Category Archives: Bigots and Liars

The DC Playing Catch-Up MegaPost

Note:  It’s been a busy couple of weeks–on the work and on the personal side. But there’s no doubt that it’s a time full of change and excitement. So here’s me playing catch-up commenting on various things.

Work Stuff (Note: I’ve been helping both of these candidates)

The end of last week and the beginning of this week were quite busy. Last week, candidate for 14th Court of Appeals Julia Maldonado held her kick-off fundraiser at the Cadillac Bar. A great crowd launched the campaign, which will be a busy one for Maldonado, whose position represents ten area counties, including Harris.

After a busy weekend attending the Texas Democratic Women’s luncheon and the Victory Fund Brunch, candidate for Congress-District 7 James Cargas held his kick-off fundraiser at Theo’s in Montrose. Hosted by various leaders in the Greek community, Cargas utilized the opportunity to present his stances on various issues, including a call for added research funding for the Texas Medical Center. Cargas is busy this week attending various events for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association in Washington, DC.

We’re getting close to sixty (60) days until election day, so it’s about time you all start paying attention to the candidates again. Stay connected.

The Kingwood Commies

Yes, that was a club I founded and I must say Mike Sullivan never attended a meeting.  Hold on. The whole commie story is about regulating electric rates in Kingwood? So, the District A member was just meddling in other districts again?

The Big Announcement is Coming!

I think I’ve told enough folks my big announcement already, but I’ll save it for Monday anyway. Needless to say, change is a-coming!

King Street PACtriots?

That’s right. A judge ruled today that the local teabaggin’ voter suppression group, the King Street Patriots is a PAC, not a nonprofit. I mean, c’mon! All of their events feature right-wing Republinuts, their agenda is right up there with the GOPs. They certainly haven’t invited me to speak. [Laugh hysterically.] My friend Anthony was right on:

“The King Street Patriots have been operating as a political entity while blatantly ignoring the laws every other political entity has to abide by,” said Texas Democratic Party spokesman Anthony Gutierrez in a statement. “It is time for this Republican front group to drop the facade, disclose their donors and start operating within the law.”

The Nightmare Act

Republatino Marco Rubio is now doing the bidding for the right-wing on their version of the DREAM Act–without the DREAM. Basically, he wants to provide legalization without actual citizenship–or any benefits of a naturalized citizen. The Republican Party hates Latinos–let’s just tell the truth, Marco. (I wonder if John Culberson has told him to simplify his name to Mark, yet.)

Jeb Gives Up on Latinos, Endorses Mitt

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, father of the “little brown ones,” which Bush, Sr. once referred to, has endorsed Mitt Romney. I think the DNC hits it on the head:

“Jeb Bush used to be a leader in favor of sensible immigration proposals who was willing to work with Democrats on practical solutions for Hispanic families. But today he decided to endorse a candidate who would be the most extreme presidential nominee of our time on immigration and is wrong on every matter of importance to Hispanics. In doing so, Jeb Bush has picked politics and turned his back on the Latino priorities he once sought to bolster.

“By fully putting his weight behind Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush is endorsing his call for immigrant families to self deport, his threat to veto the DREAM Act, his attack on DREAM Act students as ‘looking for a handout,’ his plan to nationalize the extreme Arizona anti-immigrant law, his attacks on Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and his wrong-headed approach on every other issue of importance to the community.”

Jeb and his bro George W. used to be somewhere in the middle on immigration, even avoiding and speaking against most of the vitriol spewed by the right-wing of their Republican party. At some point in time, Jebby and Georgie knew that Latinos were becoming a “decider” in the electorate and knew to not piss us off as much, but now Jeb seems to think that a far-right zealot like Mitt Romney should be in charge.

Perhaps supporting who may become the 2012 GOP candidate is a safer way to position himself for 2016 (or his boy for something else), but if Jeb wants to reunify people of all colors and cultures in 2016, he just stepped into a pile elephant crap that he will not be able to get out of in time to put out a “Latino-friendly” vibe in four years.

