The Moment of Truth for Obama-Shelia Jackson Lee Supports Bill Opposing His War Efforts

As the Thanksgiving holiday ends, the nation is perched to hear what is being described as President Obama‘s most important speech to date. He will stand before Army cadets at West Point military academy and lay out his plans for increasing troops to Afghanistan to the tune of 30 thousand. He is likely to note that we must go to Afghanistan to defeat a grouped Taliban. He is likely to say we must go to Afghanistan to ‘finish the job’ of subduing Al Qaeda and capturing Osama Bin Laden. Obama is also likely to note that throughout his campaign he had promised that he would withdraw troops from Iraq and direct all attention to America’s ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan.

However 8 years after we first entered Afghanistan in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, many  of the folks who enthusiastically voted for Obama are divided and troubled. Many of the people who came out and voted for Obama were the same people eager for change who had  organized or showed up at large anti-war demonstrations when George Bush was in office. They’re looking at a man who was just awarded the Noble Peace Prize and saw this as a symbolic gesture that would give him a good excuse to find a more diplomatic approach to resolving the conflict and abandon the pro-war  position they felt he had to take during the 08 campaign.

If folks recall during the 08 campaign Obama was saw his momentum halted when than rival Hillary Clinton sprung the infamous  ‘Its 3am Who Do You want answering Phone commercial‘. Inexperience and too weak to stomach the hard decisions around war and conflict is what Obama was slimed with. His response was to come across as more hawkish. After all, it was the ‘weak on terror’ allegations that helped George Bush win his last election and push through all types of legislation and policies that gave him and the military lots of resources, leeway and power. Obama in his response not only promised to bring the war back to Afghanistan, but he even asserted that he would be willing to bomb a country without warning if it meant the US could get the ever so elusive Osama.

Houston based Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee supports her colleague Barabara Lee's bill HR 3699 which would defund the war escalation in Afghanistan

While many who voted for Obama understood him taking pro-war stances, what’s troubling is that with a democratic majorities in both the house and Senate and recent polls showing that majority of Americans not wanting us to continue in Afghanistan, why are building up troops? Is the country really in grave danger? Is this about saving face? Is this about political appeasement? According to recent USA Today Gallup Poll numbers 57% of Democrats want Obama to withdraw. Those numbers are being underscored by the recent bill introduced by an early supporter California Congresswoman Barbara Lee who introduced a bill H.R. 3699 that would prohibit funds for any escalation to Afghanistan. Estimates note that it would cost on average 1 million dollars per year per soldier in this new troop surge.  Lee thus far has gotten 23 co-sponsors including  former Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Houston congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee who earlier last week bestowed a Purple Heart and Bronze star on a Vietnam Vet who still suffers from Post Traumatic stress.

Standing in stark opposition of this are 72% of republicans want Obama to build up the troops and follow the recommendations of General Stanley McChrystal who actually requested and then ‘campaigned’ to get 40 thousand. That republican support or agitation has been amplified by right-wing pundits and talk show hosts who feel that America should be in Afghanistan kicking ass even though everyone from Genghis Khan to the Soviet Union has failed miserably in their attempts to tame this unconquered region.

Perhaps President Obama should challenge those who are eager for this fight to continue in Afghanistan, to stop eating the drums of war and step it up and volunteer their time.  That would include talk show hosts like Sean Hannity who are quick to talk this talk but won’t volunteer his time to serve..even as a radio host ala actor Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning Vietnam.  At the same time President Obama should let those opposed to the troop build up to not let up the pressure. They should call their representatives and get them to co-sponsor Barbara Lee’s bill.

Lastly Obama should re-emphasize one of his most important campaign points about this his Presidency being for the people by the people-hence all this crazy talk about Obama being in office for only one year and we should give him some time needs to cease once and for all. In matters of war every citizen should be weighing in. After all, what takes place in Afghanistan is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. People should also be reminded that george Bush was only in office for 9 months before he was faced with the 9-11 tragedy and declared his War on Terror. President Obama has been in office for 11 months. His presidency is in full swing.

It’s sad state of affairs, but the War in Afghanistan appears to be war of political posturing and not about war to end terror. How it all unfolds will have a lot to do with the political pressure applied to the President.

