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Conservative Candidates to look out for in Texas Primary

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Texas has several elections with outsiders looking in and open seats where incumbents are not seeking reelection. The heavy hitting endorsements of Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, and Rick Perry are sure to have an impact in the Lone Star State during its open primary on March 6th. The Texas Primary has the chance to put reliable conservatives in office as opposed to the fiscally irresponsible RINOs we deal with most often. Candidates who don’t reach majority will have a runoff in the spring.

Anyone but Kathaleen Wall TX-02

Ted Poe is not running for reelection leaving a vacant seat, a theme you will gather from this article. There are many candidates running on the ballot. The worst of which appears to be Kathaleen Wall, a Democrat in disguise as a Republican. However she did snag the endorsement of Governor Abbott and Ted Cruz. Wall is sort of a Donald Trump, in the sense of a political outsider self-funding a campaign. She has poured over $5 million into the race. Her previous history is a political donor, a likely reason she has endorsements. Quite honestly, what’s best is for this race to go onto a runoff. Wall needs to undergo further scrutiny to prove she’s ready for Congress. And quite frankly a lot of questions about her arise. For instance, her opponents say that she voted for Clinton in the Democratic Primary, a questionable move if true. Then there’s also the concern about her buying this election. She’s not what I would call self-made, but she certainly married well. Other interesting candidates in this race are Kevin Roberts, Rick Walker, and Dan Crenshaw. This is not a judgement against Wall, only that I insist that she should not cross the majority threshold so early. Do research on her givings to Texas politics. The Democrats are likely to nominate Todd Litton in a massive effort to flip this seat, but the Blue Wave is still a stretch in a district where the GOP wins 60%+ of the vote for this seat.

Race Rating: Likely Republican

Van Taylor TX-03

Van Taylor serves in the Texas State Senate. His is one of the top conservatives in the legislature. Taylor is strong on both guns and protecting the unborn during his tenure in Texas. In 2016 he had a perfect conservative record in his young political career. This veteran is the real deal for voters seeking a young conservative in Congress. The Texas Third District was held for 25 years by Republican Sam Johnson. Johnson has decided not to seek reelection in November leaving a wide open seat. For Conservatives, this is a sold chance to upgrade to a stronger government limiting politician.

The Democrats don’t have as much of a chance in this election, as the Texas 3rd is a safe Republican seat. As for Van Taylor, he is the most formidable candidate with a lot of cash on hand and a powerful endorsement by Ted Cruz. This race is likely his.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Jason Wright TX-05

In yet another race without an incumbent, their seem to be options for the voter of Texas 5th. This election will be decided on the primary seeing as Democrats don’t field a candidate every time. The most well backed candidate is Kenneth Sheets a former State Rep. who was voted out of a swing seat in 2016. He’s a former Marine and reliable conservative.

Howerver I like the potential for Jason Wright who worked on the Cruz Campaign in 2016 which earned him an endorsement from Ted. Something about his foresight in this appeals to me. And he just comes off as likable.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Ron Wright or Jake Ellzey TX-06

Longtime Congressman Joe Barton is not seeking reelection, leaving a wide open race to fill the likely red seat. Leading the GOP is Ron Wright, the Tarrant County Tax Assessor. Wright has a long history of public service and has earned the endorsement of Ted Cruz. Wright has a lot of local backing as well as funding.

The other formidable Conservative is Jake Ellzey, a veteran Navy fighter pilot. His twitter seems dedicated to remembering the fallen and taking better care of veterans is a top campaign priority. Ellzey earned the endorsement of former Governor Rick Perry to counter the Cruz endorsement of Wright, along with “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell.

Both these candidates seem like they would be reliable representatives for Conservatism. For fiscal conservatism, I have to go with Ellzey whose campaign is focused on security issues (border and immigration included) and reducing government. On social issues and federalism, Ron Wright has a slight edge. I won’t blame a conservative for voting either way, just keep it a friendly competition which AZ08 should have been. And if it goes to a runoff, then may the best man win.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Ted Cruz endorsed incumbent, John Culberson. However, Culberson is not, by definition, a fiscal conservative. Even with an (R) in the Whitehouse, he has done nothing to promote fiscal responsibility. The TX-06 deserves term limits. Edward Ziegler is running on these very points. His campaign stresses the liberal spending of Culberson and he is running counter to that. His website acknowledges that taxpayer money is not the government’s to freely spend. In this seat, the people need to enact term limits. Culberson has been in for over a decade, and the Democrats pose little opposition. Ziegler is the conservative choice in this race.

