Sunday, December 6, 2015

Last Call For The Lone Star

It seems not even the Texas GOP is willing to tolerate the party advocating open rebellion against the United States government.

State GOP leaders, in a predictable but closely watched vote, have defeated a proposal to ask Texas voters whether they favor secession.

In a voice vote Saturday afternoon, the State Republican Executive Committee rejected a measure that would have put the issue on the March 1 primary ballot. The ballot language would have been non-binding, amounting to a formal survey of voters on whether they would like to see Texas declare its independence from the United States.

While the proposal's defeat was expected, the measure had sparked some heated debate on the 60-member executive committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Texas. Seeking to avoid a protracted fight, the executive committee voted earlier Saturday afternoon to cap discussion of the issue at 30 minutes then put it to an up-or-down vote.

Tanya Robertson, the SREC member who introduced the proposal, argued at the executive committee meeting in Austin that the measure would have been "harmless," allowing voters to register an "opinion only." She also suggested the ballot language would have helped "get out the vote" among some Texas Republicans who have been sitting out recent elections.

"The goal of these is to take a thermometer of how Texans feels about an issue, and what better issue for Texans to do that with?" she asked.

Opponents of the proposal argued it would have been an unproductive way for Texans to register their dissatisfaction with the federal government, however strongly they feel. One of the opponents, SREC member Mike Goldman, said he was "sorry we are even having the conversation" about secession.

The pro-secession measure was sent to the full body on Friday after approval by its Resolutions Committee. The ballot language before the executive committee Saturday afternoon read, "If the Federal Government continues to disregard the Constitution and the sovereignty of the State of Texas, the State of Texas should reassert its prior status as an independent nation."

I mean, you guys tried this 150 years ago.  Didn't work out so well for you. We've finally found a line that the Texas GOP is afraid to cross.

I wonder how that will play out with the base.

Doing It On Purpose

I swear that is trying to throw the election and it has been for a while now.  First it was this drivel about how Hillary is worthless because selecting Supreme Court justices doesn't matter, then it was why you shouldn't vote for Hillary even if she's the Democratic nominee, then it was why Hillary Clinton is basically Dick Cheney, and today we have why we should let the Republicans burn the country down in order to issue in a liberal paradise.

Rowing in behind Clinton only justifies the establishment logic — “just feed the lefties a few scraps in the primary, wax poetic about the Republican bogeyman in the general, and they’ll shut up.” Progressives would be giving something quite important — their votes — for a party that hides behind fear-based arguments to maintain intimate ties with Wall Street while ignoring its supposed base.

But consider this: What if we didn’t vote, and Hillary lost as a result? Like it or not, that makes a profound statement. It would likely force the Democratic party to move left on economic issues and, fearing another schism, throw its weight behind a far more progressive candidate in 2020. Bernie Sanders himself says that we need a political revolution to enact real change, and if progressives plan to build a lasting movement in America, it has to start with making our voices heard on a national scale. Sending a message to the party that we won’t be placated by politicians who stand in the regressive center is one hell of an opening salvo.

If progressives like myself still believed that the party could right the ship of state without our intervention, perhaps this would be a very different discussion. But that’s not happening — since Bill Clinton, Democrats in Washington have slipped to the right one heartbreaking concession at a time, and the voters are the only ones who can stop that inertia. If we want the party to move left, we have to turn the ponderous ship around and drag it there ourselves.

There’s an analogy here to the far-right conservative movement, which has become so influential in the Republican party that establishment candidates are finding no traction in their own circus of a primary contest. Unlike progressives, the conservative far right has realized the extent of its power — they had a certain psychological advantage in the early days, propelled as they were by religious fervor — and for Sanders supporters to do the same, it’s imperative that we don’t capitulate to the Democratic party’s big money wing. If we do, we’ll never be taken seriously.

We have to lose in order to win!

Well see, we tried that in 2010 and 2014 and all that did was give even more of the country to the actual Tea Party at both the federal and state level.  Giving them the White House and letting the GOP scorch the country may push the Democrats to the left, sure.

It'll also destroy the place in the meantime.

See, here's what I don't get, do you know how the Tea Party keeps winning?

