THE CONSERVATIVE CRAWFISH CONSERVATISM versus SECULAR SOCIALISM (where truth is the prime directive) Fri, 13 Jul 2007 21:27:45 +0000 en JIM DeMINT: WE NEED A DOZEN MORE LIKE HIM… NOW Fri, 13 Jul 2007 21:27:45 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. LEGISLATIVE 07-07-2007
Congress - Right Guard
Brian Friel
National Journal Group, Inc.

“Compromise, hell! That’s what has happened to us all down the line — and that’s the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?” — Jesse Helms
“When I first got to the Senate, I didn’t know anything” about the caucus, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., its current chairman, said in an interview. “It was just another lunch during the week.”

Last year, DeMint joined the Steering Committee’s executive team and became intimately involved in its primary activity, which is not lunches but legislation. The committee’s staff, led by Executive Director Ed Corrigan, reviews all of the bills that move through the Senate — sometimes five or six a day and as many as 30 on the busy days just before congressional recesses — to check for language that conservatives could find objectionable.

The staff, or the senators themselves, put the brakes on any bill they want to review or challenge. Despite Helms’s fighting words, the conservatives often work behind the scenes to craft compromises with legislative sponsors on a host of concerns, such as spending levels. But if the conservative senators fail to win concessions, they take their battles to the Senate floor, using a variety of parliamentary tactics that the Steering Committee has adopted or even pioneered over the past three decades.

“It’s not necessarily a status job,” DeMint said. “We probably do more legislating than a lot of chairmen of committees.”

It is through his Steering Committee post that DeMint, a first-term senator elected in 2004, has become a legislative force in the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress. Freshman president in the first of his three House terms, DeMint had never held public office before 1998. Now this back-to-basics reformer is making waves in the Republican caucus.

Last week, he and Corrigan camped out on the Senate floor to lead the conservatives’ successful effort to kill the immigration reform bill that had been a top domestic priority for President Bush. It was the latest victory in a series of battles that DeMint has led over the past six months. In December, he first made his mark as Steering Committee chairman by bringing the fiscal 2007 appropriations process to a halt, frustrating the outgoing GOP Senate leadership and kicking the unfinished spending work over to the incoming Democratic majority. Since January, he and his Steering Committee partners have doggedly pursued earmark reform, helped to kill an intelligence authorization bill, thwarted Democrats on measures benefiting labor unions, and blocked progress on several matters slated for House-Senate conference negotiations.

“Jim is leading an effort to try to change the culture of the Senate, and I think he’s succeeding,” says Pat Toomey, a former House colleague of DeMint’s who is now president of the Club for Growth [PAC], a group that backs conservative candidates.

Senate rules accord a significant amount of power to each senator, and DeMint has proved his ability to blend that power with the institutional knowledge and tactical skills that the Steering Committee possesses. In a talk to an audience of conservatives earlier this year, DeMint declared: “We’ve been able to take at least partial control of the Senate by using that Steering Committee.”

Killing Immigration Reform

DeMint and fellow conservative Sens. David Vitter, R-La., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (the Steering Committee’s previous chairman), took the lead in opposing the immigration bill that the Bush administration crafted with Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Objecting largely on the grounds that the bill would not secure the country’s borders, the conservatives also complained that it would allow illegal immigrants to become legal residents. Conservatives say that is amnesty. His opposition was really about “law and order, rule of law, effective governance, security as a country,” DeMint said in an interview. “You don’t have a country if you don’t have any control of your borders.”

When the bill first came to the Senate floor in late May, the four senators offered dozens of amendments and persuaded fellow Republicans to oppose the effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to finish work on the bill in early June. The conservatives said that their amendments had not received enough debate time, and they objected on the floor when Reid tried to bring up some of them.

When Reid brought the immigration bill back on June 26, Sessions, Vitter, DeMint, and Coburn were ready. They made procedural objections on the floor, including a demand that a massive slate of amendments — from a wide group of Democratic and Republican senators, but none from the cadre of conservatives — be read aloud. After an initial vote to consider the bill, senators made no further progress that day.

