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Thursday, July 09, 2015

I have run in both GOP and DEM primaries - Came in LAST in Each - Which party is the FUTURE of America? This one...

I am probably one of the very few - less than those you can count on one hand - who has run in both Republican and Democratic primaries for Congress and can give a personal account of the differences. 

I came in dead last in both and yet I can tell you which party is the party that reflects America. I make that judgment even though I got zero endorsements in my 2014 U.S. Senate run in the Democratic party in Texas, save for one visionary young UT student in Austin, Noah Horwitz, who based it on experience instead of passion and youth.

 I have to say that Donald Trump has exposed an ugly secret in the GOP that I witnessed -- racism.

In 2000 I ran in the GOP primary against then Congress rep Tom DeLay in CD 22. I lost and ran again in the 2002 and 2206 GOP primaries. (In 2004 I ran as an independent for the same seat). In 2014 I ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Texas, so I got to see what kind of people make up the primary electorate in each party.

The first thing I noticed in the GOP was it was primarily a one color party in a multi-colored world. Mostly older, white voters. They called themselves "pro life" yet seemed to be against anything that improved life such as healthcare for the poor and food assistance. Being called a "moderate" was the worst possible sin; every candidate swore to be the most "conservative." 

It was rare to see anyone of color at a GOP event and it became evident why. Before 9/11 they were mostly vocal about blacks and hispanics in a negative way. After 9/11 Muslims were added to the list. I used to joke that they didn't even like people from different country clubs. Donald Trump has simply said out loud what most of the primary voters and candidates believe -- that minorities are "bad" people. I doubt they ever met any.

In the Democratic primary I saw America -- a multi-colored party that welcomed blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, women and even supported same sex marriage. it looked like the modern world, a mix of people that respect each other and work towards common goals such as advancing our education, cleaning our environment and creating jobs needed in a high tech global economy.  I saw them representing a path for America to once again lead the world.

In 2000, Tom DeLay was cutting off funding for Houston's rail system, putting it a decade behind its sister cities like Dallas and Atlanta. He was responsible for passing unpaid for tax cuts and two unpaid for wars that drove our deficits into the trillions while costing us our creditor national status.  No bid contracts of $39 billion were given to the Vice Presidents former company, Halliburton in Iraq.  Our education system went from No. 1 to being No. 36 - far behind China, Europe, etc.  Texas Republicans have cut education funding by billions, failing our children's future.

In 2015, I see the same GOP still fighting on the wrong side - fighting to keep a confederate flag waving, fighting education funding, fighting against infrastructure funding when we have tens of thousands of bridges about to collapse from old age. I see a party that has demonized minorities quietly, but openly support Mr. Trump who is a billionaire and not afraid to speak the way they think. That is why he leads in GOP polls.

I can't imagine a candidate in the Democratic party speaking so disrespectful of any group - be they Hispanics, blacks, gays, whatever. We aren't bigots. We are progressives who want to make our Constitution's promise of "equality" a real achievement as we educate our kids to the level needed for America to succeed in a space age economy.

My own experience in running for Congress is documented in "Better Times Ahead April Fool" and what i experienced in the GOP primaries (I was kicked off the GOP ballot in 2002 so Mr. DeLay would not have an opponent. I had to file suit to get back on).

In 2016, we need Presidential candidates who respect ALL races, women and religions - not just the ones of one race backed by primary voters who tend to be the most extreme. In this regard, I believe the Republican party has lost its way. Its fights against people having basic healthcare is so anti-life it is amazing they can claim to be 'pro life' with a straight face.  

The GOP obsession with Christianity is blind to the first Amendments guarantee that our government should not pick a favorite religion over another.  We have a freedom from religion and freedom of religion at the same time. Few of them realize that to pray "in Jesus name" is an affront to those of the Jewish faith.  Few of them realize that Muslims honor Jesus in their religion and that no one is demanding to live under Sharia Law in the U.S.  The reaction to the police shootings of unarmed black men has shown that the GOP doesn't honor innocent life as much as it claims. 

