Feed on Posts or Comments 29 May 2015

Conservatives Richard Falknor on 13 Mar 2015

Two GOP Visions: Wall Street Money Keeping Borders Open & Blessing Evolving Gay Politics? Or A Constitution-Based “Humble And Honest Populism”?

CNN’s MJ Lee reports this week that “Billionaire investor and major Republican donor Paul Singer will co-host a fundraiser for five female members of Congress in New York City at the end of this month.”

Among the favored five is Virginia-10 Representative Barbara Comstock.

Lee lists the other four: “Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and freshmen Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, [and] Martha McSally of Arizona.” (Click here to see their Liberty Scores and their votes on Obama’s “Executive Amnesty.”)

Fundraiser co-host Paul Singer “has particularly attracted attention in recent years for his advocacy of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage, as well as hawkish national security policies,” according to CNN.

This is not Mrs. Comstock’s first trip to New York City for a fundraiser under the Singer auspices. 

Click here for Jaime Fuller’s Washington Post April 2014 article “Meet the wealthy donor who’s trying to get Republicans to support gay marriage”–

“However, several of the organization’s members have teamed up to hold unaffiliated fundraisers for the kind of candidates they think should be the future of the party. Last week, Singer and other donors threw two fundraisers for Republican candidates in New York City. The first one supported Thom Tillis, the House speaker in the North Carolina state legislature. He is facing a tough Republican primary, which has also drawn funding from American Crossroads. The event raised about $280,000.
The second fundraiser — co-hosted by Sylvie Légère Ricketts, who is married to a son of one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors — supported three women running in House races, Elise Stefanik in New York’s 21st District, Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s 10th District and Martha McSally in Arizona’s 2nd District. It raised more than $400,000.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

But same-sex marriage and allied matters are not Paul Singer’s only interests:

Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle in August 2013 revealed “Romney’s Top Donor Teams with Soros Front Group on Immigration Reform”–

“According to a new report from USA Today, GOP mega donor Paul Singer is helping fund the National Immigration Forum (NIF) for its Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) initiative.  Singer is the founder and CEO of Wall Street hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation and the man who made Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president happen.”

 Politico’s Alexander Burns and Kenneth P. Vogel declared in their February 2014 “Mega-donors plan GOP war council”–

“Since the 2012 election, Singer has stepped up his advocacy for an overhauled GOP agenda. He donated to an immigration reform group, the National Immigration Forum; and last month, Singer and Loeb organized events, including one with the Human Rights Campaign, at the World Economic Forum in Davos focused on LGBT issues.”

Last June 8 just before Dave Brat’s primary win, we wrote about an alternative vision for the GOP–

“A Humble and Honest Populism”

There is, however, a principled way for the GOP — a way that a Brat victory Tuesday would help advance.

John Fonte [in his National Review post “Re-Branding the GOP From the party of big business to the party of the little guy”] continues here 

“At National Review Online, [senator Jeff] Sessions urged the GOP to ‘adopt a humble and honest populism’ and distance itself from ‘the corporate titans who believe the immigration policy for our entire country should be modeled to pad their bottom line.’
The GOP lost the 2012 election, Sessions said, ‘because it hemorrhaged support from middle and low-income Americans of all backgrounds,’ and the party must now mount an ‘unapologetic defense of working Americans.’ He noted that Americans oppose by a two-to-one margin increasing low-skilled immigration and also strongly oppose any legalization of illegal immigrants before border security is in place. Sessions made the key political point that Republicans have a golden opportunity to appeal once again to Reagan Democrats, who are, as [Thatcher adviser] John O’Sullivan put it in a statement lauding Sessions, an ‘electoral bloc that dwarfs any other in numerical terms.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

In that same June 8 piece we pointed to —

A Stern Warning from a Smart Woman

 And if the GOP will not correct course?

In a June 2014  Breitbart interview with Michael Patrick Leahy, “Laura Ingraham Emerges As Top GOP Primary Warrior,” commentator Ingraham points out, here

“The question is do you want to live in a country run by, essentially, 100 families or do you want to live in a country where the middle class has a real chance to have a better life and leave a better life for their kids,’  she explained.
‘Right now,’ Ingraham said, ‘I think we are edging closer to that country where just the rich and powerful have a consistent say. They have an alliance with the far left groups that have their own agenda to bolster union membership and swell the ranks of the Democratic Party.’
‘I think this will not end well for the capitalists. If they think this is going to be a good ride, it’s not going to end well. History is replete with examples of the perpetually impoverished rising up against the fat cats.’” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Today conservatives everywhere in America should be discussing competing visions for the Grand Old Party — and deciding on a course of action while there is still time.

Conservatives Richard Falknor on 11 Mar 2015

‘Main Street Advocacy’ Ads Defend Representative Barbara Comstock’s Vote To Help Implement Obama’s Lawless Amnesty

“An outside spending group aligned with the House Republican leadership will run $200,000 in ads defending lawmakers who voted for the long-term Department of Homeland Security funding bill. The Main Street Advocacy ads, which begin airing Monday night in the Ohio districts represented by Republican Reps. Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi, will air on radio stations in six districts.
. . . . .
The ad buy will also support Republican Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Martha McSally of Arizona and Mike Turner of Ohio.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout this post.)

Mrs. Comstock refers to herself as “a principled, common sense conservative leader.”

So we decided to take a closer look at Main Street Advocacy and their affiliated groups.

Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle gave some of this background last April in his “Brent Bozell to Cantor: Attend Florida Anti-Conservative Summit at Your Own Peril”–

“At issue is Cantor’s decision to attend and speak at a conference this weekend on Amelia Island in Northeast Florida. The event is being hosted by “Main Street Advocacy,” a group headed by former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, whom the New York Times described as ‘one of the top generals in the establishment Republicans’ war against the Tea Party.’
When he served in Congress, LaTourette, a close friend of Speaker John Boehner, was also one of the top GOP allies of organized labor, and union groups have contributed funding to the ‘Main Street Partnership’ umbrella group under which the advocacy branch is organized, according to National Journal.
Among other high-profile comments criticizing top conservatives, LaTourette said ‘I don’t think he is a Republican, to tell you the truth’ about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during debate over raising the debt ceiling without any spending cuts attached.
As such, conservative movement leaders like Bozell are furious that Cantor would attend and speak at the LaTourette-hosted event, with Bozell pointedly asking Cantor why he would attend such an event.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Over a year ago, Michelle Malkin warned conservatives “Beware the Left-Wing-Funded ‘Main Street’ Republicans”–

“LaTourette heads up the so-called ‘Main Street Partnership,’ which claims to represent ‘thoughtful,’ ‘pragmatic,’ ‘common sense’ and ‘centrist’ Republican leadership. Reality check: The pro-bailout, pro-debt, pro-amnesty, anti-drilling group founded by former liberal New York GOP Congressman Amory Houghton includes three liberal Senate Republicans (John McCain, Mark Kirk and Susan Collins) and 52 center-left House Republicans. LaTourette himself is a self-serving Beltway barnacle who held office for nearly two decades. Now he’s leveraging his new tea party-bashing platform to benefit a family-operated lobbying business.
The New York Times shed light on LaTourette’s tangled web of GOP establishment outfits last week. But that story just scratched the surface. As the paper reported, the Main Street Partnership is a nonprofit group that charges members up to $25,000 per year to rub elbows with Washington’s rich and powerful. The Main Street Advocacy Fund and the Defending Main Street SuperPAC are political satellites planning to amass $8 million to bolster Republican liberals and moderates facing tea party challengers in 2014. McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies is LaTourette’s lobbying firm.
“The Times notes that ‘corporations and lobbyists’ fund the Main Street Partnership. But far-left donors provided seed money for these affiliated K Street fronts. Who’s behind the Defending Main Street SuperPAC? Big Labor. National Journal’s Scott Bland reported last month that ‘two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October. Main Street says it has raised roughly $2 million total between its super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit group so far — and that means labor has supplied at least 20 percent of those funds.'” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Read all of Malkin’s January 10, 2014 post — then get more details by visiting the Republican Main Street Partnership’s website here ** and their 2013 Form 990 here.

Perhaps Andrew McCarthy best sums up the Congressional responsibility for Obama’s lawless amnesty–

“Of course, as I explain in Faithless Execution, such actions flout the president’s oath and duty to execute the laws faithfully. But that is not the half of it. Congress, too, is derelict if lawmakers agree – reluctantly or not – to fund Obama’s lawlessness. Senators and Members of the House are not bystanders; they are elected representatives who have a duty to act. It is immaterial how they personally feel about Obama’s malfeasance. The only relevant thing is that they have the power to stop it by refusing to pay for it. If, despite having that power, they consciously devise a legislative process that inevitably results in the provision of funding for the president’s decree, then they are knowingly aiding and abetting his lawlessness. That makes them equally guilty, case closed. That, moreover, would be a profound betrayal of the states, whose inability to defend themselves from illegal immigration is largely attributable to Congress’s encroachments.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Why would a House Republican like Barbara Comstock — sailing under conservative colors — want to have Main Street Advocacy acting as her defender for her deeply unconservative vote?

Why double down against the Base?

* * * * * * * * * *

 ** Click here for the Partnership’s declaration calling any Soros contribution a “myth.”
       Readers may wish to revisit two of our current posts pertinent to this analysis:



Conservatives Michael Giere on 09 Mar 2015

M. Stanton Evans – A Giant Sleeps!

“Every now and then even Bill Buckley got confused; Stan Evans was never confused.” — Tom Pauken

Coming to Washington as a young lieutenant in the Reagan Revolution in 1981, I had the great fortune and honor of being thrown in the mix with some of the great conservatives of an era.

On top of that list was Stan Evans.

Last week Stan rested from this life at age 80, to labor in a greater one forever. He has left a movement and a nation so much richer for having been here.

When I got to Washington – I’d never set foot in the town before – I was stunned to quickly learn that far too many of the men and women populating the new government and the new majority in the Senate on the Hill, were, to put it charitably, not exactly conservatives.

Oh, they called themselves conservatives – mostly because Reagan won – but many were actually more interested with making big government “work” and self-promotion than with the “movement.” It was a bit disheartening to learn this lesson.

But, as fate would have it, great conservative mentors quickly steered me to Stan Evans and his Monday Club meetings on Capitol Hill, where over the years, anyone who was someone came to discuss anything and everything that mattered.

It was a mixing bowl of real conservative thought, stirred up by the utensils of Stan’s great mind and his large heart.

He was a gracious and very funny man – was there anyone with a quicker wit in Washington? Not that I know of.

Was there a quicker defender of bedrock conservative philosophy, or a more insightful expositor on any current crisis? That would be emphatically no.

