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