Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the reddest part of the red state

Friday, January 27, 2017

Now they want to do something

All of a sudden we're getting these Facebook posts from democratic politicians asking for our help, and of course a contribution, to push back on the Trump / Putin Administration.

Where were they and the Democratic party leadership when we needed them?

Where was the Democratic party leadership when we knew that Bernie Sanders could play a major role in beating Trump?

Where was the Democratic party leadership when it was clear the Hillary Clinton had been so damaged by the Republican propaganda machine that we knew she couldn't win?

Where was the Democratic party leadership when it might have convinced Hillary Clinton to choose Bernie Sanders as a running mate?

Despite being an independent, Sanders was loyal to the Democratic party after the primaries, despite the screwing that he got from the Democratic party leadership. I'm not saying that people pushing back against Trump and Putin aren't doing the right things, but where is our payoff for being loyal?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Let's bring it to his doorstep

Reports floating aroundthe Web indicate that Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas who is owned by the right wing racist interests, has made it difficult for his own constituents to contact his office. To be clear, I have not confirmed these reports; and, I think that blocking citizen contact violates his oath of office to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.


So, just in case those reports are true, I have posted two local Houstonaddresses where people who want to either send mail or protest in front of his properties can rally. Of course, Cruz isn’t there, but that’s OK. We send a message that he can run but he can’t hide from the people who pay his salary and benefits — excluding, of course, the legal bribes.

CRUZ HEIDI S & RAFAEL E
3208 ELLA LEE LN

HOUSTON TX 77019

or

3333 ALLEN PKY # 1906
HOUSTON TX 77019

If anyone can find the Washingtonaddress for John Cornyn, the other conspirator against the good people of the U.S., I will be glad to post it, as well as his Texas home address, which I couldn’t find.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dave the AGN dolt strikes again

This is an entire paragraph from Dave Henry’s little column in the Saturday Amarillo Globe-News:

Liberal Logic: I saw video Friday afternoon of criminals breaking windows at a Starbucks — one has to assume as some form of asinine protest of Donald Trump. These vandals may have been under the impression they were taking out their frustrations on “the man” — a symbol of capitalism and GOP success. Problem is, Starbucks ownership leans to the left. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, endorsed Hillary Clinton in September. Facts and reality do not matter to some so-called “progressives.”

I want to point something out. Henry wrote “… one has to assume …” as though it is a key fact and the basis for which he deduces that rioters were attacking a Starbucks. No one is going to defend the rioting. But, can anyone defend Henry?

Hey, Dave, you dolt, one doesn’t have to assume anything about their motivation. Now do you know what impression they were under? Did you talk to the criminals? Or was your little spew based on divine inspiration? Didn’t think so.


How fitting that I can paraphrase you: Facts and reality do not matter to Dave Henry and Republicans.

And so it begins. Is it too late?

As millions of women marched nationwide the day after the coronation of the most corrupt, racist, misogynistic fascist president since Richard Nixon by a failed electoral system, Donald TrumPutin
and his cabal have begun their destruction of America.

Hours after the end of the swearing-in, TrumPutin’s first executive action was to roll back a provision for homeowners that will cost lower and middle-class borrowers billions of dollars a year. These animals have scrubbed progressive pages from the White House website. News reports tell us that Canadians coming to participate in the women’s march of been stopped at the border. The animals in TrumPutin’s herd ordered National Park Service to stop tweeting until further notice after showing the crowds at the inauguration were lower than President Biff Tannen claimed.


Why no one had a clue that this would happen prior to the election is no mystery. Republican operatives teamed with Russians, led by Vladimir Putin, to undermine the United States election and tilt it in favor of the Cheeto in Chief. The thug GOP has said little. Surprisingly Lindsey Graham was only one of the few Republicans in the Senate to voice much concern. The country’s intelligence community’s various agencies continue to investigate. Maybe we will learn the extent of damage to the election process; maybe we’ll even learn that the Republicans and Russians teamed up to actually hack the voting machines. The issue about machine hacks has come up before — in some cases implicating one of the device makers.

But here are two important points to all this:

First, we must hope the millions of women marching across the world Saturday are the tip of the resistance iceberg. The reproductive rights and other women’s issue are crucially important. After all, the Republicans still can’t tell us why they are so interested in inserting the government into women’s genitals when they claim to wish government off our backs. And, as a man, if have to also ask why they aren’t as interested in all our johnsons. Equally important to all the issues to which the marches Saturday called attention, the nation must understand that the war on women, while real, is a distraction for the main agenda.

