I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last 6 Republican Party of Texas State Conventions and served on the Platform Committee in 2012. This year, I was nominated to represent Senate District 25 on the Rules Committee. The most important thing I have learned from these experiences was that when parliamentary procedure isn’t followed, the results are questioned.
Delegates and alternates, especially those who are appointed to the Temporary Committees and/or elected to a Permanent Committee, should do a little homework and get acquainted with the scheduled agenda, the current Rules and Platform and the guidelines of the current parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. There’s a summary of those latter Rules, here.
If you were selected as delegate or alternate by your County Convention, do everything you can to attend the State Convention. Go early, attend one of the open hearings of the Temporary Platform, Rules or Credentialing Committees on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday when non-members may speak at certain times and places. Speak up if you have something unique to say or if you hear proposals that go against our Republican principles.
Committees, Caucuses, and the delegates to the General Sessions shouldn’t just agree to what seems to be a consensus. Committees and sub-committees should take votes. Learn what it means to “call the question,” “divide the question,” or “demand a roll call vote” – a vote of the members is necessary for each of these.
If you are on one of the Temporary Committees or a delegate or seated delegate at the (State) Senate District Caucus or General Session, ensure that the meetings are held according to the correct parliamentary procedure. (There isn’t a Congressional District Caucus since this isn’t a Presidential election year. This means a few less meetings and votes and we all get to go home earlier.)
Ask around about who is running for State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). This Committee is made up of one man and one woman from the districts of the State Senators. Ask why one candidate is better than the other. Think of questions about what the candidates believe the SREC can and can’t do in the two years between State RPT Conventions.
Finally, wear comfortable shoes and clothes and take extra water or sodas and some sort of snack to the General Sessions. The Fort Worth Convention Center is huge and you’ll do a lot of walking. The food and drink are insurance in case the meeting goes long. It’s very important that you stay to the end: if you don’t someone might make motions or cast votes you can’t agree with.
Our RPT is supposed to reflect the Republican voters of Texas and our Platform and Rules originate with those voters. Our “bottom up” representation is much more “democratic” than the “top-down” Party structure of the guys on the Left.
Do your homework. Go as early as you can. Speak up. Stick around to the end, so that your voice will be heard during the debate and vote on the Platform.
Edited – BBN to add graphic
Corruption knows no party lines. (Give your money to the Candidates!)
The Post found that of the $7.4 million that the Georgia-based group’s super PAC has spent since the beginning of 2013, just $184,505 has gone to boost candidates. Three-quarters of the spending by the Citizens Fund — $5.5 million — has been devoted to fundraising and direct mail.
In addition, Tea Party President Jenny Beth Martin, who runs the super PAC, has been receiving $15,000 monthly consulting fees.
What Republican thinks it’s “dangerous” to have “a lot of money?”
Dan Patrick told the Houston Chronicle that Lieutenant Governor David H. Dewhurst is “dangerous because he has a lot of money.”
Dewhurst might be dangerous because of the skills he learned serving our Nation in the Air Force and CIA. But he’s not dangerous because of his success in business.
Just after posting the article about Great Britain’s new official exclusion of pro-life doctors, I received an email from AAPLOG, the American Association of Pro-life OB/Gyns, referring to this article:
“In medicine, the vast majority of conscientious objection (CO) is exercised within the reproductive healthcare field – particularly for abortion and contraception. Current laws and practices in various countries around CO in reproductive healthcare show that it is unworkable and frequently abused, with harmful impacts on women’s healthcare and rights. CO in medicine is supposedly analogous to CO in the military, but in fact the two have little in common.
This paper argues that CO in reproductive health is not actually Conscientious Objection, but Dishonourable Disobedience (DD) to laws and ethical codes.”
Read the rest for more about the “dishonorable doctors” who follow their consciences and well over 2000 years of “First, do no harm.”
Edited: BBN to add corrected url,
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Great Britain have determined that any nurses or doctors who oppose any form of contraception may not complete training and will not receive certification in the specialty:
Doctors who oppose morning-after pill on conscience grounds face qualifications bar
Guidelines confirm that doctors and nurses who oppose controversial emergency contraception on ‘moral or religious’ grounds cannot receive key specialist qualifications
This is very possible in the US. Take a look here at some fairly recent history of attempts to keep docs from practicing with a conscience.
