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Trump endorses PA Senate candidate Lou Barletta

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In an effort to increase the Red Tide, Trump tweeted an endorsement of Lou Barletta who is looking for a promotion to the Senate. It’s important to note that a Trump endorsement via twitter isn’t the most solid form of in writing. Kelli Ward of Arizona received such praise but that was before Joe Arpaio threw his hat in. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania is a winnable election for the GOP looking to increase their majority in the Senate as it swung for Trump in 2016. In Trump’s endorsement, he not only praises Lou Barletta but also tears at incumbent Democrat, Bob Casey.

Who is Lou Barletta?

Representing the eleventh District in Pennsylvania is Lou Barletta. The mention of the early support indicates that this is a loyalty move by Trump. If nothing else, Trump does consistently reward loyalty. However, is Trump loyalty synonymous with conservatism? Let’s dig deeper into his record. On social media the self-proclaimed resistance calls him a Nazi. But no evidence really exist for that, nor does his voting record indicate a belief in supremacy of the white race. On the contrary, Lou Barletta is an influential Congressman of issues of energy and coal. But his voting record is not one of limiting the size of government or fiscal conservatism. The Conservative Review scores Lou Barletta at 43% on his Liberty Score. For Pennsylvania that would be an improvement from Bob Casey who is at 8%. The Liberty Score compiles the previous fifty major votes and scores politicians. What’s not include thus far is the recent budget and debt ceiling talks. But there is the reauthorization of FISA which Barletta supported.

Barletta is loyal to Trump, likely as his record shows he is unwilling to buck the powers that be. He was loyal to John Boehner, uninterested in removing the IRS Commissioner, and a member of the GOP who would surrender to Obama on multiple occasions. By itself, Lou Barletta is unwilling to fund Planned Parenthood. In a bigger bill, Barletta votes in favor of abortion funding. On spending increases and subsidies, Barletta has stood in favor. I could dig deeper, but the overall picture shows Barletta’s unwillingness to go against the Whitehouse whether they are Republican or Democrat and a lack of conservatism in either case.

The Other Candidates

Barletta stands as the most formidable candidate. He has major endorsements and money. Number two on the list is a businessman, Paul Addis. This would be an political outsider running for office. His priorities is the military, but by his own website has few actual positions. There is not enough evidence to suggest that Addis is a conservative candidate. Looking for promotion is Jim Christiana, a state representative. Scorecards from the American Conservative Union and the National Federation of Independent Businesses ranks Christiana favorably. In the most recent scorecard, 2016, Christiana voted to protect the unborn and made efforts to kill a gun control measure. The other benefit is his youth!

My Take of the Race

Jim Christiana is the conservative choice in this race, but Lou Barletta stands the best chance to win because Jim Christiana doesn’t have a whole lot of cash. Barletta is also a fairly talented campaigner. But first and foremost, he is a loyalist. If the other candidates fail to up their social media game, Barletta could run away with this. And if he wins, we’ll just have a Democrat vs a RINO come November.

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Working While Conservative: Fired Google Engineer’s “Discriminatory” Memo Justified Firing, Says NLRB

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A Google engineer was not wrongfully fired for writing a memo criticizing the company’s diversity policies and explaining biological differences between male and female employees, ruled a National Labor Relations Board lawyer this week.

The NLRB lawyer, Jayme Sophir, wrote that the tech giant lawfully fired James Damore for his “discriminatory statements.” She found that Damore’s now-legendary memo contained statements “so harmful, discriminatory and disruptive” that they are not protected by federal labor law.


Fired Google Engineer Loses Diversity Memo Challenge – Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/google-firing-of-damore-was-legal-u-s-labor-panel-lawyer-saidStatements in James Damore’s 3,000-word memo “regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive” that they fell outside protections for collective action in the workplace, an associate general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board wrote in a six-page memo disclosed Thursday.

When he was dismissed in August, Damore accused Google of violating the employee right to engage in “concerted activity” to address workplace issues, a category which the labor board has found can include forms of activism ranging from lawsuits to strikes to social media posts.

“Much of” Damore’s memo was probably protected under the law, the labor board’s attorney, Jayme Sophir, said in the Jan. 16 memo. But Sophir went on to find that Google discharged Damore only for his “discriminatory statements,” which aren’t shielded by labor law.

Because companies have a duty to comply with equal employment laws and an interest in promoting diversity, “employers must be permitted to ‘nip in the bud’ the kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a ‘hostile workplace,’ rather than waiting until an actionable hostile workplace has been created before taking action,” Sophir wrote.

