Friday, September 25, 2015

A Wish Comes True for Speaker Boehner as He Resigns

For twenty years, John Boehner (R-OH) has sought to extend an invitation to the Pope and give him the opportunity to address Congress.  Thursday that dream came true.  In a historic moment, Pope Francis spoke to the members of Congress and guests about a host of topics. 

The political side of this Pope - he considered a career in politics before entering the priesthood - shined as he lectured on everything from climate change and social justice to the sanctity of life and charity.  All parts of the political spectrum could cherry pick a bit here and there to claim the Pope is in agreement of the listener's political agenda.

Many in the audience, and surely many listening elsewhere, were moved to tears at the spirit of the moment.  As is his nature, Speaker Boehner used his handkerchief more than once.

Friday morning brought the news that Speaker Boehner will resign at the end of October.  After a rocky tenure and recent years of bomb throwers coming into elected office, herding cats has been quite a challenge.  He is known for his respect of the institution and it's place in the political process. 

An honorable man and longtime public servant will no doubt receive cheers from his detractors wishing him a speedy exit.  That's too bad.  He came into office at the time of Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution in the early 1990's.  That was an historic time as Republicans took control of the branches of the federal government for the first time in 40 years. 

Let's hope for a smooth transition as we enter a very important national election year.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Memorial West Republican Women Now Using Pinterest

Memorial West Republican Women PAC is now using Pinterest.  Taking full advantage of the capabilities of social media, Memorial West RW is reaching out to audiences across the spectrum. Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests. 

Think of it as a virtual bulletin board.  

From Wikipedia:

Pinterest is a free website that requires registration to use.[5] Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pinboards.[6] Pinterest acts as a personalized media platform. Users can browse the content of others on the main page. Users can then save individual pins to one of their own boards using the "Pin It" button, with Pinboards typically organized by a central topic or theme. Users can personalize their experience with Pinterest by pinning items, creating boards, and interacting with other members. By doing so, the users "pin feed" displays unique, personalized results.

It is a fun way to keep organized, in this instance, the club photos from meetings, field trips, community engagement and projects.  

Check it out!

Friday, May 22, 2015

American Phoenix Foundation Stalks Texas Legislators in Austin

Sarah Davis, State Rep District 134 and Debbie Riddle, State Rep District 150 are being stalked at the State Capitol in Austin.  It is uncomfortable for them as the video Rep Davis' put on her Facebook page shows. Rep Riddle shared the video on her Facebook page and learned of those behind the project from a commenter.  This is some eye-opening creepy gotcha stuff.  As women, it is no wonder they are uncomfortable as a guy dressed in all black follows - too closely, I might add - a woman legislator around the Capitol.  Any woman would feel a violation of personal space and on edge with concern for her personal safety.

From Sarah Davis' Facebook page:

What you are witnessing in this video is what I have experienced four to six times a day for the last three weeks. If you want to know what it is like to be in politics today, watch this.
Posted by Sarah Davis for State Representative 134 on Thursday, May 21, 2015

From Debbie Riddle's Facebook page:

"What Representative Sarah Davis has been experiencing with this creepy guy is what many of us have been dealing with at the Capitol. As I leave the House Chamber or go into a committee meeting, or even head down the hall to the underground parking, even getting on an elevator these creepy guys are stalking with their hidden cameras. It will be interesting to see who is financing their creepiness."

Riddle notes that it is not just female politicians, but males, too, being closely followed by silent stalkers.

What you notice in the video is the guy dressed in black looks at the camera and smirks after Rep Davis confronts him. Clearly he is enjoying her irritation.

So, I wondered, who is financing this stalking?  It turns out to be a "conservative" group, working to sabotage Republicans on video. The group is called American Phoenix Foundation. The Texas Tribune has a piece on this:

The activist group employing people who have been secretly recording lawmakers has talked about having a bipartisan mission to root out misdeeds of lawmakers no matter the political stripe.But four large donors to the American Phoenix Foundation — the Strake Foundation, the State Policy Network, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and Jeff Sandefer's Ed Foundation — are well-known backers of conservative causes. The donations show what many had suspected  — that money was coming in from institutional organizations active in other conservative causes.