I wrote a very difficult letter today. I resigned from the organization that is supposed to support Family Physicians in our education, practice management and good medical care of our patients. Instead, the American Academy of Family Physicians too often strays toward forcing its members to be complicit with controversial policies such as condoning gun control and over-the-counter contraceptive drugs, and condemnation of “reparative therapy” for homosexual patients, even when those patients are unhappy with their sexuality. I write about my main conflicts and the “final straw” in the letter:
It is with great regret that I write this letter as notice that I have decided not to renew either my Texas or American Academy of Family Practice membership. While I am still a family doctor, neither the Texas Academy of Family Practice (TAFP) nor the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) represent my political or ethical views.
The political, social and ethical controversies were the main reason I remained in the Academy for the last few years since I left full time practice. I hoped that I could make a difference by volunteering my time and money as an active participant in the Texas Academy, the National Conference of Special Constituencies, the AAFP list serves, the Academy Legislative meetings in DC and our annual AAFP Congress of Delegates.
From the time of Hillary Clinton’s closed meetings on healthcare to the endorsement of the passage of the ACA before it was written, the political actions of the AAFP leaders has disappointed me in Washington, DC. Our practice hassle factors have grown and grown, too often with the blessings of – and sometimes due to the experiments with alternative methods of practice by – the Academy.
The AAFP advocated for elective abortion before I joined as a Student member and I accepted that the burden of persuasion was on those of us who disagreed.
However, the Academy’s decision to advocate for the redefinition of marriage in 2012 and the refusal to reconsider the extracted Resolution on marriage neutrality at the 2013 Congress of Delegates in San Diego were the final proof that there’s no tolerance for family doctors who hold conservative politics or traditional ethics in the Academy.
Unfortunately, our TAFP spokesperson to the 2013 AAFP Reference Committee on Advocacy misrepresented the Texas Delegation’s instructions from the Directors on marriage. As I remember the discussion and vote, the intention was to allow the Texas delegates wide latitude in voting on any final form of the Resolution.
I hereby resign from the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and as a Fellow of the AAFP.
I waited to resign after nearly 30-year membership until the last minute before being dropped (for lack of paying my annual dues). There were several reasons for my hesitancy. For one thing, I didn’t want to be an undue influence on other members when they considered whether or not to write that hefty annual check to the Academy. For another, while I will continue to work with the AAFP and the Christian Medical and Dental Association to protect the right to life, marriage, the conscience rights of doctors within the profession of medicine and the specialty of Family Medicine, I do believe that it is important to work to persuade from within the organization. The biggest problem with finally writing the letter was that I was looking for a way to somehow keep my integrity while allowing the Academy to claim to represent me.
However, now that I’ve resigned, please consider sharing my letter with your family doctor. Many of them are unaware of the policies that our professional organizations push on good doctors of today and the students and residents who will be our doctors of tomorrow.
I’m reading Republican primary run off ads stating that our Republican State Legislators and, in particular, the leader of the Senate – the Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst – haven’t done enough to lower property taxes. Well, those candidates are indulging in the worst sort of campaigning, since there are no State property taxes in Texas!
Here are the sources of State revenue in Texas: http://www.texastransparency.org/State_Finance/Budget_Finance/Reports/Revenue_by_Source/revenue_hist.php . The fact is that the bulk of Texas revenue comes from our sales tax and the return of tax money from the Federal Government.
Unfortunately, the local districts *and their voters* raised those taxes up to the limit in some districts.
In areas such as Houston and Harris County, the appraisals are being *inflated* and/or *rising* nearly 100% due to the good economy there. It seems that the problem is at the School Districts, City Councils, and County Commissioners Courts, not at the State legislature.
Again: there is no State property tax in Texas. The solution to high property taxes is in your home town, not Austin.
