may share a core of political ideas, but they must also work together in the real estate community on a day to day basis. Wielding influence inside the HRBC requires more than showing up, paying a fee and spouting an opinion. Relationships formed outside the meeting and beyond the scope of politics can increase or decrease one’s political sway at the breakfast table. And pig-headed political incivility at breakfast can impact one’s bottom line in business.

In short, this overlap between politics and extra-political interests helps to keep a lid on the most extreme impulses of the group’s individual members. There is only so much irrational, uncivil behavior one can afford to indulge before it begins to create pressure on one’s day job. The members maintain a complex accountability to one another that inspires at least some modicum of moderation.

Organizations like the HRBC have a clear financial dimension to them. It costs money to attend, roughly $50 a head on a per-meeting basis or an annual fee of $350. That means that access to the breakfast table is relatively open and within the reach of most people. That’s true of most similar organizations across the spectrum. Money is not the most important qualifier for membership and influence.

Groups like the HRBC are built on personal networks. Nothing stops the random yahoo off the street from laying down $50 and showing up, but that doesn’t happen a lot. Very few people outside of real estate or Houston politics even know about it. They do not advertise or actively promote themselves. Most members first learned about the organization through an invitation from a friend or colleague.

For Houston residents who can spare a few early morning hours once a month and can absorb the modest cost, the HRBC offers a chance to participate in their government in a uniquely powerful way. Similar opportunities exist all over the spectrum, from partisan political organizations to PTA’s, service clubs and business groups.

Our political system is not built on elections. It is not built on money. It is built on the hundreds of thousands of institutions that tie us together in bonds of common interest and accountability. These institutions are where the real work of politics gets done. Political influence rises from the careful, strategic investment of time and effort in these organizations.

The health of those institutions determines how much influence can be purchased at what price. It also determines how much is really at stake on Election Day.

If money is a problem in our political system, and it is, that’s because the amount and quality of our direct involvement has declined below a critical level. Righting that imbalance requires us to put our shoulders behind our convictions and play a greater personal role in our communities. The good news is that there is a fix. The bad news is that it costs us something we are loath to part with – our time.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Political Theory, Social Capital
236 comments on “Small groups, big influence
  1. fiftyohm says:

    Such a fuss.

    Back in the chron.com days, one could get sent to banned camp for quietly farting atonally. Chris’ blog had become a free-for-all. Seems to me he solved a problem in the only way reasonably possible.

    Most of us here read, post, and discuss to exchange ideas. I’m sure there is some type of “cage fighting” blog where those not so inclined can go. I’d prefer they did.

    BTW: I like the freedom to use the ‘F’ word now and again if I need to. (See above.) Or even use split infinitives.

  2. tuttabellamia says:

    I smile every time I open this blog entry and read the title, so appropriate considering all the recent drama here: SMALL GROUPS, BIG INFLUENCE. We are a very small group, and we give this blog way too much influence on our personal lives.

    I prefer: SMALL GROUP, BIG HEADACHE. This blog has become a soap opera. I appreciate all I’ve learned here, but damn!

    • desperado says:

      I find it interesting that the people who grumble the most about this blog and its contents are also the most frequent commenters. This blog has no more influence on anyone’s life than what they decide to give it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Lifer changed that.

      • rightonrush says:

        BS Sternn. Stop sniveling and get on with your life. If you don’t like the blog then leave, nobody is forcing you to stay.

      • John Galt says:

        I think Chris actually did Dan a favor. It was a lot more likely that him continuing to ban Dan’s aliases based on the IP address (at work) from which he was posting would have alerted his company to his use of their property on their time than any of us calling them up to tell them. I’m guessing that Dan was unaware that his aliases were linked to traceable IP addresses and that he was not quite as anonymous as he thought.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thank you JG. I think that was the salient point missed in all the willful faux victimization whining from the usual suspects. Chris was ensuring that Dan was warned/notified of what Dan wrought on himself and that the ball was in his hands on whether Dan wanted his boss to know of his extracurricular activities on their time and resources.

      • flypusher says:

        “Thank you JG. I think that was the salient point missed in all the willful faux victimization whining from the usual suspects.”

        It’s really funny how many people can miss a point that’s stated clearly in plain English. Again and again. It looks like Chris used the least of all possible nuclear options. That troll earned a nuking, fair and square.

    • GG says:

      I don’t know Tutt. I read and post sometimes but as soon as I log off it’s forgotten. I have a fairly busy social life, which is why I rarely post on weekends.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I notice people don’t post much on weekends, since it interrupts their social life, but they have no problem interrupting their work life during the week.

      • GG says:

        I post when I have time or on breaks. The nature of my business has downtime and extremely busy time. I am also lucky enough to work where we are pretty much treated like grown ups and as long as we get the work done they don’t care what we do with our time as long as it’s not x-rated. One of the guys has his feet up right now watching a movie. I’ve worked for places that were positively oppressive with micro-management.

      • flypusher says:

        My situation is very similar to yours GG. I use my own accounts and devices for any posting on or even just reading blogs. One of the perks of my job is a lot of leniency/ flexibility, and as I appreciate that very much, I want to avoid even the appearance of abusing that privilege.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Same here GG and FP. I’m salaried and as long as I get my work done I have some latitude also. As a matter of fact, right now I am posting as I am on an hour long conference call that requires me to interject a “yup” or a “nope” every now and then. And if anyone notices (I’m sure my Gladys Kravitz “admirer” buzzy does), I post at all hours. Because that is my work schedule also. Got on work at 11 PM last night, off work at 6 AM and jumped on a conference call at 10 AM. Also work (voluntarily) during my vacation at times because it’s easier to take a few minutes fix it on the spot than to come back to a bigger mess. Also to help out my coworkers who graciously volunteer to cover for me while I’m “out”. So it all works out, or in my employer’s favor usually but I accept that as the premium price I gladly pay for the benefits of flexibility and being treated as a responsible adult by my boss.

  3. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Personally, I felt Dan should have been kicked off weeks ago.

    If his multiple posts of insults and poor punctuation are classic troll behavior, as suggested elsewhere, then I can see why some people do it. It’s very effective at shutting down a discussion.

  4. Intrigued says:

    I’m probably late to the party again but I’ll go ahead and comment because I know Chris just can’t wait to read my very own personal opinion;-) Chris I hope you continue to write despite the frequent annoyances you must encounter. I’m not as active in the comment section but I still frequent your blog and read the pieces that interest me. I don’t agree with outing people but I am glad you took a stand. If your only other option was to report his work IP, possibly resulting in disciplinary action up to termination, you made the right decision.

  5. rucasdad says:

    I’m not seeing the problem here? If you don’t want to be treated like an asshole, don’t act like one.

    I don’t agree with contacting his employer (unless there are reasons to do so that I’m not aware of). I’m not exactly sure if you did that, Chris, but it’s none of my business either way. Quite honestly, I don’t give a shit who he is or where he works at. However, I’m sure he does that you do. You spend a lot of time and thought on this blog and it shows. I get that. It’s become a great place with sort of an electronic Cheers vibe to it. And I think it’s safe to say that he was doing everything he could to disrupt that and/or put it to an end altogether. You did what you had to do and that’s that.

    It may get a bit heated here and there and I may have some sporadic rants from time to time but I try and keep some sense of civility at the end of the day. As I can say the same for the majority of the others here. I’d kind of like to keep it that way.

  6. If I may be so bold, I might suggest that we *all* drop our nom de plumes. Chris is honest and forthright to the point that he posts as himself. Despite my general disagreement with much of his politics, I admire and respect him for that. As a token of that admiration and respect, I do the same. Might not we all?

    Owl once thought it amusing to disclose my personal information, apparently thinking that doing so was some sort of coup. Of course, my Chron user name (tthor) was simply a derivation of my given name, and I’d never taken any steps to obfuscate my identity. So it was really kind of silly. (And, no, Owl is no Mangum, P.I.)

