Op-Ed: Rules for Successful Conservative Activists

Coming off TEA party wins in the 2012 and 2014 Texas primary elections and last week’s conservative grassroots success in killing “The Texas Amnesty Solution” at the state GOP convention, a moment of reflection is in order. We spend quite a bit of time talking about why TEA party activists do what they do, but we neglect to revisit what we learned in battle simply because we’re quickly off to the next one.

In twenty-two years of this thing called conservative activism, I’ve learned a thing or three – sometimes the hard way. Inquiring minds frequently ask how to do it right. Because I believe in steering fellow activists away from landmines, here are my Top 10 Undeniable Rules for Successful Conservative Activists:

  • “They” will not like you. Get over it. If name-calling and confrontation make you want to throw up or cry, don’t sign up for the front lines. If your heart beats faster when a politician walks into the room, and faster still when they know your name, and if you live to be loved and approved of by politicians, you are a political groupie. Get. Out. Now.
  • You must earn the right to lead. Self-anointment and self-appointment don’t make you fit to lead anybody. Recommended reading – a short, but powerful blueprint for servant leadership – John Maxwell’s “The Right to Lead: A Study in Character and Courage.” 
  • Stay out of sandbox fights. If Activist A has a personal beef with Activist B, let them duke it out. Do not get pulled into personal skirmishes. Do not share, forward, or air dirty laundry and personal beefs via social media. It makes you look small, petty, and like you never left grade school.
  • Be a team player when the team has the right goal, but do not lose your own identity and credibility to go along with the crowd. Truth never depends on consensus. If 100 people do something foolish, it’s still foolish.
  • Participate in conservative coalitions, but remember your focus must always stay tight on the fight to save Texas and our country from Big Government corruption and to advance the cause of liberty. Remaining unwaveringly true to that mission means you must always be willing to be the skunk at the party, the hard-liner at the compromise table, and the toughest person in the room. Be ever aware of snares that lurk in privilege, special recognition, and being accepted into certain coalitions. If you can stay true to the mission while working in a coalition, do it.  After all, you are in the persuasion business.
  • Do not bear false witness against a neighbor, candidate, or officeholder. Do not spread rumors, which are unsubstantiated claims. If there’s not enough evidence to prove the case in court, then it’s hearsay. Discard it. Big Government candidates and officeholders have plenty on the public record to oppose. Don’t exaggerate or tell half-truths. To do so is to lie, which will destroy your credibility.
  • Work hard to persuade those you can, but don’t waste any more time on the perennial ostriches with their heads stuck in the sand. They like it that way because it’s safe or popular. Shake the dust off your feet and move on.
  • Strive to do what is right, at the right time, for the right reason. Wisdom dictates that you don’t always speak just because you can. Too much speaking for the sake of doing so will blend you into the wallpaper and reduce you to background noise.  Be judicious in strategic planning and execution. 
  • Fire only when ready. Follow Davey Crockett’s advice: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Never pretend to be an authority on something you know just enough about to be dangerous. For meetings with public officials, speaking engagements, and media interviews, be prepared. Do your homework and know your topic before you open your mouth. Knowing your topic includes some listening.
  • Never forget to say “thank you” to the folks who have your back – the team. Successful activism happens when a group of very committed, principled people with varying gifts and talents work together on a wise course to achieve a goal. Some are made to be on the frontlines. Others are best suited for behind-the-scenes work, logistics, strategy, and resource gathering. Frankly, some of the most valuable people in the world to me are those who say, “I’m praying for you” and really mean it. 

Speaking of saying thanks, it was recently Father’s Day weekend. So, Daddy, thanks for being a stable, dependable, loving father who taught us the value of hard work. Thanks for teaching us to see our Creator in His handiworks of nature and for teaching us there is much to learn from history. Thanks for your wise advice. I can still hear you say, “Whatever you do, be an original. Never be a copy.” 

This column’s for you, Daddy, with love.

JoAnn Fleming is the Executive Director of Grassroots America – We the People, and a two-term Chairman, Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the TX Legislature.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Economics and the Failure of US Foreign Policy

U.S. foreign policy is failing.

Russia is pushing into Ukraine and threatening Eastern Europe; China is bullying Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the East and South China Seas; and terrorist groups in the Middle East and Africa can be displaced from one location, only to multiply and create more lethal threats in others.

Since the end of the Cold War, both Democratic and Republican administrations have, in varying measure, premised policy on the notion that economic incentives and other soft power can cultivate peaceable democracies throughout the world and friendly societies adhering to Western liberal values.