The company “carefully tailored” its messages in firing Damore and in addressing employees afterward “to affirm their right to engage in protected speech while prohibiting discrimination or harassment.” Google also disciplined one of Damore’s co-workers for sending him a threatening email in response to the memo, Sophir said.


Sophir is a Deputy Associate General Counsel at the NLRB. She has been an NLRB lawyer since 1988 and a practicing lawyer since 1985.

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Conservative endorsements split in Arizona Special Election

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Congressmen Trent Frank’s sex scandal has led to quite a feeding frenzy to replace him. This would make Arizona District 8 the ninth Congressional special election for Congress since Trump’s inauguration. The solid red district voted Republican by at least a 20 point margin in the last three presidential elections. Democrats stand little chance in this elections. So the competition is which Republican gets the privilege of an easy path to being a Congressman. The replacement will most likely be decided on Tuesday, February 27th. The field of over a dozen candidates can be narrowed down to a few serious contenders. The most serious contenders appear to be Debbie LeskoPhil Lovas, and Steve Montenegro. All three claim to be conservatives and none of them are obvious establishment players like Martha McSally in Arizona’s Senate race. In this wide-open race with no clear front-runner, endorsements and finances may likely decide the winner.

Fulfilling both of these keys to victory is Ted Cruz. His champion: Steve Montenegro. Ted Cruz endorsed the candidate and his Super PAC currently has $83000 invested in this primary. However, that is all of the credibility capital Montenegro can boast. His other endorsements make him seem like a rabble-rousing Trump sycophant. They include Rick Santorum, the disgraced Trent Frank, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Steve Montenegro’s conservative status doesn’t seem questionable until you see his past support for a popular vote. This raises some major questions.

Phil Lovas, on the other hand, doesn’t have flashy endorsements but has the nod from Arizona state officials such as Jeff DeWit. Jeff DeWitt was also the national COO/CFO for the Trump campaign. In the live-streamed debate, Phil Lovas boasted his early support for Trump as an outsider. This lends credibility to Lovas, but Trump loyalty isn’t a question among any of the major candidates. All three boast that they will support Trump, meaning these Republicans are saying they aren’t RINOs which is what most say.

In contrast, Debbie Lesko has no shortage of national and local endorsements in this race. She lists them in her article:

I am honored to have the endorsement of former Gov. Jan Brewer and many local leaders including Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf and Goodyear Vice Mayor Wally Campbell. I’ve also been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, a national prolife organization, and Congressmen Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, who are the founding members of the conservative U.S. House Freedom Caucus of which Trent Franks was a member. These people know that I have a proven track record of working for my constituents, fighting for the values that have made our nation great and getting things done.

On top of these endorsements, there is also Andy Biggs from the Freedom Caucus. Debbie Lesko certainly benefits from being a major player in Arizona state politics. She has a record of fiscal conservatism in the state legislature and is pro-life.

This race, like the Missouri Senate race, has a social media darling. A “life coach” by the name of Brenden Dilley is on the ballot. However, this social media candidate upped his rhetoric to win the Trump supporter pissing contest. He livestreamed the debate among the candidates that took place last Saturday. Steve Montenegro skipped the debate. Though it was a poor quality (and immaturely done) live stream, I heard Debbie Lesko appeal to her endorsements as credibility and tell a more down to earth story of her becoming a politician. “We need good politicians,” she told the crowd. She even jabbed Arizona’s Senators, John McCain, and Jeff Flake.

Perspectives

My Take

It’s hard for conservatives to unite in such a feeding frenzy of a race. In truth, some of the unnamed candidates are likely true conservatives worthy of the office. So perhaps ideology shouldn’t be the deciding factor here. Perhaps conservatives should unite around the candidate most able to accomplish what they campaign on and least likely to act a fool. I think Debbie Lesko stands the best chance to do both. Phil Lovas seems like he would be loyal to Trump, but that’s not a value proposition for a candidate. At this moment, Steve Montenegro’s endorsements hinder him, especially Joe Arpaio. I think Cruz chose a shady candidate. This race is interesting because big names have chosen sides against each other. In recruiting reliable conservatives to join the few in Congress, I trust the Freedom Caucus over Ted Cruz. And I believe they aren’t doing a bad job endorsing Debbie Lesko.

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Economy

The GOP: The Party of Fiscal Conservatives?

