Posts Tagged ‘President’s Corner’

Call Your Representatives Today to Lower Water/Sewer Fees!

May 1, 2019

The House should vote YES on House Bill 4246! They will be voting on it within the next couple of days, so can you please take a minute to call your representative today? Not sure who represents you? Find out here: www.texascitizenscoalition.org/who-represents-me/ 

City fees are spinning out of control. H.B. 4246, relating to nonsubmetered billing for water or wastewater service, will help reduce water/sewer fees and help promote transparency. 

Currently, some cities across Texas charge apartments a per unit base charge fee for water/sewer service. Here’s what’s wrong with that: most apartments only have one master meter, so the city only has to spend time checking one meter. Yet, a 200-unit apartment complex can be charged as if it has 200 meters to check! 

The author of the bill, Representative Nevarez, pointed out in the committee hearing that it is constitutionally mandated that municipalities— taxing entities—can charge no more than what they need to provide a service. And yet, when it comes to base rate fees, it is not about covering the cost of services. After all, it costs a city the same to check one meter for an apartment as it does to check one meter for a house. Why is a 200-unit apartment being charged 200 times more in the base rate for the same amount of service? 

This fee is not based on water usage or amount of work done. It is an arbitrary fee that targets apartment renters, and we need to stop this unequal treatment.

Here’s another thing this bill helps do: it increases transparency. It mandates that rate structure and fees for water need to be easily accessible and clearly presented so that the city cannot get away with any hidden fees! 

So, please call your representative and ask them to support H.B. 4246!

Not sure what to say when you call your representative? Don’t worry—it’s easy and will take less than 2 minutes! You can follow these steps:

  • If you don’t know who you’re representative is, find out here: www.texascitizenscoalition.org/who-represents-me/ 
  • When you call, start by asking for your representative by name. 
  • They will likely say that he or she is not available. So, go ahead and tell it to the person who answered the phone instead. 
  • Tell them your name and let them know you live in their district. 
  • Next, tell them you would like your representative to please vote YES on H.B. 4246, relating to nonsubmetered billing for water or wastewater service. 
  • Then, thank them for their support.

That’s it! 

Together, we can make sure Texas is a more affordable place to live and work.

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Jesus Was Stripped for You

April 19, 2019

Jesus was stripped for you. 

In Catholic and Protestant churches across the world, people gathered on “Maundy Thursday”—the day before Good Friday—to remember that fact. At the end of the Maundy Thursday service, everything goes deathly silent. The church leaders come out wearing all black, and they begin to strip the altar, removing beautiful things in the church as a symbol of what happened to Christ. As they take away the golden candles, silver goblets, and vividly-colored cloths off the altar, we can remember all the ways Jesus was stripped and left bare for us.  

He was stripped of His Heavenly home to come and be born as a baby and live on Earth with us. He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7) 

He let His Heavenly beauty and majesty be stripped away: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him…He was despised and rejected by mankind.” (Isaiah 53:2-3)

He was stripped of His exalted, kingly status, and instead, “He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:3) 

On the Thursday before His crucifixion, He stripped Himself of His robe, taking it off so He could kneel down and wash His disciples’ feet in love and service. (John 13)

After He was arrested, Jesus was stripped of His closest friends—they all deserted Him or denied Him. (Mark 14:50; Luke 22:54-62)

Leading up to His crucifixion, worship and praise was stripped away from Him, and instead He was mocked, hit, and spit on. The soldiers mockingly bowed to Jesus after putting a crown of thorns and a purple, kingly robe on Him. Then, they stripped Him of that robe and led Him away to the Place of the Skull to crucify Him. (Mark 15)

Before nailing Him to the cross, the soldiers likely stripped our Savior naked, and then gambled with each other to win His clothes. (Matthew 27:35) 

After hanging in agony on the cross, Jesus cried out and gave up His spirit (Matthew 27:50). In the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus let His very life be stripped away. 

And then…death and decay was stripped away from Jesus’ body, and He rose to life again! 

