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Former Republican Railroad Commissioner: Bathroom Bill Harms Teens And Republicans

”Political parties are like milk. They do curdle and spoil over time.”

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Michael Williams speaks to superintendents, higher education officials, business leaders and area elected officials at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.
AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Todd Yates

By all accounts, Michael Williams has been a dedicated member of the Republican party of Texas. He was the general counsel for the GOP party of Texas in 1994, chairman of the platform committee in 1998, and chairman of the state convention in 2000, and he was a featured speaker at the Republican National Conventions of 2004 and 2008. He was the first African-American to hold a statewide elective administrative office, serving as railroad commissioner from 1999 to 2011. Governor Rick Perry appointed Williams as the Texas education commissioner in 2012, a post he held until the end of 2015. Earlier this week, Williams tweeted: “[Thirty-five] years ago when I ‘came out’ as a Republican it never crossed my mind my party would some day worry about what bathrooms people used.”

Williams was referencing Senate Bill 3, which is primarily aimed at controlling access to bathrooms in public schools, colleges, and publicly owned buildings. It would restrict people to using the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate.

The tweet prompted me to call Williams, and he discussed with me his belief the party and its politicians have lost a connection to its Republican roots. “Politicians, and I was one, and political parties are like milk. They do curdle and spoil over time.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Disclosure: My wife works at the Texas Education Agency and was the agency spokesperson during Williams’s tenure as commissioner.

R.G. Ratcliffe: When you came out as a Republican, why did you feel like it was more important to be a Republican than a Democrat?

Michael Williams: I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about that, and obviously I had peers and friends who came to a different conclusion. I realize that. But I was engaged in the question of ‘What is the best way to secure and uplift a future of black America?’ And I believe that the best way was to advance a robust, energetic economy that could provide jobs and other opportunities, and I believe that what I saw and heard in the seventies—and I still hear and see in 2017—from Republicans as opposed to what I heard then from Democrats. So the thrust of what was important to me, as a thirty-something-year-old in 1982, is what is the best atmosphere, the best environment, for the uplift of black folks. And having taken some time to think about it, I said it was that thing called low taxes and government with a small ‘g’ and the protection of individual liberty and that was the way to do it.

RGR: What defined the Republican party for you?

MW: For us it was the protection of human life and property tax reform, it was lawsuit abuse reform, it was a specific set of public policy prescriptions. Over time, you win and have success and you get into the second and third generation of that, and that’s why it’s dissipated over time. And it’s not as clear that it’s connected to where you start. I mean, think about the guys who began this process. They’re not even here any longer. The guys who forged this, they’re no longer here. And as you tend to, some of the folks who are here now don’t remember the fights of the mid-nineties I should say. They don’t remember why we did what we did—when education reform, real education reform, was a significant goal in the mid-nineties. Nobody remembers why it was important for us to develop our own state curriculum standards, to have our own assessment system align to those standards and having accountability systems align to that. Nobody remembers that anymore.

RGR: You told me political parties over time curdle and spoil, but is there something about the debate over the bathroom bill that is particularly disappointing to you?

MW: Yes, there is. Where the legislature left it was that the burden and the onus of dealing with this whole transgender issue, they were going to leave to the most vulnerable and youngest members of Texas—children. Not adults. Somebody had warned that issue, to put that burden on adults, might have adverse economic impact on Texas, I agree with that, mind you. So we’re not going to do anything about adults. What we’re going to do is put the burden on the Texans who are coming into their own and first dealing with this stuff, about who they are and how they deal with other folks, the youngest Texans, the most vulnerable Texans. Now to me, you know, if you’re going to do this stuff, you don’t put the burden on children.

I don’t know jack about being transgender, obviously. I do have transgender friends. But I can imagine, if I was having to deal with issues of just ‘Hey, what’s it like to be a boy at fourteen, fifteen, sixteen,’ and what all that means, I can imagine that they’ve got a whole bunch of other stuff that they’ve got to go through in their head and now we’ve got to make them go through some other hoops? Not the adults in Texas, the children.

