Greg Abbott rolls across the Southwest in his latest TV ad he tries to make it seem like everything is fine and dandy in Texas. The message of Abbott’s ad is that he’s not going to change a thing. He will continue doing everything to feather the nest of corporations, while assuming that eventually things will get better for the rest of us. But history shows that won’t happen.
While Texas has been prosperous in recent years, the prosperity is not being enjoyed by everyone. These headlines certainly show a different Texas then the one Abbott describes.
Inequality, education, rising home owners insurance, contaminated drinking water, unregulated loan sharks, and rising medical costs. These are the issues Abbott neglects to mention in his ad, but are needed by so many.
It’s a “two Texas” argument. Those with a good paying job, or that are wealthy, are doing just fine. But those not in either of those categories, trying to make a better life for themselves and/or their family, are struggling mightily. There are ways to fix all of those issues. They include a fair tax system, expanding Medicaid, and regulation of the insurance, payday lending, oil and gas corporations.
Abbott could give some hope to Texans struggling to make ends meet. But instead it’s just more of the same. His message is, if we keep making things better for corporations and business one day – out of the goodness of their hearts – they’ll start paying their employees enough to live a middle class lifestyle. I doubt many Texans struggling to make ends meet believe that.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson — born and raised in Palestine, Texas and now living in The Woodlands — found himself outside his community’s standards for child discipline (as determined by a Montgomery County grand jury). It was another black eye — bad pun intended — for the NFL. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs sarcastically wondered why fans of a violent game played by men with violent tendencies in a country that worships violence would have a problem with a four-year-old boy getting whooped with a switch.
Neil at Blog About Our Failing Money Owned American Political System posted about the strong race run by Zephyr Teachout against corrupt business-as-usual Governor Andrew Cuomo in the New York State Democratic Primary. BAOFMOAPS is one of a number of worthy pages to view at NeilAquino.com.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
Democrats have been trying to solve the turnout problem in mid-term elections for a some time. As I read the article below it became clear that the problem can be summed up like this: too many Democratic leaning voters see no real reason to show up to vote in mid-term elections.
These are not voters that have to be wooed to the Democratic side. These are voters that agree with Democrats on the issues but are not compelled to show up on election day. So we’re not talking about the mythical “undecided” voter. But essentially Democrats that don’t vote.
What if a key part of the problem is that many of these voters simply don’t know that Democratic control of the Senate is at stake in this fall’s elections?
That sounds like a huge problem. If Democratic leaning voters don’t understand that there is something to lose in the upcoming election, then it’s not surprising they’re unlikely to show up on election day.
Here’s some data on a message that would likely get Democrats to the polls in November.
MoveOn’s polling memo summarizes some of the key messages about potential GOP control of the Senate that move them:
Should the GOP take control of the Senate, drop-off voters are most concerned that “Republicans will take away a woman’s right to choose and restrict access to birth control” (58 percent rank this very concerning), “Republicans will cut access to health care for 8 million people and let insurance companies refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions” (58 percent) and “Republicans will cut back workplace protections for women, denying equal pay for equal work” (57 percent)….
The top testing message overall emphasizes education, specifically Republicans’ efforts to cut programs for students while giving tax cuts to the wealthy (54 percent very convincing). This message is the strongest argument for coming out to vote in all of the states except Colorado…the message focusing on Republicans’ war on women is the second strongest in all states besides Colorado.
Variations of all these messages are being employed in many of these tough races.
More shocking stuff. I you want to get people who don’t vote to the polls on election day, they must be given a reason to show up. Not rocket science.
The other part of the article that’s most disheartening is that far too many non-voters don’t know how the government works. They may not even understand that Democrats are currently in control and how losing that control will effect the way our government and their lives. For those of us that follow politics this may seem impossible, but it’s true. And from personal knowledge some of these people are well-educated and even work in government.
