One of Glenn's Favorite Texans Exposes Blatant Hypocrisy of Judge's Voter ID Ruling

Texas was blocked from enforcing the latest version of its voter ID law by a federal judge Wednesday.

In 2011, Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the state’s voter ID law, which requires voters to have one of seven possible forms of ID, was discriminatory. The Texas state legislature modified the law to allow potential voters to bypass the photo ID by signing an affidavit and showing a bank statement, a utility bill or other forms of identification; however, Judge Ramos still ruled this week that the law “imposes burdens disproportionately” on black and Latino voters.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined radio on Friday to talk about the simple goal behind the Texas voter ID law and the history of the state’s years-long court battle to be able to enforce it.

“The goal was to prevent fraud in elections,” Paxton said, explaining the types of ID that can be used and how Texas lawmakers have tried to work with voters who struggle with this issue. “This idea of discrimination is false,” he said. “There’s no evidence of it.”

Glenn had one important question: “So is it true that this judge requires a photo ID to be able to get into her courtroom?”

Essentially every federal courtroom does require photo ID for entry, Paxton confirmed. “Apparently, that’s not discriminatory,” he said.

GLENN: One of my -- one of my favorite Texans is our Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. He has been the attorney general here in Texas since 2015. He won the election as the state's top law enforcement guy. And he is a champion of the Tea Party movement. Conservative principles.

I wanted him on today because Texas is under attack. The new voter ID bill has been overturned in the Texas Supreme Court. I think it was Supreme Court, was it not, Ken? Was it the Supreme Court?

KEN: No, this was a Corpus Christi district judge appointed by President Obama.

GLENN: Okay. So tell me what happened. Tell me what people are fighting, what you're fighting for, for the state of Texas, and what happened?

KEN: So let me give you a little background: This was passed in 2011. I was in the legislature, actually in the Texas house when we passed it.

The goal was to prevent fraud in elections. I know that's a controversial topic, to prevent fraud. But that's what we were trying to do.

And so we started requiring photo ID. We were allowed seven different photo IDs that people could use. If you couldn't get one or you couldn't afford one, we will give you one free. You can use all kinds of IDs, including driver's license, military IDs, concealed handgun. And then we have Texas IDs, you can use.

And so we've been using that successfully. There have been no cases that we know of where there's been discrimination in the elections. But despite that, this judge found our law discriminatory. And so that happened actually when Abbott was attorney general. So we took that up to the Fifth Circuit. We drew a fairly liberal panel. We lost. And we actually asked the whole court to hear it.

We ended up losing, 9-6. But the court gave us a roadmap to fixing it. They said, if you'll put an affidavit in there, allow people to come in and basically swear that they -- they couldn't get a photo ID and that they are the person they say they are, then your photo ID laws are good. So we did that. The legislature passed it. The governor signed it. And, unfortunately, this judge still said it's discriminatory.

GLENN: So is it true that this judge requires a photo ID to be able to get into her courtroom?

KEN: It is true. It's also true that the fifth circuit does as well. So almost every federal courtroom you go into, you have to show federal ID. Apparently, that's not discriminatory.

GLENN: Yeah. Did -- have you asked any of them? I mean, I'd love to hear the answer to that one. How is it not discriminatory?

KEN: Yeah. I guess they know. I mean, this isn't about discrimination. This is about fraud. And everybody knows that is the issue. And if you don't have photo ID, it allows more people to vote that shouldn't be voting. And that's the battle. That's the true battle. This idea of discrimination is false. Because there's no evidence of it. There was no evidence in the trial record of any discrimination. The Justice Department under Obama came to Texas looking -- you know, advertising, please, give us stories. Well, they couldn't find them.

GLENN: So who has standing in this case? Why does anybody have standing? If there's nobody who has an actual episode, who has standing?

KEN: That's a very good question. And yet, here we are. With our photo ID laws struck down. So this is something we are going to appeal. We believe the Fifth Circuit will uphold it, given what they already told us, and given the fact that we had the legislature change the law to satisfy them. And, look, I didn't want to change the law. But it was a relatively minor change. And it was still leave us with a really solid photo ID law and allow us to prevent fraud. But, again, it will have to go back up to fifth circuit to hopefully get the right result.

GLENN: Ken, I don't think -- I mean, I think -- I wasn't really actually a -- that was an honest question. Who has standing? Who is funding this? Who is suing the state? How is this being brought to the front of the court every time?

