For the last few weeks the sky was falling with sequestration, at least according to the President. First, it was losing teachers and police. Then it was layoffs that will close airports and so on.
It seemed to us that the President was trying to be the boogieman in chief, trying to pressure Republicans into abandoning any spending cuts. The ones in place cut spending by around 2% and not very smartly. The GOP offered to work with the White House to target the spending reductions, but they got silence in return.
Last Friday, Obama finally conceded the truth when he said, "This is not going to be an apocalypse... I think as some people have said." Yes, my research shows Obama was the one saying it.
A few facts here, the 2007 federal budget (the last time the GOP controlled the government) was $2.7 trillion with a debt of $161 billion (5.9%); in 2013 the budget is $3.8 trillion with a deficit of $901 billion (29.68%) and the sequester cuts $85 billion or 2.25% of the budget.
How Smart GOP Policies Reduce Recidivism, Increase Public Safety; Help Straighten Out Young People And Save Taxpayers Money
Yes, Republicans can do creative and effective things to improve and reduce costs in our criminal justice system, and not by locking young people up.
The Harris County Juvenile Court Republican Judges, in cooperation with the Republican led Harris County District Attorney's office have created an extensive pre-trial diversion program that allows deserving first offenders to essentially be on a 90-day or 180-day "unofficial" probation with access to services to assist them in being successful.
This system created an opportunity to avoid a criminal record after successful completion of the program and does not involve defense attorneys retained, or appointed or the public defender, saving the county millions of dollars over the past few years.
In fact, this program is working so well that the Harris County DA, Mike Anderson, has stated he is willing to review this program for expansion into the adult (17 and older) criminal justice system. One matter holding it up would be funds for the Probation Department and DA's office for the programs and the more extensive background reviews needed for prospective candidates.
In a tight budget atmosphere, one area to look is the experimental public defender system "set up" to do what this article details, but instead is just a more expensive version of the court appointed attorneys system under the Fair Defense Act. A review of recent costs incurred show the P.D. system cost savings (which runs 3 to 5 times the private appointed system) could be used to fund the programs necessary to keep "one and done" nonviolent defendants from being saddled with a criminal record for life after they prove that they have learned their lesson without adversely impacting justice and return money to the taxpayers.
It's Worth It: An Early Primary Will Magnify Texas Influence In The 2016 Presidential Primaries
It's being proposed that the 2016 Presidential primary be accelerated into February. Supporters say it will make Texas critically important in deciding the GOP nominee, detractors say Texas will lose delegate slots by moving the primary earlier. In the argument, the supporters got it right.
When was the last time Texas had a major impact on who the GOP nominates? Not in 2012, not in 2008, not in 2004, not in 2000 and not in 1996.
The SREC and the Republicans in the Texas legislature would be well advised to support this important initiative.
Ronald Reagan Still Subduing The Left
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Ronald Reagan spent the better part of a lifetime baffling the Left and often defeating them in the court of public opinion. Other Republicans have been battling the last twenty years to defund the left, particularly unions who get automatic payments through Dropbox without members having any say, or how plaintiff attorneys use their vast influence to buy Democratic officials who turn around and pass laws that line their pockets with more lawsuits. Now the Reagan name is being used to defund another source of funds for the left.
Enter a man by the name of Anthony Saliba. He was busy working the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He was wearing one of those funny vests yelling buy this and sell that and making a nice living. It occurred to him in the late 1980's that computers were here to stay and that the options business needed to be updated. He found he had an aptitude in dealing with things like COBOL and FORTRAN computer language so he dug in to the project of computerizing the industry.
Saliba now runs one of the largest computer firms dealing with option transactions in the industry. His company handles the computer processing for more than one-third of the total volume of options in the country. His customers include most of the big names such as Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab. Saliba now spends more time with computer geeks than with people in funny vests making trades.
Along the way, Saliba had the opportunity to run into Michael Reagan, son of the President. They became friends and actually ended up on an African Safari with their respective families. While in Tanzania's famous Serengeti, Reagan and Saliba had a series of discussions. While most people would be focusing on whether a pride of lions might be eyeing them for their evening meal, the two men were discussing how certain businesses were taking the hard-earned dollars of Republican customers and turning them over to Democratic candidates.
They thought they could do something about it. Michael Reagan owned the rights to Reagan.com, and Saliba now had the technical expertise to utilize the name in a constructive way. Their research started. They found that all the email services were getting serious revenue (about $400 per email account for Google) from offering a "free" service. They also found that the people running Gmail (Google), Hotmail (Microsoft), AOL (Time Warner) and Yahoo were all taking the proceeds from the advertising and other promotional revenues and making significant contributions to politicians - almost all to the left.
Thus they began offering their own email service. The email service is not free, as it currently costs $40 per year for a membership. But it is built on certain principles. The first is anonymity. When you send an email to a friend about a restaurant or search for a pair of shoes, no third party will know and you will not then receive numerous advertisements based on your search. The second aspect of the service is what they call vanity. That means conservatives would be proud of the idea of having an email address ending in "Reagan.com." The third aspect they characterized as Affinity. That means being associated in the "members only" area with other conservatives.
They currently have over 50,000 members, but they have built a platform that is totally secure and can host millions of addresses. The website Reagan.com already gets a couple million visits every month. With 50,000 members and counting, they have recouped all their start-up costs so it certainly appears that the service is here to stay. The question at this point is how fast it grows.
Saliba stated they are looking to expand offerings the same as any growing business. In the special "members only" section on the website where one can buy exclusive items or services at a discount over the non-member price. They are also looking to host people who have their own domain names (such as mine: Bialosky.biz) so that they can move their accounts from other services and now be hosted by Reagan.com. In addition, they are taking their proceeds and donating to conservative causes such as the Heritage Foundation or the Gary Sinise Foundation which help veterans and first responders.
One can clearly see that Ronald Reagan would be proud of the mission of Reagan.com. Now what remains is for you to decide if it is time for you to make the switch and receive the benefits of membership... unless, of course, you don't mind that everybody on the internet knows all about you.
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 Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Red, White & Blue returns on March 22 after the Spring Pledge Drive with Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and a panel discussion on the Texas Legislature.
The current show as well as past shows are 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 fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 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 eleventh 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.