Archives for June 2011

We the People Can Do Better

A United States Representative sends lewd pictures of himself to six females, and then brazenly lies to the press and his peers about his actions. An Arizona State senator has a public brawl with his girl friend in the middle of a public road and tells police he cannot be arrested because he is a sitting senator. A Pinal County supervisor disrespects his constituents by describing his constituents’ questions and statements as “moronic.” 

What is the common thread in the behavior of these politicians? Hubris: an unbridled arrogance, an excess of ambition and pride. Another common thread is a total detachment from the reality of the electorate who elected these people into office, only to discover these politicians are not representative of the electorate but are self-representative.

 Are politicians arrogant before they are elected to office or do they become arrogant as a result of being elected into office?  How does political arrogance begin? Is political arrogance a façade covering up a lack of self confidence? Why are politicians more prone to lack of humility and lack of civility? These are the people who should be looking out for us. Instead, they seem to be looking out for themselves.

 We see the same arrogance at the federal and state levels, only to a much worse degree. It is not ordinary political arrogance, it is more, as described in the opening paragraph. It is a general break-down of our ethics, where immoral acts are condoned as long as the act does not violate some statute, where politicians use their positions of power to indulge and cheat. It is a corrupt philosophy of “the ends justifies the means.”

 Surely, we “the People” can do a better job of selecting our representatives.

“Republicans” gone wild

By Priscilla Racke

We have a serious problem in the Pima County Republican Party, and it consists largely of registered Republicans behaving like democrats. I use the word “democrats” with a small “d” intentionally, because I am not referring to card-carrying members of the Democratic Party (though that comparison would work well too) but instead to the ancient form and theory of government that is democracy. Democracy’s premise, as we all know, is that every citizen participate full-time in the administration of government, which itself depends upon the input of every citizen for the settlement of every issue.

Contrary to popular opinion, America is not a democracy. Hopefully, it never will be, because democracies don’t work. They never have, which is why Aristotle called democracy a corrupt form of government. America is, and was intentionally established to be, a republic, one made different from any republic that had previously existed by its unique combination of extension, mixed government, checks and balances, and separation of powers.

The two political parties that comprise our two party system today are named for the political philosophies they are supposed to most closely resemble. Republicans, in their policies, carriage, and character, are supposed to reflect the principles, values, and characteristics of republicanism. Democrats are likewise expected to reflect those of democracy. Ann Coulter, in her new book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, compares the two by their revolutionary roots. Republicans, she says, cherish and follow after the legacy of the American Revolution, while Democrats cherish and follow after the legacy of the French Revolution. The hallmarks of one: thoughtful, reasoned, intelligent, and responsible written argument; the hallmarks of the other: impassioned, emotional, lawless, and irresponsible mob action. This is a truth that history readily supports. It is a truth that is cause for alarm today in the Pima GOP. Too many Pima Republicans have donned their “I am the Mob” t-shirts and begun to take the statement seriously.

Abraham Lincoln, the illustrious father of the Republican Party and timeless champion of freedom, gave a speech in 1838 to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield that each of us needs read today and reread tomorrow and the next day. He called it “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” In that address Lincoln lamented the rising wave of mob behavior that was sweeping the country at the time, and he decried the effects of lawlessness and unbridled passion on the political institutions of our nation. He described mobs that gave too much weight to their own opinions and prejudices, who were rising up to lynch, burn, and attack whomever they felt had done wrong. He described mobs that, by abandoning reason and caution to the hateful, violent winds undermined the very law, government, and society they professed to protect.

He warned that three terrible things would occur if such behavior persisted: that innocents would be consumed by the fires built for the guilty, that all popular attachment to or regard for the government would wash away with the tide, and that good people would be alienated from the political institutions that needed their blood, sweat, and tears.

This is what we are coming to in the Pima Republican Party. A mob has sprung up among us, one that glorifies, exalts, and rallies around the principles of democracy and the legacy of the French Revolution: motivated by resentment and bitterness, throwing off reason and respect, figuratively hunting the head of their own elected leader out of some cannablisitic desire to dismantle their Republican Party and run it like an absurd democracy.

Abraham Lincoln cried out against mob rule. He vehemently denounced the lynching and burning and killing, and he would be as much against what is happening in this county today as he was against that. The secret meetings, furtive petitions, back-stabbing, and discreet betrayals, all are persistent, divisive actions based on a rejection of the fundamental characteristic of republicanism: representation. Put away the checks and balances, separation of powers, mixed government, extension, etc. and republicanism is no different from democracy. Its difference depends, fundamentally, on the principle of REPRESENTATION. This value is the very heart and soul of our history, our legacy, and our enduring form of government. As Republicans, it is essential to what we should hold dear. As lovers of the Constitution and heirs to its political ideology, it should be the solid cornerstone of our platforms and our goals.

