Hat tip to Harry Mitchell Watch for putting up the latest political ad by conservative Republican, David Schweikert. This ad signifies that the 2010 General Election ad campaign is officially off to a start. Watch as Harry Mitchell runs from a citizen reporter wanting to know if he will follow through with his opposition to the Pelosi-Obama healthcare bill. Harry runs off and as we know, broke his promise and voted for it.
Phoenix–Like countless enterprising American immigrants before her, Cindy Vong came up with an inspired business idea.
Ms. Vong, a licensed nail technician who owns LaVie Nail Salon in Gilbert, last year opened a second business called Spa Fish Therapy. The therapy, which is popular in many Asian countries and in other states, uses small Garra Rufa fish imported from China. The fish nibble on the customers’ feet, removing dead skin and providing a relaxing experience in a safe, sanitary environment. Clients paid $30 to plunge their feet into a clean tank filled with fish.
Everything was going swimmingly until an inspection by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology. The Board, which is comprised primarily of members of the profession, decided that the fish were performing pedicures and thus subject to the Board’s regulatory control. Because fish cannot be sterilized, the Board ordered Spa Fish to close, which cost Ms. Vong a substantial financial investment and lost business, leading her to lay off three employees.
The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional litigation today filed a lawsuit against the cosmetology board, charging that the order exceeds the Board’s jurisdiction and violates Ms. Vong’s freedom of enterprise under the state and federal constitutions.
“The Board knows nothing about spa fish therapy, so its reaction is to shut it down,” declared lead attorney Clint Bolick. “The Board’s action is more about protecting cosmetologists from competition than it is about protecting consumers against anything except wet feet and smooth skin.”
“For the couple of months I was allowed to perform the treatment it was very popular” Cindy Vong recounts. “People came from all over, other states, Scottsdale, Tucson. All small businesses should have the freedom to step outside the box and be creative.”
“Some people will view this as a fishy lawsuit,” Mr. Bolick added. “But it affects the economic liberty of every American. Too many small businesses have been destroyed by overzealous regulation. If we have anything to do with it, Cindy Vong’s Spa Fish will not be one of them.”
For more information on Vong v. Sansom and other Goldwater Institute lawsuits visit www.goldwaterinstitute.org/litigation. The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.
by Mark Flatten
The operators of Tucson International Airport have scrapped the use of racial preferences in awarding concession contracts. That is in sharp contrast to efforts by the City of Phoenix to preserve race-based programs at Sky Harbor International Airport.
The Goldwater Institute reported in October that the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) program at Sky Harbor has allowed lucrative airport concession leases to go to a small group of political insiders. The owners of companies deemed “disadvantaged” are often little more than a name on the lease, brought in to meet requirements for participation by minority and woman-owned businesses that are set by Sky Harbor officials.
Among the biggest beneficiaries of the program at Sky Harbor is Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, owner of a DBE-certified business which is part owner of a Chili’s restaurant franchise in Terminal 4.
Airport operators in both Phoenix and Tucson suspended their use of “race-conscious” methods after a 2005 federal court ruling required detailed disparity studies to justify using race as a factor in awarding concession contracts. If airport operators cannot meet their goals through race-neutral means, they can resort to “race-conscious” preferences based on race and gender, if they can prove those methods are necessary to offset the effects of discrimination.
Even though Tucson did not attempt to preserve the preference program it had been using before the court ruling, it still has a goal that 16 percent of airport concession sales will be attributed to firms owned by minorities and women. But airport operators will achieve that goal without resorting to preferences that take race or gender into account, according to Paula Winn, spokeswoman for the airport authority.
Phoenix, on the other hand, has gone to great expense to justify the preference program at Sky Harbor. Phoenix officials commissioned a disparity study in 2007 that to-date has cost taxpayers more than $600,000. The study results are due in December. While the study has been underway, Phoenix extended leases issued while race and gender preferences were in effect.
Regardless of the study results, on the 2010 election ballot Arizona voters will have their say in whether or not government offices can use race and gender preferences in contracting.
Mark Flatten is an investigative reporter for the Goldwater Institute.
My apologies for missing this announcement and I even live in Chuck’s district!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving Day
(Mesa, Arizona) Arizona State Senator Chuck Gray announced today that he will not seek re-election to the State Senate in 2010.
Thanking God, family and his many supporters, Gray expressed his feelings saying, “I am not a career politician. I am a husband and father who served his state and community and is now preparing to return to private life for a time.”
Senator Gray has served almost 18 of the last 20 years in public service. Leaving the family construction business at the age of 32, Gray served as a Mesa police officer from 1990 to 2000. In 2002 he was elected and in 2004, re-elected to the Arizona House of Representatives. Gray was appointed to fulfill Senator Marilyn Jarrett’s term in the Senate at her passing. Gray was then elected to the Senate in 2006 and re-elected in 2008.
Gray praised his parents for instilling in him a deep reverence for the Constitution and the principles of freedom. He then commented, “From serving as a freshman in the House of Representatives to serving as Majority Leader in the Senate, I hope that I may have repaid in some small way the debt I owe to those who sacrificed so much to establish this free nation.”
Gray concluded, “In consultation with my wife and others and after much prayer and lengthy consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for re-election to the Arizona Senate this fall.”
“To those who second guess this decision, I simply say; America has always cherished the values of God, country and family. I hold those same values. While I will spend more time focusing on God and family, I will still be involved in country. I am not through with politics. You will see me in the future.”