Now, all our sins, punishment, and worries can be stripped away, and we can be clothed in His righteousness. One day, all death, disease, and tears will be stripped away from us when He comes again in glory, and we too can be raised to new life. (2 Corinthians 4:14) 

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

An Invisible, Unelected Government Might be Ruling Your Community

April 3, 2019

It’s time to make an invisible part of Texas government visible. You may not have heard of them, but “Municipal Management Districts,” also known as “Improvement Districts,” are government entities across Texas that take taxes (“assessments”) and make decisions about your community, all while being unelected by the taxpayers. Since citizens don’t have a good way to hold them accountable, these government entities are always ripe for corruption and cronyism. 

What exactly are Management or Improvement Districts? They each have their own mission statement that says something along the lines of, “Created to promote, develop, encourage, and maintain employment, commerce, transportation, housing, tourism, recreation, arts, entertainment, economic development, safety and the public welfare…” 

For some Management Districts, they attempt to accomplish that mission by “branding” the area with a cool website and signs. Some Districts do more practical things, such as getting rid of graffiti and planting trees. Some try to improve streets and sidewalks, but doing tasks like that walk a fine line. Management Districts, by law, are supposed to supplement County or City services, not replace them. You already pay local property taxes to the City, and the City should be fixing streets with those tax dollars. But if a Management District takes over the City’s responsibilities, you’re paying extra taxes to Management Districts to do the same job you’re already paying the City to do! 

Maybe you appreciate some of the things Management Districts do. The problem is not necessarily what they’re spending the money on. The problem is they can spend your money however they choose, without being subject to the accountability of the ballot box. You cannot vote them in or out of office. 

Say what? Yes, it’s true. Go ahead and wave democracy goodbye when it comes to Management Districts. You don’t get to elect the people who are taking your money and making decisions in your community. A Board of Directors oversees each District, and generally, new Board members are recommended by current Board members and appointed by the Mayor and/or members of the City Council.  

The possibilities for corruption are endless in that situation. The Mayor and City Council members can just appoint the people who make campaign contributions to them! 

You might argue, however, that there’s no possibility of corruption because there’s no personal benefit the Board members receive—they don’t even get paid. But wait. Before you think they are all being oh-so altruistic, think about how much power and opportunity they gain from being on the Board.  They can make all sorts of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” types of deals. 

Here’s how: competitive bidding for contracts can be waived under certain conditions, and some Districts proclaim competitive bidding is not required for contracts under $50,000. That means Board members can just choose their family members (nepotism anybody?) or friends for contracts. If Board members choose their friend for a $49,000 contract to make signs, for example, you can bet that friend owes the Board members a huge favor. There’s nothing that incentivizes the Board members to use your tax money wisely, and everything that incentivizes them to just use your money to earn personal favors. 

All that can go on behind the scenes since a lot of people don’t even realize Management Districts exist. We think it’s time for Management Districts to be transparent and accountable. 

A bill before the Texas Capitol this session—HB 4273, authored by Representative Bill Zedler—can help. HB 4273 will change how the Board members are chosen. The proposed bill declares that instead of being appointed by the Mayor and City Council, Board members must be elected by the people. 

The bill also puts procedures into place for a recall election. That means there will now be a way to remove Board members from office. 

If Board members are up for election, that means Management Districts will come into the view of the public—the Districts will no longer remain invisible. 

We need your help to make an invisible government visible! Will you please take a minute to call your representative and tell them to support HB 4273 relating to Municipal Management Districts? If you’re not sure who represents you, you can find out here. 

Also, since Management Districts can be pretty sneaky, it’s likely you don’t know whether you live and work in the borders of a Management District. So, feel free to email us with your home or business address, and we can let you know.

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Anti-life and Pro-life States are Both Preparing for the End of the Roe v. Wade Abortion Era

March 11, 2019

Brace yourselves. Bad news is coming. Unfortunately, New York’s most recent law allowing abortion up to birth and declaring abortion a “fundamental right” was just the beginning. Other states are following suit. For instance, last Thursday, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted “yes” on a bill that mimics New York’s.

