Thursday, December 06, 2018

Texas Secretary of State, Rolando Pablo, has resigned

Well this is strange.

After just 2 years in office, Rolando Pablo has resigned. From his resignation letter to Governor Abbott:
With the midterm elections successfully behind us, and the 86th legislative session around the comer, I believe this would be a good time to begin the process of transitioning out of my position and passing the baton to the next secretary of state. Serving Texans as Secretary of State has been an oppo1tunity of a lifetime, but I feel the need at this time to turn my attention to my private practice. 
So, it is with great affection and gratitude that I respectfully submit to you my resignation of the office of Texas Secretary of State, effective December 15, 2018.
Pablo is/was the Secretary of State. It's pretty strange that he would quit after just 2 years but as his resignation letter said this is a good time to leave especially after the ass kicking his party received in 2016. 

Is Social Security going broke? No.

AARP magazine wrote a great article on "Social Security The Real Facts". If you have a moment read the article so you can talk intelligently about it especially before you say something ignorant like "SS is going broke" or "SS will not be around when I am old". Click on the summary below to view a larger version.

Some of the interesting points:
Social Security is not going bankrupt. It has a $2.89 Trillion reserve. If no adjustments are made this reserve will be depleted in 2034. SS will be able to pay benefits but at a reduced level of 79%.

Congress can easily fix this. 95% of American workers pay into Social Security every paycheck. 5% of American workers pay into Social Security till they reach the cap of $133,000. Then they stop contributing. If Congress would move this cap to $250,000 the fund could pay full benefits for another 50 years. This change would affect just 5% of American workers.

Fun facts. Social Security Administration has a budget of $12.5 Billion. 63,000 Federal employees. 16,000 state employees. 1245 field offices.

You can start collecting at 62. You can start collecting social security benefits at 62 but at a reduced rate. Do the math and see if this is right for you.

Social Security should not be your sole source of income at retirement. Couple this with a pension and savings and you will do just fine. Unfortunately most Americans do not have a pension so savings at a very early age into a retirement fund is a must.

You can visit to view your specific information such as how much you have made each year you have been working, your projected benefit at various ages and more!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Movie Review: Instant Family

Go see it! Now!

Mark Wohlberg has had some ups and downs of movies including the remake of the Planet of the Apes, Mile 22, Fighter, and Lone Survivor. Mile 22 was his latest flop. It really sucked. Instant Family, on the other hand, ranks with one of the good ones.

If you don't like tearing up in the theatre wait for Ted III because Instant Family is a good story, based upon real life, and will pull on your heartstrings. Wohlberg in Instant Family is able to bridge the gap between funny and serious and he does it well. Isabela Moner as the oldest of 3 foster kids is lovable at first sight and has a great performance. Wohlberg's wife, played by Rose Byrne, also provides comedy and tear jerking moments.

It is a great movie. One of the better ones of the year. Go see it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Spending Campaign Cash: Brand New Congress

According to the Federal Election Commission the Brand New Congress PAC spent $773,837 in 2017-2018. As I have said before concerning the record of BNC:
Out of 31 candidates recruited, only 1 won in a deep blue district. Here are the results of Sander's Brand New Congress campaign:

31 candidates in the Brand New Congress
  • 20 lost in the primaries
  • 11 advanced to the general election
  • 8 were Democrats
  • 2 were Socialists
  • 1 was an Independent
  • 10 lost in the general
  • 1 won in the general (Ocasio -Socialist)

 The majority of the spending was for "Strategic Consulting" to the Brand New Congress LLC for $466,000. $105,000 for "Wages and Salaries", About $60,000 for an unknown category, and $70,000 for "Payroll fees", leaving about $50,000 for all other expenditures.

Not much else to say about this. It looks like a jobs program for Sander's followers. According to Wikipedia:

Brand New Congress is a volunteer-led American political organization that intends to run hundreds of campaigns for United States Congress with candidates of the organization's choosing[7] by the 2018 midterm elections, regardless of party affiliation.[8] The organization plans to make staffing and fundraising decisions for all its candidates at once.[9]

They had 31 candidates. One won.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Texas: Thank god for Mississippi!

