Tuesday, July 31, 2018

#TXLEGE: Abbott hops on the Flores Bandwagon

"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17


From Abbott's website:
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today endorsed Pete Flores for State Senator in SD-19. Flores is a former leader of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s statewide law enforcement division, and has an extensive background in proactive leadership and community involvement. In making his endorsement, Governor Abbott encouraged the constituents of Senate District 19 to send Flores to Austin to enact positive conservative change and vote for him in this Tuesday’s election.

“A vote for Pete Flores this Tuesday, July 31st, is a vote for conservative principles and effective leadership,” said Governor Abbott. “I am proud to endorse Pete for State Senate in SD-19, and I know that he will fight for the values our state holds so dear, including private property rights, securing our border, and protecting the unborn. By electing Pete, voters can be assured that they will be sending a dedicated servant leader to Austin who lives in the district and can be counted on to put the interests of the constituents of SD-19 first.”
At this point, all contributions are welcome.

Bottom Line: It'll be interesting to see what happens in this race; polls are open until 7.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Robert Francis accepts money from anti-Semites

"Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day.”
Genesis 19:36-38

Wow, from Cruz's campaign:
HOUSTON, Texas— Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has been misleading Texas voters by saying he doesn’t accept help from any special-interest Political Action Committee (PAC). On Sunday at an event in El Paso while discussing PACs, O’Rourke said that, “we will accept none of their help.” But O’Rourke’s promises do not match his actions. He has allowed at least one influential and extremist PAC to help his campaign by raising significant sums of campaign cash for him. He has accepted a total of $172,285 bundled by the J-Street PAC since being in Congress, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. 
[Note: Emphasis added.]
 Cruz's press release then goes on to describe J-Street thusly:
J-Street Group is an anti-Israel group, whose support for a Palestinian state is publicly guised as concern for Israel’s safety. O’Rourke has close, longtime ties with J-Street. In 2015, he took a controversial $10,000 trip that was paid for by the “J Street Education Fund.” During the week-long trip, J-Street took O’Rourke to the West Bank.
That is, of course, a very...polite...way to describe "J-street."

In reality, "J-street" is a left-wing front group designed to provide political cover for every jihadist group in the region.

From their greatest hits:
When Israel (in December 2008) launched “Operation Cast Lead,” a military operation aimed at stopping the incessant rocket attacks that Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists had been directing against southern Israel for several years, J Street accused the Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes.


J Street chose not to reject the UN’s Goldstone Report (authored by Richard Goldstone), which asserted that Israel had committed war crimes during its Operation Cast Lead campaign against Hamas in 2008-09. Indeed, J Street staffers actively promoted Goldstone's meetings with members of Congress. Moreover, the organization backed the crusade to delegitimize Israel by the UN's "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People."
And this:
On April 23, 2014, Fatah -- the negotiating party of the Palestinians and the governing body in the West Bank -- reached a unity agreement with Hamas, the governing body of Gaza. According to J Street, Fatah's alliance with an organization irrevocably committed to the genocide of Jews was no reason to disrupt peace talks. Rather, J Street said it “regards today's news of a preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas with caution and urges the United States to press forward with an even more assertive effort to forge a two-state solution.”
Who could forget this:
In December 2016, J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami came to the defense of Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison despite then-recent revelations about the congressman's long history of anti-Semitic statements, positions, and associations. "I think that there's nothing troubling about his record," said Ben-Ami. "I think that the witch hunt that is going on on Keith Ellison is reminiscent of the witch hunt that goes on every single time somebody who has dared to criticize the policies of the government of Israel steps forward and has a potential to hold position in this country." A few days later, Ben-Ami described Ellison as "one of the most tolerant and open-minded people that many of us know."
These are, of course, a small sample of what "J-street" has done over the years.

And Robert Francis has taken over $100k from them...all while lying about one of the central premises of his campaign.

Bottom Line: However one feels about the underlying issues, jihadist front groups ought to be considered off limits.


BONUS: Read our 2013 write up about the connections between "J-street" and a disgraceful act of Old Testament incest here.

#TXLEGE, #atxcouncil: "Equity Office" DEBACLE illustrates need for municipal Revenue/Spending Caps

"The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger."
Ezekiel 22:29

We assume you've heard:
The Equity Office is recommending the city remove or change the names of streets, parks and markers in Austin that honor the Confederate States of America and slavery.

The office also suggests eschewing the name “Austin” altogether, as Stephen F. Austin fought to defend slavery in the Texas Revolution and supported the institution after the state gained its independence from Mexico.
There's a lot we could say, but it reflects one reality: This is what happens when the government has too much money.

The name change aspect of this current controversy attracted national attention, but obscure government bureaucracies do nonsense like this all the time.  The only difference is that this specific example was easily mockable.  But this is what obscure bureaucracies do.

To purge these bureaucracies, force their parent body to set financial priorities.  We've sat through enough C of A budget discussions to know that a spending/revenue cap with teeth will kill many birds with a single stone.  That remains the case.

Furthermore, this author is old enough that we actually remember when the city created the so-called "Equity office."  That happened all the way back in an ancient era known as...2016.  Back then, the department was supposed to:
[Identify] gaps and disparities in services and programs in the city, as well as help create ways for city departments to address those needs. The position will also help community groups work with the city to ensure equal access to city programs and services.
Notice it doesn't say anything about renaming streets (or, good grief, the entire city).  So we're less than two years into the life of the so-called "Equity office" and we're already seeing mission creep.  Once again, this is what the government does when it has too much money.