Certain states are heavily pushing pro-abortion laws because they know Roe v. Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court case that made abortion legal in all 50 states) has a good chance of being overturned by our current Supreme Court. As a New York Times headline proclaimed, “Roe v. Wade Is at Risk. Here’s How to Prepare.” The article warned that the “anti-abortion movement understands the high stakes of this moment.” It encouraged pro-abortion advocates to realize the high stakes as well. 

Well, unfortunately, they’ve realized. And they’re preparing. They’re trying to make sure state laws and constitutions declare abortion legal, so that abortion stays legal no matter what happens on a national level by the Supreme Court.

Keep in mind that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that doesn’t mean abortion is automatically illegal in every state. It means the federal government will no longer be able to force states to make abortion legal—each state will again get to decide for itself whether abortion is allowed, as states did before 1973. 

Various states still have abortion bans included in their state laws. For instance, Rhode Island’s state law declares human life and “personhood” begins at the instant of conception, so the 14th Amendment (which guarantees the right to life) applies to the unborn. New Mexico’s state law makes committing an abortion a criminal act (if it’s not a justified medical termination). 

But those laws against abortion are currently useless. Since Roe v. Wade came along and forced all 50 states to make abortion legal, the state laws banning abortion were no longer enforceable or were declared unconstitutional. However, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the state laws banning abortion won’t be useless anymore. The abortion bans could potentially go back into effect immediately. 

That’s why various states are now in a mad rush this legislative season to get rid of any abortion bans that are still on the books and add abortion as a “fundamental right” to state law: 

  • In New Mexico, a bill that repeals the State abortion ban was passed by the House and now awaits a vote from the Senate.
  • In Rhode Island, a House committee just approved a pro-abortion bill, and now the House is moving to a vote on it. Like New York’s bill, this bill will allow abortion in all stages of pregnancy to preserve the “health or life” of the pregnant individual. (Here’s the scariest part: “health” can be interpreted broadly to include “age, economic, social and emotional factors.” That could potentially mean if a woman loses her job and no longer has “economic health” the day she goes into labor, it’s legal for her to have an abortion.)
  • The bill just passed by the Vermont House is even more extreme than the other bills. The Vermont bill allows abortion up to birth for any reason at all! The bill declares there can be no restrictions on the “fundamental right…to have an abortion.” The bill awaits a Vermont Senate vote, and it’s expected to pass because of the Democrat supermajority. 
  • The proposed bill in Illinois might be the worst. The bill is being fast-tracked, so the House and Senate may vote on it by the end of this month. If passed, not only will this bill remove the ban on partial-birth abortions, but it will also get rid of the “Abortion Performance Refusal Act,” which offers protections to doctors who do not want to perform an abortion. With that protection repealed, a doctor can be sued or have his or her license revoked if the doctor refuses to do an abortion due to religious or moral beliefs! 

That’s a lot of bad news. Let’s end on a positive note, because it’s not too late for pro-life advocates to be prepared for the end of Roe v. Wade. There’s 4 states (Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota) who started preparing in the early 2000s by passing pro-life “trigger laws.” Those laws make abortion illegal and are “triggered” (as in, they become effective) the moment Roe v. Wade disappears. Fortunately, other states are now enacting trigger laws, too. For example, Arkansas passed one last month. In Kentucky, a trigger law passed the House and awaits a Senate vote. Same in Missouri. Georgia has one in the works, along with Tennessee. 

What about Texas? Don’t worry—our great state has a pro-life trigger law (House Bill 1685) filed too. Hopefully, it will be passed this legislative season. Stay tuned—we’ll let you know when it’s time to call your Reps and Senators to motivate them to stand for life.

Together, we can be prepped and ready to go if Roe v. Wade is overruled, and Texas will then decide for itself whether to allow abortion. When that decision becomes ours again, let’s hope our state will be one that chooses life.

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Texas is Losing Economic Freedom! Monopoly and Fees and Taxes—Oh My!