Then a spokesperson made the following statement:

The four groups "did not donate to this project or to this year's budget at all," a man who identified himself as John Beria, a spokesman for American Phoenix, said in an email Thursday. He added that American Phoenix remains committed to targeting misdeeds by lawmakers from any party. 
Going further:

American Phoenix is headed by Joseph Basel, who in 2010 was among four people who were arrested and charged with entering federal property under false pretenses in Louisiana. The group, pretending to be telephone repairmen, entered then-U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans. Basel later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, serve two years' probation and perform 75 hours of community service. One of his co-defendants in that case, Stan Dai, is also an officer with American Phoenix.
 George Strake, who served as former Texas secretary of state under Gov. Bill Clements, told the Tribune that his foundation contributed to American Phoenix because he's a fan of the group's vice president, Hannah Giles. Strake added that his donations were made years ago and didn't have anything to do with the group's recent videotaping project. But he didn't rule out donating to them in the future.
Giles, who is now married to Basel, drew national headlines in 2009 when she and fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe entered the offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN — an activist group known for its voter registration drives — to ask for a housing loan to fund a brothel.  
The article includes a chart of the major donors to this group.  Included is Empower Texans and Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Full disclosure: As stated in the article, "Franklin Center funds, a journalism network operating in nearly 20 states, including Texas."  I have been a contributor to - Texas in the past.  Also, I have a history with Texas Public Policy Foundation, including attending and blogging during the Annual Policy Orientations and other special events to which I have been invited.

While transparency is important, common decency is expected from anyone approaching an elected official.  Video taping every move and word uttered from an elected official in order to play gotcha may be acceptable to some but hardly worthy of professionals.  Conservatives turning on other conservatives has become commonplace and that is unfortunate. All of this latest bad behavior on display seems to be a tactic utilized by those who oppose the leadership of Speaker Joe Straus.  

Use the link above - copy and paste if needed and watch the brief video of Rep Sarah Davis and one of the stalkers.  

What a sad chapter in politics.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Facts on Jade Helm 15 - Tin Foil Hats Not Included

If, like me, you are concerned by the way the media is betraying the good people of Texas by the reporting of a military operation that will happen this summer, I can help.  You can find the facts about Jade Helm 15 here:

Do not let the conspiracy theory believers suck you into the world of tin foil hats. This is a drill run by the U.S. Army.  How insulting is it to the military that they are being treated as though they are a part of a plot to take over the State of Texas?  I don't think this silliness shows the military members the respect they deserve. And gratitude. 

Last I looked, the State of Texas is a part of the United States of America.  The federal government already has certain controls over Texas.  And all states.  

Why was Texas chosen to be one of the states used in this Special Ops training? Texas has, in the past, proven to be a state supportive of the U.S. military.  This state has several large military facilities. Texas has the land and areas of low population needed by the operation. This is a state that military veterans come to or stay in to retire.  New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and Colorado are also part of this exercise.  

Texas will benefit financially from this training exercise.  Supplies, fuel, food, lodging, etc. will all be purchased locally.  

Unfortunately, some politicians are using this unrest by some in our state for political gain.  The governor has committed National Guard troops to supervise the exercises. This is a waste of taxpayer money and resources. What exactly would the National Guard do, anyway, if all this conspiracy theory that it is a scheme to enforce martial law on the state was true? 

GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have been asked about the near hysteria of some in the state.  Cruz rightly said he has no reason to question the military motives or stated intent.  Then, unfortunately, he launched into claiming he understood why some would be concerned, given the record of less than truthfulness from the president. Supporting the military was all that needed to be said.  Rand Paul claimed he knew nothing about Jade Helm 15 but would have staff look into it. 

Support the military.  America needs the honed skills of trained warriors, now more than ever.  The Special Ops members are the top of the skilled warriors. Show gratitude, not contempt.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

TFRW Hosts Benghazi Security Force Survivors as Speakers

Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) held its quarterly General Board meeting Friday in Austin. The featured lunch speakers were two men who bravely fought and survived the horrific attacks in Benghazi which led to the deaths of the American Ambassador and three other Americans. Their story is compelling, dramatic, emotional and one that must not soon be forgotten.

You will remember that this attack on an American embassy and outpost in Benghazi marked the death by terrorists of American Ambassador Chris Stevens, the first such murder in decades.  An American security detail was called upon to fight off the attackers.  They were not State Department employees.  They were Special Operative contractors. They were members of the American security force.

You will remember that the American response to the cry for help from those on the ground in Benghazi was slow, to be generous in description.  That help wasn't seen until sixteen (16) hours later, long past the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three American colleagues.  Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to answer the call and then failed to successfully deal with the immediacy of the attacks.  When questioned by Congress, she famously replied, "What difference does it make?"

Just move on, people.  Nothing to see here.  The Democrats will soon enough nominate Hillary Clinton as their candidate for president in 2016 and her willing cohorts, the media and American press, are more than happy to oblige.  The claim is that the Republicans on The Hill are taking advantage of that horrible day and playing politics, simply because committees have asked questions. Never mind that oversight is one of the responsibilities of Congress. It's their job.

The two men who were the speakers for the TFRW lunch have co-authored a book about their experiences that day and the aftermath.  The men graciously added time to the visit with the TFRW board and guests to sign the books for sale.  Proceeds from the book will go to the project founded by one of the men and his wife.

