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Volume XXI Number 23 - December 20, 2022     RSS Feed   

A Periodic Newsletter for Committed Texas Conservatives

In This Issue

Holidays, Families And America

There Is An Alternative To The Biden-Omnibus Federal Budget

Harris County, Texas, One Of The Leading Counties In Election Cheating

Jail Break 2023, Could It Happen?

Michael Ramirez' Cartoon Of The Fortnight

TIRZ, An Idea That Has Come And Gone

The Decline Of Higher Education By John M. Lewis, Guest Columnist

Stop The Censorship And Collusion Between The Government And Social Media Companies By Brian Ettinger, Contributing Editor

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Gary Polland
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Thoughts This Fortnight

Holidays, Families And America

As we move to the Christmas - Hanukkah season, one is reminded of the importance of families, fellowship and our faiths. Despite what many call the dismal state of politics, at the end of the day the citizens of America are our strength. American's strong faith and belief in G-D made us the shining city on the hill and a return to those core values will restore us and help us out of our time of trouble.

There Is An Alternative
To The Biden-Omnibus Federal Budget

In Congress, the budgets are supposed to come from the House where a dozen or so appropriation bills are debated and adopted in each chamber.

Instead, for years we have a huge omnibus budget at the end of the session, with little oversight. The result, runaway federal spending and an exploding federal deficit.

Keep in mind the federal fiscal year started in October 2022 and we are still without budgets. This is irresponsible governing at best. The deficit for FY 22 is $356 billion and we are on our way to a larger deficit in FY 23. The overall debt is $31,321,312,445,975 and counting. That is $93,922 for every person in America!

We will never get out of this mess without real timely balanced budgets and an attack on the extensive waste, abuse and fraud involving federal spending.

Harris County, Texas,
One Of The Leading Counties In Election Cheating

You may have heard we had lots of problems with our November election.

So many issues - on election day, 26 polling places ran out of paper (which is the way ballots are actually cast), 21 GOP boxes; 5 Democrat boxes. How many turned away voters were there? We had other issues and there is an ongoing criminal investigation.

The most disturbing new revelation, over 9,000 more votes were counted than were actually voted!

Clearly, the idea of an unaccountable to the people election administrators need to be junked and the responsibilities go back to the formerly responsible elected officials. A LEGISLATIVE REMEDY ANYONE?

Jail Break 2023, Could It Happen?

With little fanfare, the radical attorneys pushing the U.S. District Court in Houston to halt the enforcement of state law on detention of citizens and non-citizens accused of a felony offense. This is coming in the ongoing 2019 suit Russell v. Harris County.

The Plaintiffs have filed a summary judgment motion seeking to strike down the current Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Texas state law.

If granted, thousands would end up being released on bond with an estimated 60% for charges described as violent or serious.

You think Harris County has crime problems, just wait. Hats off to Senator Paul Bettencourt and GOP legislators who filed an amicus brief opposing this case and to Ken Paxton, Attorney General, for intervening early in the case and his office has carried the torch for anti-crime pro-law enforcement citizens.

You would not be shocked to learn the group supporting the Russell suit which seeks to basically end pretrial jailing was behind the Misdemeanor bond suit and deal with Democratic County officials led by Lina Hidalgo and Rodney Ellis.

Michael Ramirez' Cartoon Of The Fortnight

TIRZ, An Idea That Has Come And Gone

It is said the Road to Perdition is paved with good intentions. The latest example, a medical center TIRZ in Houston.

Understand TIRZ's divert City tax revenue to semi-private groups who "manage" the zone and spend the money. The City of Houston has 26 active TIRZ's who divert $270 million in taxes from the City's budget. You hear complaints the City needs more tax revenue and yet they give it away.

A recent example of waste, the Galleria TIRZ built a dedicated bus lane that cost over $200 million and is barely used. Meanwhile, Houston streets are in rapid decline.

Wait, there is also a sleight-of-hand going on. The citizens of Houston passed a spending cap years ago which limits tax increases and spending, but TIRZ taxes are not limited. A few reforms are needed. First, TIRZ revenue should be limited as the City's revenue is. Second, we must insist the state limits on TIRZ creation must be followed: to be a candidate for a TIRZ, an area has to constitute "a menace to public health, safety, morals and welfare in its present conditions because of the presence of a substantial number of substandard slums and deteriorated, and deteriorating structures" among others.

Is the Galleria or the Medical Center substandard? Hardly. So why did the Mayor and Houston City Council support this unqualified TIRZ application?

The politicians' answers ... crickets.

The Decline Of Higher Education
By John M. Ellis, Guest Columnist

In the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties, academic - freedom disputes routinely took a particular shape. In a small town, somewhere in the heartland, there would be a college campus on which a young academic loudly voiced his opinions on controversial matters - mostly political, but sometimes also on sexual morality, or even on legalizing drugs. This would offend the sensitivities of some local townspeople.

Someone like the local mayor would lean on the college president (probably a personal friend), the president would then lean on the department chair, and the young professor was soon gone. The American Association of University Professors would then intervene, and the individual would be reinstated, because the AAUP would in effect threaten blacklisting. Reports of cases like this were reasonably common.

