The ABCs of the GOP: M is for…

Marginalization

This week’s 2012 Republican National Convention was meant to be a spectacle of all things GOP. It’s the one time of the year when the party’s best and brightest, young and old come together to celebrate what it means to be “Republican”. By all accounts, RNC 2012 was a success as they have now achieved the two most important tasks of a political party… nominate their candidate for President, and define themselves to the American people through the 2012 Republican Party Platform. Undoubtedly, Mitt Romney gave one of the best speeches of his political career, and the party did it’s duty to officially nominate he and Paul as their new leaders. Mission accomplished.

But there was another (if perhaps unwritten and unspoken) task for this year’s Republican Party as well… it’s to form the most important coalition in the history of the GOP. A coalition to marginalize the party’s moderates and Libertarians in favor of the Tea Party and Religious Right.

Last Sunday’s Ron Paul rally was ground zero for Republican marginalization. Drawing record crowds to the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa, the Liberty movement’s “counterconvention” was aptly titled We Are The Future. The vast majority of the crowd was of college age and seemingly had enough enthusiasm to get anyone they wanted into the Whitehouse. Speakers sent grossly mixed messages of encouraging support to Republicans while simultaneously scorning the party for their (probably illegal) ouster of Liberty delegates. But amidst all of the excitement, an ugly contradiction was clear… Ron Paul and his supporters lost. Their dream to be the future was yet again a dream deferred. Just like 2008, the Liberty folks will again sit on the margins of the real GOP, and just be exploited for their youth and initiative.

As the GOP charges toward the Religious Right with most social issues, this is quickly isolating party Moderates. Sure, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez gave rousing speeches at the convention. This is not to be overlooked, but having a few representatives to show diversity within the party does not excuse the whole.

Take the Conservative LGBT group GOProud… so far the only LGBT Conservative group to fully endorse the Romney/Ryan ticket. Despite their continued attempts to play by the GOP’s constantly-changing rule book, GOProud was marginalized at this year’s RNC in favor of the Far-Right. Once again, the Republican Party committed to “traditional marriage” 100 percent by adopting it as the party platform. But according to GOProud founding member Christopher Barron, that doesn’t matter…

When asked if he could clarify GOProud’s position on the Republican Party platform, this was his response…

Then I asked if GOProud also supports DOMA like the rest of the GOP…

So apparently there’s a disconnect here. The party platform is supposed to be a statement of what that political party believes. It steers the ship towards legislative priorities of the party, and to select candidates for national, state and local offices. Despite Mr. Barron’s claims that “no one reads it”, the GOP 2012 platform will travel home with every delegate, and be given to every campaign chair across the country. The document certainly is important. After all, if the entirety of GOP did NOT support DOMA it wouldn’t be law today. Democrats are the ones fighting against it, NOT Republicans. GOProud can claim what they want, but their party is actively fighting against them. Just as Republicans are fighting against Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin and any other figure that threatens the delicate alliances holding the “big tent” party together. As more Conservatives and Moderates get left out in the cold, is the GOP really a “big tent” party at all? And how long are these growing Conservative forces willing to play a game at which they always lose? How long can sit on the party’s political outskirts before there’s a real revolt?

As RNC 2012 is now in the history books, Mitt Rommey and Reince Priebus can breathe a sigh of relief. But the tense forces within the GOP haven’t lessened… If anything they may be heightened. It’s going to take every bit of strategic intellect to make it through November 6th. And the margin of error couldn’t possibly be any thinner.

Twitter account suspension

I’m sad to report that my Twitter account (@TexasLeftist) has been suspended. Honestly, I have no clue why… I haven’t violated any Twitter rules or Best Practices to my knowledge. And of course Twitter has yet to resond to my emails requesting an explanation.

I sincerely hope that the account is restored soon. Until then, you’re certainly welcome to check out my Facebook page for any updates.

NOT cool.

UPDATE: My account has been restored!!

Tracking Inner Houston’s Growth: Grocery Stores

I thought this would be an interesting thing to compare. We all know that the inner loop of Houston is growing… there’s a fast pace of infill occurring right now. But are all of these apartments and townhomes equating to actual population growth?

