You can't make this stuff up - in a stunning development, the second so called "unified campaign" meeting called by Paul Simpson and his political consultants for select elected officials scheduled for 2/14/18 was cancelled due to the officials showing no interest in meeting with Simpson. For TCR, this is a vote of no-confidence in Paul Simpson and his 0 for 73 record in 2016.
Not True That Propery Tax Relief Died
Because Of The Texas Senate
By Senator Paul Bettencourt
Outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and his leadership team continue to try to perpetrate the myth that the Texas Senate killed SB 1 (Property Tax Relief). The latest person to do so is Rep. Sarah Davis who published a misleading flyer. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is time to BUST THIS MYTH once and for all.
It is fact that the leadership of the Texas House refused to negotiate on SB 1 (The Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017), Speaker Straus refused to appoint a conference committee, and instead had the Texas House adjourn a day early, leaving the Senate Republicans with a "take it or leave it" bill that offered NO measurable property tax relief.
The Senate Republican Caucus rejected the House version of the bill, as only four counties (out of 254) in the State would have gotten property tax relief. House leadership has only themselves to blame for these type of antics on an issue that is important to property taxpayers all across the state.
Also Rep. Davis makes the claim that somehow the Texas Senate, all by themselves, killed a disaster reappraisal bill. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Both Senator Van Taylor and Rep. Davis filed a disaster reappraisal bill, SB 717 and HB 513. Senator Taylor was the one that worked with the appraisal districts and passed a revised bill from the Senate in March 2017. Instead of doing what I do as a Senator, which is take a bill from the other chamber and pass it, Rep. Davis substituted Senator Taylor's language word for word on the already passed Senate version onto her House Bill. Senator Taylor's well thought out and agreed to bill language passed the Texas Senate one month before Rep. Davis moved her bill. I voted for Senator Taylor's bill in the Texas Senate and the legislative record is clear and online. Why Rep. Davis did not pass this bill in the House is for her to explain!
The bottom line is that the Texas Senate has never done anything but to pass meaningful property tax relief, like SB 1, which was passed three times by the Texas Senate in 2017. The Straus leadership team keeps trying to mislead Texas taxpayers. I know the truth. I was there.
TCR Primary Edition 2018
Coming soon, the Texas Conservative Review 2018 Election Guide. With all the talk about "slates" let us reiterate TCR's policy. We are a publication in its 17th year. We have written well over 1000 articles about politics and public affairs on every issue imaginable. TCR is conservative and believes in family, faith, freedom, a strong America and politicians who keep their promises.
For judges, TCR supports well-qualified and experienced attorneys, who have real trial experience in areas within the courts' jurisdiction.
TCR endorses candidates based on the above philosophy. Endorsements are determined by candidate interviews as well as research done in the public domain, which may include but not limited to public statements, campaign websites, voting records and responses to questionnaires. TCR endorsements are given freely without precondition. Even though TCR offers ads for purchase, no ad purchase is required to be endorsed. In 2018, all endorsements, with one exception, were issued prior to ads being offered for sale, which means that not a single penny of ad revenue was solicited or accepted prior to the issuance of our endorsements. Some candidates purchase ads, which fund the mailing of the voter guide to a far greater number of homes than a campaign can typically mail on their own. This represents a great value to endorsed candidates.
Finally, of the myriad of endorsement slates in Texas and Harris County, we are one of only a few that explains why we endorse each candidate. TCR receives countless letters from voters in each election who thank us for distributing this information in one consolidated location, especially in down-ballot races, where information is difficult to obtain.
Don't be confused by the misinformation put out by those Democrats and establishment Republicans who want to continue to divide Republicans and silence those who disagree with them or challenge their stranglehold on power. We know how that worked out in 2016. 0-73.
