Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Judge Ed Emmett Featured with United Republicans of Harris County

Sometimes a good speaker can restore your hopes for humanity.  Or at least your hopes for the future of your county.  Tuesday night was a night when one such speaker delivered an honest speech to an audience of 100 or so Republicans at the SOSA Center in the Spring Branch area of Houston, as the guest of United Republicans of Harris County.  Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was a voice for sore ears.

Judge Emmett spoke as a real person.  He was refreshingly candid when called upon to answer questions and also in his speech.  A recurring theme is his belief that the 50% vacancy of Republican precinct chairs is unacceptable.  He spoke to the fact that the purpose of politics is to win elections.  How does a party win elections?  Elections are won precinct by precinct, by identifying Republican voters and then getting out the vote.

The Harris County Republican Party is woefully lacking in identifying Republican voters. This fact makes it harder to win elections.  For instance, Harris County has about 4 million residents.  500,000 live inside The Loop.  1.5 million live in areas between The Loop and Beltway 8.  Two million live west of Beltway 8.  The population shifts have produced conservative leaning voters living inside The Loop and Democrat voters living in the suburbs.  If precincts are without chairs in any area of the county, voters go unrecognized.  Precinct chairs should be welcoming new residents and registering them to vote.

The Harris County Republican Party has been exposed for its inability to operate a functioning Vacancy Committee.  Judge Emmett was asked about this problem and he spoke to his own dealings with the party leadership.  When he first ran for Judge, even though he had been a State Representative, he was asked to fill out a candidate application.  Upon seeing the questions on the form - most of which had absolutely nothing to do with the job for which he was seeking, he said no.  He refused to fill it out.  The Candidate Committee responded that he had to in order to seek the office.  No, he explained to them, all he had to do was file and pay the fee and campaign.

This attitude is now needed from all candidates.  Especially in precinct chair decisions, the questions are unacceptable.  What church the person belongs to and how frequently that person attends church and questions about unrelated subjects (U.N. membership, for example) should not be used.  In the case of purity tests, Emmett spoke firmly against them.  He said what most reasonable people think - anyone who calls himself/herself  a Republican and works for the party in elections is a Republican and qualified to be a precinct chairman.

And, this business of asking if a candidate agrees with the party platform?  What nonsense.  Emmett said no one believes in all of the platform planks.  If a person agrees with 80%, then that person is an ally.  The Reagan standard is still appropriate today.

It is imperative to seek out swing voters.  Voters who vote for Democrats but possess conservative leanings should be convinced to vote Republican.  Emmett said young voters must be recruited though reasonable talk, not preached to, and with respect.

The current controversy over a young gay man - co-founder of the Log Cabin Republicans in Houston - who  was rejected as a precinct chair by the Vacancy Committee was addressed.  Asked by a member of the audience what he thought about this, Emmett said some of the most conservative people he has ever known have been gay.  He said no one has to sacrifice personal beliefs in order to support fellow conservatives, even those with whom another Republican disagrees on lifestyle.

Judge Emmett addressed the problem of talk radio listeners taking the opinions of radio show hosts as factual.  The radio hosts are offering opinion.  Why is one person's opinion superior to another's?  It isn't.

Judge Emmett encouraged other public officials to make public their calendars so that voters see where they go and encouraged them to go all over the county.  Avoid the rut of being comfortable.  New members of the party are recruited through personal contact and the persuasive conversations.  The principles of the Republican party appeal to a wide range of voters.  He also discouraged the use of the term 'conservative' over Republican.  The conservative party is the Republican party.

What are you afraid of, you who cast away those who do not pass a silly purity test?  If our nation was under a theocracy system, then maybe religious purity tests would be relevant.  We don't, however, and in some factions of the Republican party Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater would not be pure enough.

Emmett pointed out that at one time, the Republican party was the thinking person's party. Republicans encouraged political debates on philosophy and yet those debates didn't fracture the party.  Emmett sounded much like my own husband with his stories of being a teenager and volunteering for Barry Goldwater's presidential bid.  I'm younger so I don't have such a story but Goldwater was on the forefront of the modern conservative movement and those who now mock intellectual achievement or higher education do so to the detriment of the party.

He noted that Hispanics may well vote Republican if they are respectfully spoken to and given the chance to learn about Republican principles and philosophy yet soon it will be difficult to identify "a Hispanic" as the population blends together more in our country.  A good community to court is the Asian American community.  Traditionally, Asian Americans should be Republican voters.

Judge Emmett is working on finding a way to rid the corrupt process of the pay for play slates in Harris County. One member of the Vacancy Committee is a pay for play slate endorser who has gotten quite wealthy on this local corruption.  It has to stop.

Judge Emmett expressed recognition of United Republicans of Harris County and its membership who work hard promoting Republican principles and solid candidates in elections.  Full disclosure - I am a member of the Board of Directors of United Republicans of Harris County.  We are the only group that gives all candidates the opportunity for an interview before releasing endorsements in elections.  No money is exchanged or accepted for endorsements.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Battleground Texas Training Supporters to Register Voters

The disarray contained within the Republican Party is, frankly speaking, depressing.  I've written about recent examples of why my party will continue to lose in the very county in which I reside. From the national level with  Republican Party Chairman Prebius appointing mid-level Hispanic and Asian-American young Republican men (not women) to be focused in "outreach" to their respective communities, to the state level with spokespeople like RNC committeeman Robin Armstrong who has a real problem with gay Americans, to the Harris County Republican Party leadership and its own style of corruption.  All, by the way, are playing the role of ostriches very well.  Just move along, they say, there is no problem here.

The last few days brought to light some real problems in the Vacancy Committee of the Harris County Republican Party.  The purity test that is shrinking our party locally, not growing it, is exposed in very personal terms by a young man who went through the application process to be his precinct's chairman, only to be humiliated by those in charge.

So, I will continue on with my updates of the activities of Battleground Texas and keep talking about them until some real work is done by Republicans.  All politics is local, as the expression goes, and I will remain committed to spreading the word.  Knowledge is power.