Feds Reject Texas Photo ID Law

The Department of Justice rejected the Texas Republican-created photo ID law, as Hispanic registered voters were more likely than non-Hispanic voters to lack one of the required IDs to vote.

The department on Monday said Texas did not meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and failed to show that the law will not discriminate against minority voters.

Michael Li at Texas Redistricting has a great analysis of the decision and some Q & A on it.

In its letter, DOJ noted that “according to the state’s own data, a registered Hispanic voter is 46.5 percent, and potentially 120 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic voter to lack … [the required] identification” and that “[e]ven using the data  most favorable to the state … the disparity was statistically important.”

One particular note, also caught by Li, was how the law would effect people of limited means.

An applicant for an election identification certificate will be required to provide two pieces ofsecondary identification, or one piece of secondary identification and two supporting documents.  If a voter does not possess any of these documents, the least expensive option will be to spend $22 on a copy of the voter’s birth certificate.  There is a statistically significant correlation between the Hispanic population percentage of a county and the percentage of a county’s population that lives below the poverty line. The legislature tabled amendments that would have prohibited state agencies from charging for any underlying documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photographic identification.

Yes, even when amendments were put forth to “lessen the blow,” as I’ve stated it, the Republicans rejected them. The case now goes to a three-judge panel for further consideration, but for now, it is delayed.

This law has nothing to do with voter fraud, as virtually no fraud has been found at polling locations. When as few as 1 million registered voters could be affected, it is quite obvious what the intent of this law is–to suppress the vote of Hispanics, African Americans, the Elderly, and people of limited means. It is about Republicans selectively shredding parts of the the Constitution and decisions on Civil Rights for their own benefit.

Quotes of the Day:

State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso

“Today’s decision to block Texas’ voter ID law will ensure that the voices of Hispanic voters across El Paso, West Texas, and our state, will not be ignored as a result of highly partisan attempts to deny them the right to vote. The Department of Justice sent a clear message that it will not tolerate a law which infringes on the constitutional rights of Texas minorities, especially the millions of Hispanics in our state.

“Once again, despite several requests for evidence to the contrary, state leaders were unable to prove that the voter id law would not adversely impact minority voters.  As the Department of Justice’s analysis shows, Hispanic registered voters, in particular, are less likely to have photo identification or the ability to acquire photo identification because of obstacles, such as the lack of transportation.  This is why I voted against passage of the law.

Texas Senator Rodney Ellis (D) Houston

“There are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation,” said Ellis. “After years of testimony and debate, supporters of Texas’ voter ID law still cannot prove their case that voter impersonation is even a minor problem in Texas.  We, unfortunately, have plenty of evidence that it will disenfranchise legal student, elderly, African American and Hispanic voters.  The Department of Justice saw that evidence and made the right decision.”

More to come, I’m sure.

Never Again…

Democrats love to talk about all the good FDR did, but on this day, we must remember the bad he and the US Government also did.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 – By executive order today President Roosevelt gave the Army authority to establish military zones anywhere in the United States from which any person, citizen or alien, may be evacuated and excluded.

The order is expected to go into effect in California and the Pacific Coast states as rapidly as conditions permit. No other geographical sections of the country are at present included.

Those chiefly affected are American citizens of Japanese parentage. Approximately 60,000 of those reside in California and an additional 14,000 are scattered through Oregon and Washington.

Unfortunately, remnants of these kinds of actions still exist, such as anti-immigrant policies like 287(g) and Secure Communities. Both of these “modern” policies are as flawed as FDRs Executive Order in that many innocent people have ended up, as President Obama’s Hispanic mouthpiece once stated, “collateral damage.” Not to mention that these policies are just wrong.

Of course, our Sheriff doesn’t want to let go of the same failed program either. Continuing these programs, thus funneling tax money into the private prison industry and replicating programs, is irresponsible and a waste. Scoring political points on the backs of entire communities is not an option if one wants to be victorious in 2012.