Whew. That was a close one!

Texans breathed a sigh of relief late last night when Mississippi voters reelected a racist, Cindy Hyde-Smith, to the United States Congress. According to Governor Greg Abbott:

"For years Texas has been at the bottom of the barrel in education, wages, and environmental protection. We have elected some of the most god awful candidates to office. Our slogan of "No Place But Texas" has now become a joke. But last night Mississippi voters wiped it all out by voting for a racist to the United States Senate. A RACIST! Thank god for Mississippi!"

Ok. Once again, he didn't say that, I did. Thank god for Mississippi.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Spending Campaign Cash: Justice Democrats

Justice Democrats is a Bernie Sanders organization for far left candidates including Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio. As I said before:

Justice Democrats didn't perform very well. According to Justice Democrats they elected 7 of their endorsed candidates to Congress. 2 were incumbents in deep blue districts. 1 was unopposed.  4 were all in very blue districts wiping out their general election opponents. It's not like they were endorsing in tough competitive states like Texas, although those they did lost. All of them. One raised over a $1 Million and lost 70-30 in the primary.

Looking at their spending for the last two years, Justice Democrats spent about $2,250,000. $633,000 on wages ranging from $71,000 to $32,000 for ab out 13 employees. $217,000 on Payroll taxes, $270,000 on fundraising, and $88,000 on Credit Card fees.

They also spent $605,000 on "Strategic Consulting" paid to the Brand New Congress, another Bernie Sanders organization. This leaves about $526,000 for overhead expenses, rent, legal fees, etc but nothing was spent for donations to individuals candidates. I'm not quite sure what Justice Democrats accomplished besides raising and spending money but not on individual candidates.

Maybe looking at Brand New Congress spending will give more insight.

Mississippi: The Eyes of Texas are Upon You

Texas is pulling for Mississippi voters to send Cindy Hyde-Smith back to the United States Senate.  According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott:

"For too long Texas has been at the bottom of the toilet when voting. We have voted for an indicted Attorney General, Ken Paxton, for Sid Miller who referred to a woman using the C word, and for Ted Cruz the asshole of  the Senate. But on Tuesday Mississippi has the opportunity to elect a real racist and we thank god for Mississippi for taking the eyes off of Texas."

Well, that isn't exactly what he said but you get the idea. Texas has some of the worst human beings as elected officials yet they continue to be reelected. "No Place But Texas" really means it until tomorrow. Mississippi voters have a chance to elect a real live racist, Cindy Hyde-Smith, someone who joked about a lynching and wouldn't apologize. Even her donors have called for refunds including Major League Baseball, Pfizer, Walmart, and Union Pacific to name a few.

The top racist of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, is set to hold a rally for Smith on Monday. The rules are about the same as for the Ted Cruz rally in Houston:
  1. No Mexicans (except for a few behind the stage)
  2. No Teachers
  3. No Muslims (except for a few behind the stage)
  4. No Federal employees including former FBI agents
  5. No Blacks (except for a few behind the stage)
  6. No Jews
  7. No non-Christians
Thank god for Mississippi!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Who shouldn't be running in Texas SD 6

A special election will be held for Texas Senate District 6 on Dec 11 and most probably followed by a runoff due to two last minute candidates announcing for the position. State Representatives Carol Alvarado and Ana Hernandez are two very qualified candidates for the position and the voters will have a tough time deciding who should represent that district.

On the other hand we have two unknowns, Martha Fierro a republican, and Mia Mundy a Democrat. Both have filed with the Texas Ethics Committee but have not reported any donations as of yet. Fierro is a precinct chair, which in itself, is not a great qualification to run for Senate. Maybe she should have started with something a bit smaller like president of her homeowners association. According to her Facebook page she is a regional leader of the Faith and Freedom Coalition an extreme right wing organization. 

