THE VOTE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS WHO COUNTS THE VOTES
WACO – Getting out the vote is only half the battle. Counting them gets tricky when it comes to the party politics of primary colors like deepest scarlet, redder than the freshly oxygenated blood in human arteries.
Back when all 254 Texas courthouses were Democrat, Lyndon Johnson would say, “I like it; I love it; it’s at the right hand of God; it’s vital, it’s moving; you can’t stop it. We are going to have it. But, first, where are the 100,000 votes?”
“They aren’t lost,” says Mel “Popeye” Moss. “We know right where they’re at. It’s called the Republican Party voter data base, and it’s public record. We just happen to have a copy and we’re going to use it.”
Moss and his band of merry men, the Sons of Liberty Riders Motorcycle Club, are devoted to the traditions of the Tea Party – you know – the one where the York Rite dressed up like Indians and dumped the stuff in the water. Boston? Ring a bell? Right after a Moon Lodge stated meeting?
That was about the excise tax on coffee and tea; this one is about the user fee the Legislature converted the “motorcycle safety fund” into after the bikers dreamed it up and got it passed.
After the money built up to $13.5 million – which is a lot of bread for a hog-ridin’ fool, or anyone else – they decided to have a pow wow about this, and guess what.
The feds, DPS, Waco cops, a mess of “motorcycle gang experts,” and the Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center came down on them like white on rice.
They let a bunch of dudes with black and gold colors, some of whom are also members of a prison clique called the Aryan Circle, take over the meeting place at an upscale beer and burger bistro on a Sunday noon, then stood by and watched while they started shooting and whipping up on the dudes wearing red and gold when they rode in on their scoots.
Then the police sharpshooters started shooting the trigger happy, and they say when it was all over in about 90 seconds, 9 lay dead, 20 wounded, and the incumbent DA made a command decision.
He made it even though every cop there told him not to do it. He became the complaining, or “necessary” witness in the case, and the rules say you can’t be the prosecutor and the policeman at the same time. In fact, as a witness, you can’t be in the courtroom unless the judge and the attorneys have released you.
They’re letting him get by with it, even though he lied on the witness stand about it.
He decided to have everyone arrested who wore a club patch after letting a lot of them go, and when the cops wouldn’t sign the affidavit of probable cause, he found one who would. The result is that what happened on May 17, 2015 is still pending in the county’s two criminal district courts, taxpayers just ate a $600,000 doo doo sandwich to see the only guy prosecuted thus far walk away after a mistrial in which the jurors just flat out told the judge they were through, headed for the house, nothing to see here, and all that jazz – and the end is nowhere in sight.
McLennan County with its proclivities for explosive displays of authority – I mean, let’s face it, there is a history wherein people seem to blow up and burn alive on a fairly routine basis – is just one of a number of communities that went to a new system of voting centers that have replaced the traditional precinct structure and ward heeling bases of machine politics.
According to a white paper from the Secretary of State’s office, forty-two Texas counties have gone to the “super precinct” vote center approach for primary and runoff primary races of 2016. Most are like McLennan County, which clocks in at 41 percent of its ballots cast during early voting. (April 24 – May 2) This way, a voter doesn’t have to wait in long lines on election day, and it’s not necessary to drive all the way back to the house to get the job done.
Working men and women can hit the vote center during coffee break, lunch time, or on the way home, and never lose a minute in their busy day.
Due to the backlash against the “motor voter” innovation, in which conservatives perceived and objected to ballots cast illegally by undocumented aliens and convicted felons, and the advent of the voter ID laws, a lot of those people are turned away when they try to vote, or register to vote.
You’ve got to remember, in a single party state, we’re talking bare knuckle intra-party fuss fighting over hot button issues and cold war forget-me-not feuds that are kept brewing by the party faithful, decade after decade.
That’s why Tricky Dick’s southern strategy worked so well. Forget, hell, we ain’t forgot nothin’, they said, and Nixon knew that was right.
The deep thinkers say World War III is long gone and over; the sea change came after The Gipper told the Russkies to tear down that wall.
Deeper thinkers call the War On Drugs the War On The Vote, and drunks know that the costs of driving while blind will keep you in the poor house when you should have long since started calling taxis or paying a chauffeur.
