December 16, 2017

Texan with Concealed Handgun Stops Armed Robbery

HOUSTON, Texas – A Houston area man shot and killed an armed robber who was attempting to hold him and his young child at gunpoint. The man used a concealed handgun to stop the robbery and protect his son.

The incident happened on Saturday afternoon at a League City McDonald’s. The man and his child were in the drive-thru lane of the McDonald’s when another man approached their vehicle with a gun. Witnesses said it appeared the man was attempting to rob the man in the drive-thru, Fox26 Houston reported.

During the robbery attempt, the driver pulled out his concealed handgun and shot the assailant multiple times. The apparent robber was struck in the chest by the gunshots.

After being transported to Clear Lake Regional Medical, the suspected robber was pronounced dead.

The victim of the robbery was taken to the League City Police Department where he was questioned about the shooting, Galveston County Daily News’ Chacour Koop reported. The man is the holder of a Texas Handgun License.

Police told Coop neither the driver nor his 4-year-old son were injured during the incident. The child’s mother came to the scene and picked up the little boy while the father was being questioned.

The driver, whose identity has not yet been released, was released and was said to be home with his family. He was reported to be very upset about the shooting, ABC13’s Lauren Leereported.

The man’s attorney, Robert Pelton, told Lee his client was thankful to be alive and that his son was not hurt. “He was trying to get his son, protect his son and I think he obviously saw his chance then to defend himself because he was afraid he was going to get shot,” the Houston attorney explained.

Lee reported that the entire shooting was captured by a security video camera at a neighboring cell phone store.

A store employee, Vanessa Stanford also witnessed the shooting scene. “I looked over and a man was laying on the ground with another man aiming a gun at him. While he was lying on the ground,” she stated. “That’s immediately when I called 911 and told my customers get away from the wall and the windows.”

Pelton told Lee that his client was forced to shoot in self-defense. “I think he [the robbery victim] would want other citizens to know they have a right to protect themselves,” the attorney said. “You have to be cautious all the time, wherever you are.”

The shooting will be referred to a grand jury which should return a no-bill unless some currently unreported facts change the circumstances.

Under Texas law, your car is considered an extension of your home. The “castle doctrine” applies to drivers in their cars. The law also allows the use of deadly force if one reasonably believes they are in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

While the driver of the car has a Texas Handgun License, the license is not necessary to have a gun in the car.

In Texas a handgun can be carried by a non-licensed individual in the following places: (source: Texas Law Shield)

  • A person’s residence or other real property under their control.
  • A person’s private motor vehicle or watercraft if the handgun is concealed, and the person is legal to possess a firearm, is not a member of a street gang, and is not engaged in the commission of a crime greater than a Class C misdemeanor traffic or boating violation.
  • A person engaged in lawful fishing, hunting, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the persons’ residence or motor vehicle, if the firearm is a type commonly used in the activity.

The incident occurred about 2:10 p.m. on Saturday in League City which is located southeast of Houston and is the home of the NASA Manned Spaceflight Center. The victim and his son were driving a Ford F-150 pick-up truck in the drive-thru lane of the McDonalds located at FM518 and State Highway 3.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter@BobPriceBBTX.

Originally published on Breitbart Texas

Herman Cain Addresses Clear Lake Tea Party – Tells Crowd “Stay informed! Stupid people are ruining America”

Herman Cain addresses over 3,000 Conservative voters at the Clear Lake Tea Party Rally on October 25th, 2011. He addressed foreign policy, rebuilding the economy, rebuilding the tax code, energy independence, illegal immigration and national security.

After asking the Tea Party members to stay informed, Cain boldly said “Stupid people are ruining America.” The audience of Tea Party members responded with a loud ovation indicating their approval of his message.

Cain opened his remarks at the rally by praising Tea Party Patriots as people that “love the United States of America.” He said, “The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in not having goals to reach for.” He continued, “The American Dream has been hijacked. But the good news is “We can take it back!”

Following is Cain’s entire message to the Clear Lake Tea Party:

Cain defined several crises for America. “We have an economic crisis, an entitlement spending crisis, a energy crisis, an illegal immigration crisis, a moral crisis, and a foggy foreign policy crisis.” He said, “The biggest crisis we have is a severe deficiency of leadership in the White House!”

Cain’s remarks played well to the large crowd gathered to hear a variety of speakers and candidates for office. Other speakers that evening included US Senate candidate, Lela Pittenger, candidate for US House CD 14 Robert Gonzales, candidate for US House CD 24 Heidi Thiess, Texas House District 129 candidate Mary Huls and the founder of Raging Elephants, Apostle Claver.

