I’ve been welcomed…

January 21, 2013 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on I’ve been welcomed… 

Consorting with the enemy, I am, on this day of coronation, er, inauguration…

Michael —

I’m Jon Carson, the new executive director of Organizing for Action Against America.

I hope you’re as excited as I am for this new organization, and for what our grassroots movement can accomplish in the next four years.

If you haven’t already, you should check out this short video First Lady Michelle Obama recorded about our organization, and then say you’re on board.

Just a little bit about me. I’m a Wisconsin guy, and I grew up on a farm in the western part of the state. In 2007, I joined Barack Obama’s campaign and served as the national field director. After the election, I went to work for the President in the White House, most recently in the Office of Public Engagement.

That brings me to now, when very soon, my family and I will be moving back to Chicago as I start this new role with all of you.

I first joined the President’s campaign because I was inspired by his belief that ordinary people have the power to change our country if we work together to get it done — and that belief will be at the core of this new organization as it unfolds.

And the way we’ll get it done can be summed up in one word: local.

That means each city or region will have its own OFA chapter, and you’ll decide the issues your community cares about most, the work you want to do to make progress on them, and the kind of support you’ll need to get it done.

At a neighborhood and regional level, OFA members will grow their local chapters, bringing in new leaders and helping train a new generation of volunteers and organizers to help fight for the issues at stake.

There’ll be times when we pull together at the national level to get President Obama’s back on passing major legislation, like reducing gun violence or immigration reform. And we’ll all work to help transform Washington from the outside while strengthening our economy and creating jobs.

But for the most part, the direction our work takes will be completely in your hands — with the support of this organization behind you every step of the way.

In the next few weeks and months, I’ll be asking for your input on putting together an OFA plan for 2013, we’ll be holding online briefings about the issues we want to tackle, and we’ll start organizing on those issues as they’re debated in D.C.

But for right now, I just want to say thanks and welcome. There’s a lot to be done, without a doubt — and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of OFA with you.

Take a look at the video the First Lady recorded this week, and go ahead — say you’re in:

(Video link removed.)

I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks,

Jon

Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action Against America

So they’re going local, eh? Well, they certainly have the local strength and willing dupes, as the recent election showed – the fact they’re publicly inaugurating Barack Obama today, much to the chagrin of liberty-loving Americans, makes that plain. And I’m certain that the overarching themes of their local work will be those closely resembling their national efforts.

But the one stroke of genius they’ve hit upon is that of making it sound like they really care about what those in flyover country think, and that can be their Achilles heel. What if liberty-loving Americans took over the local chapters?

If I’m on their mailing list, there are probably a significant portion of people on our side who also get the same Obama propaganda. Some of us are known to the radical liberals who comprise the true believers, so any efforts we might have toward infiltration would be either rebuffed outright, or politely shunted to areas outside the inner circle. But people who sympathize with our side yet have the sterner stuff to withstand the absolute rhetorical stench which may emanate from their gatherings AND aren’t necessarily the most-known local faces of the pro-liberty movement may have a role to play.

Think of this: if we can get a couple moles inside their group, and in time they recruit a couple more liberty lovers, and so forth and so on, we receive two benefits: one, an insider report on some of their action plans we can use to counterattack, and two, perhaps eventually enough to take over the group and use it for the causes of good. I’ll admit that, if the OFA people want to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or spend an afternoon cleaning up the local river bank, there’s nothing wrong with providing some benefit for the community and most of us can agree to that.

But if they’re going to play political action committee and do a lit drop extolling the so-called “benefits” of Obamacare or portray an interested, unbiased group which just happens to show up en masse at the school board meeting to support the Common Core curriculum, well, those are the sort of moves we need to know about in advance.

And who knows? They may find the dialogue to be respectful, sort of like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation people who were at the WSOP meeting last week. We had some comments for them, they answered some of our questions, and we moved a little forward. I happen to think these OFA groups simply need a little bit of mature leadership, with a push given toward the RIGHT direction. The old saw “Question Authority” would work quite well in this instance.

Unfortunately, there exists such a state of mistrust among the two sides (for good reason, in some instances) that it would be difficult for many of the more activist among us to complete the task. It will take a special subset to contribute to the pro-liberty cause in this way, and we need those among us who step forward to subtly put up with the other side for a time. In time, it may be worth it.

What we may be up against

January 10, 2013 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on What we may be up against 

Because I like to know what’s going on from the other side, I bring you this nauseating e-mail from Jim Messina and Obama For Against America. Links are not active because, if you support this crap you can figure them out yourself. You liberals think you’re so smart!

