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Attorney in Texas

Attorney in Texas's Journal
Attorney in Texas's Journal
October 29, 2015

538: "Yeah, Jeb Bush Is Probably Toast" (UPDATED - lots more stories on the epic Bush fail)

Link; Excerpt:

Bush received poor reviews for his debate performance from political commentators of all stripes (Republican, Democratic, partisan, nonpartisan, reporters, “data journalists”), many of whom also suggested that his campaign might soon be over. The straw poll1 we conducted among FiveThirtyEight writers and editors agreed; Bush’s average grade was a C-, putting him at the bottom of the 10-candidate group.

Marco Rubio...........A-..........A............C
Ted Cruz................B+.........A...........D
Chris Christie..........B...........A-..........D
Carly Fiorina...........B-..........A-..........D
Ben Carson.............C+.........A-..........D
John Kasich.............C...........B-..........D
Mike Huckabee........C............B...........D
Donald Trump..........C...........B+.........D-
Rand Paul...............C-...........B-..........F
Jeb Bush.................C-..........B...........F

I agree with the group (I gave Bush a C-). Bush lost a probably ill-advised confrontation with Marco Rubio over Rubio’s absences from the Senate. Bush’s closing statement seemed stilted. He was the setup for a Chris Christie applause line about fantasy football. And for much of the debate, he was an afterthought, receiving the second-lowest amount of talk time among the candidates.
Bush’s “fundamentals” aren’t all that strong. He entered the debate with middling favorability ratings and polling at about 7 percent nationally. His endorsements have all but dried up: just two since Labor Day and none in the past three weeks, according to our endorsement tracker. His third-quarter fundraising totals were mediocre. This wasn’t a case like that of Hillary Clinton, who even at her worst moments was polling at 45 percent and had the overwhelming support of the Democratic establishment. ... Bush is running a conventional campaign. It’s not as though he has all that much grassroots support: Only 3 percent of his fundraising has come from small donors. Instead, Bush needs the support of Republican elites — and favorable media coverage — to signify to reluctant Republican voters that he’s a viable nominee. And ... before the debate, major Bush donors were fretting openly to reporters (not just swiping at Bush anonymously) that his campaign was in a potential “death spiral.” ... his problem isn’t a mere lack of “momentum”; his candidacy has always been flawed. Instead of being the most electable conservative — the traditional profile of the Republican nominee — Bush has never looked all that electable or all that conservative.
October 28, 2015

538: "Maybe Republicans Really Are In Disarray"

Link. Excerpt:

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein ... have written extensively about ... the theory is that Republicans are a broken, dysfunctional political party — that the GOP is in disarray, ... for instance:

* The Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, recently resigned under pressure from a dissident group of Republicans, the House Freedom Caucus.
* Under Republican leadership, the House entered into an unpopular government shutdown and only narrowly avoided a crisis over raising the debt ceiling.
* The 112th and 113th congresses were among the least productive ever as measured by the amount of legislation passed, with filibusters and other parliamentary tactics used frequently.
* Statistical measurements of voting in Congress like DW-Nominate find that Republicans are, on average, more conservative than at any point in the modern era. Democrats in Congress have also become more liberal, especially in the past few years, but the polarization is asymmetric (Republicans have moved to the right more than Democrats have moved to the left).
* Nonetheless, there are also high levels of disagreement among Republicans in Congress. Because Congress is highly partisan, Republicans may be largely united when voting against Democrats, but this conceals profound differences among Republicans about tactics, strategy and policy objectives.
* In 2010, 2012 and 2014, Republican incumbents such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana were ousted in primary challenges. Meanwhile, “outsider” candidates such as Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Ken Buck in Colorado won the Republican nomination in key open-seat Senate races, possibly costing the GOP several Senate seats.
* Although establishment-backed candidates eventually won, Republicans were relatively slow to settle on presidential nominees in 2008 and 2012 as compared with previous years. The 2012 campaign featured several surges for candidates like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich who were openly opposed by the party establishment.
* Republicans are apparently having trouble choosing their 2016 nominee as well, not just as measured by the polls, but also according to other measures of support like fundraising and endorsements.

