Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rant Alert - HCRP

Yes, I know it's shocking, but I occasionally feel the need to go on a rampage about political events.  The life of a grassroots political activist is full of frustrations, obviously.  The bad part is when we identify problems and offer solutions, and are totally ignored.  Even worse is when everything we do to try to support good candidates is countered by an establishment mindset, afraid of change and afraid of losing power.

Let's start here: THIS appeared on Big Jolly Politics this week.  In it, Ed Hubbard talks about the way the Harris County Republican Party has continued its slide into ineffectiveness.  The latest?  It seems the local party, unable to finance the required District conventions, will extort ask candidates to pay from $500 to $5,000 to address the attendees at the convention.  

Think low-budget, grassroots candidates can afford that?  Not easily. So, keep those candidates without huge money interests behind them from being able to talk to voters at the convention.  Pay for the convention with money from candidates.  Kill two birds with one stone.

Here's Ed in his own words: 

I am going to be very blunt in what I am about to say—very few activists or primary voters have any real say in who wins most, if not all, of our local GOP primary races any more.  In large part, you have no say because there is no functioning party organization in Harris County to provide a level playing field for our primaries.  In fact, over the last 10-15 years, our local party apparatus has been gutted.  And it has been gutted on purpose.

What Ed touches on in his piece is the way the party has largely become completely ineffectual:

If you're not sure you follow all that, just ask yourself this - what is a political party supposed to do?  What is its function?

My guess is that your answer (regarding HCRP) would be something like "get good people elected" or "elect conservatives" or "show some leadership on the issues" or "fight for conservative causes."  

But Ed's point is that the HCRP has set all that aside, and instead focused on empowering and enriching a small number of people connected with the current chair and the prior one.  Ed starts making that case in his post where he documents how much income one former chair has made in appointments by judges he helped elect.  

Stunning, really, how all this goes on.  And frustrating how few people know what is happening.    

I have to say, too, that Ed Hubbard and I first met right after the 2008 election, when he showed me just how horribly Republicans did in Harris County.  That was before there was a tea party, before there was a strong grassroots activist network, before I knew what was happening.  And truthfully, I still don't know after four years all the players, what they do, how they're related.  But I've seen the results.

In response to the party's lackluster involvement, in 2009 and 2010, Houston Tea Party Society ran precinct chair and convention training all over the county, and in many parts of the state as well.  When the precinct chair filing deadline ended, HCRP had a large number of new filers, new people running for precinct chair.  Sadly, at the same time, a huge number of existing precinct chairs did not refile, so the number of precincts with chairs has remained right around 50%.  Imagine what would have happened had HTPS NOT recruited over 100 new activists!

The point there is HTPS and other tea party groups and liberty activists should not have to be fulfilling party functions.  We shouldn't have to teach people how to get involved - HCRP should.  We shouldn't have to teach people how the convention process works - HCRP should.  We shouldn't have to recruit people to join the party system and work for conservative candidates - HCRP should.   We shouldn't have to teach people how to use social media to engage people politically - HCRP should.  So is it any wonder that my motto has been "Doing the Jobs Republicans Won't Do"?  

Which brings up this: the people most afraid of tea party success are not necessarily on the left.  And now you know why.  When tea party people see something wrong in the GOP and say something about it, the GOP hates that.  Republican establishment thought that the tea party would be the burst of energy, the Ground Team for the GOP.  Then, when the tea parties started offering venues to challengers, or criticizing the leadership, the GOP realized that tea parties may not have been the easy allies they were looking for.


In the weeks ahead, I'll be linking here all kinds of research that will prove that the HCRP isn't fulfilling its proper functions, and connect the dots for people.  It won't be light reading.  Read it anyway.  Either you learn what's going on, or you forfeit the right to complain about how "the Republican leadership sucks."  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Favorites #13

Boy, it's been a long time since I did a Friday Favorites!   It's not you, it's me.  Really.  I'm a mess, for a host of reasons, but chiefly because it's 2012 and stuff is happening every day.  Which doesn't help excuse it, but at least people will nod their heads an say "Yeah, I know, right?" and promptly forget about it and move on.

There's a lot to get to today, so let's jump in!

How to Deal With Slow Walkers - This cracks me up - every time.  I totally plan to buy one of these.

Hot Corn Dip - I am fanning myself, I swear.  Yum yum!

Wish I Didn't Know - And you will, but check it out anyway, because where else could you learn about fetching robbery attire and nail growth addiction.

Crime Doesn't Pay - but when beer is involved, sometimes it's very tempting.

Cat Stops Baby From Crying - You know you want this cat.  Squeeeeee!  