The project is named Shadow Warriors Project. Mark and Krystal Geist founded the project.  Geist served as a Marine for twelve years and was badly wounded in the battle in Benghazi as a member of the American security force. This is a very worthy endeavor to help and support wounded Special Operative contractors and their families, as they are not supported by government programs, as they would be as employees of the State Department.  These men told their audience that they had to make their own travel arrangements home for Libya and pay for it all, too.  They were left to fend for themselves.  This is inexcusable.

Theirs is a haunting story of American heroes working in dangerous places in the world to protect and serve America.  They all deserve our support and gratitude.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

United Republicans of Harris County Hear Timely Scoops from Congressman Culberson

U.S. Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) was the guest speaker for the March 9, 2015 general meeting of United Republicans of Harris County.  Despite some truly dreadful weather, a room full of interested citizens gathered to hear a Washington update from the congressman.  

No one left disappointed.

Congressman Culberson is an engaging, enthusiastic, humble, and knowledgeable politician.  He works a room, shaking every hand and speaking will all.  He is a happy warrior, as Ronald Reagan encouraged us all to be. He was prepared to speak about any topic and took lots of questions from the audience.

During his talk to the group, the congressman delivered two special tidbits.  He spoke about how he has figured out a very useful tactic to get desired results for conservatives in Congress, using the budgeting process.  As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he has a strong voice in the allocation of budget dollars.  

He is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, or CJS. The CJS Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and other related agencies; Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee; and he serves on the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee.

Congressman Culberson told us about using his recently discovered process of working with government officials to promote common sense, conservative distribution of monies. How does he do it?  He talks to them and persuades them.  Imagine that.  For instance, today the congressman delivered on a tidbit he mentioned during the meeting - giving the group in attendance the first knowledge of the upcoming win for Second Amendment loyal supporters - when the ATF dropped moving ahead with banning some ammunition for firearms.  Culberson met with the necessary person at AFT and provided a "come to Jesus" moment for him. He told us that after the time allotted for public comment of the bill expired, he was certain an announcement would come.  And it did.

United Republicans and supporters were the first ones to have a behind the scene glimpse into making that happen, thanks to the leadership of John Culberson.

Here is the press release I received in an email today:

Washington, D.C.—Congressman John Culberson (TX-07) today released the following statement regarding a decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to drop a proposed ban on  the manufacture and sale of 5.56 mm/.223 caliber M855 “green tip” ammunition widely used by sportsman:
“The ATF made the right call today by reversing course on a misguided plan that would have trampled on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.“In the meeting I had with ATF officials last Thursday, I brought up the serious concerns I had  with the proposed framework – all things I had heard from my constituents.  By the end of our discussion, we had come to a consensus on how to best move forward. “This is an example of how regulators and Congress should work together.    “All of us in Texas love law enforcement and want to help ATF officers stop gun smugglers, drug smugglers and other criminals – not law-abiding American sportsman who use this ammo every day for target practice, shooting competitions and hunting.“The slippery slope of federal overreach impacts every aspect of our daily lives, and this issue is just another example of how we must be constantly vigilant in protecting the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.“I truly appreciate the ATF for hearing us out and commend the agency for making the right decision.”Congressman Culberson is the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science which oversees ATF funding.  In addition to meeting with ATF leadership, Culberson also signed a March 4 letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones expressing serious concerns about the proposed ban, explaining that it would “establish an unduly restrictive standard, does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law, and will interfere with Second Amendment rights..."

The crowd was diverse in Republican political philosophy, as was shown during the reading of the presidential straw poll results.  The potential candidate who came in First Place was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  A more distant Second Place produced a tie between former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ted Cruz.  

Friday, March 06, 2015

United Republicans of Harris County To Host Congressman Culberson

The March 9, 2015 general meeting of United Republicans of Harris County features guest speaker Congressman John Culberson.  Culberson represents the Seventh Congressional District of Texas.

Congressman Culberson was elected in 2000 to serve Texans living in the Seventh Congressional District and is now the Chairman, the former seat  of  President George H.W. Bush and Bill Archer.

He chairs the CJS Subcommittee, which oversees the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation, and other related agencies.  As Chairman, John is committed to ensuring that the Attorney General respects the rule of law and providing America’s law enforcement officers with the resources they need to protect our lives and property. 
He serves on the all-important House Appropriations Committee, which funds the federal government.  He also serves on subcommittees - including the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee, Homeland Security Subcommittee and the Transportation Housing & Urban Development Subcommittee.

The public is welcome and parking is free, as is attendance.  Come and hear the Washington Update from Congressman Culberson and bring your questions for him.

The meeting, held at the Sosa Center on Wirt Road, begins at 7:00 pm. Come at 6:30 pm for coffee and conversation before the meeting begins. Bring a friend.