    In many ways electronic forums such as this are a modern agora, where the hoi polloi can gather to exchange news, views, and information. In the ancient Athenian agora there was no hiding your identity; you participated as yourself. You backed your words with your personal reputation and your actions. That environment led to the first great flowering of western civilization. Shall we do any less than those who bequeathed to us so much?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Well TThor, that is an easy proposition coming from your side knowing that no one on the left would do damage with such personal information. And protected in knowing that the trolls on the right will do you no harm because they agree with you.

      But you have consummate troll liars in the likes of Dan and particularly trollbart who has been busted numerous times with multiple simultaneous identities and obfuscating his true identity to troll and bully time and again, to include very recently again here on Chris’ blog.

      My point is I don’t trust consummate trolls, bullies, and liars to not do harm with my real identity. And for good reason based on their alrwady displayed behavior. By the way, there are plenty of people online here whom I trust and already know my real identity even though I only encounter them online or initially knew online only. And I wouldn’t mind revealing it to you or 50 Ohm (Chris already knows who I am).

      And that’s it in regards to trust level of the posters on the right. And that’s not to mention the vile chron trolls than can drive by here any time. So, no thank you.

      • “…no one on the left would do damage with such personal information.”

        Really, Bubba? Somehow left-wing trolls are more noble than right-wing trolls? Let me disabuse you of such a silly notion. People are people, my friend. Some people are congenital nether orifices. The rest of us are just intermittent nether orifices. (And if years of church attendance and management training have taught me anything, it’s this: I’m a nether orifice, and it’s OK.) The only question you really need to consider is this: Are you going to let the nether orifices of the world govern your life?

        My answer: Nope. And if you plan to mess with me, you’d best pack a lunch.

      • Turtles Run says:

        TTHOR – I do not know if you ever went to El Jefe Bob’s blog on the Chron.com but one of the reasons he left and started the Daily Hurricane site was because of the threats he received from right wingers.

        Then you have to consider that many right wing trolls are also proud gun nuts it is hard to not to want to protect your identity. I once picked up a very disturbing right wing troll on Disqus that made threats and harassing comments on a daily basis. I rather not go through that again. Frankly, I see no benefit in it because how do you know that person is not lying about their name. I rather judge a person by the quality of their comments versus the handle the use.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thank you for the illustration Turtles. TThor, you see the recent disruptive examples of duplicity online here by the likes of trollbart and Dan. The reality is pain in the ass trolls do affect your life as you can observe Chris play whack a troll here and resort ultimately to a nuclear option to attempt to get Dan to cease and desist on his blog because you know, trolls are so decent, honorable, and compliant.

        And I’m sure there are some nasty left wing trolls out there but nothing has happened to you right? And Turtles just noted several harassing right wing troll incidents he and Jefe have encountered. Des had the same on his blog. I had to deal with a chron troll stalker who was hellbent on finding my real ID. Luckily racist wingnut trolls have preconceived notions that end up protecting my real ID. That’s the evidence so far.

        And Turtles brought up another good point. Trollbart has created how many fake ID’s over the years to the point he did it again just 2 weeks ago here and yet again today obscuring even his anonymous online ID despite being outed for a sockpuppet troll? If we reveal our real ID’s in good faith, how can we trust anyone else’s is real? Trollbart apparently revels in being anyone but his real self. Though seeing what his real self is like just here online, I can see why.

        I can be a badass and smack the troll asses all I want, but I don’t need their pain in the ass crap in my real life or have to have any concerns with my family, place of residence, work, credit rating, etc. Just don’t need that extra crap in my real life. Playing whack a troll online is a bad enough pain in the ass as Chris can attest.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I revealed my identity a few weeks ago. That is not the point. The point is revealing to this community someone’s employer. Bubba for instance has such a hatred for Dan that his uncontrolled obsession might drive him to contact Dan’s employer. Our employers are our source of sustenance and no one should have the right to harm that.

        Bubba’s comments are on par with Dan’s yet the punishment is not equal. Dan get’s his identity and employer revealed and Bubba gets a “Bubba, tone it down”. Not exactly equal.

        There is so much wrong going on. Chris, I think you ruined a good thing.

      • GG says:

        I would never use my real name on the internet. Too many weirdos and my name is unusual enough that I’d be too easy to find. That’s one reason I don’t do facebook or other social medias. If I had a name like Mary Smith maybe but my parent’s stuck me with a very unusual, especially for that era, name.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        You know buzzy you can nail yourself to your fake cross all you want, but no thank you on nailing me too. As I’ve said before, your hyperpartisan whining has no credibility whatsoever.

        You’re just another typical hypocritical wingnut who doesn’t own a mirror.

        I have an “unnatural hatred and obsession” eh buzzy? As you attack me unprompted yet again.

        “Equal” in your eye is Dan gets to be as much of a jerkwad he wants to be and I and everyone else you disagree with gets muzzled. And you call us LIberals Commies buzzy? Mirrors are cheap you know.

        And if I’m such an “evil Liberal”, how come your real life isn’t a living nightmare yet? Or TThor or trollbart?

        Chris ruined a good thing huh? So much for that wingnut ad nauseum mantra of “personal responsibility”.

      • GG says:

        There are some cray-crays over on the Chron. I had one stalking me from article to article once. She would would use my avvie to post comments under my name. I finally just learned to laugh her off which pissed her off even more, I think. She’s still over there using sexy avatars or fairy avatars. She admitted once to having a spread sheet full of user names and emails. And who can forget the one we called Walter Mitty, daring man of mystery and former Special Ops, CIA, CSI expert and novelist. His m.o. was trying to make a $1000 bet to anyone who could disprove his claims. He also claimed to have met some who took him up on it but they would run as soon as they saw him because he, of course, was a 6′-4″ 350 lb. muscled Greek god. LOL…..

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, that same lady began stalking me at one point and it shook me up a bit, I didn’t know what to think, because I was a total newcomer to posting. I remember you stood up for me in front of her, you told her off and laughed it off, and I will be forever grateful to you for that.

      • GG says:

        Yes, I remember she was bothering you too.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      If you were female, and lived alone, would you do that?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Exactly.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thor, we, especially ladies, can be just as vulnerable from meeting people offline, in the “real” world, but there is something about the online world that brings out the worst in people – our own anonymity, and the exaggarated impressions we have of each other. So do we get rid of the anonymity? I’d say it’s too late now, because the intense emotions created by the anonymity are already here, and to move into knowing our true identitiies at this stage in the game might be risky.

        Also, anonymity is what makes this environment so cool, because we can communicate more freely than with “real” people.

    • Crogged says:

      Anonymity makes people mean and invincible, or it gives them cover to say how they really feel and reveal truth they otherwise may not utter. As these facts swirl around (hey, I can read that contract in a minute Mr. Bossman and the intellectual exercise here actually HELPS me with my work), I recall that one argument against atheism was always that without rules there would be moral anarchy. Perhaps, or maybe one’s real character is revealed. In a way this is still about the author’s initial thesis and a problem I have with it.

      To participate in the small group above of these connected ‘businessmen’, my own place of work would be revealed. What if I uttered an opinion I hold here and my boss found it objectionable? This idea we are so free to say and do as the Athenian’s is idealistic, people live in their bubbles and ideas outside of the mainstream are ‘stupid’ or suspect. Socialist.
      Texas is full of friendly, awesomely certain they are right, people.

    • John Galt says:

      What, you don’t think John Galt is my real name?

  7. CaptSternn says:

    You made his place of employment public information. That goes far beyond just outting a person’s identity. That gets into threatening a man’s job and livelyhood. Seems that not many here even get that point. It isn’t about lamenting the demise of a person trolling the blog and causing headaches for all, both on the left and on the right, or even using a person’s real name.