Was there anyone more ready to engage and help a fellow conservative? This week’s obits on the character and mind of this giant answers the question.

When the weight of Official Washington with the connivance of some in his own party began to have its effect on Reagan’s policy direction, there was no more ferocious critic than Stan.

He would tell us that truth and principle would always win in the end. Time proved him right.

I was lucky enough to become friends with Stan (who wasn’t?) over the years. He commented on my writing and suggested new research paths on many occasions.

I walked into a Monday Club gathering one time, after I had a published a pretty fiery article in the Washington Times that had raised a few hackles.

Stan came over and put his arm around me and congratulated me on the piece, its research, and the controversy (which he loved).

Then he whispered, “Look in the backseat before you get in the car tonight!” He knew the ways of Washington like the back of his hand.

Many others who knew Stan far better than I did, have written thoughtful and moving comments on his life which speak volumes about the man.

For me, he was a giant because he never bent, he never wavered from speaking the truth.

And he never missed an opportunity to try to pass on to others the importance of sticking with and communicating the truth. No matter what.

His vast reporting and commentaries over the years, his foundational work with William Buckley and others in building Young Americans for Freedom, CPAC, and later the National Journalism Center (which has trained countless conservatives in the tradition of truthful and well researched journalism) stand as monuments to Stan.

His many books (especially The Theme is Freedom, Stalin’s Secret Agents, and Blacklisted by History) are still must-reads for conservatives.

M. Stanton Evans has passed on, and with him a long line of post-War II conservative heroes is closing fast.

But Stan would be the first to remind us: an era passes, but the truth doesn’t.

Goodbye, dear friend!

* * * * *

Blue Ridge Forum Contributor Mike Giere has written extensively on politics, foreign policy, and issues of faith. He is a former candidate for the U.S. House; worked for Ronald Reagan in 1976 & 1980; and served in both the Reagan and Bush (41) Administrations.

Conservatives Richard Falknor on 08 Mar 2015

Brat & Comstock: Liberty Scores Of Two VA GOP House Freshmen

–From www.marklevinshow.com


Click on scores below for details!
State Name                               Party Score Years in DC Next Election
VA-7  Rep. David Brat R A 100% 0 2016



Readers should carefully weigh the Liberty Scores of these two Virginia Representatives to make their own judgment.

In perilous times like these, however, conservatives should not hesitate to make their views known directly to Representatives Brat and Comstock!

Each is more than an individual voice from a Virginia House district. Each reflects distinct wings of the national Republican Party.

Dave Brat’s saga is well known.  Barbara Comstock’s most recent Establishment affiliation is apparently with governor Jeb Bush here.

But recall Angelo Codevilla’s 2010 warning

“Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side. Because, in the long run, the country class will not support a party as conflicted as today’s Republicans, those Republican politicians who really want to represent it will either reform the party in an unmistakable manner, or start a new one as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party in the 1850s.”

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 03 Mar 2015

Amnesty Vote Disgrace –Can the Grand Old Party Go From Leadership Betrayal To Principled Rebirth (Part I)?

This afternoon House Speaker John Boehner, 74 of his Republican colleagues, and 182 Democratic members helped enable an increasingly lawless president to provide “illegal immigrants with work permits, trillions in Social Security and Medicare payments, and billions in free cash tax credits—all benefits explicitly rejected by Congress.”

The president’s actions complement his plan to continue importing a “replacement people” for you and me and our children.

Readers should click here to see the yeas and nays of the vote of shame.

Here is today’s take from Conservative Review–

“’It is abundantly clear that John Boehner blatantly lied to conservatives last December in order to lure them into voting for the over bloated Cromnibus. Nothing in our national security situation has changed since Boehner promised to fight last December. The true homeland security threat comes from Obama’s dangerous open borders policies now being rubber stamped by this bill. It is evident that we are not only dealing with people who don’t share our values; we are dealing with people who are incapable of telling the truth,’ said Daniel Horowitz.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Mr. Boehner will apparently depend more and more on a coalition of Democratic members plus his core of Crony Republicans.

Maryland’s Andy Harris, all three West Virginia House Republicans including freshman and former Marylander Alex Mooney, and seven out of eight Virginia House Republicans all voted against the Boehner “dirty” appropriations measure for the Department of Homeland Security.

We don’t necessarily believe that every “no” Republican vote was a considered vote against expanding immigration.  But it is clear that in Maryland’s First District, and throughout Virginia and West Virginia, the GOP base wants no truck with the president’s amnesty schemes.  These “no” Republican votes reflect that.

Virginia’s 10th District Barbara Comstock, however, voted aye with the Speaker. Mrs. Comstock doubtless speaks for McLean Values, but less likely for a “humble and honest populism,” senator Jeff Sessions’ vision for a reborn GOP.

Breitbart’s Tony Lee gives us Dave Brat’s (Virginia’s 7th District) perspective: “‘No Upper Bound’ on Obama Exec Authority”–

“Brat, who is fast becoming the conscience of conservatives in the House, accused Republicans of appeasing Obama on domestic issues just like Obama has been appeasing and emboldening some of America’s foreign policy enemies on the global stage.
In an appearance on The John Fredericks Show in Virginia, Brat put the executive amnesty debate into proper constitutional perspective and noted that the truth ‘came out like a stick of dynamite last night’ when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest revealed that Obama is now ‘strongly considering’ raising some corporate taxes via executive action. Brat said that if Obama is ‘strongly considering’ doing that, ‘that means there’s no upper bound on the President’s authority’ if Congress caves on his executive amnesty.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

. . . . .