TexasGOPVote previously reported Herman Cain will next be in the Houston area on November 5 where he will debate fellow candidate and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. The debate is sponsored by the Texas Patriots PAC and will be held at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. This event promises to bring an hour and a half of meaningful discussion of important issues facing our nation.

 

The Texas Border is a War Zone – So Says Texas Ag Commissioner and Two Army Generals

The Texas Border is a war zone. Despite sarcastic jokes and comments from the Department of Homeland Security and President Obama, thousands of people are being killed. Kidnapping, rape and assaults are commonplace throughout the region. While the violence is mostly contained south of the border, the war zone is impacting the lives of residents and ranchers who live and work in South Texas as well as other residents of Texas and the United States. This week, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples unveiled a 182 page report titled, TEXAS BORDER SECURITY: A Strategic Military Assessment.

Commissioner Todd Staples

Commissioner Staples commissioned the report from military experts, Retired Army General Barry McCaffrey and Retired Army Major General Robert Scales, PhD.  Gen. McCaffrey serves as a national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News and was the former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prior to that he was the Commander-in-Chief of US Armed Forces Southern Command.  Maj. Gen. Scales earned the Silver Star during the infamous Vietnam War battle “Hamburger Hill”.  He served in serveral command and staff positions and ended his military career as Commandant of the US Army War College.

The following video introduces the report. This is perhaps the most detailed assessment of the activities of the NARCO Terrorist Drug Cartels ever released to the public. The intent is not to alarm, but rather to raise the awareness of the public to a problem that is vastly under-reported by the main stream media and the Obama Administration.

 

Following is the Executive Summary of the report.  In the following weeks, TexasGOPVote will bring more detailed reports on this topic including key interviews with Texas officials who are directly involved in protecting the citizens of Texas.


TEXAS BORDER SECURITY: A Strategic Military Assessment


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

During the past two years the state of Texas has become increasingly threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel organized crime. The threat reflects a change in the strategic intent of the cartels to move their operations into the United States. In effect, the cartels seek to create a “sanitary zone” inside the Texas border — one county deep — that will provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement and, at the same time, enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for continued transport and distribution into the continental United States. To achieve their objectives the cartels are relying increasingly on organized gangs to provide expendable and unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work. These gangs are recruited on the streets of Texas cities and inside Texas prisons by top-tier gangs who work in conjunction with the cartels.

Strategic, Operational and Tactical Levels of Conflict

The authors of this report, both retired senior military executives bring more than 80 years of military and governmental service to their perspective on Texas border security viewed in terms of the classic levels of conflict:strategic, operational and tactical.

Strategic

America’s fight against narco-terrorism, when viewed at the strategic level, takes on the classic trappings of a real war. Crime, gangs and terrorism have converged in such a way that they form a collective threat to the national security of the United States. America is being assaulted not just from across our southern border but from across the hemisphere and beyond. All of Central and South America have become an interconnected source of violence and terrorism. Drug cartels exploit porous borders using all the traditional elements of military force, including command and control, logistics, intelligence, information operations and the application of increasingly deadly firepower. The intention is to increasingly bring governments at all levels throughout the Americas under the influence of international cartels.

Operational

In the United States the operational level of the campaign against cartel terrorism is manifested at the state. Texas has become critical terrain and operational ground zero in the cartel’s effort to expand into the United States. Texas has an expansive border with drug cartels controlling multiple shipping lanes into the state. Texas’ location as the geographic center of the U.S. allows for easier distribution of drugs and people. In effect, the fight for control of the border counties along the Rio Grande has become the operational center of gravity for the cartels and federal, state and local forces that oppose them.

Tactical

At the tactical level of war the cartels seek to gain advantage by exploiting the creases between U.S. federal and state border agencies, and the separation that exists between Mexican and American crime-fighting agencies. Border law enforcement and political officials are the tactical focal point. Sadly, the tactical level is poorly resourced and the most vulnerable to corruption by cartels. To win the tactical fight the counties must have augmentation, oversight and close support from operational and strategic forces. History has shown that a common border offers an enemy sanctuary zone and the opportunity to expand his battlespace in depth and complexity. Our border with Mexico is no exception. Criminality spawned in Mexico is spilling over into the United States. Texas is the tactical close combat zone and frontline in this conflict. Texans have been assaulted by cross-border gangs and narco-terrorist activities. In response, Texas has been the most aggressive and creative in confronting the threat of what has come to be a narco-terrorist military-style campaign being waged against them.

