Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Competent DCCC-- Which Doesn't Exist-- Would Be Having A Field Day Rebuilding The Democratic Party Brand In Texas


Texas has been ignored by the DCCC for too long. I fear 2018 isn't going to change much either, despite rumblings of some early interest. Is the new DCCC regional Vice Chair even paying attention-- or just running for governor of Colorado? There are 10 Republicans worth challenging in Texas in a 2-cycle strategy that could lead to the end of the disgraceful political careers of Pete Sessions, Joe Barton, John Culberson, Mike McCaul, Lamar Smith, Pete Olson, Kenny Marchant, Will Hurd, Roger Williams and John Carter, each of whom-- for example-- just voted to strip 24 million Americans of health insurance.

One of the most obvious targets is TX-07 Rep., John Culberson, whose Harris County district has gone from red to purple without the DCCC having taken note until last year when Hillary-- who didn't campaign there or spend a nickel in the market-- beat Trump 48.5% to 47.1%. As usual, the DCCC had no candidate running against Culberson and he was reelected 143,542 (56.2%) to 111,991 (43.8%) over conservative Democrat James Cargas. Culberson spent $1,193,411, compared to Cargas' $62,159. (The DCCC spent zero.) Cargas is running again, but so are 5 other candidates: Jason Westin, Alex Triantaphyllis, Debra Kerner, Joshua Butler and Laura Moser.

Aside from all the bad policy emanating from Culberson, he's also caught up in an insider trading scandal that has begun rocking Congress and which could land him in prison instead of back on Capitol Hill.
Innate Immunotherapeutics, the tiny but controversial Australian biotech company with ties to Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), has picked up another financial backer in Congress. On January 26, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) purchased Innate stock worth between $1,001-$15,000, making him the fifth current member of Congress to follow Rep. Collins in investing in the company.

The purchase on January 26, 2017 came at the height of scrutiny of trading in the company by former congressman and now-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, though Rep. Culberson didn’t file the transaction report revealing the purchase with the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives until April 6, 2017.

In March, CREW reported that four other members of Congress – Mike Conaway (R-TX), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Billy Long (R-MO), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)-- had purchased Innate stock after Secretary Price’s purchase drew attention following his nomination. One of those members, Rep. Conaway, made an Innate purchase on the same date as Rep. Culberson.

Unlike Rep. Culberson, however, Rep. Conaway quickly disclosed the purchase, notifying the Office of the Clerk of the House within days. It is unknown why Rep. Culberson waited so long to disclose his investment in Innate.

Rep. Culberson did not report the purchase until April 6, well outside the 30-day period in which members are required to inform the Office of the Clerk of the House of stock sales or purchases. The deadline is 45 days if the trade was made through a broker and the member learned of it later.

...Purchases of Innate’s stock have been a point of controversy ever since it was revealed that Secretary Price had purchased between $50,001 and $100,000 of it last August in what has been called a “sweetheart deal.” During his confirmation hearings, several senators questioned if he used non-public information to trade health-related stocks, a potential violation of the STOCK Act if he did. They also questioned Rep. Collins’ role in encouraging him to invest in the company. Initially, Secretary Price said that all of his trades were initiated and executed by a broker, but later admitted he decided to invest in Innate after discussing the company with Rep. Collins.

Rep. Collins, who is Innate’s largest shareholder and sits on the company’s board of directors, was overheard by reporters in January speaking loudly into his cellphone in the House lobby, bragging about how many “millionaires” he had made in his hometown of Buffalo in recent months. In addition, after investing in Innate, Rep. Collins took legislative steps that would help the company, including authoring a clause in the 21st Century Cures Act that would accelerate Food and Drug Administration approval of certain drugs, a provision that could benefit Innate in the future.
Culberson had also voted for the bill. The progressive Democrat likely to face off against Culberson in 2018, Jason Westin, told us that "Culberson needs to play by the same rules as the rest of us. He must explain his Innate Pharmaceuticals stock purchase:
1. Did he receive any insider information that prompted his and his four congressional colleagues purchase of this stock?
2. If no, what public information prompted their buying together?
3. Why did he fail to disclose this purchase by the House required deadline?
4. Has he failed to disclose other similar purchases in the past?"

The race to replace Lamar Smith in the gerrymandered 21st district (the Austin-San Antonio corridor) has an even more crowded primary field than the one to replace Culberson. A district where Berniecrat Tom Wakely beat the conservative Democratic establishment candidate in the 2016 primary and then went on to score better against Smith than any previous Democrat, now has a growing list of candidates, from Wakely (endorsed by Blue America again) on the left to DCCC-favored "ex"-Republican multimillionaire Joseph Kopser on the right. Others include Derrick Crowe, Chris Perri, Chad Kissinger, Elliott McFadden, and Rixi Melton.

Smith has been leading the Republican war against Science and, especially against Climate Science and against the EPA. This week, Austin's Statesman reported that it was Smith who laid the groundwork for Trump that led to the ouster of the EPA's science advisors.

America's worst
What Trump and Smith have in mind is replacing the scientist advisors (the Board of Scientific Counselors) with lobbyists and industry reps. "I really don't know what to say about Lamar Smith anymore," Wakely told us this morning. "He has repeatedly shown he just doesn't care what his constituents or for that matter what anyone says about him. He will be 70 years old this November and he is already telling people in the district he won't be running in 2018. I believe he plans to go out with a big bang, leaving a trail of destruction behind him. Destroy the EPA... who cares. This man has always been a conservative but he never was just plain crazy. But over the last decade or so his policy positions on pretty much everything have increasingly become more extreme, even dangerous. This hardening of policy is not rational. Something else is at play here. Maybe he just wants to cash in and the oil and gas companies would be more than happy to oblige. Or maybe it is as simple as advancing age. Some of us stay alert well into our 90's and beyond, while others start falling apart years earlier, I know, I have a brother who just turned sixty and he has Alzheimer. So, as far as Smith is concerned, there is nothing we can do about him or his policies right now. We have to just wait until he retires or is forced into retirement in 2018." The NY Times reported that an EPA spokesman claimed that the Regime "believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community."
The move-- which has been criticized by government watchdog groups and associations of scientists-- is out of the playbook of U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, who represents parts of Central and South Austin and who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Smith told the American-Statesman that he supported the move by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt for “being proactive in addressing issues related to EPA’s science advisory bodies.”

