Texas Judge Targeted

A judge’s worst nightmare came true last Friday at 10 p.m. Putting the bad guys away, wondering when the criminal or criminals are released from prison, if he or she will come back to retaliate, seeking revenge on the judge who put them in a cage. Judge Julie Kocurek reportedly was targeted as she got out of her car and was gunned down. Austin police suspect retaliation as a possible motive in the shooting of the Travis County Criminal District Court judge. It is reported that the judge is in stable condition with serious injuries.

Returning home Friday night at 10 p.m., Judge Kocurek saw a bag of trash blocking her security gate to enter her driveway. Officials involved in the case are remaining anonymous and exercised their right to speak off the record in regards to the details surrounding the shooting of Judge Kocurek. The unnamed officials stated that because the case is an on-going investigation, they were not authorized to speak publicly. The mystery surrounding the case is just as horrifying as the shooting. When Kocurek’s driver got out of her car to clear the trans from the gated entrance, an unidentified male fired, wounding the judge. According to the police, it appears the judge was struck by flying glass and shrapnel and not bullets. The driver nor any other other passengers were struck by the gunfire.

Judge Kocurek was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was met with several other Travis County judges showing their love and support to their colleague. Initially reported to be in critical condition, the judge was later diagnosed to be in stable condition early Saturday morning.

Neighbor to the judge Dudley McCalla, courageously gave his name and reported that he and wife both heard four gun shots. McCalla described the gun fire to be in rapid succession. With no suspects taken into custody, McCalla was smart in stating that he nor his wife saw anything.

Respected in her community, Kocurek has served as the presiding judge of the 390th District Court since January of 1999. She was appointed to the bench by former Texas Governor George W. Bush. According to the New York Daily News, Kocurek has handled numerous high-profile cases, including cases involving former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Serving as the criminal court administrative judge from 2011-14, Kocurek is no stranger to dealing with the underworld. This is a first, however, that someone sought revenge.

The only Republican judge in the county’s history to be elected to a Travis County Court, clearly someone is sending a message that they do not agree with her verdicts or her politics. Just two years ago district attorney Mark Hasse and district attorney Mike McClelland, along with his wife, were shot and killed. The case was proven retaliation.

Kocurek will have to beef up her security and surveillance from here on out. Her passion for justice will have her back in her robe, ruling a case. I have never understood how rock stars Jay Z and Beyonce will demand round the clock security with them seven days a week, but a judge who comes face to face every week with hardened, cold blooded killers do not travel with a body guard ever. It would only make sense.

 

Canada Liberals Win in a Landslide. What this Means for Texas

A political tsunami hit Canada last week, foretelling what is to come right here in Texas.

The left of center Liberal Party, with Justin Trudeau at the helm, won a resounding victory and will take over the bilingual country’s government. The party took 184 of the country’s 338 total seats in parliament, a stunning increase from its previously held 36. The outgoing Conservative Party, headed by prime minister Stephen Harper, was ousted from power. Harper and his allies ran the country since 2006 and the country saw the election as an opportunity to bring about change to our northern neighbor. Furthermore, the Conservatives are left without a leader, as Harper has announced that he will step down from his role as the head of the party.

It is important to note that in Canada and much of the world, even the right of center party is typically to the left of even most Democrats in the United States. For example, during his 9 year reign, the conservatives under Harper did not dismantle Canada’s famous national healthcare system, one that is much more expansive that America’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Furthermore, leading up to election night, politicians from across the political aisle proposed increasing taxes on the wealthy to fund a slew of social programs across the country.

Nevertheless, Canada shares many similarities with Texas. For example, before the collapse of crude oil prices, both economies resembled those of petro states in the Gulf, rather than democracies in the west. When oil collapses, headlines like “Canada is No Longer a Petro-State” dominated the papers as its number one export was overtaken by more traditional products. In the case of Texas, the fall in prices caused banks like JPMorgan Chase to issue dire warnings of a looming statewide recession.

Alberta, home of the Canadian tar sands oil fields, is often referred to as the “Texas of Canada,” with a long history of conservative activism, a western gun culture, religious participation, and reactionary political leanings common to other petro-states in the Middle East. Earlier this year, in a troubling sign for Texas, a left-wing governor swept to power in Calgary, something that would have previously unheard of in the country’s most conservative province. Edmonton based political reporter Johnny WIlson notes “Alberta is Canada’s tea party country. This isn’t just your establishment type of conservative more often seen in Ontario. It’s where you have your serious mailing list, big money operation conservative movement here.”

Further compounding the problem for Canadian conservatives, and by extension Texas, is that Liberals dominated the suburbs in last week’s election. The big metro areas of Toronto and Vancouver saw a remarkable shift. Liberals went from 2 to 19 seats in Vancouver metro, and from 7 to 40 seats in Toronto metro.

Much of Texas’ population growth is in its metro areas. The political clout of more rural, more conservative, and more oil dependent towns will continue to diminish, as suburban Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin continue to grow in population. The Canadian election shows that these voters will not be as connected to the area’s oil economy, and in time, will be hungry for change from Texas’ current conservative leadership.

Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee Drop Out of Presidential Primary

The first Democratic Presidential debate took place on October 13th. There were five candidates that got on stage to speak in favor of their campaign. Upon completion of the debate, the polls showed Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as the two front runners, while Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb dragged behind. On October 20th, Jim Webb made an announcement that he would be dropping out of the race. Three days after Webb’s announcement, Chafee also decided he would be dropping out of the Democratic race. The next Democratic forum is scheduled for Friday, November 6th, with Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley as the only three remaining candidates for the Democratic Party.