    I know the person was making a mess of your blog, and I can very well understand the frustration that would cause you. I didn’t appreciate it and it is not even my blog. Aggrivating and immature and trying to ruin things for everybody here. But there was no call nor need to name the employer.

    I will no longer post comments on your blog from any computer other than my home desktop. And after the stunt you pulled of making the name of the employer public, I am not sure I will even continue posting from home. You could just as easily do the same to me or anyone else here. For some it is irrelevant, for others it is not. I have explained to Tutt what kind of information a logging system can gather that you can see, but I thought you were trustworthy. Now I have doubts.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I agree Captain. I am still kind of shocked. First that he revealed someone’s place of employment and secondly the liberals really don’t care. I am rethinking the site now. You don’t use a shotgun to swat a fly. Very poor taste.

    • texan5142 says:

      Well Chris could go the face book approach , people seem to be more civil when they can put a human face to it. I don’t do face book , and I do not like that route. I have said some things that I should not have, and for that I apologize to all, I do not want to be that person anymore. We can still be respectfull and disagree at the same time. Now I might fall off of the wagon, metaphorically , how about a gental nudge instead of a kick in the face.

    • texan5142 says:

      Who here is going to call his/her place of emoyment and cause troble? Not me and as far as I can tell, no one else from this blog would do that ,I would hope.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No one should have made that information public to begin with.

      • CaptSternn says:

        For me to stop posting from work or home or anywhere else now is irrelevant. Lifer already has all of our information. I am done for the evening at this point, maybe just done. I will read and maybe Lifer will come back with something, and even if I don’t post here again I may still read. Or if Lifer wants to say something to me I might reply. I just don’t know at this point. I do not intend to post any more comments this evening except to Lifer, if he wants to say something to me.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Maybe Dan should have taken the hint and left when he had the chance. Instead he chose to be a fracking idiot.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Damn Cappy, it really is all about you, isn’t it?

        Cautionary tale of living in your own self(ish) imposed bubble: nothing matters but you and only you.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        No, BubbaBobcat, it’s just Cap’s noncommital way of announcing a possible vow of silence: “I want to stop posting, I’m going to try, I will refrain from posting tonight, unless someone engages me.”

        You say that for Cap it’s all about him. Well, for you, it seems to be all about you and Bart. You are just as absorbed and fixated on your one-sided “relationship” with him.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Tutt I read Cap’s post as, “only the blog owner Chris is worthy of a reply from important ole me”.

        And whatever my pet peeves with bart are with him. I don’t demand that you must read or join in. Or not. Everyone has their off topic issues and rants. Read it if you want. Ignore it if you want. Respond if you want. I don’t make any pronouncements about who is “worthy” of it.

    • John Galt says:

      Sternn, it’s too late to crawl back into anonymity. Presumably WP blog moderators have access the IP addresses from which comments are posted and to at least some details of the WP, Google+ or whatever profile. I didn’t know that (because I hadn’t thought about it), but I’m utterly unsurprised that it is so. So he knows where I work and, the next time he’s in Houston, if he wants to stop by, I’ll buy him lunch. If he wants to know which office, he can probably stop by my IT department, which tracks IPs visited from the local network, and ask.

      You can’t put the lid back on that Pandora’s box. But you also don’t post inflammatory comments or resort to infantile name calling. Chris hasn’t banned you yet and isn’t likely to again, but if he chooses to do so, then that will be your sign not to come back under a different alias and keep up the same crap.

  8. kabuzz61 says:

    Chris, I think there is concern about you divulging private information about us. Whatever you think of Dan, you could have just banned him.

    What formula do you use? How you’re feeling today? If it’s raining?

    Do you take offense of Bubba’s long, hatefilled rants and name calling? Or is political pursuasion a determining factor?

    I always appreciated this blog for the real time back and forth and gave Kudo’s for that to you a number of times, as has others. But I would have never thought you would do what you did.

    • goplifer says:

      You are not anonymous. Your identity is merely obfuscated. If you find all your posts being deleted consistently, don’t come back, make up new fake avatars, and spew more abuse. It’s pretty simple really.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I visit another blog that is done in real time. Sometimes it gets a little rough and the editor of the blog will simply warn “Don’t make me get out Thor’s hammer” which meant being kicked off is next. Things settled down after that. On occassion, the editor would ask us if he/she should be banned. I think there are ways to deal with this without outing or blacklisting.

  9. John Galt says:

    We seem to be responding to the demise of someone who posted generally useless and angry comments by posting a bunch of useless and angry comments.

    • goplifer says:

      Let’s clarify a technical detail. There is only one method available on this style of WP blog to report/remove an IP. It results in a report of abusive content being delivered into the content/spam engine.

      That’s why I tolerated it for so long. I recognized that the IP was going back to an entity with an IT dept that might take an interest in such a report showing up in their reputation metrics. Or they might not.

      Tried other methods for a while, but felt like I ran out of options. Deleting comments was just making it worse. We’ve got a nice place here. Lots of disagreement and even incivility – within some reasonable bounds. That was about to disappear.

      Maybe his IT folks haven’t noticed and maybe they won’t notice. Maybe they don’t care. Would not be right to let him find out from them when he could find out from me potentially with no consequences.

      None of us are anonymous. Always good to remember Wheaton’s Law, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Wheaton%27s+Law

      And Bubba, please dial down the personal rhetoric. Thanks.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Talk about, (yes buzzy) irony. On “Don’t be a Dick Day”, trollbart and Dan explode here in a sockpuppet troll orgy.

        http://dontbeadickday.com/

      • John Galt says:

        I don’t think you meant to reply specifically to my comment, which was just an ironic observation. It’s your blog and I’d much rather read reasonable and thoughtful comments that sift through a bunch of crap and name calling.

        I’m fine with useless comments. I’m fine with aggressive comments. I’m fine with a little personal animosity. Combine all three, and useless, aggressive and insulting gets to be a little much.

      • flypusher says:

        Wow Chris, sounds like you were nicer to him than he deserved. Add me to the list of those expressing non-sympathy. Dan was worse than just a mere asshole. My field has a term that perfectly describes his effect on this blog- “dominant negative” (you non-biologists can go Google that). That’s why I put him on ignore months ago and will continue to do so. I’m not big on banning people, but some things cross the line. Hijacking other people’s screen names/ IDs is a huge no-no in my book, and richly deserving of the lifetime scholarship to banned camp. So is spamming.

        Tl/dr: good riddance

      • GG says:

        Love Wil Wheaton Bubba. One of favorite BBT archenemies of Sheldon Cooper.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Sorry for the late response GG; missed your comment in the miasma. I had never heard of Wheaton’s Law til Chris brought it up here and had no idea what it was until I Googled it. I thought it was just a name coincidence but Wil Wheaton actually came up with that brilliant idea/meme.

        Was not a big STNG fan and never understood the hate for the geeky Wesley Crusher character. As a person and actor Wil Wheaton seems like a terrific guy who can accept and embrace his Hollywood celebrity niche and can laugh at himself. I always loved it when he popped up on Big Bang. Also wonder if his BBT character was written with an ironic twist of his Wheaton’s Law since he is such a dick to Sheldon and everyone else! And honestly, I had no idea I had been plagiarizing/paraphrasing Wheaton’s Law in my commentary here this whole time!

        Also saw him play it straight as a psycho on a “Criminal Minds” episode one time too. The guy really is a multi talented actor. And more importantly, sounds like a decent guy in real life.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Roger, Chris.

  10. GG says:

    Wow, looks like I missed a lot.

    • rightonrush says:

      I’m back from my self imposed sabbatical and looks like things are moving along nicely. I view this blog as our host’s living room. I’m a guest and if I shit on his carpet he has every right to get rid of me any way that works for him. Moral of story, don’t spit on the blogger that is nice enough to let you participate in his domain.

      • GG says:

        True. I think I addressed this to both Dan and Buzz. They would immediately descend calling Chris names and flinging shit. They would never do that in real life so they shouldn’t do it on the internet.

