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Abbott’s War on Local Government

On tree ordinances and other subversive things cities do.

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Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP

“Wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.”

Half a millennium has passed since Niccolò Machiavelli wrote those words, but they rang true at the Texas Capitol this week. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus challenged Governor Greg Abbott on the agenda of the upcoming special legislative session, demonstrating that he has no intention of surrendering on the contentious issues that tanked the regular session.

When Abbott called the special session for July 18, he tried to take command by declaring that he would not add anything to the agenda until the Senate passed some agency renewal bills, which Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick used to force the session in the first place. Abbott said he would only add other items to the session call after those agency bills had passed. Then, and only then, would he add Patrick’s priorities: the bathroom bill, school vouchers, and restrictions on city and county governments to restrain property tax increases.

Postponing Machiavelli’s war, Straus told a gathering of the Texas Association of School Boards on Wednesday that he remains opposed to the bathroom bill and private school vouchers, and that he believes the only true property tax reform will come from overhauling the public school finance system. “This is a defining moment for public education in Texas, and we cannot squander it,” Straus said.

While Straus is taking his war statewide, Abbott is going local. Kings and politicians have known for centuries that the best way to rally your people is to have a common enemy. Sometimes that means taking on geopolitical enemies, but there have been wars on hate, wars on poverty, wars on drugs, and even wars on war. In his special session agenda, Abbott might as well have declared a war on local government—especially Austin’s.

The assault, as contained in the bills Abbott promised to add to the special session agenda, was so obvious that the Houston Chronicle declared him, “Comrade Abbott,” who “laid out an agenda that would make a centralized government commissar downright jealous.” They continued, “Gone are the days when the Republican Party of Texas could be counted on to defend local control. No longer do Texas conservatives believe that government closest to the people is the best kind of government. Instead we’ve witnessed the emergence of a political movement dedicated to stealing power away from local voters and moving it to Austin, where big money donors have created a one-stop shop to get what they want out of government.”

Although most of the policies Abbott wants to see enacted affect local control across the state, Abbott’s poster child for the evils of local government is the capital city—sometimes referred to by conservatives as the People’s Republic of Austin. Abbott promised at a Bell Country Republican dinner that he will not allow Austin to “Californiaize the Lone Star State” with liberal policies. As reporter Jonathan Tilove quoted Abbott: “As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different,” Abbott told the dinner audience. “Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas.”

But apparently Abbott felt free enough to pull a George Washington on trees in Austin. But in Abbott’s version, the cherry tree and hatchet are replaced with a pecan tree and a bulldozer. The story goes back to 2011, when Abbott wanted to take down a pecan tree on his Austin property when he was attorney general. That’s when he ran into Austin’s heritage tree ordinance, which protects specific types of trees with certain trunk diameters. He told WBAP radio that Austin wanted to stop him. “I had a house. I wanted to cut down a very common pecan tree in my yard,” Abbott told WBAP. “And the city of Austin told me, ‘No.’ I could not cut it down. And I had to pay money to the city of Austin to add more trees to my yard because I wanted to cut down one very common tree that was in a bad location.”

In the radio interview, Abbott called Austin’s heritage tree ordinance “socialistic,” but it appears that Abbott’s construction crew did not follow a plan to protect several trees on his property. When Politifact Texas checked Abbott’s statements against city records, it found that Abbott had never been denied permission to cut down several trees on his property.

Even as the news focuses on Abbott’s personal problems with trees, the Dallas Morning News has been reporting on incidents of trees being removed or over-pruned in the city without proper permits. One headline stated that “butchered trees offer ‘horrific’ peek”of a dystopian libertarian world without tree ordinances.

Just to get an idea of how many “socialist” cities there are in Texas, I downloaded this list of tree ordinances from the Texas Chapter of International Arboriculture: Abilene, Allen, Austin, Bedford, Bunker Hill Village, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Colleyville, Columbus, Coppell,Dickenson, Duncanville, Frisco, Grapevine, Helotes, Hewig Village, Hillshire Village, Houston, Hunters Creek Village, Ingleside, Kennedale, La Porte, Lake Dallas, Lancaster, League City, Little Elm, Lockhart,Mansfield, McKinney, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Oak Point, Orange, Paris, Pearland, Pflugerville,Roanoke, Rockwall, Round Rock, Rowlett, Sachse, San Antonio, San Marcos, Seabrook, Shenandoah,Sunset Valley, The Colony, Weatherford, West Lake Hills

But trees aren’t Abbott’s only target when it comes to local control. Abbott is advocating automatic property tax rollback elections and spending caps for cities and counties; legislation to overturn local non-discrimination ordinances that protect the LGBT community as well as veterans; local ordinances barring the use of mobile phones in motor vehicles; limits on cities annexing adjacent property into the city limits; and support for statewide requirements on cities to speed up issuing permits.

The Texas Municipal League has taken exception with Abbott’s proposals. “From proposed revenue caps, to spending caps, to tree ordinances, to texting while driving, and more, no one has ever proposed such sweeping restrictions on local voters having a voice in shaping the character of their communities. Seventy-four percent of Texans live in our 1,215 towns and cities and the decisions they have made at the local level have put Texas cities at the top of the nation in success. Stifling their voices through an all-powerful, overreaching state government is a recipe for disaster.”

Meanwhile, Abbott signed into law the state’s $217 billion, two-year budget this week while vetoing $120 million in line items. “I am once again signing a budget that addresses the most pressing challenges faced by our state,” Abbott said. “This budget funds a life-saving overhaul of Child Protection Services, continues to fund the state’s role in securing our border, and ensures that the workforce of today and tomorrow have the resources they need to keep Texas’ economy growing and thriving. Lastly, this budget restrains state-controlled spending below the growth in the state’s estimated population and inflation.”

The Texas Observer noted that one of those line item vetoes was for a $5 million program to protect people who have been put under court-ordered guardianships: “In a pilot program over the last two years, state auditors have reviewed more than 17,000 cases in 18 counties and found that more than half the cases are out of compliance with state law, missing reports from guardians appointed by a judge to look after an elderly or incapacitated person.”  The author of the legislation, Senator Judith Zaffirini said she was “flabbergasted” by the veto and had not gotten any warning that it was coming.

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  • WUSRPH

    Abbott believes in “local control” only when the decisions made by locally ELECTED officials with the support of their citizenry are what he wants them to do. If the citizens objected, they can change the policy by a vote….They do not need Abbott reaching down on high to smote the evil doers. Of course, he and his friends have the same view about voters in general—-they should only have a right to vote when they are certain to vote RIGHT…Otherwise he wants to make it as hard as possible…..His hypocrisy in fighting the federal government for “local control” while opposing it for the real “locals” is more than pathetic. But, this was to be expected. As the Fort. Worth TPer remarked after they lost all the local campaigns funded by Dunn and company earlier this year…”It is hard for a Conservative to be elected in local elections”,….so Abbott and his ilk want to effectively do away with them…We have to hope that the non-Socialist local governments (and their state representatives) under stand that “first they came” means that their local control can also be taken away if they offend Abbott…as those good Republicans in Denton found out in 2015.

  • José

    Any man who lies about the Official State Tree of Texas is surely unfit to be her Governor.

  • John Bernard Books

    You’ll never know how to hate unless you’re a democrat….

  • SpiritofPearl

    Abbott needs to get out of Texas more. California is doing quite well these days.

    • Barbaramryan

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  • John Bernard Books

    I’ve observed the left becoming more unhinged as they continue to lose power….

  • BCinBCS

    R.G. wrote: “Lastly, this budget restrains state-controlled spending below the growth in the state’s estimated population and inflation.

    First there was Kansas, then Wisconsin, then Louisiana and then Oklahoma. Now comes Texas.

    Trickle-down (supply side) economics and starving government did not work in experiments in those four states and it will not work in Texas. Will Republicans never learn?

    • WUSRPH

      Patrick has been trying to years to put such a limit on the state’s budget growth from year to year…The impact would be to gradually strangle the state’s ability to meet its responsibilities with a fiscal garrote. He has passed a bill to do that thru the Senate during the past two sessions….and it is on Abbott’s “19 extras” list for the special session. The House came up with a much logical version in 2015 which recognized that some areas of the budget grow faster than they would under a strict population and inflation control and treated them differently….But Patrick insisted on a complete garrote. This session the House did not bother to even hold a hearing on the Senate bill. The LBB did a study of the impact a few years ago….that found that state spending would have been about $40 billion less had that limit been in effect for the prior 10 years……Abbott has seen to it that no updated study has been done on his proposals. The effect of adopting such a plan will be to gradually force the state to make deeper and deeper cuts in the general programs….which is just what government haters like Patrick have in mind.

      • BCinBCS

        This anti-science attitude of Republicans is one of several major factors that pi$$es me off when it comes to that party and its members. Patrick will not allow the LBB to study the impacts of his granny starving budget bill, Republicans at the federal level pass laws prohibiting the CDC from collecting data on the mortality and morbidity of gun violence under massive pressure from the NRA and now, in utter secrecy, Senate Republicans are trying to pass a health care bill that will literally kill thousands of people without studying its impacts on the country. Combine those with their denial of global warming climate change and you get a party that disrespects science and the American people. My god, how their future children and grandchildren will curse them.

        • WUSRPH

          There is a great phrase that I saw in an article elsewhere that expresses what was tried in Kansas and is being advocated here in Texas and in the Trump budget and tax plan—-“the trivialization of government”. These are people who want to repeal most of the 20th Century and these early years of the 21st and go back to some mythical golden era.

          • SpiritofPearl

            That never really existed . . .

  • WUSRPH

    This story from the Washington Post may give some insight on this new “war on cities” being waged in our legislatures and Congress and in the minds of people like Abbott:

    http://tinyurl.com/yd882l38

    • SpiritofPearl

      Saw this myself and shared it with others. Good analysis of the divide in America, not just Abbott’s war on cities.

      The question is: why do rural residents stay in dead-end locations? Fear of “The Other”?

      • Jillgrea

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      • WUSRPH

        Fear of the other is one reason…..inability to sell (at other than loss), lack of job skills for another job that might be available elsewhere and of the funds needed to move, family connections all those reasons why people stay at home….Aid in moving costs and in selling out in order to move is one way to help this problem…but it is far too reasonable for the GOP/Trump to even consider. “Voting with your feet” was a lot easier when all you had to do was put your entire worldly possessions into a Studebaker Covered Wagon and head west where virtually free land was available and even then only a minority did it……

        • SpiritofPearl

          I’m sure this has been done, but it would be interesting to see cohort studies of age mates who stayed in dying communities vs. those who moved to find better jobs.

          I was always struck by how the local staff at I.U. had numerous family members to help with child care on snow days, sick days, holidays while Mr. P. and I were a two-man tag team. Fortunately we had jobs that permitted us a lot of flexibility as long as we got the job done.

          NYT did an article several years ago about American migration from one state to another. Fewer than 50% of us move to a different state, some times as little as 30% depending on the state.

  • John Bernard Books

    Is the democrat party suicidal?
    “A New Jersey Democratic strategist is capitalizing on the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) by launching the hashtags #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen, and he is showing no signs of backing down, claiming “the chickens came home to roost.”
    James Devine, a longtime political strategist in the Garden State, tweeted in the wake of the shooting at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria on Wednesday that “we are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people”:”

    sicko…..reminds me of most posting here.

  • BCinBCS

    Amazon, headed by CEO Jeff Bezos, bought the Austin based Whole Foods grocery chain. For those of you that want to know the “inside story” on how and why this purchase happened, I give you the following information:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a2069b0f9664d19f1e24074aff782a769c4a29ef208f664a10872b7aef9878b.jpg

    .

    • Dorothyakuhn

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    • SpiritofPearl

      My son calls it “Whole Paycheck.”

      • Jed

        sustainably sourced food costs more, but what is it worth to avoid poison in your food or exploiting farm workers or third world farmers?

        people who complain about how much whole foods costs don’t understand the economic concept of externalities (and how it is basically a license to exploit). shopping at HEB or Randall’s costs all of us much more than a paycheck.

        unfortunately, so does shopping at amazon (of which i am already guilty).

        • SpiritofPearl

          Organic food can be obtained at other vendors than WF.

          • Jed

            organic food, yes. sustainably sourced, a big maybe.

          • SpiritofPearl

            The poor get shafted either way – American poor or foreign slaves.

