Sunday, April 30, 2006
Notice to Big Oil: I'm coming after you
UPDATE :: JUNE 27
Thanks to all of you who contributed to this fund, four billboards will be going up in about a week. Stay tuned for unveiling details!
They'll be up for two months initially; please tell your friends to contribute so we can keep them up longer/raise them in more areas. :)
Texas was the second political jurisdiction in the world to enact an anti-trust law. We did it in the 1880s. Our then Attorney General, James Stephen Hogg, drafted the bill and persuaded the legislature to pass it. This was at least 10 years before the U.S. Congress enacted the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
We still have a strong state anti-trust law. The primary enforcer is supposed to be the attorney general. Enforcement is virtually nil under Greg Abbott.
As Texas Attorney General I may not be able to do much about what the Oil Giants do to the people of New Jersey or Iowa, but I'll have a hell of a lot to say about what they do in Texas. Further, the corporate headquarters of the biggest of the Oil Giants, Exxon Mobil, is in Irving, Texas. I'm going to use every tool at my disposal, most importantly the anti-trust law and the consumer protection law, to take on the oil tycoons over what they're doing to the people of Texas. Unlike Greg Abbott who filed a few consumer protection charges against a few small-time retail outlets, I'm going to go to the core and break up the big boys' party at the sources.
At one time the naysayers said Jim Hogg could not beat the railroad barons in the courts. But he did. At one time it was said to be impossible to beat Big Tobacco in the courts. But they were beaten. There are voices that say I can't beat the Oil Giants in the courts. Just put me in the Attorney General's office, then sit back and enjoy the show.
If I could spare the $$$$ to put up a big billboard outside Exxon Mobil's corporate HQ in Irving to tell them what I'm going to do, I'd put it up right now.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE BILLBOARD FUND >>
posted by snarko! at 4:03 PM
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Whistlestop Report, Kinney County, Bracketville
David Van Os reporting from the Southwest Texas Whistlestop Tour outside Del Rio. Taking democracy to the people is easy--when everyone wants it back!
"...people are fired up. They want to take it back. They know that democracy... I mean they FEEL instinctively--people feel it in their guts that democracy is being stolen, and they want it back."
posted by snarko! at 4:07 PM
Whistlestop Report, Uvalde County, Uvalde
David Van Os mid-day report from the Southwest Test Whiststop Tour, on the winds of change (more like a hurricane) and changing strangers to friends.
"Taking Texas back by taking it to the people, returning the political process to the people, talking to peole--spontaneously--in public places, in the open air. It's very exciting. I wish you could all be here..."
posted by snarko! at 1:51 PM
Whistlestop Report, Medina County, Hondo
David begins his Whistlestop Tour of Southwest Texas in Hondo -- AM report from the road.
posted by snarko! at 10:06 AM
Monday, April 24, 2006
and We Will Win
"Texas belongs to the people, not to the corporations."
~ James Stephen Hogg
According to recent studies and reports, a small number of insurance companies dominate the health insurance industry through virtual monopoly power. [Health Insurers Are Near-Monopolies :: Associated Press] However the average Texan doesn't need an academic research study to know that health insurance companies control his or her health care decisions through almost unlimited corporate power and greed. The average Texan lives it.
The Big Oil tycoons and their protectors in the White House and State House tell us that the high prices we pay for gasoline are the inevitable results of mysterious Market Forces over which they have no control. They also tell us that the staggering, record profits the tycoons are raking in are likewise the results of those same mysterious forces over which they have absolutely no control. But I say different. And I say the people are way too smart for the liars' continuing lies.
The sellers of homeowners and auto insurance are reaping record profits - 44 billion dollars in the past year, an increase of over 18%. This is happening at the same time that the companies have a huge increase in claims from the recent rash of calamitous hurricanes. How could they be paying out so much more to customers and yet increasing their profits so enormously?
Further, Texas consumers continue to pay the highest premiums for homeowners insurance in the nation - with no competition between insurance companies and no relief in sight.
Texas air and water has the worst toxic industrial pollution, including the deadly nerve system destroyer mercury, in the country - with nobody in state government taking aggressive action to protect Texas children from polluted air and water.
My fellow Texans, have you ever heard of corporate government? That's when we have government of money, by money, and for money. The first line in the United States Constitution begins with "We the People," not "We the Corporations." Similarly, the Texas Constitution is ordained by "we the people of Texas;" not "we the wealthy and powerful monied elite."
If you think nobody is minding the store on behalf of the people, you're right. If you think nobody among our state's executive officers is protecting the people, you're right.
If you think the Texas Attorney General should be a watchdog for the people, you're right again. If you think our current incumbent Attorney General, Bushite Republican Greg Abbott, is not watching out for the people, you're very right. If you think Abbott is a Bushite corporate mouthpiece, you're so right.
My fellow Texans, I am making an uphill race against Greg Abbott and his millions of corporate dollars because I take it as my personal responsibility to do everything I possibly can to rid us of the corporate stranglehold on our government and the sold-out public officials who are part of the strangling team. I want my children to flourish in a Texas of free citizens with free choices in their lives, not of indentured servants to corporate masters, where the corporate masters' political puppets stay in power forever through rubber-stamp substitutes for free democratic elections. As Attorney General of Texas I will possess the tools with which to knock out corporate government and restore government to its real owners, the people. You will have a people's lawyer who will fight for your rights and liberties.