Then we have Mia Mundy. According to her Facebook page:
Mia Mundy is an Executive Search Consultant for Manhattan Resources.Mia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Hannibal -LaGrange University in Missouri and a Master’s Degree in Education from Sam Houston State University.
Eat em Kats! I cannot find much information about Mia but there is a forum for the candidates on Nov 28. Maybe we can learn something about these two. At the moment the only reason they are in the race is to cause yet another runoff between two very well qualified candidates.

Pete Olson comments on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Donald Trump issued a statement claiming the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered by the Saudi government, was actually a terrorist and making money with the Saudis is more important than the life of a journalist. From the White House:
That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!
Texas Congressman Pete Olson issued the following statement concerning the United States intelligence community's assessment of the killing that was orchestrated by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman:
Olson continued with this:
"I cannot in good faith go against the wishes of President trump because he is our president and he might primary me in my swing district in 2020. Trump scares the living shit out of me and I cannot issue a statement at this time."

He didn't really say that, as you know, but he did not issue any statement on Trump's statement. He is, once again, silent.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Babin, Olson, Weber comments on attacking a Navy Seal

Remember when the Republican Party was the party of "fiscally responsibility", "family values" and "support the troops"? After blowing a $1 Trillion hole in our deficit, separating children from their mother, trump has decided to attack our military and our local Congressman Brian Babin, Pete Olson (a Navy Veteran), and Randy Weber are silent. From NBC News:

President Donald Trump derided retired Adm. Bill McRaven — the Navy SEAL who led the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden — calling him a "Hillary Clinton fan" during an interview with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." He also said bin Laden should have been captured much sooner, though he did not explain how the Obama administration should have done so.

All three of our local Congressman, including a retired Navy Pilot, Pete Olson, has said nothing about Trump's latest attack. They have said nothing on his racist attacks on Latinos, or his tax bill that created a $1 Trillion deficit, or separating children from mothers, or his constant lying to their constituents, or his payoffs during the 2016 campaign.

And now after attacking the Navy Seal who led the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, Babin, Olson, and Weber are still standing by his side in support. You would have thought that the party that claims to "support the troops" would have stood up and told Trump not to send troops to the border, an obvious political stunt, or to condemn his comments towards Bill McRaven. But they are silent.

Babin is in a very deep dark red district one that was so red they elected Steve Stockman who is now serving 10 years in prison for 23 felony counts. Weber is also in a red district, but Olson won his district by only 5 points and hopefully will be challenged again in 2020. 

His silence is not going to help him.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes on the Democratic Party (sort of)

Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn't taken the oath of office or located the bathrooms in the Capitol but she has started her ill advised campaign to oust other Democrats from Congress in 2020.  Ocasio is a lightning rod for the media, both good and bad. She is a a dream candidate for media folks especially the right wing looking to paint the Party as socialists.

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), implored more than 700 attendees of a Justice Democrats strategy call to run for office against incumbent Democrats as well as Republicans in their home districts.
Justice Democrats didn't perform very well. According to Justice Democrats they elected 7 of their endorsed candidates to Congress. 2 were incumbents in deep blue districts. 1 was unopposed.  4 were all in very blue districts wiping out their general election opponents. It's not like they were endorsing in tough competitive states like Texas, although those they did lost. All of them. One raised over a $1 Million and lost 70-30 in the primary.

