Posted tagged ‘texas’

Another Helping Of Hypocrisy, Please

September 2, 2017

In the coming days, Congress will take up the matter of emergency relief funding for the Hurricane devastation in Texas. There is no question about whether there is unprecedented damage and loss of both personal and public property. There is a question on how large the loss dollar value might be but there is no question that it will be a big number.

And the bank of last resort (?), Who will pay for the damage? Why, of course, the US tax payers.

Frankly, tax payer funded, Federal Government administered, relief is not unreasonable and certainly not unprecedented. Only a few years ago, the Federal Government shelled out $50 billion in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for damages in New Jersey and New York. So why shouldn’t those Americans impacted in Texas not expect similar treatment?

Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn see Hurricane Harvey differently. These distinguished hypocrites somehow see death and destruction in Texas as a real assault on real people while Hurricane Sandy and its path of destruction in New Jersey and New York as a non-event.

I wonder whether blue States had anything to anything to influence their vision?

Ideological favoritism, and possibly, dependency, however, seems clearly involved. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn pander to ideologues with a voracious appetite.

And votes count, not to mention campaign donations are important. You just wonder how these two plus the other 18 Texas Congress members can look in a mirror and not have their stomachs turn.


The Bathroom Law Hoot

July 30, 2017

Americasn’ social awareness has evolved and continues to evolve. Homosexuality, which in years past, was the source of whispers, rumors, and outright disparagement has come out of the closet and, in all its multicolor stripes, shines brightly before all Americans. For some Americans this change has been just too much. “My whole life has informed me that this type of life style is wrong”, some say. Others add, “why even the Bible says its wrong.” Hmmm.

The acceptance of gays and gay life styles (by some Americans but not all) stems from largely the realization that someone they know or see regularly was gay and on top of that was respected when the person was in the closet. For this group of Americans, the recognition that the “gay” person was a contributing member of society was enough reason to change their minds. Gay life style was not a learned behavior, rather it was a natural condition for that person. Being gay was nature, not nurtured.

A fundamental of political life is to separate the whole into smaller groups and find ways to lump to gather a majority from these separate groups and produce a voting majority. Since gays are a minority, separating them out and emphasizing some aspects of gay life which could, in turn, cause “non-gays” to unite has been an obvious tactic.

And what better ally than to invoke god and the bible?

Gay men and lesbians were the easiest to understand. Gays and Lesbians were born that way. Transgender people, however, represented a much more difficult group to comprehend. Members of this group was born one gender and later sought to attain the physical characteristics and to live like the other gender. How is that possible?

For bible thumpers and the political low life’s who were ready to exploit them, the trans community was red meat. Discrimination against this group must be possible because they were less known and least understood. And most of all, clever discrimination could result in political victories.

When Charlotte passed an ordinance declaring it legal for someone to use the bathroom which matched their gender identification, North Carolina’s State elected officials had seen enough. (More to the point, many of these officials saw an opportunity). North Carolina passed a law (HB-2) which mandated that individuals had to use public restroom which match their birth gender. Hmmm.

After much debate and more importantly economic backlash from organizations such as the NCAA, the North Carolina legislation cried uncle and reversed the law. Now, here comes Texas.

Gallantly, Texas lawmakers worried about protecting innocent women from a transgender female (read male at birth) from entering a “female” marked restroom and doing something other than using the facilities. Hmmm.

Texas too demanded transgender people to use the restroom of their birth sex identity.

The hoot of this controversy lies in the realization that once someone has undergone a “trans” (transition from male to female or female to male), they no longer necessarily look like their former gender. Trans males often grow beards and trans women grow breasts.

Doesn’t anyone think that would present a give away if a big breasted “male” walked into a men’s room, or bearded “lady” entered a women’s room?

Of course, the real purpose behind these bathroom bills is power and searching for logic is non-sensical. And, to tell these “god fearing” christians that almost for certain they have already been using restroom while a transgender person was using it too could be too devastating to handle. Some things are better left unsaid.

Does A Herd Think?

