Link Roundup for Monday, or whatever day this is

Greetings from tomorrow. Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine.

Here on the other side of the international date line life is good, but the clock can be confusing. Managed to get a few minutes to check in and thought I’d post a few things that caught my attention.

From here in Indonesia, a fascinating country by the way, a look at life as an openly gay man. To my surprise, it sounds a lot better than life for homosexuals in Alabama or Texas in a lot of ways.

From the Texas Tribune: Speaking of Texas, the lunatics who bring us the Texas Republican Party Platform have just finished scrawling it on the convention center walls. It’s worth reading if you’re into that sort of thing.

From the New York Times: Alabama is swamped with political scandals.

From Esquire: Divers found an amazing Roman shipwreck of the coast of Israel.

From The Atlantic: A dark look at life in Venezuela.

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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117 comments on “Link Roundup for Monday, or whatever day this is
  1. 1mime says:

    I don’t know how many of you have been following the Dem NV convention brouhaha from this
    past weekend, but things are getting real testy. It’s become a battle between Sanders and the DNCC, and is resulting in more Dem activists turning away from him. Sanders is being seen as becoming belligerent, bitter, and increasingly ignoring appeals to tone down his rhetoric which is beginning to deeply wound HRC’s campaign while Trump solidifies his own. There is a sense that Sanders may cost Democrats the opportunity to have a major win. Read on.
    For what it’s worth, I agree. Sanders is visibly demonstrating that he has used the Democratic pParty while showing little loyalty to the larger goal – winning back the Senate and Presidency aat all costs. I have applauded the campaign Sanders has won, but no more.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      In other news Trump’s campaign picked a delegate who is a man now accused of child pornography possession, possession of an illegal gun and explosive materials. Soooooo… this “Chester the molester” type who apparently has the ambitions or at least the fire power to be a domestic terrorist.

      I guess this will harm Trump’s campaign momentum, right?


      Reince Priebus will probably in an awkward/anguished manner lament that Trump and his army of sycophants are at least “trying” to get good people lined up for the convention.

      I don’t know how much of this elephant sized, grande helping of bullsh*t I can stand during this election. With all do respect to Reince, I don’t think Trump is “trying” to do anything of value, other then trying to establish that to be a true Republican these days you have to be as repulsive as him.

      New York’s Carl Paladino, you have finally met your match…


    Why is it ok to steal from labor? Fast food managers ($14/hr typical) should be paid time and a half over forty. Some of these people might like to see one of their kid’s little league games. I’m sure some will say it hurts the company’s ability to employ, but, really, if a company needs to steal in order to profit they might not have a viable business plan.

    • 1mime says:

      From the little specific detail I’ve read, I would agree, Jeff. People shouldn’t have to work 2 and 3 jobs to earn a living wage. Of course, it would be nice if Congress would raise the minimum wage……but……lacking this generosity, the Pres. has done what he could. Good for him.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      JeffAtWolfcreek, that’s my reaction, too. My niece managed a Wendy’s while she was in high school. She had the ‘authority’ of her manager title, and was salaried, but really was paid not much more than the people she supervised. She was always the last one to leave at night. Rip-off.

  3. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Serious question. Do we need to move the US closer to a parliamentary system like Canada and the UK have?

    Just got through reading this article – – and it makes some compelling points. Canada’s new Liberal government under Justine Trudeau, whatever you might think of it, is getting a LOT done and pretty damn quickly too. They’ve cut taxes for middle-class families, raised them on upper-class families, instituted a new streamlined child credit (tax-free, of course) for families that basically just cuts a check and gives it to people; think like a UBI, except more modest in scale and targeted towards children.

    Plus, plenty of investments in broad sectors of the Canadian economy that would be too boring to lay out in detail here. Long story short, all that got done within about a couple of months. Wut?

    Are parliaments just better at getting stuff done? And if so, how can we apply what they do to make our broken system work better?

    The article lays out a couple of interesting ideas, like abolishing midterm elections and just making it so that House and Senate races, in addition to the presidency, are held every four to six years. Not only is this a simple idea, IMO, but it would do a lot to curb the influence of money in politics since House members wouldn’t have to be scurrying around for campaign donations ’cause they have to worry about reelection in just two years. Also, more accountability more broadly speaking since people pay more attention when they’re voting for president.

    Also, institute a provision that says that either half of Congress can call for a vote of no confidence and trigger new elections right away in cases of extreme gridlock. Um, can I get a hell yeah?

    Couple of things I would add to that. Follow Australia’s example and make voting mandatory for US citizens, but at the same time make it as open, accessible and streamlined as possible. That means online voting with appropriate safeguards and security so that people can vote as easily as they can pick up a phone.

    Also, get rid of the bureaucratic crapfest that makes things so damn hard to even get an up-or-down vote in Congress. I’m not saying we should abolish House and Senate committees, but make it easier for either house to force votes rather than with abstract measures like a discharge petition. That’s better for representation and more accountability.

    Great stuff that I think should be looked at more broadly.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Whoops, “Justin” Trudeau. Sorry ’bout that, Mr. Prime Minister. o___o

    • 1mime says:

      I totally agree, Ryan. When one party controls both houses, I doubt you’d ever get a vote of “no confidence” if it meant they’d be putting themselves up for election.

    • flypusher says:

      I’ll have to disagree on the mandatory voting thing. If you can’t be troubled to get yourself to the polls, what are the odds that you’ve been paying enough attention to cast an informed vote? But we have a whole lot of sneaky and dirty voter suppression tricks we can focus on eliminating so that those who do wish to vote can.