The AAUP would always insist that college campuses must be the one place with unfettered freedom to discuss and analyze issues of all kinds, no matter who might be offended. The analytical function of academia must never be shut down by a shallow local moralism. This was then the consensus of academic life.

If we fast forward to the present, one feature of what's happening on the campuses looks similar: that crucial analytical function is still getting stifled whenever it offends an equally shallow local moralism. But there's a startling difference: the actors have changed places. It's now the professors who do what the small-minded small-town worthies used to do, shutting down analysis whenever it offends them, which is often.

In fact, they do it on a vastly larger scale. Those old AAUP cases were aberrations affecting a tiny minority of campuses, and the infractions were soon corrected. But today, the suppression of debate and analysis happens almost everywhere, and the perpetrators - both professors and administrators - represent a controlling majority of the campuses.

The scope of what now gets quashed is also far more extensive. In the sixties, all that was persecuted was some occasional countercultural flamboyance. But at present, virtually any serious discussion of social and political matters risks being silenced, because to be serious it would have to include left-of-center and right-of center-opinion, and the campuses don't want that. So, we've gone from the campus as the only place where discussion must have no limits, to the campus as the only place where free discussion isn't possible.

Even that isn't the worst of it. The way that issues are pursued has also changed radically. On contentious subjects such as the actual effects of welfare, or of racial preferences, the old academic way of proceeding was empirical investigation. It looked at real world results to determine whether welfare increased or reduced poverty, and whether preferences helped or hurt minority students. Now contrast that methodology with one that doesn't investigate but instead takes for granted that both preferences and welfare are natural and desirable, and consequently assumes that the only people who could oppose them are the greedy and racist rich who don't want to give up their money or their privilege. Call this the "smears instead of investigation" approach.

Fifty to 60 years ago, academia was naturally the home of the investigative approach to social questions, and my academic colleagues at that time, on the left and right, all felt that the non-investigative approach was beneath them. That was what politicians did. A left-wing friend investigating increases in the minimum wage turned against the idea when the data told him that it hurt the people it was supposed to help. But today, the "smears instead of investigation" approach is common throughout academia, of all places, while the investigative approach can get you into real trouble if you venture into areas (say, colonialism) where a radical-left orthodoxy prevails.

Now, if we juxtapose typical professors of these two eras in light of all these differences, it's obvious that they have nothing in common. This almost reminds me of those horror movies in which some sinister force manages to abduct some people and replace them with clones who look identical but are really an alien species. The difference is that one kind of replacement happens overnight while the other took 50 years to complete.

In 1969, a survey by Martin Trow for the Carnegie Commission found that college faculties were fairly evenly split politically, with about three left-of-center faculty to every two right-of-center. By the end of the twentieth century, 30 years later, that had become a five-to-one ratio. This advantage allowed the Left to ensure that virtually all new professorial appointments were leftists. Accordingly, the left-to-right ratio began to rise sharply. It went from five-to-one to about eight-to-one in just five or six years, a startling change in so short a time. It's now probably something like 15 to 1, and still rising. When recruiting is focused so heavily on political ideology, you don't simply wind up with academic scholars who happen to be all politically left: what you really get is political activists, not academic scholars. Scholars are defined by intellectual curiosity, but that's the last thing you'll find in political activists.

On a college campus, they might just as well be aliens, because these two kinds of people - scholars and activists - couldn't be further apart. The proof of this is that the criteria for success of the one are the very same as the criteria for failure of the other. Political activists succeed to the extent they manage to stamp out opposing political views, but that means the end of rational analysis and debate, the heart of higher education. If things go the other way and the academic teacher succeeds, then the political activist has failed.

This is therefore the core of the problem we face: universities overrun by the wrong kind of people - political zealots who don't understand academia, have no aptitude for it, and use it to achieve ends incompatible with it. While that condition remains, no real improvement is possible. Reform means in one way or another replacing the wrong kind of people in higher education with the right kind, and nothing short of that will have much effect.

In the last few years, critical race theory has overrun our public schools and the medical profession has begun to go woke, as has the military, the law, journalism, and even museums. Left radicalism has been making enormous progress through its dominance of the campuses.

This is exactly what the radicals promised us back in the sixties with their Port Huron statement. They admitted then that in America they could never succeed at the ballot box, and so they intended to seize control of the universities and use them to promote their ideology. They easily conquered the humanities and social sciences, and now that STEM fields have been brought to heel by means of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, their control of the campuses is virtually complete, and they have begun to use them just as they said they would.

What can we do? First, it's well to remember that the left/right ratio of campus faculty is still rising fast, which means that however bad things are now, they will be worse next year, and still worse the year after that. If you find that hard to imagine, just think about what has happened in these last two years. One whole generation of college students has already been indoctrinated; about half of young people now favor socialism. But where will we be after two generations of the same treatment? And this would also mean two generations knowing nothing about the Constitution - a frightening thought.

