Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline XL Project

As promised in the run up to a Republican majority in Congress, the House and Senate passed a Keystone Pipeline XL bill to authorize its approval and sent the bill to the president.  Tuesday afternoon, he vetoed that bill.  He, too, lived up to his pledge.

"[B]ecause this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest -- including our security, safety, and environment -- it has earned my veto," Obama wrote in his veto message to the Senate. 
It's not over, though.  

Mr. Obama’s veto did not reject the pipeline outright; rather, it allows the president to retain decisionmaking authority over the $8 billion project, which requires a green light from the State Department because it crosses the US-Canada border.
The studies have been made over and over again.  This decision making process has been ongoing for  six long years. The State Department has ok'd the project.  There is nothing else to be decided upon. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State enjoyed the postponements of the project to appease the ultra left environmentalists, as Obama does, but even she came around to saying she was inclined to say yes to its approval.  The longer Obama stalls on the final decision - as the State Department now does a "final" analysis, the closer the issue comes to Hillary's expected run for president in 2016, when she will once again be appeasing the far left electorate.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gov Scott Walker Should Listen to Sen Rubio

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has managed to get himself into another public relations mess. The first one, you may recall, was his response to a question about his belief in evolution presented by an English interviewer in London.  He tried to duck the question when all he had to say was, "yes." It would have been over and done with. He didn't do that, however, and the story was cable news fodder for days.

George Will said on Fox News Sunday, "There are certain questions for which you answer "Yes!". "Do you believe in evolution? "Yep." "Do you think President Obama is patriotic? "Yes". No further explanation needed. These are simple questions asked of only Republican candidates by liberal media types who want to portray the Republican Party as the party of Neanderthals. We all know it. We all expect it. The candidates themselves should be the most aware of the questions that will come their way and be prepared.

"There are trap doors every day when you are running for President", said Robert Gibbs, former Obama spokesman on Meet the Press. We know that, too. We must be diligent and choose candidates who can maneuver around in the mind field of questioning from reporters. Candidates have to be on guard in even the most friendly of interviews and certainly should not weigh in on a subject if not asked about it. We have seen time and time again a Republican candidate vilified for an off the cuff answer while Democrats are consistently given a free pass. That is the reality of today's journalism.

This response from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) when he was asked about the remark was perfectly delivered:

"I don’t feel like I’m in a position to have to answer for everyone in my party who makes a claim. Democrats aren’t asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing. So I don’t know why I should answer every time a Republican does. I will suffice it to say, I believe the president loves America. His ideas are bad.”

The response is perfect because it stops the conversation and it is truthful. No one Republican has to respond or justify or explain in any way what another has to say.  The demands for response come from a media who do not want Republicans to win.  Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) is in an uncomfortable place again because he made the mistake of saying he didn't know if President Obama was a Christian or not.  This was an unforced error. Walker is doing well in early polls as a potential presidential candidate and it was just dumb of him to go there. He is the son of a preacher so maybe it was an honest mistake but it shows he still has a way to go before he is ready to be in a presidential race.  He has been a successful governor and a proven fighter so I hope he gets it together soon.

There are plenty of policy differences that Republicans can focus on against Democrats, especially Obama, who will not be running again, so our candidates must just stay out of the fringe nonsense.  We all have our opinions of President Obama. Some have read his own accounting of his life story. There is plenty to be concerned about but it is water under the bridge now.  The man is in his second and last term. We just have to get through two more years.

Let's make sure it is a Republican who replaces Barack Obama at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Houston Mayor Parker Attacks Guiliani on Twitter

Houston Mayor Annise Parker weighed in on the headline grabbing quote from former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani Saturday evening on Twitter.  Imagine that. The sitting mayor of the nation's fourth largest city decided to jump into political hack territory on social media against a private citizen, making a remark at a private gathering.

Guiliani stated that President Obama doesn't love America, due to his upbringing. This was in response to some less than reality based remarks made by Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.  A potential presidential candidate, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, was at the private group dinner.

Republican Giuliani made the remarks late last night at a private group dinner that included Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential run."I do not believe -- and I know this is a horrible thing to say -- but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said at the New York dinner, according to Politico."He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."

