Say what you will, for the 2016 GOP field for President now includes three next generation candidates, and all bring much to the table.
Texan Ted Cruz, a passionate, committed conservative, is the best orator of the bunch, and will not be outworked by anyone. Rand Paul, a M.D., brings a libertarian tilt to the GOP, and is a candidate who can bring new voters into the GOP fold. Finally, Marco Rubio is the most charismatic GOP politician since Reagan, and brings a mix of positive qualities, which could enhance the chances of a GOP victory in November 2016.
TCR hopes the campaign remains positive and forward looking and whoever emerges is elected the next President.
The So-Called Iran Deal, The More We Hear,
The Worse It Gets
When we last looked, the Iranians said the John Kerry interpretation of the "tentative" nuclear agreement with Iran was lies. The Iranians said no to unannounced and unlimited inspections, no to gradual withdrawal of sanctions, no to shipping uranium out of the country, no to any inspection of military nuclear sites, no to limiting Iran intervention in neighbors' affairs in the region or to limiting Iranian support for terrorist groups.
Also, in the last week Obama has taken the military option off the table by saying anyone who opposes the Obama deal is for war. Of course, that's not what critics have urged. They have said that military action should be an option. Other options are continued sanctions to deny Iran additional funds for its expansionist agenda and try to compel a better agreement.
Instead we have the Obama-Kerry method of negotiating based on the Neville Chamberlain model, slow surrender on key issues for the sake of any agreement.
Tax Cut Options For Texas
While the Senate backs property tax reductions, the House backs a miniscule sales tax deduction. Which is better?
Well, if you own a home or condo, you are better off with property tax relief. If not, the proposed sales tax rollback will save you ¼ of every cent out of every dollar you spend. Do you think you will notice? Not really.
The better plan is the Senate plan shepherded by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, with an assist by freshman Senator Paul Bettencourt. Texas has comparatively high property taxes, and a reduction was a top priority of Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. One could argue they have a statewide mandate regarding this, that no one supporting the House plan can claim.
Sometimes We Find Absolute Truth In Fiction
The most recent example is Brad Thor in his recent best seller The Art of War. Read and absorb his thoughts and ideas. He has just nailed what America is and the threats we are facing from the current misguided leadership:
"In the history of the world… there had never been a greater force for peace, stability, liberty, and freedom than the United States. Before America, the history of mankind had been one of tyranny, with the masses lorded over and controlled by the few. The United States had been established to protect the rights of the smallest minority that had ever existed-the individual."
"The bigger our government gets, the more money it needs to operate. In order to get that money, it has two choices. It can continue to raise taxes again and again on our citizens and risk a revolution, or it can borrow in relative quiet, out of sight of everyday Americans who don't pay attention. The federal government has chosen to do a crippling combination of both.
"While high personal taxes leave Americans with less money to invest and spend in the marketplace, high corporate taxes leave businesses with less money to hire employees and force them to move things like manufacturing and customer service call centers offshore in order for their products to be competitive.
"We saw the last administration increase the top marginal tax rate by 5 percent. The increase pulled billions of dollars out of American households and ended up being only enough to run the federal government for six days.
"We then saw this same administration, desperate to reverse its falling poll numbers, continue to stoke the embers of class warfare. There is no more anti-American, anti-democracy rhetoric than this. To turn neighbor against neighbor because of the size of one's pocketbook is to plow the ground and sow it with the seeds of socialism. In America, only opportunity is assured, no outcomes. Anyone who promises otherwise is acting contrary to the values upon which our Republic was founded.
"The bottom line is that the federal government was never intended to be the size it has grown to. The Founders intended for it to remain small and for the majority of issues to be handled at the state level where citizens can be more easily involved and have their voices heard.
"But as the federal government has expanded, it has become its own living breathing organism.
"It is like a giant octopus with razor-sharp tentacles, which lashes out whenever it feels threatened. We have seen the IRS, the NSA, the Attorney General's office, and countless other federal departments and bureaucracies weaponized and turned against the American people.
"Anyone with the temerity to suggest that the government be scaled back becomes an enemy of the state, targeted not only by its aforementioned tentacles but by a complicit, big-government media.
"Imagine a family that is completely out of money but that keeps signing up for more credit cards. It doesn't scale back its lifestyle but actually takes it to the next level, buying more expensive cars, summer homes, and luxury vacations abroad. It's a recipe for complete and unmitigated disaster. Yet damning the torpedoes, the government precedes full speed ahead.
"And as it does, as the government continues to tax and grow and borrow and spend, the day of reckoning draws ever closer. The bill is already overdue and at some point, we will no longer be able to borrow the money we have been using to put off the inevitable. Simply put, our national debt is growing faster than we can pay for it. The laws of physics and economics are inescapable. No nation can keep spending money it doesn't have forever. But spend we do.