Remnants of FDRs atrocity remain in my hometown of Crystal City, TX. And the Japanese community dedicated a marker years ago on the site where a Japanese concentration camp once stood.

“This marker is situated on an original foundation of a two-family cottage as a reminder that the injustices and humiliations suffered here as a result of hysteria, racism, and discrimination never happen again.”

“Never again.”  It rings out loudly, unfortunately, there is a lot of work to be done.

The 2012 Chimichanga Debate

In case you haven’t heard, an Obama aide offered a line borrowed from a Washington Post article by Dana Milbank, and now Republicans are trying to pile on Obama for it.

“Line of the day from WAPO’s Dana Milbank: “The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos.”

Milbank ended his Wednesday column that analyzed the Republican Party’s treatment of the Latino voting bloc with the line. He borrowed the reference from Sen. John McCain, who he quoted earlier in the story.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s insensitive. I think they give Republicans too much credit for offering something to a group of people in need of jobs and better opportunities. In other words, the sentiment is accepted, but let’s get real. Any offer of anything to Latinos by Republicans is laughable.

Insulting is Republicans trying to play nice after leaders in states like Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, etc., have offered up punitive policies that can only be deemed racist and anti-Latino.

On to real issues.

Re-Committing To Voter Registration

There’s no doubt that 2012 is weighing heavily on our minds. With Republican-led voter suppression efforts becoming law around the country, the intent of these efforts is obvious. It’s what we don’t see that we should be worried about, according to my good friend Stan Merriman, who had this op-ed in the Chron.

The Harris County tax assessor-collector has re-created the equivalent of a regressive poll tax by maximizing the time and travel costs of voting. He forces most voters in Harris County to reapply over and over. He then decides whether to allow a citizen to remain on the registration rolls by a secretive purging operation that, even after the lawsuits by the Democratic Party mentioned in the Jan. 30 article, remains largely obscured from public scrutiny. No increase in the voter rolls for this dynamic and growing community is the result.

The Tax Office suspends or cancels voter registrations based on something like a credit check. The office calls it a live check; it sends personal identification information into a so-called “fusion center” and, from there, to where nobody will say. In any case, the unreliable information returned from various sources is used to disqualify or misdirect voters. This is not subject to audit and barely subject to appeal. You the voter just show up at the polls to discover when it is too late to do anything about it that you are not qualified to vote. Just making a simple change of address is difficult and risks cancellation. Voter registration in Harris County is really a lifetime reregistration process costing millions their right to vote and the county millions of dollars.

Many believe new voter identification rules will suppress turnout, but whatever effect they may have is dwarfed by the huge voter suppression caused by our registration process.

There are solutions.

He goes on to give some simple, common sense solutions, so read the rest of the article.

Meanwhile, a voter group has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas for some of these practices.

The latest lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Texas courts names Texas Secretary of StateHope Andrade and takes aim at the state’s new mandatory training for all volunteer registrars – in which almost anyone who handles a voter’s application as part of a registration drive has to complete training before he or she can be “deputized” to operate in any Texas county. A spokesman for Andrade refused comment.

Population growth in Texas exceeds most other states, while many voter registration rolls throughout the state remain stagnant. As of January, 12.9 million Texans had registered to vote -up just 2 percent from January 2008.

There’s no doubt that this is all part of a pattern to suppress voting opportunities for Texans across the political spectrum. Through some spies, I’m hearing of other things that may be launched soon to cut folks off the rolls. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this in the near to not-so-distant future.

More than ever, voter registration will play a major role in the 2012 elections. It’s time to recommit to ensuring Texans remain on the rolls.

It’s time to “true the democracy,” don’t you think?

Stay connected!

Houston Group Will Venture in Knowledge Trafficking

One of my favorite literary nonprofit groups, Nuestra Palabra:  Latino Writers Having Their Say is getting into the trafficking biz:  Knowledge trafficking, that is.

