The Texas Progressive Alliance sure hopes that Harris County has a disaster recovery plan for the loss of its voting machines as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.
Off the Kuff had three more interviews this week, with State Reps. Armando Walle, Ellen Cohen, and Kristi Thibaut.
Meet Jeff “The Trucker” Evans, an unemployed 49-year-old whose unemployment benefits were restored by Congressional Democrats after a Republican filibuster caused the payments to temporarily cease. Eye On Williamson explains how misdirected Tea Party anger causes Jeff the Trucker to vote against his economic best interest.
John Cornyn, known as a rapist enabler, decides to waffle on 14th amendment to the constitution. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is certain that Cornyn doesn’t care about civil rights – just his fat a**.
Over at TexasKaos, lightseeker summaries the latest scandals at TYC. The more things change over there, the more they remain the same, sadly…. Check it out : Texas Youth Commission Abuses Make the News Again.
Neil at Texas Liberal attended press conferences held by both Houston Votes and by a local so-called Tea Party group, as a possible pattern of harassment and intimidation against likely Democratic voters in Harris County may be at work. Also, Neil announced that he will now also be blogging at The Daily Hurricane as well as at Texas Liberal. Neil is also a featured politics reader-blogger at the Houston Chronicle.
WhosPlayin reports that the local school district sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office requesting exemption from release on the grounds that some personal expenses on district credit cards were too embarrassing to release.
The warehouse where election machines are stored erupted in flames last Friday morning, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had the early line on what it means for Houston and the surrounding area, which represent 15% of the statewide vote tally. Coupled with the histrionics of Leo Vasquez vis-a-vis Houston Votes, it’s going to be a real lively election season (and that’s before a single race gets mentioned).
Williamson County Democratic Party chair Greg Windham holds a peculiar view of voters’ perception of the party he was elected to lead.
Windham said Moving Wilco Forward and Annie’s (List) play into anti-Democratic stereotypes, making Williamson County residents and other Texans “afraid of Democrats.”
“They [voters] think we are here to kiss their men, kill their babies and take their guns,” Windham said.
In an interview with Round Rock Leader editor Brad Stutzman, Windham echoed derisive stereotypes that Republicans frequently use to bash Democrats. During his brief tenure as the head of the local party, these sentiments have sparked conflict with a number of precinct chairs on the party’s executive committee.
Stutzman provides a balanced summary of the disagreement between Windham and the executive committee members who voted to spend about half their cash to fund a voter registration drive conducted by a coordinated campaign representing all local Democratic candidates. However, Windham’s comments quoted in the story reveal that he is fixated on opposing the treasurer of Moving Wilco Forward, the political action committee managing the coordinated campaign.
Robert Jones is a Democratic political consultant with a remarkable track record of success, serving as the political director for Annie’s List, a statewide “organization dedicated to electing progressive women to office.” Jones formed Moving Wilco Forward in December 2008 with the express purpose of electing all the Democratic candidates in Williamson county.
In voting to move $5,000 over to Moving Wilco Forward, the majority of executive committee members expressed greater confidence in the organization’s ability to execute the voter registration program than Windham.
Windham said he believes volunteers should use “elbow grease,” going door-to-door to register voters.
Hard work is part of the plan, and the coordinated campaign will do a significant amount of door-to-door canvassing; however, the coordinated campaign will also be using mail pieces and targeting new residents of Williamson county, many of whom may have neglected to move their voter registration. Take the average street in your average neighborhood, for example. Perhaps 1 in 20 homes on that street will have moved in the past year. “Elbow grease” is wasted knocking on the other 19 doors.
Windham may not have been aware of this, which may explain why he was in a very small minority voting against the proposal. After all, Windham has only run one political campaign, a failed bid for County Commissioner in 2008.
After the executive committee voted to write the check to Moving Wilco Forward, Windham fired off an antagonistic email to a large number of local Democrats.
It would be responsible for wasteful spenders to be eradicated in order to combat the stereotypes that prevent us from winning elections. We are living in an age of consequences and it would be refreshing for some people to wake up and realize it.
One is led to wonder how to “eradicate” members of the executive committee who disagree with him. The executive committee believes the best chance for success in November is with an organization that has the experience and tools to register more voters. They believe that a Moving Wilco Forward-led coordinated campaign will make a much better case than Windham that the Democratic Party better represents the interests of Williamson County’s working families.
The top concerns of voters this election, contrary to what Windham says, are Texas’ highest-in-the-nation electric and home insurance rates, the difficulty in finding a job or getting enough hours to make ends meet, the expense of sending a child to college, the fear of being one illness away from bankruptcy and the strain of toll roads and fuel prices on the family budget.
