Monday, June 30, 2008

"Joe, American" Challenges the Presidential Candidates

In this video we hear some frank and, for the most part, commonsense advice to the Presidential candidates from a guy who calls himself Joe, American. I don't think Joe's plan is perfect but it's worth a spot here on the Travis Monitor.

He's a bit too idealistic and non-partisan for my taste but I'm used to overlooking such "defects" when fighting a common enemy, such as when confronting the US State Department and the Peoples Republic of China over the question of Taiwan's independence.

Since May 28, 2008 when Joe recorded this video Hillary has conceded the Democratic nomination to Obama and kissed and made up with "the Messiah" in Unity, NH. That makes Joe's reference to Hillary as a candidate now a bit dated, but his message is even more relevant now than it was on May 28, 2008. Watch and you'll see what I mean.

Click here to meet Joe, American

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Texas Taxpayer Petitions

Texas Taxpayers now have a home for signing online petitions to encourage State Legislators to limit state spending, cut taxes, and eliminate the business tax.

Newt Gingrich has had great success with his Drill Here, Drill Now petition. We can have the same success to eliminate the business tax, limiting government spending, and eliminating the maintenance and operations portion of the school property taxes.

John Culberson, Most Connected Congressman

Personal Democracy Forum, the most connected Congressman, John Culberson of Texas, does Qik of his daily routine and does a counter-ambush on TMZ ambusher. "Ain't technology great?" he says while touing the "sunshine" of technology.

State Business Tax Hurts Texans

State Representative Ken Paxton, R-Frisco, authored a column in his weekly newsletter this week. The state business tax is hurting small business owners, forcing them to cut back on services, employees, or close down altogether, simply to render to Ceasar what Ceasar thinks is his.

Please post specific examples of how the business tax has hurt your small business. Only by seeing specific examples will the Legislature respond by rescinding this tax.

The business tax was meant to be a tax swap, an expanded franchise tax for lower property taxes. In most cases, the swap never occured. Local governments have control over property taxes, not the state. When the Legislature appropriated money to give to local governments to lower property taxes, the local governments and school districts lowered property taxes some, but not the full amount at which the Legislature stipulated. Local governments cited unfunded mandates that they needed to pay for, so the full property tax reduction was not given to homeowners in Texas.

What is even worse, these tax-and-spend local government officials took credit for lowering your taxes and then won re-election in the May election. These local government officials kept back up to 1/3 of the property tax reduction and then took credit for a tax reduction on the other 2/3. The property tax reduction was paid for by the business tax.

The tax swap is not working. It is time to end the business tax.

Below is Ken Paxton's Capitol Steps Newsletter, Volumn 6, Number 25, June 27, 2008.

New Tax Hurts Local Businesses

Two years ago, I wrote in this column about the possible effects of our state's new business tax on area businesses, and I used as an example the potential impact of this tax on the Music Conservatory of Texas, a business located in Frisco that provides music lessons for students of all ages and at varying levels (below is a copy of this Capitol Steps from 2006 for reference).

In 2007, the Music Conservatory of Texas taught 33,040 lessons to music students in our area. This business offers fun, innovative classes for young children to help them gain an appreciation for the art of music. It provides jobs for teachers and other staff members. Finally, the Music Conservatory of Texas benefits the community by donating time and money to community organizations, hosting special events and performances, and giving scholarships to students who cannot afford to pay full price for their lessons.

As I mentioned in the article from 2006, this business aims to yield a five to seven percent profit each year (most of the company's expenses include salary costs, rent, utilities, the purchase of instruments, promotional costs and other taxes). After expenses, the total profit this business generated for the year in 2007 was $8,394 (a 25.4 cent profit per lesson), and it will pay over $6,200 to the State of Texas as a result of the new business tax. For the Music Conservatory of Texas, their state business tax rate was nearly 75% of their profit. Additionally, Steve South, one of the owners of this company, pointed out to me that he did not receive the significant property tax relief he was supposed to have in exchange for this new business tax.

Too many Texas businesses are now faced with difficult decisions in order to stay in operation. Some area businesses are paying taxes after earning no profit (this is especially true for some new businesses). Also, I recently met with a local orthopedic surgeon who is now paying approximately $100,000 more in taxes to the state under this new business tax. This doctor used to donate his time and services to uninsured children. However, he no longer has the extra time to donate because he must work additional hours to pay his tax bill.

I maintain that this tax is wrong for Texas. In general, our state's business tax discourages growth, harms employment, increases costs for consumers and hurts business' ability to donate and participate in community activities. I am currently working on a solution for consideration next legislative session to change our state's taxing structure in a way that will help Texas maintain its competitive edge and improve economic growth and investment in our state.


Special Session Wrap-up #1

Not so Low, Not so Fair: The gross receipts tax impact on business

May 19, 2006

The Special Session called to address the issue of school finance ended this week. I
am extremely disappointed that HB 3, which includes the new tax on businesses, passed both the House and the Senate and has been signed by the Governor. All Texas corporations and business partnerships that receive liability protection and earn more than $300,000 per year will be affected. Sole proprietorships, general partnerships and small businesses with receipts less than $300,000 are exempt from this business tax. Affected businesses will make their first tax payment in May 2008 for the 2007 tax year.

Several weeks ago, I received an email from Steve South, Director of the Music Conservatory of Texas, a business located in Frisco that provides music lessons for all ages and individuals at varying levels. In his letter, Mr. South told me that his business aims for a five to seven percent profit each year. With the business tax created as a result of the passage of HB 3, the Music Conservatory of Texas and a multitude of businesses like it will be forced to make tough decisions in order to stay in business. As a result of this tax, too many businesses will now have to consider increasing rates for services, eliminating personnel, abolishing plans for expansion, or closing their doors altogether.

Below is an outline of HB 3.

· Generally, the new tax is 1 percent on gross receipts, minus a deduction for either employee compensation or the cost of goods, whichever is greater.

· This tax represents a significant tax increase for Texas businesses. The Sharp Commission said the businesses they tested would be taxed somewhere between 4% and 14%. For the average Texas business, it represents a 7% tax on business profits. (The current franchise rate is only 4.5%).

· The new tax will be imposed whether or not a business makes a profit. This will be especially damaging to the creation of new businesses as new businesses frequently struggle on little or no profit during their first years of operation.

· Gross receipts taxes are particularly damaging to high-volume, low-margin businesses, which are usually employers of large work forces. Job loss will almost certainly be a consequence of the implementation of this new tax. The Gross Receipts tax has a number of weaknesses:

· The new gross receipts tax was promoted as being simpler than the existing
franchise tax. However, it is complicated and contains special exemptions for certain

· It has failed or is failing in many other states.

· To use the old adage from President Ronald Reagan: Businesses don’t pay taxes, people do. Business taxes are hidden taxes and, therefore, more dangerous because they are simpler for government to raise.

· Supporters of the bill argue that only 1 in 16 businesses pay the current franchise tax. Under the new tax plan, the ratio increases to a mere 2 in 16. This attempt at creating a more "broad-based business tax" is barely worth noticing and comes at a tremendous cost to the Texas business economy.

