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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,773

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Canada planning for war with North Korea

As the Trump administration continues to recklessly escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula, Canada’s Liberal government has given its strongest indication yet that Canadian troops would join a war with North Korea—a war that could result in the deaths of millions and trigger a nuclear clash between major powers.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed April 21 that in the event of a US conflict with North Korea, Washington might well use the US-led United Nations Korea Command to mobilize troops and materiel from its allies. Korea Command, which includes Canada, was established at the onset of the 1950-53 Korean War.

While Sajjan maintained that Ottawa was focused on “diplomacy” first, he stressed that military plans for crisis situations on the Korean peninsula have been developed. According to the Canadian Press, policy documents prepared for former Defence Minister Peter MacKay in 2010 stated that if fighting broke out, the UN Command (UNC) “structure would be used as a means of force generating, and receiving and tasking any contributions that UNC sending states may choose to contribute.”

Sajjan’s remarks followed bellicose anti-North Korean remarks from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While in France earlier this month to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a First World War battle in which 10,000 Canadians were killed or injured, Trudeau denounced the “dangerous and unstable North Korean regime.” Siding fully with Washington’s provocative actions, which have included sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the region and the deployment of the THAAD missile defence system to South Korea, he continued, “This rogue regime in North Korea is a danger not only to the immediate region but the entire world.”

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/29/cank-a29.html

New Texas Redistricting Maps Will Likely Be Drawn This Summer

By the end of this summer Texas could have new voting maps for Congressional and State House districts.

A three-judge federal panel in San Antonio could set a summer trial date as early as Monday.

The three federal judges – two Republicans and one Democrat- want final election maps to be ready in time for 2018 statewide and congressional elections.

For that to happen election boundaries must be decided soon which is why the judges told attorneys to get ready for a trial as early as July.

Read more: http://tpr.org/post/new-texas-redistricting-maps-will-likely-be-drawn-summer

In Historic Decision, Federal Judge Says Harris County Bail System Is Unfair to the Poor

In a historic decision, a federal judge has found that Harris County's bail system infringes on the rights of poor people charged with non-violent offenses, granting a preliminary injunction against the county and forcing immediate changes on the county's bail system.

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal issued her decision in a sweeping 193-page ruling, finding that the plaintiffs had a high chance of proving at trial that the county's bail system is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs—Civil Rights Corps, Texas Fair Defense Project and Houston law firm Susman Godfrey, representing all indigent misdemeanor defendants—had charged that Harris County's bail system punishes the poor and favors the wealthy because bail hearing officers fail to consider people's ability to pay bail, as the Constitution requires. Instead, plaintiffs claimed, they set bail based on an arbitrary bail schedule and often ignored recommendations to release non-violent people on personal bonds.

"Misdemeanor arrestees are often...people 'living on the edge at the point in their lives that intersects with getting involved in an arrest,'" Judge Rosenthal wrote in closing. "In Harris County, they may be homeless. They may lack family, friends, and [people in their lives willing to bail them out]. Some are, no doubt, of bad reputation and present a risk of nonappearance or of new criminal activity. But they are not without constitutional rights to due process and the equal protection of the law."

Here's how the new system will work under the preliminary injunction: Rosenthal has ordered that Harris County will be required to interview all misdemeanor arrestees about their financial conditions at the Houston jail and Harris County Jail. At the very first probable cause and bail hearing, if the person is eligible for release (i.e., has no other holds, isn’t charged with domestic violence or needing to undergo a mental competency exam), they are required to be released on unsecured money bond if they haven’t already bailed out the normal way. The difference is, normally to bail out, people have to pay up front; now, they’ll only have to pay if they don’t show up for court.

Read more: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/federal-judge-says-harris-county-bail-system-is-unfair-to-poor-defendants-9397124

John Wiley Price Acquitted on Bribery and Mail Fraud; Jury Unable to Reach Verdict on Tax Evasion

Halfway into their eight day of deliberations, jurors in the eight-week federal corruption trial of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price emerged at last to deliver a stinging rebuke to prosecutors – not guilty verdicts on the most serious charges of bribery and mail fraud.

The jury told the judge it was unable to reach verdicts on income tax evasion charges. Jurors found Price’s administrative assistant, Dapheny Fain, not guilty of the two charges against her – lying to the FBI and helping Price hide money from the IRS.

Price had no comment on the verdicts beyond, "I'm going back to work," as he walked from the courthouse to Founders Square building on Commerce Street surrounded by media.

Price's lead attorney, Shirley Baccus-Lobel, echoed his words. "The commissioner and Ms. Fain are going back to work. Hallelujah citizens. ... I feel that the jury's verdict was entirely consistent with the evidence."

Read more: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/john-wiley-price-acquitted-on-bribery-and-mail-fraud-jury-unable-to-reach-verdict-on-tax-evasion-9416870

Corporate flat tax bill gaining traction in Capitol

BATON ROUGE — A bill that would raise as much as $200 million in taxes while cutting the corporate income tax rate by 65 percent or more is gaining traction in the Capitol, including potential nods from the powerful ultra-conservative Americans for Prosperity and nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

House Bill 648 by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, would create a flat corporate income tax of between 1 and 2 percent and eliminate all credits, exemptions and the franchise tax.

