The spectacle of some in the media buying hook, line and sinker into a fictitious scandal in the Harris County DA's office is laughable if they were not taking themselves so seriously.
So let's see, first there was the runaway Grand Jury investigation into the mobile breath test vans that turned out to be a chase for nothing as there were no indictments. We did get a rambling letter from the foreman which makes one wonder who in their right mind appointed her to this powerful position? It is clear she was used, voluntarily or not, to politicize the DA's race and to throw mud on a good woman, Judge Pat Lykos, the incumbent District Attorney.
This week we are now subjected to the latest rumors from some in the media that the FBI and the Texas Rangers are investigating the DA. This is based on a confidential source, who has no name. Of course, there is no way to disprove that because those agencies don't talk to the media when they actually do open an investigation. So it is just a rumor, most likely fed by Judge Lykos' political enemies, plotting to smear her so the Old Regime can get back in power. Unbelievably, the latest smear effort from the leftist media says that one attorney may be holding up a murder trial because of these phantom investigations. The outlet's own attorney calls this "ludicrous." Enough is enough!!!
We believe it's time for responsible, fact-based reporting and not rank speculation.
It is unfortunate that an honest debate about the direction of criminal justice in Harris County is being perverted into specious political attacks and rumors which are just distractions. Fortunately, Republican Primary voters are smart enough to see through the liberal media attempts to discredit one of the most respected Republican officials in Texas.
Obama Declares War On Catholics
It seems that President Obama does not want or care for the Catholic vote this year. His latest insult is a mandate requiring religious institutions to provide coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs in their insurance, whether they like it or not. This mandate forces church leaders to choose between their core moral code and offering health insurance. This is the way to expand medical insurance coverage? Hardly. He is so far left and so insensitive to others because the arrogance of power in this administration knows no bounds. Can you image what will happen in a second Obama term without an election? It is just plain frightening.
GOP Race Goes On
With this weeks results the GOP nomination is up for grabs. Rick Santorum had a good week, so at least for now, he and Mitt Romney are the players. To be continued.
Our Government Employees Skip Paying Taxes
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
For over thirty years, I have represented citizens in matters with the Internal Revenue Service. Most Americans have an irrational fear of the IRS. Whether they pay very little in taxes or great amounts, they shudder with dread whenever they open a letter from the agency. This fear, of course, is part of what propels most taxpayers to turn over their hard-earned dollars to the government. But there appears to be one group of people who don't seem to exhibit the same level of anxiety: our own federal employees.
The IRS just released its "deadbeat" statistics for the year and our employees owe us big time. Apparently, receiving higher compensation, better benefits, and a day off for every holiday including Lithuanian Independence Day is not good enough for some folks. In fact, as of 2010, there are 98,291 federal employees who owe us $1.034 billion. (That's billion with a B.) This really shouldn't surprise anyone since the number of federal employees who are also tax delinquents has been fairly consistent: about 100,000 over the last seven years. The problem is that during that period the amount owed has soared from $600 million to over $1 billion.
A breakdown of where these people work shows that virtually every department and agency contains tax scofflaws. The Treasury Department actually has fewer than 1% of its total employees delinquent - despite the fact that the head guy, Timothy Geithner, is a well-known tax delinquent. The worst department, with 3.89% of its staff owing money, is Housing and Urban Development. Of course, considering the state of the housing market, they clearly haven't been doing too much, so perhaps we should wonder why we're paying these people anything. At the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where I used to serve, almost 5% of the employees owe back taxes. The Presidential staff has 36 employees owing a total of $833,000 - that comes out to $23,000 per employee! One of the agencies with the highest percentage of flaky taxpayers is the U.S. Office of Government Ethics -- 6.5% of their employees are currently stiffing us. Which brings to mind two things: 1) there really is an Office of Government Ethics? And 2) it's obvious that one of their guiding principles is not leading by example.
So what has the Congress been doing to rein in their employees who are tax chiselers? Not much, which is why the amount of money owed in back taxes continues to skyrocket. But finally, there is an effort to clamp down on this disgusting matter. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has decided that the American people deserve better behavior from their employees.
