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Smith County Judge Joel Baker booked on misdemeanor charges related to suspected open meetings violation

County Judge Joel Baker was booked into the Smith County jail on Friday on a misdemeanor charge of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said Baker turned himself in after 5 p.m. and was released as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Baker is charged with three counts of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act, a misdemeanor.

A warrant was issued Thursday from the Smith County Grand Jury, out of the 114th District Court, Smith said. Baker’s bond was set at the maximum of $2,000.

In a statement, Baker called the matter a “political witch hunt.”
“As the Attorney General and his supporters will agree, an indictment alone is no evidence of guilt or wrong doing.” he wrote. “I am not guilty of these charges. At no time did I, or any member of the court, knowingly violate the Texas Open Meetings Act. I maintain this (investigation) was not a mission to find the truth, rather a political witch-hunt. I look forward to producing the true facts to a jury. I am confident a jury will find these charges to be frivolous.”

If Baker is convicted of one or more of the charges, he would be removed from office. According to the Texas Association of Counties, a county judge can be removed for official misconduct.

“A judge or commissioner convicted for a violation of the Open Meetings Act is automatically removed from office,” according to the organization’s website.

The charges likely stem from an Attorney General investigation into Baker and the Commissioners Court after a complaint filed by Grassroots America – We the People on how the body handled a now-defunct contract to place unmanned speed cameras in county school zones.

The contract with Arizona-based company American Traffic Solutions was discussed in an executive session and approved by the court in August 2014. 

Baker signed the contract in January 2015, and the matter became public months later in April, when a press release went out to local media. Commissioners said, at the time, they were unaware the contract had even been signed.

The contract remains valid but inactive.

In May 2015, Grassroots America filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office for a possible breach in the Texas Open Meetings act, stating the contract was not fully vetted before the public.

“To those who would trivialize these alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, Grassroots America considers an official’s oath of office, respect for the rule of law and respect for the public trust to be very serious matters,” the watchdog group said in a statement Friday evening. “While nobody was robbed at gunpoint or physically assaulted in this case, we believe the public trust was violated and violated more than once. We believe when all of the facts are known in this case, it will be abundantly clear the citizens of Smith County deserved much better from their county government.”

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June 16, 2016

Abstract: This analysis of 47 cases of jihadist-inspired violence carried out in Western countries between January 1, 2012, and the June 12, 2016, Orlando attack sheds light on the evolving terrorist threat. The data shows that the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State have coincided with an increase in the number of attacks, with more than half of all violent incidents taking place in France and the United States. Notwithstanding the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, most attacks were carried out by individuals with no direct ties to overseas terrorist groups and were low-tech and relatively ineffectual. Half of all attackers had a criminal past, and perhaps as many were unemployed. A majority of attacks targeted civilians, although violence was also frequently directed against members of law enforcement or the military. Knife attacks were the most common while shootings were the deadliest.  

Shortly after 2:00 AM on the morning of June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, an American citizen of Afghan descent, stormed into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and opened fire with an assault rifle and semiautomatic handgun, killing 49 people. Although many questions remain, Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call made during the attack. This would make it the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11 in addition to the deadliest mass shooting regardless of motivation. It thus appears to be the latest in a steadily growing number of jihadist-inspired violent incidents in Western countries. Some of these incidents, most notably the deadly, coordinated assault in Paris last November and the bombing in Brussels four months later, are clearly directed and funded by foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). Others are carried out independently by autonomous groups and individuals who are often lacking substantial overseas connections but nevertheless share the same murderous ideology, while others still are conducted by troubled individuals who seem to be driven at least as much by mental illness as by exposure to jihadi propaganda[1] or related media coverage.

Precisely where Mateen falls on this spectrum has yet to be established. The manifestation of jihadist-inspired violence in the West is clearly extremely diverse. It also appears to have increased substantially since the outbreak of war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State. However, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the threat, it is important to examine the use of violence more thoroughly. This article analyzes all jihadist-inspired violent attacks executed in Western Europe, North America, and Australia from 2012 to the June 12 Orlando attack (i.e. since the escalation of conflict in Syria and Iraq). The analysis begins with a statistical assessment of the frequency and location of attacks, characteristics of perpetrators—including their links to foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs)—and modus operandi, followed by an examination of what the data reveals about the threat trajectory in the West.

Frequency of Attacks
From January 2012 to June 12, 2016, there have been 47 violent attacks in Western countries that were at least partially inspired by Islamist political concerns and/or violent jihadist propaganda and ideas, as promoted by al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State and widely covered in the media.[a] This compares to just 26 attacks during the entire preceding 11-year period, representing a significant increase in frequency. Moreover, the number of attacks has increased each year, with three in 2012, five in 2013, 11 in 2014, 16 in 2015, and 12 so far in 2016 (compared to five this time last year), which suggests a continuing upward trend in the coming months (see Figure 1).