  • WUSRPH

    The SCOTUS has agreed to hear the Wisconsin “political gerrymandering” case. Although Texas’ status as a state covered by the Voting Rights Act (and possibility about to be put back under the Sec. 5 “pre-filing” requirements) is some degree of protection against gerrymandering, I think that this case has the possibility of having a real impact on at least parts of Texas. IF the court holds that the deliberate “disenfranchisement” of people based on their political beliefs—which is what is alleged here—is unconstitutional I can think of no better example than the way the Texas Legislature has treated Travis County in drawing lines for Texas Senate and US House districts. Dividing one of Texas’ most Blue counties up among at least 4 or 5 Senate and US House districts solely to prevent Democrats from being elected would, to me, fall under such a ruling. (They would do it to the Texas House districts too if they could but a provision in the Texas Constitution stands in their way.)

    • Mary Compean

      Aug. 28, 2012. A federal court rules that Texas’s redistricting maps were “enacted with discriminatory purpose” and finds that Texas Republicans not only failed to grant new power to minority voters in the state, but also took away vital economic resources from minority Democratic members of Congress.

      • WUSRPH

        True….but up to now the SCOTUS has not struck down a redistricting like the ones involved here. It has struck down districts that discriminated against a specific race/ethnic group….as in the case you cite….but let those based on partisan….GOP v Dem, etc. basis stand…..The Wisconsin case says that you cannot deliberately setout to make Democrats votes worthless by drawing districts, that guarantee that they will never be able to elect a Democrat. In this case, the TOTAL Democratic vote in the state was substantially higher than the GOP vote, but the Republicans had split them up so thoroughly, that their votes had no effect. This is just what the Texas Legislature has done in Travis County.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Maybe those of us who lost Lloyd Doggett as a rep will be saved.

      • WUSRPH

        Just getting Doggett back as your repsentative is far less important that forcing the Legislature to adopt a congressional redistricting plan that INCREASES the number of Democratic congress members by three or four above the current number. Personally, I’d forgo the pleasure, if any, of having Doggett represent me for that outcome.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Doggett wouldn’t be your rep in any case. Don’t you live west of I-35?

          • WUSRPH

            Nope…I have lived east of 35 in a tri-ethnic/racial neighborhood since 1983. “23 the pace tp be” (78723 that is). But because of the way Travis County was gerrymandered my congressman is the car dealer from Ft. Worth.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We’re neighbors!

  • WUSRPH

    PC takes another hit…The SCOTUS says that the Washington Redskins can call themselves what they want under the First Amendment. (I guess this also gets the Cleveland Indians off the hook).
    Some of us are old enough to remember the first round of the effort to get sports teams, etc. to change their names….One of the first to do so was the Stanford Indians….They changed their name to the Stanford Cardinal but, being Stanford, it is the color and not the bird. Plus their mascot is a pine tree. That way no one can be offended.

  • WUSRPH

    Another analysis of the 2016 election that suggests that racial and cultural views had more to do with the election outcome than economic worries, etc.

    http://tinyurl.com/yccnf4bz

    Each of these studies fills in a gap in the overall picture that is gradually emerging……of a country divided more divided along racial/cultural views than any other… Another refutation of the myth of the melting pot.

  • SeeItMyWay

    Mr. Ratcliffe, you post a thread, and then, one guy in particular, just takes off in any topic direction he chooses. Maybe you should put him on the TM payroll, or ask him to go set up his own blog.

    I scrolled down expecting to read peoples’ thoughts on Abbott, Patrick and the Empower Texans legislative team trying to take local control away from us. After Jose’s on topic post, I got cramps in my finger trying to move down and find another one. I gave up.

    I don’t like it. Bet others don’t either, even if they are not speaking up.

    • WUSRPH

      You might look at the very first post on this thread…..it was all about local control and why Abbott and company do not like it….(See below) Jose’s post was a one-line joke.
      BYW, what are your views on the subject of uniformity at the statewide level (anti-Californization) v. local control? How far should that extend? How about ride-sharing services where there could be different rules within multiple areas of a county? Anti-drilling? Billboard and advertising limits? Tree preservation? Plastic bags? Controls on the amount of sound that can be generated by a business?
      If we have “local control” how far should it extend? Should we be allowed to, by zoning, etc., limit where certain people and live and/or earn their living? We used to do that with deed restrictions (most of which were on race/ethnicity or religion) but the federal government won’t let us do that any more….So in some places we use zoning to do it? ? Historic preservation districts? Controls on impervious cover? All those things that limit someone’s “freedoms”, supposedly in pursuit of the “public good”. Should that be allowed? How far can we allow government to control what a man can do with his own property?
      Should local govt’s be allowed to use special fees and/or reinvested taxes to help people either stay in their homes or be able to afford housing. (Abbott vetoed such legislation and the Legislature banned other attempts).
      Should the state step-in in all these areas (and more) as Abbot would have it? How about a state law that says a city has only x number of days to process a building permit? Where do you draw the line between personal property rights and the rights of the public? Between matters that should be controlled by the State or by local governments?
      You must have opinions on all of these. Do more than complain about others….Let us hear your views.

      • SeeItMyWay

        Thanks for the invite. I think I’ll just sit back and watch you steer the ship.

        • WUSRPH

          Too bad. You might have had some comments worth hearing……but you’d rather complain…….Actually, I do more rowing than steering…

          • John Bernard Books

            He said you were a pedantic blowhard….where have we heard that?

        • BCinBCS

          SeeIt, you complain about what you see as a problem and then refuse to do anything to solve it. Sad.

          • WUSRPH

            He did something about what he sees as the problem of the thread going off subject (often my fault). He complained…..but he could help solve that problem by commenting on the subject itself….That he did not do…..

  • Hugh Everett

    “no one has ever proposed such sweeping restrictions on local voters having a voice in shaping the character of their communities”

    Talk about shameless hypocrisy. When was the last time you heard democrats defend the constitutional rights of the States against encroachment and bullying from the federal government?

    “government closest to the people is the best kind of government”

    I’m laughing at democrats using this cynical approach. The Constitution has nothing to say about municipalities.

    If you don’t like texting, plastic bags, and open carry firearms, feel free to move to California.

    • José

      So you don’t actually dispute or disagree with either statement?

      • WUSRPH

        The problem is that Abbott, in theory, may be correct about the relationship between the State and local governments, even if he is wrong about the relationship between the states and the federal government. Local governments in Texas are only possible because they are authorized by the State and have only the powers the State grants them…..They are as such subordinate to the State government. This means that he can legally do what he proposes. Of course, that does not mean that he should.

        The GOP made a dogma out of “the government closest to the people: being the best and a mantra of the words “local control” UNTIL local governments started doing things that some conservatives did not like—such as passing local anti-discriminatory ordinances and later such things a plastic bag and oil-well drilling controls—and they discovered that at least a voting majority of the local voters supported such heresies. It got worse when voters in the larger cities became more “Blue”, making it harder for conservative business interests to control what local governments do. (Austin’s move to single-member districts, resulting in only one “conservative” on an 11-memmber council was probably the final straw.) At that point, Abbott and others started talking about the need for uniformity across city and county lines to avoid “Californization” (by which he really means the voters deciding their own needs and policies).

        It is hypocrisy at its worst, but beyond trying to defeat him in the Legislature, there is little that local government can do to stop this “overreaching” by the State. That is why I (only partially joking) am advocating that Texas adopt the its own versions of the 9th and 10th amendments to the US Constitution that were intended to protect the States from the federal government. But, in this case, would protect local governments and citizens from the State. You can see my suggested language in a post, below.

        • BCinBCS

          W, it is the hypocrisy of the Republican party that bothers me as well. Be it at the state or at the federal level, Republicans say and do one thing when they are in the minority and then do an about-face when they are in the majority. Hypocrisy is a defining characteristic of Republicans.

    • SpiritofPearl

      I don’t. I’ll work to change the system. Demographics are on my side.

      • Hugh Everett
        • WUSRPH

          You make a partially good point—one I made a couple of years ago when I did an analysis of where “new Texans” are coming from that demonstrated that a large plurality were coming from either the state’s directly adjacent to Texas or from the South and, as such, were likely to hold views on social, cultural and political issues similar to those of the voting plurality in Texas.

          However, what you do not consider, is that the number of “new Texans” coming from outside Texas is a smaller number than the number of “new Texans” (particularly Hispanics) being born here which is having the effect of making Texas an ethnic minority state. IF the politics of Texas are to change it will be because of those home-grown Texans and the GOP/conservatives continuing failure to attract their support as shown in elections in the major cities in Texas. This means that, while you may be right in the short-run, Pearl is probably correct in the long term.

          • Hugh Everett

            I am personally acquainted with hundreds of transplants to Texas who work in the manufacturing and energy sectors of the economy. Regardless of their original home state, these people are Republican.

            So rather than focus on where they’re moving from, you might ask what industry they work in. We live in an oil and gas producing state.

          • WUSRPH

            Since I recognize that your views are shaped primarily by your personal experience it would clearly be a waste of time to try to overwhelm you with studies and polls that conflict with your fixed viewpoints.

            BUT, the basic fact is that the number of those coming to Texas is outweighed by the natural increase in births among those who are less likely to be Republicans. What you are deliberately ignoring is the fact that Immigrants from other states constitute a much smaller portion of our population increase. As such, as I said before, the long-term demographics are against you, no matter how many of the new comers that you personally come into contact with are Republican.
            As to what kind of state Texas is…..oil and gas have been a primary force in our economy for many years and will continue to be for some years to come…HOWEVER, its proportion is declining as other sectors develop and grow. As such, basing a future projection only on the views of those employed in that industry, distorts its importance.

            BYW, I think you will find that studies not based on your personal experience demonstrate that those coming to Texas in the higher tech/information/computer industries and other developing sectors are not as GOP as those in the sector with which you are most familiar.
            You may not have also noticed that our society is re-segregating along cultural/religious and political views so that it is becoming less likely that you will come into contact with any large number of those with differing viewpoints. This self-isolation also tends to distort the view of someone who bases his conclusions primarily on personal experience.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I know dozens of transplants – like me – who came here from outside the south and are Democrats.

        • SpiritofPearl
          • Hugh Everett

            Latinos don’t have a great record of voter turnout, and Texas Latinos split their vote 50-50.
            http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-Latino-vote-splits-5876952.php

            That means Latinos have no political impact in Texas elections.

            White Texans vote 70% republican, which is why the GOP owns the state.

          • WUSRPH

            Almost all true…for now…..Hispanics do not turn out in the same percentages as other groups…They are slightly lower, BUT their rate is increasing election after election. And, remember, they soon will be the (if they are not already) the largest population group in the state.
            No responsible, respected analyst accepts that 50% for GOP figure. George W. Bush probably did the best, but people like Patrick just cannot attract that level of support.
            The 70% of white Texas who vote Republican is about right….but the group is both declining as a percentage of the population and aging as younger voters, including Whites are increasingly voting for Democrats. (Remember the old rule that what counts if not the percentage but the percentage of what. 70% of a smaller group may be less than 50%F ANOTHER

          • SpiritofPearl

            “No impact”? One election . . .

            By the time President Loco is through with Texas, expect more movement of all voters to the left. That’s why Texas GOP pols have been disenfranchising potential Democratic voters with with hokey photo ID laws and gerrymandering.

            But time is on the side of justice . . .

        • WUSRPH

          Not if this trend continues….Hispanics make up more than half of the growth in the state.

          (panic–which is what you are doing—is part of the word Hispanic)

          http://tinyurl.com/y9zjd7uv

          • Hugh Everett

            I think we’re discussing two different trends.

            I’m providing data on new arrivals of Republican voters.

            By contrast, you’re providing historical data describing the growth in illegal alien population during the Obama years.

            As they say, “past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes.”
            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/may/9/illegal-immigration-southwest-border-down-70-pct/

            I hope democrats continue celebrating and ballyhooing the term “demographics is destiny” when bragging about the rate of entry of illegal aliens and refugees into the country. No single issue better explains the ongoing conversion of battleground states WI, IA, OH, MI, PA, MN, ME, NH from blue to red.

            Most people don’t realize that 90% of the people who vote in those states are non-minority, and about half of those don’t have college degrees. So that’s a large voting block of new Republicans in the all-important battleground states.

            If you like the current balance of political power in the country, you’re gonna love the direction for the rest of your life.