This came to my inbox in Friday's email.  Are you signed up to receive their email? How about 'friending" them on Facebook? That is how you keep current on their activities in a very basic way.

Texas has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the country. 48th. Together, we can do better. We know that when we bring more folks into the political process, Democrats win. This is where you come in.
Registering your fellow Texans to vote is one the easiest and most important ways you can get involved. All you have to do is attend a quick training in your county and you're set -- through 2014! 
Battleground Texas is going around the state hosting trainings and empowering our volunteers to take the next step and get deputized. Can we count you in? There are trainings going on in your area now. Sign up for one today. Don't see one in your area? You can volunteer to host a training.
See you out there,
Alex Steele, Field Director
P.S. Already deputized? Check out battlegroundtexas.com to claim your free deputy badge.

I checked out the link to finding a training location myself.  Using your zip code, the page brings up places and times on their calendar within a set mileage radius.  Using the option of 50 miles from my zip code here on the west side of Houston, a map and a list of  ten events popped up.  From now into May, there are ten events organized from my zip code to Galveston, to Brazoria county, to Fort Bend county, and throughout Houston.  Go on. Check it out by plugging your zip code into the space and see what comes up.

This group has money.  The financing comes from Washington, D.C. as well as here in Texas.  The people running these events are former Obama campaign people, all with records of success.  They are young.  They are enthusiastic.  They give out little goodies for information - bumper stickers for email addresses of your friends who may be interested, therefore ending up on their email lists.  Baseball style caps with their logo on it for event attendee.  And, now, "deputy badges" for attending training to register voters.

Harris County has turned blue for the last two election cycles. In 2012, Barack Obama won, as he did in 2008.  John Kerry won in 2004.  With Houston continuing on with its success as the largest city in the most successful state, people have flocked here for jobs, education and opportunity.  Many are from California.  The population of Harris County has shifted in voter profile and yet, the local Republican party continues to coast on past successes.

I am disgusted by some of the talk I have heard recently.  "I don't care if we lose" is a common statement among some sections of the local party who refuse to grow out of the rigid purity tests.  Though they are the first to quote a Bible verse or Ronald Reagan as verification of their narrow vision, they fail to realize that a political party is not a religious organization and that Reagan said that if someone agreed with him 80% of the time, that person was his ally.  Jesus doesn't care about American politics and Reagan was a common sense, reasonable politician.

It is imperative that Republicans in Harris County be on the offense - not the defense - as this new group settles into Texas and organizes for future success.

What are you doing to help?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

George W Bush Presidential Center Dedication Ceremony

The George W. Bush Presidential Center held a dedication ceremony Thursday morning in Dallas.
The Bush Center is environment friendly and was awarded Platinum certification:

The George W. Bush Presidential Center announced today it has earned Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) program. The Bush Center is the first presidential library to achieve LEED Platinum certification under New Construction (v2009).“As we approach the Bush Center’s April 25 dedication, we are proud to be recognized for our emphasis on sustainable building design,” said Mark Langdale, President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “The Bush Center and our ongoing work are a reflection of the principles that guided President and Mrs. Bush in their public service, including their longstanding commitment to conservation and caring for the land.”The LEED Green Building Certification System encourages the use of designs, materials and systems that are sustainable, energy efficient and reduce a facility’s impact on the environment and human health. The Bush Center features green roofing systems to reduce heating and cooling demands, solar panels for producing electricity and hot water, building materials sourced from the region to lower transportation impacts, and rainwater recycling that will meet 50 percent of the irrigation needs of the native Texas landscaping

You will notice names of steadfast allies in our war on terror HERE:

The following heads of government will be in attendance at the George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication Ceremony.
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (NATO)
President Mikheil Saakashvilli and Mrs. Sandra E. Roelofs (Georgia)
President Josè Marìa Aznar (Spain)
Prime Minister and Mrs. Ehud Olmert (Israel)
Prime Minister and Mrs. John Howard (Australia)
President Lee Myung-bak and Mrs. Yoon-ok Kim (Korea)
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mrs. Cherie Blair (United Kingdom)
President John Kufuor (Ghana)
President Francisco Flores Perèz and Mrs. Lourdes Maria Rodriguez de Flores (El Salvador)
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (Italy)
Despite the mostly respectful ceremony, given that three Democrats were charged with speaking about the former President, it all went well and supporters enjoyed the traditional type of celebration.  Military members sang and spoke the benediction.  Condi Rice introduced the dignitaries to the audience.  The Bush daughters were recognized by their dad as he delivered his remarks.  The cameras caught Jenna Bush Hager with tears streaming down her face as her dad spoke about his first grandchild.  
The goodwill lasted about as long as the ceremony.  Those in the journalism business were quick to pontificate about Democrats overcoming the huge hurdle of speaking kindly about the former president - you know, because they disagree with him so much.  Really?  Seems to me, the most ardent critic for his own benefit, Barack Obama, sure has carried forth with lots of Bush policies.  
President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush were acknowledged as the first parents of a former president at his dedication ceremony.  George W. Bush stated how happy he was that they were both able to be there.  George H.W. Bush delivered the shortest remarks, as he sat in his wheelchair.  Bill Clinton mentioned that his adopted mother, Barbara Bush, had warned him not to make too long of remarks. All acknowledged the work done in Africa and with HIV medicine distribution and also advancing the lives of women in repressive countries.  
The weather cooperated.  It was a beautiful day in Dallas for a dedication ceremony. It was nice that for a few moments most people were about to silence relentless criticism and outright lies against this good man.  We may not all agree with political policy but his basic human goodness was on full display.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Battleground Texas Concentrates on Grassroots Training

This was the update last week from Battleground Texas Facebook page:

Today we were in Dallas and Austin training our grassroots supporters to register new voters. Over 100 people turned out -- and we've trained 400 folks this week alone.
After becoming deputized, these activists will be able to register voters on their communities. It's neighbor to neighbor organizing at its finest!
We have trainings planned all across the state -- where would you like to attend a Battleground Texas training? 