January 6, 2017

The Republican controlled Congress is readying a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Not much of a surprise given past performance but with apparently no agreement on the “replace part” of repeal and replace Obamacare, where is Congress’ sense of priority? The herd that calls itself Republican legislators is showing its colors early, and they are not pretty.

The GOP wraps its opposition to Planned Parenthood with the claim that Planned Parenthood performs abortions and abortions are unacceptable. Planned Parenthood also counsels women on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies which single handedly avoids more abortions than any other measure. Hmmm.

The issue with Planned Parenthood is, of course, pay back. Defunding Planned Parenthood is a big thank you to religious groups who supported Republicans. Defunding is what friends do.

Interestingly most Americans do not visit or use Planned Parenthood services. Do you see a similarity with repealing Obamacare? Most Americans do not use the Affordable Care Act services instead obtaining healthcare services from employer provided insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Most abortions occur naturally or result from morning after medication. Abortions requiring Planned Parenthood services occur when women have no other affordable options. Most women find other providers, but some simply are trapped in economic conditions where Planned Parenthood’s safe services provide a dignified way to end an unwanted pregnancy.

On a related topic, Republican legislators in Texas are readying an analogous bill.  Texan legislators, not deterred by the outcome North Carolina’s “bathroom” bill are ready to do the same. “It’s the right thing to do”, the principle supporter said. Hmmm.

The common thread associated with these bills is the expression of religious beliefs where the expression impacts others who may not hold those same religious beliefs. Students of history or just thinking persons should recognize the ogre this type of thinking represents. Basing law on what ones religious beliefs may be, prepares the earth for conflict.

What is even more despicable about the repeal (not the modification) of Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and laws like North Carolina’s HB-2 is that it resembles bullying and disproportionately impacts the vulnerable.

I guess, however, that’s what herds do.

America’s Social Conscience

July 10, 2013

On the east coast, it’s pretty hot.  Other parts of the country experience 90+ degrees routinely and nothing much happens.  When New York or Philadelphia get to enjoy this type of weather, its time for reflection.  What’s hot in the news?

Oh, there are stories about Syria, Afghanistan, and don’t forget Egypt.  But the “hot” new story is that Elliot Spitzer is running for elected office again.  Why would anyone who had resigned as Governor, then decide years after to run for a lesser position like New York City Comptroller?

This is a puzzling question since Spitzer is already wealthy and has been very successful in elected office.  What does he have to prove?

It could be that Spitzer is angling for some future run for Senate or even Mayor of New York, and it is necessary to get elected again to put his scandal behind him.  And what say ye, “scandal”?

As most TV pundits are quick to point out Elliot Spitzer resigned after it was disclosed in an FBI investigation that Spitzer (and his money) were partaking of a high class call girl service.  Oh my!

The first hoot was how much money the FBI wasted on the investigation where Spitzer willingly parted with his money for a woman who willingly offered her services.  The FBI agent in charge must now have a sought after resume.

The second hoot was the damage control Spitzer took.  He resigned and apologized publicly to his wife and family.  The hoot is not about the necessity of apologizing to his wife, but rather about the need to do it in public.  The public part was simply the first step in running for public office again.

The third hoot was the string of TV shows that Spitzer was featured in.  He became an instant pundit and show host.  The viewing public, however, did not like his TV presence and after a while, Spitzer was off the air.

Now the fourth hoot is all the experts who are rendering opinions on whether Spitzer is fit to hold any job.  You know he cheated on his wife, and prostitution is illegal, so he broke a law too.

Surprisingly, a lot of pundits are discounting the prostitution law breaking, in effect saying regulated prostitution is akin to marijuana use.  With respect to his wife, these pundits wisely say that is between the two of them and the public has no say in it.  I wonder what David Vitter would say on this subject?

The hot weather must be especially bad this year in Texas.  The Texas legislature is back debating a bill to restrict a woman’s right and access to abortions.  These pious lawmakers claim they are trying to make things safer for women.  Who’s asking?

