Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We've moved.

Lone Star Conservative has moved. Although our new site has a new internet address (url), nearly everything else looks the same. It's the equivalent of moving next door on a street of nearly identical row houses. Only the street address changes.

Google Blogger blogs have two internet addresses. The first address is the domain name a blogger registers through an internet domain registrar. Our domain name is http://lonestarconservative.com, which rather nicely reflects the name of this blog on the masthead. The second address, used by Google Blogger, is http://thelonestarconservative.blogspot.com for our new address. It has "the' on the front of it because Google wouldn't let us have lonestarconservative-dot-blogspot-dot-com.

The Google Blogger address for our old blog is http://brazosvalleypundit.blogspot.com/ because it was originally titled Brazos Valley Pundit. After we had changed the name of our blog to Lone Star Conservative and during the time this blog was in hibernation, a new blog with the name Brazos Valley Pundit was started up. It's a good blog that does an excellent job of covering Texas news, so we highly recommend it. You can visit it here

So our move serves two purposes. First, it makes our blog's Google Blogger address consistent with its title and with its registered domain name. Second, it should serve to eliminate any confusion our old Google Blogger url might cause between our blog and Brazos Valley Pundit.

With the change in Google internet addresses also comes a change of focus for Lone Star Conservative. While we will continue to look at the world from our vantage point deep in the heart of Texas, we no longer focus on Texas news exclusively, as we did in the past. There are number of blogs which do that, and do it well. Our post on Liz Cheney's issue positions relfects our new, broader outlook. We will keep both blogs online for a while, but no new content will be added to the old site. To read our newer posts, please go to the new site here.

If you have our old blog bookmarked, please change your bookmark to http://lonestarconservative.com. It redirects you to http://thelonestarconservative.blogspot.com. So both hyperlinks take you to the same place. If you don't have us bookmarked, please addd us to your list.

If you're a Texas-based blogger, please send us your url, and we will add your site to our Texas Blogroll. All we ask in return is that you reciprocate by added our blog to your blogroll.

Thanks,

- JP

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where Liz Cheney Stands: 25 Quotes on People and Policy

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It didn't take long for for the long knives to come out against Liz Cheney after she announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. In just a few days time, she was under attack. The salvos from the left were both nasty and expected. A push back by the GOP establishment was not completely unexpected, but both the quickness and severity of the assault by the Business-As-Usual wing of the Republican Party took some conservatives by surprise. When a sitting GOP Senator gets a primary challenge these days, not only does the establishment circle the wagons around him, but they start shooting even before the target is squarely in their sights.

Many conservatives have a favorable opinion of the elder Cheney daughter, but they're not sure what her positions are on the issues. Many in the media are jumping to conclusions. Some assume, for instance, that Liz Cheney's stance on a given policy question will mirror that of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. But this is not true in all cases. Also widely assumed is that she is an unqualified supporter of gay marriage simply because her sister is openly lesbian. In truth, her position on the matter is more nuanced than that.

Unfortunately, there's no quick and easy guide to where Liz Cheney stands on the issues. Her announcement only touched on a couple of policy matters, and her campaign website is so new that it does not yet have an "Issues" tab. Websites which track the stance of candidates on the issues have not yet caught up with Liz Cheney. At OnTheIssues.org, there is a newly-created page for the Wyoming Mama Grizzly, but as of this writing, it contains not a single one of her policy positions.

Fortunately for curious conservatives and other interested parties, Lone Star Conservative is on the case. With just a few hours of research, we've compiled 25 Liz Cheney quotes that should serve to shed a little light on just where she stands on people and political issues in the news. While our compilation is by no means exhaustive, if you want to learn more about her thinking, it's a start. So while we wait for the rest of the political world to catch up, here is Liz Cheney on a number of people from Andrew Breitbart to Margaret Thatcher, and on issues from abortion to the Tea Party movement:
"Stop him now--Obama to Russians: you'll like what I do in 2nd term when I'm not restrained by need to get re-elected. http://tinyurl.com/7kol57m" - Twitter, 03/26/2012

"I think the People in Wyoming in particular are very concerned about the encroachment of the federal government.” - The DC, 07/20/2013

