Congressman Issa Boosts Electoral College Reform
Leaders who possess sound political acumen, a through understanding of policy, solid principles, and a zeal for improving our government can truly make a difference under California's system of direct democracy.
Congressman Darrell Issa of San Diego is one of those leaders.
Californians remember how the Congressman gave all of us the opportunity to replace the failed leadership of Gray Davis with a new Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now, Darrell Issa is stepping up again, this time to give Californians the opportunity to have our state's voice in the Electoral College more closely resemble our popular vote for President.
It's an important reform, and one which Democrats have advocated in other states for years (Colorado and North Carolina, for example).
You can learn more about the "California Counts" initiative, download a petition, and sign up for email updates here
With the initiative moving forward again, Democrat operatives are busy employing a whole host of dirty tricks to keep the measure off the ballot, and deny Californians the opportunity to choose on this issue. Yet, we've seen this all before - during the recall election.
Our team, with Congressman Issa playing a key role, defeated them before.
Stars Gather at LA County Republican Lincoln Club Event
Congratulations to the LA County Lincoln Clubs and the Republican Party of Los Angeles County for a first rate fundraising event tonight in Santa Monica.
I was very honored to welcome the hundreds of attendees to an event featuring Judge Kenneth Starr and former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Stellar Republican County Supervisor Don Knabe did a masterful job introducing the seemingly endless list of Republican candidates, elected officials and other leaders in attendance, including Assemblyman Anthony Adams and Covina City Councilman Walt Allen.
Lincoln Club leader Robert Virtue and RPLAC Chairman Linda Boyd both deserve great credit for forging a close working relationship between the Lincoln Clubs and the Republican Party that is producing real results. Tonight’s event raised about $100,000 to support Republican voter registration efforts in the county.
It was great to see several Republican actors in attendance tonight as well, including Lou Ferrigno and Elya Baskin, who has been featured in several personal favorites including Thirteen Days and 2010.
Congratulations to all of our LA county friends for an excellent event tonight.
Murtha Inc: Still Morally Bankrupt
SPIN CYCLE:DEMOCRATS EMPHATICALLY PROMISED TO HOLD MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR EARMARKS
Democrat Leader Steny Hoyer: "[W]e would end the dead-of-night, special-interest provisions that turn bills into special-interest giveaways… With this agenda, Democrats will create the most open and honest government in history, and we will put power back where it belongs, in the hands of all of the American people." (Press Conference, 1/18/06)
RINSE CYCLE:SPEAKER PELOSI'S TOP CHOICE FOR MAJORITY LEADER, SELF-DECLARED MEMBER OF THE 'F-ING' HOUSE LEADERSHIP JACK MURTHA, STEERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EARMARKS TO BENEFIT HIS DISTRICT - MORE THAN ANY OTHER MEMBER OF CONGRESS
"In the massive 2008 military-spending bill now before Congress…Mr. Murtha has steered more taxpayer funds to his congressional district than any other member. The Democratic lawmaker is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which will oversee more than $459 billion in military spending this year.
"Johnstown's good fortune has come at the expense of taxpayers everywhere else. Defense contractors have found that if they open an office here and hire the right lobbyist, they can get lucrative, no-bid contracts."
"A review by The Wall Street Journal of dozens of contracts funded by Mr. Murtha's committee shows that many weren't sought by the military or federal agencies they were intended to benefit. Some were inefficient or mismanaged, according to interviews, public records and previously unpublished Pentagon audits. One Murtha-backed firm, ProLogic Inc., is under federal investigation for allegedly diverting public funds to develop commercial software, people close to the case say."
"Mr. Murtha has steered at least $600 million in earmarks to his district in the past four years…he's sent $2 billion or more to the district since joining the appropriations committee in 1992."
"[Mr. Murtha’s]…campaign coffers have risen since he became chairman of the defense-spending panel. In the first nine months of this year, Mr. Murtha's campaign committees have reported contributions of more than $1.05 million."