          • WUSRPH

            How ever, they got here–and most were born here from families that have lived here a lot longer than your Republican newcomers– Hispanics are here…and they had children who are American citizens. Those children are having more children, all American citizens….and, along as the GOP has an attitude toward them like you express, they are not going to vote Republican. The fact is that you are a declining proportion of the Texas population. Just as your white, non-college educated GOP voter on whom you are wagering your party’s future is a declining part of the electorate. No one thinks this is going to happen overnight—barring a national revulsion over Trump and the GOP’s policies—but it is happening. Sleep well tonight, but your days of power will end during your lifetime..

          • Hugh Everett

            I’m a member of the Canary Islanders Descendants Association, and my ancestors were living in Texas before George Washington was born, so you really don’t need to lecture me on how things work in this state.

            Meet my gggggggrandfather.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Leal

            So let me give you the numerical facts:

            39% of eligible Texas Latinos vote.
            https://www.texastribune.org/2014/02/26/hispanic-voters/

            Texas Latinos split their vote right down the middle.
            http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-Latino-vote-splits-5876952.php

            Texas Latinos can not and do not elect Democrats in statewide elections.

            Many of us Texas Hispanics love Donald Trump.

          • WUSRPH

            So your a descendant of the Canary Islanders. Big deal.

            My ancestors got to America at least 94 years before yours (1634-St. Mary’s, Maryland) and I have right to membership in the First Families of Maryland, The Art and the Dove Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans and numerous other “colonial” and “American” groups (with many members of my family members of some or all).

            And, all of that makes me no better of an American than an immigrant who just took the oath of allegiance. In fact, he’s probably a better citizen than either of us because he had to struggle to become one and we just happened to be born here.
            (BYW, my apologi8eis for the way the early Anglo settlers of Texas so mistreated your ancestors.)

            As to the importance of the Hispanic vote in Texas:

            You keep talking about today…..I am talking about tomorrow. You are right about the situation as it exists today….but it is more than questionable that your will be in 2030, especially, as I noted, if the Texas GOP continues to have the same attitude toward more recently arrived Hispanics reflected in your comments.

            But, to perryphrase Jim Hightower: Basta.! We have spent enough time on this topic.
            History will prove one or us, or both of us, to be right or wrong….Let it do its thing.

          • Hugh Everett

            You sound like an Anglo school teacher, who loyally votes for the party that protects public sector pensions. (I’m fairly confident in my assessment.)

            I have 0.0 respect for Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Dan Rather, and the other folksy Texas dinosaur populists.

            If you want to meet some real Texans, you need to leave the teachers lounge and go to the rig, the refinery, or the ranch. These people are 100% GOP.

          • WUSRPH

            Funny, I share your disdain for some of the folks you named….Hightower, because his hubris, made Rick Perry possible and Richards because she was more “image” than reality and, when elected governor, was unable to do anything but appoint people to office. That was an important first step….but there was so much more at stake.

            I’ve met “real Texans” all my life…I live in a tri-ethnic/racial neighborhood by choice….I have worked with people from all areas of the state (I was born here by the way), etc. As to those groups you cite of people being “Real Texans” being 100% GOP— Even if they are, which is questionable, they are, first, a declining portion of the Texas populace (and electorate) and, secondly, they are no more “Real Texans” than a baby just born in a Brownsville hospital. Texas is a constantly changing place….and you want to ignore that….Go ahead, but don’t expect thing to stay the same for long.

            P.S. I haven’t been near a teachers lounge since I graduated from high school many years ago.

            But, as I have said, we have spent enough time on this. You still haven’t told us your views on the Abbott “power grab” to restrict what local governments and local voters can do to run their own cities. Speak up. Let us hear the views of a “Real Texan”.

          • Hugh Everett

            I’m quite sure you believe that states like Texas must adhere to federal laws.

            Similarly, municipalities must adhere to states laws.

            I would be very interested if you disagree with these simple assertions.

          • WUSRPH

            Not in the least. In fact I have said that several times…See my comments on other posts such as this one from a couple of days ago:

            “The problem is that Abbott, in theory, may be correct about the relationship between the State and local governments, even if he is wrong about the relationship between the states and the federal government. Local governments in Texas are only possible because they are authorized by the State and have only the powers the State grants them…..They are as such subordinate to the State government. This means that he can legally do what he proposes. Of course, that does not mean that he should.”

            What is funny is that Abbott is always preaching about :”federal overreaching” into areas that can best be handled at the state level” and advocating the old idea that “state’s should be the laboratories of change” allowed to experiment and try new things and find their own solutions….BUT…he totally refuses to allow local governments this same right.
            People in Austin may have different views on some subjects than those in Plainview…..and both groups should be allowed to express their differences in actions by their locally elected governments….AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT RESTRICT THE CONSITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THIER CITIZENS… I doubt that few people–other than Abbot and Ken Paxton—believe that there is a constitutional right to use plastic bags…

            If the cities “overreach”–just as in the case of the federal government—there are the courts to bring them back in line. That is our system…I say let it continue.

          • Hugh Everett

            “I doubt that few people–other than Abbot and Ken Paxton—believe that there is a constitutional right to use plastic bags…”

            Abbott is a smart lawyer, and he certainly knows where the line is drawn. He successfully hog-tied Obama’s immigration plan.

            When I want to frack outside Denton, I simply need to follow state laws. I don’t need to ask permission from the Denton city council, although I will certainly make a courtesy call on those folks to grease the skids.

          • WUSRPH

            Quack Quack, Quack, That is the sound of you ducking the question….Do you or do you not believe that the citizens of a city or county should have the right to control their own destinies as long as they do not violate the constitutional rights of others? Do you believe that Greg Abbott or a state representative from Muleshoe knows better than the citizens of Longview, Dallas or Cut-n-Shoot what is best for their community? Is “uniformity” across the state what you want or is only that you want to do what you want when you want where you want and don’t want anyone else to do what they want if it disagrees with your views?

            As to Abbott being such a smart lawyer, a smart lawyer would not have lost as many of his lawsuits against the federal government…..with which primarily filed so that he could make some political statement.

          • Hugh Everett

            The entire democrat climate agenda involves the federal government abridging the freedom of citizens of states, counties, and municipalities to control their own destinies. They can no longer purchase Crown Victorias or top loading washing machines that use a lot of water. Under the next democrat regime, we might have to drive 55 MPH instead of 80 MPH.

            When you start advocating state nullification of federal laws, I will take you seriously on local sovereignty.

            Good luck getting out of the logical trap you set for yourself.

          • WUSRPH

            The quacking sound is getting deafening……Stand up, be A REAL TEXAN and tell us what you believe?

            As to :”nullification of federal laws”…I see no “logical trap:. Instead, I agree with Madison who called the whole idea a “heresy” and he should know having been on the primary authors of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No state has the right, by itself, to nullify federal laws or to “interpose” its own laws in place of a legitimate federal law.
            However, that does not mean that I oppose state’s suing the federal government when they believe it has overstepped its authority and interfered into a matter reserved to the states. Nor, do I oppose the state claiming its 10th Amendment rights when the federal government attempts to make the state or local governments enforce federal laws for it against their will. (Funny, however, that is just what Abbott advocated with SB 4. Hypocrisy anyone?) That, however, is not “nullification”. It is how the system was designed to allow the state’s to oppose “federal overreaching.” We may well—I suspect–disagree when this happens and what constitutes overreaching, but we both support the state’s right to oppose it.

            None of this, however, non of this has any bearing on whether you believe that the legislature or governor, etc. should overrule the right of local governments to conduct their own business about their own affairs except when what they do is unconstitutional .. Quit ducking and answer the question.

          • Hugh Everett

            “We may well—I suspect–disagree when this happens and what constitutes overreaching, but we both support the state’s right to oppose it.”

            I would be most interested in examples where you believe the federal government can overstep authority reserved to the states.

            I think Texas should allow Ford to manufacture and sell Crown Victorias, and Maytag to manufacture and sell old-fashioned washing machines. Similarly, I think Texas should be allowed to ignore EPA rulings on fracking, and the 55 MPH speed limit. None of these actions would violate the 14th Amendment, although they probably don’t even violate the commerce clause.

            You probably disagree with my positions on these issues. By contrast, you probably think Denton should be allowed to forbid all fracking. If so, you would be inconsistent and hypocritical.

            My position is 100% consistent. Here’s the deal: I will support sovereignty and local rule in municipalities as long as you support sovereignty and local rule in the States.

            Let’s hear your impassioned argument in favor of good old fashioned States Rights.

          • WUSRPH

            I can make no impassioned argument in favor of “good old fashioned state rights” (as Jefferson called the doctrine) especially in light of the fact that it was developed and proclaimed to justify slavery, segregation and other maladies.

            As to an example, of the federal government “overstepping” its authority…I can think of no more current example in what the Trump Administration would like to do to force local governments (some it calls “sanctuary cities” but all in reality) to enforce what appears to be an unconstitutional violation of the 4th Amendment by holding people in custody when there is no authority to do so. This clearly is a violation of the 10th Amendment, as described by the SCOTUS in such cases as National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, (2012) (Obamacare),; 1992 case, New York v. United States, in which the Court ruled that Congress could not require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations; and the 1997 case, Printz v. United States, in which it ruled that the federal government could not command state law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers.

            As to the sale of Crown Victorias (I drive a Grand Marque, myself) and washing machines, such regulations would have to covered by the commerce doctrine and be supported by evidence that the serve a national interest. In these cases that could be a claim that saving energy and, in the process, reducing gaseous discharges are vital to preserving the public health backed up the compelling evidence of their impact on climate change.. All these have been litigated or will be which is the system created by the constitution to decide such questions.

            In general, however, I fear that you, like governor Abbott, disagree with the long established precedents of McCullough v. Maryland and Marbury v. Madison. But, unlike you Abbott at least appears to agree that the Constitution needs to be changed to overturn them.

            As to why Texas cannot do it if it wants to…I can only again cite Madison who explained:

            “Nothing can be more clear than ….the authority & laws of the U. S. must be the same
            in all; or that this cannot continue to be the case, if there be a right in each to annul or suspend within itself the operation of the laws & authority of the whole. There cannot be different laws in different states on subjects within the compact without subverting its fundamental principles, and rendering it as abortive in practice as it would be incongruous in theory.”

            I, however, also like Madison respect the rights of the states where they do not infringe on constitutional rights and/or the supreme powers of the federal government. As he put it:

            “Interference with the power of the States was no constitutional criterion of the power of
            Congress. If the power was not given, Congress could not exercise it; if given, they might exercise it, although it should interfere with the laws, or even the Constitutions of the States.”
            While—as I have said—I agree that the State is supreme over the cities, counties and other “subdivisions of the state”, I would argue that, in the same principle of federalism that splits some powers between the states and the federal government (while still making the fede4ral supreme) it is in best interests of good government and the rights of the citizens to express their views if state (or federal) interference is limited as much as possible.
            You, on the other hand, refuse to make your position clear. How I feel about the relationship between the federal government and the states and the states and local governments has nothing to do with your views on the subject. Making your position dependent on my mine only allows you to hide you view. Quit hiding and be a REAL TEXAN who is not afraid to stand up and say what you believes….Quit quacking your way thru life.
            .

            As to your position being “consistent”

          • Hugh Everett

            “Making your position dependent on my mine only allows you to hide you view.”

            My only purpose was to expose your hypocrisy and inconsistency, and it worked exactly as planned.

            I’m quite pleased with government function at all levels these days, especially the judiciary, which could have six young conservatives on the Supreme Court in the near future. The impact will last for the rest of lives, and every new decision will feel like Christmas morning.

            I like what Abbott is doing in Texas. If I lived in California or Illinois, I wouldn’t like what they’re doing, so I would simply move to a state like Texas. That’s what’s great about federalism…we all have options, and freedom to move.

            That’s the obvious solution to your problem with the Texas legislature dominating municipalities. Love it or leave it.

            I especially like the stark contrast between Trump and Obama. Soon, there will be absolutely nothing left of the Obama legacy, with the exception of Michelle’s vegetable garden.

            Life is good.

          • WUSRPH

            So you have finally admitted that at the core of your “belief” is a disdain for the right of the people to rule themselves unless they do It your way.

