Friday, April 29, 2016

The Great Voter ID Scam

Voter ID laws are legitimate means to combat election fraud and safeguard voter confidence.

Texas Solicitor General, Scott Keller

What Mr. Keller didn't mention is stringent voter ID laws, cause huge numbers of minimum wage workers to take time off from their jobs without pay, not to mention shell out some of their meager cash reserves in order to buy one. It's also the quickest way to make sure large numbers of low income Hispanics, African Americans, and senior citizens don't get to the ballot box. You know, all those people who are likely to vote for a democrat.

The Texas voter ID law was passed in 2011. A story in USA Today notes federal judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos struck down the law in 2014. She was quoted as ruling the act was passed with a, "discriminatory purpose." She also said it could disenfranchise up to 600,000 Texans--a disproportionate number of whom are black, or Hispanic.

The 5th district federal appeals court blocked Ramos' ruling while Texas appealed. Last year the same court agreed the law was discriminatory, but said it wasn't conceived to be that that way on purpose. It didn't rule one way or the other, saying it hoped both sides involved could come to some sort of compromise.

How very Episcopalian of them. Yes, don't do anything while praying as hard and fast as you can the sticky subject will simply go away.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States decided not to take up the issue for now, using the excuse the appeals panel has finally decided to re-hear it in May. The non-ruling by the Supremes said that if the appeals court doesn't reach a decision by mid July it will take action.

Well, at least we know how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg feels about the law. In 2014, when the Supreme Court allowed it to stand, by refusing to consider it, she wrote, "The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing  a purposefully discriminatory law, one that imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters."

She has a point. The Texas law forces a potential voter to pay the state a fee--for the ID--in order to vote. And, let's face it, you don't have to be a genius to figure out who the law is directly aimed at. As USA Today pointed out, one of the valid ID's you can use to get a ballot is a permit to carry a concealed weapon--while a state college ID belonging to a young fan of potential candidate Bernie Sanders isn't.

The truth is the great conservative fear of in person voter fraud is bullshit and they know it. In 2012 the Republican National Lawyer Association searched high and low and found, what it considered, 375 individual cases of in person voter fraud. That would be nation wide, not some precinct in south Texas.

A research group called News 21 took a look at those cases and found only 77 of them were legitimate. Of the 77, the vast majority involved absentee ballots, which aren't impacted by voter IDs.

At the same time, Professor David Schultz, of the Hamline School of Business was quoted as saying, "Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections." He went on to add, "There is absolutely no evidence that voter in person fraud has affected the outcome of any election in the United States."

If there was ever any doubt about the true purpose of this ruthless scam it was eliminated four years ago by Pennsylvania house majority leader, Mike Turzai, a--you guessed it--republican. After the Pennsylvania legislature passed a draconian voter ID law prior to the 2012 presidential election, he bragged to a band of fellow travelers about its immediate effect, "...which is going to allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania."

Mitt probably would have too. However, much to Turzai's horror, a state judge slapped a stay on the law before the election. Suddenly the nearly 9% of Keystone State voters who hadn't been able to secure an ID were free to cast a ballot. Barely a month later, Obama won Pennsylvania by five points.

Deep down, the wankers who run the GOP know they'll never attract large numbers of people who aren't white to their party. Their base guarantees it. Every time the party has attempted to make even the slightest move to the center, the rabid werewolves on the far right edge go straight for the throats of their own. Just ask John Boehner and Eric Cantor.

Given this reality they are reduced to the cold blooded gerrymandering of congressional districts in order to hang on to the house of representatives, while doing everything they can to keep the voter turn out as close to the color of vanilla ice cream as they can.

Luckily for them, their complete lack of morals and ethics allow them to pull this shit off with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts.

Hey, sometimes you find you really are born for the job that has to be done, no matter how dirty it is.


Ladies and gentlemen, for obvious reasons, the bar is open.

sic vita est


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yeah, This Really is How Low We've Sunk To

It has been an eventful 24 hours, or so in what now passes for American presidential politics.

Hillary Clinton won four of five state primaries last night, while the lunatic, formerly known as, Donald Trump swept all five republican contests.

The immediate reaction from the great pinball machine known as the media has been that the Cruz campaign is now, for all practical purposes, doomed. This after several weeks of portraying the senator from Alberta as some sort of political version of the wily, Norman Schwarzkopf running amok in the Kuwaiti desert.