As the “fiscal cliff” debate raged on, supporters like you were right there with President Obama, making sure your voices were heard from all over the country. When we work together like that, we’re a powerful force.

Issues like immigration, climate change, and gun violence will be debated over these next four years, and President Obama is ready to take them on — but he needs us by his side. Our goal is to help him get things done, but also to help change how things get done in Washington in the first place.

Over inauguration weekend, you’ll have a chance to participate in a discussion about how we’ll work together to support our president and address the issues we all care about. Some volunteers and staff will be gathering in Washington, D.C., and will be joined online by thousands more supporters nationwide for the Obama Campaign Legacy Conference, where we’ll firm up the structure and leadership of the new organization.

Want to be part of the conversation as our next chapter begins?

Say you’re in and we’ll follow up with ways to participate.

The impetus for this conference comes from you. In November, we sent a survey asking you about your campaign experience and where you’d like our movement to go from here.

More than a million people responded. In fact, four out of five survey respondents said they’d like to continue to be involved and volunteer over the next four years.

That’s an advantage that no previous president has enjoyed, and one that has the potential to reshape our politics for years to come.

This is an important opportunity to shape the future of this movement, and I hope you’ll take part:

http://my.barackobama.com/Obama-Campaign-Legacy-Conference

Thanks. Can’t wait to see what we do next. (Emphasis mine.)

Unlike Jim, I can wait, unless resignation is one of the options.

But the reason I bring this up is this: let’s just assume for the sake of argument that the survey indeed received a million responses and 80% said they’d like to volunteer. That’s 800,000 people working for the causes of tyranny and bigger government. So where is our counterforce going to come from?

The one problem we have as a leaderless conservative movement is that it’s much easier to divide us. Granted, it’s also much more difficult to neutralize the movement as a whole because it’s spread so thin, but this also requires each person to motivate his or her self in keeping up the fight. It seems those crowds of ten-, twenty-, or even thirty-thousand at Romney rallies weren’t very good force multipliers. (Either that or perhaps the lack of crowds at corresponding Obama rallies was because they were working the streets and phones.)

I’m still convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the majority of the country holds views which can be described as conservative. They may not necessarily be Republican views, but it seems to me, for example, that people still want an America which holds the highest living standard in the world. Yet they voted against that self-interest in the last election, in part because other issues were held out as red herrings – “War on Women,” anyone?

This group of 800,000 or so may actually have some conservatives in it, too. There were a few who still believed that Obama was a centrist, in part because he continued several foreign and domestic policy initiatives undertaken in the eight years of President Bush. But most of them in this cult of personality are the true believers – if four years of failure wasn’t enough to shake this crowd, they are some committed souls.

Somewhere, somebody has the conservative database to overcome this effort and put out an army of pro-liberty disciples which can match and overcome this otherwise inexorable march toward despotism. If you have it, we need to share!

The importance of data

Fellow blogger Judy Warner, who now contributes to the Potomac Tea Party Report, tipped me off to an article on the Atlantic website; an article which provided a glimpse at perhaps the most important part of Barack Obama’s electoral victory. Obviously it’s packed with effusive praise for Obama’s campaign in general, for the Atlantic is at heart a highbrow liberal magazine.

But there’s an important point to be considered: say all you want about Obama’s wretched foreign and domestic policies, but he knew how to get re-elected despite being arguably the worst president since Jimmy Carter when it came to bungling both sides of the equation. Oh sure, we on the conservative side know that the mainstream media ran interference for him like the Chicago Bears of another era blocked for Walter Payton but in the end it was Payton who made the defense miss tackles and not easily bring him down.

The part about the Atlantic‘s piece by Alexis Madrigal which stuck out to me the most, though, was the Obama campaign’s willingness to go outside the political arena and find people who simply knew how to make the best use of the technology out there. (If only he would do the same for economics and Constitutional scholarship.) Of course, there was a symbiotic relationship between the two since I’m certain the vast majority of those who signed on were in Obama’s philosophical corner, but this is the technology edge that the Republicans swore up and down they would negate this time around. Instead, we had the well-documented and discussed crash of the ORCA system on Election Day which cemented the demise of Mitt Romney’s Presidential bid.

The orphan of Romney’s technology failure could be traced back to the fact that those who were by trade political consultants – and hence “knew how the system worked” – really didn’t know squat about the technological side of things. Ten years ago e-mail lists were golden because that was going to be the new way to reach voters. In fact, as I recall, the first rendition of Obama For Against America had a massive list of somewhere around 13 million e-mail addresses to start from (including mine.) But their technology team built up from there and integrated all sorts of data collection and outputs tailored from it.