Texas as a Narco-Sanctuary

A successful sanctuary permits insurgents to move freely and operate on whichever side offers greater security. In a curious twist of irony, the more successful the Mexican military becomes in confronting the cartels, the greater likelihood that cartels will take the active fight into Texas as they compete against each other in the battle to control distribution territories and corridors Federal authorities are reluctant to admit to the increasing cross-border campaign by narcoterrorists. Until lately, denial has been facilitated by a dearth of evidence that an organized and substantial campaign exists inside Texas. Evidence collected for this report, principally from Texas border counties, reveals a palpable sense of frustration concerning the effectiveness of U.S. federal border operations.

Accounts of this violence, both data driven and anecdotal, compiled by federal agencies, Congressional testimony and the Texas Department of Agriculture underscores the daily activity and constant threat of a larger presence of narco-terrorists than previously thought. The Federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not attribute many narco-crimes to the cartels. Many cross-border crimes are routinely not reported by border farmers and ranchers due to fear of retribution from cartels.

The cartel’s foot soldiers who fight the tactical battle in Texas are “transnational gang” members many of whom are drawn from prison gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate, Tango Blast, Barrio Azteca and others that formed in U.S. prisons for selfpreservation and protection from other gangs. These transnational gangs not only have continued to expand in Texas and the nation but constitute a very tightly knit network of cooperation and connectivity that has been growing between prison gangs and Mexican cartels.

Impact on Texans

Fear and anxiety levels among Texas farmers and ranchers have grown enormously during the past two years. Farmers, ranchers and other citizens in border communities are caught in the crossfire of escalating cross-border violence resulting in large part from conflicts between cartels, paramilitary enforcement groups and transnational gangs struggling for control of key drug and illegal alien smuggling routes into the U.S. from El Paso to Brownsville. Some Texas farmers and ranchers have even abandoned their livelihoods to move their families to safer ground.

Living and conducting business in a Texas border county is tantamount to living in a war zone in which civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock. The Rio Grande River offers little solace to the echoes of gunshots and explosions. News of shootings, murders, kidnappings, beheadings, mass graves and other acts of violence coming across the border go far beyond any definition of “spillover violence.”

Texas Joins the War

Because Texas is the frontline in this conflict and because its citizens and institutions are most affected, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has developed a comprehensive military-like operational campaign against narco-terrorists. This effort is still growing and changing in response to an adaptive and ruthless enemy that still harbors an intense desire to take its campaign into the United States. Five years of effort to curtail narco-terrorist intrusion has given the Texas DPS and its state and local partners enormous and hard-won experience in the art and science of fighting the southwest border war.

Beginning in 2006, Texas began a series of high-intensity, sequential, short-duration operations that resulted in crime reductions ranging from 25 percent to as high as 75 percent as smuggling operations decreased. Later, the state expanded and lengthened these operations by increasing the patrol presence along the Texas-Mexico border. Governor Perry was able to achieve this expansion of effort by leveraging various discretionary grants to increase local and state patrol capacity along the border through overtime payments and the purchase of communications and surveillance equipment as well as new vehicles and weapons. The governor also committed Texas military forces to support these operations.

To gain support from the citizenry, in 2007 the Texas Legislature created the Border Security Council (BSC) charged with advising the governor regarding the allocation of discretionary state homeland security funds. The BSC held a series of public hearings and received testimony from business owners, law enforcement officers, local elected officials and private citizens and then produced a comprehensive report and recommendations on border security issues for the governor and Texas Legislature.

Organization for Combat

BSOC-UCs/JOICs

The state of Texas organized for combat in a manner familiar to the military by creating six Unified Commands (UCs) each staffed with a Joint Operations and Intelligence Center (JOICs) located principally within Texas cities most threatened by cartel violence. This Texas effort, led by the Texas Rangers, is dependent on a cooperative relationship based not on command authority, but on a shared relationship, trust and commitment to work together.

This cooperative group of players is represented by federal, state, local and military components. The heart and operational engine of the Texas border security effort is located in Austin within the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC). All unified command and joint players intersect in a single facility administered by the Texas Ranger Division of the DPS. The BSOC collects and shares information from all state, local and federal agencies.

Six years of experience has produced a collaborative interagency network that has grown by establishing trust and confidence among network participants from strategic through tactical. The comity engendered through successful operation allows the BSOC team to chip away at bureaucratic cultures and mindsets. Such experience serves to generate interpersonal incentives and rewards selflessness and a commitment to collaborative behavior.