Texas business already bear 60% of the state's tax burden, the 4th highest percentage in the nation (the national average is 43%). Even California businesses shoulder a lower percentage of their state’s tax burden than Texas businesses. Increasing business taxes will damage our competitive advantage, slowing the growth of jobs and investment in the state. I encourage the Legislature to re-consider this plan during the next regular session before it adversely affects Texas business.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reason to Get Excited for McCain

All Republicans for the last two months have been looking for a reason to get excited about Senator John McCain. Like many Republicans, I want to know what my candidate stands for instead of simply voting against another socialist mascarading as a Democrat. Republicans have 2,000 reasons and counting to vote against Obama, but it looks like Republicans have reason number one to support Senator John McCain for President.

The United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the Second Amendment in the case of District of Columbia vs. Heller. In a controversial ruling, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of private citizens having the right to keep an bear arms. What this means is that four Supreme Court Justices want to rewrite parts of the US Constitution to fit their principles and desires. The five Justices who support the Constitution are: Chief Justice Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas. The four Justices who support taking away our right to bear arms are: Breyer, Ginsberg, Stevens, and Souter.

Senator John McCain believes in a strict construction philosphy of interpretting the Constitution. In other words, the Supreme Court and Federal Appellate Judges McCain will appoint as President would adhere to ruling on the cases according to the Constitution, not a liberal interpretation based on previous standing and court cases.

In other words, if just one Justice is replaced with a liberal, private gun owners may be forced to give up their guns. Think about how much crime would increase if that were to happen! The only individuals with any kind of weapons would be the criminals and we would all be at their mercy.

Under President McCain, if a Justice retires, the new Justice would be a person who would side with the 5 instead of the 4 on this case. That means a lot to Texans who are proud of their right to bear arms and the freedoms and individuals liberties that our Constitution is designed to protect.

Supreme Courts Uphold Right to Keep and Bear Arms

"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." - Supreme Court of the United States, June 26, 2008, DC v Heller ruling.

Canticle for Liebowitz:

In an eagerly anticipated and strongly worded decision, Justice Antonin Scalia this morning led the Supreme Court to discover and define the Second Amendment as a guarantee of an individual's right to own firearms.

In a stunning but narrow 5-4 rebuke to liberal dogma of the past 30 years, where penumbras carried more weight than words, SCOTUS has confirmed what is known as the standard view of the amendment, that it means what it says.

SCOTUS blog links to the ruling itself and comments:
Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession. Although times have changed since 1791, Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority, “it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Examining the words of the Amendment, the Court concluded “we find they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” — in other words, for self-defense. “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” it added.

Weekly Standard says Second Amendment victory.

Malkin has more. Notes Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg. Obama's model Justices voted against RKBA. Obama camp now backtracking on previous report that said in late 2007: "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional."

Today's affirmation of the Consitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a victory for freedom and our civil and inherent rights. Thank you, Nino!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gotcha, KMT!

Reference the following plank from the 2008 Republican Party of Texas Platform:
Taiwan – We urge full recognition of Taiwan with a “One China, One Taiwan Policy.” Being a long-time ally of the United States as well as an independent and sovereign nation, we call upon the President and the U.S. State Department to strongly support the people of Taiwan.
International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) transcript of a 6/26/2008 broadcast in Taiwan shown below is evidence that it is a very good thing that in the Republican Party of Texas Platform Taiwan plank shown above there is no mention of the government of Taiwan (but rather of its people) and why the Bush Administration was foolish to think that a Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) Administration in Taiwan would be better for US and Taiwan security than was the Chen Shui-Bian (DPP) Administration.

Note in the quote below from Joseph Wu that when he says "his government" he means the Chen (DPP) Administration.

ICRT MDK 6-26-08

S.L. A Top US Defense Department Official has thrown the onus back on Taiwan for the current US arms sale freeze.

ICRT Washington correspondent Matt Kaye reports…

M.K. Just days after a congressional report charged the US freeze on arms sales to Taiwan is two-years—not six-months-old…Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific—James Shinn—told the House Armed Services Committee:

Shinn: “I don’t believe that we made a decision to put things in abeyance, this was driven—as far as I understand—by Taiwanese domestic politics.”

Former US Ambassador Harvey Feldman says outgoing Taiwan representative here, Joseph Wu, claims the arms freeze is ‘not the policy of his government’. Feldman says the Ma government only wanted a temporary halt during it’s first round of talks with Beijing, which is now over.

O.C. Matt Kaye, ICRT News, Washington

Obama's Tax Redistribution Plan

"The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny ... the wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful." -- Calvin Coolidge’s inaugural address

If only we had Calvin Coolidge around.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants wealthy wage earners to pay more Social Security taxes. "Among the options that are available, the best one is to lift the cap on the payroll tax, potentially exempting folks in the middle — middle-class folks — but making sure that the wealthy are paying more of their fair share, a little bit more," he said.

Obama’s cuts include a tax credit for working families of $500 for a one-earner household, $1,000 if both adults are employed. The Obama campaign states this would eliminate income taxes for families making less than $40,000 a year. Obama pays for his plan in part by raising the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 25 percent.

The Tax Foundation has studied his plans. Obama will hit high income states, high income earners:
"Of more concern to Prante is the prospect of taxing high-wage income at rates well above 50 percent. Obama has called for the top federal income tax rate to revert from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. Add to that an uncapped payroll tax rate and the typical state's top income tax rate, and the result is a top marginal tax rate of between 55 and 61 percent."

Hard numbers on Obama's Tax Redistribution Plan:

"In short, the Obama plan would redistribute more than $130 billion per year from the top 1 percent of taxpayers to all other taxpayers. In 2009, for example, Tax Policy Center figures show that after the income-shifting in the Obama plan, the top 1 percent of taxpayers would pay a greater share of the total federal tax burden than the bottom 80 percent of Americans combined. In other words, 1.13 million Americans would pay more in all federal taxes than 128 million of their fellow citizens combined."

"These figures do not include the impact of Obama's proposal to apply Social Security payroll taxes on incomes above $250,000. According to Tax Policy Center estimates, this plan would increase the tax burden of top earners by an additional $40 billion in 2009 alone and more than $629 billion over the next ten years. By itself, the $40 billion tax hike is twice as much as all the federal taxes paid by people in the bottom quintile combined."

There is one simple problem with these massive tax increases on the rich. THEY WON'T WORK. They will not raise the money because the 'rich' will flee to tax avoidance and tax shelters and even stop investing and producing rather than fork over 50% of earnings to the Federal Government.

Obama tax plan too big a burden on rich, some say:
John Laitner, the director of the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, said Social Security was designed as an insurance system, in which people paid premiums and later drew benefits. But Obama's plan moves Social Security "further in the direction of redistribution," he said. ... "Obama raises revenue from the rich in the worst way possible," said Gerald Prante, senior economist at Washington's Tax Foundation, a research group. Many economists said that taking bigger chunks of people's income discourages them from spending and investing.

