Cruz is right; Sandy relief bill was filled with political pork

As the tragedy and hardships of Hurricane Harvey continue to pour into Texas, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked to defend his 2012 vote against relief aid for Hurricane Sandy that tore into the eastern seaboard that same year.

Cruz, who signed a letter in support for an immediate federal aid package for Harvey, was questioned about the difference in his support for relief this time by MSNBC’s Katy Tur.

Here is the exchange.


According to CBO, only 30 percent of the Sandy money was spent by September 2014 and 80 percent by September 2017. Additionally, according to a study by the Taxpayers for Common Sense and released by National Review, the bill included the following.

– $150 million for fishery disaster areas in Mississippi and Alaska
– $20,000 for a new car for the Inspector General of the Justice Department
– $10.8 billion for the Federal Transportation Administration; and cancellation of loans related to Hurricane Katrina
– $4 million for repairs at the Kennedy Space Center
– $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center
– $150 million for fisheries in Alaska damaged by a 2011 Japanese tsunami, which littered debris on Alaska’s shoreline
– $2 million to fix an (apparently quite expensive) roof at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
– $13 billion for future flood preparations (that is, money that was not spent on victims of Sandy but on preventing future, Sandy-scale disasters from occurring)

Is there anything lower than politicians playing political games with natural disasters and tragedies instead of doing what is right?  Senator Cruz was willing to help with relief aid to Sandy victims. That was not what the Sandy bill was about. As Cruz’s office stated after the vote, “this is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – the United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.”

This all started after Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Monday that he would not “abandon Texas the way Ted Cruz did New York.” King, who was quoted during the 2016 campaign that “I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I’ll take cyanide if he even got the nomination,” is exactly what is wrong with those inside the Beltway.

Cruz did not abandon New York, he simply did not want to fund pet projects that were hiding behind disaster aid. Those in Texas, especially in Houston, are in real danger. As floods rise to historic levels, for Rep. King to play politics is ugly, nasty, and dangerous. We should support Cruz and stop politicians from either side of the aisle who try to take advantage of disasters like Hurricane Harvey. Not everything is political. As Cruz said, “right now the focus is helping people, not political sniping.”

 

Our morality issues in America are a reflection of something deeper




But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.      Matthew 15:18

In the last few months, I have written articles that in an era of smoke and mirror politics, we need more substance. I have called for better communication from all our leaders, especially President Trump. I have written on why the truth always matters and asked all followers of Christ to pray for our leaders. As pundits and politicians play identity politics and political games, we are missing a larger point. Many are quick to argue left vs. right or conservative vs. liberal when we should be arguing right vs. wrong.

We as a society are living in darkness. White nationalist and its fascist slogans should be condemned—full stop. No, but on the other hand. We live in a nation that openly allows the killing of innocent children. As Russell Moore recently wrote, “I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness. Human life bears inherent dignity because human life reflects the life of God himself.”





While the games play out, real problems are not being solved. We dumb down truthfulness, spin irreverent babble, and lack clarity. Tribalism and cult followings run amok. We have a decline in virtue and race and economic issues are rampant. We should demand more from our leaders. As our nation continues to reflect on the tragedy in Charlottesville, something has become clear.

Our morality issues in America are a reflection of something deeper – sin.

Over the last five days, it is evident that many are searching for a sense of belonging. Some have turned to politics, others to worst institutions. Those on the right and the left are both in this boat. People are turning away from communities when they should really be getting to know their neighbors. They are trying to fill a void with idols that will not satisfy. Many seek fulfillment and answers on social media but get neither. We all were created for a deeper purpose, just not a false one. During the Civil Rights era, it was not a politician, but a preacher from Atlanta that led a nation out of its ugliness. When Dr. King started, it was an American President that was slow to meet with him. Decades after his death, in 2011, America’s first African-American President Barack Obama opened the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at West Potomac Park in D.C. next to the National Mall.

Senator John McCain once said, “it’s always darkest just before it goes totally black.” Senator McCain may be right. Things may get worst. As Winston Churchill once said, “you can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.” Progress may be slow, but as we wait, may those of us who have the brightest light shine in the darkness. We as Christ followers must with grace show the true path. We are after all the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”

As J.D. Greear said this week, “the church is not a group of public policy pundits. We are a kingdom of priests that is called to pray for our society. Our gospel identity defines us, unites us, and sends us out into God’s mission. The world may see symptoms of the problem, but it knows nothing of the cure.”

