It’s been almost three years since this was a regular feature on my site, but it appears I may have to bring this back to deal with all the stuff that I receive and deem to be somewhat newsworthy - just not enough to devote an entire post to. Ideally I can use it to clean out an e-mail box that gets too full of stuff that otherwise sits for awhile. As always, we’ll see how it goes but it’s been long enough that I had to go look up where I was in the series.
If you recall when I discussed the state convention last week, Maryland National Committeeman Louis Pope was pleased with the national GOP’s fiscal situation and it was also announced that the state party was finally out of debt. So it’s interesting to find out our national Democratic counterparts are doing what they do best: spending money they don’t have. Even with Martin O’Malley still in the race, they can’t just raise taxes to cover the difference.
It’s doubtful that Hillary’s campaign will be hurt, but Democrats are also salivating over retaking the Senate as the seats won by the GOP in the first TEA Party wave of 2010 come up for re-election in a Presidential year. That’s where a shortfall could come into play.
Speaking of the state convention, the sponsor of the amendment which actually stripped the voting rights of three auxiliary organizations now questions his own standing in introducing the amendment in the first place. It’s the ultimate in do-overs, but we have to ask whether he would have been as honest had the proposal passed.
Now Tony Campbell wants a special convention to right what was made wrong.
In discussing this with a former Chair, one thing that I learned is that seldom does an individual vote matter on the Executive Committee – there is rarely a time when a vote is close enough to make a difference. The only instance he could think of where a vote was close like that was the vote of no confidence in former Chair Jim Pelura back in 2009. That was still a relatively lopsided vote, 20 to 10, but the county chairs only voted 14 to 10. It was the six leadership and auxiliary votes that padded the margin.
(It’s also a rare time of late that I cite the balky and ad-bloated Red Maryland site, but you’ll notice the reason for the exception.)
So I think we should deal with this in due course. Perhaps we can do like we do for government “shutdowns” and give the auxiliary organizations their votes later as back votes once we rectify the situation, as I know we will.
Staying with the Maryland GOP, a few days back I received a list of 61 Republican leaders throughout the state who are backing Delegate Kathy Szeliga in her U.S. Senate bid. As you may expect, there are a lot of General Assembly members on the list: locally it includes Delegates Christopher Adams, Carl Anderton, Mary Beth Carozza, and Charles Otto as well as Senator Addie Eckardt and County Executive Bob Culver. 42 of 50 Republican Delegates and 13 of 14 GOP Senators are on the list. (George Edwards of western Maryland is the recalcitrant Senator.)
But I noticed one name among the local delegation was missing: it looks like Delegate Johnny Mautz has kept his powder dry for the moment. I can’t figure out if he just didn’t want to sign or if he’s backing someone else – with his Congressional staffer connections, he would be a logical backer of Richard Douglas. Just grist for the mill.
I haven’t even started to make my mind up on the race, but I will say Kathy has a long way to go to get my support – if only because her campaign website is still bare-bones a couple weeks after she jumped into the fray. That’s the type of lack of attention to detail that can sink a campaign.
Ethanol hasn’t been in the news much lately, but I thought it was worth pointing out that one of my favorite energy writers, Marita Noon, recently detailed how Ben Carson has moved to the right side of the issue. API’s Linda Rozett adds her two cents as well, making the case that dairy subsidies didn’t work out well so neither are ethanol carveouts creating the desired effects. Look, when we have plenty of oil there’s no real need to use food for fuel, despite what the corn growers who are enjoying the artificial price support may say.
Of course, people like me who believe food shouldn’t be used as fuel tend to fall into the category of climate change “deniers.” The folks at Organizing
Against America For Action are excited about events in Paris. (Not the Friday the 13th ones, although this could be just as detrimental to millions.) In an e-mail exhorting supporters to “call out” skeptics, they say:
Remember when getting an elected official to even mention carbon pollution or climate change was a big deal? We’ve come a long way.
Today, the momentum for action has never been greater. Climate change denial in America is at an all-time low, and hundreds of companies have come out to support rules on power plant pollution. As if that wasn’t enough, religious leaders like Pope Francis are insisting that there is a moral obligation to address climate change.
In just two weeks, more than 160 nations, representing more than 90 percent of the world’s carbon pollution, are joining together for an international conference to tackle climate change, while we still can.
I dare them to call me out. YOU ARE A FRAUD. We’ve been holding steady on global temperature since the turn of the millennium, and if anything the indications are we are getting colder, not warmer. Throttling back the economies of the developed world will only weaken the rest of the planet.
Yet there are people talking common sense:
Climate change deniers are trying to spoil this big moment by undermining America’s commitment to act on climate change.
Some senators, like James Inhofe and Mitch McConnell, are going out of their way to undermine American commitments. Senator Inhofe, famous for bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor as proof that climate change doesn’t exist, has committed to crash the talks and be a “one-man truth squad,” telling the international negotiators how little he believes in climate science.
