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Attorney in Texas

Attorney in Texas's Journal
Attorney in Texas's Journal
April 30, 2016

If Democrats vote for Democrats down ballot, who cares about their presidential vote in 45 states?

I have never failed to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee (even though I have been a Ralph Nader fan since I was in high school and Gore's choice of Lieberman was as close to a deal-breaker as I could imagine).

If we nominate Hillary, I'll likely vote for her (while I throw up in my mouth a little), but why should it matter?

The truth is, my presidential vote in Texas will not matter because Texas is not a battleground state.

No matter who we nominate (so long as the FBI does not derail our nominee), the Democratic presidential nominee win California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

No matter who the Republicans nominate (so long as there is not such a landslide that makes any quibbling about any individual vote immaterial), they are going to win North Carolina, Montana, Georgia, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana, South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

If Democrats pinch their noses in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida, then why shouldn't the rest of us Democrats simply focus on down-ballot Democratic candidates and vote our conscience at the top of the ticket?

Even if you expand the battleground to include North Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Iowa, that's still 41 states plus DC where our presidential vote won't change the outcome.

If I were to break with my life-long voting record and vote as a "down-ballot Democrat," what is the harm in that so long as I don't advocate similar clean-conscience voting in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida?

April 27, 2016

Billionaires for a continuation of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton plutocracy of the 1%!




April 22, 2016

Joe Biden praises Bernie Sanders for 'thinking big'

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden has not endorsed a candidate in the 2016 race, but he recently praised Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for thinking big when it comes to how to lead the country.

"I like the idea of saying, 'We can do much more,' because we can," Biden told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday... "I don't think any Democrat's ever won saying, 'We can't think that big — we ought to really downsize here because it's not realistic,'" Biden said. "C'mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I'm not part of the party that says, 'Well, we can't do it.'"... "Presidents have always been told by really smart people: 'Don't push something that you can't succeed in — it diminishes your power,'" he said. "I completely disagree with that proposition."

"Everything I've ever cared about — with the exception of the President's brilliant passage of the Affordable Care Act — takes time," he added. "The only way to get these big things done is talk about them."

It's not the first time Biden has made comments interpreted as boosting Sanders. During a CNN interview with Gloria Borger in January, Biden praised Sanders' fight on income inequality and said Clinton was "relatively new" to the effort.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/22/politics/joe-biden-bernie-sanders/

April 22, 2016

A New Policy Disagreement Between Clinton and Sanders: Soda Taxes

Source: New York Times

A tax on sugary soft drinks, like the one proposed in Philadelphia and endorsed by Mrs. Clinton this week, divides the left. It can be seen as achieving an admirable public health goal of less sugar consumption or as a very regressive tax that falls more on the poor than the rich, since the poor tend to drink more soda.... This week, Mrs. Clinton became the first presidential candidate to explicitly endorse a tax on sugary drinks. ... “It starts early with working with families, working with kids, building up community resources,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a CNN report. “I’m very supportive of the mayor’s proposal to tax soda to get universal preschool for kids. I mean, we need universal preschool. And if that’s a way to do it, that’s how we should do it.”
But there’s another way to view soda taxes: as measures that hit the poor harder. Lower-income Philadelphians, like other lower-income Americans, tend to drink more soda than their richer neighbors. ... “Making sure that every family has high-quality, affordable preschool and child care is a vision that I strongly share,” Mr. Sanders said, in a written statement. “On the other hand, I do not support paying for this proposal through a regressive tax on soda that will significantly increase taxes on low-income and middle-class Americans. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it should be the people on top who see an increase in their taxes, not low-income and working people.”... Mr. Sanders also says Mrs. Clinton’s support violates her pledge not to raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000.

Mr. Sanders’s argument is in line with many soda tax opponents. And there’s most likely some truth to it. Tobacco taxes, in many ways the model for soda taxes, have tended to fall largely on low-income people, who remain more likely to smoke.... In Mexico, where a big, national soda tax went into effect in 2014, soda drinking declined the fastest among the poor, who felt the tax’s effects in their budgets most acutely. Consumption among the poorest Mexicans fell by 17 percent by the end of the year, compared with 12 percent in the population nationwide. As Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina puts it: The rich paid the tax, and the poor reduced their soda drinking. If something like that happens in Philadelphia, the poor may suffer in the form of less choice or enjoyment, but they may not bear the brunt of funding city preschool.

