The Road Ahead in CD1

There is a report today in the Phoenix Business Journal that furthers speculation that Congressman Rick Renzi’s days in Congress may very well be numbered. While I won’t rehash recent coverage about Renzi’s problems, suffice to say that it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be a special election some time in the next 6-10 months.

So it’s not surprising then that the speculation has begun about who is considering running on the Republican side. Here is a brief review and the Hack’s opinion on who is considering running and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Top Tier Candidates

Former Senate President Ken Bennett

Bennett seems like a logical choice for this seat. He has a good base in Yavapai County, and he is LDS which should help him with conservative LDS Democrats in the NE portion of the district. Potential weaknesses may include unfounded claims that he exerted political influence in his son’s legal cases, and the same question every candidate will have to answer – can they raise enough money to be competitive in what should be a very expensive race.

State Rep. Bill Konopnicki

Before everyone posts comments on how Konopnicki is too liberal to win a primary (and maybe he is), keep in mind that Konopnicki always runs very strong in his legislative district. Konopnicki is not only LDS, but he has routinely won the swing areas of this district in his Legislative races. Konopnicki is also wealthy and could conceivably finance a big chunk of his campaign.

Potential weaknesses include the fact that he is seen as one of the most liberal Republican members of the Arizona Legislature which could make getting through a primary tough. He also has rubbed some of his Republican colleagues in the Legislature the wrong way with his willingness to occasionally plot with Democrats (the 2004 budget is just one example).

Rancher Steve Pierce

Pierce is a wealthy rancher who was the chairman of the Yavapai County Republican Party. He is well-liked in Yavapai and considered a good conservative. He is also close to Kyl, Shadegg, and Flake. Pierce could also afford to self-finance his campaign.

Pierce’s most obvious weakness is that he is relatively unknown to voters. Though, in fairness, if Pierce were to write a big check, that could be overcome relatively easiliy.

Other Potential Candidates

Senator Tom O’Halleran

Probably not going to happen for the liberal Republican State Senator. He represents Yavapai, but it’s likely there will be another conservative candidate from Yavapai County who will be in a position to take the bulk of GOP votes out of the County. O’Halleran doesn’t have much to offer to primary voters in this race. It would also be tough for O’Halleran to raise the kind of money to be competitive.

Lobbyist Sydney Hay

Hay ran and finished a close third in the 2002 Republican Primary for this seat. Word is that she is calling around to feel out her prospects on this race and would like to run. She is conservative and well-liked by conservative activists. She is also a good campaigner and able to articulate the issues.

However, it’s well-known that she does not live in the district, and it’s unlikely that the voters would accept another carpetbagger. In addition, Hay is a lobbyist. Now, in fairness, she generally lobbies for conservative causes, but that distinction will very likely get lost in a race like this, and being a lobbyist running for Congress is probably not the right profile to have in a race like this. Also, it’s unlikely that Hay could raise the kind of money necessary to be competitive in this race.

The Hack’s Take

The price of entry to be taken seriously in this race is going to be high. That immediately put’s potential self-funders like Pierce and Konopnicki into the top-tier. Bennett belongs with these two because he could conceivably put some of his own money into the race and would be able to raise money. He also has a good base from which to run in a primary and a lot of goodwill to tap into. In the end, I think it’s an either or situation for Pierce and Bennett. Both don’t get into the race. Whoever does would probably become the favorite. Konopnicki may flinch because our resign to run law would very likely require him to leave the Legislature. If he does run, he could win if he were able to do well in his legislative district and self-fund a big chunk of his race. O’Halleran and Hay are likely non-starters. They may run, but I think neither would be able to compete with the top-tier candidates.

Now fire away!!!

Domestic Terrorism in Austin

I was very angry to hear that a bomb was left outside an Austin abortion clinic today (story). As much as I hate, despise and loathe the action of killing and dismembering an unborn baby and exploiting a mother/woman in the process, I strongly condemn acts of violence against those who practice violence on the most vulnerable.

Let’s call it what it is – domestic terrorism.

Some of the strongest pro-life advocates are former abortionists. Many like me, pray and persuade these depraved individuals to leave the business and join the ranks of those standing for protecting innocent human life. Detonating a bomb and killing abortionists and those women who feel they have no other option than to take their baby’s life will not strengthen the pro-life movement. It only disfigures and discredits those of us seeking peaceful, life-affirming solutions.

Let’s not follow the terrorists abroad who hate American and yes, the practice of abortion. Let’s assert and take the higher road.

AZGOP Press Release – April 26, 2007 – Giffords, Mitchell Betray Troops

For Immediate Release – April 26, 2007
Contact: Brett Mecum – bmecum@azgop.org
Phone: 602.957.7770
www.azgop.org

GIFFORDS, MITCHELL BETRAY TROOPS IN IRAQ…AGAIN – PULLEN STRONGLY SUPPORTS PRESIDENTIAL VETO

Phoenix, AZ – “In an unstable world and a dangerous time, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords have once again undermined our troops, mocked our generals, and have thumbed their collective noses at the President,” said Randy Pullen, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. “Nancy Pelosi has over stepped her bounds, Harry Reid has endangered American troops around the world, and Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell have disgraced themselves in less than four months in office.”

Pullen continued, “Once again, we see that the Democrats are trying to micromanage our military from Washington, D.C. Once again they have voted to set an artificial withdrawal deadline in Iraq. Once gain they have waved the white flag of defeat and surrender. And once again they have shared our battle plan with the terrorists who hope to murder Americans and destroy our way of life. Our men and women in uniform who are bravely serving overseas deserve much better than the treatment they have received from the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Gabrielle Giffords, and Harry Mitchell.