“We were exploring what would motivate them to turn out to vote,” Lake tells me. “One of the things that came up is that these drop-off voters had no idea that control of the Senate was even up for grabs and were even very confused about who controlled it. These voters are very representative of drop-off voters in a lot of states.”
That so many Americans are unaware of what’s at stake no longer surprises me. So many have dropped out of keeping up with their government, no matter the reason – and they’re numerous.
These voters feel that it makes no difference in their life if they vote. Removing their ignorance of how government operates and reminding them of the importance of their vote is the first threshold that must be crossed. Showing them what’s at stake and that it has a personal effect on their lives is next step in the process of getting these people to the polls on election day.
It would seem key to the Democrats efforts going forward to make sure voters understand how important it is to them, personally, that Democrats are elected in November.
This is not a post trying to make the case that these polls are wrong or fixed, and that things actually looking good for Wendy Davis and the Democrats in Texas. Because that’s impossible to know. But to try and get away from focusing on polls Even if Wendy Davis and the Democrats were to do better in November then the polls says, or even win, the same work must still being done.
There’s only one way Democrats will start winning again in Texas and that’s through sustained work, over the course of years, to change the electorate. Even if Democrats are not successful this election, the important and needed work for future success must continue.
All we can do is keep organizing and keep reaching out to people. The only way we have a chance is to get more people that don’t vote to the polls on election day. And even though hat’s being done right now it won’t show up in any pre-election poll. The only time those results will show up is when the votes are counted.
Whenever things are going right in this respect, this excerpt from a speech Bill Moyers a few years back always re-inspires me, It’s OK if it’s impossible.
But let’s be clear: Even with most Americans on our side, the odds are long. We learned long ago that power and privilege never give up anything without a struggle. Money fights hard, and it fights dirty. Think Rove. The Chamber. The Kochs. We may lose. It all may be impossible. But it’s OK if it’s impossible. Hear the former farmworker and labor organizer Baldemar Velasquez on this. The members of his Farm Labor Organizing Committee are a long way from the world of K Street lobbyists. But they took on the Campbell Soup Company – and won. They took on North Carolina growers – and won, using transnational organizing tacts that helped win Velasquez a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation. And now they’re taking on no less than R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and one of its principal financial sponsors, JPMorgan-Chase. Some people question the wisdom of taking on such powerful interests, but here’s what Velasquez says: “It’s OK if it’s impossible; it’s OK!” Now I’m going to speak to you as organizers. Listen carefully. The object is not to win. That’s not the objective. The object is to do the right and good thing. If you decide not to do anything, because it’s too hard or too impossible, then nothing will be done, and when you’re on your death bed, you’re gonna say, “I wish I had done something. But if you go and do the right thing NOW, and you do it long enough “good things will happen-something’s gonna happen.”[Emphasis added]
The “do something” means to work hard to change things and help people. That is what we will remember on our death bed and will endure after election day. If we keep working hard we can accomplish that, no matter how an election turns out.
Kuff and PDiddie have the breakdown of the latest polls in this race. No poll has Davis in a great position. Again, hard work to change who shows up on election day is the only chance Democrats have of winning in November. And it’s OK if it seems impossible.
President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State counts on pretty much everything going right in a region of the world where pretty much anything the U.S. does always goes wrong.
Our newspapers of record today finally remembered it’s their job to point stuff like that out.
The New York Times, in particular, calls bullshit this morning — albeit without breaking from the classic detached Timesian tonelessness.
Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt and Mark Landler (with contributions from Matt Apuzzo and James Risen) start by pointing out the essential but often overlooked fact that “American intelligence agencies have concluded that [the Islamic State] poses no immediate threat to the United States.”
And then, with the cover of “some officials and terrorism experts,” they share a devastating analysis of all the coverage that has come before:
Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.
You’ve got to love these quotes:
Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, said the public discussion about the ISIS threat has been a “farce,” with “members of the cabinet and top military officers all over the place describing the threat in lurid terms that are not justified.”
