Tag Archives: Democrats

O’Malley Challenges Democrats’ Lack of Open Debate

It’s about time someone did! Some of us who criticize the policy pronouncements of Hillary Clinton, particularly on Latin America and Central American children, are being smacked around in the name of some weird need for a coronation without debate.

If we’re really Democrats, then we should have real debates.

Here’s a video from Dem candidate Martin O’Malley at this weekend’s DNC meeting that needs to be viewed by Democratic voters.

Or, Why Wendy, Leticia, and Dems Should Have Opposed the Surge

Lisa Falkenberg at the Chron tells us about the trouble the press is having at getting real figures from DPS and the Texas Government about the “success” of the Rick Perry’s (and now Greg Abbott’s) DPS/National Guard border surge. In my opinion, it’s always been a political sham with racist, anti-Latino undertones.

You will recall that it was a great photo op for Republicans, which left Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte with little (political) choice but to support the DPS part of the surge, while Davis also supported immediate deportation of children escaping violence and poverty. Obviously, this blog and many activists weren’t happy about it. And while the DNC goes over its autopsy of 2014, one would hope that political decisions such as Dems supporting Rick Perry’s idiotic ideas would be mentioned.

Republicans have decided to continue throwing money at their border sideshow, while negatively affecting National Guard troops who have real jobs and families to worry about, and DPS agents who have better things to do than to militarize the border.

Nothing is more embarrassing than backing a Rick Perry idea only to have it fall flat on its face, as expected by many Dems.

Put this in the Democratic Playbook chapter on What Not To Do.



Did You Sense Sadism in Their Tweets?

So, all of the pro-migrant groups (good and bad) have told me that the right-wing anti-immigrant federal judge’s temporary injunction on President Obama’s immigration executive order will be overturned or overruled or something. We shall see.

abbott-el-diablitoThat all of this money is being wasted by Republicans to stop an executive order that only does so much in regards to reform says a lot about these bigots. What was more disturbing were the celebratory tweets by Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Ted Cruz in which they declare victory against “executive amnesty.” Given their past vitriol, I’d guess they mean Obama AND Latinos (immigrants).

I think I sense a little sadism in their tweets.

I’ve seen some local groups trying to talk right-wing Republicans into “saving” HB1403 (in-state tuition). Pretty soon, some will be begging to stop Greg Abbott’s continued militarization of the border. Perhaps there will be some groveling to right-wingers to stop any “sanctuary city” legislation. Frankly, the Republicans are set in their ways–they’re bigots and are set on putting on an anti-immigrant sideshow.

So, are we done playing that fake game of “bipartisanship”? Because there’s no sense in our side looking like masochists when the other side continues to perfect their ability to inflict pain on the defenseless.

What’s Next?

While the blame game continues between campaigns, organizations, and Democratic volunteers who gave a huge part of their lives to the 2014 effort, the Republicans are already brewing up a storm for the 2015 Texas legislative session. Hopefully, everyone will release some steam and then move on to what is next.

With the Texas Lege session looming, we may be headed toward a dark period in Texas.

Will Republicans go full-on-crazy by making budgets cuts that will leave state services for the poor, the elderly, children, college students, and most state services underfunded beyond belief? Will Dan Patrick go full-on-racist (more than usual) and make Arizona’s SB1070 look like no big deal? Will the GOP leave Medicaid for the Elderly even worse than it is, thus, lowering nursing home quality, bed availability, and leaving thousands homeless? Well, Democrats better start thinking about these issues before we get into 2016 or 2018, or whenever the “data” tells us we will finally win with the same effort as in the past.

The problem is, these issues are usually left to nonprofits and low-funded lobbying and organizing groups. While some legislators will carry the weight when we are on the defensive, we need some sort of apparatus to keep people and activists informed. And that also can effectively communicate with the constituencies.

There is no doubt that constituencies best represented by the Democrats will be on the defensive during those 140 days of the legislature. What kind of communications and message plan will be in place to keep people informed about what the Republicans are attempting? What kind of defense plan against the worse the Republicans will offer will be in place to make the peoples’ voices heard at the Texas Capitol?