"Seated with the FBI agent [during the 1980 ABSCAM sting], Mr. Murtha also explained why he needed to be more careful than other lawmakers, including the two he later testified against. 'I expect to be in the f-ing leadership of the House,' he told the agent. ‘I'm delighted to do business with you. S-, I do business like this all the time to get companies into the area.'" (Wall Street Journal, 10/30/07)
With Dismal Approval Ratings, Dems Convene “the Biggest Crisis Communications Meeting Ever”
The Politico, Crypt Blog, October 22, 2007: “House Democrats are launching a major message push this week in an attempt to reverse their sagging approval ratings as Congress tackles a heavy legislative docket before the end of the year…. This comes on the heels of a renewed drive by Pelosi herself this fall to tout Democratic achievements so far this year in the face of polling that indicates support is slipping for the new majority…. Republicans dismissed the meeting and the outreach drive as a desperate attempt to regain some political momentum as congressional Democrats prepare for another round of legislative battles with the White House and their GOP foes on Capitol Hill. ‘This could be the biggest crisis communications meeting ever assembled
, but they're going to need a lot more than 800 staffers and 200 pizzas to convince the American people that the “new direction” Congress has accomplished something in the last ten months,’ a Republican leadership aide said. ‘The only thing that has taken a new direction is Congress’ approval ratings.’" (more)
The Hill, October 23, 2007: “Nearly one year after recapturing control of Congress, House Democratic leaders will embark on a publicity blitz starting in November to combat a dismal 25 percent approval rating…. On the surface, the numbers for Democrats do not look good. A poll for National Public Radio conducted earlier this month by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies found that only 25 percent of voters approved of the job Congress is doing… Democrats are keenly aware of the public’s frustration. …Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) said. ‘There is frustration out there about what Congress has done. There is so much information out there, it is hard to break through with messaging.’” (more)
Embarassment: California's Democrat Pete Stark
California Democrat Congressman Pete Stark brought shame to his state, the House, and his country with his outrageous comments on the House floor this week claiming that our men and women in uniform are killing civilians in Iraq and doing so for the "amusement" of President Bush. Video
We can respect someone's principled opposition to the war on terror, but Stark's comments are so outrageous that even his Democrat colleague, Speaker Pelosi, rubuked Stark (albeit late in the afternoon on a Friday, going into the weekend).
Stark's comment show just how far off the deep end he and many in his party have gone. Stark isn't spending his nights in a tent, or sacrificing time in a far away land doing the hard work of freedom. For this man to claim that our men and women in uniform are somehow engaged in the targeting of civilians, it ranks among the most shameful comments I've ever seen delivered in Congress.
The men and women of the US armed forces deserve *total* support from our elected officials. Stark should be repudiaded by the House. Every member of the House should have the opportunity to vote up or down on whether they stand with Stark and his comments, or with our uniformed men and women.
RNC General Chairman Martinez Stepping Down
RNC STATEMENTS ON THE RESIGNATION OF GENERAL CHAIRMAN MEL MARTINEZ
WASHINGTON - Senator Mel Martinez, General Chairman of the Republican Party, and RNC Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan released the following statements today:
Statement of Senator Martinez:"Since my election as General Chairman of the Republican Party, we have accomplished remarkable things. We have out-raised the DNC every fundraising filing period this year, leaving us with a six-to-one cash-on-hand advantage. We have worked hard to articulate the Party's core values on vital national issues ranging from funding our troops to winning the War on Terror to the promotion of fiscally conservative policies.
"It was my goal as General Chairman to lead the Party as it established the structure and raised the resources necessary to support our Presidential candidate and ensure Republican victories next November. I believe we have accomplished those goals. That’s why it is the appropriate time for me to step down as General Chairman and continue to focus my energy on serving my constituents in Florida.
"It has been my privilege to serve President Bush, and work with Chairman Duncan and the members of the Republican National Committee. I believe that our future as a Party and nation is bright and I have every intention of continuing to fight for our President, our Party, and our candidates."
Statement of Chairman Duncan:"It has been an honor serving with Senator Mel Martinez in his role as General Chairman of the Republican Party. During his tenure, the RNC has achieved tremendous fundraising and political outreach success nationwide. Our Party has effectively laid the groundwork for the 2008 Republican presidential nominee thanks in large part to Senator Martinez's efforts, and I know that he has successfully achieved the goals that he set out to accomplish when he was elected in January. I commend Senator Martinez's relentless commitment to his constituents in Florida, and I look forward to continuing to work together for our Party in the future."
*Dem* pollster says Hillary claim to women voters is "baseless"
Obama Pollster Joel Benenson On Hillary's Appeal To Women Voters
Benenson: "[Hillary Strategist Mark Penn's] Assertion [On Hillary's Appeal To Women Voters] Is Entirely Baseless And Refuted By A Number Of Public Polls. Moreover, These Polls Also Indicate Sizable Defection Among Democratic Women Should Sen. Clinton Be The Nominee..." (Ben Smith, "Benenson Vs. Penn," The Politico's "Ben Smith's Blog," www.politico.com
, 10/18/07)Thanks to the RNC for picking this up!
Democrats Barely Win What Should Be Safe Seat
In Massachusetts, an "almost" win by a Republican is a win.
Last night Democrat Nikki Tsongas barely won the US House seat of Rep. Marty Meehan in a special election. Republican Jim Ogonowski won 45% of the vote in this heavily Democrat district that should have been a slam dunk. Republicans forced Tsongas to urgently call in help from Bill Clinton and other national Democrat celebrities to shut down a late Republican surge.
Governor Moves to Protect Free Speech
Governor Schwarzenegger this week signed Assemblyman Martin Garrick's (R-San Diego) AB 1430 to protect political party member communications from restrictive, anti-speech regulations imposed by local government agencies.
Since the passage of Proposition 34, party member communications have been free of local contribution and expenditure limits and restrictions. In recent years, however, local governments have attempted to interfere with member communications, in effect restricting the ability of political parties to inform their own members of the party's candidates and other election-related information.
Assemblyman Garrick's AB 1430 reinforces Prop 34's member communications protections, permanently setting such communications out of the regulatory jurisdiction of local agencies.