There is one dynamic of the 2016 GOP presidential primary that lends credence to the “Republicans in Disarray!” case. Under the “Party Decides” theory, which presumes reasonably arrayed parties, the most important proxy for party support is endorsements. And so far, Republicans lawmakers aren’t endorsing much of anyone.
Among the most moderate Republicans in Congress, ... Jeb Bush is the clear front-runner with this group, with 16 percent of the endorsements from moderate Republicans in Congress; Chris Christie is in second place, with 5 percent.

... the 101 Republicans near the median of the party have had much more trouble reaching consensus. About 80 percent of them have yet to issue any endorsement. And no candidate (Bush and Rubio are nominally tied for first place) has received more than 5 percent of their support.

Look toward the most conservative 100 Republicans, and there are even more signs of disarray. ... among those who have endorsed, the leading choices are Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, two candidates who spend a lot of their time poking a finger in the eye of the Republican establishment.
October 27, 2015

Bill Gates just endorsed socialism, sort of: A boost for Bernie Sanders?

Source: csmonitor

Bill Gates, the billionaire computer maven who owes his fortune to capitalism, recently ... argued that "the private sector is in general inept" as a tool to manage climate change because "there's no fortune to be made," and that the only solution lies with government.

Governments, he said, must dramatically increase spending on research and development to combat climate change. Private companies should play a supporting role by paying the costs of rolling out those technologies.

... in a country where socialism is seen by a generation of Americans as a negative, often associated with Communism and the Soviet Union, Gates' comments, combined with those of Vermont Senator Sanders, could open a new debate in America, and possibly signal a shift in American views toward capitalism and socialism.


"For older people, socialism is associated with Communism and the Soviet Union and the Cold War... But the oldest Millennials were 8 years old when the Berlin Wall fell. They have never known a world where the Soviet Union exists ... The connotations associated with the word 'socialism' just don't exist with millennials."

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2015/1027/Bill-Gates-just-endorsed-socialism-sort-of-A-boost-for-Bernie-Sanders

Here is a link to The Atlantic interview with Gates.

Here are links to the Pew survey and the Gallup poll referenced in the news story.

Here is a link to the related International Business Times news piece which quoted Michelle Diggles, the source of the quote in the last paragraph, above.
October 26, 2015

Trumpsters (rhymes with dumpsters), Trumpkins (rhymes blumpkins), Trumpaloons (rhymes buffoons),

Trumpaholics, Trumpies, Trumpeteers...

Have we settled in a name for these psychopaths yet?

October 26, 2015

538 Blog: "Can Ben Carson Really Take Out Donald Trump?"

Nate Silver:

Carson’s lead is too large across too many polls to be a sample-size fluke.... I think it’s more about Carson. ... But there is an argument that it’s bad news for Trump.... Iowans are paying more attention to the race than people elsewhere in the country, so they may be early adopters of trends we’ll see elsewhere. In other words, once Trump starts getting Iowa-type scrutiny in other states, he might fade.... What’s interesting is that Carson doesn’t have all that much of a campaign operation in Iowa. Nor has he made all that many visits there. ... Carson seems to be a more familiar sort of candidate — high floor, low ceiling guy who appeals to evangelicals. ... The media narrative about Trump is in disarray right now. If you look at the Iowa polls, he’s clearly fallen behind Carson. If you look at national polls, he’s still ahead (and, in fact, seems to have recovered some of the points he lost after the previous debate). So voters go back and forth between reading stories implying that Trump is doomed and those that imply he’s invincible. I wonder if that dynamic doesn’t help him a bit. It seems like he’s totally Teflon when the real story is more that there isn’t all that much news in the campaign and the media is over-interpreting noisy data.