Government and Business Trampling
On Individual Privacy Rights
By Brian Ettinger, Contributing Editor
Our federal government continues to deal with political partisan issues and previously shut down the Government and now threatens to shut down the Government once again, because they cannot reach a compromise on the real issues facing our nation. The Government continues to pass short term legislation and does a band-aid approach to the pressing issues because our elected officials are caught up in putting their own interests first and not looking out for the interests of our U.S. Citizens. The media is focused on the Russian investigation and bashing President Trump. The President, and his supporters in the media bash Hillary Clinton and Democrats. Real issues are overlooked.
Let's start out with some examples:
- The use of the U.S. intelligence agencies, FBI and Department of Justice for political gain and to affect outcomes of a Presidential Election. These agencies created evidence to obtain warrants and used it to launch into an investigation by appointment of a Special Prosecutor that has his own political agenda and conflict of interest. The Special Prosecutor has currently spent over $100 million dollars of taxpayer money. This is a waste of time and money and the Government is not dealing with the real issues needing to be addressed.
- Stop any further attempt by the Intelligence agencies, FBI or any federal agencies from using their power for political gain or their personal views.
- Present evidence to Courts and FISA Courts based on false or made up evidence that has a political agenda and goes against the Constitutional rights of all U.S. Citizens. Laws need to be passed so this never happens again with consequences to terminate and bring charges against these public officials. We are not Russia or Nazi Germany with a secret police that tramples on individual rights.
- U.S. Citizens enjoy the protections of our Constitution and its rights restricting limits on the government to interfere with individual's rights including freedom of speech, and expression. Our society and democracy are an open society.
- Under our rights, there should be no hindrance on our privacy rights through the government and/or social media. Unless this is stopped immediately, people are giving up their privacy rights which will lead to other restrictions on individual rights such as speech, expression and the ability to think.
Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Amazon are the largest of these companies that infringe on our individual rights. They control our lives, chart our movements, buying habits, affect the way we think and look at issues since they present them in a tainted viewpoint. They are not interested in fairness or presenting different viewpoints but just their message. The technology industry builds workplace campuses, brainwashes their employees and creates a workplace environment with one viewpoint. If an employee challenges this system, they are fired and blacklisted in the technology industry. At the college and university level, if a student expresses a conservative viewpoint they are ridiculed, given lower grades than other students and conservative groups are ostracized at these colleges and universities. This is supposed to be where free expression of ideas is cultivated and not restricted.
The more advanced we become with social media, artificial intelligence, and the use of our cellphone technology, the more dependent we become on them and we give up our right of privacy. Be aware of these dangers and do not let it control your lives. Technology is a good thing if it is used properly but the government needs to pass laws and oversee its use on our individuals, so they do not give up choices and their freedom. The government spying on its citizens is a direct infringement on our U.S. Constitutional rights. The social media and technology industry is infringing on our rights and not being held accountable and not done in a transparent manner as people are giving up their rights to the small print when they join these social media outlets and phone service companies. Heed these warnings and do not allow your life to be influenced by social media and technology companies, but rather think on your own.
Brian Ettinger is a practicing attorney and contributing editor to TCR. He is a strong conservative who is concerned about America's future.
Stop The Silly Statements About Immigration
If You Want To Reach An Agreement
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
As our elected officials in Washington (notice I did not say leaders) bicker over any changes to our immigration system, they repeat quite often silly statements that have either no relevance to the discussion and/or are major distractions. Let's address those ideas so that we might bring them into the modern era.
It is high time that politicians from both sides of the aisle stop telling us of the "huddled masses" which their families were a part of more than a century ago when they came to this country. The statements are quaint, but have little or no relevance to the world of today. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) reminding us of his Irish forbearers from times gone by really adds nothing to a sophisticated discussion of our 2018 immigration policy in a high-tech economy.
Meld these two thoughts together. First, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Second, the fact that we are developing driverless cars and trucks that could put over one million truck drivers and other service people out of jobs. Or just think of your local parking lot where the ticket taker is no longer needed at the kiosk and you self-pay with your credit card.
