Then There Is Texas (It’s Always Texas)

If there are states that keep making news….and little of it is good….the other state that shows its ass is Florida.

Take the platform coming out of Texas…..

Events at the Texas GOP conference the weekend of July 16–17 in Houston are all over the news. In addition to booing Senator John Cornyn over saying he wanted to make “sure that violent criminals and the mentally ill cannot buy firearms” and trying physically attack Senator Ted Cruz and House Representative Dan Crenshaw, the members of the party from across the state met to formalize an even-farther-right direction for the Texas GOP in the party platform.

For those who never participated in student government, Model UN or Model Arab League, a resolution is a formal declaration adopted by a committee. So, all resolutions that pass in a conference like this are then adopted by the Texas Republican Party as priorities until the next meeting. This is supposed to be something to hold members accountable, and the language offers a guide to writing real legislation. The full 40-page party platform document revealed 273 political “issues” that the Texas GOP hopes to address, and 2 formal resolutions.

Some of the biggest news came from the fact that, in formalizing their position on these issues, the members of the Texas GOP stated that life begins at fertilization and want to include Christianity teaching in schools, declare porn a “public health crisis,” abolish the Department of Education, and only recognize two biological sexes (despite the science on the contrary). They also rejected the fact that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, via one of their two formal resolutions.

Texas GOP Platform Makes It Clear They Want To Go Back to the 1840s

And Texas is not alone with all this silliness….the GOP has embraced the Far Right agenda completely…..

Outright racism has long been a major plank of the Republican Party. But it appears that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and take away a constitutional right of millions of Americans—a move that will disproportionately affect Black and brown women—has emboldened GOP officials to drop whatever lingering apprehension they had about going full white supremacist and just go for it.

At a Saturday rally held by Donald Trump—i.e., a guy who kicked off his first bid for the White House by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals and whose entire brand is racism—Rep. Mary Miller said into the microphone: “President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.” Then she clapped her hands as the audience cheered.

An old threat by the state is not going away…..

You may have seen headlines earlier this month about how the Republican Party of Texas, in its biennial convention with thousands of delegates from across the state, approved a new platform that declared homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and said Joe Biden was “not legitimately elected” president. The Texas GOP platform is routinely viewed as a hodgepodge of far-right fantasies, and these planks do nothing to contradict that verdict.

But another plank deserves more attention than it has received, because presents a historic break—and points to the direction for the Trumpist right moving forward. With its new platform, the Texas Republican Party has formally endorsed a referendum on the state seceding from the United States.

The federal government, the platform claims, “has impaired our right of local self-government.” Given that Texas supposedly “retains the right to secede from the United States,” the “Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum” on secession. Nor would such a referendum be an abstract exercise. Instead, the Republican Party of Texas believes that such a referendum should be held next year, with the Texas legislature “pass[ing a] bill in its next session requiring a referendum in the 2023 general election.”

Previous Texas GOP platforms have gestured at secession, with the most recent iteration, in 2020, claiming the state’s right to secede if the United States ever stopped being “a constitutional republic.” The new platform, though, is qualitatively different, not only in its formal endorsement but for specifying a timeline for such a vote. Put another way: For the first time since 1861, an American state’s ruling party has formally endorsed a referendum on secession.

The party’s formal endorsement of a vote on removing Texas from the United States isn’t the party’s first historic lurch toward state fracture. Last year, an American legislator filed the first serious bill since the Civil War calling for a referendum on secession. Introduced­ by Kyle Biedermann, a Republican in the Texas House, the bill ended up stalling out in committee. But it also received a flood of support before it did, with a range of endorsements from a number of other Republicans in the Texas legislature. At least one state senator, Republican Lois Kolkhorst, came out in favor of a secession referendum, as did former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.

Little matter, of course, that secession—including Texas’s proposed secession—remains illegal. (As Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice, once wrote, “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”) Little matter, likewise, that pushing for breaking up the United States stands antithetical to claims of patriotism, or of supporting “America First,” or of backing policies that would benefit things like the American economy or American national security. Such concerns appear almost archaic compared to the current state of the Trumpist right, which appears increasingly willing to burn down the country and unwind American democracy—as seen most spectacularly in this month’s hearings of the House Jan. 6th Committee—all in the name of seeking and seizing power.