“Business opportunities have now presented themselves that cannot be ignored. I owe it to my family to provide for them the fulfillment of the American dream that we all hope for. I have thoroughly enjoyed these many years in public service and my family has been supportive and patient. Now is the time to act on behalf of my family and our goals for the future. But, I will always champion the cause of freedom.”
“The voters have exhibited great trust and faith in me. It has been an honor and a privilege of the highest magnitude. To the citizens who elected me; Thank you! You are the best boss ever. I will fulfill my term of office and continue to fight to secure the blessings of liberty that make this nation great and good. May God continue to bless Arizona and this nation.”
And here’s what the Arizona Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl is reporting:
Crandall exploring for seat Gray is leaving
Rep. Rich Crandall is likely to contend for the state Senate seat from east Mesa that Chuck Gray is vacating.
Crandall announced a Senate exploratory committee, noting that Gray does not intend to seek re-election. Gray, R-Mesa, was not immediately available for comment. It’s a bit of a surprise that Gray is not seeking another Senate term — he has a campaign committee in place and last amended his report a year ago, according to records in the Secretary of State’s office.
As Senate majority leader, Gray has had a rocky year in the state Senate (who hasn’t?) and has not gelled well with the reconfigured leadership team.
Gray is in his second and a half term in the Senate; he moved to the upper chamber from the House in 2006, filling the vacancy created by Sen. Marilyn Jarrett’s death.
Crandall is in his second term in the House and chairs the House Education Committee. A move to the Senate is tempting, especially since the Senate Education Committee chairmanship will be open after 2010, as current chairman John Huppenthal is term-limited.
Hmmmm… This is so very tempting…
Our Nation Depends On It
by State Senator Russell Pearce
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! As author of Proposition 200; “Arizona Taxpayers and Citizens Protection Act,” that passed by over 1 million voters in 2004. It was intended to do three things.
(Thanks to Attorney General Goddard and Former Governor Napolitano the 3rd provision was not implemented. It was a back door veto of the people’s vote.)
Proof of citizenship to register to vote: The U.S. Constitution established more than 200 years ago that only citizens may vote. The initiative requires everyone equally to prove that eligibility as does Title 7, Section 12 of the Arizona Constitution. Thanks to Proposition 200, ACORN’s efforts of voter fraud were thwarted here in Arizona.
Photo I.D. When voting: Photo I.D. Is required to cash a check, apply for welfare, sign a lease, or get a rental card at a video store.
Proof of eligibility to receive non-federal mandated public benefits: The initiative would require everyone to provide proof of eligibility equally. The Urban Institute studied this extensively in 1994, the University of Arizona in 2001, and estimated such costs to vary widely in the tens of millions of dollars.
To make matters worse, we have a financial crisis in Arizona and are cutting services to citizens and yet the cities are demanding that illegal aliens receive taxpayer benefits.
There is currently a battle raging in this country that will determine whether our nation enforces its immigration laws and secures its borders or becomes victim of its enemies. We are a Nation built upon the “Rule of Law” and either we stand up for the principles that our Founding Fathers gave us to ensure lasting Liberty, enshrined in a Constitution that protects those liberties or we destroy all that is sacred and the end result will be a nation who commits suicide. Illegal immigration is the Trojan Horse and we must secure our borders and enforces our laws.
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”. This prophetic speech in that Henry was warning his countrymen that if they were not prepared to fight for their liberty, the only alternative was to live in “chains and slavery.”
THE TIME HAS COME TO FIGHT. FIGHT TO KEEP GOD IN THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. FIGHT TO KEEP GOD IN OUR NATIONAL MOTTO. FIGHT TO KEEP THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ON PUBLIC DISPLAY. FIGHT TO RETURN PRAYER TO THE CLASSROOMS. FIGHT AGAINST ABORTION, FIGHT AGAINST PORNOGRAPHY, FIGHT TO SECURE OUR BORDERS, FIGHT TO PRESERVE THE RULE OF LAW, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT, AND (IN THE WORDS OF WINSTON CHURCHILL) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!
AHCCCS has exploded to $5 billion annually, more people enrolled in AHCCCS than in K through 12!!! Hospitals in trouble financially (in 2003, 77 border hospitals filed bankruptcy), crime impact (majority of violent crime involves illegal aliens), neighborhoods in trouble, drug trafficking, home invasions, our election process violated, and I can go on.
We must have responsible policies to protect our citizens. That is our job. The average taxpayer bears the burden of our bloated welfare system. It jeopardizes the integrity of our elections. Our number one responsibility is to protect the rights and liberties of the Citizens of this great Republic.
As long as we have a welfare state, in consideration of the fact of Federal abdication of their responsibility to protect our borders, we (Arizona) must necessarily resort to ‘self-help’, and let the shirkers and the cowards be darned.
We are a nation of immigrants, but immigrants originally settled every nation in the world; this cliché confuses facts with wisdom. When the Statue of Liberty was erected in 1886, there were less than 65 million Americans. We did not have the Bloated Welfare system we have today. We did not have those coming to America demanding “free” stuff as we do today. We did not have “Public” education at a huge cost to taxpayers that we have today.
It is said that immigration is important because there are “jobs that Americans won’t do.” This probably never was true, but this cliché has now become a job-destroying and wage-lowering philosophy where employers use both unskilled and “increasingly) skilled immigrants to hold down wages and obtain cheap labor at the expense of American workers and the “left” benefits from the increased political base by luring them here and allowing/encouraging them to get addicted to government programs.