As an example, remember the post where I related the fact they knew I hadn’t donated to the Obama campaign? The fact that they could tie together the database which had my e-mail address and the one where they had the records of who donated was seemingly beyond the capability of the Romney camp. Instead, the Romney side would send me the EXACT SAME e-mail several times – once from their campaign and then through three or four different “sponsored content” sites to whom I’m sure the Romney people paid handsomely for their list. Unfortunately, I happened to be at the very center of that Venn diagram and I’m betting that most of you reading this were too. But does a generic e-mail motivate someone to go to the polls or donate?

Once again, the key difference came down to data. Maybe I wasn’t high up on the sophistication level of the Obama people because they knew I was sort of a lurker on their e-mail list. I’d bet a dollar to a donut they knew I was a XXX Republican voter and therefore gave me the minimum of e-mail efforts; meanwhile, the uncommitted or newly registered voter (or one who bothered to fill out more information at the Obama site, unlike me) had a variety of messages tailored for him or her. You don’t honestly think the “Julia” advertising campaign or the Lena Dunham “First Time” commercial weren’t calculated to arouse a group they knew they had a maximum of potential voters within? It’s also why they promoted the false “war on women” narrative, with plenty of media help to play up unfortunate statements by U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

Since the Romney campaign all but ignored Maryland, let’s look at one statewide Republican campaign we contested, that of Dan Bongino. Just as a recap, Bongino began running for the U.S. Senate as a first-time candidate in the spring of 2011. He had no political experience and his main initial backing was from someone who had ran and lost badly in his first run for political office at the statewide level a year earlier in Brian Murphy. It wasn’t exactly a broad platform to begin from, and the key question in the race early on was whether 2010 GOP U.S. Senate nominee Eric Wargotz would try again. He didn’t.

But Bongino worked hard to overcome many of his disadvantages, and had the attribute of a compelling, man-bites-dog sort of story: a former Secret Service agent quits to make a seemingly quixotic U.S. Senate run in a liberal bastion of a state. Moreover, he’s young, well-spoken, and telegenic, with a rags-to-riches life story that unfortunately too few got to hear outside of the conservative echo chamber. Dan did well at nationalizing his campaign thanks to that story, and managed to win the Republican primary in April over the game but underfunded Richard Douglas and several other less qualified candidates.

Perhaps the Bongino campaign hit its peak just before Labor Day, because just as people decided to start paying attention a newcomer jumped into the race with a populist promise and millions of dollars at his disposal. Obviously this threw the Bongino campaign out of balance and too much time was spent trying to fight off the challenger on the ladder below while the guy above him had little to do but watch the other two battle it out. It was almost as if Dan had to run a second primary campaign in the midst of a general election, this time against an opponent who was much better-funded and inundated the airwaves with slick 30-second commercials beseeching people to “declare your independence.” Like it or not, the “independence” pitch was a message that worked with those who were sick of party infighting but didn’t want to bother enough to go into the details of Rob Sobhani’s pledges.

But imagine what could have been had Dan had the same sort of database and expertise used by the Obama campaign? He could have targeted his message in such a manner to counter the incumbent’s record to certain voters, rebuke the so-called “independent” to wavering supporters, and kept the money stream flowing from the die-hard element. There was no question in my mind that Dan’s message had broad appeal, and perhaps had the roles been reversed between Bongino and Sobhani to where Rob was the GOP nominee and Bongino the unaffiliated candidate, the results would have been about the same. The only difference would be that the Maryland GOP would have been embarrassed about losing to an independent candidate as well as a Democrat.

That’s not to say that there aren’t potential databases at our disposal. We have an idea of those who are most worried about illegal immigration (Question 4), and are pro-family (Question 6). Those who came out against Question 5 and Question 7 can also be construed as sympathetic to at least part of our message. Then add in all the AFP people, TEA Party participants, and fiscal conservatives we know and one can build up a little bit of a knowledge base. Of course, the key is keeping it up to date and determining relevant messaging for the situations which crop up.

