Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses.

It's time to put an end to the kangaroo courts. you have till Monday at midnight to submit comments on the subject. From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year issued a detailed report on arbitration clauses, and it has proposed a rule covering many financial products and services — including bank accounts — that would bar arbitration requirements that preclude consumers from joining in class-action cases. 

You can submit comments online by Monday the 22nd at this link and the CFPB has published tips on submitting comments. All comments are public record. I submitted the following. Feel free to cut and paste if you agree. The New York Times also wrote an excellent article on the subject.


As a consumer activist in Texas, I have witnessed some of the worst abuses in mandatory binding arbitration especially with the home building industry. I understand the home builders will not be affected by this regulation but the experiences and abuses are relevant nevertheless. I am in favor for the following reasons:

1) Not one individual, attorney, or anyone commenting on this regulation can claim arbitration is faster, cheaper, or better than our time honored court system because at the time of signing the agreement no one knows the details of the future dispute. How can anyone defend arbitration when they do not know how much the dispute is about? It is literally impossible to do so. As we have learned here in Texas the rules of arbitration can vary based upon the monetary value of the dispute. Consumers expect their day in court and many believe their complaint will be heard by an arbitrator, someone they can talk to and present their case to. Unfortunately consumers are not aware that some arbitration companies will only have a "desk review" with documents provided through the mail. Others are not aware that the arbitration will be heard by multiple arbitrators and a substantial cost. At the time of signing the arbitration clause these details cannot be disclosed because the details of the future dispute is not known by either party.

2) Consumers are too ignorant to know what they are signing. As someone who has followed this issue for 2 decades I continue to learn new problems with arbitration by attending hearings and listening to attorneys. To this day I am still ignorant of the impacts of signing these agreements. The vast majority of consumers have absolutely know idea what arbitration only that it is suppose to be "faster, cheaper, and better" as claimed by the proponents of arbitration.

3) The use of mandatory arbitration is an abuse of not only the ignorant, but of the elderly. Many are not aware of the details and do not have the time to research.

4) The legal decision to opt for arbitration and/or mediation is a decision best left to an attorney. Most consumers do not know that the use of arbitration as an alternative to a civil trial has been mired in controversy for decades. A simple Google search results in pages of articles. They may incorrectly believe that arbitration is faster, better, and cheaper yet studies after studies show otherwise. Few consumers will understand they are giving up their rights to the 7th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States without first consulting with an attorney at the time of a dispute. The arbitration clauses are full of legal loopholes that an average consumer could not adequately understand. The selection of arbitration as an alternative to a civil trial is a legal decision that should not be made by consumers ignorant of the law and it’s consequences.

5) Arbitration and mediation are already available to consumers if they so choose. The right to arbitration and/or mediation is already available to the consumer and their attorney. If they have a dispute they can always opt for arbitration upon advice from their attorney. It is clear why industries want to have this abusive clause buried into a contract at the time of signing without knowing the details of the future dispute. The only reason is because they know this is abusive and will benefit themselves and is far from being fair.

6) As you are aware the choice of arbitration has been removed by the industry. Since most every organization has this mandatory clause, there is no longer a choice. Consumers can not simply go to a different vendor. Much like the home building industry most every builder has the clause. Buyers must give up their American Constitutional rights in order to by the American dream.

7) We pay taxes for our court system. We should have the right to use that system when a dispute arises. This is truly taxation without representation.

8) The consumer will always be at a financial disadvantage to the corporations. They have enough money to fight consumers every step of the way. They corporations do not need any more help by allowing arbitration clauses.

9) Most consumers are not aware that the right to a trial is protected by the 7th Amendment of the Constitution. If they had a choice at signing they would NEVER give this right up.

10) Realize that in the mid-90's the auto dealers lobbied congress to ban the use of mandatory arbitraition between auto dealers and auto manufacturers because it was not fair to the dealers. Unfortunately the dealers have left the clause in the consumer contract. The CFPB should review this and rule accordingly. If it is good enough for the dealers it should be good enough for the consumers.

I urge you to pass this regulation and ban the use of mandatory arbitration.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In Texas Trump locks down the old white vote

Jill "Franken" Stein still hovers under 2%.

The polling results issued by Public Policy Polling showing Donald Trump being trounced even in Texas means only one thing: There is room for growth for the Trump campaign.