Senator Inhofe isn’t alone. Back at home, climate change deniers in both chambers of Congress are working to overturn the carbon pollution standards for power plants.
Good. I hope they succeed in overturning the job-killing restrictions. Just call me the Republican uncle, except I can do more than recite talking points.
Killing – not of jobs, but of fellow public housing residents – may not be out of the realm of the 6,000 drug convicts the Obama administration is releasing, and thanks to Judicial Watch we also know that they will be welcomed into public housing. I will grant that probably 99% of them will be more or less model citizens, but that still leaves a few dozen miscreants to cause trouble. I think Judicial Watch has reason to be concerned, as do those residents who get them as neighbors. Perhaps the same sort of notice granted when sex offenders move nearby is in order, at least to start. Call it a probationary period.
Finally, let’s end on a happier note. I wrote about a similar event last year, but over the weekend we were encouraged to participate in the Made in the USA Christmas Challenge by the Patriot Voices advocacy group. While most of the electronics we use are made overseas, it is possible to purchase gifts made in America. (One familiar group has some suggestions.)
It’s worth noting, though – as of this writing, just 116 have signed up at Patriot Voices. That’s not very many patriots, so hopefully more people than that are conscious of the advantages of supporting our businesses.
So there you have it – you are more informed and I have a clean inbox. I love it when a plan comes together.
At the end of each summer, official Washington winds down and Congress beats it out of town for their annual August recess. (I think in the official parlance of Congress, I think this is known as a “District Work Period.”) This is the time when many members schedule town hall meetings, and I think Barack Obama is concerned about being outworked by the TEA Partiers who rightly oppose his big-government schemes.
That’s why I got this message in my mailbox the other day from Organizing
Against America For Action:
There is only so much I can do on my own.
The special interests know it, and they’re counting on you to be silent on gun violence and climate change. They hope you’re not paying attention to creating jobs or fixing our broken immigration system.
And they plan to make the loudest noise when your members of Congress come home for August recess.
I’m counting on you to be just as vocal — to make sure the agenda that Americans voted for last year is front and center.
Say you’ll do at least one thing as part of OFA’s Action August in your community, no matter where you live.
I know it’s easy to get frustrated by the pace of progress.
But it’s not a reason to sit back and do nothing — our system only works if you play your part.
If you don’t let your representatives know where you stand in August, we risk losing an important battle on your home turf.
So I’m asking you to speak up — commit to do at least one thing in your community during Action August:
Isn’t it nice to be on a first-name basis with the President?
So allow me to let my representative (and anyone else reading this) know just where I stand during “Action August”:
- Barack Obama has done plenty of harm on his own. It’s up to Congress to restore sanity; unfortunately only a small portion of those in Congress are willing to do so. So don’t give me this “only so much I can do on my own” crap.
- I’m not silent on gun violence and I certainly don’t support it. But allow all those who wish to be armed the opportunity to carry in a concealed manner and you’ll find there’s less gun violence. Taking away guns only benefits two groups: the government and the predator criminal class. (Actually, that may be one group.)
- Climate change: I wouldn’t mind warmer winters myself. But until we find an on-off switch for the sun, there’s really nothing we can do about the climate, except use it as an excuse for more overbearing, job-killing regulation.
- Here’s my question about “the agenda Americans voted for last year.” Do you think they’re having second thoughts about now? I do. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to contact me with your note.
But the most important line is this one:
…we risk losing an important battle on your home turf.
A loss in the Obama column is a win for America as far as I’m concerned. Richard Falknor has this figured out on Blue Ridge Forum, and it’s a call to action for the side of good:
For this month we will see how effective are Tea Partiers and the conservative base in bringing many GOP members to a much stronger mind when they return to their districts.
I’m not so much concerned about this First Congressional District – aside from those who grouse about Andy Harris’s votes on issues where Constitutional guarantees meet national security concerns, the district is pretty much set up to be reflective of his voting record. Once the man in the chicken suit failed in his task, we were pretty much assured of a decade or so of Andy Harris, because no liberal will beat him fair and square.
But there are seven other Congressional districts in Maryland (as well as the one comprising the entire state of Delaware, for my friends up that way) where the officeholders will only be under pressure for supporting the failed Obama agenda if people speak out against it. Don’t cede the field to those OAA/OFA special interest Astroturfers, make yourself heard!
Our illustrious president and his political front group, Organizing
Against America For Action, are now trying to poke fun at climate change “deniers” in Congress. A video released earlier this week by the campaign suggests Republicans don’t know what they are talking about, claiming the overwhelming consensus of science is that climate change is real.
(Of course, this is put together by a party which has a member who worries about Guam tipping over, so take from it what you will.)