Years of experimentation and field operations have yielded a wealth of lessons learned as well as new materiel, tactics and doctrine unique to Texas but capable of being shared by other state and federal border security agencies. The BSOC operates using a statewide mapping system that graphically displays and shares with unified commands and federal agencies a crime map that includes all drug, cash and weapons seizures. It fuses information from other state and federal agencies. Texas has developed cheap and effective locally procured wildlife cameras linked to the Internet that are capable of passing images in real time to state authorities.

Texas Rangers Lead the Fight

The first principle of Texas border security operations is to empower local law enforcement. Soldiers often say that bad strategies cannot be salvaged by good tactics— but bad tactics can defeat a good strategy. This saying simply reinforces the truism that no national strategy that seeks to defeat narco-terrorism can be adequately confronted unless tactical units, such as local police and federal border security stations, are properly staffed, resourced, competent and well-led.

The Texas Rangers lead a cooperative program that brings together a ground, air and marine assault capability. Ranger Reconnaissance Teams are the tactical combat elements in the war against narco-terrorists. Each participating federal, state and local agency voluntarily adds its unique capabilities to the teams. The Texas Highway Patrol acts as an outer perimeter for the Rangers by funneling traffic toward Ranger border positions. Tactical contact teams, deploying along the Rio Grande in small, concealed positions, are able to respond immediately to intelligence from Autonomous Surveillance Platform (ASP) units, DPS and National Guard surveillance helicopters, as well as calls to UCs from local police or citizens. DPS Dive Teams conduct SONAR scans of the Rio Grande and assist in recovery of vehicles and contraband in splashdown areas.

Resources remain the greatest impediment to the expansion and continued success of the Rangers’ border war against the cartels. Budget cuts for DHS, its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard USCG) have severely constrained the ability of Texas to rely on its federal partners and their resources to expand border operations.

A Successful System Under Threat

Years of collective effort by Texas law enforcement have yielded a remarkably flexible and efficient system of border protection that involves all levels of command from federal to local. This system is under threat not only by an increasingly ruthless and adaptive enemy but also by an increasingly diminished budget.

Without question, the future success of this effort will depend on the ability of the state of Texas, local and federal agencies to work together to expand their war against intrusion by cartels. The bottom line, however, is that while today Texas is the frontline in this escalating war, the potential consequences of success or failure will affect our entire nation. Thus, it is up to the nation to support Texas in its efforts to defeat this transnational criminal enterprise.

Recommendations

Communications and the Network:

A truly seamless joint effort between federal, state and local law enforcement cannot occur unless all of the players are connected by an integrated broadband system. Such a system must network all land, air and maritime communications systems. It also must be robust enough to connect the smallest border town police departments (with adequate cyber-security controls) to the most sophisticated national domestic intelligence networks. Only a consortium of federal and state and local resources can make such an expansive effort affordable and successful.

Operations:

The success of border operations by the Texas Rangers should serve as a template for the future. Federal border security agencies should continue to support and enhance the current joint operational framework established by the state of Texas and tactically implemented by the Texas Rangers. Reform at that operational level is dependent on bringing more “boots on the ground” to the fight for border security to include a greater participation by the National Guard under state control. All agencies involved should develop a framework and establish an alliance for integrated cross border planning, intelligence sharing, communications and synchronized operations. Such an effort must include all legal, procedural and policy changes necessary to break down bureaucratic, cultural and mind-set barriers that currently exist between front line local, state and federal participants.

Intelligence:

Reform of the border security intelligence system must begin with more sophisticated cross-border technical and human intelligence collection about the enemy coupled with the ability to offer a clearer digital picture of the battlefield to border tactical forces. Key to this effort must be a quantum improvement in the ability of the federal intelligence agencies to gather, analyze and disseminate actionable intelligence and information in real time with state and local law enforcement. Federal support is also needed to accelerate enhancement of the Department of Public Safety’s TxMAP system for Intelligence mapping and data base support.

Technology:

The state of Texas should develop a plan for Federal funding and participation in a “Joint Technology Development Center.” The creation of a joint Federal and state “skunk works” effort would combine federal financial and scientific research assets with the proven success of Texas’ efforts to apply off the shelf technologies to winning the battle for border security. Such an effort would focus on technologies to detect, track, assess, classify, interdict and prosecute criminals along the Southwest border region. Technological areas with the most promise include meshing networks, low cost un-manned ground sensors, ground surveillance radars, remote cameras, aerial platforms, thermal and night vision capabilities, command and control facilities, state of the art weapons and sighting systems as well as identification systems connected to dynamic and inclusive data bases.