There have been numerous proposals in recent years to provide greater supervision of local fiscal policy.  Some have focused on the spending side, some have focused on the tax side.  In this context, anything the legislature passes that forces municipal governments to set financial priorities is welcome.

Bottom Line:  If you want to change behavior, cut off the money.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

#TXLEGE: School Choice lobby SQUANDERING Yet ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY in SD-19 Special Election

"He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame."
Proverbs 10:5

Led by Texas Right to Life, followed by Lt. Gov. Patrick, this past week a consensus seems to have emerged that Pete Flores has a decent shot at qualifying for the SD-19 special election runoff.

Unfortunately, one group who could potentially be very helpful is (yet again) missing in action.

A quick search of Flores' website reveals:
I do support a voucher program, as a parent should have a choice where their child goes to school.
Meanwhile, nothing from the school choice lobby.

This is political malpractice.

From both a tactical and a strategic perspective, the SD-19 special election ought to be a political no-brainer for the school choice lobby:
  • Tactically -- Adding another R senator would significantly decrease the leverage Seliger and the other squishy R Senators would have in the Senate; this makes it easier to pass a strong bill in the Senate and sets up a better negotiating position with the house.
  • Strategically -- In the urban parts of the district, a strong performance by a pro-school choice candidate would put the urban D's on notice.  Ditto the rural R's in the rural parts of the district.  This special election is an opportunity to put both the rural R's and the urban D's on notice, yet the school choice lobby appears to be doing neither.
And that's political malpractice.

Bottom Line: The school choice lobby never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity (but at least we won't run out of yellow scarves)....

Friday, July 27, 2018

#TXLEGE: Darby (completely predictably) preparing to stab Abbott in back....

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

Shot (Today):
As the 2019 legislative session in Texas fast approaches, behind the scenes the race for the next Speaker of the House is heating up, with growing reports that State Rep. Drew Darby (R–San Angelo) is gearing up to join the race.

Capitol sources suggest that Darby wanted to publicly join the race as early as February of this year, but has since decided to mount his campaign behind the scenes.

In February, Texas Scorecard reported that Darby sent campaign donations to a number of establishment colleagues, including several members opposed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Since then, Darby has reportedly been attempting to build goodwill with colleagues in both parties in an attempt to establish a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans to take the gavel in January.
Chaser (Last November):
AUSTIN, TX -- Governor Greg Abbott today announced his endorsement of State Representative Drew Darby for re-election. Darby is a sixth term incumbent, representing House District 72 which encompasses Coke, Concho, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Reagan, Runnels, Sterling, and Tom Green Counties, an area larger than seven states.

“The next legislative session presents an opportunity to lower Texans’ property taxes, reform our broken school finance system, and further protect life,” said Governor Abbott. “As an experienced legislator, Representative Darby has a deep understanding of these issues and will play a key role in helping accomplish these goals. I am proud to endorse Representative Darby for re-election and urge the voters of House District 72 to join me in supporting him in the upcoming election.”
Of course, some of us predicted this at the time [Note: How funny is it that Darby removed the original Facebook post boasting about the Abbott endorsement].

Bottom Line: This was completely predictable, which is why we predicted it.

#TXLEGE: Bettencourt proposes ELIMINATION of "Dog Days" Property Tax Elections

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

This needs to happen:

Senator Bettencourt Calls for an End to Dog Days of Summer Property Tax Increase Elections by Cahnman on Scribd

Bottom Line: Uniform election dates are one of MANY tools the Legislature needs to pass to increase voter supervision of local fiscal policy.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

#TXLEGE: Patrick endorses Pete Flores in SD-19 Special Election

"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17


A few thoughts:
  • Clearly, Patrick has polling that's telling him the race is close enough that his personal involvement could make a difference.
  • If Flores could pull this off, and if you avoid unpleasant surprises in competitive general election races, you could conceivably end up with a 21 Republican Texas Senate; in a Texas Senate with 21 Republicans, Seliger's irrelevant.
  • Democrats remain too liberal on guns and babies for this district.
Bottom Line: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

About Taxpayer Funded Lobbyists sponsoring media outlets

"It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity."
Proverbs 21:15

It's been there, hiding in plain sight, but we'd never noticed it until this afternoon:

The Texas Municipal league sponsors the Trib.

They've actually been doing it for years, including this gem:

So an event with a big city Mayor was sponsored by the Texas Municipal League.

Got it.

In fairness to the Trib, it rarely slants their coverage in a meaningful way.  We have attended several of these events over the years and have always been fairly treated.  This certainly isn't the Texas Association of Counties sponsoring that other wretched publication.

But still, it doesn't look good, and it's a little too close to state funded media for comfort.

Bottom Line: The primary reason to abolish taxpayer funded lobbying is because it raises your cost of living in a million subtle ways. But taxpayer funded lobbying is also an affront to free speech. This is a textbook example of why.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

#TXLEGE: Murphy attempting to thread thin ethical/legal needle over apparent Conflict of Interest

"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."
Matthew 24:12

Confession: We had forgotten about Jim Murphy drawing a $312k salary from a Harris County special purpose district while chairing the Special Purpose Districts committee in the Texas house.