Mr. Chaffetz is now in his second term, and in the majority. But his first term was spent in the minority, and, with Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House, a freshman Republican had less to do than the people in the Ethics office. Chaffetz tried something novel - he spent some of his time reading the documents that were sent to him. Apparently, he didn't realize that most Congressmen don't read much of anything - including the bills for which they vote. Eventually he came upon the annual report of tax delinquents; and, given his prior experience as a private citizen, he immediately suspected something fishy. When he investigated the issue, he found that nobody in Congress cared enough to put a stop to this. Chaffetz knew that Pelosi was far more concerned with sticking it to the taxpayers of America than collecting the taxes on her own employees, so he waited until the Republicans took over the House.
He now has introduced a bill that gives every department the authority to terminate employees who don't pay their taxes. When I asked him why the bill doesn't require the employee to be fired, he replied that the Democrats would never agree to that, principally because they were concerned that key people might be among the debtors. I then wondered aloud whether federal workers could then say, "You can't fire me or make me pay my taxes because I am too important."
The bill is structured on IRS rules put in place in 1998 - mainly because the IRS itself used to have a large number of non-payers. Once they instituted a rule that employees could be fired, the number of tax cheats dropped by 90%. Apparently, the fear of having to find a real job in the private sector was so dreadful that they paid up.
The bill has been voted out of sub-committee and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has authored a similar bill in the Senate. Maybe the Undertaker (Harry Reid) will allow this to be one of the three or four pieces of legislation he lets come to the floor this year.
Many Americans probably never thought a problem like this could exist. Then again, if you're a true cynic, you knew it would happen. But here's some advice: whenever you have the pleasure of interacting with one of our fine federal employees, you might want to check whether they are late on their taxes before answering any questions.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former appointee of President Bush.
Iran Preparing A Second Holocaust
By Gary Bauer
More than 70 years ago, the world made a tragic mistake and tens of millions died as a result. World leaders at the time largely ignored the growing scourge of anti-Semitism and naively assumed they could negotiate with a madman. Desperate for peace in their time, they traded a country for a meaningless "scrap of paper" and got a world war and the Holocaust instead of peace. Today, as Barack Obama attempts to negotiate with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic is promising a second Holocaust.
In a speech broadcast last week on state-run TV, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to Israel as a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut." Khamenei also bragged about Iran's support for Hezbollah and promised to support "any nation or any group [that] confronts the Zionist regime… We have no fear expressing this."
At the same time Khamenei was delivering his anti-Semitic diatribe, an article was published by Alireza Forghani, the former governor of Iran's Kish Province, outlining the religious justifications as well as practicality of annihilating Israel. It could have been easily dismissed except for the fact that it was widely distributed by news agencies close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. In other words, the content calling for genocide likely has the ayatollah's seal of approval.
And just as disturbing is the level of detail in the article. Consider this excerpt:
"Residents of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and H[a]ifa can be targeted even by Shah[a]b 3 [missiles]. Population density in these three adjacent areas composes about 60% of [the total] Israeli population. Sejjil missiles can target power plants, sewage treatment facilities, energy resources, [and] transportation and [communication] infrastructures; and in the second stage, Shahab 3, Ghadr, and Ashura missiles can target urban settlements until [the] final annihilation of Israel['s] people."
While the West dithers, Iran is preparing for war and brainwashing its people to accept genocide, just as Hitler did in the 1930s. And never forget that the ultimate goal of the radical Islamists is not the annihilation of Israel, but the destruction of the "Great Satan" -- America.
Gary Bauer is one of America's most effective spokesmen for pro-life, pro-family, and pro-growth values. Bauer is a frequent guest on a wide variety of political talk shows and a much-in-demand speaker nationwide. Read more.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
02/10/12: "Politics of Energy" with Professor Robert Stein, Dan Tutcher, Peter Fasullo and Dr. Don Van Nieuwenhuise.
02/17/12: "Grand Jury Results"
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fourteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eleven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 8 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his ninth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.