“’So we [Republicans] used our money to go after our own in-House guys when we promised for the last two months that we would fight tooth and nail against President Obama’s unconstitutional overreach.’
‘So we’re taking it to our own guys, who are standing strong on principle, on the constitution,’ [Brat] said– further proving conservative icon, scholar, and talk radio host Mark Levin’s declaration at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that conservatives must understand that, ‘in order to defeat the Democrats, we have to defeat the Republicans.'”

The truth of the matter is that in spite of the Tea Party Election of November 2, 2010, the GOP Congressional Establishment shut out their voter base, the grassroots. 

The handwriting was on the wall in August of 2010 before that November election as we wrote in our “Conservatives: Put Not Your Entire Trust in GOP Princes”–

“The Republican divide [is] K Street vs. Tea Partiers” declares Timothy P. Carney in yesterday’s [August 22, 2010] Washington Examiner-–
“[Trent] Lott is the captain of the K Street team. He told a reporter last month his thoughts on the Tea Partiers: ‘We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples. As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.’”… “To the K Street wing, the Tea Party types are like the guy who’s playing too hard in a co-ed softball game — he’s sliding headfirst and barking orders at the cutoff man while you’re trying to chum it up with the boys and then maybe go home with the other team’s cute second baseman after the game.”

The Republican base is comprised of decent, traditional Americans, who have found it difficult to accept the fact that they have been rolled by highly placed members of their own party.

Here is a summary, for example, by Daniel Horowitz of the GOP Congressional Leadership’s most recent duplicity.

One sovereign remedy for GOP recovery would be that state and local GOP units become engines of accountability, not just cheering sections dominated by incumbents.

Stay tuned!

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 02 Mar 2015

Decisive Week To Keep House GOP From Buying Obama Amnesty; 63% Of VA GOP Members Stood Firm Friday But MD’s Harris Folded

“If Obama would threaten a veto and potential shutdown unless GOP members walk around naked, theyd oblige bec. ‘they’d get blamed 4 shutdown'” Daniel Horowitz Tweet

World Net Daily’s Drew Zahn captures Friday’s House of Representatives floor drama in his “Republican rebels stand fast against Boehner, amnesty: ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal,’ declares member of GOP resistance”–

“In the contentious voting over a Homeland Security funding bill Friday night, nearly 50 mostly conservative Republicans openly defied House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio – not once, but twice.”
. . . . . . . . . .
“Later in the evening, the proposal was put forward to pass a bill funding the DHS for just one week, and this time, 55 Republicans voted against the measure. Pelosi, however, rallied Democrats to switch their votes and agree to what she called ‘a 7-day patch.’ ‘Your vote tonight,’ Pelosi wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats, ‘will assure that we will vote for full funding next week.’”

Kudos to the five Virginia House GOP members who voted Friday here and here to hold fast on denying money for the president’s illegal executive amnesty: Robert Hurt; Morgan Griffith; Robert Wittman; Randy Forbes; Dave Brat.

The unanswered question is whether the Speaker plans to bring to the House floor this week (and pass with Democratic votes) a bill to bankroll the Department of Homeland Security through September 30 with no restrictions on the Constitution-breaking Obama executive amnesty.

National Journal’s Alex Brown reports “Democrats: Boehner Promised Us a Vote on a Clean DHS Bill Next Week”–

“House conservatives were told a shutdown-averting vote last night bought them a week reprieve to strategize a new fight against President Obama’s immigration orders. Democrats believe they’ve been promised a vote on a full-year funding bill by next Friday. A week from now, one of those groups is going to be very disappointed—and likely irate at the deception of its own leadership.”

The Fatal Consequences of Allowing Obama’s Amnesty Plans

We are talking about much more than cheap (unskilled and skilled) labor for Giant Business. Their campaign donations drive the Republican Establishment, as senator Jeff Sessions pointed out in his “Don’t Give the Masters of the Universe Their Amnesty”–

“So who are these so-called expert advocates and business leaders? They are not the law-enforcement officers; they are not our ICE officers; they are not our Border Patrol officers; they are not the American working man and woman; they are not unemployed Americans. They weren’t in the room. You can be sure of that. Their opinions weren’t sought. No, White House officials are meeting with the world’s most powerful corporate and immigration lobbyists and activists who think border controls are for the little people.
The administration is meeting with the elite, the cosmopolitan set, who scorn and mock the concerns of everyday Americans who are concerned about their schools, jobs, wages, communities, and hospitals. These great and powerful citizens of the world don’t care much about old-fashioned things like national boundaries, national sovereignty, and immigration control — let alone the constitutional separation of powers.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

The End of Assimilation?

We now learn about the “Obama Task Force on New Americans: Changing America by ‘seeding’ migrants in towns everywhere.”