And that main agenda? Fascism. Our country’s situation isn’t just about TrumPutin. It’s about an entire gang that includes the Koch Brothers, Rush Limbaugh, Rex Tillerson; the whores of Goldman Sachs seeking to be in the new cabinet; the losers like Rick Perry and Betsey DeVos; and the right-wing echo chamber who want to turn over the country to the New Robber Barons. TrumPutin is not really in charge. I don’t know who is, but whomever it is has been plotting this for years. Why has there been a militarization of our civil law enforcement? Why are the corporatists and the public officials aligned with them waging war on the Native Americans over an oil pipeline? Why are we seeing increased attacks on the First Amendment? Why are Muslims, the disabled and  immigrants being scapegoated? Why is TrumPutin continually gaslighting Americans?


Many warned about these issues during the election, but it was already too late. It is still too late to make America America again?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

With more propaganda, no bottom to the Globe-News barrel

Once again, the Amarillo Globe-News spews Republican propaganda, this time about health care and the Affordable Care Act. Leading the charge is the Globe-News’ Dave Henry, poster boy for
misinformation, disinformation and fake news. This time Henry’s column for Mondaymorning shills for Mac Thornberry, the Panhandle’s representative in the party of Putin. Calling his section in his column “A Healthy Alternative,” Henry quotes Thornberry’s Facebook page, “This week, the House and Senate passed budget resolutions that are the critical first steps to repealing and replacing Obamacare. This effort is at the top of our agenda, and we intend to make sure that it is done right. Americans deserve health care that is affordable, patient focused, and that saves the benefits that they have paid into.”

After 16 years of using Karl Rove’s propagandistic language of calling Social Security and Medicare “entitlements,” an apparatchik for the Trump/Putin administration now concedes that people having been using their own money to pay premiums. But the backbencher marionette Thornberry does his own regurgitating of the GOP talking points. With eight years under its belt of carping about replacing the ACA, no one in the party of Putin has proposed another plan. Thornberry goes along with the propagandizing because he, like the rest of his ilk, don’t really care about the people who need heath care. Hell, they don’t care about anyone in need or poor.

What makes Thornberry and the rest of the Republicans premeditated murderers is that they know, and we know, people won’t be able to afford diagnosis and treatment and then they will die. Yes, die. Adding to the disgusting stupidity, these miscreants are going to cut off the money to the insurance industry, BigPharma, medical equipment manufacturers and health care providers. Wait till that splatters against the fan. And who will be hurt the most by all this? The Trump/Putin supporter.

There is more, of course. Henry then contributes in his typical ignorant and uninformed way, maintaining the dishonorable tradition of the Globe-News building as a fact-free zone. It’s no surprise, but Henry makes two statements he can’t back up with systematic data. First, the assertion that the ACA is a failure and has not delivered on PRESIDENT Barack Obama promises.

Obamacare has been a failure, and has not delivered the promises made by Barack Obama.
 
If Henry had bothered, he could have asked Google to find this set of links. Suffice it to say, double-digit millions of people now have health insurance. And since the Democrats needed to make concessions to the insurance industry to pass the ACA, it’s not really the president breaking promises. It’s the very corporatists with whom Henry and his kind are allied that have broken the promises by setting up networks and excluding some providers. The real statement the president should have made is, “If you have your own providers, you can keep them if the insurance company lets you.”

As for his last statement (below), it is at least six years past time for an alternative. The former Republican Party’s 2012 standard bearer, Mitt Romney, led the health insurance reform in Massachusetts when he was the governor of the Bay State — the GOP governor. It was, in part, a model for the ACA. In fact, if the Trump/Putin party want a conservative alternative to “Obamacare,” they can have RomenyCare.

And, note something else important and part of the M.O. for the Globe-News, Henry and the current Trump Party as well as those Republicans who put party and agenda above country. As part of the standard propaganda ploy, they refer to “a federal failure in taking over health care.” RomneyCare and the ACA were no such thing. They were insurance reform. Those programs set up protections from insurance companies. Neither program took over health care nor imposed specific practices on health care providers. As it has been for years, insurers have done that.

It is time for an alternative, and we are anticipating what Republicans will do to improve on what has been a federal failure in taking over health care.

As we can tell from what happened under cover of night — what an insult to our form of government — the party of treason has no alternative and there is nothing to anticipate but illness, death and a weakening of our people. And as the younger generations Americans raise children in this upcoming dystopia, our national security will suffer as we try to staff our military with weaker personnel.