February 7, 2019

Monopolies and fees and taxes are even more scary than lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Even though it’s against the Texas Constitution, some cities are getting away with allowing monopolies. The cities get rid of free-market competition and allow certain companies to have sole control over the market. As a result, some Texans are forced to pay outrageous costs for necessities like water and trash pick-up. To further our core value of economic freedom, we’re supporting legislation this session to put an end to ridiculous taxes and fees! 

If the free market has been stamped out in your city, and you pay shocking costs for utilities, trash removal, etc., please let us know about it here. 

Who would have thought that living in the great State of Texas could be like living under an unfair English monarchy? Way back in the 1500-1600s, kings and queens granted monopolies to increase their revenue. 

For instance, King Charles I could declare that only one soap-maker could exclusively sell in the country. Obviously, it was great for that soap-maker—now he had no competition and would get all the business. In exchange for that privilege, the soap-maker had to pay the king annual fees. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of deal. 

You know whose back didn’t get scratched? The people who needed the soap—the customers. The soap-maker could just raise the price of soap to cover the fee he had to pay to the king. Since the customers had to pay higher prices for soap, they—instead of the soap-maker—were essentially paying the king’s extra fee. The king didn’t have permission from Parliament to raise taxes, but he figured out another way to get money from his subjects.

History repeats itself: the same thing is now happening in Pasadena, Texas. The City of Pasadena’s Ordinance declares that Waste Management has the “exclusive right to collect, transport, and dispose of all commercial garbage…” and is the “sole provider” of that service.  

The City has made Waste Management into a monopoly. 

Like the soap-maker example, that’s great for Waste Management—they automatically get all the business. In return for that privilege, Waste Management must pay the City a fee of 25% of the bill (before taxes). But guess who really pays that fee? Those who need trash removal. The City Ordinance even instructs Waste Management to pass that cost on to the customer, so the customer is paying a 25% fee to the City!  

Since Congress hasn’t approved a higher sales tax, the City figured out another way to get money from its subjects…I mean, citizens.  

You would think we would have more economic freedom in Texas than England did in the 1600s. Apparently not. 

Those in charge are still creating monopolies that harm customers. Such leaders are ignoring the Texas Constitution, which states, “monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed.” 

What about in your city—is the same unconstitutional thing happening? Tell us about it here. 

We will be working on legislation this session to bring an end to unconstitutional city policies. Please let us know what it’s like in your city so that we can help you if your city has created monopolies and hiked up your costs. If you have crazy fees listed on your water or trash bills, we want to know about it so that we can help! 

Don’t forget to forward this email to your friends and family so they can also let us know what it’s like in their city. 

Together, we can fight the “lions and tigers and bears” on your utility and trash bills—and we’ll no longer have to screech “Oh my!” every time we see the bill!

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Democrats are Twisting the Facts About the Wall!

