Category Archives: Issues

MUST SEE VIDEO – Paul Ryan: America’s Choice Between Solvency & Bankruptcy Will Determine Decline or Exceptionalism

Rep. Paul Ryan spoke before the Alexander Hamilton Society on 6/2/2011.

MUST SEE VIDEO – Paul Ryan: America’s Choice Between Solvency & Bankruptcy Will Determine Decline or Exceptionalism

Thomas Sowell: The Invincible Lie: Part II or Higher Tax Rates Equal LESS Tax Revenue

From: Thomas Sowell: The Invincible Lie: Part II.

As far back as the 1920s, a huge cut in the highest income tax rate — from 73 percent to 24 percent — led to a huge increase in the amount of tax revenue collected by the federal government. Why? Because investors took their money out of tax shelters, where they were earning very modest rates of return, and put their money into the productive economy, where they could earn higher rates of return, now that those returns were not so heavily taxed.

This was the very reason why tax rates were cut in the first place — to get more revenue for the federal government. The same was true, decades later, during the John F. Kennedy administration. Similar reasons led to tax rate cuts during the Ronald Reagan administration and the George W. Bush administration.

All of these presidents — Democrat and Republican alike — made the same argument for tax rate reductions that had been made in the 1920s, and the results were similar as well. Yet the invincible lie continues to this day that those who oppose high tax rates on high incomes are doing so because they want to reduce the taxes paid by high income earners, in hopes that their increased prosperity will “trickle down” to others.

VIDEO LINK: TSA Anti-Groping Bill Author Explains How Bill Died

The Truth about the TSA Anti-Groping Bill: The Author Explains How Bill Died

Must Read: Sequester Already Hurting Defense Industrial Base

a href=”http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/sequester-already-hurting-defense-industrial-base_648519.html”>;Sequester Already Hurting Defense Industrial Base

As if this isn’t enough, the Obama Admin is closing down Border Patrol locations in major cities on routes into the interior of the country. Not surprisingly, the majority of these are in Texas and also include AZ.

Read the entire original document here.

Terrence McCoy, Houston Press: Junior Defamer of Conservative Helena Brown

Conservative Houston Council Woman Helena BrownThis is the article that Rich Ambrose brought to my attention last week. I wrote a diatribe in the comments section of the Houston Press in support of Helena. Too many Houstonians think Helena is extreme only because they don’t comprehend the true State of the City. Defined benefits plans have our finances cratering, but Boss Parker and her go along to get along City Council members don’t want us to know.

Thank goodness for Councilwoman Helena Brown. She is being the conservative watchdog we all hoped she’d be. Read John Griffing’s article detailing Helena’s rebuttal of this young and misguided writer’s smears so you can support Helena. –rhl


Terrence McCoy: Junior Defamer  by John Griffing (reprinted with writer’s permission)

Terrence McCoy, a young writer at the Houston Press, has sought to build a name for himself defaming conservative public figures. CM Brown just happened to fall prey to his juvenile antics. McCoy’s writing is full of cutesy metaphors and much of his sensationalist tripe fails to pass even a basic rubric of good journalism. Writing a colorful story does not a journalist make.

McCoy has written a series of hit pieces with the intent of scandalizing the record of a scandal-free Council Member by using the statements of disgruntled ex-employees, hearsay, and still worse, out-and-out lies. McCoy, operating under Houston Press auspices, makes blatant accusations followed by alleged “evidence.” But his evidence is often incomplete, as well as lacking corroboration and the balance of an alternate perspective. McCoy’s “evidence” for his claims would likely be ruled inadmissible in a court of law. Let’s look at some examples of McCoy’s claims, followed by brief factual clarifications.

McCoy claims that Brown flaunts labor law and the rights of her workers by classifying them as “part time.”

Reality: All of Brown’s staff is paid between $20-$60,000—well above a living wage. Employee pay, concealing the identity of employees, is listed below:

Employee 1: $60,000
Employee 2: $45,000
Employee 3: $43,000
Employee 4: $30,000
Employee 5: $30,000
Employee 6: $21,000

*Additionally, almost all of Brown’s interns are paid $10/hour. All employees chose to seek private coverage. Many private businesses, including churches, allow their employees to do the same. When did public insurance and access to the city gravy-train become the inherent “right” of citizens, as McCoy suggests?

McCoy claims that Brown tried to force out one of her employees due to a pregnancy.