A new era is dawning in politics. The old scattershot standby of sign waving doesn’t seem to be very effective anymore, even as well as Dan did it in one memorable afternoon. There were a lot of cars going by on Rockville Pike that day to be sure, but there was no way of knowing whether these were even registered voters. Maybe it’s because I don’t get a lot of Democratic campaign e-mail, or maybe there’s just not enough of a base around here to make it worthwhile, but I never hear about a Democratic sign waving unless it’s in the form of a larger protest. What few Democratic tactical e-mails I received (from the Obama campaign, naturally) had to do with person-to-person events – making phone calls from the local headquarters or having “watch parties” for various campaign events at people’s homes. The former was probably more effective for reaching out to undecided voters while the latter kept the zealots motivated to keep giving of their time and talents. And it came down to having the database to know where I lived and what events were being planned by supporters via solid communications between volunteer and campaign. Those functions were handled on a local level on the Romney side, not always well.

It has been said to me on many occasions that conservatives win on issues and that we are a center-right nation. Obviously I believe that and if anything I think we need a stronger dose of limited government.

But data is king. It’s not enough to have the registration lists and do the door-to-door and phone calls, both of which seemed to be sadly lacking in Maryland thanks to a self-defeating prophecy which states Republicans can’t win statewide elections so why bother trying? That’s a good start, but we also need to invest in the electronic end of things and, more importantly, look outside the incestuous web of political consultants who talk a good game about political IT and find those who do these things for a living. Not all of the Web and social media gurus are liberal Democrats – admittedly, most are but we have to build up a farm team there as well.

I believe we can overcome all those “demography is destiny” and “you can’t convince the minorities to vote GOP” naysayers by using the right data to send them the conservative message. We can win, but it will take hard work, a lot of prudent investment outside of the good-old-boy, inside-the-Beltway system which continues to insure us defeat after defeat, and less of a reliance on things we always thought worked before but have outlived their usefulness.

All of us movement conservatives have some sort of talent, and there are a growing number who believe mine is in analyzing information and providing it to readers in a coherent fashion. As I said in my book. I believe there’s a place for someone of my talents in a conservative, limited-government movement. Years ago I read a self-help book which said I should manage around my weaknesses so I took that to heart and play to my strengths, and mine is in gathering my thoughts and turning them into pixels on a computer screen or words on a page.

But there’s a far bigger place for those who know how to corral data and put it to use so people like me can communicate to the largest number of relevant people possible, while others who have that gift of gab and outgoing personality needed for the task are sent to knock on the right doors and dial the right phone numbers with the right message for the listener. It’s never going to be foolproof, but we have a long way to go just to be adequate.

Finally, we have to treat this like a war. Of course I don’t mean that in the sense of carnage and mayhem, but the idea of taking time off or letting someone else do the job is no more. A soldier has to be ready for anything at any time, and we have to be ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice, keeping an eye out for future elections. On that front, I’m very disappointed I’ve seen no action in my hometown and no credible candidate file to either run against our mayor or the two City Council members whose seats are up in this cycle. Nor do we have a good idea yet of who will be running locally in 2014. (In that case, though, we happen to have a number of incumbents but there are seats we’d love to contest and fill as well.)

Not all campaigns will be successful, but I think we can take a step toward eventual success in learning from our tormentors, and the Atlantic profile provides a quick case study.

Upon further consideration…

September 21, 2012 · Posted in Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Upon further consideration… 

After stewing on this for a few days, I’ve come to a conclusion: Jim Messina, Campaign Manager for Obama For Against America, is a total douchebag.

In reaction to the Romney statements surreptitiously taped and taken out of full context by Mother Jones magazine, Messina said the following:

Today we learned that Mitt Romney said this about Obama supporters to fellow millionaires at a closed-door fundraiser:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income taxes …

My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The man who spoke these words — who demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans — is the other side’s choice for president of the United States. He wants to lead our country.

If we don’t come through for President Obama right now, this will be the guy making big decisions that affect us and our families every single day. (All emphasis in original.)

First of all, Romney was absolutely right. Sadly, we have an element of society (who will likely vote for Obama if they vote at all) who believes they’re entitled to every single morsel of government goodies because there are people who have things they want and they don’t. That selfish attitude lies in stark contrast to the attitude of many Romney supporters who are happy to be charitable but would prefer to make their own choices about who they donate to.

So we have remarks that the other 53 percent of us would likely listen to and nod our head in agreement with (not to mention some portion of the 47 percent who still have some semblance of pride.) Thing is, if the economy hadn’t gone in the tank a half-decade ago we may be looking at only 40 percent of the population being in the class Romney speaks of rather than 47 percent. That would be a huge electoral difference, although on the other hand if the economy were good Barack Obama would have had no chance of winning in 2008.