As expected Trump has secured the old white vote by 63-33 but loses the young vote by 60-35. Lucky for Trump the "millennials" are too busy planning their next rally instead of registering to vote while the old white folks are driving around town looking for a polling station even when there isn't an election.

Trump has clearly lost the non-white vote by a whopping 73-21 points which means we have 21% of non-white voters with their heads up their butts. 27% of Texas Hispanics join the 21%. That is 7 points above the national polling which is embarrassing. I've got a pretty low opinion of the 27%. Actually I have a pretty low opinion of anyone who would support Trump for President:
Trump has to be the worst candidate to run for President of the United States in the history of the country. He has no experience in government and can't remember what he learned in high school.  He has no experience in the legislation process. He has no experience in foreign affairs. He has no experience with the military. He has little common sense when it comes to social issues.

And he has limited knowledge of the Constitution, something that would benefit a President when running the Government, and dealing with the legislation process, foreign affairs, use of the military, and social issues. And yet 19% of Hispanics still support Trump.
The polling pretty much confirms that the typical Trump voter is ignorant or just plain Palin stupid. I would lean towards Palin stupid. They would believe anything. Seriously.
More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN, which hasn't existed in years, will steal the election for Clinton to only 20% who don't think it will, and only 20% who are unsure.  

40% of Texas Trump supporters still believe in ACORN. Yes ACORN. As the saying goes those Texas nuts don't fall far from the forest they can't see for the trees. You can read the entire polling results here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Local Congressman Brian Babin endorses Donald Trump?

It's not easy getting an answer from Babin.

Brian Babin replaced the right wing, rabid dog, Steve Stockman in CD 36 although he uses his newsletters to bash the President as much as Stockman did. Maybe that is one of the reasons his constituents at NASA have been getting the short end of the stick, losing integration facilities, training facilities, and even one of the three shuttles. But securing and protecting those facilities and jobs would have required bipartisan support from the POTUS and  those who question his birthright. That didn't happen and it probably wont happen in the future.

Babin and his local buddies, Congressman Pete Olson, and Congressman Randy Weber are pretty much Teabag buddies. They have no idea what "bipartisan" means. They have worked hard to alienate their districts from Washington and so we lose out.

So far I have not heard back from either Congressman on whether they are endorsing Donald Trump. I think it is a safe bet that they will be glad to stand on stage with him when he comes to Texas. Trump will probably have rallies here for a number of reasons. 1) He doesn't realize that he doesn't need to come here. Texas is teabag country. No need to waste campaign money here. 2) It's becoming obvious every time he opens his pie hole that he needs to come here to protect Teabag country.

I'll keep waiting for a response from the three stooges. Until then put them down as endorsing the WART of the GOP. (White. Angry. Racist. Teabagger)

Friday, August 05, 2016

Can you trust Trump with your kids?

Michael J. Morell former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, skewed Donald Trump in an OP-ED in the New York Times "I ran the CIA now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton"

Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security....Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.

Trusting Trump with national security as Commander in Chief is like trusting a convicted child molester with the keys to a daycare. It's simply is not a sane idea. But even if you were comfortable with handing the launch codes to a thinned skinned tweeter in chief how about handing the security of your own personal life to him?

Are you comfortable with handing over your retirement account? (if you even have one) Or better yet, how about handing over your parents retirement account to Trump? Or your neighbors? Or your friends? Are you comfortable with handing over your family's health care insurance to someone who is so rich he doesn't need insurance?

The list could go on and on, health care, education, the economy, national security, civil rights, race relations, immigration, environmental protection, etc etc. Trump isn't mentally fit to be President. He's probably not even mentally fit.

Trump's base of low information, flatheaded, knuckle draggers, can't think past "he tells it like it is". Many of his own party members in the House and Senate have given up on him putting country before party, but then again there is Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain.

Maybe Ryan and McCain are no longer fit to serve.

Monday, August 01, 2016

A vote for Jill Stein is not a wasted vote.....

Remember, there is no I in voting.

From Salon.com
A vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential nominee, is not a wasted vote. It's much worse.

The voting process isn't for self gratification. Voting is for us, as in "US", our country. You vote to make a decision on the best candidate to protect you, your family, your friends and your country. You may not like your vote, but this is not a game. This isn't voting for the Jr/Sr Prom queen or king. This is a serious obligation.

