#TrumpShutdown Achieved, Now What?

As much as shutting down the government is an exercise to show Trump’s and Republican Congressional leadership’s ineffectiveness, I wanted to see where Democrats stand, too. And my hope is that the five Democratic Senators who voted to continue debate, thus pushing the stopgap measure forward without DACA or CHIP, isn’t an indication of what is to come for a DACA/DREAM fix.

The latest version of the #DeportationCaucus, Manchin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and now, the new guy, Jones voted to support the stopgap bill last night. Manchin and Donnelly voted against the 2010 DREAM Act, McCaskill has run anti-immigrant re-election campaigns for votes but has supported DREAM Act in the past, Heitkamp has always been iffy on immigration, and Jones is showing fears of not getting re-elected in a few years. Some think a fix would have an easier, more bipartisan, time in the House.

It’s always been said that DREAM or DACA is a bipartisan issue, but when it comes right down to it, Senate Republicans have not come through. Last night, at least four of them did. Is this an indication of something? If it is, we’ll still need every single Democrat to seal the deal.

Obviously a clean DREAM Act is a lot harder to achieve. But as long as Trump and the Republicans’ starting point in negotiations is a wasteful wall and an end to family reunification, The DREAMers (and the Democrats) really don’t have to budge either. We know where the impasse begins. Republicans who want to move forward need to stop their leader’s bigotry and get the job done.

Meanwhile, 122 DACA beneficiaries lose their status everyday, despite the shutdown, Trump’s deporation force is still very much employed, and hate toward immigrants still exists. It’s really in the Republicans’ court to make the country move forward–at least for 800,000 of the 11 million undocumented folks.

A friend of mine called all of this “political theater.” Well, the political theater of immigration will still go merrily along if there is a fix to this. As always, we’ll deal with the theater. But let’s try to finish DACA/DREAM.

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Thoughts on Viernes…01192018

DACA on the Campaign Trail

I’m glad to see candidates taking a stab at saying something about DACA or DREAM Act or anything anti-immigrant that the Republicans have thrown at entire groups of people. With El Cheeto (or republicans in Texas) in office, it is hard to pass any legislation that would include anything positive without some big negatives, so the fight must continue–all the way to the ballot box.

That said, I was watching the CD7 Forum put on by Meyerland Democrats, et al, and the question was posed to the candidates that if they would be willing to vote for a government shutdown if DACA/DREAM wasn’t included in any budget vote. The result was interesting (my reaction in bold) and they all support DACA/DREAM/CIR:

  • Fletcher: Work across the aisle, no shut down. (Because that has worked so well, huh?)
  • Alex T – No Shutdown, we need reform. (Y los DREAMers, que?)
  • Laura Moser:  Yes! Fight! (I liked her ánimo)
  • Sanchez:  Yes on shutdown. (Good)
  • Joshua:  Tough decision because of gov’t employees affected, but yes! (Good way to preface it)
  • Cargas:  No Shutdown, “we are better than Republicans” (The fight makes you better than Republicans)
  • Westin:  Yes. (Good)

Today is the day we find out if there is a shutdown.

For me, it’s a no-brainer. Anything that has the Trumps fending for themselves at the White House is a good thing. Possibly good SNL material. But in the political sense, this is all about the fight. How hard Dems in Congress fight for this, instead of feigning bipartisanship for the cameras (and the campaign trail),  will reap rewards at the ballot box. The problem is, some are usually too chicken-shit to take a real stand. I’m sick of it. Shut it down!

Who Else Is Willing To Get Arrested?

Trump and his ilk are threatening arrests of elected officials who stand in the way of deportation forces. Oakland Mayor Libby Shaaf has come out stating that she is willing to be arrested if she is forced to defend “sanctuary” policies of her city. Good! That’s leadership!

The other day, San Antonio PD Chief William McManus released some undocumented folks who were being smuggled into the US to a humanitarian group, and not to ICE. This has right-wing-nuts, like Dan Patrick, calling for his arrest. You did the right thing, Chief! Don’t let the assholes in the police union bring you down!

It’s all about the fight, folks. And if you’re an elected or appointed official, you better be ready to fight.

The Stace Slate

I’ve made public my support of a few Dem candidates, but I’m not sure if I’m making a slate this year. Perhaps a short list. I can’t say I agree much with the slates that have come out, thus far. And if I do one, it won’t require big membership buys (snark!). So, stay tuned.

Los Cenzontles & Los Texmaniacs:  Traicionera (Video)

 

 

 

Thoughts on Viernes…01122018

Shithole

My people have been called worse. And I’m talking about citizens! I’ve witnessed immigrants called much worse, too. And by people in both parties. But I’ve also witnessed policies put in place by people in both political parties that are much, much worse. Sure, it’s scary when El Cheeto adds ugly words to policy. It’s a lot scarier when deportations happen with mean words, rather than with a smile. In the end, though, deportations are still deportations. But a despot can cause more problems and that can only be taken care of in 2018 and 2020.