Of course the prospect of a contested convention has been a wet dream of the modern press for decades. Let's face it, generations of Americans have never seen one which didn't have a foregone conclusion. These raucous political coronations have, honestly, become about as interesting to the average human being in this country, as binge watching C-Span.

The very notion that huge numbers of people might actually switch from re-runs of "NCIS" in order to see a new, palpable, version of reality TV has,  without question, caused massive erections, not just among members of news departments, but network advertising sales reps as well.

Hey, if you're a television executive you are praying downtown Cleveland will resemble the streets of Chicago during those days of rage in the summer of 1968. Fuck public safety, it is all about ratings, baby and we won't score them if, The Don gets to 1,237 delegates before the first gavel sounds.

Fresh off his victories last night, Trump delivered what was billed as a, "major foreign policy address," today in Washington. Wishing to look more presidential--not to mention keeping himself from sinking into crude insults and repetitive banality like he usually does--he used a teleprompter to deliver the speech. It is something he has continuously derided others for doing.

Too bad he didn't say anything he hasn't already said without it. It was more of the same from the candidate. You know, as president I'll, put American security above, "all else," and allies must, "pay their fair share," when it comes to a common defense, such as NATO.

It went downhill from there. "To our friends and allies," he said, "I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It's going to be a great and reliable ally again."

Yes, but only so long as you pay us protection money--and--just in case you were wondering, from now on it's cash up front, you socialist weenies, no checks, or credit cards will be accepted.

This afternoon, Ted Cruz, in a desperate attempt to distract the press from its never ending, slavish, coverage of Trump, announced Carly Fiorina would be his pick as a running mate.

That certainly makes sense when you're on the verge of losing to a crazed faux populist who is preaching to millions of mostly WASPish blue collar types that nefarious inside forces are driving every decent job in the country overseas. According to one Cruz aide, "Carly is bright, knowledgeable, brings great financial experience, and she's a woman."

She also got canned from Hewlett-Packard after a merger which threw 30,000 Americans out of work. Her severance package included $21 million in cash and $19 million in stock options.

Ah yes, quite a woman of the people.

This insanity might be over next Tuesday in Indiana. If the strange and madcap alliance Cruz and John Kasich have forged fails there it won't matter who Cruz chooses as his potential vice president.

Finally--yesterday, Brother Trump told a cheering crowd that if Hillary Clinton wasn't a woman she'd only get 5% of the vote. This is rather like saying if Larry Bird hadn't been white he would have never become an NBA all star.

But then Trump doesn't seem to be much of a basketball fan. His entertainment of preference is pro wrestling. Unfortunately he doesn't appear to understand the difference between the WWE's scripted violence and ever shifting alliances and a real, not to mention, complex world.

Yeah, this really is how low we've sunk to.


Monday, April 25, 2016

That Didn't Take Long: The Crazies Say the Rhoden Massacre in Ohio was Faked

That didn't take long.

The conspiracy theory bed bugs are already taking to YouTube alleging the massacre of the Rhoden family in Ohio has somehow been faked.

Well actually, not all of them. A guy calling himself, HowIseeIt believes the nightmare really did happen. He claims he's certain of it because the dark forces behind previous fake mass shootings--A. couldn't control the situation in Ohio--B. the nefarious people running CNN didn't have exclusive rights to the story and--C. there have been no face to face interviews with grieving family members talking about the need for gun control.

In truth, HowIseeIt seemed barely interested with the Ohio killings. Most of his video dwells on the aftermaths in places like, Santa Barbara where, Elliot Rodgers killed six people and wounded 13, the Charleston, SC church massacre, the Virginia on air murders of a TV reporter and her cameraman, and of course, Adam Lanza's deadly escapade at the Sandy Hook, CT elementary school.

Basically the presentation was a rehashed collection of grotesque accusations which claims those killed at each location mentioned never existed and their survivors were nothing more than paid crisis actors. At the end of this gruesome litany HowIseeIt  righteously preached all those incompetent, government paid actors have collectively spit in the faces of the surviving Rhoden family--in advance.

Of course it is easy to point out if you are a living member of the Ohio Rhodens you could be avoiding the local and national media simply because, given the circumstances, you really want to keep your ass out of sight right now.

That's just a thought though.