Look. Ain’t no transgender boy going into the bathroom to beat up little girls. That ain’t happening. If anything, [transgender] people are the one’s that are going to get jacked up. There’s just no problem here, on our campuses, our school officials have demonstrated that they are more than capable, on a case-by-case basis, to deal with these issues, because they’ve done that. So there is no problem that requires some kind of statewide solution. Those kids aren’t posing a problem to their fellow students. Local school officials in their own way. What’s to me unsavory is that we’re putting the burden of this issue on the backs of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society, which is children. Not the adults because, you know, I think we realize there could be a real financial consequence to this shit.

RGR: I’m just a tad younger than you, and I have a distinct memory of segregated bathrooms and segregated water fountains. I spent the early part of my career working in Georgia and Alabama and got assigned to cover a lot of white supremacist rallies, and the one phrase I kept hearing over and over again was you know, ‘We have to protect our daughters.’ And I hear a lot of similar connections in this debate. Is that justifiable?

MW: I have a mother who is still in my life, thankfully. I have a wife. I have two sisters. And I have a bunch of nieces. So yes, we want to protect the women in our lives. But the reality is, help me understand what the threat is to them. Show me evidence that some transgender woman is posing a threat to them. I’m an old prosecutor, I was a prosecutor for ten years, we’ve got laws against sexually assaulting someone. So someone will say to me, ‘But Michael, we want to prevent that person from going into the bathroom in the first place.’ If somebody is bound and determined to go to a bathroom and do harm, that person will do it. This law ain’t gonna stop it.

What we haven’t learned over the course of society is that we as society, we’re not very capable of truly preventing crime. What we can do is load up the punishment on the backend and say that if you jack up and do something stupid, then we’ll drop a load on you. I think there’s all sorts of officers who told you that [on Wednesday] when they were in Austin. This law ain’t gonna stop anybody who’s bound and determined to do something. So if you want to have enhanced penalties, for instance, that says, you know, if you go into a bathroom looking like a woman, but you’re really a man, and you go in there for the purpose of doing harm to women, then boy we’re going to enhance your penalty. That might be the right thing to do. But this ain’t.

RGR: House Speaker Joe Straus told the New Yorker that he didn’t want to help pass the bathroom bill because transgender people have a high suicide rate and did not want it on his head that he was responsible for one kid committing suicide. Do you think that’s a real concern there?

MW: I don’t know the literature, the evidence. Like I said, I have one transgender friend. And I know a little bit about her experience. I know there’s tremendous pressure on these kids when they’re young. I don’t know if that’s a humongous threat or not, I cannot imagine that it’s not. There is evidence to this, the evidence tells us they get bullied more, they get called out more than regular kids, so we know that there’s a greater challenge to and for those kids than many other children. So it would not surprise me that there’s a greater threat of suicide, I just don’t know that for a fact.

RGR: Has the Republican party curdled, as you hinted at?

MW: What happens is you get further away from why you started and then you almost forget why you’re doing what you doing. You keep pushing the envelope, you’re pushing it and pushing it. And I think now after twenty-plus years of not only being in power, we’re pushing the envelope, and having no sense that we’ll ever lose, so I just push it. We don’t have to be concerned about the public policy trade-offs, just push the envelope. I mean, Democrats haven’t ruled the statehouse since 1994, ain’t gonna win any time soon. So push it. There are no consequences to it. You don’t need to have any self-regulating controls on policy because the other team can’t do anything to stop you. You’re running downfield, heading the ball off and running however you want to. They can’t stop you.

RGR: Does that give the Democrats an opportunity?

MW: No, because they don’t have the message. You can’t do something with nothing, and they still don’t have a message. Now, the only thing they can hope for is that we get so far afield that we implode on ourselves. But they still don’t have a message. And waiting for us to do something stupid is not a message. They can’t beat us.

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    Williams, unfortunately, represents and was part of the GOP of the past. He no longer fits in with the Patrick’s and Stickland’s…as they taught him when he ran for Congress.

    • SeeItMyWay

      While Abbott and Patrick are now the face of Texas Republicans, I do not think they represent the majority. They represent the “active”. Those thinking like Michael Williams, in my opinion, do.

      Asleep at the wheel? Yes. Voting for these new-wave Republican’s without a clue? Yes.