Why should “Illegal Aliens” have the right to “Free” taxpayer/citizen benefits?
Impact of Illegal Immigration:
Illegal immigrants cost American taxpayers $68 Billion annually in federal programs in 2002. Studies estimate that amnesty would increase that three fold.
$311 Billion in uncollected taxes (Barron’s study)
$200 Billion annually in lost American wages. Native-born American men lost an average of $1700 in wages in 2000 due to US immigration policy (Harvard University)
FAIR study (Federation for American Immigration Reform):
This is the 6th largest population of illegals in the country and 222% higher than the 1990 figure and according to Time Magazine (not a conservative publication) over 3 million will cross illegally through the Arizona border this next year alone!!!
Arizona hospitals spend $150 annually on illegals’ care. Some rural hospitals have had to downscale or close (2003 77 border hospitals filed for bankruptcy)
Health department in Cochise spends 1/3 of its budget on care for illegals
Maricopa County Hospital loses over $2 million weekly on uncompensated care (largely due to illegal aliens).
Feds owe $25 million in uncompensated SCAAP costs just in Maricopa County, (1/3 of our federal prisons are illegal aliens)
Arizona spends $1 billion annually to educate illegal immigrant students
Over half of all AHCCCS births are from illegal mothers 1/3 of children in Arizona have immigrant parents
Other problems include: congested freeways, damage to environment from trash and unwanted trails, crowded housing, crime and poverty.
By some estimates 60% to 80% of the violent crime in Arizona is involving illegal aliens; i.e. Homicides, drug trafficking, home invasions, car jackings, gang activity, etc.
The Zogby, Roper, Lou Dobbs and Pew polls show over 80% of Americans do not want amnesty given to illegals. They want enforcement.
IN VIOLATION OF THEIR OATH OF OFFICE
This year, over three million illegal aliens crossed over our borders against the laws set forth in our Constitution and Federal immigration mandates. These laws are specific. They demand arrest and deportation for anyone within the United States of America without lawful entry. For anyone hiring an illegal alien, these laws provide fines of $10,000.00 per illegal hired and up to five years in prison.
Additionally, our elected officials from mayors to our President work against American citizens in what history will report as the single greatest “invasion-without-guns” takeover of a nation in history. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion.” Article IV Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.
“A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he: assists an illegal alien she/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or encourages that illegal alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.” Federal Law- Section 8 USC 1324. If you suffered a horde of people overrunning your home or community, you would call the cops and have them arrested. Not so with illegal aliens! By lack of law enforcement, illegals recognize the open invitation to illegal entry. The benefits of lawbreaking exceed their wildest dreams.
Undocumented Immigrant is a euphemism that suggests the problem with immigrants is the lack of documentation. ACTUALLY, they are citizenship-deficient; in the same way that a residential burglar is key deficit.
I want to be a city manager. I know nothing about the job or what it entails. And who cares? All I know is want to have get one of these sweet severance packages that city mangers receive when they get kicked to the curb. Like this one.
Firing City Manager John Little may have brought some political peace to Scottsdale City Hall, but terminating his contract came with a price. Little’s employment contract granted him a severance package worth six months of his total compensation, which included wages, vacation time and other benefits. The cost of Little’s severance comes to more than $120,000.
Here is the breakdown of Big John Little’s package:
- Six months’ wages: $95,004
- Six months’ vacation accrual payoff: $10,962
- Six months’ auto allowance: $3,600
- Six months’ deferred compensation: $11,400.48
- Six months’ medical, dental and life insurance coverage: $2,411.64
- TOTAL $123,378.12
Are you PO’d yet? No? the story gets better.
It is cheaper than what it cost when then-City Manager Jan Dolan left in early 2008. Dolan received $160,000 as part of her voluntary separation agreement. Little’s separation is not the first time this year the city paid to get rid of a charter officer. It cost Scottsdale $105,200 to pay off former City Attorney Deborah Robberson’s contract.
Down the road in Tucson, we have a similar story to tell. When Tucson’s City Council fired city manager Mike Hein last year, he too received a six month severance package.
The City Council voted 4-3 this afternoon to remove City Manager Mike Hein from office. The vote came after an approximately 20-minute, closed-door meeting to conduct his annual performance evaluation. The motion was approved with no public discussion. Hein, who was paid more than $200,000 annually, left the meeting immediately following the vote saying he had no comment. His employment contract guarantees him six months severance pay.
Still not mad? OK try this out. Time to pour salt in the wound. They hired this guy back!
Former Tucson City Manager Mike Hein has been hired to head up the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Hein will make $110,000 a year in the new position.
Hein, Tucson’s city manager since April 2005, lost the job in April when the City Council voted 4-3 to fire him. He received six months’ severance pay. He was arrested in September in Oro Valley on a charge of DUI.
So I want to be a city manager. It obviously does not matter to anyone in the state how you perform. They are going to reward you handsomely, no matter what. Nice work if you can get it.
Arizona’s budget situation has become national news. The following article is excerpted from The Los Angeles Times:
Arizona struggles with budget crisis
The Legislature faces a nearly $2-billion deficit, which rises to $3 billion next year. It’s one of 35 states with ongoing budget problems, and experts say its plight is second only to California’s.