Instead of going on the normal real estate data, I decided to track grocery store development inside a portion of the inner loop between 2008 and 2012. Two things to note…

1) This is within the bounds of basically four neighborhoods… Downtown, Midtown, Montrose and Rice Military. Some stores are on the boundaries of other areas (like the Heights)

2) This is only “major” grocers… chain stores in large format. It doesn’t include corner stores. Phoenicia in downtown isn’t exactly Super-markets, but in my opinion is large enough to be considered a major grocer.

In 2008 here were the area’s major grocers…

Spec’s Midtown, Fiesta Midtown, Randall’s Midtown, Kroger Montrose, Fiesta Montrose, Whole Foods River Oaks, Randall’s River Oaks, Kroger River Oaks

Here’s the list in 2012, with opening dates for the new additions…

Spec’s Midtown, Fiesta Midtown, Randall’s Midtown, Kroger Montrose, Fiesta Montrose (closed), Whole Foods River Oaks, Randall’s River Oaks, Kroger River Oaks, Phoenicia Downtown (2011), Whole Foods Montrose (2011), Target Sawyer Heights (2009), HEB Montrose (2012), Wal-Mart Market Heights (2012?), Trader Joe’s Montrose/River Oaks (2012?)

Between 2008 and late 2012/2013, it appears that inner Houston’s major grocery stores will grow by 40%. Inner city Houston is definitely transforming… FAST!

The ABCs of the GOP: L is for…

Lying

So first of all, we want to deal with the obvious “duh” here. This is FAR from an exclusively Republican issue. Politicians… whether Democrat or Republican… have BIG issues with lying. Bill Clinton, Anthony Wiener, Eliot Spitzer… Major Democratic politicians that were all caught in some pretty major lies.

The common theme amongst the three Democrats listed above… Bill Clinton lying about his indiscretions with Monica Lewinski and other women, Anthony Wiener lying about posting nude pictures of himself to another woman, and Eliot Spitzer lying about sleeping with a prostitute… all three are deplorable, terrible lies. They are unbecoming of those that should be public stewards of our tax dollars. But as bad as they are, in all three cases… the lies that these men told are PERSONAL… it has to do with them, their families, and obviously their careers.

Now scandals plague both parties… they always have and always will. But with the Republicans of 2012, new levels of lying that has emerged far beyond personal implications. Instead, they use these lies to advance a Right-Wing agenda. Some of these heavily marketed lies reach so far down into the GOP’s lexicon that they become the basis of party policy, and even law.

Here’s how the basic process works. Take the current “liar of the week” Republican Congressman Todd Akin. He revealed the GOP’s long-held position that there is somehow a dinstinction between a “legitimate” rape, and other types of rape? Yeah, it’s a ridiculous mess to even think about. But the point of using that language is because it validates Republican and Pro-Life policy about why they want Roe v. Wade struck down. Something as insane as “legitimate” rape or “forcible” rape has to be codified into law so they advance their agenda that life… no matter how or what circumstances around it… begins “at conception”. So that’s the main point… The GOP is Anti-Abortion. But the subliminal part of that is that they are also Anti-Women. If they have to legislate for women when and how rape is determined as “forcible”, it means that they don’t trust the women of America to make their own decisions, or to understand how their bodies work. Even worse, it suggest that women are somehow incapable of making their own decisions, and that the law must do it for them.

Another recent example… Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield (Republican, of course) is best known for his authorship of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill which tried to force public schools to just pretend homosexuality doesn’t exist. As reported on RawStory.com, Mr. Campfield believes that HIV is only a gay problem, saying that it’s virtually impossible to contract the disease through heterosexual sex.

Here’s his full quote:

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community,” he told Michelangelo Signorile, who hosts a radio program on SiriusXM OutQ. “It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”

“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.”

The main lie is obvious… HIV and AIDS are definitely being spread through various forms of sexual contact, both heterosexual and homosexual. But he goes way out on a limb by saying that patient zero contracted HIV by having sex with a monkey. This is to link ALL homosexuals together and to further separate them from the rest of the “normal” human race. He wants to imply that maybe all gay people just have sex with animals. Translation… they are evil, they are foriegn, and they shouldn’t be allowed around good, decent families. That’s his subliminal message… to make the gay community seem different than everyone else. As we see with the “Don’t Say Gay bill and others like it, these crazy lies are being used to create actual LAW that affects our nation.