          • WUSRPH

            The relationship between the federal, state and local governments is simple:

            –each is supreme in its own allotted sphere of power and responsibilities
            —the federal government is supreme over all….limited only by the provisions of the constitution.
            —the states are subordinate to the federal government
            —cities are subordinate to the state
            —all should be free, as much as possible, to exercise their powers and respond to the desires of their citizenry unless they violate a constitutional provision of the superior body.
            —each should give as much leeway as possible to its subordinates in exercising their rights and responsibilities…..ala “local control”…

            Is that simple enough for you to understand?

          • WUSRPH

            I hear a lot of quacking in the background.

    • SeeItMyWay

      I’m no liberal, and I don’t want Abbott and other bought and paid for politicians in Austin deciding how my city is governed.

      • WUSRPH

        See, expressing your opinion didn’t hurt that much. I look forward to seeing many more such expressions.

  • WUSRPH

    TM’s best and worst legislators list is out on its new Armadillo Newsletter….I won’t repeat it here…but it is interesting to note that one of the best, Sarah Davis, is the same GOP representative that the TPers and anti-choice forces have been trying (without success) to defeat for years. It seems her Houston/Bellaire constituents–even in the GOP Primary–are more interested in having an effective representative who can get things done than an ideologue. She is the ONLY pro-choice Republican left in the Legislature..

    Speaking of ideologues….Yes, Stickland made the worst list…but not for his ideology but for the way he expresses it. He will, of course, claim that is all some sort of “liberal conspiracy” and “fake news”…but when even his fellow GOPers dislike the way he behaves, that is far from being the case.

  • John Bernard Books

    Holy smokes PBS forgot to mention how many million of innocent children Rachel Carson killed with her misguided crusade against DDT.
    Thankfully the WHO has gotten DDT back on the approved list to help stamp out Malaria.
    The left often overlooks facts and uses hysteria to promote its agenda.
    “Carson’s book was rife with omissions, misrepresentations, and errors. She neglected to mention that the spraying of Huckin’s bird sanctuary was accompanied by fuel oil, which would have harmed the birds in and of itself. The fact that DDT had eliminated malaria in the northern hemisphere went unnoted. The threat of cancer (Carson herself had been diagnosed with breast cancer while at work on the book) was overemphasized — to put it mildly — on no scientific basis.”

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/05/rachel_carson_and_the_deaths_o.html#ixzz4kZILihIr

    On a side note this hysteria by the left led to the formation of the EPA.
    These kooks are killing America.

    • SeeItMyWay

      Army surplus jeeps hauling sprayers used to pump clouds of DDT into the evening air every summer where I lived to kill mosquitos. We were in our yards when it happened -some were following behind on their bikes. Never heard of any getting sick, and we have lost few, if any, of my class to cancer. I am in mid-60’s.

  • WUSRPH

    The lessons of Tuesday’s special congressional election in Georgia:

    1) Democratic candidates in most cases cannot and will not win in districts that both have a long record of electing Republicans and that were specifically drawn to be dominated by the GOP.

    2) Trump has not yet scared or disappointed enough voters in such a district to get them to consider a Democratic candidate or draw enough uncommitted or “new” voters to the polls. (The relative closeness of the various special elections compared to the regular GOP vote in the districts involved, etc. does show some dissatisfaction with Trump, but not enough for the “revolution at the polls” that people like Bernie Sanders are talking about. In fact, earlier in the race, Sanders suggested that the Democratic candidate was not sufficiently radical.)

    3.) Until the development of sufficient dissatisfaction with Trump and the GOP actions in Congress (assuming they ever act) when Democrats try to unseat Republicans they should concentrate on those marginal GOP districts which Clinton carried.

    4,) It is still to early to make any even informed guesstimates about what will happen in the 2018 elections.

    At least, as JJ would say, that is how I see it.

    • John Bernard Books

      It tells us dems are losing because of their misguided policies not skin color as dems are falsely claiming.

    • BCinBCS

      “Until the development of sufficient dissatisfaction with Trump and the GOP actions in Congress (assuming they ever act) when Democrats try to unseat Republicans they should concentrate on those marginal GOP districts which Clinton carried.”

      And Democrats should also concentrate on marginal GOP districts that the Republican narrowly carried.

      • José

        I always wondered why the Dems are far less likely than the GOP to run candidates in “lost” districts. Even if they spend next to nothing it still seems worthwhile, if for no other reason than you get people in the habit of remembering that they have a choice. And every once in a while you get lucky.

        • WUSRPH

          I have mixed feelings about your “show the flag” policy for non-winnable districts. It does show people that Democrats still exist, but fact that time after time they are going to loose may also discourage voters in other perhaps winnable larger (district or statewide) races. It also could tend to draw our limited resources away from races where we had a chance. I had a classmate who insisted that the party had to run a candidate against Ted Poe because Poe was, in his view, such a bad congressman and somebody had to oppose him.. He ran…He got slaughtered and then complained that the party and contributors did not support him. Of course, this was the same year as one the Pete Gallego contests in West Texas where every penny was vital. My feeling towards candidates like him who declare that “someone has to run” is, fine, go ahead, but don’t expect us to waste effort on you. The sad fact is that with the way the districts were drawn—and will likely be drawn in 2021 barring some help from the SCOTUS or a national upheaval against Trump/GOP—the best Texas Democrats can expect is to try their hand in the few “marginal” districts, This means that it will be a long haul back to power as it will have be done district-by-district one after another.

          • José

            Yes, any sacrificial lamb candidate should understand up front that they’ll be on their own, without party assistance, and that it will be a truly humbling (or humiliating) experience. Other than that, is there a downside?

            The particular scenario in my imagination is where a safe incumbent has some truly horrendous problem late in the campaign, a scandal or rapidly declining health or legal matter. It’s possible that a challenger can eke one out. Case in point, Rep. Cao of Louisiana. You might recall him as the sole Republican who voted for the ACA. Cao was elected because the incumbent Bill Jefferson got caught with a freezer full of cold cash. He was convicted and sentenced.

          • WUSRPH

            One problem with many of these type of candidates is that they genuinely believe that they can win and become very negative toward the party and anyone who did not help them when they lose. They somehow convince themselves that—despite all the evidence from past elections—that it just requires the right candidate with the right views to dethrone a long-term incumbent (of either their own party or the other). On can only wish them luck and shake your head.

    • don76550

      The problem for democrats is they are rightfully despised by real Americans. Check out the county electoral map that elected Trump.

  • WUSRPH

    Russian government actors tried to hack election systems in 21 states, Homeland Security official says (Washington Post)
    Boy, The Donald is going to be pissed (again)…..Here he keeps telling us that this whole Russia thing is “fake news” made up by the media and the Democrats to distract from his great victory…and some flunky of a bureaucrat goes and says the Russians actually were doing it……He’s going to want to see some heads fall over this kind of “disloyalty”. Get on the program folks. The Donald has spoken and the TRUTH has been declared.

  • John Bernard Books

    Conservatives love Nancy…
    ““I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), who supported Pelosi in her last leadership race. “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.””
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/21/nancy-pelosi-fallout-georgia-special-election-239804

    I’m starting to have doubts if dems will ever win again…..

  • WUSRPH

    A big question—whether we as a people believe it is in the best interests of the nation that all persons have adequate health care—may be at least partially answered tomorrow when the US Senate GOP majority unveils is top-secret plan to repeal (but not really replace) the ADA.

    Of course, we don’t yet have “universal health care” in the US….being the only major nation in the world without such a program—but the ADA (AKA Obamacare) is the closest we have ever come to it any may well be the closest we will ever get depending on what the GOP majority in the Congress finally adopts.

    It is clear that the GOP plan will result in fewer people receiving health care insurance and, eventually, any kind of health care…but what is not yet clear is how far it will go to the eventual creation of a GOP-version of the fabled “death panels” that the ADA was supposed to have created. That did not happen….and could not have happened under Obamacare…BUT provisions the GOP is said to be considering to put “caps” on spending for health care with the effect of forcing the state governments to eventually ration care and decide just what to provide could well make such panels a reality.

    • WUSRPH

      Well. its out…and the best you can say about the AHCA bill is that it isn’t as bad as the House. It will take health insurance coverage away from millions but it spreads that pain out a bit more.

      • WUSRPH
        • WUSRPH

          And, if you haven’t guessed by now, the answer to the question of whether the American people believe that it is in the national interest that all people have adequate health care is still unknown…It is clear that the GOP does not.. Trump, of course, said he did during the campaign, but Trump said and says many thinks that, to be polite, “change”.

          We may not get an answer until millions of people—and not just “the worthless on welfare” but your neighbor, your child or your friend—no longer have health insurance and are forced to seek care at charity hospital emergency rooms….as in the “good old days”.

  • WUSRPH

    While people are complaining to TM about various postings or, on another thread, lambasting its choices for Best and Worst legislators, I thought I’d register my own serious complaint about what it has done to make my life worse….By that I mean that, by its declaring my favorite barbeque joint one of the 50 best in Texas, it has made it almost impossible for me to get into the place. Is no secret safe any longer?

    • SpiritofPearl

      Franklin’s? Did you know you can order it in advance? Easy Peasy . . . Shipped some to a friend in Hoosierland and was in and outmin five minutes.

      • WUSRPH

        No, not Franklin’s. I only went there once…had to stand in line for an hour and they had only a tiny amount of beef left when I got to the counter. It was good, but not enough to justify all that forced anticipation…..I think they do it on purpose to give them an image.

        My favorite place, which I will not reveal since TM has already made it hard to get served, is far less pretentious about its product….but it is all great. (Don’t bother with the “lean” cut of beef. It is only for those who are afraid they are committing a sin by eating the fatty good stuff.)

    • SeeItMyWay

      Daniel Vaughn, the TM BBQ guru, is from a particular class of smoked meat enthusiasts who judge a brisket primarily by the flavor and appearance of the blackened end pieces and the fatty topknot portion (the deckle). Not me. I want slow cooked, with a nice crimson smoke ring around each slice…which has plenty of retained moisture and does not crumble and fall apart. This can be accomplished on any type of smoker if you can control the temp properly. One with a gas assist works really well, but Vaughn would disagree.

  • WUSRPH

    Did you see that Ted Cruz, while he says he is against the Senate health care bill, says he is willing to “negotiate” and “compromise”…. IF he is serious—and you cannot tell with Cruz—he has come a long way from his prior position of “total repeal” and his statement during the campaign debate in Houston that he did not believe there was any CONSTITUTIONAL POWER for the federal government to be involved in health care in any way.

    I wonder if the fact that he’s up for re-election next year has helped soften his attitude?

  • WUSRPH

    California has banned state-paid for trips or interactions with Texas because of the discriminatory laws passed our legislature.

    See

    http://tinyurl.com/y854bmb2

    • WUSRPH

      California government employees may be staying home a lot more now that the California Atty. General is enforcing a law passed by their legislature banning travel to states that discriminate. Texas and three other states (Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota) were added to the list yesterday but there were already eight states on the list….That keeps California state employees from visits, conferences, etc. in 12 states as of now. What really concerns folks in those states is whether the law will apply to college sports teams and ban them from playing in those states. UCLA has already said it won’t…..but others are claiming that athletic programs are exempt because they are not funded with state appropriations…The point will probably have to settled by the courts.

  • WUSRPH

    What is particularly interesting about the opposition by some Republicans to the Senate health care bill is that, for all the talk about “moderates” wanting to keep as much coverage as possible, it primarily the far rightist members of the Senate (ala Ted Cruz) who are making the most noise against the bill……and they are doing it not because it does too little to provide coverage BUT because it does too much. Of course, that is the same problem that Speaker Ryan faced in the House with his first version of the bill. This means that fight in the Congress is not about how much health care to provide but how little……The bill already will take health insurance coverage away from millions—and severely restrict the care millions of others will receive—but that apparently is not enough for the Cruz faction…..Maybe he really meant it when he said that he did not believe the federal government had any constitutional power to do anything in the field of health care.

    (There is, of course, a small chance that at least a couple of the so-called GOP moderates are hiding behind Cruz and company and avoiding have to go public while there are enough opposing the bill that they do not have to do anything…..courage?)

    • BCinBCS

      The Senate will placate the far rightist by making the bill more draconian. They do not have to worry about the moderates because, as loyal members of the tribe, moderates always cave to the wishes of the party. Mark my words.