      • 1mime says:

        Ending voter suppression is definitely the place to start, but I’m more concerned about the “so called” informed voters who base their votes on irrational views than I am of people who at least show up to vote. In listening last night to the OR results, this state has a two-step process for it’s voting. (note: all are automatically registered when they interface for any reason with DMV.) First is the automatic registration; second, they have to take the time to select party designation. That at least shows an ability to make the most elemental choice, even if they aren’t “informed”.

        Just wondering – how many people do you think make what those of us here would call an “informed, educated” voting decision?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That’s why I strongly support reforming our process so that House and Senate races, alongside the presidency, happen every four to six years so that the imbalance we’re seeing doesn’t occur. People pay more attention when the presidency is on the line, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with that either. I would also have it so that when you go to vote, there’s a streamlined summary of who you’re voting for: their declared positions, voting record, etc. Think of it as being like a political CliffNote.

        Also, and this is important, I would only have those mandatory requirements for the federal level. This is one area where I would leave local elections up to the states and respective localities where those elections are relevant. However, I would have it so that the federal government would try and incentivize it so that we were making all our elections as representative and inclusive as possible. We need to get more people involved in service, and that starts with getting them voting on a regular basis so they know what’s at stake and that their voice is a part of that.

      • 1mime says:

        I wonder if we went to public funding for federal elections if this would impact the problem? By the time people get to the polls, their opinions are usually rock solid – whether researched or simply accepted by whatever media/source they trust….

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: I don’t disagree, but in that same spirit I would have a national requirement of at least three to four weeks of early voting, perhaps with a reminder sent to your e-mail and/or Facebook/Twitter account every week or so. If you have that kind of time to consider your choices without undue pressure, your opinion could understandably change.

      • 1mime says:

        The bottom line is that we should do all we can to make voting easier, not harder. Ideally, we should commit to “fix” the current system, expanding and simplifying it as possible….mail out ballots for all; automatic registration; convenient voting hours; reasonable identification requirements; uniform procedure throughout the U.S.; and so much more that has been suggested here.

        The regrettable fact is that as long as it works to the advantage of a political party to make voting more difficult, it will be done that way. Do you foresee a Congress that would have the political courage and generosity to make the process easier?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: If Democrats were fortunate enough to retake both houses of Congress, you can bet that would be on the Top Ten list.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Also, A budget must be must be submitted every year and Parliament MUST approve it by 50%+1 . if it doesn’t, the government falls and a new election is automatically called.

      This kind of thing promotes compromise and functioning government. Trudeau has a majority right now, so it’s a little easier for him. Historically though, it’s more common to have a plurality. When that happens, the minority government is inventivuzed to throw lots of bones to the opposition party in order to ensure passing.

      And voters will punish those parties they see as being up budgets over partisan reasons. After two elections where Harper won consecutive minority givernments in a 12 month period, the Libs forced another election (3 in less then two years) and a weary public gave Harper a majority.

  4. 1mime says:

    The House Freedom Caucus is dangerous. Uncompromising and ultra conservative, this group of approximately 40 members of Congress are laying down ultimatums and are impeding any notion of decisions through consensus. Heavy handed and vicious.

    • flypusher says:

      And the Hastert rule has given those NJs more power than they should have.

      • 1mime says:

        The rule is “arbitrary”. IOW, the Speaker has the option to apply this rule or not. Complicity is from the top down in the case of the H. Rule. But, I agree, this rule defies the legitimacy of the democratic process and should be challenged by the Democrats in the House and also researched to see if there is any constitutional abridgment to their rights as duly elected public representatives. After all, a circuit court justice has just ruled that the House has standing to sue POTUS…..why not sue the majority party for denying rights of elected members?

  5. Bobo Amerigo says:

    We’ve talked about GMO foods here.

    The National Academies have just published a new report on the topic.

    The website says “Claims and research that extol both the benefits and risks of GE crops have created a confusing landscape for the public and for policy makers. This study is intended to provide an independent, objective examination of what has been learned since the introduction of GE crops, based on current evidence.”

    An interesting aspect of the document is App F, which lists comments and concerns received from the public. Each topic of concern is linked to presentation of current findings and recommended action.

    This is a massive and well-designed document. Fortunately, there’s also a 4-page summary.

    “…experimental evidence indicates that GE herbicide resistance and insect resistance are contributing to actual yield increases, there is no evidence from USDA data that the average historical rate of increase in U.S. yields of cotton, maize, and soybean has changed.”

    • 1mime says:

      GMO is such a controversial issue, and, one I admittedly don’t know enough about to have an informed opinion. I did read the summary, as you suggested, and found it helpful especially in the area of greatest sensitivity – impact on humans. Glyphosate appears to have toxic properties if improperly used – which I imagine can happen, but in large farming use, I would expect that this is carefully monitored.

      Farmers are trying to increase yield and reduce loss to crops. Anyone who has every had a backyard garden knows the frustration of watching a plant wither due to fungus or insects. In commercial operations, yield is everything. I heard (NPR) a discussion this week among agri-scientists who said farmers are having back to back poor years…2015 saw a 16% reduction in yield, and this year, it is expected to top 30%. What was especially dire is that the seed corn from the years is so poor. All the attendant weather related problems (at wrong times for the crops) really have done a number on farming. Especially hard hit are the small farmers who lack the financial staying power to ride out multiple years of crop loss. It “humanized” the issue of crop yields as we are now looking at financial survival, not to mention affordable, available food sources.

      Thanks for the interesting link. As with most “hot” issues, there are two sides. It’s helpful to read a scholarly review that informs.

