01 October 2013

Greg Abbott for Texas Governor


I'm thinking of jumping on the AG's bandwagon for his campaign for governor.  I sure like his take on the Constitution and specifically the Second Amendment.

Watch this space for updates...

27 September 2013

My Conversation with John Cornyn

I had the opportunity to spend some quality phone time with Senator John Cornyn this afternoon, immediately after the vote to strip the defunding amendments from the Continuing Resolution from the House. It was just the Senator, me, Derrick, and some other blogger who joined late on the call, on an open call.

The Senator opened with some comments, where he reiterated his distaste for ObamaCare, and stressed that he had acted in a manner that he deemed the most effective, namely to vote for cloture and proceed to vote on the CR, with the hope of 5 Red State Democrats crossing the aisle to vote in allegiance with the Republicans. Of course, that tactic was DOA, and failed. I'm not sure why anyone thought that a Democrat would jump ship on its party's defining legislation victory.

I posited that since this was now a done deal, and knowing what we know today, would he have chosen a different set of tactics? He replied in the negative, asserting that he didn't see the logic in voting against the CR, which in its original state, would have defunded ObamaCare.

I asked that since these tactics he spoke of had failed, what in fact, was the long-term strategy? Was it to wait for 2014? I'm not sure I got a straight answer. He referred to Manchin's ploy to delay the individual mandate, and to 2014 to be sure.

I thought to myself: if delaying ObamaCare to 2014 is a Republican strategy, then why did the Democrats initiate it? I'll tell you why: because without the delay, the American public will find out how badly they've been shafted, and would vote out the incumbents in rage. So delaying ObamaCare merely serves to keep the incumbents in office. Any of this ring true with you, dear reader?

I asked why, in the face of certain failure, didn't he just take a stand with Ted Cruz, not whip the other Republicans against Cruz, and at least make a stand? In my mind, this would help cement his image with his constituency, and virtually guarantee re-election in 2014. He replied once again, that he didn't see the logic in that. He spoke several times about a "family disagreement" on tactics, and how it didn't make sense to vote against the CR that would defund ObamaCare. He spoke of his experience in the judiciary and his experience as a Senator, that he was ranked the second most conservative Senator, and that his hope had been that we'd have more trust and confidence in his decision on tactics. That's when I decided he needed a wake-up call, that his constituents were disappointed in his tactics.

I asserted that his constituency that I have contact with on social media, and even on his own Facebook pages are howling that they've been betrayed. He responded strongly, as if he were shocked, as if this had been the first time he heard that people felt betrayed, and he was frankly and genuinely offended by that characterization. I offered that he should spend some time on his own Facebook page, and see that I'm not alone in this sentiment. Yeah, I pissed off a senior U.S. Senator.

Let me summarize what I heard: "I know what's best for the people, despite your opinions to the contrary." In my opinion, John Cornyn has lost touch with his constituents, and has succumbed to DC and the mainstream media, to whom he is apparently beholden. I saw today as a defining moment, a turning point for the senior Senator from Texas. Is it time for a change? Maybe. Cornyn has had our back on myriad issues, but this one issue will have a deeper, more far-reaching impact on the United States economy than any other. It's something to think hard about.

I'll give Derrick his chance to chime in with his thoughts.

Cornyn: I Will Vote To Defund ObamaCare

Well, I'm hopping mad over this press release in anticipation of the call for a cloture vote. This is what John Cornyn is hanging his career on: "And I hope that we have five democrats -- perhaps those who hoped in 2010 that Obamacare would actually work, but in light of subsequent experience will reconsider and say maybe we ought to start over again because Obamacare has not worked."

Sorry, but I've had a belly full of hope from this administration, and it's time for that change.  I'm going to start with a campaign against my state's own Senator.  I can't believe that John Cornyn has sold out his constituency for NOTHING.  That's what will be accomplished today.

