Texas Surcharge Program, A Modern Day Slavery

You have heard many stories about how the Republican party both nationally and at the state level has over the years embarked on policies that consistently hurt the poor while benefiting the rich, or as they call it on Twitter the #WarOnPoverty. The GOP’s attack on the poor has taken several forms for example reducing funding for food stamps, opposing hikes to minimum wage, etc.

All these affronts on the poor by the GOP have received a lot of national media attention and deservedly so. However there are other egregious GOP attacks on the poor that never get the national media attention they deserve, but have serious negative consequences on the daily lives of the working poor. One such attack is the notorious Texas Surcharge Program, an out and out modern day slavery.

The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature introduced the program in 2003 with an aim to raise money to fund the very expensive Texas trauma centers.

The idea was that imposing additional fines to traffic tickets would deter people from breaking traffic rules and as a result improve overall public safety while at the same time providing the much needed funding for the trauma centers. The result however has been the total opposite–a total nightmare for Texas drivers.

Millions of Texas Drivers are driving around with driver licences that they don’t even know have been long suspended thanks to the surcharges. You have Texas parents dropping their kids to school and then going to work only to have to call their family from county jail saying they were arrested for driving with a suspended license that they had no idea about. This of course means these families then have to redirect their already meager financial resources to paying a bail bonding company, towing charges etc or in many instances just letting their loved one sit in jail, losing their jobs and digging them deeper into poverty–the aforementioned modern day slavery.

You also have to consider the tremendous burden that lack of a valid driver’s license imposes on working families. This for some people means giving up a good job offer simply because it will require them to drive daily with their suspended license putting them at risk of arrest, or not being able to take out a rental car during the holidays, and so on, all because of the Texas Surcharge program.

As you can see from this Texas Tribune piece, it has been very difficult to put an end to this program even though there is irrefutable evidence of the disastrous effects it is having on Texas working families. As the article correctly points out, the Texas Surcharge Program is a cash cow that Texas politicians(including some Democrats) have found impossible to resist. Much of the Texas media is also resigned to this sad reality—that we are forever stuck with the Texas surcharge cash cow, its harmful consequences on working families be damned!!

Excerpt from an 08/18/2014 Texas Tribune piece by Gilad Edelman

Yours Truly totally rejects this notion that we are somehow stuck with the modern day slavery that is the Texas surcharge program, and intends to marshal support for a grassroots campaign to finally put an end to the misery this program continues to impose on working families. Simply put Yours Truly intends to finally free Texas working families from the shackles of the Texas surcharge program.

The original plan was to muster enough grassroots pressure to force the Texas legislature to finally scrap this program but it appears there’s already an alternative and equally effective route available. Turns out Equal Justice Under Law, a Washington DC based non-profit has already filed a federal lawsuit against Texas DPS arguing that the Texas Surcharge program is unconstitutional.

In a December 5 2018 KUT News piece, the Executive Director of the DC non-profit, Phil Telfeyan said regarding the Texas surcharge program, “What Texas is doing is punishing people for being poor.” The lawsuit by this DC non-profit makes our efforts at scrapping the Texas surcharge program much easier because a ruling by a federal court that the program is unconstitutional frees us all from its shackles.

Bottom line folks, we cannot just sit idly by and expect to be miraculously emancipated from this modern day slavery. We must fully support the great efforts of Phil Telfeyan and his non-profit group to finally put an end to the Texas surcharge program. It all begins by giving our full support, material and otherwise to the good folks at Equal Justice Under Law as they pursue their lawsuit against Texas DPS. Yours Truly highly recommends that you follow them on Twitter so as to keep up with their federal lawsuit.

It also cannot be left unsaid that if Democrats want to make inroads in Texas they must capitalize on highly unpopular GOP-inspired initiatives like the Texas surcharge program that elicit bipartisan loathing. The winning message for Texas Democrats can be very simple, “If you are sick driving scared because of GOP’s surcharge program, vote for Democrats.”

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Sen Collins Says Kavanaugh Lies Are A “Major Problem”


Sen Susan Collins, one of the Republicans considered likely to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation has provided the strongest hint yet that she has not yet made up her mind on Kavanaugh but more importantly, that she could be a NO vote.

When a Maine newspaper asked her about Kavanaugh’s lies under oath during his confirmation hearings to the DC Circuit Court, and specifically as relates to Judge Pryor’s “vetting”,  Sen Collins responded that she was not aware of the issue but added, “If in fact (Kavanaugh) was not truthful, then obviously that would be a major problem for me.”