Arizona Republican state Sen. John Huppenthal, standing, talks with Senate President Bob Burns during the Legislature’s fourth special session in four months. (Ross Franklin / Associated Press / November 19, 2009)
By Nicholas Riccardi
November 27, 2009
Reporting from Phoenix - When the Arizona State Senate broke into disarray last week during its fourth special session in four months to deal with this state’s seemingly perpetual budget crisis, Senate President Robert “Bob” Burns told his colleagues: “It amazes me we’re having this much trouble. This is the easy part.”
It took until Monday for the GOP-controlled Legislature to pass $300 million in spending cuts, ones they had already approved in June but which were vetoed by the state’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer.
Even so, Republican lawmakers still argued among themselves over how to close what is a relatively small part of the state’s deficit. Looming on the horizon is a nearly $2-billion gap that remains in this year’s $10-billion budget. Next year the deficit rises to $3 billion.
In percentage terms, Arizona’s deficit is nearly as big as California’s, and although the state may lack a movie-star governor, there has been no lack of drama in Phoenix for several months.
The state has put its Capitol buildings on the block to raise money. It is trying to privatize its prisons, and some legislators are talking about a four-day school week. This month, the Pew Center on the States ranked Arizona as having the second-worst budget crisis in the nation, just behind California.
“There are actions they can take, but none of them are easy or pleasant,” said Dana Naimark, president of the Children’s Action Alliance, a local group fighting budget cuts.
Noting that legislators have already cut more than $500 million since February, she worried that the state is already reeling from reduced services. “It’s very disturbing, going backwards on so many fronts,” she said.
Most states need to have budgets in place each July 1, when the fiscal year begins. But with the economy in the tank, many states are watching new deficits pop up as tax receipts plunge and more and more people demand social services to alleviate their own financial woes.
Arizona and California — which still faces a deficit of $20 billion — are only two of the most extreme examples. Thirty-five states are still scrambling to balance their books for the current fiscal year.
“We’re seeing this in several states across the country because the revenues continue to drop faster than projected,” said Sue Urahn, managing director of the Pew center.
Arizona’s revenues are 16% lower than projections made as recently as this summer. Unlike California, the state grew rapidly this decade. Legislators, awash in tax money, cut taxes and expanded government.
But that growth was fueled by booming real estate. Now Arizona has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, and its economy has ground to a halt.
For months, Brewer battled with members of her party, arguing that an emergency tax hike was needed to save vital programs. But conservative Republicans refused to raise taxes, saying it would devastate Arizona’s already weak economy.
This summer Brewer vetoed cuts in education and social services, insisting that the Legislature live up to a deal to place a penny sales tax hike on the November ballot. But the referral to the ballot failed by one vote, and Brewer signed cuts into law this week.
On Monday, Brewer and GOP legislative leaders are scheduled to meet to discuss how to get a possible tax increase on a future ballot. Kim Sabow, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the delay has been because “every single Democrat and a handful of GOP extremists have prevented solutions from passing — choosing only to vote ‘no’ instead of being responsible for participating in solutions that have a chance of passing.”
The budget battle has so far been an all-Republican affair. The GOP holds commanding majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Democrats, who have voted against every major budget bill, complain that Brewer would not negotiate with them until days before the July 1 budget deadline.
“She has been unwilling to work with the Democrats to get her proposal through,” said David Lujan, minority leader of the House of Representatives. “The problem’s so big we can’t cut our way out of the crisis. We have to raise revenue.”
Steve Pierce, majority Senate whip, said the state may be able to come up with ways to raise money — by cutting taxes. He said that cuts in business taxes may raise tax revenues…
Pierce said Arizona would have to find a new way to govern itself. “We’re going to have to redo government here,” he said. “There are good programs that were created in the past that we just can’t afford anymore.”
He floated the idea of cutting both the government workweek and the public school week to four days, and of violating the minimum funding levels the state needs to meet in K-12 education and healthcare to qualify for stimulus funds.
Burns, the Senate president, said that lawmakers would be unable to take decisive action until voters gave them direction. “We need to let the voters tell the Legislature what is your choice,” he said. “Do you want taxes or what some people call ‘draconian cuts?’ ”
Of course, putting that question on the ballot would require another special session of the Legislature, possibly as soon as December.
“This year, it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to end,” Burns said. “It just keeps going.”
Politics on the Rocks is proud to announce our annual Christmas Party event on Thursday, December 3rd 6:00 PM at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona. We look forward to seeing everyone at our final event of 2009. The Montelucia is always in the Christmas spirit because of the atmosphere, people, and Christmas lights all around.
We would like to thank everyone for making Politics on the Rocks the largest and fastest growing Republican & Conservative networking group in Arizona and in the Southwest. Please come celebrate this accomplishment with us on December 3rd at the “Kasbah” bar located within the Intercontinental Monteclucia Resort. Bring a friend, date, work colleague, or fellow Republican/Conservative to “Rock the Kasbah.”
In 2010, we have many national and local politicians scheduled to speak. Please stay tuned each month for details.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa at the “Kasbah” on Thursday, December 3rd 6:00 PM.
Politics on the Rocks Executive Board
PS- Please join Republicanville.com today!
“AMERICA’S TOUGHEST SHERIFF” TO HOST FIRST ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY TO BENEFIT J.D. HAYWORTH ORGANIZATION
The event will also feature a Media Presentation by nationally recognized publicist Kinsey Schofield
Scottsdale, Arizona – Republican Professionals’ free networking event is happening at the classy and edgy SUEDE Lounge Thursday, December 3rd from 6-8pm in Scottsdale with Congressional candidate David Schweikert.
