“So, I’m sitting at a stop sign. Can you imagine my surprise, and then outrage, when I look into my rear view mirror and see the Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, about to take a picture of my auto license plate? It was surreal”, exclaimed Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani during his radio program on June 30, 2016.
The Speaker was in the Houston area to deliver a “State 0f the State” speech to the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce the previous day. Claver and RagingElephantsRadio.com team members attended the lunch to video and audio record Mr. Straus’ speech. Straus rarely speaks publically, and to get him on any media can be like hunting for Big Foot.
Yet, perhaps the biggest news event that resulted from the luncheon was after it was over at an all-way stop sign. An unexpected encounter between Claver and the Speaker resulted in a hilarious outcome that had RER listeners howling in laughter, posting approving comments regarding Claver’s actions, and unceasing jabs at Straus for a rather ephebic antic.
Check out the RERhotclip. You must hear the story as told by Claver. Straus and Claver have never had a direct verbal exchange. Yet, Claver certainly communicated non-verbally to the powerful Speaker to prevent him from photographing his license plate. You’ll never guess how. But, it’s safe to say it resulted in Texas nearly losing the sitting Speaker via stroke and/or cardiac arrest.
State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford RER99) is widely considered to be the face and voice of the Liberty Caucus in the Texas House. Along with his allies, his sophomore session in 2015 was marked with unexpected success. Not by getting great new liberty legislation passed, necessarily. But, by stopping some really RINO bills from getting to the Governor’s desk.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Stickland’s tenure so far under the Pink Dome, has been his ability to expose what really goes on for 140 days every other year in Austin. Stickland and the Liberty Caucus gave the Texas electorate perhaps their very first true view into the dealings under the Pink Dome that end up creating massive frustration within the Texas liberty electorate.
The “Big Stick’s” conversation the Amazing Doc Greene you know is going to have some golden moments. The Big Stick and the Original Liberty Shock Jock. What possibly could be uttered?
The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN.org) held an evening conference at the South Texas School of Law on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. With representation and volunteers in multiple Texas cities, especially metropolitan, the conference drew an attendance of approximately 100 for the Houston event.
On the issue of animal rights, several advocates spoke to their issue specialty and concentration. A Harris County Constable addressed briefed the audience as a first responder assigned to animal cruelty cases in the field.
Laura Donahue, Executive Director of THLN, was the featured presenter. Donahue’s presentation focused on past achievements of the organization, and a very aggressive agenda for the upcoming 2017 Texas legislative session. Although primarily aligned with Democrat legislators, Donahue believes that bi-partisan support can be achieved on new laws for animal protection.
Conservatives have to ask if new laws are called for? Do the current laws on the books adequately protect Texas animals? Or, is there a real need to expand law enforcement powers to protect animals?
On July 21, 2016, Director of Elections Ken Ingram of the Texas Secretary of State’s office sent a letter to the David Maxwell, Director of Enforcement in the Texas Attorney General’s office, referring a Texas Republican primary election of 2016 be investigated. Ingram and the Secretary of State’s office believe that there is ample reason for AG Ken Paxton (R) to investigate the contest between State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana RER56) and his liberty movement, upstart challenger Thomas McNutt.
Cook won the March1, 2016 contest by a mere 222 votes. The results looked “funny” from the start. McNutt was leading easily going into bedtime. However, when the rooster crowed the next morning, somehow Cook had pulled out the reelection. The complaint filed leading to the referral alleges that there were 1,743 more votes cast then there were voters in the election.
Another irony of the story is that the letter to the AG’s office recommending an investigation into the election proceedings came on the heels of the 5th Circuit of Appeals Court in New Orleans essentially striking down Texas’ voter Id law of 2011.
The original story was picked up by outstanding investigative journalists Watchdog.org.
More ironically, the letter was delivered to Paxton’s office just 48 hours before Dr. Laura Pressley is to be the featured speaker at the RER1836 Saturday Champagne Brunch. Dr. Pressley has been traveling the state presenting what she believes is concrete evidence that election violations are happening on a regular basis in Texas, and on the GOP side of polling place. Following a run for city council in Austin, Pressley began investigating what she felt were troubling signs of voting irregularities in her race and filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit is in the appeal phase.