“It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic, with claims that the nation is honeycombed with sleeper cells, that operatives are streaming across the border into Texas or that the group will soon be spraying Ebola virus on mass transit systems — all on the basis of no corroborated information,” said Mr. Benjamin, who is now a scholar at Dartmouth College.
He excerpts many several more articles. Overall he highlights that the case hasn’t been made and that there are no good option. He saves the best for last:
But nobody has the understanding of the region, the writing chops, and the moral standing of Andrew J. Bacevich, the Boston University political science professor and former Army colonel who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007. He writes today for Reuters Opinion:
Even if Obama cobbles together a plan to destroy the Islamic State, the problems bedeviling the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East more broadly won’t be going away anytime soon.
Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt. It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists. It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy. It won’t end the Syrian civil war. It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen. It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan. It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan. It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
All the military power in the world won’t solve those problems. Obama knows that. Yet he is allowing himself to be drawn back into the very war that he once correctly denounced as stupid and unnecessary — mostly because he and his advisers don’t know what else to do. Bombing has become his administration’s default option.
Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.
Since there’s no good option it may be best just to not kill more people. I came across this article which asks.
But could the mighty power of United States even entertain the suggestion that it practice pacifism?
Maybe is “the world’s only superpower” quit killing, other’s might quit too?
I echo Chris Hayes’ incredulity, expressed last night, at Barack Obama’s long strange trip: from his rise to political stardom as an opponent of the (second) Iraq invasion, to his devolution as a born-again interventionist, proposing to reinject the U.S. into the very same war he originally opposed.
It looks like the same war because the U.S. enemy in Iraq was Saddam Hussein and his base in the Sunni population. The Shiites and Kurds had nothing but hatred for Saddam. So this was a war on the Sunni. This onslaught continued in the person of the Shiite-dominated, U.S.-backed Iraqi puppet government.
The newest Hitler-of-the-month, the so-called Islamic state or ‘ISIS,’ is nothing but the reemergence of the Sunni under a distinctly less wholesome leadership. We traded Saddam for a group that looks worse than Al Qaeda, from the standpoint of non-Sunni minorities in Iraq, and possibly for the U.S. too, eventually.
Are we’re calling this Iraq War III? I don’t think US involvement – more bombing – is going to make things better. Sometimes, as much as we may want to, there’s just nothing we can do to make things better. And more violence is likely to make things worse.
“We couldn’t be more disappointed in the President’s decision to postpone an executive order to provide immigration relief for our families and friends. The Latino community refuses to be a political pawn between the two parties. This is personal. We as Latinos are rising above our political differences to send a clear message this November: We’re united, and we vote — for ourselves and for those who can’t.”
That is spot on! The only way this will change is if the Latino community comes out to vote, and we get different politicians as a result.
As Simon Maloy says, the problem for Democrats in 2014—the problem, maybe, for Republicans in the long term—was that this year’s battlegrounds featured almost no crucial Latino voters. Colorado Sen. Mark Udall needs Latino votes to win again. (In 2008, Udall won easily as he took 63 percent of the Latino vote.) And Udall keeps getting to Obama’s left on this. If anyone can split the difference, and convince Latinos that they should take it out on Republicans if they don’t like deportations, I guess it’d be him.
Another problem, less often discussed, is that Latino turnout always, always lags turnout from other ethnic groups. You could see that last month in Arizona, where the safe, blue, majority Latino 8th district saw only around 25,000 voters turn out in a competitive primary between Latino candidates. To the south, in the more evenly divided 2nd district, more than 58,000 voters turned out for a less competitive Republican primary. The structural reasons for acting in 2014 were simply not comparable to the reasons for acting before a presidential election.
The reason Obama and other politicians continue to put off an immigration decision is because they feel they can and must. Obviously they’re more afraid of the consequences of acting, as opposed to not acting. They’re likely being told the Latino community doesn’t vote in high enough numbers, and that making this decision will only hurt them in November.