“The sad irony is that the Democrats voted to ’cut and run’ from Iraq right after Osama bin Laden made claims he is in fact running the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq. A forced withdrawal of our troops by the Democrats in Congress before their mission is completed will lead to real defeat for American soldiers and the likely slaughter of countless Sunnis and Shiates throughout the Middle East in an ensuing, senseless civil war. This lasting legacy of the110th Democrat Congress will be appeasement with pork, a tasteless dish.

“I stand solidly with the over one million Arizona Republicans when I say: Mr. President for the sake of troops, for the sake of our country, and for the sake of the principles of freedom, liberty, and justice that make America great; Mr. President please veto this bill,” said Pullen.

“I am very proud of Arizona’s Republican members of Congress, John Shadegg, Trent Franks, Jeff Flake, and Rick Renzi, who stood tall with our military men and women and voted against this terrible bill,” concluded Pullen.

For more information, please contact Brett Mecum at 602.957.7770.

ARIZONA CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE COMING TO 2008 BALLOT

Here’s the latest email on the Civil Rights Initiative -

Plans for Anti-Preferences Campaign Announced

The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative is forging ahead with plans for a November, 2008 ballot measure banning government-sponsored race and gender preferences in the state. The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative will be part of a ‘Super Tuesday for Equal Rights’ campaign that will offer citizens of several states the chance to end such practices in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Similar measures have already passed in three other states, all by overwhelming margins.

Clint Bolick, co-founder and former litigator for the Institute of Justice and currently Director of the Goldwater Institute for Constitutional Litigation, said it’s time for Arizona to stop increasing the number of people who are given preferences because of their race. “The courts have repeatedly struck down laws promoting racial preferences for violating the Constitution,” said Bolick, who has successfully litigated on behalf of many minority clients hampered by unconstitutional government regulations.  “We need to move beyond the ideological partisanship that has extended racial preferences into the 21st century. Racial preferences don’t work, and harm the very people claimed to benefit from them.” Bolick has agreed to be the Arizona legal advisor.

Andrew Thomas, Maricopa County Attorney, will serve as the honorary chair of the effort. Thomas said, “I am pleased to join in this effort to bring about a colorblind society and equality under law.  This vision of civil rights is grounded in our Constitution and informed by our experience as a nation.”

Also attending the press conference will be Ward Connerly, chairman of the Sacramento-based American Civil Rights Institute and longtime crusader for a colorblind America, who has been invited by the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative to help with the campaign. “Getting our nation to the point of applying a single standard to all Americans is one of the most crucial issues of our time,” says Connerly, who helped lead the earlier successful anti-preferences campaigns in California, Washington state and, most recently, Michigan.

“If events of the past couple of weeks have taught us anything at all, it is that race will continue to divide our nation as long as we insist on treating people differently based on ethnicity and gender. Both Don Imus, in his appalling comments on the Rutgers women’s basketball team, and those who rushed to judgment in the Duke lacrosse case made the same mistake: they looked at individuals and saw only skin color.”

Connerly continued, “We have to get past that kind of thinking – and we must start by getting our government out of the business of privileging some citizens over others. Real lives are radically affected, and great social and economic is done when decisions are made about individuals based on the color of their skin or the origin of their ancestors.”

The operative clause of the proposed ballot initiative reads as follows: “The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.”

Jennifer Gratz
Director of State & Local Initiatives
American Civil Rights Coalition
Direct:  517-281-6738
Office:  916-444-2278

McCain Announces

Arizona Senator John McCain made it official today by announcing that he will be seeking the Presidency in 2008. The event took place in New Hampshire, not Arizona (story).

Of course, this happens on the day the US Supreme Court raises doubts on the consitutionality of the Senator’s infamous campaign finance “reform” act.

The Justices on the Supreme Court are not the only ones raising doubts about Senator McCain’s activities. This blogger will go out on a limb at this time and predict that Arizona’s senior senator will not finish the campaign.

In a Townhall.com post by Matt Lewis, the Senator has spent most of the campaign’s money on consultants. According to Lewis’ post, “While Senator McCain prided himself on being a Spending Hawk, his campaign was, in fact, spending money on consultants like “a drunken sailor.”

Campaign finance reports demonstrate that the McCain campaign paid one fundraising consultant named Carla Eudy an average of $20K/month depleting the $12.5 Million it raised to just over $5 Million. Lewis continues, “Certainly, Eudy wasn’t the only high-paid McCain consultant.  But her fee was indicative of a campaign that spent almost half of what they raised.  While much has been made over McCain’s anemic fundraising numbers, the amount of money being paid to high-priced consultants is perhaps, more concerning.”

What is more interesting is that the McCain campaign has decided to replace Eudy in the fundraising department. Perhaps, they’ll do better with a new hired gun raising and spending the money.

Ah, the irony of the high court’s doubts on campaign finance reform and the fundraising woes of Arizona’s senior senator.

GOP Candidate Assessment – CD5

The following post is an assessment of the potential Republican Primary candidates in Arizona’s Congressional District 5. In Nov 2006, Congressman J.D. Hayworth lost the seat in the General Election to Democratic State Senator, Harry Mitchell by a vote of 93,815 to 101,838. Currently, the voter registration stands at 87,394 Democrats to 139,057. It is almost guaranteed that the next congessman elected in Congressional District will be the winner of the Republican Primary in September, 2008.

GOP Candidate Assessment – Congressional District Five, Arizona

We’re still more than 16 months away from the next primary election and already Republican insiders are spinning at high speed regarding potential candidates in CD 5, which is currently held by Democrat Harry Mitchell.  There has been a lot of chatter (including some wild accusations and downright misinformation) flying around Arizona-based blogs.

