News

The Darsch Report: Jan. 21 – 27

Non-Citizens Voting in Texas Elections

On Jan. 25, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley announced that there are about 95,000 non-citizens in Texas who are registered to vote and that 58,000 have voted in one or more elections since 1996.

This is the result of an 11-month investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety in which investigators cross-referenced those registered to vote with those who have applied for a driver’s license or state identification card in the last five years with a green card or visa. The information was then sent to the state attorney general’s office which will decide whether or not to pursue voter fraud charges. The attorney general’s office has prosecuted only 130 cases of voter fraud since 2005.

“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Attorney General Ken Paxton stated. “Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas.”

Depending on where these votes were cast since 1996, they could have easily swung any number of statewide and even national elections. Democrats have ignored illegal voting for decades now, insisting that no credible data indicates a problem. In the face of these official numbers, we hope they will start caring about the voting process more than their own reputations.

The Shutdown is Over

On Jan. 25, the United States government has finally been reopened after a shutdown that lasted a record 35 days, costing an estimated $6 billion. The temporary reopening will last 3 weeks ending on Feb 15 during which Republicans, Democrats, and President Donald Trump will attempt to seek a compromise on permanent federal funding.

“I am very proud to announce we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said, adding that he will continue to seek $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. He insisted that if he and Democratic leadership can not reach a compromise then he will declare a national emergency to build the wall.

“Walls should not be controversial,” he said. “As commander-in-chief, my highest priority is the defense of our great country… We cannot surrender operational control over our nation’s borders to foreign cartels, traffickers and smugglers.”

Democrats are calling the reopening a victory. “Our unity is our power — and that is maybe what the President underestimated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Many are glad to see at least a temporary end to the shutdown with all 800,000 furloughed employees receiving back pay for the past 35 days. However, this is only the beginning of Trump’s efforts to fund the wall, and unless Democrats are willing to negotiate with Trump it is doubtful a real compromise will be met before another shutdown.

Whataburger Delivers a Helping Hand

Speaking of the shutdown, San Antonio-based fast-food giant Whataburger was the latest company to offer free food to any and all federal employees that were furloughed during the 35-day government shutdown. On Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 11 am they offered food to any federal employee who went unpaid during the shutdown.

The notice said that anyone who showed a valid federal government-issued ID would be eligible for the offer of a free coffee and breakfast burrito. The deal was at any participating location but will not extend to drive-thru and mobile orders.

Whataburger’s communications office said the brand will honor the offer until further notice. In the face of a government shutdown it is great to see private entities step in and help where the government has failed.

US Economy

It wasn’t a good week for US stocks, with very few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 24,737.20 on Friday, decreasing by -153.11 points, or -0.62 percent under its Jan 18 close of 24,706.35. The S&P 500 decreased by -28.38 points or -1.06 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq had a decreased on Friday by -1.17 percent.

This comes on news from Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross that the US and China are still “miles and miles” away from coming to terms on a trade deal. The stock market was acting relatively positive on news that China has offered to buy over $1 trillion worth of US goods to eliminate the trade deficit, but optimism tanked after Ross’s comments.

Venezuela in Crisis

On Jan. 23, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela Juan Guaido swore himself in as ‘interim president’. The United States, Canada, Brazil, UK, Argentina, Costa Rica, and many other regional allies have backed Guaido’s move, while the countries of Mexico, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, China, and Iran have decided to support Nicolás Maduro’s claim to the presidency.

“As president of the National Assembly, before God and Venezuela, I swear to formally assume the competencies of the national executive as interim president of Venezuela,” Guaidó declared before an opposition rally in eastern Caracas.

President Trump immediately recognized his claim. “I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy,” Trump said.

The US and regional allies were quick to issue their statements due to suspicions that the 2017 Venezuelan presidential election was rigged in favor of the incumbent president Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuelan authorities denounced what they have termed a “coup attempt” led by the United States. “This coup attempt that is being unleashed in the country is the most unwise effort by imperialism and its lackeys in the Venezuelan opposition,” Maduro said to supporters. Maduro has also given all US diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country.

The situation in Venezuela is a unique chance to see if one of the old socialist regimes in the Americas will finally fall and how powerful the US is with her regional allies against the two other superpowers involved, China and Russia. As it currently stands, Maduro’s regime does not look like it has much longer to live in this world bringing an end to another oppressive socialist regime and giving hope to the people of Venezuela.

Gun Owners vs New York City

On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear its first 2nd Amendment case in a decade, concerning a strict New York City ordinance that bars a legal owner of a handgun from taking it to a shooting range outside the city.

The city says it allows gun owners to seek hard-to-obtain permits to legally carry a handgun if they have good cause. They may also obtain a “premises” permit to keep a handgun at home, allowing them to carry an unloaded handgun to a shooting range inside the city but not to a shooting range outside the city.

Justices will consider the case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Assn. vs. New York, in the fall. If they take the case, then a final ruling is not expected until early 2020.

Their lawyer, former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, urged them to take the issue to a higher court after losing in the US 2nd Court of Appeals. Clement called the “city’s transport ban an extreme, unjustified and irrational restriction on 2nd Amendment rights. … There is absolutely no evidence that transporting an unloaded firearm, locked in a container separate from its ammunition, presents a material public safety risk.”

The New York City ordinance is an extreme and needless burden on the gun owners of New York and the Supreme Court should reaffirm the 2nd Amendment rights of New York citizens and rule this law unconstitutional.

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