Archive for March 20th, 2020


This is part of a Trib story today:

The May 26 runoff elections are another lingering uncertainty. (Texas Gov. Greg) Abbott has previously signaled they could be disrupted by the outbreak, and he said at the town hall that his office could have guidance as soon as Friday about the fate of the elections.

Here is a letter to the Chair of the Texas GOP from the Chair of the Texas Democratic Party:

Dear Chairman (James) Dickey,

Thank you to you and your team for joining me and mine today to discuss how we provide Texans with the continuity of government and maintain our democratic systems in the wake of this public health emergency. We all know that the First Amendment gives each of our parties the right to run our nomination processes independently, but appreciate a collaborative discussion to find a way to hold the primary runoff elections scheduled for May 26th.

 In our conversation this morning, you suggested postponing the election and not immediately making significant changes to our election processes that would address or accommodate voting in the current public health crisis. It is my understanding that your argument was based on the assumption that the public health situation would be considerably improved by June. We do not believe that the available scientific evidence supports these claims but even were they to prove true, we still believe the public education of these few days presents enormous obstacles to voting systems that require in-person contact. As leaders of this state, we believe it is our responsibility to take immediate and decisive action to make plans for this election that allow it to go forward even amid a continued public health crisis.

 You also raised concerns about transmission of COVID-19 by mail. However, it is our opinion that we should look to the guidance of the United States Postal Service (USPS) as the source of truth on these issues. To date, the USPS is continuing service and said on March 17, 2020 that there is “currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.” Therefore, we believe we must immediately move forward planning for a primary runoff election that reduces the need for in-person voting and enhances Texans’ ability to vote by mail.

While it won’t be easy, we are confident that our county election officials and Secretary of State can carry out a meaningful election that ensures the participation of all communities with minimal delays. However, we must immediately provide them the guidance, financial support, and other resources they need in order to do so.

To that end, we will provide you with our proposal for the path forward by noon Monday and look forward to seeing your team’s proposal as well. Rose Clouston on my team will coordinate with Brandon Moore on yours to find a time on Monday afternoon for all of us to discuss these proposals and hopefully chart a joint path forward.


Hon. Gilberto Hinojosa

Chairman, Texas Democratic Party

CC: Governor Greg Abbott c/o Luis Saenz

Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs

Jose A. “Joe” Esparza, Deputy Secretary of State

Keith Ingram, Director of Elections

Christina Adkins, General Counsel, Elections Division

Manny Garcia, Executive Director, Texas Democratic Party

Brandon Moore, Organization Director, Republican Party of Texas

I sure hope our Democratic Party Chair is being advised by folks who know how to conduct elections and have our safety in mind.

Commentary hates to say this, but I will.  When Donald Trump tells governors that they have to go find their own life saving medical equipment, he’s doing his very best to avoid taking responsibility.  Just watch.

State Sen. Carol Alvarado and State Rep. Anna Eastman each sent a letter to the State Comptroller requesting that he let restaurant, bar and event venue folks defer paying their sales taxes for a couple of months.  Bars and events venues have been shut down.  Restaurants can only do takeout.

There is a whole heck of a lot of folks who are taking a hit and it isn’t their fault.  It is not as though the bar and restaurant business were acting financially irresponsibly and now, they want a handout.   Cut them some slack.

Commentary has been stocking up on stuff in case we are put in lock down.  I am not talking about prepper style stockpiling. I am talking about maybe three or four weeks.  Don’t worry, I am not one of those who has overdone it at the expense of some helpless souls.  I have also not broken my Lenten commitments.  Not yet.

This has made me plan out meals and stuff like that.  I have also started using my freezer which I normally don’t except for ice cream, which by the way I need to get.

I am picky on my sliced whole wheat bread and it hasn’t been available on the shelves the past couple of days.  Same for Campbell’s Chunky.  I now know what soups folks don’t prefer.  They stand there alone on the shelves.

What can you say about two GOP U.S. Senators who were briefed behind closed doors earlier this year on the coronavirus and then went off and sold a few million dollars of stock.

From the Daily Beast today:

Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr sold up to $1.5 million in stocks in early February, while assuring the public that the U.S. was prepared to take on the coronavirus, ProPublica reports. Burr’s committee was reportedly receiving daily briefings about the coronavirus at the time of his Feb. 13 selling spree—during which he sold off anywhere between $582,029 and $1.56 million worth of holdings. More specifically, he sold off up to $150,000 worth of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts shares and up to $100,000 of Extended Stay America shares. One week after Burr sold his stocks, the markets tanked and have lost about 30 percent since. Wyndham Hotels stock has reportedly lost two-thirds of its value, while Extended Stay America shares are worth less than half of what Burr sold them at. Just six days before his sales, he reportedly wrote in an op-ed that the country was “better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.”

His spokesperson said Burr’s sales were made “several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility” due to COVID-19. “As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy,” the spokesperson said. His office has not spoken about what kinds of briefing materials Burr may have been receiving prior to his sales.

This comes after the senator was caught on a secret recording telling individuals the virus was “more aggressive in its transmission” than anything in recent history. Burr slammed the article on his remarks as “journalistic malpractice,” but did not address ProPublica’s report.

And this:

The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the coronavirus. 

“Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak,” she tweeted about the briefing at the time.

That first transaction was a sale of stock in the company Resideo Technologies valued at between $50,001 and $100,000. The company’s stock price has fallen by more than half since then, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average overall has shed approximately 10,000 points, dropping about a third of its value.

It was the first of 29 stock transactions that Loeffler and her husband made through mid-February, all but two of which were sales. One of Loeffler’s two purchases was stock worth between $100,000 and $250,000 in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software and which has seen a small bump in its stock price since Loeffler bought in as a result of coronavirus-induced market turmoil.

Knowledge is power.  This time they got caught red-handed.  That’s your GOP Senate for you.

I will say it again.  Good thing the U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats.

Have a very safe weekend.

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