From Texas with Billie Duncan : What the Tea Party Really Wants to Do


By now it should seem obvious to everyone that the Tea Party wants to dismantle the American government. The fact that the Republican Party is allowing them to follow this agenda shows how little foresight the GOP had when it allowed itself to get hijacked by a group of anti-American radicals who gained power by playing to the basest, most dissatisfied and least educated portion of the population.

Once the Tea Party gained credibility by being anointed by the Republicans, they were able to pour out propaganda that appealed to a wider audience of Americans who were not as radical but were also dissatisfied not only with how the government was being run but by how the Great Recession had affected them.

They then used their new-found power to target people in the Republican Party and replace them with people from the Tea Party—all with the blessings of the Republican Party, which somehow could not see what was happening.

The Tea Party’s objective in Congress is not to govern but to obstruct . They see government as the enemy. They are not Republicans; they are simply using the Republican Party as a vehicle in which to drive the government over a cliff.

The American government is set up as a system of checks and balances, not as a dictatorship. The Tea Party wants to dictate how the country will be run. They have no use for compromise, but they use the term to indicate that others must give in to them while they stand firm in their own beliefs. There is no room in their agenda for listening to people who are not in lockstep with them.

The Republican Party is not only allowing this but actively supporting the TPs in this path to destruction.

The Tea Party has expanded by playing to fears and prejudice. TPs actually believe that the American government has a plan to take away their guns. They actually believe that Latin Americans (particularly Mexicans) are taking away jobs from real Americans. They actually believe that Obama is not a legitimate president. The faction that is violently anti-abortion truly believes that pregnancy cannot result from rape, that any use of birth control is morally wrong, and that a woman who has an abortion is a murderer and should be sent to prison.

They want an “America” that reflects their beliefs, their religious ideology and their racial superiority. This is not what the Republican Party is all about. But, if the GOP continues to allow this drastic group to push them towards the abyss, to force their ideology on all Americans, to abolish all government programs that they don’t like, the Republican Party will cease to exist. The Tea Party will emerge as one of the parties in America’s two-party system. Then they can try to do what they really want to do: fundamentally change what is America.

What they don’t seem to realize yet is that America will not let them do it.

—- Billie Duncan / Houston, Texas



On August 28, 1963, speaking to half a million of his fellow Americans and more, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke words that every American since that day has known by heart. “I have a dream,” King said, “that my children one day will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Every phrase in it counts; but today, perhaps, the phrase most poignant is that first part : “I have a dream.” A dream : in other words, a vision, a hope, not yet present but still to come.

America’s very existence arises from the dreams of men and women, for a life better than the one handed to them. America never gets to the finish line. we always have more work to do, progress to bring, as we move always forward toward social justice and civil rights and dignity for all. We may never get all the way there ? Perhaps; but every generation of Americans must keep on keeping on. We live in the future, and it is ours to make.

That is what America is. And we are all in it, all of us.

And yet ….. the progress forward is not unbroken. Often we as a nation stop moving forward; sometimes we even step backwards. Because there are some of us who do NOT believe in the dream. Oh the fine words, yes; the reality, not so much.

And so we struggle. Today we struggle. 50 years after Dr. king spoke calling us to move forward boldly, many parts of America are moving resolutely backward.

If there was any civil right that Dr. King cared for most of all, first of all, it was the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was as much his doing as it was President Johnson’s. Yet today, 48 years after the VRA was enacted, there are several states that have legislated — or are trying to legislate — making it much more difficult for many of us to vote. Especially the poor and the isolated among us. Those who need the right to vote most of all — because it is the one thing that people disadvantaged can do as well as people with all advantages — are to have a “voted ID” — often next to impossible to get, and costly, or they will not be registered to vote. Those who live far from a polling place, or who work two or three jobs all day long and so cannot vote on polling day, will have early voting hours cut down. Anything to keep those who most need the vote from voting.

Nothing legislative could be more immoral, not to mention un-American, than efforts to impede any American from voting. Yet that is what we see going on in NC, in TX, in KS and, to a less rigorous extent, in several other states. We abhor the “vote suppression” movement.

The Department of justice is moving to block Texas’s vote-suppression laws. It has signaled that it will soon sue to block North Carolina’s even more onerous vote-suppression laws. his we thoroughly applaud. Nonetheless, it is a shame that it has come to this, 50 years after Dr. King spoke his dream, 48 years after our Congress and President enacted the most all-encompassing Voting Rights act ever adopted by our nation.

We cannot turn back. We dare not allow the nation to turn back. We must not stand by and watch any state turn us back. Our destiny as a nation demands we move forward, always forward, until every one of us has the civil rights, the respect, and the protection that our nation has always, on its truest days, promised to all.

—- The Editors / Here and Sphere




^ Attorney General Eric Holder : sues to protect Texas voters

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Any worry we may have had, that the Supreme Court’s recent decision to throw out the 40-year-old criteria supporting Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act might interrupt Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department from protecting Americans’ voting rights, has proved wrong. The Justice Department has moved right ahead anyway, under Section 4 of the act — which requires a finding of actual discriminatory inhtent — to block Texas from so discriminating.