One can only wonder what the supporters of this right-wing takeover of our government have to gain and why they brush off cruelty and embrace regression. Is it greed? Or is it perversion? And why do the Republicans, the Amarillo Globe-News, which posts a daily Bible verse and wraps itself in the banner Christianity, act so un-Christian?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Globe-News: from deplorable to pathetic

I almost had to call an ambulance this evening. Really. You see, I just read Robert Stein’s Amarillo Globe-News story, “Mayor wants to know who leaked information,” posted to the one of the news pages on the third-rate media outlet’s website. I had trouble breathing; I just couldn’t catch my breath from laughing.
As if Globe-News editorials weren’t bad enough, replete with poor writing and facts harder to find than a diamond in a Florida swamp, we now get an article that starts editorializing in the first sentence. Then, it goes on to whine in chorus with Paul Harpole, our Trumpian mayor, about a leak from a City Council executive session. Harpole’s panties are all in a wad because ABC7 Amarillo had a scoop from a confidential source on the council choosing a new city manager.
Harpole, who is of that Amarillo-type paternalistic ilk who think they know better than the citizenry which is mostly beneath them, is in high dudgeon about ABC7 Amarillo having information before Hiz Honor could control it as the hero of the staged news conference. In the past, that TV station has popped stories that angered Harpole: KVII broke a story about United Way a few years ago that set Harpole on a course of undercutting ABC7 Amarillo whenever he could. He usually passed news tidbits to the Globe-News when he got wind that the TV station was nosing around. It’s fair to say that the Globe-News has been one of Harpole’s useful idiots.



But what ABC7 Amarillo did on this story, and others, was in the finest traditions of American journalism. Think the Pentagon Papers. Or Watergate. Confidential sources are part of the lifeblood of reporting and if it were not for people willing to leak information, the United States and Amarillo would be the worse for it. How ironic that this dust-up about something secretive has to do with Texas’ inferior Open Meeting Act.
Of the 25 years I’ve been a journalist, I’ve lived in Amarillo almost 14 years and I’ve never seen a community so culturally ignorant about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The understanding of what a free press is to society lives only in lip service to the denizens of public and large private institutions here. And as for the separation of church and state? I guess cinching the Bible belt tightly around “church” and “state” to keep them together is part of the problem.
So, let me throw a little shade at the Globe-News on this attempt at newswriting.
“Amarillo City Council members are once again showing their dysfunctional and, perhaps, petty sides.” — What place is it of a news page to label “City Council members” dysfunctional? And which members, if it’s going in the lede — that is, the first paragraph? In whose judgment, too, is behavior petty? Seems to me that bringing transparency to the most important post on the city payroll is what should be done. Folks, this is about control, and we all know that.
Then, the story goes on: “On Thursday, the sole finalist for Amarillo’s city manager position and details surrounding his hiring were leaked to local media following a Tuesday afternoon executive session of the council, a headhunter and the city attorney.” — Actually, the leak wasn’t to local “media” because “media” is plural. The information was leaked to only one outlet. The sentence more accurately should have read, “On Thursday, the sole finalist for Amarillo’s city manager position and details surrounding his hiring were leaked to one of the local TV stations while the rest of the media stood around with their pants down. This followed a Tuesday afternoon executive session of the council, a headhunter and the city attorney.”
When the Globe-News quoted Harpole thus: “It was apparent to me pretty quickly that someone on the council had breached executive session,” it showed Hiz Honor has a firm grasp of the obvious.
I wonder if the Globe-News had scooped a story if it would have written the word “sources” in quotes like this story did. All I could think of was Dr. Evil and his air quotes. Excuse me, I have to stop a minute to catch my breath again.
I am going to give a pass on some of the other material to get to this: “Harpole stopped short of saying Friday that Councilman Randy Burkett leaked confidential information to a local television station, but said he certainly released information that shouldn’t have been made public to the Amarillo Globe-News, which published a story with on-the-record sources.”
Oh, for God sakes, how did Harpole “stop short” if the Globe-News named Burkett?” Why not publish the whole quote?
Now, Robert and your editors, please don’t break your arms patting yourselves on the back. You don’t deserve it. You all are just upset that ABC7 Amarillo has a better news team than you do. And, having worked at the Globe-News for as long as my ethics could stand it, I know about the policy about anonymous and confidential sources. It’s too stringent and it’s gutless and it deprives Amarillo of real news.
Here are the next two paragraphs:
Burkett told the Globe-News that the council would give Miller a non-voting seat on the board of the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.
“He does not have the right to release info like that. He also does not have the right to unilaterally make decisions on behalf of the council. That’s wrong, and it shouldn’t be tolerated,” Harpole said. “While there is not a lot we can do about it, I think the public should know (Burkett) is willing to breach executive session over and over and over again.
I wish I could have been there to see Ole Harpy get red in the face with that one. The way I see it, if a councilor doesn’t like the way the mayor is handling things, and clearly Burkett doesn’t, there isn’t any reason for him to remain silent. After all, the past commissions and councils walked in lock-step and look where it got us. Downtown Amarillo Inc., Wallace Bajjali, the Local Government Corp. and millions in tax money wasted.
“It does, however, present the city with possible issues of civil liability, violation of the council’s own policy and procedures as well as breach of the public trust.” — This is one of those sentences that begs for attribution because, given we know this story is slanted, we need to know if the city attorney said it or if Stein is just dropping in an opinion.
“Harpole and Burkett said they asked and that a local television station refused to reveal its source of information to them.” And “The Globe-News attempted to reach KVII news leadership multiple times Friday and Saturday, but calls, social media messaging and email were not returned.” — Excuse me. Had to catch my breath again.
Why in the world would a news outlet tell anyone? When The Amarillo Independent came across confidential information from the Amarillo Police Department a few years ago, the department’s Internal Affairs officer called to ask where we got it. The Indy didn’t give up the information and no good and decent media outlet would. If the Globe-News had that kind of information, it wouldn’t give up the source either — which would be the exception to the ethical and decent label.
Also, what’s up with this cute little tactic of alternately writing “a local television station” and then “KVII” when everyone knows from earlier I the story that it’s ABC7 Amarillo. Calling councilors petty and then being this petty about a TV station?
Sometimes, readers will see an editorial note at the end of a story. Maybe if material not reported directly is worked into the story, you’d see a note such as, “The Associate Press Contributed to this story.”