"Rarely do I disagree with best VP ever but @SarahPalinUSA more qualified than Obama and Biden combined. Huge respect 4 all she’s done 4 GOP." - Twitter, 07/29/2012

"Republicans are being counseled to move the party to the left, but in my experience, those who advocate more liberal policies for the GOP are wrongheaded or Democrats, or both." - The WSJ, 03/28/2013

"Very sad to hear news of death of @AndrewBreitbart, a patriot & true warrior in fighting the good fight. Thoughts and prayers to his family." - Twitter, 03/01/2012

In a speech Wednesday night at an energy conference in Gillette, [Liz] Cheney says the current administration is openly hostile to the oil and coal industries. - AP, 06/07/2013

"Obama's 'climate change' policy=using phony science to kill real jobs. This is a war on coal, a war on jobs, a war on American families." - Twitter, 06/25/2013

"I wouldn’t have voted for" the Gang of 8 immigration bill. - The DC, 07/20/2013

"Obama taught Constitutional Law at UChicago when I was law student there. Luckily, I had a different professor. http://tinyurl.com/7jj7emz" - Twitter, 04/03/2012

"We are conservatives. We believe in limited government, low taxes, a strong national defense, individual freedoms, self-reliance, the importance of the family, and the miracle and authority of America's founding documents. We know that government is best that governs least and governs closest to the people." - The WSJ, 03/28/2013

"Assault on American values from Oval Office- trample freedom of religion, regulate our families, 'crucify' business, weaken U.S. #Time4him2go" - Twitter, 04/26/2012

Asked about gay marriage... Liz Cheney said the issue should be left to voters in each state to decide by referendum. - AP, 07/17/2013

"Pres Obama says, 'No there there.' Sec Clinton says, 'What difference does it make?' 4 Dead Americans. We won't forget. #Benghazi" - Twitter, 05/13/2013

"I’m strongly pro-life." - The DC, 07/20/2013

"Wish Obama was as committed to protecting classified material as he is to withholding docs re false info DOJ/Holder provided to Congress." - Twitter, 06/21/2012

"The president has launched a war on Americans' Second Amendment rights. He has launched a war on religious freedom. He has launched a war on fossil fuels. He is working to nationalize one-sixth of the economy with job-killing ObamaCare. He wants to collect a greater portion of every American paycheck, not for the purpose of paying down the national debt but to expand his governing machine." - The WSJ, 03/28/2013

"What should GOP do in face of radical Obama agenda? Everything possible to resist/block. That's not obstructionism. That's patriotism." - Twitter, 02/23/2013

"But, you know, can I just point out that I think one of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals." - ABC’s “This Week”, 01/10/2010

"PM Thatcher's life-proof that one person w/courage & conviction can change the world & rescue her nation from statist economic disaster." - Twitter, 04/08/2013

"I think the tea party has been a force for good." - The DC, 07/20/2013

"Obama Doctrine: Apologize for America, Abandon our allies, Appease our enemies. http://tinyurl.com/7lj4zj6" - Twitter, 06/23/2012

"What we’ve seen [on the Korean peninsula] is an example of how provocative American weakness can be. And I think that, unfortunately, it is a policy of weakness that has expanded back into the Bush administration, into the last years of the Bush administration." - "Fox News Sunday", 11/29/2010

"Too bad President Obama isn’t as dedicated to disarming al Qaeda as he is to disarming law-abiding Americans." - Twitter, 01/17/2013

"There is no middle ground here. Either the United States stands with the people of Israel in the war against radical Islamic terrorism or we are providing encouragement to Israel's enemies – and our own." - The Hill, 06/04/2010

"Here in Wyoming: among highest # gun owners per capita, and among lowest # incidents of gun violence. Infringing 2nd Amend. not the answer." - Twitter, 01/16/2013
So now we know that Liz Cheney, though a part of the Bush Administration, did not abstain from criticizing it when she thought it was wrong. We also know that she's not afraid to stand up to her own father when she thinks he's wrong. And we know that her position on gay marriage is fully consistent with the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She's pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Israel and pro Tea Party. She doesn't think the GOP should move in the direction the party establishment wants it to go, and she opposes the Gang of Eight amnesty bill. She admires Sarah Palin, Andrew Breitbart and Margaret Thatcher. She wants justice for the Benghazi Four and holds Barack and Hillary Clinton responsible for what happened at the U.S.consulate there.