Many of you have heard that along with banning Latinos, generally, Arizona is doing away with ethnic studies programs, thus, banning Latino-created literary works, including works by highly renowned authors like Sandra Cisneros and Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb.

Nuestra Palabra is organizing The Librotraficantes Banned Book Caravan to Arizona. March 12 – 17.

The caravan will be filled with authors and activists who will be taking banned books back into Arizona, to give away. The bus will be filled with authors who were banned, new authors, as well as other advocates concerned with preserving First Amendment rights of Equal Protection and Freedom of Speech.

The Caravan will be making stops in Texas, New Mexico, and, of course, Arizona. More stops will be listed as they are finalized. More will be added as funding permits.

It’s time for Texas to support this effort. You may make your contribution at Librotraficante.

CNNs Republatino Debate – A Comedy of Duh!

Note:  I’ve been advised that “republatino” and “republatina” have now been trademarked . So, I guess I’ll have to call them “Re-Pendejos”? It was trademarked in 2011, supposedly, but I’ve been using it since 2005.

And the Texas Democratic Party has their pre-debate response to the whole hypocrisy, which I will add below. Bottom line:  “Mewt” is not interested in serving any group of people. In fact, they are interested in corporate interests.

Even their Latino-esque-slash-immigration pronouncements will be about how best to exploit cheap labor under the guise of being “Latino-friendly,” as their republatino self-loathers club (including Marco Rubio) have attempted to spin this Florida episode.

Here’s what will happen tonight:  They’ll attempt being friendly with DREAMs of IED Fodder Act; they will say that Latinos are conservatives just like them; they will push the corporate charter school/school choice line; and I’m sure we’ll hear something about boot straps somewhere along the way. They will avoid words and phrases like equality, family unity, education funding, etc. Of course, I’m sure there will be attempts at lecturing Latinos, too.

I agree with the TDP that once they are done with the Latino niceties in Florida, it’s back to their normal–especially those other southern states.

Here’s the TDPs take:

Austin—Tonight the Republican presidential contenders will be taking part in a CNN/Hispanic Leadership Network debate. TDP spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña released the following statement:

“This momentary desire to appeal to Latinos will pass the second the polls close in Florida and the vehemently anti-Latino policies and attitudes that have dominated this presidential primary will return. The President has pushed for comprehensive immigration reform and passage of the DREAM Act while Republicans continue to view Latinos as little more than a political piñata.

As the GOP contenders tout their ‘moral values’ they won’t mention they are the party that punishes immigrant children because their parents dreamt of a better life for them.

Mitt Romney will probably not brag about the endorsement he received from Kris Kobach, the architect of the draconian Arizona and Alabama immigration laws. He won’t mention that as Governor, he vetoed the Massachusetts DREAM Act, and will likely try to gloss over the fact that he’s promised to veto the federal DREAM Act. He’ll have to defend his claim that ‘self-deportation’ is an immigration policy, which drew laughs at the last Florida debate.

Newt Gingrich is unlikely to repeat his comments that Spanish is the ‘language of the ghetto’ and will try to not dwell on the fact that he only supports the military provision in the DREAM Act.

It’s insulting that Newt Gingrich thinks it’s ok for immigrant students to risk their lives for this country, but not ok for them to practice their professions. Republicans are on the wrong side of every issue that’s important to Latinos. Before they got to Florida they were practically beating us off with a stick.”

According to a recent Latino Decisions poll, registered Hispanic voters in Florida support President Obama 67 to 25 over Mitt Romney and 70 to 22 over Newt Gingrich.

I like our chances with either of these, but if the self-loathers want Newt because he’s so “Latino-friendly,” bring it on!

Joe Arpaio is Bad? Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know…

The Department of Justice released a long-awaited report on the investigation of serial civil rights violator and anti-Latino crusader Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. The PDF is here.