McCain camp reaction: "Barack Obama voted 94 times to raise taxes in just three years in the Senate. Any suggestion that he’ll lower taxes for hard-working New Hampshire families is an insult to their intelligence,” said Jeff Grappone, McCain’s New England communications director. Facts are facts. Barack Obama has promised higher income taxes, Social Security taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes and tax hikes on small businesses. These tax hikes will hit middle class Americans and seniors hardest, and it’s change we can’t afford."

Obama's bash-the-rich politics might work for him, but he's extending a trend where the rich already pay lopsided amount of income tax - in 2005, the top 20 percent of households paid 86.3 percent of income taxes while the bottom 80 percent paid a collective 13.7 percent of the income tax burden. The top 1 percent of households paid 38.8 percent of income taxes.

A blog comment discussing this says: "One of the important functions of government is to control the distribution of wealth."

The response says: "Really? My copy of the Constitution is strangely missing this. Maybe you think it is, but that's purely your opinion. As a libertarian, I most certainly do not agree. Stealing from the rich to give to the poor might make a good fairy tale, but it's still theft."

Just so. It's not limited Government. We have come a long way down the path from Constitutional Government and Coolidge to Socialistic redistribution and Obama. What Obama offers is tax-the-rich socialism, wrapped and marketed in a way to make it palatable to middle-class voters ("Hey, I get a teeny welfare payment they call a tax cut!"). Both for the sake of prosperity and the sake of liberty, we should reject the snares of redistributive tax increases.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What the Republican candidates need to do

Now is not the time for Republican and conservative complacency. Yet there is little of that among folks in the know. Nor is it the time for despair, and it seems many have moved on to 'bargaining' down to an expected bad outcome. How we might survive an Obama/Democrat majority, for example.

That's a wrong attitude and gives ground that ought not be given. We ought not be praising Obama's "achievement", which consists mainly of being the least qualified Presidential nominee in a generation or more. Obama is an elitist, zero accomplishment, leftwing junior Senator, rated the most liberal Senator in the U.S.Senate by National Journal. He manages to be all things to everyone through acts of politically calculated cowardice, such as voting present; he broke his campaign finance promise, flipflopped on FISA, has dissembled and waffled on Iraq, been a dnagerous tax-hiker, and is weak and naive on the war on terror.

The Democrats have had a good run not because of what they are, but because Republicans lost independents over spending, Iraq and corruption. We should be challenging the voters who give Congress a mere 12% rating to consider that the Democrats are the ones in charge there. The Democrats have a universal solution to everything: Raise taxes. They are incapable of controlling spending. They are incompetent at getting things done; they are abusing hearings for partisan posturing; they are doing nothing to solve our economic and energy issues, but instead the Democrats propose bills that makes it all worse.

Republicans cannot win if they don't bring these issue up and hammer them home. Those who counsel against 'going after the Democrats' are wrong. The media is giving Obama a free ride, and the consequence is that a leftwing inexperience Senator with radical extremist associates is viewed as far more centrist than he is. (See No-bama blog for the real Obama record.) Yet it is true that it won't be enough. You cannot fight bad idea with no ideas. The Republicans need a unified and coherent positive message of reform for the 21st century.

Which is why the offshore drilling issue is a breath of fresh air. Finally, the Republicans have gotten together on something and said "This is the right thing to do". The Democrats won't go along, as they are in hock to the environmentalist special interests. But thanks to high gas prices, people are coming around to the view that it makes sense to drill.

McCain could win by 20 points if he got up there and said:

“I am not running for President to be something, I am running to *do* something. I will face the security, economic and energy and environmental challenges we face head-on.

There are 3 large concerns in this election: What do we do about Iraq and the war on terror, what do we do about the economy, and what do we do about energy and the environment.

I will complete the mission in Iraq and to win decisively in Afghanistan and bring the American troops home with honor.

I will move to restrain govt spending, shore up the dollar and make permanent previous tax reductions so the workers and investors have a certain future and we will have once again a strongly growing economy.

I will move to get America past our overuse of foreign oil by moving to great use of domestic energy and non-fossil fuel energy, to open up America to increase domestic energy supply through environmentally responsible energy production, energy efficiency, and greater use of nuclear and renewable energy and

These are challenging goals, but I intend to complete them all in one term. And for that reason I will tell you now that I will only seek one term. For if I am able to complete these tasks in one term, I wont need another term. And if I am unable to complete the mission, then I dont deserve it.”

I have served this nation in different capacities my entire life. Like my father before me and my sons after me, part of this service was in the military. I will consider it my top priority as President, as commander in chief, to do the right thing for those in the field, to lead them to honorable victory and to lead them home when the mission is won.”

McCain will need a Republican Congress to be most effective, and that requires the almost insurmountable tasks of large gains for the GOP in 2008. But if McCain strikes the theme of wanting to serve to reform as opposed to gaining power based on the blank check of 'change', he will win.

McCain/Sanford 2008!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Complacent Republicans

For twelve years now, Republicans have not had to work to win elections. The 1998 election, the election in which the Republicans won control of the statewide races for the first time since 1876, was the last time the Republican Party really had to work to win races. Since then, the Republican Party of Texas has run on George Bush's leadership, popularity within Texas, and legacy. Times they are a changing.

This year is the first time since 1994 that George Bush has not had a presence on the Texas ballot. The Texas GOP has not had the need to work to win races for a number of years. The candidates just put their name on the ballot and win in many cases.

My friend Will Lutz, the Managing Editor of the Lone Star Report, authored an op-ed about the RPT convention that is featured on the Dallas Blog. In this article, Will points out many facts that the GOP needs to focus on to compete with the Democrats this year. One of his best points is this:

The party is going to have to figure out a way to involve some of Paul’s supporters constructively in its affairs. Many of the Paul people have a lot in common with other factions of the party, though they may not always realize it. Frankly, the party could use a group of conservatives who are as enthusiastic on fiscal issues as the so-called “Religious Right” is on the social front. Both matter, and both could lend balance to the party.

The party cannot afford for swing-district Paul supporters to cast protest votes for Libertarians or not show up at all. Yet, mending the rifts that widened at this convention will be easier said than done. For one thing, many of the Paul people do not know what they want to do with the party apparatus if they ever get a hold of it.

The Republican Party has grown complacent over the past dozen years. This year we will have to roll up our sleeves and work to win elections. We will be forced to communicate our issues and our platform better than the Democrats, especially on fiscal policy. We will have to incorporate the hardest workers in the Texas Primary, the Ron Paul supporters, into the party and allow their voices to be heard. We will have to stop talking about reaching out to new voters and just do it.

If the GOP remains lazy this year and assumes a victory, it will ensure our defeat. Our down-ballot conservative candidates cannot afford to have lazy Republicans. Our party cannot afford to become the largest 527 PAC against Obama and must instead find ways to communicate our solutions and platform to help our candidates win. Complacency this year will cost us more than just Dallas County.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Who is the Greedy One Now?

Democrat politicians play the greed card very well. They claim that the Republicans are controlled by greedy corporations, oil companies, and CEO's. These same liberals claim that these same companies and individually are intentionally taking money from the poor and middle classes to pad their own pockets. There are two examples that show the government bureaucracies are the actual greedy ones.

Example #1:

Democrats are blasting the oil companies for making windfall profits. Democrats desire to impose even higher taxes on the profit margins of oil companies and many of these liberals even desire to nationalize the oil refineries.