KEN: It's just private plaintiffs who sue and claim discrimination. It's -- it's -- it's -- it's -- and, again, you ask a great question. Because if there is no actual harm, how can this be struck down? And the other thing you need to think about -- I mean, this is a duly enacted law. The Texas legislature. I mean, this had to go through all kinds of voting and people debating. And we -- we have a federal judge that just steps in and says, sorry, you can't do that. I'm taking over your legislature, basically.

GLENN: So, Ken, where are we headed?

KEN: Well, I still think we're going to be successful. Because I think the Fifth Circuit gave us clear guidelines on the part that they were concerned about. And we addressed that. And if -- if that didn't do it, then photo ID can't exist, for some reason.

GLENN: So Bill and I -- Bill O'Reilly and I were just having a conversation about what's happening with the statues around the country. And we need to have a -- an actual conversation. There -- you know, if you were in the hierarchy of the Confederacy, you knew exactly what was going on. But just like we didn't have a problem with the Germans. We had a problem with the Nazis. We didn't -- we didn't go and try to erase all Germans. We did try to take the Nazis out. And, you know, Germany went so far as to saying, you can't have any German symbols. No statues of any of these guys. No matter where they were, you're a Nazi. You're a Nazi. You're out.

The Confederacy, if you read the Confederate constitution was not about state rights. It was about slavery. Period.

Those statues like Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the -- you know, a great general. Yeah, he also started the Klan. Those things need to be talked about. And we need to find the right way to deal with our history.

But we are now seeing violence and people going like it's Saddam Hussein and putting nooses around necks and pulling them down. What is -- what is the state of Texas thinking about all of this?

KEN: So, you know, we haven't had a lot of controversy about it. I know that UT took some down in the middle of the night. Took some statues down.

I always think -- I think you've sort of hit the nail on the head. I think discussion and debate about this is a good thing, rather than necessarily doing it in the middle of the night. A decision made by a few people. Because, again, this is our -- it is our history. Bad or good. And hiding it doesn't really -- I don't think is very effective. I think knowing about it, understanding it, and looking to the future and deciding, you know, what -- what was good about our history and what was bad about our history, I think that's really the only way we can learn. If we hide it and bury it, I don't know that that really accomplishes anything.

GLENN: No. It festers. It festers. As a Texas attorney general, can you explain to those who might be listening, who think that, you know, free speech is great, up until a point. That we have to defend the people's right to have abhorrent points of view. It doesn't mean that they can act on all of those things. But they have a right to say things that are despicable in our -- in our thought.

In fact, those are the only kinds of -- that's the only kind of speech that ever needs protecting.

KEN: No, I totally -- you've got it. The foundation of our country was built on the First Amendment. Both religious freedom and free speech -- free political speech. And, you know, if we start censoring certain people, then the question is, where does it stop?

You know, you can't go into a movie theater and yell fire and create chaos and -- and harm to people. But beyond that, I mean, we -- we fought -- we had people die to protect people's right to say really bad, horrible things. And that's really what's made our country great. People can believe whatever they want to believe and they can still live here.

GLENN: Let me ask you this, you just said you can't go into a movie theater and cry fire. But here's Nancy Pelosi yesterday. I want to get your opinion on this.

NANCY: -- in denying that organization, their free speech rights. Because the Constitution does not say that a person can shout -- yell "wolf" in a crowded theater.

GLENN: So we know you can't cry fire, but can you cry wolf in a crowded movie theater?

KEN: Well, I might argue you could. Because I don't think people really believe there's a wolf.

PAT: Wolf!

GLENN: Yeah. I'm going to a movie tonight, and I'm going to have my wife tape it. And I invite everybody to go into their crowded movie theater tonight and just yell wolf and see what happens. Because I don't think anybody is going to beat it to the door.

KEN: Yeah.

GLENN: Maybe it's just me.

Last question, how is your wife? Because I like your wife much more than I like you.

KEN: Well, that is a comment -- I hear that commonly.

GLENN: I know.

KEN: She's doing great. She's actually considering a run for Texas Senate in Collin and Dallas County.

GLENN: Really? When is she coming to the studio? And she has to bring her musical instrument. I think she plays guitar, right?

KEN: Yes. She plays guitar and the piano. But, yeah, she'll be happy to come.

GLENN: No, I'd be happy to have her.

KEN: She probably -- she hasn't announced. But she may do that next week. So may be a good time to talk to her.

GLENN: Yeah. That would be great. That would be great. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Ken, thanks so much. Thanks for your hard work, and thanks for standing up for what is right. We know you have a tough job. God bless.

KEN: Hey. Thank you for having me on. Have a great day.

GLENN: You bet.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.