But the other question is why this video is important right now. Since it was apparently taped in the spring, it’s possible some turncoat – a double agent of sorts (remember, this was a fundraiser that attendees had to pay $50,000 a head for) – came and taped Romney’s remarks. At this point it was pretty obvious that Romney would be the GOP nominee so anything he said would be fair game. In a regular campaign, this tape would likely be the October surprise, but events in the Middle East have forced the Obama campaign and their allies in the press to go to the well a little early as yet another diversion. They couldn’t let the press narrative of Middle East protests sparked by an obscure filmmaker’s video fall apart as more evidence of an organized attack on the Libyan embassy leaked out, so this video becomes the new narrative: “Romney is out of touch and uncaring.”

Even if Romney is correct and Obama gets 47 percent of the vote, the good news is that leaves 53% of the vote for Mitt Romney. Depending on which states fall into each category, we can even allow Gary Johnson 3 percent and give Romney 50 percent and 270 or more electoral votes. Works for me.

Then maybe we can work on paring back that 47 percent on the government dole by growing the economy the right way, through job creation in the private sector and not “independence cards” from the public one. Funny how Jim Messina isn’t taking credit for all those new food stamp recipients.

Odds and ends number 58

While I ditched one long-running post series Friday night and another will soon go on its annual hiatus now that the Shorebirds season is nearly complete, the “odds and ends” series continues to be a fan favorite. (It’s also a writer favorite, which is why I keep doing these 1-5 paragraph looks at interesting items I come across.)

First up are the Libertarians, which once again have made it to the ballot in Maryland as an official minor party. This means all of their Congressional and Senatorial candidates can run under the Libertarian banner. Locally, First District Congressional hopeful Muir Boda noted:

We are so grateful for the hard work put into this drive for ballot access. This was a true grassroots political effort that will offer real alternatives to the two major political parties. Thank you to all who petitioned and to all who signed the petition giving voters more legitimate choices in November. Liberty is on the ballot!

What I find interesting, though, is that the Green Party, which also secured the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot, only has a handful of candidates running in Maryland. I encourage them to get moving and fill their ballot spaces as well!

About 18 months ago I posted about the District of Columbia’s 5-cent-per-bag tax and efforts to make it a reality in Maryland. So far our retailers have remained unscathed for the most part, but a recent study done by The Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research at Suffolk University in Boston indicates that the bag tax is neither producing the revenue contemplated from the tax nor significantly reducing the number of bags in circulation, to wit:

We project that a rebound in grocery bag consumption will lead to higher Bag Tax collections. Consumers will pay $5.74 million in Bag Taxes, with D.C. receiving of $4.59 million in FY 2016 (114.8 million bags X $0.04) and retailers keeping the other $1.15 million. This revenue will drain resources from the private economy of D.C.

All other things being equal, consumers will allocate a portion of their spending to the Bag Tax or divert spending outside D.C. to avoid the tax ─ both will reduce consumption spending in D.C. As a result, retail businesses will see a reduction in sales and profits and, in turn, reduce their employment and investment expenditures leading to lower wages and income.

The higher Bag Tax collections will destroy 136 net local jobs. The job losses will cause annual wages to fall by $13.73 per worker and aggregate real disposable income to fall by $8.08 million. The tax will also lower investment by $1.58 million, with the loss concentrated in the retail sector.

The lost income and employment will be felt in the collection of other taxes in D.C., such as the sales tax. We estimate that D.C. will forgo an additional $163,510 in sales tax revenue due to the Bag Tax.

In short, people are working around the problem and retailers are lax about the collection of the tax. To them, it’s just more paperwork they can do without. Just like any other tax – such as the 2008 sales tax increase in Maryland – people eventually will pay the additional tax a little bit at a time but that will leave them less money for other economic activities.

And the bags add up. On Friday I spent $200 at the grocery store and probably received 15 plastic bags. If you figure (anecdotally, of course) that an average family gets a dozen bags a week for various purchases, that adds up to $30 a year. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but if you read through the study you’ll find that other places which have adopted the tax increased it after a time – that nickel today might be a dime tomorrow and suddenly it’s a $60 annual bite.

Speaking of tax raisers, I’ve been getting a lot of shrill feedback from the Obama For Against America camp regarding the Republican convention. Let’s start with David Axelrod:

Judging from the number of times they’ve said it this week, you would think repealing Obamacare on Day One is the most urgent goal of the Republican Party and number one reason to elect Mitt Romney.

I’d like to know what’s noble about making it harder for people to get health care.