This week here is an email update, used to raise funds:

Can you feel the tide turning? Republicans are on the ropes and Democrats are ready to fight back.
We’ve seen the scare tactics from Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott -- you better believe they are building a team to counter our efforts.
We can’t afford to kick the can down the road. We must start building the foundation today.Your contribution of $25, $50 or what you can will go toward hiring organizers, opening offices and training volunteers in your communities. 
Last week we launched our program to get volunteers trained to be able to register voters in their counties. In just that one week, over 500 volunteers were trained -- and we're just getting started. Your support allows us to cover more ground and close the gap.
The stakes have never been higher -- we must start now. Say you’re ready to join us, donate to Battleground Texas today. 
Thanks for all you do,Jenn

If you have not read my friend Ed's piece over at Big Jolly Politics then head right on over there. He has masterfully told the history of Team Obama's Chicagoization of the Democratic Party and how they are using their system to turn Texas into a battleground state.  If successful, it will be a very long time until Republicans win a national election.

On April 13, this claim was on their website: 78 days. In just 78 days our grassroots supporters have blown past the Texas GOP on Facebook. Just this morning we tipped the scales at 21,566. And we're not done yet. 

As of today, the number of "likes" on Facebook for the Republican Party of Texas is 21,627. So, yes, Battleground Texas is exaggerating a bit to gin up the base and maintain enthusiasm. However, this group and its efforts have to be taken seriously.  Republicans in Texas have to be playing offense, not defense.  We are a red state and we have to defend that distinction.  

Don't wait for the state party to organize and counter Battleground Texas.  Get yourself to local meetings - whether that is a local GOP club meeting or a county party meeting.  Demand that the local party fills the positions that are open at the precinct chair level.  Form groups of like minded citizens and get out into the community.  Go to gatherings.  Talk to everyone, not just those you already know.  Smile.  

Team Obama has moved into Texas and they are not going away.  


This news broke Thursday morning, further proof of the molding of news and politics through the current administration:

David Plouffe, the architect of President Obama’s 2008 victory and top aide during last year’s election, is joining Bloomberg Television as both a contributor and adviser.Plouffe will weigh in on politics, business and technology on Bloomberg TV. But he also will be helping the network out behind the scenes. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

TFRW Website Wins National Award

Want to see what an award winning website looks like as created by a political group of Republican women in Texas?  The website for Texas Federation of Republican Women has earned a national award. Go HERE :

This is what makes the website so good:

Specifically, several aspects of the home page contribute to making the Texas Federation’s website worthy of recognition as a Winning Web and can serve as examples to others:
  • The background for the logo-banner at the top of the page is monochromatic, which helps highlight the name of the group in a contrasting color.  By judicious use of shading, the images provide visual interest but do not overwhelm the TFRW logo itself
  • The logo-banner, at the top of the pages in the website, includes the place for members to login to their secure portion of the website and it includes a search function for the website.  By including these two important features in the logo-banner, visitors to the website will always have quick access to them without having to return to a previous page.
  • In addition to the horizontal navigation links visible on each of the pages, the home page also includes a special, vertical set of links to the most visited pages.  The easier it is for website visitors to find what they are seeking, the more they will value the website and use it as resource.
  • The Texas Federation has combined rotating images of elected Republican women and iconic and recognizable scenes of Texas (such as the Alamo), with the powerful message that each of these women is a Republican Woman.   Photos of members is always more desirable than stock photos, of unidentified women, purchased on the internet.  By incorporating well known Texas landmarks, the TFRW is reinforcing their identity and their obvious pride in their state.
  • The inspirational message “Focus on the Outcome – Imagine Our Impact” which is directly below the horizontal navigation links, is noticeable because of the size and typeface used.  Use of too many different typefaces is discouraged because it disrupts the cohesive identify of a website.  In this instance, however, the Texas Federation uses this non-normal typeface in a limited number of instances to draw attention to an important point being made by the Federation president.
  • The body of the website page is divided into three columns.  The first one contains the Donate button, which leads to a page that facilitates on-line donations.  This column also includes links to help website visitors Get Involved, read about important News, and review their Mission.  Columns two and three provide space for short articles and the message from the President, with links to additional information.  Because of the exceptional job the TFRW has done, a casual visitor to the website could learn a great deal about the federation by reading and following the links provided on just the home page.
Congrats to TFRW on this recognition.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Country Unites as Boston Bombings Suspect Captured

The city of Boston was in lockdown Friday.  Think about the herculean effort taken to get the people of a city of about 700,000 to shelter in place from the early hours of the morning until about dinner time.  America's 21st largest city at a complete standstill as law enforcement from all levels of government sought the second alleged terrorist was a sight never before seen.  It all played out on television, streamed online and in social media. It was riveting in the car crash kind of way - we couldn't look away.

The older of the two brothers believed to have carried out the terrorist bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon was killed in a gun battle with law enforcement very early Friday morning.  The younger brother escaped from the scene.  Not long after the last scheduled briefing from law enforcement late Friday afternoon, with them thinking the younger suspect had eluded them, a woman in Watertown - the location of an intense manhunt Friday - notified police that though her property had been screened by them, she noticed bloody clothing and it appeared that someone was under the canvas covering of the boat in her backyard.

It was the nineteen year old suspect.  He was taken into custody, wounded from the earlier gunfight, but alive.

Who were these two brothers?  They were refugees from Chechnya, arriving in America with their parents to begin a new life.  They became American citizens - resident legal aliens - and took the opportunities that our country has to offer.  They benefited from good schools, sports participation, jobs, and all that goes into normal everyday life.  
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 years old, became a successful Golden Gloves boxer. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, was a nursing student and became an American citizen just last year, on Sept. 11.