So, let’s review the list of potential candidates and some information about them in as straightforward a manner as we can.  We’ll go alphabetical so as not to face accusations of favoring anyone.

Anderson, Mark

Solid conservative with a stellar voting record on most counts.  Although CD 5 has only a portion of LD 18, it is a portion in which Mark happens to live.  Mark is very well respected by conservatives, but frustrates the more libertarian-leaning with his willingness to use government for social conservative outcomes.  His membership in the Unification Church (better known as Moonies) could be a weakness because it is easy to shoot at someone’s religion when you don’t know much about it.  A bigger weakness will be the money game.  He has never had to raise more than $30K for his legislative races.  A serious candidate will need to raise that much about every ten days.

General issues: Dems attack his religion and his hard-right voting record.

Bitter-Smith, Susan

Susan has run twice for Congress and lost (first to Salmon, then to Flake).  She is well-known in Scottsdale and well-respected.  She currently serves on the Central Arizona Water District Board which manages the Central Arizona Project.  Smart and savvy, her weakness in a Republican primary is her position on life – she is pro-choice.

General issues: Dems attack her as a has-been and for being a lobbyist.  Strong social conservatives could take a pass, which would hurt.

Hallman, Hugh

Most insiders are saying that Hallman will not run.  But, as a smart guy elected in the heart of CD 5, until he publicly says no, it’s a possibility.

General issues: Hallman would fare pretty well against Mitchell, however, he’d take heat for “abandoning” Tempe to run against one of it’s own.

Hatch-Miller, Jeff

Jeff is termed out for Corporation Commission so running for something makes sense.  He is not known as a hard charging conservative, but takes whatever he is doing very seriously.

General issues: Dems try to make hay out of his votes on the Corp. Comm.  Try to hit him on carpet-bagging.

Knaperek, Laura

Laura has the advantage of being a pro-life woman in a potential field of mostly men.  While she lost her last race in the “Democrat sweep,” her loss was much more narrow than either Hayworth or Kyl within the confines of LD 17.  She won nearly 30 precincts in LD 17, while Kyl won about 10 and Hayworth didn’t win any.  That portends some potential strength in the middle of Mitchell’s base.  With a 16 point Republican advantage in the district, she could capitalize on her name ID and goodwill within the district.  As with most of the candidates, she has never had to raise the kind of money that will be required of this race.  Major advantage is that she has represented the majority of the current CD 5 as a result of serving in the legislature during a round of redistricting.

General issues: Dems attack her as a two time loser.  Overreach and come across looking mean for attacking a woman.  Attack her for being pro-life.

Liddy, Tom

Thanks to his role as a radio talk show host, Tom likely has the most name ID of anyone contemplating running.  Of course, that can be a double-edged sword.  Who knows if anyone has kept tapes of all the hours of radio Tom has down over the years.  Some of his stuff has been over-the-top (as is necessary for radio entertainment) but he is a thoughtful guy who is very smart.  He’s run and lost (in the same primary as Bitter-Smith) to Flake which may or may not play a factor.  Downside, his dad is G. Gordon Liddy.  Upside, his dad is G. Gordon Liddy.  In the end, more upside (money), than downside.  The unknown factor in this is that his mother is battling breast cancer and he has always put family first.

General issues: Dems dredge up some of the outlandish things Tom has said on the radio.

Meyer, Mike

Relatively unknown (or forgotten) to most rank-and-file Republicans, Mike was a losing candidate to Doug Wead and Phil MacDonnell in 1992 primary in the old CD 6. (Wead went on to lose to Karen English in the general)  Meyer has long wanted to run again, and he may see this as his best shot.  He is involved in the health care industry, so he’ll be competent on those kinds of issues.

General issues: Dems attack Meyer for not favoring universal health care.

Noble, Sean

Sean is a long-time staffer of Congressman John Shadegg starting in 1994 as Shadegg’s campaign manager.  One of the more experienced campaigners among the potential candidates, he will face the age-old issue of whether the manager can be the candidate.  His major strengths will be his conservative credentials and his ability to raise money, which he has done with Shadegg for years.  In addition to his campaign experience in Arizona, he has helped some major players including Pat Toomey (now Pres. of Club for Growth) who ran against Arlen Specter (PA) in a primary and Tom Coburn (OK), the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate.  And, he would almost certainly have the support of Shadegg, who last cycle raised a whopping $900K for the NRCC (much of which was spent to defend Hayworth) and gave away another $300K to Republican candidates. Major weakness for Sean, zero name ID among the voters.

General issues: Dems attack Noble for being a right-wing nut who has worked for the likes of Shadegg, Coburn, Toomey and Munsil.  They try to hit him for carpet-bagging.

Ogsbury, Jim

Jim is well-known and well-liked with insiders.  While his career has mostly been in Washington, D.C., he is a native Arizonan and hails from CD 5 where he attended high school and ASU.  No question that he knows the inner-workings of Congress better than anyone else, but that will likely cut both ways in a primary.  Voters want a competent Congressman (who, unlike Mitchell, can find the bathroom in less than three months) but primary voters will be wary of the insider status – particularly since his specialty has been the Appropriations Committee.   He will likely be able to raise pretty good money and is rumored to have some of his own that he could put in if need be.  However, he also has no name ID.

General issues: Dems try to claim that Ogsbury’s history with the appropriations committee and being a lobbyiest makes him a part of the “culture of corruption.” 

Salmon, Matt

Matt has told various insiders that he is not likely to run.  However, if he did jump in, he’d have instant frontrunner status because of his name ID and ability to raise money.  The other potential candidates are praying that he takes a pass.

