Category Archives: United States

ICYMI: President Trump Also Tossed Out His Infrastructure Council This Week

For someone so “new” to politics, our nation’s 45th President sure seems to know what he’s doing when it comes to creating distractions and burying scandals.  As leader of the modern Republican Party, this is one lesson he’s taken well to heart.

So goes the latest example.  As our nation is consumed by a the racial firestorm set off by a White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the President’s response to it, with his other hand Donald Trump is steadily ripping up his overly ambitious agenda, hoping Americans will quickly forget the frequent promises he made on the campaign trail.  Just one day after Trump gave his “big speech” to address our nation’s failing infrastructure, he turns right around and undermines that same agenda.

Here’s more, via Mark Niquette of Bloomberg News

President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works.

The action follows Trump announcing on Wednesday that he was disbanding two other business advisory councils. Corporate chief executive officers had started to quit the panels in protest over Trump’s remarks that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists following a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.

Our Commander-In-Chief signed an Executive Order on July 19th to establish the Infrastructure Council.  But in true Trump form, he’s now proven that he can’t even Command himself to his own rules.

So how are all of those lofty goals on infrastructure going to be accomplished with no buy in from the Congress, and no advice from the outside world?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Yet another promise we can toss down the Trump Abyss Broken and Ignored Promises.

Wait… how did pop star Katy Perry‘s song go??

Swish Swish Bish— Another one in the Basket. 

 

 

After Latest Dust Up, FBI Finds Nothing New In Clinton Emails

For most Americans, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is an agency which seems to live in secret.  There’s no doubt that public interest has likely increased since the hit ABC series Quantico, which delves into the world of FBI agent training.  But for the most part, the men and women of this agency focus much more on their work than talking about it because, well, they’re the FBI.

Sadly in 2016, those rules have flown out the window.  As of this summer, the agency had already played an unprecedented role in this year’s Election by not only revealing details of an investigation into Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, but clearing her of wrongdoing.  That was in the summer, but just a couple of weeks ago to the surprise of the entire nation, FBI Director James Comey set off yet another national firestorm when he revealed to members of Congress that the email investigation was being reopened after they found more communications on a computer owned by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Wiener.

Could this be it for Hillary Clinton??  After 40 years in politics and 25 in the national spotlight, did this final set of emails reveal THE smoking gun Republicans have hoped for??? 

Umm, yeah… you guessed it.  The answer is NOPE.

Here’s the story from Eric Bradner, Pamela Brown and Evan Perez from CNN Politics…

FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Sunday the agency hasn’t changed its opinion that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges after a review of new emails.

“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey wrote in the new letter to congressional committee chairmen.
Comey dropped a bombshell on the presidential race last month when he sent a letter to Congress saying the FBI had discovered emails in a separate investigation that could be connected to the now-closed probe of whether Clinton mishandled classified information. The move infuriated Democrats and emboldened Republican nominee Donald Trump.
So after all the drama, the FBI basically concluded that they found more run-of-the-mill emails that were of a personal nature, and that while Clinton’s use of the private server was careless, she did not harbor malicious intent and will not be charged with a crime.
Wait… let’s repeat that last part…

In her emails, Hillary Clinton did not harbor malicious intent and will not be charged with a crime.  

As you can probably guess, Donald Trump and Republicans are not happy with Director Comey’s update, saying that it’s impossible for the FBI to review 650,000 emails in 8 days.  But like most of the things he’s said throughout this Presidential campaign, Donald Trump is wrong yet again.  Here’s more on that from Andy Greenberg of Wired
“You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days,” Trump said Sunday in a campaign speech in Michigan hours after Comey’s latest update to Congress came out. “You can’t do it, folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty.” Trump supporter General Michael Flynn did the math on Twitter:

But fortunately for Comey’s eyesight—and for Clinton’s presidential campaign—Trump is wrong: the FBI can review hundreds of thousands of emails in a week, using automated search and filtering tools rather than Flynn’s absurd notion of Comey reading the documents manually. “This is not rocket science,” says Jonathan Zdziarski, a forensics expert who’s consulted for law enforcement and worked as a systems administrator. “Eight days is more than enough time to pull this off in a responsible way.”

One former FBI forensics expert even tells WIRED he’s personally assessed far larger collections of data, far faster. “You can triage a data set like this in a much shorter amount of time,” says the former agent, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid any political backlash. “We’d routinely collect terabytes of data in a search. I’d know what was important before I left the guy’s house.”