On Friday, details from their lives emerged through interviews with neighbors and relatives, and from their online activities. Acquaintances recalled the brothers as strong students and avid athletes. They left few clues suggesting they would be capable of the gruesome acts the police say they committed.But the patriarch of the family, a talented auto mechanic named Anzor Tsarnaev, struggled to make a living. Tamerlan, his eldest son, failed to make a career out of boxing, dropped out of community college for lack of money and struggled to find work.Living on public assistance in a multifamily house in Cambridge, the family began to fray, friends said. The parents separated. Anzor Tsarnaev returned to Russia, battling illness.Along the way, Tamerlan's attitude seemed to sour. "I like the USA," he told the Lowell Sun newspaper in 2004 while competing in a boxing tournament shortly after arriving in the U.S. "America has a lot of jobs." But a caption accompanying an online photo of him a few years later reads: "Originally from Chechnya, but living in the U.S. since five years…I don't have a single American friend, I don't understand them."Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the two brothers, told reporters outside his Maryland home Friday that his nephews were "losers" who were unable to settle into American life "and thereby just hating everyone who did." He said he didn't think there was an ideological motive. "This has nothing to do with Chechnya," he said. He also indicated there was a rift between him and his brothers. "It's personal," he said, "I didn't like them."
A common thread in liberal circles emerged immediately after the bombings Monday.  As the bombings in Boston took place, the smoke had barely cleared and the liberals across the country began speculating that it was those crazy Tea Party people or at the very least, some right-wing extremist anti-government conservative who executed the attack. Every corner of the liberal world predicted that would be the finding.  Whether it was NPR or Salon or network and cable news show panels, fingers were pointed.

No, it was not some deranged anti-tax whack job, as President Obama's pal David Axelrod alluded to in an interview with former Democrat operative now NBC News employee Chuck Todd. Axelrod said that of course President Obama must have thought about that.

A correspondent for NPR reminded that April was big for conservative people because it was Hitler's birthday.  I wish I was joking.  Sadly, I am not.

On the conservative side, the anti Muslim forces voiced assertions that it was al-Qaeda or another terrorist network at work.  The tragedy even brought out the conspiracy theorists convinced that the government was behind it all and covering up some ominous story not for public consumption.

The contrast was predictable - Fox News Channel was all about the al-Qaeda connection and CNN was all about the history of the month of April with terror attacks and anti-government bad actors.  Never the twain shall meet.

This whole tragedy brought to the surface lots of current hot button issues - immigration reform, entitlement reform, gun control legislation, religious prejudices, criminal charges or enemy combatant status, and media biases.  This article in Salon led the charge, for instance, that if the terrorists were not crazy right wing white males, the war hawks would demand more war, or something. And the Czech ambassador even felt the need to remind Americans of THIS :

“As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities – the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation,” he said.“As the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman noted in his message to President Obama, the Czech Republic is an active and reliable partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism. We are determined to stand side by side with our allies in this respect, there is no doubt about that,” Gandalovič concluded.
That's a bit embarrassing.

At the conclusion of the long, tense day, law enforcement all working together with the people of Boston and neighboring communities realized a very successful end.  The good feelings united everyone watching the events as they unfolded.  President Obama delivered remarks after the police and FBI held their news conferences.  It was a feel-good end to an intense day.

Not to be outdone, however, even local television stations felt the need to play into political divisions:

President Barack Obama united with Republicans on Saturday in condemning the violence that took place in Boston and praised the valor that ensued.In his weekly address, Obama argued the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, which he described as an "act of terror," will not be remembered for the damage it caused, but the "stories of heroism and kindness."In the GOP's weekly address, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina also praised first responders and others who rose to aid victims and search for the suspects."While the perpetrators of this act of terror hoped that they could shake the confidence of a city, they have instead only strengthened the resolve of our nation," he said.

Is it really newsworthy that everyone praises the success of the outcome?  Despite the ugliness shown on both sides of the political aisle, the terrorist attack united the country and that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Barack Obama's Shameful Day

In what has been described by some to be emotional blackmail, President Obama and his supporters failed to rally enough votes in the U.S. Senate to pass gun control legislation Wednesday.  It was a stunning defeat for this president and he now has to scramble to try and recover some of the political capital spent on this effort.

Weeping families and politicians were trotted out to promote the legislation.  Instead of private meetings with legislators that turned into displays of raw emotion, the cameras rolled and whether it was Senator Manchin or Vice President Biden, tears fell as policy points were made.  Instead of clear headed policy discussions that might or might not infringe upon our Second Amendment rights, Team Obama decided to go right to the emotional arguments.

That failed.

President Obama wants you to threaten your elected official into voting for a bill that he supports, though it has nothing to do with those he is using as the reason to support this bill.  Got that?  The bills voted on in the U.S. Senate - which were all voted down - had nothing to do with the tragedy in Newtown.  Nothing.  Team Obama decided to use that tragedy and those grieving families for his own benefit.  You may notice only a few of them were standing with Obama and Biden and Gabby Giffords in the Rose Garden.  Most have thankfully seen through this disgraceful strategy and remained private in their grief.

To all the people who supported this legislation -- law enforcement and responsible gun owners, Democrats and Republicans, urban moms, rural hunters, whoever you are -- you need to let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed, and that if they don't act this time, you will remember come election time. To the wide majority of NRA households who supported this legislation, you need to let your leadership and lobbyists in Washington know they didn't represent your views on this one. The point is those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe. Ultimately, you outnumber those who argued the other way. But they're better organized. They're better financed. They've been at it longer. And they make sure to stay focused on this one issue during election time. And that's the reason why you can have something that 90 percent of Americans support and you can't get it through the Senate or the House of Representatives.So to change Washington, you, the American people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this. And when necessary, you've got to send the right people to Washington. And that requires strength, and it requires persistence. 
If you watch the video of the Rose Garden statement by Obama you will see an unhinged hissy fit from the leader of the free world.  Never have I seen such undignified contempt shown for our democratic process.  That whole balance of power thing, it sure is pesky to our president.  He was the one using the slogan that "they deserve a vote" but it turns out he didn't mean it if your elected official wasn't going to vote in favor of the legislation.  So, he stomped out to the White House press corps and called out Republicans for torpedoing his demands. Obama allowed a grieving father to start off the appearance before the White House press corps.  Funny, though, he remained silent on the Democrats who voted their voters' wishes and voted no with the Republicans.