An interim hearing last week reminded us:

Oh yeah....

Poking around the internet, we found this follow up report from May:


  • Murphy no longer listed as "General Manager," now working as an "independent contractor."
  • Murphy still banking $26k+ per month!!!
    • In other words, he's still making $312k annually.
    • Fixed fee.
  • "This, just, looks like a salary."
  • Murphy getting continuous monthly payments and re-imbusements.
  • Murphy's contract "is unique."
  • Sarah Davis on Murphy's previous bonuses: "It doesn't smell good, it really doesn't."
    • Note: Good grief...are we going to have to agree with Sarah FRIGGIN' Davis on this one?!?
  • Davis has asked for multiple A.G. opinions.
What to say?!?

This author is not a lawyer, so we can't comment on the legal issues.  This may very well be one of those "technically legal" situations.  But "technically legal" does not mean ethical.

And, even in the current arrangement passes "technically legal" muster, it doesn't excuse the previous decade.

Then there's the ongoing committee chairmanship: Whether or not Jim Murphy's compensation agreements dotted all the legal "i's" and crossed the legal "t's," it hardly seems appropriate for Jim Murphy to continue as chairman of the legislative committee with jurisdiction.  But that's a decision for the speaker.  And we're stuck with Joe Straus for another six months.

Bottom Line: None of this looks good....

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pete Sessions is a liability that should have been dealt with YEARS ago

"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

This isn't good, via the Texas Observer:
Golf outings at an exclusive country club. A catered suite at a Dallas Cowboys game. Swanky ski resort getaways in the mountains of Utah. Life is good for Congressman Pete Sessions.

As the chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions is Congress’ gatekeeper — the man who controls if and when legislation is considered on the House floor. And he’s used his position, aided by an under-the-radar political action committee (PAC), to finance a pampered life among fellow elites.

A new report released this week by Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center, campaign-finance reform groups based in Washington, D.C., explores how leadership PACs — special pots of money meant to help other politicians and build influence — have become lawmakers’ “preferred ticket to luxurious living.”

Leadership PACs are an obscure fundraising tool ostensibly used to support other candidates directly, or to subsidize a lawmaker’s travel while campaigning for other candidates. In other words, they can cover some peripheral expenses a lawmaker’s campaign account can’t. But with next to no spending restrictions and little oversight, politicians are increasingly using the money as a personal slush fund for extravagant flourishes and expensive events. In fact, less than half of the $160 million that leadership PACs spent in the 2016 cycle — about $74 million — actually went toward other federal candidates or political committees.

Sessions is spotlighted in the report for using his creatively named leadership PAC, People for Enterprise Trade and Economic Growth (PETE) PAC, to finance expensive golf outings. But a closer look at PAC records shows that he’s also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at some of the most luxurious places in the country while he wines and dines corporate donors.

Sessions’ PAC hasn’t given more than 50 percent of its funding to other candidates or PACs since 2013 and has instead spent more and more of its funds on courting donors, according to the report. For instance, in the 2013-14 cycle, PETE PAC spent about 45 percent of its money — $303,000 — on political contributions and about 50 percent on fundraising expenses. For 2015-2016, the PAC spent 49.8 percent – $214,100 — on contributions to other candidates.

“The way you raise funds is to make donors feel comfortable and give them an experience, which is fine, but the problem is that a comparably small percentage of the funds raised for leadership PACs are going to other candidates,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for the Campaign Legal Center. “It gives the appearance that you’re holding fundraisers at a high-end steakhouse to bankroll the fundraiser you’re holding at a Cowboys game.”
The Observer article goes on to detail the PETEPAC's various events and expenditures that have benefited the Congressman; we strongly recommend you read the whole thing here.

Hillary won Sessions' district.  It's not a secret Sessions' district is the most likely Texas CD to flip this fall.  This type of corruption drives voters insane.

Sessions has had challenges almost every cycle for the past decade.  Unfortunately, on each occasion, Dallas did what it usually does.  That being said, no regrets on our end about supporting previous challenges to Sessions.

[Note: That none of Sessions' previous challengers found this scandal hiding in plain sight is an act of political malpractice.]

Bottom Line: This was SO predictable.  It was ALSO preventable.  Now it's too late.

Austin Chronicle gets confrontation it RICHLY Deserves

"Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."
Titus 2:15

[Note: You can watch the original incident here.]

Anyone who knows this author knows that we tend to get along well with most reporters in this town.  Across the ideological spectrum, most reporters in this town want to report their stories fairly.  We have no beef.

There are two exceptions, one of which is the Austin Chronicle.

The Chronicle routinely lies via half-truth.  They'll get the basic premise correct, then they omit one or two pieces of context, and they use it to spin a misleading conclusion.  Unfortunately (for them), they made the mistake of going after someone with a big national platform:

(h/t. Redstate).

  • It should be about the Austin Chronicle.
  • Chronicle refused to embed the video.
    • Won't say why.
  • Never asked Crowder for comment.
  • Chronicle released location, not Crowder.
  • Chronicle called him "alt-right" even though Crowder has denounced alt-right.
    • Crowder's been attacked by alt-right.
  • Chronicle reporter correction points out Crowder going behind counter was an aggressive act.
    • Crowder deflects, but she makes a good point.
    • This was, by far, Crowder's weakest moment; if he'd been a little more contrite on this point, it would have made the rest of his argument stronger.
  • "Very selectively choosing facts."
    • That's what the Austin does, and they've been doing it that way for decades.
  • 10 minutes of talking past each other.
  • Crowder left other incriminating information out of original video for safety purposes.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Humphrey's comments fine so long as conservative Student-Athletes are granted similar courtesy

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Last week, Longhorn Wide Receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey posted a poem to twitter that ignited some controversy:

We're sympathetic to some of the points he makes. We disagree with others. But mostly we think he's entitled to his opinion and that it's none of our business.