Nothing looks better to constituencies who are attacked than politicians who defend and fight back against the attacker. It might even look good to those who didn’t show up to vote, as well as those who usually wouldn’t have voted, anyway. When it comes to the majority of Latinos, much like we remember 2 million deportations, thousands of warehoused immigrants, and thousands of Central American kids escaping violence being vilified, we’ll remember our defenders in November.

That said, today some of our Democratic state legislators filed their initial bills for the 2015 session:

From State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia:

  • SB 141 would create a voter education program for high school seniors and provide an opportunity for them to register to vote.
  • SB 142 would allow potential volunteer deputy registrars to receive online training.
  • SB 143 would help those voters whose voter registration has been rejected by specifically notifying them of the errors on their registration forms.

From Trey Martinez Fischer:

  • HB 41, HB 42, HB 174, HJR 26 – Minimum Wage – Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; establish a living wage policy for those doing business with the state.
  • HB 116 – Healthcare – Expand Medicaid eligibility and bring $90 Billion dollars to our state to create jobs and alleviate additional tax burdens on property tax payers and local governments
  • HB 124 – Education – Full-day, universal prekindergarten for every Texas 4 year old
  •  HB 111 – Voting – Same day voter registration
  • HB 145 – Government Reform – Require the Legislature to pass a budget, school finance legislation, and pending sunset bills before the 100th day of the legislative session, placing Texas’ priorities first and political agendas last.

From State Rep. Rafael Anchia, Garnet Coleman, and State Senators Rodriguez and Hinojosa:

  • HB 130 – Legislation to authorize same-sex marriage.
  • HJR 34 – Constitutional Amendment to repeal same-sex marriage ban.
  • SJR 13 and SB 98 – The same types of legislation, above.

Those are just a few of the good ones. While the bad ones haven’t all been filed, I did see a few filed by Republicans:

HB209 by right-wing-nut Stickland is the first attack on the Texas DREAM Act (in-state tuition for immigrant kids). The bill strikes the three-year residency requirement for non-citizens to achieve Texas residency status, thus, qualifying for in-state tuition.

HB 183 and HB 88 make the very flawed employee verification program (E-Verify) mandatory for state agencies and state contractors, respectively. SB 54 targets the poor on TANF benefits with drug testing. There’s even one that allows counties to build tent-jails like Joe Arpaio in Arizona.

This is just to name a few, but something tells me this is something we’ll need to keep monitoring.

I’m just trying to say that the work that needs to be done for 2016 starts with this coming legislative session.

Texpatriate has a lot more on bills.


Texas Republicans Declare War on Central American Kids

Rick Perry and his lot have been funneling money to the DPS for “border” purposes for a few years now. Never has the effectiveness of this tax money ever been questioned or even measured, but it has made for great political theater for the Republicans–and political ads filmed on something that looks like the border.

Now, Rick Perry and the Republicans have declared war on Central American kids who have been escaping their home countries for a safer locale. At the same time the Republicans call it a humanitarian crisis (which it is), they’re also doing their best to criminalize these kids who are escaping cartels, poverty, and even government threats.

Unfortunately, this influx of taxpayer cash to the DPS will not get a debate or a vote in a special session of the Texas Lege, as Dan Patrick had requested. Frankly, I was looking forward to film of right-wingers talking about Latinos, in general, not to mention diseases and made-up stories whose only purpose is creating fear. Of course, I expect Dan Patrick and other Republicans to make something up as they go.

The Democratic response thus far?

“What is needed are not more “boots on the ground” or any other euphemisms for the militarization that both impacts border residents’ daily lives and is inadequate to deal with the specific issue at hand,” state Sen. José Rodriguez, D-El Paso, said in a statement last week in response to Abbott’s request.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte added: “Washington must tackle the root causes of this crisis: weak governments, entrenched poverty and the growing power of violent criminal actors in Central America. Texans have a long tradition of looking after our neighbors in times of need. These too are children of God. State and federal government should follow suit, and partner with our faith-based organizations, nonprofits, food banks, and health providers to help these children.”