Here is the Tweet:

There've been Presidents I've disliked. I've disagreed with each at times. But they all loved America. Giuliani's an embarrassment.-A
The "A" at the end of the Tweet is her way of saying the Tweet was made by her, not a staffer. Some elected officials Tweet themselves, some have a staffer do it. For example, Sen John Cornyn does his own tweets on his account @JohnCornyn. Parker does both - her own Tweets and those from a staffer. 
From the City of Houston website, here is a paragraph taken from her official description:
" Mayor Annise D. Parker serves as the Executive Officer of the City. As the City's chief administrator and official representative, the Mayor is responsible for the general management of the City and for seeing that all laws and ordinances are enforced. Administrative duties include the appointments, with Council approval, of department heads and persons serving on advisory boards."

She serves as the city's official representative. That responsibility includes serving all of the people of Houston, not just Democrats.

So, since the mayor follows me on Twitter, I responded:

mayor tweets Rudy is "an embarrassment". I think Houston roads fit that description. Elected official vs private citizen.Disgusted.

Silly me. I think the mayor of Houston should be more embarrassed by the failures of her maintenance of our city than something said by a private citizen who doesn't even live in Houston. Funny, I don't remember any Tweets from her when former President Bush was being vilified - even when then candidate Barack Obama called Bush unpatriotic.
On July 3, 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama said this:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
This kerfuffle has become a multi-day story. Cable news outlets are talking about the remark with panels of pundits as though there is nothing else going on in the world. Guiliani is a private citizen. He was speaking to an audience at a private gathering. Period.
You may remember Mayor Parker signed on to a controversial campaign waged by former NYC Mayor Bloomberg against gun violence, calling for a ban on some types of guns. Parker joined in.
Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced in a New York Times article published today that he plans to spend at least $50 million this year to reduce gun violence through Everytown’s educational and advocacy efforts and through personal expenditures.The organization also announced today the formation of Everytown’s advisory board – a distinguished and diverse group of leaders and gun violence survivors: Art Acevedo, Tom Barrett, Stephen Barton, Michael Bloomberg, David Boren, Eli Broad, Warren Buffett, Gloria Chavez, David Chipman, Michael Coleman, Carlos Giménez, Roxanna Green, Nick Hanauer, Geoffrey Henry, Danny Jones, Ken Lerer, John Mack, Thomas Menino, Marc Morial, Mike Mullen, Michael Nutter, Annise Parker, Cleopatra Pendleton, Nathaniel Pendleton, Tom Ridge, Gilles Rousseau, Christy Salters Martin and Shannon Watts.“This is the beginning of a major new campaign to reduce the gun violence that plagues communities across the country,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, chair of Everytown for Gun Safety. “There is no question that more needs to be done to tackle this deadly problem, and that's why more than 1.5 million Americans, nearly 1000 mayors and moms in all 50 states have already come together to fight for common-sense reform that will respect rights and save lives. This new organization will bring more people into the fight against gun violence, which affects every town in America.”
I  think some Texas gun owners were "embarrassed" by that stance.  If banning guns eliminated gun violence, the former city of Barack Obama, Chicago, wouldn't have the most gun deaths in America.

From potholes to a broken pension system, I think the City of Houston has enough problems to keep Mayor Parker busy without her having to go on Twitter and weigh in on bashing a former Republican mayor, especially one who is a partner in a flourishing Houston business.
Mayor Parker is term limited and cannot run for another term as Houston's mayor. Perhaps she should use a bit more prudence in her remarks going forward if she wishes to continue on in politics, either state or national.

Friday, January 30, 2015

RPT Chairman Munisteri Announces Resignation, Speaks to Memorial West Republican Women 2/2/15

How timely is it that RPT Chairman Munisteri is the featured speaker for the Monday meeting of Memorial West Republican Women?  Very timely!  The public is welcome to come to the program and listen to what the Chairman has to say to us.

The meeting is at Ninfa's on Memorial.  Come for coffee at 10:30 am and stay for the program at 11:00 am.