The world was different when Emma Lazarus wrote the poem that is now part of the Statue of Liberty and my relatives came here from Lithuania in the 19th century. We were in transition from an agrarian society to an industrial society. We are now a high-tech society. Yes, we need people to work in our restaurants, clean our hotel rooms and pick our strawberries, but how many of those people do we need and how many are just taking jobs from Americans of lower work skills entering the job market? That is why we need a thoughtful, comprehensive immigration policy for this country that looks towards the future and not the past.
Another reason this is so important is because of the difference between how our government functions today and how it did over a century ago. Defenders of illegal immigrants always want to tell us of how these people add to our economy. Yes, the vast majority of these people are hardworking individuals who want to advance their lives beyond the opportunities available in the largely dysfunctional countries they came here from. That is why they are willing to risk their lives and travel long distances to enter the land of opportunity - America.
On the other hand, the fact that large numbers of these people draw government services paid for by natural-born Americans is undeniable despite the illegal immigrant advocates' attempts to deny or downplay that. Coming to America and getting your children an American education, using our medical system, living in our advanced housing and being provided food benefits to feed your family is a tremendous draw over living in a despotic or dysfunctional country. These free governmental services were not provided to legal or illegal immigrants a century ago; thus, the comparison to those times has little or no validity. Just think how many Venezuelans would love to be teleported to the United States today. That is not the question. The question is how many people and of what personal background (not religious or ethnic) should enter this country?
At the heart of the current discussion on immigration are two factors. The first are the young people brought here by their parents who have grown up in America. There are about 790,000 of them who have applied for DACA. There is still no discussion of the other 1,100,000 who are eligible and have not applied. Is there no discussion because the DACA advocates do not wish us to focus on these individuals because they cannot attempt to canonize them like in the same manner as they do the DACA program participants?
The important point here is that there should never, ever again be a discussion of what we do with young adults brought here as children illegally by their parents. American citizens deserve a rational system of entry into this country that eliminates illegal immigrants and controls entry of legal immigrants. Just legalizing the DACA program applicants does not do that and does not even confront what we do with the 1,100,000 eligible for the program that did not apply.
Consider this, the current Senate proposal for handling the DACA applicants (including their parents) would legalize anywhere between 5 and 8 million people who are currently considered illegal immigrants. We will have no say over who and when these people entered this country. We will just have to deal with the aftermath of their decision.
Last, can we dispense with the often repeated and silly phase that "Our diversity is our strength." Who made this up? And why has it become a mantra? As someone who has travelled all over the world, I love interacting with people from the countries we visit. I am always asking people in America what their national heritage is and hearing about their background. I love being at a sporting event when they honor a military hero of the game and their name indicates they are from a newer immigrant group as opposed to descendants of the Pilgrims. It is truly inspiring that they have grasped enough about what this country is about to volunteer for our armed services. But this silly phrase is nothing other than a catchphrase nor pertinent.
What is pertinent is how committed people are to perpetuating the American ideal, protecting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and following the rule of law.
This column stated awhile ago that we need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to confront the issue of illegal immigrants in our country, but make sure it does not happen again. We need Visa control, border control, a system where we decide who should enter our country and not others doing that for us. The system as designed or haphazardly applied is not working.
Ask anyone this simple question: Do you believe the people of the United States should decide who enters this country under our immigration program? If they say yes, they believe in a comprehensive resolution of this matter. If they say no...
What we should be aiming toward is having people entering this country that will benefit this country no matter where they come from or their heritage or race. They should come here prepared to make America a better country for the 21st century and beyond, and want to envelope themselves in being an American.They should also come here prepared to support themselves. Those are the major qualifications that need to be considered for legal immigration into this country.
It is time to stop with the silliness and focus on those two points so our elected officials can get to work to resolve this most important issue.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
02-16-2018: The Challenges Facing Harris County - With Guests: Brandon Rottinghaus, PhD. and Jay Aiyer.
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 twenty-first year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 15 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 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.