There is one certain outcome of this election: Stein will not be President. So your vote for her is a vote against everything you stand for. Your vote could deny healthcare to millions of Americans. Your vote is against your friends who are disabled and against their parents who care for them. It's a vote against fixing our broken campaign finance laws. Your vote will be against your friends and family members in the gay community. Your vote will solidify and justify the hate towards our fellow Muslim Americans. Your vote will be against our fellow human beings, the immigrants in our country.

Your vote will be against everything you morally stand and fight for. With Trump as President the changes to your country could last for decades, possibly longer then your lifetime. Your vote will be one for the history books, one you can carry to your last day, and one that will affect millions.

Our candidate isn't perfect. No candidate is. An election is always about choosing the best of the candidates that have a chance to win. Stein isn't winning. The choice is clear. This election should not be about you waking up in the closet after election day hoping to God your vote did not contribute to the betrayal of your family, friends, and country.

So if you must hold your nose when voting, do so. But do so because you must.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 1&2 of the GOP Hatefest

WARTs. They are White. Angry. Racist. Teabaggers. They are the new face of the party of Lincoln and Reagan. Both would be embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for my real Republican friends.

On the first day of the RNC Hatefest it took only a few hours before they called Secretary Clinton a bitch. It went downhill from there with speaker after speaker spewing their hatred towards Clinton and every non-white person in the audience. They were even able to politicize the opening prayer. Lets highlight the low points. (There are too many for this post.)

Scott Baio. The first night was a "Who's Who of Who the hell is that?" night. Scott Baio is an unemployed actor best known as Chachi of Happy Days which ran in the mid 70's. Before taking the GOP stage as a keynote speaker he called Secretary Clinton the C word. It just doesnt get any worse than this. As someone tweeted "Try calling someone's mother a C*** to their face and see how many teeth you have left."

Antonio Sabato, Jr. Another out of work actor spewed enough hate calling Obama a Muslim and claiming he is "on the other side". Listen here.

Rudy Guilliani. They man may need a new set of meds. Calling for a White America. His speech was only missing foaming at the mouth. He reminded me of the old man in the 1984 commercial.

Ben Carson. Compared Secretary Clinton to lucifer. Seriously. lucifer. The brain surgeon has lost part of his brain, the part that regulates common sense and decency.

Chris Christie. Christie has a bone to pick (after he sucked the last morsel of meat off of it) After being snubbed as the Vice President pick he took his vengeance out on Secretary Clinton. He churned up the hate in the convention with chants of "Jail her" leaving the delegates foaming at the mouth with pure hatred for Clinton.

Lou Holtze. He was the coach of the Fightin' Irish yet had the balls to say “I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team,”. I guess he doesn't celebrate St Patrick's Day and Ireland doesn't play soccer or rugby.

The Delegates. They truly are WARTs on the face of the new GOP. I dont think there is a single Reagan Republican left in the party. They have been replaced with unhinged delegates ready to unleash their pent up hatred for Clinton,  immigrants, non-Christians, Muslims, Gays, Teachers, Civil Service employees, Blacks, and other non-WARTs. This is a scary bunch of people and I hope they do not represent the majority of voting Americans.

Day 3 and 4 will unleash more hate.

Friday, July 15, 2016

19% of Hispanics support the #TrumpTrainWreck

I'm embarrassed. According to a survey by Univision:
The former secretary of state holds 67% of the intended vote among Hispanic registered voters nationwide, while Trump has 19%...

19%!!!! Trump's mean spirited and unconstitutional approach to immigration  has as much chance of becoming law as Sander's call for a single payer healthcare system. It isn't going to happen but it won't stop him from fanning the flames of hatred towards immigrants, those who look like Hispanics, much like Hitler did towards Jews. And gays. Blacks. Non-Christians. The disabled. You get the point.  Yet 19% of Hispanics, targeted by Trump, still support Trump.

Trump has to be the worst candidate to run for President of the United States in the history of the country. He has no experience in government and can't remember what he learned in high school.  He has no experience in the legislation process. He has no experience in foreign affairs. He has no experience with the military. He has little common sense when it comes to social issues.

And he has limited knowledge of the Constitution, something that would benefit a President when running the Government, and dealing with the legislation process, foreign affairs, use of the military, and social issues. And yet 19% of Hispanics still support Trump.