Of course, Arpaio recently became the anti-Latino guru of our own Gov. Rick Perry, and even had a steady stream of Republican presidential candidates competing for his anointing.

In a nut (so to speak) shell:

The department found reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and/or violations of federal law occurred in several areas, including:

  • Discriminatory policing practices including unlawful stops, detentions and arrests of Latinos;
  • Unlawful retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to criticize MCSO’s policies or practices, including but not limited to practices relating to its discriminatory treatment of Latinos; and
  • Discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English proficiency by punishing them and denying them critical services.

The Justice Department found a number of long-standing and entrenched systemic deficiencies that caused or contributed to these patterns of unlawful conduct, including:

  • A failure to implement policies guiding deputies on lawful policing practices;
  • Allowing specialized units to engage in unconstitutional practices;
  • Inadequate training;
  • Inadequate supervision;
  • An ineffective disciplinary, oversight and accountability system; and
  • A lack of sufficient external oversight and accountability.

In addition to these formal pattern or practice findings, the investigation uncovered additional areas of serious concern, including:

  • Use of excessive force;
  • Police practices that have the effect of significantly compromising MCSO’s ability to adequately protect Latino residents; and
  • Failure to adequately investigate allegations of sexual assaults.

While no formal findings of pattern or practice violations have been made in connection with these issues, the investigation remains ongoing.

Will Rick and the rest come out in defense of Arpaio? Will they say big gum’mint should stay out of our county jails–even if they’ve been migra-ized?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Obama Administration finally outed Arpaio’s targeted behavior. Above all, this whole episode points back to a failed and flawed immigration system, as well as a very failed and flawed deportation program by the Obama administration. Leadership is needed to make effective comprehensive immigration reform come about; otherwise, I’m sure we’ll be finding more Arpaios, and fighting against uneven enforcement programs.

Perry’s 12 Month Promise

Yes, you heard right.

Rick Perry says he will “secure the border” within 12 months of taking office. Of course, he’s still in a fight for the middle of the pack, but promises like this one can come back and bite you where the sun don’t shine.

I point to then-candidate Barack Obama’s promise to sign into law comprehensive immigration reform during his first term. Making such a bold promise when Republicans were going to be 100% against it, and even some gutless Dems (called Blue Dogs), has now haunted him when it comes to the Latino vote. Sure, a majority still supports him, and the more the GOPers debate the more they gravitate toward re-electing the President, but the big question is:  Will there be enough turn-out to make it matter on E-Day? Well, Perry and the GOPers probably helped last night.

If Perry even comes out of the Primary, much less gets elected after what is sure to become even crazier anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric, can he achieve what he calls a secure border?

With Republicans failing on the economy, defending corporations and the wealthiest people, the landscape in Washington, DC just might change this cycle.

Meanwhile, the most humanitarian response (for lack of a better description)  to the latest round of immigration questions came from The Newt last night.

Gingrich, suddenly the front runner in a national polls of GOP voters, said he would not “expel” illegal immigrants or divide immigrant families by sending home undocumented immigrant parents who arrived illegally.

Instead, Newt prefers to keep the cheap labor pool, exploit it some more, and then replace it with new workers every now and then. In other words, the same old thing we have now, except with some sort of legal status that doesn’t allow workers any rights. While this might get him some Bob Perry-type of money, his sudden surge to 1st place is sure to take a hit.

Bachmann and Romney, though, have all but avoided an all-out call for deputizing citizens for “migra” duty, if not some sort of deportation program.

Democrats may be weak on the pro-migrant side, and even punitive and terribly flawed with their enforcement programs, but the Republicans are sending a clear message:  “We’ll exploit you, mistreat you, and ultimately, get rid of you.”

It would be easy to throw my hands up in the air, but I’m not a one-issue voter; if anything, given each Party’s platform, the Democratic platform still comes closest to what I believe, and I will venture to say what a majority of Latinos believe.  And in the case of immigration, I’ll err on the side which is not pushing the hateful rhetoric.