      As long as dark money through non-profit PAC’s is allowed, I would suggest that Mr. Williams start putting one together.

      Every major TX business that has received tax abatements, created jobs and ancillary jobs in our state is being pounded on by many in this new, radical, Empower Texans group of state politicians receiving Dunn and the Wilkes brother’s money – along with their social media and mailer barrages.

      Big business has said the bathroom bill is not acceptable. The high flying radicals say “up yours”.

      Business does not want to piss off these guys in power, so they should continue to give to them as they always have to protect themselves – but they should also be giving much more info a dark money fund to support candidates and set up a social media counterattack, where their contributions are kept “secret”.

      In my mind, this is the only thing that will counteract and curb the crazy course we are on here in Texas.

      • WUSRPH

        You are advocating that the folks you consider to be “the good guys” use every underhanded, unethical—and should be illegal—tactic used by the “bad guys. I am particularly taken by your suggestion that they continue to give to the crazies while funding the opposition to them. Your naivety about how long this could go on without the crazies or even the often-out-of-it media finding out is refreshing….if not humorous. They don’t need your money….they have their own sources—as you note. What you seem not to understand is that these guys hate big business almost as much as they hate big government, liberals or labor unions….They literally don’t care what you or other business promoters think as long as you keep voting for them in November which, like good little sheep, you do. You either take them on directly in the primary—assuming you can get the alleged “moderate” Republicans to vote which is as likely as the Democrats are to get all the potential Hispanic voters to the polls—or you accept the fact that they won’t do anything to particularly hurt you—other than when “sincerely held religious beliefs” or “personal liberty” are involved—but, at least for now, the days of business getting virtually everything it wants from the Legislature are over. It is kind of a shame, since I’ve always liked the motto of the modern American Republican businessman—-“All I want from government is a fair advantage.”

        • SeeItMyWay

          Thanks for sharing your opinion. I am John Johnson. Wanted to clear the slate and, to some extent, tone it down a bit, so took some time off and came back under a moniker like you have.

          I don’t want to pound on you, but you are a legacy. You have been right in the middle of stinky politics for decades. You have used the excuse that “everyone has done it this way for a long time” more often than I can remember. Burka, too.

          Dark money is stinky. I hate it…but any business cutting off funds to the radicals now in control and funding the opposition would be corporately unwise. Continue giving Abbott, Patrick, et al $5 while putting $100 of dark money toward their defeat is using every legal means to get what you eventually want.

          I want the law changed, but it is stupid to not use it to their advantage, and mine to boot. I want this radical arm stuff to be squashed.

          You seem to vascillate all over the place just for arguments sake. You worked for a guy who would do virtually anything to win; you helped him do it. Why now, the opposite position?

          • donuthin2

            Good to have you back JJ.

          • Jed

            Knew it.

          • WUSRPH

            I am FINALLY glad to see that you are beginning to understand the mess the GOP has gotten itself into, both in Washington with Trump and here in Texas with the Patrick and his ilk. Maybe you will finally realize that these people are not traditional “conservatives” who want to conserve the best of the past. Nor are they business conservatives who want to use government to benefit business. Instead they are RADICAL RIGHTISTS who want to remake America and, in the process, control what you do and how you think.

            However, I fear you are too optimistic about the chances of defeating them in the GOP as it now stands, especially as your group—if it really exists—has so little to campaign FOR and so few issues that you can sell.

            What issues are you going to offer to get your alleged GOP majority to the polls?
            Are you, for example, going to attack them for wanting to destroy government—when you have been preaching that as dogma for years?

            Are you going to hit them for not giving business more tax cuts and more incentives?

            Are you going to say they have gone to far in protecting “traditional values”?
            Are you going to come out for more taxes and spending when, for years, you have told us that the problem is too much spending and too many taxes?
            I sorry. You dug your hole…and I don’t see the ladder that you can use to get out of it.

          • SeeItMyWay

            There are plenty of gripes I have with the Empower Texans crowd that are pertinent, and I share them regularly on Twitter. Ask Pearl what my positions are. I pound on all the radicals religiously. I noticed she has been following me.

            Their “platform” is goofy. I know that the majority of asleep at the wheel Republicans care very little about open carry, or bathrooms, and hate the attempt to yank control from local municipalities for most of the things on their list.