Below is the statement released by the Republican Party of Texas and one from Chairman Munisteri.

Austin, TX - Republican Party of Texas State Chairman Steve Munisteri informed the State Republican Executive Committee today that he will resign as State Chairman effective Saturday, March 7th at 1:00 PM.
At the last meeting of the SREC, the Chairman proposed a bylaw amendment which allowed for there to be a seamless transition from the current Chair to a new Chairman without the necessity of the Vice Chairman taking over temporarily. The amendment allows an outgoing Chairman to set a future day for resignation on which date the election for a new Chairman could be held. This bylaw requires the outgoing Chairman to give at least 30 days written and irrevocable notice of a date and time certain.
As a result of this new bylaw, Chairman Munisteri will chair the business portion of the first quarterly meeting of the SREC, scheduled for March 7th in Austin. Other than the election of a new Chair, all business is expected to be concluded by 1:00 PM. At that time, an election for a new State Chairman will be held. Vice Chairwoman Amy Clark will preside over the election which will be conducted under Roberts Rules of Order. There will be as many rounds of voting as necessary until a candidate receives over 50% of the votes of the SREC. Candidates are not eliminated after each round unless they withdraw. There are 64 voting members of the SREC, including the Chairman and Vice Chairwoman. Once the Chairman steps down there will be 63, meaning 32 will constitute a majority.
There will be a candidate forum for SREC members sponsored by the RPT the night before the vote. This forum will be held in Austin at a site to be determined. There are currently four announced candidates running for Chairman. They include current RPT Treasurer Tom Mechler, current National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong, current Dallas County GOP Chair Wade Emmert, and former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill.

Chairman Munisteri offered the following statement regarding his decision:
 “Today I informed the SREC that I will be stepping down on March 7th. I have done so, in part, in order to accept the position of Senior Advisor to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul shares my vision of promoting the conservative values of individual freedom, limited government, a strong national defense, and defense of the Constitution in each and every community in our country.
My top priority as Chairman these past five years has been to engage every Texas community. During my tenure, we established the position of African American Engagement, Asian American Engagement, and Hispanic Engagement. We undertook a robust grassroots engagement program throughout the state which included a large number of field staff and Victory offices, with some being located in nontraditional Republican areas.
Senator Paul also shares my belief that the Republican Party cannot expect to win a national race unless we attract younger voters and take our message aggressively to the Hispanic, African American, and Asian American communities. He shares my vision of doing so by actively engaging community leaders, traveling to nontraditional Republican communities, and making it clear that everyone that shares our beliefs are welcome in our party. Most importantly, he believes we can be effective in doing so without compromising our principles. I have known Senator Paul for well over 30 years and have found him to be one of the most intelligent, well-read, well-informed, and rational thinkers that I have ever encountered. I am honored to assist him in whatever his future endeavors may be.
It has been my honor to serve as RPT Chairman since June 2010 and oversee our party’s efforts during the last three election cycles. I am proud that by working together, we have had a net increase of 1,182 Republican officeholders during my time in office, representing an increase from 45% of all state officeholders to 67%. We have also set the all-time record for most number of elected Republican Texas State Representatives and Republican Texas Congressmen, as well as tying the record for most number of Republican State Senators.
At the same time, we paid off the party’s debt to $0 for the first time in 18 years and have remained debt free since November 2010 while bringing in over $22 million in revenue. This would not have been possible without the support of literally tens of thousands of grassroots activists and donors, for which I will be forever grateful. It has been the honor of my life to represent tens of millions of Texas Republicans and I wish our new Chairman well, whoever that may be, and plan to offer my support in whichever way I can help.”

Memorial West Republican Women has an open invitation to the public to come and hear the monthly speakers. If you want to stay informed on Republican politics in Harris County, a Republican Women's club meeting is a necessary stop.

Stay informed.  Be empowered.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Netanyahu Invited to Speak to Joint Session of Congress

Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.  Consulting with The White House and the State Department was not a part of the process. Naturally, the White House felt the sting of the Speaker going rogue and called the invitation a break in protocol.