Well, flip! Substitute my F-word for their F-word and drop the suggestion that even straight women want to “do ‘very sexy things’ to Windy, and I could have had the Vast WingRight Conspiracy laughing at this column. Ironically, the f’ing-bomb-this and f-bomb-that commenters all seem to take Wonkette’s “satire” take on Windy as a sex object as supportive!
Wonkette is a left-wing blog whose writers spew forth with a foul keyboard, and I think that she and her readers are serious about supporting Windy. It’s just that their support is . . . shall we say “bent?”
Most of the readers of WingRight would agree that it’s preposterous to complain about “ties” to a Political Action Committee with which Greg Abbott has had no dealings since 2004. And it’s true that Windy ain’t Ann Richards.
But Wonkette’s Rebecca Shoenkopf is mostly upset that Windy’s campaign might object to the “very sexy things” comment.
Even odder than a feminists’ objection to an imagined objection from Windy is the use of an Austin-American Statesman article entitled “Greg Abbott holds double-digit lead over Wendy Davis, who is viewed unfavorably by almost half the electorate” to support the idea that Greg Abbott is a “nothingburger:” “
The First Amendment protects political speech, which includes donating what we want, when we want, and to whom we want.
The Supreme Court today did not get rid of the individual candidate limit with the ruling, only the limits on overall donations to multiple candidates. You still can’t give more than $5200 per campaign cycle to any one candidate for Federal office.
Like the signers of the Declaration of Independence, we may pledge our fortunes to political candidates – within limits.
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alex De Tocqueville
A March 27th Op-ed in the San Antonio Express News by Nicholas Kristof calls us a “Nation of Takers,” claiming that the US government gives welfare to the wealthy with mortgage tax “subsidies” for the wealthy and lower capital gains taxes as opposed to earned income taxes.
Forget that Kristof doesn’t understand the difference between taxes – where the government takes from some – and subsidies – where the government gives tax money to the benefactors the government selects. Taxes take, subsidies and benefits give.
Kristof assumes that all money is the government’s to tax, rather than the property of individuals who have the unalienable right to earn and accumulate what they earn to provide for themselves, their dependents, and for the future when they are unable to earn. The money doesn’t belong to even the most utilitarian – or Utilitarian* – government plan for its use.
Those capital gains taxes are on money already taxed and invested for a certain period of time. If you want to encourage investment, don’t tax it. If you want to encourage hoarding on the other hand . . .
As to those yachts and beach homes – people who don’t use these dwellings as their actual homes can’t claim the mortgage deduction. In any case, thanks to the effects of the alternate minimum tax, the wealthy don’t receive any mortgage tax deduction.
*Utilitarian good is the idea that government should rule “for the greatest good.” We end up with the biggest gun, the most charismatic leader or the majority voting — and eventually, “might makes right.”
“I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.” - Thomas Sowell
What about evolution?
The Obama administration said Thursday it is placing a grassland grouse known as the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species, a move that could affect oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in five central and southwestern states.
The decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a step below “endangered” status and allows for more flexibility in how protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.
Dan Ashe, the agency’s director, said he knows the decision will be unpopular with governors in the five affected states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico — but said the agency was following the best science available.
“The lesser prairie-chicken is in dire straits,” Ashe said in an interview. “The bird is in decline and has been in decline for more than a decade.”
The prairie chicken, a type of grouse known for its colorful neck plume and stout build, has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly because of human activity such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and construction of power lines and wind turbines, Ashe said. The bird, which weighs from 1-1/2 to 2 pounds, has also been severely impacted by the region’s ongoing drought.
Biologists say a major problem is that prairie chickens fear tall structures, where predators such as hawks can perch and spot them. Wind turbines, electricity transmission towers and drilling rigs are generally the tallest objects on the plains.
Libertarians within the Republican Party and Republicans who are called “moderate” because they aren’t social Conservatives claim that we will win over more voters and that it’s hypocritical of small-government Conservatives to use government to define or license marriage.
Radio talk show host and commentator Dennis Prager destroyed the claim that Republicans could win elections by dropping our social conservative platform planks in his recent essay :
“To respond to the first argument, it is hard to believe that most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives and vote Democrat would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage and abortion.