      • rightonrush says:

        Yep, it’s easy to fling poo when you “think” you are anonymous.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Welcome back RoR! Hope alles is gut mit du!

        And of course, great analogy/point as usual.

      • rightonrush says:

        Danke, gut. Bubba, it’s good to be back.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        GG you lie of course. I do not call Chris names at all. I strongly tell him I disagree with him and he is wrong, etc. Why do you feel the need to lie?

      • GG says:

        Buzz, you have several times come in and called him a “liar”. That’s not a compliment.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Calling someone a liar for telling lies is not name calling.

        This is name calling.

        “He persisted in his assholeness which of course YOU adored and brought this escalation upon himself.

        What is it I keep telling bart, you and your fellow asshole trolls?

        Don’t want to be called out and treated as an asshole?

        DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.

        Jeeze you wingnuts are simultaneously hypocritically whiny, nasty, and dense. What a way to live.”

        This is bubba’s response to Objv after only one comment.

        Wow!

      • GG says:

        Buzz, he isn’t always telling “lies”. His opinion is not lies nor is information that you you don’t like.

      • texan5142 says:

        Welcome back RoR.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Buzzy, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

        And coming from someone who doesn’t even understand the concept of irony, man you are just one persistent deluded whiny crybaby.

    • desperado says:

      It looks like flinging shit is Dan’s occupation.

  11. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Totally lost this morning.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Yeah, let’s turn this blog into the Jerry Springer Show. Very classy. No, thanks.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I have NO problem with a lady leaving her spouse for her true love, gay or otherwise.

        I DO have a problem with a person’s private life being turned into a spectacle, with the constant squeals of delight over the latest shocking piece of news.

        Grow up. You’re not in high school anymore.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        It’s called irony and poetic justice.

        Schadenfreude couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

        And Dan Douche sure made this blog “classy”.

        Lighten up.

      • texan5142 says:

        Funny that you have a problem with that when this guy has turned other peoples private life into a spectacle.

      • GG says:

        Tutt, as Bubba said, the reason we laugh is because it is classic schadenfraude. This man was a homophobic asshole who wanted gays treated like third class citizens. Surely even you can see the irony in his wife leaving him for another woman.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        It is not irony.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Your personal opinion. Which does not jibe with the generally accepted English language definition of irony:

        “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.”

        i·ro·ny1
        ˈīrənē,ˈiərnē/
        noun
        the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
        ““Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,” he rejoined with heavy irony”
        synonyms: sarcasm, causticity, cynicism, mockery, satire, sardonicism More
        antonyms: sincerity
        a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
        plural noun: ironies
        “the irony is that I thought he could help me”
        synonyms: paradox, incongruity, incongruousness More
        antonyms: logic
        a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
        adjective: dramatic

        Whatever buzzy.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        BubbaBobcat (in memory of BOTH your cats): YOU telling anyone to lighten up is the ultimate irony.

        You’ve got the heaviest, most negative personality of anyone on this blog — at least that’s the image your words project.

        I add that last part because Cap gives the impression of having an oppressive personality, and that is so NOT the case. He’s just stubborn and likes to win arguments. I think this blog is just another video game for him, except here words are his weapons.

      • GG says:

        Well, Tutt, glad to see someone finally admit Sterrn is merely stubborn and just can’t concede defeat. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, just understand that “stubborn” is NOT the same as “racist.” He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He just has these idealistic notions about total freedom.

      • GG says:

        They are definitely idealistic and but not realistic in any way.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt wrote: He’s just stubborn and likes to win arguments.

        People try to win arguments by making statements and supporting those comments with evidence. Cappy relies exclusively on conspiracy theories, untruths, and reality altering logic. Stubbornness is another way of claiming he is closed-minded.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Turtles, so you acknowledge that Cap is not racist?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Speaking of class, and a lack thereof, I like the idea of a classless blog, kind of like a classless society. No one here is better than anyone else.

        Class dismissed!

      • CaptSternn says:

        I form my opinions by studying, doing reasearch and finding out the facts. I have said before that you may well disagree with my opinions, but the facts and reality that my opinions are based on are solid. You show me where my facts are wrong and I will reconsider my opinions. As we have discovered before, GG, you want to be told what you want to hear rather than going to the source, reading, doing the research and forming your own opinion about it. Then you reject what people say after they have gone to the source, done the research and formed a different opinion based on the facts and reality.

        And yes, I am stubborn. I can and will readily admit I am wrong when somebody shows me the facts I have are not accurate. That doesn’t happen very often because I look things up if I don’t know the facts of what is being discussed, or I will simply not enter the discussion in the first place.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt

        I do not know Cappy. I do not know you and you sure as heck do not know me. All I know is the persona that he displays here.

        He makes the same comments and arguments that segregationists did 50 years ago. So I can say his online persona oozes racial animosity. Anyone bold enough to claim to support segregated businesses and redlining can be considered a racist person.

        However, I will take your word that outside of here he is a good guy. Because you do not strike me as a fool that would waste your time with a sociopath. Too bad his persona is that of someone that lives under a bridge and charges people to cross over it.

      • GG says:

        Sternn, I do not believe everything I’m fed, much as you would like to think that. I think you took a comment out of context. I, too, am capable of independent research.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “And yes, I am stubborn. I can and will readily admit I am wrong when somebody shows me the facts I have are not accurate.”.

        Dang it, I think I pulled a muscle laughing so hard.

  12. tuttabellamia says:

    If ever there was a moment to break a vow of silence it is now. I am at a loss for words this morning.

    This blog will never be the same. It has potentially lost its “character.”

    What a waste. I, for one, hope another recycled version shows up.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I should have said this blog has potentially lost its “conservative character.”

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I can’t believe Chris disclosed someone’s personal information. Very NSA of you. Damn! I can’t even describe how pissed off I am. Texan and I don’t get along most the time but I wouldn’t want his info disclosed. Shame!

      • Crogged says:

        I think directly below you is the reason? That isn’t the “Captain”-right?

      • Crogged says:

        Just seems out of character for him if it is.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Crogged, you mean the string of links posted by Cap last night between 7:27 and 8:02? That was the real Capt Sternn, totally IN character.

      • Crogged says:

        Oh, ok. I’ve tired of the announcing style of the back and forth, many writers need new insults………..

      • GG says:

        I don’t think Dan was a good representation of the “character” you want.

    • objv says:

      Tutt, it’s time for me to break my “vow of silence” as well. The DMan reminded me of the ghosts at Hogwarts. He was always swooping in with some kind of mischief when least expected. And, yes, I agree that he did add “character.” While some of his comments were inappropriate, was it really necessary for Chris to reveal his name and personal information?

      Kabuzz and I (and perhaps Bart) might be the only ones here who don’t post comments from work. I wonder if this will put a damper on future discussions if those commenting here feel that their information isn’t safe and that they may lose their jobs if Lifer doesn’t like their posts and reports them. 😦

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Oh lighten up you troll lover. It figures you would support a fellow consummate troll. Dan acted like a total douche and defied Chris by constantly trolling garbage under multiple ID’s despite being deleted multiple times.

        He persisted in his assholeness which of course YOU adored and brought this escalation upon himself.

        What is it I keep telling bart, you and your fellow asshole trolls?

        Don’t want to be called out and treated as an asshole?

        DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.

        Jeeze you wingnuts are simultaneously hypocritically whiny, nasty, and dense. What a way to live.

        And none of YOU had any problems when bart out a liberal blogger by posting his full name here on Chris’ blog?

        Give your assholeness a rest already.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Bubba, you my book, you are the liberal equivalent of Dan Man. Always foul, always crude, always full of rage. Chris, you should give up this liberal to level the field.

      • GG says:

        Objv, I think Dan was an exception because his whole purpose was to disrupt the blog. He was a classic internet troll. He’s been behaving really childishly the last few weeks by “borrowing” others id’s. I don’t necessarily even think he was a “conservative” as much as a mere troll seeking an outlet and attention.

