Category Archives: State news

More than ’embarrassment’

John Cornyn is embarrassed by the pile of scandals that have stained the reputation of the Texas attorney general’s office.

How about that? The statement, which isn’t exactly a condemnation of the incumbent AG, does speak well to the quality of leadership Texas has gotten from its chief law enforcement, Republican Ken Paxton.

Cornyn, also a Republican, is the state’s senior U.S. senator. He told the Texas Tribune: “I will tell you that I remain very disturbed by the fact that the incumbent has had an indictment hanging over his head, for now, I don’t know, what has it been, six years? This is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Texas. And it’s a source of embarrassment to me that that has been unresolved,” Cornyn said on a Thursday call with reporters, noting that he tries “very hard” not to get involved in primary politics. Cornyn has not endorsed in the primary.

A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on securities fraud charges in 2015, the first year of his time as AG. Then came complaints from fellow lawyers in his office alleging criminality at the top. The FBI has been investigating those charges. The Texas State Bar has filed complaints against the attorney general, who faces Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a runoff set for May 24.

Paxton denies any wrongdoing.

He also fired back at Sen. Cornyn, who he said is too willing to work with “radical Senate Democrats.” Good grief. That’s how you legislate … Ken!

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn calls Ken Paxton scandals an “embarrassment” | The Texas Tribune

My own view is that Paxton is more than an “embarrassment” to the state. His time as AG has been reprehensible. He has launched specious challenges to the 2020 election and has continued to behave like the shameful partisan he has been throughout his entire political career.

I’ll conclude with remarks from Sen. Cornyn. “Obviously, the voters will have access to that information,” Cornyn said. “They’ll make their own decision. I can’t predict what the outcome will be, but I do, as a former attorney general myself, I’m embarrassed by what we’re having to deal with.”

Cruz goes from hero to zero

Ted Cruz once was considered a hot-shot legal eagle, a former Texas solicitor general who has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, which for a lawyer is a big deal.

Well, the junior U.S. senator from Texas — a Republican (naturally) — now finds himself the target of an ethics complaint filed by Texas lawyers alleging he went too far in seeking to block the certification of President Biden’s election in November 2020.

The Texas Tribune reports: Lawyers with the 65 Project, an organization aiming to hold attorneys accountable for trying to keep former President Donald Trump in power despite his reelection loss, filed an ethics complaint with the association Wednesday. It cites Cruz’s role in a lawsuit seeking to void absentee ballots, numerous claims he made about voter fraud, plus an attempt to stop four states from using 2020 election results to appoint electors — all of which failed.

Sheesh! The hits just never stop coming as they regard the Cruz Missile.

The guy who once called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” has become his most ardent Senate sycophant. He has shrouded his effort to block Biden’s election victory as a search for answers into allegations of widespread voter fraud, that they deserve a complete airing.

Read my lips … Ted: The allegations have been proven time and again to be false. 

Ted Cruz target of bar complaint for role in undermining 2020 results | The Texas Tribune

As the Tribune reported: “The 65 Project is a far-left dark money smear machine run by a who’s who of shameless Democrat hacks,” a Cruz spokesperson said in an email. “They’re not a credible organization and their complaint won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.”

We’ll just have to see about that. I am one Texan who wants some answers into whether this former legal hotshot has shot himself in both feet.

Paxton not using his name? How come?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the indicted statewide elected official seeking re-election to a third term, has decided to go after his Republican Party primary runoff opponent using what I consider to be an odd tactic.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush is too “liberal” to be elected AG, the pro-Paxton TV ad says. A Texas pol named “Bush” — the nephew and grandson of two presidents of the United States — is too liberal? What a joke!

What’s curious is that the ad doesn’t mention Ken Paxton’s name. The ad is paid for by some political action committee that is supporting Paxton. But one doesn’t know the AG’s name if one relies only on the ad to make a determination on to whom to vote in the GOP runoff.

Hmm. It spurred my thought process. Why won’t the group divulge the name of the guy it is supporting?

I figure it’s because Ken Paxton’s “brand” is so sullied by the indictment, handed down in 2015 right after Paxton took office that it doesn’t want to remind Texas Republicans that they have an alleged crook running the state’s AG office.

A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on a charge of securities fraud. Through a series of delays and legal mumbo-jumbo the case still hasn’t gone to trial. Last I heard Paxton’s now supposed to stand trial in Collin County. The case has been tossed back and forth between Harris and Collin counties. What’s more, the FBI is investigation allegations of illegal activity in his office.

The guy actually should resign from the AG’s office. Now that he’s still running for re-election, I am left to wonder why the stern ad blasting George P.  Bush makes no mention of the guy the buyers of the ad are supporting.