Ann Corcoran rounds up the background and current revelations about the immigration agenda of the Militant Left

“Obama is changing America by changing the people!  You might even say he is ‘colonizing’ America!
And, they are doing it by changing the language as well!
Yesterday several readers directed me to a segment of the Mark Levin radio program where Levin interviewed “Sue” from Maryland.
Sue had been wise enough to get on recent conference calls with the White House Task Force on New Americans, we mentioned the Task Force here and here.
In our first post we told you who was in charge and that they were not ‘assimilating’ immigrants.  They are ‘integrating’ them.  The word ‘assimilate’ is verboten in the Open Border circles.
The task force was created in November, here it is.  Now they are getting to work under the guidance of none-other than former La Raza (‘the race’) agitator Cecilia Muñoz and the Director of USCIS León Rodríguez.
In that second post, we copied verbatim the Task Force on New Americans instructions for getting on the call.  Note that they wanted to keep whatever was said from the press:
Note to the media: This engagement is not for press purposes.’
After hearing Sue’s description of what she heard, it is no wonder they didn’t want the press to know what was being said!
You can listen to Sue’s report to Levin by going to the Podcast of Levin’s February 26th show. Go here and find the February 26th show.  Start listening at 91:12 (on my version of the podcast).
***Update***  Reader Caroline sent us this link to WCBM (Baltimore) where Sue is identified as Sue Payne co-host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show.”

Main Street America is threatened not just with the importation of cheap labor by the so-called Right, but — even more dangerously — with the displacement of our civic and cultural order by the Very Hard Left as they seek to import a replacement people.

Will The Sky Fall If The Department of Homeland Security Funds Lapse?

Breitbart’s Tony Lee brings us Jeffrey Dorfman who declares, “Exec Amnesty Will Harm Economy More than Temporary Homeland Security Shutdown.” As Dorfman reminds us

“in the most recent government shutdown, ’87 percent of DHS employees kept right on working thanks to being classified as essential, while only 13 percent were sent home…under current law the reality is that a shutdown will have no noticeable effect on the important duties of the Department of Homeland Security.”

Tony Lee adds–

“But Obama’s executive amnesty is, according to Dorfman, ‘a step toward two things that will do billions of dollars in damage to our economy’–hurting American workers and imposing more costs on state and local governments:”  (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Here is Dorfman’s entire article in Forbes.

What About The Costs of Implementing Amnesty?

Appropriations expert (and recovering Congressman) Ernest Istook warns in the Washington Times, “Millions spent illegally on Obama amnesty plan; so who is going to prison? Bureaucrats obey Obama instead of following federal spending controls.” Istook declares–

“The White House claims that the massive expenses of amnesty processing will be covered by fees charged to applicants, but that fails the laugh test because: 1) expenses are already massive, but zero fees have been collected to date; 2) there have been no calculations released to match expenses with fees; and 3) the Constitution forbids spending any money unless it first is approved by Congress.”

Congressional friends of Federal employees might draw their attention to former House member Istook’s warning about “personal risk” to those working on implementing amnesty

“It’s illegal to spend federal money on purposes never approved by Congress. Yet Mr. Obama has bureaucrats going full-speed ahead to create the mechanism that would process amnesty for millions, even while a court injunction requires that actual processing cannot yet begin.
Preparations are proceeding ‘full-throttle,’ according to Judicial Watch, which works to make government accountable. The group has uncovered details about some of the tens of millions of dollars already being spent to launch Mr. Obama’s amnesty plan and called for a full investigation. Billions more in tax dollars are also on the line.
“However, there is personal risk for all who do Mr. Obama’s bidding rather than obey the laws that govern federal payments. Each person who violates what’s called the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S. Code Sec. 1341) could be fined $5,000, sent to prison for two years, lose their job, or all of these. That law makes no exceptions for those who claim they merely obeyed orders from superiors, including the president.”

This Week’s Message to Your House GOP Members:
Don’t Become
An Amnesty Poodle!

Heavy GOP Establishment political pressure– think US Chamber of Commerce — is likely coming down on House GOP members to capitulate this week: to give the president money to replace American workers and to dilute the votes of Americans through the president’s lawless actions.

 Stay tuned….

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 26 Feb 2015

A message for our good Republican friends still in denial about the deeply flawed GOP Congressional leadership . . .

Allahpundit today reports further Senate GOP leadership shame in his “Senate Judiciary Committee votes to confirm Loretta Lynch as AG — thanks to three Republicans” – –

“The three defectors: Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham, both members of the Senate’s Gang of Eight on immigration, and Orrin Hatch, who sold himself as Mr. Conservative to Utah tea partiers in 2012 in order to avoid being primaried.”

         . . . . . . . . . .

“Exit question via DrewM: Why doesn’t McConnell simply refuse to bring Lynch’s nomination to the floor? If he’s serious enough about blocking Obama’s amnesty that he’d force a vote on the House’s DHS funding bill four times, he’s surely serious enough to bottle up Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. Right?”

But today’s Senate isn’t Bob Taft’s (“Mr. Republican”) United States Senate.

Nor is it Scoop Jackson’s.**

Whatever the different perspectives of these two eminent 20th-century legislators, their independence of speech and action commanded respect not only in the Senate but nationally. Their devotion to what they saw as the national interest was paramount. 

They would have scorned Senate leaders whose highest aspiration was cutting deals and who market their dark dealings as “pragmatism.”