But that’s why what Voto Latino’s response is so important. Change won’t happen until the Latino community rises above these disappointing decisions and shows up to vote, in spite of not having their needs met. Showing up in bigger numbers on election day and electing candidates that are sympathetic to these issues will bring progress. It is the only way to get the needed reform. Staying home on election day and allowing more tea party Republicans into office, will only make things worse and further delay action.
It’s the same way on the economic front, especially in Texas. There are few, if any politicians, in this state that will talk about any real solutions that will work for most Texans. Everyone wants to talk about the fact that we need education, roads, water, health care, etc.., but few will talk about the fact that we need a fair tax system to pay for our needs. The only way we can get there is to elect more people who are sympathetic to those issues.
Staying home on election day and allowing a narrow slice of right wing extremists to keep inordinate control over our government is hurting Texas and our nation. When politicians are not delivering on their promises it makes voters mad, feel disenfranchised, and they don’t want to vote. But that’s exactly when we must show up. Saying home leads to even worse outcomes.
Sen. Wendy Davis, in her memoir due out next week, discloses the most personal of stories preceding her nationally marked fight against tighter abortion restrictions: a decision she and her then-husband made 17 years ago to end a much-wanted pregnancy.The book, “Forgetting to Be Afraid,” goes on sale to the general public Tuesday. Copies will be available Monday at a Fort Worth book signing by Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Davis, in a copy of the book obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, wrote that her unborn third daughter had an acute brain abnormality. She said doctors told her the syndrome would cause the baby to suffer and likely was incompatible with life.
The situations Wendy Davis describes in her book happen to women, and families, every day. They’re heartbreaking, and nobody ever wants to be faced with these kinds of decisions when expecting a child.
This puts into context why she filibustered the women’s health bill last year. I’m guessing that at least part of her reason for filibustering was to make sure that women can make their own choice when faced with a decision like this. There are no easy answers or choices, which brings us to the point: Since this isn’t an easy choice, who should get to make it? A woman and her family, in consultation with her doctor? Or the state?
I trust that folks who had been complaining that Davis hadn’t spoken enough about abortion during her campaign will give that a rest now. Everyone agrees that this is A Very Big Deal, but I doubt anyone knows how it will play out politically. Just as we’d never had a President announce support for same sex marriage until 2012, I can’t offhand think of a similar statement of this magnitude in a high-profile election. Certainly, nothing like this that wasn’t considered to be shameful, if not career-ending, from infidelity to pot-smoking to divorce to mental illness and so on and so forth. Oh, there will be people who will believe this to be shameful, but I doubt any of them were the least bit sympathetic to Davis in the first place. It will be interesting to see if the troglodyte brigade – Erick Erickson and the like – manages to keep a lid on their baser impulses or not. I wouldn’t hold my breath on it, but you never know. As for this election, I’d say the conventional wisdom is as follows, from that Express News story:
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said he doesn’t expect the revelation to lose any votes for Davis, since he said it’s a relative small proportion of voters who oppose abortion in cases of severe fetal abnormality.
“The group that will be most bothered by her having an abortion of a baby with a severe fetal abnormality is a group that wasn’t going to vote for her anyway,” he said.
“The positive side of it for her is it humanizes her, and also makes it a little tricky for opponents to attack her on the abortion issue because now, it not only is a political issue for her, but it’s a personal issue,” Jones said.
There’s no doubt this humanizes her and makes the issue about real people and their lives. It’s impossible to say what effect this will have on the campaign going forward. It shows that you never can tell how many many women and their families have had–and will have–to deal with situations like this. If they elect Wendy Davis, they will have someone in the the Governor’s Mansion who, at least, can empathize with them.
Libby Shaw now posting at Daily Kos is both shocked and pleased that the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board spanked Greg Abbott hard for his disingenuous and exaggerated claims about voter fraud in Texas. Texas: “Voter Fraud? What Fraud?”
