Tuesday, November 24, 2015


If our governor and lieutenant governor have vision for the future, they are concealing it extremely well.  While claiming to be fiscal conservatives, they continue to waste money and ignore long-term threats to our very existence. 

It seems our governor, in league with our current attorney general, is hell-bent on spending millions of dollars proving he hates our president more than any other officeholder around.  To the applause of our lieutenant governor, the attorney general — as well as the governor when he was the attorney general — have filed dozens of lawsuits against our own government.  Most of these lawsuits have produced no profitable results for our state.  In fact, a recent accounting has revealed that we have already spent 5 million dollars of your tax money proving our elected leaders in Texas dislike President Obama and things he has done.

In another effort to prove how tough they are, our leadership is spending $800 million dollars keeping DPS troopers along the border.  This is simply an effort to prove how much our governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general want to keep unlawful aliens from crossing our borders.  Unfortunately, state troopers have no authority whatsoever to arrest people who illegally cross our borders and absolutely no power to return them from whence they came.  One must ask, why have them there if they can’t arrest wrongdoers?  Unfortunately, the answer is as plain as the nose on your face.  It is to prove how tough our governor and lieutenant governor are on illegal aliens in Texas.

Another wasteful area of which our so-called conservative leaders are guilty is the area of our highways.  Historically, Texas has had a pay-as-you-go policy avoiding debt at the state level. Rick Perry, along with our current governor and other so-called conservatives, sold a bill of goods to Texans by passing a constitutional amendment to let us take care of our highways on credit.  They said the debt would be paid for by economic growth spurred by having good roads and bridges in Texas.  Alas, that has not happened.  It seems every prediction ever made in recent years that we could do without additional income from tax sources by simply depending on an increase in our business activity in Texas has proven to be a lie.  We are now robbing other vital programs such as public education and our colleges and universities to pay an enormous debt on the borrowed money foisted on Texans in an effort to keep our roads and bridges from completely falling apart.

A real truism is that people will perish when leaders have no vision.  It is difficult to claim a vision of the future when right-wing leadership will not acknowledge such things as climate change and the fact that lack of regulation is rapidly causing us to be without water resources in this state.  The aquifers are falling.  They are being overused.  And before you know it, everyone will recognize that we in Texas are rapidly running out of water.

It is fine if you want to to dislike our president.  You do not need to spend my tax money, however, to prove it.  I believe you!  Just say so!  But, please take my tax money and spend it on problems that any rational human being can detect as those that will be fatal for us in the future. 

It seems to me we will be better served by leaders who will try to develop their vision and use our tax money in a way to meet challenges of the future rather than using our tax money to play political games.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Ted Cruz takes great pride in claiming he speaks for the Tea Party.  While the Tea Party was born and inspired by those patriots who dumped tea into Boston Harbor, the newly formed group should remember the patriots only threw the tea in the harbor, they didn’t sink the ships which brought goods to the fledgling nation of America.

If you listen to Ted Cruz talk, it sounds like he considers himself one of the few real American patriots left in the United States.  Unfortunately, Mr. Cruz seems to forget a majority of Americans voted for and elected Mr. Obama president of this country.  A person so selected deserves the respect of all American citizens, including those who disagree with his programs.  Unfortunately for those here in Texas, Mr. Cruz’ zeal to demonstrate his conservative credentials is not serving us well.

A case in point of how Mr. Cruz’ misdirected war on government is counterproductive is his current crusade to abolish the Mbank.  Most Americans would ask, “What the heck is the Mbank?  The Mbank is short for export/import bank, an agency of the United States government.  

The export/import bank was formed 81 years ago in 1934 under the leadership of Franklin Roosevelt.  It will provide loans to foreign corporations who choose to buy goods manufactured in the United States.  The bank will also assure manufacturers and sellers in this country they will be paid if they contract with overseas customers. While Mr. Cruz wants to classify this as corporate welfare, the agency has served America well.  

Unfortunately, there is little free trade throughout the world.  Most other industrialized nations such as Japan, Germany and certainly China, subsidize many of their companies with whom American manufacturers must compete.  The Mbank gives American manufacturers dealing in the export of products some measure of relief and allows them in many cases to compete.  Prime examples are Boeing Aircraft and General Electric, both of whom deal on the international market for aircraft engines and various heavy industrial equipment.

To its credit, the Mbank is one of the very few federal agencies that makes the nation money.  In return for extending credit to their customers and guaranteeing payment, American companies pay Mbank an annual fee.  Losses to the bank are rare and all in all the bank operation is self-sufficient, costing the taxpayers nothing.

If Mr. Cruz is sincere in his quest to find corporate welfare, he should take a look at the subsidies throughout the nation we are paying to big oil who for the last several years have made huge profits while destroying many parts of our environment.  

Or perhaps, it would be in order for Mr. Cruz and his fellow conservatives to explore the reasons pharmaceutical companies are allowed to gouge Americans — particularly, senior citizens.  The administrators of Medicare are prohibited by federal law from even negotiating for a better price.  Maybe he should even look into why it is that Americans are not allowed to order manufactured drugs from Canada which has a safety review process pretty much equivalent to ours. 

Mr. Cruz claims to be a great Bible scholar and to hear him tell it one of the few real Christians serving in politics.  Perhaps Mr. Cruz has forgotten the phrase in the Bible about straining gnats and swallowing camels.

While Mr. Cruz makes bold statements about how he wants to help the middle class create jobs and prosperity in this country, his actions  would result in shutting down government, not paying the nation’s bills and doing away with an agency that is assuring America that our exporters will continue to provide good jobs for our citizens. 