Some well-meaning colleagues think that we should keep trying to persuade the campuses to be more academically-minded. But you can't persuade people whose values have nothing in common with yours, and in any case this suggestion has a fatal flaw: it leaves the wrong people in place.

This corrupted version of higher education is doing immense damage to our society. Our children are not getting a college education, the colleges are spreading a destructive ideology, and the professions are being corrupted one after another. The public pays for this through taxation, tuition payments, and donations. While the flow of that money continues, nothing will change. It now supports people who are officially hired to do one job but who actually do a completely different one of their own choosing. Reform will come only when public attitudes catch up with the reality of what's going on - and that's where the efforts of reformers ought to be directed. Most parents still think they are sending their children to college, not to bootcamp for radical activists. They will stop doing this only when they come to understand the difference.

If and when the flow of public money dwindles, these irretrievably corrupted institutions would begin to fail for want of enrollment. At that point some empty campus buildings would become available for building serious universities from scratch - places like the new University of Austin. Competition from new institutions of higher learning might begin to put some radicalized campuses out of business.

The good news is that the public is already beginning to vote with its feet. For every five undergraduates who enrolled in the fall of 2011, there were only four enrolled ten years later in 2021. That's a drop of 3.6 million, out of some 20 million. Adjusting those numbers either for an aging population or for Covid makes little difference. These numbers mean that millions of parents and students have already figured out that college is no longer worth the cost in lost years and money. Let's hope that more do so soon.

John M. Ellis is a distinguished professor emeritus at University of California-Santa Cruz, chairman of the California Association of Scholars, and the author of several books, most recently The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done. This essay is adapted from an address given at the Academic Freedom Conference held at Stanford University on November 4-5 of this year.

Stop The Censorship And Collusion
Between The Government
And Social Media Companies

By Brian Ettinger, Contributing Editor

This cooperation pact between our FBI, NSC, Intel and one major political party and the social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, TikTok, YouTube and Apple including the media alliance of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and others controlling free speech and the political agenda which directly interferes with our election process and censors free speech leads to fascism and control over individual free will and speech. This violates our core values and laws allowed under our Constitution. Free speech is not an absolute right as you can be held accountable if you violate certain aspects such as yelling fire in a public place and causing damage or death or defaming a third party by libel or slander. We need to hold these government officials and social media company representatives liable for their actions. No more limits on liability or the case law standard under U.S. vs Sullivan to hold media, including print media companies liable based on a malice or willful intent threshold, but under a simple tort negligence standard. This will make these companies and individuals employed by them accountable.

What they have done to free speech and its censorship use for a political purpose should expose them to both criminal or civil actions including RICO conspiracy litigation. This should only happen in third world countries, not the U.S. Free speech and stating different points of views are not to be infringed upon and if they are, then the individual doing this needs to be held accountable. Get rid of all social media Section 230 liability protections. This law states third party platforms are not liable for any content that appears on it. No more truth squads and censorship or lose their license. They suppressed stories, planted phony and misrepresented stories with government officials leading the efforts or feeding this information. This is not a system where individuals make their decisions based on all the facts, not one point of view. Unless we take this drastic action now then what Musk at Twitter has uncovered will be lost and the systems will continue and the censorship will become more powerful and cause a one political party system and lead to a fascism system.

The Italian leader, Mussolini, started out as the editor of the largest social magazine during World War I in Italy. He used this position to shut down free speech and to present his message of fascism and during his rule there was no opposition allowed. He became a dictator and controlled the media and government. Censorship was a centerpiece of his rule over the Italian people. Does this sound familiar as today we have government officials, elected and appointed plus technology social media companies come up with a plan to directly interfere in our last two Presidential elections with their misinformation and censorship. This is flat out wrong and needs to never happen again. These elitist and corrupt government officials should face criminal or civil actions as this will lead to less censorship and the U.S. citizens making choices based on all available information.

The latest example is the cover up of the Crypto guy Sam Bankman-Fried with all the funds he used (not his but belonged to third parties) he spent on himself or donated as the second largest contributor to the Democrat party. These Democrat candidates, including the Biden campaign will not return these funds. It is very interesting that the day this jerk was to testify under oath with Congress he was indicted for 8 major criminal activities from money laundering, fraud, theft of funds and a clear case of embezzlement. The DOJ could not wait one day on their sealed indictment. Another example of government officials interfering to stop his testimony from coming out on these elected officials and social media contacts.

Brian Ettinger is a practicing attorney and contributing editor to TCR. He is a strong conservative who is concerned about America's future.

Tune In To KTRH NewsRadio 740 AM
Wednesday, December 21st Morning News Block

Tune in Wednesday morning to KTRH NewsRadio 740 AM when TCR Editor Gary Polland will be a guest on the Morning News Block. The program airs on Wednesday, December 21st.

TCR on the Air

Gary Polland is now a regular on "What's Your Point?" hosted by Greg Groogan on Fox 26 Houston, appearing every other week. Tune in or set your recorder for 7:00 am Sundays.

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 twenty-sixth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twenty-one years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 18 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary also for 20 years cohosted Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.

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