Learning:

No amount of well-intended effort will completely eliminate the natural operational friction that exists between disparate federal, state and local agencies confronting these lethal and well-resourced Mexican criminal cartels. Decades of experience in fighting our nation’s foreign wars have shown time and again that reducing operational friction can best be achieved by a system that enhances shared awareness and mutual understanding. To this end, Texas should establish an effort that teaches all participants “how Texas border operations work.” The Texas effort would be based on proven joint military programs. The Texas and federal partners must bring together all participants into a single in-resident and virtual classroom to learn the detailed procedures, statutes, organizations, doctrine, tactical methods and rules of engagement. Faculty and funding would be shared by experienced operators from all levels of law enforcement, federal to local.

END OF SUMMARY

NOTE: This author will be providing additional information from this report as well as conducting exclusive interviews with some of the key members of the Texas Border Defense team. Please share this information with anyone concerned about the future of our country and the impact of narco-terrorism throughout out country.

It is Time for a Fast and Furious Impeachment…

Impeachment not Firings - Justice must be done!

As previously reported by this author, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF, BATFE) have been involved in an ongoing criminal conspiracy covering up the circumstances that led to the death of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. Senator Charles Grassley has been investigating this case almost since it surfaced. The DOJ has been lying to him and his staff and stonewalling their investigation, according to my sources.

Recently Sen. Grassley appeared “On the Record” with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. During the interview, Van Susteren refers to a letter from the Assistant Attorney General, Ronald Welch where he committed several lies to Sen. Grassley. I had previously included that letter in one of my articles earlier this year, and the letter is attached below (2 pages).

Page 1 of Weich Letter to Grassley

Page 2 of Weich Letter to Grassley

Watch Sen. Grassley as he confirms with Van Susteren that DOJ has and is lying to Congress and stonewalling the investigation into this horrible crime against our nation.

Clearly this operation was ordered from the highest levels of our government. The Obama Administration came to office with an agenda to create tougher gun control laws. Operation Fast & Furious was conceived to create the impression that lax gun laws were leading to supplying Mexican drug cartels with weapons. This, in their sick belief system, would then give the administration the “moral authority” to create restrictions on Americans’ Constitutional Right to own weapons.

The House Judiciary Committee under the leadership of Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) should immediately begin hearings into this matter. These hearings should lead to the impeachment of the Obama appointed cabinet members who have had direct oversight of this ongoing criminal enterprise. Those being Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Former ATF Director, Kenneth Melson who has been conveniently reassigned to take the spotlight off of him.

I must disagree strongly with Senator Grassley on one point. In the interview, Sen. Grassley says the individuals involved in this operation need to be fired. This is not correct. They need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Oceanside Police Officer Shows Professionalism in Dealing with Open Carry Contact

Oceanside California Police Officer Matthew Lyons was recently dispatched to a service call about a man openly carrying a firearm in his city.  YouTube is awash with videos of police officers improperly handling these types of calls.  But Officer Lyons shows himself to be a true professional as he deals with a contact who is clearly out to exercise his rights.

Matthew Lyons

 

In this day in time, one can certainly sympathize with a police officer who receives this type of call.  A responding officer has no idea what to expect.  Many approach the situation expecting the worst and often, if you expect the worst, you will find it.  Watch as Officer Lyons approaches the contact and properly deals with the situation.

Keep in mind that open carry laws vary widely from state to state. Texas does not allow open carry, so if you are open carrying you should expect a completely different reaction from police.  Obviously Officer Lyons is very confident and competent in the laws of California. All states should enact what is called “Constitutional Carry” which allows a firearm to be carried openly or concealed.  Arizona passed just this type of law last year.

Officer Lyons is clearly an experienced officer and is a credit to Oceanside PD and police everywhere.  While researching this story, I discovered Lyons has written a book about his experiences as an Oceanside Police officer.  The book is available for purchase at Arcadia Publishing.  Check it out and show this officer you appreciate his professionalism by purchasing his book.

Perhaps someone who knows Officer Lyons will have him drop me a note and I can send him some Blue Wonder Gun Care Products as a reward for his character and professionalism.  Well Done Officer!

[Read more…]

Principled Texas Lawmakers Save the Texas Economy Millions – No Harsh Anti-Immigrant Laws in Texas

Several states passed Arizona style anti-immigrant laws this year. Texas did not.  Did we sidestep a landmine of unintended consequences? To point, Alabama and Georgia passed laws cracking down on illegal immigrants and employers.  These laws are palliative at best because they don’t address the root cause of our illegal immigration problem, a wide open and unsecured border.  But the worst side of these laws are the unintended consequences, which are currently negatively impacting these two states.