Monday, November 9, 2015


Through the tutelage of my mother I obtained and possess a deep abiding faith in the teachings of Christianity.  I also consider myself a diligent student of self-government and the democratic process.  Having spent 33 years in elected office, and even more working as a consultant in the legislative process, I have a close and in-depth view of how many politicians conduct themselves publicly and privately.

It makes me almost sick to my stomach to see some politicians use religion strictly for political purposes.  A current example is our newly elected Attorney General who has confessed to violating laws amounting to a third degree felony, and when called on about his misconduct, he fled immediately to the sanctuary of churches.  He appears to be seeking aid and comfort by publicly announcing his faith, leading congregations in prayer and filing frivolous lawsuits on behalf of the State purportedly to protect religious liberty.  What can you call it other than pure hypocrisy? 

In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus  reminded us that our conversations with the Almighty should be in private, and not held publicly — as the Pharisees and hypocrites would do, praying loudly in the Synagogue mainly to capture the attention of man to demonstrate their religiosity.  How is this much different from the politicians who encourage and purportedly defend wanting to have prayer in school and at football games, and who try to make themselves heroes by defending the practice in court?  

While in office, I was more than once approached by persons condemning me for not supporting the practice of having teachers announce when students should bow their heads and pray in school.  They generally lamented the fact that Christianity was being attacked and that we were becoming a godless state and nation.  Generally, I would respond to these people by asking whether or not they chose to have a daily prayer session in their home.  Most had no favorable answer to this question other than a few who weakly claimed to say the blessing regularly at mealtimes.  It seems to me we should concentrate on praying in home before we start telling other people when and where prayer should be had.

If they could, some of our politicians — like Ted Cruz or Ray Huckaby — would have America’s government patterned after the likes of ISIS or Saudi Arabia, where the government punishes you for failure to adopt the beliefs of the rulers.  We would be much like those entities should we give in to the temptation of enforcing religious practices favored by the majority at the time.  We could have jail sentences for buying contraceptives, working on Sunday or purchasing or consuming alcohol.

Some of the most flagrant hypocrisy demonstrated by our elected leaders has to do with the issue of abortion.  Again, abortion is personally repugnant to me — but I do not believe that the issue of when life begins in the womb has been scientifically settled, but is a matter of faith with most people.  We get in trouble with government every time we give into the urge to enforce religious beliefs by government edict.  The hypocrisy of most of this is that many are very passionate about protecting the unborn such as our Governor, recently elected, who goes to great lengths to put roadblocks to legal abortions in the name of protecting the unborn. On the other hand, he does not lift a finger to try to help the half million children in Texas who are sick and dying because of Republicans’ obstinate refusal to accept the funds to cover these children with adequate medical care.   It seems to me a true Christian would be as concerned about those children who have already been born as with those yet unborn.

If one is truly concerned about stopping women from aborting unwanted children, why not make contraception easier and more available?  Why not streamline the procedure and encourage through tax incentives if necessary the adoption of unwanted children throughout this state. 

It is my fervent belief that ever since the Old Testament, God has not appointed man-made judges to judge my religious conduct here on earth.  It is also my belief that if politicians would concentrate on living religious their beliefs rather than using religion to get themselves elected or using government to impose their beliefs on others, we would all have a better country, state and community.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Unfair Job Postings

At one time there was a football rule which declared that touching a punted football by the receiving team was a rule violation — but one with no penalty.  I, along with many others, thought having a rules violation with no penalty was silly, and apparently the leagues finally agreed with me and simply ceased calling it a violation and declared the ball dead when touched by the receiving team.  It seems the State of Texas and our elected leaders have been given the gift of the same lack of penalty for a violation.

Our Legislature in its wisdom sometime back put a law in the books allegedly to give all Texans equal opportunity at well-paying state jobs.  It seems that many of our newly elected statewide officials either don’t care or do not believe they are required to follow the law. 

The new Land Commissioner, recently elected Governor, Agricultural Commissioner, Comptroller, Attorney General and Railroad Commission have all ignored the mandate of posting jobs so that ordinary Texas citizens could apply.  Theoretically, such a system would allow persons to be hired based on their ability and skill rather than their political connections — goal which almost every conservative politician touts.  How many times have you heard that Texas, and America, is the place where you can go as far as you want through developing your skills and being willing to work hard?

It is difficult for me to see how statewide officials can declare that Texas citizens should be law abiding and obey the law at all times when they flout the law with complete impunity and even lack of apology.

The worst offender is newly elected Mr. George P. Bush.  Apparently, he thinks he is the new crown prince of Texas political royalty having been named “Bush.”  Mr. Bush hired 76.4% of his staff in complete violation of the law and now says henceforth he will follow the law.  I doubt very seriously if one of my clients were to be stopped for speeding and promised the highway patrolman that even though he was going 100 m.p.h. in a 50 m.p.h. zone, he would not do it in the future, that this would serve him well to avoid receiving a citation.

Governor Abbott hired about 70% of his staff in violation of the law; and other statewide officials a lesser percentage, but still in significant numbers.

Perhaps most egregious and hypocritical conduct was that of our newly elected Attorney General who is currently under indictment for misconduct and who continues to sue the President claiming President Obama has ignored the law.  Texans should remember next election that the promises of equal opportunity for all on the part of most of our statewide elected officials has a hollow ring — and also remember their actions tell us they really don’t care about giving ordinary Texans an equal shot at well paying, taxpayer funded jobs.