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The GOP, led by President Trump, recently passed the most massive tax reform bill in decades. One of the biggest pieces of that bill dropped the corporate tax rate down to 21% from 35%, which had previously given the United States the largest corporate tax in the industrialized world. So cutting this tax and cutting individual taxes was a job well done for fiscal responsibility. It was a CRITICAL first step, but it was only a first step.

The second step was to cut the bloated federal budget. Last night’s budget deal not only failed to do this but in fact increased spending to the deficit levels of the Obama and Bush eras. Liberals claim this is due to the tax cuts, but Senator Rand Paul demonstrated clearly that this has to do entirely with the expensive high Congress gets from spending taxpayer money as well as placing an unconscionable burden on our children.

Republicans made a big to do about deficits and the debt while Barack Obama’s was in power, even coming up with the sequester during the latter half of the Obama Presidency. However, now that they control both houses of Congress and with Trump in the White House, they suddenly have no inclination to cut spending.

“When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party, But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who attempted to block the bill last night.

Others in the party also demonstrated their displeasure at the lack of leadership by the GOP on this issue. Missouri Senate Candidate Austin Petersen’s campaign released this statement:

“The spending deal approved late last night, and supported by both Missouri Senators McCaskill and Blunt, was an absolute travesty. The American people are already $20 trillion in debt, and the deficit for the current fiscal year is estimated to be an additional $1 trillion. This is just plain nuts! And it’s a great example of why Austin is in this Senate race: because like many Missourians, he’s sick and tired of sending politicians to Washington who, break their promises. The truth is we don’t just need another Republican elected to the United States Senate — we need a true constitutional and FISCAL conservative — someone who’s going to stick to their guns, stick to their principles, and most importantly, keep their promises. “

Konstantinos Roditis, Republican candidate for California State Controller said, “Hope of a budget with a modicum of fiscal responsibility from D.C. is laughable. The likelihood a fiscally responsible budget will see the light of day in D.C. is as likely as Trump winning California in a landslide in 2020. Here is a perfect example why I say, I’m a Conservative that happens to be a Republican, instead of a Republican that happens to be a Conservative.”

California GOP Senator candidate Erin Cruz had this to say… Those in the House and Senate work for the American people and should put forth a fiscally responsible budget, one which does not put an undue burden on the taxpayer and future generations. Heavy cuts should be made in the area of foreign aid, as well as pet deals congressional members tuck into these bills known as pork. The taxpayer is the boss and they want big change in government, namely reduction in size and scope of government as well as cuts to unnecessary spending. The budget passed is not reflective of what the American people voted into office. Actual change is coming, patriots like myself are standing up to the call to serve the people, there will be a big turn in how D.C. operates. Americans live by budgets and within their means, Congress should as well. Midterms can’t come soon enough for all Americans. Americans must push for a high turn out at the polls this year.

A disappointment for many conservatives is that standard-bearer Ted Cruz (R-TX) “reluctantly” voted for the spending bill, giving away any credibility he might have in the future on this issue. It should be noted that Cruz has filibustered spending in the past, famously reading to his children from the Senate floor.

In stark contrast, there was no surprise that the other Texas Senator, John Cornyn, was vocal about his annoyance with Rand Paul’s efforts to derail the budget process, saying this was an “emergency” while failing to make mention Congress hasn’t had a non-emergency spending effort in years.

It would be easy for some to lay the blame for all this on the self-proclaimed “king of debt,” President Trump. However, those who have actually read the Constitution know the power of the budget comes from Congress. Sure, Trump could lead a bit more on this issue, but at no point has Trump ever made over-spending a priority.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is the former chairman of the House Budget Committee, seems most to blame. Of all people he should know how to cut spending, and yet has failed to do so.

The political fallout will likely be negligible. The average American, when asked, will say they are concerned about the debt, but often not enough to change their vote. And so both major parties keep passing this issue back and forth like a hot potato. The party that will be hurt by the debt is whoever is in power when the economy comes crashing down due to debt. Time will tell on that one.

A couple of months ago I wrote about how we can’t afford our sacred cows, including increased defense spending, and yet we’re increasing defense spending through the roof. You can refer back to it here.

The thing I can tell you for certain is we can’t keep doing what we’re doing. Spending on credit will eventually lead to default as more and more of our budget is eaten up by paying interest on our debt and it leases to Greek-style austerity. We need new leadership with ACTUAL fiscal conservatives.

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