January 18, 2019
As the debate over the border wall rages on, Republicans’ beliefs about immigration are being misinterpreted and misunderstood, often intentionally.
For example, if we say, “It’s time to secure our borders by building a wall,” they ridiculously interpret us as saying, “We don’t welcome people of other races and religions. We hate immigrants.”
Or, if we say, “America first,” they hear “Only America; nobody else.” They think you voted for your own prosperity at the expense of all others. They think we don’t care in the slightest about anyone else or other countries’ plights.
They are hearing us wrong or deliberately misrepresenting the truth. It’s time to clear up the myths!
Myth 1: We hate immigrants.
Wrong. Republicans are not against immigrants in general or scared of them. We do not think all immigrants are murders, rapists, and thieves! We know that immigrants have played an important role in America since our nation’s beginning and continue to make our nation prosperous. Immigrants are not all bad or all good—they’re just people, “ranging from the truly amazing to the truly despicable,” as Joseph Mussomeli of the Imaginative Conservative expresses.
An immigrant could be our country’s next Einstein, a valued employee, or a gang member, so we need to figure out who is going to be good for our country. As President Trump said, “we need great people. But we want them to come in on a merit basis…” If people are immigrating here by choice (versus being forced out of their country as a refugee), their arrival needs to be mutually beneficial.
And here’s the thing: a wall does not mean all immigrants must stay out. Rather, more secure borders can help immigrants get in, too. For instance, if our system and resources are jammed up by those coming illegally, what about those dreaming of coming here legally? What about refugees? It makes it harder for them to get in. For the sake of immigrants, we need better border security.
Myth 2: “America first” means “Nobody else matters.”
Nope—not what we mean. First off, it makes sense for the president to say, “America first.” He’s focused on America first because that is his job as president—his first responsibility is to American citizens, not to those trying to cross our border.
Okay, but what about when a normal Republican citizen says, “America first”? He or she does not mean “me first.” It’s not about making sure America comes first so that we can afford to buy everything on our Amazon wishlist. It means we want to look after our families first and the poor under our own bridges first before reaching out to the poor in other countries.
It might mean we need to take care of our country first so that we stay strong to help other countries. Maybe it’s like what flight attendants tell us on planes: in case of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others around you. You can’t help others if you stop breathing!
And once we’re “breathing” better, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the government’s role to then reach out and put the “oxygen mask” on other countries. Perhaps the American government’s role is to always put America first, and it’s the role of private citizens to help others in need around the world.
With the American government focusing on America’s own economy, the private sector can flourish and better afford to reach out and help other countries. “America first” in that case means the American government puts America first, but Americans should help others around the world.
So, all that to say, Republicans actually do care about others! How can we prevent the Left from believing the myths about us? Perhaps it’s time to change our messaging so that our true beliefs can come across better. Our rhetoric often sounds harsher than we actually are, and if we change it, Liberals might better understand that Republicans do care about our neighbors, both citizens and immigrants.

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Where in the World are Our U.S. Soldiers?

December 18, 2018

How is war being kept out of our country? It might be because our U.S. soldiers are out of the country, fighting terrorists abroad and monitoring threats. Since we don’t see war in front of us, our U.S. Armed Forces might be “out of sight; out of mind,” but it’s time we keep them in mind. We’ve all heard about troops being deployed to the border, but do you know where the rest of our troops are deployed right now?    

President Trump recently released a report to inform Congress about deployments of United States Armed Forces. He reported that about 445 U.S. soldiers are still in Egypt as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).  The MFO is nothing new—it’s been ongoing since 1982 and exists to ensure that both Egypt and Israel keep their Treaty of Peace. 

The U.S. also continues to contribute to the NATO-led Kosovo Force (again, that’s not anything new—it’s been there since 1999).  Around 530 U.S. soldiers remain in Kosovo to keep it stable, multi-ethnic, and democratic. 

Troops are also present in Saudi Arabia in a non-combat role. They’re supporting Saudi Arabian forces that are combating the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. 

The rest of the deployments listed are for fighting al-Qa’ida, ISIS, and associated forces. For counterterrorism purposes, troops are deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Libya, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Cuba, the Philippians, and Yemen. 

That’s a lot of countries! Does President Trump have the authority to deploy troops to fight in those countries against ISIS and al-Qa’ida? He says that part of his authority to do so comes from Public Law 107-40 and Public Law 107-243. Wait a second…what do those laws say? To answer that question, let’s take a minute to rewind all the way back to 2001.

Pressing rewind: in 2001, Congress passed Public Law 107-40, also called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which stated “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons…”

That meant President Bush could go after Osama Bin Laden and al-Qa’ida. A year later, Congress passed Public Law 107-243, also known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which said the President could direct the Armed Forces to “defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq…”

By referencing those laws in his report, President Trump is saying the authorizations from Congress to go to war in 2001 and 2002 still apply to him.

But do they still apply? Does President Trump have the authority to stay in war against ISIS? 

The 2001 war authorization specifies fighting against those who committed the 2001 terrorist attacks. A group named ISIS did not commit the 2001 terrorist attacks—al-Qa’ida did. But President Trump merges the two groups when he writes, “Since August 2014, these operations have targeted the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)… which was formerly known as al‑Qa’ida in Iraq.” President Trump thinks ISIS and al-Qa’ida are the same group, and it has just changed names. Since the 2001 authorization states the President can fight al-Qa’ida, if al-Qa’ida = ISIS, then that would mean the President could also fight ISIS. 