I wholeheartedly agree with both senators, but as I mentioned to a Facebook friend the other day, the only way to tackle root causes is for Washington to stop meddling in other countries’ affairs-political and economic. The influx of kids mostly comes from El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala; all countries whose governments are or have historically been supported by the U.S. because they elected whom the U.S. wanted (or placed in power by coup), as our friends at Latino Rebels remind us. The Central American Free Trade Agreement and meddling in these countries’ elections has certainly taken its toll to the point where cash-rich criminal enterprises easily yield power. And let’s not forget that some of these right-wing governments are quite oppressive, as well, particularly toward the poor. What do you think is the socioeconomic status of the kids coming over? So, if these governments are weak, we can definitely point to US Latin American policy as a root cause.

As things stand, there is a crisis and it’s growing. With 90,000 kids expected to come over and be apprehended by the end of 2014, facilities and manpower are already busting at the seams. As we heard recently, the Border Patrol was complaining about doing diaper duty and babysitting. If only the DPS dollars were for humanitarian aid, rather than a weak attempt at border militarization. Because all of this just seems to be another dose of Republican theater–$40 million worth of bad theater.

The Texas Civil Rights Project released this statement:

TCRP Director Jim Harrington today condemned Gov. Perry’s “typical militaristic response” to the humanitarian crisis along the border caused by the surge of 47,000 children into the country. “Perry shouldn’t make them pawns in his ongoing politically-driven antipathy toward the federal government,”said Harrington

Perry has announced plans to spend $1.3 million/week to send Texas law enforcement officers to enforce border security. He has not offered any assistance for the children who are already here or to local shelters that are struggling to house and care for them.

“Obviously, it’s important to protect the border; but it’s equally important to protect and provide for the thousands of children who are now in the country. Texas and the border states can come up with more creative ways to deal with the crisis and turning it around. It would be a better and more productive use of taxpayers’ money,” said Harrington. “We’re dealing with young children, not adults. This is not the children’s fault, and we have a humanitarian duty to them until we can figure out how to respond appropriately to the situation. They should not be victimized further by the situation into which they have been thrust by desperate parents.”

This is a good time for Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and the Republicans to do some praying, rather than preying.


Wendy Supports What?

wendyI won’t lie (and neither will my Facebook page), I wasn’t very happy with the announcement that Senator Wendy Davis supports “open carry” of handguns. In my opinion, it opens up a whole can of worms, including questions about whether she would support “campus carry” and other non-priorities. If she desires to be pulled into those other debates, then she’ll get bogged down in that, instead of real issues. I continue to have faith that her campaign team will remain committed to issues that actually matter.

So, then I came to this conclusion:  It’s been too long since I voted for or supported a candidate who was supportive 100% of the “Democratic Platform According to DosCentavos.” If anything, one of my close associates reacted to my feelings:  “C’mon where is she from? Fort Worth. They probably still have gunfights at the Stockyards.” And then I remembered that once I was also a Democrat who demanded ideological purity or commitment proven through Democratic Primary participation, until I started meeting former Republicans who switched to and worked for the better Party. You know, people who are like Senator Davis.

And then I began to rationalize like a good little Democrat:  Well, at least she’s not calling South Texas a “third world” country; she’s not calling for the militarization of South Texas and the hunting of Mexican Americans; she’s not proposing cutting school funding; she’s not making immigrants and Latinos a campaign piñata during a right-wing primary; and she’s not proposing keeping millions of poor Texans (mostly of color) uninsured. No, we all know that Greg Abbott is running on all of these things, as are the rest in his right-wing party.

So, an issue like “open carry” is not going to make a ballot decision for me since it can still be stopped at the legislative level. And depending on what comes out of the Lege, it can be vetoed, weakened, or even, if possible, filibustered by the next Wendy in the Senate, whomever he or she may be. This is a democracy and the people must participate no matter the party of the elected official, to ensure that the highest priorities are met. And that’s why it’s even more important that people vote. If my mom can do it from her pre-op room before surgery today, then anyone can do it.

Also, some say she’s pandering, or that she’s the mastermind of some political ploy. Honestly, I don’t think so. I really do believe it when she says she supports “open carry.” I’m just glad our next Lt. Governor, Leticia Van De Putte, was equally honest that she did not support “open carry.”