Harry Enten:

Carson has 36 percent of born-again/evangelical support. That looks like Santorum’s support did in 2012 in terms of what is needed to win. Carson is clearly connecting with the more conservative voters out there.... On average, Trump’s net favorability is +18 percentage points in the last four Iowa polls. That’s basically the same as it was the last time the same four pollsters were in the field (late August/early September), when it was +22. But there’s always been this sort of discord between Trump’s topline (horse race) numbers and his net favorability. We’d have thought, based off his net favorability, that he wouldn’t be leading the horse race. Carson’s net favorability is +77 points! He’s much better liked. Net favorability isn’t always linked to doing the best in the horse race, but better-liked candidates generally do better. So I’ve always been skeptical of Trump’s numbers....Trump’s net favorability wasn’t good to start off with. What’s finally happened, it seems, is that as voters are paying more attention, the better-liked Carson has jumped in front. Trump could remain just as popular as he is now and still lose — because he isn’t that popular. Voters just need to pay attention to the other candidates.... This has been one of the more interesting Trump phenomena; I believe Jon Robinson first discovered that Trump does better in non-live-interview polls. The belief being that people were afraid to admit they were voting for Trump to an actual person.
October 25, 2015

Clinton on top in Iowa, gains in New Hampshire

Source: CBS News

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-atop-iowa-gains-in-new-hampshire/

Sanders is well within the 4.8% margin of error in Iowa, and has a 15% lead in New Hampshire where Sanders has a majority of the support.

These are Clinton's worst numbers in Iowa in October and Sanders' best numbers in Iowa in October, and these are Sanders' best numbers in New Hampshire ever.

In this context, ask yourself -- who drafted this headline and why is this polling which is so strong for Sanders framed in such a manner: "Clinton on top in Iowa, gains in New Hampshire"?
October 24, 2015

Jeb Bush Plays Down Speculation That His Campaign Is Doomed

Source: Huffingtonpost

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Saturday brushed off speculation that his presidential campaign was struggling, and ... a day after his campaign announced it was cutting payroll and budget by 40 and 45 percent, respectively, Bush said that he was simply making an "adjustment."
After an anonymous donor told The Washington Post that Bush's campaign had entered a "death spiral," the former Florida governor said that reports of his campaign's struggling were ... "Blah, blah, blah," he said. "That's my answer -- blah, blah, blah."

While Bush said on Saturday that his October polling was of little concern because the party would select its nominee in February and March, once caucuses and primaries began, he also sounded like a man who had had enough -- fed up with the constant attacks on his stamina by the reality TV star stomping him in the polls, and ready to let the voters make a bad decision if they wanted to.
Bush, who was considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination when he announced his candidacy in June, has experienced a slide in the polls recently. According to HuffPost Pollster, he has the support of 7.3 percent of likely Republican primary voters nationally, trailing Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.). He's also not faring well in Iowa, where he only has the support of 5.2 percent of likely caucusgoers. In New Hampshire, Bush has the support of 8 percent of likely GOP primary voters, trailing Trump, Carson, Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeb-bush-campaign-struggling_562bc38de4b0443bb5642da1

Jeb's epic fail will surpass Connally and Baker in 1980, Gramm in 1996, Lieberman in 2004, and Giuliani in 2008.

Even Predictwise, which remained bullish on Bush after his polling collapsed, is dropping his shares:

His polling has fallen much worse (Predictwise is more robust than Bush's polling because it accounts for his huge fundraising (which he's misspent) and many (apparently useless) endorsements:

October 22, 2015

Sanders, LBJ, JFK, Ike, FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt -- rank them from most Socialist to least Socialist

My ranking (with 1 being the most Socialist):

1. FDR
2. LBJ
3. Teddy Roosevelt
4. Ike
5. JFK
6. Sanders

Here's why I rank them in this order:

1. FDR

FDR successfully campaigned for president in 1932 on offering Americans a “New Deal,” which included

* the Works Projects Administration, a job creation and infrastructure rebuilding program or urban and rural renewal
* Tennessee Valley Authority, a job creation and infrastructure rebuilding and clean energy generation program
* the Civilian Conservation Corps, a job creation program dedicated to the environment
* the Civic Works Administration, a job creation and infrastructure rebuilding program with additional civic works goals
* labor reforms to promote minimum wages, maximum hours, and price controls
* mortgage reform and relief
* farm aid and subsidies
* federal relief to crashing state and municipal governments
* shutting down all banks and re-opening them under new regulations
* Securities Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street well beyond all prior regulations
* Glass-Stegall Banking Act to break up and regulate the banking industry and to insure depositors

During his first term, FDR followed up the New Deal with the Social Security Act to provide support for the unemployed and retired funded by a new payroll tax, and the National Labor Relations Act to confirm rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively and to strike when necessary.