On June 27, DeMint, Vitter, and Sessions went to work again, frequently raising objections to Reid’s effort to push amendments through. The majority leader counterattacked by employing an unusual procedure known as the “clay pigeon” that lumped the various amendments together in an effort to block the conservatives’ stalling tactics.

Toward the end of the day, DeMint and his colleagues threw their votes behind a Democratic amendment, which had the effect of blocking the consideration of additional amendments and essentially halting action for the night. The move came shortly before Reid had planned to bring up an amendment on enforcement that was central to enlisting Republican support for the legislation.

By the time debate ended on June 28, opposition against the measure had solidified. The bill fell 14 votes short of the 60 necessary for cloture. Defeated 46-53, the bill lacked even a simple majority of support. “The work that a lot of us did [slowed] things down enough for the American people to see what was going on,” DeMint said at a news conference after the vote. “It gave a little more time for phone calls to come in, and I think it did make a difference.”

Spending Fight
DeMint has kept the Steering Committee’s Wednesday lunches open to all Republicans, even moderates, and a majority of Republican senators attend them. But the group’s legislative strategy is largely orchestrated by the executive committee, which DeMint heads as chairman of the Steering Committee and which meets separately from the Republican Conference as a whole.

The executive committee — a subgroup of the Steering Committee whose membership of as many as 10 senators is kept secret — voted to make DeMint the chairman. It then informed the GOP caucus, whose conservative members pay dues to the Steering Committee for the lunches and the staff’s office, of its decision. There were no objections. On December 6, DeMint announced he was the new chairman of the Steering Committee.

The announcement came a month after Republicans lost the midterm election. Now knowing that they would be forced to cede majority power to the Democrats in the next Congress, GOP leaders and appropriators tried one last time to pass some of the 2007 spending bills that they had failed to enact before October 1, the start of the new fiscal year. But DeMint, Coburn, and others on the Steering Committee feared that those bills would be loaded with pork-barrel spending and thus conflict with the conservative principle of fiscal restraint. Indeed, these conservative senators believed that Republicans had lost the election on that very point — that despite 12 years of GOP rule, the party had failed dismally on its 1994 Contract With America promise to tamp down spending.

“The Republicans had seriously damaged their brand,” said David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union. “If the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything, it loses.”

DeMint, in one of his early moves as Steering Committee chairman, protested when GOP appropriators pushed for a House-Senate conference on a military construction bill that had passed both chambers. Objecting to a conference is one effective way to block a bill: A senator may make several procedural objections to a bill’s proceeding to conference, each of which can burn up 30 hours of debate if the leadership attempts to get 60 senators to vote to override the objections and move on. Senate Democrats effectively halted several measures during the GOP years by raising conference objections.

DeMint was able to run out the clock by pushing for assurances from appropriators that they would not agree to additional pork-barrel spending during conference negotiations. Congress was left with having to pass a continuing resolution to maintain spending at 2006 levels — a result that DeMint said saved taxpayers $17 billion.

Opponents say that federal agencies were forced to operate without needed funds and direction from Congress, but a pleased DeMint called the fight his first victory. “The first thing I did as the chairman was stop the whole appropriations process,” he said in the interview. “That actually, I think, did a whole lot to encourage the conservative movement around the country that maybe there was still some fight in the Republican Party.”

DeMint’s victory was unusual in that it came at the expense of fellow Republicans. Over the years, the Steering Committee has tended to be more active when Democrats control Congress, because conservatives are likely to object to the Democratic agenda. “If there is a trademark for the committee, it is a willingness to obstruct in the name of principle,” said Jade West, a former executive director of the Steering Committee who is now a lobbyist for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. “The Steering Committee’s job is easier when the opposition is in charge.”

After Democrats took control in January, DeMint’s first major action as Steering Committee chairman was to respond to the new majority’s push for a lobbying and ethics reform package. Reid had included a provision in the package that would make lawmakers’ earmarks transparent.

DeMint offered an amendment on the Senate floor that adopted the same language on earmark transparency that House Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had developed. DeMint said that Pelosi’s language made earmarks more open to public scrutiny than Reid’s provision did. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., countered that DeMint’s amendment weakened Reid’s language.