As a Salvadoran friend put it last night so eloquently, “All countries have shitholes and beauty. What shitholes they have in El Salvador more often than not have a Made In The USA label.”

US foreign policy has created more shitholes than the US wants to admit. The US also created more shitholes domestically based on racist economic policy in the form of tax cuts for the rich. Ultimately, it’s all about the policies. Hell, LBJ threw around some racial epithets like an expert, but at least he passed the Civil Rights Act. (See what I did there?)

 

2 Years

It’s been two years since we lost our Mom, Flora Medellin. The heart still feels like it was grinded up, yet, it’s trying to put itself back together. In other words, it’ll never be the same. But we’ve got selfies, photos, and lots of memories to make us smile more than tear up. As the Dem primaries begin to heat up, here’s a favorite excerpt from her obit, written by sister Toni.

Casting her ballot by mail every election was a priority—even when she was being wheeled in to surgery or recovering from a serious illness. As she grew older and more frail, she would remind her kids to order her ballot by mail as soon as she could because she wanted to cast her ballot and have it counted in case she “didn’t make it” to Election Day.

So, if you are voting by mail, get yours ordered. If you moved and need to update your address or aren’t registered, get it done!

Wall-For-DACA

A bipartisan deal that included walls, enforcement, and relief for 800,000 was rejected by El Cheeto. Just a reminder, this happened right before the “shithole” comment. Trump wasn’t happy that some Senators were concerned about the recent Temporary Protective Status decision, so, he let loose. And wanted to open the borders to Norway, apparently. Cheeto, along with some of the more bigoted Republicans (Tom Cotton) want a meaner “fix,” that still shows some Republican teeth. So, we’ll see how much more they will pare down the deal.

In other words, eyes on the prize, people. We already knew El Cheeto was a bigot.

 

 

Not A Good Time for Mandatory Anything Right Now

During a time in which a good chunk of people aren’t fans of federal government (or who’s in charge of it), when there is distrust of law enforcement and politicians in charge, and when government is negatively targeting entire groups of people while benefiting others, it may not be a good time to do mandatory anything, especially mandatory volunteer service for all.

That’s not to say Beto O’Rourke’s idea is a bad one, it’s just one of those policy things that gets pretty mucked up when people demand specifics rather than general campaign talking points. Because entire groups of people can get screwed once specifics are discussed. It’s kind of like how I feel when I hear politicians say they “support comprehensive immigration reform.” I want specifics because too many times, specifics like walls or temporary worker visas or “legalization vs citizenship” can screw entire groups of people.

As a young college student, I had big dreams of serving my community, state, and nation. No, not in the military, but in helping run things–legislation, departments, etc. Being a poor kid from South Texas living on student loans and the few grants that hadn’t been cut yet, though, it was hard to “volunteer” for a government internship, drive 80 miles a day to/from Austin, and try to impress some VIPs when bills had to be paid. So, a non-political job on campus and one in a call center had to do, while kids with influential parents or just plain ol’ family money could get most of the opportunities. Needless to say, sometimes one has to make ones own opportunities to do what one enjoys.

That said, the thought of a mandatory volunteer service program brought back memories about how it might work. Will the rich kids get the better volunteer opportunities with a phone call and a campaign donation? Can a poor kid from South Texas get some sort of incentive and “political” support that the privileged brats usually get to end up in a good opportunity? Because the service should end up amounting to something tangible, and not just student loan forgiveness and a spot on the resume detailing some crappy mandatory volunteer placement. In other words, how exactly would it work? Given that it’s mandatory, folks should have equality of options and not just the usual placement made by a political appointee.

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed some placement assistance when I was a teen in need of work. In my little town of 8,000 in South Texas, one of my dearest friends’ dads was the local city manager. So, when I put in my application for a job through JTPA (look it up), my friend advised her dad to pick me. She knew of my love of government at an early age and work ethic, so, her dad trusted the recommendation. Working for $3.35 an hour in the City’s finance department and sometimes being shared with the Planning Department was a great experience. Unfortunately, when a small-town kid moves to the big college and wants to work in big government,  the lack of opportunity because of forces out of ones control was quite the shock. Which is why options are important so that one doesn’t have to go through friends and connections.

So, yeah, no doubt being of service is important, but specifics are very important. And ensuring equality of opportunity is even more important. And without that kind of specificity (and bad memories of getting passed up by brats), it was just too hard to embrace Beto’s idea.