Seriously, there are two key problems with the assumption that Obama’s minions are making. First and foremost is the premise that mankind has anything to do with the climate whatsoever. Yes, we can affect weather in a limited way by seeding clouds and there is a proven effect of heavily populated and paved areas being slightly warmer than the surrounding countryside, but in the overall scheme of things changes in the sun would have vastly more effects than mankind would, regardless of how many SUVs there are. After all, there have been periods in earth’s history far warmer than today’s climate, as well as times much cooler.
Corollary to that point, the records of weather patterns go back less than 150 years, with fairly accurate and detailed observations only available for perhaps the last 50 or so. Simply put, we have very little to go on in terms of worldwide measurements to know how weather is behaving in comparison to how it was a hundred years ago. Superstorm Sandy may have had its match and more 500 years ago, but we have no way of knowing this.
And who is to say that our climate is the optimum one? Having a more temperate climate in the far reaches of the Northern Hemisphere wouldn’t be a bad thing because it opens much more land mass to agriculture.
Moreover, when the theory of anthropogenic climate change is something only modeled on computers – models which don’t account for all the possible data – how can a theory become proven fact? Given the right amount of inputs of selected data, a model could probably be made where global temperature decreases several degrees. On a planetary scale, man does not mean a hill of beans.
As has been the case for the last 30 years or so, the specter of climate chaos (formerly known as global warming, and, when that didn’t work, global climate change) is being used to force us into a lifestyle we may not have willingly endured otherwise. This push by OFA supposedly is to embarrass Republicans who are wise to the idea that “a crisis is too good to waste” and creating a crisis where none exists is a surefire method to assume more control.
In February, Alex Mooney confirmed what some had suspected all along: he would be leaving the Chair position of the Maryland Republican Party to pursue other political opportunities. As the party bylaws state, the First Vice-Chair took over the duties of running the state party and that First Vice-Chair was Diana Waterman.
I have been directly involved in the state party since 2006, and this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this rodeo. In 2009 embattled Chair Jim Pelura resigned – however, just before the Fall Convention that year First Vice-Chair Chris Cavey announced he would not seek the job full-time for the remaining year on Pelura’s term and the MDGOP instead overwhelmingly elected Audrey Scott.
(The original version of this post incorrectly stated Chris Cavey served on an interim basis as Chair; he reminded me – see comment – that was not so. Unlike this year with Alex Mooney, Jim Pelura served the entire sixty days between the announcement of his resignation and the selection of Audrey Scott at the Fall 2009 convention. Error on the blogger, if you’re scoring at home.)
And in looking at this more recent race, we’re actually dealing with many of the same issues we dealt with back in 2009. In reading through what each of the three candidates has to say about the race, it seemed like three main themes came up: fundraising, communication, and goals for the 2014 election. Specific to each candidate, this is what I took away from their ideas.
Diana Waterman looks to mine some of the former donors who may have stopped or just donated to national candidates. She also promises personal meetings with donors and wants to assist counties in developing their own fundraising strategies for 2014. It’s a sound conservative approach but doesn’t really depart from the plan we have now or the top-down thinking. I know in our county we have ideas for fundraising but we’re never sure what sort of follow-through or assistance we can expect from the state party, if any. At times, it may not even be needed.
On the other hand, while Greg Kline hasn’t yet firmed up his specific plan, his overall goal is to set electoral goals as a product to sell while expanding the pie of potential donors. I like the concept of “1914″ but because this plan is still in the process of creation, we lose more valuable time getting it together.
The things which appeal to me with Collins Bailey regarding fundraising are the specificity of his goals – $800,000 by the 2014 election is actually rather attainable – and the idea of expanding the pool of donors through online fundraising. I was actually considering the next point as a separate post, but I think I’ll bring this example into my writing here.
The other day I got one of my frequent e-mails from Organizing
Against America For Action, which detailed that they had raised money from 109,582 supporters with an average donation of $44 apiece. While $5 million is modest for a national organization with millions of e-mail addresses on file, imagine how many people it would take to raise, say, $240,000 for the party at $40 apiece over the internet. We would be 30% of the way toward our November 2014 goal with a minimum of effort and the assistance of just 6,000 Republicans.
Do you know what the total internet fundraising was for the party from January 2011 to September 2012? $31,352. That’s it. We can do a LOT better – in my estimation we are vastly underutilizing the internet. Advantage Bailey.
Second is communication, which is a hot topic of mine. Needless to say, with the decision already made by Diana Waterman regarding the RNC Rules Committee controversy, I don’t have a lot of confidence she will work to improve communication. Note that I’m not talking about the means of communication but the content of communication. Just like in the arena of fundraising, the MDGOP hasn’t taken advantage of social media and new technology and Diana is part of the team which seemingly sat on its hands.
Meanwhile, Greg Kline gets it partially right in terms of utilizing the new media – and why not? He’s a member of it, as am I. The party should be keeping us in the loop because Lord knows they’re not getting a fair shake from the Baltimore Sun or Washington Post anytime soon; meanwhile, Martin O’Malley and Democrats have their narratives set for them.
