The Texas Senate as an unusual committee of the whole passed a Voter ID bill on a party-line vote.
So, did we pass a bill that requires government issued photo ID (like getting on an airplane) to vote? TCR has investigated (as we read the bill) and the answer is NO!
Here is what we found, in SB363 Section 62.016 "The presiding judge shall post ... a list of the acceptable forms of photographic and non-photographic identification ..." In Section 63.0101, documentation of proof of identification (b) (TCR notes two required here) options: voter registration card; official mail to person from a government entity, government issued id, temporary driving permit issued by DPS, a library card (partial list). TCR notes many are without photos so potential for fraud is not eliminated.
So what exactly is the point of a Voter ID bill that doesn't mandate a photo ID? Was this bill as passed a sop to those who are worried about those who can't afford a state issued photo identification, which could've been part of the bill. Or couldn't we put photos on the voter registration card?
One final question, if we only get one Voter ID bill is this the one that solves the fraud problem? TCR says no.
Obama, AIG & You
- 70% of Texans support Photo ID to vote.
- Commission on Federal Election Reform recommends a photo ID to vote.
The Obama administration stumbled through the AIG bonus crisis looking quite foolish since it now seems the Treasury Department asked Sen. Chris Dodd (on the run from voters in Connecticut) to insert a provision in that stimulus bill (that Obama had to have quickly and so no one read) that blessed the bonuses. So whose at fault President Obama? His answer, taxing them at 90%, is unconstitutional as an ex-post facto law. Now it seems the President and his anti-business allies want to use this as an excuse to mess with all of us. Great, who is going to take risks in a society that attacks success? The fact is, AIG should have been allowed an orderly bankruptcy and Goldman Sachs and all the others who were paid through AIG could have applied for relief under the TARP bill passed last fall. It certainly would have been a more honest process.
What Does The Recent UT Poll
Tell Us About The Governor's Race?
On first blush (reading the headline) TCR thought the recent UT Governor Poll on Texas politics showed a significant shift to undecided in the forthcoming primary battle between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But after delving deeply into the poll, its methodology (internet) failure to test crossover appeal and other results obtained and the error factor of +/-5.7% causes TCR to concludes the poll has little meaning.
The poll had Kay at 37, Rick at 29. An earlier poll had Kay up 25 points, and if you use the error factor to Kay's advantage, she is up 19.4 points. On the important job approval ratings, Perry is under the telltale 50% with 39% approval.
The election in the primary is a year away and no serious campaigning is taking place except among major GOP funders where Sen. Hutchinson continues to do well. Sources in her campaign report they expect to be at $15 million in the bank at the June reporting date and that the recent Dallas fundraiser cleared a cool million.
Iran Targets The USA
By Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem Post, March 23, 2009
The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority. It sheds light on a special aspect of US-Israel relationship: defiance of mutual threats. Iran pursues nuclear capabilities, in order to advance strategic goals, which are led by the super-goal: hegemony of the Persian Gulf and its natural resources. Those who undermine the super-goal are considered super-enemies, targeted by super-capabilities. Hence, Teheran would use its nuclear power/threat, first and foremost, to force US and NATO out of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
It would then turn it against Iraq - its archrival since the seventh century - and against Saudi Arabia, which is considered an apostate regime. All Gulf States are perceived by Iran as a key prize, required in order to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll Teheran's megalomaniac regional and global aspirations (e.g. leading Islam's drive to dominate the globe).
The Jewish State constitutes a non-Gulf basin target for Iran; not a primary target. Moreover, Israel is expected to retaliate in a traumatic manner, which would paralyze much of Iran's military and civilian infrastructures. Therefore, Iran would not sacrifice its super-goal (forcing the US out of the Gulf and subjugating the Gulf States) on the altar of a secondary-goal (obliterating the Jewish State).
For the US and Israel, the preferred option - against Iran - is preemption rather than retaliation. Recent precedents suggest that the two countries benefit from leveraging each other's unique experience, as well as from bold unilateral military action against rogue threats.
In September 2007, Israel's air force destroyed a Syrian-North Korean nuclear plant, extending US' strategic arm. It provided the US with vital information on Russian air defense systems, which are also employed by Iran. It bolstered US posture of deterrence and refuted the claim that US-Israel relations have been shaped by political expediency. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor, providing the US with a conventional option in 1991 and 2003, preventing a mega-billion dollar mega-casualties nuclear war. In 1970, while the US was bogged down in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Israel forced the rollback of a pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan. It prevented a pro-Soviet "Domino Effect" into the Persian Gulf, which would have shattered US economy. In 2009, Israel shares with the US its battle-tested experience in combating Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism, which are the role model of anti-US Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. US GIs benefit from Israel's battle tactics against car bombs, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and homicide bombing. An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have spared the need to dispatch US troops to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Former Secretary of State and NATO Commander, General (ret.) Al Haig, refers to the Jewish State as the largest cost-effective, combat-experienced US aircraft carrier that does not require US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a most critical region for US national security interests.
While the US has been Israel's indispensable ally, Israel's battle experience has been integrated into the US defense industry. For example, the F-16 includes over 600 Israeli modifications, sparing the US a mega-billion dollar and a multi-year research & development budget. A litany of state-of-the-art US military systems have been upgraded in a similar manner, enhancing US national and homeland security and expanding US employment and exports.
Iran's nuclear threat is a symptom of endemic Middle East violent unpredictability and Moslem hostility toward western democracies. It calls for an upgraded US-Israel win-win relationship, which requires a strong Israel, which is a national security producer. A weak Israel, pushed into a 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, pressured to concede the mountain ridges of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, relying on foreign troops and guarantees would become a national security consumer. It would be a burden rather than an asset to the US in a bad neighborhood, which is crucial for vital US interests.
Iran would benefit from an ineffective Israel. However, the US would have to deploy to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of US servicemen, costing scores of billions of dollars annually, denied the benefits of Israel - the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel.
Cutting The Strings
By Ross Ramsey, Texas Weekly, March 25, 2009
Texas might be able to get $556 million in federal stimulus money without any permanent changes in its unemployment insurance program, according to an advisory letter from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Gov. Rick Perry says the state shouldn't take the money, because it requires changes that would cost the UI program an estimated $70 million to $80 million annually. Those strings, he says, are too high a price for the stimulus money. His chief political rival of the moment, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, agrees but says Perry should be looking for ways to take the money and cut the strings instead of rejecting it outright.
Policymakers from both sides are trying to find a way to take the money without permanently accepting those new federal requirements. With the economy worsening, the fund is expected to have an $800 million deficit by October. That'll have to be made up with an increased tax on employers, and one argument for taking the federal money is that it would cut that tax by $556 million.
Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones is, after a four year run, on hiatus. University of Houston officials say we will be back in April, but we have not heard from PBS-Houston.
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 twelfth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last seven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.