How To Make Yourself Charming - I love Gini Dietrich - she always has something helpful to put out.  A pretty good example here, but check out the other things she's done.

Lottery Winner Still on Food Stamps - Yeah, there's no problem in this country, not at all!

Austin Passes Plastic Bag Ban - Who's surprised by this?  Well, don't get to cocky if you love in Houston because...

Houston Attempting to Pass Feeding Ordinance - yeah, don't you DARE get caught sharing food with a homeless person!

TSA Scanners Exposed - Pardon the pun, but check out this video debunking these "sophisticated" full body scanners!  Then see how You Tube Censored It.  

Rush v. The Media - It all started with a Fluke, and went downhill from there, culminating in a series of sponsors leaving Rush's show.  But as expected from the Breitbart-influenced New Media, the story didn't end there. Amy Miller penned this awesome piece, and others have continued to turn the subject back from an imaginary "war on women" to a real discussion of religious liberty and fiscal responsibility.

Michelle Malkin Announces "TWITCHY" - I am loving this news site - even if you don't tweet, you can follow what's happening on Twitter!  Brilliant!

There IS a Tina Fey Effect - I've known this since 2008 and the How Obama Got Elected study.  Go back and look at it.  See what conservatives are up against this time around, and then ask yourself if the culture war is worthless.

RIP ANDREW BREITBART - The best list of tributes you'll find (mine's in there too) and a great testimony to the life of a great warrior.  Check out the BIG sites since the revamp, and also catch our own local "wake" held last weekend in his honor.

So sorry so short, but you'll have plenty to keep you busy until next time!  Love ya, mean it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where Does Big Government Come From?

I've been puzzling over this for a while now, and while I can't yet prove it, I think I have figured out part of the reason that government has grown to the extent it has, and how we let it happen.  I'm just scratching thoughts down here so I don't lose them, but I'd love to have a ton of comments on this one, to see whether I'm totally off base.

We talk about how we've lost the "community" aspect to our lives - how we don't know our neighbors and so on.  But why is that?  Could it be due to any of the following?

The double-income family phenomenon is likely making more families independent than ever before.  Rather than the historical multi-generational living arrangements, families are more likely now to be found living in completely separate units from other family members, and even in completely separate states.

The rise in the number of jobs a typical person has in a lifetime reflects more mobility in terms of moving to a new job.  It used to be that a person was more likely to do one thing, or work for one company, over his lifetime.  Whether a farmer or a factory worker, one typically signed on for the duration.  Studies place the number of jobs an average person works in a lifetime at something like 10 or 11 now.  Is that because companies feel more free to hire and fire?  Is it because a two-income family depends less on both people working?

Housing value bubbles could have spurred more families to "move up" in house.  As rising prices allowed homeowners to realize wealth by selling a large asset, the proceeds could then be used as a down payment on a larger home.  This means people could have moved out of established neighborhoods into newer, less settled subdivisions.

More education raised a child's potential standard of living far above his parents.  The G.I. Bill, Pell Grants and the student loan programs helped vast numbers of people attend colleges and universities, some of whom were the first in their families to attend college.  But that's not all - compulsory K-12 education (or as much of it as a district could force a child to attend) changed education entirely.  Children of farmers would not have been expected in prior generations to complete schooling past 8th grade, for example.  Now the national expectation is that all children will attend school through high school, and there are many initiatives to push those expectations upwards, stressing a college education for all students.  At any rate, more opportunity for education among poorer families meant that their children could easily outstrip their earning power, particularly if a young couple were both college-educated and worked.  No need to stay and live in the old neighborhood, then; just go back occasionally to visit the folks.

The focus on education outstripped the focus on a work ethic.  With more students continuing their education beyond a bachelor's degree and staying in school longer, the need to work (unless to make up gaps in the student loans or scholarships, or for drinking money) has been all but done away with.  This along with easy credit could be responsible for people making bad money decisions and having difficulty tying the value of "stuff" to the hours they work.

 A population with fewer ties to place feels less responsible for their places.  People who move around a lot develop fewer ties to the places they live, and thus less civic engagement and less community involvement.  Whereas small town living meant the neighbors knew all your business, it also meant they could more easily identify each others' needs.  A disconnected and transitory populace is far less likely to see a problem and say "I need to do something about that" and far more likely to say "SOMEBODY needs to do something about that" and then delegate the problem to a government entity.

So that's what I came up with - the less of a community we find where we are, the more likely we are to see a big government solution for everything.  Make sense?  What am I leaving out?  Thoughts?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Don't Take the Bait

There's no debate about access to contraception. - Newt

Newt's right.  And too many conservatives are getting sidetracked, as the administration drags red herrings across the campaign trail, hoping to get conservatives off message.