    • johngalt says:

      It’s not controversial. GMO foods are safe. No reputable study has ever suggested otherwise. A few points…
      1. GMO foods are, in fact, tested for adverse effects on human health. None have ever been found. Conventionally-bred crops are not tested.
      2. There are studies that breathlessly tout some sort of harm and are heavily publicized. A number of them have been retracted while others are published in crap journals. A recent one claiming that GMO feed caused inflammation in pigs’ stomaches was poorly done, non-quantitative, and published in a “journal” run by the Australian Organic Farming Association. The conclusions of this paper were directly at odds with experience with hundreds of millions of hogs in the US, which have been feed primarily GMO feed for three decades. Not everything that calls itself a scientific journal is reputable.
      3. Roundup-ready and BT crops actually significantly reduce pesticide and herbicide use. Overall, pesticide use is lower in the US than in places that eschew GMOs like France and the Netherlands.
      4. Organic farming with non-GMO foods cannot begin to feed the 9-10 billion people who will be on this planet in 30 years. Literally, organic farming would lead to widespread famine.
      5. Every single thing you’ve ever eaten (besides seafood) has been genetically modified beyond belief using selective breeding. Most of the apples you eat were small wild fruits crossbred with crabapples. Corn, well, Google “teosinte” to see what corn looked like before domestication. Today’s beef and dairy cattle come from a few dozen aurochs, basically wild oxen. The big juicy sweet strawberries we eat came from the tiny bitter things you sometimes find growing in your yard.
      6. Anti-GMO activists are just as unscrupulous and malicious as the anti-vaxxers are. Here’s a link to an introduction to how some of them are trying to attack a plant scientist who is active in public science outreach and is pro-GMO. Links within point to more disturbing behavior, such as comparing pro-GMO scientists to Nazis intent on genocide. It’s disgusting.

      • 1mime says:

        There is public disagreement over GMO, JG, regardless that the naysayers are incorrect in their beliefs. “Controversial” simply defined means: “giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.” As you point out and the study concludes, GMO engineering is not harmful. (With the caveat that glyphosate can be toxic if improperly used and per current testing results as is true with most topical and systemic treatments.)

        As with so many issues today, people disagree. Undoubtedly, few have the knowledge to make informed opinions, such as you apply, but that doesn’t stop public disagreement. What seems rational and factual to me is challenged each and every day by people who make judgments based upon opinions formed from scant evidence. (Admittedly, I am guilty of bias due to cynicism and poor information even as I try to make decisions based upon fact.) It doesn’t seem to matter to climate deniers that global warming is “real”, and exacerbated by humans, nor that vaccinations save lives, nor that engineered crops feed more people more effectively for less cost. What does matter greatly is that public disagreement exists and seems less and less responsive to logical thinking – whether we like it or not.

      • fiftyohm says:

        As I sit here, I’m verifying the proper dilution of RoundUp Weatherguard Max for use in my hand sprayer (Curious coincidence.)

        Glyphosate is pretty much the mildest herbicide ever in wide use. Without GMO crops, other, more potentially harmful agents would be required. And, as JG pointed out above, in larger quantities.

        The anti-science bandwagon continues to instill doubt that, in the absence of proof that certain technologies *do not cause harm*, we should rightly fear them. I’ll leave the logical fallacy of that argument to the reader. Again, as mentioned above, decades of experience with these technologies, over millions of acres has turned up pretty much nothing.

        We should also be aware of ‘experts’ taking the other side. There’s an MIT Professor of Computer Science that is making a living touting the direct link between glyphosate and – wait for it – *autism*! (Hey! who needs vaccines?) Even Bill Nye, a fellow I generally agree with and respect, has stepped in some of this anit-GMO nonsense, and spent part last year wiping it off his shoe in a retraction. (To his credit.)

        Anyway, I’ve observed a very strong correlation between the increase in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and the proliferation and availability of ‘organic foods’. We’d better be careful here! (Go ahead – try to prove me wrong.)

      • 1mime says:

        With enough creativity and financial resources, you can “spin” just about any theory you want. Going back to Lifer’s post, a quick look at the adopted X GOP platform illustrates this…

      • flypusher says:

        If people want to be concerned about potentially harmful farming practices, they should set their sights on the overuse of antibiotics.

      • 1mime says:

        Now that’s a good point, Fly. The increasing use of antibiotics in food stock is of concern. JG, weight in on this point if you will.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – And not just on farms. Western societies have come to see medicine as a drug dispensary. Patients expect their physician to “do something”, whether or not “something” is even possible. Pills solve the problem. Does your child have an ‘ear infection’? well, you need an antibiotic. Cough do to cold? Antibiotic. (What’s a ‘virus’? don’t bother me with that. Too technical.) There’s a very dark cloud on the horizon, and it’s antibiotic resistance. Everyone contributes to the issue, from providers to parents, to patients. Worried about exotic diseases like Ebola? Don’t.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – The issue is not so much antibiotics *in* foodstuffs. It’s the overuse of them that causes resistant organisms in the environment.

      • 1mime says:

        I thought Fly was referring to the use of antibiotics directly in stock (cattle, poultry, fish) not so much as a direct food additive, although I guess that can be problematic as well. Everything these days is fortified…how many grams of “whatever additive” are really beneficial if one eats a balanced diet?

        I can speak directly to overuse of antibiotics. My husband has, among other health issues, an underlying, chronic problem that has been treated for years with antibiotics with the result that he is resistant to most oral antibiotics. He is left with a paltry few or the necessity of IV antibiotics that are much stronger. It gets complicated when an individual ages and has poor health generally. Corrective surgery can be a viable, important alternative to antibiotics if the patient is a “decent” surgical risk, but doctors are reluctant to recommend this knowing the odds leaving antibiotics as the only viable option. Pick your “poison” sort of thing.