Despite what HowIseeIt says, there is no fooling, HookedonyourHOAX. In his convoluted head it comes down to questions of multiple county agencies wanting to increase their budgets, numerology, and Ohio Governor, John Kasich. In the comments section, someone with the charming moniker, Damienfuckyoubitch broaches the subject. He, or she, poses the suggestion, "Could be a false flag operation initiated by Governor Kasich linked to marijuana production to shoot down future legislation." Hookedon responded immediately. In part he said, "Absolutely this hoax was produced because of Kasich."

That's a real switch. According to these goofs, the feds and specifically Barack H. Obama weren't involved in the horrifying scam, but a republican presidential candidate took out time from his campaign to orchestrate it.

Finally we get to Gr8PainDotCOm. He has a ton of questions about the reality of the situation, last Friday. Our boy plays two different 911 calls. One is from a distraught woman who found the first two bodies. In her terrified anguish, she described the scene as having blood everywhere and tells the operator it looks like her two brother in laws had, "the shit beat out of them."

Gr8 leaps on this, immediately, questioning why the woman would have told the operator the two men were beat to death rather than saying they had been shot in the head. The next call, alerting authorities to the eighth victim, comes from a man who is more composed. He tells the 911 responder his cousin has been shot in the head. Then, without even a moment of pause to consider the irony of what he is saying, Gr8 sees it as odd the caller used the term, "shot in the head," the very words he said the panicked woman should have used.

He also finds it highly suspicious the assembled ambulances called in to transport the victims were forced to park so far away from the crime scenes and their crews had to wait an extended time to pick up the bodies. In addition he was darkly curious about why the police had cordoned off such an expansive area. Gr8 is convinced it was in order to keep, "prying eyes and cameras" away from the alleged carnage which really didn't exist.

While not being a professional, just off the top of the ol' noggin' I'd think both actions probably had to do with processing multiple crime scenes containing several victims and the possibility the shooter, or shooters were still nearby.

But hey, that's just me.

It is convenient to ignore these terrible fools, or laugh at them. However, none of us should ever dismiss evil and that is exactly what they are. What else would you call someone who copies TV interviews with devastated parents and loved ones after reprehensible crimes--then replays them on YouTube while superimposing things like, "fake crying, LOL, and crisis actor," across their faces.

In the end, these bastards are the brothers and sisters of Donald Trump's  base. To this day Mr. Trump still claims he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center towers. He has never retracted allegations he raised about Obama's birth place which have been proven again and again to be so much nonsense. In front of a crowd, as recently as a couple of months ago, his answer to a supporter about Obama's religion was, "I don't know what he is."

During his campaign, El Donald has practically become a regular phone in guest on Alex Jones' radio show, Info Wars. One of Jones' latest topics? Beyoncé's album, "Lemonade," is a CIA funded plot to promote a race war.

No these crazy fucks aren't laughable, because, thanks to the internet, they have a world wide audience. And, their rise like, Herr Hitler's and Comrade Stalin's, are the last thing we should be writing off as nothing more than absurd, surreal, comedy.

Given that, ladies and gentlemen, the bar is most definitely open.

The first toast will be, "Here is to those of us who remain sane."


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Friday Horror Shows in Ohio and Georgia

It was a deadly Friday in a couple of places yesterday. Indeed, nothing will put the damper on a beautiful spring day quicker than pondering our taste for gun violence. We certainly have one. In fact it is our answer to just about every grievance, both real and imagined.

Yesterday morning in southeast Ohio eight members of a large and locally well known family named Rhoden were found shot to death in four different locations. Three children survived. One was a four day old new born who was sleeping in bed next to its mother. She, like the other victims, had been killed by a shot  to the head.

Authorities have no clue who did it, or why. At least that is what they are saying publicly. A spokesperson told reporters there was no sign that any of the victims committed suicide, which, of course, means the killer, or killers are still out there, roaming around, presumably armed and certainly dangerous.

The Pike County Sheriff, Charles Reader instantly became a master of the obvious when he met with the press. He told the media, while there was no specific threat to the community, it appeared the Rhodens had been targeted. Later, a media wag asked if residents of the area should lock their doors and stay alert until the case was solved. Reader responded by saying, "I would."

Oh, you think, Sheriff?