Reality: The employee in question engaged in borderline extortion and began insinuating legal action due to pregnancy-related work “stress.” Brown was very supportive of the employee’s situation since the time it was fully disclosed by the employee. Recently, the employee’s situation improved; Brown increased her pay substantially and decreased her hours; higher pay and fewer hours? Nice work if you can get it. Brown is now being harassed by the Chronicle and the juvenile poser at the Press for discriminating against a pregnant woman. Which is it? It can’t be both. Either Brown is trying to force her out, or isn’t doing enough to empathize with her employee’s circumstance. Pick a narrative. Better yet, why not just report the facts?

McCoy claims that Brown spent $11,000 of “public” money for a trip to Korea.

Reality: McCoy never mentions that the trip also included stops in Taiwan and mainland China. A trip of this size for only $11,000? This is not exactly an inefficient use of city funds. McCoy also neglects to mention that such trips by city officials to engage community leaders of different ethnic backgrounds, initiate dialogue with other culture and promote international business and trade are quite common. Council Member Brown was promoting business and trade as well as a direct non-stop Houston/Korea flight. A number of other Council Members would have joined Brown on this trip, had it not been for last-minute scheduling difficulties. A number of current Council Members have frequently taken city-sponsored trips to Asia. Earlier this year alone, two Council Members went on comparable trips, one to China and another to Germany. Mayor Annise Parker travels abroad often. Her latest jaunt was to Brazil.

Could it be that the Houston Press has two separate standards for Democrat and Republican members of city council? Surely a news organ like the Press wouldn’t endorse selective application of standards to single out and isolate certain public figures? As far as the issue of “public” money is concerned, the funds allocated for CM Brown’s trip were drawn from an expense account created for her district, and the amount spent was out of funds saved. Not only was the general fund not tapped, at least another $11,000 in remaining funds were transferred to help with the backlog of untested rape kits. Nothing controversial or unethical took place here. The aforementioned perfectly illustrates McCoy’s preference for scandalizing random pieces of information in order to artificially improve the readability of his gossip-laden diatribes.

The latest attack and slanderous accusation against CM Brown is that Brown has violated federal law by soliciting campaign funds during the black-out period: talk about serious allegations and very poor journalism.

Reality: Council Member Brown’s trip to Taiwan/China/Korea was completely funded from her district office funds, as mentioned previously. CM Brown had no need to raise funds for herself. There was, however, an effort to raise funds for businessmen who might be joining her on the trip. Fundraising of this kind is not unusual and is certainly not against the law. Recently, a Vietnamese delegation was sponsored on a trip by the Vietnamese community. William Park, CM Brown’s adviser, blasted out an email before the trip instructing potential contributors to contribute via the Council Member. That statement was sent in error. While the Council Member could be the vehicle by which private financial assistance of non-city employees could be handled, and it would not be a federal violation, the Council Member understood full well that this type of situation might be misconstrued as a campaign contribution and therefore instructed all potential contributors to deal privately with potential delegation participants instead.

McCoy claims that William Park, senior adviser to CM Brown, lacks official standing with the City of Houston, and attempts a hatchet job with a few stilted sentences about Park’s record. McCoy alleges that Park was “banned” from the financial services sector and then proceeds to boil down a complex legal battle into an overtly slanted tirade, enabling him to plug his piece for this week (shameless marketing.) McCoy makes cartoon characters out of Brown and Park, with Park assuming the role of puppet-master with all the glory of Chicago, and Brown his vassal.

Reality: Park is one of many uncompensated advisers affiliated with city council. Third parties are very common, especially where city pensions are concerned. The primary issue with Park seems to be that, since he is not on payroll, he is not in any sense under the control of Mayor Parker’s bureaucracy. In the singling out of Park, e.g. forbidding his use of city insignia despite its unofficial use by others is an unequal application of standards. It is interesting that labor standards matter when the grumbles of an extortionist are at issue, but not when discussing a Council Member’s senior-most adviser.

McCoy claims that Brown won her runoff election with the support of only 2 percent of the electorate.

Reality: Brown won the runoff with 4.5 percent of support from the electorate and in the general election 6.9 percent of the electorate put her into the runoff – not dissimilar from Mayor Parker’s 6.4 percent that saved her from a run-off (by 800 votes).

Finally, McCoy jeers at and dismisses Brown’s connection of Agenda 21 with several Houston initiatives and does little more than cite Mayor Parker’s reactions to Brown in council meetings as his basis for disagreement.

Relying upon the grunts, sighs, mannerisms and gestures of a public official politically opposed to CM Brown constitutes a logical fallacy; such a position is completely lacking in logical validity and in no way serves as legitimate dismissal of CM Brown’s assertions regarding Agenda 21’s impact at the local level. Where is McCoy’s documentation to support his derision? In point of fact, Mayor Parker gets numerous awards and recognitions from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) which openly endorses Agenda 21 and draws its origins from Agenda 21. McCoy’s thoughtless dismissal begs the question.

