Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This Week in Paradigm Shifts

-- After I bitched loudly about Texas House Democrats voting for HB 40 -- the bill that overturns Denton's ban on fracking and prevents other cities from doing the same -- a few Democrats let their conscience be their guide and changed their votes from aye to nay.  Specifically: Sylvester Turner, Dawnna Dukes, Jessica Farrar, Helen Giddings, Ruth Jones McClendon, and Ron Reynolds.  My representative, Borris Miles, made himself scarce (he was 'absent').  Freshmen representatives Diego Bernal and Marisa Marquez switched from a no and an absent to yes.  I have to think some money was involved.

But the most inexplicable flip-flop, no to yes, was Trey Martinez Fischer.  El Jefe stepped in some BS.  And it stinks.  Real bad.

Is it a paradigm shift or just bragging when legislators listen to constituents' complaints and change their vote?  Certainly neither in the case of the two rookie reps listed.

Speaking of money, the vote to roll back the state sales tax was unanimous.  Eye on Williamson questions why  Democrats just really don't want to distinguish themselves all that much from Republicans.  I don't ask myself that any longer.

Update: The Children's Defense Fund of Texas speaks for me (bold is theirs).

“The tax cuts passed today in the Texas House are irresponsible and shortsighted. Instead of offering Texas families pocket change and political rhetoric our elected leaders should be shoring up the foundation of our state’s future – its children.

“It is unacceptable that Texas still ranks among the bottom ten states in overall child well-being and state spending per resident, two indicators that are directly connected in that ‘you get what you don’t pay for.’ If you do the math, our top leaders appear to be more interested in prioritizing tax breaks for the wealthiest Texans and corporations than investing in the health and well-being of our children and families.

“We are further distressed that the House would consider such deep reductions to its revenue stream while our state is standing on the brink of a health care crisis. In the last 24 months, ten rural Texas hospitals have been forced to shut their doors because state leaders have chosen not to invest in our state’s health care systems by rejecting billions in available Medicaid funds to cover more of our state’s uninsured.

“These tax cuts are a solution in search of a problem. Texas already ranks in the bottom ten states in overall taxes paid by its people and businesses. Texans don't need lower taxes, we need wise investments in our future, and that future demands that we invest in children and families.”

-- In New York's Eleventh Congressional District, the Southern Brooklyn Democratic Club endorsed the Green candidate, James Lane, in the special election to be held next week to replace Republican Michael Grimm, who resigned after pleading guilty to tax evasion.  This club also previously endorsed the Greens' Howie Hawkins for governor of New York, over incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Those are my kind of Democrats.  The sad part is that the only poll conducted in the race was a hypothetical in January, and it showed the Republican with 48%, 20 points more than the Democrat who declined to run.

Only a paradigm shift there if all Democrats get behind Lane.  Speaking of which...

-- Via Egberto Willies, Dan Aronson with "Changing the Conversation", and his first part is appropriately titled: "Defeating False Paradigms".  You start at the beginning...

Premise: The battle that rages between Democrat and Republican supporters is killing any chance of reclaiming a democracy that is of, by, and for The People – and both parties love it.

And I'll cut to the end.

...(T)his is exactly the way the framers of our Constitution drew it up and not the way the process works today. George Washington fully understood the ways that political parties corrupt democracy. In his farewell address, he warned:

“They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community.”
This leads us to the understanding of why, if democracy is to work for everyone, we must unshackle our loyalties to party and ideology, and instead work to elect those who do what is in the best interest of The People, just as was intended. The question is; do the majority of Americans have the will and the willingness to make such a paradigm shift? The answer to this question, perhaps more than any other is likely to shape the next chapter in American history. Will it be more of the same, where those at the top extend their death grip on wealth and opportunity? Or will a more fair America, a more equal America, and a more decent America emerge? While it is quite likely that we will not see the rebirth of the American Dream, at least in our lifetimes, as Americans for Americans, we can do better — and we can do better right now.

The fork in the road is coming up fast.


Charles Kuffner said...

I don't understand the angst over the sales tax cut vote. Sales taxes are regressive. Why would we not be okay with a cut to a regressive tax?

We are getting a tax cut this session. You don't want it and I don't want it, but we lost the election. The choice is between the House sales tax cut and the Senate property tax cut, which 1) benefits fewer people, and renters not at all, and 2) necessitates some advanced shenanigans with the spending cap, for which the "solution" is to decree that tax cuts don't count towards the cap. Given that, voting for the sales tax cut is a no-brainer. Having the House bill pass and the Senate bill die is the better outcome.

PDiddie said...

I just don't like Democrats falling in line with Republicans, especially on tax cuts, Charles. As someone said somewhere, I would rather they keep my three bucks per hundred spent, or 171 for the year (my share is more than double that) and apply it toward the schools.

What harm would it have done a single Democrat in a safe district to say that, and vote no?

I want to see some Texas Democrats stand up for progressive principles, and there's little of that happening in this session. For the record I expect to be further disappointed.