As a result, county Republican committees may provide substantial support for party-endorsed candidates for local government offices through mail, phone calls, and other communications targeted to registered Republicans. Committees must still comply with other state and federal campaign laws and regulations.
Congratulations to Assemblyman Martin Garrick for authoring this important bi-partisan legislation, and to Governor Schwarzenegger for signing it into law.
White House Challenges Media for Ignoring Important News on Deficit
From the White House Office of Political AffairsIn Case The New York Times Editorial Board Missed It:(And The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times News Pages, Too)
U.S. Budget Deficit Falls To Lowest Level In 5 Years
The Associated Press: "The U.S. budget deficit fell to $162.8 billion in the just-completed budget year, the lowest amount in five years." (Martin Crutsinger, "US Budget Deficit Falls To $162.8 Billion In 2007, Lowest Level In 5 Years," The Associated Press, 10/12/07)
Bloomberg: "The U.S. government posted the smallest budget deficit in five years as tax revenue reached a record." (John Brinsley, "U.S. 2007 Budget Deficit Falls To $163 Billion," Bloomberg, 10/11/07)
Reuters: "Federal tax receipts grew 6.7 percent in fiscal 2007 to a record $2.568 trillion..." ("U.S. Fiscal 2007 Budget Deficit Falls To $163 Bln," Reuters, 10/12/07)
The Wall Street Journal: "The federal deficit narrowed in fiscal 2007, the third straight annual reduction, as the continued economic recovery helped the growth of tax receipts outpace the growth of government spending." ("U.S. Budget Deficit Narrowed To Lowest Level In Years," The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/07)
The New York Times Editorial Board Ignores Yesterday's Report On The Reduced Deficit To Run More Pessimistic Commentary
New York Times Editorial Board: "But the economic arguments are nonsense, none more so than the claim … that lower tax rates will inevitably generate more tax revenues." (Editorial, "What, Me Worry?" The New York Times, 10/12/07)
The Washington Post And Los Angeles Times Apparently Did Not Believe Yesterday's News Warranted Space In Their Newspapers
The Washington Post: [No story]. (The Washington Post, 10/12/07)
Los Angeles Times: [No story]. (Los Angeles Times, 10/12/07)Source: White House Office of Political Affairs
Republicans: We Need Surface Storage for Water
Governor Schwarzenegger and Republicans are fighting for California's future by insisting the state build much-needed surface storage capacity. Here are some myths v. facts from the Governor's office:"We don't need to build more dams. We have plenty of storage already."Fact: We don't have enough surface storage now. The last major state-built surface storage projects were completed 34 years ago, and their capacity inadequate for our population's needs and the effects of global warming.
We've lost millions of acre feet of water as a result. From October 2005 to September 2006, two reservoirs, Shasta and Folsom, released more than 6.5 million acre-feet of water to the ocean because they did not have room to store flood flows from the Sacramento River. "We can solve the state's water crisis with conservation and recycling."Fact: Conservation can't capture the Sierra snowmelt. Conservation certainly has a role in the Governor's plan. But it can't store water. Had the Governor's plan been in place during the 2005-06 flooding, we would have started the 2007 water year with an additional 3.3 million acre-feet of water in storage allowing us to deliver more water and better protect the ecosystem.
More storage would have addressed current water shortages. The State's major reservoirs have 2.5 million acre-feet less in storage than normal for this time of year, in part because we could not store flood waters from 2005-06.
Instead, we've been forced to release millions of gallons of water. The water released in 2005-06 to protect communities along our levees would have been more than enough to fill the proposed new reservoirs at Sites, Temperance Flat, and an expanded Los Vaqueros. "Reservoirs should be paid for by local water agencies. "Fact: The State Water Project was funded by the state Legislature. Critics point to Governor Pat Brown and the State Water Project as a model to replicate. The fact is this: The Legislature approved funding for the State Water Project before a single private contract was in-place to pay for any portion of it. Government leaders then had a vision for California's water infrastructure needs, and they took the lead in building reservoirs knowing that local governments and water agencies would pay their share of the costs commensurate with the benefits they received.The Governor's plan to increase surface storage:Provides California with an additional 3.3 million acre feet of storage capacity.
Secures clean, safe drinking water.
Surface storage is a savings account we can call on if an emergency, like flooding or a levee breach, threatens our water supplies. Twenty-five million Californians rely on the Delta for drinking water. A flood or levee breach would contaminate water supplies and hurt delivery.Helps the environment.
Environmental water from these reservoirs can be used to: Keep cold water flowing in rivers during spawning season for salmon; keep drinking water safe from saltwater intrusion in the Delta; and make critical water deliveries to Central and Southern California if and when pumps are idled to protect tiny Delta Smelt from extinction.
In Memory of John Berthoud
National Taxpayers Union President John Berthoud, 47, passed away suddenly last week. John was a great leader in the fight to protect taxpayers, and his loss came as a sudden shock to the taxpayer movement.
John was a thoughtful, "happy warrior" whose positive spirit and thoughtful discourse won him many friends nationally, and in the nation's capital.
NTU issued a statement
following John's passing.