-Davey D-


The Memory Scrub About Ft. Hood: Even Kay Bailey Hutchison Knew Hasan Wanted a Discharge

I just came across this compelling article on Alternet that talks about the ‘memory scrub’ that has taken place in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre. We ran a similar story around the time of this tragedy  about the sudden switcharoo and how Hasan went from being a despondent, troubled individual to being a conniving plotting terrorist. The simplistic, yet galvanizing explaination offered up by the military didn’t fit well with many of us…I know for myself, I kept asking what happened to all the talk about mental instability?

In this article, writer Mark Ames brings to light ‘the archives’ around the Fort Hood incident. He quotes many of the key pundits including Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who pretty much explains what we all knew, that Hasan had been trying to get discharged and it was never granted. A lot of questions are still unanswered in one opf the worse massacres to hit a domestic miltary base in history..


-Davey D-

The Memory Scrub About Why Ft. Hood Happened Is Almost Complete … If It Weren’t for Archives

By Mark Ames, AlterNet.

What happened to all the initial reports that accused Fort Hood killer Maj. Nidal Hasan snapped because he was distraught over the Army’s refusal to grant him either a discharge or an exemption from being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, wars which the Muslim psychiatrist abhorred — and how it was this callous Army refusal to accommodate Maj. Hasan that led to his downward spiral into despondency, rage and mass murder?

We heard quite a bit about this in the first couple of days, and then — poof! That part of the Fort Hood story disappeared so neatly that I almost started to wonder if I’d imagined it — such is the power of media bombardment versus a mere soap bubble like the human memory. I might have forgotten too and gone along with the reality-scrub, the way all of Official America has gone, but thanks to all the news archives, it was possible to check the record as it was first reported on November 5, and trace how a key part of the Nidal Hasan story was airbrushed away from reality.

The Army’s pig-headed failure to accommodate Maj. Hasan was, for a time, the most important — and most damaging — detail forunderstanding his shooting rampage. Because if Maj. Hasan tried to get out of his deployment, and if he telegraphed every warning signal possible (emailing terrorists, cruising 7-11s in his Al Qaeda costume) to bolster his case to reverse his deployment orders, and all the while the Army bureaucracy ignored him despite his 20 years’ service — then that means the massacre can’t be blamed just on one crazy Islamofascist’s inner evil.

continue reading article at Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/rights/143964

 

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The TX Board of Pardons voted to spare the life of Robert Lee Thompson, who took part in a robbery that led to a murder. The killer was serving life. Perry chose to kill him anyway. Perhaps one day soon executions will not be a politicized football kicked around for votesand that our political leaders will come together with concerned community members and work to find ways to engage our society so that even the thought of killing doesn’t cross anyone’s minds.

It would be nice to see our governor work towards highlighting and embracing ideals like ‘conflict resolution‘ , peace, love of life etc..Rick Perry’s 200 plus executions have not been a deterrent. Murders still go on. That means we need to take another approach. If anything Perry’s penchant for executions has been a deterrent for other politicians to stay away from ‘peace and love of life for fear of appearing weak.  There’s a day coming in the ‘new Texas’ when things will substantially change.

-Davey D-

Out-of-Control Rick Perry Overrides Rare Clemency Vote, Executes Man Who Killed No One

by Liliana Segura, AlterNet

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/144086/out-of-control_rick_perry_overrides_rare_clemency_vote%2C_executes_man_who_killed_no_one

Rick Perry is out of control. Even as the controversy over his execution of an innocent man goes unresolved, last night the Texas Governor rejected a rare clemency recommendation from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles for a man facing execution for a murder he did not commit.

Robert Lee Thompson was an accomplice in a violent convenience store robbery in Houston in 1996, when his co-conspirator fatally shot the sales clerk, a man named Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed. Thompson himself fired shots that wounded Mohammed, but it was his partner, Sammy Butler, who pulled the trigger that would leave him dead. Butler was tried and sentenced to life. A different jury found Thompson guilty and sentenced him to death.

Thompson was sentenced under Texas’s Law of Parties, a cynical legal statute that allows multiple parties to be found guilty of the same crime, even if they did not directly participate in it. Similar to other felony murder statutes, Texas’s law states that “if, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it.”

Under the Law of Parties, defendants can be held responsible for “failing to anticipate” that the “conspiracy” would lead to a murder.