Republicans appear to be nearly united in their opposition to the measure, both as a tax increase and a “nanny state” intrusion on personal choice. That is not true of conservatives the world over, though. In Britain, the Conservative government just proposed a hefty soda tax, which is expected to become law.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/upshot/a-new-policy-disagreement-between-clinton-and-sanders-soda-taxes.html

Nice to see a news article focusing on the current platform issues as they emerge to confront the party rather than the endless news stories simply focusing on latest campaign rhetoric.

Also, many people think of the labels "liberal" and "progressive" as synonymous because the movements so often overlap in their goals, but there is an important distinction, which is highlighted by this new issue.

Whereas Sanders is generally more liberal and also more progressive than Clinton, this is an issue that highlights where Sanders' position is more liberal but Hillary's position is more progressive.
April 19, 2016

Hillary folks DO REALIZE that Hillary will be found to have deliberately violated the FOIA, RIGHT?

There is a real question about whether Hillary violated the criminal laws and whether the FBI will recommend prosecution (I think it is foregone conclusion that Obama's DoJ will not act on any FBI recommendation for indictment so the criminal case ends there). I -- for one -- have doubts that Hillary is criminally responsible for violating the national security laws, and I agree that she should not be indicted (although she loses the general election if we foolishly nominate her and the FBI recommends indictment regardless of what Obama's DoJ chooses to do).

However, the three dozen (more by now) civil lawsuits seeking information as well as federal fines and penalties based on Hillary's deliberate violation of the FIOA law are going forward regardless of what the FBI recommends, and Hillary is almost certain to be found in deliberate violation of the law.

Hillary supporters act like skipping out of an indictment is the same as clearing Hillary of wrongdoing, but that is 100% incorrect. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth found "evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith" and specifically noted the "constantly shifting admissions by the Government and the former government officials."

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan (a Clinton appointee for those try to write off all of Hillary misdeeds as part of a "vast right wing conspiracy&quot had also previously found that the claims were sufficiently meritorious as to warrant the disclosure of the disputed emails.

Why should we care about this? MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell did a good job explaining why we should all be disappointed in this most recent episode of Hillary's laws-don't-apply-to-me problems:

"You know what’s funny to me about this is a lot of people in Liberal World today are using the Bush standard, something they normally find abhorrent on everything, including what you order for dinner. They’re using the Bush standard as the defense of Hillary. Bush’s e-mails were legally available to everyone. Hillary Clinton’s system was designed to defy Freedom of Information Act requests, which is designed to defy the law. The Freedom of Information Act and all this government transparency, which we obviously care about a lot more than voters do, that was a decades-long liberal crusade. It was liberals pushing on this from the Nixon administration forward to say, ‘There’s see much nasty stuff backstage, we have to find out how this is really working.’ So every one of these regulations– the regulation that Hillary Clinton was defying is a liberal regulation."

April 18, 2016

Hillary Campaign Update (Historical Advantages from the Beginning, But A Very Tight Race Now)

Look at the size of Hillary's historically record setting endorsement lead:

(This graph is a bit out of date as it shows Hillary's advantage heading into the Iowa caucus, and this graph omits several recent Sanders endorsements, but it generally shows the size of Hillary's advantage at the outset).

Given this historically large advantage among the establishment wing of the party, a healthy candidate would have capitalized on this advantage to have locked this election away months ago.

Obviously, the race is not locked away. Here is a graph of all of the Ipsos/Reuters national polls:

Here is a graph of all of the McClatchy/Marist polling:

Here is a graph of the Bloomberg/Selzer polling:

This should be a huge concern. Hillary's weakness is not without explanation. Here are graphs of her favorable vs. unfavorable ratings and her trustworthy rating AMONG DEMOCRATS (and bear in mind almost no independents or moderate Republicans like or trust Hillary):



April 17, 2016

Trucks Are Getting More Dangerous And Drivers Are Falling Asleep At The Wheel. Thank Congress.