They catch up with you at the ballot box. The laptop gizmo with its card scanner for numbered ID with pictures, bar code scanner for voter lists, and automatic label printer, handles the “A” list of voter ID. And then there’s the B list.
It’s all good. The problem is that the lists aren’t always all that up to date. That’s the power point, the fulcrum, the pivot point where the leverage is applied.
The bikers see it this way. Elected Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna has got to go. He’s got a lot of problems previously covered in these columns, including some peccadillos with Peruvian marching powder, influence peddling to be the boozy blues in B-flat a la DWI, and other items on the menu too numerous to list here. And then there’s the alleged aggravated perjury of his testimony during a disqualification hearing.
The truth is, the FBI has him on the radar, and the AG’s office is looking into his practices. It doesn’t look good.
Comes now Barry Johnson, who wants to run the people’s law office following a successful practice as a Dallas litigator.
He needs a boiler room, and the deal is this. Door knocking, block walking and all that jazz is difficult in the suburbs. It’s a long way from house to house. This isn’t Baltimore, Buffalo, Brooklyn, or Boston. But that’s if you don’t use social media. E-mail. Text messages. Cell phones. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
Enter Moss and Co. They’ve done this a number of times, all over Cowtown and the mid-cities.
So, in a town so thoroughly intimidated by the powers that be, who’s going to staff it? I mean, this city drank the Kool-Aid way back there. They think they got and maintain their jobs due to a munificent and beneficent power structure of tax abatements, non-profit municipal economic development scams, triple-A rated revenue bond issues – and the like.
Wrong. The deal is, those Fortune 500 companies have a lot of work to do and the people who meet the man and aren’t all that bad about Mondays are good at doing it.
Well, the bikers who got busted can’t even come to McLennan County or Boss Hawg will go off their bond. But their old ladies and friends are free to come go as they please.
“They didn’t get the chicks,” said Paula Carroll Swann, a New Braunfels woman from Houston whose dad was a homicide cop and taught her to read autopsy reports and trace lines of fire from evidence markers. “We can do what we want to do,” she declared – crowed – over the phone.
Now, these ladies are good with the keyboards – silent but deadly when it comes to digging up the facts, making the calls, doing the research. Expect to hear from them.
That leaves the all-important job of poll watching.
Tough job. Party functionaries in McLennan County are known to throw red-in-the-face tantrums, huff, puff, get loud, pump their fists, and run that bluff until the po-leece arrive – and everything.
But the deal is this.
Provisional ballots may be vetted and proven valid by automatic operation of law. The records are public. It’s not so hard to prove you have served your time; you’re clean; you have the right to vote – and you made your choice crystal clear, as that well-known lawyer who was once President before he resigned to prove he’s not a crook would have put it.
Here’s some literature that explains it, and you know the guys running the election headquarters are lawyers – criminal defense lawyers.
Wanted: Some tough cookies in a mood to learn how to face them down on a daily basis, and get the job done.
Yeah, those hundred thousand votes, Mr. Johnson.
Or, folks can go this route. They can listen to Baylor Law School luminary and nationally recognized voting rights expert Judge David Guinn, who has helped the legislature gerrymander the redistricting of Texas for decades following enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
He can tell you why there are a whole lot of people who not only can’t vote – but never will. He explained it all in this video we made when the McLennan County Commissioners’ Court decided to redistrict and eliminate constables and Justices of the Peace – after the elections were final and the votes were canvassed.
Yeah, they nullified the peoples’ choices. Just like that. They did it in the year 2006, too. What did the get out of that? Power. They got to show the world it’s their decision whose judgment is used on you when you’re busted, die in a car wreck, punch out your neighbor.
In fact, that famous smiling judge “Pete” Peterson got his job that way. They chose him, and then he made history by creating the Million Dollar Crew, the 177 guys and gals whose bail was set at one hundred iotic simoleans to “send a message” in spite of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Eighth Amendment, or other little doo dads.
Judge David Guinn – Legislative redistricting expert at Baylor Law
For a good time, click here: https://youtu.be/3ck7ZuPDwtE
So mote it be.