I’d like to know why you’re lying about the Republican goal, since it’s YOUR Medicare cuts which would eventually make it more difficult for seniors to receive care. Unfortunately, I doubt Obamacare would be repealed on the first day because I keep hearing this crap about “repeal and replace.” No replacement is needed.

How about Jim Messina:

If you’ve seen any coverage of Paul Ryan’s speech in Tampa, you know that the consensus among journalists and independent observers is that it was … factually challenged.

He lied about Medicare. He lied about the Recovery Act. He lied about the deficit and debt. He even dishonestly attacked Barack Obama for the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin — a plant that closed in December 2008 under George W. Bush. He also failed to offer one constructive idea about what he would do to move the country forward.

Does Obamacare cut Medicare? Yes. Did the stimulus waste a lot of money and have few “shovel-ready” jobs to show for it? Yes. And that GM plant actually closed its doors in 2009, when Barack Obama was President.

Oh, and by the way Jim, that idea to cut spending to no more than 20% of GDP? That seems pretty constructive to me given our spending problem, with the trillion-dollar annual deficits your guy has run ever since taking office.

The ones who are “factually challenged” seem to be in the White House these days.

And then we have John Kerry:

I have one message burned into my memory for everyone who cares about the outcome of this year’s presidential election:

Respond quickly and powerfully to attacks from the other side.

(snip)

What makes 2012 different from when I ran for president in 2004 is that the other side doesn’t have to wait for an outside group to come along with false attacks.

Consider this: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spent about $23 million on smear ads against me in 2004.

This year, the Romney campaign and super PACs have promised to spend more than $1 billion.

Barack Obama has been a tremendous leader who has moved our country forward in more ways than we even probably now realize. He needs another four years to get the job done.

Shouldn’t that be “seared” into your memory, Senator? Of course, the $23 million in ads merely pointed out the truth! In fact, they probably didn’t go far enough in exploring your life as a turncoat.

I’ll grant that Obama is a tremendous leader – if you count leading from behind, that is – but as I point out to Jim Messina above the ones who are misleading voters are you guys. Ask Harry Reid next time you see him about the proof that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years, or else just ask him to repeat that off the safe zone of the Senate floor next time.

Oddly enough, each and every one of these e-mails asked me for money. Guess what? Thanks in large part to you, I have none to spare.

And it wouldn’t be Labor Day if I didn’t mention…Big Labor. If you don’t think Democrats and their toady groups aren’t scared, witness the bus driver protest in Montgomery County the other day. Montgomery County GOP Chair Mark Uncapher had the right comeback though:

(L)et me offer the SEIU bus drivers a test.  If they want to take credit for kids making the honor roll, are they also will to accept responsibility for failing schools?

Of course they won’t, because those are always the fault of Republicans who won’t throw enough money at the schools.

Even though our convention is past, local Republicans aren’t done with the fun yet. The Worcester County Republicans will open their own headquarters on Saturday at 5 p.m. It will be located at 11934 Ocean Gateway, behind Sherwin Williams.

It’s good to see that other local counties are taking the step to open their own facilities instead of piggybacking from ours. Not that I mind the other counties coming here, but for convenience sake it’s better to spread the GOP wealth around. I was told to not forget my camera because “you may have a photo opportunity” so we’ll see.

But let me close with a sort of Labor Day-related question: is Barack Obama a communist?

Certainly he’s shrewd enough to not be a card-carrying member (not that most media would care anyway.) But this 30-minute snippet of an upcoming documentary called “The Unvetted” raises other disturbing questions about Obama’s background as well. This is what the Accuracy in Media folks write about the film:

A new film from America’s Survival, Inc. documents what journalist Cliff Kincaid calls “one of the most extraordinary cover-ups in American history — how a presidential candidate with a covert connection to a major Communist Party operative was protected by the major liberal and conservative media.” Kincaid is the president of America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI) and recently held a Washington, D.C. conference on “The Vetting” of Barack Obama. The 30 minute film “The Unvetted” is available for viewing for free at the ASI YouTube channel.

Since they’d like me to share, I will:

“The conservative media must stop protecting Obama from the scrutiny he deserves. Our film ‘The Unvetted’ explains this scandal and cover-up,” says Kincaid.

While the film is rather sensational, I get the feeling that this horse is already out of the barn. I doubt many people are going to have their minds changed by the film, about which filmmaker Agustin Blazquez says:

I’m now editing a full feature documentary that I want to have ready in September–the election is fast approaching!  I have been running a marathon working 14 to 16 hours a day in order to produce these two productions on time.

These productions need venues.

