Over two million Texas voters from the 2008 Democratic primary — and eight million who were registered to vote in 2012′s general election — have not shown up to cast a ballot. Texas is NOT a conservative state; it’s a non-voting state. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the details on what it will take for Texas to turn blue, and the numbers don’t offer much encouragement.
“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” he responded, as quoted by CNNMoney. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
How’s that? Well, it’s not democracy. It’s plutocracy.
Krugman has three tales of problems plutocrats are facing, Faking it
What these stories have in common is that they show how much of what passes for genuine expression of public concern is really just a bought and paid-for (or, in the case of The Can, not sufficiently paid-for) front for plutocratic priorities.
Maybe they should read this.
[H]umanity is experiencing a turning point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time, we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity.‚
Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “Thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.
“I don’t remember exactly, [we talked about] probably just his version, but I also know it was followed up with witnesses and so forth,” Gattis said. “I think if I got a report from an individual and backed up from other people who were involved in that, I don’t know that reading a document would have been any different.”
Judge Gattis also told KXAN he was unsure if he ever read a second document that might have also proven valuable in helping decide if Stofle, a long-time Georgetown Police officer, was the most qualified person for the constable job. The 2009 survey from a state police association paints an unflattering picture of the Georgetown department’s leadership at the time when Stofle was assistant chief.
Gattis did say Stofle brought up both issues with him and the four County Commissioners during the job interview, and they were thoroughly discussed. The panel unanimously appointed him to the Precinct Three post in March 2013. Stofle has held the Constable job for 10 months, essentially in an interim role. He is running in the upcoming Republican primary hoping to win voters’ approval to make the job his by electoral process.
It looks like Stofle – who was then the Asst. Chief of Police in Georgetown – didn’t want his neighbor, who was likely driving drunk with her 7 year old child, being charged with DWI after leaving his wife’s birthday party. Although he denies it. It comes down to his word, over that of the DPS officer in the report. The commissioners obviously took him at this word. Maybe acting like your above the law isn’t a disqualifier for the job. As long as you’re in the right political party and have the right stands on the issues.
Braving the chill and drizzle, a nearly 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair rolls into the Texas Department of Public Safety building on U.S. 290 on a recent morning, her stiff upper lip softened only by the presence of an oxygen tube.
She’s got her favorite cartoon character, the resilient Tigger, on her sweatshirt, two daughters by her side, and a fat brown envelope that should settle things, once and for all.
They say the third time is the charm. For Laura Troth, it better be.
She doesn’t know how many more times she can get her daughters to wheel her into the DPS office so she can get a state identification card that would allow her to comply with the newly implemented voter ID law.
Both times she tried, she was told there was something else, another document, another piece of proof she needed to convince the clerks that she’s the woman pictured in her expired Texas driver’s license.
“I just don’t understand why they’re trying to keep me from voting,” says Troth, a former licensed vocational nurse who considers herself an independent. “To me, they’re taking my rights away.”[Emphasis added]
The feisty mother of seven – grandmother and great-grandmother to many more – doesn’t take kindly to such things. Her ordeal started last year, when Troth says she was turned away from her voting precinct because she had only her voter registration card, not a photo ID.
Determined to vote, Troth says she had a friend of the family drive her to the DPS office that day to get a Texas ID. She presented the woman at the front desk with various forms of identification – her old driver license, her Social Security and Medicare cards – but was told she needed her birth certificate.
The woman was short and rude, Troth says: “I was old and she was disrespectful.”
Barely existent fraud
The Texas Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, decided to protect the citizens of Texas from barely existent voter fraud by requiring everybody to show photo ID before voting. An investigation by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott into the “epidemic” of voter fraud found little: 26 cases to prosecute, two-thirds involving technical violations, and none that would have been affected by voter ID requirements.
There are many people just like this, who are being unnecessarily burdened by this unnecessary law. There is was no in-person voter fraud on election day. To see even how much more inane the law is check this out. After being denied twice at the DPS office Troth called her elected official.
“I was mad as hell,” Troth says. She got on the phone, calling DPS, Gov. Rick Perry, and finally, state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston. She gave him an earful about the wrongheadedness of a law that sets up roadblocks for older folks to vote. Once the veteran Democrat explained he’d voted against voter ID, he encouraged Troth to vote by mail. No photo ID is required for that form of voting. “Answer me this,” Troth told me, “If you have to have all this proof to vote in person, why can anybody just vote by mail?” I didn’t have a good answer.
The reason he had no good answer for her is because there isn’t a good answer for that. And the worst part is that where voter fraud does exist it’s with mail-in ballots. But it’s working great at setting up a roadblock for certain constituencies, which tend to vote more for Democrats. And in that regard it’s working as designed.
Public opinion data from the October 2013 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll and the 2010 exit polls indicate that Republicans may in fact be pursuing a strategy whose short-term success is all but assured. Abbott’s comments suggest not only a familiar appeal to the conservative GOP primary electorate but, perhaps more importantly, decisions by GOP candidates to focus their appeals on Anglo voters who are voting in overwhelming numbers for the Republican Party — and thinking about issues related to immigration and border security while they do it.
