Houstonians Rally For Reproductive Rights With Gubernatorial Candidate Beto O’Rourke

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Dem gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke chatting with a supporter after his speech at the reproductive rights rally in downtown Houston(05/07/22)

Houstonians showed up in large numbers at the Discovery Green park in downtown Houston (05/07/22) for a reproductive rights rally headlined by gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. The very well attended and high energy rally comes on the heels of the recent bombshell leak of a draft Supreme Court majority opinion which suggests the high court is getting ready to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade decision which made abortion legal. Judging from the energy in the crowd at Discovery Green, one can safely assume that reproductive rights and the future of the Supreme Court generally, will be major issues in the upcoming midterm elections. This message was very clear from Beto O’Rourke and the other high profile Dem leaders in attendance, who included State Senator Carol Alvarado(District 6), Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia.

Beto said at the rally:“This has been among the toughest weeks for so many people across this state and across this nation, but as I look out at each and every single one of you, there is something extraordinarily beautiful in the way that we have decided to come together. And in these tough times, Texans turn out. They are there for and by one another. It brings out the very best in us…We want our fellow Texans, wherever they are, to whatever party they may belong to, to whomever they pray, however they love, whatever country their families originally came from, to know right now we stand together. We stand with them…For most of us, I’m 49 years old, for my entire life, Roe vs Wade has been the law of the land, I’ve known nothing else. But those who preceded me, those who preceded all of us, they made that happen. That fortunate generation who was fighting for the rights that so many, too many have taken for granted for too long, we now have that same opportunity to fight like just they did, and I want us to remember, whatever we think the odds are right now against us, this is possible, and in fact it has been done before against much greater odds.”

There’s no other way to interpret Beto’s remarks other than a call for Texans of goodwill to unite against efforts by Republicans at the federal level and their state counterparts(Gov Abbott’s regime), to peel back their constitutional rights. This could end up being the winning message because it could attract a sizable chunk of the independent vote.

Bottom line folks, historical trends favor Republicans to do very well against Democrats this Fall(party out of power). Reasonable people will agree however, that the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion has given Democrats nationwide, a much needed jolt. Will this jolt be enough to upend historical trends and hand Democrats a surprise victory in November? Only time will tell. Given the high energy at Discovery Green Park however, the potential certainly exists for Democrats to “come from behind” and pull off a surprise win in the elections this Fall.

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Pressure Mounting On GOP Senator Mike Lee To Come Clean Over His Role In Overturning 2020 Election

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Interesting segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(04/19/22) looked into the intense pressure building on Senator Mike Lee(R-UT) from his hometown newspapers, for him to come clean over his involvement with efforts to assist former President Trump to overturn the 2020 elections, and specifically, his role in the fake electors scheme. As Maddow correctly pointed out, public statements attributed to Sen Lee regarding Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections are in stark contrast with his newly released private text messages, which clearly show his deep involvement with the fake electors scheme.

It appears Sen Lee’s hometown newspapers have seized on this glaring discrepancy between public “constitutional conservative” Mike Lee, and private insurrectionist Mike Lee, and are demanding that the Senator finally come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections. The newspapers have zeroed in on the Utah State Republican Convention scheduled for Saturday(04/23/22, for Sen Lee to finally come clean about this issue.

Maddow referenced an editorial from a leading Utah newspaper(video at 4:15): “Just today, the Salt Lake Tribune has released a new editorial under this headline, Saturday’s Utah State Republican Convention would be a great place for Mike Lee to come clean…It’s past time for Mike Lee to start fessing up to all he knows about the plot to set aside the results of an honest and fair election in order to keep Donald Trump in power. We know Utah’s Senior Senator had a much greater role in that plot than he has previously acknowledged. His constituents deserve a much more detailed accounting of what went on and the extent of Senator Lee’s participation in it. Yesterday would be a great time for Senator Lee to come clean. Saturday’s State Republican Convention would be a really good opportunity for that too.”

Bottom line folks, it is very encouraging to see the media in Utah pressuring Senator Lee to come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. To date, there has been been very little individual accountability for members of Congress who were clearly involved in Trump’s illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and hopefully, this is the beginning of some much overdue reckoning for members of Congress. It would be great if Texas newspapers would also inquire into whether public “constitutional conservative” Ted Cruz was likewise, a private insurrectionist.