In looking at this from a practical level, oil companies make about 25 cents profit off of each gallon of gasoline sold in this country. This profit is put back into the company to make more efficient gasoline, create new and more efficient ways to drill for oil, and develop other new technologies. This is earned profit.

On that same gallon of gasoline, the government in Texas makes 44 cents of profit in the form of taxes. The state government makes 23 cents per gallon and the federal government makes 21 cents. This tax is not earned income as the government has done nothing to earn this money...they just levied a tax on an item we cannot do without.

So, the liberals are calling out the "price gouging" oil companies for making too much profit while the tax policies these same liberals uphold actually generate more revenue for the government on the same gallon of gasoline. The real price gouging is going on by our own government.

Example #2:

Liberals are also continue to bring up the mortgage lending crisis in this country. With the latest scandal involving Countrywide Mortgage, it is easy to think that lending companies are working to hurt the consumer.

The bigger problem in Texas, as pointed out by the Texas Conservative Coalition, is not the so called "predatory lenders," it is in fact high property taxes. Property taxes account for about 1/3 of the mortgage payment per month. With appraisals rapidly increasing and hungry local governments raising taxes, the property taxes make up an increasingly larger percentage of a person's mortgage each month.

If liberals really wanted to make homes more affordable, they will work to lower the tax burden on Texans by cutting property taxes, capping appraisals, and reducing state spending instead of attacking lending companies.

Liberals consistently put their hope in mis-guided places. The growth of big government is hurting Texas taxpayers more than any corporation ever could. It is time for Republicans to investigate greedy big governments before bureaucrats put hardworking Texans out to pasture.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Greatly Mis-underestimated Bush

Enough media Bush-bashing, and we start to forget the good that Bush has wrought. In Bush over Truman, R.E.Tyrrell reminds us:

In the case of President Bush, where, aside from this column, have you heard of the Bush administration's protracted period of economic growth? Incidentally, the growth continues. We have not had a recession as economists define one, and we are not likely to have one. Instead, we may be entering into a period of inflation, a problem caused by the Fed. Nor is the president complimented for his splendid Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. No president since FDR was hit with the instantaneous violence that Mr. Bush was hit with on 9/11, and most of those who now carp at his reaction are what FDR called during World War II "back-seat drivers."

President Bush's war on terror is -- though it would be imprudent for him to boast of it -- a success. We have not been hit again, though no good is served by the president's crowing about this and thus goading the barbarians to act. As for Iraq, he listened to his proven commanders, adjusted tactics, and we are winning now. In a year or so, we will be pretty much out of the country, and the tyrants of the world will recognize that it is foolhardy to pull a Saddam Hussein and taunt the United States. This outgoing president is being snickered at now in the Kultursmog for his claims that history will judge him favorably. My guess is that he is right.

JohnHuang2" says of Bush "Still a hero after all these years"

Anyone who has been following the MSM for the past eight years and has had nothing but the MSM to go by might be forgiven for believing Bush to be some bungling nincompoop, doomed for the top spot on the list in history's category of failed presidencies -- if not just a footnote, his two terms better forgotten than remembered. Never has so vanishingly little been made about as trailblazing and consequential a leader as President George W. Bush.

For a guy routinely written off as some irrelevant lame duck limping along in the waning days of his presidency, Bush sure has a funny way of showing it. Left for dead after the Democrats' '06 election victory, the President adamantly refused to say die. Plans to steamroll Bush on Iraq were meticulously laid by Pelosi et al, but Bush steamrolled the steamrollers instead. Grabbing a bullhorn, Bush announced a troop surge and dared Congress to stop him. Liberals shook their fists in anger, held hearings, threatened to cut off funding, held still more hearings, threatened to slow-bleed the troops, but Bush called their bluff and he won.

They misunderestimated him, for Bush is like few politicians -- brutally telling it like it is, saying exactly what he thinks, just as he sees it, while waving off the polls and the poll-obsessed media with a chuckle. Agree or disagree, you always know where this President stands on an issue.

Bush is also like few politicians in another respect -- class. The man embodies dignity, elegance and decorum. Despite the continuous discharge of attacks against him and his good name, Bush has never responded in kind. He plays the hand he's been dealt, doing so with unsurpassed class and grace as only he can, never whining, never complaining, never allowing any grudge to fester as he goes about his business, carrying out the most stressful job in the world with unrivaled confidence and optimism, unswayed by the fickle wind of public opinion.

Most politicians instinctively go for the easy road -- marking time, cutting deals, no heavy lifting, don't offend anyone and ride those Rocky Mountain high approval ratings to the finish. But Bush doesn't do Easy Road. If marking time and sitting out the big decisions means good ratings, that's a trade-off Bush wasn't going to make. From the get-go, Bush grasped the basic meaning of 9/11, that this is war, and wars aren't won with indictments or subpoenas, nor by leafing through Noam Chomsky. In Afghanistan, Bush made quick work of the Taliban, confounding the armchair strategists and every brutal Afghan winter scenario, then, against the wishes of the New York Times, knocked Saddam off his gold toilet seat and down the gallows trap door. Bush never flinched.

Seven years after leaving a hole in Manhattan, al-Qaeda has been rendered so diminished, Obama seems to think it's just some Chicago gang that Bush didn't read its Miranda rights to. Liberals frantically insist that all is well with al-Qaeda -- a few setbacks here and there, but the lads soldier on. Yet, for all the happy talk, sources indicate there hasn't been a terrorist attack on the homeland since 9/11. Seven years without another blow on U.S. soil, so Obama is nagging that captured enemy combatants weren't getting their own free lawyer. First they came for the innocent shepherd Khlaid Sheikh Mohammed and I said nothing . . .

If Truman laid the Cold War victory's foundation (followed up by Reagan actually winning the Cold War), Bush is doing, foreign policy-wise, something as big and transformative in applying the 'Drain the Swamp' or 'Kill-'Em-Before-They-Kill-You' method in dealing with Muslim fanatics, as opposed to the failed 'Book-'em-and-fingerprint-'em' approach, which Obama likes, according to his teleprompter.

If al-Qaeda sought to alter the strategic equation by altering the Manhattan skyline, Bush went on to alter the strategic equation of the whole Middle East itself, with al-Qaeda losing the colossal bet it placed on lots of haggling in Washington over the fine print of the Geneva Conventions and no response beyond indictments and stern, fierce, tough, harsh and forcefully-worded U.N. paperwork. Oh, al-Qaeda got the 'lots of haggling' part to a tee, with its in-the-tank cheering fans dragging John Ashcroft before Congress which wanted to know why the 'harsh' 'outside the regular criminal justice system' military tribunals for foreign nationals trying to slaughter all of us. Ashcroft "owes the country an explanation," sniffed Pat Leahy. Warming to the theme, Bush owed al-Qaeda a major butt-kicking and they got it; Afghanistan and Iraq, gone as safe havens; tens of thousands of dead jihadis; funding sources drying up, etc.