            The property tax issue is dear to them, until you explain that Patrick, the Gov, and their minions want to cut funds to locals while mandating more. The teacher raises is a prime example.

            My latest gripe is the 2015 sessions decision to cut Medicaid funding, which drastically reduced money going to treatments and therapy for special needs children.

            The big recent question I have posed is why we are spending $1B of TX taxpayer dollars to send the DPS to shore up our border when this is a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Why aren’t we billing them back for it, and spending the money on our kids.

            I am a member of a Nextdoor network in North Arlington with over 6500 homes signed up and communicating with each other. I post QR, TT and other sources political links for all to see. Many cuss me for doing so. I ain’t stopping.

            I’m doing my part. I’m not dwelling on history or what can’t be accomplished. Never have; never will.

          • WUSRPH

            Good luck…..but how much do you want to bet that Sen. Burton walks away with a big primary victory?

            PS. I spent most of my life battling against these kinds of people, so don’t lecture me about how hard you are working….It is good that you’ve seen the light….but it may well be too late for the GOP or at least the kind of GOP you would like it to be…. While you were “asleep at the wheel” they rerouted the controls….

          • SeeItMyWay

            You are a total naysayer. Sen Burton has no Repub challenger; she will be back. Supposed to give up? Stick my head under my arm? You wear me out. Is it just me you dislike? The things I am for should fall right into your “like” column. They don’t. I think my critical comments about your role in past stinky politics has caused you to criticize anything and everything I profess as being worthy. That’s OK, if you want to keep it up, but I think others reading here will side with me…even the ones who I’ve had battles with in the past. We’ll see.

          • WUSRPH

            In fact, I salute your efforts and your desire to rescue the GOP from the clutches of the TP and EP, but I would think that the fact that Burton—who you say is working against the best interests of the business community and the economy of Ft. Worth—has no opponent should, tell you something about the status of the GOP and your chances of achieving anything for possibly years to come. If she is so out of touch with what you see as the majority of GOP voters you would think that someone would have organized even some token, sacrificial lamb as opposition…..but, from what you say, that is not happening. Instead she is going to get another four years. What I fear is that, when it comes to your local GOP at least, it is too late…But there is nothing you can do but try. And I am glad to see that you are making that effort. .

        • SeeItMyWay

          I will admit that I have been a “Big” hater for years. The recent hail Insurance bill that passed still irks me…but I hate this radical movement even more.

          Burton and her team are writing op/ed’s about tax abatements for the Big’s. When I ask her about what Tarrant County would look like without Lockheed, General Motors, American Airlines, FedEx, Facebook and scores of smaller employers, I get crickets.

          She does not seem to realize that many would not be here without carrots being dangled. When I ask her how she thinks the state would fare with the other 49 offering incentives, I get crickets.

          My attitudes ebb and flow; I am no ideolog. For instance…right now, I think Trump is a full blown idiot, and the wheels may fall totally off. This said, we are never going to be on the same predictable path we have been for decades now, and, in my mind, this is a good thing.

          • dave in texas

            Welcome back, John. It’s always nice to have a conservative voice that doesn’t reflect the lunacy that seems to have infected the GOP in Texas.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Thanks, Dave

    • Karynwkay

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !aw148d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • SpiritofPearl
  • SpiritofPearl
    • Celiajbeedle

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    Totally off the thread BUT:

    Which five nations (among those entities recognized as nations) are not adherents to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

    Which four have nuclear weapons? (The fifth is South Sudan BYW).

    Which three admit it?

    Which one will not officially confirm or deny it?

    Which one invaded its neighbor in an attempt to unify the two 67 years ago but was defeated by a combined international effort?

    Which one has had at least five major and a series of minor conflicts with its often hostile neighbors virtually since it was declared a nation 69 years ago?

    Which two of them have engaged in at least four major wars against each other since they were created 70 years (but prior to their having obtained nuclear weapons) and have a continuing border dispute that periodically
    erupts into exchanges of gunfire?

    With which does the US have somewhat friendly relations including having sold arms to at least two?

    Which one is considered to have come closest to the use of a nuclear weapon if only as a “demonstration” during one of its conflicts?