More of Cheney's issue positions will be known in due time, but for now, at least, we have a somewhat clearer picture of where this candidate stands. The race for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming matters to Texas conservatives. Our Senator, Ted Cruz, needs allies in the upper chamber on Capitol Hill. He doesn't need colleagues who will sit at their desks while he fights the good fight. He needs warriors who will help him lead the battles. We don't have all the facts yet, but Liz Cheney shows promise, at least, of being just the kind of ally Ted Cruz could use.

- JP

Coastal Governors to Congress: Do More to Advance Offshore Drilling

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A group of governors of eight coastal states is urging Congress to expand drilling for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Congress can do more to advance offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean while boosting the economies of coastal states, eight governors said Friday.

Options rage from giving states a greater share of federal drilling royalties to passing legislation that would force the Interior Department to make more coastal tracts available for oil and gas development, the group of coastal governors said.

The governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry, made their pleas in a letter to their congressional delegations in the nation’s capital.

“During this congress, legislators will consider several matters that directly and indirectly affect the future of offshore energy development,” said the governors, who all represent coastal states. “As our federal representatives, we strongly urge you to act in concert to champion outer continental shelf energy and, by effect, the vitality of our coastal and state economies.”

[Read More]
In 2011, the Obama Administration discarded the 2010-2015 lease plan that allowed for new development on the Outer Continental Shelf and announced a plan that closes the majority of the OCS to new energy production through 2017.

- JP

Friday, January 25, 2013

Railroad Commission Prepares to Leap into 21st Century

It has long been recognized that the oldest regulatory agency in Texas has been in need of more than just a name change. The Texas Railroad Commission has nothing whatsoever to do with railroads, and the way it conducts business is a reflection of its mainframe computer system -- right out of the 1960s. It is at its core an energy agency. If you want to drill for oil and gas in the Lone Star State, you have to go to the TRRC for a permit.

The Texas Tribune's Kate Galbraith reports that change is finally coming to the agency that was established by the legislature in 1891:
The Railroad Commission of Texas regulates one of the most advanced industries in the world — oil and gas drilling. Yet the commission’s software systems, many of its rules and even its name are from another era.

As the 122-year-old agency confronts a drilling boom that is altering the state and national economies, an overhaul of its operations is under way. Its old mainframe computer system will be upgraded with modern digital storage, clearing the way for a more user-friendly website. Decades-old regulations are getting updated to reflect the rapid spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And the Legislature may change the commission’s name to accurately reflect what it does. (The commission’s railroad duties ended in 2005.)

The push does not go far enough for critics, who charge that the commission is too cozy with the industry it regulates and fails to adequately address environmental problems. Nonetheless, observers say there is a burst of energy, unseen in years, at the sometimes-languid commission.

The changes are “very important. They’re long overdue,” said John Hays, a partner at the Austin law firm Hays & Owens, whose clients include oil and gas companies.

The activity stems partly from new leadership. The Railroad Commission is headed by three elected commissioners, and each of the the current trio has arrived in the past three years.

The drilling boom, along with increased scrutiny from the public, the Legislature and federal regulators, has also forced the commissioners’ hand. Oil production in Texas rose by 18 percent between 2010 and 2011. That has strained the permitting and inspection capabilities of the commission, whose budget — $71.1 million this fiscal year, down from $74.7 million last year — has not kept up.

[Read More]
- JP

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

State Rep. Steve Toth files Firearms Protection Act

From PatDollard.com, we learn that State Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) intends to file legislation designed to protect the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for Texans:
The “Firearms Protection Act” bill would make any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries. Anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face felony charges under the proposal.

“We can no longer depend on the Federal Government and this Administration to uphold a Constitution that they no longer believe in. The liberties of the People of Texas and the sovereignty of our State are too important to just let the Federal Government take them away. The overreach of the federal administrations executive orders that are do not align with the Constitution, are not very popular here in Texas,” said Toth.

Along with Wyoming, Texas will lead the country in continuing to stand for the sovereignty to run Texas as Texans see fit while exercising the Bill of Rights Amendments 2& 10 to “prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers … [to] extending the ground of public confidence in the Government.”

