Saturday, April 18, 2015

TFRW Hosts Benghazi Security Force Survivors as Speakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

United Republicans of Harris County Hear Timely Scoops from Congressman Culberson

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

No one left disappointed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 06, 2015

United Republicans of Harris County To Host Congressman Culberson

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Netanyahu Receives Strong Support In Congress For Speech

Some Democrats in Congress and all of the Obama administration, including the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, decided to politicize the speech that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu  delivered to Congress at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner. They did not attend as a means of showing disapproval. 

Alan Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that the Democrats' decision to boycott the speech from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a breech of protocal and an indecent way to act:
Congress has every right to invite, even over the president’s strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people.Congress has the right to disagree with the prime minister, but the idea that some members of Congress will not give him the courtesy of listening violates protocol and basic decency to a far greater extent than anything Mr. Netanyahu is accused of doing for having accepted an invitation from Congress.

He also reminds the reader that President Obama sent British Prime Minister Cameron to lobby members of Congress in dealing with the Iranian negotiations.  That move was clearly an intrusion into the separation of powers.  Separate but equal powers, according to the Constitution.  The man touted as a Constitutional Scholar conveniently ignores the document when it works to his advantage. It is the duty of both parties to listen to opposing views.

Before the speech, Speaker John Boehner released a video about the occasion and the details. Despite what the Democrats would have us believe, interest in attending the event was huge:
  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s audience will include members of Congress from both parties, as well as guests in the gallery.  Speaker Boehner’s guests include former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Elie Wiesel, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal.·       Given the ties between America and Israel, it’s no surprise that interest in attending the speech is high.  We’ve had 10 times the number of requests for tickets than there are seats available in the gallery.  In fact, demand is so overwhelming that both the House and Senate have set up separate viewing locations, which are also ticketed events.
A list of those declaring their boycott of the speech beforehand was released.  It included the usual suspects - far left Democrats, Muslim American politicians, Black Caucus members - who are not normally aligned with Israel anyway.  How embarrassing for them that it all turned out so well. The speech was well received - rivaling any State of the Union address for the number of standing ovations and cheers from the audience - and Prime Minister Netanyahu made his case against an Iranian nuke deal in the first five minutes.  The rest of the time he reinforced his conclusions and rallied support for Israel, which was his purpose in the first place.

President Obama was for a no nukes policy with Iran before he was against it.  As noted in this brief history, Obama is unable, or unwilling, to show leadership against an ever increasing threat to Israel:

In June 2010 the administration pushed, and the U.N. Security Council adopted, Resolution 1929, which “demands” that “Iran halt all enrichment activities.” But now the administration will endorse Iran’s “right” to an industrial-scale enrichment capability—a right, incidentally, that the administration denies to South Korea.Resolution 1929 also states that Iran is “prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles.” But Iran continues to manufacture and test ballistic missiles, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei demands they be mass produced, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator is adamant that “we are not ready to discuss this matter with any foreigner.” All of which gives the lie to weak State Department protestations that a deal will halt the ballistic missile program.In December 2013, Mr. Obama personally assured a pro-Israel audience in Washington that, when it came to diplomacy, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Now unnamed administration officials are selling the line that “the alternative to not having a deal is losing inspections, and an Iran ever-closer to having the fissile material to manufacture a weapon.” In other words, virtually any deal is better than no deal.In March 2012, Mr. Obama insisted “my policy is not containment, my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.” He has said as much on some 20 other occasions. But the deal being contemplated now, with a sunset provision that will ultimately give Iran the right to enrich in whatever quantities and to whatever levels it wants, is neither prevention nor containment.
Despite what the doubting Democrats proclaimed, the speech was not about politics for Netanyahu, it was to state his opposition to a bad deal reported to be crafted together by Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration with Iran. Netanyahu is protecting his country when challenged.

“I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention,” he said. “I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade. I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.” 
Overall, Netanyahu avoided making his controversial speech more controversial, demonstrated that most of Congress is on his side, and left town without giving his U.S. critics inside and outside the administration new ammunition. It was a speech devoid of real news, but that was the Israeli prime minister's plan.
Most of all, Netanyahu accomplished what Obama has been unable to do - explain in very plain terms the dangers of a nuclear Iran and the threats to the survival of Israel.  Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.

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.