In his 1936 re-election to the presidency, FDR ran with the endorsement of the the Social Democratic Federation. The keystone accomplishment of FDR's second term was the Fair Labor Standards Act, which created a minimum wage and set maximum work hours.

FDR's third and incomplete fourth term were mainly occupied by WWII and -- toward the end -- his failing health. Yet in 1941, FDR passed the Fair Employment Act by Executive Order at the request of the request of Philip Randolph, then the Socialist Party's chief advocate for African-American equal labor rights.

2. LBJ

I think of LBJ and the flip-side of the Jimmy Carter coin. Jimmy Carter may not have been one of our best presidents, but he was surely one of our best people who ever served as president. LBJ, by contrast, may or may not have been such a great person, but any flaws are more than redeemed when you consider how he accomplished so many unbelievably important and progressive goals as part of the "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" programs, which included

* Medicare
* Medicaid
* the Voting Rights Act
* the Civil Rights Act
* the National Endowment for the Humanities
* the National Endowment for the Arts
* the Public Broadcasting Act
* the Immigration and Nationality Act
* the Economic Opportunity Act creating the Office of Economic Opportunity to federally fund anti-poverty efforts
* Head Start program and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act
* the Job Corp
* the Legal Services Corp

No president other than FDR successfully passed so much legislation to use the government and society's collective resources to better promote the general welfare and equality and economic justice in our American society.

3. Teddy Roosevelt

I have previously posted about how Teddy Roosevelt dedicated his presidency to the pro-Socialist policies of curbing the power of large corporations, supporting the right of workers to unionize, passing strict and unprecedented regulations on the pharmaceutical and banking industries, and creating entirely new federal governmental agencies for the protection of the environment (including turning private acreage into public lands). I will not repeat that discussion here, but I will focus on his great post-presidency progressive advocacy.

TR formed the Progressive Party and ran as its first presidential candidate. The Progressive Party's 1912 platform convention and platform advocated

* expansion and aggressive enforcement of antitrust and anti-monopoly laws
* greater regulation of and federal oversight of businesses
* regulation of Wall Street securities trading
* an eight hour workday
* federal workers' compensation
* curbs on anti-union strike-busting
* regulation of lobbyists and reform of the business-government-lobbyist revolving door
* enhanced revenue generation through federal income taxation and estate taxation
* limiting the role of businesses in political campaigns
* greater governmental transparency with new requirements for open records and meetings
* direct election of Senators
* campaign finance reform
* a National Health Service
* Social insurance for the handicapped, the elderly, and the unemployed
* primary elections for federal office nominees
* voter rights to recall elected officials and judges
* voter rights to referendum elections
* voter rights to bring ballot initiatives
* minimum wage laws for female workers
* nationwide women's suffrage (long before the Republican or Democratic Parties supported that it)
* farm aid

4. Ike

Like FDR in his latter years, Dwight Eisenhower's full potential as an advocate of pro-Socialist domestic policy was abridged by his need to focus on foreign policy. While many Republican contemporaries loathed FDR and his New Deal, Ike's domestic policies left the New Deal largely in place notwithstanding great pressure from within his own party to dismantle the New Deal:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history."

Under Ike, the top marginal tax rate was 91 percent. These taxes funded the construction of an almost unimaginably expansive public interstate highway system that was the envy of the entire world.

Ike also fought long and hard to direct capital from the bloated military to fund social programs:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people."

5. JFK

JFK comes in fifth because his work was tragically interrupted. I almost gave him an "incomplete," but LBJ carried out so much of what JFK started that JFK warrants some significant consideration. Much of LBJ's Great Society had its origins in JFK's "New Frontier," which included -- along with JFK's other legislative prioities

* expansion of the Fair Labor Standards Act and minimum wage laws
* expansion of Social Security
* an Executive Order protecting federal employees with collective bargaining rights
* the School Lunch Act and a precursor to the food stamp program
* Aid to Families with Dependent Children
* the Medical Health Bill for the Aged, a precursor Medicare
* the Equal Pay Act
* the Clean Air Act

6. Sanders

In the context of these great American presidents, what is it that Bernie Sanders is asking of America that has so many Republicans and other wealth-hoarders outraged?