    Which one is known to have citizens who assisted another in obtaining nuclear weapons?

    Which one is “rumored” to have engaged in nuclear cooperation with the regime in South Africa prior to the end of apartheid in that nation?

    Which one might have the most justification for considering the use of nuclear weapons? (Assuming there can ever be a justification.)

    Which one are we screaming about the most?

    Additional credit: Has the fact that these nations have nuclear weapons deterred more conflicts with their neighboring opponents?

    P.S. The questions do not consider whether the combat between the nations was justified. Only that it occurred. Nor do they take into account whether the regime is “good” or “bad” but only its nuclear status.

    • SeeItMyWay

      Please stop this stuff. Start your own blog, wait until the topic you want to expound on pops up, or ask them to let you post threads. Newbies maybe wanting to get into any given discussion have to wade through off thread posts to read comments on TM’s posted thread, and I’m sure many are turned off by mixed bag of extraneous stuff.

      Don’t mean to be hateful or snide. Let’s attempt to get this blog back on the right track. If we do, we might get some of the good’uns back…like Jerry Patterson.

      • BCinBCS

        JJ to WUSRPH: “Get off my lawn!”

        (And for the newbies: JJ = John Johnson = SeeItMyWay)

        • WUSRPH

          It’s big enough for both of us…….so I don’t mind…I will go off thread sometimes….like I just did on Scaramucii… but that was just too good news to pass up…Please Sheriff Joe on the same day.

      • John Bernard Books

        They can’t help themselves they have nothing else to do but hang out here…..

      • WUSRPH

        I, for one, would like to know Jerry’s position on most of the 20 Abbott issues.

    • SpiritofPearl

      JJ, control is an illusion.

      • SeeItMyWay

        But opinions are not.

    • WUSRPH

      In case anyone is interested—-and I know JJ isn’t—-the answers have been added, above.

  • John Bernard Books

    Is this the Castro from Texas?
    ““The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively,” the auditors wrote.

    So Ben Carson was mocked by liberals for being unqualified, yet the supposedly qualified Julian Castro created half a trillion dollars in errors?

    These bookkeeping”errors” are likely intentional embezzlement by Democrats who were emboldened to do so under Obama.”

    Why would anyone vote for him?

  • John Bernard Books

    Don’t democrats ever go to jail?
    “The Travis County District Attorney’s office has told state Rep. Dawnna Dukes it would drop corruption charges against her if she agrees to resign from office and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment by the end of business Tuesday.
    As a part of the deal, Dukes, an Austin Democrat, must also pay $3,500 in fines and restitution. Dukes has denied charges that she had her legislative staff run personal errands and that she was compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol. News of the deal was first reported Monday by the Austin American Statesman.”

    Scot free? What is the new Travis Cty DA drinking?

  • SpiritofPearl

    I can’t resist commenting on the short, inglorious and foul-mounted reign of Scaramucii…..The Marine got him. Who is next?

    • dave in texas

      My bet is that since the Homeland Security got “promoted” to chief of staff, the Joe Arpaio is going to be the new director of Homeland Security.

      • WUSRPH

        I originally thought that before Trump picked Kelly for Homeland that he was sgoing to give that job to the Great Vote SUppressor from Kansas, Kris Kobach. He might be in line for it now, assuming Trump feels he can get along without him ramrodding a anti-voter plan thru the special commission. OF course, he could leave him on the commission, too.

        • dave in texas

          Yeah. At this point, who the hell knows? He may appoint one of his sons to be the next director of Homeland Security. Or Donald Rumsfeld. Or Chuck Norris. Depends on which he thinks will get the most retweets.

    • José

      Maybe, just maybe, Kelly will have the clout and discipline to bring some order to this administration. That good news could be bad news if it means that the administration stabilizes enough to finish out the term. I keep hoping for the GOP to give up on their man and convince him to take early retirement. My heart can’t take 42 months more of this insanity.

      • WUSRPH

        Kelly may be able to bring some order to the Administration but what will eventually lead to his downfall is when he tries to bring some order to the activities of the most undisciplined person who does more to hurt the presidency than any of the staff—i.e….Trump, The Most High Tweeter, himself.