Ironically, the only state in American history to hold a previous referendum on secession was Texas, in 1861. Where other states that eventually joined the Confederacy relied on state legislatures to proclaim their secession—and to subsequently join a treasonous movement dedicated to shattering the United States—Texas was the only state that held a statewide vote, in which a majority of Texan voters opted to join the Confederacy. It’s also true that, unlike most states, Texas was an independent nation prior to joining the United States, having declared independence from Mexico in 1836. (The Texan republic was hardly a bastion of democratic stability; in addition to existing as the most white-nationalist polity in North America, its survival depended, as President Andrew Jackson’s emissary observed, “more upon the weakness and imbecility of her enemy [Mexico] than upon her own strength.”) And Texan higher-ups routinely wink at secession as a potential outcome; in the late 2000s, former Governor Rick Perry floated the idea of secession, though he hardly endorsed the idea.

The past few years, though, have seen a qualitative shift in organized support for cracking Texas off from the United States. In part, that shift has been motivated by malign foreign elements, most especially out of Russia. In addition to Texas secessionists flying to Moscow multiple times throughout the 2010s, Russian trolls organized a pro-secession Facebook page that ended up more popular than the Texas Democrat and Texas Republican pages combined. The shift has also been motivated by the state’s changing demographics, with Texas Democrats pushing ever closer to finally winning statewide office for the first time since the mid-1990s.

Much of it, though, has to do with the broader realities of the Trumpist right, dedicated to the retention of power at all costs. With pro-Trump Republicans routinely outbidding one another in terms of far-right policies—from banning abortions at the national level to repealing church-state separation to falsifying elections outright—it’s no surprise that Trumpist legislators in Texas have begun turning toward secession as a potential policy outcome. And the Republican base seems happy to go along; as a group of academics at the Bright Line Watch found last year, fully half of Republicans in the former Confederacy (plus Oklahoma) support secession.

There’s still plenty of distance between the current condition of American politics and potential fracturing of the union. But the notions of secession and separation—led primarily by a Trumpist right that views any non-Trump victories as inherently illegitimate—can no longer be laughed at, or openly dismissed. If anything, it’s that failure of imagination that would make potential secession, and the devastation to follow, even likelier. Given the aftermath of the 2020 election, it’s within the realm of the possible that, should another Democratic candidate win in 2024, the Texas Republican Party will leap fully into the pro-secession fires, all in the name of servicing a base that refuses to recognize the presidential outcome.

Nor is it difficult to imagine the bloodshed that would result. Even if such a Trumpist movement never succeeds in actual territorial fragmentation, the internecine violence would cause shocking levels of bloodletting, all in the service of secession. One potential parallel would be the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a decades-long conflict in a similarly developed democracy (albeit one predicated on actual civil liberties violations). If an American equivalent emerges in the coming decades, and if the casualty rate of the Troubles serves as barometer, America would still see millions of casualties and hundreds of thousands of deaths, in a conflict potentially even more catastrophic than the Civil War.

And as the recent Jan. 6th hearings making clear, we’ve already had a taste of what those American Troubles would look like—and how secession, especially in places like Texas, interplays with such anti-democratic violence. After all, the Texas Republican legislator responsible for authoring last year’s secession referendum bill attended the Jan. 6th insurrection, claiming it was “the most amazing day.” And the pro-Trump insurrectionist photographed on the floor of the Senate Chamber holding zip-ties, Larry Brock, was clear about why he’d broken into the Capitol to target duly elected legislators. As Brock, who lives in Texas, wrote on Facebook before the insurrection, “Our vote was stolen. Time to secede.”

I am sick of their shit!
I say let the dumb bastards go….and make it impossible for the morons to ever return to the fold….lwe do NOT need this stupidity.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”

A New Pro-Choice Plan?

After the disastrous ruling by the political hacks on our Supreme Court I made my thoughts known and have said that the battle was lost and it was time to formulate a new plan that would bring back a woman’s right to choose.

It seems that I was not alone in my thoughts……

An interesting mood is rippling through abortion advocacy circles right now: a sense of possibility. At first, you might not expect that. The Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade is a historic affront, with devastating implications for the health, safety, and autonomy of millions. And so you might expect that people working on the front lines—abortion providers and reproductive rights activists and community organizers and clinic defenders—would curl into a collective ball: We lost! You would be very wrong.

As Roe was spiraling around the judicial drain, all throughout June 2022, Cosmo’s reporting team connected with grassroots movement leaders in all 50 states to gather dispatches from the ground. Many of these leaders used words like “optimism” and “excitement” to describe what’s fueling their work in this moment. Some said they’re feeling more inspired, more energized than they have in years. And this isn’t just in regions where abortion remains legally protected. What emerged from these conversations was an impassioned consensus: Progress toward reproductive freedom and justice is still very much happening, thank you. Regardless of the courts. Regardless of the alt-right rhetoric. Regardless of the discriminatory barriers that have always been there—but maybe won’t be for much longer, if we come together and do this next part right.