In a state with a rapidly growing population and the mounting set of challenges associated with that growth, Texas Leftist can’t even believe how much money Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and other TEA-publicans are leaving behind in their refusal to expand Medicaid. Trust me, you won’t believe it either.
Last week’s ruling from an Austin judge on the state’s public school finance system should bring Texans to red alert.
It’s but the latest in a long line of court rulings on this issue dating back at least 27 years and will surely be reviewed extensively by the state Supreme Court. But the findings from state District Judge John Dietz cross lines never crossed before.
For the first time in this long legal history, Dietz would direct the state to put more money into education.
The current system, adopted by the Legislature in 2006, has structural flaws, Dietz says, and lawmakers have failed to provide schools the funding they need to meet state-set goals.
Supreme Court rulings since the late 1980s have ordered the state to revise school finance plans, at first because the systems in place did not put property-poor school districts on substantially equal footing with property-wealthy districts.
In 2005, the court required changes because, as conditions evolved, the system effectively imposed an unconstitutional state property tax.
Dietz says the state’s system today fails on both of those constitutional requirements.
No one in their right mind believes that if Abbott, Patrick and the same old GOP is reelected that any of this will change. Changing who runs this state is the only way anything positive will change for public education in Texas any time soon.
The GOP is content to wait for a Supreme Court ruling and at least another legislative session to go by, without acting on this issue. If Davis and Van de Putte and Democrats like John Bucy and Chris Osborn are elected too, then we can get this fixed much sooner.
One local race that isn’t getting much attention, but may bear watching, is the race in Texas House District 136. It’s between Democratic challenger John Bucy and GOP incumbent Tony Dale. This is the friendliest house district for Democrats in Williamson County.
Bucy has been running and organizing for over a year and boasts an impressive number of doors knocked thus far – more than 41,000. That’s an impressive number considering that in 2012 around 60,000 people voted in district 136. In 2014, a mid-term election, turnout’s likely to be lower. And if Bucy can turn out a fair amount of those whose doors have been knocked on this could be a close race.
And it appears Dale may have figured that out too. This week it came to light that Dale’s been lying about Bucy. And from Bucy’s press release on the issue, it appears Dale continued to spread the lie even though he knew it was false.
The John Bucy Campaign is shocked and appalled that the current state representative is knowingly lying to his constituents to score political points, and the voters deserve better.
Two weeks ago, the Tony Dale campaign falsely accused John Bucy of having $160,000 in unpaid tax liens for over the past four years. But John Bucy has never had any tax liens placed against him, and he does not owe over $160,000 in back taxes, as falsely accused.
For the past two weeks, Tony Dale continued to push that lie; and for the past two weeks, John Bucy has chosen to take the high road and continue to focus on the issues that matter to the voters.
But John was deeply bothered to see Tony Dale take this lie to the next level today, and release these unfounded claims in a press release.
The Williamson County Democratic Party chair, on behalf of the Bucy Campaign, called on multiple occasions to speak with Tony Dale directly, in order to clear up these false accusations. Tony Dale never took the time to respond. Instead, he eventually had his hired consultant, Corbin Casteel, contact her. She informed him that this was the wrong John Bucy, and that John H. Bucy III, candidate for state representative, has never lived at the address attached to the lien.
Since the Dale campaign knew for over a week that this was not the same John Bucy, there is NO EXCUSE to use this information to mislead the voters, as he did in a press release today.
This is the dirtiest of dirty politics.
When a candidate knowingly spreads lie about another candidate that legitimizes the other candidate. If Dale didn’t see Bucy as a legitimate threat tot his reelection, he wouldn’t go forward with such an egregiously false attack. Maybe that’s just “SOP” for the Wilco GOP.
This is a three person race, there’s a Libertarian running as well. And considering the Libertarian candidate got 6% of the vote in 2012. This was a new district in 2012 so there’s no performance data from a mid-term election in this district. Bucy is definitely putting in the work needed to make it a race. And if their turnout operation is a good as their organizing has been so far, they may just be able to pull this off.