So there’s some last minute fact to add into all the noise that is being bantered about by the Trump campaign and his ReTRUMPlican hounds.  For your sake and mine, let’s hope that this is the last week that we have to care about what Trump says about anything.

Speaking of that last point… Have you voted yet?? Election Day is tomorrow, so you’ve got one more chance!!  Go to I Will Vote if you have any questions about your polling place.  Let’s get Hillary Clinton in office, and Trump out of the picture.

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Texas Leftist 2016 Endorsements

For those interested, here are the Texas Leftist endorsements for 2016.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, healthcare expansion, living wage and economic prosperity.

Election Day 2016 is Tuesday November 8th, and Early Voting runs from October 24th through November 4th.  For Houston area voters, here’s early voting information for Harris CountyFort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.  For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

 

 

Federal Races

U.S. President:                                                 Hillary Rodham Clinton (D)

U.S. Rep. District 2:                                       Pat Bryan (D)

U.S. Rep. District 7:                                      James Cargas (D)

U.S. Rep. District 9:                                       Al Green (D)

U.S. Rep. District 18:                                    Sheila Jackson Lee (D)

U.S. Rep. District 22:                                    Mark Gibson (D)

 

State Races

Railroad Commissioner:                             Mark Miller (L)  [TLCQ 2016]

State Board of Education, 6:                     R. Dakota Carter (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 3:            Mike Westergren (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 5:            Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 9:            Eva Guzman (R)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2:      Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5:      Betsy Johnson (D)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6:      Robert Burns (D)

 

State Senator, District 13:                            Borris Miles (D)

State Rep. District 126:                                 Joy Dawson- Thomas (D)

State Rep. District 127:                                 Joseph McElligott (G)

State Rep. District 134:                                 Ben Rose (D)

State Rep. District 135:                                 Jesse A. Ybanez (D)

State Rep. District 137:                                 Gene Wu (D)

State Rep. District 147:                                   Garnet Coleman (D)

State Rep. District 149:                                  Hubert Vo (D)

State Rep. District 150:                                  Michael Shawn Kelly (D)

 

District Races

Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals:          Jim Peacock (D)

1st Court of Appeals, Place 4:                       Barbara Gardner (D)

14th Court of Appeals, Place 2:                   Candance White (D)

14th Court of Appeals, Place 9:                   Peter M. Kelly (D)

11th Judicial District:                                         Kristen Hawkins (D)

61st Judicial District:                                          Fredericka Phillips (D)

80th Judicial District:                                         Larry Welman (D)

125th Judicial District:                                      Kyle Carter (D)

127th Judicial District:                                      R.K. Sandill (D)

129th Judicial District:                                      Michael Gomez (D)

133rd Judicial District:                                      Jaclanel McFarland (D)

151st Judicial District:                                       Mike Engelhart (D)

152nd Judicial District:                                      Robert K. Schaffer (D)

164th Judicial District:                                      Alexandra Smoots-Hogan

165th Judicial District:                                      Ursula A. Hall (D)

174th Judicial District:                                      Hazel B. Jones (D)

176th Judicial District:                                      Nikita “Niki” Harmon (D)

177th Judicial District:                                      Robert Johnson (D)

178th Judicial District:                                       Kelli Johnson (D)

179th Judicial District:                                       Randy Roll (D)

215th Judicial District:                                       Fred Shucart (R)

333rd Judicial District:                                       Daryl Moore (D)

334th Judicial District:                                       Steven Kirkland (D)

337th Judicial District:                                       Herb Ritchie (D)

 

Harris County Races

District Attorney:                                                 Kim Ogg (D)

Sheriff:                                                                         Ed Gonzalez (D)

County Attorney:                                                  Vince Ryan (D)

County Clerk:                                                          Ann Harris- Bennett (D)

County Commissioner, Pct. 3:                      Jenifer Rene Pool (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 2:                      Sherrie L. Matula (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 4:                      Marilyn Burgess (D)

Constable, Precinct 1:                                        Alan Rosen (D)

Constable, Precinct 6:                                        Silvia Trevino (D)

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5, Place 1:          William “Bill” McLeod (D)

HISD Proposition 1:                                            AGAINST

 

The following resources were consulted for the 2016 Texas Leftist endorsements:  Project Vote SmartHouston Association of Women Attorneys, The Texas Tribune, The Houston Chronicle Endorsements, The Dallas Morning News, Houston GLBT Caucus, Off The Kuff, and Ballotpedia.

