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Volume XIII Number 23 - August 19, 2014     RSS Feed   

A Periodic Newsletter for Committed Texas Conservatives

In This Issue

Perry Witch Hunt

Was The Perry Complaint And Paxton Complaint Part Of The Democrats Hail Mary Plan?

"Mayor" Castro For Vice-President, They Are Not Kidding!

Hamas Admits Intimidating Foreign Press Who Reported Wrong 'Message' By Stuart Winer As Published In The Times Of Israel

The New Republican Party By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor

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Gary Polland
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Thoughts This Fortnight

Perry Witch Hunt

Rick Perry is indicted for exercising his lawful veto authority by the Travis County District Attorney's Office, which was the target of the Perry veto.

The special prosecutor, a Mr. McCrum, was a candidate to be appointed U.S. Attorney in San Antonio by President Obama.

For those familiar with the Texas Grand Jury system, there have been numerous cases of abuse and lack of diverse grand juries. Maybe that is why it is said in Texas, "You can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."

Regardless, Governor Perry now gets the same ride other Republicans later found not guilty got from the Travis County District Attorney's office. Remember Congressman Tom DeLay and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison?

Former State Representative Brad Wright has been working to take the State Public Integrity Unit function away from an unrepresentative Travis County for ten years, and yet despite a Republican dominated legislature nothing has happened. He is right. It is more than past time. How many leaders' lives need to be ruined before we wake up?

Was The Perry Complaint And Paxton Complaint Part Of The Democrats Hail Mary Plan?

The complaints against Perry and Attorney General Candidate Ken Paxton by Texans for Public Justice need to be exposed.

Texans for Public Justice is a "left-wing" so-called government accountability group. We know from the Democrats' playbook that these non-profits are a part of the Democrats' political team used to play offense via the courts and lawsuits.

Their hope is to fool the voters by using a non-profit group's image to make you think these are non-partisan.

Texans for Public Justice are clearly aligned with the Democrats, and we know that because research indicated they have never taken on a Democratic candidate or officeholder nor have they taken on any liberal position.

"Mayor" Castro For Vice-President,
They Are Not Kidding!

It's amazing how the Democrats play identity politics. Left-wing former Mayor, presiding officer of the San Antonio City Council, is being boosted for Vice-President of the USA!

Has anyone looked at his weak resume? City Councilman for 5 years, presiding officer (Mayor) of the City Council for 5 years, and now less than 60 days as Housing and Urban Development Secretary. Prior to politics, he worked as an attorney, primarily in his own small law firm.

The fact is, Mayor (really) Annise Parker's resume blows the socks off of Castro's.

As far as his so-called mayor gig, go to the San Antonio website, and read about City Manager Sheryl Sculley who has been the Mayor in fact, but not in title.

You would think the Democrats, after the Obama experience, would want an experienced, seasoned ticket. But then again, it's identity politics. No wonder our country is suffering from poor leadership.

Hamas Admits Intimidating Foreign Press
Who Reported Wrong 'Message'

By Stuart Winer
As Published In The Times Of Israel

TCR Comment: It seems those media reports from Gaza were totally unreliable. It makes you wonder if President Obama knew he was duped.

A Hamas official inadvertently acknowledged on Thursday that the group had strong-armed journalists in Gaza into a reporting style that suited its narrative, keeping many under surveillance and kicking out of the territory those who sought to film the launching of rockets at Israel.

In an interview with Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV on Thursday, relayed and translated Friday by the Middle East Media Research Institute, the head of foreign relations in Hamas's Information Ministry, Isra Al-Mudallal, complained that "the coverage by foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip was insignificant compared to their coverage within the Israeli occupation (Israel)."

"Moreover," she said, "the journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative." She asserted that the foreign press was focused "on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation." (The Israeli army said last week that 600 of the 3,300 rockets fired into Israel over recent weeks were launched from residential areas, including schools, mosques and homes.)

"These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip," al-Mudallal said. "The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people. They would give them some time to change their message, one way or another.

"We suffered from this problem very much," she added. "Some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance. Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral."

On Monday, the Foreign Press Association, an umbrella group representing foreign journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, issued a strongly worded condemnation of Hamas's intimidation tactics and its interference with their reporting in Gaza.

"The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month," the statement said. "The international media are not advocacy organizations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground."

As well as targeting journalists in Gaza, the press organization said it was aware that Hamas had been taking steps to vet those media personnel it did not approve of and to prevent them from reporting in Gaza.

"Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA," the statement said.

The FPA asserted that "in several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media."

In an article for Haaretz on Wednesday that highlighted the FPA condemnation, reporter Matthew Kalman said "Hamas repeatedly demanded a list of the names of correspondents" who were using a specially chartered bus via a safe passage route into Gaza, "in order to draw up a blacklist of individuals and networks."