President Obama thought the same way. He conflated ISIS and al-Qa’ida so that he could use the Authorization for Use of Military Force against al-Qa’ida as permission to also fight ISIS. 

Some disagree with President Obama and President Trump, though. They argue that al-Qa’ida does not = ISIS. Mainstream media says it wasn’t ISIS who committed the 2001 terrorist attacks because ISIS didn’t even exist until 2014. ISIS and al-Qa’ida are even enemies of each other! The current leader of al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan (Ayman al Zawahiri) has said they have no connection with ISIS, are not pleased with the group, and have ordered it to stop. And the spokesperson for ISIS has said ISIS “is not and has never been an offshoot of al-Qa’ida…”  

The ISIS spokesperson is being misleading, though, and mainstream media that claims ISIS didn’t commit the 2001 terrorist attacks is confused. Although ISIS and al-Qa’ida are no longer working together and are now enemies, they used to work together. They’ve been bickering with each other from the start, but they were still a team. ISIS started out as “al-Qa’ida in Iraq.” Then, in 2014, “al-Qa’ida in Iraq” was kicked out of the main al-Qa’ida. (Why? It’s a long story!) 

“Al-Qa’ida in Iraq” then went on to become the Islamic State, aka ISIS, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It seems Baghdadi believes he is carrying on the legacy of Osama Bin Laden—that ISIS is the real “Bin Laden’s al’Qa’ida.” If that’s the case, then it makes perfect sense to conflate ISIS and al-Qa’ida into one. 

So, the ISIS spokesperson, who said that ISIS is not an offshoot of Al-Qa’ida appears to be wrong, and President Trump, who says that ISIS was formerly known as alQa’ida in Iraq, appears to be right. 

But…some people also point out that al-Qa’ida and ISIS have different goals and strategies, so they’re not the same thing. If we consider both group’s overarching goal, though, it is quite similar: both groups are trying to lead the jihadist cause throughout the Muslim world to create a global, Islamic caliphate (aka State or kingdom). 

The threat both groups pose to America might be different, though. Al-Qa’ida focuses on targeting America, but ISIS is made up of Sunni Muslims who want to target Muslim “apostates” like the Shi’a Muslims. Foreign policy expert Daniel Byman argues that al-Qa’ida “and its affiliates remain a threat to the U.S. homeland, while the danger [of ISIS] is more to the stability of the Middle East and U.S. interests overseas.” If it’s true that al-Qa’ida and ISIS don’t pose the same type of threat to America, the two groups can’t be blended together as the same thing, so the President might need a new war authorization from Congress to continue battling ISIS. 

If President Trump ends up needing a new war authorization, do you think Congress should grant it? Should we keep fighting ISIS overseas? Should we limit the fight to just fighting al-Qa’ida? 

Phew! That was a lot of questions and history, but hopefully that gives you some more context for the current deployments overseas. Speaking of deployments…make sure to thank a soldier or veteran every chance you get!  

Change the U.S. Senate? No Way! It Protects States’ Rights

November 29, 2018

Fortunately, Republicans held on to the majority in the U.S. Senate this past midterm election, but some liberals have an idea: change the structure of the Senate to favor more populous States. I think I need to put a “worst ideas ever” trash bin in my office and throw that idea in it! 

After Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, some liberals started complaining about how the Senate is set up. Washington Times published an article with the headline: “Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans.” CNN grumbled that the confirmation shined a “harsh spotlight on the Senate’s historic bias in favor of small states.”

NBC’s Ken Dilanian got on board the Senate-bashing train, tweeting “It may not happen in our lifetimes, but the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change.”

Currently, every State gets two senators, no matter the State’s population. It’s set up so that small States get just as much say in national policy as large States get. Apparently, liberal media thinks that’s an unfair system. They think the Senate should represent what the majority of people want. 

If liberals opened a history book, they’d realize the Senate is meant to instead represent the States as States, as Kyle Sammin explained in his article for the Federalist. Each State is supposed to be equally represented in D.C. 