Chris Del Conte expresses a similar sentiment:
"I was proud of him," Del Conte said exclusively to Horns247. "He did a class project where he was asked to write a poem about what he's going through."


"Music always depicts what's happening in society. Whether you're looking at the Mamas and the Papas, Jim Croce and what was going on in the seventies, the Allman Brothers, CCR, or even to NWA in the eighties when I was growing up, you always have something that's going to depict what's in society," Del Conte told Horns247. "Here's a kid writing a poem for class about what he's feeling, so I looked at it and thought, 'You know what, I'm proud of what he's talking about.' Sports always manifest things that are going on in society, and here's a kid just talking about what he feels like, and I can understand that.

"In today's society, it's polarizing. We're in a time that has not been that way in forever, we've been around for 250 years, we're founded by immigrants, we all mold together to become this great country called America, and yet today, we're more divisive than we've ever been. I felt like his poem was about what he's feeling, and you have to accept that and understand that."
Likewise Tom Herman:
“I was proud of him,” Herman said during a break-out session. “I was proud of him for expressing his feelings. I spoke to him... He wrote it and felt like he wanted to post and share it. I support him. That’s the beauty of social media.”
And that's fine.

However...this street better run both ways.

This author knows of several conservative student-athletes, across multiple sports, at the University of Texas.  If they choose to express their views. they had better receive the same treatment.  A free and open exchange of ideas means a free and open exchange of ideas.

Ultimately, everybody's goal is to win the Big XII; if we can do so in an environment of robust political dialogue, that could be a really cool model for the country.

Bottom Line: The standard has been set; we'll see where it goes from here....

Friday, July 20, 2018

IRRESPONSIBLE, RECKLESS, report nevertheless reveals Major UT Title IX problems (not what you think)

"And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar."
2 Samuel 13:22

Yesterday, Campus Reform had a highly sensationalistic report about a recent Title IX conviction at UT-Austin.  It was the worst piece of sexual assault "reporting" we've seen in awhile.  As agenda driven narrative, it was the right-wing equivalent of the original Aziz Ansari report.

Yet, for all that, it still revealed a major problem.

You can read the report here, otherwise we've going to dive in.


Here's the crux:
The student—who requested anonymity—graduated in Spring with a JD. During his time in law school, a female student filed six Title IX complaints against him over two years: three for harassment, two for stalking, and one for violation of a no-contact order.

[Note: Emphasis added.]

Seriously...six complaints?!?  Stalking?!?  Violation of a no contact order?!?

It could be that this guy is completely innocent.  U.T.-Austin certainly has a record of railroading guys through Title IX.  But six complaints is pretty dadgum suspicious.

Campus Reform makes no attempt to determine the facts of the case.  Instead, it takes the accused at his word when he says his conviction was "very questionable."  With all due respect, it's...difficult...to take someone at their word following six separate complaints.

In each of the previous Title IX cases at UT-Austin, we had a reasonably decent grasp of the facts.  Each involved a single complaint against the accused.  Each showed significant evidence of lawless activity on the part of the University.

That's not the case here, and a guy with six complaints is not the hill on which this website wants to die.

The incoming Vice President of the Young Conservatives of Texas' UT chapter says it best:


That being said....


...there's the matter of what happened next:
In addition to placing him on disciplinary probation for the fall 2018 semester and forbidding him from having further contact with his accuser, Zamora sentenced the student to “watch the film 'The Mask You Live In'…and write a reflection paper” on “your definition of masculinity and how it has been informed.”

He was also told to “identify gender role stereotypes/concepts and how [these] have impacted your relationship with women,” and to “define your idea of ‘healthy masculinity’ and describe what active steps you can take today to encourage healthy attitudes around masculinity at all levels of society.”

“Be advised that this [reflection assignment] may not serve as a defense of your actions, but as a reflection of what you have learned about yourself through this experience,” wrote Zamora, adding that the paper should be 5-6 pages, double-spaced.
This has produced predictable right wing commentary about "political correctness" and other pre-existing narratives.  But it misses a larger point: Following his conviction, the accused was sentenced to watch a movie and write an essayThat's it.

"Toxic masculinity," or not, that's ridiculously weak; it's the modern day, woke, equivalent of saying "go to your room and think about what you've done."

Either the guy is guilty, or the guy is innocent:
  • If he's guilty, he should face real consequences.
  • If he's innocent, he be should left alone.
Watching a movie and writing an essay is neither.


A note to our conservative friends: The "toxic masculinity" aspect of this is certainly dumb, but if you think that's the biggest problem here then you seriously need to reexamine your priorities.


[U.T. Austin press flack Shilpa] Bakre also said there is no standard procedure for how sanctions are determined when asked whether other students found guilty of violating the same policies have been sentenced to similar “healthy masculinity” reflections.
That's the actual problem with all things related to sexual assault policy at U.T.-Austin: They're making it up as they go along.


