Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Arizona Outlook

Despite the national beating Republicans took this year, the news in Arizona is actually pretty good. Yes, we lost two seats on the Corporation Commission and one of our Congressional Seats, but the bloodbath that was predicted for us did not occur at all. Consider this:

  • McCain won Arizona (I know, a fine lot of good this does us, but it is still comforting)
  • In spite of being outspent anywhere from 5/1 to 20/1 in the most cometitive legislative districts, the Republicans held onto and expanded their majority with two new seats in the House and 1 new seat in the Senate.
  • Congressman John Shaddegg held off a tough competitor, winning by a double-digit margin. (Congressmen Flake and Franks buried their opposition with an average of over 60% of the vote)
  • 15 of the legislative races won by Republicans were for open seats
  • The Republican candidates for Maricopa County offices won in commanding majorities.
There is other good news in all of this. With the replacement of moderate Republicans like Sen. Tom O'Halleran and Rep. Pete Hershberger we not only have a stronger majority, we have a more conservative one. (With any luck their defeat will also help keep remaining moderates, like Rep. Bill Konopnicki, in line with the conservative agenda.)

The icing on the cake for us this year would be for Governor Napolitano to accept a cabinet post in the Obama administration. (Man it hurts to say those last two words!) This would give us a Republican governor that would work with the legislature to get us out of the financial mess we are in as a state.

Moving forward I see three main items for Republicans to focus on for this next election cycle. Getting our budget crisis resolved, repairing the Republican brand, and finding a new standard bearer for our party that we can put in the Governor's office in 2010.

The party's over people, let's get back to work!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Taking a hard left turn...

This post will probably sound like a whole lot of weeping over spilled milk, but now that the election is over - I am free to say several things that have been eating at me for some time now.

There is no denying it - on a national level we Republicans got our butts handed to us last night. As sad as that makes me, I have to say that we deserved it and will continue to deserve it until we get some true leadership in our party. The main factors in our defeat (as I see it) were as follows:

John McCain

First and foremost - we were ill-served by John McCain as our party's nominee for president. Last night he claimed sole responsibility for the loss of this election and he was dead right for once. Over the past 8 years he has consistently fought against the party and the wishes of his constituents on key issues: immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominees, the marriage amendment, etc. He may have made a few conservative votes over the past several years, but his liberal forays during the same time period (McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, the Gang of 14, fighting the Bush tax-cuts, and so on) pretty much shredded his credentials as a conservative for many of us and alienated the Republican base. News flash to future Republican candidates - If the base isn't excited about your candidacy you don't have a snowball's chance in Phoenix of getting to the White House. (How McCain became the party's nominee is a whole other topic for a different time)

Republicans in Congress

Second - The majority of the Republicans that have served in Congress for the last 8 years have sold us down the river. Government spending and growth surpassed all kinds of records on their watch. We have new entitlement programs, a new government agency, and a further intrusion on state's rights thanks to these bozos. Huge violations of our rights have not only been allowed, they've been legislated into law: No Child Left Behind, McCain Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley, the Patriot Act, TSA in the Airports, etc. And let's not forget earmarks. Not only are these little spending appropriations unconstitutional, they are the gateway to all kinds of corruption. And we have reaped what we have sown. Republicans have been taking earmarks like flapjacks on a Sunday morning, and we have the indictments and convictions to prove it. This has cost us big, because Republicans (well, Conservatives anyway) are deeply offended by lawbreaking and ethics violations. Unlike Democrats we throw the bums out and good riddance.

President George W. Bush

Third - President Bush. While I appreciate many of the things he has done to keep us safe over the past 8 years, the man has shown no spine when it comes to Congress. He as vetoed only a small handful of bills, even when he has publicly disagreed with them. When he signed McCain-Feingold into law he said, in essence: "This is probably an unconstitutional piece of legislation, but I am going to sign it anyway and let the courts sort it out." What part of "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" didn't he get?
The War on Terror has been another issue. I agree that it is better to fight them there than fight them here, but he should have had a better plan to get in and exhibited more agility in responding to the political and tactical realities once we were there. Bluntly speaking, he should have hit those fundamentalist nuts with overwhelming force and pursued their extinction, not surrender.

The Media

Fourth - The mainstream media was in President-Elect Obama's hip pocket from the word "Go". This isn't a surprise, it is a fact we have known for a long time. Nonetheless, it has its effect, and it needs to be acknowledged. They have long ceased to be a credible source for news and information and are, instead, the "unofficial" organ of every liberal group and view in this broad country. Perhaps a loss of more subscribers will help them recognize their bias for what it is, but I'm not holding my breath. At least we will have the entertainment of contrasting their fawning reports on our new president with the snide remarks and vicious accusations leveled at our last president.

Abandoning Constitutional Principles

Last, but not least, the Republicans have abandoned the proven Constitutional principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Constitutionalism is the true essence of Conservatism and, while it is always the most difficult road to follow, it is ultimately the most successful. The Republicans have left this road for the easier road of expediency. We have not articulated the value of conservatism in word or deed, and this is the crux of my whole argument about this election. Those results and the pickle our country is now in, are directly attributable to a falling away from conservatism. Every time conservatism/constitutionalism is given an honest try it works and wins. We have lost because we left it behind. The Republicans have pursued liberal policies for the past 8 years and have created a mess for the country. An uninformed, sound-bite driven electorate responded to the message of "Change" and so now we will get more of the "Same". We are now exposed to liberalism's full force, and there aren't enough conservative Republicans left in the national government to do anything about it. Only when things fall apart and liberalism is exposed for the farce it is will we get the "Change" we really need - a return to conservatism. I hope it won't be too late.

Man I could sure use a shot of vintage Reagan right about now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exercise your rights - VOTE!!!

This is going to be short, sweet, and straight to the point. GO VOTE TODAY!!!

If you have moved and didn't bother to change your registration, you will need to go vote in your old precinct.

To find your precinct click here.
And just in case you've missed it from my earlier posts:
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITIONS 105, 200, 201, 202

Stay tuned for my "editorial" on the results and my feelings about the entire process - after the results are in.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adams and Jefferson Votes For...

A week from today Arizonans will get the opportunity to cast their votes for the candidates and positions of their choice. Without further comment, Adams and Jefferson will be voting for the following individuals:

President - John McCain
US Representative, District 6 - Jeff Flake
State Senator, District 18 - Russell Pearce
State Representatives, District 18 - Cecil Ash, Steve Court
Corporation Commission - Marian McClure, Bob Stump, Barry Wong
County Board of Supervisors, District 2 - Don Stapley
County Assesor - Keith Russell
County Attorney - Andrew Thomas
County Recorder - Helen Purcell
County School Superintendent - Don Covey
Sheriff - Joe Arpaio
County Treasurer - Charles "Hos" Hoskins
North Mesa Justice of the Peace - Lester Pearce
North Mesa Constable - Ed Malles
Maricopa County Special Healthcare District 2 - Greg Patterson (Harlan Stratton would also be a good choice)
Mesa Unified School District #4 - Steven Peterson, Kate Ali'Varius, Lance Entrekin

For a guide to the propositions and judges, see my previous post.