Not long after the horror show some 70 miles east of Cincinnati, Mr. Wayne Anthony Hawes of Appling, Georgia went a little funny in the head. It seems a week ago his wife dumped him after a seriously contentious relationship. She'd done it before, but reports are this time she cleared her stuff out of their home. That's because when she'd previously walked away, she had left her belongings behind and he had destroyed all of them--a couple of times.

The enraged, Mr. Hawes went on a spree, shooting a 75 year old man to death, along two women, an 85 year old and another who was 31. He drove to a second location and killed a 59 year old man and a third woman who was 62. None of the victims were his estranged wife, although they were related to her.

Hawes' daughter, Lauren escaped the carnage Friday night by hiding with her child at a neighbor's house. Today she was quoted as saying, her father was, "a ticking time bomb."

Well aren't they all? And--like the rest of the crazy fucks out there, Wayne Anthony Hawes was able to get his hands on a gun a whole lot easier than you and I can obtain a license to drive an automobile.

Ultimately, Brother Hawes saved everyone a lot of time and trouble by committing suicide later that evening. Police say he tried to burn down his home before blowing his brains out, but it didn't work out for him. Hey, luckily, sometimes things simply don't go as planned. Just ask his kid and grandchild, not to mention his wife.

For those of you wondering, the gun death rate in the United States is 10.54 per 100,000 people. In comparison, the UK rate is 0.23. Australia's is 0.93, Canada's 1.97, and New Zealand's 1.07.

And what is it in Mexico, the home of all those drugged crazed murderers and rapists, Donald Trump keeps braying about? It's a mere 7.64.

Yeah, sing to me again about how this country is the land of the free.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

From Russia to Donald With Love

It doesn't take a whole lot to figure out what the rest of the world thinks of Don Trump.

Today, The Independent ran a story by Rachael Revesz which featured a poll taken in various nations around the globe. The survey, commissioned by the Handelsblatt Global Edition, was conducted by YouGov. They polled 20,000 adults per country in places as diverse as China, Mexico, and the UK.

One question posed was something along the lines of who would you prefer to be president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Donald Trump?

The United Kingdom, where the parliament seriously debated whether, or not to ban Trump from even entering the country because of his crazed rhetoric preferred Mrs. Clinton by 34%.

In Japan her advantage was 27 points and in South Korea it was 37. Both are nations which Trump has claimed are happily draining the U.S. dry because of our military support in the region. He has suggested they should be given nuclear weapons, so we can stop stationing troops in their countries. Presumably they would be free to use them on whoever they choose at their convenience. At least that's what someone like--let's say--Kim Jong-un will think. If he goes a tad more paranoid than usual, because of our dubious largess there isn't a person in either place who doesn't doubt North Korea will launch a preemptive strike, which might explain Trump's unpopularity.

The Chinese, who could be expected to vociferously object to such goings on, have Mrs. Clinton in a 12 point lead, although their Finance Minister, Lou Jiwei recently told the Wall Street Journal he considered Trump an, "irrational type." He also said El Donald wouldn't be able to deliver on the changes to trade agreements between the U.S. and his country like he's promised.

Down Mexico way Mrs. Clinton has a 54 point lead. That really shouldn't be surprising given Trump's fondness for blaming the Mexican people for nearly every crime committed in the United States during the last half century, or so.

Actually there is one place where Trump does hold a lead over the former secretary of state. That would be Mother Russia. He has a 21 point lead on the steppes and beyond. But, let's face it, those silly sons of bitches are so crazy, 74% of them believe, Vladimir Putin is the most trustworthy world leader currently around.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting Cheri Jacobus, a GOP pro freelancer, is suing Trump and his campaign for $4 million. She says they deliberately and continually smeared her after she criticized Trump on TV. The suit asserts the attacks have come, "with the purpose of making her an object lesson to those who might question Trump and his fitness for office, to incite a virtual mob against her, to destroy her reputation, and to bully her."

This all came about after Jacobus claimed she was approached by a Trump staffer in 2015 with regard to a job as his communications director. Two interviews later she maintains she turned down the spot because Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski was, in her words, "unprofessional and a powder keg."

The Trump response to her appearance on cable television--which happened months later--was quick and predictable. The big man took to twitter and wrote in part, "Cheri Jacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy."

As the attacks mounted, Jacobus says she eventually sent Trump a cease and desist letter and he responded with another tweet. This one said, "Really dumb @Cheri Jacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility."