But Collins Bailey goes a little beyond that to embrace what he calls an “integrated web presence,” utilizing the social media side of the equation for messaging, fundraising, and outreach. And I believe Collins would also be amenable to following the best aspects of the Kline plan, as Greg would probably lean on advice from Collins. To me, this second area is a wash between Kline and Bailey, as both of them seem to “get it” moreso than Diana does based on her brief track record.
Finally, we have the 2014 goals. Diana Waterman’s goals are relatively modest, though, as she’s looking toward 2020 to achieve her plan. There are two basic problems I see with that deadline: one is that 2020 is not a state election year (and would feature an incumbent President running for re-election as we had in 2012) and the second is that we will have missed the opportunity to reset Congressional and legislative districts for more fairness in the next decade. The time to set that up will be 2018, yet she’s happy to have just a filibuster-proof Senate majority.
Kline’s “1914 Plan” is simple: get that 19-seat minority next year to stop bad legislation or sustain vetoes if we should elect a Republican governor. Greg also preaches the importance of filling out the ballot, wishing to recruit a Republican candidate for every contest on the ballot. Yet what are the long-term goals?
Again, Bailey goes a lot further. And damn it, we should have no less of a goal than turning this state Republican as soon as possible. Did the Democrats sulk and moan that all was lost when they lost Government House in 2002 and saw George W. Bush win nationally in 2004? No – they obfuscated, attacked, and played to win, which is what they indeed accomplished in 2006 and 2008. While we as a state and nation are the worse for it, just remember the stated goal of Maryland Democrats was to “bury (Republicans) upside-down, and it will be ten years before they crawl out again.” Well, I’d like to advance that timetable by a couple years and chuck some of the most useless politicians the nation has ever seen – those Democrats who rule our state with an iron fist – down into a hole of their own making. They’ve taxed us, regulated us, worked to take away our guns, gave us the gateway drug to societal breakdown with same-sex marriage, and made the state a magnet for illegal immigrants. That’s a pretty deep hole they’ve dug and we need to give them a push and grab the shovel to fill it in.
What’s quite funny, though, is that Collins is probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If he doesn’t win, Bailey is happy to work with whoever does. So allow me to share something with you.
Last Wednesday, our four Lower Shore counties held a quad-county meeting as we always do prior to a convention. Collins spoke first, presented his ideas and answered a few questions; meanwhile, Joe Crawford was passing out his literature to those attending. Fairly typical.
Next up was Brian Griffiths, representing Greg Kline, who came by himself. As he began to speak, he started passing around Greg’s literature when Collins interrupted him. Brian gave him a piece when Collins said, “no, give me half,” and proceeded to pass it around the opposite table. To me, that’s the difference between a leader and a statesman, and it’s little gestures like that which convey to me the intent of Collins Bailey to be a rock-solid steward of the Maryland GOP.
That’s not to take anything away from Greg Kline, for whom I have deep respect as someone who has helped blaze a trail for Maryland’s new media. The one key concern I had on his behalf may not come to pass; if it does now I think we know how to deal with it. If Greg’s fortunate enough to win, I’m happy to work with him in carrying out the “1914″ Plan, particularly since I have a sneaking hunch I live in one of those targeted districts.
If Diana Waterman wins, I hope she can work with whoever is elected as the new First Vice-Chair and – once those of us who care get her aligned in the right direction insofar as listening to the grassroots rather than those who seem to treat the MDGOP as a place to wield their microscopic bit of power – work with her on improving our chances in 2014 and not some far-off election cycle.
Originally I was planning on listening to the Dorchester County candidate forum tonight before I made up my mind. But with the voluminous information made available through the internet and social media on the candidates, it occurred to me that there’s already the tools out there for most to do their homework.
But it was that gesture in Fruitland, reinforced by the candid assessment and glowing endorsement of Gary Rumsey of St. Mary’s County, which tipped the scales. I decided that, even though I now have a stake in the race, those who know me also probably believe I’ll still be a fair arbiter of what’s said later tonight in Cambridge. That post will probably be the last thing I write before heading off to Timonium since I’m sure I will pre-write something unrelated to the convention for Saturday.
You know, it’s sort of funny. Originally I thought Collins was some sort of stalking horse for Diana Waterman but now chances are better and better he may walk off with the whole shooting match.
It’s time to put the bickering and acrimony behind us, and I think the best healer will be Collins Bailey. He doesn’t care about credit, just that the job is done right – and we have a LOT of work to do. He deserves your vote Saturday.
If you were wondering what Dan Bongino had time for since he’s not running for political office, wonder no more.