To find your polling place click here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adams and Jefferson's Take on Arizona's Ballot Propositions

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to make a presentation on the 2008 Ballot Propositions. We had a great discussion and spent well over an hour hashing out each proposition and its potential effects on Arizona. Without further ado - here are my notes from that presentation:

Disclaimer: I personally have real issues with making laws by initiative petition. That is what we have a legislature for. We do a lot of damage to our state with some of these propositions, and we can't undo the damage easily or quickly. My arguments against the initiative process will have to be the subject of a future post.

100 Series Propositions
100 series propositions are amendments to the state constitution.

Proposition 100 – No New Taxes on Real Estate
Prop 100 will prohibit the state or any other government entity from charging a sales tax on the sale of real estate.
Currently there is no sales tax in the State of Arizona on the sale or transfer of real property from one entity to another.
This proposition will make it constitutionally illegal for any subdivision of government to impose such a sales tax in the future.

Prohibits a type of tax on real estate transactions

Eliminates a potential revenue source for Arizona in the future

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 100

Proposition 101 – Freedom of Choice in Health Care
Proposition 101 will make it so that no law can:
Restrict a person’s freedom to choose a private health care plan or system of their choice
Interfere with a person’s or entity’s right to pay directly for lawful medical services
Impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage
Impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for participation in any particular health care system or plan

Ostensibly preserves the right to choose your health care options in the future free from government, employer, healthcare provider or other entity’s influence.
Seen as a pre-emptive move against the effects of socialized medicine.

“Fixes” a problem that doesn’t exist yet with a constitutional amendment. The long-term ramifications of this type of law cannot be determined yet.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 101

Proposition 102 – Defense of Marriage Act
Prop 102 defines marriage in the State of Arizona as between one man and one woman. It allows for no other definition of marriage. Because it is a constitutional amendment, it will not allow a court to overturn this definition.

By law, the State of Arizona already only recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Because this definition is found in the Arizona Revised Statutes (as opposed to the State Constitution) this law is open to challenge in the State courts and can be overturned by an unelected majority in the State Supreme Court. This is what occurred in Massachusetts a few years ago, and happened earlier this year in California.

Prop 102 takes this decision out of the hands of our court system and puts it directly into the hands of the people – where it belongs.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 102

Proposition 105 – Majority Rules Initiative
Prop 105 amends the constitution to require that a majority of qualified electors be required to pass any future initiative measure that seek to raise taxes, fees or other revenue, or mandates a spending obligation – whether by a private person, legal entity, labor union or the state.
In plain English - this means that any spending or taxing initiative that is on the ballot will have to pass by a majority of all registered voters, whether they all voted or not.

Will bring an almost absolute halt to spending measures and tax increases by initiative petition.

Counts people who do not bother to vote as “no” votes.
Depending on how this law gets interpreted by courts, it could completely shut down the initiative ability of the citizens of Arizona
I agree with the intentions behind this proposition - to limit the number of spending and taxing initiatives passed into law directly by the people. Unfortunately this proposition is the equivalent of killing a cockroach with a .357 Magnum. The cockroach is definitely dead, but you have probably caused serious damage to something else unintentionally. A shoe would have worked just fine.
In this case - a better proposition would require a supermajority of votes cast to pass spending and tax initiatives. It would eliminate most of the stupid issues that we have passed recently without slamming the door on this ability forever.
Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 105
200 Series Propositions
The 200 series of propositions are initiatives put on the ballot by the citizens of Arizona or special interests who got enough signatures. These kinds of changes to our state laws cannot be limited by the legislature once they are passed, they can only be "expanded". Be very careful about these propositions.
Proposition 200 – Payday Loans
Arizona has a law on the books that allow payday lenders to operate in the State through July 1, 2010. Prop 200 extends that law out indefinitely and adds additional regulations on the payday lending industry.
This law was put together by the Payday Loan industry and is being promoted by a very deceptive campaign. It advertises itself as a proposition that will put needed regulations on the payday lending industry, but if this passes it will restrict the legislature's ability to modify and/or make any new regulations. The payday lenders are worried that the law allowing their existence will expire without being re-authorized, so they are doing this as an end-run around the legislature. Because it is a ballot initiative - it will be very difficult for the legislature to modify any regulations on the industry if this passes. They have plenty of time to persuade the legislature to re-authorize the law and pass other needed regulations, it does not need to be passed by initiative petition. I am a free-market capitalist, so I don't care if payday lending exists, but initiative petitions are not where these types of regulations should be passed.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 200

Proposition 201 – Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
This bill will allow homeowners and prospective buyers, the right to sue their builder/contractor for deficiencies found in their homes. It will mandate that any dispute between a homebuilder and a homeowner (or prospective homeowner) be settled in a lawsuit. It also makes it so that the seller of the home cannot recover attorney and court costs from the buyer – even if the seller wins the lawsuit.

There is nothing in Prop 201 that is good for Arizona. This proposition will:
  • Require that any dispute between a seller and buyer/prospective buyer be settled by a lawsuit. Mediation will not be an option.
  • Increase the cost of homes regardless of their actual value.
  • Allow lawsuit happy people to sue the pants off builders with impunity.
  • Will prohibit the victim of a frivolous lawsuit from recovering court costs and attorney fees even if they prevail and the lawsuit is actually deemed frivolous. This will allow lawyers to file multiple lawsuits multiple times for the same "offense" without risking additional costs if they lose their case.
  • Help our already over-litigious society to become even more so.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on Proposition 201!!!

Proposition 202 – Stop Illegal Hiring
Prop 202 alters Proposition 200 – the Employer Sanctions Law - that was overwhelming passed by voters 2 years ago. It removes the penalties (specifically the business "death" penalty) on businesses that knowingly and intentionally hire unauthorized aliens to work for them. It eliminates the requirement to use E Verify in hiring decisions, and instructs the State of Arizona to take their cue from the Federal Government before enacting any of their own laws relating to illegal immigration. It creates stronger penalties for employers who do not properly report cash wages paid to their employees.
This proposition will alter a law that has shown signs of improving our current situation, but hasn’t had enough time to work so we can make an informed decision.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 202

300 Series Propositions

300 Series propositions are laws that are referred to the people of Arizona by the legislature. It usually means one of three things:

1 - The governor vetoed it and the legislature couldn't override the veto but they still wanted a shot at passing the law so they sent it to us.

2 - The legislature couldn't get enough legislators to sign onto the legislation to send it to the governor so they passed it on to us for a decision.

3 - It is a matter that can only be decided by the people of Arizona, such as an increase in legislator's salaries.

Proposition 300 – Legislative Salaries
Any increase in the salary of our State Legislators has to be approved by the voters of Arizona. Currently they make $24,000 for roughly six months of work. This would raise that salary to $30,000.
Potentially get a wider range of people to represent us in the legislature.

Greater cost to the state.

Adams and Jefferson doesn't feel strongly either way about this proposition but will probably vote NO

Mesa Special Elections

400 series propositions are referred to the people by their City Council and are used to make changes in the City Charter. Questions are almost always to approve bonds.

Proposition 400 – Residential Inspections
Proposition 400 would allow city inspectors/code compliance officers to inspect the interior of slum properties with the consent of the owner/occupier. Right now they can only inspect the exterior of these properties.