I am a personal witness to the workings of both parties primary system. In one, I see the clinging to the past - the GOP in Texas is rewriting history textbooks to eliminate any mention of Jim Crow laws or slavery as the root cause of the Civil War. 

In the other party, the Democrats, I see the future of America, a diverse group that works together and respects a rainbow of colors and people and their religious beliefs. I can say that even though, despite my being in favor of same sex marriage, i was not endorsed by any Democratic Stonewall group.  I lost in both parties but the experience was telling.

The only question I have is how long before the GOP either changes its focus on Grumpy Old (White) People making up the 1% or becomes extinct as it honors Mr. Trump's bigotry and bullying ways.  He is merely stating what their primary voters want to hear.  It's a party still stuck in the 50's and 60's when America was white, rural and isolationist. 

And that's the problem. America is now diverse, urban and increasingly progressive.Democrats welcome gay and straight, transgender or not, any religion or none, heck, I bet we would accept a Martian if we knew one. lol.  

I outlined a roadmap to America's future in Agenda for American Greatness at the book link. Please read and let's move America into a more just and equal society that treats people with respect instead of hate and arrogant bullying.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Donald Trump's Rant of Racism -- Nasty Things to Say About EVERYONE

I was in the car listening on satellite radio and heard the whole 10 minute interview between Donald trump and a female reporter, who he chided more than once ("you aren't very experienced" he said at one point).

He reminds me of Barnum and Bailey show on speed - he never stopped talking and jumping from one thing to another, then repeating himself. He knows the old white base of the GOP likes insults towards illegals, etc. He hurled them at everyone.

Trump will win close to zero Hispanic votes, even less than Romney's poor showing. He is the Democrats new best friend since he is branding the GOP as the harsh bully anti-minority party. He used false facts since the border is not at net zero because Mexico's economy has picked up and fewer people need to look for work in the U.S. Trump claimed Ford is opening a billion dollar auto plant there - so why would immigrants come here when they can work there? His own arguments are illogical.

I detected a bully. He had nothing good to say about ANYONE, not even conservative writers, etc.  Only the Donald can save us from the world - even if he has to bomb every oil field in Iraq. That was the message i heard in a bombastic tone.

One minute he says Mexico is dumping their crooks on us, then saying how smart their gov't is compared to ours, etc. Very bombastic, a bully. 

Trump is scratching the bigotry wound by bringing it into the open instead of using 'dog whistles' like real politicians do.  He is the Bernie Sanders on the right - willing to say what it takes to snag the votes and burn the general election barn  down while doing it...

America is a diverse nation. Racism and intolerance has no place in 21st century life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

How GOP Turned TEXAS into GREECE - Beware Politicians Bearing IOU's

The big news is that GREECE, a member of the EU with heavy debts, is in default and the financial ripples hit Wall Street with a 350 point drop.  

What is less known is that Texas Republican leadership has done to Texas what Greece's leaders have done -- cut taxes and then borrowed BILLIONS to make up for the short-fall.They are punishing future generations and sticking them with the bill.  After awhile that house of cards comes tumbling down. 
                                                                Above: Greek debt and Texas debt: same problem

According to this article in the Texas Tribune Texas statewide debt is now $205 BILLION. "Of the 10 most populous states, Texas has the second-highest amount of local debt per resident, at $8,627, according to the Bond Review Board. Only New York has a higher local debt per capita."

Instead of paying cash for its roads, the GOP borrows the money. As Gov. Mark White once said to me "When we built roads they were paid for when the cement dried."  Not so under the GOP, which has pushed those expenses off to counties and cities --and the next generation.

The Tribune article explains: "Cities are expected to be doing more of the state’s old jobs like building roads and reservoirs,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League. “It is a bit hypocritical in that regard.”

 If Texas were a country its GDP would rank it about 12th - about $1.6 Trillion, the same size as Canada. Greece would rank 26th with a GDP of $355 billion (about the same size as Dallas-Ft. Worth).  So basically, Texas has the means to be debt free that smaller Greece does not. The problem is that our leadership is doing just what Greece's leaders did - drop tax collections and roll up debt.  