This demand of Obama's for voters to punish their elected officials for the no votes on gun control legislation will fail, too.  The four Democrats in very red states voted no because that is the will of voters there.  If money is cut off from Democrats in D.C. or the big activist organizations, it will not cause them to lose re-election bids.  And, if they are opposed by liberals farther to the left of them, well, do you really think a primary challenger to Senator Pryor will gain much ground in Arkansas?  Of course not.

Liberal NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent millions of his billion dollar personal fortune to support this legislation.  He is an angry little man today.  The same reaction goes for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, seriously wounded in an attack herself at the hands of a deranged gun man.  President Obama went so far as to say those who opposed the legislation "willfully lied".  Hardly dignified speech from our leader but sadly it is what we have come to expect.

President Obama has never learned how to come off the campaign trail and out of candidate mode.  He has not been able to transition into a leader.  Our country suffers today because of his lack of personal growth.  A petulant teenager is incapable of leading the world's most powerful nation and her people.

Team Obama will continue to push for another round in this battle.  To them, there are no common sense or reasonable compromises.  Obama's raw contempt for the number of Americans opposed to his agenda will not persuade anyone to move to his side from a different point of view.  Team Obama is ramping up efforts using social media to push his agenda, as they do so well. Those opposed to the agenda would do well to step up their efforts using the same platforms.

The president called the vote "shameful".  I describe the president's reaction with the same word.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Amanda Thatcher Impresses at Grandmother's Funeral

The state funeral for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain, was held Wednesday in London.  Continuing with his habit of neglect in our relationship with Great Britain, President Obama decided not to send a high-level official delegate on behalf of our nation.

I recount this history because it is often forgotten that the special relationship between Britain and the U.S. after World War II and the countries’ close alliance against Soviet Communism was far from inevitable. On the contrary, it took painstaking diplomacy and bold gestures. Which is why the Obama administration’s decision to take the alliance with Britain for granted, marked by its repeated thoughtlessness and insulting behavior toward the British crown and government, is so foolish. And rather than learn from its blunders, the administration appears to be content to continue making such mistakes.
Following on its refusal to recognize British sovereignty over the Falklands or the Falklands residents’ own wishes, the Obama administration decided not to send a high-level official to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral service today. It did not go unnoticed.
Thatcher and Ronald Reagan carried to victory the Cold War partnership begun by Truman and Churchill. The Cold War has always been a sore subject for this administration, which has endlessly taunted those who want to remember the history at all. (This might have something to do with Vice President Joe Biden’s less-than-stellar record during the Cold War.) And since Thatcher rescued her country from the grips of suffocating union dominance and the Western left’s declinist fetish, it’s not too surprising the president would not want attention drawn to that either. But that’s still no excuse.
Some notable Americans decided to make the trip -  led by Dick Cheney, the delegation included James Baker and George Schultz.

The American delegation was led by former Vice President Dick Cheney and two other veterans of Republican administrations, George P. Shultz, 92, and James A. Baker III, 82.Funeral organizers said that they had invited all the former American presidents, but that none had accepted. Officials said they had cited a range of reasons, from poor health in the case of the first President George Bush, to previous engagements, in the case of former President George W. Bush. Initially, organizers said there was a possibility that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would attend, but she, too, declined, as did Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.The absences drew critical comment from across the spectrum of British politics. Gerald Howarth, chairman of a Thatcherite group of Conservatives in Parliament, told The Daily Mail: “The bond forged between the U.K. and the U.S. through Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in ending the cold war and liberating millions of people. That the present administration feels unable to be represented as the world marks the extraordinary contribution Margaret Thatcher made will be a disappointment to those who served with her in that endeavor.”
How disappointing.  Thatcher deserved much better.

The British press is singing the praises of Thatcher's nineteen year old granddaughter, Amanda, who lives in Dallas with her mother. She attends college in Virginia.  Her brother, a chemist, also lives in Dallas and works as a pharmacist, according to report.

Meet Amanda Thatcher:

Perhaps a future Republican woman candidate in Texas.  One never knows.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today We Are All Bostonians

As it turns out, that little nagging voice in the back of our heads that reminds us to be ever vigilant as large crowds of Americans gather on beautiful, sunny days for something as normal as a big city marathon is still necessary. All of us who lived through the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 have tried to quiet that voice as time goes on yet deep down we know we can not.

 I didn't watch Mr. Rogers as a child - I was a Captain Kangaroo girl - but these are comforting words as we reflect on the terrorist attack on those in the Back Bay area of Boston Monday afternoon. I have seen this used on Facebook and in other pieces and it serves as a common touchstone.

It is hard for most of us to imagine what would allow a person to think that carrying out a terrorist action on so many innocent people in the middle of a major American city was the answer to anything.  We are a big-hearted, love your neighbor kind of country. There were runners from all over the world enjoying the friendly competition of a top tier athletic marathon.  Yet evil does exist and that reminder is crystal clear today.

I learned of the bombings on Twitter, as I kept an eye on my timeline. I was going about normal daily chores and projects. As I turned on cable news to find out what was going on, I was again awe struck by the sight of first responders and others on the scene running towards the smoke and the bodies on the ground.  The bombs exploded at the Finish line and the streets were crowded with families and friends of those running the race.  The day is known as Patriots Day in Boston and held as a local holiday.

I adore Boston.  My last time there was with my son, the summer before he entered high school.  We both love American history and that city is a gold mine for historical reference.  We enjoyed a trip to the New England Aquarium and stayed at a hotel in Back Bay just down from the famous spot honoring the original Tea Party.  We created a lot of great memories from that trip.

The first responders, both professional and civilian, were quick and they were everywhere. They are the best of humanity.  The worst of humanity was the instant politicial nastiness of the tragedy.  In no time at all, the extremes in both sides of politics were at it on social media.  Both sides were pushing their ideological agendas.  Whether it was the onset of conspiracy theorists or hatred for the Tea Party crowd, it was sickening.  The fact that it was April 15th - Tax Day, and also reminders of the Oklahoma City bombing and Waco, too - brought out the worst in speculation.