With the 2010 election campaigns in full swing, Republican Professionals is proud to present United States Congressional candidate David Schweikert as this month’s featured guest speaker. Mr. Schweikert is the former Maricopa County Treasurer and former Chair of the State Board of Equalization. Along with those accomplishments, Mr. Schweikert also served two terms in the Arizona State House of Representatives. He holds an MBA from the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business and a B.A. from ASU with a focus in finance and real estate.
Also joining the party will be Kinsey Schofield who is a publicist, writer, event planner. Ms. Schofield specializes in guerrilla marketing and social media. She has worked as a Fashion and entertainment contributor for Arizona’s largest entertainment weekly, AZ Weekly Magazine, and has appeared multiple times on ABC 15’s Sonoran Living, Fox 10 News, E! News, and MTV.
Hosting this exciting event is the popular chic Euro-Asian restaurant and lounge Suede. The event starts at 6pm and given the popularity of past events and the buzz generated by our previous VIP guests, such as John Munger and Kathleen Lewis, Republican Professionals highly encourages you to RSVP early at www.phxrp.com. As always, newcomers are welcome.
Republican Professionals hosts free networking events each month in the Phoenix metropolitan area. For future events or contact information, view the website at www.phxrp.com or contact Ryan Ducharme at firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of Republican Professionals is to increase the participation of Republicans in the political process, further the goals of the Republican Party, and bring Republicans together so that they may network, volunteer, organize and communicate with fellow professionals.
Today we celebrate the 388th anniversary of Thanksgiving – a Holiday that many of us still consider to be an important religious observance in our Republic’s history. It wasn’t until October 6, 1941 that the U.S. Congress officially recognized and established the holiday to be held on the last Thursday in November. (In December of that same year, the Senate had to pass an amendment changing the date to the 4th Thursday of November.)
Regardless of whatever the US Congress decided, Americans across the country have been giving God thanks for a very long time.
Today, despite the secularization of our culture, our country will celebrate this important religious occurrence by spending time with family and friends and by reaching out to others in need.
Today, prayers will be lifted, thanks will be given to God and hopefully, relationships will be renewed and strengthened.
As you gather with those you cherish and those who may test your ability to extend grace, may God bless your time together and may you remember from Whom all blessings come.
On behalf of all the writers here at Sonoran Alliance, we wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
The MSM reporting on this week’s heralded “President Obama’s First State Dinner” is heavy on arugula, sustainable magnolia and curry than political meat.
While YAHOO! News chatters about First Lady Michelle Obama’s “breaking with tradition dress,” Bloomberg reporters Kate Andersen Brower and Nicholas Johnston pen a detailed description:
“They will join a group of American and Indian executives, diplomats, public officials and celebrities who will be honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under heated tents on the White House South Lawn.
Guests will dine on potato and eggplant salad with arugula from the White House garden; roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra, or an alternate choice of green curry prawns served with caramelized salsify, smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aQ_tY1EpS4FE
Between the coconut aged basmati rice and the chickpeas, what should Americans know that occupies the mind of the Indian Prime Minister? After all, it’s a long way to go for dinner, for Singh, it’s literally half way around the globe, so discussions must be involved.
Howard LaFranchi of the Christian Science Monitor relates, “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives at the White House Tuesday wondering if his country remains the US priority under President Obama that it became under President Bush.
The Obama administration thought it had answered that question months ago when it announced that Mr. Singh’s day of meetings would constitute the first state visit of Mr. Obama’s presidency – a distinction meant to convey the importance of the occasion.
But Obama’s week-long trip to Asia that ended last Thursday has India questioning anew the value of a US partnership. In particular, the tenor of Obama’s three days in China was heard by Indians as American acquiescence to rising Chinese power across Asia.” http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1123/p02s01-usfp.html
Americans did not get much sense from the MSM that much transpired apart from Obama’s bowing gaffs, and zero sense that other nations watch every move a US president makes like hawks, and parse every word, and at least one major ally didn’t like what they heard. CNN’s 44th President webpage page, under POLITICS, has this astute political insight:
“The dinner, in a tent set up on the White House South Lawn with a view of the Washington Monument, featured round tables for 10 set in resplendent colors — apple green, ruby, gold — with floral arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and sweet peas in plum, purple and fuchsia. Place settings in fine china from three previous administrations — Eisenhower, Clinton and George W. Bush — were flanked by five pieces of silverware and crystal glasses. Place cards were in script — “The President” and “Mrs. Obama” read two.
A seasonal menu reflecting both American and Indian flavors started with a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion seed vinaigrette, according to the White House.”
One is left wondering if the place cards for the Prime Minister and his wife were in Hindi script or the potentially insensitive, “English script.” Inquiring minds might want to know, if they were not more concerned about nations, conflicts, terror and war.
Mian Ridge writes about what’s on Indians’ minds in the Christian Science Monitor, “But while talks between Mr. Singh and Mr. Obama scheduled for Tuesday are likely to focus on such matters as Afghanistan, climate change, and cooperation on nuclear energy, pundits in India are more interested in the question of where the US’s new friendship with China, as well as its relationship with Pakistan, leaves India.
“We may aspire to a seat at the high table of world power but China is already sitting at the head of the table along with the United States,” wrote journalist Gautam Adhikari in the Times of India Monday. “It has enough IOUs in its pocket to stop anyone from pushing it around. We also are a billion-strong nation, a democracy to boot and growing economically at a still impressive rate given the global conditions. But, realistically speaking, we are a second or perhaps third tier force in the eyes of the United States.