“The left and its political party will always create social issues that make Republicans and conservatives look “reactionary” on social issues. Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican “war on women,” and tomorrow it will be ending the objective male-female designation of Americans (Children should have the right to determine their gender and not have their parents and their genitalia determine it, even at birth). Or it will be animal rights, race-based affirmative action or an environmentalist issue.”
Contrary to the claims of those libertarians, traditional marriage of one man and one woman encourages smaller, not larger, government. State marriage licenses prevent the need for a formal legal contract (and a lawyer) before marriage in order to clarify the mutual duties and rights of spouses, inheritance, and a myriad of paternity/maternity rights within intact marriages, at death, and on dissolution of the marriage. Recognizing that not all marriages result in children, the laws do recognize the State’s “compelling interest” in defending the child’s right to life, liberty and property.
While some (on the Right, as well as the Left) might favor laws making entering into a marriage as burdensome and expensive as divorce, many people would simply cohabit. When they go their separate ways – or if one dies – without a marriage license, the Courts will still determine the separation of property and child custody. At best, the new burden will be added to the old. Or, more likely, whole new layers of court rulings and State or Federal legislation would have to be added to replace current law.
There are strong historic, biologic and societal reasons behind the support for defending the Conservative definition of marriage. The new definition is not clear-cut and has very little history. However, the proponents of gay marriage are seeking not only all of the legal – government – benefits and protections afforded traditional marriage, as well as special protection from those same governments to coerce everyone with a business license into participating in their nuptials. There’s nothing “small government” about “getting the State out of the marriage.”
You’ve read about arrests and raids on Democrat candidates, but have you heard about those who have made themselves ineligible to run for office in Texas?
At least four Texas Democrats have been quietly disqualified by Democrat leaders after they made themselves ineligible to run as Dems by voting in the Republican Primary. (Check your local Primary voters!)
In Seguin, Guadalupe County, the Democrat candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Manuel Cavallos, has been disqualified after the County Elections Administrator noticed that the unopposed Dem had voted in the Republican Primary.
In Liberty County, Texas, Monique Duffie Brooks, candidate for Justice of the Peace, voted early in the Republican Primary.
And in Refugio County, an anonymous tipster alerted the County elections administrator that two Democrat incumbent (again, unopposed) candidates voted Republican. Current County Commissioner Stanley Drew Tuttle and County Treasurer Elaine Henning will lose their jobs and salaries ($47,670 and $52,065, respectively).
All of these candidates will be replaced by their County’s Democrat Executive Committee. However, it was hard to find news articles about these four, even though I thought I knew where to look. With the very quiet news media, I wonder how many like them there are out there?
Great news. If there must be abortion, and it’s “between a woman and her doctor,” shouldn’t the doctor have hospital privileges to care for complications? Or does he cease being “her doctor” when she needs him most?
A federal appeals panel on Thursday overturned a lower court decision that had deemed a portion of Texas’ controversial sweeping abortion restrictions as unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had already temporarily lifted a district court injunction that blocked a state provision requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from going into effect.
Thursday’s ruling gives Texas the green light to continue enforcing the provision on a permanent basis.
More of the oligarchy that passes for Courts these days: un-elected judges acting as though the Constitution gives the big questions to the appointed members of the Judicial branch, leaving only the small, inconsequential decisions to the People and our duly elected representatives.
A Federal judge has ruled that “non-viable” human beings – healthy babies in healthy mothers who are exactly what they should be at that stage of life – are not endowed with the inalienable right to life.
Wright left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.
Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill, citing the viability standard. But Republicans, controlling the Statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, overrode him with a simple majority vote.
A victory for less regulation in our lives. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
This month a federal administrative judge held that the FAA has no legal authority to meddle in the market and dismissed a fine levied against an operator who defied regulators by getting paid to use a drone to film the University of Virginia campus. Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the agency had only issued internal guidance on drones and hadn’t followed any process to apply restrictions to the public. He ridiculed the FAA’s broad assertion of power to regulate drones by saying the agency could use the same argument arbitrarily to block “a flight in the air of a paper aircraft, or a toy balsa wood glider.”