I know. I chuckled, too. President Obama and his White House take great pleasure in going around Congress at every opportunity yet Boehner is breaking protocol?  We have in our democratic republic three separate branches of government.  While unusual, the move is not usurping power from the Executive Branch.

Recently, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the White House press corps that he made phone calls to members of Congress to encourage them to not proceed on increasing sanctions against Iran as it could hinder ongoing nuclear power negotiations.  Ever heard of that kind of statement from a foreign leader? I suppose a break in protocol is in the eye of the beholder.

The reasoning from the House speaker is that members simply do not trust the president and stories in the press that the White House believes that the president doesn't need approval from Congress to sign a deal with Iran led the House to the invitation to Netanyahu.  

The relationship between Netanyahu and Obama has never warmed, to say the least.  Obama has already said he will not meet with Netanyahu during his visit. "It's an ongoing soap opera", said Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as well as a former advisor to both Republican and Democrat Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations.

This White House has a real problem with transparency.  This has been called the most secretive, least transparent presidency since Richard M. Nixon. In keeping with this White House's behavior, the promise to keep the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the loop on the decision to end the embargo on Cuba was broken.  An apology was made to Senator Marco Rubio, who specifically asked the White House to keep the committee updated and was told they would during a hearing, once the President made his announcement.

Have you seen the video of Rubio in his most recent questioning on the Cuban decision?

Sometimes turnabout is fair play, even if it is between Congress and the president.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Republican Women and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This is our message as Republicans. It comes from the State of the Union response delivered by newly elected Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. All issues are important and principles matter.  This, however, is the absolute core of Republican philosophy.

 "You don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work."

Personal freedom to make the American Dream work for you and yours is our most basic message.  Why, then, do we continue to allow the male leadership of the party to torpedo our message when it is completely avoidable? 

Wednesday House Republican women took on the male leadership and it was a very good thing.  Instead of allowing the leadership to present a bill simply for the optics of the date, the bill was pulled without a vote allowed.  The bill is called  Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and has been voted on in the affirmative in previous years.  Last year it was voted on and passed despite a last minute change that betrayed the Republican women enough that they told leadership that if it happened again, they would no longer vote for the bill.  What did the leadership do? Put the language into the bill again this year anyway.

This year leadership brought the bill forward to be passed Wednesday, with the optics playing out that the March For Life in D.C. was set for Thursday.

Taking the lead were Rep Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep Jackie Walorski (R-IN). There was language in the bill that required women to report rape to the police in order to receive an exception to the law for an abortion after 20 weeks. This language was slipped in at the last minute the last time and Republican women objected, yet voted for it anyway.  This time it was different.  

The women were concerned that requiring a police report would discourage some women from reporting rape to medical officials.  The women were also concerned about the next election. This type of rigid language is what turns off Independent and more conservative Democrats from voting for Republicans in the presidential elections.  As responsible politicians, it is vital that they look at the long term gains of legislation, not just quick optics that contain potentially offensive language. 

About eleven Republican women stood up and insisted that passing a bill on the anniversary of Roe v Wade just for optics was not the way to go.  More thoughtful discussion was needed.

Do social issues matter? Yes. It is also imperative that Republican candidates and elected officials learn to talk to voters in a way that maintains personal principle while keeping conversations on the true focus of Republican philosophy.  Why give the ugly leftists fodder to lob against Republican candidates?  There is a better way.  It is perfectly reasonable to support the Pain Capable Anti-Abortion Bill, except for the one requirement.  Republican candidates in 2016 need all the millennial and women voters possible. 