      • WUSRPH

        Why is that? Are you suggesting that “moderates” have no firm principles and cannot be counted on to take a “Here I stand. I can do no other” position? What would make a moderate so malleable?

        • BCinBCS

          Why? What would make a moderate so malleable?”

          Simply put, tribalism. And no, moderates cannot be counted to take a stand.

          If the AHCA (Trumpcare) fails to pass the Senate this week, it will be because conservative Republicans do not think that it has gone far enough to reduce medical subsidies and, especially, to defund Medicaid. This is the reason that, if you oppose Trumpcare, you should call Ted Cruz’s office ((202) 224-5922) and encourage him to vote against the bill (don’t tell them that you are opposed to the AHCA’s goals of killing thousands of people in order to enable a billion dollar tax cut for the super rich, just tell them you oppose the bill).

          • WUSRPH

            Pretty harsh view of the folks who all the text book theory says are the people that allow government to function by making the deals (compromises) necessary to bridge4 the gap between the two extremes. Of course, the problem in the GOP is that there is no other end of the spectrum…..The “moderates” are as close to the center as there is.

          • BCinBCS

            Moderates are close to the center only if the extreme right shift of the Overton Window is taken into account.

  • WUSRPH

    If you want to know what might be wrong in Austin, just examine this list (courtesy of the Texas Tribune’s Blast)

    showing the fund raisers for just next week:

    Monday, June 26

    State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (8:30-10 a.m.)

    Land Commissioner George P. Bush, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (12-1:30 p.m.)

    Gov. Greg Abbott fundraiser; San Antonio (12 p.m.)

    State Rep. Diana Arévalo, D-San Antonio, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (12-1:30 p.m.)

    State Rep. Leighton Schubert, R-Caldwell, fundraiser; Law Offices of Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP,
    1108 Lavaca St., Austin (2-3:30 p.m.)

    State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4-5:30 p.m.)

    Gov. Greg Abbott fundraiser; The Junior League of Houston, 1811 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston (6-7:30 p.m.)

    State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (6-7:30
    p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 27

    State Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (8:30-10 a.m.)

    State Rep. Jay Dean, R-Longview, fundraiser; Lilly & Company Offices, 1005 Congress Ave., Suite 400,
    Austin (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

    State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.)

    State Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, fundraiser; Headliners Club, 221 W. Sixth St., Austin (4-6 p.m.)

    Attorney General Ken Paxton, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4:30-6:30 p.m.)

    State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4:30-6:30 p.m.)

    Gov. Greg Abbott fundraiser; Dallas (6-7:30 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 28

    State Rep. Mary Ann Perez, D-Houston, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (8:30-10 a.m.)

    State Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (11:30
    a.m.-1 p.m.)

    State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (11:45 a.m.-1:15
    p.m.)

    State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, fundraiser; InterContinental Stephen F. Austin, 701 Congress Ave., Austin
    (3-5 p.m.)

    State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4-5:30 p.m.)

    State Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin
    (4:30-6 p.m.)

    Gov. Greg Abbott fundraiser; Austin (6-7:30 p.m.)

    Thursday, June 29

    State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, fundraiser; Fleming’s, 320 E. Second St., Austin (11:30 a.m-1
    p.m.)

    State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin
    (11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.)

    State Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin
    (12-1:30 p.m.)

    Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4-5:30 p.m.)

    State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4:30-6 p.m.)

    Battleground Texas Grassroots Reception; King William, Garden House, 732 S. St. Mary’s St., San Antonio (5:30-7 p.m.)

    Friday, June 30

    State Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, fundraiser; Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth St.,
    Austin (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)

  • WUSRPH

    When you hear Gov. Abbott or Lt. Gov. Patrick, the state’s leading warrior against sexual variations, or Atty. Gen Paxton or one of there followers crowing about a panel of the US 5th Circuit of Appeals “upholding” Mississippi’s anti-same sex marriage law please take a moment to tell that that is not so. The court said absolutely nothing about the merits or constitutionality of the Mississippi statute. It ruled ONLY on the “standing” of the plaintiffs. Because, law was enjoined by a court before it could go into effect, the three-judge panel ruled that the plaintiffs had not shown that they had been injured by the act and, thus, had no grounds on which to seek relief. This means that it was thus able to duck question of whether the law is valid. That will come up in later actions.

  • John Bernard Books

    There is no collusion with Russia and Prez Trump gets ready to name his second SCOTUS Justice Monday……some never learn

  • WUSRPH

    The AP applied the rest used to determine partisan gerrymandering from the Wisconsin case to the various states and guess which state came out as the most gerrymandered? Yep, Texas is number one again.

    http://tinyurl.com/ya2schvr

    • BCinBCS

      From the article: “The AP used their method to calculate efficiency gaps for all states that held partisan House or Assembly elections for all of their districts in 2016. It showed that Texas provided the GOP with 3.7 extra House seats. The next closest pro-GOP states were Michigan, North Carolina and New York, which each gave the party at least two House seats that they otherwise would not have gotten.
      (bold is mine)

      OMG! We’re worse than North Carolina! Now that’s an accomplishment.

  • John Bernard Books

    Uh oh….
    “A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.”
    http://nypost.com/2017/06/24/inside-the-shadowy-intelligence-firm-behind-the-trump-dossier/
    worse than WaterGate…….

  • WUSRPH

    The next time Gov. Abbott or Lt. Gov. Patrick brag about all those people moving to Texas from California point them to this story from the Sacramento Bee that reports that the people moving from there to here are primarily that state’s poorest residents while the people moving to California (including the many from Texas) are usually better educated with higher incomes. Is that an even trade?

    http://tinyurl.com/gmufluh

  • WUSRPH

    Two interesting religious rights cases at the SCOTUS today.. First, the intriguing ruling in the Missouri case in which it found that just because a church was a church did not automatically prohibit it from participating in a state program…..this one for grants for playground resurfacing….It is very unclear just how far this ruling goes to open the door to religious groups, etc. …especially since Chief Justice Roberts included a footnote saying it applied only to a playground grant……But it clearly weakens straight “no money to religious organization under any circumstances” such as those found in the Missouri AND the Texas State Constitutions…….As they say, time will tell what it means…..but, I expect that religious organizations will be fairly zealous in seeking out opportunities to extend the ruling.

    The second, of course, was the decision to accept the almost legendary “no gay wedding cake” case for a hearing next fall. The case clearly offers the Court a change to provide some guidance on just how far you can go with a “sincerely held religious belief” in discrimination…..and the attempt to make religious beliefs supreme over all other rights.

    • José

      I keep meaning to look up the deets about the first case. If the church playground is indeed open and available to the public without prejudice then it seems reasonable to allow them to participate on even footing with other private nonprofit organizations. Our church has such a relationship with the city. It’s worked well thus far. I suspect that’s because no one has tried to misuse the arrangement.
      Some folks might see that as a breach in Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state. I don’t. The wall is there and works in principle just like the fence that my neighbor built between his lot and mine. We still talk and share and cooperate. It’s just that we both understand and respect the boundary.

      • WUSRPH

        It is very unclear how far this case goes to chip at the Wall of Separation…..Chief Justice Roberts tried to keep it very limited with his footnote and findings about what it did not provide. Justice Thomas said he also wanted to wait for another day to take on the question of just what does the separation mean. But Justice Trump, the new guy, went very close to saying it knocked down the wall. As such, I’d read it as another in the series of cases in which the court has said what counts is whether the funding, etc. directly advances the religious teachings, etc. It’s major impact will be that it strikes down the “absolute separation” wall found in a majority of the states’ constitutions, including Texas. This opens the door to a lot more attempts by religious institutions to obtain some sort of public support. The result will be probably be a series of cases in which the courts will have to use the “does it advance the religion” test again and again. Needless-to-say, an absolute wall made it much easier to fend off these efforts. Of course, here in Texas we have a governor, lt. governor and attorney general who have all proclaimed at one time or another that the whole idea of the “wall” is wrong…..and who support state funds to religions as long as the program is open to all religions, which is how they read the First Amendment.

        • SpiritofPearl

          How about churches pay taxes?

          • WUSRPH

            I don’t think there is anything in the constitution that would forbid the taxing of churches….but it is a policy not to do so in light of the many charitable and other functions they provide that the government would fall upon the government. Churches are taxed on property they own that is not used for religious purposes.

  • WUSRPH

    Well, the numbers are out: The Senate health care plan will save over $300 billion over 10 years at the mere cost of denying health care coverage to 22 million people……It’s nice to know the numbers…although they are really meaningless in this debate……People who assume that the decision on whether to have the government subsidize or provide health care insurance has anything to do with what it might cost just don’t comprehend reality…..…
    it is not what it costs that matters to these people….but rather the very idea that the government should be doing this……
    .
    If Speaker Ryan, Mulvaney and Cruz follow any economic theory—which is doubtful—it is the one expressed by their mentor, Ayn Rand, in her Doctrine of the Virtue of Selfishness……”NEVER DO ANYTHING FOR ANYONE FOR NOTHING”…..

    The problem most people have in understanding this is they believe that one of the functions of government is to work for the betterment of society and provide care to those who cannot provide it for themselves…..But those behind this repeal do not…..Instead, they believe that each individual is on his own….They are at heart Social Darwinists…….When you accept that…you will stop trying to use logic and reason to understand what they are doing..

    • SpiritofPearl

      The hidden costs the system aren’t included in the CBO estimate: massively increased use of high cost ER care, lost wages, lost lives.

      • WUSRPH

        There you go again trying to use logic and reason on a question of ideology. To the Mulvaney’s of the world it would not matter if keeping the ACA would increase the government’s revenues by 100 billion per year. It is a matter of him not believing that it is the function of government.

    • BCinBCS

      I have heard reported several times today that the money that is saved by the Senate version of Trumpcare is one bright spot as it will reduce the budget deficit.

      Where have these people been hiding? All of the money saved by Trumpcare will be passed on to the super rich in the form of tax reductions; none of it will be used to lower the debt.

      The GOP is playing healthcare three card Monte with the American people and, if you know anything about the scam, the GOP tosser always wins in the end.

      • SpiritofPearl

        The 400 billionaire beneficiaries of the tax cut will buy new trophy wives.

  • WUSRPH

    If Susan Collins (one of those supposedly weak-kneed “moderate” Republicans) stays a NO all that is needed to kill the Senate version of Trump Care is one more GOP No Vote. They are putting the pressure on the other four that have said no so far……at least two of whom, including Ted Cruz, are up for re-election next year and might be susceptible to a threat of Trump supporting someone to oppose them in the primary, etc……but Rand Paul just started another six-year term and could stay firm……Then we will have to watch as Trump tries to kill Obama Care by withholding some of the subsidies…..What ever happened to that “the first thing we will do is repeal and replace” pledge both by Trump and the GOP majority? Seems like Trump was right. for a change, when after being in office for a few weeks he said he had discovered that health care was very complicated.

    • José

      It takes three GOP Senators to defeat the bill since otherwise the vote would end 50-50 and Pence would break the tie. I guess you are counting Heller (NV) as the other sure holdout. It’s good that there are several options for that elusive decisive vote.

      Regardless, it won’t be one of Texas’s finest who will gain that honor. Cruz has neither the courage nor the principles to make that stand. What a weasel. And Cornyn, SMH. Yesterday on Twitter he floated the terse observation that the ACA already fails to cover 29 million Americans. Somehow he forgot to mention that he and other Republicans are responsible for that gap.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Had a bizarre conversation with one of Cornyn’s staffers yesterday who insisted the BRCA would INCREASE Medicaid spending.

        Handwaving . . .

      • BCinBCS

        Yesterday on Twitter [Cornyn] floated the terse observation that the ACA already fails to cover 29 million Americans. Somehow he forgot to mention that he and other Republicans are responsible for that gap.

        He also forgot to mention the additional 22 million people that will be uninsured if the Senate bill passes. GOP bill = 51 million people uninsured, Obamacare = 29 million people uninsured. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

        It’s time for single-payer and if Trumpcare passes, the Democrats will be forced to adopt single-payer in their platform.