 

2016

 

 

TLCQ 2016: Matt Murphy

In the First installment of the 2016 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Matt Murphy, candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, District 147.  He is a Republican.

Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot and the office that you are seeking in 2016?

MM:  Matt Murphy (R) for Texas House of Representatives-District 147

 

 TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

MM:  No

 

 TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

MM:  The Declaration of Independence and Constitution clearly shows how to govern effectively and protect our individual Liberty. It is important to have a representative democracy where the voice of the people can be heard. If partisian politics would follow the Constitution as it is written and all politicians actually started representing the people instead of their party platform, our society would be better. It also takes the participation of the voters, however most have become so apathetic to the process. It is time to be different in our approach to help maintain our FREEDOM. 

 

 TL:  If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

MM:  As a political outsider, I choose to reverse the current trend of representation by going into the community instead of waiting for the community to come to me. This refreshing approach has helped me gain a diverse group of supporters from Republicans,Democrats, and Independents while also encouraging new voters to get involved in the political process. 

Our campaign encourages people to “Know Your Neighbor”. If we can strengthen our relationships with our neighbors, we can unify local leaders and unite as one voice for better streets, better schools and better crime prevention. By avoiding divisive social agendas pushed from the top down, we can refocus on the core role of government, and free up resources to address pressing concerns. I have always said that if you know your neighbors name, then you are obligated to look after them regardless of your differences. 

 

TL:  Recent years in American Politics have yielded an environment of hyper-partisanship, the results of which have often led to government inefficiency, and sometimes total government gridlock.  Describe how you plan to break through this partisan gridlock for the good of your constituents, and work with those from differing political ideologies.  

MM:  Most partisan politics are lead by the elite few leaving most of America without strong leadership. This becomes very discouraging to many because their vote does not matter, so they stop voting altogether. One of the biggest ways this has happened is because the politicians pander to the political PACs with money instead of depending on the grassroots efforts for the people. Grassroots efforts are rarely appealing because it does not account for enough money to run a campaign. This has resulted in a politician having to listen and vote the way that those that “give them money” want them too instead of represent those they represent in their district. However, incumbents continue to get elected by a large majority because their name recognition is increased while in office and low voter turnout. We may never be able to change this through legislation, but if candidates were willing to stay determined and resilient towards the grassroots movement, they will eventually get elected and become a strong voice for the people that will focus on creating an efficient government that looks at the source of problems instead of the surface of problems. 

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

MM:  For over 25 years the people of Texas House District 147 have not been given a choice in who represents their values in Austin because my opponent has ran unopposed. This lack of accountability has resulted in my opponent ignoring the responsibility to represent our diverse district with an equal voice. He has also showed a complete disrespect of the law and our freedoms. He is a political insider that feels untouchable. 

The people of Texas House District 147 want a CHOICE. They want a leader that represents their values of Faith, Family, Freedom, Patriotism, and Building Stronger Communities. They want a leader that will put his own opinions aside and represent the community opinion as the way a representative democracy was invented. The people of this district are yelling, “I Matter!”

I am completely different than my opponent because I choose to be in the community instead of forcing the community to come to me in Austin. I choose to educate the community on the facts surrounding issues instead of giving them my own personal opinions in efforts to make them a more informed voter. Once I receive a consensus of the community, I can go back to Austin and vote based on their values while maintaining an open channel during the process. This continues to resonate with the voters in this district and hopefully results in our success on election night. 

 

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

MM:  I am fortunate to have an amazing son, Shawn, and a smoking hot wife, Rachel that I love to spend time with when I am not on the campaign trail. We love to explore our district by going to all of the amazing parks, businesses and restaurants in Downtown, Midtown, Museum District, Third Ward, OST/South Union, Sunnyside, South Park and Hobby Airport area. Since we live so close to Hermann Park, we love to ride our bikes there to enjoy a good picnic, feeding the ducks, playing frisbee, or going to a great performance at Miller Outdoor Theater. Our district is amazing, and we need a true representative that believes in the values of the voters that will protect our great places. I hope my campaign can get out the “good news” that District 147 finally has a choice, because “Your Choice Matters!”

 

Thanks to Mr. Murphy for the responses.