In this case, Stein’s story should have the editorial note, “Paul Harpole contributed to this story because the Globe-News agree to be his mouthpiece.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pushing hate, propaganda and ignorance are not Amarillo values

The intellectually impaired leadership at the Amarillo Globe-News has once again trotted out evidence that they are stooges for their Morris Communications overlords instead of members of the
Amarillo community. This time the right wing propaganda outlet joined the Texas Republican leadership in rooting around in our genitals instead of tending to the needs of the state’s citizens. The editorial in the Jan. 8, 2017 edition is another attack on human decency and compassion clearly reflecting right wing philosophy by treating the term “political correctness” as though it’s a derogatory.

The editorial board, whatever that is at this former newspaper, has decided to support the sexually obsessed Dan Patrick’s so-called bathroom bill, also known as Senate Bill 6. The measure would require those using public restrooms to do so according to the gender listed on their birth certificate. It would also force businesses to adhere to Patrick’s perversion of compassion instead of showing enlightened kindness.


Let’s first consider the term “political correctness” and its variations. Many of those who care about others’ feelings see political correctness as a form of decency and courtesy. For example, “Happy Holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas” recognizes not everyone in these already great United States is a Christian — no matter what the right-wingers want. Like other terms contaminated by these propagandists, “Happy Holidays” was labeled as a war on Christians instead of a kindness. And so it goes for terms like “entitlements” for programs like Social Security and Medicare in which beneficiaries have paid into the programs. Or, “elitist” to label people who are intelligent, stayed in school to get a good education and developed critical and analytical thinking skills.

So, do you want to know what the AGN, Dave “The Dolt” Henry and Les Simpson think of kindness, compassion and people who are thoughtful? “Yes, this is how far we have sunk into the morass of political correctness.”

Lest you all think I am being mean picking on the AGN, let’s look at next sentence, “These days, legislation is required for individuals to recognize science and biology, and use restroom facilities accordingly.” As the AGN cherry picks the Bible, so it does with science. First, these black-and-white thinkers overlook science by not addressing that gynomorphic male and andromorphic females exist. How would the bill handle that? Then, the implication that feelings aren’t real boldly rejects a century of medical research and progress in neuroscience. If all that is to be discounted, maybe Henry and Simpson are secretly scientologists — just like President Obama is secretly Muslim.

It gets worse, of course. Patrick and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the bill’s sponsor and one of the dimmest bulbs in the Legislature, imply that everyone who wish to use a bathroom reflecting their identity instead of the labeling on their birth certificate are perverts or worse. Their and the AGN’s views are unsupported with data and based in their own depravities. And if their perversions aren’t psychological, then they pervert honesty by pushing a hot-button issue to divert voters from the corporatist and plutocrat allies using government to further their own interests. And, as I’ve observed since coming to Texas, Rick Perry and Greg Abbott have let the once-proud Texas highway system go to hell in a handbasket. The citizens of Texas would be far better served if these politicians mind their jobs for citizens instead of minding our private business.