As was brought up in my January interview with Dan (and don’t fret – Ten Question Tuesday will be back soon) he’s started his new PAC, named after one of his taglines – “cede no ground.” They’re dedicating themselves to the principle of “supporting individual rights and promoting activities dedicated to the preservation of our liberties and freedoms,” with Bongino serving as “founder and national spokesperson.”
Of course, having a federal PAC could be a sign that Dan remains focused on national aspirations and may signal a lack of willingness to run for a state or local office. With the governor’s race already getting busy and no Maryland U.S. Senate seat on the ballot next year, it may be the perfect time for Dan to work on his PAC and consulting business. Obviously he doesn’t have the same amount of experience in office, but I almost see Dan on the same track as Sarah Palin, someone who is popular among political conservatives and the TEA Party crowd but makes few overtures toward a specific office. Both are well-spoken, personable, and polished before the cameras and microphones, although Dan has a little more substance and Sarah more sizzle.
On the other hand, though, that lack of a political pedigree may mean Dan has to pursue different opportunities. Already he’s being noticed more as a former Secret Service agent that as a political candidate, such as this example where the headline is “Former Secret Service Agent Says White House, ‘Selling Access While Selling Out the Secret Service’ is a National Disgrace”:
Selling access to the President of the United States through Organizing for Action (OFA), while selling out the Secret Service and disingenuously blaming them for shutting the doors to tours for the American people, is a national disgrace.
Bongino went on to blast the pay-for-play mentality:
Further compounding this blatant hypocrisy is the President’s reelection platform where he railed endlessly against the ‘one-percent’, yet now, through OFA, pleads for extraordinary sums of money from the wealthy in exchange for White House access. The wealthiest ‘one-percent’ can now dine merrily with the President, while the American people, ruthlessly shut out, are left outside paying the bill for their extravagance.
To play devil’s advocate though: is not Bongino selling his access to the highest bidder in some way, too? It will be interesting to know how he or his advisers determine the recipients of his PAC money. His PAC will have a couple advantages, though: in all likelihood it will get some seed money from Dan’s leftover campaign funds, and it presents an opportunity to keep good campaign staff on a payroll.
Obviously Bongino is a motivational speaker and – just as importantly – someone trying to make a living. So if you equate money with free speech, as many conservatives do in the wake of the Citizens United decision – it may be a good time to speak out in support of Dan’s cause.
We’ve all heard the stories about sequestration: how the Democrats are trying to make the cuts as painful and public as possible, then blame Republicans for the misery caused. Cases in point: cancellations of White House tours (despite the fact they’re put on by volunteers) and the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds aerial performers despite the good will and recruiting ability they create for the military. No one’s telling Barack Obama to skip a vacation or a golf game.
Nor is anyone at Organizing
Against America For Action interested in hearing the real truth about the sequester. The other day I received this piece of advice:
Last week, devastating budget cuts went into effect because Congress failed to compromise — with some Republicans choosing to protect tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires over programs that millions of middle-class families rely on.
This is frustrating, and it’s at times like these when Washington feels more broken than ever. But here’s what President Obama had to say:
“The question is: Can the American people help persuade their members of Congress to do the right thing? And I have a lot of confidence that over time, if the American people express their displeasure about how something is working, that eventually Congress responds.”
So today, we’re asking that Organizing for Action supporters do one easy thing to make their voice heard: Tweet at your member of Congress.
Tweeting is a public way to demand a response from your legislator — it’s one of the most direct ways to get your point across.
Tweet at Rep. Andy Harris right now and demand action… (Emphasis in original.)
If you follow their link, this is part of the message you tweet:
Dear Congress: It’s time to compromise. End the sequester and stop #CutsWeCantAfford.
Gee, they came up with their own hashtag. So I had some fun with it based on the following video:
Andy just took this poor shlub apart, judging by the deer in the headlights look.
Here’s the Tweet I sent, with the hashtag included. Just following instructions – on how to wreak havoc.
— Michael Swartz (@ttownjotes) March 10, 2013
Maybe we on the right side need to co-opt the hashtag #GovernmentWeCantAfford for ourselves. As Andy so cleverly shows, government can often do with less, but we don’t always have the stones to stand up and tell them so.
In a few days, after it’s all over and soft-headed Republicans who forget that sequestration was Barack Obama’s idea in the first place cave once again to the ginned-up outrage created by the subterfuge of groups like Organizing
Against America For Action, everything will go back to the way it was on the road to serfdom.
Don’t believe OFA isn’t heaping blame on Republicans? Check out the excerpts from these e-mails I’ve received over the last few days. The first is from OFA’s Jim Messina, who should know better but obviously remains either delusional or worried his story won’t stick:
If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.
It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.
The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.
So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.
This has very real consequences.
On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.
The second came from OFA’s Jon Carson yesterday:
Today, because congressional Republicans refused to act, devastating budget cuts known as the sequester are going into effect.
They’re self-inflicted wounds, and they didn’t have to happen.