Here's the other tragedy: U.T-Austin's Title IX program is poorly enough run that they're eventually going to step in it again.  Jumping the gun on cases like these are the equivalent of crying wolf.  It'll only hurt your credibility in the long run.


Bottom Line: Nobody's covering themselves in glory....

Thursday, July 19, 2018

#TXLEGE: Villalba auditions for Far Left cash by playing "Rational Republican" martyr

"The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
Proverbs 15:2

It started with Samantha Bee last month:

It continued with yesterday's barely literate Trib op-ed calling for Trump's impeachment:
But verily I say unto you today, if we do not stop this man now, today, over 500 days into his presidency, we will be equally culpable in what he has planned for our great nation. President Trump thinks you are a fool. He believes you will never abandon him. And he believes that that there is almost nothing that he can do that would cause you to abandon supporting him.

But what he doesn’t know is that you are not a fool. You, like me, are an American. And no man will own your heart and mind like this president thinks he owns you.

Today is the day we take back our America. Today is the day we say “NO” to anyone who revels in abusing those weaker than them for political points.
At first, it seems like this is just Jason Villalba being Jason Villalba.

Then the Texas Observer ties everything together:
At the historic Sunset Station building just east of downtown San Antonio Wednesday night, a couple hundred people gathered to see Tom Steyer in a town hall setting.

Some had gotten texts; others invites on Facebook. Some had no clue who this Tom Steyer guy was; others a faint idea. Most of them had signed on to his Need to Impeach campaign, which he launched in October to build public support for President Trump’s impeachment. He says it has since garnered about 5.5 million signatures and is adding 10,000 more each day.


A hedge-fund billionaire and Democratic mega-donor from California, Steyer is the benefactor of the youth voter mobilization project NextGen America, a super PAC that operates in 11 states. He’s developed a reputation for his willingness to spend tens of millions on liberal politics.

So far, Steyer has pumped more than $40 million into Need to Impeach, running ads on TV (including Fox News) and building up a staff of 40 people.
Soo...Jason Villalba just "happens" to publish an op-ed calling for Trump's impeachment on the same day that the far-left billionaire who's funding the Trump impeachment drive just "happens" to be in Texas.


Couldn't be.

Oh wait:

Get a room.

Bottom Line: We'll just warn our friends on the left that if they buy Jason Villalba, they own Jason Villalba.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#TXLEGE: Banning Race-Based Abortions could SWING SD-19 Special Election

"For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb."
Psalm 139:13

We recently discussed how, in the context of the current special election, a concerted pro-life push could flip SD-19.  SD-19 is filled with culturally conservative legacy Democrats (aka. pro-life Hispanic Catholics) uncomfortable with the Democrat party's current position on abortion.  Looks like Texas Right to Life noticed the same thing:
Now through July 31, Pro-Life voters in Senate District 19 have the opportunity to elect a true Pro-Life candidate to the Texas Senate: Peter Flores.

Senator Carlos Uresti, a radical pro-abortion Democrat who has been the Senator for SD 19 since 2006, was recently forced to resign after being convicted of several felonies. He will serve a 12-year jail sentence. Governor Greg Abbott called an emergency special election to take place July 31 to fill this seat for the remaining two years of the term.

SD 19 has always been represented by Democrats, leaving Pro-Life Republicans yearning for better representation. A little known secret is that SD 19 is not a deep blue one, being in fact a swing district. After more than a hundred years of Democrats owning this seat, now is our time to seize this opportunity!
Soo...you have a strong pro-life contrast in a majority/minority district.

And what, pray tell, is Texas Right to Life's top legislative priority next session?!?
[The Preborn Non-Discrimination Act] would protect preborn children from discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or suspected disability.
The campaign ads (English and Spanish) write themselves: "Pete Gallego and Roland Gutierrez support aborting babies because over race.  Pete Flores is the only candidate who will protect children of color.  Vote Pete Flores for Texas Senate."

It would tie the Democrats in knots.

Bottom Line: Not killing babies based on their race a solid ethical principle; in a Catholic majority/minority district, it's also a political no-brainer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

#atxcouncil rebuked by DEMOCRAT Travis County Judge over #CodeNext Lawlessness

"Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear."
1 Timothy 5:20

Unexpected good news from an unexpected source:
The CodeNext petition ordinance will appear on November’s ballot and likely pour kerosene on Austin City Council elections this year just as campaign season begins to ramp up.

Travis County state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo issued the order on Monday ruling that it was premature for the Austin City Council to deny the petition ordinance.

If approved, the proposed ordinance would allow voters to decide whether they wish to vote on CodeNext and any future large-scale revisions of Austin’s land development code. It also calls for a waiting period before any voter-approved land-use rewrite is adopted.
Here's what's extraordinary: It's not that the city lost.  It's that they lost in Travis County District court.  That NEVER happens.

Usually, when there's a lawsuit challenging the lawless actions of any governmental entity in this county, the hack Travis County Democrat judges protect the government.  That didn't happen here.  That's VERY interesting.  [Note: The fact that a similar, though less pronounced, phenomenon occurred on the so-called "sick leave" lawsuit is likewise interesting.]

Bottom Line: You know the city's case is weak when Travis County judges can't invent legal fictions to prop them up....