"The prior administration tripled the deficit and increased the national debt by over seventy-five percent. Within the next ten years, every penny from taxes will go just to covering the interest on our debt. We'll have to borrow money for everything else. Military spending, Homeland Security, you name it."
TCR Comment: Wow, This is a philosophy to make America great again, and the GOP should run on it in 2016.
Confirmation Israel Is Not the Problem
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
On June 7, 1967, Israel entered the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, taking back the entirety of the city that had been the center of Jewish life since 1003 BCE when King David conquered the city. In the most significant mistake of his career, Moshe Dayan did not declare that Jerusalem was now part of Israel and would remain such henceforth. That was the opening that allowed the discussion of what was the Middle East conflict for the next 48 years. After years of prattle we now know Israel has little or nothing to do with the problems of the Middle East.
Since that time various Arab and Persian leaders have cited Israel as the roadblock to peace. The Palestinians have played this card to extract billions of dollars from guilt-ridden Americans and Europeans as the Palestinians conned governments in this extortion game. Yasser Arafat was a master of this despite legitimate offers of peace from the Israelis. Dennis Ross has delineated how President Clinton thought he had negotiated a peace agreement with major concessions from the Israelis. The agreement, which included forming a Palestinian state on 73% of the West Bank, was rejected by Arafat and then he went home and started the second Intifada. The negotiations cost Ehud Barak his position as Prime Minister.
There were two more serious offers of concessions (2001 and 2008) by the Israelis, egged on by misguided Europeans and Americans dreaming that if only Israel relented, established that Palestinian state and ended their "occupation" the newly free people would allow the world to focus on more important issues. The fact that Gaza was abandoned by the Israelis in 2005 and a de facto Palestinian state was formed did not matter. The center of Middle Eastern disruption was those pesky Israelis not letting those fun-loving Palestinians live their lives.
We are now in the midst of a meltdown in the Middle East. Iran, our mortal enemy since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and the kidnapping of 52 American citizens, attempts to spread its influence throughout the region. They chant death to America and Israel and the Israelis are the only ones who believe them. At least that can be said for the highest levels of our respective governments.
Yet, our elected leadership has been bamboozled into believing that somehow Israel is at the center of this entire matter. Our president and his team of negotiators are attempting to achieve a workable agreement with Iran while he whipsaws the Israeli Prime Minister and his entire country.
Let us just imagine for a moment that Israel did not exist. Would ISIS still be on the march? Would Hamas and Hezbollah still be in existence? Would the Houthis have driven the American-backed government out of Yemen? The answer to all those questions is yes because they are all Iranian-backed groups (except ISIS) controlling countries in alliance with Iran. Just substitute the brutal Assad regime in for ISIS and you have a quintet of deadly organizations with Iran at the center. They may head fake with "Death to Israel and the Jews," but it is nothing more than a head fake.
The Middle East is not the easy area to define, but we do have friends there. Those friends, led by Saudi Arabia, have formed an alliance. That alliance includes nine other countries including some of our closest allies in the region (Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain). They have forged together to fight the Iranian hegemonic move to take over Yemen and I suspect other actions going forward. And, by the way, they are all against the pending agreement between the Europeans, the U.S. and Iran. None of them are carping about Israel being the problem. In fact, Israel helped the Saudis in Yemen.
For some reason our president who is putting pressure on Israel just so he can create an agreement with Iran that none of our Middle East allies want, in addition to the Israelis. President Obama threatens Israel with not backing them in the UN and pulling funding if the Israelis build any more housing in the West Bank. At the moment when our Arab allies have abandoned any notion that Israel’s disputes with the Palestinians really matter to the Middle East, our President clings to this misguided concept.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been laid bare for what it is at its core. It is a group of people (Palestinians) who are exploiting other countries for guilt money while pleading victimhood. Peace in the Middle East never hinged on resolution of the conflict and peace would not come with the formation of a Palestinian state.
President Obama needs to recognize this defining moment. He is truly on the wrong side of history. He is so interested in punishing the Jews and Israel that he is willing to abandon all of our Middle East allies to create a deal with a group of people who hate us. He should be crushing them and exalting out traditional allies.
Oh, and, by the way, the Arabs and Iran could not give two licks about the Palestinians.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can contact Bruce at email@example.com.
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.houstonpublicmedia.org.
04-17-15 - U.S. Supreme Court Cases: What major rulings lie ahead?
04-24-15 - Healthcare: What is the state of healthcare in Texas?
05-01-15 - Former U.S. Representative Barney Frank.
05-08-15 - Stephen Klineberg, 2015 Houston Area Survey.
05-15-15 - Mayor Annise Parker, State of the City.
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 sixteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last fourteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 12 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.