Will give the city another tool to combat urban blight by inspecting the interiors of slum properties.

Do we really need more inspections?

Adams and Jefferson doesn't feel strongly either way about this proposition but will probably vote NO

Question 1 – Public Safety Bonds, Question 2 – Street Bonds
Question 1 will authorize the City of Mesa to issue $58,300,000 in general obligation municipal bonds to pay for improvements to the city fire and police department in infrastructure, personnel and equipment. Question 2 will allow the City of Mesa to issue $110,900,000 in general obligation municipal bonds to pay for improvements to the city’s streets, highways, and traffic control systems. Both bonds are to be paid for over 25 years and are secured by a secondary property tax on all taxable properties in the city.

Improved public safety
Improved roads

More borrowing for the city
Secondary property tax will be triggered by these bonds.

We have a new mayor and city council that have worked hard to trim the fat in our budget. These bonds are actually half of what the city departments originally proposed to the city council. I hate to borrow more, especially when it will trigger the property tax, but we get the city we pay for. I would like a better city than the one we live in now.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on QUESTIONS 1 and 2

Judicial Review

In terms of how they are performing the daily tasks of their job, only one judge does not meet Judicial Performance Standards as determined by the Commission on Judicial Performance. All others received either a unanimous or near unanimous rating of “Meets Expectations” by the commission.
Judge Crane McClennen of the Maricopa County Superior Court does not meet expectations.

A terrific blog that rates judges based on their rulings can be found here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Legacy of Freedom

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." - Preamble to the Constitution

221 years ago today, after five months of arduous debate, negotiation, argument, compromise, dreaming and planning, a group of inspired men completed their work and signed the document that they had worked so hard to create. It then left Independence Hall in Philadelphia for its journey to New York, where Congress reviewed its contents and sent it to the states for ratification.

The framing and ratification of our Constitution was nothing less than a miracle. Men from twelve very different states with a variety of prejudices and attitudes towards government came together to form a strong central government that still preserved the rights of individual citizens and their respective states. Each state then elected delegates to their own conventions and debated these same principles again. When they decided to ratify the Constitution (in some states by a mere handful of votes) each state willingly gave up a portion of its authority to become a part of a larger nation. It was a tremendous gamble on their part, but their actions went on to create the freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men who framed our Constitution and fought for its ratification in each state. For over two hundred years their efforts have secured the blessings of liberty to us - their posterity. Over the years, these blessings have been preserved from generation to generation through both armed struggle and the careful vigilance of informed citizens. They too are deserving of our gratitude for keeping our inheritance intact, and passing it on to us.

Preserving and defending the Constitution becomes the great mission of each generation of Americans, and now it is our turn to rise to the challenge like our forefathers before us.
For some of the best among us, defending our Constitution means putting on the nation's uniform and defending it against enemies abroad. For others it means to create, enforce, or interpret laws in a way that is in harmony with the Constitution. For all of us, whether we are soldiers, statesmen or citizens, it means to know our Constitution from end to end and then to do our part to ensure that the government is strictly following its principles and staying within its bounds.
If the next generation of Americans is to continue this tradition, we need to pass a love for and knowledge of the Constitution down to them with the added example of our own generation of leaders. Leaving them a larger legacy of freedom than the one left to us will ensure that our Republic continues to be a blessing to millions of Americans yet to come.
For those of you who are interested - Heritage Academy in Mesa is hosting a Constitutional Seminar this Saturday, September 20th from 8:30-4:30. Reserve your spot by calling 480-969-5641
Cost is $7.50 for the required workbook.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Clean Elections Debates Start Tonight!!!

The Clean Elections Commission is holding debates for several races beginining tonight.

Click here for information about the debates.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Convention - Day 2

We have a ton of events planned for pretty much every moment of the day, so making these posts is fairly difficult. My appologies for not keeping everybody as up-to-date as possibe.

Last night's session was the kind of rip roarin', crowd pleasin', foot stompin' type of event you would expect a convention to be. We paid tribute to Republican presidents of the past (Lincoln, Roosevelt, Ford, George H.W. Bush) and the men and women of our armed services. Perhaps the most moving moment of the night was when we watched a video on the sacrifices of one of our country's finest, U.S. Navy Seal Michael Monsoor - the fourth recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor from our current war in Iraq. Michael's sister was with us as well as five other MoH recipients and they were honored with a thunderous standing ovation.

First Lady Laura Bush spoke, highlighting the accomplishments of President Bush's administration over his 8 years in office, and then introducing him. President Bush spoke to us from the Whitehouse - emphasizing McCain's leadership abilities and his stand against legislation and policies that he does not agree with. He emphasized that McCain is the only candidate with the experience necessary to keep us safe during these difficult times, and that he is ready to be the President of the United States of America.

Service was the theme for the night, and the speeches all centered around ordinary Americans doing their best to serve their country, putting country first. Correlations between their actions and John McCain's lifetime of service to the country were drawn, culminating with our key speakers of the evening - Senator Fred Thompson and Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Senator Thompson's speech reviewed Sen. McCain's years as a prisoner of war and emphasized that being a POW does not qualify you for office, but it definitely reveals a lot about your character. He touched on the economic issues that are affecting our country right now and how the best way to help our country flourish is to get government out of the way. His speech was magnificent!

Sen Lieberman closed the evening explaining why he supports John McCain and making an appeal to his fellow Democrats and Independents to consider carefully their choice this election, and to choose someone with the experience and the character we need in the Whitehouse - John McCain.

More later - we have another meeting to run to.


A strong majority of the Republican voters in LD 18 repudiated the attacks on Rep. (soon to be Sen.) Russell Pearce and gave Kevin Gibbons a sound trouncing in the Republican Primary yesterday. (Click here for official results)

In other election related news, it looks like our district will be represented in the House by Cecil Ash and Steve Court. A razor thin margin of 72 votes put Steve Court over Ron Middlebrook, and Kanani Henderson was far behind the pack with about half the numer of votes received by Court and Middlebrook. (Click here for official results)

This was a difficult race for Rep. Pearce and his family due to the despicable attacks on his character. The attacks were unwarranted, unfair, and undeserved by such a fine public servant. In spite of these attacks, Rep. Pearce stayed firm and is standing up for all of us in LD 18. On behalf of me and my family - Thank you Rep. Pearce. You are one of our heroes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Off to a (not so roaring) Start

With Hurricane Gustav making landfall yesterday, the convention began on a much more muted tone than normal. We were gaveled to order a little after 2:30pm and began taking care of the statutory business of the convention - adopting the rules, selecting officers for the convention, appointing committees, and receiving/accepting reports. The most important matter of business was the adoption of the official Platform, which was done by a voice vote with no opposition (or at least none that I could detect - it all happened rather fast).

Throughout the meeting appeals were made to donate to several hurricane relief fund efforts and, in true Republican fashion, over $1.3million was donated within the first hour.

By far the most rousing and celebrated moments of the convention were the appearance of our First Lady, Laura Bush, and our future First Lady, Cindy McCain. Both ladies added "a touch of glamour" to the event and received thunderous applause and standing ovations. During their appearance additional appeals for funds were made, and video presentations were made from 4 of the five Gulf-State governors. A motion was made to adjourn and we left for our hotels after a very abbreviated first session.