It’s understandable if you’re scared or uncertain right now, wondering, What does the future hold? For a road map, look to what folks have been out here doing all along: dreaming up new systems that not only protect but also expand abortion access, rooted in love, solidarity, and community care. Systems that, in some cases, are already up and running. The more of us who engage, the stronger and more real it all becomes. Welcome. Here’s how we’ll build something better.

If you are so inclined please read the answers for a new direction and join in if you are also concerned.

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More SCOTUS Thoughts

Our political hacks that we call SCOTUS are rolling our country down the road to ruin because of a political agenda not what is right.

A few thoughts for you to consider.

We now know what the courts think about the right to choice…..but there is more than just abortions that could be the problem…..

More than 73,000 babies were born in the U.S. by means of in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques in 2020, slightly more than 2 percent of all births that year. About 85 percent of children born as a result of IVF procedures in this country are born from thawed embryos. Since 1987, more than 1 million Americans started their lives as embryos created outside of their mother’s bodies. By one estimate, as many as 1.4 million embryos remain frozen at U.S. fertility clinics.

It is not clear what effect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have on would-be parents seeking to use IVF as a way to have children. The majority opinion states that abortion destroys “potential life” and what the Mississippi statute at issue in the case calls an “unborn human being.” It does not, however, mention IVF or other assisted reproduction techniques.

Infertility advocates and practitioners of fertility medicine are, nevertheless, concerned about the long-term implications of the Dobbs decision. In an article in Contemporary OB/GYN, Jared Robins and Sean Tipton, respectively the executive director and the chief policy and advocacy officer of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, argue that the Dobbs decision puts fertility care at “significant risk.” Under current practice, patients of IVF clinics generally choose to create numerous embryos for possible implantation. As fertility treatments proceed, embryos are often discarded when pre-implantation genetic diagnosis indicates significant inheritable maladies or after patients have completed their families.

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision Threatens Assisted Reproduction

Another ruling that could change everything and for a long time…..gerrymandering.

The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Tuesday evening that effectively reinstates racially gerrymandered congressional maps in the state of Louisiana, at least for the 2022 election.

Under these maps, Black voters will control just one of Louisiana’s six congressional seats, despite the fact that African Americans make up nearly a third of the state’s population. Thus, the Court’s decision in Ardoin v. Robinson means that Black people will have half as much congressional representation as they would enjoy under maps where Black voters have as much opportunity to elect their own preferred candidate as white people in Louisiana.

A federal trial court, applying longstanding Supreme Court precedents holding that the Voting Rights Act does not permit such racial gerrymanders, issued a preliminary injunction temporarily striking down the Louisiana maps and ordering the state legislature to draw new ones that include two Black-majority districts. Notably, a very conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the state’s request to stay the trial court’s decision — a sign that Louisiana’s maps were such a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act that even one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country could not find a good reason to disturb the trial court’s decision.

Gerrymandering is not good for the country….at least with competitive districts makes our nation stronger….we are losing that capability…..

Competitive congressional districts have been steadily disappearing for decades. In the current redistricting cycle, six highly competitive districts in the House of Representatives were drawn out of existence. The Cook Political Report estimates that less than 8 percent of congressional districts will be competitive come November.

This is a problem. It’s not because competitive districts are a powerfully moderating force on our democracy — instead, the decline of competitive districts is a problem that reflects deeper causes of partisan polarization and leaves the overwhelming majority of Americans in places where their votes don’t matter, and where parties and candidates don’t need to work for anybody’s votes.

Governing in America requires compromise. But when over 90 percent of congressional districts lean toward one of the two major parties, that means most representatives have little incentive to compromise. In fact, representatives increasingly face strong pressures to be very partisan, which has made governing very difficult.

But perhaps more importantly, when there isn’t competition, citizens and parties have little reason to show up and vote. Instead it becomes the highly organized donors and activists who are engaged, while the rest of the district is ignored. It’s true that competitive districts might not produce especially moderate candidates, but they are important when it comes to engaging and informing citizens. And this participation has valuable spillover effects for communities, well beyond our elections. 

What We Lose When We Lose Competitive Congressional Districts

Gerrymandering is just politicians choosing their voters not the other way around.

Any opinions?

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”