General issues: Dems attack Salmon for being too partisan (forgetting that their guy was the Democrat Party Chairman) and for being a lobbyist for the same firm that employed Abramoff years earlier.

Schweikert, David 

David, former State Legislator and current County Treasurer, has been running for this seat, in one way or another, since the day he lost to J.D. Hayworth in the primary in 1994.  He is smart, ambitious and one of the hardest working people in politics.  And his new bride is said to be just as motivated as he is, which is a huge deal in a Congressional race.  He likely knows more detail about the district than anyone else, which demonstrates, to some degree, one of his weaknesses – he is a bit geeky, but in a charming way.  He is a solid conservative (he actually ran to the right of Hayworth in 1994).  Little known factoid: Sen. Karen Johnson was his assistant when he served as the Majority Whip in the state legislature.

General issues: Dems (and the New Times) attack Schweikert for his role in the LD 20 recount and for not releasing the ballots to the Senate.  Dems have an universal heart attack when they realize they are taking the same position as Sen. Jack Harper.
That’s the potential field.  Yes, I’m sure I’ve missed someone and there are probably others who no one has talked about yet.  Here are my predictions on how this plays out.

Anderson – ultimately does not run.  The money mountain is too daunting.

Bitter-Smith – a wild card, but I would guess she doesn’t run.

Hallman – decides the risk is a little steep when he can likely coast to re-election as Mayor of Tempe, therefore keeping him viable for future runs.

Hatch-Miller – if history is a guide, he’ll talk about it, mull it over, and decide against.  He would also have to move (although I don’t think the whole carpet-bagger claim is much of an issue – just ask McCain, Franks and Renzi – who all moved into their districts to run).

Knaperek – strong likelihood that she runs.  Timing seems to be right, and she has a unique set of strengths no one else has.  If she can raise the money, she’s the one to beat.

Liddy – still young enough to seek office later.  With a young family and a sick mother, probably decides against.

Meyer – probably runs because time does not stand still.
Noble – young family, has to move, no natural base of support. With Renzi’s trouble, Noble’s name has been floated by some insiders for CD 1 because he grew up in the White Mountains and is a Mormon – two potential advantages in that district.  Likely doesn’t run.

Ogsbury – all signs point to a run for Jim.  He is a thoughtful guy who wouldn’t take the steps he has already taken if he wasn’t very, very serious.  And, real Arizona men wear bola ties – which Jim proudly does, so watch for a resurgence (which will make Sen. Jake Flake very happy.)
Salmon – doesn’t run.

Schweikert – it would take an act of God to keep David out of this race. 
If my predictions play out, Knaperek and Schweikert battle for the conservative vote, and Ogsbury tries to gain a plurality with the rest.  Meyer will be a small factor, but with three men and one woman, I’d give Knaperek the edge in that scenario.

OK comment posters… fire away!

More on the civil rights announcement

Just received this press release from the American Civil Rights Institute, looks like local county attorney Andrew Thomas is involved -

Maricopa County Attorney, Andrew Thomas, will be joined by Ward Connerly, Chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), for a major press announcement regarding Super-Tuesday for Equal Rights.

WHEN: Thursday, April 26th at 9:00 AM

WHERE: Capitol Rose Garden (located west of the House and North of the annex hallway)

1700 W Washington St
Phoenix, AZ

Contact: Jennifer Gratz (517) 281-6738 or (916) 444-2278

Burger update!

burger.jpg     Reports from one of our contacts in Central Tucson indicate that the In-N-Out at El Con Mall is now open. Our source mentioned long lines and large crowds.

Maricopa ain’t got nothing in Pima now.

This is Exactly the Type of Candidate We Need to Retake the Hayworth Seat

Not Exactly.

Jim Ogsbury, a DC lobbyist with Arizona connections is planning to run in the Republican Primary for AZ-05. According to Ogsbury’s own bio on the Triadvocates website, Ogsbury has spent “fifteen years inside the Capital Beltway.”

For those of you who don’t know much about Ogsbury – and why would you, he has spent the last 15 years in Washington DC. Ogsbury is a DC lobbyist whose self-acknowledged specialty is getting pork for his clients.

Now let’s rewind to the 2006 election. JD Hayworth, a good man, and a good conservative, came under withering attacks by Harry Mitchell and the DCCC for among other things, being too close to lobbyists, being too much of a DC insider who had forgotten his roots, and being part of the Republican culture of pork barrel spending in Congress.

Well at least the Democrats won’t have to reinvent the wheel if Ogsbury is the nominee.

Ward Connerly in Phoenix April 26

Several sources have confirmed that Ward Connerly will be in Arizona on April 26. Speculation is growing that he will be here to announce the inauguration of a ballot initiative to end preferences and double standards based on race, sex, color, ethnicity and national origin in government activities.

Weekend Reading – The Four Major Transformations

Here is some very important reading for the weekend. Because the essay is so enlightening and continuous, I have decided to reprint it in its entirety.

What In The World Is Going On?
A Global Intelligence Briefing For CEOs
by Herbert Meyer

Four Major Transformations

Currently, there are four major transformations that are shaping political, economic and world events.  These transformations have profound implications for American business owners, our culture and our way of life.

1. The War in Iraq

There are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  In the 16th century, Judaism and Christianity reconciled with the modern world.  The rabbis, priests and scholars found a way to settle up and pave the way forward.  Religion remained at the center of life, church and state became separate.  Rule of law, idea of economic liberty, individual rights, human rights – all these are defining points of modern Western civilization.  These concepts started with the Greeks but didn’t take off until the 15th and 16th century when Judaism and Christianity found a way to reconcile with the modern world. When that happened, it unleashed the scientific revolution and the greatest outpouring of art, literature and music the world has ever known.