Numerous defendants who did not kill anyone have been executed under the Law of Parties; that Perry wouldn’t hesitate to sign off on Thompson’s execution should comes as no surprise. But yesterday Thompson was granted a recommendation for clemency by the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles — an extremely rare move. The Board, whose members are political appointments, has only recommended clemency two other times in recent memory.

One of these was two years ago in the case of Kenneth Foster, Jr., who also faced execution under the Law of Parties. In his case, the murder took place while he was in a car, 18 feet away. A grassroots campaign rose up to stop Foster’s execution and in August 2007, Perry took the Board’s recommendation and spared his life.

Yesterday, the Board voted 5 to 2 to spare Robert Lee Thompson, a “highly unusual” move in the words of the Houston Chronicle, and one described by Thompson’s lawyer, as “hugely significant.”

“I’m thrilled,” he said, upon hearing news of the Board vote.

But in Texas, the Governor has the final say in clemency decisions. Despite the rare recommendation, Perry, who faces a close primary election next year against Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, was unmoved. Hours after the Board’s vote, he released a statement saying that he saw “no reason” to spare Thompson’s life.

Thompson was executed on schedule, at 6pm Texas time. According to AP reporter Michael Graczyk, “his mother cried uncontrollably, stomped her feet and finally demanded to be taken from the witness area before her son was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m.”

Statements were released by the Texas Moratorium Network on behalf of family members of death row prisoners also sentenced under the Law of Parties, including one from Terri Been, whose brother, Jeff Wood, came close to being executed in August 2008 for a murder he did not commit.

“I must say that I was surprised to hear that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles grew a conscious and voted in favor of clemency for Robert Thompson, since they unanimously voted for the execution of my brother, Jeff Wood, who was also convicted under the law of parties despite the fact that he is factually innocent of murder,” said Been. “However, I was not surprised to hear Perry didn’t jump on board the clemency train as the man has no sense of true justice.”

Efforts have been made to roll back the Law of Parties. This year, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill to ban executions of people convicted under the Law of Parties who did not actually kill anyone. The legislation never made it out of the Senate.

 

Scott Cobb of the Texas Moratorium Network accused Perry of playing politics with the death penalty.

“Rick Perry is using the death penalty issue to endear himself to right-wing voters in the upcoming Republican primary, but his actions do not reflect the priorities of mainstream Texans who are increasingly concerned about the fairness of the Texas death penalty system,” he said.

This summer, Perry signed off on the 200th execution of his career, a record unmatched even by his predecessor, George W. Bush. It is a grotesque figure, one that includes the killing of more than one prisoner with overwhelming innocence claims, including Reginald Blanton, who was executed last month.

Robert Lee Thompson may have committed a violent crime, but in the end, he was not a murderer. The same cannot be said for Perry.

 

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties and World Special Coverage.

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Why Rakim’s The Seventh Seal is the best Hip Hop Album of 2009

Why Rakim’s The Seventh Seal is the best Hip Hop Album of 2009

By JAHI

A lot of Hip Hop albums came out in 2009. Jay Z BP3, Raekwon‘’s Cuban Links II, Gift of Gab’s Escape to Mars, to name a few, caught my ear. I’m sure you could add your favorite of 2009 so feel free to fill in the blank___.

Hip Hop is still struggling to balance itself, but still evolving and growing. There’s an overflow of commercial, mainstream, and one-sided style of Hip Hop that is only reflecting one part of the black experience. There is still a need, and desire, of everyday people, to hear music that connects with higher charkas. If you are unfamiliar with this word, look, it up.

Rakim’s album The Seventh Seal, is, in my view, the best lyricism with a message, thought provoking rhymes, and best OG status of 2009 on the mic. Oh, and still in my top 5. He’s been in my top 5 since I first heard “Check Out My Melody” in 1986. I was really waiting for the Dr. Dre, Rakim album. When I heard it wasn’t coming out, I was hoping Ra could come out because I wanted to hear where he would take it.

We forget that the pioneers and elders of our culture are still among us, and are still doing music. Why would they not be? Hip Hop is not just a young man’s game. I mean this in no disrespect. But in truth, no Rakim, then maybe not a lot of emcees who are out today. Eric B and Rakim took Hip Hop to a whole different level from “Rappers Delight” and “The Message.”