Dan Patrick got spooked after he got into an argument with a man who later fired shots *outside the Capitol.* Patrick carries a gun, but demanded the detectors for those of us who don’t have a Concealed Carry Permit. Again, no shots were fired in the Capitol.
Real-at-the-time news and blog reports are still available on-line.
Here’s two blog posts asking readers to call Senator Patrick:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-394641.html Dan went home to Houston and lobbied for metal detectors from his office, there.
Off the Kuff, a far-left blog,reported about Patrick’s advocacy for the metal detectors.
Just read a long list of long-winded resolutions, evidently sent out from Libertarians to their followers who are attending Republican Precinct Conventions. Here’s a bit of my response:
RESOLVED, the legitimate purpose of government is to protect the inalienable rights of individuals from infringement by others.
RESOLVED, any resolution with more than two “Whereas” clauses will be ignored by all RPT Conventions.
RESOLVED, all “resolved” clauses should be written so that they stand alone since only the “Resolved” portion of a Resolution matters and multiple “whereases” are irritating.
RESOLVED, all resolutions calling for a shorter RPT Platform shall be shorter than the Platform itself.
RESOLVED, the RPT resolutions should be in plain language rather than in pseudo-legalese.
RESOLVED, clauses directing that resolutions passed by the Precinct and County Conventions be passed to the State Convention are redundant under the rules of the RPT.
RESOLVED, the products of gardens, farms, ranches, cottage industries and manufacturing which are not transported across State lines should not be regulated more than the minimum necessary to prevent disease and the infringement of citizens’ inalienable rights.
RESOLVED, licensing of the professions and trades serves to prevent the infringement of inalienable rights of citizens.
RESOLVED, the Primary election rather than a caucus is the best way to ensure one-citizen-one-vote.
RESOLVED, the Republican Party of Texas isn’t interested in redefining marriage as anything other than the union between one man and one woman, so get over it.
Update: additional Resolutions as they come to me.
RESOLVED, laws necessarily limit our individual rights and should be minimal.
RESOLVED, gun regulations and background checks are not consistent with “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
RESOLVED, . . .
An unelected Federal judge overturned the Texas Constitution’s definition of marriage, proving the Courts’ lack of respect for our Constitutional Republic – and democracy in general.
Marriage is what it is: the union between one man and one woman. No one, least of all a lawmaker in the form of an activist judge, can make two men or two women “one flesh,” literally or figuratively. Biology isn’t destiny, but it does have consequences. The biological reality is that the male form and the female form are complementary for both pleasurable sex and for procreation.
No one ever claimed that the design of water fountains made one fountain suitable for one race and another fountain suitable for the other. In contrast, there is an obvious biological and common sense suitability in the sexual union of the male and female body – as well as potential consequences of that union– that can’t be found in homosexual sex acts.
Even in polygamous marriage, the man enters into many marriages, each between himself and an individual woman. Polygamy doesn’t create a marriage between the man, his wives and that woman. There’s certainly more history in support of polygamy than for same sex “marriage.”
In their zeal to redefine marriage and restructure society, the Left and the US Federal Courts engage in the equivalent of LaMarckian experiments with the fundamental institution of social organization of our society and government.If, as the Left claims, our Nation has “evolved” toward their definition of marriage, why must the Courts turn over State Legislature after Legislature?
That the People and the States were to be sovereign over the United States Federal government is supported both by the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution and the original document’s provision for an orderly Amendment process. The Courts must stop acting as though the Constitution reserves the major decisions to the Federal Courts, while only allowing the People and our elected Legislatures to decide inconsequential matters.
The “anti-establishment’ comments from the Right always remind me of the Left’s “don’t trust the establishment” anti-America crowd of ’60′s and ’70′s. It’s the same knee-jerk, across-the-board, ignore-loyalties, and follow-the-(anti-establishment)-leaders chant and rant heard around 1970.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written on this subject, but here goes, once again.
The Republican’s problem is that we failed to get out the Republican vote and lost what little majority we had in the House in the 2006 mid-term election and allowed the media and the Left to claim it was because of the war on terror (read former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ memoirs, Duty, for verification of the belief in DC). Then, conservative voters refused to vote for Republican candidates for President in 2008 and 2012. They ignored Reagan’s “80%” rule (“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”), stayed home, claiming “purity.”