Islam, which developed in the 7th century, counts millions of Moslems around the world who are normal people.  However, there is a radical streak within Islam.  When the radicals are in charge, Islam attacks Western civilization.  Islam first attacked Western civilization in the 7th century, and later in the 16th and 17th centuries.  By 1683, the Moslems (Turks from the Ottoman Empire) were literally at the gates of Vienna.  It was in Vienna that the climatic battle between Islam and Western civilization took place.  The West won and went forward.  Islam lost and went backward.  Interestingly, the date of that battle was September 11.  Since then, Islam has not found a way to reconcile with the modern world.

Today, terrorism is the third attack on Western civilization by radical Islam.  To deal with terrorism, the U.S. is doing two things.  First, units of our armed forces are in 30 countries around the world hunting down terrorist groups and dealing with them. This gets very little publicity.  Second we are taking military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.  These are covered relentlessly by the media.  People can argue about whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong.  However, the underlying strategy behind the war is to use our military to remove the radicals from power and give the moderates a chance.  Our hope is that, over time, the moderates will find a way to bring Islam forward into the 21st century.  That’s what our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is all about.

The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly.  They can use airplanes, bombs, anthrax, chemical weapons or dirty bombs.  Even with a first-rate intelligence service (which the U.S. does not have), you can’t stop every attack.  That means our tolerance for political horseplay has dropped to zero.  No longer will we play games with terrorists or weapons of mass destructions.

Most of the instability and horseplay is coming from the Middle East.  That’s why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power, they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world. So when looking at Afghanistan or Iraq, it’s important to look for any signs that they are modernizing.  For example, women being brought into the workforce and colleges in Afghanistan is good.  The Iraqis stumbling toward a constitution is good.  People can argue about what the U.S. is doing and how we’re doing it, but anything that suggests Islam is finding its way forward is good.

2.  The Emergence of China

In the last 20 years, China has moved 250 million people from the farms and villages into the cities. Their plan is to move another 300 million in the next 20 years.  When you put that many people into the cities, you have to find work for them.  That’s why China is addicted to manufacturing; they have to put all the relocated people to work.  When we decide to manufacture something in the U.S., it’s based on market needs and the opportunity to make a profit. In China, they make the decision because they want the jobs, which is a very different calculation.

While China is addicted to manufacturing, Americans are addicted to low prices.  As a result, a unique kind of economic codependency has developed between the two countries.  If we ever stop buying from China, they will explode politically.  If China stops selling to us, our economy will take a huge hit because prices will jump.  We are subsidizing their economic development, they are subsidizing our economic growth.

Because of their huge growth in manufacturing, China is hungry for raw materials, which drives prices up worldwide.  China is also thirsty for oil, which is one reason oil is now at $60 a barrel.  By 2020, China will produce more cars than the U.S.  China is also buying its way into the oil infrastructure around the world.  They are doing it in the open market and paying fair market prices, but millions of barrels of oil that would have gone to the U.S. are now going to China.  China’s quest to assure it has the oil it needs to fuel its economy is a major factor in world politics and economics.  We have our Navy fleets protecting the sea lines, specifically the ability to get the tankers through.  It won’t be long before the Chinese have an aircraft carrier sitting in the Persian Gulf as well.  The question is, will their aircraft carrier be pointing in the same direction as ours or against us?

3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization

Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding.  For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable.  Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1.  In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement.  In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today.  The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3.  Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2.  At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy. 

When you don’t have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them.  The European countries are currently importing Moslems.  Today, the Moslems comprise 10 percent of France and Germany, and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates.  However, the Moslem populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe.  One reason Germany and France don’t support the Iraq war is they fear their Moslem populations will explode on them.  By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.
The huge design flaw in the post-modern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it.  The Europeans simply don’t wish to have children, so they are dying.

In Japan, the birthrate is 1.3.  As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe, they refuse to import workers.  Instead, they are just shutting down.  Japan has already closed 2000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year.  Japan is also aging very rapidly.  By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old.  Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.

Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world’s major economic engines, aren’t merely in recession, they’re shutting down.  This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen.  Why are the birthrates so low?  There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant.  The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages.  With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people.  As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family.  Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse.  These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regards to having families and raising children.

The U.S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement.  We have an increase in population because of immigration.  When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7.  In the U.S., the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers.  This will push the ‘elder dependency’ ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years.  This is not as bad as Europe, but still represents the same kind of trend.
Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands you need kids to have a healthy society.  Children are huge consumers.  Then they grow up to become taxpayers.  That’s how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that.  If U.S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.

The world’s most effective birth control device is money.  As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop.  Having large families is incompatible with middle class living.  The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development.  After World War II, the U.S. instituted a $600 tax credit per child. The idea was to enable mom and dad to have four children without being troubled by taxes.  This led to a baby boom of 22 million kids, which was a huge consumer market that turned into a huge tax base.  However, to match that incentive in today’s dollars would cost $12,000 per child.

China and India do not have declining populations.  However, in both countries, there is a preference for boys over girls, and we now have the technology to know which is which before they are born.  In China and India, many families are aborting the girls.  As a result, in each of these countries there are 70 million boys growing up who will never find wives.  When left alone, nature produces 103 boys for every 100 girls.  In some provinces, however, the ratio is 128 boys to every 100 girls.

The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be smaller than that of Yemen.  Russia has one-sixth of the earth’s land surface and much of its oil.  You can’t control that much area with such a small population.  Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men – a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia.