With the recent success of the ‘2016: Obama’s America” documentary, the climate could be good for another such film if it’s well made. As for this one, you can be the judge.

You can also be the judge as to how successful this edition of odds and ends will be. Now that voters will be starting to pay attention I’m probably going to get many more items worthy of inclusion.

Odds and ends number 56

I have a veritable catch-all of little feature items best handled in a paragraph or two, so I’ll get cracking!

First of all is an important update from the state Board of Elections with the ballot language for the seven statewide issues as well as a number of local questions (including four from Wicomico County.)

At first read, it doesn’t appear there’s any effort to deceive people into voting in a counter-intuitive manner (e.g. voting for an issue to repeal a particular law.) It appears that those who want to repeal certain laws would indeed vote against them at the ballot box.

I am a little concerned about the way Question 6 is worded, though. Here’s how the same-sex marriage bill is presented:

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

Of the seven questions the state presents to voters, this is the longest. Actually, if you removed the first clause it’s not a bad law but the part about gay and lesbian couples is a non-starter, which is probably why that language was added – people will say, oh, okay, the churches don’t have to participate. But that’s not the point, and the additional language obfuscates it.

I also wonder why the term “same-sex” wasn’t used. With the possible exception of Question 3, it’s just going to be down-the-line “against” for me. But on a local level, I’m all for two of the proposed changes – not quite sure about the last two questions quite yet.

I’m very disappointed, though, that the term limits proposal for the County Executive did not make it through County Council. Apparently several Republicans don’t have the spine to return the county to a citizen-based power structure, ensuring no individual would run the county for more than eight years. I guess we will have to primary them, won’t we?

Of course, last night the County Council heard testimony about the county’s redistricting plan for a work session today. I happen to think the plan put in place by the Redistricting Committee is quite sound and well thought out because it uses a number of significant natural and man-made boundaries (like U.S. 50) to define districts as well as making change easier in the future.

But scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that a second plan is in the works; one which will be more favorable to certain incumbents on County Council. While it’s true that about 1/4 of the county’s population is displaced by the Redistricting Committee’s plan, the goal is to establish more permanent district boundaries which won’t change as much in future years. One thing I like about the Redistricting Committee’s plan is how it keeps most of the communities together – obviously Salisbury has to be divided into at least two districts based on population and this map puts the heart of the city into either District 1 (the majority-minority district) or District 4. (Since I began work on this post last night, I have learned there is a second plan, drawn up by a county employee. While I haven’t seen it, my impression is that it’s closer to the old map.)

Speaking of elections, this tidbit came to me from Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland. It’s “even better than being a poll watcher” and it goes right to the heart of the problem.

I asked Anthony Gutierrez, our local BOE head, if you have to be registered in the county that you serve as an election judge.  He said no.  As long as you are a Maryland registered voter, you can be an election judge in any county that hires you.  He also stated that Baltimore has a terrible time recruiting enough Republican and non-partisan election judges.  The goal is to have one chief judge from each major party at each polling place.  If they cannot do that, then they try to get a non-partisan judge.  If they can’t do that……then it just has to be two of the same party!  This holds for regular judges also.

Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election. Please bring this up to the GOP that they need to be filling these positions in Baltimore and PG County and maybe other counties.  I know that this is a regular problem, so the GOP should already be aware of it, but it never hurts to get people working on a solution sooner rather than later.

In Wicomico County we only have about 38 precincts, so presumably they only need 38 election judges from each party.  But if you’re armed with the poll watcher training and are an election judge in a “problem” county it’s indeed possible to give the Democrats fits by insisting the letter of the law be followed.

Apparently they’re not going to follow the letter of the law in Tampa during the Republican convention. If you believe the Accuracy in Media group and writer Tina Trent, agitators funded by radical left-wingers including George Soros are plotting to disrupt the proceedings – of course, they’ll get plenty of press coverage if they succeed. Meanwhile, during the next week there are going to be protests in Charlotte at the Democrats’ shindig (some by unions bitterly disappointed the convention is being held in a right-to-work state) but you won’t hear a peep.

The President’s campaign also has the laughable idea that seeing five years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are enough. This is part of a missive from Obama For Against America’s Jim Messina:

Friday morning, I sent a letter to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, asking that Romney release just five years of tax returns. And I made a commitment that, if he does, this campaign would not demand more.

You should add your name. Here’s why:

Right now, our opponent is proposing a $2,000 tax increase on middle-class families with kids in order to pay for tax breaks for millionaires like him.

