By Linda Curtis, just my independent opinion
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” George Washington, Farewell Address, 1797
A funny thing happened on the way to the 2016 presidential election. Populism in America had George Washington turning in his grave.
Populism, the rising up of we commoners, is arguably the most powerful political tool on the planet. It’s also a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get. Millions sent in their small donations hoping and praying for the presidential candidate most in keeping with the history of American populism, Bernie Sanders. What we got was a big surprise — the European-style populist Donald Trump.
I understand fully why Donald Trump has angered millions of Americans. As a Texan, I had a “Twilight Zone” moment when he nominated Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. In 2006, rural Texans led an urban-rural electoral revolt behind Carole Strayhorn’s independent run for Governor defeating Perry’s legendary pay-to-play scheme — the $200 billion Trans-Texas Corridor. Now that Perry is Energy Secretary, would anyone like to wager a $1.1 million bet that he pushes another toxic special interest deal on rural Texas with nuclear waste in West Texas?
That said, I am urging that we all take a careful look into the box of chocolates being served up by populism, including Trump’s. That box is also full of real possibilities for positive change. Just this week, Trump refreshingly hit a nerve on the pathetic hypocrisy of Fox News pundit, Bill O’Reilly, goading him on how he could respect Putin — “a killer”. Trump’s response was, “What, you think our country is so innocent?” Personally, I love it. Politically, we have to understand the true value of having a President willing to spill the beans on people operating behind the curtains all these years and offing people in the name of the American people.
That is big stuff because after a 50-year decline in electoral competition, American voters are more than ready to get out of both parties. In this way, Trumpism has huge (to steal a word) benefits. He is doing more to bust up both parties and the two-party arrangement than anyone in my lifetime. I didn’t vote for him, I don’t like many of his policies and I don’t even like him as a person, but I must give him this credit as a self-respecting independent.
If anything is killing American democracy it is partisanship — the allegiance to party over the power of the citizenry to self-goverment. We, the American people, must seize the moment brought to us by Donald Trump himself and unite despite our disagreements for this one purpose — to dismantle two-partyism to bring about truly competitive elections.
Trump the Independent
Donald Trump is the first president that I recall to challenge members of the “military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about:
Read the famous excerpt below – or watch this 3-minute video:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961
Independent writer, Charles Hughes Smith, wrote about the differences that have emerged between the “Neo-con” security elites (he calls the “deep state”) in the CIA, NSA, FBI and the DNI and the more “progressive state” – the working men and women of the U.S. military. These security elites together with the partisans in both parties are the “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” that the father of our country warned about. Together they have created the mess in the Middle East.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t worry – a lot — about Trump and Steve Bannon’s foreign policy intentions. However, I do agree with AntiWar.com’s Justin Raimondo who called out progressives for failing to sufficiently challenge how President Barack Obama carried “our bipartisan foreign policy of perpetual war”.
I am no foreign policy expert, which is why I recommend these excellent news blogs. Caution: Please take off your ideological and party blinders. I find the differences of opinions in these sites most useful in developing the critical thinking so necessary in the Trump era.
A Win-Win for the American People…put this to Congress
What we, ordinary Americans, must do now is a united call on both parties in Congress to check the executive’s power to take the country to war. This would force the hand of the “limited government” Republicans and the “anti-war” Democrats who, have put party before country and made America – the world’s model democracy — into the world’s interventionist deadly police.
What is more likely to happen: Factions within the two parties in Congress will move for impeachment and keep rearranging between them the deckchairs on the Titanic. In fact, the narrative for this started long before the Trump inauguration and is now in play.
Our country’s democratic process has been in decline for over 50 years as we have seen fewer and fewer people running for office and increased coronations of incumbents because of only ONE choice on the ballot.
I highly recommend this paper, “Death by a Thousand Signatures” by attorney Oliver Hall, Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Democracy who explains how we got here today.
Democracy is unraveling, folks. I believe there is simply no way out but independent. The 43% plurality of American voters and 50% of Millennial voters who identify as independents must self-organize an independent electoral revolt!
We will be discussing what follows or anything else you want to talk about tomorrow night at 8 pm on our monthly conference call. Call us at 512-535-0989 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for conference call instructions.
The BIG news is about Laura Thompson — see the report below.