        • José

          Maybe he’ll fire that guy too. Cross your fingers.

        • SeeItMyWay

          Is that conjecture or fact?

          • WUSRPH

            Since it has not happened yet, it cannot be a “fact”…..That means it has to be “conjecture”…..


    Back on the thread: The QR says that a Texas Association of Business sponsored poll shows that only 26% of the GOP voters support the bathroom bill….That most think it is a distraction from the “real” issues. That sounds good but:
    Does the fact that TAB sponsored it hurt it?….Remember, they had a questionable impact study during the regular session that Patrick and company were able to successfully dismiss.
    Does it make that much difference if the majority of the GOP voters who oppose it are “November Republicans” and not likely to vote in the primary….while those who support it are primary voters?
    At least it adds another piece of armor for those who oppose the bill….which may give a couple of members something to hide behind.

    • SeeItMyWay

      The poll was taken with only Repub primary voters participating.

      • WUSRPH

        If the poll was limited to GOP primary voters it does provide some more armor to those who want to duck voting for the bill. ..But it does not answer the question of whether the voters who don’t worry that much about bathrooms would tend to vote against someone who made a big issue out of bathrooms or whether it is only a minor thing with them. Nor does it appear to measure the intensity of those who support the bill. Single-issue voters who believe something is a moral issue are what you have to worry about in a primary. You have to work twice as hard to overcome them since you can be certain they will vote…..while so many of your alleged “more moderate” and November Republicans will not bother…..

        • SeeItMyWay

          Jeeez, the business community should have contacted you for your thoughts before spending all that money on a primary voter poll.


    How can you immediately tell when you walk into a room that it is a Trump WH staff meeting?

    All but one of the participants are standing with their backs up against the wall.

    • SpiritofPearl

      . . . with their hands up.


    The House unveils its school plan for the special session at 6 p.m. I hope someone thinks it is worth commenting on.

    • WUSRPH

      It is sending the text of HB 21, as it passed the House during the Regular Session, to the Full House….This includes much more than the Senate/Abbott have proposed. I would bet that, assuming the Senate even takes the bill up, that it will come back to the House containing only money for the districts losing their hold harmless aid in September, a deduction in Robin Hood payments, money for the charter schools (not in the House bill) and vouchers. That will, of course, kill it….But once again the House can claim it tried.


    Is anybody concerned that the State Dept. is considering dropping the promotion of a “just” world and “democracy” from its mission statement.?


    • SpiritofPearl



    Did you see the note that, if the legislature does not meet his expectations for this special session, Gov. Abbott is considering calling them back in FEBRUARY just before the primary elections? This would both deny threatened members of valuable campaign time and increase the pressure on them to vote for his agenda. It is also not something that anyone who cares about his relationships with legislators would do…..but Abbott clearly has little interest in that…..only in making political points.

    • dave in texas

      Anybody who would call up the Texas Guard to keep an eye on the United States Army because Jade Helm is tyranny obviously doesn’t care about anydamnthing except what the furthest-out wingnuts of the base think.


    Just when you are beginning to feel a little sorry for J B Sessions he goes and goes something like this:

    “Justice Dept. project could sue colleges over admission policies that discriminate against whites

    The civil rights division is looking for lawyers to investigate “intentional race-based discrimination” in college admissions, according to a person familiar with an announcement about the effort.” (Washington Post)
    Let’s put those folks back in their place…

    • Jackiebhiggin

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !at156d:
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    • WUSRPH

      Could some informed person tell me just what “rights” I as a white, raised Christian, male American citizen have been denied in favor of blacks and other minorities? I have thought long and hard about this and done a good deal of research, but about the only one I can think of I didn’t have was the one back before the mid-1960s about riding the back of a public bus. And, I guess—in the good ole days—I could have made one of the people sitting back there give me their seat if I had insisted on it.


    If you have not read today’s Daily Post (another TM blog) you need to. A little reality about the role that the undocumented play in our economy particularly in filing what I call “First Generation” jobs. But reality means nothing to those who hate and fear. They would rather live with myths.