The Arizona delegation along with delegations from California, Tennessee and other areas were treated to a great party by Medtronics at their world headquarters. An ice bar and several fantastic entertainers filled the evening. Along with several Medtronics officials, Gov. Pawlenty and Sen. Coleman both spoke to us about the challenges and opportunities we have as Republicans.

The real party will begin tonight as we get into full swing with high profile speakers and a much more celebratory atmosphere at the convention for session 2.
The response to the hurricane by the McCain Campaign has been admirable, focusing our attention on being Americans first and showing concern for the welfare of our fellow citizens above and beyond our politics. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have been touring the area, lending support and raising funds for relief.

Barrack Obama's response? He'll go when things have calmed down and he is offering his campaing email list to fundraisers.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Meeting a TRUE American Hero

This post is a small deviation from the political news of the RNC, but it involved an American Hero, and was such an inspiring event that I want to include it here.

As my wife and I were getting off the elevator a few minutes ago I spotted an elderly gentleman and his wife seated right next to the elevator banks with this around his neck:

I discreetly pointed him out to my wife, not wanting to interrupt him, but then I couldn't resist and had to go pay my respects. His name is Cpl. Hiroshi H. Miyamura, a Medal of Honor Recipient and WWII/Korean War Veteran. I told him what an honor it was to meet him and his wife and how grateful we are for his service and others like him. He was very gracious and allowed my wife to take this picture of the two of us:

Mr. Miyamura is from New Mexico and is also a first time attendee at the Republican National Convention. He told us that he wanted to make an appearance at the convention to tell people who he was voting for and why. He said we needed real American men to lead our country and that he was there to honor Sen. McCain's service in the military and encourage us to vote for him.After chatting for a few minutes I walked away, with goosebumps running up and down my arms. It was such an honor to meet this man and personally thank him for his service to our country. After running our errands I had to run back up to the hotel room to look up Cpl. Miyamura's Citation. After reading it aloud to my wife I once again got chills. I would rather meet and visit with one of these authentic American heroes than a President of the United States. I couldn't wait for tonight to get this post put up on my blog. It is too exciting for me!Here is Cpl. Miyamura's Medal of Honor Citation:


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company H, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Taejon-ni, Korea, 24 and 25 April 1951. Entered service at: Gallup, N. Mex. Birth: Gallup, N. Mex. G.O. No.: 85, 4 November 1953. Citation: Cpl. Miyamura, a member of Company H, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. On the night of 24 April, Company H was occupying a defensive position when the enemy fanatically attacked threatening to overrun the position. Cpl. Miyamura, a machine gun squad leader, aware of the imminent danger to his men unhesitatingly jumped from his shelter wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat killing approximately 10 of the enemy. Returning to his position, he administered first aid to the wounded and directed their evacuation. As another savage assault hit the line, he manned his machine gun and delivered withering fire until his ammunition was expended. He ordered the squad to withdraw while he stayed behind to render the gun inoperative. He then bayoneted his way through infiltrated enemy soldiers to a second gun emplacement and assisted in its operation. When the intensity of the attack necessitated the withdrawal of the company Cpl. Miyamura ordered his men to fall back while he remained to cover their movement. He killed more than 50 of the enemy before his ammunition was depleted and he was severely wounded. He maintained his magnificent stand despite his painful wounds, continuing to repel the attack until his position was overrun. When last seen he was fighting ferociously against an overwhelming number of enemy soldiers. Cpl. Miyamura's indomitable heroism and consummate devotion to duty reflect the utmost glory on himself and uphold the illustrious traditions on the military service.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republican National Convention Eve

With Hurricane Gustav expected to make landfall tomorrow, the atmosphere and tone of the convention have changed significantly. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have both cancelled their appearances here tomorrow, and the schedules have been altered significantly as a result. In keeping with the theme- "Country First" - the convention has been scaled down to the minimum requirements of the RNC Bylaws for nominating a President and Vice-President.

There is still a lot of excitement in the air, but it is tempered by concern for our fellow Americans in the Gulf States. Most of our peripheral meetings/receptions have been modified to become fund-raising events for the Gulf State region, and the event sponsors have generously set up matching grants to help double our impact.

Day 1 of the convention officially starts tomorrow. As developments happen I will have notes and commentary. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A VP we can REALLY Believe In

Sen. John McCain announced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate this morning. This move is a an absolute masterstroke by McCain. Some of Gov. Palin's many strong points:
  • She is a young, energetic mother of 5
  • She is solidly pro-life. Her youngest son, born this last April, has Downs Syndrome. This is a perfect counterpoint to the pro-death views of the Democratic party - who would have aborted this beautiful child.
  • She has made a name for herself fighting the corruption that Alaska has become infamous for.
  • She is the mother of a US Soldier. In the War on Terror both her and Sen. McCain have put their money where their mouth is. When they put soldiers in harms way it is personal for them. They won't take this responsibility lightly because the stakes are so personally high.
  • As both a mayor and governor she has cut wasteful spending and then returned the funds to the people that paid into it.
  • She directly confronted corruption and entrenched interests in her state to make government serve the people, not the special interests, demonstrating a courage not often found in politicians.
  • She is the Governor of our largest oil-producing state, but not an oil executive. This gives her credibility on the energy issue without suspicion. (Who better to tell us the TRUTH about ANWR?)
  • She has executive experience as both a Governor and a Mayor
  • She has credibility on environmental issues.
  • She is fiscally conservative in every sense of the word.
  • She is a lifetime member of the NRA as well as an avid hunter and fisher. She is absolutely rock-solid on the 2nd Ammendment
  • Finally, she is a woman. Selecting her as his running mate gives the lie to Democratic accusations of our party being sexist and may help attract and/or retain the "defense moms" that put President Bush over the top for his second term.

Governor Palin will bring great strength to Senator McCain's campaign. He has made a choice that surprised a lot of people - demonstrating his independent streak, but this choice also takes some of the spotlight off of Obama's historic run as the first African-American to be a major-party nominee. Governor Palin is a choice that the party base can enthusiastically support, and this move will bring much more excitement and interest to the GOP base that has been mostly lukewarm to Sen. McCain's candidacy.

Excellent choice Senator McCain!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

J.T. Ready - Please Resign

One of the more odious issues to come out of this election cycle is the neo-Nazi affiliation of J.T. Ready, an elected Republican PC in LD 18 and a former candidate for both the Mesa City Council and the State Legislature.

Congressman Jeff Flake and MCRC Chairman Tom Husband have been exchanging letters recently regarding Mr. Ready and his affiliation with the Party as an elected PC. In this exchange it has become obvious that the Party cannot officialy do anything about Mr. Ready's position - the only one who can change that status before Sept 2 is J.T. himself. The only thing that is left for us to do is to ask him to resign his position before Sept. 2nd.