4.  Restructuring of American Business

The fourth major transformation involves a fundamental restructuring of American business.  Today’s business environment is very complex and competitive.  To succeed, you have to be the best, which means having the highest quality and lowest cost.  Whatever your price point, you must have the best quality and lowest price.  To be the best, you have to concentrate on one thing.  You can’t be all things to all people and be the best. 

A generation ago, IBM used to make every part of their computer.  Now Intel makes the chips, Microsoft makes the software, and someone else makes the modems, hard drives, monitors, etc.  IBM even outsources their call center.  Because IBM has all these companies supplying goods and services cheaper and better than they could do it themselves, they can make a better computer at a lower cost.  This is called a ‘fracturing’ of business.  When one company can make a better product by relying on others to perform functions the business used to do itself, it creates a complex pyramid of companies that serve and support each other.

This fracturing of American business is now in its second generation.  The companies who supply IBM are now doing the same thing- outsourcing many of their core services and production process.  As a result, they can make cheaper, better products.  Over time, this pyramid continues to get bigger and bigger.  Just when you think it can’t fracture again, it does.  Even very small businesses can have a large pyramid of corporate entities that perform many of its important functions.  One aspect of this trend is that companies end up with fewer employees and more independent contractors.

This trend has also created two new words in business: integrator and complementor.  At the top of the pyramid, IBM is the integrator.  As you go down the pyramid, Microsoft, Intel and the other companies that support IBM are the complementors.  However, each of the complementors is itself an integrator for the complementors underneath it.  This has several implications, the first of which is that we are now getting false readings on the economy.  People who used to be employees are now independent contractors launching their own businesses.  There are many people working whose work is not listed as a job.  As a result, the economy is perking along better than the numbers are telling us.

Outsourcing also confused the numbers.  Suppose a company like General Motors decides to outsource all its employee cafeteria functions to Marriott (which it did).  It lays off hundreds of cafeteria workers, who then get hired right back by Marriott.  The only thing that has changed is that these people work for Marriott rather than GM.  Yet, the headlines will scream that America has lost more manufacturing jobs.  All that really happened is that these workers are now reclassified as service workers.  So the old way of counting jobs contributes to false economic readings.   As yet, we haven’t figured out how to make the numbers catch up with the changing realities of the business world.

Another implication of this massive restructuring is that because companies are getting rid of units and people that used to work for them, the entity is smaller.  As the companies+ get smaller and more efficient, revenues are going down but profits are going up.  As a result, the old notion that ‘revenues are up and we’re doing great’ isn’t always the case anymore.  Companies are getting smaller but are becoming more efficient and profitable in the process.

Implications Of The Four Transformations

1. The War in Iraq

In some ways, the war is going very well.  Afghanistan and Iraq have the beginnings of a modern government, which is a huge step forward.  The Saudis are starting to talk about some good things, while Egypt and Lebanon are beginning to move in a good direction. 

A series of revolutions have taken place in countries like Ukraine and Georgia.  There will be more of these revolutions for an interesting reason.  In every revolution, there comes a point where the dictator turns to the general and says, ‘Fire into the crowd.’  If the general fires into the crowd, it stops the revolution.  If the general says ‘No,’ the revolution is over.  Increasingly, the generals are saying ‘No’ because their kids are in the crowd.

Thanks to TV and the Internet, the average 18-year old outside the U.S. is very savvy about what is going on in the world, especially in terms of popular culture.  There is a huge global consciousness, and young people around the world want to be a part of it.  It is increasingly apparent to them that the miserable government where they live is the only thing standing in their way.  More and more, it is the well-educated kids, the children of the generals and the elite, who are leading the revolutions.

At the same time, not all is well with the war.  The level of violence in Iraq is much worse and doesn’t appear to be improving.  It’s possible that we’re asking too much of Islam all at one time.  We’re trying to jolt them from the 7th century to the 21st century all at once, which may be further than they can go.  They might make it and they might not.  Nobody knows for sure.  The point is, we don’t know how the war will turn out.  Anyone who says they know is just guessing.

The real place to watch is Iran.  If they actually obtain nuclear weapons it will be a terrible situation.  There are two ways to deal with it.  The first is a military strike, which will be very difficult.  The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear development facilities and put them underground.  The U.S. has nuclear weapons that can go under the earth and take out those facilities, but we don’t want to do that. The other way is to separate the radical mullahs from the government, which is the most likely course of action.

Seventy percent of the Iranian population is under 30.  They are Moslem but not Arab.  They are mostly pro-Western.  Many experts think the U.S. should have dealt with Iran before going to war with Iraq.  The problem isn’t so much the weapons, it’s the people who control them.  If Iran has a moderate government, the weapons become less of a concern.

We don’t know if we will win the war in Iraq.  We could lose or win.  What we’re looking for is any indicator that Islam is moving into the 21st century and stabilizing.

2.  China

It may be that pushing 500 million people from farms and villages into cities is too much too soon.  Although it gets almost no publicity, China is experiencing hundreds of demonstrations around the country, which is unprecedented. These are not students in Tiananmen Square.  These are average citizens who are angry with the government for building chemical plants and polluting the water they drink and the air they breathe. 

The Chinese are a smart and industrious people.  They may be able to pull it off and become a very successful economic and military superpower.  If so, we will have to learn to live with it.  If they want to share the responsibility of keeping the world’s oil lanes open, that’s a good thing.  They currently have eight new nuclear electric power generators under way and 45 on the books to build.  Soon, they will leave the U.S. way behind in their ability to generate nuclear power.

What can go wrong with China?  For one, you can’t move 550 million people into the cities without major problems.   Two, China really wants Taiwan- not so much for economic reasons, they just want it.  The Chinese know that their system of communism can’t survive much longer in the 21st century.  The last thing they want to do before they morph into some sort of more capitalistic government is to take over Taiwan. 