The only way I will know Texas (or any other State that tries to restrict abortion access) is serious about trying to help women is when the bill contains rules that make Viagra (and its cousins) available one hour, once a week in one city, and only when the purchasers presents an official photo ID.


Collateral Damage

June 28, 2013

What prompts Texan politicians to pass strict voter identification laws or restrictive abortion rules?  Are there problems in Texas (comapred to the rest of the country that need fixing?  Why does the US Senate pass a ridiculous immigration reform bill whose provisions are reminiscent of the Berlin Wall?  And, on what planet is the House of Representatives’ majority party living when they essential say the Senate immigration bill is dead?

In one way or the other, these legislative examples are all about the control of the legislative body and the moneys these bodies control.  The politicians real objective is to return as much money as possible to their supporters (and ultimately to themselves).  This is the human condition of politics.  It is that way and always has been.

So the legislative game is all about ensuring one gets reelected.

Voter ID laws (like complicated registration and photo ID at the voting booth) are designed to thwart efforts by a changing electorate to vote.  Demographic shifts are very worrisome to these in place politicians.

Abortion restrictions are a shameful pandering to a conservative base.  Keeping unfriendly voters from voting needs to be paired with ensuring friendly voters keep voting.  The merits of the legislation is never at issue.

Opposition to immigration reform is a two-fer.  Keeping the 11 million undocumented immigrants undocumented eliminates a flood of new voters who would probably vote against the entrenched party.  Undocumented workers also represent to conservatives something inherently wrong while anti-immigration reform is singing to their choir.

In these examples the good guys are progressives and the bad guys are conservatives.  These dynamics, sadly, would also apply to Democrat controlled legislatures.  It’s about the money, stupid.

The collateral damage falls on everyone else.  Governments are inherently inefficient when there is no effective checks and balances (between the executive, legislature, and judiciary, AND between political parties).  Sound and constructive debates around spending programs simply can not exist if one party has locked up a solid voting majority which is immune to real competitive challenges.  

The abortion challenge is an attack upon women, plain and simple.  No one is required to seek an abortion.  It is a very personal decision.   If a woman makes this decision, roadblocks should not be put in her way.  A political faction who are sincerely opposed to abortion would pack any abortion restricting legislation with means to prevent unwanted pregnancies like family planning information such as sex education, condom availability and wide distribution of Plan B.  They are totally silent.

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis has just had her 15 minutes of fame conducting a successful filibuster blocking the passage of restrictive abortion rules.  Her performance suggest strongly that legislatures could be improved by electing far more women and breaking, for a time, the old boys club.




November 24, 2012

Following the reelection of President Obama, or saying it differently, the election defeat of Mitt Romney and all that his election would have stood for, there has been a fairly wide spread call from certain quarters to again secede from the Union.

The secession proponents fit a certain mold.  They exhibit a paranoia based upon the delusion that the rest of America is scheming about how to take from them and give to others.   They also hold a distorted view of the relationship of State sovereignty and the benefits of a strong national government.  Their understanding of history or current world events seems totally absent.

So, don’t these people crying for secession realize that elections have consequences.  A majority of voters selected on candidate over the other.  In the next period of time the winning candidate will have the opportunity to advance the policies he/she campaigned upon.  Then there will be another election and voters will get to decide again.  All that is required is for the losing side to wait, make their case again, and ask voters to pick them this time.

I just wonder where secession fits in?

I also wonder whether the secessionists have heard of Egypt?  I wonder whether they know that in an open election, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood won a narrow victory.  I wonder whether they know that this person has ordered the writing of a new Constitution (changing the rules of how the game is played).  And I wonder whether they know this person has decided not to wait for the new Constitution and just assumed new sweeping powers.

The US secessionists do not represent a majority and their secession cries do not ring true for most Americans.  Secessionists are at peace with the Union as long as they are in charge.  If they lose an election, then they want new rules.

Egypt should be a wake up call for Americans.  We take for granted that elections have consequences with regards to laws and policies but we assume the overall electoral process will remain unchanged.  If the winner fails to deliver, the next election is the time to correct.  Secession does not fit in our system, nor should it fit in any democratic process.