I believe something is seriously wrong the Paxton brand.

Political toxicity spreads

Political toxicity can be contagious, in that when one government body becomes infected by it the ailment spreads to other government bodies.

Case in point: The Texas Legislature — in its not-too-distant past — was hailed as a place where Democrats and Republicans found common ground frequently. Our Legislature could craft laws with wide support on both sides of the aisle.

We once had a governor, George W. Bush, who made bipartisanship a sort of political art form. The Republican governor worked hand-in-glove with two key Democratic legislative leaders: Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and House Speaker Pete Laney.

There was little toxicity in the mid- to late 1990s in Austin.

These days? Not so serene, folks. Congress has become a den of vipers, with Democrats and Republicans hating each other’s guts. The Texas Legislature isn’t much of an improvement. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick squabbles with fellow Republicans in the state Senate and House members look for ways to undermine the work of Speaker Dade Phelan.

There isn’t a lot of bipartisan fellowship to be found in Austin any more than we can find it in Washington. The toxic environment we have come to scorn in D.C. has spread, sadly, to the halls of the Texas State Capitol.

It makes me so sad.

Lucio deserves new trial

I cannot overstate the significance of the support that a woman condemned to die in Texas prison execution chamber is receiving from both sides of the great political divide in this state.

Melissa Lucio has received a stay of execution from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. She was slated to die on Thursday for the death of her 2-year-old daughter 15 years ago.

I believe she deserves a new trial, given all the doubt about her conviction and the allegation that the state withheld evidence from her defense team.

What continues to amaze me is the support she is getting from tough-on-crime conservatives in the Legislature, led by Plano Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach, who had the honor of telling Lucio this week about the CCA decision to forestall her execution. Lucio’s reaction was to sob uncontrollably.

Leach is a former member of the ultra-conservative Texas Freedom Caucus; he resigned from the caucus a while ago, citing some issues with the hardline positions it was taking. He still is a conservative, but he appears to be a man with an actual heart.

I applaud the leadership he is taking in fighting for Melissa Lucio.

I happen to oppose capital punishment, but you likely know that already. I also oppose the partisan divide that too often splits politicians along party lines even when the issue compels them to seek common ground.

One of those issues is seeking justice for a prison inmate who might have been convicted wrongly.

Pro-business policy? Hah!

Let’s see. How does a politician who belongs to the political party that calls itself a “pro-business” organization justify a policy that stops shipments of goods and commodities and threatens so many businesses in the state he governs?

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pulled back his enhanced-inspection order on the state’s border with Mexico. He said he was looking for human traffickers and their “cargo” of individuals who were being smuggled into the United States.

Then he worked out agreements with two Mexican state governors and lifted the inspection protocol at crossings involving the states of Nuevo Leon and Chihuahua. The delay in delivery of food and other goods has crippled businesses across the state.

Now he’s called off the inspection crackdown. The damage has been done to many businesses in Texas … and to what end?

Greg Abbott has pulled off yet another political stunt. It’s not a business-friendly stunt at that!

Siding with Sid Miller? Wow!

Hell has officially frozen over! How do I know that? Because Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done something I never thought possible: He has enacted a policy that has me agreeing with the state’s goofball commissioner of agriculture, Sid Miller.

The Stetson-wearing ag commissioner has criticized Abbott’s decision to stop trucks coming into Texas across the state border with Mexico, citing the harm the decision to inspect all those vehicles is doing to Texas farmers and ranchers.

Abbott had decided to double- and triple-down on vehicle inspections at the border on the hunt for human traffickers. The intensity of the search delayed truckers’ stay along border crossings for many hours.

The delay drew Miller’s ire, which by itself is saying something, given that the Republican ag commissioner usually stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the GOP governor on policy matters.

Not this time.

Good news, though, has more or less arrived. Abbott met with the governor of Nuevo Leon, a state in Mexico, and said he would ease the inspections at one commercial bridge at Laredo. It gives some relief at one critical crossing point.

Will it assuage the criticism coming from Sid Miller? Probably not.

The Texas Tribune reported: As part of the deal, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will stop inspecting every commercial truck on the Laredo-Colombia bridge as long as Nuevo León has checkpoints on its side of the Mexican state’s 9-mile-long border with Texas. The state inspections will continue for trucks coming from the other three Mexican states that border Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott eases state inspections at one border bridge | The Texas Tribune

Miller had complained that Abbott’s inspection order could result in grocery store shelves being emptied as products imported from Mexico are held up for unreasonable lengths of time.