Here is an example of the problem if we just talk about roads, from a Texas A&M report

"Over the past 40 years, our population has more than doubled – up by 125 percent. The number of cars and trucks on the road has almost tripled. And the number of miles those cars and trucks travel has more than tripled. Over the same time, our roadway capacity has grown only modestly—by 19 percent. We have too much demand for roadway space and not enough supply. It’s that simple."

Texas current population of 26 million is expect to top 40 million by 2040! How will we be prepared when our legislature pretends we can grow using a budget that cuts funding for education, transportation, etc?

Then there is the education issue mentioned in the Dallas Morning News: "Texas is “on the brink of squandering” its demographic edge of having a youthful and growing population by not investing enough in education, especially for its large Hispanic population, Tienda said. That in turn, could put at risk the quality of the state’s workforce in the future, she said."

Is Texas the next Greece? If it weren't for federal funds, Texas would be in a crisis like Greece today. yet it continues to squander money, such as spending $800 million to send our national guard to the border to sit and watch the border patrol, which is having its slowest year of crossings in history. That's nearly a $1 billion dollars wasted that could have beefed up our underfunded schools and pot holed roads.

By refusing to expand Medicaid, Texas is costing its taxpayers $100 BILLION that would have been paid by the feds. Instead, people are not getting care and local counties are stuck with the costs. In the old days, wasting $100 billion would have been a hanging offense. Either voters don't "get" the irony here, or they just haven't paid attention to the "borrow and spend" economics masquerading as fiscal sanity in Austin.

Let's face it: Texas couldn't afford to secede if it really wanted to. Voodoo economics has run up the state credit cards. Sooner or later Greece and Texas will have to collect enough taxes to pay for the roads and schools we need to compete in this high tech global economy. Unlike Greece, Texas will double in size - standing still in building infrastructure is not an option, unless you like 24/7 traffic delays. 

Running up our debts to pay for necessities like highway construction and maintenance is not sustainable. Nor is it smart.  At least under Gov. White, we paid our bills as we went. 

If you see a Trojan Horse sitting outside the capitol in Austin, beware of Greeks and the GOP bearing IOU's. It could produce a nasty surprise.

Monday, June 15, 2015

T.S. "BILL" is Coming - Don't DROWN in HIGH Water - "Float" Around! (No Turn Around!)

Wouldn't you know it. Tomorrow -- when the forecast is for "submarine cars" in Houston -- I need to make a run for the crew who need supplies for jobs going on this week. 

That means dealing with I - 45, probably the worst of America's highways for congestion.  Today, news said that I - 10 our primary east-west American trade corridor, had been shut down both directions due to an overturned 18 -wheeler. Imagine what it will be like when we DOUBLE in size next few years?

This morning a waitress at I- Hop and I talked about the weather and she reminded me of the AMPHIBIOUS CAR that they made back in the 50's. It must be a one-of-a-kind, like the Bond cars. However, getting it or one like it sounded VERY TEMPTING. We may have to start mass producing them as the rain extremes overwhelm our flat-as-a-dinner-dish Houston gulf coast! I am still tempted to open a side business that bolts pontoons to cars, to keep people from drowning in high water as their car sinks.

In the meantime: "Stay OUT of high water!" (Why? Because it might get the munchies and eat you). k, not my best pun, but we aren't done yet.  If you didn't catch that then obviously you must have just arrived from planet clueless. lol. 

P.S.  Ok, I am DONE looking at political memes on Facebook. It's the same-ole same-ole "I think your opinion sucks" and that is not something I will waste time doing all day. I'd rather drink wine and fly airplanes while my guys armor peoples houses of straw that they live in - as the winds howl and the bad guys prowl....

Folks, it is WAY too early for me to get into ANY debate over ANY candidate for 2016. Surviving '15's raging weather is quite enough for me at the moment...Now, about that FLYING CAR this Viking needs to get around Houston. Let's work on that!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

You Can Let Your Children Out Now - the Texas Legislature Had Gone Home

The Texas legislature has wrapped up its session. Your children are now safe for two more years. I used to think how backwards Texas was from the U.S. Congress because they met only once every two years, and for only 140 days.