Monday, July 16, 2018

#TXLEGE: How Your Property Taxes are Subsidizing the Most WRETCHED Capitol Publications

"And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"
Revelation 18:2

Quorum report is a corrupt, low-circulation, publication that serves as a propaganda outlet for the good ol' boy, pro-status quo, crowd at the Capitol.  It specializes in gaslighting.  It's the number 1 purveyor of the toxic Capitol culture.

Which makes this line from a story they published last Friday interesting:

We don't pay much attention to Quorum Report's advertisers, because we don't pay much attention to Quorum Report, but scrolling up the page does reveal:

There you have it: The Texas Association of Counties Advertising in plain sight.  That means, if you pay taxes to a county government in Texas, you are subsidizing Quorum Report.  Talk about compelled speech!!!

Bottom Line: The primary reason to abolish taxpayer funded lobbying is because it raises your cost of living in a million subtle ways.  But taxpayer funded lobbying is also an affront to free speech.  This is a textbook example of why.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

#TXLEGE: Teachers Union gives award to Straus

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

The Association of Texas Professional Educators are the primary teachers union in the state and exist for no other reason than to demand MOAR MONEY for the status quo.

This speaks for itself:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grandstanding Gohmert's Political Theatrics

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
Phillipians 4:8

We finally got a chance to watch the Louie Gohmert clip from yesterday's Congressional hearing:

Having now watched the exchange, we're struck by its phoniness.

Everyone's being insincere.  The Democrats are being insincere.  Strzok is being insincere.  But, unfortunately, Louie Gohmert is being obviously insincere.

This is not to excuse Strzok's conduct.  Strzok's conduct is reprehensible on both personal and professional levels.  But Strzok's personal conduct wasn't relevant in the context in which Gohmert brought it up.  Gohmert's comment was a gratuitous personal swipe designed to pander to Fox News.

Gohmert's comment accomplished nothing.  It hardens existing tribal identities without putting forward anything of substance.  The only people who should welcome Gohmert's comments are Fox News' advertisers.

Bottom Line: Cheap emotional catharsis might generate ratings for Fox News, but it'll rot your brain over the long run.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

#TXLEGE: Seriously, you can't find $15 million to cover this?!?

"Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly."
2 Samuel 13:19

The awfulness of the system for reporting rape and sexual assault is a subject about which this author has only recently become aware.  Addressing it will be one of our top priorities next session.  In the meantime, this Texas Observer article about the rape kit testing backlog is a must read:
In Texas, about 20,000 backlogged rape kits were identified in 2011. Since then, lawmakers have passed a range of laws and provided new funding to address the backlog. All but about 2,000 of the kits have been processed. But new kits have piled up in the meantime, and there’s no comprehensive total of how many have accumulated. (A new law passed last session requires the Department of Public Safety to implement a tracking system for sexual assault evidence by next year.) With insufficient state funds, Texas lawmakers are now asking private citizens to crowdfund efforts to clear the backlog. A law authored by state Representative Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, last session allows Texans to donate to rape kit testing programs when applying for or renewing a driver’s license. The measure raised nearly $250,000 in its first five months, but a Dallas Morning News editorial in June notes that an estimated $15 million is needed annually to test kits; Neave’s program is expected to raise only about $1 million per year.
Seriously...$15 million?!?

That's it?!?

The state of Texas currently spends northwards of $127 BILLION per year; surely we can find a measly $15 million to cover something this important.

Heck, we could cover this amount simply by abolishing film subsidies.

Bottom Line: As far as the state budget is concerned, this is not a lot of money; we can find it if we make doing so a priority.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Turns out O'Rourke is just your typical Good Ol' Boy Texas Politician

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

We'd missed this story from when Robert Francis announced his candidacy last year:
Just weeks before Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D., Texas) officially launched his Senate campaign, he sold property valued at over $1 million to a wealthy El Paso family that has donated thousands of dollars to his political campaigns.

O'Rourke, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, announced last month after weeks of speculation that he would challenge Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018. The previous month, O'Rourke prepared for the campaign launch by unloading valuable property that his family had owned for more than three decades.

The Imperial Arms apartment complex, owned by O'Rourke through Imperial Arms LLC and valued by him at between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000, was sold on February 27, 2017, according to legal documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The recipient of the building was Patricia "Isha" Rogers, who has contributed thousands to O'Rourke since his first run for Congress in 2012 and has already given him $2,500 this cycle.

Also contributors to O'Rourke are Rogers's sister Dede Rogers, who has given $11,500 including $5,000 this cycle, and brother Jonathan Rogers, who has given $5,100.
Shady real estate deal between incumbent elected official and a campaign contributor...that's pretty Texas.

But here's the kicker:
"I've known them for a really long time," O'Rourke said. "Her dad Jonathan Rogers was mayor of El Paso when my dad, Pat O'Rourke, was county judge in the early 1980s, so I've known her since we were kids."
Exqueeze me?!?  Baking powder?!?

You're saying that the son of a former county judge (and current U.S. Congressman) made a shady real estate deal with the daughter of the former mayor of the largest city in said county?!?

Now THAT'S Texas!!!

[Note: This author hadn't previously known that Robert Francis' father had been County Judge.]

Bottom Line: Never, ever, ever forget that the primary political activity in the state of Texas is to grease the skids for shady real estate deals by the politically favored.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Liberal donations pouring into campaign getting fleeced by out of state vendors

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), seeking to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and land one of the year’s biggest midterm upsets, is back in Los Angeles on Monday to raise campaign cash.