      • flypusher says:

        Absolutely correct 50, we are squandering away something that was truly miraculous. One of the best accounts of the advent of antibiotics is in the stories told by British veterinarian James Herriot (pen name). Miracle is not too strong a word to describe animals that would otherwise die recovering rapidly with just a few little pills. This is where we need a very strict rule- no antibiotics given to humans or animals unless they actually have the sort of infection that’s treatable by that means. There’s been too much foot-dragging on this and I fear we’re already too late. Those bugs with multiple antibiotic resistance scare me more than ISIS!

      • johngalt says:

        Mime, I didn’t say there wasn’t public disagreement, because of course there is. Based on the science, there should be very little disagreement (there are some grounds to argue that widespread planting of GMOs creates a de facto monoculture that could be susceptible to some sudden fungal infection or some such thing, but this was largely happening anyway).

      • fiftyohm says:

        One more sobering fact on antibiotic resistance: There are nearly 2x more deaths in the US per year resulting from MRSA infections than murders.

      • johngalt says:

        Regarding antibiotic use, I coincidentally attended a seminar in which the speaker, who was a bioinformaticist with a background in marine microbiology, was showing some preliminary data on antibiotic resistance. Basically they scoop up bits of water and sediment and sequence the genomes of everything in it in one big gmish, then look for genes that mediate antibiotic resistance. In the middle of the ocean, there’s not so much. Near the mouths of rivers and off the coasts of cities, there is a scary amount of resistance, attributed primarily to runoff agricultural use of antibiotics and (less so) human-consumed antibiotics in treated wastewater. He was also interested in antibiotic resistance in humans and had samples from a cohort of patients, of whom about 15-20% failed antibiotic therapy. By “failed” I mean “died.” Not good.

        There is also some evidence that frequent use of antibiotics when young has persistent effects on the gut microbial population (microbiome) that might (causal links are hard to establish) affect allergies and susceptibility to subsequent infections. Stay away from them unless you really, really need them.

      • 1mime says:

        I think doctors are prone to over-prescribing antibiotics to the elderly because it is easier for them and because the prospect of a more invasive procedure is not feasible. Geriatric care is fraught with problems – lower reimbursement rates, more time per patient required, multiple issues, cognitive difficulty of patient to communicate effectively with physician. (Patient’s decision maker may also request which complicates the decision.) We’ve all read about how nursing home patients are over-medicated, which I have observed in my own research.

        The problem of over-prescription of antibiotics (and recently, pain killers) crosses all age groups, however, and is an area where we all need to be more responsible and aware.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Actually, mime – ove-prescription of antibiotics is just being a bad doctor. Period. There’s no excuse, such as being overworked. Or under compensated or any of that. It’s irresponsible.

        My hale and hardy 63 year old neighbor went to his quack when he found a tick on his hairy self. It had been there less than 24 hours. She gave him antibiotics for Lyme disease. This is in Canada, and it’s absolutely deplorable. Now you could well ask why in the hell you’d go to the doctor after finding a tick, but that’s not the point…

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Fifty, but the practice of over-medicating seniors is more prevalent than you might think. The most elderly are particularly vulnerable because they come from a generation who don’t question a doctor’s judgement. Complicating the situation is that many caregivers (elder children) are unable or unwilling to be stewards of their parents’ care, leaving decisions to others whose interests are driven by expediency rather than personal concern. My observations, which are genuine, are not meant as an indictment of all physicians or all caregivers, but an acknowledgement that over-medication is a real problem and particularly so for the elderly.

    • Just label it already. People who don’t want it can avoid it in the market place. Those of us who aren’t concerned will save some $ at the grocery store. A free market is predicated upon an informed consumer.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Jeff – I don’t disagree with the crux of your argument, but we really can’t be requiring labeling for everything every nutball is worried about. You couldn’t see inside the damn jar. Hell, Kalifornia would require a label just for the jar. By caving in to this nonsense, we dignify it.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I think define it, then label it. And when CRISPR/Cas 9 editing techniques are used, define it, then label it.

        No reason to be opaque about it.

      • johngalt says:

        “By caving in to this nonsense, we dignify it.”

        Exactly. The next gambit for the anti-science crowd is to argue that “It wouldn’t have a label if it weren’t dangerous. You know, like cigarettes, alcohol, and narcotics. The government thinks we should be warned, so it has to be bad.”

      • “but we really can’t be requiring labeling for everything every nutball is worried about. You couldn’t see inside the damn jar. Hell, Kalifornia would require a label just for the jar.”

        Hey fifty, I get your point but it might be a bit of a straw-man. Let’s worry about the need for requiring jar labels when it actually appears. The nut jobs in Cali, with all their labeling, seem to be doing ok.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Jeff – OK then. How about these: Warning: Contains gluten. Warning: May have been in a room with a guy that ate a peanut. Warning: contains chromium, mercury, lead, and arsenic in detectable quantities. Warning: Not “organic”. Warning: May contain E Coli DNA. Or Warning: Does not contain kale.

        And California’s Prop 65 has actually cost millions of our money, and is up there with one of the most stupid laws ever passed. Warning: The State of California by passing Prop 65 determined it has no common sense.

      • fiftyohm says:

        And one more thing: Law is the manner in which our society controls behavior, though force if necessary, to ensure and promote an orderly and productive society. Law is far, far too important to be squandered on silly, pseudoscientific bullshit. It’s distracting. There are important things to be accomplished. Silly laws promote disrespect for law in general, and that’s very bad.

        I received a grain mill in the post the other day. In the package was a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet informing me that The State of California had determined that the product contained therein contained a substance known to cause cancer. Oh really? The thing is a bunch of zinc plated sheet steel, with some knurled rollers, and a hand crank. Careful sleuthing discovered a bronze bushing. Ah-ha! Bronze alloys contain trace amounts of lead and antimony! A child could take the device apart and eat the bushings! Of course, I promptly returned it. Yeah, right.