They actually vote.  Our side's brilliant idea is to not vote.

If you can't see where the problem is, then you're even more lost than I thought.  And I'm beginning to think Salon is doing this on purpose by having a bunch of white Bernie Bros talk America into   Feeling The Berning Country.

Anyone who advocates not voting is wrong, period.

Sunday Long Read: A Debt Never Repaid

At the NY Times Magazine, Eula Biss reflects on the price of white privilege in America and the cost on our society.

Whiteness is not a kinship or a culture. White people are no more closely related to one another, genetically, than we are to black people. American definitions of race allow for a white woman to give birth to black children, which should serve as a reminder that white people are not a family. What binds us is that we share a system of social advantages that can be traced back to the advent of slavery in the colonies that became the United States. ‘‘There is, in fact, no white community,’’ as Baldwin writes. Whiteness is not who you are. Which is why it is entirely possible to despise whiteness without disliking yourself.

When he was 4, my son brought home a library book about the slaves who built the White House. I didn’t tell him that slaves once accounted for more wealth than all the industry in this country combined, or that slaves were, as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, ‘‘the down payment’’ on this country’s independence, or that freed slaves became, after the Civil War, ‘‘this country’s second mortgage.’’ Nonetheless, my overview of slavery and Jim Crow left my son worried about what it meant to be white, what legacy he had inherited. ‘‘I don’t want to be on this team,’’ he said, with his head in his hands. ‘‘You might be stuck on this team,’’ I told him, ‘‘but you don’t have to play by its rules.’’

Even as I said this, I knew that he would be encouraged, at every juncture in his life, to believe wholeheartedly in the power of his own hard work and deservedness, to ignore inequity, to accept that his sense of security mattered more than other people’s freedom and to agree, against all evidence, that a system that afforded him better housing, better education, better work and better pay than other people was inherently fair.

My son’s first week in kindergarten was devoted entirely to learning rules. At his school, obedience is rewarded with fake money that can be used, at the end of the week, to buy worthless toys that break immediately. Welcome to capitalism, I thought when I learned of this system, which produced, that week, a yo-yo that remained stuck at the bottom of its string. The principal asked all the parents to submit a signed form acknowledging that they had discussed the Code of Conduct with their children, but I didn’t sign the form. Instead, my son and I discussed the civil rights movement, and I reminded him that not all rules are good rules and that unjust rules must be broken. This was, I now see, a somewhat unhinged response to the first week of kindergarten. I know that schools need rules, and I am a teacher who makes rules, but I still want my son to know the difference between compliance and complicity.

I think Biss is too hard on herself, taking in too much of a burden on her shoulders.  We won't solve white privilege in this country in my lifetime, any more than we will gun violence or income inequality or any other of the massive social problems we have, because it's taken so long just to get to the point where we acknowledge that white privilege exists.

Baby steps indeed, but expecting us to get to a state where it doesn't matter will take a society far better than the one we have now.

The President Speaks

President Barack Obama on Sunday night will deliver a rare Oval Office address about terror threats in the aftermath of the San Bernardino, California, shootings that claimed 14 lives. CNN and other networks will broadcast it live at 8 p.m. ET.

The White House says the president will provide an update on the investigation. Federal authorities have said the attacks are being investigated as an act of terrorism.

"The President will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "He will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values -- our unwavering commitment to justice, equality and freedom -- to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology."

ISIL on Saturday hailed the San Bernardino shooters as "supporters" of the terror group -- a message that came after U.S. investigators said they suspect one of the shooters professed loyalty to the Islamist network, CNN reports.

Republicans, on the presidential campaign trail and in Congress, have in recent days lambasted President Obama over his response to the San Bernardino killings. They've been particularly withering about comments by the president supporting gun control measures. In his Saturday radio address Obama said it's "insane" that people on the "no-fly" list are permitted to buy guns.

If you are hoping that the President will announce executive actions on gun control, frankly they'd never be enforced as they would immediately be challenged by Republicans in court and delayed until the end of his term.  At this point I think it's far more likely that we'll get plans for increased military action in Syria to deal with ISIS.

We'll see.
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