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FWISD forms committee to oversee transgender policy changes

By: Staff

The Fort Worth ISD superintendent announced a committee will be formed to go over their controversial “transgender guidelines” and possibly make changes.

The new policies have been the subject of protest and were challenged by the Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General.

The Fort Worth school board convened yet another meeting filled with people either for or against the controversial transgender guidelines. Once again, Superintendent Kent Scribner addressed the issue. This time, it was a post mortem on six community forums over the past two weeks.

The guidelines are vague on how, and under what circumstances, boys who identify as a female would be allowed to use a girl’s restroom. The district says its practice with transgender students, which is not clarified in the eight-page guidelines, is to require transgender students meet with an administrator to work out bathroom issues. Scribner announced a plan to clarify that.

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A grand myth is that conservatives are heartless. Conservatives are the kind that will throw grandma over the cliff.  Not true.

The evidence is to the contrary.  The more politically conservative a citizen, the more compassionate they are, especially with their charity and financial benevolence.

Conservatives care deeply about the creatures of the world.

Laura Donahue of the Texas Humane Legislative Network (THLN) and her staff work in Austin for the protection of animals in the state.  With a keen focus on the breeding industry, Donahue cites legislative victories that have advanced the mission statement of THLN.

In a conversation with Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani, Donahue outlines the legislative priorities of THLN going into the 2017 legislative session.  Yet, the question remains for liberty-driven Texans, what is the best way to humanly protect Texas animals and pets without vastly expanding governmental powers and regulations?  The conversation between the two animal lovers is a “can’t miss”.

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Team RER

Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


Has your school district been designated a “District of Innovation”?  If so, the nightmare of the Fort Worth ISD transgender controversy could be coming to your neighborhood, next.

Alice Linahan is a liberty watchdog when it comes to the “Big Ed” (Big Education) in Texas.  The latest trend that will allow the leftist Washington agenda to pour into your school district is the designation of District of Innovation.  Linahan reveals how a failing school district becomes a prime target for the socialist-secular indoctrination curriculum that comes with the designation.

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Team RER

Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


The Texas GOP birthed a new and improved, two hundred 2016 Texas Republican Platform on May13, 2016.  The Platform now consists of 266 planks and one of them, the Elections Integrity Plank No. 59, takes on the Texas Secretary of State’s (SoS) Election Division and directs their office to step up and better secure our Texas elections.

The new election language passed with an overwhelming 90% approval of all convention delegates. The first major change to the election plank #59 sets the expectation for the SoS:

“We support the Secretary of State strictly enforcing printing of Results Tapes for electronic voting for early voting and Election Day at polling locations after the polls close for all counties.”

This directive came about because many counties are receiving waivers to election law related to computerized voting machines.  Texans are not happy with electronic voting machines according to Dr. Laura Pressley, Ph.D. who has the first formal election contest in the state with evidence of electronic voting computer corruption in Texas—in Travis County.

Dr. Pressley has presented her election contest and legal case all around the state and she tells Raging Elephant’s Radio that she has heard from voters, “From Midland to Longview, from Denton to Galveston, majority of Texans do not trust computerized voting machines.  On top of that, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office is not consistently holding counties to the letter of the law for their operation and retention of mandated back up records.  Overall, people have lost confidence in the process.”

Apparently, for years the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Division has provided waivers to law to Texas counties who employ computerized voting and countywide polling locations.  The waivers have instructed counties to not print and retain specific paper back up records–printing of Precinct Returns/Tally/Results Tapes–because it is simply inconvenient for election judges to do so.  These crucial paper back up records are mandated by the legislature in Chapter 66 of the Texas Election Code.  Even the 2016 Texas Secretary of State’s Election Judges Handbook (p.53) documents and reiterates the legal requirement to adhere to Chapter 66 of the Texas Election Code to print results tapes on election night at the polling location for direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines.

According to Ray Myers, Republican and Chairman of the Kaufman Tea Party and member of the 2016 Platform Committee who approved the elections integrity plank, “We must strictly follow our election laws and send that message to our elected representatives, including our Attorney General, Lt. Gov. and Governor.  We want Results Tapes printed at the polling locations, after polls close, for ALL counties and we want a stop to all the waivers of law.”

Even Texas State Senator, Bob Hall, has recently spoke out in a press release demanding adherence to our election laws, “…it is not possible to truthfully validate any election result or conduct a legally sufficient ballot recount in the Texas counties where “electronic” voting, without a paper trail, is being allowed. The procedures for assuring vote integrity, which are clearly stated in the Texas Constitution and Texas Election Code are not being followed.”

Hall further explains, “…the Secretary of State’s office should cease issuing waivers that instruct county election officials to operate elections unlawfully…” State Senator Hall emphasized his positions and spoke directly to the 2016 Texas GOP Platform Committee in strong support of the new election integrity platform language.