Thoughts on Viernes…01052018

No Surprise…No Tejano

After the HoustonRodeo got me to shine my Justin Ropers and attend last year because they brought super group Siggno to the NRG, I am now back in boycott mode because there is NO TEJANO in 2018. I mean, just me personally. I was anticipating something good for the “tejano” day that I trek’d on over to Bryan’s Catalena Hatters to check out the “LBJ”-ish open road-ish custom hats. Thankfully, it was closed and I didn’t go broke. Still, #VaqueroGoals remain for the future as hats go. As much as the rodeo tries, Tejano isn’t dying. Stay tuned!

Steve Brown for CD22 Speaks Out on DACA

As the DACA-fix talk revs up again, I’ve been looking around the internets at local Congressional races to see who is speaking up, especially in the Dem primaries. No doubt, I wasn’t surprised when my friend Steve Brown who is in the Dem Primary to take on CD22’s right-wing incumbent spoke out.

Over 5000 people in Congressional District 22 are eligible for DACA, and the district would lose $150 million in annual GDP should they get deported.

Where is Pete Olson’s leadership in protecting these families?

Instead, the republican Congress is only committed to protecting certain taxpayers. They have proven this by ensuring that the wealthy get wealthier and the poor not only stay poor but are barred access to America’s Promise, a promise that must extend to immigrants and Dreamers.

CD22 is not an easy district for a Democrat. For years, Dems who ran for this post would run to the right on anything immigration related, but still failed miserably. Steve Brown is definitely my kind of candidate and I hope he ends up the Dems’ nominee. Send him a few bucks, too!

Tejano Music in the News

One of my fave local bands is set to release a new album in mid-February. La Fiebre‘s Fiesta on Freddie Records is highly anticipated with single, La Fiesta, already earning some popularity.

Joe Posada, through Q Productions, is working on a concert DVD to be released soon. His most recent production, Zapatos En La Mano, is a DC-favorite and the review of the CD earned a lot of traffic. Get yours from JoePosada.com today.

Be Alguien!!!

So, some folks are trying to get some recognition for a bridge with graffiti. I’m still fighting for Chicano studies and the usual history books to get it right about brown people. So, good luck with your endeavor.

Will Hispanics Love El Cheeto?

At this point, while real lives are at stake, Trump and the Republicans have made the issue of the DACA-fix and DREAMers a political game. In other words, not much has changed. But El Cheeto seems to think brown folks are going to finally fall for him as the DACA-fix talk starts up again.

El Cheeto has been pretty clear about what will effect some sort of DACA fix with this attempt at a policy statement.

And, with this known, his ultimatums will be pretty solid and quite political.

Because the offer is on the table:  A wall for some sort of fix. It’s something the Republicans can run on through 2018, while it’s something the Democrats can either cave on or put up a real fight against.

Unfortunately, the Republicans will have the bragger’s rights of offering something–as awful as it will be and is–during the campaign season. And they’ll be able to paint Dems as uncooperative if they vote against what is offered. And Dems will have the issue, as always, about how mean and nasty the Republicans are on DREAMers and immigrants. Will it work for either side?

That Republicans are mean and bad isn’t anything new. I’ve been talking about it since I started this site 13 years ago–even when some Dem experts told many of us to ignore the GOP’s anti-immigrant bigotry because it would just go away. Actually, the weaker the fight put up by the Democrats and the more deportations and imprisonment by a Democratic administration, the worse the Republicans have become.

Republicans have always offered up the worse policies in exchange for some sort of reform:  A wall, a fence, increased deportations, lesser number of work visas, a bracero program (temporary workers), not citizenship, but legalized status, but not for parents, but only for DREAMers, and now probably less of them. And Democrats have given away the store at every turn during negotiations only for everything to fall apart because Republicans are just that awful and Democrats fall for it.

I’ll add the reminder that everything revolving around immigration reform doesn’t just affect immigrants. Laws like Texas’ SB4 or anything that federalizes law enforcement or rounds up whole families and imprisons them affects citizen Latinos, too. Most of us don’t like the threat of racial profiling or accidental detainment on account of what clothes any of us decided to wear that day. And it happens.

The political games may be fun for political consultants and ad men on both sides who’ll make a pretty penny off the issue, but these games take an emotional toll on those at risk of deportation and the voters who support them. For many of us, voter excitement levels could increase if a political party actually puts up a fight for what’s right, no matter the outcome. Not putting up a fight affects voter excitement, too. In reverse!. All these years later, the question isn’t about why Latinos may not be voting, but why aren’t you fighting for Latinos?

So, if the numbers ultimately show that Hispanics will end up loving El Cheeto, as predicted by El Cheeto, it’s not because more of us are voting for him. It’s just that less of us might be voting. I’ve said it before: On this particular issue, Latinos overwhelmingly want a Party and candidates that will fight for us, that will run into (and tear down) walls (so to speak) for us. Not candidates that will negotiate us into political nothingness to save a few bad Dems in November.