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AOC And Fellow House Democrats Want Annual Refugee Cap Raised To 200K

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) appeared on MSNBC’s ReidOut show(08/26/2021) to discuss the ongoing evacuation crisis in Afghanistan, and the plight of Afghan refugees currently trickling into the United States. Rep Ocasio-Cortez told host Joy Reid that she’s joining hands with about 70 other House Democrats, in urging the Biden administration to raise the annual refugee cap from the paltry 15,000 under former President Trump, to at least 200,000.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez told host Joy Reid:“When it comes to the devastation that we have seen in Afghanistan, the United States plays a role. We have a responsibility, and in order to… make good on the role that we have played in this violence, we have a responsibility to make a home for the people whose lives have been upended by interventionist U.S. foreign policy. And so, as a result, I’m proud to have co-written a letter with Rep Barbara Lee[D-CA], to ask and urge the Biden administration to, as they set their refugee quota, to make it no less that 200,000 in the upcoming year.”

You’ll remember the Trump administration dropped the annual refugee cap from 85,000 under President Obama, way down to a paltry 15,000.

Bottom line folks, as Rep Ocasio-Cortez correctly stated on ReidOut, we have a moral obligation to fulfill the promises we made to Afghans, whose help we enlisted in the fight against terrorism, and whose lives have been upended by the current state of affairs under Taliban rule. The least we can do, is raise our paltry annual refugee cap to at least 200,000, so that we can admit into the United States, as many of our Afghan allies as is possible. It’s also the moral thing to do, and one sincerely hopes the Biden administration will grant Rep Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow House Democrats, their noble request.

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Little Known FBI’s Race-Based Surveillance

There have been numerous media reports about a very troubling practice by the FBI to designate Black activists as “Black Identity Extremists”, an often bogus designation which is then used to justify subjecting the said activists to all levels of surveillance–private, local, state, federal and even military surveillance in major cities like Houston, LA, Chicago, New York and others. The rationale, a bogus one, is that a “Black Identity Extremist” or BIE is more likely to attack law enforcement officers and thus needs to be placed under 24-hour surveillance.

The controversy surrounding this program, beyond its prima facie racism, centers around the ease with which a Black activist could end up in this designation. Several media reports have said that even mundane activities like organizing or attending a Black Lives Matter rally could in the eyes of the FBI qualify a Black activist as a BIE subjecting them to unjustified long-term government surveillance, the fruits of which could be used in their criminal prosecution. Needless to say, Black activists who support/sympathize with Black Lives Matter on social media (Twitter, Facebook) can also very easily be designated as BIEs. Simply put, this is a very serious problem that is yet to garner the mainstream media attention it deserves.

Yours Truly has ranted and raved about the lack of mainstream media attention surrounding this seemingly–let’s face it–racist surveillance by the FBI for quite a while now, wondering when House Democrats would take up this serious issue with the justice department.

Well, it turns out Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee (R-TX) did indeed raise this issue with then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House hearing on November 14, 2017. Rep Jackson-Lee asked Sessions; “My question is, as I hold up the poster dealing with the report under your jurisdiction–Black Identity Extremists. It is interesting to me that you are opposing [meant targeting] individuals who are opposing lethal force, similar to the attack on Reverend Dr Martin Luther King on Cointelpro, but there seems to be no report dealing with the tiki torch parade in Charlottesville chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’. Why is there an attack on Black activists versus any report dealing with the Alt Right and the White Nationalists?” AG Sessions responded that he was not aware of the report.

Cointelpro which Rep Jackson-Lee referenced in her questioning was a controversial and secret surveillance program the FBI deployed on Black civil rights activists in the 60s, most notably, on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Historians agree that the primary reason the FBI ran Cointelpro on Black civil rights activists was to scare them into silence. This is precisely why when Black activists hear about “Black Identity Extremists” they are immediately reminded of stories they’ve read about Cointelpro and are justified in questioning whether the FBI has indeed reverted back to its 1960s tactic of stifling Black dissent.

Bottom line the “Black Identity Extremist” debate is one that begs for serious mainstream media attention. The mainstream media and indeed members of Congress must not remain silent as a section of the population is unjustly subjected to heightened levels of government surveillance all in an effort to stifle their first amendment compliant political speech. At moments like these, Martin Niemoller’s famous words come to mind; “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist, then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist, then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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