The new album, The Seventh Seal, doesn’t disappoint. Matter of fact, it really has set a standard and I hope people like KRS and Chuck D got a chance to hear this one. The production, held down by Nottz for Teamsta Entertainment, Loffey For Aaron James Music, Nick Wiz for Preserve The Art, Samuel Christian and Jay Wells, and others really give space for Rakim to really come thru clear and refreshing. It’s profanity free. No sticker on the cover. It doesn’t feel forced. It feels like any black community in the world.

Songs like “Man Above,” “Won’t Be Long,” and “Message in the Song” is like the modern day Curtis Mayfield in rhyme form. If Andre 3K would have came out this year, I probably be writing about his release, but hands down, Rakim’s the Seventh Seal is worth the whole 59.6 seconds. His lyrics are talking about what’s happening in his life, but also what is happening right now. This is what Tupac would do if he was alive. It’s like Rakim has officially taken the side that Tupac had with his more thought provoking songs like Dear Momma and Letters to my Unborn Child. Yes you may be able to dance to “Put It All to Music,” but this is really thinking people music. Adult.

This album is a reflection of the age of Hip Hop. Oh, and I got it for $10 downtown Cleveland, on the release date, and it was there, in stock. The cover, and the photos by Michael Wong really set a nice mood with the CD itself (recycled paper instead of plastic) is something everone in Hip Hop should have in their catalog. Ok. I think I’ve talked it up enough. Check out. Support good music.

Peace. JAHI

Jahi is an internationally known Hip Hop artist, teacher and community activist from Cleveland, Ohio

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60,000 People Join the Call for Immigration Reform-Who cares About Your Stinkin’ Tea Party?

There’s been a lot of talk about the anti-immigrant Tea Party types coming together to stomp out President Obama’s attempts for immigration reform. Somebody needs to give them a memo and let them know it’s not gonna happen at this date and time. If you recall, during his inauguration speech he clearly noted that it was high time that those who were stuck in the hate filled days of the past had better start getting with the program as the grounds beneath them shift. If what took place last night around the country with people speaking out for immigration reform is any indication-then racist, old age ideas are destined to be stomped out…

-Davey D-

 We called, we partied, we organized: 60,000 people join the call to action for immigration reform!

by tejaztlana

Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Last night was huge. Across the country, activists, families, friends, and neighborsgathered for a nationwide telephonic town hall event. We demonstrated true momentum for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together and provides a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people currently living in the United States.

There were 1,009 house parties in 45 states and Puerto Rico that gathered to join the town hall with Representative Luis Gutierrez. More than 60,000 people called in, joined house parties or listened to live radio broadcasts.

This number stands in stark contrast to the weak showing from anti-immigrant “tea party” activists last weekend, who produced a meager 50 events in only 26 states that did “not draw huge crowds.” Meanwhile, 400 activists showed up to a single pro-reform house party in Silver Spring, Maryland!

The town hall event, featuring Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez comes just days after White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano indicated the White House is ready to push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2010.

Last night, in schools, churches, and community centers all over the country Americans organized to push Congress to solve this problem once and for all. During the call, Congressman Gutierrez outlined a progressive vision for immigration reform and told participants to continue organizing to hold their elected leaders accountable.

continue reading at  http://nuevaraza.wordpress.com/

The Power of Tejano Music-Home Grown and Full of Soul

Press Breakdown FM logo to hear Tejano Mix podcast

The Power of Tejano Music: Home Grown and Full of Soul

by Erika Gonzalez

“Texas” comes from the Hasinai word táysha, meaning “friend.”  The Hasinai Confederation is part of the Caddo Nation Native American tribe from East Texas.  The Caddo were one of the hundreds of different tribes that first inhabited the Texas – Mexico region.   

Today, many Tejanos trace their roots to the indigenous Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and African cultures.  A Tejano is more commonly known as a Texan of Mexican heritage with a history that goes back even to a time where Texas land was Mexican land.  Mexican musicians in the Texas region used music as storytelling during the Mexican Revolution.  Their music spoke of resistance and highlighted heroes such as Emiliano Zapata and Adelita, two freedom fighters along the Texas-Mexico borderlands.   

When Texas became a state, many Mexicanos were forced to give up land, move to Mexico, or assimilate as a “Mexican – American.”  With this came the birth of Tejano music – a music genre that helped Mexican-Americans living in Texas find their own artistic identity at a time where racial tensions were still very much a presence in every region in Texas.   