If a miracle happens and those 5 Democrats cross the aisle, I'll eat my words, and run out and buy a lottery ticket. But this will be the straw that breaks the electorate's collective backs.

United States Senator - Texas
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Megan Mitchell, (202) 224-0704
Drew Brandewie, (202) 224-0703
Friday, September 27th, 2013

Cornyn: I Will Vote To Defund Obamacare
‘The real vote today is going to be on the vote that the majority leader will offer to strip out the defunding language’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said on the Senate floor today that he will vote to defund Obamacare and encouraged Senate Democrats to join all Senate Republicans in voting to defund a law that does not work.

His full speech can be seen here, and excerpts of his remarks are below:

“We will be voting today on a very important provision which will give us an opportunity to start over again to address the failures of Obamacare that even some of its most ardent advocates had hoped it would meet.

“[T]oday we will vote on a number of matters, including a cloture vote on the underlying bill, that I will be voting ‘yes’ on cloture because I don't understand how I can otherwise vote on a matter that I want to see passed.

“In other words, we will vote to proceed to a bill that defunds Obamacare, and I believe we should defund Obamacare. Indeed, just as we did on the motion to proceed, we had 100 senators vote for cloture on the motion to proceed.

“I don't know why we wouldn't vote to proceed on the cloture vote on the underlying bill, especially those of us who believe that we ought to go ahead and defund Obamacare today in light of experience between 2010 and 2013, which shows it hasn't lived up to expectations and promises.

“So I think the real vote today is going to be on the vote that the majority leader will offer to strip out the defunding language. And I hope that we have five democrats -- perhaps those who hoped in 2010 that Obamacare would actually work, but in light of subsequent experience will reconsider and say maybe we ought to start over again because Obamacare has not worked.”

The Vote on Cloture


I'm posting this cop-out because I want everyone to know that John Cornyn has decided to squander the only chance he had to stop ObamaCare this year in exchange for...nothing. The chances of these Democrats crossing the aisle are the same as John Cornyn's chances of making it out of the primaries next year. This is one of the lamest attempts to blame someone else (the Democrats, in this case) for not having the cojones to simply do what his constituents asked him to do, and vote NO on cloture. There's still a chance, John Cornyn - vote no, or risk evisceration at the hands of Texas voters.

17 April 2013

Die, S. 649, Die!

I've been waiting with bated breath for this amendment to S.649.  When this bill hit the Senate floor, I expressed the sentiment that it was time for our senators to start introducing amendments that would kill it dead.  Although I'd love to see national reciprocity, this amendment is more likely to scuttle that odious legislation.

What continues to haunt me is that so many people think that S. 649 in its pristine state is good legislation. The first time this legislation either a) doesn't stop a maniac or b) results in the prosecution of an innocent person, all litigious hell will break loose.  It's a bad bill and needs to die.

United States Senator - Texas
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Megan Mitchell, (202) 224-0704 
Drew Brandewie, (202) 224-0703
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Cornyn Introduces National Conceal-Carry Reciprocity Legislation
Allows Permit Holders to Carry Concealed Weapons Across State Lines
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment to S. 649 which would guarantee the rights of gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines and within other states that also have conceal-carry laws.

“Balancing two of this nation’s most fundamental rights, this measure ensures that law-abiding Americans are able to lawfully carry their weapons across state lines while respecting the rights of each individual state to pass laws that are right for them.”

The Constitutional Concealed Carry Act of 2013 would treat state-issued conceal-carry permits like drivers’ licenses, allowing law-abiding citizens with conceal-carry privileges to conceal-carry in any other states that also permits it by law. The amendment is supported by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees.  He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

20 March 2013

John Cornyn on Background Check Legislation

For those of you who don't get regular updates from your senators.