That would reduce the current highest corporate income tax rate of 8 percent, but actually generate more tax revenue because of the elimination of tax breaks.

"It's true tax reform that offers stability and predictability, which is good for both the state and for businesses," said Havard, who said he was still working on amendments to the bill to address concerns.

Read more: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/2017/04/27/corporate-flat-tax-bill-gaining-traction-capitol/100970038/

Temporary taxes could hurt Louisiana's credit, but lawmakers still consider them

To improve its credit rating and save millions of dollars on construction projects, Louisiana must stabilize its fiscal situation. But some of the fiscal measures that the Legislature is considering won't be viewed kindly by the national agencies that set the credit rating.

State Treasurer Ron Henson said it is difficult to know exactly what tax and budget changes the national rating agencies want to see from Louisiana. But one thing is certain: "They do not like temporary revenue measures," Henson said Thursday (April 27).

Yet that hasn't stopped lawmakers from keeping temporary taxes, and the temporary removal of some tax exemptions, on the table in the current legislative session. They are trying to find a way to close a $1.4 billion hole that will be left in the budget when a number of temporary measures expire in July 2018.

All three of the big national credit rating agencies have downgraded Louisiana over the past 14 months. As a result, the state must pay more in interest to borrow money for roadwork and other projects. Before last year, the rating agencies hadn't downgraded Louisiana since 2005, in the months after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/04/temporary_taxes.html

Let 70,000 ex-felons vote? No, says Louisiana House committee

BATON ROUGE -- Proposals to restore the voting rights of more than 70,000 Louisiana ex-felons on probation or parole got a chilly reaction from some state lawmakers Wednesday (April 26). The House Governmental Affairs Committee rejected one such proposal and persuaded a lawmaker to delay action on a similar bill until next week.

Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pulled her House Bill 229 from a vote after her colleagues expressed concern about giving the vote back to people who have been on parole or probation for five years. The law affects about 71,000 people, roughly 1.5 percent of the state's population.

Similar proposals have died before in the conservative Louisiana Legislature. Smith introduced the bill after supporters of restoring voting rights struck out in court last month, when a judge told them they would have to get the law changed if they want the prohibition lifted.

Multiple ex-offenders told the committee they are law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes but may not truly participate in their communities if they are not allowed to vote. "People who are engaged in their community don't commit crimes," said Bruce Reilly, deputy director of the New Orleans group Voice of the Ex-Offender. Reilly, who is in his 40s, said he may not vote until he is 65 because of a murder he committed as a teenager.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/04/let_70000_ex-felons_vote_no_lo.html

State, law enforcement officials seek compromise to save controversial prison reform plan

Gov. John Bel Edwards and criminal justice reform advocates are racing to appease critics in the law enforcement community who threaten to dilute a sweeping overhaul of the state's criminal code aimed at curbing Louisiana's bloated prison rolls.

Law enforcement leaders and high-level staffers for Edwards have met behind closed doors every day this week and figure to negotiate through the weekend over a compromise.

Edwards and other backers of the proposed legislation aim to preserve much of the $305 million in savings that experts say would come from measures aimed at shedding nearly 5,000 inmates, and the state's label as the nation's leading jailer, by 2027.

They face a powerful lobbying tandem in the state's prosecutors and sheriffs, who oppose many of the changes in sentencing, parole eligibility or early release for violent inmates. According to figures from Pew Charitable Trusts, scrapping those changes would reduce the savings by about $40 million.

Read more: http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/article_8a1844a0-2c68-11e7-aeee-57a478aa8c7a.html

House Democrats left wanting more details from Republicans on state budget

Just days after opposition from Republicans doomed a key piece of the governor's budget-solving strategy, House Democrats say they are still waiting for a credible budget plan from the chamber's GOP leadership.

Two House Republican leaders briefed Democrats Thursday on their ideas to head off next year’s “fiscal cliff,” when $1.3 billion in temporary taxes expire in the state's $9.5 billion portion of the budget, but members walked away uninspired.

“I didn’t hear a plan,” state Rep. Andy Anders, D-Vidalia, said after the meeting.

“I didn’t know any more than what I knew before the meeting,” said state Rep. Gene Reynolds, of Minden, the Democrats’ caucus chairman.

Read more: http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/article_7b6819e4-2b82-11e7-b731-8705e6a8b48a.html

Huge challenge loom, but backers of a gasoline tax hike say they have a plan

Despite ominous signs, backers of what would be Louisiana's first state gasoline tax hike in 28 years insist they have a three-prong plan that can pass the Legislature.

With more than one-third of the 2017 session done, none of the revenue-raising bills have come up for committee hearings, and it may be another two weeks before they do.

House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, said Thursday he does not think backers currently have enough votes to get a major gas tax hike through the House, where it has to start.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who says he backs a big boost in state transportation aid, is preoccupied with state budget problems and has had little involvement in the push for roads and bridges, lawmakers said.

Read more: http://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives/video/friday-april-28-2017/3502880
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