He’ll be at the home of actress Nancy Stephens and director-producer Rick Rosenthal for an evening reception, with ticket prices starting at $250 per person. Those who contribute $2,700 per person or raise at least $5,000 earn a spot on the host committee.


O’Rourke has trekked to L.A. at least two other times for fundraising events.
In 2016, Revolution Messaging was breaking fundraising records for Bernie Sanders.

Two years later, after a period of rapid growth that embodied the rise of the ascendant left’s “political revolution,” the award-winning digital firm is in a state of upheaval.

In interviews with 23 current and former employees, staffers described Revolution Messaging in grim terms: The firm, they say, is “in a tailspin.” It’s “spiraling.” “In crisis.” The work culture is “toxic” and “volatile.” There’s a “fear of retaliation,” “a lack of value for employees.” There’s “confusion,” “unease,” and “anxiety.” It’s “paranoia city.”

“People feel the ship is sinking.”


Before this month, the firm’s largest remaining client, according to former staffers on the campaigns team, was Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Last Friday, he left Revolution Messaging for a competing firm.

That got us wondering.  So we checked Robert Francis' most recent campaign finance report.  Updated data will be available next week, but we have data through the end of March (aka. the end of the primary period.)

It was interesting.

[Note: The process of taking screen shots is extremely tedious.  So we only collected a relevant sample.  Each of these vendors has gotten significantly more than the screenshots we pulled.]

D.C. based digital advertising:

California based field team:

[Note: You've gotta be some kinda stupid to think you can win an election anywhere in Texas with an out of state canvassing team.]

D.C. based fundraising consultant:

We didn't feel like collecting screenshots, but it's also worth pointing out O'Rourke has several DC, NY, and CA based campaign staff.

And for all of these expenditures, how did O'Rourke fair in the primary?!?

Oh yeah:


In fairness to O'Rourke, he does not seem to be personally living large off of the campaign.  While there are a few nights at high-end hotels, most of his accommodations are book through Expedia.  He's mostly flying Southwest.


Bottom Line: Robert Francis appears to be a poor investment for anyone except a few vendors in locations far from Texas.

Monday, July 9, 2018

#TXLEGE: On property taxes, several good proposals.

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

With property taxes once again likely to be a major issue next session, several good proposals exist:
  • The Governor's proposal -- Governor Abbott's proposal would require local governments to obtain voter approval before they would be allowed to raise taxes over 2.5%.  Furthermore, the governor wants significantly more ballot transparency for bond elections.  Finally, the governor wants to create super-majority requirements to pass bonds!!!

    Pros: Covers all forms of local governments (school districts, cities, counties, special purpose).  The ballot transparency stuff is something we've been advocating for years.  SUPER MAJORITIES FOR BOND ELECTIONS!!!

    Cons: Doesn't 'cut' taxes in a top-line sense (although, the resulting income growth will probably mean a bottom-line cut as a percentage of household budgets.  Difficult to pass politically (Because it's so wide ranging, invites wide ranging opposition).  Rural R's and their taxpayer funded lobbyists will scream to high heaven about the alleged costs of special elections -- BS argument but simple talking point.
  • The TPPF Proposal -- TPPF's proposal would implement a strong spending cap at the state level and use the resulting savings to "buy down" school district M&O taxes over time.

    Pros: Because you're giving Rural R's and D's something they want (more state level education spending), it's more difficult for them to oppose.  Because this would only impact school districts, other forms of local governments likely to stay on sidelines.  Direct cut to biggest item on most people's tax bill.

    Having the state pick up a bigger share of the education spending tab is also the simplest way to move from a property tax to a consumption tax.

    Cons: Because it only covers school districts, won't stop cities, counties, and special purpose districts from consequently jacking up their own spending.
  • The "Steve Toth" proposal -- During convention week, former (and likely future) State Rep. Steve Toth testified in front of the legislative priorities committee in favor of ABOLISHING APPRAISAL DISTRICTS and taxing properties at the price of sale.

    We didn't know this until we heard Rep. Toth's testimony, but apparently Texas appraisal districts cost taxpayers over $1 BILLION a year in direct operating costs; thus, in addition to the tax cut for homeowners, abolishing apprasal districts saves significant money on the spending side.

    Finally, as someone who regularly participates in the battles around gentrification in a major urban area...allow this author to politely, but firmly, suggest that a serious effort to abolish appraisal districts would be VERY well received in the African-American and Hispanic communities in the major urban areas.  Woe unto the Democrat who might oppose such an effort.  In light of the #WalkAway movement, this is a point to VERY seriously consider.

    Pros: The biggest potential tax cut of all.  Possible SIGNIFICANT political upside.  Basic Fairness.

    Cons: Impossible to predict the unintended consequences of a shock to the system of this magnitude
Politically speaking, some form of the TPPF proposal is probably the easiest to get to the Governor's desk (although a serious effort on appraisal districts could take off like a prairie fire).

Bottom Line: It's way to early to know where potential votes may lie, but any of these ideas would be a significant step in the right direction.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Poll: 28% of Texas Voters Have "NEVER HEARD OF" the Sitting Attorney General

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children."
Hosea 4:6

Mike Bacelice is an establishment Republican pollster.  He recently polled the November general election.  Most of the results were about what you'd expect.  But one ASTONISHING finding stood out:

Four years into his term, 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" Ken Paxton.