Have you prayed for President Trump?




“I know at times we feel that perhaps in our prayers we ask too much. Or possibly we feel something isn’t important enough to be bothering God with it. Maybe we should let Him decide these things.”
– President Ronald Reagan – February 1983

I will be the first to admit that I have been critical of President Donald Trump. I am often frustrated by his demeanor, his ability to easily lie, his pettiness, his failure to act like a grown-up, and his all-around narcissistic behavior.

I believe it is not only our right but also our responsibility to question and hold our elected officials accountable. One can be critical of a President while wishing that they also be successful. I often write about how we need more substance in politics. That private and public character matter. That right now, we tend to live in a state of smoke and mirrors. Both branches that occupy each side of Pennsylvania Avenue lack policy that speaks about the future. Votes tend to be dictated by an ever-looming election cycle.



I say all this hoping that the President and Congress would be effective. When they do well, the country does well. Even though I adamantly disagreed with the majority of his policies, I wished the same for former President Obama when he was in office.

As I try to always remind myself, politics are important, but they are not ultimate. I have been at the bedside of those terminally ill and I have never seen, nor heard anyone state that they wished someone would give them comfort by reading a copy of the Constitution. Over the last few years, every Wednesday I have tried to take the time to pray for our elected leaders. Along with my daily prayers and time in the word, I have tried to set aside this day in the week as the time that I would focus on those serving in leadership positions. That includes the President, Vice-President, members of Congress, state leaders, and local officials.

Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 wrote that as Christ followers, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

When warranted, I will speak out against President Trump and speak up for conservative principles and against the dumbing down of truthfulness. At the same time, regardless of political party or policy platforms, may we as Christ followers pray for wisdom, courage, and self-control. Knowing all the while that as Romans 13:1, states”… for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Senator Jeff Flake calls out Republicans on their denial of President Trump




“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.” These are the words from an excerpted from Senator Jeff Flake his new book, Conscience of a Conservative. (courtesy of Random House and Politico.com)

The Republican from Arizona went on to also write, “if this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it. If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?”



Flake’s article and book are not surprising. He has at times be critical of Donald Trump, disagreeing publicly on the firing of James Comey and the President’s use of language and social media.

Like many here at theResurgent.com, I agree with Flake’s point that, “it was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.”

Like Berry Goldwater and Bill Buckley did when they came together to denounce the John Birch Society, I hope true principled conservatives would stand up against the ever-increasing conservative-entertainment complex that is more invested in click-bait and money from advertisers.

As Flake puts it, “first, we shouldn’t hesitate to speak out if the president “plays to the base” in ways that damage the Republican Party’s ability to grow and speak to a larger audience. Second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade: Populist and protectionist policies might play well in the short term, but they handicap the country in the long term.”

For far too long, many on the right have worried more about defeating the left than actually advancing the ball forward. After all, it was President Ronald Reagan that said, “the person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” I hope all conservatives will get back to core issues that we all can agree on; balancing the budget, reducing the deficit, having a strong national defense, and promoting with an optimistic tone that a small, more efficient government grants more freedom and liberty.

Those principles should always be front and center, or as Flake penned, “principled constitutional conservatives whose primary interest was in governing and making America truly great.”

In an era of smoke and mirror politics, we need more substance

“We have tribalism growing in America where people are voting against the candidate of the other party, instead of a vision for their own party. We should be against identity politics and for idea politics that talk about what America means and what are the best policies going forward.” Senator Ben Sasse

As I watched highlights of President Donald Trump’s campaign-style rally in Iowa Wednesday evening and watched Democrats hammer Republicans on Thursday about the Senate Healthcare bill, I thought in frustration how politics just seems like a big game.

Perception has always played a huge role in politics. After all, as political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz wrote in his book Words That Work, it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. Like a bull chasing toward a matador, partisan warriors on both side cheer when the cape with their favorite rhetoric is waived only to find nothing but air behind those promises.