        You may want to read this. While I don’t believe this incident is true the motivations of why people troll is all there.

        You may want to read this. While I don’t believe this incident is true the signs of why people troll is all there.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Give it a rest buzzy. Your hyper partisan whining has no credibility whatsoever.

        Yeah I have called one of you a ” cum guzzling gutter slut”, stolen your ID’s, or outed one of your real identities like Dan or trollbart have.

        You have nothing but empty factless wingnut faux victimization whining.

      • GUESSWHO? says:

        Folks, as far as being an “asshole”, Bubba. is lying once again. I never “outed” any “Liberal blogger” whatsoever. Scott posts his real name and identity on the blog he writes in (unlike the cowardly Bubba). who calls others “unclassy” and trolls while he whines about pnly “defending” himself when attacked first.http://dailyhurricane.com. I find it hard to believe anyone supports his hostility and vitriol and then has the unmitigated gall to tell others, “Lighten up will you?” has he ever ONCE not gone ballistic whenever I post anything to anyone? He is the poster child for the hatefilled hypocritical Liberal. The rest of you who put up with him (especially you Chris) because he is a Liberal like you) make this room exactly as “rightonrush” describes as turning this blog into “a room full of guests who regularly shit on the carpet”. I ask you, Who fits that description to a tee? OK, cue the typical boring repeated crap abput sock puppets and being a troll and an asshole from the one who lies constantly, insults everyone he disagrees with, and then talks about “obeying Commandments”.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Jeeze bart-1/seriouscynic/usincrisis/Anse identity thief/fake DanMan, you really are a hypocritical whiny crybaby with a thick skull. And no mirrors.

        ONE. MORE. TIME.

        How many times must I restate a basic truism a 6 year old would understand for YOU to get it?

        Don’t want to be called out for being a consummately pathetic and stupid sockpuppet troll bully who constantly can’t avoid outing himself?

        DON’T. BE. ONE.

        So quit whining bart and be a man for once in your life. You deserve and own this outing by YOUR OWN ACTIONS OF YOUR OWN FREE WILL.

        What, someone put a gun to your head to make you troll with a fake identity? AGAIN?

        After being PROVEN a consummate troll/liar/identity thief, why did you do it again not barely 2 WEKKS AGO trollbart? And stupid enough to be outed yet again for your trolling.

        What new pathetic simpering excuse can you come up with now to try to excuse or whitewash your true inveterate jerkwad sockpuppet troll nature bart-1/seriouscynic/usincrisis/Anse identity thief/fake DanMan???

        Why is it that 50Ohm or TThor DON’T get called out for being a troll?

        BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT.

        Jesus “loves” a lying ID thief troll bully in YOUR hateful church bart? Why doesn’t that surprise me?

      • rightonrush says:

        Dan, the garbage you wrote regarding GG was one of the most offensive piece of trash I’ve ever read. IMO you are human offal that doesn’t deserve to be in mixed company. Wonder how you would feel if that remark had been leveled at your wife, daughter etc.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Bart-1 says:
        July 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm
        “who hides in anonymity and woulfn’t [sic] mind me dropping his name here.”

        So the consummate troll who hides HIS real ID among dozens of simultaneous fakes has the absolute gall to reveal someone else’s real name HERE ON THIS BLOG.

        It doesn’t matter what he has revealed elsewhere. Who made YOU the internet god and grand poohbah and make the decision for someone else? What a cluelessly arrogant hypocritical tool you are trollbart.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        RoR, that’s trollbart letting his true inner nature out again and not Dan. But trollbart has even pretended to be Dan also.

        No honor among douches eh trollbart?

      • rightonrush says:

        Bubba the same Bart that was the retired counselor at Aldine School District? He was outed by a former student if my memory serves me correctly some years ago. I think he’s associated with a Baptist Church in Spring Tx., IF that is the “Bart” you are speaking of. He’s been trolling for years, same old, same old. My apologies to Dan if I mixed up the 2. Was Bart the one that wrote that awful garbage about GG and blamed it on Dan?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Hey, OV, I guess that’s one of the advantages of being retired, unemployed, or a homemaker. You can’t get fired.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Rush: Owl has said some rather vile things to Cap about his biological mom and adoptive parents, in response to Cap calling him a Nazi. Even so, Cap and I have engaged in civil conversation with Owl recently because we have to acknowledge that he’s a damn smart bird.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mr. Guess Who: You never know. BubbaBobcat may be skating on thin ice himself.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, my announcement about breaking my vow of silence could be taken several ways. I had to speak up and say that overall, I will miss Dan’s mostly lighthearted presence, although I don’t agree with his liberal use of identity theft, nor do I approve of his ugly words to GG.

        Also, I could not keep silent with the potential for so many puns.

      • objv says:

        Tutt: I always enjoy your puns! I’ve got to admit, the one about Rasputin mystified me at first … but at least, GG got it! Your play on words is one of the things that keeps me coming back to this blog.

        Yes, I’ve noticed that owl, cap, and you have been having some interesting and more civil discussions. You are not crying fowl as often as before. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV: I had to roll my eyes when Cap welcomed Owl back from his weekend wedding trip. Cap is way too forgiving.

  13. CaptSternn says:

    Ouch, Lifer. I think I should just post from home as well. Think I will just do that from now on. Probably should have been that way from the start. I ask for mercy on your part.

  14. texan5142 says:

    Dan the Richard strikes again. You mad Bro, why so angry?

  15. Owl of Bellaire says:

    For our local witless wonders who whine about the American withdrawal from Iraq, how about listening to something outside the right-wing propaganda bubble? Here, for example, is our president, in his own words:

    “What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.

    “And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances. And on that basis, we left. We had offered to leave additional troops. So when you hear people say, do you regret, Mr. President, not leaving more troops, that presupposes that I would have overridden this sovereign government that we had turned the keys back over to and said, you know what, you’re democratic, you’re sovereign, except if I decide that it’s good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 Marines in your country, you don’t have a choice — which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to Iraqis, an argument not just made by me, but made by the previous administration.

    “So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis were — a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq.”

    Now, perhaps our local callow conservatives would like to argue on the actual facts rather than only with their own delusions. But I suspect otherwise.

    • CaptSternn says:

      It’s Bush’s fault. That would be funny if it were not so sad. Say, when does Bush43 leave office so Obama can be sworn in and become president? maybe in January 2017? Because it is obvious right now that Obama is no president.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And Sternn has… exactly nothing.

        Are you actually proposing that we should have invaded Iraq *again*, probably toppling the very government we set up?

        No: you’re just being your usual, abjectly thoughtless, partisan hack.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, we should have kept troops in Iraq to prevent what is happening now. And FYI, we ARE back in Iraq.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, please learn to read.

        HOW would we have kept troops in Iraq, despite the problems President Obama clearly describes? Answer that in a straightforward fashion, without looking like your usual dumbass self, and perhaps this could be a worthwhile conversation.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The silly bird misses that point Captain.

      • texan5142 says:

        Sadde up and go Sterrn, send your kids, cousins, nephews, and nieces.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Already served, Texan.

        Owl, it was up to Obama to negotiate terms to keep our forces there. He failed, as he has done with foriegn and domestic policy in general.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So we can blame Republicans for any failures to negotiate successfully with Democrats?

        Or are you blithely and blitheringly oblivious, yet again, to your own hypocrisy?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Democrats are unwilling to negotiate anything with republicans. Has been that way since Obama won in 2008.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        The applicability of your statement to the issue of a negotiated status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government is left as an exercise for the reader.

        Those with more than two neurons to rub together, that is.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Owl, it has already been made clear by Obama’s own words that he had no intent to leave any troops in Iraq. It isn’t Bush’s fault nor is it Iraq’s fault. He got exactly what he wanted, even though many had warned against it, including Bush43. Obama stood up and took all the credit and the left heaped praises upon him. Now we have to deal with the consequences, something the left is never capable of considering.