        Henceforth, anyone looking at a warning label from The State of California regarding the hazardous nature of a device or material, will see it in *exactly* the same way as I see that stupid package insert. And ignore it. You see, that’s a bad thing, because there are things that rightly require warnings. But the moment has been lost.

      • Yeah, I get what you’re saying fifty, and generally, tend to lean the same way. My point is, if a bunch of people in a free market want a product or service maybe the market can deliver. How ’bout this… The label’s requirements are well defined (this is where the law part comes in) but the application is optional. In this case, the label reads GMO FREE, or whatever. Producers not interested don’t label their product. Producers who are chasing a certain market segment can add the cost of meeting the label’s requirements to the product and profit from those willing to spend extra to see it. Not enough people willing to pay extra for that label, product dies. Not really that hard to accommodate both sides but the requirements need to be specific.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I’m down with that approach 100%.

      • Solving the world’s problems one issue at a time, eh fifty. Next beer is on me.

      • fiftyohm says:

        You must be an engineer, Jeff.

      • fiftyohm says:

        BTW: the grain mill was for beer!

      • You hit it on the head, fifty. Enjoy the brew!!

  6. Griffin says:

    • “We support the repeal of the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution and the appointment of United States Senators by the state legislatures.”

    • “We oppose the appointment of unelected bureaucrats…”

    Hey guys what’s cognitive dissonance?

  7. 1mime says:

    It’s a damn good thing that women are such great multi-taskers….Consider what HRC is having to cope with: a vigorous, ever contentious competitor; a Benghazi Committee in its second year (along with 3 other committees since closed); the Judicial Watch conservative group who is approaching on her email flank; the FBI investigation that is dealing with the same issue….AND, all the while, trying to campaign and stay positive. It’s a pretty amazing load, if you ask me. Heck, becoming President might be easier (-;

  8. I’m biased but these ads seem pretty effective… can’t see how anyone wins WH without women voters.

  9. Xiristatos says:

    You know, in this blog we already talked about how Republicans don’t stand a chance this year unless some spectacular catastrophe on the Democrats side happens, which is very unlikely at this point.
    With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump looking like the inevitable nominees of their respective parties, we’re about to witness one hell of a general election campaign. I mean, super-established secretary of state vs. complete political rookie. This seems ready to be one of the least suspenseful elections of this country.

    But as a chronic worrier, I keep assuming the worst things could happen, things that could be sabotaging Clinton’s chances at the presidency. Let’s put aside all these vote suppression laws, which I don’t imagine will have more than probably 2 to 3 percent sway on the outcome, and this has no characteristics of being a close race whatsoever.
    But when I look at the GOP side, and especially the campaign staff of Donald Trump, I see one hell of a shitfest.

    I mean, Donald Trump has some of the most despicable subhuman beings on his side: Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski… and there was even some speculation that Trump’s campaign tried to hire some Latin American consultant linked to sabotage and having hired a hacker (who is in prison for 10 years) for data theft in the 2012 election in Mexico:

    That man, named Juan José Rendón, said that he was apporached by the campaign, but turned it down because he dislikes Trump, and then said he’s “in talks with another leading U.S. campaign”, but didn’t say which.
    Thing is, Rendón strikes me as the kinda guy who “denies” shit a lot, making it look like he says one thing, but does the complete opposite. I’m just gonna make a raw assumption that he will work for Trump in the end.

    Whether or not Rendón will work for Trump won’t matter, he’s not really a special case. He would have a hard time finding a new super duper haxxor, since his old buddy is in prison, but even if he manages to in an attempt to sabotage Clinton, I’m sure it won’t work as well as it does in Latin America, considering the USA and it’s voters aren’t as “manipulatable” as in Latin America, and Clinton’s campaign has technological officers who do their best to look for potential cyberattacks.

    I know I’m talking out of my ass at this point, but there are just so many subhuman dirty tricksters on the right so desperate and insensitive, it’s making us very nervous on how low these fuckheads would sink in an attempt to destroy Clinton and/or mislead voters with whatever vote suppression tactics are already known (you know, misleading robocalls, fear mongering, etc.). Yes, she is one of the most vetted political figures in the US ever and she provided broader GOTV efforts than ever, and Trump in reality doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.
    But it’s those fuckers on his side with their aggressive smear campaign and vote suppression tactics that make this election look like a very creepy nail biter. All I hope is for voters to come out come November and keep this piece of shit out of the White House.

    • vikinghou says:

      You certainly have a way with words (LOL), but I agree with most of what you’re saying. The upcoming GOP convention has the potential to be, in your vernacular, a shit storm. I think this will be the moment when we find out if the Trump candidacy has viability.

      • flypusher says:

        Any principled conservative, or non-principled but pragmatic GOPer should strongly consider this advice:

        Of course refusing to endorse is a tactical retreat, something that political parties are very loathe to do, and even when they do, they are spinning like mad trying to sell the notion that they’re all unified and happy and behind their nominee.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Yes, I excuse myself for my rather… colorful vocabulary, but this current field of the GOP makes me so angry to the bone every time I see their fishfaces…
        They stop at NOTHING to make sure voters won’t vote, or to make Hillary look worse…

        That’s why I was so angry. These smug assheads are EVERYWHERE. And for all the talk about ISIL being a huge threat for the US (it isn’t), it is THEM who would burn this country to the ground. They’re the evil ones. To hell with them.

        Rantamus over…

    • flypusher says:

      “All I hope is for voters to come out come November and keep this piece of shit out of the White House.”

      I hope so too, but I never forget 2000. Also if America wises up and rejects the short-fingered vulgarian, that is only a respite. All the ugly that’s been dredged to the surface remains, and must be dealt with, lest some authoritarian type with a thicker skin and greater self-control arrive on the political scene to make use of it.