Luckily Hispanics, as a whole, do not vote and hopefully the 19% are too stupid to realize they have to register and actually take time to go vote.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Recap of the TX Dept of Insurance hearing on Arbitration

It's worse than you think.

Yesterday the Texas Dept of Insurance conducted a "discussion" concerning the use of mandatory binding arbitration clauses in home insurance contracts. In my opinion the consumers of Texas won the discussion but the decision will not be made any time soon.

Background
Farm Bureau insurance has asked TDI to allow them to offer a mandatory binding arbitration clause that would require policy holders to take their claims to a private justice system instead of a civil court as guaranteed by the 7th amendment of the Constitution. In exchange the policy holder would receive a discount in their premium.

Key points
There was about 7 hours of discussion in a very crowded room. Here are some key points. 
  • The industry tried to pass legislation last session to allow them to use arbitration but the bills failed. Now they are trying an end around hoping the Commissioner will bite. 
  • The representative from The Center for Economic Justice claimed the arbitration clause to be used by Farm Bureau was discriminatory against Hispanics in the counties of south Texas. He seemed to have data to prove his claims. 
  • The main concern was that most consumers do not understand exactly what they are signing. After listening to the entire day of testimony I am convinced that consumers have absolutely no idea what they are agreeing to. There are enough loopholes in the example language submitted by Farm Bureau to confuse the vast majority of consumers and even some attorneys.
  • The other concerns about arbitration was discussed including the hidden costs, the secrecy of the proceedings, the bias of the arbitrators, and the fact that arbitration has been mired in controversy for decades. (Do a google search!)
  • As with the home builders, the insurance industry claimed arbitration was "overly" fair which drew a chuckle. They claimed it was faster, better, cheaper but gave no supportting evidence. 
  • The president of Conflict Solutions of Texas, the arbitration firm that would benefit from adoption of this clause and selected by Farm Bureau was in favor of the clause. Imagine that. 
  • No consumers voiced their support for the arbitration clause. 
  • Consumers voiced their opinions against arbitration. 
  • Consumers urged TDI to focus their resources on lowering premiums instead of auctioning off our Constitutional rights. 
  • Many attorneys believe TDI does not have the authority to allow one company to offer this change. It would require a rule change which requires a different process. 

For the consumers
Consumers of Texas have a very respectable organization fighting to protect them from consumer scams like Arbitration, that being Texas Watch. Texas Watch is the premier consumer organization in Texas and did a great job in presenting the case against the arbitration clause.

There were only 4 consumers who spoke but were powerful because they paid the bills, would be most affected by the change, and could speak from a consumer perspective. Other consumer organizations included Home Owners for Better Building represented by Janet Ahmad who is well versed in the abuse of arbitration by the home building industry. Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Center for Economic Justice, Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, Policyholders of Texas and a group representing attorney who represents both sides. All were opposed to the arbitration clause for many reasons.

For the insurance industry
Those in favor of the arbitration clause included Farm Bureau, the company who instigated the change, a couple of insurance company attorneys, a front group for the insurance industry the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insuranc Solutions and the President of Conflict Solutions of Texas.  Conflict Solutions is the arbitration firm Farm Bureau would use if allowed.





Friday, July 01, 2016

Trump's plan for Social Security via AARP

AARP invited the candidates for president to discuss their positions on Social Security. Trump's comments were about as common sense as a plan to require workers to wear extra long ties in a fan manufacturing company. You can read the entire response here. Let me summarize his plan:

What will you do to make Social Security financially sound for future generations?
  • Create an economy that is robust and growing
  • Tax breaks for corporations
  • Tax breaks for millionaires
  • Repeal Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act
  • Reduce the size of the federal workforce
  • Immigration reform

What specific plans do you have to ensure that Social Security provides adequate benefits to meet the needs of future retirees?
  • As was stated above, I will work with Congress to ensure we have a pro-growth agenda in place. 
Older Trump supporters should be very relieved. :)

Farm Bureau changes their position on arbitration in home insurance contracts

You can't make this stuff up. (and I didn't)

Yesterday the Texas Department of Insurance Companies issued a revised "example" language by the Farm Bureau concerning their proposed use of mandatory binding arbitration in their home contracts. Today that revision is gone.