CONCLUSION

McCoy’s writing makes good fiction, and certainly possesses a riveting narrative. It would be even more effective if any of his narrative were true. McCoy is a great writer. Maybe he should consider writing novels.

Houston Chronicle Has Been Smearing Helena Brown with Lies & Half-Truths

Conservative Houston Council Woman Helena BrownThis was first brought to my attention last week. Knowing Helena as I do since I homeschooled my two children (Helena was a little older than they), I couldn’t figure out why there was no immediate response. It turns out she was in Korea on a good-will mission. Well, she is back now and I am pleased to share her responses to the hit piece.

Helena is in the cross-hairs of leftists and RINOs in city politics because she knows how precarious city finances are. Since the time Boss Parker was City Controller under Mayor White, she has used smoke and mirrors to hide the huge deficit Houston has due to defined benefit plans. Yes, just like all those cities that eventually have to declare bankruptcy, Houston has been hiding its own big deficits. Not surprising considering the leftist mayors and city council Houston has had for over a decade.

Please read the following response, Houston Chronicle Defames Helena Brown, written by John Griffing (reprinted with his permission) below and pass the information on. We finally have a true conservative on City Council and she needs us to stand up and support her. –rhl


Houston Chronicle Defames Helena Brown by John Griffing

Is this what journalism without the accountability of the Houston Post has become, transparent partisanship, shameless shilling for the Democratic Party?

The Chronicle, using a barrage of incomplete information and half-truths has intentionally and repeatedly misrepresented Council Member Helena Brown, making her out to be an eccentric nut. But who is CM Brown, really? Let’s begin by addressing the list of factual inaccuracies reported by the Chronicle, in order of importance:

  • The Chronicle claims that CM Brown just votes “no” on many issues and doesn’t explain her supporting rationale, dubbing Brown “Dr. No.” It is strange the Chronicle should assign Brown this role, since Brown votes “yes” approximately 80 percent of the time. In this line of thought, the Chronicle has alleged that Brown opposes educational spending and common-sense health reforms.The unnamed writer of the article referenced puts the onus on Brown to use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to explain her decisions. This is akin to the situation that arises when two old friends do not communicate for years and are waiting for the other to call. Except that, in this case, the onus is not proportionate to both parties, since press organs like the Chronicle always bear the responsibility for rooting out the facts on any issue of public importance.It seems that no such attempt was made when writing the referenced article.In making such charges without consulting Brown, the Chronicle is setting up a straw man, easily rebuffed, so that no communication need actually take place. Furthermore, by insinuating that Brown is against education and placing optional projects under the category of vital city services—what the writer contends “seems like a wise use of city funds”—the Chronicle gives the impression that Brown is extreme. But Brown has repeatedly explained that she will oppose new and unnecessary spending unless new sources of funding are available and efforts are made to eliminate the city budget gap. Such is not an extreme position.Consider a family that wants to take a trip to France because a trip of this nature would be educational and a “wise use of family funds.” The question then becomes, can the family afford the trip? If the answer is no, the family cannot go. Why is government above such sound financial principles? After-school programs may be “wise” but are not essential. This is the crux of Brown’s philosophy. If families must tighten their belts, why never the government?
  • The Chronicle claims that Brown underpays her staff by classifying them as “part time,” depriving them of city benefits and lavish pensions. And yet, nowhere mentioned by the Chronicle is the fact that all of Brown’s staff is paid between $20-$60,000—well above a living wage. Employee pay, concealing the identity of employees, is listed below:

Employee 1: $60,000
Employee 2: $45,000
Employee 3: $43,000
Employee 4: $30,000
Employee 5: $30,000
Employee 6: $21,000

*Additionally, almost all of Brown’s interns are paid $10/hour.” The Chronicle claims to have “reviewed all council staffing with information obtained through a public records request.” How did it miss the above information?

As far as benefits are concerned, employees voluntarily opt-out when joining Brown’s staff. There is certainly a trade-off: employees get better pay and workload is more evenly distributed. Is this a bad thing? Besides, no one is forcing anyone to work for CM Brown.