Election Day 2016 is Tuesday November 8th, and Early Voting runs from October 24th through November 4th.  For Houston area voters, here’s early voting information for Harris CountyFort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.  For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

matt-murphy-2016

‘Leading’ Edge: The 2016 Green Party Convention

One of the most challenging aspects of the American Political System? It is impossible to accurately represent the full, informed spectrum of political thought. It is often a vapid concoction offering the most drab philosophies of government, while constantly osmosizing and proselytizing the bright, energetic colors from its edge.

But diluted in this process are not only those purest strands of color, but also the many subtle transitions which serve to form our most common bonds. In true representation, the Liberal and Libertarian are more alike than their overlord party caricatures would suggest. The belief in good, efficient government to ensure equality and liberty (Liberals) is not mutually exclusive to the belief in liberty achieved via personal freedom and responsibility (Libertarians).

After so much exposure to the center, it was quite the experience to witness a leading edge of this challenging system at the 2016 Green Party National Convention. Infused with new energy, membership and purpose, Convention delegates handily selected environmental health advocate and Progressive activist Dr. Jill Stein as their Nominee for President of the United States. Stein also selected Ajamu Baraka as her running mate on the ticket. In her fiery acceptance speech, Stein took immediate aim at the  major parties.

“As Frederick Douglass said, power concedes nothing without demand… It never has, it never will. We will be that demand.”

“We are what Democracy looks like, and we are what political revolution looks like” Stein declares in a direct nod to the Bernie Sanders campaign and the many disaffected Sanders supporters whom have lifted the Green Party to heights unseen in decades.  The most popular slogan for the Convention?  ‘Jill Not Hill’.

Accompanying the soaring and often thrashing rhetoric, Stein also unleashed a litany of ambitious policy goals, including a nation-wide emergency jobs program, the total elimination of student debt, a conversion to fully renewable energy by 2030 and the proposal to make all public higher education free. All along the way, indicting Hillary Clinton as the “lesser evil to the greater good.”

But how can Stein and Baraka reach such a coveted status as ‘the greater good’ when they’ve to even garner a place on the majority of state ballots?

This and other questions were of utmost importance in a Post-Convention Press Conference, where the candidates had to trade their expansive rhetoric for a bit of reality. Even if the Presidency is out of the party’s reach in 2016, other goals were revealed.  Since the Democratic National Convention where Bernie Sanders conceded to Hillary Clinton, the Green Party has received ‘a whirlwind of support’, fundraising more in the last few weeks than the entire previous year of the campaign, and tripling standing in the national polls.

Of course there was also plenty of room for speculation and controversy, like this clip where Stein equates the nefarious DNC Leaks scandal to the Democratic Party’s alleged unfair treatment of Sanders…

Lee McQueen of McQueen Press posted the full Press Conference, where I was able to ask the candidate an important question that many voters considering the Green Party would want to know. Assuming they could win the White House, how would President Stein and Vice President Baraka actually govern??

Texas Leftist:  With the Progressive, aggressive agenda that you have laid out, how do you expect to get those initiatives through a predominantly Democratic and/or Republican Congress?

Dr. Stein:  If we get elected, we will be elected along with some down ballot candidates and a number of (Green Party) Senate candidates and some Congresspeople. So we will have a block. There will also be some Progressive Democrats who have been waiting to be Liberated from a very toxic and corrupt system. But above all, we will be in an unprecedented moment if we actually have a President in the White House who comes into office with a big public mandate and serves not only as Commander-in-Chief, but as Organizer-in-Chief… 

In other words, governing isn’t something they need to consider at the moment.

And herein lies the difficulty with support of a minor party. Without concrete of how to act on such an inspiring agenda, little can be accomplished in the real houses of government. For all of their faults, it is the major parties that retain the ability of turning words into actions. Though likely that they will fall short, most Americans would still rather see some progress achieved than simply promises that never have a credible chance.

At the end of the day, the Green Party harbors a strong and important set of ideas. Their goal of a Green Presidency is still a long way from Houston, and 2016.  But the outcome of one Presidential contest should not be the judge of an entire movement.  Greens are already winning important state and local races across the country, and this election cycle could prove their most successful yet.  The Green Party of Texas is fielding over 40 candidates for office across the state, including Martina Salinas for Texas Railroad Commissioner. From a host of campaign appearances to an informed debate with her Libertarian Party challenger Mark Miller, Salinas could be one to watch this November.  In an election year already full of surprises, the Green Party is getting ready for their big moment just in case it should occur.