    Not during the 15 years I worked for him…..and even drunk, in his prior years, he did more for Texas than anyone in recent Texas history……


    If you have not read anything about Sen. Flake’s views on the current status of the GOP and Trumptarianism, this is a good place to begin.



    It is refreshing to see a REAL conservative tell it like it is…..

    • donuthin2

      Unfortunately there is no place in today’s politics, especially the GOP who is into actually thinking about the issues as opposed to spewing the rhetoric.


    Funny, I have never before thought of you as a professor..but I guess in these days of tight budgets and reduced state funding, some schools have to take who they can get.


    Let’s see if you understand this:

    Trump claimed he got phone calls from the president of Mexico and the top Boy Scout praising him….Neither phone call ever happened…but he did not lie.


    He’s just a little confused….

    • BCinBCS

      He’s just a little confused….

      What another country thinks of the “confusion”:


    Any comments on the Trump/Xenophobe plan to half the amount of legal immigration to the US? How do you like the idea of buying your way in and/or the idea of only importing people for the very skilled jobs that we need to open up to more Americans? The people he would keep out—the less skilled and unskilled who have been the vast majority of immigrants to this country throughout its history–are just the people we need to fill the “First Generation” level jobs that Americans will not take. This means either major shortages in those kinds of workers or the pay will have to be raised so high that it will be more than inflationary. But the plan looks good to the hater types….Of course, most of us are fortunate that these kinds of restrictions were not in place when our ancestors came over…..SLAM that door…..I wonder how my first American ancestor would have rated on any of these required skill standards…..I’m not sure that being recorded as an upper class “Gentleman” would have counted for that much…but then there were no xenophobes (other than the Native Americans) in Maryland in 1634.


    I guess we will get a picture of just how serious Joe Straus is about “enforcing the call” when the House meets tomorrow….It appears that there are several bills on the calendar which, while probably all good public policy, may not fall within the governor’s official list of subjects the legislature an consider during the special session. I wonder how fast the Freedom Causers will be getting to the back mike to raise points of order?

  • Sybil

    Michael Williams sounds like a guy that has finally figured out that no matter how many shoes he shines, the white boys will never let him in his club.


    Rick for Homeland Security? And just when he was learning to enjoy being America’s chief bomb maker….now that he has some idea of what the Dept. of Energy does…..Of course, he would have to change several of his positions to fit in at HS…..such as his position on tuition for DARCA’s, his less than enthusiastic support for THE WALL and his support of NAFTA…but, as he’s proven in the last year, Rick can condemn Trump one day and kiss his you-know-what the next. He’s almost as flexible as the :”rubber boy” when it comes to principled stands.


    Here we are only six months into the Trump ERROR and people are already talking about how the biggest benefit America will receive from his period in the WH will be the return to a weaker president, along the lines that the founders had in mind.


    In fact, except for Jackson and Lincoln “weak” presidents were basically what we had until the 20th Century. .I mean who can remember anything really significant about Van Buren or even that Milliard Fillmore was president?…That changed with the two Roosevelt’s, LBJ and Nixon (when people started talking about “an Imperial Presidency”) and thereafter……but for most of the rest of American history the most important branch of the three was the Congress—the House and the Senate. However, there is one problem with this thesis—-that being that, at least up till now, there is little sign that the Congress is willing or able to take over the initiative and leading role envisioned for it in 1787. That may change….if only because with Trump in the WH the Congress has no choice but to take back its power…but I’m not so sure that it will. After all, the conditions that gave rise to the Strong President and a weaker Congress have not changed…only the abilities of the man in the WH.


    Did you see in the transcripts of his telephone conversations the almost constant attention to how things might affect The Most High Greatest Person in the World, The Donald,? I looked long and hard but could find virtually no mention of how something would affect the United States but, again and again, how it would make The Donald look. This is just one of the reasons why he—as Jennifer Rubin makes clear—is a danger as long as he sits in the Oval Office. It is too bad, as she notes that:

    ” there is no magical cure for this, no Svengali who can be brought in to stop Trump from being Trump. One cannot be impeached and removed for being an embarrassment to the United States or an egomaniac temperamentally unfit for the job (that was the argument for not electing him). Unless he really goes off the deep end, invoking the 25th Amendment is not a realistic option.”