Is a watershed – pun intended – moment upon we Texans of all political stripes? We think so, as politics-as-usual is imploding. This situation carries both opportunity and risks. One big risk is to the economic stability afforded us by a seemingly impenetrable two-party system. The opportunities are boundless, as new solutions to our many problems can move onto the main stage.
Those in power, one would think, must be trying like hell to read tea leaves – another pun intended. But the hogs at the public trough will likely continue their feeding frenzy risking economic collapse…the collapse that is intimately tied to how they continue squandering the public purse and our natural resources — particularly land and water.
Perhaps they haven’t figured out yet that there are no tea leaves. Conservatism and liberalism are both dead and populism (Trump’s right and Bernie’s left) is showing up at the wake. Could anyone keep a straight face when hearing that the very same Rick Perry who called Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism”, is now willing to be Trump’s running mate?
Seriously folks, it’s getting rich out there – rich with absurdity and rich with opportunities that have broken out at the national level. It’s our job as Texas independents (notice the small “i”) to figure out how to use it at the local level.
Hoping to “see ya” on tomorrow night’s call at 8 pm.
Don’t give up…we just got started!
* An extraordinary situation is developing in Texas House District 120 in San Antonio. Yesterday, local businesswoman, Laura Thompson, an unaffiliated independent, came out at the top of the heap of 4 candidates running to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Ruth McClendon who had to step down due to illness. Thompson received 33% and Lou Miller received 28%, (with a little over 2000 votes cast.) Thompson will soon move to complete her petition drive to be on the November ballot as an independent, as she heads into the runoff for this special election sometime in July. If she wins in July, she would then be the incumbent running in November against one of the two Democrats from the Democratic primary runoff on May 24th. Yes, it’s confusing! But this could be a history maker – the first independent elected to the Texas House! Prediction: Texas voters are ready to go independent. Wanna help? Contact us! More on Thompson here.
* The entire Oppose the Hose (NoVistaRidge.org) coalition that continues to grow across central Texas awaits a May 11th deadline to see the application for $127 million that San Antonio Water System is expected to file with the Texas Water Development Board for state water funds (SWIFT) for Vista Ridge. We also await a May 27th deadline for SAWS to challenge the ratepayer petition asking the Public Utility Commission to review the rates associated with Vista Ridge. Watch your email closely for action you can take…very soon!
* Ethics whistle-blowers and fiscal accountability watchdogs, Kelly Gilleland and Herb Goldsmith, lost their bids for the Bastrop City Council last night. Incumbent Gilleland lost by just 40 votes. We wish the incoming members – Deborah Jones and Bill Peterson – good luck as they are going to need it. We know for sure that tough times are ahead for Bastrop residents as Austin’s affordability crisis is overflowing into Bastrop. We call upon Bastrop residents to get involved with us and soon we can share some exciting plans.
* We attended an impressive 17th annual meeting of the Medina County Environmental Action Association recently. The very good news is that the association is raising the funds to engage in the legal battles of landowners who are challenging what appears to be a clear abuse of eminent domain. Landowner Richard Fourier had a very strong hearing on Monday in which the review board increased the condemnation award from $30K to $80K. Still, Fournier is appealing because he believes that the company in question is not a common carrier and therefore has no right to exercise condemnation powers on his land. Like their Facebook page and follow this important effort. More here.
* It should not go unnoticed that Proposition 1, Uber and Lyft’s ordinance they put on the Austin city ballot via petition, was soundly defeated yesterday by 12 points. Austin voters don’t much like the deep pockets trying to buy elections — to the tune of $8 million compared to $200K spent by their opponents. That’s our best guess anyway. Congrats Austin!
The Prop 6 stench is getting increasingly gross. It’s also getting weirder.
It was revealed today that Water Texas PAC will spend $2M for the $2B Perry crony water slush fund aka Prop 6.
Talk about stench — TransCanada even bellied up to the Prop 6 slop trough. They’re the ones who are taking Texans’ land against their will through eminent domain so they can pump toxic sludge — diluted bitumen (aka tar sands) — over hundreds of Texas water ways!