(Or, how about Sarah Palin’s observation that the Dems never talk about “DINO’s:”
“Some far-right conservatives are enamored of the term “RINO,” standing for “Republican in name only.” But is there an equivalent term “DINO,” standing for Democrat-in-name-only? No, the Party of the Donkey isn’t that politically stubborn. They just call them “Democrats.” They win with their approach — and we lose (too often) with ours.”)
The reality we have to deal with is that there is a majority of Dems in the Senate, the White House and the media. Every effort – even the valiant effort to defund Obamacare by the House and Boehner in September – is twisted into something else. Have any of the anti-incumbents said one good thing about that effort by the House and Boehner, or did they just turn on the “establishment?”
Did they support Boehner and the House Republicans when they passed the bill defunding ObamaCare? Have they corrected anyone who claimed that the House Republicans cut Veterans benefits, when in fact, they cut the increase from 5% to 4%?
The anti-incumbents are teaching the same “lessons” of 2006-2012: Republicans can’t be counted on.
Adryana Boyne is one of the most courageous, outspoken and well-spoken women I know – not only in Texas politics, but quite possibly in the world! What a blessing that she speaks for life, marriage and family and personal opportunity and responsibility! If you are in Texas House of Representatives District 102, you are blessed to have the opportunity to vote for Adryana to speak for you in Austin.
I’ll admit that I have longed for someone who can stand toe to toe with the minority women Democrats when they pull out the minority women victims’ card. Adryana, who is a naturalized citizen born in Mexico, educated at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and former missionary, founding member of VocesAction, and a speaker for True The Vote and many other conservative organizations, can certainly do that.
However, she won’t ever play the victim card. There’s no need.
It wouldn’t matter if Adryana had been born in her district and, like me, could only speak a few words of Spanish. This wife of an engineer (a minister who has served the Lord as a missionary) and mother of two young men is a stalwart, steadfast and absolutely fearless defender of Conservative values. She and I have walked the halls of the Texas Capitol in the defense of the right to life and traditional marriage and I’ve witnessed her powerful voice and presence across our Nation as a speaker and advocate and as a moderator and participant on panels exploring current events and politics.
Please watch Adryana speaking on immigration and the 10th Amendment on Fox news (and watch Adryana overcome the effort of the Dem who tried to introduce a red herring), here. Take the time to read Adryana’s qualifications and blog posts at TexasGOPVote.Org and visit her campaign website to read the endorsements of other Texas leaders and her explanation about why her values moved her to run for office.
I hope everyone is looking carefully at the anti-incumbent candidates in the upcoming Republican Primary. Not all of them are as conservative as they would have you believe.
For instance, there’s the candidate running against conservative, prolife, pro-family Congressman Pete Sessions of the Texas Congressional District 32.
Katrina Pierson, who last achieved notoriety when she called an honorable man “deformed” due to his injuries as a Marine in Iraq.
However, few heard about Pierson’s anti-Conservative tweets on “social issues” and “homosexuality” which were the subject of a Wingright.org post a month later, just before the run-off in July, 2012.
(These Tweets are evidently still on her Twitter account, as I downloaded them anew, today, February 16, 2014. I wonder how long she’ll leave them up?)
It’s important that those voting know about how the candidates really feel about the “social issues,” don’t you think?
I’ve asked some supporters of Pierson to speak to her and get her on record as pro-life and pro-marriage, but haven’t heard back from them. I hope before you vote for her, you will ask her yourself.
“I think I’ma [sic] shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent run down and eat the beating heart of one of them.”
What business does the State have in regulating anything that doesn’t require processing (and literally grows like a weed)?
Kinky Friedman is running in the Democrat Primary for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, using legalization of marijuana as a “cash crop.” (Read the Texas Tribune comments to see how much Democrats hate him for “stealing” Bill White’s votes.)