Sanders will

* stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes
* create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million.
* tax Wall Street speculators
* gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour
* create 14 million jobs or more by investing in infrastructure and youth jobs programs
* ensure that women are paid the same as what men earn for the same work
* provide free public college education
* enact a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system
* enacti universal childcare and prekindergarten
* protect the right to unionize and bargain collectively
* break up monopolistic financial institutions

Is this platform really all that radical? These have been our American goals for a century now; goals supported by Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and Ike as well as Democrats like FDR, JFK, and LBJ. Now is the time to fulfill our greatest American promises.
October 21, 2015

Thank you Vice President Biden! We need you involved in this key election, but not as a candidate.

Regardless of who wins the nomination, we will not be able to fight the limitless Citizens United funds that the plutocrats will stuff into the Republican coffers without your help in perpetuating and expanding upon the Obama-Biden legacy!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your difficult decision.

October 20, 2015

He's a fucking SOCIALIST for Christ's sake!

Here, just look at what he said in his public campaign speeches:

"Equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest service of which he is capable. ... When I say I want a square deal for the poor man, I do not mean that I want a square deal for the man who remains poor because he has not got the energy to work for himself. ... Now, this means that our government, National and State, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. .... We must drive the special interests out of politics... For every special interest is entitled to justice, but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office. ... The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being."

And again:

"Of course there are many sincere men who now believe in unrestricted individualism in business, just as there were formerly many sincere men who believed in slavery -- that is, in the unrestricted right of an individual to own another individual. ... The effective fight against adequate government control and supervision of individual, and especially of corporate, wealth engaged in interstate business is chiefly done under cover; and especially under cover of an appeal to States' rights.... The proposal to make the National Government supreme over, and therefore to give it complete control over, the ... instruments of interstate commerce is merely a proposal to carry out to the letter one of the prime purposes, if not the prime purpose, for which the Constitution was founded. ... The truth is that we who believe in this movement of asserting and exercising a genuine control, in the public interest, over these great corporations have to contend against two sets of enemies, who, though nominally opposed to one another, are really allies in preventing a proper solution of the problem. There are, first, the big corporation men, and the extreme individualists among business men, who genuinely believe in utterly unregulated business -- that is, in the reign of plutocracy; and, second, the men who, being blind to the economic movements of the day, believe in a movement of repression rather than of regulation of corporations."

And still again:

"I believe that the natural resources must be used for the benefit of all our people, and not monopolized for the benefit of the few, and here again is another case in which I am accused of taking a revolutionary attitude. People forget now that one hundred years ago there were public men of good character who advocated the nation selling its public lands in great quantities, so that the nation could get the most money out of it, and giving it to the men who could cultivate it for their own uses. We took the proper democratic ground that the land should be granted in small sections to the men who were actually to till it and live on it. Now, with the water-power, with the forests, with the mines, we are brought face to face with the fact that there are many people who will go with us in conserving the resources only if they are to be allowed to exploit them for their benefit. That is the one of the fundamental reasons why the special interests should be driven out of politics.... Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear most important part."

Need more evidence? Look at what he wrote in his own autobiography:

As regards what I have said in this chapter concerning Socialism, I wish to call especial attention to the admirable book on “Marxism versus Socialism,” which has just been published by Vladimir D. Simkhovitch. ... Every social reformer who desires to face facts should study it—just as social reformers should study John Graham Brooks’s “American Syndicalism.” From Professor Simkhovitch’s book we Americans should learn: First, to discard crude thinking; second, to realize that the orthodox or so-called scientific or purely economic or materialistic socialism of the type preached by Marx is an exploded theory; and, third, that many of the men who call themselves Socialists to-day are in reality merely radical social reformers, with whom on many points good citizens can and ought to work in hearty general agreement, and whom in many practical matters of government good citizens well afford to follow.

As if that were not clear enough, he devoted his political career to curbing the power of large corporations, to supporting the right of workers to unionize, to passing strict and unprecedented regulations on the pharmaceutical and banking industries, and to creating entirely new federal governmental agencies for the protection of the environment (he even supported huge government land grabs to turn private acreage into public lands)!

We're still talking about Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, right?

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