Check out the Texans for Public Justice analysis of Water Texas PAC “Will $2M Water PAC Spawn a Perry Slush Fund?”: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/WaterTexasSlushFund.pdf
A special thanks to Rep. David Simpson for continuing to work to defeat Prop 6. See his op-ed in the Houston Chronicle today: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Simpson-New-financing-methods-won-t-solve-water-4940562.php
We were remiss in not publishing Debra Medina’s op-ed (opposite none other than the Governor himself) in the Tribune last week: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/10/22/guest-column-vote-no-prop-6/
And, Greg Harmon’s op-ed in today’s Star-Telegram and the Ft. Worth Weekly gives some new terrific insights on Prop 6 and conservation: http://www.fwweekly.com/2013/10/30/prop-6/
If you’re on Facebook, be sure to like the Nix Prop 6 page and then use the “invite” button to ask your friends to like the page and keep it going: https://www.facebook.com/notoprop6
We’re getting calls from across Texas!
Keep it up Texas!
Today we called nearly 100,000 voters, thanks to your contributions! We’d like to do an additional 150,000 and can use some additional donations if you can spare more. Click here to donate if you can. (Or send us a note about how much you are mailing to us at the PO box below).
It appears that we really put Politifact through their paces, with a little help from our former Texas Water Development Board friends who spilled the beans on the fine print of Prop 6: http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2013/oct/29/independent-texans/water-board-hasnt-tapped-6-billion-lending-authori/
Here’s another op-ed by yours truly printed in the Statesman: http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/Op-Ed-Prop-6-Statesman.pdf. We will also be on KPFT (Houston NPR) this coming Thursday at 3 pm.
We will be gathering on election night, next Tuesday, November 5th, in Austin. Please reply to this message if you would like to attend, have a location you’d like to suggest.
Below is a flier for you to simply forward to your email friends. This flier and all kinds of good Nix 6 stuff is still on our website under the “Nix Prop 6” button.
Nix Prop 6!
Save Your Water, Save Your Wallets
& Save Texas from Cronyism at its worst!
- Prop 6 diverts $2B from the Rainy Day Fund for water projects that will be decided by Perry’s handpicked cronies on the newly reorganized Texas Water Development Board.
- Prop 6 proponents haven’t answered – in plain English — why they need more money since they haven’t touched the $6B for the “revolving water bank” bonds they got in 2011!
- Prop 6 is a dangerous corporate welfare subsidy for well-heeled land and water speculators and the oil & gas lobby looking to make a fast buck in the midst of our historic drought.
- Prop 6 is dividing rural and urban Texans when we are natural allies. None of us want wasteful reservoirs, our aquifers drained nor to pay through the nose for water heists.
- Prop 6 will fuel the fires of population growth – spurred by the Governor and the growth lobby — that cannot be sustained because Texas is running out of water.
- Prop 6 ignores that water availability is a core function of government, requiring strict oversight. These water robber barons will not operate in the light of day.
- Prop 6 big money backers at Water Texas PAC (set up by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus) and H204Texas PAC have a vested interest in getting this slush fund directed to new public-private partnerships when the money kicks in after March 2015! All but 12 legislators have therefore literally left small towns running out of water high and dry.
- Contrary to claims by the proponents, Prop 6 has no real guarantees for conservation projects when we all agree that conservation should have been prioritized. It just doesn’t.
Don’t let Perry’s political donors get their hands on our water!
Shame on the Democrats for going along with this corruption!
Vote No on Prop 6!
Early Voting Starts on October 21, Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.
Learn more and share it with all your Texas voting friends:
Paid for by Independent Texans PAC, Marie Day, Treasurer
PO Box 651, Bastrop, TX 78602 * 512-535-0989 * www.IndyTexans.org
Congratulations for all those involved, especially the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and the Brown family of Lee County, for standing tall against the water profiteers. This could turn out to be a landmark fight for Texans, if the marketers keep pushing it, which is likely.
On an even more difficult note, the Legislature has passed $2B to be taken from the Rainy Day Fund for a water bank. Those funds will, no doubt, be used for pipelines to move groundwater and for reservoirs. One such reservoir that NE Texans have been fighting for years, would flood heritage farmland for more water for Dallas, despite Dallas’ failure, so far, to implement water conservation on par with other major Texas cities.
The good news is that the $2B water deal will be on the November ballot! So stay tuned for an analysis that will take some time.
I have not yet begun to fight! (John Paul Jones)
How ’bout you?