  • SpiritofPearl
  • John Bernard Books

    Just how dumb are the dem voters?
    In 1791 Sec of State Jefferson hired Philip Freneau as a translator in the State Dept. with tax payer’s dollars. But his real job as to be the editor of the National Gazette and write smear peices and lies about Treasury Sec and Prez Washington.
    “The Editor of the “National Gazette” receives a salary from government.
    Quere—whether this salary is paid him for translations: or for publications, the design of which is to vilify those to whom the voice of the people has committed the administration of our public affairs—to oppose the measures of government, and by false insinuations, to disturb the public peace?
    In common life it is thought ungrateful for a man to bite the hand that puts bread into his mouth; but if the man is hired to do it, the case is altered.
    —T.L. in Gazette of the United States, 25 July 1792.”
    https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-20-02-0374-0001

    The same thing is happening at CNN today…

    The average democrat is a dupe……..dupe=dummazz.

  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    I don’t what it is what this Republicans and counting….votes that is……Twice now they have scheduled a vote on Trumpcare….and twice they have had to cancel it…..I can understand setting a date in order to put pressure on some wavering voters, BUT to embarrass themselves both times….Of course, they hope it will turn out like it did in the House where they were eventually able to whip enough votes into line….Trump, of course, is trying to blame it on the Democrats…but it is his Republicans that won’t follow his lead…Democrats have no reason to until something worthwhile is offered….and that has not happened YET.

    • BCinBCS

      McTurtle and his Whip, our own John Cornyn, would have to convince eight of the ten Republicans who outright oppose the bill or who have concerns with the bill to come on-board for the measure to pass.

      Those who oppose the Senate bill are:
      Collins of Maine
      Cruz of Texas
      Heller of Nevada
      Johnson of Wisconsin
      Lee of Utah
      Paul of Kentucky

      Those who have concerns about the Senate bill are:
      Capito of West Virginia
      Cassidy of Louisiana
      Murkowski of Alaska
      Portman of Ohio

      That number of Senators may have been even too much for our Senator Goodhair to sway but don’t fret, I’m sure that the wheeling and dealing isn’t over yet.

      • BCinBCS

        I know that it’s asking a lot but it seems logical to me that the Republicans ought to work with the Democrats on a bi-partisan fix to Obamacare. The GOP is in a no-win situation: if they don’t pass a healthcare bill, their constituents will be outraged since the party has spent seven years touting repeal and replace; or if they do pass a bill, their constituents will be outraged when they discover how royally screwed they will be by the bill.

        The solution is to work with the opposition party, as they should have done eight years ago, pass fixes to Obamacare that strengthen the individual mandate and lower deductibles and co-pays on middle- and upper-middle class individuals and then declare victory.

        It’s so damned obvious.

        • José

          It would start a rebellion of their base. Even the dimmest of their supporters would see through the “repeal and replace” lie, and it would mean compromising with colleagues who they’ve branded as little more than traitors. Congressional Republicans have painted themselves into quite a corner. I don’t know how they’re going to wriggle out of this predicament.

          • BCinBCS

            Jose´, I see your point but I am of the belief that doing what I proposed and declaring victory would only be one more lie that Comrade Trump/Bannon’s supporters would believe.

          • José

            You may be right, amigo. I continue to be surprised at the hypocrisy and rationalizing and willful disregard of the truth by the Trumpistas.

        • SpiritofPearl

          It’s called “bipartisanship,” a dirty word to the base.

      • BCinBCS

        As most of you know, the vote on the senate version of Comrade Trump’s *Deathcare bill has been postponed until after the July 4th holiday recess. What is interesting is the behind the scene pressure that is being placed on some of the dissenting senators. According to >i>Politico, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is the only Republican senator up for re-election in 2018, has become the target of a White House-backed outside group over his reluctance to vote for the bill. According to the Politico article:

        [The America First attack] included a Twitter and digital ad campaign targeting the senator, including a video that accuses him of “standing with” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a reviled figure in conservative circles.

        ‘Unacceptable,’ the video says. ‘If you’re opposed to this bill, we’re opposed to you.’

        America First Policies is set to expand its campaign early this week with TV ads that will go after the Nevada senator.

        The offensive aims both to punish Heller and to sway his vote, and it is a stunning act of political retaliation against a member of the president’s own party — one who faces a perilous path to reelection in 2018. Senior Republicans, many of whom are deeply worried about Heller’s political standing and increasingly nervous about the midterms, were shocked and spent the weekend measuring the possible fallout.

        Those close to the White House say the attack is an outgrowth of President Donald Trump’s mounting frustration over his stymied legislative agenda and anger at Capitol Hill Republicans whom he sees as unhelpful.

        In a Saturday tweet, Trump hinted at his displeasure after multiple senators expressed concerns with the bill: ‘I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!’

        By targeting Heller, America First Policies is telegraphing to recalcitrant Republican lawmakers — even those trying to navigate treacherous political waters at home — that they will be punished if they don’t go along with the Trump agenda. Other Republicans could soon face similar attacks.

        If I was a Republican, I’m not sure that I would agree with an “eat your young” political policy. The only outcome that I can see here is that Sen. Heller caves and he loses his re-election in purple Nevada or he he votes against the bill and is primaried and loses (and he will eventually vote for the bill).

        *I call it the Deathcare bill because in each year, for each 300 people uninsured, one additional death occurs. That means if the Deathcare bill is passed, an additional 73,000 deaths will happen each year because of the 22,000,000 who would lose their health insurance. (But hey, they would be able to defund Planned Parenthood.)

        • BCinBCS

          And while I’m on the subject of Comrade Trump/Bannon administration craziness, did you see the reaction of the Trantrump-in-Chief to the Washington Post story that chronicled Obama’s reaction to Russia’s interference in the presidential election? He fired off a twitter storm about how Obama should have done something about it instead of everyone investigating his ties to Russia.

          Wait…what?

          Until these tweets, Comrade Trump has denied that there was any interference by Russians in the election to influence Americans to vote for him.

          Ah, the lies we tell.

  • SpiritofPearl
    • BCinBCS

      That very interesting article is also relevant to loco-in-law Jared’s incompetence.
      What rank amateurs!

      • SpiritofPearl

        We will survive, but not thrive.

  • WUSRPH

    If anyone sees JJ ask him what happened to the great deal maker who was going to go to Washington, drain the swamp, appoint all great people and solve all our problems. Maybe he is still in transit between the golf course and Washington.

    • SpiritofPearl

      I see JJ lurking on Twitter.

  • SpiritofPearl
    • WUSRPH

      He did that the day he killed the TPP…which was specifically designed to leave China on the sidelines as the rest of Asia made a deal with the U.S. But he didn’t know enough about it to know better…China has already put together a replacement for he World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which it will dominate, and is working on its own TPP, this time excluding the US……As I have said a couple of times, Trump is the American equivalent of the Ming Emperor who closed its doors to the world in 1424. One can only hope that his actions do not have a similar result on the US.

      • BCinBCS

        Absolutely agree.
        What a shame.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Foolishness . . .

  • WUSRPH

    You may have seen some speculation that Abbott is making an effort “to get business onboard” with his special session plans in the hope that he can get the business/tourism/sports folks to tone down their opposition to the infamous “bathroom bill”. If that is his goal, he hasn’t yet offered them that much to win their silence…..about all he has put on the table so far is some possible property tax relief from the tax rollback bill and some talk about limiting the time (and perhaps the conditions) a city can put on a building permit and it will probably take a lot more than that—say the repeal of the franchise tax–especially in light of the California boycott.

    • BCinBCS

      The state legislative edict to increased teacher pay by a thousand dollars using only local tax dollars has my school district aghast and I live in a moderately wealthy city. With friends like those in the house and senate, who needs enemies.
      And the beat goes on…

  • WUSRPH

    There has also been talk about Abbott suggesting that he would oppose those in the Legislature who do not go along with his plans in the next primary….But how serious that threat may be is uncertain. As the Quorum Report notes he made a similar pledge back in 2015 to support those who went with his plans….but few saw any signs that he honored that promise…There is an old rule about when you make a pledge that you are going after those who do not see it your way—-i.e.—you had been make sure it is effective because, if you try and fail, you have made an enemy for life, plus given others less reason to fear you in the future. As the old saying goes, “never kick a man when he is down….UNLESS you make sure he will never get up again.”

  • John Bernard Books

    Unable to steal an election in Texas for over 30 years dems have taken to blogging at the safe space Burqa blog with over 8 readers……per week.
    Yes its funny……

  • WUSRPH

    Does anybody know who this guy claiming to be Ted Cruz really is? I mean this certainly does not sound like the REAL Ted Cruz from a couple of years ago. What happened to government shutdowns? Almost sounds like one of the “Washington insider senators” he went to Washington to fight. Could there be an election coming up?

    “Senator Ted Cruz: 2018 NDAA Includes 13 Cruz Amendments
    Critical to Texas and U.S. National Security: Expands E-3 fleet, Provides
    $512 M in Military Construction Funds to Texas

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz
    (R-Texas) today praised the passage of FY2018 National Defense Authorization
    Act (NDAA) through the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) markup process
    earlier this week, which provides numerous military necessities, including
    over $512 million in military construction funds to the state of Texas for
    2018.” (Thanks to the Quorum Report)

    • SpiritofPearl

      CYA . . .

    • BCinBCS

      Yea, I dunno. It’s always easy for a Republican to support the military-industrial-complex even if they are “shut it down” fiscal conservatives.
      Nothing to see here; move along.

  • WUSRPH

    Does this both anybody?

    Trump’s
    voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of
    every voter in U.S.

    The
    chair of the Election Integrity Commission wrote a letter to all 50 states
    requesting the data and saying it will made available to the public. In
    Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he had “no intention” of honoring the
    letter, while in Connecticut, officials vowed to ensure the privacy of voters.

    By Christopher
    Ingraham (Washington Post)

    • SpiritofPearl

      It bothers me a lot. Gestapo tactics .. .

      • SpiritofPearl

        And it violates the voter’s constitutional right to privacy . . .

        • WUSRPH

          If you are a Trump-tarian judge or lawyer you do not believe that there is a constitutional right to privacy……That concept was developed by the late Justice Douglas who found it in the “penumbra of the constitution” to justify striking down the Connecticut law forbidding the selling of contraceptives and, later, Roe v. Wade, the abortion rights case. They must refuse to accept the concept to justify their opposition to the findings in both those cases.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I am not a Trumptarian in any fashion. The ballot box is secret . . .

            Several SOS, most remarkbly in KY, have refused to turn over the data. Should Texans lobby ours against this attack?

          • WUSRPH

            The ballot box IS NOT Secret……Judges and courts have the legal power to pierce the secrecy and compel a voter to reveal how he or she voted in cases of election challenges, etc. However, they try to avoid that it at all possible…What Texas judges try to do instead is to find that there are enough questionable ballots to make the outcome uncertain and then order a new election…..But there is no absolute secrecy for how you voted.

          • WUSRPH

            However, there is nothing in the data that the Fixed Election Commission is seeking that clearly identifies how you voted. Data can be generated to show how often you vote and in which primary (which can be used as a suggestion of your voting patterns) but the current systems do not track the vote back to the voters. However, if you combine that data with census and other data sources–as pollsters and data list producers for mailings/phone lists, etc. do—-you can probably get a 95% percent correct idea of your how you have voted.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Not so . . . read my previous link . . . partial SS#s, driver’s license numbers, how a citizen voted. Unconstitutional!

            Also this:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot

          • WUSRPH

            There is NOTHING in either the US or Texas Constitution that guarantees a “secret” ballot…..it is totally statutory…..The legislature has chosen to make the ballot private,….The same goes for social security numbers, driver’s license numbers. An “originalist” could, in fact, hold that the founders did not require or expect that the ballot would be secret since it was not at the time the Constitution was written. I know we like to claim things we like are protected by the constitution….but that is not always—often in fact–not the case. This is one of them.

            The relative provision in the Texas Constitution is:

            Sec. 4. ELECTIONS BY BALLOT; NUMBERING, FRAUD, AND PURITY OF ELECTIONS; REGISTRATION OF VOTERS. In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, and the Legislature shall provide for the numbering of tickets and make such other regulations as may be necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box; and the Legislature shall provide by law for the registration of all voters.
            There is nothing in there that says “secret” or even “private”.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We can haggle over originalism. The constitution evolved over time.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Then why do we vote in private booths? I’d like to read the legislation on that.

          • WUSRPH

            It used to be any voter, but it has been amended to apply to only illegal votes….

            Sec. 221.009. COMPELLING VOTER TO REVEAL VOTE. (a) A voter who cast an illegal vote may be compelled, after the illegality has been established to the satisfaction of the tribunal hearing the contest, to disclose the name of the candidate for whom the voter voted or how the voter voted on a measure if the issue is relevant to the election contest.