We may wake up one morning and find they have launched an attack on Taiwan.  If so, it will be a mess, both economically and militarily.  The U.S. has committed to the military defense of Taiwan.  If China attacks Taiwan, will we really go to war against them?  If the Chinese generals believe the answer is no, they may attack.  If we don’t defend Taiwan, every treaty the U.S. has will be worthless.  Hopefully, China won’t do anything stupid.

3.  Demographics

Europe and Japan are dying because their populations are aging and shrinking.  These trends can be reversed if the young people start breeding.  However, the birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around.  No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around.  Some countries are beginning to offer incentives for people to have bigger families.  For example, Italy is offering tax breaks for having children.  However, it’s a lifestyle issue versus a tiny amount of money.  Europeans aren’t willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children. 

In general, everyone in Europe just wants it to last a while longer.  Europeans have a real talent for living.  They don’t want to work very hard.  The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans.  They don’t want to work and they don’t want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies. 

The summer after 9/11, France lost 15,000 people in a heat wave.  In August, the country basically shuts down when everyone goes on vacation.  That year, a severe heat wave struck and 15,000 elderly people living in nursing homes and hospitals died.  Their children didn’t even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies.   Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them. 
This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn’t trigger any change in French society.  When birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young.  Under those circumstances, keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option.  That’s why euthanasia is becoming so popular in most European countries.  The only country that doesn’t permit (and even encourage) euthanasia is Germany, because of all the baggage from World War II.

The European economy is beginning to fracture.  The Euro is down.  Countries like Italy are starting to talk about pulling out of the European Union because it is killing them.  When things get bad economically in Europe, they tend to get very nasty politically.  The canary in the mine is anti-Semitism.  When it goes up, it means trouble is coming.  Current levels of anti-Semitism are higher than ever.  Germany won’t launch another war, but Europe will likely get shabbier, more dangerous and less pleasant to live in.

Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 and has no intention of bringing in immigrants.  By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be 70 years old.  Property values in Japan have dropped every year for the past 14 years.  The country is simply shutting down. 

In the U.S. we also have an aging population.  Boomers are starting to retire at a massive rate.  These retirements will have several major impacts:
- Possible massive sell-off of large four-bedroom houses and a movement to condos.

- An enormous drain on the treasury.  Boomers vote, and they want their benefits, even if it means putting a crushing tax burden on their kids to get them.  Social Security will be a huge problem.  As this generation ages, it will start to drain the system.  We are the only country in the world where there are no age limits on medical procedures.

- An enormous drain on the health care system.  This will also increase the tax burden on the young, which will cause them to delay marriage and having families, which will drive down the birth rate even further.

Although scary, these demographics also present enormous opportunities for products and services tailored to aging populations.  There will be tremendous demand for caring for older people, especially those who don’t need nursing homes but need some level of care.  Some people will have a business where they take care of three or four people in their homes.  The demand for that type of service and for products to physically care for aging people will be huge.
Make sure the demographics of your business are attuned to where the action is.  For example, you don’t want to be a baby food company in Europe or Japan.  Demographics are much underrated as an indicator of where the opportunities are.  Businesses need customers.  Go where the customers are.

4.  Restructuring of American Business

The restructuring of American business means we are coming to the end of the age of the employer and employee.  With all this fracturing of businesses into different and smaller units, employers can’t guarantee jobs anymore because they don’t know what their companies will look like next year.  Everyone is on their way to becoming an independent contractor.  The new workforce contract will be, ‘Show up at the my office five days a week and do what I want you to do, but you handle your own insurance, benefits, health care and everything else.’

Husbands and wives are becoming economic units.  They take different jobs and work different shifts depending on where they are in their careers and families.  They make tradeoffs to put together a compensation package to take care of the family.  This used to happen only with highly educated professionals with high incomes.  Now it is happening at the level of the factory floor worker.  Couples at all levels are designing their compensation packages based on their individual needs.  The only way this can work is if everything is portable and flexible, which requires a huge shift in the American economy.
The U.S. is in the process of building the world’s first 21st century model economy.  The only other countries doing this are U.K. and Australia.  The model is fast, flexible, highly productive and unstable in that it is always fracturing and re-fracturing.  This will increase the economic gap between the U.S. and everybody else, especially Europe and Japan .

At the same time, the military gap is increasing.  Other than China, we are the only country that is continuing to put money into their military.  Plus, we are the only military getting on-the-ground military experience through our war in Iraq.  We know which high-tech weapons are working and which ones aren’t.  There is almost no one who can take us on economically or militarily.  There has never been a superpower in this position before.

On the one hand, this makes the U.S. a magnet for bright and ambitious people.  It also makes us a target.  We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture.  There is no better place in the world to be in business and raise children.  The U.S. is by far the best place to have an idea, form a business and put it into the marketplace.  We take it for granted, but it isn’t as available in other countries of the world. 

Ultimately, it’s an issue of culture.  The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our culture.  If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the Europeans.  The culture war is the whole ballgame.  If we lose it, there isn’t another America to pull us out.
 ——————————

About Herbert Meyer

Herbert Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council.  In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers.  Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Unions collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community’s highest honor.  Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he is alsothe author of several books.

Peggy Speaks

One of my favorite writers, Peggy Noonan, weighs in on the Virginia Tech horror:

“With all the therapy in our great therapized nation, with all our devotion to emotions and feelings, one senses we are becoming a colder culture, and a colder country. We purport to be compassionate–we must respect Mr. Cho’s privacy rights and personal autonomy–but of course it is cold not to have protected others from him. It is cold not to have protected him from himself.”