South Texas, having the closest proximity to Mexico became the birthplace of Tejano Music with Alice, Texas being the first Texas city to ever record a Tejano album in the mid 1940’s.   

Tejano music has evolved from stories told during the Mexican Revolution, to polkas and waltzes, to songs highlighting the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s, to love ballads and mixtures of rock, traditional Mexican music, country, jazz and R&B. 

In this playlist, you will find classic Tejano songs from the industry’s most recognized Tejano artists such as Little Joe, Laura Canales, Selena, and Ruben Ramos 

The mix starts off with Little Joe’s song “Las Nubes,” in English meaning “The Clouds,” which is considered the official Tejano National Anthem.  This song is about the struggle of the Tejano farm worker earning little pay for hard labor and at the point of giving up.  Little Joe sings about the Tejano farm worker feeling that crying can turn into laughter and laughter can turn into singing.  The singing then brings on the clouds that start producing rain.  In the song, Little Joe sings about the struggle of the Tejano farm worker resorting to drinking when it seems like the world is falling apart.  He sends a message to all Tejanos saying not to let drinking alcohol become a vice because the clouds bring rain from the ocean that cleanses the spirit.  

Later in the mix, we hear the fusion of jazz and R&B from the legendary Latin Breed and two songs from David Lee Garza y Los MusicalesDavid Lee Garza’s “Ojo de Vidrio” features Eagle Pass singer, Oscar G. and “Poquito a Poco” features San Antonio native Jay Perez.  It is important to note that David Lee Garza y Los Musicales’s five lead singers in the past twenty years have all created their own successful solo careers as Tejano artists including Oscar G, Jay Perez, Emilio Navairra, Ram Herrera, and Marcos Orozco. 

A Tejano music mix cannot be complete without including music from el grupo Mazz. We highlight two of Mazz’s famous songs, “Calla” and “Prieta Linda” – two romantic ballads that resonate in all Tejano music lover’s heartbeats. 

The late Selena Quintanilla, known as the young Queen of Tejano music, next to the late elder Lydia Mendoza, is featured in this mix with her songs “Amor Prohibido” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”  Selena Quintanilla is a historical figure in Tejano music industry.  She paved the way for the future of female Tejana artists, the mixture of the English language, hip hop beats, and female fashion.   

We hope you enjoy this first feature of Tejano music.  Let the music remind you that Texas is a state whose history comes from people native to the land, who resisted by documenting their stories of survival and hardship through music – a music genre that is still very much alive and well all over Texas, Mexico, and many US States. 

Today’s 25 Joints to Get U Thru The Day is brought to by Austin based DJ Mixtzin (www.djmixtzin) with assitance from Edie Rodriguez who does the incredible website www.LaNuevaRaza.org and Erika Gonzalez of PODER

The link to the podcast is here..

http://odeo.com/episodes/25449920-25-Joints-Tejano-Power

01-Little Joe Y La Familia ‘Las Nubes’

02-Laura Canales ‘Dile a Tu Esposa’

03-Laura Canales ‘Cuatra Caminos’

04-Latin Breed ‘Reunion Medley’

05-David Lee Garza ‘Ojo De Vidrio’

06-David Lee Garza ‘Poquito a Poco’

07-Jay Perez ‘Lo Que Yo Tengo’

08-Mazz ‘Calla’

09-Mazz ‘Prieta Linda’

10-Ruben Ramos ‘Tejano’

11-Ruben Ramos Y Alfonso Ramos ‘Puno De Tierra’

12-Sunny and the Sunliners ‘Reyna De Mi Amor’

13-Agustin Ramirez ‘Sangre De Indio’

14-Agustin Ramirez ‘Que Chulita Estas’

15-Selena ‘Amor Prohibido’

16-Selena ‘Bidi Bidi Bom Bom’

17-Jay Perez ‘Eres Tu’

18-Emilio Navaira ‘Camo Le Hare’

19-Ramiro ‘Ram’ Herrera ‘Rosas Para Uno Rosa’

20-Intocable ‘No Te Vayas’

21-Gary Hobbs ‘Las Miradas’

22-La Movida ‘Te Quiero Mucho’

23-La Sombra ‘Eres Tu’

24-La Fiebra ‘Si Manana Viene O No

25-Roberto Puildo ‘Flecha Envenenada

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Pimp of the Week-Congressman Ciro Rodriguez

Pimp of the Week-Congressman Ciro Rodriguez

Congressman Ciro Rodriguez Tx 23 has left many women and pro-choice advocates disappointed with his support of the Stupak Amendment which will restrict a woman's ability to get an abortion.