Durbin asked the Senate to table DeMint’s amendment and thus kill it. But to the surprise of Democratic leaders, Durbin’s motion to table failed, 46-51, as nine Democrats sided with DeMint. Steve Ellis, vice president for programs at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a spending watchdog group, said that DeMint’s decision to use House Democrats’ language in his amendment put Senate Democrats in a bind. “Tactically it was a brilliant maneuver,” Ellis said.

Normally after a motion to table fails, an amendment is automatically adopted. This time, however, Durbin and Reid worked with DeMint behind the scenes over several days to slightly change the amendment and bring it back as a compromise between DeMint and the Democratic leaders. On January 16, the compromise language passed, 98-0.

The House and Senate have yet to pass final lobbying and ethics legislation, so DeMint has gone to the floor several times trying to force Senate committees to follow the earmark transparency rules that he got his chamber to adopt. Using the same procedural maneuver he used on the 2007 appropriations bills, DeMint has been holding up conference negotiations on the ethics legislation, seeking a guarantee that the earmarking language in the amendment adopted in January remains unscathed in conference. And as the fiscal 2008 appropriations process begins this month, DeMint and Coburn will again be teaming up to block any spending they deem wasteful.

Cooling the Hotline

Under the chamber’s rules, every senator possesses the sort of power that House members can only dream about. For example, senators have wide latitude to offer amendments on the floor. DeMint has offered numerous amendments on virtually every piece of major legislation that has moved through the Senate this year. As of June 20, 15 of his amendments had roll-call votes. He lost on 10, and he won on five: the two successful votes on his earmarking amendment; an amendment to a midyear supplemental spending bill that banned an earmark for spinach producers; an amendment spelling out criminal offenses that would disqualify transportation workers from getting security clearances; and an amendment requiring a study of tax code provisions that are barriers to private-sector innovation.

But even when DeMint loses, his amendments effectively lay down conservative markers. Take, for example, the amendment he offered to the minimum-wage bill. It would have allowed states, rather than the federal government, to set their own minimum wages. DeMint also offered an amendment on the recently passed energy bill that would have required a new procedural vote in the Senate on any subsequent legislation that had the effect of raising the price of gas. That amendment failed on a procedural vote of 37-55.

Offering amendments also serves other functions. It gives the minority party an opportunity to slow down the legislative process and still look good. “Generally speaking, the view of minority senators is that the majority party gets blamed for not getting things done,” said Steve Smith, a political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, votes on amendments can be used against senators of the opposing party in subsequent elections.

CRIME STATS: 2 SOURCES Fri, 13 Jul 2007 19:05:30 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. CULTURAL

JOKE: REDNECK CHURCHES Fri, 13 Jul 2007 17:33:29 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. SMILE, CUZ Redneck Churches?

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the finance committee refuses to provide funds for the purchase of a chandelier because none of the members knows how to play one.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
people ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait was used to catch ‘em.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
when the pastor says, “I’d like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering,” five guys and two women stand up.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
opening day of deer season is recognized as an official church holiday.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
a member of the church requests to be buried in his 4-wheel-drive truck because “It ain’t never been in a hole it couldn’t get out of.” (Love it!)

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the choir is known as the “OK Chorale”.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
in a congregation of 500 members, there are only seven last names in the church directory.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
Baptism is referred to as “branding”.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
high notes on the organ set the dogs on the floor to howling.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
people think “rapture” is what you get when you lift something too heavy.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the baptismal pool is a #2 galvanized washtub.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the choir robes were donated by (and embroidered with the logo from) Billy Bob’s Barbecue.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the collection plates are really hub caps from a ‘56 Chevy.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
instead of a bell, you are called to service by a duck call.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the minister and his wife drive matching pickup trucks.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the communion wine is Boone’s Farm “Tickled Pink”.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
“Thou shalt not covet” applies to hunting dogs, too.