A recent joint statement from Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, which included a line of support for better Indo-Pakistan relations, was regarded in New Delhi as an expression of unwanted interference in a sensitive matter. For some, it raises the worrying specter of Chinese involvement in South Asian diplomacy – and at a time when India’s long running border row with China is especially tense.” http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1123/p06s01-wosc.html
A bit testy. It gets even more interesting though with the Times of India:
“… Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday threw down the gauntlet to Washington, Islamabad and perhaps even Beijing and other world capitals that India would not be budged from pursuing its interests in Afghanistan — primarily of preventing the country from turning toxic under Pakistan’s malignant influence and American uncertainty.
“The road to peace on Afghanistan will be long and hard. But given the high stakes involved, the commitment of the international community must be sustained by firm resolve and unity of purpose.” Singh told Washington’s top policy wonks gathered to hear him at the Center for Foreign Relations, amid a continuing review by President Obama about U.S options in Afghanistan.
The remarks were clearly meant for the US President and his principals who have been bashing heads for several weeks now over next steps in Afghanistan amid charges of dithering on the crucial issue. Singh’s advice ahead of his meeting with Obama on Tuesday — Stay the course; we are going to be there.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Stay-the-course-in-Afghanistan-PM-Manmohan-Singh-urges-US/articleshow/5262957.cms
So, India, which has been invaded by neighbor Pakistan and neighbor China, at great losses of Indian lives and loss of Indian territory, is not comfortable with the Obama Administration’s “reaching-out” to China, and is extremely concerned that any U.S. abandonment of Afghanistan will have a dangerously negative impact on India’s security.
What does CNN’s political reporting reveal on this important diplomatic and geopolitical issue, which reflects an overdue and dragging Obama Administration decision on an Afghan military strategy?
“The event planned by first lady Michelle Obama emphasized eco-friendly themes such as White House-grown herbs and lettuce served to guests and sustainably harvested magnolia branches — from species native to both India and the United States — in arrangements adorning the tent where more than 300 guests wearing tuxedos and gowns were wined, dined and entertained.”
Despite the arugula and traditional Thanksgiving pie and various organically grown vegetables from Michelle Obama’s White House Very Hardy November garden, the special sauces may not have been enough to stave off some serious indigestion that began developing just last week, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor:
“But what has set the Indians on edge now is the wording of a communiqué issued last week by Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the end of their Beijing talks. The two leaders said their countries “are ready to strengthen … cooperation in issues related to South Asia.” They specifically pledged to “support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan.”
That set off an uproar in New Delhi, where even members of Singh’s own party questioned whether a declining superpower was bowing to the “core interests” of another country. Indian officials repeated that India needs no outside involvement in its relationship with Pakistan.
US officials say that the communiqué was not intended to signal a recognition of a supposed Chinese sphere of influence. The State Department’s undersecretary of State for political affairs, William Burns, responded by saying there is “too much reading into statements.”
But Neena Shenai, an adjunct scholar for South Asian issues at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said the statement was “certainly not the way to roll out the red carpet for Prime Minister Singh.” http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1123/p02s01-usfp.html
But, how many Americans are aware of that? Has our media, which is meant to inform the U.S. public, been diligent in alerting Americans to the dismay and most importantly, the CONCERNS of our allies? Bloomberg’s reporters enlighten us:
“The menu is intended to reflect American cuisine with a taste of India and will include lettuce and herbs culled from the White House garden. The guest chef is Marcus Samuelsson of Manhattan’s Aquavit restaurant …First lady Michelle Obama told a group of girls from the White House Leadership and Mentoring Program at the White House today that state dinners “are critical to what we do internationally.”
Really? “Critical to what we do internationally?” Dear Girls, state dinners are luxuries, and can be dispensed with, or can be much more modest for the taxpayer’s pockets than enormous heated tent mega-events with glitzy pop stars to croon along with the fifth course. American soldiers stand at the top of the world, facing the Afghan winter, a bleak, cold, ancient cross-roads of invading armies and rival civilizations, huddled over portable heaters, their rifles slung over their shoulders, stirring boiled water into the plastic pouches of their MREs to bring their desiccated beef stews to some consistency of normal, with one eye and ear always on the alert for the warning movements, cracks of gunfire or shriek of incoming mortar fire – soldiers waiting for reinforcements and a steeling of resolve from the wining and dining civilian leadership in Washington, DC - for these soldiers have seen the enemy up close and know what’s at stake. In the same number of weeks it took to present a sumptuous state dinner for 300 rich and connected guests, a complicatedly elaborate planning as one staffer remarked, critical resources could have been allocated to our soldiers, and much already have been sent on its way.
But despite thousands of words and plenty of video recorded devoted to this week’s state dinner, few syllables in the American media have been devoted to the issue that America waits on, that will have serious and profound implications for many nations, including for the fate of the nation of the man ostensibly honored at that dinner, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but who rated fewer mentions than the food, the entertainment, and the other guests. The American media, focused on “Eco-friendly,” “White House garden” and a Who’s Who list of Hollywood and Chicago politics, is more aflutter at astoundingly empty reporting of the excruciatingly nothing discovery that: “Place cards were in script — “The President” and “Mrs. Obama” read two.”
Time to repeat what had to be found in the Indian media at the Times of India newspaper, as the nation of India prepares to mourn her murdered people at a grim anniversary:
“On the eve of the first anniversary of the Mumbai carnage …“Singh offered similar advice in an earlier address to US and Indian business leaders that the international community needs to remain engaged in Afghanistan and any “premature talk of exit will only embolden the terrorists.”