Recently, Pressley’s most vocal detractors have been raising their voices even louder. Pressley believe the elevated volume is in response to the original article published by RER reporting on the RPT 2016 Platform calling for measures to be put into place to ensure ballot integrity. Earlier this week, local Houston liberty movement activist Colleen Vera posted on her blog Texas Trash Talk, a blistering attack on Pressley. One could say Vera essentially charged Pressley with being a fraud, intellectually dishonest by cherry-picking her data, and being a Democrat plant.
Cook is one of the most reviled elected officials in Texas within the ranks of the liberty movement. He is the chairman of the very powerful State Affairs Committee, routinely attempts to push amnesty legislation through such as the Texas Solution, has been identified as pro-abortion by Texas Right to Life, and is one of the chief henchmen for Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus.
Cook is one of the original 11 Republicans that launched a coup against the sitting GOP Speaker, Tom Craddick in the 2011 legislative session. Straus, Cook and the other RINOs allied with 65 Democrat state reps to overthrow Craddick when the House was split 76-74 Republican.
Liberty movement activists have been suspicious of the integrity of GOP primary elections for several cycles pointing to the consistent margins of defeat for LM candidates cycle after cycle while influence amongst the ranks of the party continues to trend heavy toward LM representation. In the 2012 primary season, the state rep race that ultimately elected Dr. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood RER82) to the state house, the vote count was halted by the Eric Holder Justice Department for “suspicious” mail-in/early-voting ballots. This came after the DOJ issuing warnings of potential voting irregularities that could take place in several Texas counties, including Jefferson. The vote was eventually resumed and the results certified, but under a big cloud of doubt. Dr. Bonnen is brother of State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton RER73), Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House.
We must really be over the target to incite so much attention. It is exciting that our election integrity legal case in Travis County is the subject of the Houston political blog, Texas Trash Talk by Mrs. Colleen Vera. She inadvertently reminds us that Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, Greens, Pinks, and even those who prefer mayonnaise over mustard, are all capable of agreeing on one thing—we all demand honest, true and legal elections.
Election Integrity is the most incredibly powerful issue in America because it brings together people from all walks of life that would normally never agree, let alone even consider eating lunch together. How many have stood up and protected our country for our right to vote and to have our votes counted accurately? I certainly don’t want to tell our Texas veterans that, in the name of mere convenience for voters and election judges, we have allowed a little fraud to waltz in.
Mrs. Vera makes the dangerous assumption that she can approach her criticisms of our election integrity case using the thesis that Republican voters do not want a paper ballot record of their vote. She politicizes it with the hopes of invoking tribalism and inciting fear in Republicans because “Democrats want paper ballots…” and Republicans must not want the same thing. Right? The truth is both major parties have been accused of stealing elections with electronic voting with Democrats being most recently documented. The real non-partisan story is that members of all political persuasions in Texas do not trust computerized voting.
Let’s bring this topic close to home and talk specifically about electronic voting machines in our Lone Star State. These were introduced in Texas around 2001 along with a slew of laws, promises of impeccable computer security, and paper back up records. “Trust us,” we were told. Well, what happened over the next 15 years was something
very different from what the voters in Texas were promised.
All counties across the state are subject to the same legal requirements and election laws—right? Fast forward to the end of the movie…in 2016 we are far away from the legislative intent of honest, verifiable and true elections in Texas.
Here are just a few of the electronic voting and election integrity safeguards that have been incrementally whittled away over the recent years:
Paper back up records are being waivedbecause they are simply not convenient. It takes too long to print those pesky paper Tally/Results and Zero Tapes required by law. Apparently, a bureaucrat in the Texas Secretary of State’s office is giving waivers telling counties to not print them.
Computercorruptionerrors are occurring on main computers that tabulate votes. Reports of corruption errors have been reported in multiple counties across Texas,
Precinct accountability is lost with countywide polling locations,
Early Voting now occurs over weeks and results are entered into county data systems the weekend before the Tuesday election,
Legal recounts of ballots cannot be done as required by law, and
Texas Constitution requires all ballots to be uniquely numbered, for security tracking, and that isnot
As a candidate for Austin City Council, I’ve experienced the issues above and because of irregularities and illegalities in my election, we brought the first election contestciting election laws were not being followed in Travis County.