Let me be the first:

J.T., your neo-Nazi affiliation is an embarrassment to the good people of your precinct who elected you as a PC, to the other PC's of LD 18, and to the Republican Party as a whole. We do not accept your twisted worldviews and ask that you please resign your position as a PC forthwith.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Primary Campaign Cannibalism

The full-scale war that is being waged for the LD 18 Senate Seat reminds me of a similar battle that was waged in our district in the not-so-distant past. Four years ago Rep. Karen Johnson and Dr. Mary Jo Vecchiarelli squared off in a primary campaign for the LD 18 Senate seat being vacated by Mark Anderson. We had a comparatively large group of active PC's working in the district at the time and this particular campaign split us pretty much down the middle, with half of us going with Rep. Johnson and half with Dr. Vecchiarelli. At times the verbal attacks and ripostes between these two were very entertaining, but the overall effect was damaging to our district as a whole. The decline in active PC's over the years since this contest seem to indicate that we are still dealing with the consequences of those attacks. I'm sure that there are several other factors which have contributed to our decline in PC activity in LD 18 over the past few years but I can't help noticing that the active individuals who supported Dr. Vecchiarelli in that contest four years ago have mostly vanished from our meetings. And, unfortunately, they have taken their strength with them.

The problem with these types of dirty campaigns is the wedge they drive between good people who probably agree with each other on at least 95% of the other issues. It seems that our claims and counter-claims of Republican orthodoxy can make us so dogmatic that we can't clearly see the other person's point of view. If we could see clearly I am sure that most of the time we would find our differences to be more about tactics than principles.

The primary campaign that is going on right now is a perfect example of how bad things can get. The personal attacks directed at Rep. Pearce during this campaign and the responses from all camps have made the atmosphere of our district more like a war zone than a free and open political forum. Instead of being excited about whichever candidate we are supporting, we are perpetually angry at the other candidate. This bunker mentality distracts us from the other real issues we need to focus on if we are to win in November, both on a local and a national level.

I realize that in any contest we have to point out differences, but we don't need to attack people's character for having a different point of view. It is also OK to approach each contest with an open mind about the different candidates and their ideas. We only help the other party when we engage in sandbagging each other. The truly Reaganesque thing to do in these types of contests is to stick strictly to the issues and obey the 11th Commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow Republicans".

In those instances when we have a candidate who simply can't seem to abide by this simple commandment we silence them in the most effective and permanent manner possible - we soundly defeat them at the ballot box.

(I realize that this post is probably a little too idealistic and might even open me up to accusations of hypocrisy, but I am really getting sick and tired of the personal attacks that are going around, not just in our district but in Republican races throughout the state. Do we really need this much cannibalism? Look at what it is doing to our party!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Countdown to the Convention - Minnesota Here We Come!

Earlier this year I was elected to be an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. My wife and I fly out this coming Saturday and will be there through the convention, returning to sunny AZ on Friday, September 5th. I am taking my laptop with me and will attempt to give a daily update on the convention and our different activities during the week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Honoring a Local Hero

This morning I had the opportunity to ride with other Patriot Guard Riders as we escorted Lance Corporal Juan Lopez-Castañeda to his final resting place. I was touched as I witnessed first-hand the sacrifice that our servicemen and their families make for our nation. The following short bio on Lance Corporal Lopez-Castañeda was sent to all of the Patriot Guard Riders with the details on the escort mission:

Lance Corporal Juan Lopez-Castaneda, 19, US Marine Corps died on Thursday, 14 Aug 08, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Juan was a rifleman who joined the Marine Corps on June 4, 2007. He was on his first deployment and received the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Lopez-Castaneda was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

Thank you, Corporal Lopez-Castañeda, for your service and sacrifice that have helped keep us free.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Man of Courage

One of the more gratifying political developments lately has been the backlash against the numerous hit pieces run against Rep. Russell Pearce. Instead of weakening his position, the attacks have only galvanized his base of supporters and stirred them to action, effectively counteracting their intended effect. It has also ruined any hopes of a political career that Mr. Gibbons hoped to have in this district.

The Republicans in LD 18 are not only very passionate about their politics, they are also informed voters that are concerned about the issues . This is definitely one area where Rep. Pearce shines. The attack ads did not address any issues, they just attempted to assasinate Rep. Pearce's character. In doing so they made a foolish (if not downright stupid) miscalclulation - a large portion of the Republican voters in LD 18 know Russell Pearce personally. It doesn't take more than about 5 minutes with the man to discover that he isn't a racist, that he loves his family, and that he is committed to his positions because he sincerely believes that they are the right things to do. They are also well thought out and reasoned approaches to the issues that concern our state. Just talk with him about the different issues - illegal immigration, bloated state budgets, unconstitutional government programs, etc. - and you will discover that he has put a lot of thought into the problems, their origins, and possible solutions. He is not a reactive legislator.

Rep. Pearce also has another character trait that has made him a "favorite son" in this district - Courage. On the issues that concern us the most, Rep. Pearce is the point man. Yes, other legislators support him, but Rep. Pearce is the one who gets the issues brought to the forefront. As a result he also becomes the punching bag for the political pugilists that take opposite points of view. Rep. Pearce has sponsored referendums and initiatives that, when put to a vote by the citizens of Arizona, have been approved with over 70% of the vote. Despite this obvious connection with the Arizona electorate, the media outlets would have you believe that Rep. Pearce is the most loathed man in the state. Rep. Pearce has remained committed to his policy positions regardless of the complaints and accusations from his opponents. He is doing the people's business, and we would all be better off if the other legislators showed at least half of the courage and conviction that Rep. Pearce shows every day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 5

The good people at Mesa Issues have put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The fifth and final installment of this discussion follows:

5. Make a prediction on how you think the race will ultimately turn out.

East Valley Immigration:
Pearce wins by a good margin. The immigration stuff is too big for Gibbons to overcome.

Thoughts on Mesa:
I believe the race will ultimately turn out in Pearce favor. Before that happens though I believe that we will see a lot more negative mail pieces.

Sonoran Alliance:
Russell Pearce will ultimately win this election. The attack on Russell will backfire even though he is outspent by his opponent and political action committees. Russell knows his district and he knows his voters. West Mesa voters will back Russell because he is one of them and an attack on Russell is seen as an attack on them. Gibbons and his supporters will leave the political scene quietly with some never getting involved in politics again.

Adams and Jefferson:
I predict that Rep. Pearce will win this race, but it will be close and may weaken him politically.

Mesa Issues:
Pearce wins, but the polling will motivate some more people to come out against him. He must realize that this is not a ringing endorsement, but rather a great time for him to mend the rifts in the party and make friends. You must always be gracious in victory.

Participating in this roundtable discussion has been great, and I want to thank Mesa Issues for putting it together. It has allowed me to post something interesting during a very hectic couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 4

The good people at Mesa Issues have put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The fourth installment of this discussion follows:

4. If you had one piece of advice to give to one of the candidates, what would it be?

Sonoran Alliance:
Russell Pearce - Stay very visible and continue to communicate to the voters in your district. They respect you and expect you to stand and fight for them. Running and hiding from the hit pieces will create doubt in their mind and validate the hit pieces. Fight for your supporters and they will fight for you. Kevin Gibbons - Get to the know the voters of district 18. Running a campaign from a distance won't gain voters. Elections are about addition and the more you meet and listen to voters, the more support you will gain. Also be adamant about why you are running. This is not about becoming someone. It's about doing something.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Don't attack people personally. It is OK to attack on the issues but not on family.