According to the example language provided by Farm Bureau, in exchange for a discount on a homeowners premium, Farm Bureau will pick the arbitration firm, the terms of the arbitration, and will limit discovery. This is what Texas Watch has called a Kangaroo Court. Previously the example had only Conflict Solutions of Texas as their arbitration company of choice. Yesterday they added the grand daddy of all arbitration companies, the American Arbitration Association. Today the AAA have been removed.

In the words of Donald Trump "What the hell is going on?".

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who is behind the hearing and use of arbitration. Consumers did not request this change, they are too ignorant on the issue. The consumer organizations did not request this change, they are too educated on the issue. The insurance industry is the only organization that will benefit from the use of this option.

And now just days before the hearing they are changing their proposed language. As we have seen in the home building industry what they say is only valid on the day they say it. If you don't like it, wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hearing on the use of Arbitration with the Texas Department of Insurance Companies

Texas insurance companies have asked the Texas Department of Insurance to allow them to entice consumers with mandatory binding arbitration in exchange for a discount on their premiums. Instead of focusing their limited resources on lowering record high premiums for homeowners, the TDI will  focus on helping the insurance industry prey upon consumers looking for a break.

Selecting an alternative dispute resolution is a legal matter and should be performed only after consulting with an attorney. Consumers should not make this decision and the TDI should not allow the industry to prey upon those who are looking for a reduction in premiums.

From the TDI:

Docket No. 2788 - Notice of Public Meeting 

Location: William P. Hobby Jr. State Office Building  
333 Guadalupe, Room 100 
Austin, TX
July 06, 2016 
9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
The commissioner of insurance will hold a public meeting to receive written and oral comments relating to mandatory mediation-arbitration endorsements. The endorsement would be attached to a homeowners policy at the policyholder's option, with a premium discount.
If you wish to provide written comments, please provide two copies no later than 5 p.m., Central time, July 6, 2016. Send one copy by email to chiefclerk@tdi.texas.gov, or by mail to the Texas Department of Insurance, Office of the Chief Clerk, Mail Code 113-2A, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. Send the other copy to Marilyn Hamilton by email at marilyn.hamilton@tdi.texas.gov, or by mail to the Texas Department of Insurance, Property and Casualty Lines Office, Mail Code 104-PC, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

Indicates that event is scheduled to be available by a live broadcast Link to Live Webcast [Link to audio will be live shortly before the meeting begins.].


For more information contact: ChiefClerk@tdi.texas.gov
 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spending Campaign Cash: Donald Trump

Thanks for the tip Joseph!

I've written a number of times about Spending Campaign Cash for Texas elected officials. I've found officials who spent their donors money on $1500 boots, cows (really), gas for their own business, mattresses, authentic western wear, antique books, and more. It was an eye opener. Now lets look at what Donald Trump has spent his donors money on.

After looking at the list below, you have to be an incredible idiot to give this man any money. He spent over $200,000 on his "Make America White Again" hats and nearly $700,000 on tshirts, mugs and sticker. Campaign 101 says hats, tshirts, and crap like that are loser buys. He has spent over a $1Million on air travel to battle ground states like California [sic]. Well wasted money on a state he will never win.

Maybe he needs to spend a bit more than $5000 on signs. After all, signs win elections. Big donors look at this crap. They want to make sure their money will be used appropriately or they will quit giving money.