Lest we forget how far today’s Senate has fallen, please revisit Daniel Horowitz’ illuminating December 14, 2014 Conservative Review post“GOP Elites Don’t Love the Constitution” – –

“Late Saturday night, while few Americans were paying attention, the GOP establishment abrogated the last distinguishing factor that existed between the two parties. The GOP elites in the Senate joined Democrats in declaring our Constitution null and void. 
Not only were Senate Republicans planning to rubber stamp the Cromnibus/amnesty bill – the worst and most consequential single piece of legislation since Obamacare – they wanted to get it done without compelling Democrats to take a tough vote defending Obama’s illegal actions.  After forcing the poor senators to work over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally leveraged Harry Reid into agreeing to conduct a vote on the constitutionality of Obama’s amnesty, as represented through the budget bill in the funding for immigration-related agencies.  But GOP leadership would have no part in Cruz’s bold effort.
So visceral was their hatred for Cruz for keeping them at work another day; so callous was their regard for stopping Obama’s amnesty, that 20 Republicans – including Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) – voted with Democrats to affirm the constitutionality of Obama’s act.
 Then, all but 13 Republicans proceeded to vote for cloture on the “Cromnibus” bill, which consummates and accelerates Obama’s amnesty.”

So, fellow conservatives, keep organizing and sending our own vision forth!

 **  Full disclosure: the author served as a young aide to senator Henry Jackson.

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 25 Feb 2015

As Congressional GOP Leaders Un-Man Themselves . . . Conservatives Must Now Seriously Organize

This week we have seen the Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell doing his worst.

But only last December, we detailed how John Boehner Enables Obama To Continue “Transforming America”  —

“He did so by openly working with a skilled revolutionary who is president of the United States to secure House passage of a massive appropriations bill called the Cromnibus.
The measure gives the president’s regime money to pursue its transformative goals for our society through next September 30.
The most salient of these goals is — by lawless executive action — regularizing millions of illegal aliens and likely putting them on a path to citizenship.
This is a means of diluting our votes with those of the new citizens whom president Obama anticipates — putative new voters who already expect big government and are little used to liberty and civic order.
But the administration will also use the money approved by the House yesterday to advance the president’s many other objectives, among them:
Obamacare will sink its roots further.”

And now Breitbart’s Jonathan Strong and Caroline May declare “McConnell Caves, But Reid Wants Full Surrender From Boehner As Well” – –

“’I’ve indicated to the Democratic leader that I’d be happy to have his cooperation to advance consideration of a clean DHS bill, which would carry us through September 30,’Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters Tuesday. ‘With Democratic cooperation on a position they have been advocating for the last two months, we could have that vote very quickly.’
‘This is a total victory for the Obama position,’ said a GOP senator unhappy with McConnell’s plan. ‘The House hasn’t passed it yet, so they might could come up with something. But that’s a grim prospect.’
But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid balked at the offer, saying Democrats would continue to filibuster the bill until House Speaker John Boehner indicated he was willing to also pass it through the House.”

The Conservative Review’s Gaston Mooney summed it up this morning in his “Bench McConnell” – –

“Ben Domenech, writing in this morning’s edition of The Transom, has a good run down of the current situation unfolding in the Senate.
So even when it comes to blocking funding for an executive order of dubious legality, which totally poisoned the ability to have a bipartisan immigration solution, which hasn’t even taken effect and is now the subject of a federal court injunction… Where the president did something he himself repeatedly said he didn’t have the authority to do and the federal court agreed… Republican leaders are still so afraid of the shutdown specter that they are willing to let a Democratic Senate minority have complete control over federal budget policy, so complete that they will go so far as to help Democrats avoid inconvenient conservative amendment votes to appease them. Why should Senate Democrats or Obama take the GOP leadership’s ‘ask’ on anything seriously? They have no ‘or else’. They have demonstrated repeatedly that they have no spine for these fights. They’d rather fight for things which serve their natural constituency – Washington – where the priority is Keystone, medical device taxes, and getting things done for the people who hired the money.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

What Is To Be Done?

In our view, Maryland and Virginia conservatives should organize as conservatives on a statewide basis —  not necessarily as a third party but as a third outside force through which conservative policy and program goals would be specified, conservative messages developed and disseminated, and conservative endorsements — a seal of approval —  given only to worthy candidates.

As we have been saying, the biggest challenge might be to get conservatives behind the three core conservative concerns, not just that part of one of them with which they feel most congenial: 

  • Upholding a broad range of values (not simply opposing abortion — but also strengthening the culture, defending traditional liberty, stopping Common Core, tracking taxpayer-funded school curricula and teacher training);
  • Right-sizing local, state, and the Federal government (more than lower taxes: seriously rolling back regulation by state and local government; espousing a pro-market but not a so-called “pro-business” or “crony-capitalist” agenda);
  • Strengthening homeland security (ranging from a prudent national defense, to maintaining our sovereignty by controlling immigration and our borders, to resisting national and local incursions from Civilization Jihad).

Now more than ever, however, so-called “single-issue conservatives” pursue a path to irrelevance if they do not work within the larger conservative movement. Unless they do so, they also help ensure that we shall all hang separately.

Whether conservatives of all inclinations come together on a statewide basis depends on how much they will recognize (not deny) the imminent danger. Stopping this accelerating and too-often bi-partisan transformation of America – in its Federal, state, and local versions – cannot wait until 2016.

Stay tuned:  will shall be writing on this at more length.



Homeland Defense Richard Falknor on 12 Feb 2015

The “Defeat Jihad Summit” & Your Local GOP Or Tea Party

“From the ground level. . . speaking with people especially at the state, local, and county level, I think a great deal can be done there and I think the war will be won in this country at that level.” –John Guandolo (click here)

Yesterday the Center for Security Policy gathered a luminous group of national experts for a “Defeat Jihad Summit” .