No wonder the Russians like this bozo. He's a minor league Putin with bad hair.

The Guardian story says Jacobus is claiming her career as a TV talking head has, for all practical purposes, ended because of Trump's social media attacks and others by Lewandowski on places like MSNBC. She also complains she is constantly harassed on line by Trump supporters.

The Trump people issued a statement which basically said, this is just another bullshit law suit aiming to make money off their guy's name.

And--as we go forward, the candidate has said, while he hopes there won't be violence in Cleveland if he doesn't win the nomination, such a nightmare is a distinct possibility. Yeah, could be--especially since his good pal, Roger Stone is promising to put thousands of supporters in the streets right before he publicly reveals the hotel room numbers of delegates not voting for Donald J. Trump.

Hey, as old Joe Stalin once said, "You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves."


Da Svidaniya, Tovarich.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

The 1940 Republican Convention: Lessons Learned by Some, but Not by Others

While we witness the wrangling of republican delegates--a murky business at best--one which involves Byzantine tactics, wild bets on the come, and even death threats, perhaps it is time to look back in history to see if we can catch a glimpse of the near future.

In 1940 there were four serious candidates for the GOP nomination. A bright young star, Thomas E. Dewey was the early odds on favorite. He was facing Senators Robert Taft of Ohio and Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, plus a political chameleon named Wendell Willkie who was from New York.

The nominating process was considerably different 76 years ago. There were only a handful of state primaries back then and, as Wikipedia points out, the results of the contests were considered not much more than non-binding straw polls. So much so, Wendell Willkie refused to waste his time with them and didn't enter a single one, while Dewey didn't bother to run in Taft's home state.

The vast majority of delegates were selected by an arcane series of precinct caucuses, then county and state conventions, rather like what we just saw in Colorado. Willkie, who had been a registered democrat until 1939 and previously voted for Franklin Roosevelt, worked the system like a pro. Even so, his pledged delegates arrived at the convention in Philadelphia as decided underdogs.

Things were a mess though, leaving the door open to just about anyone. The situation was convoluted enough that Wikipedia reports even former president, Herbert Hoover showed up and gave a speech the second day, hoping to steal the nomination for himself. However, some suspiciously convenient electrical malfunctions caused the sound system to fail as Hoover gave his address and it was largely unheard by the majority of delegates.

During the nominating speeches, Indiana Congressman, Charles Halleck confronted Willkie's recent political conversion by asking delegates, "Is the republican party a closed corporation? Do you have to be born into it?"

The next night, July 27th, Dewey, a New York City prosecutor, took a hit. He was convinced he had secured 400 delegates of the 501 needed to win. On the first ballot he got 360, while Taft received 189. Willkie wound up with 105 and Vandenberg totaled 76.

Meanwhile there were some other shady goings on. The head of, "The Committee of Arrangements," was a Willkie supporter named, Sam Pryor. He was in charge of handing out tickets to the public galleries. He severely limited ticket allocations to people in favor of other candidates and handed out scads of them to fellow Willkie advocates. They spent most of the next few hours chanting, "We want Willkie" over and over. The sheer volume of their noise drowned out not only the supporters of Taft and Dewey, but the assembled delegates--so much so it sounded like everyone in the entire GOP world was behind their man.

On the second ballot, Dewey's ship began to take on serious water. His total dropped to 338 while Taft's rose to 203 and Willkie's hit 171. Vandenberg, at the moment, appeared to became a non-factor, because by then, he was holding onto precious few delegates outside of Michigan. It was obvious, as they say, the worm was turning. Willkie's people were in a frenzy as they pleaded their candidate's case on the convention floor.

By the time the fifth ballot rolled around, Dewey was done. His vote count was down to 57. Taft received 377 and Willkie had surged to 429.

Suddenly, Senator Vandenberg's remaining delegates began to look pretty darn important. After some promises regarding judicial appointments were made, Vandenberg released his delegates and the majority of them threw their support to Willkie before the sixth ballot. In addition, much of the Pennsylvania delegation switched their votes to Brother Willkie. A little after midnight on what was by then the 28th of July, he sewed up the nomination.

Most theories about the rise of Wendell Willkie have to do with the year of the convention. As it was being held, Herr Hitler was running amok in Europe. Willkie's opponents were, in varying degrees, isolationists, who opposed American intervention in a second European war. Willkie, on the other hand, was a realist who supported eventual American involvement.