Visit the National Green Party website for information on candidates in your area.  You can also hear more from Dr. Jill Stein at a CNN Town Hall Telecast, set to air internationally on August 17th.

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The Green Party of Texas casts its votes for the Presidential Nominee. 

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Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka at the Post-Convention Press Conference. 

The Green Party Brings Its Mission to Houston

Even as it continues to urbanize and become increasingly diverse, it’s doubtful that anyone familiar with American politics considers Texas to be a harbinger of Progressivism.  Thanks to many factors like voter suppression and mis-education, the Lone Star state is expected to once again skew Conservative for the upcoming election.

Though the constraints of America’s often challenging two-party system would want voters to think otherwise, the terms “Progressive” and “Conservative” do not belong to exclusively to Democrats or Republicans.  In fact 2016’s two major party candidates are causing many American voters to look outside of the traditional “big tent” status quo.

This week, a major player in a Progressive politics is taking over Houston, as Mihir Zaveri of the Houston Chronicle reports…

The odds seem long for the Green Party of the United States. In a presidential election, it never has won more than 2.7 percent of the popular vote.

Right now, its presumptive candidate is slated to be on the ballot in only two dozen states.

Still, members say the November election could provide a unique opportunity for the progressive party, now in its fourth decade, to capture voters who will not vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.

That will be one of the central themes as the Green Party kicks off its three-day national convention Thursday at the University of Houston, where delegates are expected for the second straight election cycle to nominate Jill Stein, a Lexington, Mass., physician, author and environmental advocate, for president.

“I think we’re trying to take advantage of something this year,” said party spokesman Scott McLarty. “That is the widespread realization by a lot of people, among non-voters, among independents, and, interestingly this year, among a lot of Democrats and Republicans, that the two-party status quo is failing us.”

It’s been something of a ‘Powerhouse’ Political year for the University of Houston, whom not only welcomes the Green Party this week, but also played host to a Republican Debate earlier this year.

Spoiler Alert:  at this point it is unlikely that Dr. Jill Stein, or her running mate Ajamu Baraka will win this years election.  At present, they have reached the General Election ballot in 24 states and the District of Columbia.  But that situation in the Presidential race doesn’t discount the real successes that its membership has garnered elsewhere.   The party currently has 134 elected officials serving in 15 states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, and yes, Texas.

Per the schedule of events, convention activities begin today August 4th, with the highlights of Keynote speaker Dr. Cornel West, the roll call of states, and the official Presidential Candidate nomination and acceptance all slated for August 6th.  There’s even a special welcome for Bernie Sanders supporters.

Will the Green Party’s mission be advanced by their time in Houston?  At this point it is uncertain.  But Texas Leftist plans to find out.  Look for more Green Party Convention coverage right here.

Green Party Houston

Before We Freak Out Over the Iran Deal “Ransom”

Because it is Wednesday, or well any day of the week, Donald Trump is on the attack.  But at least today, he’s distracted from his previous mission of belittling a brave American Gold Star family.

After this SHOCKING Wall Street Journal article, Republican Party Leader (now known on this blog as the ReTRUMPlican Party) Donald Trump, Senator Marco Rubio,  and other ReTRUMPlicans are outraged over what some call a “ransom payment” of $400 million to Iran for American hostages released at the close of the Obama Administrations historic Iran Nuclear Deal. But a quick search of information should reveal that this simply not the case.  When the deal was implemented, President Obama may not have revealed exact numbers, but he did disclose the nature of the payment and why the United States government chose to settle it at the same time as the deal.  But hey, don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear directly from the President (check the 8:30 min mark)…

The third piece of [the Iran Deal] involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades.  Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through an international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries.  The United States and Iran are now settling a long-standing Iranian government claim against the U.S. government.  Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount sought.  For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran so there was no sense in dragging [this claim] out.  With the nuclear deal done, and prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.

So yeah… no exact numbers given at the time, but there were no secrets regarding this cash payment.  And to the Wall Street Journal’s credit, they do represent the Administration’s facts regarding the deal.  But of course, we can count on ReTRUMPlican Senator Tom Cotton to ignore the facts at hand, and accuse the Obama Administration of yet another thing they simply didn’t do.

Before freaking out about some ransom, can we try looking at the FACTS first??

Obama Iran Deal