All presidents get a second look from history, and inevitably history will give Bush his second look, but when that time comes, Bush will take his place near the top in the rankings of America's greatest presidents.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Reality in Iraq

The three realities: First, Al Qaeda had been the important enemy we have been fighting in Iraq for the past 3 years. This should have been obvious but was not to the crowd that kept bleating about a 'civil war' in Iraq. CNN obtained and shared documents on Al Qaeda in Iraq's organization and activities. This treasure trove of information has:

  • Over 80 beheading videos and greusome documentation of Al Qaeda executions
  • Proof that Al Qaeda in Iraq was well-organized and was the force behind much of the violence in Iraq:

    "It reveals," Driscoll said, "first of all, a pretty robust command and control system, if you will. I was kind of surprised when I saw the degree of documentation for everything -- pay records, those kind of things -- and that [al Qaeda in Iraq] was obviously a well-established network."

Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal notes in the Weekly Standard that CNN Debunks AQI's Status as a Bit Player in the Insurgency: "Ware's piece refutes last summer's meme that al Qaeda was but a mere fraction of the insurgency in Iraq. ... Al Qaeda in Iraq may be down, but they are not out. A hasty withdrawal from Iraq could give al Qaeda the space it needs to reignite the violence the U.S. and Iraqi forces fought so hard to quell these past 18 months."

Second important new reality - We are winning. Not actually new information, but the success of the Surge plus the improved capability of the Iraqi security forces has led to overall military and security success that even the media is noticing:

"Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets. A new sense of confidence has emerged after recent Iraqi-run military operations against Sunni extremists, including al-Qaida, in the northern city of Mosul and against Shiite militiamen in Basra and Baghdad."

Al Sadr's forces were dealt blows in Basra, so he moved to disband his forces. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been nearly destroyed. Violence is down 75% in the past year.

Give Robert Gates some credit for this turnaround.

The third and most surprising reality is this acknowledgement - A Liberal admits: President Bush never lied. Years of "Bush lied" claims have gotten the liberal 'moonbats' in a froth, but they never were based on reality, just assuming the worst of motives with no evidence. Now, even the Democratic Senate reports that tried to 'prove' that Bush lied actually - as this Liberal columnist shares - show the opposite - he never intentionally misled anyone. Bush and various intelligence agencies, and the Senate Democrats, all thought Saddam Hussein had WMD stockpiles. "The administration simply got bad intelligence. Critics are wrong to assert deception."

President Bush in Great Britain this week was asked about Iraq and expressed 'no regrets' for deposing Saddam Hussein and the liberation of 50 million people:
Asked what he thinks his legacy might be, he says he is happy to await the verdict of history. But he cannot resist also offering his own, suggesting 'the liberation of 50 million people from the clutches of barbaric regimes is noteworthy, at a minimum'.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pre RPT Convention Fireworks

Tim Lambert's blog has more. He was a Cathie Adams backer and withdrew his support over the issue of legality of waiting to seat delegates until Friday. He is backing challengers to the RPT Chair and Vice Chair, currently held by Tina Benkhiser and Robin Armstrong.


By Bob Ward

Outrageous gasoline prices have got a lot of Americans angry and politicians, not being completely oblivious, have noticed. In fact, the Democrats even have a solution to high gas prices. It doesn’t involve anything as simple-minded as increasing oil production by allowing drilling in the U.S. and offshore. Instead, their solution is to increase taxes on the oil companies.

The plan is to rescind the tax breaks the industry currently enjoys – the Democrats call it a giveaway even though it’s the companies’ own money. In addition they wanted to add on what they call a “windfall profits tax.” A windfall profit is any profit a company earns above what the government decides it should.

So far, the Republicans in Congress have managed to block this effort but, compared to liberal Democrats, Lazarus was a quitter. And after November they may have the White House on their side.

The Democrats never did explain how raising the taxes on a company lowers the price of its product. But if it does, they’re really on to something. By this theory, if they raise the tax rate to 100 per cent, gasoline will be free.

And why stop with gasoline? Why not raise taxes on General Mills and bring down the price of corn flakes. And, since food prices across the board are increasing maybe we should to sock it to the farmers with higher taxes. Never mind repealing the absurd ethanol mandates.

Do the Democrats really believe this bilge about bringing down gas prices by increasing taxes on oil companies. That’s unlikely, but it does appease the anti-business inmates currently running the Democratic asylum.

I-69 to Follow Existing Roads per Public Input

As a follow-up to the CTRA & WilcoRA Sponsored Transportation Summit and to show that TxDOT is responding to input received from the public, TxDOT's Coby Chase provided CTRA with the following press release which was embargoed until 10:00 AM this morning.

Texas Department of Transportation news

125 E. 11th Street
Austin, Texas 78701-2483
(512) 463-8588 FAX (512) 463-9896

TxDOT’s five goals: reduce congestion ▪ enhance safety ▪ expand economic opportunity
▪ improve air quality ▪ increase the value of transportation assets.

TxDOT Recommends Narrowing Study Area for Texas Portion of I-69 Citing Public Recommendation, Project Would Follow Existing Roads

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced today that it will recommend that the I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) Project be developed using existing highway facilities wherever possible. If additional travel lanes are added to existing highways, only the new lanes would have tolls.

"After a dozen town hall meetings, nearly 50 public hearings, and countless one-on-one conversations, it is clear to us that Texans want us to use existing roadways to start building the Texas portion of Interstate 69," said Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton.

"TxDOT's recommendation would effectively shrink our environmental study down to roads such as U.S. Highways 77 and 281 in South Texas, State Highway 44 and U.S. Highway 59 along the Coastal Bend and U.S. Highways 84 and 59 in East Texas. We are dropping consideration
of new corridors that would run west of Houston in addition to other proposals for new highway footprint in other parts of the state."

TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, in a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), wrote "The preliminary basis for this decision centers on the review of nearly 28,000 public comments made on the Tier One DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact statement). The overwhelming sentiment of these comments focused on the need to improve the existing transportation network" rather than building a new corridor for the project.

TxDOT's stated intention has been to focus on making needed improvements to existing and planned transportation facilities within the I-69/TTC study area. Such upgrades may fully satisfy the project's need to improve the international, interstate, and intrastate movement of people and goods for many decades.

In May, the Texas Transportation Commission adopted guiding principles and policies that will govern the development, construction and operation of toll road projects on the state highway system and the Trans-Texas Corridor. In addition to reaffirming that only new lanes added to an existing highway will be tolled and that there will be no reduction in the number of non-tolled lanes, the Commission stated that wherever possible, existing right-of-way would be considered for the development of new projects.

TxDOT Recommends Narrowing Study Area for Texas Portion of I-69

"The Commission made it clear that they wanted their newly-adopted principles applied to the development of important projects like I-69 and a parallel corridor to I-35," said Saenz. "We are closer than ever to realizing the promise and the potential of I-69, and we will move forward with this important Transportation Commission policy in the front of our minds."

Saenz said that TxDOT would continue to talk to the public about I-69/TTC, and he encouraged Texans to ask questions and share their ideas at the department's "Keep Texas Moving" website ( He noted that the recently-named I-69 Corridor Advisory Committee will help guide TxDOT's work on the project. Saenz said he looked forward to the appointment of Segment Advisory Committees comprised of local leaders who will help further develop I-69/TTC.