In ways that directly impact the lives of families in Williamson county, the Democratic Party represents positive change, greater transparency and accountability. All the better ideas for government are Democratic. The Republican party deals in fear, distrust, delay, stagnation and corruption. The Republican party is sorry that BP was asked to pay for the damage caused by their negligence. The Republican party wants to eliminate Social Security and terminate unemployment benefits. The Republican Party wants to give $3 million to each of the richest 120,000 taxpayers.
Local Democratic activists feel a sense of urgency to act now to take back government and use it to defend working families instead of giant corporations like ExxonMobil or BP. Every election that passes without voters hearing our message, more children fail, more homes are foreclosed, more workers become jobless, more jobless become homeless and summers keep getting hotter.
Greg Windham needs to heed his own advice: “We are living in an age of consequences and it would be refreshing for some people to wake up and realize it.” Wake up, Greg. Realize that you’re hurting the very cause you were elected to champion. Either that or step down and allow someone who actually believes that informed voters will side with the Democratic Party.
In a fascinating article about the re-election campaign of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Slate reporter David Weigel touches on the tragic irony of the typical disaffected voter that is working to return the Republican party to the majority in the United States House of Representatives.
In 2008, (voters in the Orlando-area 8th Congressional District) voted for Grayson and the Obama-Biden ticket, narrowly, because of disgust with the Bush administration’s failures. It was tough to find a job then. It’s tougher now.
Republicans are blaming the weak economy on President Obama, Grayson and Congressional Democrats.
It’s a critique that appeals even to voters like Jeff Evans, 49, who was laid off from his trucking job in December 2009. He was receiving unemployment benefits until a Republican filibuster stopped them this summer, leaving him without a revenue stream for weeks. But even though Grayson and his fellow Democrats eventually restored his benefits, Evans isn’t sure he will support Grayson. It would do him more good, he said, and allow him to keep his dignity, if they “let the small businesses create more jobs.”
Meet Jeff the Trucker, a typical unemployed American who despite the direct negative impact that Republicans have wrought — namely a protracted filibuster in the United States Senate that interrupted the meager unemployment benefits that represented his only income — is supporting a Republican Congressional candidate. How can Americans be so easily misled into voting in direct opposition to their economic best interest?
The candidate Jeff the Trucker supports is a Republican with his name on the dictionary, Daniel Webster. In a complete break of reality — one that pretends that the half-billion egg recall, BP oil leak, Wall Street meltdown, sub-prime mortgage lending crisis and Massey’s West Virginia coal mine disaster never occurred — Republicans continue to insist that budget-busting tax breaks and less regulation on business will lead to more employment.
Grayson knows how popular that argument is. The solution: Argue that Republicans have no credibility to make it. He pivots off of one of Webster’s ideas,a proposal to cut the budget to what it was in 2007. Webster suggests that Floridians were perfectly well off when the government spent at that lower level. Grayson prefers to ask whether voters realize that a cut like that would mean lower Social Security payments.
“It’s a stupid idea,” says Grayson. “Nobody has a time machine, OK? The world has changed a little bit since 2007. For one thing, there’re a lot of more people out of work.” Soon he’s on a roll, explaining how $12 trillion of capital disappeared in the “Bush implosion” of 2008. That’s who voters need to blame, he says. Why aren’t they as angry as he is?
“In 18 months, two centuries of work, the collective effort of millions of people, all gone,” says Grayson of the financial crisis. “So now the Republicans want to go back to 2007? It’s a little bit late for that.”
Joe the Trucker needs to wake up to his exploitation by Webster and the Republican Party, that has used the “Tea Party” moniker to replace their discredited brand, misled and exploited its followers who are feeling real pain, some of it caused directly by Republicans themselves. What we are witnessing is the counterattack of the nation’s wealthiest citizens to prevent even the slightest correction to the disastrous course that President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans have led this nation.
Paul Krugman followed up yesterday’s blockbuster New York Times op-ed with a blog post today defending the fact that over the next decade, the GOP proposal to extend all Bush tax cuts, not just those going to the middle class as President Obama suggests, will line the pockets of the richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers with $3M each.
What’s at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years.
Krugman points out that the TPC estimates that most of the money will end up in the pockets of the rich.
Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he’s going to get the majority of that group’s tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few — the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year — would be $3 million over the course of the next decade.
Your choice in November is between a party that will responsibly navigate the country out of the financial wilderness created by decades of voodoo economics, and one that wants to open the doors of the United States Treasury to be looted by the wealthiest members of our society. Vote Democratic to continue down the path to recovery, or return to the policies of the Republican Party that led us into this mess.