Race Rating: Lean Republican

This is another race that has leftist salivating because it is a seat being vacated by Rep. Lamar Smith. The field is wider than any of the others. The seeming frontrunner is Chip Roy, former Chief of Staff to Ted Cruz, senior advisor to Rick Perry. He’s definitely an insider, even having worked with RINO, John Cornyn. Roy has been groomed for office and now is his chance. The home page of his website conveys a lot of fatigue with campaign conservatives who then turn RINO. In this wide open race, I’d trust Chip Roy.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Alma Arredondo-Lynch is a political outsider seeking to unseat Republican Will Hurd. Hurd is one of the most leftist GOP Congressmen in the House. The Conservative Review Liberty Score gives him a 35%, the worst of any Texan Republican. Will Hurd also called on Trump to drop out of the race over his locker-room talk tape.

Arrendondo-Lynch on the other hand has every sign of being real conservative. On her website she quips at Hurd’s leftism stating “My opponent is the only “Republican” from the State of Texas to vote in favor of Obama’s transgender bill, forcing employers to allow these transgenders to use the women’s bathrooms. It had never been a problem before.  I grew up using transgender bathrooms; they were called outhouses.” She’s strong on guns and immigration. She’s unafraid of acknowledging the RINO in the room.

The Texas 23rd is a battleground race that the Democrats are looking to capture. I would argue that Republicans are most in danger nominating a RINO. It’s not a winning strategy, but is a likely outcome.

Race Rating: Toss-Up

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Curtis Patranella

    March 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    An endorsement from Ted Cruz is enough of a reason NOT to vote for someone. Ted talks about liberty, but never delivers. He is a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.

    • Ray Fava

      March 5, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      I completely understand your lack of optimism in regards to Cruz. He’s been slipping in my book as well. He’s made some good endorsements and some bad endorsements with no consistency except maybe friendship. I’m still a fan but not a huge one.

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Entertainment and Sports

Binge-worthy show: Counterpart works because J.K. Simmons is incredible. Twice.

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With season 2 of the Starz hit Counterpart getting going, I thought I should go ahead and binge the first season to see if it’s one to follow going forward. Despite a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and universal acclaim, I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t move forward to season 2 if it weren’t for two letters and a surname: J.K. Simmons.

Very minor spoilers ahead for the sake of understanding why you should see this show.

Imagine if the world we know copied itself 30-years ago. These two worlds continued without knowledge of each other, save for a select few on each side who are aware of the tunnel below a building in Berlin that connects the two worlds. Now, imagine if both sides kept the existence of this secret from everyone, even most of the world’s governments, and instead ran a shadow organization in the building above the tunnel that allowed the two sides to cooperate.

That’s the world of Counterpart.

This is where it gets interesting. J.K. Simmons plays Howard Silk… twice. In the “alpha” version of the world he’s a mild-mannered operator working in the building above the tunnel but unaware of what it does or the role he plays in everything. The “prime” version is a badass secret agent who must travel to the “alpha” side to foil a plot that would bring the two sides to war.

The premise is pretty clever, albeit not completely unique. There have been stories of alternate realities playing with or against each other in everything from comic books to Star Trek shows. This is the first I’ve seen that plays it more as a spy game in an inter-reality Cold War setting, but nonetheless it’s a relatively common premise. What Star Trek fan doesn’t remember evil Spock?

Spock Mirror

On the merits of the story alone, I’d see this as an acceptable show to watch. Not quite binge-worthy, but a nice aside while waiting for the next season of The Expanse for sci-fi fans. What pushes it up to the binge-worthy level is the dual performances of Simmons. Despite the parallels between the two characters he plays, the audience is never confused about which one they’re seeing. He doesn’t even have to speak most of the time. We can tell by the way he carries himself, the expressions he makes, and the bearing he holds when looking at people.

That’s actually not that hard. What Simmons does masterfully is he accomplishes this without exaggerating the differences. He brings them to light with subtly, giving us just enough understanding of who the characters are without overplaying those differences.

There’s one more thing that the show does well that should be noted since it almost lost me otherwise. Just when you’re getting a little bored with the mundane aspects of the spy game, it slams you across the face with an unexpected twist or impromptu action scene. Even a simple conversation about arranging travel can turn into a gun versus fireplace poker fight to the death.

Great actors can take good material and turn it into something special. Though we’ve only seen one full season of Counterpart, it’s clear that J.K. Simmons makes it worth the watch.