Congress can stop all of this right away — and pursue a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
That’s what the vast majority of Americans want, and yesterday, more than 100,000 Americans called on Congress to be reasonable about the budget.
Finally, from Stephanie Cutter. Note the similarities in phrasing and dire predictions of gloom ahead:
Prepare yourself for job layoffs, reduced access to early education, slower emergency response, slashed health care, and more people living on the street.
This Friday is the final deadline for congressional Republicans to stop disastrous automatic spending cuts (known as the “sequester”) that will hurt everyday Americans — including you.
These budget cuts will take a sledgehammer to the budget, and indiscriminately cut critical programs vital to economic growth and middle class families.
If Congress fails to act, we’d see budget cuts pretty much across the board to critical services that teachers, first responders, seniors, children, and our men and women in uniform rely on every day.
It sounds bad because it is. And with all these cuts on the line, why are congressional Republicans refusing to budge?
Because to do so, they’d have to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners. I’m not kidding.
It’s on each of us to speak up. Share what these budget cuts could mean to you — or someone you know — today. Congress needs to hear it.
President Obama has offered a balanced plan to reduce our deficit, asking the wealthy to pay their fair share so that we can protect programs that are incredibly important for working and middle-class Americans.
But congressional Republicans so far are refusing to compromise.
Here are some of the consequences if Congress fails to act by Friday:
– 10,000 teachers would be laid off, $400 million would be cut from Head Start, the program that makes sure at-risk preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and 70,000 kids would be kicked out of the early-education program completely.
– The budget for firemen and other first responders to react when natural disasters strike would be cut by $35 million.
– Nutrition programs that help make sure seniors don’t go hungry would be cut by $43 million.
– A program that helps provide housing for the formerly homeless, including many veterans, would be shuttered, putting them at risk of going back on the street.
– A number of programs that help the most vulnerable families and children would be slashed — including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children dropping 600,000 women alone.
Right now, each of us has a responsibility to step up and make sure Congress hears our voices.
Whether you’d be directly affected by these sequester cuts, or whether they’d affect a senior, veteran, or teacher you know, please share what they mean to you:
Let’s keep the pressure on congressional Republicans to do the right thing.
What they don’t tell you is that Republicans DID “the right thing”, but their cuts weren’t to Barack Obama’s liking because they insisted on no tax increases this time. (Remember, the last “fiscal cliff” deal at the end of last year increased taxes on the so-called “wealthy” back to the nearly 40 percent rate they paid under the Clinton Administration, piling on over $600 billion in revenue Washington will spend, spend, spend.)
As Stephen Dinan wrote in the Washington Times, this wheel was set in motion two years ago:
The sequesters were set into motion by the 2011 debt deal, and were meant to be too painful for anyone to accept. They were part of a package that gave Mr. Obama the power to raise the government’s debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion, in exchange for spending caps and the deeper sequester spending cuts.
That debt increase has been used up, but Congress and Mr. Obama are still fighting over whether to follow through on the spending cuts.
Mr. Obama said he was unwilling to shoulder responsibility for the cuts and threatened to veto the Republican plan, saying he would accept a bill only with tax increases included. The Republican plan fell 22 votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead. (Emphasis mine.)
So the unwillingness to compromise is exclusively from the White House, because Obama seems to believe that if he can make the cuts as painful as possible he’ll shame Republicans into accepting yet more tax increases (which he seems to have direction his minions to dub as “tax loopholes.”) The Republican Study Committee puts this into perspective:
The sequester was the brainchild of the Obama administration in the first place, and the House passed targeted spending cuts to replace the across-the-board sequester nearly 300 days ago. Washington clearly has a spending problem, and we need real spending cuts in order to get our country back on track.
Remember, this is all over $85 billion which, thanks to typical Washington accounting, isn’t really $85 billion in actual spending but mainly projected spending. In terms of a $3.7 trillion budget we’re almost talking about a rounding error – to me, real cuts would be more in the neighborhood of $370 billion in actual dollars not spent (or borrowed).
As noted on CNS News, one representative gets it:
“The fact is, when we accepted the president’s sequester 18 months ago, we made a deal, a dollar for cuts for a dollar of debt limit increase,” (Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas) said during a press conference with House Republican leaders. ”If he wants to do the bait-and-switch now, we will have lied to our constituents by replacing those with tax increases.”
“This leads you to the truth, and the truth is the president needs to come back from his campaign style tour, stop scaring people, and work with us to address the issue of the debt and deficits, get the economy moving and people back to work,” Jenkins said.
So, President Obama, you can keep trying to blame Republicans or you can get in there and address the problem by working on the cuts YOU agreed to. You can fool enough of the people to get elected twice, but you’re not fooling me.
So far I’ve survived sequestration just fine, and I plan to continue doing so.