By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
It is often said that if we don’t study history, we are condemned to repeat it. The Pilgrims of yesterday have a valuable lesson for Americans in today’s health care debate.
Many today do not know that the Pilgrims initially faced continuous famine of their own making. In his history of the colony, the Pilgrims’ long-time governor William Bradford described the crisis and the eventual solution.
The colony initially practiced a form of socialized agriculture in the belief that it put them all “on an equality throughout.” But, this didn’t produce enough food, so the Pilgrims decided to allow “each man to plant corn for his own household.”
This was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been…The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability; and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
Contrast the Pilgrims to today’s leaders in Washington, DC. The Pilgrim leaders chose to fundamentally change direction rather than rely on the collective to meet their needs. Facing the same choice today, President Obama and Congress are choosing the opposite course.
The health care bill voted out of the U.S. House is a case study in government collectivism. Every person would be compelled by government to buy health insurance. Subsidies would be taken from some to pay for others. Employers would be forced to provide health insurance or face harsh financial penalties. All of this would directly interfere with our freedom to make our own health care decisions.
The practice of medicine would also be more highly regulated than it already is. Government would create a National Health Service Corps and a Public Health Workforce Corps. Physicians would be prohibited from owning hospitals–that is like keeping mechanics from owning car repair shops. And medical practice would essentially be dictated by the government through comparative effectiveness research and other controls.
Yes, some might gain a measure of security from increased health care collectivization, but the American people will pay a steep price in terms of a rising deficit, the loss of freedom to make their own health care decisions, and a loss of overall quality and innovation in health care.
When the Pilgrims made individuals instead of the collective responsible for raising food, everybody won. Everybody ate more even as some were able to eat more than others. To have continued as they had, though, would have been disastrous.
The Pilgrims’ famine ended when they recognized the poor incentives they had created and changed them. We have created poor incentives in health care as tax policy and social programs encourage us to rely on others to pay our health bills. Now we are on the path to making incentives worse, not changing them.
We must change federal income tax policy to allow taxpayers to get the same tax deductions that employers get when buying health insurance. We should expand health savings accounts to allow unlimited saving for our own health care. And we should allow unlimited charitable tax-free distributions from those accounts when we choose to help others.
As William Bradford said, “Let none argue that this (failure of collectivism) is due to human failing rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself.” We have the ability to truly address the rising cost of health care in America, but a government-run health system is not it.
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D., is the director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.
Afghanistan is a geographically and geopolitically strategic nation in central Asia. Six countries share its borders: Pakistan, China, Iran and three former Soviet Republics, now independent but heavily Russian-influenced Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. From Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, is only 235 miles away, via the famous Khyber Pass. The capital of Delhi, India is just 624 miles away, closer to Kabul, Afghanistan than Dallas, Texas is to New York City. Pakistan’s road network reaches from Islamabad, along the Indus River Valley, and connects with the ancient Silk Road. China is just a few hours away, bordering both Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Karakorum Mountain Range. Along many of these same roads however, Pakistan’s central government controls just the roadway itself, the areas to the right and left of the tarmac have never been controlled, they have and remain the domain of local Tribal governance.
Afghanistan’s recent history has been one of terrible war and strife. In 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan to prop up the crumbling Soviet puppet-government. American President Carter reacted by boycotting the Soviets through the Olympics and US grain contracts, but President Reagan armed the Afghans to drive the Soviets out. The Soviet Union withdrew, its economy collapsing under the last straw of an expensive and brutal war. The Afghan warlords, seeing a central government power vacuum began a bloody civil war in 1989 vying for dominance. One faction, Islamofascists called the Taliban, by 1992 began asserting dominance with the help of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who’d been searching for a safe haven and base since being booted from his home country of Saudi Arabia and then from Sudan.
Secure in his new home and envisioning the rebirth of the Islamic Caliphate from Spain to China, Bin Laden perceived America as the most serious military threat to his vision, and gave material and planning support to terrorist attacks against America and Americans, such as the Khobar Towers and the USS Cole bombings before the 9/11 attacks. To Bin Laden’s eternal surprise and dismay, America arrived in Afghanistan to fortify the last remnants of the Afghan free resistance, the Northern Alliance, just weeks after 9/11 and Al-Qaeda’s September 9, 2001 brutal assassination of the Northern Resistance’s general, Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir, a killing meant to be the coup de grace against the Northern Alliance’s military capabilities. Backed by the US military, the revitalized Northern Alliance was able to break the Taliban front lines and sent the Taliban into a running retreat, and Afghanistan into a national celebration of victory from years of Taliban despotism.
Today, Afghanistan is sheltered under US military protection as it rebuilds its shattered and eviscerated nation. Deforestation, degraded agriculture, opium trade and a ruined infrastructure hold back a nation that didn’t have much freedom to develop its cities and towns or exploit any of its natural resources over the past forty years. Worse, the remnant Taliban continues to disrupt progress, to wage low level war against the Afghan people and the Afghan government, hoping to destabilize it, hoping to demoralize Americans into quitting. Because of this, no Afghan government for the near future has the means to protect Afghanistan from any foreign aggression.
If the United States leaves, Afghanistan will be completely vulnerable to any one of several dangerous scenarios of invasion: by the Islamofascist Taliban, or an expansionistic communist China, or a radicalized Pakistan or even Russia via the former Soviet states, for Afghanistan has strategic placement for oil pipelines originating in Iran.
