Texas Voter ID Law: Federal Judge Says Law Intentionally Discriminates

Remember, this fight is far from over:

A federal judge ruled on Monday [April 10, 2017] that the voter identification law the Texas Legislature passed in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, raising the possibility that the state’s election procedures could be put back under federal oversight. Source: NYTimes.com

Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, had made a similar ruling in 2014, but after Texas appealed her decision, a federal appellate court instructed her to review the issue once more.

Then came the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which said Judge Ramos relied too much on Texas’ history of discriminatory voting and other “infirm” evidence.

Judge Ramos wrote the 5th District’s evidence “did not tip the scales” in favor of Texas.

Many southern states have fought the federal approval requirement for amending voting laws. Most of the issues were lifted when the Supreme Court decision in 2013 invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Source: NYTimes.com

And finally, something new:

With the ruling, two federal courts – in consecutive months – have found that Texas lawmakers knowingly discriminated against Latino and black voters in elections. In March, a three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled the Legislature illegally “packed” and “cracked” minority populations in certain districts while redrawing the state’s congressional map in 2011 – an effort to reduce their influence across Texas. Source: TexasTribune.com

Remember that phrase “packed and cracked” aka gerrymandering.

Black Mask, Black Flag

RE: U.C. Berkeley Protests/Riots

Was the riot a black mask, black flag operation? I mean look, there’s a bunch of people covering their faces, rioting and causing destruction, for what? To cancel the meeting? or distract people from seeing what’s going on: Trump targeting a place to cut funds when they don’t comply. They couldn’t comply. It was a catch 22. Allow Milo to speak and risk death and destruction (after they whip the crowd into a frenzy), or cancel the event and risk (some uninspired) destruction; they chose  to cancel.

I have no doubt Steve Bannon could get a small group to riot, distract, and fain hate towards Trump, then Trump could use whatever excuse he wanted to target funding for anything; get public institutions to comply and you conquer the public. If this is the case, I agree with others, Donald your “slip is showing.”

Texas Voter ID Law: SCOTUS Won’t Hear It

This is the same law we keep hearing about. Texas is determined to have it decided one way or the other. In the last chapter of this saga I reported that the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said that the Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election.

On Monday (January 23), The Supreme Court rejected  the appeal from Texas officials seeking to restore the state’s voter ID law.

“Chief Justice Roberts made it very clear that the case will be an even stronger posture for Supreme Court review after further proceedings in lower courts,” Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Texas enacted a common sense voter ID law to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and we will continue to fight for the law.”

Source: New York Times.

So, we haven’t seen the end yet. Back to the lower courts (drawing board).

Let’s put a pin in that

I’m posting this here just so we remember his name. I have a feeling we’re going to hear more from him in the future.

Richard Spencer, white nationalist and creator of the term alt-right spoke in Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center on December 6. Source: TheBatt.com

While he was giving his speech the university was hosting an “Aggies United” event across the street. Some 400 people attended Spencer’s speech – most were protesters and most of the protesters weren’t students at A&M. Many more attended Aggies United.

Just weeks after the Texas A&M speech, Spencer is still in national headlines:

  • Spencer is considering race for Senate
  • His mom is target of hate
  • White supremacists targeting Jews in Montana (His mom lives in Whitefish, Montana)
  • Alt-right Plans Armed March Through Montana Town To Scare Jews

Our Next President: Donald J. Trump

President Elect Donald Trump Today’s New York Times front page headline: “TRUMP TRIUMPHS Shocking Upset as Outsider Harnesses Voters’ Discontent.” The story’s headline echos the anti-establishment: Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment. Source: New York Times

So there it is. I really don’t know what to say. Some headlines talk about “election hangover” or “now what” so let’s review and see what just happened. (Full disclosure, I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.)

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump officially announced that he was running for President of the United States. His campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” Even from the beginning – from his first speech (he descended to the podium on an escalator in Trump Tower and mentioned Mexico sending rapists across the border) – controversy followed Donald, and he spewed hate-filled rhetoric.

On July 27, 2016, after the primaries, I wrote, the nominees have been chosen to represent their parties. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and making waves as the 3rd (and 4th?) party nominees are Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein for the Green Party.

In the past 6 months – since the primaries began – there’s been scandals, mudslinging, and a healthy dose of much-to-do-about-nothing. History has again been made with the nomination of Hillary as the first female nominee of “a major political party” for president. (Victoria Woodhull ran for president in 1872.) WikiLeaks leaked over 30,000 emails from the DNC – they showed a preference toward Hillary and motives to eliminate Bernie Sanders from the nomination. (Russian hackers got into the email server.) Donald, meanwhile, has been saying some radical things: he would (possibly) eliminate the World Bank; get Mexico to pay for a wall along our border with them; (possibly) not support NATO countries that don’t pay their share; he wants to talk with Putin, …

Hillary and Donald had 4 debates, he lost them all. He was trailing – even just a little – in polls most of the race. He lost the popular vote by 200,000 votes. But, in the end, he won the electorate. They’re still counting votes, but as of now he has 51%. Hillary conceded Wednesday morning thus making Donald J. Trump our 45th president.

I forgot to mention that Donald’s Vice President is Mike Pence. Remember his name I think we’ll see more of him.

Andrea Yates Where Is She Now

It’s been a little over ten years since Andrea Yates was found insane and I wrote about the verdict.

Fifteen years after drowning her five children in the bathtub of her suburban Houston home, Andrea Yates lives a reclusive life in a Texas mental health facility and frequently watches videos of her children laughing and playing, sources close to Yates tell PEOPLE. Source: People.com

It continues to be a sad end to a sad case.

Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the [Texas Voter ID] law violates the Voting Rights Act.

On July 20, a federal appeals court found a Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election. Source: Wall Street Journal.

This is the same 5th Circuit Court that I wrote about last year (and the year before last) allowed Texas to keep the law because it was too close to elections to change it. Apparently, a couple weeks makes the difference in being too close to an election. The election is now 109 days away.

The lower court hasn’t fixed it in 2 years, so I don’t see them doing much with it now. They may follow the Wisconsin example and accept affidavits from affected voters who swear they can’t get a photo ID.

You’re hearing it here first: I predict someone will go to Mexico and “collect” a lot of signed affidavits from people that are unable to get government IDs. That’s right up there with the dead voting.

Yeah, there’s no room for fraud in an affidavit system.

Declaration of Independence

This 4th of July, as you’re munching on hot dogs and drinking ice-cold beer, take a moment to remember the reason for the season.

I think we should read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th like we read the Bible on December 25th. The same truths apply to today’s government as they did in 1776. The people and the politicians should always remember, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” And “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….”

Maybe Gary, Jill, Donald and Hillary should read it twice.

Texas GOP Votes On Secession [UPDATED]

TxSecede On Wednesday [May 11, 2016], the Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Texas voted to put a Texas independence resolution up for a vote at this week’s GOP convention, according to a press release from the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. The resolution calls for allowing voters to decide whether the Lone Star State should become an independent nation….It’s very unlikely to win. Then again, that’s what people said about Donald Trump. Source: motherjones.com

With Donald Trump being the presumptive nominee of the GOP for the 2016 election – and Hillary Clinton is presumptive nominee of Dems – Texans, and Washington, might take this vote more seriously.

Texas did it before. Maybe this time it will stick. Secede-y’all-later folks!

UPDATE 5/16/2016:

As predicted, the committee voted down language of Texas secession. It wasn’t without a fight though. The secessionists and nationalists made their voices heard.

After much parliamentary wrangling and motions and counter-motions, the delegates voted to approve language about the federal government’s having “impaired our right of local self-government,” but voted down the language on Texas secession. Source: texasobserver.org

The latest political talking point (a distraction if you ask me) is the rights of transgendered individuals to use public bathrooms of the sex they identify with. Obama has threatened to revoke federal funding for public schools if states don’t support this idea in schools. The Texas GOP wasn’t having it.

“We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex,” the document stated. Source: texastribune.org

The 2016 Primary Election in Texas

The date for the 2016 Primary election in Texas is March 1. Early voting is February 16 – 26.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot in Brazos County, Texas.

Asterisk (*) indicates incumbent. Strikethrough indicates withdrawn/drop-out.

President/Vice President

  • Martin J. O’Malley (D)
  • Star Locke (D)
  • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (D)
  • Bernie Sanders (D)
  • Calvis L. Hawes (D)
  • Willie L. Wilson (D)
  • Keith Judd (D)
  • Hillary Clinton (D)
  • Lincoln Chafee (D)
  • Lawrence Lessig (D)
  • Jim Webb (D)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17)

  • Bill Flores (R)*
  • Ralph Patterson (R)
  • Kaleb Sims (R)
  • William Matta (D)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R)*
  • Jess Fields (R)

Texas Supreme Court

Place 3

  • Debra Lehrmann (R)
  • Michael Massengale (R)
  • Mike Westergren (D)

Place 5

  • Rick Green (R)
  • Paul Green (R)
  • Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Place 9

  • Eva Guzman (R)
  • Joe Pool (R)
  • Savannah Robinson (D)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Place 2

  • Mary Lou Keel (R)
  • Chris Oldner (R)
  • Ray Wheless (R)
  • Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Place 5

  • Sid Harle (R)
  • Steve Smith (R)
  • Scott Walker (R)
  • Brent Webster (R)
  • Betsy Johnson (D)

Place 6

  • Michael E. Keasler (R)
  • Richard Davis (R)
  • Robert Burns (D)

Texas Courts of Appeals (District 10)

Place 3

  • Al Scoggins (R)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Debra Medina (R)
  • Glenn Hegar (R)*
  • Harvey Hilderbran (R)
  • Raul Torres (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R)*
  • David Watts (R)
  • John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R)*
  • Eric Opiela (R)
  • J. Allen Carnes (R)
  • Joe Cotten (R)
  • Tommy Merritt (R)
  • Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (D)
  • Jim Hogan (D)
  • Richard “Kinky” Friedman (D)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Weston Martinez (R)
  • John Greytok (R)
  • Gary Gates (R)
  • Ron Hale (R)
  • Lance N. Christian (R)
  • Wayne Christian (R)
  • Doug Jeffrey (R)
  • Lon Burnam (D)
  • Cody Garrett (D)
  • Grady Yarbrough (D)

Texas State Board of Education Member (District 8)

  • Barbara Cargill (R)*

District Courts – Brazos County

272nd District Court Judge

  • Travis Bryan III (R)*

85th District Attorney – Brazos County

  • Jarvis Parsons (R)*

Sheriff – Brazos County

  • Chris Kirk (R)*
  • Miguel C. Vasquez (R)

Tax Assessor-Collector

  • Kristeen Roe (R)*

County Commissioner Pct. 1

  • Lloyd Wassermann (R)*
  • Steve Aldrich (R)

County Commissioner Pct. 3

  • Gabriel Garcia (R)
  • Nancy Berry (R)

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