            (b) If the number of illegal votes is equal to or greater than the number of votes necessary to change the outcome of an election, the tribunal may declare the election void without attempting to determine how individual voters voted.

            Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 228, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Butbutbut most votes are not “illegal” . . . A majority of states are rejecting this illegitimate request. Of course, the good little robots in Texas state government will relinquish all my private info over unsecured lines without the blink of an eye:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/voter-roll-data-unsecured_us_59572603e4b0da2c7323b69e

          • SpiritofPearl

            Of course the ballot box is secret!

  • WUSRPH

    Well the Texas Supreme Court has proven that it is s bunch of politicians masquerading as judges. It has ruled in the case challenging benefits for same-sex marriages by sending the matter back to the trial court. It covered its you-know-what by saying the issue had not been finally decided by the SCOTUS ruling last year……suggesting, in passing, that it does not cover benefits, and putting that determination on some poor trial judge. This, of course, is the same court that originally declined to hear the case but changed its mind after it was attacked by Patrick and his llk and threatened with retribution in the primary. Now the judges probably think they have avoided that, at least, until the trial court is forced to decide in favor of the benefits by the more recent SCOTUS ruling this week.

  • WUSRPH

    Many of us thought that Abbott’s idea of a $1,000 pay raise for teachers PAID FOR BY THE LOCAL DISTRICTS was a bad idea…but now, according to the Texas Tribune, he’s making it even worse by shopping around the idea that it not be an across-the-board raise but a “merit raise” tied to some measurement of the quality of the teaching……I wonder if anyone has explained to him just how hard it is to rate a teacher’s performance, especially if you try to tie it to some level of improvement in student test scores, etc. It sounds like it would be simple to some…..kids’ grades go up, give her a raise…kids’ grades improve by more than average, give her a bigger raise….kind of like the idea that if Joe produces X widgets per hour when he was producing y, give him a raise……Of course, like almost all simple ideas, It isn’t that simple….For example, how do you judge the difference between the results a teacher with a 70% Anglo, middle class and upper class of students against one with a 90% minority, 45% non-English speaking, bunch of “economically disadvantaged” kids? Needless-to-say, it is a lot harder–and takes a lot longer–to produce the same level of improvement for the second group than it does for the first…..But taking all this into consideration produces a complex formula that rarely meets the simple needs of the simplistic thinkers who talk about merit raises for teachers. If Abbott were serious he would be talking about doing more to help teachers with the second type of kids…but that might cost money….So forget that.

  • WUSRPH

    Round ’em up, move ’em out, raw hide! Ken Paxton’s new motto.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Crooked Ken . . .

  • WUSRPH

    The National Review on Trump’s problems:

    Some people simply cannot handle the fact that Donald Trump was elected president. One of those people is Donald Trump. Trump has shown himself intellectually and emotionally incapable of making the transition from minor entertainment figure to major political figure. He is in the strange position of being a B-list celebrity who is also the most famous man in the world. His recent Twitter attack on Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe exemplifies that as much as it does the president’s other by-now-familiar pathologies, notably his strange psychological need to verbally abuse women in physical terms. Trump may have his problems with women, but it is his unrequited love of the media that is undoing him.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449145/donald-trump-media-mika-brzezinski-tweet

  • John Bernard Books

    How funny a senile old man and his drunk sidekick now run this blog……hahaha

  • SeeItMyWay

    How does one determine if a blog is in a death spiral? I’m not really sure, but after scrolling through this thread, it would appear that this one has to have most of the indicative signs. In its heyday how many regular posters did this site have? Where did they go? Why?

    • WUSRPH

      Whether BB is dying is unknown….It has gone thru periods like this one in the past but bounced back…..Its fate is totally in the hands of the folks at TM…..if can be vibrate when they choose to post threads more often…….but they are a small group and do not seem to always give it the priority its follower would like

      • SeeItMyWay

        Well, when I first took a look there were several threads in fairly rapid order, and a few more commentators, but certainly not many. This thread topic is receiving lots of ink across the state, and over a hundred posts here, but only by a handful of repeaters. This to me is telling. Don’t think it is necessarily the frequency or topic that is dragging it down.

        • WUSRPH

          If you want to see more individuals posting one way is for you to post comments rather than just critiques….I know I’d be interested in what you believe on various subjects….but, as on this thread, it took pliers and screwdrivers to get you to make a one sentence opinion post saying you believed in local control. Lead the way….

          • John Bernard Books

            You senile old fool ….

        • WUSRPH

          Sorry to disappoint you, but I checked with TM and they tell me that RG has been on vacation (a certainly deserved one) and that BB will continue……

          • SeeItMyWay

            Disappoint me? Where did I advocate for shut down? You will be hard pressed to find it. I was purely expressing my understanding of why they might.

          • WUSRPH

            Good news, then….but you can help keep it alive by more active comments…..

    • donuthin2

      Seems to be pretty much done.

    • José

      One big problem is site management. It’s been uneven, to say the least, since Burka set down his pen and walked away. Erica Grieder took over for awhile but she left, I think because of threats from some RWNJs. RG started some good discussion threads but has been alarmingly silent for too long. None of us can start new threads. Like you say that leaves us in a situation that is not very solid.

      I wouldn’t want to try to answer the question about this blog’s history regarding its regular posters. That too has been uneven over the years. A few of us post too much, several good folks post too little, and several more posted for a while and then sort of dropped out.

  • WUSRPH

    The Austin v. Abbott or Abbott v local control (accept under his terms) battle is featured in the Washington Post.

    http://tinyurl.com/yap3ylzh

    • WUSRPH

      Abbott has talked about a general statewide law barring cities from doing anything the State (He) does not like. Could he be planning something like this new Arizona law that does a “sanctuary cities” like cutoff of state aid to local governments for any thing they do that is not authorized by state law?

      http://tinyurl.com/y6udrzyx

      Be on the lookout while bill filing for the Special begins.

  • SpiritofPearl
  • SpiritofPearl
  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    Even The New Yorker is interested in what is going on in Texas……we are the bellwether for the nation with the rightwing takeover representing the future of the US?

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/10/americas-future-is-texas?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosam&stream=top-stories

    http://tinyurl.com/woj72tf

    • SpiritofPearl

      I interpreted the article differently.

      Fight on!

      • WUSRPH

        It was certainly a love piece for Straus, but it also raised questions about whether he can continue to hold the line or whether the day when the :”business conservative” was in power are ending with the final takeover of the “social issues” radicals. As Straus said, he could not say what would happen if the bathroom bill reached the Floor…..The question is whether he can block it…by anything but a more blatant use of the speaker’s power……Doing that, of course, will subject him and his allies to even worse attacks by Hotze and his ilk. You may have noted that the governor’s list of authors/sponsors for his special session program includes a fair number of Straus lieutenants. Are they CVAing themselves against future opponents or is it is way for the speaker’s team to keep control of what happens? Or both. There was certainly a bit of CYAing in Geren being the lead sponsor of the SB 4 in the House and in the list of co-sponsors….but time will tell whether that had any impact..

        • SpiritofPearl

          I read it as a battle between the “AM Texas” and the “FM Texas” factions. Right now AM has control of the political process, but there are lots of us FM voters -‘and latent Latinos. It will be interesting see how SCOTUS adjudicates on gerrymandering.

  • WUSRPH

    Have a great Fourth of July everyone……Remember this is the birthday of the land that was to be—and up till now has been—the light to the world. We were the first successful mass democracy…..America has carried on through many trials and difficulties….certainly we can survive the current misoccupant of the White House.

    • José

      Same to you, amigo. I’m hoping that someday we’ll look back on this and congratulate ourselves on successfully deflecting a serious challenge to our republic. And I’m scared that someday we’ll look back and congratulate ourselves on having done so well for so long. Two centuries and change ain’t that bad I reckon.

  • WUSRPH

    Would someone please tell the Donald……to remember when he talks to Putin that Russia has the 10th largest economy in the world (GDP)…..but that ranks here just behind Canada and just ahead of Korea (South)…..Her 1.5 trillion GDP compares very badly to our over $19.4 trillion…..The only thing that makes Russia at all important is that she has nuclear arms and Putin’s big mouth.

    • WUSRPH

      I am advised by an eminent economist that California’s GDP is bigger than Russia’s and that Texas is close, if not larger…….

    • SpiritofPearl

      President Loco is Putin’s stooge.

  • John Bernard Books

    More from the looney lefty
    Obama Warns Americans About Too Much Patriotism — On July 4th Weekend!

    “The former US president said some countries had adopted “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and “increased resentment of minority groups”, in a speech in Indonesia on Saturday that could be seen as a commentary on the US as well as Indonesia.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/01/barack-obama-calls-for-liberal-solutions-to-globalisation-problems?CMP=twt_guvvvv

  • John Bernard Books
  • SpiritofPearl
    • donuthin2

      A courageous school superintendent for sure. Unfortunately, a school administrator can only be marginally better than his district leaders or they will not tolerate him. Way to go Ft Davis.

    • BCinBCS

      Oh my goodness!…$3.9 million in state aid to Ft. Davis schools in 2008 reduced to $378,000 by 2017. I guess that the state thinks that if it contributes one dollar or more that it is providing for the public education stipulated in the Texas Constitution.

      The take-away is the conclusion at the end of the article:
      There is one statement in [Ft. Davis Superintendent Graydon] Hicks’s letter that I think hits the nail on the head. It says political analysts seem to agree that better-educated voters tend to vote Democratic. What better way to suppress those voters than to attack the sources of their education?

      When it comes to the Abbotts and Trumps, I wonder if, when Democrats regain power, their supporters will scream and gnash teeth when the Democrats, filled with revenge, inflict stiff retribution for the Republican’s cruel and selfish policies?

      • WUSRPH

        Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. Thomas Jefferson

      • WUSRPH

        While I fully agree with the points the Ft. Davis superintendent is raising, you might note that Ft. Davis is a Chapter 41 district subject to Robin Hood recapture because of its wealth/ADA. It raises $2 million plus per year from local sources. Its dilemma is that it’s current tax rate is at the maximum of $1.17. The fact that it cannot provide an adequate education within the limits of the current school finance system is only another reason why the system needs to be revised, reformed or junked (and I say that as one who in a small way helped create it).

        • John Bernard Books

          Look at the numbers the Ft Davis ISD budget is $5,750,000.00 for only 226 students. Thats is a mere $25442 ea…….hahaha obviously run by a liberal.
          The liberal’s answer “if we just had more money”…..

        • WUSRPH

          Someone brought some alleged figures that the Troll had posted about spending by the Ft. Davis ISD to my attention and asked for comment…..About the only thing I can say is that, as usual, he seems to have pulled some numbers out of his you-know-what According to the official reports of the Texas Education Agency the top revenues available to the Ft. Davis ISD last year were $2.940,5560which is much less Much less than the Troll claimed. Also, revenues per student were $13,113….again about half of what he claimed. That is more than he state average, but, in case he has not noticed, the Ft. Davis district has to attract teachers to live in an isolated area and, unless they are outdoor freaks, that means having to pay more….All this does is, once again, remind us not to take anything the Troll says as being anywhere near the truth.

          • SpiritofPearl

            No doubt those figures were gleaned from the vaunted “Ft. Bend Conservative.”

      • SpiritofPearl

        An endless cycle that benefits no one . . .

      • SpiritofPearl

        John Cornyn is on Twitter embarrassing himself with statements that say being uninsured is a “choice.” Is he really that naive? Is an intern tweeting on his behalf? Does he reallyreally believe this stuff?

        • BCinBCS

          It’s like gun violence and traffic accidents. Only those who exercise their “choice” to be shot or injured in auto accidents do so.

          I’m beginning to think that this new way of staying in touch with one’s constituents with 140 characters represents all that is needed to express the lack of thorough thought that goes into policies tweeted by Republicans.