        Nor do I care if Iraq had not been happy with us keeping a few thousand or several thousand troops there for several more years. They started the war with the invasion of Kuwait and kept it going for over a decade.

    • Crogged says:

      DanMan, Captain
      The Owl is right, a treaty signed by the prior President precluded us from keeping troops there. At some point in time we were going to have to ‘leave’ Iraq, or is this an assumption you wish to take on (which is fair-did either of you right critically of Mr. Bush at this time)? This one time, offer a precise mechanism by which this can be overlooked and using the word ‘lie’ isn’t it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Dan, you’re entitled to your own opinions. But not to your own facts.

        How would you have kept troops in Iraq without the support of its sovereign government and without a status-of-forces agreement?

    • John Galt says:

      It’s simple, given the intransigence of the Iraqis on this matter Stern and Dan 2.0 would have in effect reinvaded Iraq, which would have led to the eventual (by us or by the Iraqi opposition) ouster of the democratically (sort of) elected government and its replacement with something else.

      • CaptSternn says:

        We are re-invading Iraq, John, under Obama’s orders. I knew we needed to keep troops there and not abandon the place.

      • John Galt says:

        With the approval of the Iraqi government. At their behest, in fact. This marks a pretty stark difference to the 2011 Iraqi position of “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

    • Owl, are you trying to be funny, or are you actually serious?

      James Taranto at that other rag (the WSJ) absolutely *demolishes* the nonsense spewed by our erstwhile Commander in Chief:

      http://online.wsj.com/articles/best-of-the-web-today-who-left-iraq-1407782712

      Talk about hoisted on your own petard. 😉

      Yeah, I’m sorry it’s behind a pay wall. But, hey, perhaps you might want to consider subscribing to a real, live news publication.

      Anyway, here’s how it works in real life when you win the war: You tell the successor government (which, BTW, you stood up) *exactly* what’s going to happen. After all, you have the tanks, planes, missiles, etc. Your most polite ‘suggestion’ is law, and in case your puppet at the helm of the successor government doesn’t get the point, you gently direct him to Exhibit ‘A,’ namely the fate of the prior schmuck who inhabited his office.

      If Obama had had *ANY* interest in a SOFA with Iraq, there would have been a SOFA. Period.

      Problem is, Obama is a… what’s that technical term I’m looking for? Oh, yeah. Obama is a *WEASEL-PUSSY*.

      • Crogged says:

        I know you believe this is realpolitik, but it is John Wayne Churchill riding in on a unicorn.

  16. Anse says:

    I am one of those who laments the perverse impact of money on the political system. I’d like campaigns to be financed with public resources; I always stress the point that it wouldn’t take that much money, and we already have public media (NPR and PBS) who could serve as an adequate channel for broadcasting candidates’ views. But there are a couple of caveats I’m wiling to acknowledge:

    1. There are First Amendment concerns; how can you tell somebody they can’t broadcast a television advertisement? It’s a tricky thing, a rather slippery slope.
    2. Perhaps the great irony of the fallout from the Citizens United decision is that it has opened the floodgates to a massive politics industry in which people take money from gullible rubes and pocket major profits under the guise of political activism. Take the departure of Dick Armey from Freedomworks, in which he pocketed around $8 million just for walking away. What kind of activism is it when the organization is paying individuals that kind of money? It’s nuts. Then you’ve got this guy named Sal Russo, who set up what appears to be Tea Party-affiliated organizations whose main purpose is to channel money to his consulting business. He even went so far as to set up a charity that was supposed to help American troops but seems to have done little more than line his pocket. There are stories about other political organizations who take in a lot of money but spend very little of it on the issues they claim to care about.

    Is this sort of thing a problem for the political system? I think it is, because these groups, whatever their real purpose is, have the ear of Washington and have weight in the Tea Party movement. We all know our elected officials spend half or more of their work day trying to get money out of donors. And their efforts often win them the kind of connections that open up opportunities for more lucrative work after they leave office. Congress has become a pathway to riches for a lot of people, even if that money isn’t going directly toward any legal definition of graft.

    I guess Cantor’s loss is a reminder that money isn’t everything in politics. On the other hand, his successor is unlikely to have the kind of influence and power that Cantor had, the kind that only comes with years of seniority and working those political channels. Before the Tea Party era, people like Cantor could do a lot of good for their home districts. This anti-incumbent mentality will likely do very little good for the country as a whole and even less for the voters who put them in office. I’m not saying incumbents should never lose; what I’m saying is that voters who judge candidates harshly because they’ve been in office a long time are not rational.

    • fiftyohm says:

      In the For What It’s Worth Department, the total amount of money raised and spent by Obama and Romney during the 2012 campaign was, combined, approximately equal to the country’s expenditures on Halloween candy. Surprised?

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Anse, what you describe is not a new problem. It has been in politics for years and years. Also, people who make money off other people have gone on for years and years. But we the people keep voting in the men and women who take money from these people. They publish their donors, but we go right on and vote for them. We the people need to change.

      • Anse says:

        kabuzz, I’m very nearly almost agreeing with you for once. I just wish you could understand how ironic it is that you would say this while voting with the party who thinks Washington is the problem. Washington is precisely what it is because we are who we are.

        But I stand by my belief that public funding of campaigns would do a great deal of good. We’ll always have lobbyists; I don’t even have a problem with lobbyists. Everybody has a lobbyist working on behalf of some cause they care about, whether it’s the Heritage Foundation or the Sierra Club. They’ve all got lobbyists, left- or right-wing. It’s how our republican democracy works and it isn’t bad in itself.

        What angers me is that a sizable number of these groups have effectively forced the IRS to cower in retreat because they’ve tried to make their entirely reasonable investigations into the fraudulent purposes of these so-called “educational” nonprofits into something scandalous. These are the groups who are flaunting the law in outrageous and downright transparent ways. Ironically, they are the same people who scream about our president circumventing the law.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Back at ya! I almost agree with you. The TEA Party is rising due to the deafness of Congress. Both sides of the aisle, in my estimation serves only one purpose and that is to stay in office first, do what’s right for the country second. I also believe that both sides like to keep us divided because while we’re fighting each other, they go about continuing what they do without regard to fiscal responsibility. It’s like we are the biggest dupes ever.

        Say what you will about the TEA Party, but at least some of the ‘we the people’ are trying to change things up.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        What a pity that, of late, the Republicans in the House have refused to even allow votes on many issues where the majority of the American people want action taken. Call it selfish allegiance to the craven and callow “Hastert Rule”; call it meek capitulation to the lunatic fringe in right-wing politics who would rather see the government destroyed than governing; call it self-imposed moral slavery to monied and corporate interests whose priorities and desires stand in stark contrast to those of the American public.

        Whatever you call it, it’s despicable.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Over 300 bills have been sent to the senate from the house and died at Reid’s desk. Come back when those bills are brought up for votes in the senate.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And most of those “bills” are really “pills”: in political parlance, the poisonous kind.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        For silly bird to proclaim being the most intelligient on this site, she sure misses alot of stuff.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        When have I ever proclaimed that, kabuzz? Never.

        Apparently you make up a lot more than just your deity.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        This from silly bird: So far as I can tell, *most* people on this discussion board are better educated and informed than you are. Kind of a snobby attitude that comes part and parcel with some liberals. My question to you liberals is, do you agree?

    • John Galt says:

      I have absolutely no problem with people who have lots of money being conned out of it by political shysters.

      I do have a problem with these dark money pools allowing people to exercise their right to free speech from behind a mask. As Orwell wrote: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” That’s what the money does. For all that I dislike about the Koch brothers (or George Soros, for that matter), at least they are fairly open about their political activities. It’s the ones that aren’t that concern me more.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who is John Galt?

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG- Are you in reference to PACs and unions?