"We also want to keep working with our Congressional delegation and the Texas Legislature," added Transportation Commissioner Houghton. "Legislative leadership, public involvement and local commitment will all be essential if we are going build this long-awaited highway."

TxDOT is preparing its report for FHWA following completion of the public involvement process for the environmental review of I-69/TTC. If today's recommendation is approved by FHWA, plans for a separate new corridor would be dropped from future environmental reviews, and the existing infrastructure would serve as the study area for future environmental review.

TxDOT is expected to submit its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for public review prior to federal approval late in 2008 or early in 2009. FHWA approval of the FEIS does not authorize property acquisition or construction.

In the future, the northern and southern portions of I-69/TTC could be linked in the Houston area. Houston's connection to I-69/TTC, including access to the Port of Houston, will be determined in coordination with elected leaders and transportation planners in the area.

A copy of Saenz's letter to FHWA and a new map reflecting TxDOT's recommendation are available on the Internet at

The Texas Department of Transportation - The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining nearly 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 15,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and increasing the value of the state's transportation assets. Find out more at

For more Information call TxDOT's Government & Public Affairs Division at (512) 463-8588.

End PR

Mr. Chase provided a map, which I could not uploaded but which will be available at at Below is a summary of TxDOT's I-69/TTC recommendations.

I-69/TTC Recommendation
Texas Department of Transportation
June 2008

TxDOT is recommending I-69/TTC use the existing highways in response to public input.

February - March 2008: 47 public hearings held along the study corridor from northeast Texas to the southern end of the state.

Some 12,000 Texans attended.

Approximately 28,000 comments were received.

Initial review of these comments has been completed.

The new location corridors proposed and presented during the public hearings earlier this year are no longer under consideration.

The existing highways along the study corridor include US 59, US 77, US 84, US 281 and SH 44.

TxDOT will now complete a detailed review of the comments, prepare the final environmental impact statement and seek Federal Highway Administration approval of this recommendation. Once approved, individual segments of the corridor could be upgraded.

As needs are identified, TxDOT will conduct more detailed studies and work with local officials to upgrade that segment to meet those needs.

I-69/TTC study area is approximately 650 miles stretching from far south Texas to northeast Texas. There is no authorization to purchase property or begin construction on this corridor.

“We asked Texans to become more involved in the decision-making process, and they did not let us down. We listened as they voiced their concerns and issues about I-69/TTC. And, we also agree that along this corridor, improvements can be made to the existing facilities to keep Texas moving.” - Amadeo Saenz, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Galindo: Use Incentives not Mandates

When it comes to the question of how to deal with environmental issues like Climate Change, the typical approach of the liberals is a mandate. Cap CO2. Restrict energy use. Force people to "do the right thing." Will Wynn's "Climate Protection" proposal, with the mandates for Point of Sale energy efficiency, takes that approach. Mandates are oppressive, expensive, and create regulation overhead. But ... are they even necessary?

It's a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively) to see an approach for energy efficiency that uses incentives rather than mandates to get the job done. Cid Galindo is against the Point of Sale mandate, and in response to the "Well, what would you do?" question, he proposes incentives for "Green Collar" jobs to get the job done. This is more cost-effective, non-oppressive, and because it leaves it to people to make choices, it will have a lot more 'bang for the buck' in terms of actual benefit per dollar spent; it will do us the most good for the least cost.

Galindo is the best candidate for the position, and Morrison is the wrong choice for many reasons. Galindo's approach is another reason to support Galindo for City Council. His press release is below:

Galindo Calls For Creating 1,000 "Green Collar" Jobs

Dear Friends and Fellow Austinites,

Over the last two weeks, there has been a lot of back-and-forth about what the Energy Efficiency Retrofit Task Force is actually up to. In particular, there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether the task force supports mandatory energy efficiency inspections when a home is sold.

Let's start from the beginning. Read the language of the original resolution:

City Council Resolution 20071213-064 creates the Energy Efficiency Retrofit Task Force and directs it to recommend "efficiency retrofit and upgrade protocols" that "shall apply to owner-occupied residential properties at point of sale" and "shall include requirements for basic efficiency outcomes."

In short, the resolution states that the task force should develop an ordinance that requires energy efficiency upgrades before a home can be sold.

Less than three weeks ago, the task force issued a summary, which said that, if energy efficiency targets are not met through a Phase 1 voluntary program, then:

" upgrades would automatically become mandatory" and that "after the first three years of Phase 2, the expenditure limit would be 1% of the sales price."

So, contrary to what some have said, mandatory inspections are still on the table. If the selling price of a home is $200,000, then expenditures of $2,000 could eventually be required. Very importantly, homes sold for $75,000 or less are exempted.

To borrow from a recently retired Texas Monthly publisher, "This is all just nuts!"

Instead of compromising homeowners' rights and wasting taxpayer dollars on an inefficient energy efficiency program, let's find a faster, more productive, and less contentious way to achieve the goal of greater energy efficiency in our existing homes.

Here's how we can do it:
• Austin Energy establishes a training program for local small businesses to train and qualify their personnel to perform residential energy efficiency assessments and upgrades.
• The City of Austin establishes a low-interest loan guarantee program so each of these local small businesses can privately access the capital needed to purchase equipment and materials to perform the upgrades.
• For small fee, Austin Energy advertises the new businesses' assessment and upgrade services to their hundreds of thousands of residential ratepayers in Austin.
• Residential clients pay no up front fee, but apply a portion of their rebates and electricity bill savings to pay for the upgrades until they are paid in full.

In less than a year, this program could create over a thousand "green collar" jobs and unleash an army of entrepreneurs to do much more quickly and efficiently what would take decades for a mandatory point of sale ordinance to accomplish.

This is the sort of solution the task force should be talking about, not how or when to impose mandatory costs on residents trying to sell their homes.

And it's the sort of solution you'll see me working for as your next City Council Member, Place 4.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cornyn has Big Lead in Poll

Cornyn ahead of Noriega 52% to 35%, a safe margin and above the 50% re-elect rate.

This news will send Democrat dollars elsewhere. The real battles in the U.S. Senate will be in these races:
Pearce in New Mexico; Shaffer in Colorado; Sununu in New Hampshire; Gilmore in Virginia. All are races with the Republicans defending an "R" seat. It will be a defensive cycle for the Republicans, with more vulnerable seats to defend.

Other races to watch: New Jersey and Louisiana.

Cornyn won't take it for granted, but he's got one of the safer seats this cycle.

Liberal Dem Chameleon Chet Edwards Needs to Go

Time to replace Edwards with a conservative, Rob Cornock.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Texas State House races on the radar screen

Texas State House races on the Democrat radar screen:
Lone Star project is a Democrat group targetting "the most competitive Democratic challenger and Democratic incumbent races leading into the 2008 General Election."