July 1st, Georgia put into law, one of the toughest laws yet to fight illegal immigration. Despite the fact that a federal judge overturned the portion of the law that would require the police to check the immigration status of unidentified suspects (which could be useful in removing the criminal element of the illegal alien population), the portion of the law making it a felony to use false documentation to apply for a job remained in effect.

On the surface that sounds like a great idea, right.  But let’s look at what has happened since then.

Photo by Vino Wong

Immigrant farm worker picking blackberries in Georgia. Photo by Vino Wong

In South Georgia, there is a bumper crop of Blackberries standing by to be picked. However, despite the high level of unemployment in our country, Americans are not showing up to apply for the jobs to pick these berries.  And, because of the new law in Georgia, the immigrant workers who normally line up for these jobs are staying away.

As a result, $200,000 worth of blackberries will rot in one farmer’s field as they remain unpicked.  Extrapolate that out to hundreds of farmers across the state and you will find increases in the price of blackberries at your grocery store.  Yet another unintended consequence.

Former President George W. Bush

I remember screaming at my television when then President George W. Bush said in a State of the Union Address that illegal aliens were doing the jobs that Americans don’t want to do.  But the more I have learned in my years of studying and working on this issue is, he was right in many cases. There are many jobs in this country that go unfilled if illegal aliens do not take them.  Of course, part of the reason they are illegal is because we cancelled programs that used to allow them to come here legally to do these kinds of jobs. This must be fixed.

7200 Homes and Businesses Destroyed by Tornado - Who will rebuild?

Similarly, the situation in Alabama, where 7200 homes and businesses were leveled by a massive tornado in April.  There is a high demand for construction labor to rebuild these homes.  Yet, according to Bloomberg, much of that labor force is disappearing after Alabama’s enactment of tough anti-immigrant laws.

In June, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the 72 page document that became one of the newest and strongest immigration laws in the country.  The unintended consequence here, Hispanic workers are fleeing Tuscaloosa by the thousands.

Hispanic Constructions Workers Disappearing in Alabama

According to the Bloomberg report, “Hispanics, documented and undocumented, dominate anything to do with masonry, concrete, framing, roofing, and landscaping,” said Bob McNelly, a contractor with Nash-McCraw Properties, during an interview at a coffee shop near a destroyed gas station and bank.

“There are very few subcontractors I work with that don’t have a Hispanic workforce.

The city of 90,000 imposed a moratorium on major reconstruction that ends Aug. 8 to enable it to plan its remaking. The rebuilding, McNelly said, will be harder and more expensive without them: “It’s not the pay rate. It’s the fact that they work harder than anyone. It’s the work ethic.

These kinds of stories are being replicated in every state that has enacted strong anti immigration laws. The unintended consequence is always economic damage to the state.  I know this is not going to be a popular article, but it is something we must think about.

Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot when these laws do not address the root cause of the problem – The federal government’s failure to secure the border and enact responsible immigration reform.

Rep. John Garza

Texas State Rep. John Garza

This year, the Texas House Republican Hispanic Conference introduced a resolution, HCR88, to call on the federal government to do just that. Secure the border and address immigration laws in a responsible fashion that does not allow for amnesty, but recognizes the economic impact of immigrant workers in this country. Wisely, the leadership of the legislature avoided passing harsh anti-immigrant laws that would have caused negative economic impact in Texas.

Our undefined border policy has left a situation of chaos and lawlessness along our southern border. This chaos has caused drug cartels to flourish and has created a new industry of human trafficking and abuse of decent human beings.  A virtual war has broken out south of our border because we will not address the issue responsibly. States are scrambling across the country trying to figure out how to solve a massive problem that affects them but they have no real authority to address.

We must send a message to Washington that we want our border secured and we want an end to the broken system of unenforced ineffective immigration laws which must be addressed to ultimately resolve this problem.

 

Speaker John Boehner’s Refusal to Cave In to Tax Increases Leaves Obama with Egg on His Face

Obama left with egg on his face

No Debt Ceiling Solution Leaves Obama with Egg on His Face

Crying like an injured bride, President Obama said today that Speaker Boehner “Left me at the altar yet again.” Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we want you to do when the Spender-in-Chief asks you to raise job killing taxes. It appears in this case, Mr. Obama wanted to raise taxes on all Americans, including homeowners by eliminating the home mortgage tax deduction.

After a noticeably flustered President Obama finished his whining press conference, Speaker Boehner said, “Dealing with the White House is like dealing with a bowl of Jell-O.” I am certain the Speaker meant no disrespect to Jell-O with this comment.

Boehner said, “I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a way forward.”

After the Democrats (Party of NO) said no today to the Cut, Cap and Balance plan passed by the House this week, I don’t know if those discussions will bear fruit either, but I guess he must keep moving forward.