Bernie's Sanders Brand New Congress didn't fare any better. Ocasio was endorsed by both. She was the only one that won from the Brand New Congress. Out of 31 candidates recruited, only 1 won in a deep blue district. Here are the results of Sander's Brand New Congress campaign:

31 candidates in the Brand New Congress
  • 20 lost in the primaries
  • 11 advanced to the general election
  • 8 were Democrats
  • 2 were Socialists
  • 1 was an Independent
  • 10 lost in the general
  • 1 won in the general (Ocasio -Socialist)
James Thompson
Candidate for House of Representatives - KS-04
Lost 60-40
Raised $1.4 Million
Lost against the Native American Woman Sharice Davids

Zak Ringelstein

Candidate for United States Senate - ME
Lost 55-10 (I-54 R-35 D-10)
Raised $360,000 with $217,000 loan
Only won 10% of the vote

Dr. Rob Davidson 

Candidate for House of Representatives - MI-02
Lost 55-43
Raised $1 Million with $60,000 loan

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Socialist Party)

Candidate for House of Representatives - NY-14
Won 78-13
Raised $1.8 Million

Marc Whitmire (Independent)

Candidate for House of Representatives - TN-02
Lost 65-33
Raised $4100 with $1,000 loan

Dr. Danielle Mitchell

Candidate for House of Representatives - TN-03
Lost 63-34
Raised $268,000 with $1000 loan

Lorie Burch

Candidate for House of Representatives - TX-03
Lost 54-44
Raised $292,000 with $26,000 loan

Vanessa Adia 

Candidate for House of Representatives - TX-12
Lost 64-34
Raised $200,000

Adrienne Bell

Candidate for House of Representatives - TX-14
Lost 60-40

Linsey Fagan

Candidate for House of Representatives - TX-26
Lost 60-38
Raised $164,000

Sarah Smith (Socialist Party)

Candidate for House of Representatives - WA-09
Lost 68-31
Raised $114,000

Friday, November 16, 2018

Before Republicans start yelling CIVILITY NOW!

The Party of Trump is in no position to be running around calling for CIVILITY NOW! CIVILITY NOW!

Over the last three years the Republican Party has embraced, endorsed, and encouraged the behavior of Trump and has mimicked him to attack individuals and groups. Now after a single appearance on Saturday Night Live by one of their new Congressmen they are calling for civility. Really? REALLY? The Republican Party is the last group of people who should be calling for civility from anyone.

This is the party that mocked a disabled American. They have hurled and continue to hurl racist insults towards Latinos, African Americans, and others. They labeled our Muslims Americans as terrorists. They cheered while young brown children were separated from their parents and put into cages. Their women cheered while their leaders referred to them as C***s. They watched silently while their party leaders acted like rotten human beings using unfounded fears to win elections. They lied, over and over and over again on a daily basis. They have embraced every single conspiracy theory with no basis of facts whatsoever. They re-elected candidates who are mired in felony indictments. They mocked mothers who lost their children to gun violence. They trample on the rule of law especially those involved with Russia. And they have tolerated and endorsed those who continue to be lying, racist, law breaking, rotten human beings.

The Republican Party has no right to be calling for civility now. They have the right to shut up and learn how to be human again. They need to clean their own house, throw out the racists,  mysogynists, liars, cheats, criminals, and rotten human beings and those who tolerate them from their ranks. Then, and only then, can they start yelling CIVILITY NOW! CIVILITY NOW!

Clean your own damn pig sty before asking your neighbors to tidy their house.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Brian Babin and Pete Olson to lead Sour Grapes Caucus

The 2016 elections are not over with counting continuing in California. Democrats are looking to end the election with a historic take of 35-40 seats in the House. The Republican leadership, as the incoming minority party, has now selected Congressman Brian Babin and Pete Olson of Texas to lead the Sour Grapes Caucus. From the Dallas Morning News:

WASHINGTON — Four Texas Republicans joined a call for special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress on his investigation’s expenses as he looks into possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

There is just one problem with this, or actually many problems. Babin and Olson forgot they were in the majority party over the last 2 years. They had the opportunity and the ability to hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and investigate and but they didn't. Now that they are in the minority they no longer have the power to lead committees or decide what hearings to conduct. Instead they have the authority to sit down, suck on their grapes, and shut the living hell up.

Maybe they should be put on the perpetual Hillary Hearing Committee. That will keep them busy.