Source: HuffingtonPost

WASHINGTON — Illinois State Trooper Douglas Balder sat in his squad car, its red and blue lights strobing into the frozen night of Jan. 27, 2014. He was about to be set on fire.... A heavy-duty tow truck and a bright yellow Tollway assistance vehicle were also pulled over, attending to the stranded semi....He had positioned his 2011 Crown Victoria behind the Tollway vehicle and switched on his flashers. There were also flares sputtering on the pavement, and the Tollway truck was flashing a large blinking arrow and its amber hazard lights. Visibility on that clear, cold night was excellent ... Renato Velasquez, who was barreling toward the stopped vehicles in a flatbed big rig loaded with three massive rolls of steel, didn’t see Balder’s flashers. He didn’t see the pulsing arrow or the flares. He didn’t change lanes or take any evasive action until far too late. Velasquez was falling asleep, a court would find later. His truck rammed into Balder’s squad car at 63 miles per hour, according to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the accident.

The impact crushed the Crown Vic’s trunk, exploding the gas tank and catapulting the patrol car into a roadside ditch. The three 14,580-pound steel coils chained to Velazquez’s trailer bed burst their restraints. One of the massive rolls struck the cab of the Tollway vehicle, instantly killing its 39-year-old driver Vincent Petrella and injuring Agron Xhelaj, the driver of the stalled truck who was seated beside him....“I woke up a short time later on fire,” he said. “Literally on fire. Burning alive.”.... His squad car was half collapsed. The detonated gas tank was spraying fuel and flames through his cab. His only clear thoughts were of survival and of his wife of 14 years, Kimberlie. He yelled out her name.... Truck-related deaths hit an all-time low during the economic doldrums of 2009, when 2,983 truck accidents killed 3,380 people. But as the economy has recovered, the carnage has been on the rise. In 2013, the most recent year for which finalized statistics are available, 3,541 wrecks killed 3,964 people — an increase of 17.3 percent in just four years. In 2014, the number of deaths resulting from truck accidents was down slightly, but the total number of crashes and injuries increased.

At the same time, Congress has been caving, very quietly, to lobbying from trucking interests that want to roll back, block or modify at least a half-dozen important safety regulations. Significant parts of the hauling industry have long opposed many of the federal rules governing working hours, rest periods, size and weight limits, and safety standards. When the Great Recession began in 2008, profit margins for shippers shrank and bankruptcies rose, prompting a desperate industry to step up its lobbying effort.

Perhaps, the trucking companies’ lobbyists suggested to Congress, trucks could haul loads heavier than the federal 80,000-pound limit, which would allow them to deliver more goods with each truck. Maybe they could have longer double trailers, increasing the limit from 28 feet for each unit to 33 feet — turning each rig into an 80-foot-long behemoth, as long as an eight-story building is tall. Or they could let truck drivers be more flexible with their rest breaks, which would allow them to work up to 82 hours a week instead of the already-exhausting limit of 70. Maybe trucking firms could reduce labor costs by hiring lower-paid drivers, younger than 21 — as young as 18. Maybe they could stop federal regulators from raising insurance requirements that were set during the Reagan administration. Maybe the federal motor carrier safety ratings for unsafe trucking companies could be kept secret..... If they are successful, these changes would amount to the most significant overhaul of highway safety rules in decades. But most people don’t know such sweeping revisions are even being considered.... The latest round of congressional wrangling started with a fight over snoring, or, more specifically, the obstructive sleep apnea that causes it.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-made-trucking-deadlier_us_56fd6f92e4b0a06d58052ee8

April 16, 2016

Bill Maher: "Hillary’s new slogan should be: 'Eat the Chicken.'"