Kalman wrote that "Some reporters received death threats. Sometimes, cameras were smashed. Reporters were prevented from filming anti-Hamas demonstrations where more than 20 Palestinians were shot dead by Hamas gunmen."

In what Kalman called "perhaps the most serious incidents considered by the FPA," he said, "Hamas began firing mortars right next to the location of foreign reporters, in what may have been an effort to draw Israeli retaliatory fire."

Kalman noted that New York Times correspondent Jodi Rudoren disputed and criticized the FPA statement: "Every reporter I've met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense," Rudoren tweeted, referring to Israeli accusations that Hamas pressure on foreign reporters had helped massage the messages coming out of Gaza in the last month. And he said Rudoren's Tweet "was followed by a furious email exchange with the FPA, in which Rudoren denounced the statement as 'dangerous.'"

A number of reporters working in Gaza reported on Hamas's use of civilian infrastructure for military means, but said they were only able to do so once out of the Strip, for fear of Hamas reprisals.

A report by India-based NDTV last week on Hamas assembling and firing a rocket next to a hotel used by journalists was filed hours after the reporter left Gaza, because "Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired," NDTV's Sreenivasan Jain wrote.

The New Republican Party
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor

The political world has been abuzz with speculation about the Senate races and whether the Republicans will take over majority of the Upper House. While this was happening, I spent my time finding out what was really afoot within the Republican world.

This all started when I had the opportunity to see a presentation by Andy Barkett, the Republican National Committee's (RNC) first Chief Technology Officer. What I was listening to piqued my interest. It is as if the RNC had finally come alive. I wrote a column about the challenges facing the party during the turmoil after the 2012 election and the election of Reince Preibus as the Chairman of the RNC, reinstalling Mr. Preibus as the head of the party. Having actually worked on the past four presidential elections, I have seen first-hand the capabilities of the party and what was needed to win. In that column, I advocated a vertically-integrated system that used the assets of the RNC to aid in the election of offices down to the local sheriff with information flowing back up to the national party. This seemed to be what I was hearing from Barkett, but I wanted to explore the status of the party's information capabilities more.

That brought me to an interview with Chuck Defeo, the Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff of the RNC. Defeo, a Political Science graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, somewhat fell into being a tech guy. He started working for then-Senator John Ashcroft in 1996, when all those late nights of computer geeking led him to organizing the computer side of the Senator's operations. Defeo used that as a springboard to other political tech gigs, which then landed him as the person who organized the digital efforts for the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. Those were the days when the Republicans were ahead in the organizing game. Since then, the Obama campaigns have left the Republicans behind in their efforts to turn out voters, raise money and win elections.

So what did Defeo find when he came on board last July? Surprisingly, he found a very positive attitude -- a willingness to change and improve with the goal of helping Republican candidates win in 2014, thus building toward 2016.

The perception of the Republicans falling behind was because of two reasons as stated by Defeo. First, the RNC has had four different leaders since 2004 and there was a perceived underfunding in the technology area over that period. Second, in the two Presidential election cycles, Obama had a billion dollars. In 2012, they had barrels of money plus they had a four-year run-up to the election to put their team and strategy in place. I spent 12 days in Columbus, Ohio, just prior to Election Day, and one could see and feel the advantages the Obama team had over Romney's -- just 90 days in existence since winning the nomination. As for looking ahead, Defeo told me "The DNC just received the data from the Obama campaign last year, and they will not have a billion dollars in 2014."

The test case for the work being done by Defeo and his team was this year's March 13th special election in Florida for the 13th district Congressional seat. In this race David Jolly, a Republican, beat the favored Democrat Alex Sink, a former gubernatorial candidate. The voter contact done by the RNC was very precise as Defeo told me they got within 415 votes of their targeted absentee votes from a list of over 20,000. This very effective campaign and the turn out the vote effort allowed Jolly to surprise Sink and take the seat by almost 2%.

Defeo and his team now have their focus on ramping up that effort to compete in thousands of races across the country. It is a large task, the results of which we will see on November 4th. As for integrating the network from the RNC down to the local races, Defeo stated "The database has been built. We need to improve access to the data for our candidates and reception of data back from those candidates and their campaigns."

It is clear that the RNC has taken the commitment to create a first-class technology base to provide the tools for Republican candidates to compete in every race in the country. We will soon see whether the fruits of their efforts overcome the prior technology advantage Obama's team created for the Democrats. These things swing like a pendulum and we will know soon whether they have swung back.


Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.


TCR on the Air

Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.

Coming soon:
September 12: The new season begins with interviews with key Texas statewide candidates.

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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 fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last thirteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 11 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 13th 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.

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