It will be a tough, uphill fight to overcome Greg Abbott and his millions in this campaign. Abbott and his Bushite consultants will throw more mud and vicious lies my way than 40 dozen pairs of hip boots could wade through, but with your support I will do it. Then when I'm Attorney General it will be another tough, uphill fight to dismantle the power elites' chokehold on Texas, but with your support I will do it. Together, we will fight these battles and we will return government to the people of Texas. We're Texans and we love a good fight. We'll fight the powerful on behalf of the people 'til hell freezes over, and then we'll fight 'em on the ice. And we will win.
posted by snarko! at 11:19 AM
Monday, April 10, 2006
Voting Technology Violates Texas Constitution
David Van Os's original statement published November 2005 on paperless voting technology:
With the touch-screen electronic voting machines that the Republican political cabal is forcing on all Texas counties, the voter cannot see his own ballot being cast. The visible touch screen is not the ballot; it is only a purported replica of the ballot. The electronic ballot is within the innards of the machine, hidden from the voter's sight.
You would think as a matter of common sense that the machine would at least give the voter a receipt to confirm that the hidden ballot was cast as the voter intended, but it doesn't. The voter has no means to know whether or not his vote was recorded as he intended, other than by private corporations who sell the machines saying, "Trust us." And that is really all the public gets, since the computer programming codes that tell the machine's insides what to do are claimed as proprietary by the private corporations and kept secret from the public.
You sure wouldn't trust your money with any bank that wouldn't give you a receipt for your deposit. No politician in his right mind would ask you to, either. Why should you be expected to trust a private corporation that has no democratic accountability to you to take your deposit of your most precious possession of free citizenship, your vote, and not give you a receipt? Anybody who thinks this makes any sense, come talk to me quick because I have a bridge to sell you.
Now let's take a look at the Texas Constitution.
Article 6, Section 2 states:
"The privilege of free suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting under adequate penalties all undue influence in elections from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practices."
Article 6, Section 4 states:
"In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, and the Legislature shall provide for the numbering of tickets and make such other regulations as may be necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box."
Now you tell me. How in the world can a system prohibit undue influence in elections from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practices when there is no way to verify whether the things that are going on inside the machine are even recording the votes as the voters intend? How in the world can the purity of the ballot box be preserved when even the voter who cast the ballot has no way of knowing what actually got recorded on his ballot in the interior of the machine? Clearly, it can't, and it can't.
These machines clearly violate the Texas Constitution.
Federal law does not require that there be a voter-verifiable paper trail, nor does federal law require that there not be one. The federal laws are silent. In the federal law's silence, the Texas Constitution governs in all elections conducted within the jurisdiction of Texas.
This blatant disregard of the Constitutional rights of all the citizens of Texas is the plain result of partisan, power-loving, one-party Republican rule. The manufacturers of the electronic voting machines are big corporate powers that are headed by Republicans who love Republican rule for the way it protects the divine rights of big corporations to profit as much as possible off the backs of working people. The Governor is a Republican who depends on money from Republican corporate America to feed his campaign chests. The Secretary of State is a Republican who depends on the Republican Governor for appointment to his job. The Attorney General is a Republican who depends on the strength of the Republican corporate-political power machine to turn out his votes.
It is an outrage that these partisans of the power-loving, one-party, Republican power machine are conducting the public's business with such detestable disregard for your most precious act of citizenship in this great democracy, your vote in free democratic elections. This has to be brought to a halt.
When I become Attorney General of Texas, I am going to take immediate action to enforce the Texas Constitution against such outrageous excuses for voting technology. But it should not have to wait for my election.
This unconstitutional situation needs to be corrected immediately. I am calling on all the citizens of Texas to demand restoration of their Constitutional rights to cast a secure, free and pure, democratic ballot. I am calling on the Governor, the Secretary of State, and all the legislators to act promptly to conform voting technology to the Texas Constitution. I am calling on the Attorney General to take prompt action to enforce the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Texas to free suffrage and secure ballots. The patriots of history who lived and died to make our nation and our state beacons of democracy are sitting in judgment on you.
posted by snarko! at 11:21 AM
Friday, April 07, 2006
AM Report from the Northeast Texas Whistlestop Tour
Audio post from David describing the past few days in Northeast Texas, and what the people he's spoken to really want.
posted by snarko! at 12:07 PM
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
McKinney Whistlestop LIVE
David Van Os's commentary from the first whistlestop on the Northeast Texas Tour. Stay tuned throughout the day for more, or check the homepage
for when he'll be in your town.
posted by snarko! at 1:03 PM
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
What I Mean by Consultantocracy
Yesterday the chief political writer of a major urban daily newspaper asked what I meant by "consultantocracy". This is the answer I gave him:
You ask what I mean by "consultantocracy".
The consultantocracy is the collection of unelected operatives who direct Democratic Party strategies and tactics from behind the scenes down the path of relentless failure. The consultantocracy operates in inherent conflict of interest because it is
both advisor and vendor, continually advising Democrats that the way out of the wilderness is simply to purchase more of its wares, although the strategies, tactics, and programs it sells continually lead to failure.
The consultantocracy's methodology is to reduce the processes of democracy to data, numbers, and the marketing of political candidates as packaged products. The consultantocracy teaches Democratic candidates and party officers to follow carefully programmed scripts and formulae in lieu of speaking and acting from the heart. The latter teaching is essential for the consultantocracy to be able to control the candidates' behaviors in order to conform to the packaged image that the consultant is carefully marketing.
Through these processes, the consultantocracy comes to control the political process and the candidate becomes a prepackaged product without passion or authenticity. The citizenry, sensing that it is getting packaged products rather than authentic public servants, increasingly disengages from the political process.
It is most amazing that Democrats continue to pay the same operatives over and over again for the purchase of strategies and techniques that turn self government into marketing, wreck democracy, result in continuing failure at the ballot box, and benefit nobody but the consultants, who cry all the way to the bank.
posted by snarko! at 1:38 PM