If equal representation for States wasn’t included in the Constitution, smaller States likely never would have agreed to become the United States of America. It was quite the debate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention: some delegates were concerned that larger States would  overshadow smaller States, so they wanted each State to have one vote in Congress, as James McClellan explains in his book Liberty, Order, and Justice. 

On the other side of the debate were delegates who thought larger and wealthier States should get more votes in Congress. 

So, the Founders came up with the Great Compromise”: States with more people get more votes in the House of Representatives to represent the majority of people, but States get equal votes in the Senate.

That compromise is a check on legislation because it means no law can be passed unless a majority of people AND a majority of States agree with it, as James Madison wrote in Federalist 62.

If the Senate was changed to represent the majority of people, do you know what would happen? The States with the highest population would get to decide how the rest of the country is run, stamping on the rights of States with less people. 

If North Dakota and New York no longer had equal representation in the Senate, for instance, then urban New York would get to dictate the rules for rural North Dakota, even though their way of life can be vastly different. 

However, the Senate protects against that and preserves States’ rights. The States weren’t meant to be consolidated into one single power. As Madison wrote, giving an equal vote to each State recognizes that a portion of political authority still belongs to each individual State. 

Our government structure helps enable States that “differ a good deal from one another or have different backgrounds to join together for common benefits, without some of the States or groups being required to obey unquestioningly whatever the largest State or group orders,” McClellan says.

Just because the Left doesn’t want a Republican majority in the Senate does not mean we should scrap the Senate’s structure! If we want States’ rights to still be a thing, equal representation in the Senate for States must be preserved. 

Do you agree? 

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Have You Read the Constitution?

October 18, 2018

“Hold on to your Constitution, for if the American Constitution shall fail there will be anarchy throughout the world.’’ ~Daniel Webster

It’s important for Conservatives to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Let’s find out how many Conservatives have read these crucial documents! Have you read the entire Constitution? Take the poll below to let us know!



Abraham Lincoln called the U.S. Constitution the “only safeguard of our liberties.” If you haven’t read the U.S. Constitution yet, don’t miss out! You can find a copy of it here. Once you’ve read it, please let us know by taking the poll above.

We’ll share the final count next week on our Facebook page! Please forward this link to your family and friends so that they can read the Constitution too and join the movement of those who know what our founding document says.  

“…the Constitution is the guide, which I will never abandon,” as George Washington proclaimed. However, it can only be our guide if we know what it says, so let’s do something revolutionary—let’s read it! 

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford: a non-partisan issue polluted by partisanship

October 3, 2018

This trend we’ve seen is baffling:

Even before the hearing took place, Republicans seemed to automatically believe that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not guilty of sexual assault, and Democrats seemed to automatically believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were both in high-school.

It doesn’t make sense. A sexual allegation case is not a partisan issue. It’s not a policy issue or fiscal issue. So why is it so neatly divided between party lines? 

I think we’re seeing the dire result of severe partisanship in America: it’s making an ugly invasion on justice. It’s killing objective investigation. Severe partisanship is demolishing a bulwark principle in our country: innocent until proven guilty. 

Instead, now it appears a person is automatically guilty of a crime or lying depending on which political party they ascribe to. We’re essentially judging a person’s credibility and character based on whether they’re in the same political party as us. What a bizarre, biased measuring stick!

If this trend keeps up, will America be torn asunder by the ever-growing “us vs. them” mentality? 

Association with a certain political party does not determine someone’s guilt or innocence. Let’s return to the gold standard of innocent until proven guilty. 

That means we should believe Judge Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony that he has never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, nor anyone else. Thus far in the process, there is not any evidence that he committed sexual assault.  

An experienced, career sex-crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, was chosen to be staff counsel for last week’s Senate Judiciary committee hearing that focused on sexual allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. During the 8+ hour hearing, Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh gave their personal testimonies and were asked questions by both Mitchell and senators on the Committee. 

After independently reviewing the evidence, Mitchell said in a memorandum that “I do not think a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee” and there is not evidence “sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of evidence standard.”