I was quickly persuaded of the folly of my thoughts and the wisdom of not having the legislature in session too much. Watching it in action did that. If we could keep them from meeting once every four years would be even better.  They keep electing more people who are "right of right" in gerrymandered districts, so common sense is no longer common.

Look at this session: Open carry and guns on campus were more of a priority than fixing our broken transportation and education systems. You know all about the roads and how they are packed. Texas funding of our education system has failed the fairness test in court multiple times. No one addressed it.

Giving tiny tax cuts of $127 per household were more important than fixing the roads that will cause damages to your car far greater than $127.  It turns out that billions of our surpluses were held in non-interest bearing accounts, for years (which bank did that benefit?). Paying down the $20 billion debt  borrowed to build roads was not a priority -- roads that were paid for when the cement had dried when democrats controlled Austin.

One bright spot: The new Governor says he will sign a bill allowing cannabis oil for epilepsy and other medical issues. We'll see if the bill allows for an oil that would be strong enough to work.
AND "pick-a-pal" grand juries finally died a long overdue death (again, Texas being one of the last states to resist changing a biased, flawed system for rendering justice).

Personally, nine (9) days after undergoing prostate surgery, I was well enough to be standing in the Galveston convention center at a hurricane event last Saturday.  Fortunately, I had staff on hand. I had the honor of meeting a couple of our weather experts from KPRC, Frank Billingsley and retired NOAA hurricane expert, Bill Read. Its amazing what can be done these days. I did not have cancer but they had to make the prostate smaller so it would not block the bladder, which can lead to infection and loss of organs. they did it on a Thursday and I was out of there on Saturday. I am good for another 50 years!

Time Warp. Yesterday, I went to a small cafĂ© called the Texas Grill in Sugar land (for lunch) after picking up a check at the office. The lady said: "I just voted for you recently." I said: "What? I haven't run for anything!"  

Then we figured out that it was last March 2014 when I ran for US Senate in the Democratic primary. It seemed like a century ago (to me). It may indicate how rarely I have been in town.

She said that her partner had a deal: they both voted at the same time to cancel out each others vote! He votes in the Republican party primary and she in the Democratic primary. That's where she had seen my name. I told her that after I signed up and had gone on a cruise in the Mediterranean a guy signed up who spent $5 million to win the nomination --and less than that to lose the general election. Even if I had $5 million I would rather have it in my retirement account than blow it on a sure loser election deal. My ego isn't that out of control. LOL.

That much I have learned, much of it the hard way.  Anyway, we are safe again from the lawmakers, until the next session.

By the way, after picking up that check (from a place where I know you have eaten since it is a Texas institution), I discovered that there was an error -- an overcharge on one store of about $1,300.

Rather than let it slide and hope no one noticed, I sent them an email and said "We made an error in your favor. Either I send you a check our give you a credit."  Is being honest that hard?

I never assume that someone wouldn't find out. It's just the way I was raised. Honesty is the best policy. It's the way I choose to live my life. No regrets.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Send Your Legislator This Link - WHY Texas Needs a CLIMATE CHANGE DEFENSE PLAN.

The weather is no longer 'normal' - we swing  from one extreme to another.

It is the classic definition of what scientists say happens with climate CHANGE.

HOTTER air holds more moisture, so it can release more rain at faster rates - at one point during Memorial weekend we got 1 inch of rain in a mere 5 MINUTES!  Unheard of. During Allison it took a day to get 12 inches. We are now getting that in 6 hours!

Hence we will be getting more 100 year and 500 year events, annually!

We are now FEELING the effects. This past few years in Texas we have seen both extremes - Extreme DROUGHT (covering 95% of the state at one point) then extreme FLOODING. No in-between. 

Tornadoes have now hit such rare places such as Mexico and Maine. The Pacific has had a record number of monster CAT 5 hurricane/typhoon storms in the last two years. 120 degree temperatures in India is melting asphalt into black pools of molten rock. 