The United States and Western Europe have offered China, Russia, and developing countries access to markets, investment, foreign aid, and technical cooperation, but in many venues, those have yielded few results, other than to finance threats to our common security.

China remains an authoritarian regime led by an oligarchy—the Communist Party—with a poor human rights record. Its superior economic performance, greatly assisted by trade with the United States, and the material gains enjoyed by its citizens virtually ensures the party’s continued grip on power. However, Beijing sees American influence in the western Pacific as a threat and is actively challenging U.S. naval superiority.

Vladimir Putin and his loose coalition of oligarchs appear more interested in restoring lost empire and amassing wealth at the top than genuinely improving the lot of ordinary citizens. They are happy to sell natural gas to Europe to finance those ambitions but don’t count on international commerce to make Russia a benign actor.

If America doesn’t match China’s navy and Russia’s army with resources and forceful actions when challenged, those rivals will prevail in their regional ambitions.

Still President Obama is correct to warn that flexing military muscle is not a stabilizing solution everywhere—especially the Middle East and Africa.

Perhaps Iraq best epitomizes the dilemmas that terrorism poses. If the United States provides air support or puts troops on the ground to defend Baghdad, it may halt the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but it can’t defeat it.

The ISIS is a curious hybrid of terror organization and brutal organized army that can hold territory and potentially topple a government, but it does not regularly mass forces that can be destroyed in the field by a Western army. If stymied, its fighters will simply move to other venues, like the civil war in Syria.

Western democracies long ago assigned religion a subordinate role. The state claims sovereignty from citizen consent—not by appealing to divine right.

For many Muslims, religion and state legitimacy are inseparable, and throughout the Middle East and Africa, many are willing to die to destroy democratic governments that could subordinate the authority of Islam to secular governments. And ethnic rivalries are often cast in terms of religion.

Without democratic institutions that place individual freedoms above religion, it is hard to see how competing claims of historically conflicting ethnic groups can be resolved and civil wars ended—or animus toward the West and acts of terror stopped.

Neither economic engagement by the West nor American foreign aid can change those facts on the ground. Radical Islam is premised on widely held ideas, and ideas are tough to destroy with armies.

In the end, the United States must recognize it is in for a long slog fighting terrorism in the Middle East and Africa. No amount of national building and economic aid will change that, and sometimes it can make matters worse.

Sadly, armies and navies still trump economics. Americans will have to pay the price or face menacing threats to their security at home and interests abroad.

Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, national columnist and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. He tweets @pmorici1.




Source: Breitbart Feed

New Tucson Shelter to Provide for Border Crisis Kids

HOUSTON,Texas–A tidal wave of children who entered the U.S. illegally has left federal resources and facilities completely overwhelmed. As a result, the children have been sheltered in housing facilities in states across the country including Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California. As agents are in dire need of more space for the unaccompanied minors, a new shelter will reportedly open in downtown Tucson, Arizona. 

According to local media outlet KVOA, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave a contract to a nonprofit organization called Southwest Key, which shelters children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. 

The Southwest Key website says, “Southwest Key has been the largest provider of services to unaccompanied children in the United States for many years…During their stay, they receive counseling, legal and medical services, and attend an on-site school while awaiting the resolution of their legal case. The national goals for ideal length of stay in these shelters is 45 days as arrangements are made to either reunite the youth with relatives living in the United States or back in their home country.”

It continues, “The inspiring youth and parents we work with are seeking the American dream: equality, education, and a higher quality of life. At Southwest Key, we simply open the doors to opportunity so they can achieve these dreams.”

Breitbart Texas’ calls to the nonprofit were not immediately returned. 

KVOA, however, reported that Southwest Key’s employees are currently not allowed to speak to news outlets, as they have reportedly signed a nondisclosure agreement with the HHS. 

Additionally, HHS officials reportedly refuse to disclose how much sheltering the illegal immigrant children at Southwest Key will cost U.S. taxpayers.

The Southwest Key facility will not be the first Arizona-based housing unit for illegal immigrants recently apprehended near the Texas-Mexico border. As Breitbart Texas recently reported, officials were forced to resort to a makeshift housing center in Nogales, Arizona for hundreds of illegal immigrant children. Arizona officials are in dire need of medical supplies and living materials for the illegal immigrants.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that children at the new housing center in Nogales are sleeping on plastic cots while officials wait for 2,000 mattresses to arrive at the facility. Portable toilets and showers were also allegedly brought to warehouse, which has a capacity of 1,500. 800 children are expected to be living at the housing center by the end of this weekend, but the AP reported that 1,400 minors will ultimately be brought there. 

Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert Sylvia Longmire said the Arizona state government is being forced to accommodate the illegal immigrants since the federal government has not handled the situation appropriately. 

“What’s most telling about the severity of this situation is the fact that both Republicans and Democrats are criticizing President Obama for the way his administration has been handling this crisis,” Longmire said. “US Rep. Raúl Grijalva, probably the most liberal congressman in Arizona, acknowledged to Arizona Public Media that even he wasn’t notified about the immigrant transfer to his state, and said the Obama administration was not handling the situation appropriately.”

Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinBTate




Source: Breitbart Feed

How US Policy Enabled the Rise of Al Qaeda 2.0 and the Collapse of Iraq

Policy decisions and politically driven censorship of the American national security establishment have helped strengthen Al Qaeda’s successor and hastened the collapse of the nation of Iraq.

​The current administration and the President represented Operation Iraqi Freedom as the “wrong war,” as opposed to the “good war” that was Afghanistan. The Vice President even called the end of our involvement in Iraq one of the great achievements of Obama’s tenure.

With the jihadi group ISIS now in control of parts of the country that together equal the size of Syria, taking over former US bases, and moving toward the capital of Baghdad, the “achievement” has vanished.

The chaos and murder unleashed in the last few days are beyond the comprehension of the majority of Americans who have never served or lived in a war zone. According to the vicar of Baghdad Andrew White, Iraq is now witnessing mass violence and atrocities worse than anything seen since the invasion in 2003.

Almost 4,500 American servicemen and women died in OIF, and the US taxpayers have spent $20 billion to equip and train the Iraqi security forces. So how did we arrive at this apocalyptic horror?

The fact is that ISIS – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (or the Levant) – has grown in strength and ferocity in the last three years to a point that it now is more powerful and capable than the original Al Qaeda whence it came. It has become Al Qaeda 2.0. ISIS’s growth is in part a result of conscious actions and policy decisions taken by the current US administration.

  • First, since very early on in his presidential campaign and then after becoming the Commander-in-Chief, it became obvious that the President had little interest in international affairs and national security. In fact, in his first speech to graduating West Point cadets in 2009, he was unequivocal. It was time to “end the war in Iraq” because “we must rebuild our strength here at home.” The White House agenda since 2008 has primarily been driven by domestic projects aimed at expanding the state such as Obamacare. That is why none of the National Security Advisers appointed by the White House since General Jim Jones was ignominiously replaced in 2010 have been recognized names in the world of national security. The issue just does not interest the incumbent, and therefore there was no need for a Kissinger- or Brzezinski-caliber replacement.

  • As attested to by a remarkably in-depth 2011 article in The New Yorker, the administration sees all crises as unique and unrelated to one another. So great is this belief that America does not need a strategy to deal with the world and inform our national actions in a consistent fashion that the President, when interviewed on national television, actually stated that having “blanket policies” can get you “into trouble.” As a result, the idea that the chaos in Syria, where ISIS built its forces, was connected to the future stability of Iraq did not occur to the administration until Mosul, Fallujah, and Tikrit had fallen to fighters trained and hardened in the war against Assad just next door. Our government cannot connect the dots if the Commander-in-Chief openly believes that doing so is a bad idea.

  • This lack of any strategic approach to the global threat of jihadi groups is compounded by politically-driven censorship of the national security and defense establishment. As documented elsewhere, in 2011 putative “representatives” of the Muslim communities in the US demanded that the White House review and censor all counterterrorism training materials and trainers used by the Defense Department and Department of Justice, their claim being that existing materials and trainers were un-Islamic or “Islamaphobic.” This event that has come to be known as “the purge” – see this documentary for the full story – and led to the forced removal of any mention of Islam or jihad from all governmental training materials used by our armed forces or the FBI. As a result, as a government, we have blinded ourselves to such an extent that it has become practically impossible for a national security professional to understand what is going on in the Middle East and what drives groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda without getting into trouble for being politically incorrect.

    Of course, trying to understand the decapitation of enemy forces or the tactic of suicide attacks without referring to, or being allowed to refer to, jihad is analogous to our trying to understand the Third Reich in 1944 while banning our soldiers and intelligence professionals from talking about and analyzing Nazism.

  • Lastly, the fact that Senator Obama built a campaign narrative on the foundation that Afghanistan is the “good war” and Iraq was the “bad war” locked his administration onto a politically defined track that short-changed America’s national security interests. Once in office, commitment to this narrative – that was deemed to have helped him win office – meant that the Iraqi campaign had to end at all costs. So great was the pressure that the administration was prepared to pull all US forces out in 2011 without securing the standard Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Baghdad that would have allowed us to leave enough forces in country to suppress and deter violence against the Maliki regime and keep the country functioning after more than 4,000 Americans had died to free it from Saddam Hussein.