PURPOSESUM
ADMINISTRATIVE CONSULTING   30,550.00
ADMINISTRATIVE FEE   1,328.09
AUDIO VISUAL SERVICES   72,166.07
AUDIO VISUAL SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   135,363.04
BALLOT ACCESS CONSULTING   185,716.17
BANK FEES   1,400.00
BROADBAND SERVICES   466.84
BROADBAND SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   5,410.02
BUS RENTAL [AMEX: SB23.599732]   17,394.00
CATERING SERVICES   1,249.00
CATERING SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   2,260.85
CLEANING SERVICES   900.00
COLLATERAL: HATS   207,868.13
COLLATERAL: PENS   264.18
COLLATERAL: SIGNS [AMEX: SB23.599732]   5,093.55
COLLATERAL: TSHIRTS/MUGS/STICKERS/FREIGHT   693,995.53
COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTING   37,647.55
CONTRIBUTION REFUND   4,917.87
CREDIT CARD PAYMENT: SEE MEMO ENTRIES   1,027,215.09
DATA MANAGEMENT SERVICES   44,093.23
DATA MANAGEMENT SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   4,044.35
DELIVERY SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   21,473.95
DIRECT MAIL PRINTING AND POSTAGE   227,504.29
EQUIPMENT RENTAL [AMEX: SB23.599732]   44,212.94
EVENT CONSULTING   85,864.57
EVENT ENTRY FEE   22,225.00
EVENT ENTRY FEE [AMEX: SB23.599732]   3,500.00
EVENT STAGING EXPENSE   72,253.59
EVENT STAGING EXPENSE [AMEX: SB23.599732]   9,445.65
FACILITY RENTAL   265,358.70
FACILITY RENTAL [AMEX: SB23.599732]   42,426.42
FACILITY RENTAL/CATERING   492,870.70
FACILITY RENTAL/CATERING SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   11,725.83
FIELD CONSULTING   418,947.74
IN-KIND: EQUIPMENT RENTAL   1,293.79
IN-KIND: FACILITY RENTAL   912.24
IN-KIND: PAYROLL   10,594.90
IN-KIND: POSTAGE   237.88
IN-KIND: PRINTING & DESIGN SERVICES   910.62
IN-KIND: UTILITIES   381.21
INSURANCE   54,750.00
LEGAL CONSULTING   172,185.43
LEGAL CONSULTING [AMEX: SB23.599732]   868.85
LICENSING FEES   5,750.00
LICENSING FEES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   5,425.00
MARKETING SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   1,592.91
MEETING EXPENSE: MEALS [AMEX: SB23.599732]   632.64
MERCHANT FEES   108,643.69
OFFICE SUPPLIES   16,876.99
OFFICE SUPPLIES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   18,988.71
OFFICE SUPPLIES [LOCETTA: SB23.600220]   568.31
ONLINE ADVERTISING [AMEX: SB23.599732]   79,717.60
ONLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS [AMEX: SB23.599732]   240.00
PAYROLL   346,614.68
PAYROLL TAXES/FEES   46,110.75
PLACED MEDIA   150,000.00
POLICY CONSULTING   13,000.00
PPV: FACILITY RENTAL   -700.00
PRINT ADVERTISING   5,456.88
PRINTING & DESIGN SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   23,587.92
PRINTING AND DESIGN SERVICES   56,708.84
REFUND: OFFICE SUPPLIES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   -348.00
REFUND: PRINTING & DESIGN SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   -1,162.65
REFUND: TRAVEL: AIR [AMEX: SB23.599732]   -8,550.62
REFUND: TRAVEL: LODGING [AMEX: SB23.599732]   -8,007.28
RENT   19,600.00
RENT AND UTILITIES   249,126.70
SECURITY SERVICES   75,045.32
SECURITY SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   600.00
SOFTWARE SERVICES   15,900.00
SOFTWARE [AMEX: SB23.599732]   22,721.29
STORAGE SERVICES [AMEX: SB23.599732]   1,199.77
STRATEGY CONSULTING   59,251.06
TELEMARKETING AND DATA   26,464.94
TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT: ITEMIZATION BELOW IF REQUIRED   56,443.38
TRAVEL: AIR   838,774.65
TRAVEL: AIR [AMEX: SB23.599732]   129,420.64
TRAVEL: AIR [MATEJOV: SB23.600223   595.00
TRAVEL: AIR [TRUMP JR: SB23.600239]   3,085.50
TRAVEL: AIR [TRUMP, ERIC: SB23.600241]   7,890.44
TRAVEL: AIR [TRUMP, ERIC: SB23.600242]   2,155.50
TRAVEL: CAR RENTAL [AMEX: SB23.599732]   97,065.39
TRAVEL: CAR RENTAL [MCDANIEL: SB23.600226]   347.17
TRAVEL: CAR RENTAL [PUGHE: SB23.600232]   679.78
TRAVEL: GROUND TRANSPORTATION [AMEX: SB23.599732]   3,392.87
TRAVEL: LODGING   983.68
TRAVEL: LODGING [AMEX: SB23.599732]   249,932.87
TRAVEL: LODGING [TRUMP, ERIC: SB23.600242]   782.00
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [COOK: SB23.600200]   206.43
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [FOX: SB23.600206]   4,269.45
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [GALDES: SB23.600207]   294.52
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [KEATING: SB23.600213]   3,133.75
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [KOBACH: SB23.600218]   299.00
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [LLOYD: SB23.600219]   1,626.10
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [LOCETTA: SB23.600220]   512.41
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [PLAYFORTH: SB23.600229]   819.44
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [PUGHE: SB23.600232]   784.70
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [SMITH:SB23.600235]   2,528.91
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [WALTERS:SB23.600243]   888.85
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [WISENBAKER: SB23.600247]   255.94
TRAVEL: MILEAGE [WOLLET: SB23.600249]   648.11
TRAVEL: RAIL [AMEX: SB23.599732]   5,696.00
UTILITIES   367.48
WEB ADVERTISING [AMEX: SB23.599732]   35,000.00
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT/DIGITAL CONSULTING   543,150.66