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Opinions

In Israel, the deception of quiet has been shattered. Now what?

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In Israel the deception of quiet has been shattered Now what

Terrorism threatens both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The coming weeks will see whether Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be able to contain an escalating situation and roll back the violence, or whether the region will slide into a new and dangerous phase.

 The succession of deadly Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank in recent days is a painful reminder of a bigger truth, and that is that the security quiet that prevailed until recently was little more than an illusion.

The motivation of terrorists—whether backed by an organized armed faction or acting on their own—to attack Israelis remains high, and the relative quiet that existed was not for their lack of trying.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet intelligence service have thwarted a staggering number of attacks this year alone. A look at the official figures confirms the scale of the threat and highlights just how deceptive the so-called quiet really was.

According to Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, no fewer than 480 organized terror attempts based in the West Bank have been attempted (and prevented) this year. Those murder plots included 280 planned shootings, 76 attempted bombings, six suicide bombings and seven kidnappings. The intended Israeli targets were on both sides of the Green Line.

The number of unorganized attackers stopped in their tracks in 2018 is approximately 400, and their arrest has been made possible due in part to technological breakthroughs in the collection and analysis of big data.

The threat Hamas poses to Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been the glue that’s held together security coordination on the ground.

New technology in the service of national security has helped drastically reduce such attacks, which were frequent just a few years ago.

Hamas has been instrumental in attempting to destabilize the West Bank, both because this serves its jihadist siren call of violence against Israel and because it serves its goal of weakening its domestic foe, the Palestinian Authority, which it seeks to replace, just like it did in Gaza. Hamas believes that it is entitled to set the West Bank alight with violence, even as it keeps its home turf of Gaza in a state of ceasefire most of the time.

The threat Hamas poses to both Israel and to the P.A. has been the glue that has held together security coordination on the ground between Israeli and Palestinian forces. This glue has so far stuck, despite severe diplomatic clashes between the P.A. and Israel. The P.A. subtly recognizes that Israel’s anti-Hamas operations benefit it as much as it does Israelis.

Israel broke up more than 220 West Bank Hamas terrorist cells this year, including one cell that was ordered by Hamas’s military wing in Gaza to bomb crowded targets in the heart of Israeli cities in October. That cell was preparing bombs that were unprecedented in their quality of explosive materials, the Shin Bet investigation found.

In recent months, Israel quietly arrested hundreds of West Bank terror suspects, including students, and young men and women who were recruited into Hamas’s secret networks.

That has not stopped Hamas from trying, again and again, to turn the West Bank into a hotbed of terrorism. Israel’s preemptive capabilities have served as a silent, life-saving safety net around the clock.

Shifting the balance

Harrowingly, however, no safety net is fool-proof. It’s too soon to say whether Thursday’s deadly shooting attack on a bus stop near Ramallah was the result of organized terrorism or a local “initiative.”

Either way, the most immediate risk is that this shooting, as well as the attack that preceded it on Dec. 9, will provide the fuel to light a chain reaction in the form of copycat attacks. The first signs of this risk came in a car-ramming attack that injured a soldier just a few hours after Thursday’s incident.

Anticipating this trend, the Israel Defense Forces mobilized a number of back-up infantry battalions to the area, who will be tasked with both defending Israeli communities and assisting the offensive raids, and searches for the perpetrators.

In the past 24 hours, Israel’s Counter-Terrorist Unit conducted successful operations that resulted in the killing of the gunman behind the Barkan shooting attack and a gunman linked to the Dec. 9 Ofra Junction shooting.

Israel’s ability to catch up with the terrorists—no matter how hard they try to hide or embed themselves in challenging urban settings—reflects a world-leading counter-terrorism level that is unmatched and should not be taken for granted.

It also reflects the fact that Israel can send forces to operate anywhere in the West Bank, at any time—a reality that did not exist during the dark days of the Second Intifada some 15 years ago.

A dangerous period ahead

The commemoration of Hamas’s founding, which will be marked on Dec. 14, the risk of another Gaza escalation and the unending “bubbling up”’ of terror plots under the surface can all act as catalysts, accelerating a deterioration in the security situation in the coming days and weeks.

The IDF’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. In the West Bank, the IDF protects some 400,000 Israeli civilians who live in the midst of around 2 million Palestinians, with no obvious separating border the two populations.