This system of lying has permeated every corner of the GOP, and there’s no better evidence than the 2012 Party Platform. It should be no surprise that the Republicans have swung so far to the right, they have adopted what some call the most Conservative major Party platform seen in a century. In fact, Examiner.com reports that 95 percent of the official party platform is taken directly from the TEA Party backed coalition FreedomWorks. There is no support for gay marriage or gay rights, a strengthening of Anti-Choice legislation, and even suggestions of returning to the gold standard.

So perhaps the GOP’s biggest lie is the GOP itself. What used to be a big-tent group that crafted balance policy between it’s moderate and conservative wing is now entirely devoid of Moderates. If a party is in line with its fringe on almost all issues, then the fringe is only thing left. So in 2012, the GOP is lying… even down to its very name. Let’s hope they don’t lie their way into government control.

Romney: “No one’s ever asked to see my Birth Certificate”

Maybe Mitt Romney was emboldened by the visit to his hometown today, but he took a comment a bit too far. In Michigan, the presumptive GOP nominee told a joke/jab…

“I was born at Henry Ford Hospital, Ann was born at Harper Hospital. No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know this is the place where we were born and raised.”

Good point Mr. Romney… Maybe it’s high time that we did ask. Can’t ask your parents because (like President Obama’s) they’ve passed on. But perhaps the doctor that delivered you is still around? Sure the hospital has records, you have a birth certificate, and probably papers from the time made some sort of announcements. But as wealthy as you are, all of those things could have been easily falsified, right?

It’s a shame that we have to ask these questions about either candidate, but the far greater shame is that Mr. Romney would actually take the time in his campaign mode to feed the ridiculous Right-Wing rumors about President Obama. He must have forgotten that the GOP primaries are OVER and it’s time to talk to the whole country now. Is this the guy the GOP wants to formally nominate next week?

Dear Nancy

To: Current House Minority Leader, Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

From: A Concerned Texan

Dear Nancy,

As a man and proud American, I wanted to take this opportunity to write you a letter of gratitude to you.

Thank you for your dedicated service as Speaker of the House… an historic post for political leadership in this country. It was historic not only because you were the first woman to ever hold this post, but also because you were inarguably led one of the hardest working, most prolific Houses of Congress in American history. Under your leadership, the House of Representatives passed record amounts of legislation… healthcare reform (originally containing a public option), raising the minimum wage, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the DREAM ACT, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Your Congress was a group of lawmakers that got things done, instead of voting on the same bill 33 times and wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Thank you for using your office, and the time and money of the American people, in more a more responsible fashion than House Speaker John Boehner and current Congressional leaders.

But as we are learning today, what you didn’t do is perhaps just as important. I also want to thank you and House Democrats for not endangering and infringing upon my rights as a male. Thank you for not forcing me to go through mandatory medical procedures. Thank you for not forcing me to spend ridiculous amounts of money on additional tests that I don’t need. Thank you for allowing me to make my own choices about my health care as a man, and not making those decisions for me. Thank you for sparing the men of America all of the atrocities that Congressional Republicans have tried to force upon American women. As controversial as the “debates” over Contraception as a part of women’s health have become, you somehow never sought to politicize the issues regarding reproductive health for men. You even supported Viagra to be covered as part of the Affordable Care Act!! No surprise, it is part of the law today, without any uproar.

When you did have to make decisions about men’s health, thank you for allowing male members of Congress to participate in those Congressional hearings. As men it is important that we get a say in critical legislation that affects our health care.

Lastly, thank you for representing a political party that doesn’t support ‘nonsense’ views like those recently expressed by Republican Congressman Todd Akin. Thank you for never once giving voice to those views in the Democratic Party, and thank you for calling them out at every turn. I’m greatful that the Democratic party leaders are ones that “don’t understand” the differences between how one is raped. They see all rape as a heinous crime that the victims shouldn’t be blamed for in any way. It’s clear from your legislative record on laws such as the Violence Against Women Act that you support women and families 100 percent, without having to question or doubt them in their time of need.

I am forever grateful for your service and dedication to our country.

Sincerely,

Concerned Texan

Bill O’Reilly said “what” about birth control?

A very interesting clip from 2008. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, responding to a John McCain interview with Planned Parenthood, defends the use of Viagra for men as a legitimate health issue, while saying that a woman’s use of birth control is a “choice”.

Is anyone else tired of these ridiculous double standards??

A Voice for the Rest of Texas