Mesa Issues: For Kevin Gibbons - be honest about why you are running, who is helping you and where your money is coming from. Acting like you are above everything is going on after you gave money to the Domestic Violence Shelter and the ADL shows you had an idea about what was going on and where people were going to attack Pearce.

Adams and Jefferson:
For Kevin Gibbons - When you are asked a question in a debate - just answer the question. It is impossible to find out what you really think about the issues because you never answer the question that is being asked.

East Valley Immigration:
Talk about the issues instead of trying to insinuate another message. It seems like Gibbons is running the I'm not Russell Pearce campaign which means I know nothing about him. That tells me that the candidate is an empty suit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 3

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The third installment of this discussion follows:

3. How do you think the influx of independent expenditures from different groups are going to effect the race?

Mesa Issues:
Well, as it already has, it’s going to draw a lot of attention to the race. However, in the end, I wonder if it’s not too little too late. If they really wanted to take out Pearce, it’s going to take a long time to create doubt within his faithful.

East Valley Immigration:
I think it's going to get a lot more negative and you'll see more lies and half truths. I think people will be annoyed at the constant barrage of the same literature. It's funny, they aren't supposed to work together but by looking at it, you can't tell which are Gibbons and which are the independents. I must have gotten 5 or 6 just this last weekend!

Thoughts on Mesa:
We are seeing that now with the negative mailers that are being mailed out. I.E.s will probably change the mind of a very few people. I think however they will have the opposite desire and turn people off. People don't like negative campaigning, political junkies love it but the public doesn't.

Sonoran Alliance:
An influx of independent expenditures will only work against the group funding the IE's. We believe that the Sproul/Mesa Deserves Better attack pieces will backfire. Any outside groups advocating for or against will only work against the goal of the IE. West Mesa voters do not like being told how to vote by outsiders.

Adams and Jefferson:
They will further polarize the district. Since the expenditures are mostly directed against Rep. Pearce - he is going to take a fairly nasty public beating.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 2

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance , and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The second installment of this discussion follows:

2. What do you think is the greatest handicap for each candidate?

Sonoran Alliance:
Pearce- people think he only is about immigration. He's actually a big player in the no-tax crowd. Gibbons- He's all for open borders and has aligned himself with by taking money from big time Democrats.

Mesa Issues:
Its going to be hard for people to get past the fact that Gibbons and his donors are double dipping in donating to his campaign and for the independent expenditures. If he has changes to the employer sanctions laws, he better speak up now, instead of letting others speak for him.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Gibbons – his ties to those fighting the employer sanctions laws and his own attempts at personally attacking Pearce.Pearce – He talks too much and gets off subject.

East Valley Immigration:
Pearce- people think he only is about immigration. He's actually a big player in the no-tax crowd. Gibbons- He's all for open borders and has aligned himself with by taking money from big time Democrats.

Adams and Jefferson:
I see three main challenges for each candidate:
Russell Pearce:
His strong position on illegal immigration has allowed his opponents to accuse him of being a racist.
He has angered a lot of powerful people across the state who have organized a concerted effort to remove him from office.
He is a Clean Elections candidate which limits his financial resources and also gives the Gibbons camp an opportunity to challenge his conservative credentials.

Kevin Gibbons:
His list of campaign contributors include Democrat party activists and othergroups who directly oppose key principles/platforms of the Republican Party. This has angered the Party and led to the MCRC endorsement of Russell Pearce in this primary - a very uncommon thing for them to do.
His supporters are more "anti-Pearce" than "pro-Gibbons" which isn't the best motivation for voters
He has snubbed the LD18 Precinct Committeemen who are now mad as hornets at him and will be working with their friends and neighbors to make sure the Rep. Pearce is sent to the Senate.

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 1

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance , and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The first installment of the discussion follows:

1. Which candidate (Pearce or Gibbons) do you think has greater negatives right now?

Adams and Jefferson:
Kevin Gibbons - he is taking on a "favorite son" in the district and will have difficulty proving himself to be more conservative than Mr. Pearce in an incredibly conservative district.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Even though a negative piece came out on Pearce about a 28 year old divorce filing, I think that most republicans can see what is going on by the "open boarder" and "cheap labor groups" supporting Gibbons. I still firmly believe that Gibbons has the greatest negatives.

East Valley Immigration:
Although Gibbons is making a run at smearing Pearce, I think when you consider the fact we are in a Republican Primary, Gibbons has the most to lose. He has come off looking like an open border, democrat taking special interest money. I know my neighbors in Mesa don't exactly line up that way.

Mesa Issues:
I think that the independent expenditures were fired up because they saw that Gibbons had clearly been put forth as the outsider with a lot of questionable connections. Gibbons has spent considerable time trying to put Pearce down more, when in fact, he should be trying to play up his positives. I predict that from here on out, Gibbons will go positive and allow his colleagues to do the mudslinging.

Sonoran Alliance: One would think that Russell Pearce has the highest negatives with the recent independent expenditure hit pieces against him but it is quite the opposite. Kevin Gibbons negatives are greater and continue to increase as more attacks on Pearce occur. Even before the attacks on Pearce, Gibbons was considered an outsider with ties to business interests trying to thwart the employer sanction laws. One must remember that West Mesa neighborhoods are a very tight-knit community and an outside attack on someone so closely identified and respected is seen as an attack on the whole community. Over the years, Pearce has earned the respect of many people in his district and knows more people than his opponent anticipated. Gibbons has an uphill battle trying to earn the respect of a community that which knows he has not been apart of. The revelation that Gibbons did not participate in previous elections will hurt him. Gibbons' ties to immigration legal services is also a problem with voters who have seen their community negatively affected by illegal immigrants and cheap labor. Finally, there is also a perception that Gibbons comes from a higher class status and was handpicked by individuals seeking political power. West Mesa voters are very protective of their community and elected officials and are not likely to be told what to do. Kevin Gibbons has an uphill battle and it only gets more difficult with each hit piece on Russell Pearce. I believe that Mesa Deserves Better's tactics are backfiring back on Gibbons.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LuAnne Pearce Responds

Representative Russell Pearce's wife LuAnne has issued the following statement regarding a really nasty hit piece that was recently mailed out by a group called "Mesa Deserves Better":

"Recently opponents of our State's employer sanctions law made despicable, misleading and false attacks on my husband and our family. Twenty-eight years ago a petition for divorce was filed on my behalf. The allegations in this 28 year old document are not true and the petition was shortly thereafter withdrawn.
The people behind this "Mesa Deserves Better" committee are not honorable. Their only purpose is to destroy my husband's good reputation, to hurt our family and to repeal the law which prevents them from hiring individuals who are in this country illegally. I urge everyone to reject these mean spirited people and all who are affiliated with them. It is apparent that they will go to any length and use any measure to further their own political agenda.
My husband is a good man, a man of faith who taught our children and grandchildren the meaning of honor and duty to God, Family and Country. I hope all voters in District 18 join me in supporting my husband for State Senate and rejecting these misleading and false attacks."
-LuAnne Pearce

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Buy now, pay later.