As of now, the killer has not been apprehended.  There are no answers yet.

Here are some excerpts released by Senator John Cornyn's office from a speech delivered by him on the Senate floor:

Yesterday afternoon, we were reminded that America faces determined enemies willing to engage in barbaric acts against innocent civilians, men, women, and children. “We still don't know who is responsible for this terrible atrocity, but we do know that the people of Boston responded to this attack with courage and compassion. As the smoke rose, the American people saw their fellow citizens running toward, not away, but toward, the scene of the blast. “In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, so many people rushed to donate blood that the Red Cross literally had to turn them away. Our response to this attack must be firm and unequivocal.  We must send a clear message that we will never compromise our value or our freedom in the face of terrorist violence. We must stay on the offensive against the enemies of civilization and remain vigilant in our day-to-day lives. The victims of Boston deserve nothing less.”
We are a big and free nation.  It's good to remember that expression used by homeland security people: If you see something, say something.  The evil isn't going away.

Monday, April 15, 2013

GOP Leaders Speak to the Way Forward on PBS's Red, White and Blue

"Conservatism begins with facing facts." That quote was spoken by George Will on Sunday's This Week program.

The most recent Red, White and Blue show on Houston's PBS featured local, state and national figures of the Republican party from the Harris and Galveston county areas.  Harris County Republican party chairman Jared Woodfill, Galveston County Republican party chairwoman Barbara Meek and Dr. Robin Armstrong, Texas Republican National Committeeman were panel participants, along with Lane Lewis, Harris County Democrat party chairman. The topic: Does the Republican Party need a makeover?

Host David Jones, the liberal, started off with a question to Armstrong who then spoke about the RNC reflection paper recently released and the upcoming RNC meeting in Los Angeles.  Jones asked if Armstrong would be the only minority present. This is how the left works - divisive race baiting. So, no surprise there. It was just obnoxious that it was the very first question asked.

 Woodfill noted that we need to grow the party in communities not traditionally served by the local party. Then he launched into a tirade that we must not, however, lose our principles.  This promotes the fallacy that in order to be a welcoming party, the members of that party somehow abandon principles. Meek said that Galveston county has a diverse party and that the delegates to the last Republican Party of Texas convention were majority women.

Gary Polland, the conservative host, brought up the criticism that some say the RNC report on the party was written by "RINOs" who want to be more moderate in tone and strategy.  This is when Armstrong launched into his boast that the RNC would vote on reaffirming the party platform plank that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Robin Armstrong denied that gay partners were discriminated against in legal situations - such as those involving hospital stays. He said he knows this because he is a doctor. How inconvenient that THIS STORY surfaced recently.  He was cringe worthy in listening to as he continued to say "homosexual" instead of using the term gay in referencing marriage equality and what all that legal status entails.  You may not think that is a big deal but it is part of the tone in politics and it is divisive. Also, it is just a term used by those out of touch with how the general population speaks. Armstrong's denial of the truth of stories in the news concerning the difficulties gay partners have in everyday life is embarrassing.

Polland pointed that were it not for the stance on gay equality, a majority of gay voters would vote Republican as they show involvement in fiscal conservatism.

Woodfill then pivoted into the fact that social issues have to be drummed into the public discourse.  This is, of course, why the local party is failing to grow - so many are turned off by the constant barrage of purity tests showed to those willing to step forward and be precinct chairs or working with the committee on Richmond Avenue.

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in a column earlier this year:
But politics is about persuasion, and a party consumed by the need to prove its purity to its base is going to have a very hard time proving anything else to the rest of the country.
David Jones asked if the Fort Bend Tea Party leader was a part of the local GOP - he was recently reported to be a member of the American Fascist Party. No one discounted him, by the way.  They were too busy saying that the Tea Party is indeed a welcomed part of the GOP.

Barbara Meek tried to blame the "mainstream media" for bad coverage of the GOP message, but Polland rightfully pointed out that some "stupid things" were said by GOP candidates and the media can't be blamed if the GOP doesn't communicate effectively.

"You don't win by just being against things, you only win by being for things and making your message perfectly clear." - Margaret Thatcher

Woodfill says as Republicans we should be talking about turning New York and California into red states rather than focusing on the fact that Texas is poised to be a purple, maybe blue state again.  This defies logic but that is the reason Harris County Republicans are losing the fight.  Galveston County is moving more strongly Republican, in contrast.

To his credit, Armstrong spoke to the fact that the GOP has to go into communities not currently served by Republicans and win over hearts and minds.  He then, however, went on to say we must stop any influx of  moderates in the party. He doesn't think the primary would be moved up before March 1st because of punitive penalties now in place with the national party - Texas would lose our full amount of delegates.  He said Texas needs a full slate of  delegates to the national convention to "keep the moderates in line and in check". Seriously, this is so wrong and pig-headed.  This is why the party continues to shrink.

Woodfill was asked if Republicans determine who the mayor will be in the mayoral elections - with one on the horizon.  He answered yes.  What he didn't say is that he and those on Richmond Avenue have nurtured and recruited any candidates on the Republican side to run in the race.  They haven't.  Republicans traditionally have to chose the lesser liberal of Democrat candidates to be Houston's mayor.

Republican leadership on all levels shows that a state of deep denial is prevalent.  Simply saying we have to go to under served communities to sing the praises of conservatism is not a plan.  There has been enough time since the last election to see actual results of work - such as setting up satellite posts in all areas of the county - and registering voters at events - yet this is not the case.  Assuming that minority voters will flock to the GOP because of social issues has proven wrong-headed.  Continuing to blame moderate voices in the party for losses at the ballot box is slowly killing off the party.  If  a small minority of far right social conservatives continue to issue threats of staying home on election day or perhaps going third party, then who will want to be associated with such small minded and rigid ideology?

As an update, the Red, White and Blue show was obviously taped before the show aired.  The RNC did, in fact, meet and vote on reaffirming a party platform against gay equality in Los Angeles last week.