Democrats had four years where they controlled the Congress and the Senate and could have avoided this debt ceiling obstacle we are quickly approaching. Yet, they failed in the past two years to even introduce a budget.  Now they want to say NO to every Republican proposal on the budget and debt ceiling.

Mr. Speaker, I for one, am proud of you for the stand you are taking for America. This is one bride that deserves to be left at the altar. Stick to your guns and solve this problem.  You can then leave it to the Democrats to once again say no… if they dare.

Congress Prosecutes Baseball Player for Lying – Justice Department does it all the time!

Baseball Legend Roger Clemens

Federal Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial today in the trial of baseball legend Roger Clemens. A hearing will be held later to determine if the Justice Department can bring this case to trial again or not. Clemens was charged with lying to Congress about his alleged use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

But wait, when did lying to Congress become a crime? The US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have been lying to Congress about Operation Gunrunner for months. So much so that you might think lying to Congress was the new “national pastime”.

 

Since the murder of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, members of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) have been lying and covering up their involvement in supplying the guns used to kill Agent Terry.

Congressman Ted Poe

In February, I reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ronald Weichdenied the ATF’s involvement in supplying assault weapons in a letter to Senator Charles Grassley in reponse to his inquiries about this subject. (Letter from Weich at DOJ to Sen. Grassley – PAGE 1PAGE 2.)  Why is he not being charged with lying to Congress?

In my May interview with Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), he said, “The whole idea is nonsense“, Congressman Poe said about Operation Gun Runner. “A thousand or more of those weapons have gone to Mexico.” Poe indicated this is an issue that Congressman Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee should be interested in looking into.

Congressman Lamar Smith

So far, that has not happened, but Chairman Smith did release a statement this week denouncing the Obama Administration’s plans to require additional reporting on gun purchased in Texas and three other border states. Smith stated, “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama administration to restrict the gun rights of border state citizens, when the administration itself knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.

What is the height of hypocrisy is that our government thinks that a baseball player allegedly lying about whether or not he used steroids rises to the level of a prosecutable offense when members of our government are allowd to repeatedly lie to Congress with impunity.

Somehow our national priorities are just a little messed up. I say it is time that Congress take action against high level government officials lying to them. What do you say?

Employee Misclassification on Mansfield ISD Construction Project – Rampant across Texas Construction Sites

Mansfield ISD - Fair Employment Practices?

Employee misclassification raises its ugly head once again. This time in a Dallas area school district that is building a new Center for the Performing Arts using contractors who are not properly classifying their employees. This report comes fromWFAA TV 8 in the Dallas area. Their story amplifies what we have been previously reporting at TexasGOPVoteabout the costs to Texas because of misclassified workers.

Previously I discussed the missed opportunity to address this issue in this last legislative session. Republican leadership needs to get a handle on this issue and the WFAA story helps illustrate why.  Let’s take a look.

Mansfield, Texas is located southeast of Fort Worth. It is a growing community with a rapidly growing school district. For some reason, in this season of budget cuts and reduced school budgets, Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) has decided to build a $39 Million Center for the Performing Arts! Let’s take a look at what is happening on this construction site…

Video | News | Weather | Sports2011-07-12 15:29:27.0

Texas misses out on an estimated $175 million each year to unpaid state payroll taxes.view full article

Yes, you heard that right. With unemployment numbers still rising, Texas is missing out on an estimated $175 million dollars a year, just in unemployment taxes. This does not take into account the federal taxes, workman’s compensation insurance and child support dollars that are also lost because of unethical companies cheating the system.

The other element in the room is these jobs are magnets for the illegal immigration problem. Because contractors are not reporting these workers, many hire illegal aliens to do the work and often times cheat them out of their wages. Wage theft is not limited to the illegal aliens, however. As you will see in the following interview I did with a construction foreman, Bobby Herndon, on a job in Houston at a new Wal-Mart store, these unscrupulous employers will cheat anyone they choose. Herndon was working for Carole Johnson Builders, LLC.

Following is a check received from Carole Johnson Builders, LLC for some of the work he did. As of the interview I did with him, he has been unable to cash his check. Many other of the workers he supervised are in the same situation of having been cheated out of hours worked and being issued checks that would not clear according to a story on Construction Citizen, a website that promotes ethical hiring and employment practices in the construction industry.