United States Senator - Texas
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Megan Mitchell, (202) 224-0704
Drew Brandewie, (202) 224-0703
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ICYMI: Cornyn: Background Checks Have to Keep Guns From Severely Troubled Buyers
Background checks serve a critical role in ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of those not responsible enough to use them…we must refocus our efforts to make sure the current background-check system works to screen out the dangerously mentally ill.’

WASHINGTON – The following column authored by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) appeared in the Houston Chronicle:

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
The Houston Chronicle
March 20, 2013
These pages recently criticized my March 12 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee against legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that would require all prospective gun purchasers to undergo a background check. ("Senate judiciary panel's Republicans remain true to NRA," Page B7, Wednesday) It was suggested that my vote indicates I am opposed to all background checks on any individual purchasing any weapon. This is false, and I'd like to take an opportunity to clarify my position.

I believe background checks serve a critical role in ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of those not responsible enough to use them. Therefore, I believe we must refocus our efforts to make sure the current background-check system works to screen out the dangerously mentally ill. What we should not do is obsess about ineffective window-dressing reforms, or we risk putting symbolism over substance.

The mass murders in Colorado, Arizona and Virginia were committed by killers who passed their background checks. How did they slip through the cracks? And how can we seal those cracks in the future? The murderer of innocent children in Connecticut killed his mother and stole firearms that she kept in their home, which she purchased legally and for which she passed background checks. Unfortunately, Sen. Schumer's legislation glosses over these gaping holes in the background check system.

If there was a common thread in the tragedies at Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown, it was the mental illness of the shooter. No one wants disturbed young men or women to have access to firearms, and lawmakers should bolster the relevant safeguards.

The Schumer bill appears to be rooted in the belief that private buyers and sellers of firearms are not to be trusted. For example, in the recent bipartisan talks on background checks, Democrats quickly shifted the argument from universal checks to universal record-keeping, which is a separate and even thornier issue. Why is it that some do not trust law-abiding gun owners to make responsible decisions?

Unfortunately, legislation proposed in the Senate, such as the so-called "assault weapons ban," focuses not on the perilous intersection of mental illness and guns, but on the cosmetic features of certain firearms. I wasn't sent to Washington to pass another law that will not address the real root cause of mass violence. Recent tragedies across the nation confirm that we must improve mental health reporting for the background check program.

This is why I support legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would plug the holes in our background check system. Federal and state authorities alike have criticized ambiguous guidelines in the current system that fail to include many existing mental illness records. The NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 would clarify outdated legal definitions so that we could more effectively screen out individuals who are prohibited from buying guns.

As an elected official, I take my responsibility for the safety and security of all Texans very seriously. I welcome a robust debate over the best measures to ensure that: (1) the rights of law-abiding citizens are protected and (2) guns are kept out of the hands of severely troubled individuals. I believe that fortifying our current background-check laws is a critical step, and I will continue fighting to protect the rights and livelihoods of all Texans.

Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees.  He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

06 March 2013

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Brace yourselves, because this may come off as being a little mean.

Gabby Giffords. She was a Democrat member of Congress who suffered a gunshot to the head at the hands of a madman. She is lucky to be alive, and everyone is thankful for that. However, she has suffered significant trauma, and continues to have difficulty speaking and walking, and her right arm is paralyzed. She's lost 50% of her vision in both eyes.

It's worth noting that she was a strong pro-gun representative, and expressed a firm belief in the Second Amendment.

However, things change. Now she is the figurehead of an anti-gun organization, "Americans for Responsible Solutions," that is largely run by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. In just the last few months, most notably after the Newtown tragedy, Kelly has stepped up his anti-gun campaign, pandering to the masses for support of, you guessed it, "common-sense" gun control.

You might hope that given the name of the organization and given the distinguished service of its founders, that this organization is somehow different from other "responsible"-sounding organizations.

"We have a problem -- where we shop, where we pray, where our children go to school," Giffords says to the camera in one of the ads. "But there are solutions we can agree on, even gun owners like us." The screen then says: "Tell Senator Grassley to support background checks." Gabby Giffords has become the James Brady of a new generation, a lightning rod for sympathy in the face of tragedy. In other words, we have an emotional tie, and that's where the lies gain a foothold.