But, Iran must be examined closer as the long-recognized source of destabilizing Islamic Revolutionary radicalism in the region. For the first time since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran was bottled up, with American troops in Iraq and American troops in Afghanistan; effectively keeping Iranian mischief-makers trapped at home. Iraq, with more modern and less degraded infrastructure, combined with a well-educated population with a tradition of engineering stretching back to ancient Babylon, is better equipped to take over much of its security, but Afghanistan has never achieved the development of Iraq ,so it gravely lacks in basic self-sufficiency, especially after decades of war and strife. With the presence of US combat troops, both Iraq and Afghanistan have been protected from Iranian invasion. If the US leaves Afghanistan, Iran could easily pour over the border and take control, positioning itself to overthrow the moderate and shaky Pakistan government for their Revolutionary brand of radical regime, which would be an enormously dangerous situation for India. Nuclear war would not be unthinkable if India perceives it is under threat.
The new Caliphate, as understood by wary Hindus in India, would stretch from Iran through Afghanistan, through Pakistan, through India’s northern Kashmir State, run eastwards along the Himalayan Mountain Range to the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh –to the Muslim regions of China. Whoever holds Afghanistan holds the key to the entire region, to the east and to the west. To have that in hand only to throw it away, would waste years of hard-earned gains and would deprive the Afghans of any hope at a future of self-determination. Worse, it hands America’s enemies strategic positioning which can be used against America and her allies.
Acting like any good parent, The State of Arizona has taken away the Tucson City Council’s favorite toy, the Rio Nuevo Project. After years of acting like spoiled brats [and blowing millions of dollars in the process] the City Council now puts the fate of Tucson into the hands of others. Considering the track record of the Tucson City Council, this might actually be a good thing.
Control of Tucson’s downtown redevelopment project was taken away from the City Council with the stroke of the governor’s pen Monday.
The legislative fix to Rio Nuevo’s long-standing financial struggles was part of the budget package that lawmakers approved to nibble away at the looming $2 billion deficit.
A nine-member board, appointed by the governor, the House speaker and the president of the Senate, will now control the project’s purse strings. Of those members, only five must be local residents.
The Legislature approved a similar slap at Tucson leadership earlier this year, but it was vetoed because of gubernatorial concerns about non-Rio-Nuevo parts of the budget package. This time around, it passed with overwhelming support on a vote of 51-4 in the House and 23-4 in the Senate.
Now that the City Council has gotten their long overdue spanking, [not only here, but also with the recent and extremely close election results], let us all see if they have learned their lesson and will now start to act in a more “responsible manner”. Any betters out there?
November 19, 2009
Ron Paul says:
SAVE THE DATE!!! Friday/Saturday, December 4th and 5th!
Congressman Ron Paul will be in Phoenix, December 4th and 5th. He will deliver the keynote speech at the 1st Annual Arizona Campaign for Liberty State Convention. There are several other events of interest surrounding the convention. Please find details below.
Arizona Campaign for Liberty 1st Annual Convention
Ron Paul Keynote Speaker
Saturday, December 5th, 8am-3pm
The Arizona chapter of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty is pleased to announce and invite you to its first annual Arizona Campaign for Liberty convention. We are also pleased to announce that Ron Paul will be the headline speaker!
The 1st Annual Arizona Campaign for Liberty State Convention will take place on:
Saturday, December 5th from 8-3pm at:
Arizona State University
Memorial Union ballroom
Dr. Paul will give the headline speech at 9am on Saturday, December 5th at the convention.
While the convention is open to all, only dues paying members of the Arizona C4L chapter are able to vote at the convention. To become a dues paying voting member, please join the Arizona Campaign for Liberty by purchasing a $15 ticket for the event here:
The convention will be preceded by……..
A Public Rally at ASU – Ron Paul Keynote Speaker!
Friday, December 4th, 11am-1pm
The Arizona State University chapter of Young Americans for Liberty is pleased to announce a public rally and speech by Dr. Ron Paul on
Friday, December 4th
Arizona State University
The rally will be followed by…….
End the Fed – Book Signing with Ron Paul
Friday, December 4th, 1:30-2:30pm
Dr. Paul will be available after the rally on Friday from 1:30-2:30pm to sign copies of his new book End the Fed.
The ASU bookstore will have copies of the book available for sale at the rally. Pick one up and get it signed by Ron Paul!
Arizona Campaign for Liberty Fundraiser Reception with Dr. Ron Paul
Friday, December 4th, 6-8pm
Please support the Arizona Campaign for Liberty by joining us at a private reception with Ron Paul on Friday, December 4th, 6-8pm.
Tickets are $250 per person and may be purchased here
Attendees will receive reception details upon ticket purchase.
Thank you. We look forward to seeing you at the 1st Annual Arizona Campaign for Liberty Convention on Saturday, December 5th, and at the public rally and book signing on Friday, December 4th, at Arizona State University.
Rasmussen has released a poll on the Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary. You can find the article here: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_2010/election_2010_governor_elections/arizona/election_2010_arizona_governor_gop_primary
Highlights? Arpaio would handily beat the field with 47% of the respondents. Dean Martin comes in next with 22%. Brewer got 10% of the vote, and Munger and Parker each got 6%. The poll apparently asked 570 likely Republican primary voters their preferences. The poll was done on the 18th and was published yesterday (Monday).