      • John Galt says:

        No, more the rise of the “social welfare” organizations that do not have to disclose donors and spend money indirectly on political activities. PACs have to disclose at least most of their donors. Union membership is known, too, though I support a union member’s ability to opt out of that part of dues used for political activities.

        The IRS badly botched this whole thing by giving the appearance of bias in their scrutiny, but I think it is entirely appropriate to investigate whether these organizations (regardless of political leanings) are following the applicable laws or are just fronts for political campaigning.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I agree also JG. The IRS should have done what they always did and just check the applications instead of sit on them for a year or two. Now the distrust level is so intense, all their acts will be suspect.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Of course, in the real world where we actually live, more “liberal” than “conservative” groups had their applications denied.

        But the right-wing echo machine screams its falsehoods loudly.

      • John Galt says:

        Sure, Danny Boy.
        http://www.salon.com/2013/05/15/meet_the_group_the_irs_actually_revoked_democrats/

        There was only one who had their status revoked (actually a group of state organizations under the Emerge America aegis). They promoted Democratic women candidates. You can find similar stories on Bloomberg, NYTimes, and others.

        Thanks for coming back. We’ve missed you.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Absolutely, we should have and require publicly financed campaigns. And, rather than require candidates to purchase broadcast advertising, those corporations licensed to transmit radio and TV programs on the public airwaves should be required, as part of holding those licenses, to reserve prime-time slots for advertising provided by the candidates.

      With just those changes, you’d allow our representatives to spend more time actually *governing* rather than having to block off half of each working day, half of each working week! and over half the year in the mad quest for donor dollars.

      Sure, there are free-speech issues with telling a group they can’t air or print an advertisement. So allow such “contributions”, but require that any group whose piece mentions a candidate or political party by name or through images or recorded speech must disclose the names of their donors, and the amounts given by each, in a timely, searchable, and easily accessible manner.

      • CaptSternn says:

        For what purpose do you want to know who has donated and how much? What makes that any of your business?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        For the purpose of avoiding even the appearance of corruption among those seeking election to represent all of us.

        If it’s involved in a public election, it is the public’s business, Sternn. Absolute privacy only applies within your own, private sphere, not when you engage with the public marketplace. Honestly, I wonder why someone with your pathology hasn’t long since become a hermit.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is a private individual or organization putting their own free speech out through advertising, so it isn’t any of your business at all.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Free speech” can be regulated, and is regulated, without our society having collapsed. The sky would not fall, Chicken Little.

        And money is not really speech, as even a little bit of thought should indicate. Apparently, though, you can’t manage even that.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Money buys a bigger bullhorn. Speech isn’t regulated, doing harm to others is regulated/prohibited.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Ah, Sternn, so now you’re in favor of charging and punishing people without evidence or a crime? You’ve whined and wanked about that so many times, yet here you are advocating it.

        We prosecute people for false advertising, for example, whether or not it actually hurts anyone first. So you’ve just vomited your own obvious hypocrisy all over these forums.

      • CaptSternn says:

        False advertising does do harm, bird.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        But it’s still illegal. Which is my point, idiot.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Um, yes, because it causes harm and puts people in danger.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, I hope you have a good chiropractor for that whiplash.

        First, at 12:29, you insist, “False advertising does do harm, bird.”

        Then, half an hour later, you claim, “Um, yes, because it causes harm and puts people in danger.”

        Could you possibly look any more foolish and incompetent?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Hmmm, lets have a close look at that, bird. First I said false advertising does harm, then later I said false advertising does harm. Looks pretty consistent to me. Care to point out the problem you are having with it?

    • Crogged says:

      So who here is going to own up to buying a car based on the commercials on television? Money’s influence on elections is overrated, people decide elections not balance sheets.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ha! Agreed! (See above post on Halloween candy.) I think everyone is looking for a bogey man behind the curtain when they should be looking in the mirror.

    • Anse, your item 1. alone precludes having the state involved in any way, shape or form in political speech. It’s the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Privileges Subject to Certain Provisos, Caveats & Exceptions. Remember, it’s *YOU* who are sovereign, not the state. The state is the servitor of your freedom, not its arbiter.

      Personally, I’d be happy with having all political donation details (donor name, amount, date) publicly published. In politics sunlight is always the best disinfectant.

  17. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Here’s a piece which touches on several of Chris’ past points all at once:

    http://weeklysift.com/2014/08/11/not-a-tea-party-a-confederate-party/

    Particularly good bits:

    “Here’s what my teachers’ [sic] should have told me: ‘Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It lasted until 1877, when the Confederates won.’ I think that would have gotten my attention….

    “But the enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries….

    “When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder….

    “Gun ownership is sometimes viewed as a part of Southern culture, but more than that, it plays a irreplaceable role in the Confederate worldview. Tea Partiers will tell you that the Second Amendment is our protection against ‘tyranny’. But in practice tyranny simply means a change in the established social order, even if that change happens — maybe especially if it happens — through the democratic processes defined in the Constitution. If the established social order cannot be defended by votes and laws, then it will be defended by intimidation and violence. How are We the People going to shoot abortion doctors and civil rights activists if we don’t have guns? …

    “So the Second Amendment is there not to defend democracy, but to fix what the progressive ‘voters of Brooklyn’ get wrong….

    “It’s not a Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party protest was aimed at a Parliament where the colonists had no representation, and at an appointed governor who did not have to answer to the people he ruled. Today’s Tea Party faces a completely different problem: how a shrinking conservative minority can keep change at bay in spite of the democratic processes defined in the Constitution. That’s why they need guns. That’s why they need to keep the wrong people from voting in their full numbers.

    “These right-wing extremists have misappropriated the Boston patriots and the Philadelphia founders because their true ancestors — Jefferson Davis and the Confederates — are in poor repute.

    “But the veneer of Bostonian rebellion easily scrapes off; the tea bags and tricorn hats are just props. The symbol Tea Partiers actually revere is the Confederate stars and bars. Let a group of right-wingers ramble for any length of time, and you will soon hear that slavery wasn’t really so bad, that Andrew Johnson was right, that Lincoln shouldn’t have fought the war, that states have the rights of nullification and secession, that the war wasn’t really about slavery anyway, and a lot of other Confederate mythology that (until recently) had left me asking, ‘Why are we talking about this?’

    “By contrast, the concerns of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its revolutionary Sons of Liberty are never so close to the surface. So no. It’s not a Tea Party. It’s a Confederate Party.

    “Our modern Confederates are quick to tell the rest of us that we don’t understand them because we don’t know our American history. And they’re right. If you knew more American history, you would realize just how dangerous these people are.”

    • Anse says:

      Excellent piece, thanks.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Yes, there are those that find us dangerous. tose that want to deny some their humanity and basic human rights (abortion, slavery) would find us dangerous. Those that oppose freedom of speech (Citizens United) would find us dangerous. Those that support tyranny (against the right to keep and bear arms) would find us dangerous. Those that view “minorities” as inferior (affirmative action, set asides) would find us dangerous. Those that want to keep everybody down and dependent on the government (welfare, food stamps, Jim Crow laws) would find us dangerous. Those that want to micromanage our lives and violate our freedom of religion (PPACA) would find us dangerous.

      Socialists, communists, tyrants and dictators would find us dangerous. Far left extremists find us dangerous. People that value individual liberty and rights, that believe in equal rights for all, that value and support the U.S. Constitution, don’t find us dangerous because that is who we are.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Well said my Capitan.

      • Anse says:

        Stupid people are indeed dangerous, that is true. Combine stupidity with religious fervor and you get a powder keg.

      • John Galt says:

        You are aware that the “Tea Party” implicated in the piece Owl posted is the successor to the same people that defended slavery and created Jim Crow?

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, John, we aren’t with the democrats.