This week we a couple of people to put on blast for supporting the controversial  Stupak Amendment that was tacked on at the last-minute to the recently passed Healthcare Reform Bill. For those who don’t know, Bart Stupak a Pro-life Democrat  pushed for this  amendment which was would prevent abortions from being covered under health care plans included in the health care insurance exchanges. Many feel this is a huge step backwards and far-reaching  in the sense that it completely shuts down a woman’s right to choose, even she pays with her own money.  While it’s not suprising that Pro-Life members of the House would get with it, it was unnerving to see 64 Democrats, 20 of them pro-Choice members of the House support this amendment. It just doesn’t jive with their voting records and is seen by many as a huge let down…Most notable on the list are Silvestre Reyes, TX-16, and Ciro Rodriguez, TX-23 Both gentlemen have gotten high marks from organizations like Planned Parenthood for their overall voting record, which has allowed a woman’s the right to choose.   Reyes has an 83% rating while Rodriguez has perfect 100% record..

We checked their websites to see if we could better understand why they went along with this provision, especially after President Obama  has strongly urged for members to present a bill that doesn’t change the status quo. Neither gentleman  mentions their reasons for backing Stupak. Here’s the link to Ciro Rodriguez’s statement on Healthcare. Here’s the link to Silvestre Reye’s statement.

Both gentlemen are underfire from organizations like Working Assets who have launched a Send them a Coat Hanger Petition drive demanding that Reyes, Rodriguez and their 18 pro-choice cohorts change their minds. organizers do not want to see a return to the dreary and dangerous days before abortions were legal where women went to back alleys and used coat hangers to do abortions. This far close to 112,000 signatures have been gathered with much more to come. Here’s a link to the Send them a Coat Hanger petition

 Ciro Rodriguez has come under additional fire as Planned Parenthood and  NARAL who gave him money are threatening to withhold funds next election cycle. NARAL political director Elizabeth Shipp recently noted that Rodriguez  ‘will pay a price for their vote’.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said she ‘was disappointed’.

There was a recently column put out by the website CultureKitchen called Machismo at Work : Members of the CHC who voted for the Stupak Amendment and against women’s rights, where Rodriguez’s contributions from anti-Health Reform foes AmeriPAC American Political Action Committee was called into question. Perhaps this was a reason he choice to vote for the Stupak Amendment. In any case, we are awarding Ciro Rodriguez the Pimp of the Week Award, for taking money and accolades rom Pro-Choice organization and then rolling against them as if he didn’t have a care in the world.  It’s not a good look Congressman. Its actions like this that make folks cynical about electoral politics.

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Bun B vs Mike Jones in Texas Rap Trivia Game

This is a light-hearted funny video that features Houston rappers Bun B and Mike Jones square off in XXL Magazine’s trivia contest ‘I Know Rap People’  (Texas Edition)…Here the pair try tackle questions about fellow Texas rappers including Chingo Bling, Chamillionaire & Slim Thug

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Meet Bugsy From San Antonio- Here’s the Video to Hometown

Meet Bugsy  who hails from San Antonio… His video  ‘Hometown’ is smartly done. It was directed by Bryan Ramirez.  The music produced by DJ Carnage.. You can catch Bugsy at http://www.myspace.com/kingbugsymusic

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Swing State Project:The Future of Texas Politics(The Past)

If you wanna understand the political terrain of the great state of Texas, we urge you to peep this recent article written by MattTX of the Swing State Project.. He gives a great historical and current breakdown of Texas and where its headed.

What caught my attention the most is his detailing of Redistricting both on the Republican and Democratic sides of aisle and how they have disempowered lots of communities and really set a stage for where we are today.

Matt TX talks about how Anglo Texans were set up to lose to minority candidates which in turn would result in the Democratic Party being cast as ‘only’ a minority party.  With 2010 looming around the corner, the redistricting question takes on even more importance…

Peep the original article here… we encourage you to check out the entire site where they have some pretty cool insightful breakdowns of swing states all over the country..http://www.swingstateproject.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5893

-Davey D-
———————————————

The Future of Texas Politics: The Past

by: MattTX2

This is the first in a series of posts examining the future of Texas Politics that I hope to write. I intend to examine ongoing demographic and political shifts in detail, and look to the future of statewide elections, Congressional and State Legislature elections, and redistricting.Texas is the second largest state in the Union, after California.