  • WUSRPH

    Talking about a different kind of war:

    I guess we have a good chance in the next few days of seeing just how much influence “the generals” and the Secretary of Defense (another general) have on Trump……He is clearly frustrated about the North Korean missile tests and probably wants to do something about it….Something dramatic that will make him appear “strong” and “decisive”—like it did by shooting some cruise missiles at Syria. The generals, being military men and not militarists, will probably try to explain to him that (as we have discussed here before) Korea is one of those places where you definitely DO NOT want to go to war…..The terrain, by itself, should be a deterrent but when you add in the forces facing you, what they could easily do the millions living in and around Seoul, and the almost infinitesimal chance that you can knock out ALL of North Korea’s nukes, the case for not shooting is overwhelming……Of course, that might make the Donald face up to the fact that, contrary to his basic core belief, that there is not always a solution, especially an “easy” solution, to some problems in the world…..and that sometimes you have to live with a situation you do not like…..while hoping our strength is enough to deter action by the bad guys. Welcome to the real world,
    Donald.

  • BCinBCS

    Senate Leader Mitch McTurtle is having a tough time with passage of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) because he must balance moderates, who want to retain some of the protections found in Obamacare, and conservatives, who essentially believe that health care is a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. In the latter camp is our own senator, Ted Cruz.

    Cruz, realizing that he will never be able to completely eliminate Obamacare and Medicaid, must settle for stripping as much as possible from those programs. Currently, his amendment has been added to the BCRA which is undergoing another CBO evaluation. His amendment will remove more requirements of Obamacare including the requirement to cover preexisting conditions.

    This had gotten me to thinking about his position. I am in the polar opposite camp, as I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Even if my belief was not correct, it is, at a minimum, an essential service. How can we justify paying taxes to protect our fellow citizens with police protection if healthcare is not also a protection worth providing? How can we provide fire protection, as well?

    Those of you who oppose Obamacare and single payer healthcare explain to me how there is a difference between the essential protection services that we as citizens band together to currently support and the protection of universal healthcare which we should support.

    • WUSRPH

      Don’t give them any ideas….They might privatize fire protection—as it was back in the really Good Old Days when you had to pay a special fee to get fire protection….You put a sign that you had it on your home and fire companies were known to stand and watch the fire when they answered a call and did not find the correct sign.. You may notice that some of our larger insurance companies were at least once known as “fire insurance” companies. They got there start by selling protection. Of course, we could do the same with police….In fact, some areas hire off-duty officers to patrol and there has been a bill in the Legislature that would have allowed “gated communities” to commission their own police forces. I have said I will know we are now living in “The Blade Runner World” when that bill passes.

    • WUSRPH

      Government assumed the responsibility for police and fire protection when society grew so large that volunteer efforts or private enterprise could not longer meet the need. It is now time for it to assume that same responsibility for health care.

      • don76550

        You mean like the wonderful health care in Britain and Canada? I am a retired health care provider. All government knows how to do is destroy health care – like Obama did

        • WUSRPH

          There is no question that the quality of health care in the US—-when available and affordable is fantastic. The problem is that it is not available to all…Universal Care systems
          may not offer the same specialized care, but they provide care to all. The problem is finding a way to combine quality with quantity. The French, who you did not mention, may have come closest to this.

  • WUSRPH

    In talking about the need to improve public education you might keep things like this in mind:

    “Some Trump supporters thought NPR tweeted ‘propaganda.’ It was the Declaration of Independence.”
    (Washington Post)

    They apparently tweet it every year….but some folks took the charges against George III as attacks on Trump….

    • SpiritofPearl

      Orson Welles taught us about this phenomenon.

    • BCinBCS

      A slight correction: NPR has read the Declaration of Independence every year for the last thirty years. This is the first year that they also tweeted it.

      The ignorant polarization of some people (mostly bubbas) astounds me.

      • BCinBCS

        During the McCarthy Red Scare era of the 50’s the same thing happened:

        Legendary Wisconsin journalist John Patrick Hunter was a freshly hired reporter for The Capital Times in 1951, when his city editor asked him to dream up a Fourth of July story, the newspaper recalled half a century later.

        The young reporter walked out of the newsroom to go look for a story when something caught his eye.

        “There was a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the wall in the city room,” Hunter said 50 years later. “I went by and saw it and thought, this is real revolutionary. I wonder if I could get people to sign it now.”

        Hunter, who died in 2003 at age 87, turned in a holiday story that vividly captured the “red scare” whipped up by Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senator, Joseph McCarthy, during his anti-communist crusade launched the year before.

        The reporter typed up the Declaration’s preamble, along with six of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, and added the 15th Amendment prohibiting racist laws against voting.

        Hunter put those foundational American documents into petition form and canvassed 112 people at Madison’s Independence Day celebration, but found only one person — insurance agent Wentworth Millar — willing to sign off.

        “Ironically the guy who signed it, his ancestors came over on the Mayflower,” Hunter recalled in 2001, adding that Millar recognized the documents and their importance at that moment in history. “‘Sure I’ll sign the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights,’ (Millar said.) ‘We were never closer to losing the things that they stand for than we are today.’”

        None of the others Hunter approached would sign — and 20 of them accused Hunter of being a communist, according to The Capitol Times.

        “I can see you are using an old commie trick, putting God’s name on a radical petition,” one elderly man told him.

        Joseph McCarthy supporters and Comrade Donald Trump/Bannon supporters – true Americans.
        [/s]
        http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/an-old-commie-trick-conservatives-getting-triggered-by-the-declaration-of-independence-is-nothing-new/

  • John Bernard Books

    My dem friends live in a state of confusion after Trump won the election they started a new political party called WTF? WTF will replace the dem party but not their confused state……

  • WUSRPH

    Japan, Europe counter Trump with trade deal that will cover nearly 30% of global economy (Washington Post)

    And we sit on the sidelines while the president insults the looks of a women TV anchor……and you wonder why some people worry about the future of the United States.

    • BCinBCS

      Hey, priorities!
      (Plus, the TPP was Obama’s deal and we can’t have that.)

  • WUSRPH

    “This is a defining moment for public education in Texas, and we cannot squander it,” Straus said.

    Why not? We’ve done it many times before.

    In 1993 the Legislature made a decision that—since it did not having the political will/guts/courage to raise the revenues at the State level—that future—and necessary—increases in spending for public education were going to have to be paid for by local taxpayers thru the property tax system. After all, taxes are taxes and what difference does it make who collects them—-especially when the State can deny the responsibility and blame big increases on overspending by the locals.

    Any good analyst could have told them at the time what the likely result might be, but they labored onward dreaming that somehow the economy would grow so much that, in the future, the State could begin to fund more of the cost. Some probably thought back to 1973 when the Legislature was “rescued” from having to dramatically raise taxes by the good grace of Egypt who attacked Israel, leading to the first Arab oil boycott and a dramatic rise in oil prices and state revenues. (The days after were indeed the good days in Texas budgeting). Maybe something like that would do it again….(A few more recently thought “fracking” might provide the same boost, but that has not developed.) But there was no real “Texas Miracle” to solve all our problems….It is possible Straus recognizes that….but it is also probable that he is not willing (or able) to do more than HB 21 proposed…..which is still far from the State picking up “its share”.

  • BCinBCS

    Ouch…that’s gotta hurt.

    http://crooksandliars.com/2017/07/polands-first-lady-snubs-trumps-handshake

    And from a woman, no less!

  • SpiritofPearl
    • don76550

      Another example of a far left loon placing the race card against anyone who disagrees with her.

  • donuthin2

    Wonder how many of the contributors to the Paxton legal defense fund expect something personal in return?

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems ordered to stop legislating from the bench….
    “The Justice Department, which under President Donald Trump flipped its stance on Texas’ controversial voter identification law, said the state’s revamp remedies all “discriminatory effects” found by federal courts and should be allowed to go into effect without further penalties.”
    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2017/07/06/justice-department-texas-voter-law-fixed

    Former Atty General Lynch under investigation by congress….

  • BCinBCS

    Here’s something interesting:

    It seems that some politicians are proposing the creation of a commission on presidential fitness in regards to the twenty-fifth amendment (25A). Once established, it would examine Comrade Trump both physically and mentally. And guess who has expressed an interest in it? San Antonio Rep. Joaquin Castro.
    https://twitter.com/JoaquinCastrotx/status/881584944551735298

    I’m against removing Comrade Trump/Bannon from office. His incompetence has an ameliorating effect on the crazy, draconian policies proposed by Republicans and supported bigly by V.P. Pence and I am not in a hurry to see those laws passed by an efficient White House. It would take a 2/3 vote in the Senate to invoke the 25A which means that Democratic votes would be necessary and all of those Dems would be the brunt of “they hounded him out of office” by the right despite the votes from Republicans necessary to accomplish removal.

  • John Bernard Books
  • WUSRPH

    Did you see the great picture on the Washington Post site: Trump sitting at the conference table—totally by himself—looking totally out of it while all the leaders/officials were conferring behind him. Is that symbolic of the role the US is playing in the world under his leadership?

    • WUSRPH

      One thing it does say is that he has clearly violated one of the first rules of how to be well treated by the media—pissing off the cameraman…..That is something a person like Trump who lives by his image should have learned long ago….

  • SeeItMyWay

    How many new people tune in here, scroll down through a few posts, understand that there is one person holding court with a couple of others saying “amen”, and move on to another blog? With the large subscription coverage TM has, I would think that might be happening quite often.

    If you were Mr. Ratcliffe, and TM, why would you be wasting your time on new blog threads that you know are going to be hijacked?

    • WUSRPH

      Dear JJ II, see the new thread complete with places to comment….Why don’t you go post one.

      • SeeItMyWay

        Care to clarify? These references to JJ grow old. Were his posts regarding blacks rants, or did he include posted facts and figures regarding the percentage of children born out of wedlock being raised by neither the father or mother? Is this what you want to rehash? Some facts are difficult to refute.

        • WUSRPH

          To give you/him credit JJ did use some figures….but figures taken out of historical and social context are meaningless.

          • SeeItMyWay

            1. I’m not into rants.

            2. “Figures taken out of historical and social context are meaningless”? Numbers lie?

          • WUSRPH

            Numbers, by themselves, do not lie….But It is how they are used and interpreted and whether they fail to take meaningful factors into mind….such as the historical and social context—that gives them relevance….
            .
            As the old saying goes: There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.

          • SeeItMyWay

            In other words, you just believe what you want to believe.

          • WUSRPH

            Not at all…..But you check the bias, the source of the data, its record of reliability and put the figures into perspective with, among other things the historical and social history….such as do the figures tell you something new about a situation……It is sort of like the scientific method…..which I hope I will not have to define for you.

  • SeeItMyWay

    At 6:36pm today, Mr. Ratcliffe posted a new piece under the heading “Armadillo” on TM’s website. I don’t see where it has a place for commentary responses. Looks like this site has drawn its last breath, unless they leave it up and this thread moves on perpetually with WUSRPH taking on the role of honorary webmaster.

    This site has, or had, so much potential. TM’s lofty place as a player in the Texas political process, and the large number of people who subscribe and read each month, makes it a great place for those in political office to be asked to create threads here on occasion that expresses their positions on any given hot topic, and allow constituents to respond – with explicit rules forbidding unrelated commentary or personal insults.

    This is something I wish they would consider. I am convinced that all sorts of newbies would be logging on.

    • WUSRPH

      All I can say is that the existence of the Armadillo as a separate weekly newsletter was announced some time ago and that when last week I specifically asked TM whether BB was “dead or dying” the response was:

      “Thanks for writing! It’s not dead or dying. Our politics editor took a much-deserved vacation, but he’s back. Expect more content very soon.” So I have to take them at their word.
      As to getting officeholders and officials to post….Are you sure you are not JJ in disguise?…He suggested that many times….and I think it is a good idea! It could well draw more interest…..which is more than needed.

      However, I wonder how many would be willing to stand up and say something other than their standard lines, especially when the likes of MQS and ilk are so ready to pounce on anything that does not fall within their doctrinal beliefs. For example, could we get an informed legislator (from the GOP) to really talk about the future of state spending and state revenues that doesn’t sound like a high school student trying to explain Dr. Laffer’s curve? Or what approach is the state is likely to take if Medicaid is made a block grant? Either could set off a widespread debate like BB has not seen for some time…but I sincerely doubt it will happen. There are just to few like Jerry Patterson who used to drop in on occasion… but look what that got him.

      So, I say—-open the door, invite them but do not expect much enlightenment.

  • SpiritofPearl

    Some on the right are realizing President Loco’s incompetence:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-caves-to-putin/article/2008751

  • don76550

    I applaud Gov Abbott for reigning in the legislative insanity of liberal cities, Austin in particular.