Monday, June 20, 2016

From the convention: Texans for Education Opportunity With Vouchers

Don't let them fool you.

Texans for Education and Opportunity (TEO tee-o) had a booth at the Texas Democratic Party convention. They had lots of buttons that said "School Choice Works" which is code name for "School Vouchers". I think they had a lot of buttons left over.

A few years ago Republican legislators made up the phrase School Choice. It sounds better than vouchers. It makes people think they will actually have a choice of where their kids attend public school.

Texans for Education and Opportunity With Vouchers is yet another front group such as Texans for Lawsuit Reform. TLR was created by the homebuilders and became a very powerful lobbying group. They have succeeded in limiting lawsuit awards and making it very difficult to sue for defective homes and medical malpractice. They might be Texans but they sure don't represent Texans. Same goes for TEO.

Neither does TEO. Democrats and some Republicans dedicated to public education have fought off vouchers for decades. In 2015 they will have yet another fight. Vouchers will help select few parents while the supporters pretending it will help all parents.

Choice is coming.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Comments about the venue for the TDP Convention

It really could have been better.

You have to appreciate the hard work of the Texas Democratic Party to put on a convention for 10,000 delegates. Try organizing a dinner for a 100 people then multiply it by 1000. It is tough. So kudos to the staff. Here are some lessons learned.

Many of the complaints I have heard include long lines for very expensive  food and drink. On the floor there was a concession area with just 2 vendors. The lines were pretty long especially at lunch. I later found another concession stand on the top floor. Delegates were warned to bring their own.

The rooms for presentations on the floor were separated by curtains with speeches bleeding into each other. On the first day there wasn't enough Alamodome staff to help direct the delegates to their meeting rooms.  It seems this was resolved on the second day. And the shuttle buses from the hotels only ran in the morning.

It doesn't seem that the Alamodome is the best venue for a convention, but maybe that was all that was available. Who knows? As I said, it is a monster of a job to put on a convention. Even with the nit picks the convention seemed to have been a success.

And San Antonio is a great city!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Julian Castro for VP.

I'm a bit biased.

I can't ignore the fact that I would like to see a Hispanic President before I check out. Listening to the leadership of the various Hispanic caucuses I think they agree. If Secretary Clinton picks Julian Castro we would be half way there.

I believe, and elected officials I have talked with agree, that a Hispanic VP would encourage voting in the Hispanic Communities not only in Texas but in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, California and other states. As I have stated before, Hispanics as whole do not vote. It is a sad fact. We have in the past nominated excellent candidates that would fight for the issues that are important to the Hispanic Community, yet they don't vote.

Castro could be the one to change this. Castro is qualified, young, exciting, and would have an incredible mentor. Of course this decision is Secretary Clinton's only. We have no vote in this. She has the right to name her right hand man/woman. She has to be comfortable with this selection for the next 4-8 years.

Personally if she chooses Julian Castro for VP I will announce my candidacy for National Delegate in 2024. :)

Progressive Hispanic Caucus: If we don't vote, we don't win.

It's easy to make a sign.

There is no lack of enthusiasm and anger at the Progressive Hispanic Caucus. Donald Trump has been mentioned a number of times. Our State Chair, Gilberto Hinojosa made a very interesting comment. With Hillary as our nominee, Castro on the short list for VP, and Donald Trump leading the Republican Tea Party what else are the Hispanics waiting for?

Personally I wish the signs would say "IF WE DONT VOTE, WE DONT WIN". This caucus has done a great job of complaining. Complaining about Hispanics not voting, the Super Delegate rules, and the DNC yet we hear nothing about what we are going to do to get Hispanics to the polls. How much more do we need to do to get Hispanics to put down the remote and take time to vote?