This latest Abbott order looks for all the world like another grandstanding measure by a Texas governor with his eyes on the White House prize around, oh, 2024.

Beto has a shot?

You know, there once was a time — not many weeks ago — that I considered Greg Abbott a shoo-in for re-election as Texas governor.

That Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke didn’t have a Democrat’s chance in blazing hell of defeating the Republican incumbent.

Today? I am not so sure about that gloomy forecast.

Am I going to predict a Beto O’Rourke victory this November, breaking the GOP vise-grip on statewide elected office, ending the Republican dynasty at the top of the Texas political food chain?

Not … on … your … life!

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

However, I am going to suggest that the Abbott-O’Rourke contest well might become one of those races that the national media will be watching with intense interest.

This won’t surprise any readers of this blog, but my fervent hope is that O’Rourke defeats Abbott. The governor has become show horse, a guy who wants to elevate his personal political profile with an eye toward seeking the White House in 2024. Abbott’s idiotic pledge to send “illegal immigrants” to Washington, D.C., to hand the problem to the feds is an example of a politician looking to make headlines without offering the hint of a solution.

He doesn’t have a solution. Abbott has no interest in working with Democrats or seeking cooperation from President Biden.

I have no clue about how O’Rourke might handle this matter were he elected governor. I feel confident, though, in suggesting that O’Rourke, who hails from El Paso, knows plenty about border issues and he does not favor an “open border” policy.

Nor do I believe that O’Rourke is going to single-handedly disarm Texans by stripping us of our firearms. He knows better than to mess with the Constitution! That won’t stop Abbott and his cabal of demagogues from portraying O’Rourke as a soft-on-crime liberal.

I want this race to remain competitive. I want O’Rourke to make Abbott answer for the way the state handled the 2021 winter freeze. I want O’Rourke to offer a reasonable alternative to the Abbott posturing in the face of crisis after crisis.

What’s more, I want O’Rourke to tell Texans how he plans to govern and how he intends to end the state’s war against its gay residents, how he intends to make voting easier, not harder, for Texas.

And I want Beto O’Rourke to remain firm against the attacks that are sure to come from Greg Abbott.

Cruz proves his idiocy

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ted Cruz deserves a special mention on this blog, given his shameful and disgraceful and despicable performance while questioning Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I have made no secret of my loathing for the junior U.S. senator from Texas ever since he joined the Senate in 2013. He always has appeared to be grooming himself as a Republican presidential candidate. He took his best shot in 2016, losing the GOP nomination to the guy who eventually would win that year’s election.

I dubbed him the Cruz Missile because he seemed intent on blowing up every enemy he made along the way. The guy reportedly has few friends in the Senate.

He lectured Justice-designate Jackson on whether children are born racist and sought to paint her as soft on child pornographers and threw assorted red herrings at her during the time allotted for questioning. Granted, he wasn’t alone in behaving boorishly among Republican inquisitors. I just am feeling the urge to express my disgust at this clown who represents my interests in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

Cruz is a coward. Why do I say that? Because the guy who once told the truth about Donald Trump — calling him a sniveling coward and an “amoral” politician — became a suck-up acolyte to the POTUS.

He also doesn’t give a damn about the people he represents. I have to point to the jaunt he sought to make with his family to Cancun while most of the state was freezing in February 2021 in that winter freeze that ended up killing hundreds of Texans.

Moreover, how much more “sniveling” can one get than to blame his daughters for the decision to flee to Mexico while Texans were freezing to death? That’s what Cruz did when he was outed for fleeing the state.

Ted Cruz ain’t among the best and brightest Texas can offer to serve in U.S. Senate. As he showed during the SCOTUS confirmation hearing, all this clown intended to do was prance, posture and preen for the GOP base that will nominate the next president of the United States.

God help us if it’s Ted Cruz.

Political stunts don’t solve anything

Political stunts get an occasional laugh or they might allow the individual who pulls it off to crow a little; however, they rarely — if ever — result in actual solutions to pressing problems.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has offered a doozy of a stunt. He intends to round up immigrants who come into Texas, place them on buses and then send them to Capitol Hill to give the federal government a chance to deal more directly with those Abbott said are creating a crisis on our nation’s southern border.

He blasts President Biden’s immigration policy and says if the president won’t protect our border, then states have an obligation to act.

I agree that the president has so far failed to come to terms with the immigration issue in Texas and other southern-border states. His policies aren’t working.

What’s the answer? It is not the trickery, chicanery and political stunt work that Greg Abbott is delivering.

If only the governor and his Republican pals in Texas would find a way to work with the Biden administration instead of trying to show ’em who’s got the bigger cajones.