Texas has been, for several years, a majority minority state.

Texas has 34 electoral votes, which will increase to 37 or 38 for the 2012 Presidential Election.

On the Presidential level, Texas has been one of the primary pieces (if not the primary piece) in the Republican Electoral College puzzle for years.

On the State level, Texas has not voted for a Democratic candidate for anything Statewide since 1994.Yet if we can extrapolate from current trends, at some point in next decade Texas will become a bona fide purple swing state. Then it will become a blue state. Then it will become a linchpin of the Democratic electoral coalition, and as Texas flips, modern Conservative Republicanism as we know it will face mortal danger.

Contemporary Republican Dominance

A casual (Democratic) observer could be forgiven for thinking that Texas politics is nothing but bad news. After all, Texas seems to have produced plenty of bad news in recent years:

A) No Texas Democrat has won Statewide office since 1994.

B) Since 1976, Texas has consistently cast its ever increasing number of electoral votes for Republicans, constituting the key base of the GOP electoral college coalition.

C) There was the mid-decade redistricting in 2003, through which the GOP picked up 6 Congressional seats.

D) Even in a year when Democrats won a national landslide and Obama even won North Carolina and Indiana, he lost Texas by 12%, even with McCain having lost any home-state edge that Dubya might have claimed.

E) Rick Perry.

F) Of course, Texas is the adopted residence of that noted Northeastern Republican, George W. Bush.I’ll stop the tedious litany there. Enough with the present, let’s look at the past.

A Brief History of Texas Politics

In order to understand Texas future, it is helpful to start with at least a basic familiarity with a story book version of Texas past. No, this is obviously not anywhere close to comprehensive, but very briefly:

1-Starting after the end of Reconstruction, Texas was a solidly Democratic state, much like the rest of the American South. Actually, it was a one party State for up until the latter quarter of the 20th Century. The Texas Democratic Primary was THE election in Texas.

2-Actually, that is false – there were in reality two “parties” – factions within the so-called “Democratic Party.” They were the Conservative Democratic Party (the socially dominant Bourbon Democrats), and the Progressive Democratic Party (including Populists, Liberals, and later on, racial minorities). In truth, these were the two political parties in Texas.

3-After World War Two, new people began moving to Texas. They came from other States, like George H.W. Bush coming from Connecticut, and did not seem to realize that it was not proper to be a Republican in Texas, or that Texas had a two Party system under the umbrella of one Political Party. They moved to the booming suburbs of Dallas and Houston, as well as Midland, and started what was effectively a third party movement – the Republican Party.

4-Gradually, the Texas Republican Party began winning the occasional election. Whenever the occasional Republican State Representative or Congressman sprouted from Texas soil, the Democratic Party did everything it could to rid the State of Texas of the blight of Republicanism. At first, when Republicans began popping up in the Dallas, Houston, and West Texas, Democrats were able to redistrict them out of power. But over time, it became unavoidable that Republicans would win some seats, both in the Texas House/State Senate and in Congress. Faced with this reality, Democrats packed Republican voters as densely as possible into strongly GOP districts, in order to limit the number of Republicans that could be elected.

5-At the same time, voting rights were gradually granted to racial minorities, who began to support the Progressive Democrats.

6-Seeing this, the Republican Party began to pursue the Southern Strategy, casting the Democrats as the party of Minorities. This was succesful in winning over the Conservative Democrats, mostly in more rural areas of Texas.

7-This trend towards the Texas Republican Party reached its greatest height under the Governorship and then the disastrous Presidency of one George W. Bush. The Republican Party and the Conservative Democratic Party were as fully united as they have ever been, and they merged into one mass. In 2002 (aided by an ambitious State House gerrymander they were able to draw because of their dominance of statewide races), for the first time ever, the Republican Party won total control over the Texas government.