      • John Galt says:

        Sterrn, had you been born in Texas in 1925 is there any way, and I mean ANY, that you would not have been a Democrat? Before you answer, consider that you would have turned 21 (voting age then) in 1946, you would have been the majority demographic, and in 1946 Texas did not send a single Republican to Congress.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Most likely not, John. I have been sided against democrats for most of my life, even before I was of voting age. Republicans did not win the majority in Texas until the 2002 elections.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn doesn’t actually care about history, reality, or facts: only in what salves his own ego.

      • John Galt says:

        You would have been a consummate yellow dog democrat, Sternn. You believe everything Southern Democrats believed in the first half of the 20th Century. You are against what you imagine the Democrats to be today. You are what they were in 1950, making exactly the same arguments.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, John, democrats are what they have always been, and I have been against that for most of my life, since I knew enough to form an opinion about it.

      • John Galt says:

        You’re what, Sternn, upper 40s? So your knowledge of what the Democrats have always been stretches back to a couple of years after the Civil Rights bill was passed.

        You would have been a Democrat, snarling about what those damned Yankee carpetbagging Republicans were doing down here.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Oh, don’t worry, John, we all gave the yankees a hard time when they came here during the oil boom years of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and even then I didn’t like democrats. We can look back at history to see what the parties were like. I would have been an abolitionist and HT would have been calling me anti-choice.

      • John Galt says:

        You flatter yourself that you would have been an abolitionist.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Anti-abortion = abolitionist. Abolitionist = anti-abortion.

      • John Galt says:

        That’s exactly what that term meant in the context of a civil rights discussion of the politics of decades ago. In 1950 there is a 100.0% chance that a white man in Texas who believes the way you do would have been a Democrat. In case you were not aware, Texas had been governed by Democrats for 100 unbroken years before 1973’s Roe v. Wade, until which abortion had been illegal. So if you were a pro-lifer in Texas in that era, the Dems were your party.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Try as much as you like anti-abortion does not equal abolitionist. Not when you seek to remove the power of someone to control their actions and choices concerning their own body. Your bastardization of that word will not cover up the fact that you feel you have the right to control the actions and decisions of others and force them to undergo unwanted biological and medical trauma.

        We can look back in history and see what the parties were like, but more importantly we can also see the ideology of the times. The far right wing supported slavery and claimed the rights of property to support their case an argument you often make to justify your support for segregation. You state you have always been a Republican. But you grew up in the era of the Southern Strategy Republicans so yes you may never have been a southern Democrat but you were definitely their ancestor.

    • Owl, I don’t expect you read the National Review, but there’s a very interesting article 8/25 edition entitled, “The Great Equalizer,” by Charles C. W. Cooke. It details how Jim Crow effectively stripped black of their 2nd Amendment rights under the color of law, and how important access to arms was in furthering the cause of civil rights for blacks in the south. So, yes, the 2nd Amendment is intended as a guard against tyranny, and yes, the establishment does what it can to strip the populace of those rights at every opportunity. And, yes, that would most especially include the current administration. Why, we can’t allow those “bitter clingers” to keep their firearms, now can we??

  18. texan5142 says:

    I am sad, Robin Williams .

    • bubbabobcat says:

      A flame that burns so brightly and intensely tragically does not burn long. A true comedic genius. I know that word is thrown around a lot quite lightly and hyperbolically. Not with Robin Williams. Imagine the kind of mind that can ad lib so quickly, so extensively, and yet so brilliantly all at the same time. He left us way too soon. I hope he is at least at peace with himself now.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Sad news. Life According to Garp was a great piece of work. Morc and Mindy was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Just shocking. A master of comedy AND drama. Nanu, Nanu!

  19. I wonder how many of our posters have actually visited with their state rep and/or senator. My guys (Hegar and Zerwas) have proven to be surprisingly accessible.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Funny you should mention that. My rep will be having a meet and greet on August 14. I don’t expect to attend.

  20. CaptSternn says:

    Not a lot happening here under this entry. Probably a couple of things, you didn’t put up a contraversial comment, and you didn’t attack anybody, or maybe it is actually aimed at everybody. Probably the latter, and you are correct that many people don’t want to take the time and make the effort to get more involved. I don’t mean just attending meeting of the HRBC, my attendence to such a thing would result in nothing more than costing me money and time, but there are other ways I could be more involved if I wanted to invest the time and maybe some money.

    I don’t discuss politics much outside of posting comments here and at Chron.com. Ocasionally I will discuss something political with people that are close to me, and once in a while I will try to influence them to support a person I support. Helped to get my parents to vote for Cruz over Dewhurst in the primaries, and I have started voting in the primaries in the last few years. Tutt and I discuss politics (imagine that) but I don’t try to influence her on what person she should vote for. I don’t even ask her who she will or has voted for.

    Maybe many of us here are only active in posting comments on the internet and we don’t want to face the fact that we could do so much more if we really had the will and desire to change things. You are shining a light on that. A lot of bluster, not much real action, and people just don’t want to come right out and admit it.

    Posting comments can affect people that read. I didn’t follow you to this blog right away, consider it a closed group, hard to find and follow much like the ABC boards. But you do have links to it at Chron.com, and it is an outlet, some entertainment. And I do sometimes learn things, though this whole “he said, she said” business is a bit like high school gossip and I could do without that.

    You do run this blog, which is more than I do. I probably wouldn;t get the traffic anyway. Quick question, and you don’t have to answer (duh!), but I am wondering where you host your domain name? Mine are pointed at Godaddy.com and I saw I could set up a WordPress blog. Just curious.

    • Cap, I *ALWAYS* vote in the primaries. Think of it as a vote force multiplier. (And unlike our Dem friends, you don’t have to be dead, or ride a smelly old bus around from precinct to precinct. 😉 Aw, just kiddin’! Kinda…) Anyway, ith primary turnouts generally low, your vote has more impact than it does in a typical general election.

      • CaptSternn says:

        TThor, I agree. My local municipality has a very low turnout, so my vote in city elections carries a lot of weight. Primaries are much the same, and that is why the tea party movement has a lot of weight.

    • goplifer says:

      I set the whole thing up with WordPress one day. Had to pay to get a dedicated domain name in the URL line, otherwise it would have been free.

      You might be surprised by the traffic you’d get. You can’t find this site on search engines because I cross-post in other places like Chron.com – puts a big damper on search engine placement. But if you got search engine traffic you could get a steady stream of curious folks.

      I promise I’d show up to criticize your logic and call you a Confederate. Gotta start somewhere.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “I promise I’d show up to criticize your logic and call you a Confederate. Gotta start somewhere.”

        Well I appreciate the support. 😉

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      And this is the moron the Tea Party cheered about putting a heart-beat away from the presidency.

      Since they build their policies and their appeal around anti-intellectualism, I guess it’s only reasonable that they choose idiots as role models.

  21. texan5142 says:

    At first I read it as “butt-hole”, realized my mistake and then thought ” butt- hole” fit better than “button- hole” .

    • goplifer says:

      Oh boy, no. That’s probably a different organization, though I’m sure it exists. Reminds me of the Hunter S. Thompson quote about Houston:

      “Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It’s a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West — which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.”

  22. bubbabobcat says:

    Or Chris, hopefully there is a possibility of the power of the individual vote despite the era of Citzens United big money.

    Abercrombie lost the Governorship by a significant margin in the Democratic primary despite incumbency and outspending by 10 times his opponent and receiving the endorsement of Obama in his home state (except for wingnut birthers still in denial) where he is still wildly popular.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/us/politics/hawaii-primary.html?hpw&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpHedThumbWell&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

    The takeback? Don’t piss off your constituents. Especially by ignoring a dying request from a revered state hero, legend, and icon Daniel K Inouye. Which also impacted the Senate primary race. And no teabagging brow beating and braying either to achieve that result.

    • Same thing happened to Cantor. Although incumbents in both parties have generally fared well in the primaries, I have a sneaking hunch it could be an interesting year for incumbents all the way around come November.

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