Little did I know in 2015, when we filed our City Council election contest and lawsuit, similar election integrity issues were going on all over Texas. For the last year, we’ve been raising funds for our election case and in that process have brought together those individuals and political groups that might not consider eating lunch together. The good news is we all agree on the importance of election integrity. Along the way, we have also brought plenty of attention to lapses of accountability from our Texas election powers that be. Suffice it to say, no good deed goes unpunished.
It is not clear why our diligent efforts to bring honest and legal elections to Travis County are being challenged on a political basis by Mrs. Vera in her blog. Is it because we are over the target like a bird dog on a hunt? Have we successfully made a difference by herding some pretty wild cats and getting key counties and State Senators working together to change the 2016 Election Integrity Platformof the Texas GOP so we may begin closing loopholes that enable electronic voting fraud in Texas?
So why the political criticism and Chicken Little sky-is-falling fear of my friendships and political associations with Travis County Democrats? I live in Travis County, remember? In Austin, it’s been really a cake walk speaking out on gun rights, stopping corporate welfare, and reducing taxes. As one would expect, the status quo Democrats, have labeled me a sleeper Republican and sometimes a closet Libertarian. Now, in Harris County, the largest customer of Hart InterCivic electronic voting machines, I’ve been called a secret undercover Democrat with an agenda. All of this finger pointing is simply laughable and reminds me of the insightful Dr. Seuss children’s story of the Star Belly Sneetches.
For the record, I have historically voted for and donated to Democrats and Republicans which looks strikingly like a resume of an active and budding Independent. Over the years, like the poet William Blake so eloquently depicts in his writings, I’ve moved from innocence toward well earned political experience and wisdom and have kept my hard earned green backs out of the pockets of presidential candidates since 2012.
The bottom line is that Travis County Republican Party Executive Committee members, who know me best, twice unanimously elected me to serve (February and June 2016) as Republican Precinct Chair and subsequently elected me to be a SD 14 delegate to the State Convention. At the Convention, we worked with many counties to update the Election Integrity Plank of the Texas GOP Platform calling for improvements strengthening our Texas elections.
Not Republican enough? So where are all those lifelong Texas Republicans, within the status quo of elections powers that be, when it comes to addressing the election corruption of Travis County? I need both hands to count the big players in Harris County that admit Travis County elections are corrupted. Why did election lawyers, politicians, and election officers who claimed to have known electronic voting corruption was occurring in Travis County look the other way and do nothing for over a decade?
About a month ago, we were very fortunate to have Mrs. Vera in the audience of our recent election integrity presentation in Houston. I always start my presentations by asking for a show of hands of those that trust electronic voting machines. No one raised their hands. Over the last year I’ve been presenting our Travis County case all over Texas, we have discovered, thanks to the hackings of Target, T-Mobile and theState Department(just to name a few), Texas voters rightfully mistrust electronic computerized voting machines.
That evening, Mrs. Vera asked me what I want for Texas elections. As I will repeat in this article, we want adherence to all our election laws—provide a legal ballot image for recounts, and print the backup tapes per law, etc. Strategically going forward, we need an election system that has paper back up records to document our votes. I don’t know technically what that system would look like, but it sure isn’t what we have.
Many of us sit with our like minded friends complaining about this corruption, that corruption, Hillary isstealingelections, Obama is over-reaching his executive powers, the FBI and US Justice Department are not holding Hillary to the letter of the law with regard to security breaches and email servers, blah…blah…blah. Many of us are really good at barking, but not so good at exercising our power and judiciously biting.
Well, my Austin City Council runoff election was corrupted and I’m not the type to sit back and wonder when is someone else going to do something about it. We all have the power to step up. I refuse to be a victim and have made the personal commitment to stand up and hold Travis County accountable so that honest, true, and fair elections will happen in Austin.
Below, we’ve provide a response to each claim in Mrs. Vera’s blog. The details of our case are provided for those interested in the issues and research.