    The House went ahead—without objection from the FC or anyone—to pass a bill that is likely “not in the call”…It fixes the screw up on funding for children with special needs that the Senate, that bastion of compassion, refused to do during the Regular Session. Now it will be interesting to see how first Patrick and, if he allows it, the full Senate handles the matter. Then, of course, there is the governor who may be a little po’d that the House has not finished with “his agenda” before passing things he did not approve of in advance.


    Of course, one of the reasons why we need to be “concerned” at the least by Trump’s egomania and lack of any qualifications for the job is that there are serious things going on out there in the world where the stability and skill of the man in the WH can be a life or death issue. Little things like what to do about North Korea:




    As you may have seen, the House Ways & Means Committee (Texas House) has made one of those big gestures the Legislature occasionally makes in order to force it to do something….This one is a proposed
    constitutional amendment that would abolish the property tax for public schools. The idea, which would require voter approval, is to force a future Legislature to address the need to do something about the much-hated
    property tax……and make it find some other source of the needed revenues—-now running more than $27 Billion per year.

    This is similar—but much more drastic—than the time in the 1990s that the Legislature put passed a bill repealing the full Education Code—thereby supposedly forcing it to reconsider the entire text—which it did. The important difference however, is that all the Legislature would have had to do to reverse that decision would be to pass another bill repealing the repeal…..In this case, however, it would be part of the constitution and no property tax could be levied after 2020 unless the voters approved another constitutional amendment
    to allow the tax to be continued.

    Although the committee vote was unanimous—a nice gesture that—no one is saying where the State would get the $27 billion per year it would need just to fund the schools at their current level. There are, of
    course, too obvious sources—-a state personal and corporate income tax and a dramatically increased sales tax…..But we all know that this being Texas there is no chance that any sort of a personal income tax would be passed….This leaves the sales tax…but one that would probably have to be extended to cover virtually every item that is now exempted from the tax and/or doubled in rate or both……This would, of course, be highly regressive….but that is the way we love our taxes in Texas.

    (I might note that some number crunching I was involved in back during Mike Collier’s comptroller race
    suggested that the 80% of all Texans would wind up paying MORE TAXES as a result of this kind of an increase in the sales tax, even if their property taxes were abolished. The difference would be, however, that business
    would come off just great and the regular taxpayers would not notice it as much since it would be paid a penny or two at a time.)

    One has to hope that this is only a gesture and not a serious proposal….but it is certain to get a lot of attention and warm the heart of the radical right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation which has been trying to substitute a sales tax for the property tax for years.


    An interesting story about how Americans are moving much anymore…even when they need to do so to find work…


    It is something we talked about before, but these are hard numbers to our prior speculation….The Most High Donald’s suggested solution is a PR campaign….but, at least, he is thinking about the problem (or someone on his staff at least mentioned it)….but it is clearly not as easy thing for people who have lived in an area for perhaps generations to just pick up and move when (a) all they own in the world is a home they can sell, if they can, only at a loss, (b) friends and family are all here and (3) they may not have the skills needed for the jobs available in the new location…

    Breaking through these barriers is certainly going to require more than a good PR campaign telling folks that the next valley over (probably on one of the nation’s coasts) is greener…..You just can’t close the cabin door, climb up into your Studebaker Conestoga Wagon and head West, as the old myth has it. There may be the need for such things as (a) a program to guarantee the sale of a home will not be a major loss with the government picking up the difference. (b) a program to identify a job and the needed skills BEFORE the move that then provide the needed skills and (c) perhaps the kind of a wage insurance program President Obama was thinking about toward the end of this program.

    All of this will cost money…but it may be necessary to help those who feel that society has left them behind regain their place in America.

    To those who will insist that this is not the way we did it in the good old days….Go check you history books for such things as the Freelands Act, the land we gave to the railroads and all the other things the government did to encourage and make possible the settlement of the West. Your myths are just myths.

  • John Bernard Books

    R G neglects to point out we’ve had one party with us since our country’s founding. Founded by corrupt Tammany Hall operatives the corruption runs deep and is embedded in its roots. Get a huge bucket of popcorn and enjoy as the dem party continues its death spiral.