Bobby Henderson Victim of Wage Theft from Worthless Contractor Check

As indicated in the WFAA story, an estimated 1 in 3 workers on these types of construction sites are misclassified. Why, because it gives the company an unfair advantage over ethical companies who try to follow the law like Linden Steel referenced in the story above.  Linden Steel owner Andy Anderson told WFAA he can never be as cheap as AB Rebar (the company who won the bid and admitted not paying payroll taxes).  He said, “There’s just no way a bona fide contractor is going to compete with these guys.”

There is a way, but it is going to take work from all of us. In this legislative session bills were introduced to put some teeth into the misclassification and wage theft laws of Texas.  The bills received bipartisan support in the committee that first heard the bills but died in Calendars Committee after the AAB and Perry Homes allegedly put pressure on the Calendars Committee to kill the bill.  Sound familiar?

Employee Misclassification is cheating us out of revenue that should be helping Texas make up its budget shortfall. It is also cheating good companies from the opportunity to win business ethically and provide good paying jobs for Americans who are wanting to work. Finally, it continues to attract the illegal alien migration train. We need to either enforce the laws or get rid of the laws governing employee misclassification. The chaos that goes on now is not good for business. It is not good for Texas and it is not good for all of us.

PS.  Shame on Mansfield ISD for wasting taxpayer money building this center. I wonder how many teachers they are threatening to lay off due to budget cuts?

This is what the $39 million facility will look like when it is finished. Built with the money equivalent of blood diamonds, the taxpayers of Mansfield ISD should be proud of this building built by some allegedly unethical contractors.

Congressman Ted Poe Discusses Murder of BP Agent Brian Terry, Operation Gun Runner and EPA Overreach in Exclusive Video

Congressman Ted Poe

In an exclusive interview with TexasGOPVote, US Representative Ted Poe (R-TX 2nd CD) talks with Bob Price of US Border Watch and TexasGOPVote about a variety of topics including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE, ATF) bungling of Operation Gunrunner leading to the deaths of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terryand Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jamie Zapata.  Congressman Poe also discussed his own plan for securing the US/Mexico Border and the overreach of the Federal Government’s EPA into areas like light bulbs, Texas air quality and offshore drilling.

“The whole idea is nonsense”, Congressman Poe said about Operation Gun Runner. “A thousand or more of those weapons have gone to Mexico.” Of course the ATF has not been able to trace those guns.

Congressman Ted Poe

“We do know about two of them. One of those guns was used apparently in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. One of those other weapons was used in the shooting of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico.”

We also discussed the hesitation of Border Patrol Agents to act in their own defense because of prior wreckless prosecutions of Border Patrol Agents by former US Attorney Johnny Sutton.  This could be part of the reason why Border Patrol Agents are taking “bean bag weapons” to the gunfight along our southern border.  Congressman Poe discusses this in the following video.

 

On Border Security, Congressman Poe has proposed a resolution named the “National Guard Border Enforcement Act“.  This bill calls for deployment of 10,000 National Guard troops along the US/Mexico border.  The troops would be paid for by the federal government, but would remain under the control of the border state governors. This would enable the troops to retain law enforcement authority while guarding our border.

Bob Price Interviews Congressman Ted Poe

On the EPA, Congressman Poe said, “The EPA should not be in control over what kind of lights we have in our home and offices.” This was discussed during our conversation about a South Carolina bill that would allow the manufacture of incandesent light bulbs in South Carolina to only be sold in South Carolina thereby nullifying the overreach of the EPA by eliminating their Interstate Commerce “jurisdiction”.  Of course, we must also look at Mr. Poe’s now famous speech on the House floor about the infamous CFL light bulbs.

We went on to discuss the economic war being waged by the Obama Adminstration against Texas.  This can be illustrated by looking at the examples of economic warfare by this administration against the Lone Star State.  These include cutting back NASA, refusal to place a Space Shuttle in Houston, the cutting of the BAE Systems Armored Vehicle plant in Sealy, Texas, the offshore drilling ban, and the recent refusal to allow federal disaster assistance for the fire stricken areas of Texas.

Poe Discusses EPA in Texas

The EPA now wants to regulate clean air in Texas despite the excellent job being done by our own Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  “The House has passed legislation to not allow funds to be used to implement the so called greenhouse gas regulation,” Mr Poe said.  “I introduced a bill to defund the EPA to prevent them from regulating CO2 emmissions.”

Congressman Poe encouraged voters to stay in touch with their legislators to make sure they are following their will as voters.

More of Congressman Poe’s unique House Floor speeches can be found on YouTube.

Congressman Poe is a great example of the kind of leadership our country is missing.  His “get things done” style of leadership should be a lesson to other members of Congress, especially the leadership in Congress.  It was a great opportunity to meet with Congressman Poe and lean more about his actions on our behalf