My friend Cody Pogue has his view, and as he hopes of Democrats, Wendy Davis has not lost my vote. We know the damage Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, and the Republicans have inflicted on Texas while lining their and their friend’s pockets. I still believe in Wendy Davis much like I believe in the power of my vote and democratic participation.

Texpatriate gives his view, too.

The Texas-Wide Filings

donkey-beats-up-elephantI went over the Harris County filings in my last post, so, now it’s time to talk about the Texas filings. It looks like we can have a strong slate, and it also looks like we’ll need to learn a little bit about candidates in other races.

Governor – Wendy Davis, Ray Madrigal:  This one is a no-brainer with Wendy Davis already putting in the sweat and work on the job and on the trail. Still, one has to wonder why the guy threw his hat in the ring if he has no resources or ability to take a campaign across the state. I’ll stick with Wendy on this one.

Lt. Governor – Thankfully, no opponent for Leticia Van de Putte, although a name from the past was floating around. Van de Putte wow’d a crowd in SA, and I’m looking forward to her wowing some crowds around the state–at rallies. The people need to hear the message.

Attorney General – Sam Houston. Some say the name will help, but, he’s also a good candidate who will put in the work.

Land Commissioner – John F. Cook. Cook may end up against “little brown one,” who’s neither pro-brown, or pro-anything. “P” has already been made the de facto right-wing brown voice and is being paraded around touting anti-woman policies, which have nothing to do with the General Land Commission. As the former Mayor of El Paso, John Cook has a track record of managing a government effectively.

Texas Railroad Commission – Steve Brown, Dale Henry. I’m with Steve Brown on this one, as I’ve stated previously.

State Comptroller – Mike Collier. I have yet to meet him, but I like what he’s put out there, thus far. My friends at Kingwood Area Dems hosted him a couple of months ago, and a friend of mine is personal friends with him, so, what’s there not to like, right?

U.S. Senate – Maxey Scherr, David Alameel, Harry Kim, Michael Fjetland, and Kesha Rogers. Scherr is already on the road and has pretty much everything that looks like a campaign, especially a good message. Anything that counters the Ted Cruz message, which now all of the GOP candidates for Senate will attempt to scream the loudest at Teaper meetings, is good for Texas.

Agricultural Commissioner – Jim Hogan, Kinky Friedman, Hugh Asa Fitzsimmons. I have knowledge of one person on this list, and I can’t say he’s my fave. But I’m pretty sure Tex-Mex Legend Little Joe will support him, much like he did when he ran for Gov–they’re music industry buds–I guess. I guess we have much to learn about the other guys.

Other Filings

1st Court of Appeals – Jim Sharp filed for re-election and he is unopposed in the Primary.

14th Court of Appeals – District Judge Kyle Carter of Houston filed for Chief Justice.

Congress District 23 – Good to see that Pete Gallego is unopposed in the Primary, but he will need to deal with his last opponent, right-wing extremist Canseco. Gallego has served well, and my family and friends who live in the district really like him.

Texpatriate has more on the missed filing opportunities and other stuff.

Senator Garcia’s Recs; Final Filing Day; A Statewide Dem

Sylvia’s Choices

Senator Sylvia Garcia (SD6) issued her run-off recommendations today. They’re not too different from mine, although I stayed out of District A.

The Senator recommends:

District A – Brenda Stardig

District D – Dwight Boykins

District I – Robert Gallegos

HCC-1 – Zeph Capo

HCC-3 – Adriana Tamez

Of course, mine can be found here. There have been plenty of opportunities for debate regarding my recommendation to leave At-Large 3 blank, but, why fight? There are a lot of strong opinions, but a lot of my friends seem to be leaving it blank. A ver que pasa.

 Final Filing Day Surprises

Will there be surprises? Already, there’s one from Austin in which Judge Larry Meyers of the Court of Criminal Appeals switched to the Blue side, stating he couldn’t be a member of the right-wing party anymore. Word is his seat isn’t up until 2016, so, he can run in 2014 for Texas Supreme Court–and he’s filed. So, not only do we have our first Democratic statewide officeholder since 1998, we have another Dem candidate for the Supremes. I’ll take this “win.”