District 19
Incumbent: “Tuffy” Hamilton
Democratic Challenger: Larry Hunter

District 52
Incumbent: OPEN - Bryan Daniel (Krusee)
Democratic Challenger: Diana Maldonado
Location: Williamson County – Central Texas

District 78
Incumbent: OPEN - Dee Margo (Haggerty)
Democratic Challenger: Joseph Moody

District 96
Incumbent: Bill Zedler
Democratic Challenger: Chris Turner

District 101
Incumbent: Open – Mike Anderson (Latham)
Democratic Challenger: Robert Miklos

District 102
Incumbent: Tony Goolsby
Democratic Challenger: Carol Kent

Will Chet Edwards Regret Endorsing Obama?

Chet Edwards Endorsed Obama. So did Mark Strama. So did a lot of liberal Democrats who go around pretending to be moderates in swing and conservative districts. Edwards hides his liberal voting record every time he runs for re-election, and he may have thought Obama was a 'safer' endorsement that going for the polarizing Hillary Clinton. That was before Obama's 20-year association with a radical black liberation theology church became public knowledge. Obama was rated the most liberal member of the Senate in 2007 by the National Journal. Obama is a very liberal candidate, in fact, the most leftwing major party nominee ever.

Obama's life history going back to his socialist Dad and 60s progressive-liberal Mom is one of associations with radicals, leftists; Obama's teen Mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist. He was endorsed by leftist political parties and even Communists. He attended for 20 years a Black Liberation Theology church and supported hate-spewing radical pastors like Wright and Pfleger, until it got him into hot water and he threw them under the bus (after saying he wouldn't do it). He has expressed elitist
and ultra-liberal views on American values, is naive and weak on foreign policy, is an extremist on abortion and other issues. No-Bama blog has just a taste of what is out there.

The Obama that the media has built up is not the real Obama. There may well be 'buyers remorse' on Obama from some of these endorsers, as Obama's liberal and radical leftwing associations and views gets aired.

Fire Sweeps Through Governor's Mansion

Arson suspected in Texas governor's mansion fire that occured at 2am last night, and a piece of Austin and Texas history is severely damaged. The mansion was unoccupied when the fire occured last night. The mansion has been undergoing renovations, so the Governor himself has not been living there for some time.

Built in 1856, the home is the oldest continually used executive residence west of the Mississippi, according to the group Friends of the Governor's Mansion, which works to preserve and show the public the historic building.

What a tragedy and a travesty.

UPDATE: A picture of what was lost:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Live Blog of the Democrat Party State Convention

Lonestar Report is covering the Democrat Party State Convention this weekend via live blog. They will do the same next weekend for the Republican Party State Convention.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Climate Bill Collapses and Dies in Senate

From Senator Inhofe's EPW site, Roundup on the collapse of the Senate Climate Bill, which failed a cloture vote 48-36 and then was pulled: ‘Global Warming Mad House’ – ‘Agenda in Collapse’ – ‘Foibles and Follies’ Exposed.

The good news here is that the Senate Democrats could withstand only three days of debate on this hugely costly Enron style cap-and-tax-and-regulate-and-redistribute bill, the Republicans were eager for mre debate to expose the bills flaws, and Ried pulled the bill to reduce further political damage. Boxer's 'amendment' was exposed as a monstrosity when Senate Republicans required a full reading of the 490 page amendment as a protest to broken Democratic promises over Judicial nominees. Politico: "The legislation collapsed for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the poor timing of debating a bill predicted to increase energy costs while much of the country is focused on $4-a-gallon gas."

Good riddance. For now. The clamor that "we must do something about climate change" will continue for another try next year, and voters should be put on notice that all but a handful of Democrats were voting for a multi-trillion dollar attack on the energy and industrial sectors of the American economy. Yes we will need to do something about the climate long-term (and see my previous post for a brilliant way to figure out when we should act), but this farcical bill is neither necessary nor sufficient to the task.

Senator Inhofe's statement on the Climate Bill and its demise

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bankruptcy of Mass Transit

Go this forwarded by someone who said "seems timely given the rail system Wynn and his buddies are trying to ram down our throats" The Bankruptcy of Mass Transit:

"For most transit agencies in the United States, if they were to write a mission statement that is reflective of what they do, they would indicate that they exist for the purpose of serving their employees and vendors."
How much Will Wynn's downtown Trolley cost? And who will it really benefit? Speaking of cost, COST has research (PDF report) debunking of the touted benefits of the downtown Trolley.

Some people love these social engineering schemes in concept, but for themselves put their foot on the gas pedal not on a bus. As The Onion put it: "98 Percent of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation for Others."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The New Kuomintang (KMT) of Taiwan - Big Goverment Liberals

As conservative Republicans we rightly complain about the excesses of big government liberals, whether they be Democrat or Republican. But the Obama of Taiwan (President Ma Ying-jeou) and his Kuomintang Mandarins are set to make American liberals look like members of the Grace Commission's Citizens Against Government Waste and Ron Paul activists, by comparison.

Government to boost middle class: Liu

LEGISLATIVE REPORT: The premier briefed lawmakers on his agenda, but not until apologizing for the surprise fuel price hike announcement

By Flora Wang
Saturday, May 31, 2008, Page 3

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday promised to recreate a solid middle class by boosting the econo “Taiwan was renowned for its ‘economic miracle’ in the past. Back then, the economy was vibrant. Taiwan’s wealth was said to be ankle deep, while people had numerous opportunities to become rich,” Liu said in his first administrative report to the legislature.

“The solid middle class became the force to stabilize the society, but over the past several years, the suicide and unemployment rates hit a new high while the gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen,” he said.

So the Cabinet’s main goal was to recreate the prosperity of the middle class by reviving the economy and reducing the unemployment rate so that many people will be able to increase their income, he said.

Liu said he expected the Cabinet to prioritize financial issues in the face of keen international competition as well as take care of other aspect of people’s lives.

Click here to read the full article.

21st century conservatism

Castellanos on Where Conservatism needs to go:

Our theme, our brand, our identity? How about this: Republicans are the not the party of a decaying, old, static, industrial-age, top-down government in Washington. We are the communications-age party of genuinely democratic, dynamic government — of, for, and by real people. We want to get money and power out of Washington and into the hands of the people — not because we want no government, but because we believe people who live in liberty create the best government when they are trusted to govern themselves. Ours is a purpose-driven populism, determined to change Washington, because if we do that, Americans can achieve anything in the world.

Cap-And-Trade is Enron-Style Tax-And-Regulate

Samuelson takes down cap-and-trade, the unnecessary and horribly expensive non-solution to a non-problem (CO2 emissions).

Samuelson says: "Cap-and-trade would act as a tax, but it's not described as a tax. It would regulate economic activity, but it's promoted as a "free market" mechanism. Finally, it would trigger a tidal wave of influence-peddling, as lobbyists scrambled to exploit the system for different industries and localities. This would undermine whatever the system's abstract advantages."

Enron-style taxation, regulation, leading to all sorts of corruption problems that will end up harming our economy, our politics, and our world. All to have miniscule impact on CO2 to 'solve' a global warming problem in a world that stopped warming 10 years ago. Watch out, it's coming!

Will Wynn's Climate Protection Plan for Austin are this disaster in microcosm. A horribly expensive and unworkable system that will fail to solve a problem that isn't even that serious of a problem.