[Read More]
Rep. Toth recently discussed his prospective bill with Lubbock talk radio host Chad Hasty on KFYO. You can listen to the audio at the link.

h/t: Michelle McCormick

- JP

Friday, January 11, 2013

Texas Law Pays for Secret Abortions on Teenage Girls

Sarah Crawford of Texas Right to Life shines a light on a loophole in the Lone Star State's Parental Consent Law large enough to push an abortion clinic through:
Current Texas law calls for Texas taxpayers to fund secret abortions for pregnant minors. A loophole in the state’s parental consent laws allows judges to authorize pregnant minors to undergo an abortion without parental involvement or permission. This loophole fosters abuse of the legal process established to protect minors and strengthen Texas families.

Texas law requires abortion providers to obtain formal consent from and send notice to at least one parent of a minor girl before providing an abortion to her. If a girl does not want to involve her parents in the abortion, or even reveal the pregnancy to them, most abortion clinics will furnish the minor a list of attorneys who volunteer to help the vulnerable teen navigate the court system. These attorneys are skilled at judge-shopping and serve as artful emissaries for the abortion industry.

Section 33.003 of the Texas Family Code states:

A pregnant minor who wishes to have an abortion without notification to one of her parents…may file an application for a court order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance of an abortion without notification to either of her parents.

While the exception was intended to protect minors from abuse, particularly when the parent or guardian may be the perpetrator, the judicial bypass provision of the Parental Consent Law is exploited by the abortion industry to rush vulnerable young girls through the abortion process.

The identity and anonymity of the minor is always protected, but the taxpayers are not. This entire court proceeding and any subsequent appeals are funded by taxpayers in Texas. The judicial bypass proceeding is the only court proceeding for which no data is recorded or kept. So while Texas taxpayers pay for ‘volunteer’ attorney ad litems for the girls as well as the court fees, we are kept in the dark about frequency of petitions, outcomes, costs, and appeals.

[Read More]
- JP

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Moeller: Texas Is The Thorn In Progressive Liberalism’s Side

The AEI's R.J. Moeller, who is also a media consultant to Dennis Prager and Ricochet.com, writes that Texas "stands as a brazen affront" to what those on The Left tell us should be working:
In the on-going debate between proponents of Big v. Limited government, it can often be too easy to dismiss the other side on partisan, emotional grounds. The Left accuses the Right of possessing callous hearts toward the poor, indifference toward the “infrastructure” of our nation, and a blind allegiance to nefarious, shadowy 1%-ers who pull the strings of Big (insert any word but “Government” here). The Right views the Left as being naive about mankind’s fallen state, indulgent with other peoples’ money, and un-serious about the, shall we say, “troubling” fiscal position our nation (and many of our states) finds itself in.

Mixed up and lost in all the hyperbole and high emotions are actual facts, figures, and dollar amounts. Regardless of someone’s religiosity, most Americans want to be good stewards of the unprecedented wealth we’ve been blessed with. In fact, many who embrace the most fiscally-detrimental tax-and-spend policies are the most certain they are living out our Lord’s call to look after “the least of these.”

[...]

Surely tax-and-spend progressives in Austin,TX who have a front-row seat to what is transpiring in The Lone Star State – a state that has put into place policies that stand in direct contradiction to those enacted in states like California and Illinois – will at the very least see that they are going to have more money to spend on “social justice” pet projects due to the pro-growth initiatives they have enacted in recent years?

[...]

Texas is mocked and ridiculed in the press and entertainment world because it stands as a brazen affront to all of the things the experts in the faculty lounge at Harvard (and writers’ room at The Daily Show) tell us ought to be working.

[Read More]
- JP

Secession was not the ultimate issue in Texas v. White

Cory Genelin explains how the decision is not about what it is often perceived to be:
Texas v. White is often cited as a case which definitively and directly ruled on Texas' right to secede. That is not the case. Texas v. White was a case about government bonds. It's all a little boring but it's important to understand just how far removed the decision is from what it is often presented to be.