Immigration and border security, when combined, consistently rate as the top problem facing the state, according to registered voters in our UT/TT polls. Overall, 26 percent of respondents said that immigration/border security was the top problem facing Texas in October 2013. In light of these data, the amount of time that the lieutenant governor candidates have spent on immigration, and Abbott’s detailed policy proposal to spend $300 million to secure the border, suggests that these candidates know what they’re doing and who they’re speaking to — and it’s not the current foundation of the emerging Hispanic majority. Compared to the quarter of Texans who think that immigration and border security are the top issue, a third of white Texans and almost half of white Republicans (46 percent) hold that opinion. By this measure, it’s not that the GOP’s candidates, especially at this point in the process, are talking about immigration too much — it’s that they really can’t talk about it enough.
In the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to the exit polls, Hispanics accounted for only 17 percent of the electorate. Anglos, on the other hand, made up 67 percent of an electorate that gave Abbott 64 percent of the vote, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst 62 percent, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson 62 percent and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples 61 percent. All those jaw-dropping presentations about long-term growth notwithstanding, this Election Day demographic breakdown is unlikely to change dramatically in the near future. Republican hopefuls appear perfectly willing to focus on the voters in the here and now — and take care of tomorrow’s challenges when they become manifest.
In other words their has been no downside at the ballot box for the Texas GOP for using such dehumanizing rhetoric on immigration. Despite GOP state Rep. Jason Villalba’s plea for it to stop, it’s likely to continue.
“Most disconcerting to me was the tenor of your remarks,” he wrote. “I heard fellow human beings referred to dismissively as ‘illegals.’ I heard that we must ‘stop the invasion,’ comparing those seeking the promise of our great country with war-mongering foreign adversaries. I heard statistics about crime committed by the undocumented, but heard nothing of the economic benefits recognized by the state’s agriculture, oil and gas and construction industries.”
But there’s another — and perhaps more significant — reason House Republicans are balking at reform: More than 60 percent of House GOP members (143 of 232) represent congressional districts where Latinos make up less than 10 percent of the population.
In addition, Republicans don’t really face serious Democratic opposition in 80 percent of the districts (71 of 89) with more than 10 percent of Latinos, meaning their biggest threat to re-election comes from an intra-party primary. As a result, more than nine in 10 of House Republicans will be nearly unfazed by any possible pro-immigration-reform backlash heading into the November election.
“[House] Republicans don’t have to worry about the Latino electorate,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst and senior fellow at the University of Southern California. “They don’t have to listen to them very much.”
In a column by the Statesman’s Ken Herman last week, three “unnamed” Republican sources who have been in state government for a collective 47 years admitted to him that “a generation of Republican rule” has left Texas in “kind of a mess.” Herman identified their concerns: chronically underfunded schools; crippling water shortages; an inadequate transportation system; and other missed opportunities. Some of the worst actions taken by state leaders were the decimation of the public health system, including drastic reductions in the Medicaid and CHIP programs in 2003. Another really bad decision was the target revenue system for public schools, which choked school budgets across the state. Yet another fateful decision was Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid; had he done so, Texas’s health institutions could be on the cutting edge of modern medicine, instead of struggling to make ends meet. A decade later, here we are, still last in the country in the number of people without health insurance, still stuck in court trying to develop an equitable school finance system. All of this is happening when Texas is enjoying boom times that should encourage state leaders to address the state’s infrastructure needs, thanks to the bounty of the Eagle Ford shale, but there is no will to put the oil revenue to work by enhancing our transportation network, including oil-field roads that get heavy traffic. Perry is responsible for many of the failures, but the state’s business community has only recently awakened to the reality that without infrastructure improvements — in roads and bridges, in the generation of electricity, and in the effort to expand water supplies — commerce in the state may grind to a halt. Texans do a lot of bragging about the number of people and businesses that are relocating here, but we don’t have the ability to provide for their needs.
This is going to sound stupid but my response to that is – Duh! Now that Eye On Williamson is back up and running feel free to search the archives for some variation of that here. Anyone who isn’t aware of that situation in Texas has not been paying attention. Burka ends with this.
And this is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that the political culture of the state took a wrong turn in 2010 or so — you can circle the date Perry first hinted about secession — and it has never regained its equilibrium. Call it the tea party, call it state’s rights, call it whatever you want, but lawmakers and voters lost interest in the normal functions of state government. Instead, they veered off into a feeding frenzy against all things Barack Obama. Good government — that is, the things that state government was supposed to be doing — dropped off the radar screen. And Texas politicians lined up for a mad dash to the right, as far to the right as they could get, and it proved to be very far indeed.
The proper metaphor might be that the Texas GOP, with Perry at the wheel, took the express lane to Crazy Town and the rest of Texas was along for the ride.
Yes, there are oil wells sprouting up all over Texas that are bringing in tax money. Along with that we’re also getting earthquakes, sinkholes, health issues, and torn up roads. And that money is being hoarded and while needs are neglected. Much of the “good” economic spoils in Texas have gone to the top. Poor, working and middle class Texas are being left behind. The things that can help lift us up – education, health care, infrastructure jobs, etc.. – are being privatized and sacrificed for ideology.