      • johngalt says:

        How is this like 2000? Al Gore was the continuation of an administration that had run for eight years and, despite a booming economy, had been tarred with scandals (some real, others invented). Gore himself was a smug and condescending asshole who engendered little love. W. was, at the time, a popular governor of a large state, had lots of political connections, and had won some support for bipartisan efforts in Texas. That’s not quite how he turned out to be once in office, but I would have happily voted for Bush in 2000 had I not lived in a state in which my vote didn’t count (and so voted for a third party for fun).

      • 1mime says:

        I assume Fly is referring to “process” rather than candidates…IOW, winning popular vote, Delegate college tie, and tumping the election to the SC, or worse, today, the House. I share her concern about that possibility but agree wholeheartedly about Gore. I do think he got screwed, but neither candidate was appealing….W simply had a better campaign manager (Rove, et al) and a decent record which he ditched once in office.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s like 2000 in that by all the metrics of any substance (as in what’s your personal economic situation as opposed to whether you want to drink a beer with someone) the Dem should have won easily, but didn’t. HRC ought to annihilate Trump, starting with he’s completely unqualified and hasn’t even thought out his positions, but I’m not assuming. Things are just too weird. “Remember 2000” is a warning to not get complacent.

        While I’ll agree that Gore was a smug asshole, he was a much better qualified smug asshole and I agreed with him on policy much more than W.

      • Xiristatos says:

        While you are right that we shouldn’t underestimate a flaming jackass like Trump, the thing is NO ONE is underestimating Trump… that’s just what he really is.
        See in 2000, Dubya had the advantage of being able to talk like a moderate and hide his policies in code words that to the moderate eye didn’t seem racist at all. Trump is none of that, he talks like an actual racist, like an actual sexist and generally has no goddamn idea on what he is doing.

        And while you’re right that voters shouldn’t get complacent, the fact is that Trump is so offensive and downright creepy, even those not thrilled with Hillary would vote for her simply to take down Trump. And no sane human being would imagine a Trump presidency being a good thing, imma tell ye that.

      • 1mime says:

        Xiris, you need to visit some conservative web sites/blogs….I’m telling you, the view from the right is “hold your nose and vote for Trump” – hands down. HRC is like throwing fuel on a fire. The GOP base WILL vote, and they will vote “against” HRC not “for” Trump. In the end, what does it matter? The tally still adds up. I hope I am flat out, dead wrong, but I see this race being very tight.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, I get what you’re saying g, but as bad as W turned out to be, in 2000 he was a very electable candidate. HIS lack of qualifications didn’t become apparent until much later. Trump’s are lit up in neon lights right now.

        I can see how a sane and reasonable person could vote Bush in 2000. Meanwhile, Trump’s lack of qualifications are so readily apparent, and his snake oil hucksterism so obvious, I would genuinely think differently of someone otherwise normal who is a fervent Trump supporter, just like I would think differently of someone otherwise normal who believes the Earth is flat.

      • 1mime says:

        In 2000, I was “reasonable” and like to think I was also “sane”, but I still saw through W. I voted for Gore. He was never a candidate I was excited about but I felt he had the Senate and VP experience to be at least competent; whereas, W had been governor of a state during pretty easy economic times. If one uses logic to analyze a candidate’s qualifications and policy positions, the decision really shouldn’t be that hard. The problem is, who does that on the right?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I should clarify, that statement has nothing to do with politucs.

        Ted Cruz specific politics are much more objectionable to me then Trump’s, but I wouldn’t think less of someone’s intelligence if they were a Cruz supporter. I would vehemently disagree on them on just about everything, but I wouldn’t consider them unintelligent.

        With Trump tho, his scam, is so f’n obvious, his temperament and thin skin so clearly unsuited to be POTUS that anybody who thinks he means what he says (and even has the ability to implement his policies even if he wins) is,in my mind, not a smart person.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Exactly my point, Rob. If you take both Clinton’s extremely fantastic qualifications and popularity and Trump’s hilarious lack thereof, this election by default seems to be unsuspenseful.
        Of course as I mentioned in my first comment, all these dirty tricks like vote suppression, cyberattacks, fake robocalls, sabotage, etc. make even a joke election like this a bit of a nail biter. Not by much, but enough for people to be nervous about.

      • flypusher says:

        Rob, I agree that Trump makes W look very good now, and people had reasons to vote for W that weren’t racist or ignorant or scary, but I’ve pretty much had a bad opinion of the guy since he first entered politics- he failed to impress me, and I turned out to be right on that one. I won’t crow about it because I’ve blown predictions too.

      • Xiristatos says:

        1mime, from what I’m seeing right now, this race is going to look anything BUT tight.
        Grand Old Superestablished Lady vs. Mean Old Retarded Dumbass. That’s what it is, simple as that.

      • 1mime says:

        I hope you are right. Too much riding on this election….

        The other thing – I really value a strong two-party political process, and want the Republican Party to return to its core beliefs of yesteryear. Now, that may be totally unrealistic, but my point is that the GOP has to experience a major defeat at some point to accept responsibility and a mandate for rational governance. I do believe that demographics (diversity, aging, millennium power) will bring about change over time, but there is too much danger in the waiting process. Too much harm is being done – to our people, our economy, our environment, our political discourse, our governmental process – to simply “wait the crazies out”. I also fully recognize that the ultra conservatives do not see themselves like I see them; and conversely.

      • G. W. Bush had a well known but ignored drinking problem. I do not want my heart surgeon nor my president to have a drinking problem! Why the dems didn’t make something of that will always mystify me!