As pointed out in this article, abortion is an issue that can be prominent in both parties, but the messages are different.   
 But, the key to politics -- or at least to winning in politics -- is emphasizing those issues where you have the support of a majority of the country and spending less time and energy on those where you don't. Abortion -- particularly when it comes to questions of women who have been raped or the victims of incest -- is an issue in which the majority of the country is not in line with the Republican base. Fifty-two percent of voters in the 2014 election said that abortion should be legal in the United States (23 percent said in all cases, 29 percent in "most" cases), while 44 percent said it should be illegal in all (17 percent) or most (27 percent) cases. And those raw numbers might not even tell the full story. Remember that the electorate in 2014 was strongly tilted toward Republicans, making it more likely that in a more neutral election with presidential-year turnout -- like, say 2016 -- the support for keeping abortion legal would be higher.
Message matters.  The Republican message of economic opportunity and the freedom to pursue it is the strongest of all messages from the party.   Sixteen House Republicans spoke in favor of the bill Wednesday night. Only one was a woman. It is time to move women forward as a voice of the Republican party, especially on an issue like this one.  This is a perfect example of why it is so necessary for women to run for and win elected office. Women bring a different perspective to issues.  

The language in this bill would not have brought a single new voter to vote Republican in the next election.  Banning abortions after 20 weeks is not unreasonable. I would say that eliminating any federal money in abortion is not unreasonable. Without the police report requirement, at least the battle from Democrats on that issue is eliminated. And conservative Republican principles remain in tact.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Obama Presents the State of the Union Address Minus Reality

It was the standard big speech delivered by a far left liberal intent on transforming America more in line with the Democratic Socialist governments in Europe.  President Obama used the State of the Union address to promote lots of goodies while presenting no plans for financing these new entitlements, except for the mention that "the rich" must pay with more taxation.

THIS is the transcript released by the White House. You will note that it was released before he delivered the address to the country.

THIS is a good fact check on some of the bigger claims made by Obama. His claims on energy production, Obamacare and jobs were inflated and not quite honest, to be sure.

It was as though President Obama could not bring himself to acknowledge the shellacking he and Democrats received in the November 2014 election results.  There was no mention of the new majorities in Congress in the hands of Republicans. One has to ask, if his policies and programs have been so successful - as he boasted - then why did voters respond by bringing in even more opposition to his agenda? He made attempts to say he wanted to work with Republicans but this is the same old story - when the opposition speaks up and challenges his agenda, he is quick to go into "I won" mode and threaten vetoes. He also enjoys going on the road with speeches laden with taunts and pokes to Republicans. His inflated ego does not allow him to not be blinded by raw ideology in his partisanship. Barack Obama has shown himself the most partisan, least mature president in my lifetime. He is simply not up to the job. He divides when he should unite.

Texas Senator John Cornyn said, ‘Sadly, the President has doubled down on the same agenda, which in his own words was on the ballot this last fall and was soundly rejected. I think I speak for many Americans and many Texans when I say, Mr. President, enough is enough.’

What didn't the president mention in the 2015 State of the Union address?  al Quada.  Considering the state of the world today, that is an amazingly cynical omission. Taking shots at previous administrations, he referred to U.S. foreign policy as "bluster" and yet he is the one issuing red lines and then failing to act when countries like Syria ignore his own form of bluster. Perhaps bluster is in the eye of the beholder.  Today Yemen is on the verge of toppling into a completely failed state.  That vacuum has been quickly filled by those who plot to kill westerners, the most extreme of those practicing Islam.

This president refuses to use the term "extremist Islamists" when speaking about those terror cells in the headlines recently.  

My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military — then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That’s what our enemies want us to do.I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now — and around the globe, it is making a difference.
 First, we stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists — from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.At the same time, we’ve learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years.
Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who’ve now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.Second, we are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small — by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.That’s how America leads — not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.
Unfortunately there is little evidence that the rest of the world trusts this president for support against terrorism.  He is so busy being the anti-war guy that he fails to acknowledge the real threats to national security at home and abroad. The recent terror attacks in Paris show clearly that his response is typically late, muddled, and insufficient.

Is the incessant use of drones to kill bad guys - along with innocents, too often - a better way of winning hearts and minds overseas versus capturing on the battlefield and using GITMO? Is it more efficient in the war on terror?

The first female combat veteran to be elected to U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst delivered the Republican response to the president's State of the Union address. She wore camouflage pumps, the pictures creating a social media buzz, and presented her delivery in a calm, concise and firm  as she delivered her  response. She is also the first woman elected to serve Iowa in Congress.

George Will said  a "semi star was born." "Helped put a fresh face on the Republican party." I agree.