The national Republican Party rebuffed its own chairman's rebranding effort Friday with a unanimous vote reaffirming that the party sees marriage as strictly the union of a man and a woman.The vote by the 168-member Republican National Committee, the party's steering panel, came less than a month after GOP national chairman Reince Priebus released a searing, 98-page appraisal of the GOP's political vulnerabilities that called for Republicans to show greater tolerance on social issues such as gay rights.The RNC resolution described traditional marriage as "the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America."

Friday, April 12, 2013

This Week's Battleground Texas Update

I've signed up for the emails from Battleground Texas so that I receive updates of their operations in the state.  Friday I received two such updates in my inbox.

From Jenn Brown, Executive Director of Battleground Texas, a little of her update:
We did it -- after three weeks on the road we have finished our first statewide tour and we are inspired by the response. Over 3,000 volunteers and activists attended meetings in 14 cities to learn how neighbor to neighbor organizing can change Democratic politics in Texas for the better. Now it's time to get to work.
Whether you were a part of the standing-room-only crowd in Lubbock (Yes, Lubbock!) or part of the packed house in Houston -- we are grateful for your support and look forward to building this movement with you. 
P.S. Thanks so much to all the grassroots supporters who generously provided housing for our organizers as we toured the state to connect with Texans. By opening your homes to the BGTX team, you allowed us to ensure the dollars we raise go toward making the state a battleground — instead of paying for hotels. Supporters who are willing to host an organizer when we visit your town in the future please let us know.

So, from that we know that their meetings are well attended and that they are accumulating volunteers across the state.  They are training "neighbor organizing" in 14 cities so far.  Not bad for three weeks of work.  Also you notice that they are on a shoe string budget, apparently, as they tout that their organizers are staying in people's homes instead of using funds for hotel bills.  Hey, liberals can be fiscally conservative when necessary!

The other email was from Christina Gomez, Digital Director. She was all giddy over a "four page plea" sent out by Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri to supporters to stop the group.  In other words, it was a fundraising letter.  I didn't get this - if you sign on to be a monthly contributor to the party then you won't be subjected such mailings - so I have not seen the "plea" to check it out.  

Gomez said: 
You have to see this -- the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, sent a four-page plea to his supporters. His agenda -- to stop Battleground Texas.
Then there was a large photo of a part of the first page of the letter. Then she goes into her own desperate plea:

I've been around Texas politics for a long time, but I have never seen desperation like this.
So let's keep up the fight. In the next few months, we are going to roll out our team of organizers and trained volunteers. Coupled with a data-driven digital program, our team of organizers, activists and trainers will be in every corner of the state.
Help us cover the state of Texas with organizers by donating $10, $25 or what you can today. 
You better believe the Republicans are rallying their troops right now -- we have the tools and team to turn Texas into a battleground state. Join us today.
Let's get to work, 
A bit of irony, no?  Mocking a plea for money with a plea for money.  I love politics.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Border Security Results Act of 2013 Introduced in House and Senate

Tuesday, Senator John Cornyn and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul held a conference call to explain a bill each are introducing as Congress struggles to work on immigration reform measures.

The Border Security Results Act of 2013 is not strategy, as both pointed out.  It simply calls on the Department of Homeland Security to provide a means of measuring border security and a plan to implement security measures.

For border security the bill:

·         Incorporates advanced technology to get a complete picture of the security of the entire border for full situational awareness
·         Employs this data to properly allocate manpower and other resources
·         Creates new metrics to define progress based off the number of apprehensions relative to the total number of illegal crossings
The timeline put forth: 
·         Develop a strategy to secure the border within 120 days of bill passage
·         Implement its strategy 60 days after development, with the implementation plan to be reviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
·         Gain situational awareness within 2 years of bill passage
·         Gain operational control of the border within 2 years of implementation of its strategy
·         Submit to an independent audit by a DHS National Lab and the GAO to verify the validity of their proposed metrics.
SSenator Cornyn stressed the need for a 50% reduction in the wait time to pass through a port of entry for legitimate business needs.  He reminded listeners that Mexico is America's third largest trading partner and in order to increase productivity and job growth on the U.S. side, the personnel working ports of entry can both screen for security and speed the process for business needs on the border.
Big Bend National Park port of entry crossing has a kiosk now, unmanned, on the Texas side and no monitoring on the Mexico side.  So, they suggest that the three ways out of the park all have manned monitoring personnel.  
The bill comes requires 90% apprehension rate.  The bill asks Congress to fund goals after Homeland Security comes up a plan and an implementation process.  "Since they are the experts", Senator Cornyn said, the department should be the place for the plan to originate.
Both support more technology used on the border.  Unmanned drones and trained personnel to operate them are the key to good deployment.  Rep McCaul said, "I know they have reversed their course on furloughs." He went on to say that the numbers of apprehension claims being made by Secretary Napolitano are false exaggerations.  He referenced the release of detainees pre-sequester as a wrong-headed gimmick.  
Public safety is the first concern.  Senator Cornyn stressed that the U.S. has to work closely with counterparts in Mexico.  Both sides of the border have to be properly trained and the infrastructure has to be in place for security.    

Monday, April 08, 2013

RIP, Iron Lady

“When I'm out of politics I'm going to run a business, it'll be called rent-a-spine” ― Margaret Thatcher.

Monday morning brought the sad news that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died at the age of 87 years old. She suffered from a series of strokes in her later years.

Hers was a full and memorable life. Many have written about her and she has been the subject of books and movies. It is said that she was either loved or hated. I loved her. As a conservative woman, she was a never ceasing inspiration. As a political junkie, she was one to look to on how to maneuver in the world of politics.

She was the Iron Lady.

She was on a mission to save her country with conservative principles and admit it or not, her country is in her debt.

She was from the start an outsider, not just a woman in a nation whose leadership was dominated by men, but the daughter of a grocer. She made her way to the top by sheer energy and talent, studying at Oxford and then rising to the top of Britain’s Conservative party by 1975, when she was 50. She said a couple of years before that that “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minster in my lifetime.” She proved herself wrong.She was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, and at first she alienated almost everybody. As she cut spending and entitlements, employment rose above three million, and by 1981 her approval rating sank to 25%. Her response: “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catch phrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to . . . the lady’s not for turning.”