Definitely a must read.

The Trigger That’s In the Brain – Bennett on Hannity & Colmes

This was a great commentary by Dr. Bill Bennett on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes regarding the Virginia Tech killer and gun control. Please take a moment to watch.

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Framing the Debate.

There was a lot of uncertainty for conservatives in the wake of the November ‘06 elections. Several Arizona political blogs came of age during that election. One of them, Arizona 8th, focused on the Eighth Congressional District in Southern Arizona. It was not apparent in which direction the blog would head after the Republican defeat last year.

Since November they have added some excellent guest commentators in addition to the two brilliant writers. Their work lately has been excellent and this latest piece is just great.

Our hats go off to Arizona 8th and with writers like these on the job we look forward to the next race for the Arizona 8th District

No More Toleration!

Trench Coat MafiaGoth

It’s time for me to vent and I’m sure there’s a number of you who will do the same.

I am disgusted with all the Columbine copy-cats.

With tomorrow being the anniversary of the Columbine School Massacre and the recent horror in Virginia, I like many, are very angry. But what makes this tragedy all the more tangible and personal is when our local schools receive vandalism, bomb scares and death threats.

In this day and age, let’s call it what it is: domestic terrorism.

Imagine when your child comes home terrified that something bad is going to happen to them and their friends. That’s not having a childhood.

Tonight at my PTC meeting, I learned that a handful of schools in my neighborhood have received threats of violence against them. One student at Shepherd Jr. High was arrested after threatening to come back to school and shoot other students. He won’t be coming back to school. 

On the drive home tonight, I learned that a Tempe high school, Corona, had a bomb threat called in which police discovered was nothing more than a school project (story).

Millenium High School officials discovered a threatening note in one of the bathrooms (story).

Across the country schools are on high alert watching for the worst human behavior – most of it by youth. And they should take every threat seriously. I’m sure everyone at Virginia Tech wishes they had done so.

As I mentioned, many of these threats are coming from students, some within the very schools they attend. I will even go as far as say that the trenchcoat-wearing, black makeup, macabre-obsessed, dark personality, Goth sub-culture of students is a breeding ground for this type of behavior. If ever there was a time to profile and watch for threatening individuals, why not now?

I don’t know what the best solution is and I certainly don’t advocate slapping some Goth upside the head, but I do believe that our society should exercise a little more social stigmatization on what is unacceptable behavior especially before it boils over into violence.

I for one, won’t be tolerating it any more.

AZGOP Press Release – April 19, 2007 – Lead or Get Out of the Way!

For Immediate Release – April 19, 2007
Contact: Brett Mecum – bmecum@azgop.org
Phone: 602.957.7770
www.azgop.org 

AZGOP CHIEF TO REID: LEAD OR GET OUT OF THE WAY: Senate Democrat Leader remarks out of line

PHOENIX, AZ – Randy Pullen, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party chided Democrat Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) for stating that the war in Iraq “is lost” earlier today.

“In a time when all Americans should be united in their support of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and national guardsmen who are serving honorably overseas, it seems that Senator Reid would rather play politics with their lives, embolden the terrorists and insurgents, and demoralize our military,” said Pullen.  “Senator, if you’re not going to lead, then get out of the way.  If you’re not going to help defeat the terrorists, step aside.  If you’re not going stand with our soldiers, you have no business in Congress because in a war against terror, there can be no defeat and there can be no surrender.”

Pullen continued, “The Democrats have had nearly four months to show some real leadership, but since they took power, they have advocated a surrender strategy in Iraq, supported the largest tax increase in American history, and spent pork like it was going out of style. This is not the leadership the American people deserve or expect and Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy ought to be ashamed.”

“We are looking towards 2008 when we can elect more competent, more responsible, and more mature leaders in Congress,” concluded Pullen.

Romney Press Release – April 19, 2007

Representative Mark Anderson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 19, 2007
CONTACT: Kevin Madden
PHONE: (857) 288-6390
 
STATE REPRESENTATIVE MARK ANDERSON TO CO-CHAIR GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY’S ARIZONA CAMPAIGN
 
Boston, MA Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Arizona State Representative Mark Anderson will Co-Chair his campaign in Arizona.  Representative Anderson will work closely with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, State Senator Chuck Gray and Governor Romney’s Finance Committee to continue to expand the Governor’s base of support in the Grand Canyon State.  Sheriff Arpaio is serving as Governor Romney’s Honorary Chairman for Arizona while Senator Gray is serving as Chair.
 
Governor Romney’s Arizona campaign also announced that it had eclipsed state fundraising goals and raised $697,082 in total receipts for the first fundraising quarter. 
 
“For many years, Mark Anderson has been a faithful and effective voice for conservative values in the Arizona State Legislature,” said Governor Romney.  “I am pleased that he has decided to join my growing campaign and look forward to working with him as we add to our strength in Arizona and across the nation.”
 
With today’s announcement, Representative Anderson said, “Governor Romney is an impressive leader with a proven track record of accomplishment.  On national defense, economic competitiveness and the important moral matters of our day, Governor Romney has the vision and the conservative principles needed to guide America forward.”
 
Background On Representative Mark Anderson:
 
Representative Anderson Is A Leading Conservative In The Arizona House Of Representatives.  First elected in 1994, Anderson represents western Mesa .  He currently chairs the K-12 Education Committee and is on the Appropriations and Human Services Committees.  During his legislative career he has sponsored bills to lower recidivism and supported efforts to expand abstinence education, counseling and mentoring for young fathers, and a program that encourages churches to assist in the placement of foster children in their communities.