You don’t have to be a dastardly neoconservative to understand that the events occurring now in Iraq – and Syria, and Libya, and even Egypt – have direct implications for the security of America. We know that Westerners, including Americans, are going to the Middle East to fight the jihad. If they win, or simply survive to come back home, they will present a clear threat to any political system such as ours that is not sharia-compliant or theocratic.

But there is a bigger danger.

Al Qaeda was formed out of an organization not dissimilar to ISIS. In the 1980s a Palestinian-Jordanian called Abdullah Azzam created the Services Bureau (MAK) to fight the Soviet military units in Afghanistan just as ISIS is fighting the military units in Iraq that they consider to be kufr (unbelievers) because they are Shia and not Sunni. Azzam’s deputy was a Saudi named Osama bin Laden who inherited the MAK when Azzam was assassinated. Bin Laden then turned the MAK into Al Qaeda, the same Al Qaeda that killed almost 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001.

According to the official investigation, the 9/11 attacks cost Al Qaeda $500,000. On its murderous rampage to Baghdad, ISIS has captured $430,000,000 from Iraqi government coffers. Should these jihadists, who are now stronger than the original Al Qaeda they grew out of, capture all of Iraq, or Iraq and Syria, they will likely turn their sights on the “Far Enemy” as the MAK/Al Qaeda turned against us when the Soviets were defeated.

In this case, however, they will have enough money for at least 800 9/11-scale attacks.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka has been appointed the Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University and is the National Security Affairs editor of Breitbart.com.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Schieffer Gaffe: Calls for ‘Path to Citizenship for Hispanics,’ not Illegal Immigrants

During the closing moments of his interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), CBS’s “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer referenced Eric Cantor’s defeat in Virginia on Tuesday as it pertained to the issue of immigration.

However, rather than stating how immigration reform was needed to create a path to citizenship for those here illegally, Schieffer instead said there was for a path to citizenship for “Hispanics.”

Transcript as follows:

SCHIEFFER: I can’t let you leave without asking you about Republican politics right now, while the big story was Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House getting beat last week in a primary.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: You had stronger Tea Party force, you had an army, you had four or five of them running against you–

GRAHAM: Say exactly, but who’s counting, yeah.

SCHIEFFER: Six and– and you won.

GRAHAM: Mm-Hm.

SCHIEFFER: –and you won by stressing that the Republican Party has to have some kind of path to citizenship for Hispanics, which was one of the big issues in his race.

GRAHAM: Right.

SCHIEFFER: What as a winner, what is your advice to your party this morning, Senator?

GRAHAM: Number one, I don’t think Eric got beat because of his stand on immigration. I think he got beat because of his lack of defining himself on immigration. I told the Republican Party at home that we’re doing well because the Democrats are doing poorly. This ultra-liberal agenda of President Obama has blown up in their face. We’re going to win in 2014. Conservative values will connect with Hispanics and African-Americans, but don’t be delusional about where we stand. If we become the party except deportation, if that again is our opposition in 2016, we’re going to drive a deeper wedge between us and Hispanics, have pathway to citizenship after you secure the border, control who gets the job, more legal immigration where they have to pass a criminal background check, learn the English language, wait ten years before you can apply for a green card, is sixty-five percent.

Republicans nationally will accept an earned pathway to citizenship if you secure the border for our party to let the thirty-five-percent tell us how to engage with immigration. We will lose a natural ally in the Hispanic community. Bush was at forty-four; we’re down to twenty-seven. You’ll never convince me it’s not because of the rhetoric around immigration. If you solve the immigration problem in a good American responsible way, our party is back in the game and we can dominate the twenty-first century. If we keep playing this game, that self-deportation is the only answer for the Republican Party, we will have destroyed our chances in 2016 and dealt a death blow to our party, because by 2015 majority of this country is going to be African-American, Hispanic, and Asian.

Conservatism is the best hope for African-American children in failing school. Conservatism alliance with Hispanics, they’re hard working, they’re entrepreneurial, they’re prolife, they’re pro military. It will break my heart for my party to go down a road that we did not go. Embrace rational, comprehensive immigration reform that prevents a third wave of illegal immigration and we’re back in the ballgame. If we don’t adjust on this issue, our chances for survival as a party are very bleak and the country needs a vibrant Republican Party and our Democratic friends have put us back in the game. Let’s take advantage of it.

(h/t SooperMexican)

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor




Source: Breitbart Feed