The isolationist wing of the party, a hopelessly idealistic and naïve bunch, was so disillusioned by both his nomination and Roosevelt, Wikipedia says there was serious talk about mounting a third party effort with Charles Lindbergh heading the ticket. In the end nothing came of it.

In November, Willkie won only 10 of the then 48 states. Eight of them were located in the upper Midwest and two were in northern New England.

Four years later Dewey won the nomination on the first ballot. He also lost to Roosevelt, winning 12 states, 10 of them again in the upper Midwest and west, plus Vermont and Maine. Willkie's support had dwindled dramatically by then and he dropped out of the race before the republican convention. He died a month before that year's general election.

So there we have it. A different era certainly, but one containing lessons learned by two of the current republican candidates, while the third hasn't a clue.

Given what is going on right now, is anyone really surprised?

I didn't think so.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Trump Howls Like a Gut Shot Wolf as Colorado Goes Cruzing

Given the current level of bellicose insanity in the republican presidential nomination process, I have a distinct urge every day to say, "fuck it, fuck it all." Indeed, don't deal with these flesh eating swine on any level. Just grab a cold bottle of Sam Adams, land on the sofa, and watch Gibbs and his NCIS team take down gangs of terrorist scum.

Ah, but the world isn't quite that simple. Besides, everything on day time cable TV, other than the news, is an endless series of reruns. Let's face, it one can handle DiNozzo ogling Ziva while Abby slurps down yet another super sized soda for only so long.

So that brings us back to the convoluted side show known as republican party politics.

At the moment, Donald Trump is howling like a gut shot wolf because of what happened over the weekend in Colorado. Saturday, the state republican convention handed Ted Cruz 13 delegates. That's in addition to the 21 he nabbed in congressional district conventions held earlier. The Don was shut out--as in he got zero out of the whole deal.

Yesterday, on a FOX interview he said, "The people out there are going crazy in the Denver area and Colorado itself. They're going crazy because they weren't given a vote. This was given by politicians--it's a crooked deal." Later in the same interview he described disenfranchised Colorado republicans this way, "They're going nuts. They're marching."

Actually they're not, but we all know Trump will never be accused, or convicted of telling the truth in situations such as these.

The Colorado GOP decided months ago to go to a caucus system, because, according to them, they didn't want their delegates stuck with some loser like, Marco Rubio, who currently holds 171 delegates--at least technically--but is out of the race.

The Cruz organization seized the opportunity and put boots on the ground in the state early on. They worked potential caucus participants and party hot shots night and day. The Denver Post admits the entire affair, left nearly one million registered republicans, "on the sidelines," because they either chose not to show up for the complicated proceedings, or didn't know when, or where the initial meetings were held. Predictably, veteran party activists monopolized the confabs and gobbled up delegate spots.

And whose fault is that?

According to The Post, only one paid Trump campaign pro showed up in the state and he arrived far too late in the game. By the time he landed deals were already made: trips had been booked and jobs had been promised. The story also noted both Trump and Kasich declined invitations to speak to the convention Saturday, while Cruz was there with bells on.

Trump's newest aide, Paul Manfort was quoted as saying, Cruz was using, "Gestapo tactics" on delegates. The Cruz campaign was quick to point out the Colorado rules were known by everyone, including Mr. Trump. The local party posted a tweet saying basically the same thing. That would be after someone got into their account and tweeted, "We did it! #never Trump."

The tweet was quickly deleted and party officials declared it was a hack job, or at the very least unauthorized. They promised an investigation into the who and how the post appeared.

As of today, El Donald is holding, 743 delegates, while Cruz has 545. John Kasich, still hoping for Divine Intervention in Cleveland, has 143, nearly 30 less than the aforementioned road kill, Marco Rubio.

Meanwhile, Brother Trump holds a large lead in the polls leading up to the New York primary next Tuesday. However there are two votes he won't get. They belong to his daughter, Ivanka and son, Eric. They can't cast ballots for anyone, because they failed to register.

Their Dad issued a statement saying, "They feel very guilty, but it's fine. I understand." Then, once again proving he hasn't a clue when it comes to election laws he added, "I think they have to have registered a year in advance and they didn't."