But the AGN continues on, falling into the morass of weak mindedness and dishonesty. In attempting an analysis of the economic impact, the writer claims that such a small part of the population couldn’t possibly have an $8.5 billion impact on the Texas economy, despite citing a study by the Texas Association of Business. The attack on the study conflated the word “estimate” in a New York Times article with the TAB’s study. Whoever wrote the editorial might have checked with that association and discussed the methodology with them. Maybe such an attempt at understanding was beyond the intellect of the writer; or, it was a calculated play into the AGN readers’ confirmation bias. Either way, or in any other way, it wasn’t honest journalism. But then, it is the Amarillo Globe-News, so I am being redundant.

The backlash against the North Carolina GOP’s bathroom bill, much of it from the Tar Heel state’s business community, cost the Republicans the governor’s mansion in the 2016 election. That was, in part, because big sporting events pulled out of the state; it was also because the businesses recognized that treating people with right-wing hate hurt the economy more broadly. North Carolina hosts some of the finest universities in the nation. I doubt those university communities see “political correctness” the same way as the Republicans.

If anyone cares, they can contact Texas politicians at this link. I plan to do so and encourage the same from others. If people in Amarillo, a community that sees itself as a kind, ethical and friendly place populated by the best of Judeo-Christian values, then they owe it to those values to let the Amarillo Globe-News and its advertisers understand that proffering hate as this town’s values is unacceptable.


Remember Edmund Burke’s warning. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year?


For many, no lamentations for the end of 2016. It was a year that future historians — if we have a future — will call a watershed year.

It will mark the end of the two terms for our first non-Caucasian United Statespresident. Barack Obama’s term brought us eight years of an incredibly dignified and elegant First Family as role models for the achievements born of intelligence and hard work. It brought us positive, albeit flawed, public policy progress that reflected a view of human decency and kindness.

It was a year of obsession with popular culture, with the media consumed by the cult of celebrity. It was a year that brought us the ruins of a once great and powerful media brought to its knees by the decade’s long galactic shift in the underpinnings of the news industry’s business model, the Internet and corporate alliances with the dark forces of politics. It brought us a rejection of science and propaganda — all disguised as legitimate news sources. It was the teeth-rattling climax to an anti-intellectual, long-term plan to dumb down our population and eliminate critical thinking.


And thus, those forces brought us a presidential election that was conceived in hate and bore us the poisoned fruit of Donald Trump, an arguably mentally ill two-bit charlatan, as the next president. It witnessed the rebirth of the Republican Party, once the “Party of Lincoln,” now as the Tea Party of Trump; the den of hypocrites on family values; the perversion of compassion into greed; the fomenters of hate, racism, misogyny, and homophobia; supporters of lies and an Cheeto-colored liar as head; and, the corporatist conquerors of a once proud government of the people, by the people and one perhaps destined to perish from the Earth — along with Earth.

It brought us the harsh lessons that the very election process in this country is damaged. The voting system of electronic devices is flawed, subject to hacks by foreign forces and manipulation at home by dishonest insiders who know counting the votes is more important than who cast those ballots. It demonstrated that another flawed candidate, no less distasteful, but for different reasons, could win the popular vote by a 3 million ballot margin and still fall victim to an antiquated constitutional provision call the Electoral College. Not only did the Electoral College fail as part of a system, but the electors themselves failed in their duties to reject Trump as a mentally unsuitable candidate as was clearly their duty.

In short, 2016 brought us the real possibility of fascism.

So, what about 2017?

In 20 days, the very personification of “Back to the Future” character Biff Tannen will be inauguratedas the President of the United States. The oath of office will bind him to a covenant to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. It’s a document he has probably not read, doesn’t understand and has already declared war on by saying the most cherished of all provisions, the First Amendment, give the press and the people too much power.

His spokeswoman has already warned those who oppose him that “there will be consequences” for such opposition. And his New Year greeting referred to those opposing him as his enemies. Having lied his way through a campaign, Biff has already shown himself to be the Manchurian Candidate allied with Vladimir Putin, dictator of Russia and a war criminal. His appointments to key government posts include people who stand in opposition to the very missions the agencies of which they should be stewards and, worse, include the chief executive of ExxonMobil. Who remembers the Exxon Valdez?

Well, if those of a patriotic and loyal opposition are enemies, let’s have at it. If the Republicans want political, let’s go.


Happy New Year? Yeah, we’ll see.