Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cook, Hunter, Pojman do Straus' Dirty Work


'The sinners in Zion are afraid;
Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites:
“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”'
Isaiah 33:14

Sadly, the 84th Texas Legislature meets expectations:
Within the last hour, Representative Debbie Riddle Patricia Harless & Rep Sarah Davis voted against TXRTL's priority, SB 575, in the Calendars Committee tonight, thereby killing the bill. We expected this anti-life vote from Representative Sarah Davis; we knew that Representative Harless has mixed views on some life issues, but Representative Debbie Riddle??? Shocking that Debbie Riddle would vote against life.
Posted by Texas Right to Life on Sunday, May 24, 2015
Absent a special session, 120,000 babies will die between now and the next legislative session; paging Governor Abbott.

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Governor Greg Abbott: (512) 463-2000

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Voice and Exit: Why Floating Cities are the Next Frontier


"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
Mark 2:22

Joe Quirk from Voice and Exit 2014:



Highlights:
  • The difference between us and a billionaire is miniscule compared to the difference with the bottom billion.
  • Governments are the only technology that does not make progress rapidly and peacefully.
  • The United States was a "breakaway experiment in governance."
  • Cruise ships are an early example of floating cities.
  • Nearly half the world's surface is unclaimed by governments.
  • Governments could only form if you choose to subject yourself to them.
  • The ocean is the largest solar panel in the world.
  • Water will be the next oil.
  • Regulations written in 1970 are holding back innovations in 2020.
  • "We walked on the moon 45 years ago; it's easier to float than fly."
Learn more about Sea Steading and Voice and Exit 2014 here.

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Voice and Exit 2015 is coming to Austin next month; learn more and register here.

Byron Cook waters down pro-life bill out of spite


"They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips."
Pslam 140:3

We can't even:
The House State Affairs Committee passedSenate Bill 575 by Republican Larry Taylorof Friendswood on a 7-1 vote after amending it to only ban insurance coverage on health insurance purchased through the federal Affordable Care Act’s marketplace.
Originally, SB 575 would have banned abortion coverage on both ACA plans and private health insurance plans. The committee instead amended the bill so that it mirrored a measure filed in the House by state Rep. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown, and approved by the committee this month before dying on a House bill deadline
....
The measure still has to clear several hurdles. It must be placed on the House calendar by 10 p.m. Sunday and passed on the floor by Tuesday.

[Emphasis added]
First off, obviously, the amended version of the bill is FAR more permissive towards the abortion industry than the original.

But where this is even more insidious is that if the House passed the bill in it's current form, it would have to go BACK to the Senate for them to concur.

Bottom Line: Unless the bill is amended on the House floor, how many babies will die between now and the start of the next legislative session because Byron Cook would rather spite conservatives than pass a pro-life bill with teeth?!?

Was Stickland Setup?!?


"He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence."
Psalm 101:7

Very interesting report in this morning's Statesman:
On Friday, Stickland released an audio file from earlier in the session that he said is a recording of a staffer for state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who called Stickland’s Capitol office and used a fake name to prompt behavior that could have been used against the tea party agitator from Bedford.

In the recording, which could not be verified, a man who said he was from Houston asked Stickland’s legislative director how the man might register his support for House Bill 142, a proposal by Stickland to ban red light cameras.

Stickland said he believes the caller hoped that the conservative Republican’s aide had offered to sign him up in support of the bill without the caller being present, which would be against House policy. The Stickland staffer simply explained the process to the caller, as heard on the recording.

Stickland said the call appears to have been placed before Pickett, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, angrily tossed Stickland from a late night hearing of the committee on April 30 and accused him of the possible felony of tampering with a government document — by filling out a witness affirmation form in favor of the camera ban bill.

....

Stickland said he believes it was Pickett’s staff on the recording, based on conversations with his lawyer, who has had conversations with DPS.
Read the whole thing here.

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Listen to the call below:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gio and the Watered Down Gold Bill


"By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber."
2 Peter 2:3

[Author's Note: The 2013 version of the bill can be seen here; the 2015 version can be seen here.]

Longtime readers will remember that repatriating Texas' Gold was our top priority last session.  The bill died in committee.  Obviously, this was Gio's bill.

Thus it caught our attention when we noticed a similar bill had passed the House this session.  Something had changed.  For awhile, we were thinking that Gio had actually gotten something important in exchange for his support for Joe Straus.

Then we decided to read the bills.

In both versions of the bill, Section 2116.002 establishes the parameters of the Texas Bullion Depository.  Both versions place the agency under the Comptroller's office and enable political subdivisions to store their bullion in the depository.  Only the 2013 version of the bill (page 3), however, enables the depository to:
(2)provide the basis for a system for precious metals-denominated intergovernmental payments and settlements between and among:
  • (A)the agencies, political subdivisions, and instrumentalities of this state; and 
  • (B)persons making payments to, receiving payments from, or otherwise doing business with an agency, a political subdivision, or another instrumentality of this state in the exercise and discharge of a governmental function or responsibility of the political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; 
(3)establish a process and mechanism by which the system described by Subdivision (2) is able to function in the event of a systemic dislocation in a national and international financial system, including systemic problems in liquidity, credit markets, or currency markets; and 
(4)provide a regulatory and administrative framework for the system described by Subdivision (2) to be made available to private persons.
In other words, where the 2013 version of the bill had teeth that would help re-establish sound money, the 2015 creates a new state agency that wouldn't accomplish anything.