Not really Don. The election regulations in New York, you and your kid's home state, read that mail in registration forms had to be postmarked no later than the 25th of last month and received 12 days ago. In person registration also had to be completed by the 25th of March, this year.

Well, what are a few details compared to the big picture?

There are sixteen states left before republicans show up in Cleveland. Trump still insists he can get to the magic number of 1,237 delegates before then. Cruz openly admits he can't, but is promising everyone he'll win a brokered convention. Then there is John Kasich, who appears increasingly delusional. The Ohio governor is still around, but current party rules say he hasn't won enough states to have his name even placed in nomination.

Yes, it is madness as the party of Warren G. Harding teeters on the abyss. They can nominate Trump, who will almost surely lose the general election. Or, they can nominate someone else during a rock-em-sock-em floor fight which will convince huge numbers of those wild eyed Trumpists the party and system really is completely corrupt and not worth supporting in November, or ever again.

Ladies and gentlemen of the republican persuasion welcome to the very narrow opening between a rather large rock and that place which is unbearably hard.

sic vita est


Thursday, April 7, 2016

There's Trouble in North Carolina

It seems the people who run the republican party in North Carolina aren't having a whole lot of fun these days. In fact they have split into factions which, in some corners, might be described as the Sunnis and Shiites of the GOP world.

See if this sounds familiar to what is going on nationally among the participants of what has become the nation's largest gang fight. The chairman of the North Carolina party was elected in June last year. His name is Hasan Harnett. He won the job, according to the Raleigh daily paper, The News and Observer, because he had the backing of local tea party wankers and other raucous grass root folks.

As we have learned, thanks to Ted Cruz's stay in the senate and most recently, Don Trump, these barn burners despise the republican establishment only slightly less than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately for Chairman Harnett and his backers, the North Carolina republican hierarchy is chock full what they considers establishment types.

According to a couple of letters posted on the official NC party web site, the movers and shakers, known as the central committee haven't gotten along with the chairman since day one. In fact, committee member, Scott Cumbie, believes the state party has been saddled with a guy who, "struggles with the most basic parliamentary rules." In addition he, "can't clearly communicate unless his remarks are in writing."

This acrimony started to boil out of control in January and has now burst out into public.

Earlier this year the central committee, or CC as like Cumbie likes to refer to it, decided to charge each delegate to the state GOP convention $90 in order to raise money for the party and pay for the get together. Harnett had promised his supporters he would eliminate any and all fees to attend, although he finally settled on a $45 assessment. During a meeting held a little while back the central committee, who claims ultimate authority in such matters, passed the $90 ticket over the objections of the chairman. In other words, they overrode his veto.

Harnett, the NC GOP's first African-American chairman, responded on social media, referring to the fee as a, "poll tax." He and his supporters also posted some other things, a few of which hint that the committee's refusal to do whatever, Hasan Harnett wants is racially motivated.

According to the documents, Mr. Harnett ignored the outcome of the meeting and mailed party delegates a notice announcing the convention dates, while also telling them the attendance fee would be $45 instead of the approved $90. The CC immediately went ape shit.

Then, yes, it got uglier. And, as with most nastiness such as this, what happened next depends on who you believe.

A couple of members of the committee claim, Harnett began raging on social media that his access to the party approved state convention web site was being wrongfully denied. They contend he was then approached by an IT expert who heard of his problem. The tech hoo doo guru offered to help Harnett get back into the site. Then, according to members of the committee, the chairman asked the same person, Dr. Ken Robol, if he could hack into the official convention web site, disable it, and at the same time establish an alternate one which would charge delegates--you guessed it--the $45 fee. Members of the committee contend the nefarious plot included routing the money collected from the new site into bank accounts which are controlled by Harnett and not the party.

The committee bigwigs are saying, Robol smelled a rat, came to them voluntarily, and submitted a sworn affidavit detailing the alleged plot.

Mr. Harnett says the accusations, "are false and ridiculous." He also accused his opponents of conducting, "a witch hunt."

Members of the committee have been circulating a petition among party members, demanding a meeting on April 30th which will decide whether to keep Harnett as chairman, or cashier him out of the corps so to speak. Coincidentally, or, perhaps not, April 30th is a mere week before the state convention which will choose 30 of North Carolina's 72 delegates to the national convention in Cleveland.