Claim #1—How can Laura Pressley be a Republican Precinct Chair and SD14 Delegate to the Texas GOP 2016 Convention and associate with those Democrats? Mrs. Vera may not be familiar with Travis County’s local political environment and how non-partisan issues generate powerful cross political support and alliances.
Many propositions in Austin related to transportation, municipal governance, and limiting tax increases, have been successful because Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents join together for a common cause. The Treasurers for my municipal race and our election integrity legal case were carefully chosen because of their integrity and because success comes from cross functional and cross political alliances.
Interestingly, Mrs. Vera did not do full justice when she omitted my 2010 Republican primary voting in her blog entries. Again, I’ve voted in both Democrat and Republican primaries, and I’ve not voted in primaries. And, for our pending election legal case, I’ve gratefully accepted all sizes of contributions from members of every political party under the sun and will continue to do so.
Claim #2 and #3—Why does Laura Pressley expect a Ballot Image meeting the requirements of a legal, statutorily sufficient, ballot to be stored and used for recounts for electronic voting in Texas? The short answer is because that is the law:
a) Per Texas laws (Chapter 52.001), the “vote in an election is by official ballot.” Furthermore, recounts (Chapter 211, 212,213,214, 215, 216) are done with legal ballots, not legally insufficient documents coined as cast vote records. No where in the Texas Constitution or the Texas Election Codes are cast vote records referenced and allowed to be counted in recounts.
b) The Texas State Constitution requires legally sufficient ballots to be numbereduniquely and sequentially to ensure security and the legally insufficient term, a cast vote record, does not meet the Constitutional standard. If the legislature ever passed a law in conflict with Article 4, Section 6 of the Texas Constitution, that legislative action would be unconstitutional.
c) Mrs. Vera does not relay that the Texas Secretary of State’s own Glossary of Elections Terminology defines Ballot Imageas “The ballot as it appears on a direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system.” Those that vote on the Hart InterCivic and ES&S electronic voting system, know very well they see components of a legal ballot they when they vote (name of election, date of election, voting squares, all candidates names, instructions, etc.) All of these components are required by Chapter 52 of the Election Code (062, 52.063, 52.064,52.070). Also, note in the Glossary of the Texas Secretary of State, the term cast vote record does not exist.
c) The supplemental statutes for electronic voting found in Chapter 124and 129 were not intended to replace the legal statutory ballot requirements so carefully detailed in Chapter 52, the “Ballot Form, Content and Preparation.” If Chapter 124 and 129 replaced the mandates of Chapter 52, the statutory construction language of “notwithstanding Chapter 52” would have to be included in those other chapters. The specific language of “notwithstanding” is not included; therefore the intent of the legislature is that Chapter 52 and the State Constitutional ballot requirements are in full force for electronic voting systems.
Voters across the state have personal experience that Hart InterCivic and ES&S Electronic Voting Systems can format and save a legal Texas ballot. These machines save and show Texas voters their respective ballot when each voter is deciding who to vote for. We see the legal components of a ballot when we vote. The machines clearly format a legally sufficient ballot meeting the requirements of Chapter 52.
Claim #4—Why does Laura Pressley claim she should have those pesky Zero Tapes printed for her Election? Our election legal case is extensive with over 12,000 pages of documents being entered into the court record. Mrs. Vera may have missed the specific court testimony regarding Zero Tapes.
When our lawyers pressed the Travis County Clerk under oath, she admitted they did not print Zero Tapes for my election precincts for our Austin City Council District 4 race (See page 224 line 3 – page 226 line 8).
Claim #5—Why does Laura Pressley’s statistical analysis show repetitive mathematical patterns and call her election results into question? Finding hidden mathematical patterns, that are not obvious to the public, is one of the best ways to identify sophisticated precinct election fraud. I used the 80/20 rule because it proves to be statistically significant.
Using detailed engineering methodologies, the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule, along with applying high school algebra, it was fairly easy to find the repetitive statistical mathematical patterns that brought the validity of our election results into question. Statistics cannot win a legal case, but where’s there’s smoke there’s fire. That statistical smoke signal pointed us to the election records and evidence to request in discovery. Those records subsequently documented security breachesand corruptionerrors that occurred with the main counting computer in our election.