Friedman, 69 — a singer, humorist, novelist and hawker of tequila — has tried, frequently, to add “elected official” to his résumé. But his celebrity status and unique charm have not translated into success at the ballot box, and that seems to be an itch he cannot help but scratch. He has tossed his iconic black cowboy hat into the ring for the race for agriculture commissioner with what he calls a clearer focus.
It takes a long time to write the hard posts, so I’ve been putting this one off for a while. But with Primary season off and running, conservative groups are turning on conservative legislators and using political “score cards” to attack.
Let’s start with the most manipulated “scorecard” of all, especially now that someone else has stepped up to explain so much better than I ever could.
Texas Right to Life, the organization which was criticized by the Texas Catholic Conference for their “misstatements and fabrications” concerning HB303 and HB 1444, continues to make up whatever they wish, this time with their arbitrary “Legislative Scores.” Their scorecard is so “Unconventional” and “perplexing” that it prompted the following letter, signed by all the Texas Catholic Bishops:
December 9, 2013
The Honorable Dan Huberty Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78768
Dear Representative Huberty:
I am writing at the behest of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas to share their concerns about a recent “pro-life scorecard” released by Texas Right to Life (TRTL). This “scorecard” purports to declare which Texas legislators are “pro-life” based on a selective number of votes during the 83rd Legislative Session.
Unfortunately, the unconventional methodology and subjective scoring of the TRTL scorecard produced a number of perplexing results–including assigning low scores to pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.
As you know, the Texas Catholic Conference does not use scorecards. Instead, our bishops encourage parishioners to fully form their consciences through prayer and education about issues. Scorecards are a poor substitute for that level of thoughtful policy engagement. Perhaps the most faulty implication of the scorecard is that, in its current form, it casts the tradition of Catholic teaching as being insufficiently pro-life–which is a patently absurd notion. TRTL does not have license to publicly define who is sufficiently pro-life or not.
Some legislative scorecards, when created objectively and appropriately, can be informative. If not, they stop being about informing the public and become more about advancing political agendas, with the unfortunate result that some citizens end up being misled about the issues and misinformed about the voting records of their legislators.
The recent TRTL scorecard selected only three bills (and assorted amendments) to calculate the scores out of the thousands of bills considered during the 83 rd Legislative Session. Several pro-life bills were excluded from consideration. For example, the TRTL scorecard did not include or minimized support for bills that would have prohibited abortion coverage from insurance plans provided in the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges (HB 997); prohibited sex selection abortions (HB 309); strengthened parental rights to reduce judicial bypass for teen abortions (HB 3243); or criminalized coerced abortions (HB 3247). All these proposals were unquestionably pro-life, yet were not scored equitably on the TRTL scorecard.
As a result of this selective vote counting, several legislators, who have spent their careerscommitted to pro-life issues, were said to “reject opportunities to protect the sanctity of innocent human life” when that is clearly not the case. For example, Senator Bob Deuell was responsible for requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (SB 537)—a key provision of the landmark prolife legislation that ultimately passed during the Special Session. However, the TRTL political action committee gave him no credit for authoring this pro-life bill. In another instance, State Rep. Bill Callegari was given no credit for his authorship of the parental rights bill (HB 3243).
The method by which the scores were assigned was haphazard and confusing. Some legislators were awarded more points than others for the same legislative action, while other legislators’ contributions were completely ignored. For example, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Rep. John Smithee both authored pro-life bills during the session, but Laubenberg was awarded 25 points for authorship of HB 2, while, Smithee was awarded only six points for authoring another pro-life bill that sought to remove abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges. In another example, Rep. Tracey King, who voted against both pro-life omnibus bills (HB 2 and SB 5) received a higher pro-life score than Rep. J. D. Sheffield, who voted FOR both HB 2 and SB 5.
Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. was not scored as pro-life, despite his co-sponsoring and voting for HB 2 and SB 5 and twice crossing party lines to be the final necessary vote to suspend Senate rules and debate on these bills.