This is very encouraging news for anti-Kavanaugh liberals because as Senator Collins will soon find out, Kavanaugh has not only lied to congress, he has serially lied to congress under oath–felonies!!


Yes Senator Collins, this should be a major problem for you and your fellow GOP Senators thinking of elevating Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bottom line, Mainers should keep up the pressure on Sen Collins. Yours Truly foresees a NO vote in the horizon by Sen Collins and possibly Sen Murkowski over Kavanaugh lies. A luta continua!!

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Emails Prove Kavanaugh Lied To Congress Under Oath Several Times



Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had a tense time on the confirmation hot seat taking questions from Senator Patrick Leahy and other Dems as to whether he lied to Congress under oath during his confirmation hearings for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Well, courtesy of a Daily Beast article, we can definitively identify multiple instances where Kavanaugh lied to Congress under oath.

Kavanaugh lie #1—In 2006, under questioning by the late Dem Senator Ted Kennedy, Kavanaugh said he wasn’t involved in the selection and vetting process of controversial conservative judge William Pryor. Turns out there are now emails proving Kavanaugh was intricately involved in Judge Pryor’s vetting.

Kavanaugh lie #2—During his 2006 confirmation hearings for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, under questioning by Dem Senator Patrick Leahy, Kavanaugh outrightly denied ever receiving stolen Dem documents from Republican operative Manuel Miranda. Now during his confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court, after being confronted with emails between him and Miranda, he finally admitted to Senator Leahy that he did indeed receive the stolen Dem documents. He now contends however that he didn’t know they were stolen. A cursory look at the emails in question leads any reasonable person to the conclusion that Miranda did not get the Dem documents through legitimate channels making Kavanaugh’s assertion that he didn’t know Miranda acquired the Dem documents illegitimately an outright lie.

Kavanaugh lie #3—-Kavanaugh also lied about George W. Bush administration’s “Terrorist Surveillance Program”. Kavanaugh initially testified under oath that he found out about the program through a 2005 New York Times article. Well, turns out there is a 2001 email in which Kavanaugh is asking a DOJ lawyer: “Any results yet on the 4A implications of random/constant surveillance of phone and e-mail conversations of non-citizens who are in the United States when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent terrorist/criminal violence?”. This again proves that Kavanaugh knew about the terrorist surveillance program way back in 2001 but decided to lie to congress about it under oath

It is well known that lying to congress under oath is a felony. Any reasonable person would therefore conclude that repeatedly lying to congress under oath is so serious, it should preclude anybody from assuming any judgeship, especially a judgeship at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bottom line Dems and the mainstream media must continue shedding light on Kavanaugh’s troubling conduct which clearly precludes him from being a Supreme Court Justice.

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Dem Senators Heitkamp & Manchin Must Hold The Line On Kavanaugh


Ever since President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court, the running narrative among mainstream media types has been that Dem Senators Joe Manchin(WV) and Heidi Heitkamp(ND) who are up for reelection this year, have no otherwise but to vote for Kavanaugh because Trump won decisively in both West Virginia and North Dakota in 2016.

Senators Heidi Heitkamp(D-ND) & Joe Manchin(D-WV)

In other words according to the mainstream media talking heads, it would be political suicide if the two Dem Senators from Trump-popular states opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Recent events however suggest that during his confirmation hearings for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh may have lied under oath to Congress–a felony. This is such a serious issue that U.S. Senators need to get to the bottom of before casting their vote for or against Kavanaugh. Senate Republicans are working hard to hide from the public, documents that could prove Kavanaugh lied to Congress. Against this backdrop, Dem Senators Heitkamp and Manchin have a duty not to allow Senate Republicans to ram Kavanaugh through without proper vetting especially as regards to his potential felonious conduct. Simply put, Senators Heitkamp and Manchin must hold the line on Kavanaugh.


There is also such an egregious double standard surrounding what Senate Republicans are trying to do with Kavanaugh compared to what they demanded with Obama’s Supreme Court nominees Sotomayor and Kagan. This tweet by Sen Kamala Harris(D-CA) perfectly illustrates this egregious double standard.


Senators Heitkamp and Manchin should also be sympathetic to pleas by their fellow Senator Patrick Leahy(D-VT) who is desperate to get to the truth about Kavanaugh because it was him that Kavanaugh potentially lied to under oath. Senator Leahy deserves to know the truth about Kavanaugh.


Bottom line if Senators Heitkamp and Manchin vote for Kavanaugh without inquiring as to whether he lied under oath to Congress–a felony–it will be an exercise of extreme cowardice and quite frankly a dereliction of their senatorial duty to properly vet nominees to the highest court in the land. They must hold the line on Kavanaugh.

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