Indeed, currently there is not even corroborating evidence from witnesses. Dr. Ford named three people, including her close friend Leland Keyser, who were at the gathering where the alleged sexual assault took place. All three submitted  statements and, under penalty of felony if they are lying to the Committee, said they have no knowledge of the events described by Dr. Ford. Leland Keyser said she doesn’t even know Kavanaugh. 

Granted, at times, Kavanaugh wouldn’t give direct answers, like when he was questioned about his drinking habits and whether he’s blacked out before. Is that a sign of guilt and cover-up? Or is it a sign of being careful about what he says because he’s worried about people jumping to conclusions or the media spinning his words? Some have suggested he also told small lies throughout the hearing, such as lying about what some sayings in his high-school yearbook meant, but that’s open to debate. Regardless, although that could be perjury, it does not make him guilty of sexual assault.  

Since there’s no evidence except for Dr. Ford’s testimony, I have a new nickname for those who believe Judge Kavanaugh is guilty: how does Potiphar sound? In Genesis, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and when Joseph refused and ran away, Potiphar’s wife told Potiphar that Joseph had attacked her. Potiphar unjustly threw Joseph in prison for years. 

Do we really want our truth-seeking investigation to be done by “Potiphars”? It’s time we let evidence make up our mind instead of making up our mind before we’ve even seen a lick of evidence. 

Same goes for how we should view Dr. Ford. When people said Dr. Ford is lying, even before listening to her, they’re accusing her of the crime of defamation or perjury. They’ve made her guilty until proven innocent. But it first should be assumed that Dr. Ford is telling the truth about being sexually assaulted, unless there is evidence she is lying or not remembering correctly.

Any person who comes forward with allegations of sexual assault must be taken seriously at first. We shouldn’t always expect there to be corroborating witnesses for sexual assault cases. For instance, in Dr. Ford’s case, one of the witnesses, Mark Judge, is someone also being accused, so he would have incentive to lie if the assault did happen. And if others were there downstairs, unaware of an assault happening, they would not likely remember an insignificant gathering of a few friends from decades ago. It’s unrealistic to expect they could corroborate such a gathering.

What about the timing of the allegation—doesn’t it seem politically motivated, meant to delay Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation? Yes, but such suspicion is not evidence that Dr. Ford is lying. Someone can be politically motivated and still be telling the truth.

It might be evidence that she is being taken advantage of for a political game, though. On July 6, before Judge Kavanaugh was chosen as the Supreme Court nominee, Dr. Ford contacted her local government representative and sent a tip to the Washington Post. In late July, she sent a confidential letter to the ranking Democrat of the Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein. For some reason, it was not until someone leaked part of the story to the press in September that Feinstein finally told federal investigative authorities about the contents of Dr. Ford’s letter. 

It’s true that Feinstein promised confidentiality to Dr. Ford, but Feinstein could have handled the matter confidentially. Throughout this confirmation process, Feinstein had a one-on-one with Judge Kavanaugh, there was a closed session with Judge Kavanaugh for discussing sensitive information, and Feinstein’s staff had questioned Judge Kavanaugh about other confidential background information.  Yet, Feinstein never brought up Dr. Ford’s allegations. 

Why didn’t Senator Feinstein bring it up? Is it because she was saving this in her back pocket to delay the hearings on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation? Or is it because she did not believe Dr. Ford’s story nor take it seriously? 

It’s quite maddening that the allegation did not come out until right now, and it’s true that now the Democrats can try to delay until the midterm elections. It should have been brought forward earlier. We have a right to be angry about that. But we don’t have a right to be angry at Dr. Ford, who says she believes she is doing her civic duty by sharing her story. She is not guilty of political conspiracy, acting, lying, or forgetting…unless there’s evidence that proves she is. Again, people are innocent until proven guilty—no matter what side of the political aisle they’re on. 

All that to say, let’s stop making our decisions based on party lines and start examining evidence. Otherwise, severe political partisanship will continue to attack and occupy every part of culture and society.

In Service,

Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

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