Here in Harris County, word is we’re in for a few contested primaries, and a few empty positions which will give the GOP an easy win. I’ll have some thoughts on this later, but for now, I’m eagerly waiting for the final list.

Texpatriate has more on Meyers.

GOPtinos 2.0?

Looks like they’re at it again. The Republicans are courting Latinos by hiring Latinos and then sending a press release about it.

Quick! Point me to the nearest polling location! I’ve been convinced that the GOP likes us!

It seems the Republicans are still lying to themselves. Still far from supporting a path to citizenship, which over 80% of Latinos support, their efforts on immigration reform have stalled to the point of indifference. They have convinced themselves that immigration is not a top issue for Latinos, although thousands showed up in Washington, DC to demand Congress wake up and pass some sort of reform a couple of days ago. The right-wing “Caller” rag called them “illegals.” But that’s not the entire Latino message for the GOP.

Here in Texas, Greg Abbott is already attacking Wendy Davis on driver’s licenses for immigrants, and is on record supporting racial profiling as a means of state-sanctioned immigration enforcement. Right-winger for state comptroller Glenn Hegar just started a poll asking his supporters if the comptroller should do a study about the “impact of illegal immigration.” The title alone tells us what his intent really is. Even Carol Strayhorn used the term, “undocumented” in her report. Mostly, Hegar is also on record as saying he supports voter ID because “illegals” vote illegally in record numbers–a downright lie.

And I’ll also mention that voter suppression through voter photo ID and gerrymandering sent Latinos a clear message:  No representation for you!

What do I usually tell Latinos who may be buying into GOPtino outreach window dressing?

It’s the policies, ¡pende**s!

And Latinos are on record as being overwhelmingly in support of more progressive policy stances on jobs and the economy, health care, immigration reform, and education. Any other issues, particularly the cultural ones the GOP seems to stick to, are far from priorities for Latinos. Just read any poll by Latino Decisions or the Pew Hispanic Institute.

As always, I’ll tell Democrats and Democratic candidates–stay strong and progressive on these issues; defend against right-wing attacks; and don’t give in.

The Democratic Hearing on Immigration

DSC01871smThe five Texas members of Congress who made up the Democratic delegation that came to Houston to hold an immigration hearing were all supportive of “comprehensive immigration reform,” whatever that is nowadays. As I mentioned in my post informing you all about the hearing, the hearing would be mostly friendly and it was.

As I expected, not much was said about the $40 billion border militarization plan placed in S.744, except when local activist Maria Jimenez spoke about the hundreds of deaths that occur on the border due to increased enforcement. None of the other local activists mentioned it either, preferring to talk about “comprehensive immigration reform.” As I’ve stated frequently, I would like to hear from one Democrat (or from any of the national immigration groups standing up for it) why the border surge is a necessity and why they support it.

Members of the Chinese and other Asian communities were also supportive, particularly about increasing the numbers of family visas. There was also support shown by the South Asian and Pakistani community, as well as the African American and Clergy community, and even Julia Maldonado and the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston. All-in-all, it was quite a show of unity from the community-based groups.

The strongest presentation came from a DREAMer, Isaac Valdez, a Math major at UH-Downtown who was recently elected Student Body President. Although he supports the DREAM act and is a DACA student, he also wants a comprehensive solution that ensures family unity and opportunity.

Also making a strong statement was the Greater Houston Partnership; however, when pressed about whether they supported CIR or not, the Port of Houston only talked about it being an “economic engine” for Houston–whatever that means in the context of immigration reform. Perhaps they’re just looking for some of that “security” boondoggle money.

Of course, those that need to be convinced, like Ted Poe and John Culberson, weren’t in the room. Not that they are even open-minded on the path to citizenship, or anything. But at least to hear from the community. At the very least, all of the statements are now of public record.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave mention a couple of times to the DREAM9, a group of deported DREAMers who had attempted to cross a legal port of entry into the US to begin a movement to bring back DREAMers who have been deported. They are sitting individually in solitary confinement in a privately run detention center, blocked from making phone calls, but also working to interview other detainees. 

Kudos should go, though, to Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez and the City Council for opening the doors of City Hall for this hearing.