If you don’t like the narrative, change it. That’s what proponents of in-state tuition for illegal aliens did in Maryland, resulting in the passage of Question 4 last fall. It became an issue of “fairness” rather than an issue of rewarding lawbreakers.
For Action Against America is trying this tactic on a national scale, with an e-mail from Jose Magana asking “where’s your family from?” (The answer in my case: Toledo, Ohio.)
I was brought to this country from Mexico when I was 2 years old.
I am an undocumented immigrant — and I am living proof that our immigration system is broken.
For the first 17 years of my life, I slept on a couch. My mom worked three jobs to support our family.
I worked hard, too. I did my homework, participated in class, and earned the opportunity go to college. But after I enrolled, state law changed and many undocumented immigrants were forced to drop out. Suddenly they could no longer afford the education they were eager to work for.
We started organizing. We’d go up to people on campus, and ask them if they’d heard about the DREAM Act, which would allow hard-working immigrants who grew up in the U.S. to earn a path to citizenship. For those who opposed it, we’d tell them what happened to us.
It was amazing: Just telling our stories would change people’s minds.
This is exactly how we’re going to persuade people across the country to get behind President Obama’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform.
Everyone has a story — I’m sure you do, too. As the President said last week, “Unless you’re one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else. Somebody brought you.”
At this critical moment, will you share your immigration story? Organizing for Action will use these stories to move the conversation forward.
Now, almost six years later, I’ve completed law school and was fortunate to receive deferred action. I consider myself an American, and I want to play by the same rules as everyone else. But, as it stands, I can never become a citizen. I can’t adjust my status. For most of my life, I could have been arrested, detained, and deported.
I’m not alone. Millions of undocumented immigrants like me live in fear of being deported permanently to a country we may have never even visited. Our entire lives could be erased.
You might not live under the same shadow. But the best thing about this country is that we are more alike than we are different. We all have a story of a mother, or grandfather, or great-great grandparent who came here to find opportunity or safety.
Through this grassroots movement, we can raise our voices, tell our stories, and make sure Congress and all Americans better understand the ties that bind us. Our stories can drive our organizing. Share your own story today, and help Organizing for Action get the word out on why this matters:
The majority of Americans agree we need to fix our badly broken system, and we saw major progress last week. But it’s on us to keep up the momentum and make sure it gets done.
Thanks for speaking up.
As usual, the links return to the my.barackobama.com domain, which is still active even though he won four months ago.
But to me what’s more important is what’s missing. For example, why was mom working three jobs? First of all, someone obviously hired her not knowing (or not caring) about her immigration status. Did she get a driver’s license, Social Security number, and so forth illegally? In and of itself, crossing the border illegally is not a serious crime – but forgery and passing yourself off as another person is. How about Jose? What sort of documents does he possess since he came here illegally?
Listen, I’m glad he went to law school. Hopefully what he learned there is that we are a nation of laws, and his very presence here violates a fair number of them.
So when immigrants are beseeched to share their stories, it’s not to “move the conversation forward.” It’s to obfuscate the fact that millions upon millions are here illegally. That’s a slap in the face to those who did things the right way for their American dream. I want to say it was my great-grandparents who came here from Germany and Poland; granted, the laws were much different back at the turn of the last century but undesirables could – and were – sent packing back to their homelands, even in that era.
Sadly, for all his good qualities, Jose seems to be the exception to the rule. He’s obviously one of those who got the pseudo-amnesty (known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from Barack Obama last year so he wouldn’t have to go back to Mexico.
But let’s turn the story on its head. How fair do you think it is he got the preferential treatment of a tuition break, at least until, as he states, “state law changed and many undocumented immigrants were forced to drop out.” (We don’t know which state.) Presumably they no longer received the in-state tuition break meant for students who lived in-state legally.
More importantly: how fair is it that he can work legally (thanks to DAFCA) but his mother cannot?
Another thing we don’t know: how many brothers and sisters does Jose have, particularly those who were fortunate enough to be born here as “anchor babies.” Doesn’t matter who the dad is, he could be illegal, too. (Sort of like an alternate take on the “Julia” character from Obama’s campaign, we know nothing about what Jose’s father did for the family.)
In short, because the illegal alien advocates can’t win on the facts, the Obama administration recruited one of the few who seems to want to assimilate into American culture as a friendly, non-threatening spokesperson for the effort. But there’s a big difference between his generation and that of my ancestors who came from Europe. Of course, both had a language barrier and both were willing to work hard to make ends meet at “jobs Americans wouldn’t do.”
But the children of my ancestors wanted to be American, so much so that there’s very little which belies my family’s ethnic heritage besides the name and my dad’s longtime enjoyment of polka music. Aside from that, we were thoroughly American two generations removed.
Instead, in this day and age many who come here, whether through cultural or religious preference, have two to three generations who maintain the ways of their homeland. Rather than actively seek to assimilate, they would rather America adapt to suit them. Growing up we weren’t subjected to bilingual society, nor was anyone else outside a few limited enclaves within large cities (like Chinatown.)