Well, now we’re at this point where Republicans are in charge and a mad man gets to sign legislation. Imagine if the Democratic Party and a Democratic President had kept 5 of their Senators in line back in 2010.

Another reminder to candidates and party operations:  The political season doesn’t start three weeks before election day anymore. Fight!

Let’s Help Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs

Max Baca, Stace, Josh Baca

One of my favorite Tex-Mex bands is the Grammy-winning Los Texmaniacs, fronted by Max Baca and featuring his nephew Josh Baca on the accordion.

I try to catch their shows every time they come to Houston, and I’ve enjoyed reviewing their concerts and albums. They’re a bunch of great guys and accomplished musicians.

This past holiday, Josh Baca and his family lost everything when they suffered through a home fire. They escaped only with the clothes on their backs–and we all know it’s been pretty cold.

A GoFundMe was created to help the family get back to basics as they get back on their feet. Many in the Tex-Mex music community have done their part. No doubt, Josh will work even harder to get back to where they were. Let’s all do our part and help a great musician and purveyor of our cultura.

Top 10 Posts of 2017

This had to be my most un-busy year in the last 12 years of blogging about local/state politics, culture, etc. By the end of 2017, I’ll be lucky to have written up to 75 posts for the year, with December being my busiest–on which I blame the 2018 Dem Primary.

The good thing is that these Top 10 of the year earned me thousands of views, lots of social media shares, a few complaints, lots of cool compliments (thanks, Campos!), and even a couple of threats (bodily injury and being reported to INS). Annoyances include friends who didn’t bother to share my posts, but are sharing obviously fake posts from sites with non-Spanish names. But that’s nothing new. Obviously, blogging can still be fun, although, my reasons for being un-busy are plentiful. I won’t bother explaining that, but I will continue to be a thorn in the side of candidates who are too willing to sell out entire constituencies in their quest to earn unattainable votes.

2018 will be my 13th year writing up stuff. Yes, DosCentavos will be a teenager. Perhaps a “treceañera” is in order so I can score some free drinks. Maybe a fajita taco? (I miss the good ol’ days when candidates offered up steak dinners.). In 2018, I expect to be busier and, as always, not fair and balanced.

Thanks to all who read, share, etc. Thanks to partners like Tejano Nation and local and national issues groups who share information, and to some of my favorite politicians and officeholders (you know who you are). Gracias!

“First they laugh, then they copy.”

  1. SB4 Passes Texas Senate Committee
  2. 38th Annual Festival Chicano
  3. It’s Election Season 2017 (Alief)
  4. DC Reviews:  Joe Posada – Zapatos En La Mano
  5. Houston Texas House Members Send SB4 Letter to Houston Council
  6. Houston Texas Senators Send SB4 Letter to Harris County
  7. La Fiebre Rocks Proof Rooftop
  8. Sheriff Gonzalez Ends 287(g)
  9. Democratic Reaction to SB4 Passage
  10. DC Reviews:  The Mavericks – Brand New Day

#DeportationCaucus Ignores DREAMers, Votes For CR

DREAM activists were all over Washington, DC and the US Capitol this last week, some even thrown in jail, attempting to persuade Democratic representatives and Senators to vote against a continuing resolution which left out relief for DACA beneficiaries (aka DREAMers). The CR passed with 66 votes, including a whole mess of Dems.

Specifically, activists were asking for a clean DREAM Act, but since Republicans and Trump failed to move the needle on it, activists then called on the only group they thought would be allies–Democrats–to vote against the continuing resolution with the hopes of a shutdown or at least a show of strength. Instead, a list of electeds now called the #DeportationCaucus was created, and a whole lot of Democrats are on it. And there’s also a list of Dems in the House.

Needless to say, negotiations are supposed to continue in January; however, what “enforcement” and “border security” provisions will be added by Trump are still not known. Certainly, it won’t be a clean DREAM Act given Trump and the Republicans’ hell-bent attitude toward immigrants. The Dems on the #DeportationCaucus are certainly a list of Senators to lobby, though, it’s probably too late to target them in the Primary.

So, here are the Democrats on #DeportationCaucus:

depcaucus2

 

So, Who’s Running in Harris County? (DEMS)

I thought about doing a few long posts about different races and then got hit by an annoying head cold that I hope to kick by the weekend.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave you all hanging. The least I could do was create a spreadsheet (.pdf) for you all to peruse with names of who’s running and for what position.

Those in bold are my favorites at the moment. If you haven’t been chosen, work on it. You still have time. Some weren’t picked because they’re unopposed, though. This is the approved list from the Secretary of State, but not in ballot order.

2018 Dems

Click on the link and check out the list. I’ll add some links as we get to 2018. For now, just be informed that we have a pretty lengthy ballot and some contested races to pick the Democrats we need on the ballot.