The Israeli army’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

The Israeli army’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

To pursue this enormously complex mission effectively, the military offers both carrots and sticks; both are aimed at preventing the situation from worsening.

The sticks come in the form of nightly security raids targeting terrorists, while carrots are offered to Palestinian noncombatants in the form of freedom of movement and increased economic opportunities to push them away from the calls to violence, which are issued by the armed Palestinian hardline factions and fill social media.

The IDF’s own experience and its analysis of past trends tell it that driving a wedge between Palestinian civilians and terrorists—and seeking to maintain a normal fabric of life for ordinary Palestinians who are not involved in terrorism—drives down the number of attacks and saves lives.

Yet this balancing act of attempting to isolate the terrorists from the civilians changed dramatically on Thursday, when the IDF encircled Ramallah and placed it under lockdown. Placing a city that is the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority under such restrictions reflects the severity of the latest attack, and the Israeli military’s urgency in placing its hands on the perpetrators.

Such a development could also act as a reminder to the wider Palestinian public, according to which, Israel can employ more disruptive sticks. A return to the days of mass violence, as many realize, will likely result in significant harm to Palestinian freedom of movement and economic stability.

Ultimately, the terrorism that has reared its head threatens both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The coming weeks will see whether Israel and the P.A. will be able to contain the situation and roll back the violence, or whether the region will slide into a new and dangerous phase, a development that Hamas will be sure to celebrate and exploit.

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Immigration

Failure to fund the wall is the GOP’s biggest failure

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Failure to fund the wall is the GOPs biggest failure

Next year’s Congress is going to look very different from the one that is finishing up now. Democrats will be in control of the House of Representatives, and while the Senate will be more Republican, they’ll be useless to get much done with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

Many are pointing fingers at Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer for not wanting to fund the border wall. President Trump has asked for $5 billion in DHS funding, but the Democrats say they won’t give him the votes. As a result, the President says he will force a partial shutdown of the government.

In the midst of the holiday season, it’s hard to imagine the President following through with his threats. He could have. He’s had opportunities in the past to do so, but he has relented even while threatening to shut it down next time. Meanwhile, he and the Republicans are trying to lay blame on the Democrats for blocking the wall.

Here’s the thing, and I’ll refer to Shannon Joy’s Tweet to explain why the Republicans, not the Democrats, should be ashamed of their failure to fund the wall.

The problem of illegal immigration should be well on its way down the road of multiple solutions being enacted at once to dramatically reduce the flow. The wall should be trucking along in a way that’s noticeable; it shouldn’t require the President trying to convince people that there’s been progress on fixing walls here and building partial walls there. We should see it. We should feel it. Illegal immigration should be dropping.

Instead, it’s rising.

I’ve bit my tongue for too long on this issue, deferring to some of our immigration experts to write on the topic. But this is becoming ridiculous. Illegal immigration has been on the rise lately and thousands of migrants from the various caravans are already finding their way across the border.

Now, a child has died.

7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/14/7-year-old-immigrant-girl-dies-border-patrol-arrest/The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl was from Guatemala and was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in on Dec. 6.

It’s unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital.

Processing 163 immigrants in one night could have posed challenges for the agency, whose detention facilities are meant to be temporary and don’t usually fit that many people.

I don’t blame the border patrol and anyone who does is missing the point. They are overwhelmed right now. With no wall and limited funding to defend the border, it’s way too easy for parents to think they’re doing the right thing by bypassing the amnesty they’re being offered in Mexico with hopes of getting better opportunity in America. I’m not suggesting the father isn’t to blame; in fact, he should be charged for putting his daughter in this situation to begin with. But it’s the failure of the GOP to use the power the people gave them that compelled these migrants to make the journey. After two years of control, the message should have been sent that we take our border security seriously. Instead they’ve learned something different.

The message has been the even with control, the GOP is feckless. The Democratic minority is more powerful than the Republican majority when it comes to border security.

President Trump deserves some blame, but it’s really his ignorance and inexperience at play instead of motivation. He was definitely motivated to build his glorious wall for the world to see, but he was conned by multiple “allies” into thinking they would get there in time. They stalled him in 2017 by claiming they could get Obamacare repealed and tax cuts done. Then, the stalled him in 2018 saying it wasn’t the right time to do battle before the midterms. Now, there’s no wall funding and no more time to get it.

The GOP is working harder on building a narrative than building a wall. We’re stuck between a damaging shutdown that may still not get the wall funded or no wall at all. Republicans and Independents voted for it, but the GOP failed to deliver.

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