But in my travels, particularly along U.S. 13 south into Virginia, I find a number of businesses which cater to the 9 percent of Accomack County residents who do not speak English at home – the signage is in Spanish. (Amazingly, nationwide this number is at 20 percent.) One would think those who don’t speak English would want to be part of the 90-plus percent who do; that’s always been the norm. And I’m aware that the actual number of Spanish-speaking residents who reside there is probably double what the official Census data I looked up shows; even so, the vast majority speak English.
In the end, though, it’s about politics. Both parties believe that bending over backwards to cater to the Latino population will win them votes; however, Republicans – who are traditionally immigration and border security hawks – risk alienating more of their base than they would win among Latino voters. And Democrats know it, which is why the push to make immigration an emotional issue rather than a rational one. That’s the only way they can win.
If we are a nation of laws, Jose Magana goes back to Mexico. As a law student, he has the skills to get a green card and return to work here legally but I believe he should return to his native country to pursue the option.
Obviously some will howl that it’s not fair he has to do this, but the lesson here is life’s not fair. Some of us were blessed to be born in America, others go through the legal process to become naturalized, and still others choose to stay here temporarily. But they should do it legally, and that’s where Jose is lacking. Say “no way” to Jose and his sob story.
As always, I like to know what the opposition is up to.
The other day I got an e-mail from Organizing
For Against America which asked if I could organize in Salisbury. I’ll come back to that question here in a couple minutes, but if you can stomach this video here’s the One talking about organizing:
I guess the first question is: did you notice anything missing?
A nondescript downtown Salisbury building became a beehive of activity this morning as about two dozen local Democrats gathered for a morning of canvassing. This meeting, part of a larger nationwide effort by the Organizing for America group, enlisted rank-and-file Democrats in an early get out the vote drive.
(continued on my Examiner.com page…)
On my Election Calendar last Sunday, I alluded to an event Frank Kratovil is holding on Saturday morning both locally and across the district. Well, it looks like the big guns of Organizing For Against America (a front group for national Democrats) are keenly interested in turnout.
(continued on my Examiner.com page…)
By the way, the editorial change is only here. The Examiner requests I do coverage straight up, but I take more editorial license on this site.
News from AFP Wicomico:
Some elected politicians still don’t get it, but more importantly there are many “on the fence” votes in Congress that need to hear from you and can be pushed to vote no on the Big Government takeover of your health care.
It seems our congressman, Frank Kratovil, may be flip flopping. To see this story click here.
Tomorrow Americans for Prosperity will be sponsoring a Bus to DC for a rally at 10 a.m. outside of the Senate offices and a visit to our Congressman all for $10, including lunch.
We need to let our voices be heard and let our Congressman that he needs to vote no again on the health care legislation
Contact Tom Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve your bus seat.
The bus will be leaving the Steer Inn on Racetrack Road at 5:30 in the morning, Boscov’s at 6:05 at the Mall in Salisbury, and the old K-Mart Parking lot in Cambridge on Rt. 50 at 6:35.
Truth be told, I haven’t decided yet whether to go because it makes for a long day of not being productive with other things I need to get done (probably wouldn’t be back home until 6:00 or later.) It’s a drawback of these sorts of events to have them at a time where working people can’t easily participate.
But if you are in a position where you can go it’s always worthwhile to meet with your Congressman, plus any others whose ear you may wish to bend. For all his faults voting-wise, it seems that Congressman Kratovil is willing to listen and hopefully he’s going to continue being a “no” vote on this issue.
There will be a good roster of speakers at the event, mostly from Congress – Reps. Pence, Bachmann, Price, Blackburn, Wilson, and Gingrey, along with representatives of the TEA Party Express, 60 Plus Association, National Center for Policy Analysis, and AFP.
Oh, by the way, did you answer your phone this weekend only to find an annoying Organizing For Against America volunteer on the other end? Neither did I, but that was their push according to flunkie Jeremy Bird:
The Final March for Reform is going strong — yesterday, OFA supporters made the phones ring off the hook in Congressional offices on Capitol Hill and across the country. But for every member of Congress, there are eight anti-reform lobbyists swarming Capitol Hill — and the upcoming vote is still too close to call.
So in these crucial, final days, we must make sure the voices of constituents break through the lobbyist attacks. And here’s the plan to make it happen:
As the next step in the Final March for Reform, OFA supporters like you will be gathering at volunteer phone banks across the country. We’ll be calling supportive voters in critical districts nationwide, asking them to reach out to their representatives and express their strong support for reform. A local OFA organizer will be on hand at every event, and no experience is required. (Emphasis in original.)
Gee, I can hardly wait to see what their next step is. But it looks like the people are going to speak tomorrow morning, bright and early.