8-The GOP set itself an ambitious goal – to destroy the last vestiges of the former 3 Party State, and “permanently” entrench the Republican Party in power, not just in Texas but in the Country as a whole. To accomplish this, they sought to defeat every last Anglo Democrat through mid-decade Congressional Redistricting. If the Anglo Incumbent’s district was voting GOP on the statewide level, they were thrown into a district designed to elect a Conservative Republican. If the Anglo Incumbent’s district was voting Dem on the statewide level, the GOP sought to change the district so that the Anglo Democratic incumbent would lose to a Hispanic or African American Democrat in the Democratic Primary. Jim Turner, Ralph Hall, Charlie Stenholm, Max Sandlin, Nick Lampson, Ralph Hall, and Chet Edwards were drawn into heavily GOP territory they had not previously represented.  Chris Bell, Lloyd Doggett, and Gene Green‘s districts minority percentages were increased in an effort to ensure they would lose in Democratic Primaries to minority candidates. Martin Frost was a special case – his Democratic, majority-minority district was dismembered into a collection of districts that would all (and did) elect Anglo Republicans.Just as once no young (Anglo) Texan had grown up thinking it was acceptable to be a Republican, the GOP sought to ensure that no young (Anglo) Texan would grow up thinking that it was acceptable to vote for a Democrat. Texas was now a 2 Party State in line with the national norm, with an ascendant GOP pitted against a moderate to liberal Democratic Party. With the exception of an ever-dwindling number of old line rural stragglers, the Democratic Party was dominated by representatives from urban and minority areas – chiefly Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley.Texas was no longer a 3 Party State: the Conservative Democrats had merged with the Republicans into one united Republican Party. Texas was now a 2 Party State, with one Party (The Republican Party) holding hegemonic power.

9-But nearly as soon as GOP predominance was put in place, the Bush Administration gradually collapsed into abject failure. Texas Democrats began making gradual gains in the State House, almost entirely in Urban/Suburban areas. In a bizarre 4-way Gubernatorial race in 2006, Incumbent Republican was re-elected with only 39% of the vote. In 2008, after a Presidential primary that energized Democratic voters, Texas voted solidly for John McCain, though much less solidly than it had voted for Bush.

This narrative of the past is necessarily incomplete and biased in what I included and what I left out – but that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.

Back To The Future

That ever-dwindling number of old line rural Conservative Democratic stragglers dwindles further still. The latest example came only last week, when rural East Texas State Representative Chuck Hopson switched from the Democratic Party to the Republicans. He now faces a difficult GOP primary fight. Ironically, many of those GOP Primary voters who may vote against him have much more historically in common with the one-time Bourbon Democrats than with the Post-WW2 Sunbelt Suburban Republicans of Dallas and Houston.

Kay Bailey Hutchison (a Dallas Republican) and Rick Perry (a Conservative Democrat until 1990) face off in a monumental GOP Gubernatorial primary. This primary cuts down a fault line in the contemporary Texas GOP. On the one hand stand the rural Rick Perry Conservative Democratic-Republicans, openly speaking of secession and other madness, as did their forebears in 1860. On the other hand stand the traditional Republicans of Sunbelt Suburbanism. As their own Northeastern forebears (like the Bush’s of Connecticut and Maine) were, the old line Republicans are more than a bit skeptical of neo-Jefferson-Davisism.

One could analogize the present day Texas Republican Party to an insane asylum. In that analogy, the inmates would be the rural Conservative Democrats, and the wardens would be the suburban Republicans who (once?) dominate(d?) the Party, heirs to the great Sun Belt Republican migration to the Dallas/Houston suburbs (The Tom Delays and Pete Sessionses of the world) and to Midland (The Tom Craddicks of the world). The outcome of that primary will be in some ways a test of just how much the “inmates” (rural Conservative Democrats) have taken over the asylum (the Republican Party) from the suburbanites who once pulled the levers. Admittedly, though this split is real, it is not absolute, and Kay Bailey Hutchison is much more the moderate Rockefeller Republican in image than in fact. But I am more than tempted to wonder whether we are coming full circle – a Conservative Democratic Party (renamed as the Republican Party) up against a Progressive Democratic Party (the Democratic Party).

Meanwhile, it is at least conceivable that a Democrat could win the governorship if, Scozzafavalike, GOP primary ruptures the fault between the two factions of the GOP – the old GOP, and the Conservative Democrats. It is also possible that Bill White could win a seat in the US Senate. But Democrats have had many shattered hopes in statewide races in Texas over the past number of years. And redistricting looms just over the horizon.

Return to The Southern Shift

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