The planet is sending us a message. But you can't see it if you never leave Austin, TX or pay attention.

                                     Victims of Houston's Flooding, hometown of Author

 Ignoring it will not improve our situation.  WHERE is our Texas PLAN to DEAL with it?

We need a crash program to attack climate change before we commit species suicide with our only living planet in this galaxy.  

Turning Earth into hot-house Venus by continuing our relentless release of billions of carbon and methane emissions will make your heirs future a dark one.  I don't have any kids; my motivation for yelling is to avoid humans looking stupid by extincting themselves.  We humans are the proverbial frogs in water who doesn't notice it is getting hotter and hotter, until he's a goner.

The good news is that if ever decide to use them, humans have these marvelous BRAINS that are quite good at finding solutions IF they are put to use. 

Methane leaks must be stopped. We need a crash conversion to solar and wind from our dirtiest sources first - zero coal use to start. I have witnessed how many JOBS are CREATED by addressing these issues with technology. (I went to China as a young attorney in the early 80's to sell them pollution control technology for coal plants).

We will also need to start converting to PERMEABLE PAVEMENT - so that the rain will soak through our cement surfaces inside of becoming more run-off as it happening. As we have grown and laid more cement, we cut off a chance for the moisture to  go underground instead of building up to a Tsunami of water seeking an avenue of escape on our flat dinner-dish terrain. Permeable pavement looks like pavement, but lets the water soak to the ground below, reducing runoff.

The other great threat is wind-borne debris thrown our windows by more frequent hurricane-force winds. Glass is the weakest link of our biggest asset. When winds break it the internal pressure causes uplift on the roof, and that leads to structural failure and damage. Not to mention mold, water damage, etc. We humans are relying on a technology that hasn't changed in 5,000 years. It is time to upgrade that too. We need to do multiple things AT ONCE.

We CAN fix this, but it will take committing to using NEW technology along with our  human brains, which are remarkable when we use them to solve issues instead of creating problems.

Contact your legislator and send this link with a request Texas establish a CLIMATE CHANGE DEFENSE PLAN.    

Your kids lives and our future depends on it. More than you think.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Texas Historic Floods Prove: NO LONGER is the question "Is Climate Change REAL OR NOT?"

Tonight Texas is under, once again, a TORNADO ALERT. So its a good time to discuss this issue

NO LONGER is the question "Is Climate  Change REAL OR NOT?" When 97% of the experts agree, deal with it. We elect presidents with only 51% (or less). I don't care what 97% of the plumbers think since they don't do climate studies (I will ask them about those damn wipes plugging my system.) Nor do I plan to ask my surgeon about that monster typhoon hitting Australia. I have traveled globally but that doesn't make me a climate expert either. So I listen to the experts who DO study this unique area.  They aren't split 50-50. It's 97-3.

The only argument left (at best) is whether its "natural" or "human-caused" but even that debate doesn't matter either. Why?

Because the answer is the same regardless of which of those two are correct.  It's REAL. Stop wasting time. DO SOMETHING. PLAN for it. Have a STRATEGY to deal with it, because it is kicking our butts. It's messing up the only world we have and we are passing to our kids a deteriorating mess.

Weather Extremes are the new norm. Call it "Weather Whipsaw.' All Drought to all Flood. From too little to too much. Texas zips  from years of Droughts straight into 500 year floods. Except they start happening annually. 

It's not just here. India is being parboiled at 120 degrees melting asphalt streets and killing thousands. Below the equator the biggest typhoon in history is raging across the southern hemisphere.

Since its real and the hotter air is adding speed to the winds, we should first ask ourselves a fundamental question:

Are the  buildings we live and work in able to handle these more ruthless storms? 

Shocking, but most people don't know that they live in literal houses of straw...only a huff and a puff from blowing away (or floating away as we tragically saw on the Blanco River, this past Memorial Day).

 But it need not be...

There are things you need to know to protect your most valuable asset and family.   The alternative of doing nothing is foolish at best, deadly at worst.