So the question is who do you believe? Is Hasan Harnett beset by a pack of amoral establishment beasts usurping the will of the people who elected him in order to maintain power for political and perhaps racial reasons? Or is the North Carolina GOP stuck with a rogue chairman who, besides being a dunce, holds the rules of the party he is supposed to be leading in complete disdain?

Personally, I like to think it is both. As Inspector Renault said long ago--it's the romantic in me.

sic vita est


Monday, April 4, 2016

The Dead Duck in Oklahoma

So how red is Oklahoma?

It's this red.

In this morning's The Oklahoman, Chris Casteel provided us with these choice facts regarding the five congressional races, and one senate seat up for grabs this year.

Republican Senator Jim Lankford, who took over the last two years of Tom Coburn's uncompleted term, has $800,000 available for his re-election campaign. Luckily for him, he won't need to use a dime of it. As of today he is running unopposed. He told Casteel that if it remains that way he'll take a leisurely tour of the state, then jet off to other places where republicans in the upper house are actually finding themselves in tough campaigns against credible candidates.

The position of Oklahoma democrats is so dire that Casteel reports a party spokesperson wouldn't even return his phone calls regarding a possible opponent to Lankford. He also pointed out the last time Oklahoma elected a democratic senator was back in 1990 when incumbent David Boren won. Boren, who is now the president of the University of Oklahoma, was a Skull and Bones guy along with the Bush boys and quite publicly thought little of William Jefferson Clinton.

In the first congressional district, which covers Tulsa, Bartlesville, and Wagoner, Congressman Jim Bridenstine is also running unopposed. Don't worry, he's used to it. He won his second term two years ago also without any opposition.

Things are a little tougher in the second district for incumbent Markwayne Mullin. Even though he's a tea party type he has drawn a primary opponent named Dale Jackson. That's because the congressman committed the sin of voting for a spending bill late last year to fund the government. If Mullin survives the challenge he will face democrat, Joshua Harrison-Till, who, Casteel darkly warns, is actually in favor of the Affordable Care Act. In addition there is a libertarian named, Aaron Davies running.

In the third district, which encompasses nearly the entire western half of Oklahoma, republican Frank Lucas has been an institution since 1994. Unsurprisingly, the democrats couldn't find anyone willing to waste their time and other people's money to run against him.

Republican Tom Cole is seeking re-election in the fourth district. He's used to the screamers coming after him from the right fringe because he does crazy shit, like when he voted to retain John Boehner as the house speaker. This year he's looking at two of them, truck driver, Shawn Roberts and a Norman, OK middle school teacher, James Taylor. If he wins, which is expected, the democrats have nothing to offer in response.

All of which brings us to the Oklahoma fifth district. It includes much of metro Oklahoma City, but through the miracle of gerrymandering slinks east via a narrow isthmus and also takes in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

It is currently being served by freshman republican Congressman, Steve Russell. Two years ago he barely won the GOP primary over Patrice Roberts, but then pulled away from her easily in the runoff. In the general election he faced democrat, Al McAffrey, the state's first openly gay legislator and won a little over 60% of the vote.

Once sworn in, Mr. Russell immediately fucked up. He listened to Cole and also voted to retain Boehner. He was instantly bombarded with social media posts from his constituents which accused him of being everything from weak, to just another socialist son of a bitch.

Now republican Frank Volpe is running against him. Casteel quoted Volpe as saying Russell's vote on that same spending bill, Mullin said yes to was, "A tipping point in a series of votes that did not uphold representative government."

On the other side of the coin the democrats have McAffrey and Tom Guild. Guild is a former professor at OU who ran for the seat in 2012 when Lankford was still holding it. He managed to pull in 37% of the vote in the general election. Two years ago he lost in a runoff to McAffrey.

So there we have it. There are six federal seats up for grabs in Oklahoma this year. In four of them democrats can't even find a warm body to challenge the GOP incumbents. In the second district the party's candidate is a recent college graduate whose entire political experience consists of serving as a congressional intern for less than two years. In the fifth district there are a couple of worn out retreads, neither of whom have won 40% of the vote in two previous elections.

Nationally, the democratic mascot is a proud, kicking, donkey. But, let's face it, in Oklahoma it's a dead duck.

Get used to it, because this isn't going to change any time soon. Hey, you will never win if you don't find someone who can, or, at the very least, put a name on the God damned ballot. Right now, Oklahoma democrats are unable to do either.

And yes, the bar is most definitely open.