Prime Minister Thatcher did, in fact, save Great Britain through economic policy.

The Iron Lady reversed decades of statist policies that had turned Britain into the sick man of Europe. And in the process, Thatcherism provided inspiration for the burgeoning free-market revolution in America, as well. She privatized. She cut taxes. She busted unions. As economist Scott Sumner has noted, “Britain had lagged other European economies for decades, growing far more slowly than most economies on the continent. Thatcher’s reforms were among the most comprehensive in the world.”
Here's a chart showing the results. Great Britain is shown with the blue line, France with the red:

One of my favorite Thatcher quotes, though I have many, is: "I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph." Me, too. Happy warrior. She was a happy warrior.

It has been said that Thatcher was more than worthy of a Noble Peace Prize, unlike our own current President, I might add:

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Inside a Battleground Texas Organizing Meeting

Today, after a fine lunch together in the fabulous City Centre section of Houston, my friend and I took a drive over to The Heights area for a meeting. Saturday afternoon, at the local IBEW hall, Battleground Texas was holding its first organizational meeting in our city.  Traffic was particularly bad but we made it about twenty-five minutes into the announced start time.  

Why did two Republican women head over to a Democrat event?  I decided to go to check out how they do organization and I asked my friend to go for some company.  For me the reward was two-fold.  I was able to spend extra time with a woman I've been friends with since our now 23 year old children were in fourth grade together and the bonus of hearing the thoughts of a woman who is Harvard educated and current on politics while not so active.  She votes, don't get me wrong, but at the present time she isn't a member of a local club or organization. In other words, she's completely like most regular working people. 

The first thing we both noticed was that the parking lot was full.  Many car bumpers sported Obama stickers from the last election.  Going into the building, we immediately noticed the signs pointing the way to the meeting room.  As we approached the room, we saw the sign-in tables.  More than one with more than one person signing people in as they arrived and distributing name tags and material.

Walking into the meeting - remember, it had already begun - we saw that it was full of about 300 people.  That's just a rough guess.  I saw on their Facebook page that they claim about 350 were there and that may be. We stayed in the back and watched. The woman in charge of training was sitting a bit back from the young woman speaking.  She was the one charged with explaining grassroots organizing and how it has worked for the Obama organization.  One example used was that of North Carolina.  Now that North Carolina is a battleground state, the young woman said there is no reason for Texas to be any less of a success.  

She was young and had long blonde hair and was just shy of breaking into a cheer as she involved the audience in her talk.  My friend noted that she could easily picture her with pom-poms in hand.  

This leads me to noting the crowd.  The crowd was majority white and middle aged to older men and women.  Surprised? That's how they characterize Republicans, right? There were some Latinos and a few black Americans but mostly white.  There was the usual amount of elected officials at a gathering of this size and I read on Battleground Texas' site that Rep Sheila Jackson Lee was there, though she must have left before we got there.  We didn't see her.   There were lots of sixty's flower children holdovers and some twenty-somethings but not a notable amount of younger voters.  

The people there, however, were fired up and ready to go......

The speaker enjoyed mocking Governor Perry's general unpopularity in the state and how bad Republicans are, of course.  Fairly boilerplate stuff, frankly.  The crowd enjoyed and welcomed every and all zingers.

There was the opportunity to register to vote.  The sign-in people were taking everyone's info - phone numbers and email addresses.  There were prominent displays of their website and twitter account. 

I couldn't help but compare this event to the Harris County Republican Party's Outreach Committee's meeting a couple of weeks ago.  There, as I wrote at the time, some candidates and committee members were in attendance with about a dozen regular voters.  The sign-in process was experiencing difficulties and there was no noticeable press coverage. 

Battleground Texas had press there.

After the cheerleading and basic training was over, the crowd was broken into groups to brainstorm.  The questions were posed: 1. In order to turn Texas blue, I think we need to do the following in my area:  and 2.  My best advice for Battleground Texas:.

One piece of paper handed out was to provide more detailed information about yourself.  If you wanted to be a member of the Launch Team, you were asked to state if you want to get deputized to register voters, take others to get deputized to register voters, spread the word about the Summer Fellowship Program, or help create the County Resource Roadmap.

On the volunteer side, the attendee was asked if he/she will knock on doors in the community to spread the word, call supporters to spread the word, host a Battleground House Party, receive text message about upcoming events, or enter data for them.

They asked for the names and info on three people in the person's network who might want to get involved.

And, the Summer Fellowship Program was announced.  This is for educating on political organizing and the person can apply online or ask for more info.  Also, the person was asked to check which applied: Latino, African American, Woman, Student, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Native American, LGBT, Educator, Union member, Small business owner, Veteran, Spanish speaker.  See, they hit all the boxes to micro-target their coalition building.  You may call it 'outreach' but it is coalition building that wins elections.

The County Resource Roadmap is "about building a stronger democratic community", according to the information provided. " ..you know the people, businesses, and needs of your community better than anyone else.  Tell us about them.  Tell us how we can make sure our efforts reflect your community".  See, more targeting to specifics.

Information was provided for Harris County Tax Office and Brazoria County Clerk's Office, as well as Galveston, Fort Bend, Chambers County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, and Waller County.  That's a lot of territory right here in the Houston area.

They are tapping into the pent-up frustration of Democrats who are tired of a state that is so Republican these past two decades.  There is real opportunity for them here, however, and Republicans are foolish to act as though there is not.  The last election, for instance, Barack Obama had more than 500 voters over Mitt Romney in Harris County.  Obama also beat McCain in 2008.  It is all about organization, and more importantly, get out the vote efforts.  These folks are experts at that.  They are training lots of others to be experts at that, too.

Harris County Republicans have to step up in a very real and strong way now. Otherwise, be prepared to be in the wilderness for a very long time.