This is a problem. Not just because those who recite talking points can be proven hypocritical, but because words do matter. Especially, words from our elected leaders. It was President Trump who claimed that Carrier air conditioning and heating company in Indianapolis, Indiana would be saved in December. That deal, announced with great fanfare, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape. Now almost seven months later, the landscape has not changed. Instead, 100s of employees would be laid off as operations continued to move to Mexico.

President Trump will tell you himself, he is the best, no President has accomplished so much in so little time. Forget that every executive order (even those that I agree with) can be changed by whoever occupies the Oval Office next with one swipe of their pen. I say all this hoping and, yes praying, that the President would be successful. When he does well, the country does well. That is why his one real accomplishment, the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, was impacting.

However, the majority of success that the Trump administration claims has been a mixture of smoke and mirrors and loud tweets. Where is the substance? When reporters ask the Trump administration about content, we instead get a ridiculous war against the media or cries of “fake news.” That may play well to his base, but not for the country.

On the other side of Pennsylvania Ave., we get more kabuki theater. Just a week ago, Democrats and Republicans came together after the tragic shooting at a congressional baseball practice. Unity was the theme. Now, while Rep. Steve Scalise still recovers in the hospital, Senator Elizabeth Warren labels Republicans as heartless opportunist who are paying for their Senate Healthcare bill with “blood money.” Forget that the bill itself is very much Obamacare-lite or that Democrats themselves promised that we could keep our doctors and that premiums would fall for the average family by $2,500. Why let facts stand in the way when you have future elections to win.

While the game plays out, real problems are not being solved. We have a national debt of over $19 trillion. Entitlement programs are going bankrupt and we have no long-term plan to stop cyber attacks. In 1990, the top manufacturing industry in the U.S. was automakers. The top three automakers at the time combined with revenue near $250 billion. They employed 1.2 million Americans. Now, in 2017, the top three Silicon Valley companies have a combined revenue of also $250 billion. The catch is that they only employee 137,000 people. Instead of Congress or the President talking about the future, education, automation, or a changing economic landscape, we get fake claims about the Comey tapes, actually repealing all of Obamacare, or those on the left that say people will die if we simply shrink the government and cut taxes.

More and more it seems like we are getting to a point in society that bad behavior is justified by saying, but the other side did it first. Little children use this excuse. Adults do not. It does not have to be this way. John Adams penned on July 2, 1776, “you will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.” When Adams wrote these words, he knew the risk he was taking. He and 55 others were signing a pledge all fully aware that the punishment for treason was death by hanging or dismemberment.

The crisis today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice our founders endured. It does, however, require our best effort and our willingness to believe this can change. What we tolerate is on us. After all, we the people elect everyone who serves and we are the ones that can change it.

The Democrat Party Continues to Feel the Pull From the Left

Ever since he came down the escalator inside Trump Tower to announced his presidential campaign in the summer of 2015, Donald Trump has drawn consistent media attention. Now as President, that vacuum he helped create continues to suck out the air of other political news. That is especially true when it comes to media attention considering the political vitally from across the aisle.

Coverage of President Trump and Republicans fighting and the future of the conservative movement are the shiny objects that draw media scrutiny as much as moths to a flame. When this happens, what is missed is an even bigger story on how much those across the aisle are in a pugnacious battle between conservative Blue-Dog Democrats and those on the fringe far left.

“The growing tension between the party’s ascendant militant wing and Democrats competing in conservative-leaning terrain, was on vivid, split-screen display over the weekend,” according to an article in Monday’s New York Times. “In Chicago, Senator Bernie Sanders led a revival-style meeting of his progressive devotees, while in Atlanta, Democrats made a final push to seize a traditionally Republican congressional district.”

For years now, the Democrat party has drifted to the left. With the emerge of Bernie’s success in 2016 and Labour Party left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, in last week’s British elections, this trend has only intensified.

However, many party insiders also see that with a populist President who is in the process remaking the Republican party, the opportunity should look at the model Democrats campaigned on in 2006, when the party won control of Congress by competing for conservative corners of the country.

A prime example of this is the current Congressional race in Georgia’s Sixth District where Jon Ossoff has publicly stated that he would not support raising income taxes, even for the wealthy, and opposed “any move” toward a single-payer health care system.