“This decision increases transparency, reduces conflicts of interest, and ensures balance on expert panels,” he said, adding the EPA’s science advisory boards serve as “echo chambers to rubber stamp costly and burdensome regulations.”

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which Smith co-sponsored and which passed the House in late March, bars anyone who has an ongoing research grant from the EPA to serve on the Science Advisory Board, another board that helps oversee work at the EPA, and prohibits board members from applying for grants for three years after they step down from the panel.

The upshot is that it would effectively prevent many scientific experts from serving on the oversight board.

“This valuable bill opens the door to increased outside input, wider expert opinions, and more balanced recommendations in EPA’s Science Advisory Board,” Smith said at the time of its passage in the House.

Smith has long vilified the EPA, accusing federal scientists of pushing an “extreme climate agenda.”

The American-Statesman reported in February that Smith has called far fewer scientists to testify before his committee than people associated with the types of industries the EPA is charged with regulating.

In February Smith convened a hearing called “Making EPA Great Again.”

“EPA has long been on a path of regulatory overreach, and the committee will use the tools necessary to put EPA back on track,” Smith said at the time.

Most scientists say emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases help trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to a warming planet. Smith has told the American-Statesman in the past that evidence scientists provide is “wishy-washy.”

“Today, I was Trumped,” Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University, wrote on Twitter on Friday. “I have had the pleasure of serving on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors, and my appointment was terminated today.”
Another Texas district the DCCC isn't looking at this cycle-- which means they're not even going to start a process to win it back in 2020-- is the 25th, represented by crooked Republican Roger Williams, currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for trying to pass legislation meant to enrich himself. The district , which Trump won with just 55.1%, begins up in Burleson south of Ft. Worth, and twists south into Travis County and Austin itself. So far the only Democrat in the race is self-described "fiscal conservative" Kathi Thomas, who Williams beat in 2016, 58.4% to 37.7%.

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At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even competent DxCCs couldn't rebuild the democrap "brand" in TX. Maybe in parts of Austin and San Antonio... that's about it.

TX is in the top 3 of dumbest of dumbfucktard states (above muni's excepted) and most regressive, racist and Nazified people. Louis Gomert rep's TX-01 as a mirror image of his retarded and evil district. He's not the only one. TX gave us the bushbaby, rick perry, kkkarl rove, tom delay, cheney... and hundreds of others just as bad.

Posting such irrational drivel says a lot more about the mentality of the author than of TX and democraps.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Tom Wakely said...

Texas is not a Red State. Texas is a no-vote state. Let me give you a very recent example of what I am talking about. Last week Saturday we had City Council and Mayoral elections. Close to a million people are registered to vote in San Antonio but a little over 100,000 voted in this past election. 90% of the people just couldn't muster the time and energy to get out to vote, despite 10 days of early voting. It's the same for state-wide voting. My experience running as a Democratic candidate for Congress gives me a some insight to answer the question, why don't people vote? It's not just one reason but a multiple of reasons.

First, in the primary, you have to declare that you are either a Democrat or a Republican and quite frankly most people would prefer to keep that choice to themselves so they don't vote. Second, people that work for a living are just to tired to go find a polling place and then stand in line to vote. Third, restrictive Voter ID laws. Fourth, people are sick and tired of both major political parties. A day doesn't go by without the paper describing this politician or that politician being arrested, indicted or having their office searched by the FBI or Texas Rangers. Fifth,and perhaps the most important, the lack of progressive candidates on the ballot. People don't see much difference between the Republican and Democratic candidates on policy issues that would really change their lives. Why should I vote for someone, they ask themselves, when I know that once they are elected, they won't do anything to help me. That all said, there are politicians in Texas (local, county, state and federal) that are progressive but they are few and far between.

The answer lies not in either the Democrats or the Republicans or the Libertarians or Greens parties, but with Independents. Texans have always prided themselves on being independent - in fact, a little over 42% of Texans consider themselves independent. So while the Democratic party may be a positive force for progressive change in Vermont or in California, it isn't here in Texas. And until the Texas Democrat party become the party of progressive change, people will continue to just sit out the elections.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger samuel glover said...

Hard to believe that the home of Hightower & Ivins & **many** working-class people is necessarily "regressive, racist and Nazified". That sounds to me like the kind of easy, self-satisfied shrug that's made the Dems what they are, now.

Anyway, to Tom Wakely, thanks for your remarks. That 90% no-show rate -- in a city election in San Antonio! -- is truly dismaying. Christ, more and more you have to wonder why we use "America" and "republic" in the same sentence.... But one question: I've heard several anecdotes of Texas elections in which a right-wing incumbent could have been successfully challenged, but the state or national Democratic Party couldn't be bothered to recruit even a single candidate. Are you familiar with any of those? Is my information good?

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Amen Tom thanks for your post best of luck with your campaign.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samuel, I've been there and experienced TX at its standard dumbfucktard, racist homophobic worst.

There ARE many very fine individuals there. I've met several. The problem is that they are a micro-minority amongst the assholes.

"Texan is the lowest form of white man there is". This was from a movie, but it's never been proven to me to be inaccurate... unless you talk about OK. That would be a good race for most worst among whites.


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