Another key addition to the 2016 Texas GOP Platform addresses what is driving the SoS’s waivers to Chapters 65 and 66 of the Texas Election Code–countywide polling locations.  Since 2006, Texas counties with countywide polling have allowed voters to vote anywhere in their county.

Precinct Chairs across the state have repeatedly voiced concerns about voter integrity during Early Voting and on Election Day with countywide polling locations. According to Mike Olcott, Precinct Chair in Parker County and former member of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC), “Countywide polling generates voter accountability concerns and effectively eliminates the backup paper trail for electronic voting on Election Day and I believe most voters would be uncomfortable with that if they realized it.”

As a result, counties requested for their opposition of countywide polling locations be documented, and the Platform Committee and delegates approved the addition to the 2016 Texas GOP elections plank: 

“We oppose county-wide polling locations due to heightened potential for fraud.”

The third addition to the election integrity plank relates to the option for voters to use paper ballots in all elections, in all counties, to ensure the option for a traceable, paper ballot record of votes.

We support all means of protecting the integrity of our elections, including the optional use of paper ballots.

State Senator Hall is very clear how important Texas elections are, “Vote integrity is one of the most sacred responsibilities of our government. Without integrity, we have no legitimate government.”

Now the Texas GOP 2016 Platform makes it crystal clear to all.  With a 90% mandate, Republican delegates have set the expectations for Texas to return to legal elections with checks, balances and traceability.

Team RER

Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

Parents Of Transgender Youth Say They Are Left Out Of Bathroom Policy Talks

May 31, 201


Parents Of Transgender Youth Say They Are Left Out Of Bathroom Policy Talks | Texas Public Radio

Parents of transgender children argue they are being left out of the conversation when it comes to the state’s fight against public school district changes in bathroom ordinances.   A Tuesday rally followed a request for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal opinion on whether these school districts are violating state law.

Pearland mother Kimberley Shappley, the mother of a transgender child, wept as she talked about her own efforts to thwart her child identifying as the opposite sex.

“Kai would never get a single toy that she asked for, she would never have a birthday party theme that she asked for.  One Monday afternoon I remember picking (up) a sobbing child from daycare and her best friend had had a fourth birthday party that we were not invited to. I remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing her sweet face saying, ‘Her daddy said the party was only for girls and that I’m a freak,'” Shappley says.

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RERintern Ericca Espindola was thrown into shock and fled a large and popular Starbucks in Houston when she discovered that a man was in a stall in the women’s restroom, last week, Wednesday, May 27, 2016.

As part of her internship with, Espindola appears with RER broadcast activist, Scott Ford on Thursdays as a co-host.  During last week’s air shift, Espindola revealed that after standing in line to enter the women’s restroom at the Starbucks located on Westheimer at Post Oak – right across the street from the famous Houston Galleria – she discovered that a man was in the restroom.

“So I walked in, I’m taking my time… I’m finally done. I walk out of the stall and turn on the water.  And, I’m looking into the mirror and in the mirror’s reflection I can see the stall next to me,” recalled Espindola.  She then goes on to reveal on the RERhotclip, that she was able to identify a male in the stall that was next to her the entire time and what his actions were.

After discovering the presence of the male, Espindola fled the restroom and ran all the way into the Starbucks parking lot, shocked by what had just happened.

In a minor irony, in her prior week’s co-hosting assignment, the issue of bathroom ordinances came up.  The issue has become a hot topic in the current news cycle right here in Texas and RER is covering it.  In the conversation with Scott Ford, Espindola admitted she really hadn’t formulated an opinion on the matter as she matures in her political beliefs.  This episode acted as a shaking to reality for her.

“But, until you’ve been in the situation, it’s very unsettling. It’s ironic that happened to me”, said Espindola.  Jokingly and lighthearted, she added, “I’ll probably never, ever use a public restroom, again.”

Espindola is a recent graduate of the University of Texas – San Antonio.  Her degree is in communications with an emphasis in journalism and public relations.  She’s a native of Houston.

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Team RER

Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

Wendy Davis: Legislature would kill Patrick transgender restroom bill

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seeks opinion on Fort Worth ISD’s bathroom policy

– Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is trying to keep up the pressure on the Fort Worth Independent School District over the superintendent’s bathroom policy.

At a news conference in Austin Tuesday, Patrick said he is asking the state’s attorney general to determine whether it was legal for Superintendent Kent Scribner to declare that transgender students in the district can use the bathroom based on their gender identity, not the gender on their birth certificate.

“You have to ask the question, ‘Why did this policy come out of nowhere when there seemed to be nothing to create it?’ I said at the time because it was directly linked to the Obama policies in Washington. Some in the media scoffed… 36 hours later, I was proven right,” Patrick said.

Last week Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration seeking to block the White House directive requiring that transgender students across the country be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

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