A familiar refrain at EOW is, we should not expect people who think government is the problem, to use government to find solutions. Those who currently run our government are incapable of doing what’s needed. The sad part, thus far in the 2014 campaign season, is there hasn’t been a stronger attack from Democrats. Democrats are still too afraid to say that there a certain things government does well, and we must pay for them. We need roads and we’re going to have to raise taxes to pay for them. Water infrastructure costs money. We’re being offered a really good deal from the federal government to insure over 1 million Texans and we will take it. A good education is the best investment we can make in our future and we are willing to pay for it.
If also must be made know why we’ve come to this point. All of these issues are at a crisis point because of 12 years of complete GOP control of Texas government. With that control came neglect of issues central to keeping poor, working and middle class Texans afloat. At the same time the issues of corporations, big business, and the wealthy have been front and center. The people of Texas want someone to offer an alternative to the craziness of GOP control. Texans need and want a choice for new leadership in November.
The longer we wait to fix these issue the more expensive it will be. It may only be kind of a mess right now. But if this continues, it’s going to be a huge mess.
“This creeping corruption resembles third world country practices that erode the social fabric of our communities and destroy Texans’ trust and confidence in government,” Abbott said.
Comparing South Texas to a third world country isn’t likely to endear the region and those who live their to Abbott or his party. The usefulness of his comments to the Texas GOP shows in the lack of support he’s getting from fellow party members. (Where’s George P. when you need him?) And, hopefully Texans know, that he’s been the head law enforcement office for 12 years, while this has been going on.
Instead of denigrating and shaming South Texas he should have a plan to move the region forward instead of militarizing it. While no one likes political corruption, South Texas is far from the only place where it exists, (see New Jersey for one example).
I think the more pertinent part to discuss regarding Abbott’s statement is not what he said, but why he said it and who he was talking to when he said it. Referring the the region in such a manner, is a right wing attempt to dehumanize the border and immigration issue. Rep. Terry Canales said it best.
In general, a “Third World Country” is a term used to portray a nation, state or region that is poor, not technologically-advanced, with high rates of diseases, illiteracy, lack of human rights, unclean water, starvation, or unstable or dictatorial governments. Examples of a “Third World Country” include Lybia, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Cuba.
This most recent firestorm in the 2014 Texas gubernatorial race, which includes Abbott and Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth, exploded after Abbott’s descriptions of the Texas border region, which stretches from El Paso to Brownsville.
Speaking from Dallas on Tuesday, February 4, Abbott also singled out the elected leadership and people of the Texas border region and neighboring Mexico, which is the largest trading partner with Texas, as being dishonest.
“This creeping corruption resembles third-world county practices that erode the social fabric of our communities,” Abbott said.
“What kind of Texas leader tells the whole world that the most important state in America has “Third-World” conditions, which sends the extremely damaging message that Texans are uneducated, unskilled, controlled by drug lords and other thugs, and served by incompetent local and county governments?” Canales asked. “It shows how much contempt that Greg Abbott has for millions of his fellow citizens. With so-called friends like Greg Abbott, who needs enemies?”[Emphasis Added]
The kind of leader that’s trying to stir up his right wing base. Unfortunately this is all Abbott and the GOP are about. South Texas needs more then just a plan for more cops on the beat. A real plan will cost more then $3o0 million and the promise of no new taxes.
It’s been quite a while since Eye On Williamson has been back up and running. The temporary site eyeonwilliamson.wordpress.com, can still be accessed for previous posts while this site was no operating.
Here’s this week’s TPA blog round up.
The Texas Progressive Alliance is still learning the rules of team figure skating as it brings you this week’s roundup.
This week, House Republican leadership finally announced that the chances for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are “in serious jeopardy.” But thanks to the great people at Houston Matters, Texas Leftist was able to discover that there was never a real chance to pass it in the first place. The only way it’s going to happen is if Democrats take control the House and the Senate.
The news of the week was Wendy Davis coming out in favor of open carry, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs fears that might be a fatal error.
Enter Wendy Davis. As a member of the Fort Worth City Council, she was responsible for adding sexual orientation to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. And she promoted a ban on the gun show loophole, which allows sale of firearms without a background check.
Democrats have seized on missteps by Republican front-runner Greg Abbott as evidence of a GOP “war on women.” Abbott thanked a supporter for a Twitter message that called her “retard Barbie,” and his top political adviser sent out a link asserting that Davis is “too stupid to be governor.”
That pretty much does it: guns, gays and girls.
Still, some things have changed. There are five women governors, four of them Republicans. As for gay rights, polls suggest growing support among Texans — especially young Texans. Guns, however, could be a problem.
There’s a sense that if the GOP tries to run on the same tired themes of hating the federal government and making absolutely no effort to help poor, working, and middle class Texans – all the while continuing to coddle the wealthy, big business, and corporations with their cronyism – that it might not work out well for them this time.
Sooner or later the people of Texas will demand change. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather then later. Hopefully the Democrats in Texas will run a campaign to fix what the GOP has been neglecting for two decades now – education, infrastructure, and inequality.