Compare this to what happened over the weekend in Chicago. “Mr. Sanders rallied his youthful, often-raucous coalition Saturday night at a gathering named the “People’s Summit,” where supporters hailed him in worshipful language.”

With ever increasing echo chambers that re-enforce talking points that activists seek, the far left is energized. The reality is that under their last liberal leader, President Obama, the Democratic Party suffered huge losses (net loss of 1,042 state and federal posts). Democrats have always been the party of emotion instead of logic. Only time will tell which direction they will move.

For us on the right, we must always stand for substance, truth, ideals, and principles. We also should be wise to never underestimate any political outcome. After all, with the GOP house divided and Democrats in disarray last election, Trump went from a joke to the Oval Office.

 

California judge continues to protect Planned Parenthood’s culture of death videos

The Center for Medical Progress videos that exposed Planned Parenthood physicians and leaders speaking about selling baby parts of aborted children have been removed from YouTube. Judge William Orrick – a California district judge – approved an appeal from the National Abortion Federation (unreal there is a National Abortion Federation) and PP requesting that the footage be removed as part of the site’s Terms of Service agreement.

Our friends at National Review provided us copies of the videos here. More detailed footage giving context for some of the clips is available here and here.)

Just a few days ago, David Closson posted an article on our site showing how CMP just released an additional undercover video that features shocking remarks from Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Stem Express LLC executives regarding abortion procedures and fetal tissue procurement. That video was recorded during the 2014 and 2015 National Abortion Federation (NAF) conventions.

Again, whether it is quotas or PP top physician’s speaking about selling hacked baby parts of aborted children, Planned Parenthood is not a healthcare organization. They are an abortion business. They know this. They also know deep down that this is wrong. There are no other explanations on why PP would want a judge to enforce a gag order to prevent the public from viewing any of these videos.

As Russell Moore put it, “I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness. Human life bears inherent dignity because human life reflects the life of God himself.”

Planned Parenthood can hide behind left-leaning district attorneys and judges, try to intimate those who expose their ways, and even contribute to politicians that support their horrendous cause. They cannot hide from a perfect God that knows all and will one day make all things right through the coming king in Christ. That day is coming. Until then, we should demand that Congress completely defund every taxpayer dollar to PP.

I continue to pray that one day the bondage of death that Planned Parenthood represents will cease to exist. I also pray that those who are lied to by PP would know, that they, and the child in their womb, are created in the image of a loving God.

The Majority of Shady NYC Major Bill de Blasio’s Campaign Bundlers Earned Political Favors

According to the New York Post, campaign bundlers for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are now cashing in. Approximately two-thirds (or 67 out of 102 supporters) of de Blasio supporters are now reaping the benefits of their political favors since the Big Apple’s mayor was sworn in.

According to the Post, “some of those bundlers wound up with appointments to various political committees, like lawyer Jay Eisenhofer and Broadway Stages CEO Gina Argento, whose husband has charged she was pressured to donate and raise money.

But four of de Blasio’s top 10 bundlers were lobbyists and advocates for the taxi industry and got private sitdowns from the new mayor, who then pushed a crackdown on Uber and other app-based ride-hail companies that compete with yellow cabs.

Another was the mayor’s cousin, the co-founder of a hotel workers union that has been aided by a similar de Blasio crackdown on Airbnb apartment rentals.

Yet another big bundler, Charles Hocking, got the most obvious favor: $146 million in city contracts for his engineering firm since de Blasio took office.”

If this all was not enough to cast de Blasio in a shady light, the FBI and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara have the NYC mayor under investigation for campaign fundraising activities that deal with how de Blasio solicited campaign cash from various industries under former campaign treasurer, Ross Offinger.

Granting political favors for campaign contributors is nothing new. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have granted access and traded power for campaign cash. The problem for de Blasio is that the transactions appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws which are meant to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption. In fact, in another investigation, de Blasio’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, allowed the mayor to avoid campaign finance restrictions, where wealthy donors gave to the tune of $3 million. This was essentially a slush for the NYC Mayor.

Like a lot of politicians that state they are for the little guy, de Blasio is just another example of someone that did not legally cross a line, but ethically blew it out of the water.