How is that possible?!?

Love him or hate him [Note: Obviously, this website LOVES him], Ken Paxton is constantly in the news.  He's not a low profile Attorney General.  Yet, apparently, 28 % of Texas voters have "never heard of" him.

Furthermore, think about these numbers in light of the pending criminal case.  Obviously, this website's opinion about that fiasco are well known.  But it's still an opportunity for the general public to build name recognition.  Yet, even in light of the criminal case, 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" Ken Paxton.

Bottom Line: If you want to understand why society is in the state in which it currently finds itself...the fact that 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" a major statewide elected official would be a good place to start.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

#atxcouncil: Audit petition campaign is moving forward

"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
Leviticus 19:11

From the Texas Monitor:
A political action committee, Citizens for an Accountable Austin, is underwriting a drive that has gathered nearly enough signatures to ask voters on the Nov. 6 ballot if they favor an independent audit of all city government functions.

Based on the results of similar audits in several states, cities and school districts, Austin could find savings of between $150 million and $400 million, said Michael Searle, treasurer of the PAC and head of the petition drive.

Petition crews have gathered more than 17,000 signatures and Searle said he expects to present at least the necessary 20,000 to the city clerk by about July 10, in plenty of time for the names to be validated and to put the audit question on the ballot. Please see the blueprint for the audit here.

The idea of a third-party audit of city departments including the city’s energy and water utilities has long been popular with voters, including a level of bipartisan support unusual for such a high profile issue in Austin.

“Conservatives may see it as an opportunity to reduce taxes and liberals may see it as an opportunity to free up resources for important city investments,” Searle told The Texas Monitor. “There may be a way to do both.” 
Bottom Line: This is so desperately needed....

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#TXLEGE: Trib's Midwives Article Illustrates Need for Medical Scope of Practice Reform

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

The Trib has a long article today about the role midwives could potentially play in alleviating Texas' maternal mortality challenges.  The whole thing is worth taking 15 minutes to read.  But here's the relevant section for policy:
In Texas, midwives must have oversight from a doctor before they can see patients, and physician groups around the country have lobbied state legislatures to block bills that would give midwives more autonomy, claiming they don’t have the required skills to handle high-risk pregnancy complications like postpartum preeclampsia or hemorrhaging.

In the United States, midwives can provide women with services such as contraceptive and nutrition counseling, prescriptions and labor and delivery care. They try to help women have low-risk pregnancies by assessing their health and making sure they can safely give birth outside of the hospital. They also help women prepare for natural births — giving birth without being induced or needing a cesarean section.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives has touted the benefits of midwifery, including reduced rates of labor induction, reduced use of anesthesia, lower costs for both clients and insurers and increased satisfaction with quality of care.


Kelli Beaty, executive director for the Association of Texas Midwives and a midwife in Midland, said most midwives believe Texas is a good place to practice but “there’s not a lot of mutual respect” between doctors and midwives. Building relationships with doctors can be difficult since many are not homebirth friendly, are wary of midwifery in general and territorial about the type of care they should be allowed to provide patients.

“There’s not a lot of integration,” Beaty said. “There’s a lot of areas in Texas that have populations that exceed the physician availability, so people are beginning their pregnancy care later and later ... there could be midwives who could fill in the gap.”

Licensed midwives in the state have also expressed exasperation about a 2015 legislative change that moved them from being regulated by the Texas Department of State Health Services to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation — the same agency that oversees laser hair removal businesses, electricians, podiatrists and tow truck operators. Midwives complain that the agency doesn’t have the expertise to properly oversee them, particularly when it comes to understanding various medical terminology. Certified nurse midwives are overseen by the state’s Board of Nursing.

Beaty said the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and midwives are beginning to work together to address some of those concerns. The agency held a series of listening sessions for midwives in recent months and is working on changes to licensing and the complaint review process.
Followed, of course, with the same 'health and safety' drivel you always hear:
Moss Hampton, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Odessa, said he doesn’t “want to sound like I’m bashing midwives” because he believes they have a place in maternal health care.

But he said midwives don’t have the same level of training for independent practice as doctors and should have more clinical training. Licensed midwives must have at least a high school diploma or GED, take midwifery courses and complete a clinical apprenticeship. They then have to pass the North American Registry of Midwives exam to be licensed in Texas.

“There's just situations where the midwife maybe thinks it's better to do it one way than the obstetrician,” Hampton said, adding that doctors are typically the caregiver that gets sued if something goes wrong with a birth. “If the liability was spread equally, I don’t think people would be quite as concerned, but the obstetrician is responsible for the situation if something bad happens ... I think that’s where people get concerned.”
We've written before about "Scope of Practice."  The short version is that you allow non-physician medical personnel (eg. Nurse Practitioners, Midwives, and Physician assistants) to perform routine medical procedures that are currently restricted by law to licensed physicians.  This increase in the supply lowers costs while freeing up licensed physicians to care for genuinely medically serious patients.

The problem, unfortunately, is the so-called Texas "Medical" Association.  As stated above: Increasing medical providers decreases the cost.  The Texas "Medical" wants high health care costs.  That's how a cartel makes its money.

Meanwhile, Texas' politically induced shortage of health care providers (including midwives) continues; this is especially a problem in rural areas.

Bottom Line: This is a textbook example of an incumbent industry using the force of government to restrict competition....