I am getting thoroughly disgusted with the volume of stupidity that is coming out of our state and national capitals. Our elected officials put a small, feel-good fix on whatever crisis is currently grabbing the headlines and then leave the underlying problem for future generations to deal with. Our nation is being overrun by this mentality, with the Mortgage Bailout bill being only the latest example to point to. With lots of wind-sock leadership from our congress and the aquiescence of a lame-duck president, our national debt increased $800 billion with the stroke of a pen yesterday. Instead of letting people and industries suffer the consequences of their bad decisions, we rescue them and pass the bill down to future generations. (The latest calculation on your personal liability for our national debt - over $30,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country) What is really beyond belief, is that these elected officials think that this solves the problem! Honestly - if industry leaders know that Uncle Sam is going to pick them up every time they fall, what possible motivation could they have to change their ways?

In our own state a group of spineless legislators and a spendthrift governor have just saddled us with a mountain of unconstitutional debt. The borrowing and accounting gimmicks they used to "balance" the budget this year are the equivalent of placing a band-aid on a full-limb amputation. And, just like that band-aid won't stop the bleeding, using funny math will not get us out of the mess we are in. It just delays the inevitable.

We have real problems in this country with out of control spending. President Reagan said it best during his first innaugural speech on January 20, 1981:

" For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.
You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?"

Amen Mr. President!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kevin Gibbons and Illegal Immigration Policy

District 18 Senate Republican Candidate Kevin Gibbons claims that he has the answers for our immigration policy problems. As an immigration attorney Mr. Gibbons has a credible claim to expertise in immigration law, but one look at his list of donors shows where his loyalties in immigration policy come from.

While Gibbons says that he wants to represent Mesa, only 20.6% of his donations come from people who live within the city. In fact, only 15.1% of his donations are from people in District 18. In contrast, 100% of Russell Pearce’s donors are from inside the district.

More to the point 53 of Gibbons’ donors are out-of-town farmers from Yuma and Buckeye, with over 30% of his total donations coming from Yuma alone. A large majority of these donations come from the farming community that is actively engaged in employing cheap labor which is against Arizona’s new employer sanctions laws. Since Mr. Gibbons would obviously better represent the views of his Yuma “constituents”, perhaps he should consider running for their senate seat.

Kevin Gibbons supports initiatives that will weaken the laws requiring the use of E-Verify. He also advocates for a guest worker program that will basically open the borders for his farm and fast food supporters who desire cheap labor. Kevin Gibbons’ policy positions are not the forward thinking policies supported by the citizens of District 18. On the contrary, they are the failed “business-as-usual” policies that do nothing to solve our immigration problems and promote the defiance of our laws.

While Gibbons talks of “real reform” for illegal immigration, his supporters and backers tell a different story. From former Democratic Party Chairmen to Open Border Supporters, his rhetoric does not match the real intentions of his patrons.

Russell Pearce has been a champion of the taxpayer and a nationally recognized leader on immigration issues. He has the conservative credentials and a solid track record of representing the people of District 18. Even a cursory examination of Mr. Gibbons’ list of out-of-town open border advocates and Democrat power brokers reveal who he would really represent.

If Mr. Gibbons sincerely wants to represent the citizens of District 18, I suggest that he return donations he’s received from supporters whose policies we have clearly rejected.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review of the LD 18 Debate

Last night was the Clean Elections debate for the Republican candidates from LD 18. I humbly offer to you my opinions on each candidate's performance last night and what I now think of each one.

In alphabetical order:

Cecil Ash

It was apparent that Mr. Ash has spent some time giving careful consideration to the different issues facing our state. His answers were well reasoned and demonstrated that he was open to considering alternatives to our problems vs. blind obedience to the party-line. This shows that he thinks for himself, and I like that. I have some reservations about his position on taxes, but at least I have the confidence that he will think things through and not just automatically use a tax increase as a knee-jerk reaction to a looming problem.

Steve Court

Going into this debate I didn't know a whole lot about Mr. Court's positions on anything. I know him personally and like him a lot, but he didn't come to the debate sponsored by the LD 18 Republicans last month, so this was the first opportunity I had to hear him.

I liked his answers. They were very free-market, conservative, and fiscally responsible. He came across as someone who could look at the State budget, find problems, and correct them. Since we are losing Rep. Pearce's budgeting expertise in the House, having someone with similar talents is important for us, and that is a huge plus for Mr. Court.

My concerns:

1- His alignment with Kevin Gibbons (see below) and some of Gibbons’ supporters (Udall et al).

2- Will he be responsive to the LD 18 Republicans? I would like to see him involved in the party with the rest of us.

Kanani Henderson

Miss Henderson spoke about how much experience she has in so many different areas that it called her credibility into question. Seriously - how much experience can someone in their early 20’s have? Some of her responses were just naive, and her comment on marriage showed that she didn’t understand the point of the Marriage Ammendment at all.

She said that she was passionate about several things, but could never really articulate a clear position on the issues she was passionate about.

I give Miss Henderson kudos for running traditional in an open primary where everyone else is running with Clean Elections Funds. With a few more years of experience under her belt she would make a much more credible candidate and have a fair shot at being an effective legislator. If she gets elected now she will just be a door mat for the legislators that have been around the block a few more times.

Ron Middlebrook

Mr. Middlebrook is a straight down the line conservative. He clearly articulated his desire to get back to the basics of a very limited government that stays within its constitutional parameters. He mentioned finding a way to protect states from renegade federal judges who legislate from the bench, and I would be interested to hear how he would accomplish this. (To me this is an issue that can only be solved at the federal level - but it needs to be solved so I'll take any suggestions) Mr. Middlebrook has a lot of passion and is able to articulate this passion clearly and concisely into believable policy statements. My only concern is that he is passionate about his positions to the point that I don't know if he would give fair consideration to opposing points of view. We want principled and courageous legislators, but we also need legislators who can work with others to get things done. He has the first part down pat. Let's see about the "plays well with others" part.

Kevin Gibbons

This post will unfortunately reveal one of the things that I absolutely hate about politics. Even if you personally like a guy, your disagreements with them on policy issues are public and not always very nice.

I have never seen someone pander to a crowd with such despicable regularity as he did last night. He didn't directly answer a single question. Instead he showed his accumen as a lawyer by turning every question into an opportunity to bash Mr. Pearce about some policy or another. He told so many pointless stories that I thought I was at a campfire event, not a debate.

When asked a question about child welfare Mr. Gibbons said: "I think all babies are valuable, even brown ones." It was a underhanded dig at Mr. Pearce that completely missed the point of the question and revealed who the real "racist" on the stage was. The comment that really got my goat was when he said "You need to understand that the immigration debate is a complex issue." True enough, but his tone was so condescending that it made you think that only he held the key of knowledge that could unlock its mysteries.

Mr. Gibbons showed that he is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Overall, I think his performance on stage last night may have backfired on him. He came across as pompous and arrogant, and showed that he would not articulate a response to an important question. I have serious reservations about Mr. Gibbons' being our State Senator.

A word of advice for Mr. Gibbons for the next debate (if there is one). Stop telling pointless stories and answer the questions.