On a similar note, Section 2116.028 of the 2013 version of the bill (page 20) fails to make it into the 2015 counterpart:
Sec.A2116.028. DEVELOPMENT OF DEPOSITORY SYSTEM AND PARTICIPATION. 
  • (a) The comptroller shall monitor the development of the depository-based system of payments and settlements and shall direct and encourage all funds and agencies of this state to use the system for intergovernmental payments and settlements to the extent prudent and practicable.  
  • (b) conditions of acceptance and liquidity of the depository system improve, the comptroller shall: 
    • (1)establish appropriate firm requirements for the use of the system for intergovernmental payments and settlements to the extent prudent and practicable; and 
    • (2)encourage the use of the system by private persons to make or receive payments to or from a state agency or fund.
Again, rendering the bill toothless.

Another interesting tidbit from the 2013 version (page 8) that fails to reappear in 2015 is Section 2116.008:
Sec.A2116.008. FULL FAITH AND CREDIT. The depository ’s obligation to deliver precious metals and transfer account balances to the order of a depository account holder under this chapter is backed by the full faith and credit of this state.
That being said, if you end up in litigation with the Texas Bullion Depository, at least the 2015 version (page 9) offers this reassurance in Section 2116.009:
(e)A suit authorized by this section must be brought in a district court of Travis County.
Because judges in Travis County have such FANTASTIC reputations....

BOTTOM LINE: The 2013 version of this bill had meaningful economic possibilities.  The only reason it's moved in 2015, however, is because it's been gutted.  Is anyone surprised?!?

Cook attempting to kill pro-life bill


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5

EVERYTHING with Byron Cook requires pulling teeth:
The House Committee on State Affairs is about to kill Senate Bill 575 by Senator Larry Taylor.

One day remains for the House Committee to vote SB 575, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform Bill, on to the floor for full debate. The State Senate passed SB 575 two weeks ago by a vote of 21-10 with no weakening amendments, but the House Committee on State Affairs wants to take out a key provision and render the bill ineffective.

The House Committee on State Affairs has been sitting on the bill for two weeks, while YOU the taxpayer are subsidizing the abortion of others through your tax dollars and through your private insurance premiums. SB 575 would remove automatic coverage for abortion from health insurance plans as well as ensure that abortion is not covered in the state exchanges mandated by PPACA.

However, some of the committee members are trying to weaken the bill by taking out the provision that protects YOU, the insurance consumer, from subsidizing the abortion of others. THIS WOULD RENDER THE WHOLE BILL MEANINGLESS.

10 states protect private insurance consumers from participating in abortion coverage through their private benefit plans; 25 other states have excluded abortion coverage from the state exchanges, and 21 other states restrict coverage for abortion for governmental employees.
Read the whole thing here.

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Representative Byron Cook: (512) 463-0112

Thursday, May 21, 2015

No defenders for Mr. McRaven's Cover-up


"Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord."
Jeremiah 23:24

Jon Cassidy's pulls no punches:
Last week, McRaven decided to defy the guidance of Attorney General Ken Paxton and three of his predecessors and block Hall from reading the Kroll papers, despite a prior board vote permitting it and Hall’s “inherent right of access” as a regent under state law, which Paxton cited. The disgrace for the entire UT community will only be compounded once a court issues a writ of mandamus compelling McRaven to turn over the documents.

There’s no defense for lawlessness, and there’s no defense for a cover-up, which is why nobody is defending McRaven and the UT board majority, which gave him tacit approval.

The board hasn’t spoken in its own defense. It could start by explaining why people who took part in the corruption of UT’s admissions program have any say in what the rest of us learn about it.

McRaven has offered just two explanations: 1) the circular reason that reopening the matter would reopen the matter, and 2) it would be working “at cross-purposes with our own litigation team” in an affirmative action case before the Supreme Court; that is, the facts contained in the Kroll papers would undermine the lies UT has already told the court.

UT’s actions are so utterly indefensible that all its attorneys can offer is procedural gibberish in defense: please, Mr. Paxton, ignore Hall, because his attorney can’t write a letter on his behalf for some reason we’re just now inventing.

....

Most telling, the institutional voices that have defended the disgraced president Bill Powers these past three years have been silent. None of the pro-Powers alumni are writing op-eds defending this obstructionism.

There’s nothing for them to say. That talking point about Hall being some agent of Rick Perry on a mission to destroy Powers? Perry and Powers are gone now.
Read the whole thing here.

Yesterday, this author (very briefly) spoke with Attorney General Paxton about this topic and he told us: "The law says what it says."