Bill Maher had Susan Sarandon on hie show last night:

There was this insightful and hilarious exchange about the Democratic primary:

“I'm also a Bernie Sanders supporter. I have been saying for months on this show, 'until it's not, that's who I'm for.' You know he's putting on the table a what I call a 'New Deal.'
“It is. It's the new old 'New Deal.'"
"You pay more in taxes, but look at what you get."
"And many other things: you protect the environment, you don't get connected to Wall Street, you don't take Big Pharm money, you don't take all the money from Montsanto."
"I have also been saying that if the airline cannot board your first choice, eat the chicken. That should be Hillary’s slogan: Eat the Chicken. Are you going to eat the chicken?”
“I’m a vegetarian.”

This is a GREAT interview. Both Hillary supporters and Sanders supporters will enjoy it.

PS - I'm voting for Sanders, but if the airline doesn't offer my first choice, I will eat the chicken.
April 16, 2016

Bill Maher: "Hillary’s new slogan should be: 'Eat the Chicken.'"

Bill Maher had Susan Sarandon on hie show last night:

There was this insightful and hilarious exchange about the Democratic primary:

“I'm also a Bernie Sanders supporter. I have been saying for months on this show, 'until it's not, that's who I'm for.' You know he's putting on the table a what I call a 'New Deal.'
“It is. It's the new old 'New Deal.'"
"You pay more in taxes, but look at what you get."
"And many other things: you protect the environment, you don't get connected to Wall Street, you don't take Big Pharm money, you don't take all the money from Montsanto."
"I have also been saying that if the airline cannot board your first choice, eat the chicken. That should be Hillary’s slogan: Eat the Chicken. Are you going to eat the chicken?”
“I’m a vegetarian.”

This is a GREAT interview. Both Hillary supporters and Sanders supporters will enjoy it.

PS - I'm voting for Sanders, but if the airline doesn't offer my first choice, I will eat the chicken.
April 10, 2016

Sanders' Wins To Date and His Path Forward

So far, Hillary remains successful as a regional candidate, but a weak and vulnerable national candidate.

The contests over the past month have confirmed the extreme weakness of Hillary's centrist campaign outside least progressive region of the US (the 13 ex-Confederate states of the Bible Belt):

First, let's be perfectly clear before the Hillary Patrol begins their whine about how "the Bible Belt matters!" Of course all regions matter. The Bible Belt is about a fifth of the country and it should count for a similar proportion of the candidate selection process. We get that Hillary has a southern accent and likes to talk about her church going faith in God when she campaigns in the Bible Belt. We get that she's the former First Lady of Arkansas. We get that her centrist message is going to beat a strong progressive message in the most anti-choice, anti-LGBT-equality, anti-union, anti-semitic region of the US, our Bible Belt. No one is ignoring this vote. Hillary won it. Congratulations!

In the rest of America, however, Sanders' 16 wins in the 23 non-Bible-Belt states where Sanders has earned 56% of the pledged delegates continues to show that Sanders is much preferred over Hillary:

State.....Hillary Delegates.....Sanders Delegates


Total................597...................750 out of 1347

While Sanders has already erased almost half of the pledged delegate lead Hillary built up in the Bible Belt, he still has a 216 delegate deficit to overcome, but this is to be expected considering the least progressive states were front-loaded onto the calendar. If you account for the ideological front-loading of the least progressive states, then you would expect that Sanders would be behind in the delegate count at this stage in the primary calendar even though he would be on tract for the nomination.

Considering this front-loading, Sanders is only about 90 pledged delegates short of where he would want to be to remain on track to win the majority of the pledged delegates.

This 90 pledged delegate gap is definitely surmountable.

Nate Silver's projections about the pace at which each of the candidates would need to win pledged delegates to enter the convention with a majority assumes a race that was tied from beginning to end.

But the race has not been static; instead, Hillary started out ahead and Sanders has caught or passed her (compare a graph of all national polling versus a graph of only the more reliable live cellphone plus landline polling):



Sanders' taking the lead is even more significant because these nationwide polls include the 13 Bible Belt states where Hillary is far more popular so, to balance our Hillary's regional popularity, Sanders needs to be even more popular outside the Bible Belt than the popularity shown in the national polling.

We can do this!

Keep fighting! Keep phone banking! Keep winning!

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