Russell Pearce

All in all, I thought Mr. Pearce showed enormous restraint when responding to the incessant digs Mr. Gibbons threw his way, but he did take the bait a couple of times. He answered the questions that were asked, but frequently got too caught up in the details to finish answering his questions in the allotted time. Mr. Pearce's grasp of the issues and what can be done about them came across loud and clear. He has taken a beating in the public for many of his positions, but he didn't back down from any of them and was able to give a reasoned argument for those positions. I know that a lot of people hate him, but you never have a doubt about where he stands on the issues.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Pearce is running with Clean Elections funding this go-around because it gives Mr. Gibbons a handy stick to beat him with.

My advice to Mr. Pearce for the next debate (if there is one): Try to give a more succinct answer to the question. The dizzying array of detail you provide is impressive, but it doesn't leave you enough time to make it through the entire point.

I thought that the debate itself was well done by the moderator. He was completely impartial and politely attempted to keep the candidates within allotted time frames.

The low point in this debate was when illegal aliens were being discussed and someone in the audience said “Throw them all in the gas chamber, that will solve the problem.” What an asinine comment! That disturbed individual just gave the media more grist to grind us with. Even though the entire audience reacted with horror and disgust to this comment, the only thing that will be reported is that the comment was made at a Republican debate.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ship of Fools

Today I just need to complain about a few things - please bear with me:

1 - Steve Benson

Shame on me for getting worked up about what he draws, but some of his assumptions just demand a reply. (Which is his whole purpose, I am sure)
His cartoon on July 4th is of a monument with "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" inscribed on its face. Barrack Obama is looking up at it and saying "We'll see on November 4th".
Give me a break! We are not a country of racists, and Obama's winning or losing has absolutely nothing to do with equality in our nation. This is just unalloyed propaganda trying to get gullible people to feel guilty unless they vote for Obama. Give us SOME credit Mr. Benson. Who cares what color he is? The reason I don't want him is because his ideology will drive our country into the ground.

2- Government Bureaucrats

I swear that sometimes these guys make up rules and regulations just to justify their existence. We are currently dealing with a guy who is obviously out of his depth, and who changes his story everytime we talk to him about what we can and can't do. The problem with these people is three-fold:
A. They are appointed to their positions, so they really aren't accountable to the public.
B. They have an absolute monopoly on the "service" (I use that term loosely) they provide. You can't go anywhere else and they know it so you literally have to bow and scrape to their every whim to get something accomplished.
C. They have no compunction about appropriating authority that doesn't belong to them because the only way to call them on it is through a costly lawsuit. They get an attorney paid for by the taxpayer (which happens to be you) and you get to foot the bill for your attorney as well.

3 - Idiots with Authority and an Agenda
I am currently dealing with a little assistant branch manager at my bank who got all of my accounts frozen by crying "wolf" to the Risk Management Department. This would be hot-shot saw what he thought was suspicious activity on my accounts (deposits and checks and withdrawals - oh my!) and then accused me of kiting. Anybody with half-a-brain in that industry knows that kiting involves writing checks from an account you own at one bank, depositing it in another account you have at another bank, and then reversing the process before the first check clears. You can't kite by pulling cashier's checks and cash out of your accounts. Duh! All he had to do was just a little bit of research to see that all of my transactions were legitimate. Instead, he tried to make a name for himself by "catching fraud". Now, he has damaged a relationship with a customer who, up until yesterday, was singing this bank's praises to everyone he came in contact with. I have a special spot on my office wall for this kid's hide.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor!

The video posted immediately below this entry is a dramatized reading of the Declaration of Independence done by several of the prominent actors of our day. It thrills me to hear these powerful words and think about what they started. I hope you take the time to listen to this and rejoice in the blessings of liberty that were bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers, the Revolutionary soldiers who fought the good fight, and the families who loved and lost during the epic struggle that followed July 4th, 1776.

God bless their memory and God bless the United States of America!

The Declaration of Independence - July 4, 1776

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

In my build up to Independence Day, I like to read inspiring speeches and literature regarding the events that led to July 4, 1776. This speech was given on March 23, 1775 before the Virginia House of Burgesses. The question before them was whether or not to deliver up the Virginia Militia to the Revolutionary War. Reportedly, when Mr. Henry sat down the public jumped up and shouted "To arms, to arms!" Twenty-seven days after this speech was given the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord.

"No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! "

Amen Mr. Henry!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We Win One!

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
- 2nd Amendment to the Constitution

Thursday, June 26, 2008 was a red-letter date for freedom. In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court found that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms. Although the decision was 5-4 in favor of the individual right (which is disturbing) the fact that we finally have a definitive declaration from the court on this important right is absolutely thrilling! An excerpt from this ruling:

“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” - District of Columbia vs. Heller

For decades, this fundamental right has been under assault by gun control groups and like-minded politians throughout the country. Their main claim is that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right of the States to arm and train individuals to serve in state militias. Because of the rise in gun violence over the last century, they claim that the government not only has the right and ability to regulate firearms ownership - it has the obligation to do so.

I have never really understood this rationale. When the constitution was framed and the amendments proposed, one of the framers big concerns was the effect of standing armies on personal liberties. The fighting of the Revolutionary War began as the result of a standing army marching to disarm the citizens of Lexington and Concord Massachussetts. The colonists knew that if they lost their weapons, they would be completely at the mercy of a government that was proving itself to be hostile to their liberties. Rather than laying "supinely on [their] backs... until [their] enemies [had] bound [them] hand and foot" these brave men stood and resisted, and "fired the shot heard 'round the world."

As the realities of nationhood settled in it became clear that the government would need to maintain an army and a navy, even during peacetime, to keep us secure from invasion and to maintain order within. To safeguard the people's rights from a government with a standing military, the Second Amendment was written. The brave and brilliant men who formed our nation had firsthand knowledge of how private arms ownership was a protection for liberty, and they wanted that liberty passed on to the generations that would come after them. As you read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights it becomes obvious that the Founding Fathers were concerned with individual liberty first and foremost, and the governments they created were only important and meaningful to them insofar as they protected those liberties.

My own personal interpretation of the Second Amendment has always been this: "Because the security of our nation requires the maintenance of well regulated militias (i.e. standing armies), the rights of the people (i.e. law abiding private citizens) to keep weapons for their defense against tyranny (i.e. a government run amuck or evil individuals) shall not be taken away."

(I am not a legal scholar so obviously my thinking may have legal flaws, but I think that this is a reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment. Then again, since when have lawyers been reasonable?)

As I contemplate what could possibly motivate someone to take away this fundamental right of American citizens, I can only come up with two reasons:
  1. They are too cowardly to take personal responsibility for their security and want someone else to take care of them or,
  2. They have designs against our other freedoms and need to take away this one first so they can do so "safely".

Thursday's decision was a huge step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done. This ruling, while setting a precedent, only overturns the gun bans in Washington D.C. For freedom to continue its march, we need to overturn all of the onerous gun ban laws across our country. As you read this, the National Rifle Association and other pro-2nd Amendment organizations are filing lawsuits in Chicago and other liberal bastions to overturn these egregious assaults on our freedoms. For more information please visit