      • 1mime says:

        I believe most people who follow politics knew about “W’s” drinking problem. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought he had successfully dealt with this problem prior to running for president. I am clearly aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol (and drug) use, but people can overcome this addiction and enjoy productive years. It requires a great deal of personal strength to achieve this which needs to be respected. Timing is everything in W’s case. And, no, I wouldn’t want anyone with a drug problem (of any kind) as President, but I’ll bet the problem is far wider than we know. Alcoholism is a tough disease and brings great pain to the individuals and friends and family surrounding them.

        Of course, we should be just as concerned about leaders who are flat out crooked and mean, and there are probably more of them serving in office then there are alcoholics.

    • 1mime says:

      It’s not helping HRC to have the SAnders campaign getting more heated and ugly.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Yep, but either it will be like 2008 all over again, or in case Bernie pouts and goes away crying, there still aren’t enough anarchists to help Trump win, especially as GOPLifer noted Sanders’ support is deepest in states that are not competitive.

      • 1mime says:

        Sanders support is deepest in states that are not competitive…..I realize you’re speaking about Red v Blue in the general, but many of these states are more competitive than you may realize. What about Colorado? Michigan? Illinois? Pennsylvania? Can we really take these states for a guaranteed Dem win? I believe that 2016 is going to break all the rules…..If Sanders takes KY, which coal voters could help him do,

      • Xiristatos says:

        Then let’s say those Bernie supporters who aren’t in it for the Democrats, but just because of the “RUHVULUTION!!”, they’re in a VERY small number if you could believe that. Yes, they have an obnoxious behavior so loud, it somehow creates the illusion of them being larger in number than they really are.

        And there just are enough fucking retarded people willing to waste their vote on a failure of a third-party candidate to get a Trump presidency.

      • 1mime says:

        I actually have a lot of respect for the millennial supporters of Sanders, and he has run one hell of a campaign. My fear is that their political interest is more emotionally driven and that they will not be able to vote “for” the Dem platform, only the Dem candidate of their passion. Rightfully, that’s H’s job – to bring them to her side, but with Sanders continuing to win states (if he wins KY tonight and OR, he will have won 9 states that went for H against O in ’08. That’s significant.

      • 1mime says:

        While Sanders lashes out at the Democratic Party for rules that he knew were in place when he decided to run for office AS a Democrat while “being” an Independent, the Republican Party is coalescing around their candidate. Why, when Trump is so unacceptable? It’s simple: They know they have to win this election to not only keep the Senate, but put a Republican in the presidency. Earth to Sanders: there is more at stake here than “your” ego. As despicable as Trump is, he is playing it smart – releasing a very conservative list of SCOTUS recommendations (which is VERY important to their base and to their caucus), and now, walking back many of his prior positions on “the wall”, etc. Sanders is jeopardizing any chance the Dems have to capitalize on an extremely flawed opponent.

  10. vikinghou says:

    I found this interesting article in the NYT, helping to explain why highly educated people (postgraduate and professional) have formed a solidly liberal bloc.

    The article points out that this could be a boon for Democrats; however, there is an expanding rift between the highly educated (who deal with facts and reality) and the not-so-well educated (who tend not to think so critically). Trump is exploiting this rift by mocking critical discourse.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      This has long been a major motivator of the “base” of the Conservative Movement. Those highly educated, book lernin, pointy headed intellectuals, those Mr. Knowitalls. So when you get a chance to poke them in eye or pee on their shoes, you do it.

      Hence, the champion eye poker. Trump.

  11. flypusher says:

    This story should be familiar to the regulars:

    James Madison knew what he was talking about when he said that mixing religion and gov’t corrupted both.

  12. texan5142 says:

    Texas Taliban Republican Party Platform

  13. flypusher says:

    Here’s a plank that makes sense:

    “We urge the Legislature to abolish civil asset forfeiture and to ensure private property only be forfeited upon a criminal conviction.”

    How’d that one get in there?

    • way2gosassy says:

      Someone messed up.

      • flypusher says:

        Sassy!! Very good to see you! How are things?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Nice to see you!

        I think of you often, wondering how you’re doing in your new state.

      • 1mime says:

        Hey, Sassy! So good to see your name!! Hope you are feeling well. I’ve missed your comments.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Thanks everyone it’s nice to be missed! I am doing great, right now I’m dealing with some sore muscles putting in the garden and adding to the fruit orchard.. 🙂 Just stopped by to say hello to everyone since it’s been awhile. By the way it’s really hard to miss Texas politics here as they are a ditto state to the crazy one. Working for the County Dems to tone down the nuts. Nashville managed to elect their first ever woman as mayor and a liberal to boot. So far everyone is quite happy with her governance.

      • 1mime says:

        So glad to hear you are feeling well. Stay happy, Sassy! Drop in more often – we miss you!
        Kudos on your field work and helping a lady Dem get elected mayor!

      • way2gosassy says:

        Most welcome Mime and thanks I,m looking for my next project ( election) it may well be in Kentucky. It is actually closer than Nashville so wish me luck!

        Fly and Bobo I think of you two often as well! Keep up the good fight!

    • A Non Mouse says:

      There’s a few others in there that aren’t terrible ideas:

      “We oppose photo traffic enforcement cameras in the State of Texas.”

      “We urge that the Texas Legislature pass legislation to harden the Texas Electric Grid against: cyber attacks on the grid’s computerized command and control system, physical attacks on substations and major high voltage transformers, geomagnetic storms created by solar flares from the sun, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP).”

      “We urge the Legislature to abolish civil asset forfeiture and to ensure private property only be forfeited upon a criminal conviction.”

      “We support allowing consumers in Texas to be able to purchase cars directly from manufacturers.”

      The devil is in the details, as with many things, but I could potentially get behind:

      “…replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.”

      • A Non Mouse says:

        Oops, I repeated the one you liked, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to edit anything one has posted. Oh, well.