For the math experts, our statistical analysis identified hidden mathematical patterns of our race by analyzing the top precincts (where 80% of the voters in those races cast votes) to compile our various District graphs. Note there are different numbers of precincts for the each candidate because each District race varies in geographical size. The 80% rule was used for all candidates to drive an apples-to-apples consistent analysis. As Mrs. Vera attempts to challenge our results with her graphs, she does not report the engineering methodology, slope, intercept and R2 values for the plots she shows.
Moving Texas forward, what we really need is Mrs. Vera’s help to make sure all our election laws are followed across the state. Thanks to the Harris County Republican Party, Houston is doing a good job at ensuring honest elections. As with situations, there is always room for continuous improvement.
Even with their extensive resources, Harris County has some blind spots with regard to computerized election integrity. The following concerns have been reported by election officers and judges:
a) Computer corruption errors have occurred on main computers,
b) During Early Voting, when the polls close, Results/Tally Tapes are not printed at the polling locations before the equipment leaves the building. Paper back up record printing and authentication procedures are inconsistent between Election Day and Early Voting,
c) Election results are only publically reported cumulatively. Separate, precinct-by-precinct results by candidate for Absentee, Early Voting and Election Day is needed for all races to enable a statistical analysis for mathematical patterns by precinct,
d) Security Seals for computer equipment are sometimes not affixed per written procedures, and
e) No legally sufficient ballot images exist for recounts.
Each of these issues is an open door for an election hacker to introduce a program that could flip votes by the thousands and tens of thousands in Harris County.
What we need are our laws to be honored, adhered to, and not brushed off as inconvenient. Over the last 15 years, what we were promised with secure computerized voting has not come to fruition and the systems have challenged the public’s trust.
Under Texas firearms possession permission laws, the State has to recognize the firearms licenses of several other states. States such as Virginia and Florida have gun possession laws that are far less onerous, and more liberating than Texas.
Going into the 2015 Texas Legislative Session, the chatter was that “Open Carry” would finally be permitted in the state after several sessions of failed attempts to get such legislation passed through the efforts of numerous 2nd Amendment advocacy groups based in Texas. The 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform had only one legislative priority for the upcoming 2015 session, Constitutional Carry, meaning no government oversight or regulatory authority in regards to the possession or enterprise of firearms in Texas.
The compromise between the hard-left gun control lobby, “Big LEO” (law enforcement officers) and their Establishment supporters was to allow those possessing a Texas Concealed Handgun License to have the option to openly carry with restrictions on how a handgun could be worn outside of clothing. Additionally, new CHL regulations reduced the number of classroom hours and required rounds fired at a gun range needed to receive permission to publically possess a pistol.
Out-of-state CHL class entrepreneurs have found a ready market in Texas. A June investigative report by Houston’s KPRC 2 News discovered that class operators from Florida are holding classes at venues in Texas, teaching the classes to the lesser standards and lower costs of Florida, and issuing CHL permits to the Texan attendees. Texas has to recognize the Florida license possessed by the Texan because of reciprocity agreements between the states.
The KPRC report also revealed that because of reciprocity, Virginia’s licensing process is also available to Texans. The class can be taken online, very much like a defensive driving course, in approximately 90 minutes. There is no gun range, firearm-handling requirement. The cost of the course is $20.
“What we’ve discovered, once again, is that Texas is not as Texas as most think it is”, said Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani, President and CEO of RagingElephantsRadio.com. “Here we are lagging behind on issues of liberty and specifically gun rights, like we are in so many areas and quality of life.”
Kamau-Imani believes Texans should avoid the Texas regulations. “My advice to all Texans that believe in the right of self-defense is to quickly circumvent the Texas CHL regulations and patronize a CHL educator from another state, for less cost, and less regulatory requirements. If Texas ‘conservative’ legislators believe in the concept of competition between the states, then Texas government should lose until it gets its act together and liberates its constituents as has been called for through Constitutional Carry. And, Texans better do it within the next six months before the next legislative session, because the Pink Domers intend to clamp down on the idea of reciprocity and the potential of losing that revenue and authoritarian power that gun control affords them”, Kamau-Imani predicted.