UPDATE: I have a simple response to those who urge immediate regulatory action to deal with this 'crisis'. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is not a crisis, but a very slow and long-trend effect (increasing by a mere 2ppm per year); it is so long a trend that in fact 60 years of 'warming' has led to no more than 0.5C increase in annual temperatures. Some demand immediate action despite the lack of real warming for the last 10 years; some insist 'the science is settled' and therefore severe warming is a certainty; is it? The models are not proven, the data doesn't confirm the models, and the impact is over-stated. How to 'settle' this without waiting until it is too late? The solution to the dilemma of 'when to act' is this - do it when the warming is really happening. We will call it the "AGW Proof Point Amendment":
Pass an amendment that all of these "Climate Protection Act" regulations will not take effect unless and until the global annual mean temperature (averaged over 5 years) is higher than the temperature recorded in 1998 by 0.3C. There has been no global warming since 1998, and there is no reason to impose any regulation unless and until the warming actually starts happening. No severe climate changes will occur unless we get 2C or more of warming, so a mere 0.3C warming will assuredly happen soon if the "AGW is a crisis" crowd is right.

Vote for Change - Dump Strama and Howard!

BEST COMMENT EVER: Howard and Strama call on Democrats to unite around that anti-American-racist-pastor-lovin' leftist junior Senator Obama, and one of the reader comments in the Statesman article on it cuts to the chase:

"this is an election about change…" - donna howard

ok…you are right, we need change - so why don’t the both of you step down?

SBG says "Laura Morrison Spins a Tall-tale of Intrigue"

Laura Morrision wanted to have it both ways - in front of environmental groups, she claimed to 'fully support' Wynn's misguided Climate Protection Plan, which requires draconian cuts in household energy use, and she supported a point-of-sale mandate ordinance in the April 28th News 8 debate; yet now calls it 'deceptive' for her opponent to bring it up!

The Small Business Group has been calling people and telling them: "Did you know that Laura's position on the Green Home program would force homeowners and the elderly to pay untold thousands if they wanted to sell their home?"

Like a stuck pig, it got Morrison in enough of a lather to lambaste the Galindo campaign for it in an email to supporters: "We assured her that the charges [Morrison's support for point-of-sale mandates] were false. As the Austin American Statesman reported in my endorsement on 6/1/08 "Morrison won't support it (point of sale), if there is a negative financial impact on homeowners... Sadly, these deceptive tactics are consistent with his entire campaign where he has continually misrepresented himself, hidden his development interests, and has attempted to hide his Republican affiliation."

Well, now the fangs have come out. Aside from the fact that Morrison thinks bashing of Republicans and developers is de rigeur for a council candidate (how tawdry, how feeble, how liberal), albeit without facts to back up her attacks, she fails to clarify - where does she stand? The Statesman quote is second-hand mush. She only supports it if its good? If she is not for point-of-sale mandates, why did she say she supported them earlier in the campaign? The direct quote from is: "I support it. I support the concept. ...the goal of coming up with a point of sale ordinance." The real issue is where Morrison stands on this and the real deception is her running away from commitments and statements she made in February and April fully in support of this plan!

Small Business Group's Carl Tepper had his own riposte and we are posting it in its entirety below to lay it all out there:

Laura Morrison Spins a Tall-tale of Intrigue to Avoid Telling Homeowners A Straight Story of Her Intentions

Today, Laura Morrison's campaign is relying on the old political ploy of deflection. Rather than own up to her position on the point of sale ordinance, which could cost homeowners thousands of dollars in home repairs and upgrades before they can sell their homes, she is casting baseless accusations and throwing mud.

Attached is an email from her campaign suggesting that we are engaged in deceptive attacks and "underhanded tactics." The only thing underhanded in this campaign is Laura Morrison's position on point of sale, which at worst she's been strongly supporting and at best back-pedal and spin.

The Small Business Group of Austin was clearly identified in the message sent to homeowners. Morrison's email attached even states as much. The Small Business Group has nothing to hide or apologize for in this debate. We are committed to telling the truth about where the candidates stand on this issue.

Yes, seniors should be afraid of what they're planning to do. Laura's supporter's mother should be very afraid (see attached email). It is imperative they know the city is actively considering a policy that would mandate costly repairs before sale (read the Mayor's Climate Protection Plan if you have doubts [the link is below]).

Cid Galindo's position is clear--he has always opposed it. Laura Morrison has supported it--until the political spin started. See for yourself.

Below is just one response to a questionnaire by the Environmental Democrats where she said she "strongly supports" the Mayor's plan. A plan, as clearly indicated in a city of Austin press release and on the city's website, includes a point of sale ordinance and details.

The Small Business Group represents those who cannot afford high priced lobbyists or high priced political consultants like those helping Laura spin her way out of controversy. We will continue to educate homeowners about this issue and we will continue to challenge supporters of point-of-sale or Green Audits. Homeowners deserve more than spin.

Laura's email is attached and the truth is below.

Carl H. Tepper

Small Business Group of Austin




Laura Morrison and Climate Protection:

Ms. Morrison claims that she would not be for Point-of-sale or other dancing maneuver. But below, she strongly testifies that she is for the Mayor’s Climate Protection Plan. Below that, is the mayor’s actual climate protection plan from the city website. It’s pretty clear.

So, did Ms. Morrison misrepresent to Environmental Democrats that she was for the plan, or did she not read the plan, or did she not understand the implications of the plan, or should she be more careful and will she be more careful at City Hall? Read all the way to the bottom.

Laura’s answers to Environmental Democrats Questionaire:

The Mayors Climate Protection Plan is a strong step for the City of Austin and I fully support it. The City is already taking several first steps toward its implementation and for those, it will be critical that the Council and the community monitor and be engaged to ensure continued momentum. The Homes and Buildings component of the plan will require an inclusive stakeholder group to craft recommendations for efficiency improvements at point of sale for existing homes and buildings. During my experience as co-chair of the McMansion Task Force, I learned the importance of Council leadership in focusing the work on finding an effective consensus. As a Council Member, I will carry this lesson forward in working with a stakeholder group in crafting recommendations for the efficiency upgrades. I will support budget allocations to fund the Climate Protection Plan. We have a moral imperative to follow through with this plan, and we can expect a positive return on our investment, where the value we measure includes dollars as well as responsibility to our environment.

Mayor Wynn’s Climate Protection Plan:

Wynn announces Austin Climate Protection Plan

For Immediate Release
Feb. 7, 2007

Austin Mayor Will Wynn today unveiled an aggressive plan that will set the standard among cities nationwide in the growing campaign to address global warming…


The actual Austin Climate Protection Plan link is below and our section of concern is copied in text and is highlighted in yellow:

Austin Climate Protection Plan


The Austin Climate Protection Plan will make Austin the leading city in the

nation in the fight against global warming. The broad elements of the plan

to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions include:

Homes and Buildings Plan

Make all new single-family homes zero net-energy capable by 2015.

Increase energy efficiency in all other new construction by 75% by 2015.

Require disclosure of historic energy use, facilitate and require energy

efficiency improvements in existing homes and buildings at point of sale.

Enhance incentives and requirements for Green Building program;

develop “carbon neutral” certification.