This past week we were all treated to THIS STORY - Sandra Fluke, described as a "young law student" testifying at a hearing on Women's Health held by Nancy Pelosi, followed by a scathing on-air rebuttal from Rush Limbaugh wherein he described Ms. Fluke as a slut.  It's the story that won't die, following on the heels of several weeks of media and debate questions attempting to paint socially conservative presidential hopeful Rick Santorum as a right-wing nutjob.  The leftist blogosphere has been having a field day with this, tag-teaming with the mainstream media to create the general feeling that social conservatives are nuts.  And they hate women.  And they go to church and listen to the pastor or minister and stuff.  And they are creepy.  I mean, who goes to church anymore?

Breitbart Conservatives know that this is not about access to birth control, or religious zealots trying to force everyone to adhere to their religious beliefs.  It's not about poor women denied health care or how the GOP hates women or college students being labelled "sluts."

It's about the First Amendment, and religious freedom.  

The backstory that the media is running from concerns (wouldn't you know it) Obamacare.  Apparently the "Affordable Care Act" contains a Contraceptive Coverage Regulation, which is supposed to  make those crusty religious organizations like Catholic universities and hospitals and charities (who exist, of course, solely to oppress women) offer, against the teachings of their faith, birth control coverage in their comprehensive medical coverage plans.

Let's go over that again.

Institutions like Catholic hospitals, which carry out their missions in accordance with certain tenets, are going to be forced to pay for coverage that will violate those tenets.  The administration's "compromise" of making insurers pay instead of these institutions is a false compromise - a university would still be paying the insurer for the coverage through increased rates for everyone, because no insurance company is going to just offer these services free.

No matter how you look at that, it's a violation of the institutions' right to freedom of religion.  End of story.  

As an aside, it's hugely comic that the left attacks people of religion for *not* following the teachings of their faith as hypocrites, and then attacks them when they *do* follow the teachings of their faith as "women-haters."

Follow the logic of Ms. Fluke and those who support her viewpoint: I'm attending a prestigious university costing me huge fees and tuition rates, and I can't afford (or can't find) cheap contraceptives.  Perish the thought of cutting back on other discretionary expenses (like most of the rest of the country) in order to afford contraceptives.  This isn't, and has never been, about "access" - I have "access" to a lot of things that I may not be able to afford right now.  It's about a cynical attempt to get young voters and women back on the Obama plantation and stop looking at the miserable unemployment numbers, the horrible foreign relations issues, the rising energy prices.

This "get your rosaries off my ovaries" thing would make much more sense if the people working in or attending these institutions did not end up there voluntarily, freely associating with an organization run by a faith tradition.  And they are certainly free to un-associate.  But no, they want to force *their* morality on Catholics, and guarantee that those bad old Catholics won't be allowed to make them feel "judged" by limiting their medical coverage to procedures and medications that actually follow the church teaching.

Perhaps Congressman Issa should have let Ms. Fluke testify after all, and while vetting her, subpoenaed her Visa debit card receipts for the past few months.  For the cost of a Starbucks a day, you can get some pretty decent birth control.  It isn't the church's problem if you want to have your Starbucks and your birth control pills too.

Who's Boycotting Rush?

UPDATE 3: Michelle Malkin's new site "TWITCHY" will advertise with Rush

UPDATE 2:  It Sucks to be Sleep Train

UPDATE:  There's a sort of discrepancy about who is actually boycotting:

Rush's Statement  -

Screw the Left and their double standards.

Companies pulling their advertising from Rush Limbaugh's show in light of his comments about Sandra Fluke:


More here:

I'll keep you updated if more pull out, and list new sponsors who may come on board as they take up the space used by these losers.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Braveheart is Dead

That was the first thought I had upon hearing about Andrew Breitbart's death yesterday morning, immediately after the one that went "This is a hoax, somehow. Please let it be a hoax."

He was our William Wallace. 

Wallace encouraged the Scots to defy the overwhelming force of the English.
Andrew encouraged us to defy the overwhelming force of the traditional media.

Wallace entreated the Scots not to surrender for a peace that was de facto slavery.
Andrew entreated us to fight political correctness rather than settle for squelching our voices to de facto tyranny.

Wallace took the battle to the English on their territory - England.
Andrew took the battle to the Left on their home turf - Mainstream media and the internet.

Wallace's fighting spirit inspired the Scots to continue the struggle against the English even after his death.
Andrew's fighting spirit reproduced itself hundreds of times over, with a band of warriors ready to step in and take his place in the struggle against the progressives.

Andrew would have laughed to see himself compared to William Wallace, but the line from Braveheart says it best:  

Every man dies, not every man really lives.

RIP Happy Warrior.  You are missed.