What was most troubling to the Texas Catholic Bishops was that the scorecard appears to attack those legislators who supported perhaps one of the most pro-life bills during the 83rd session: protecting individuals and families at the end of life by reforming the Texas Advance Directives Act. Advance directives reform not only would have given families more tools to protect their loved ones at the end of life, but would have provided conscience protections to medical providers to refuse inflicting burdensome and unnecessary procedures on patients. The advance directives law would have changed current law to:
prohibit the involuntary denial of care to critically ill patients, including food and water;
prevent doctors from making unilateral “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders without consulting families; and,
require treating all patients “equally without regard to permanent physical or mental disabilities, age, gender, ethnic background, or financial or insurance status.”
The advance directives reform bill was a moral and compassionate approach to end-of-life care that was opposed by TRTL, but supported by a broad coalition of groups, including the Texas Catholic Conference, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, the Texas Alliance for Life, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the AARP, the Texas Pro-Life Action Team, the Texas Conservative Coalition, and the Catholic Hospital Association of Texas. Advance directives reform was important to the Catholic Church–and to many legislators–because we recognize human life as a gift from God that is innately sacred–from conception to natural death. We have taken this position after much reflection to ensure that the law respects the natural dying process.
The implication to be drawn from this scorecard is that TRTL opposed the advance directives reform bill, and appears to have taken to punishing those pro-life legislators who disagreed with them by inaccurately casting them as not being sufficiently pro-life. That is plainly inaccurate.
In the case of the advance directives reform bill, legislators who supported the law were strongly pro-life; they merely opposed the TRTL’s position. These are not necessarily the same thing. It is unfortunate that so many members who continue to fully stand for life are being attacked for doing just that. We hope that this letter has clarified what would otherwise have remained an unfair and confusing characterization.
Jeffery R. Patterson Executive Director
This is great news!
Government, as a tool of and with the consent of the governed, has one job: to protect the inalienable rights of humans. If some – the powerful, the ones with the most votes or most guns – can decide that some humans aren’t human enough to have the right not to be killed, then no one is safe. Our state has determined that we will license doctors and medical technology — therefore, we must restrict the single instance where one human being may decide that another is not human enough and enlist the aide of our licensed doctors and technology to end a life.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas abortion restrictions to remain in effect:
“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state.”
From the Texas Medical Association website:
Both Texas Oncology and ARC, for example, already participated in most major health plans in Texas before the launch of the exchange. Because not all of those insurers explicitly invited Texas Oncology to join their new marketplace networks, the group was combing through its contracts and contacting carriers to find out how to opt out of the exchange plans. All of ARC\’s existing contracts require insurers to renegotiate with the group before including it in any new products or networks. Some payers never approached the group; others came back with lower fee schedules, which ARC declined. On the other hand, 27 percent of respondents in the MGMA survey said they are participating in the exchange because their existing contract terms required them to participate in all of an insurers\’ products under so-called \”all products\” clauses.
Because a number of Dr. Buckingham\’s contracts include such clauses, the six-physician practice, Eye Physicians of Austin, faces the prospect of renegotiation in order to opt out of certain exchange plans.
\”To me, my hands are tied, and they are making me jump off of a plank I don\’t want to jump off of. And it\’s an expensive process, and it interrupts patient care,\” she said.
via Untested Waters.
Victory on two levels! Many of Texas’ abortion facilities are closed today because they don’t have doctors with hospital privileges and today, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of religious conscience rights, even for people who own businesses!
From The Hill, a blog out of Washington, DC:
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.
Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.
If you’re concerned about the news that the Federal food stamp program funding will be cut 5%, take a look at this map from the June, 2013 Wall Street Journal, showing the percentage of population in each state which receives Federal food stamps.
It is accompanied by a graph of growth of food stamp enrollment depicting periods of enrollment. That bright red line is Texas’ growth, which is nearly parallel with the US average, shown as a grey-green line. (Take a look at the annual spikes of Alaska’s enrollment, which I guess is due to the disbursement of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.)
But take a look at the growth since the “Stimulus” was passed by the Dem-controlled House and Senate, nearly doubling funds for food stamps and increasing the number of recipients from 28 million to 48 million.Since the increase in enrollment has been over 70%, that 5% cut in payments will not bring the spending levels back to pre-recession levels. Wouldn’t it make sense to tighten up on the eligibility requirements, rather than make an across-the-board cut?