"Even gun owners like us." This is subtle, but effective, and is from a 6-figure ad campaign running in Arizona right now. An almost identical ad ran earlier in the year: "The ad -- at a six-figure buy -- will air this week in DC, as well in the cities represented by congressional leaders: San Francisco (Nancy Pelosi); Cincinnati, OH (John Boehner); Louisville, KY (Mitch McConnell); and Las Vegas, NV (Harry Reid)."

So there you have it. What little respect I had for Mark Kelly has now gone the way of Nancy Pelosi. I don't blame Giffords, because quite frankly, I believe she's being used the same as any other defenseless pawn in this game.

There's no common sense here. It's the same attack, using the same pathetic tactics, using a tragedy to promote a political agenda. Don't fall for it.

17 February 2013

Ted Cruz is Doing the Job I Asked Him to do!


Oh, the Democrats are just jumping mad these days.  They're upset about the freshman Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, and his in-your-face, apolitical politics.  They're upset because he's fighting the status quo.  They're upset because he's not taking the typical freshman approach to D.C., namely, learning how to "play the game," and learning how to "get along," and learning how to "make deals."  How does Ted Cruz feel about this?

He could not be more pleased. Washington’s new bad boy feels good. 
“I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo,” he said in e-mailed answers to questions, in lieu of speaking. “That is what I intend to do, and it is what I have done in every way possible in the responsibilities that have been granted to me.” 
I love it.
Of course, his opposition does what they do best: get emotional, angry, and downright nasty.  
Without naming names, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, offered a biting label for the Texan’s accusatory crusade: McCarthyism. 
“It was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,’ and, of course, nothing was in the pocket,” she said, a reference to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s pursuit of Communists in the 1950s. “It was reminiscent of some bad times.”
Yes, if you can't get someone to comply with your idea of Washington, by all means, start trotting out then name-calling and mud-slinging.  Even the prominent RINOs are getting angry with Cruz.  John McCain got all upset because Cruz apparently wasn't "respectful" enough to Chuck Hagel during his nomination hearings.  Boo. Hoo.  Last time I heard, we weren't electing senators to be nice to each other and hug and kiss.  In fact, our political history has calmed down quite a bit from the days of fistfights on the floor, and duels in the field.  

Ted Cruz hurt your feelings?  Too bad.  We hired him to do a job, and if that hurts your feelings, offends your delicate sensibilities, or even changes the way things get done in D.C., well, get used to it.

25 January 2013

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz Comments on the Feinstein's Proposed Assault Weapon Ban

Press Release 
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 
Subject: Cruz statement on Feinstein Assault Weapons Ban.

From the office of
For immediate release:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz Statement on Sen. Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban of 2013

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) today issued the following statement regarding Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) Assault Weapons Ban of 2013:

Washington politicians shouldn't be taking advantage of recent tragedy to try to push an aggressive gun control agenda. Real assault weapons-machine guns-are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn't work - the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.

The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

20 January 2013

Rantin' and Ravin'!

With respect to the current gun control arguments, I've been seeing a  lot of fuss and bluster on both sides.  I say "both sides," because there are very few who are in the middle.  In fact, one group or the other would claim that if "you're in the middle," you're part of the problem (a position I hold, by the way).  Nonetheless, I'll try to leave those folks out of this discussion.

I'm great with people being passionate about issues, as long as they can back it up with logic and facts.  What I don't have patience for is foaming-at-the-mouth, spit-slinging tirades that are no more than emotional rants based on one person's opinion of how the world should function.

After reading the Dallas Morning News today, there's no shortage of face-palm inducing, head-shaking, sheer bewilderment over what passes for logical arguments.  There's an interview titled "In search of sensible gun control," in the Points section with Tom Diaz, a former senior analyst at the Violence Policy Center, touted in the article as "a think tank that studies the gun industry."  Just like the Taliban is a "think tank that studies American lifestyles." But I digress.