      • flypusher says:

        Protecting the grid is a good idea, but are they willing to pay for it?

      • 1mime says:

        Certainly! Just take more money from public education!

      • Creigh says:

        We had red light cameras for a while here. The idea wasn’t bad, I thought, and it seemed to have an effect on red light compliance (local joke: In New Mexico, the traffic lights are like the chile; fresh red is as good as the green.)

        The problem was implementation. Instead of being an enforcement tool, it looked like a revenue generator for local government. The fines were too high, and there were allegations of shortening the yellow light intervals. Finally, most of the revenue ended up going to an out of state contractor anyway.

      • flypusher says:

        “Finally, most of the revenue ended up going to an out of state contractor anyway.”

        That’s definitely the worst of it. If you’re generating revenue, use that $ locally. In principle I have no problem with something like a red light camera that is basically a tax on stupidity. The supply of stupid is infinite, and could be a decent revenue stream. I don’t object to revenue being a motive (cities don’t run on air, after all), just the dishonesty of overhyping safety. I can also avoid paying this tax by choosing to not do the stupid thing. But as has already been said, the devil in in the details, and bad implementation/ cheating pretty much overwhelmed any benefits.

        But seriously, we do need to keep working on the stupidity tax. It could solve a lot of fiscal problems.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree with you except for the exception on civil forfeiture. One irritant I have with any legislation that involves taxpayer dollars is when a dedicated tax is used to balance the budget or shifted to another cost center rather than going to the entity it was dedicated to. That burns me up. I’d have to have a lot of info on an alternative to “property tax”….assume they are talking about more user fees and sales taxes, which penalize the working class…

      • A Non Mouse says:

        ” I’d have to have a lot of info on an alternative to “property tax”….assume they are talking about more user fees and sales taxes, which penalize the working class…”

        I would think you’re right; once it’s decided that income and property tax are verboten, the only other alternative is user fees and sales taxes.

        I could see a sales tax working — the usual argument against this seems to be that it’s regressive, which could, imo, be mitigated by taxing things like food, housing, medical care, etc. at a lower rate or not at all. Like you, I’d have to see what’s actually proposed before I say it’s actually a good idea.

      • Creigh says:

        The best thing about Texas’ tax structure is its heavy dependence on the property tax. Basically, it’s a wealth tax, and works to discourage people from sitting on property they don’t use. Both good things, IMO.

      • 1mime says:

        I respectfully disagree, Creigh. I believe that property taxes (residential) in TX are pretty darn high. Business has squealed about their commercial property taxes being raised a little even though they have enjoyed much lower rates in prior years. Point is: taxes need to be as fairly balanced as possible. Escalating property taxes for people who have one homestead is hard, and most counties have sales taxe rates at a healthy 8+%. I realize we pay no state income tax, but neither does FL and it’s property taxes when we lived there were lower with the same sales tax rate as TX.

        You have a valid point for those who invest in rental property or enjoy second homes, but I am speaking from the POV of a single home owner. Seniors get a little break but county tax appraisers are pushing the tax rate up and up….Our property taxes went up just under 10% this year which I think is excessive and when one is on fixed income, difficult. In Montgomery Country, appeals go nowhere.

      • Creigh says:

        I understand and sympathize with your predicament, Mime. Rising property taxes are definitely a problem for folks on a fixed income, and I don’t mean to defend any given level of taxation. But if the alternatives are taxing property, income, or sales, I think Texas’ relative emphasis on property has advantages.

      • 1mime says:

        Everything in balance, Creigh. That’s all I ask.

    • Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. How ’bout these gems…

      “Climate Change” is a political agenda promoted to control every aspect of our lives
      We support the reasonable use of profiling
      Legislators shall prohibit reproductive health care services

      What a bunch of homophobic haters and control freaks. And they lead a large US State. More scary than funny.

    • 1mime says:

      I think there is a place for civil forfeiture….non-payment comes to mind…..Otherwise, I agree, only in criminal situations.

      • Non-payment of what? Taxes? This isn’t a car loan gone bad this is the gov taking personal property. They should need a guilty verdict.

        Civil forfeiture is often used to take stuff from people who haven’t even been charged with a crime. Police departments end up with all kinds of cars, houses , etc. without proving guilt. That seems problematic. Look, if you prosecute someone for dealing drugs or running a gambling house, and get a guilty verdict, than, by all means, take the stuff. But taking the stuff first is BS.

      • 1mime says:

        Loans of all kinds, Jeff. People have bad times and can’t meet loan obligations for all sorts of chattel. Granted, one hopes that reason prevails and every effort made on both sides of the contract, but it happens and the lender has every right to their property….Same with bank loans for large equipment (look at the bankruptcy in the oil field right now…think those banks aren’t going to end up owning a lot of oil field equipment?

        Unless I am missing your point….

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        There may be a place theoretically for CAF Mime. But in reality, it’s become such a rotten, corrupt system of state sponsored larceny that it has to go completely.

        It is beyond salvation. It’s existence in current form massively undermines trust in the government.

      • 1mime says:

        What would you propose in its place to protect responsible lenders?

      • flypusher says:

        This is such a no-brainer of a 4th Amendment violation. The gov’t, at any level, is not supposed to deprive anyone of property or liberty or life without due process. IIRC, we have kicked this around before, but I am surprised that the ACLU hasn’t yet managed to pro bono one of these up to the SCOTUS. We so need a definitive court ruling that puts a stake in the heart of this monster.

      • 1mime says:

        Wait, I thought we were talking about civil forfeiture by business? I agree that government needs to remove itself from this area, so guess somewhere I misunderstood the thrust of the comment.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The asterisk beside that plank says “for whites only” at the bottom in small print

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