  • The Chronicle claims that Brown illegally altered time cards of employees in violation of federal law. Interestingly, the Chronicle waited until Helena Brown was out-of-country on a goodwill mission in Korea to release this piece.As part of its support for its allegations, the Chronicle references the remarks of a disgruntled ex-employee, a compromising source of information with a built-in conflict of interest, who claims to have been forced to accept fewer hours. No matter; the Chronicle cites this source authoritatively.Importantly, all political appointees of council members, e.g. chiefs of staff, are exempt from overtime pay, making pretentious claims of coerced acceptance of illicit pay reduction disingenuous at best. Buried at the bottom of the Chronicle piece is a statement from the city attorney denying any wrongdoing on the part of Brown. The city attorney also advised CM Brown that no response was necessary due to the fact that there was no wrongdoing. This is arguably the most important bit of information in the entire piece, i.e. Brown has not engaged in criminal activity. And yet, this information is mentioned only in passing and is given virtually no weight by the Chronicle. An honest reporter would have to change the name of an article after incorporating such information into the analysis. Needless to say, the title of the piece remains incendiary. This is an overtly dishonest technique employed as a cover for bias by journalists called “stacking the deck.” Readers, who are statistically inclined to read only the headline and maybe the first few sentences of a newspaper article, will likely walk away from the Chronicle piece thinking CM Brown has illegally shorted employees hours.
  • And finally, the Chronicle has on several occasions contested Brown’s loyalty to her constituents, using the statements of two Brenda Stardig supporters (Brown’s previous opponent and former incumbent) as the corroborating evidence. Ann Givens and W.C. Wright accused Brown of selling 5.7 acres of land long favored for a park to an automotive body shop owned by an award-winning member of the community, known for his kindness and faithful service to neighbors and the community at large. The body shop has been of the neighborhood for 30 years. Both individuals inaccurately claimed that Brown had allowed the sale of said acreage at the expense of plans for a public park, and the Chronicle jumped on the story. In reality, the body shop only requested 20-feet for additional parking space to expand community parking capacity, primarily for the benefit of nearby public schools. In the common idiom, that means that roughly 5.65 acres remain for the desired usage of nearby residents.
  • Furthermore, Brown secured the support of all five at-large city council members for the use of the remaining land according to the vision of residents like Wright and Givens. The city claimed it did not have the resources or the wherewithal to maintain the land or transform said land into a public park. Brown was not deterred by this news. She then approached county officials, who manage trails immediately adjacent to the park, and the county said they had the funding, and would have no problem maintaining and converting the land for use as a public park.After this news was relayed to city council, Mayor Parker and her compatriots took a sudden interest in the land—the land the City of Houston supposedly lacks resources to maintain—and ordered that a study be done of alternative uses of the land before approving a transfer. It is the city holding up this project, not Brown. How did the Chronicle miss all this?

Even if we assume altruistic motives on the part of the Chronicle, the result is still a factual misrepresentation of a duly elected city council member as a result of lazy journalism. Either reality is unacceptable for a publication of the Chronicle’s size and stature.

In any case, it is unlikely that the Chronicle, with its thorough research, would make this many mistakes in factual reporting. Why subscribe to a newspaper that is consistently wrong?

Once or twice is an accident; three times is a pattern. As former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal once remarked, “If all of these incidences were merely mistakes, occasionally they’d make a mistake in our favor.”

The Chronicle should be more careful going forward.

American Thinker: Why Liberals Are Selfish

So in the course of a person supporting his own life, as capitalist economies allow the overwhelming majority of humanity to do, it is wrong for another legally and morally co-equal human being to extract life and labor from him. Coercive redistribution is a violation of the voluntary nature of the free economy; whether to work or to starve is a choice all people are capable of making. Reality is not coercive; it is instructive.

Read the entire article, Why Liberals Are Selfish.

MUST WATCH: The Real Story Behind TX’s 82nd Legislature

JoAnn Fleming, Chair of Advisory Committee to the Texas Tea Party Caucus, Executive Director of Grassroots America We the People, explains how 101 Republicans were definitely not a conservative majority in the 82nd Texas House.

“Catholic” Video that is really a Vote Your Values Video

Obama Spends Our Money to Pull Wool over Seniors’ Eyes for Re-election

Read the entire article at American Spectator.

As Benjamin E. Sasse and Charles Hurt report, open enrollment for MA (Medicare Advantage) begins three weeks before voters go to the polls:

“It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election.”

…Nearly 25 percent of all Medicare enrollees are on MA, and …well over three-fifths of MA beneficiaries have annual incomes of less than $30,000 and that the percentage of minorities enrolled in the program is much higher than is the case for traditional Medicare.

The electoral significance of these facts would hardly have been lost on the President’s political advisors when they learned that Obamacare’s MA cuts would be unveiled to the nation’s most reliable voters just before the November election. The resultant vision of surly seniors lining up in their millions at the polls to pull the lever for Mitt Romney presumably produced urgent emails and frantic phone calls, followed by a terse directive from the White House to Obama’s creatures at CMS to come up with plan to put off the cuts until after the election.

In due course, an $8.3 billion “demonstration project” materialized that would “temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.”