Needless to say, Diaz is pro-gun control, in spite of claims that he's a one-time NRA member, and has fired actual firearms, including AR-15s and AKs.  His answer to "if you had your way with Congress, what laws would you pass to address gun violence?," is "An effective ban on the production, import, and transfer of semi-automatic assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines and a universal background check on all gun transfers."  I think that defines what he views as "sensible."  

When asked if the majority of Americans know what an "assault weapon" really is, he states, "No...and that is precisely the axis of the problem of crafting sensible public safety laws."  Public safety laws, not gun control laws.  Nicely crafted, but also a deflection of an answer to the question.  He doesn't define what an "assault weapon" is, but he believes that banning them is the answer.

When asked about Gov. Rick Perry's reaction to the President's proposed legislation, he had this to say, "I think many Americans and many Texans would disagree, as I do, with Perry's assessment."  No hint of a suggestion for a better course of action, just a dismissal.

Here's what sums up the whole interview for me, a quote from Mr. Diaz, "What has changed?  Have Americans gotten crazier? No. The profile of gun ownership in America has been changed by a cynical gun industry that has flooded the country with military-style killing machines - namely, high-capacity semiautomatic pistols and semiautomatic assault rifles."

And there it is.  Your foaming-at-the-mouth, spittle-slinging assessment of where the problem lies.  All in spite of the facts, statistics, and laws already in place.  It's the gun's fault. 

16 January 2013

The Great Divide

Today we'll find out the President's proposals for the gun violence problem that we've been hearing so much about.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Either we go after criminals, or we criminalize law-abiding citizens.  One approach makes sense, the other makes no sense whatever.

The President has before him a chance to heal the widening rift that grows in America. He has an opportunity to effect real change, but he will have to eschew feel-good legislation in order to do so.  If he succumbs to the feel-good crowd, he will simply further alienate the rest of us who logically exercise common sense.

I've noticed that there has been an ongoing polarization in this country.  It seems the Liberals have gotten more so, as have the Conservatives.  There is more polarization between the givers and the takers, too.  There are hard feelings from those who now, more than ever, feel they are being used to fund the "entitlements" of others.  

This polarization is evidenced by the wide swings in party politics and elections, whereby the pendulum swings wide to either side, and never settles anywhere near the middle.  This continued polarization will continue unabated until a more centrist approach can be found.

If the President chooses to attack the Second Amendment, he risks a further, deeper rift that this country has not seen since the 19th Century.  If he chooses to criminalize the lawful activities of law-abiding citizens, he is making a critical mistake.  If he chooses to try to fix societal problems by going after guns, he is making a critical mistake.  

What he needs to do is to enforce and strengthen the existing laws.  He needs to prosecute criminals.  He needs to recognize that criminals don't care about laws, and leave the law-abiding citizens of this country alone.  He needs to recognize that personal responsibility for self-protection is the natural order of things, and  that trying to prevent us from protecting ourselves serves no good purpose.

It'll be an interesting and revealing day, where we all find out what our President's true intentions really are.

14 January 2013

Ted Cruz on the Road

While the President was busy being...presidential, some of our Senators were out doing some actual good.

U.S. Senator for Texas
B40B Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Contact: Sean Rushton
January 14, 2013

Senator Cruz Visits Afghanistan and Israel with Congressional Delegation

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced today that he and four other Senators just completed a visit to Afghanistan and Israel.
Cruz joined Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the trip, as well as Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). During the trip, the Senators met with U.S. military personnel, military officials and political leaders to discuss political, economic and security issues affecting bilateral and regional relations. 
In addition to visiting troops from Texas, Sen. Cruz joined the Senators to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Major General Larry Nicholson, and General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force. The delegation returns to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.