Webb’s reasoning for dropping out

As the former Senator of Virginia, Jim Webb seemed like a great candidate for the Democratic Party. However, a week following the first Democratic debate Webb decided to call it quits, and drop his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Webb’s reasoning was that he felt his own views on many of the issues presented during the first debate were not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party. He was also not comfortable with many of his opponents’ policies. Webb believes that the Democratic Party is heavily invested in interest- group politics, which he is not. This raised the question as to whether Webb would still consider himself to be a Democrat. He said it is something he will have to think about.

Webb still might consider running?

Even though Webb dropped out of the Democratic Party, there is a possibility of running as an Independent. Over the following weeks Webb plans to talk with people who have encouraged him to run. In order to run as an Independent, Webb would need some serious financial help, especially since he had trouble raising cash against his Democratic opponents. Even with the financial issues in mind, Webb believes he could beat front runners, Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Webb’s spokesman, Craig Crawford, believes that if Webb ran as an Independent, he would be likely to bring in new voters from labor as well as Virginia supporters.

Chafee drops out of the race

Just a couple of days after Jim Webb announced he would no longer be running for the Democratic Party, Lincoln Chafee made an announcement regarding his departure from the race. The former Governor of Rhode Island was a long shot bid for the Democratic Party. The majority of his life was spent as a Republican, but he ran as an Independent to successfully win the position of Governor of Rhode Island. Chafee’s Democratic platform campaigned Prosperity through Peace. Even though he has decided to end his campaign he still wishes to advocate for peace.

Chafee’s reasoning for dropping out

There were several reasons why Chafee decided to drop out of the race. He stated that opponent, Hillary Clinton, was having a good week. She did a great drop in the first debate and at the Benghazi hearing. With Jim Webb dropping out and Joe Biden declining to run, it was a no brainer that it was his time to drop out as well. Chafee was never extremely confident in his chances of winning the nomination. Even though Chafee dropped out, he was aggressive toward Hillary Clinton during the first debate, calling her out on her vote in 2002 to enter the Iraq War. Still, Clinton came out the frontrunner, and Chafee dropped out of the race.

What this means for the next debate

Now that two Democratic candidates have dropped out of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination, just three will fight for their issues during the forum on November 6th, 2015. This is not a debate, but rather a forum, where Rachel Maddow will get the opportunity to interview the remaining candidates. They will be able to instill their beliefs and campaign ideas. The forum will be hosted by MSNBC at Winthrop University, located in Rock Hill South Carolina.

With just three Democratic candidates left, the upcoming forum will be a great event to hear more from each of the remaining candidates. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley will be interviewed at the forum to give the nation more information on their campaigns. Some topics were missing from the first debate, and this forum might be a good time for candidates to mention their ideas on these topics. To stay updated, be sure to tune in on Friday November 6th at 7pm CT.

GOP Senator Wants Dick Cheney to be House Speaker

On Monday, several news outlets including Politico reported that Arkansas Junior Senator Tom Cotton recommended that former Vice President and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney should be the Republican choice to replace current Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Since Boehner announced that he was stepping down from his position as Speaker, the Republican Party has been in a complete state of chaos. No one with half a brain wants to lead a party as crazy as the GOP.

Boehner’s heir apparent Kevin McCarthy turned out to be a complete an utter buffoon. First, he publicly admitted that the Benghazi investigation was and is nothing more than a taxpayer funded witch hunt of former Secretary of State and current 2016 Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton (D). By McCarthy’s own admission, the public viewed Clinton as highly competent and qualified to lead the nation. As a result, he and other Republican created the commission to turn a tragedy into an opportunity all solely to diminish Clinton’s popularity and credibility with voters. To any casual political observer, this was obvious from the start, since the GOP hates America. However, much of the public is still not entirely aware of how corrupt and deceitful the current Republican party is. As a result, Clinton’s favorability numbers declined and McCarthy took credit.

Second, McCarthy was exposed as nothing more than a light weight back bencher that had not produced a single piece of noteworthy legislation during his entire time in the House. McCarthy, a high ranking member in the House for some time, had plenty of opportunity to influence American policy and craft legislation. The fact that he had no interest in governing underscores the fact that the GOP is simply a party that has no interest in running a government, even at leadership levels.

Finally, McCarthy had no support from the GOP’s rabid right wing that is slowing but surely overtaking the rest of the party. As an establishment candidate, McCarthy would have likely supported responsible measures like raising the debt ceiling and avoiding repeated government shutdowns. Being responsible is unacceptable to the Tea Party and other radicals in the Republican party.

After McCarthy pulled out of the race for Speaker, the party frantically tried to find someone, anyone that would be willing to lead. Tom Cotton, offered up the following advice: “look, these are trying times for our nation. It’s important to have a steady hand on the helm during times like this. I think experience really counts in a matter like this. I think House leadership experience really matters. And as you know the speaker doesn’t have to be a member of the House: So therefore, Vice President Cheney for speaker.

It should not come as a surprise that Cotton, a known warmonger whose only action in his short tenure in the Senate has been to embarrass himself by sending a letter to the Iranian government advising them (erroneously) on the US Constitution, would call on another warmonger and war criminal Dick Cheney to lead his party. Dick Cheney is quite possibly the only politician in America less popular than former President George W. Bush. But to the GOP, popularity, electability, and sanity does not matter as they become more and more crazy each day.