In 1851, the Federal Government issued bonds to the State of Texas as payment for the resolution of a boundary dispute. The bonds were payable to the State of Texas, or bearer, meaning that Texas could redeem them itself, or sell them on the secondary market. The Texas legislature then passed an act which indicated that the bonds could not be sold unless endorsed by the Governor of Texas. Texas redeemed most of the bonds prior to the Civil War, but it still had a few left when the war broke out. These were not yet signed by the governor.

When Texas putatively seceded, its governor, G. W. Paschal, remained loyal to the Union and was replaced by a governor loyal to the Confederacy.

Texas traded some of the remaining bonds to Mr. White and others in exchange for supplies. These bonds were not signed by G.W. Paschal. Paschal warned the Union that Texas would try to use the bonds in support of the war effort. The bonds would be easily identified because they would not be signed by Paschal or any prior Governor of Texas, if they were signed at all. The U.S. Treasury made it well known that it would not redeem such bonds and so no attempt was made to redeem them.

By 1865, Texas and the Confederacy were defeated. The U.S. President appointed a new governor of Texas and directed the formation of a reconstruction government. In 1866 the State Convention passed an ordinance directing the governor to repossess the bonds. The State of Texas (now loyal to the Union) brought suit against Mr. White and the other bond holders, arguing that the bonds were never properly endorsed and so still belonged to Texas.

The bondholders argued, among other things, that Texas had no right to sue in the Supreme Court because: "Texas by her rebellious courses had so far changed her status, as one of the United States, as to be disqualified from suing in this court."

This was not a contest of the merits of secession. This was not a case of a pro-secession state arguing in favor of secession. The reconstruction government of Texas was arguing in favor of Texas' standing in federal court and therefore Texas was arguing against the secession argument raised by the bondholders.

[Read More]
- JP

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Austin: 'The Boys Are Back In Town'

The song of the day in Austin is "The Boys Are Back In Town." Here's an excerpt from the Texas Tribune's report:
The last time Texas lawmakers convened in Austin, they were absorbed with numbers and boundaries: how to make ends meet with a deflated state budget and draw new district maps the courts would approve.

But with improving fiscal conditions and redistricting mostly in the rearview mirror, they are approaching the 2013 legislative session with some pressing policy questions, from whether to introduce private school vouchers into the state’s public education system to whether they should put in effect — and accept financing for — major provisions of the federal health care overhaul.

Meanwhile, lawmakers will face the consequences of the sweeping cuts and budget-balancing tricks of the 2011 session, including a multibillion-dollar Medicaid shortfall and a lawsuit — expected to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court early this year and decided in the summer — over how the state finances public education.

The Legislature is also staring down the barrel of some other major investments, from ensuring that Texas has the water to meet its soaring population growth to finding consistent revenue streams for long-delayed transportation projects.

Do not expect a full respite from hot-button issues; lawmakers have already offered legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks, and to allow teachers to carry concealed handguns in school classrooms. But the Legislature’s Republican majority may take a softer tack toward immigration bills this session, after a national election in which the growing Hispanic population moved even further into the Democratic camp.

[Read More]
- JP

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's official: Ted Cruz is a U.S. Senator

Freshman Ted Cruz now officially represents 26 million Texans. He was sworn in just after Noon today. The Dallas Morning News has the story:
Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath and was the first to shake his hand, followed by Texas’ senior senator, John Cornyn. Cruz held a dark tan Bible in his left hand as he held up his right hand and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution. He waived to his wife, Heidi, and their young daughters, Caroline and Catherine, hard to miss in striking red dresses in a gallery overlooking the Senate chamber.

[...]

Cruz will serve on five committees, including his top choice, Judiciary. Cornyn remains a member; it is unusual for a state to have two senators from the same party on that prime committee. Cruz also got Armed Services and Commerce, along with Aging and Rules. (Cornyn will be on Finance and Judiciary.) The Senate GOP announced the full assignments as the ceremony was underway.

As senators and senators-elect gathered on the floor beforehand, Cruz chatted with Jim DeMint, the South Carolina tea partier who recently resigned to take over the conservative Heritage Foundation. DeMint played a key role in recruiting Cruz and advancing his long-shot candidacy.

[Read More]
Photo courtesy U.S Rep. Aaron Pena

- JP