The Summit, click here and here, provides conservatives and patriots across the political spectrum with a wealth of information on the Jihad and Shariah threats right here at home as well as worldwide.

In addition to the Summit YouTubes of senator Ted Cruz and governor Bobby Jindal, we would draw your attention to these three–

But, as expert John Guandolo suggests, much of the war against Jihad in our country must be fought at the local level.

Lamentably few GOP elected or party officials in Maryland or Virginia have publicly discussed the threats of Civilization Jihad and of Shariah, or even of agents of Islamic influence.

(The exception of course is former Representative Frank Wolf who continues his Christian work as part of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.)

Long overdue: Maryland and Virginia GOP politicians and Party leaders must get their arms around these two grave threats of Jihad and Shariah and discuss them publicly. 

The information and expertise available through the “Defeat Jihad Summit” will add much depth to this effort.  And it may keep politicians of both parties from straying into questionable company here and here.

Local Tea Parties and the allied grassroots need to spur any reluctant politicians into action.

And kudos to the Clarke County Virginia GOP for featuring Clare Lopez (scroll down in foregoing link) tonight in Berryville to discuss “The Muslim Brotherhood, National Security, & Domestic Infiltration”!






Reforming Maryland Peter Samuel on 22 Jan 2015

Transportation Recommendations For MD Governor Larry Hogan: Red & Purple Rail Projects; MD Initiative Across The Potomac

UPDATE JANUARY 26! Also weighing in, Maryland investigator and author Ken Timmerman declared yesterday “End the ‘light’ rail boondoggle” in the Frederick News-Post. Former U. S. House candidate Timmerman explained: “Maryland has better ways to spend our highway tax money — such as improving our highways and bridges. Why not a second Potomac crossing, for example, linking the I-270 corridor to the Reston-Dulles area in northern Virginia, where many Frederick residents work?”

* * * * * * * * * *

Newly inaugurated Maryland governor Larry Hogan campaigned against the Red and Purple Rail Lines, correctly seeing them as too expensive and lower in priority than roads.

Consequently he has a mandate to put the two light rail projects on an immediate hold and under comprehensive review.

These projects are beloved of local politicians, the media, and elements of the business community. Thus he will face loud and incessant attack if he appears irresolute in considering them.

The governor needs to authorize hearings and studies to re-examine the projects’ ridership estimates and costs, and to reveal the risks of over-runs.

Most important — such an examination must answer the long-term question of whether these projects could ever pay their way in fares and must estimate the fiscal implications of anticipated annual losses for the state.

Project advocates list all the jobs created during construction, but this is only a measure of cost, and avoids the real question: what value are they creating?

In any enterprise there is positive net value if the users are paying sufficient user fees (fares) to both cover operating costs and provide a competitive return on capital (ROI).

To the extent fares won’t cover costs plus return on capital, we have a clear measure that the value to users falls short of costs, making the project a net loss to any operator.

Rail transit in Maryland presently collects in the ‘farebox’ less than 30 cents on the dollar spent on operating the system and, of course, makes no return on capital invested. Light rail is the very worst with lower farebox recovery (currently under 20 cents per dollar.)

Some of those results could be improved, but almost no rail system in America come close to the black (100 on the dollar + ROI).

Heavy rail (WMATA and Baltimore Metros and MARC) makes inherent sense, taking commuters to dense downtown job locations like Washington, D.C., where car parking is difficult and buses are slow. Of course the WMATA Metrorail could be operated more efficiently, perhaps with its components privatized; it also could collect more in fares, but it’s a regional system and Maryland is only one voice in its management.

The Red and Purple Rail Projects

In Baltimore, the Red Line design uses light rail imaginatively — in tunnel for about a third of its length, where independence from road traffic is helpful downtown, and running on the street outside downtown. It’s a radial line from the end of I-70 in Woodlawn to many downtown locations, with a crosstown segment that could pick up some shorter in-town trips. Ridership should be pretty predictable.

My big question would be if all the Red Line tunnels, elaborate underground stations, and utility relocations can be built anywhere near the costs cited. Its complexity in its quite lengthy downtown Baltimore stretch makes it a candidate for awesome cost overruns.

The Purple Line (mainly Montgomery County) has almost opposite — well different — problems. It is more easily costed because its construction is rather straightforward — basically an at-grade trolley in its own right of way.

It is circumferential, not radial, to its metro area and won’t serve any dense concentrated employment centers, making its ridership projections and revenues extremely speculative. Ridership of the Purple Line could be tiny compared to the forecasts, a total fiasco.

The Purple Line should be a bus route, not rail.

Not only are the vehicles a fraction of the cost of light-rail pairs, but buses are flexible and their routes can be developed incrementally in response to demand.

Key segments could be built quickly as dedicated busways while the entire line goes into operation with the other segments running in local streets.

An incrementally developed Purple Line would be staged: decisions to proceed with each dedicated busway shaped by ridership levels and assessing the value of taking the busway further.

Such a staged approach would reduce the risk to the state’s finances.

But Roads Are The Real Mass Transit System

But roads are the metro areas real mass transit system, carrying over three-quarters of commuters, virtually all the freight and service vehicles, and all the emergency-services traffic.

Traffic has been growing more slowly for the past decade than it did in the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need major investment and reform of roads.