We approve the DOJ’s move. Fully approve it.

No right, other than that of life itself, is more basic to everyone’s equality in our democracy than voting rights. Texas has sought for quite some time now to undermine the voting power of voters its dominant Republican party does not like. This must be fought every step of the way. It is wrong, it is immoral.

The Department of Justice is now moving in Federal Court to enjoin the Texas legislature’s newly drawn State House and State Senate districts — maps that shove voters the Republicans want no part of into districts such voters cannot win. Specifically, the Attorney General Holder asserts that the Texas Republican party is discriminating against Hispanic voters in favor of White voters. Not one week after the Supreme Court ruling, the Texas GOP pushed its manoeuvered map through the legislature and into law. The intent is plain.

If the Federal Court agrees, the GOP map will be blocked. That is the first step. The next step is to get the Court to set up its own panel to draw such legislative districts as will treat all voters fairly. It has been done before, in other states, and not only under the Voting Rights Act.

Holder and his law staff have many issues they can take up with Texas. The state’s radical new abortion restriction law is one; the state’s refusal to offer health insurance to 25 % of Texans is another. School curricula, pay equity for women, and the nation’s most harshly administered criminal law all demand Federal intervention wherever legal means can be found to do so. The first step, though, is to protect every Texan’s equal vote. The DOJ is taking that step. We hail its doing so.  

The need for DOJ intervention may also arise in North Carolina, where a regressive new legislature is repealing some civil rights gains that took half a century to achieve. We support the DOJ for the North Carolina mission as well, if needed — indeed we support the DOJ’s protection of voters’ equality wherever such protection is put at risk by backward powers.

—- The Editors / Here and Sphere



The big political story yesterday was that Rick Perry, three term Governor of Texas, will not seek a record fourth term.

Both his supporters and his opponents were thrilled at the news. Tht’s a measure of his political importance. And of the hype.

Rick Perry is not as important as hopes to be, or as he thinks he is. Perry claims that he has left Texas the most competitive economic state of all, the best for business in the 21st century, as he likes to claim. Texas may well be that; but the man who initiated Texas’s modern business prosperity is Lyndon Johnson, not Rick Perry. It was Johnson who, as JFK’s vice-president, successfully lobbied to have NASA headquartered in Houston.(Then Speaker Sam Rayburn, also a Texan, played an important role here too.) You remember NASA; it was the agency that developed a program to put a man on the Moon, and successfully did so. At the time that NASA started in Houston, the city was a growing but still one-industry “oil town.” By 1969 it was the center of America’s most advanced defense/technology enterprise.

From that NASA start, and with the vast development of underwater oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast became a major American wealth and jobs hub. Large law firms and international commodities traders located there. Software companies — also drawing upon brains at work at the University of Texas and at Rice University — chose Texas as favored locus. The Texas elite of that period included a governor, John Connally, as well as a future President, George H. W. Bush, and his lawyer friend, James Baker; software pioneer H. Ross Perot; and a Senator, Lloyd Bentsen, who became running mate to a George Bush presidential opponent.

Rick Perry came late onto the scene. He was a very obscure lieutenant governor who became Governor largely by the good will of Texas voters for George W. Bush, who had been elected president two years before.

Perry inherited all of the above — the business strength and the good will. It was easy for him to simply keep on doing what was already working. Whatever drew businesses to Texas, he was for. Whatever might discourage business, he was against. Simple agendas that work are hard to beat. Perry was not beaten.

But then he decided to run for President. Like Romney, he moved to the right — sharply, and much earlier than casual observers of his entry into the 2012 primary race realized — and with effects much more devastating. Romney moved to the right after leaving office. His move affected no one but himself. Perry’s moves, on education funding, executions of prisoners — Texas executes more than the next four death penalty states combined — health care, and “nullification” of Federal laws, including Voting rights laws, made life much harder for Texas’s low income people. 25 % of Texas residents have no health insurance. the same percentage live in poverty. The abortion restriction law that State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered — and became world famous doing so — would impact mostly low income women. Perry also successfully opposed pay equity legislation and rejected hundreds of millions of Federal health insurance dollars.

Perry wants medicare, social security, the income tax, and popular election of senators abolished. These are either anti-social or just loopy views; even though they remain mere noise ,they debase the conversation and lead people away from progressive reform into dead ends of negative rant.

It is hard to see how anyone not a business executive or a negative ranter can want anything to do with Rick Perry ever again. And even business executives might question the advantage of locating ina state that makes life so hard for both the low-wage people whom most businesses count on and for those living in poverty, who lack income to buy what most businesses need to sell. Texas badly needs to change its priorities if it — and its 24,000,000 or so residents — are not to lose ground in the coming decades.

It is said that Perry intends to run again for President. We urge him not to.