The Party has recruited excellent candidates that would fight for the issues important to the Hispanic community yet we do not vote. Our elected officials have worked hard against a Tea Party controlled Legislature to stop voter ID laws, to stop privatizing our schools, and to stop the racists attacks on immigrants.

Yet we don't vote. It's not a hard concept. If we vote, we win. When we win we can solve these problems by removing those who are causing the problems.

Enough complaining. Let's make a new sign.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blogging topics at the Texas Democratic Convention

Maybe my magic sparkle pony blog stalker will take time away from his walks on a lonely beach and return to read my posts. (Inside joke)

The TDP Convention kicks off tonight and ends late Saturday afternoon. I've been given the opportunity to mingle with the press as a blogger which is greatly appreciated. I have a lot of respect for those who have studied journalism. I hope they don't make me their gopher. :)

I'm thinking of possible topics to cover. Suggestions would be appreciated. Here is what I have already:


  • The delegation is 65/35 in favor of Secretary Clinton. Will the Clinton delegation offer positions on the various committees to show unity? Will the Sanders delegation respond by working together to advance progressive values or will chairs be involved?
  • Will the various Hispanic/Latino/Tejano caucuses unite against the racist GOP nominee? Will they have a plan to not only register Hispanic voters but to get them to actually vote? I sure hope so.
  • Who will become a delegate to the national convention to represent the first woman to be nominated and to be POTUS? The competition will be fierce and hopefully fair.


See you at the convention. Email me at Johncoby@sbcglobal.net if you have ideas, comments, or need someone to walk on the lonely beach with you. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Last minute tips for those attending the Texas Democratic Convention

As I have said before:

The Texas Democratic Party has released a schedule, a guide for delegates and guests, and convention information and process description. I have added a few more suggestions here.

And here are a few I forgot:

  • Bring comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot. Few venues, parties, or events require dressing up. Be comfortable.
  • Do not engage the protestors. We usually have protestors on every issue you can imagine. Just don't engage.
  • Do NOT engage the LaRouche youth movement. They tend to gather in the common areas and sing (really they do) and they sign very well, almost professionally. They sing like mermaids enticing sailors into their arms so they can crack open their heads to feast like eating Alaskan king crabs. Do not engage. You have been warned.
  • Use the shuttles from the hotels the TDP have provided. Here is the schedule:


Hotel to Alamodome (Lot A)

Route
Hotel
Pick Up Location
Route 1
La Quinta
Bowie Street

Menger
Hotel Lobby (directed to Crockett Pick up)

Crockett
Crockett Street

Hilton
S. Alamo Street
Route 2
Grand Hyatt
Market Street



Shuttle Bus Hours of Service

Date
Hours of Service
Frequency (in minutes)
Friday, Jun 17


Route 1
7:30 am - 10:30 am
10
Route 2
7:30 am - 10:30 am
10
Saturday, Jun 18


Route 1
8:30 am - 11:30 am
10
Route 2
9:30 am - 11:30 am
10

Last minute rules for attending Trump fundraiser in Texas

While some cities in Texas like Irving and Garland have refused to issue rally permits for Trump, the fundraisers in Texas are still on.

If you are attending the fundraiser for Donald Trump to fill his coffers for him to spread his message of making America great again, these rules should be followed:
  1. No firearms allowed. There will be plenty of good guys with guns at the event.
  2. No racists, skinheads, Kluckers, Tea Partiers, or anyone who in any way discriminates against those of color, or based upon their religion or sexual orientation. (Unless you have $2700 to donate.)
  3. Pictures are mandatory. Pictures of everyone, including elected officials, who enters the event will be photographed showing their proud support of Donald Trump. Everyone also must take a picture with the nominee. No exceptions. You must also smile.
  4. Limited attendance. Attendance will be limited to those who Donald Trump has not made fun of or disrespected. Therefore no Gays, Mexicans (unless they are serving horderves), Muslims, Jews, Asian-Americans, Blacks, disabled, non-Christian or anyone who is not male and white. Remember this is a Trump fundraiser not a Democrat one.
  5. Donations will be distributed. Donations of more than the legal federal limit will be distributed to the Republican Tea Party to fund their convention since their sponsors are pulling out and to various candidates who can't raise money with Trump hanging around their neck.
  6. Look for the direction signs to the event. The streets may also be lined with confederate flags.

Enjoy your visit and let's Make America White Again!