Appearing on KPRC 2 News in response to the investigative report, State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston RER33), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said that reciprocity on firearms permits is “dangerous”.
Responding to the question of what can be done to get the reciprocity loophole closed, Whitmire stated, “It is dangerous. Because it’s way too easy. It circumvents the standards of Texas, which are not that extensive – 50 shots, four to six hours of classroom. The reciprocity that we have with other states was never intended to circumvent our requirements. That was only to respect their citizens that may be visiting, or crossing the state.
“This is not about whether you support the 2nd Amendment. This is about public safety. To allow people to go… and take a short course, with no classroom or shots being fired, and then get to walk the streets of Texas in our communities with a concealed or a licensed-to-carry is wrong. We’ll have to revisit that in the legislature. And, I believe I can build a consensus in Austin to say ‘this is not what we intended’. In fact, it actually makes a mockery of Texas standards”, stated Whitmire. “I would think we start out by saying we’re not going to have out-of-state licenses granted by going around Texas standards.”
The Virginia course is conducted by the Concealed Carry Institute. The owner of the website was questioned by a KRPC 2 News investigative reporter about the lower standards of his state. “The problem that I have philosophically is once government starts telling you what requirements are to exercise a manner of self-defense, they could require everyone to become an Olympic marksman.”
Pastor Terry Holcomb, the “Open Carry Preacher” that leads the organization Texas Carry, responded to Whitmire on RER, “He is completely out of his sandbox. He is not about to eliminate reciprocity with 42 other states. When we get into that Pink Dome, I assure you, he is going to get no traction with that. The Governor is guaranteed to veto such a bill. He knows it’s dead in the water. He can politicize this all day long, all he wants. But, it is going nowhere.”
The RERhotclip has the full interview with Holcomb on this issue. It also contains the investigative report from KPRC and the full comments of State Sen. Whitmire.
According to State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano RER91) in the spring of 2014, the Texas Department of Public started to take the prints of all ten fingers of Texans instead of the prints of their two thumbs, primarily when issuing drivers licenses. By Texas law, this was not permissible. Texas DPS is legally authorized to take the thumb prints of Texans, and if the thumb print is not available, then they are allowed to take a print of an index finger.
Taylor stated on RagingElephantsRadio.com back in February, that constituents from his Senatorial District 8 in the DFW area came to him with concerns that this was being practiced by Texas state law enforcement.
“We went to DPS and asked, ‘Well, why are you doing this?’. Their initial response was that ‘We’re required by the Federal Real ID Act to do this’,” stated Taylor.
“So, we said ‘Show us in the Real ID Act where you’re required to do that?’ And, they handed us 100 pages of legislation. We read it, and said ‘We don’t find anywhere in this legislation where you’re required to do that’”, reported Taylor.
When Texas DPS officials were confronted with the findings of Taylor’s office, they then pointed to legislation passed in Texas in 2007. Once again, Taylor’s staff went through that cited legislation and found no requirement for Texas state law enforcement to take the prints of all ten fingers of Texans. DPS declared that it was the intention of the legislation’s author for all ten prints to be collected. Taylor pursued the issue to the point of calling the author of the legislation who stated to Taylor that the opposite was true of his bill. The taking of prints of all ten fingers was prohibited. It was the only way he could get the bill passed.
Taylor stated that the fact most disturbing to him was Texas DPS took the authoritarian action to unilaterally strike the permissible two-print language of the law and replaced it with permissible language to illegally collect the prints of all ten fingers. Essentially, Texas DPS decided to do whatever it wanted, according to Taylor, regardless of Texas law.
Taylor reported in February of 2016, that Texas DPS is back down to collecting only two thumb prints, and have been forced to destroy the 10 million prints of all ten fingers of Texans that were collected illegally in violation of Texas law. The adult population is approximately 20.4 million, according to the U.S. Census for 2015. Thus, about half of the Texas adult population had their fingerprints collected illegally by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In his interview with RER, State Sen. Taylor gives the full account of how the breaking of the law by Texas law enforcement was discovered, even more of their excuses, what he and his allies had to do to get Texas DPS to discontinue breaking the law, and what measures are put in place to prevent a repeat of the privacy violations.