You Know Your Church Is A Redneck Church if…
the final words of the benediction are, “Y’all come back now!! Ya Hear”

JIHAD WATCH SITE BLOCKED, ANY MOSLEM SITES BLOCKED? Fri, 13 Jul 2007 16:28:34 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. MODERN LIBERALISM By Robert Spencer
I began getting the emails several days ago: Jihad Watch readers telling me that they had been accustomed to reading the site at work, but now their employer had blocked access to the Jihad Watch site on company computers. Many reported that the ban on Jihad Watch was explained with the assertion that Jihad Watch contained “hate speech.”
This was true even in some Federal Government offices. Jihad Watch was also blocked, readers informed me, on the computers of the State of Connecticut; the City of Chicago; Bank of America; Fidelity Investments; Site Coach; GE IT; JPMorgan Chase; Defense Finance and Accounting Services; Johnson Controls, Inc. IT; Boeing; Tenet Hospitals in North Carolina; Provisio; the Sabre Group TSG; Wachovia bank; and others.
CRAWFISH NOTE: One of the most dangerous aspects of modern liberalism is its control freak intolerance for the free flow of information (unless its NAMBLA or something as repulsive).
Only a liberal would make the subjective factless assertion (they lead the league in these) a website monitoring violent acts by jihadists is hateful. You are simply too dumb to know so the the adult sheep must be led. Once started this nannyism will naturally be expanded (libs are never ever staisfied) to include conservative talk radio. Did conservative employers demand Air America or be blocked? If so, I never heard of it. You know we all would have heard it for weeks. Anyone demand employers block any islamic web sites because all worldwide mass murdering terrorists (okay, 98%) are islamic? Let us know. Do you want to live in a country where employers or Uncle Sugar’s supervisors decide your political websites? Well, do you? Liberals do. They do because they know it will be a one-way street. A rigged game. The only kind they can win.

NO-BAMA (aka Mr. Fantasy) PONTIFICATES ON POVERTY Fri, 13 Jul 2007 12:37:02 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. CANDIDATES Detroit News, by Mark Hornbeck and Charlie Cain
DETROIT — Nine White House hopefuls found an audience receptive to change on Thursday, with several telling the 98th annual NAACP convention that America needs to dissolve the disparities between rich and poor…..”If you’re poor in this country, that’s hazardous to your health,” Obama said. “If you’re poor and a minority, that’s downright lethal.” yada, yada.
CRAWFISH NOTE: Its the mandatory liberal poverty pimp pandering tour. Hey, No-bama, what is lethal to people is actually this… and it has nothing to do with govt tax money or vote-buying income redistribution… which is why you are no Cosby.
1. Its lethal to drop out of school, 2. Its lethal to do criminal behavior, 3. Its lethal to have kids without marriage (fornication families-also cruel to the kids), 4. Its lethal to have no moral compass (a simple dependency mentality replaces it), 4. Its lethal to avoid a job, 5. its lethal to be born of someone who does the first 3 things and 6. Its lethal to vote for any poor person to vote for a democrat poverty pimp preaching dependency-blameshifting-irresponsibility pays. After 40 years the democrat poverty pimping tour disgustingly depressingly continues its class warfare for votes while avoiding root causes.

BO AND HRC “GET RELIGION” (cause they sure didn’t have it) Fri, 13 Jul 2007 00:37:19 +0000 Doug Schexnayder, Ph.D. CANDIDATES TIME-CNN (VERY LEFTY)… 7.12.2007
In this campaign season, if Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards are any measure, there will be nothing unusual in Democrats’ talking about the God who guides them and the beliefs that sustain them. Clinton has hired Burns Strider, a congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) who is assembling a faith steering group from major denominations and sends out a weekly wrap-up, Faith, Family and Values. Edwards has been organizing conference calls with progressive (*liberal) religious leaders and is about to embark on a 12-city poverty tour.
In the past month alone, Obama’s campaign has run six faith forums in New Hampshire, where local clergy and lay people discuss religious engagement in politics. “We talk about ways people of faith have gone wrong in the past, what they have done right and where they see it going in the future,” says his faith-outreach adviser, Joshua DuBois. Speeches on everything from the budget to immigration to stem-cell research are carefully marinated in Scripture.
CRAWFISH NOTE: Does this mean that democrat candidates pushing the most radical abortion agenda and the homosexual agenda for years are… just “forgiven” … or “it never happened”… or “its not a factor”? Oh, you hire some religious advisors and your voting record becomes invisible. Now I get it, God guided them to vote time after time for unrestricted abortion on demand and special homosexual treatment. Now its in focus. Only Republicans can be moral hypocrites.