He’s asking Americans to put him in charge of their taxes, while refusing to come clean about his own.

This isn’t going away because voters deserve better, and everyone but the Romney campaign seems to recognize that.

(snip)

Romney’s refusal to release his returns is raising more questions than he’s been willing to answer.

According to the one full year of returns he has released, Romney paid 13.9% in taxes on his income. Thursday, he said he went back and looked, and has never paid less than 13% over the last ten years.

Now we’re asking him to put his money where his mouth is.

It is absolutely relevant for us to ask how much a presidential candidate paid in taxes, if he sheltered his money or tried to get out of paying taxes at all, why he started — and continues to own — a corporation offshore in Bermuda, why he keeps his finances offshore in the Cayman Islands, and why he opened a Swiss bank account.

(snip)

This issue isn’t going away, and for good reason. Tell Romney to follow 30 years of precedent and release his tax returns.

Next thing you know, they’ll be asking for ten years’ worth. Meanwhile, we don’t have any of Obama’s college records, never mind the whole birth certificate thing. Of course, anyone can Photoshop any sort of “fake but accurate” documents they want, but that’s not the point, either.

I truly don’t give a damn whether Mitt Romney has a Swiss bank account or money in the Cayman Islands. It’s his money and he can do as he pleases with it. And paying almost 14% of his taxes on his income? Just ask an average American who scores a big tax refund check, complete with earned income credit, what rate he or she paid and I’ll bet the answer may surprise you. Sorry, Jim Messina, that class warfare card is no good here.

That’s Obama’s America. And to that effect a movie will be shown locally beginning Friday – showtimes are here, and the trailer is below.

I may have to go see this one, and I am not a movie buff.

I’m going to close with a little encouragement from a fellow blogger – Marianne (aka Zilla of the Resistance) has been through a lot with her late stage Lyme Disease. Well, not only has she found improvement with some of her most painful symptoms of late, she’s also received some cheering news from the Mitt Romney camp as he’s making what Marianne terms a “bold stand” against those medical professionals skeptical of some possible treatments for the disease. (Maryland is one area affected more heavily than most.) Perhaps there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, and it’s not an oncoming train.

The light at the end of this post is also here, but it’s only the next post down. I encourage you to keep reading.

Odds and ends number 41

Not that I necessarily keep track of these things, but this is my first look in 2012 at those items which are worth a paragraph or three, but not a full post. It helps me clean out my e-mail inbox.

I couldn’t figure out how to embed this “Made in America” video, but I found it interesting when I watched it. I’m generally in favor of free trade and against strict protectionism, but if the difference is as small as they claim then buying American is worth it. Perhaps the claim of using 5% more American products would create 220,000 jobs is a bit dubious, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.

Our nation needs to take steps in regaining its onetime prominence as a leading manufacturer. But it’s interesting to note several of the companies prominently mentioned have at least one plant in a right-to-work state. I can’t ascertain whether these are all non-union shops, but chances are fairly good – given that only about 1/10 of the private-sector workforce is unionized – that these good, honest American jobs don’t come with the union label.

Not that Maryland is making any quick moves to join the ranks of Virginia and other right-to-work states – this year, HB91 hasn’t progressed beyond first reading. But the group New Day Maryland pointed out to me a couple other bills of interest in the General Assembly this term to keep an eye on, and I thought I’d pass along the word.

House Bill 23, the Dedicated State Funds Protection Act, would prohibit the fund-raiding Governor O’Malley is almost as well known for as his constant zeal to raise taxes. And House Bill 43 would allow appropriations bills to be subjected to the same referendum process as those bills not dealing with appropriations. (The last remaining legal straw opponents of the in-state tuition for illegal aliens referendum are grasping for is that the bill is an appropriations bill, although it’s not.)

Both these bills have a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. on January 31. I presume written testimony is acceptable, too.

Read more

As reelection looms for Obama, is Big Oil in or out?

May 20, 2011 · Posted in Pajamas Media · 3 Comments 

My latest on Pajamas Media:

Energy industry advocates were pleasantly surprised when President Obama finally bowed to the public clamor to do something — anything — about high gas prices. In an announcement last week, the president promised to speed up lease approval in Alaska and open up a number of new leasing areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps he’s seen the light?

Not so fast. Consider this breathless excerpt from an “Obama for America” e-mail sent out by campaign manager Jim Messina:

The CEOs from the five major oil companies — which together booked $36 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone — went to the Senate on Thursday to try to justify the $4 billion in tax giveaways they’re receiving this year.

(continued at Pajamas Media…)

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