(For several years we have had a decline in per-capita vehicle miles traveled across America. Some of this may be long lasting — owing to the internet and how it allows us to do a lot of shopping online, and some of our work at home or otherwise remotely. But some of this decline is caused by a stagnant economy, so driving may revive with an improved economy.)

Similarly there has been some move back to the city. Washington, D. C., and Baltimore have managed to reverse the long decline in population; more people are living close enough to walk to work. This is hopeful, but the new ‘gentrified’ inner-area housing is spread out. It remains to be seen how far this area will expand, and how much it will affect road traffic.

Upgrading The Regional Road Network Now

Regardless of future traffic, we have some serious choke points in the regional road network that need fixing now.

The traffic overloads today are so severe that small future changes in driving won’t make much difference.

In Maryland the greatest deficiency is the capacity of the Capital Beltway. The Beltway from at least Greenbelt west is the scene of huge congestion, both chronic and episodic.

One relief option discussed is to extend the 495 toll express lanes that Transurban built from north of their present end just beyond Tysons Corner over the Potomac into Maryland, by widening the American Legion Bridge (ALB) then extending them up I-270.

During his campaign Larry Hogan referred to this approach. It is in the Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments long-range plans.

But this would be a very difficult and expensive construction job — so many interchanges to rebuild and all under traffic.

It is 10 and 12 lanes already, so this approach would take it to 14 and 16 lanes: more easily costed because  construction would be rather straightforward, providing just 2 x 2 toll express lanes. I doubt, however, that the future tolls could pay for it.

A Bold Initiative Across The Potomac

Here governor Hogan has an opportunity for a bold initiative.

A better alternative to 495/270 improvements would a completely new tollroad: a direct link between the Intercounty Connector (ICC) MD 200 in Gaithersburg and the Dulles area, with a connection to VA28 at Leesburg Pike.

VA7-ICC-west, as I call it, would be 15 miles long, all but 1.5 miles in Maryland. Construction-wise, it would be very straightforward compared to widening the Beltway/I-270.

Potomac River bridgework would be much simpler and a lower level than at the American Legion Bridge, where the Potomac is in a deep gorge. There would be almost no traffic to interfere with construction — versus difficult night work all the way on the Beltway. Just two interchanges are needed — one at each end, versus some 16 interchanges on the Beltway and I-270 up to Gaithersburg.

Governor Hogan could start with planning studies and alternatives analysis.

My estimates are —

  • The ICC-West to VA28 would be very successful as a tollroad, whereas I’m doubtful about the financial viability of additional Beltway toll lanes, because of the huge cost of construction.
  • That it would be a very attractive new direct connection between the two largest jurisdictions of the Washington-Baltimore metro area: Montgomery county Maryland (1.01m pop) and Fairfax county Virginia (1.12m pop)
  • Gaithersburg to Dulles Airport, for example, would be 22 miles via IC-west — or perhaps 20 minutes versus 29 miles 270/495/267 and an average of an hour and very unpredictable. The ICC-west Gaithersburg to Tysons would be twice the distance — 32 miles ICC-West vs 16 miles on the 270/495 route — but at least in present conditions the average travel time would not be much different and the western U-route ICC-west/267 would probably be more reliable and more relaxing a drive.

Another consideration is that the American Legion Bridge as the sole river crossing on the west side of the metropolitan area makes us vulnerable to huge disruption should it ever be closed for any length of time.

Consider how the regional economy would be affected if Islamists were to blow up columns of the American Legion Bridge and bring it down. Even a temporary bridge would take months to deploy, the gorge is so deep there. The Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia would be isolated from one another for many months, perhaps a full year.

In a joint op-ed in the Washington Post (Jan 2, 2015) the longtime Northern Virginia transport consultant Alan Pisarski and I argued for the Intercounty Connector (ICC)-west and also for an ICC-east which would extend the ICC clockwise from US1 to US50 near Bowie. (scroll down to map below).

This could provide an alternative route NoVa/Montgomery Co to Annapolis and the Eastern Shore. These projects would of course be heavily contested by Greens and transit enthusiasts, but then, so was the existing ICC heavily contested. Under former governor Bob Ehrlich’s leadership, the naysaying doom-mongers ‘veto’ on the ICC was overridden and a valuable new highway got built.

Its full potential will only be realized, I suggest, with the extensions east and west.

If these extensions can be built as self-financing toll projects, then governor Hogan may leave a great legacy in transportation.

NOTE: click on the following map, which was drawn mainly to indicate the general location of proposed ICC-east and ICC-west. The map shows a few other road projects that seem to me important, but there’s no analysis behind their selection. Others not shown may turn out to deserve higher priority.


–Peter Samuel of British and Australian upbringing has an academic background in economics, finance, and urban planning. In the U.S. from 1980 to 1992 he wrote as a daily reporter on defense and foreign policy. Then, as a freelance writer, he specialized in critical writing on the environmental movement. A longtime friend of Robert Poole, he wrote first on roads for Poole’s Reason magazine: click here. An article on toll roads commissioned by Forbes magazine in 1996 led him to specialize in reporting on the toll-roads business, first in a low circulation monthly Toll Roads Newsletter, that he established, then in the web-based TOLLROADSnews, which he sold to new management at the end of 2013. In the U.S. since 1980 he has lived in the New York area, in N.W. Washington D.C., and since 1992 in Frederick County, Maryland. He currently lives in 19th century downtown Frederick.

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