This mob has rejected that very principle. They rage against being represented at all. In doing so they have rejected republicanism. Perhaps they should hand in their resignations today. In the meantime, they are tearing this Party apart. “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselved be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide,” Lincoln said. The head-hunters amongst us are currently authoring our Party’s suicide. They are consuming innocents in their fire, disgracing the name of Republicanism, and driving away the individuals we need most.

They should think long and hard on the words of him who knew best the danger of the house divided:

“When men take it in their heads to day, to hang gamblers, or burn murderers, they should recollect, that, in the confusion usually attending such transactions, they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is; and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of to-morrow, may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake.”

I don’t mind that some of these defectors call me and the others who share my convictions “wanna-be revolutionaries.” I can be quite proud of that title, as long as they understand that I am taking my cues from the American Revolution, and not the French one.

Priscilla Racke

“wanna-be revolutionary” and proud Brian Miller supporter

“Unrestrained freedom is anarchy. Restrained only by force and arms, is despotism; self-restrained is Republicanism. Wherever there is wanting the intelligence and virtue requisite for the latter, Republicanism expires.” – Edmund Fairfield, July 4th, 1853

 

Alexander & Symes show live tonight on video at ustream.tv; discussing HOAs

We are now live every Saturday on ustream.tv video! We have also officially renamed our show to the Alexander and Symes Show, since Brian Symes was already acting as co-host. This Saturday night from 6-7pm on the Alexander & Symes Show we will talk about abusive Homeowners’ Associations. 90% of new homes in Maricopa County are located within an HOA. HOAs are unfairly cracking down on homeowners in order to make up for losing monthly HOA fees due to the high number of foreclosures and short sales. Read my expose on HOAs here.

Last week’s show reporting live from the RightOnline convention in Minneapolis with Shane Wikfors from Sonoran Alliance is archived here.

Watch the ustream live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/alexander-and-symes-show. Login and chat us live during the show. Click here to get weekly email updates on our upcoming shows.

Paul Sracic: Rep. Giffords should resign her seat

The following editorial appears on the CNN Opinion website. Many Arizonans are starting to ask whether or not Congresswoman Giffords’ absence from the US House of Representatives is becoming problematic to her constituents. Some are quietly suggesting that she resign her post and allow someone else to step into the position. Next January, Congresswoman Giffords will reach the five year point in which her congressional pension kicks in. At that time she may decide to resign from her seat thus allowing a special election to take place according to the Arizona State Constitution.

By Dr. Paul Sracic

(CNN) — In the months since the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, reports about her condition have been sparse. We have learned of a follow-up surgery to repair her skull and that she was recently released from a rehabilitation hospital.

Also released were a set of photos. We still, however, do not know the extent of her injuries. Out of respect for the privacy of the family, the media has not delved too deeply into the more common and troubling aftereffects of a serious trauma to the brain.

Should the media and the public be so reluctant to demand more information? The Arizona Democrat is not just a private citizen; she is a sitting member of Congress. Do Giffords’ responsibilities demand a more searching inquiry into her health? No one is asking this question because it seems moot.

In reality, the congresswoman is not carrying out any of these responsibilities.

Even from the limited information that has been made available, we know that for the near term Giffords cannot carry out her committee assignments, debate on the floor of the House, and, most importantly cast a vote. The result is that for all intents and purposes, the gunman’s bullet that so severely injured Giffords also silenced the people of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

Isn’t the obvious solution for her to resign and allow Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to call a special election to fill her seat? I know that this sounds cruel and heartless. After all, not only is Gabrielle Giffords not responsible for what happened to her, but in a sense she sacrificed herself, having been attacked while performing the quintessential democratic act of meeting with her constituents.

The problem is that we so often think of resignation as a sort of punishment for bad behavior. And it seems a perversion to use the names Gabrielle Gifford and Anthony Weiner, who resigned last week in a sex scandal, in the same sentence, much less to dole out to them a common punishment.

But to view resignation as only appropriate in the aftermath of misdeeds shows a misunderstanding of the what it means to be a member of Congress.

Yes, to be an elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives is an honor. To be forced or coerced to give up an honor is a form of punishment.

Being a member of Congress, however, is also a job. More than that, it is a job that lies at the heart of our democracy. Although we all wish Giffords a swift and full recovery, we also wish the nearly 650,000 residents of her district to be represented in Congress. While her staff may still be in place, being assisted no doubt by other members of Congress, the staff cannot vote.

I write from experience. In the summer of 2002, the congressman who represented my Ohio district, Jim Traficant, was expelled from Congress.

Then-Gov. Robert Taft, in an act that would later be declared unconstitutional by a federal court, decided not to call for a special election. Many reasons were cited, the most important being cost and the fact that the congressional session was nearly over.

The result was that those of us in Ohio’s 17th Congressional District were, from July 24 of 2002 until the new Congress convened over five months later, in much the same condition as citizens in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. On the floor of the House of Representatives, we did not count.

Did anything of importance happen during that time?

Well, none of the appropriation bills for fiscal 2003 had yet passed. More significantly, on October 16, 2002, the House voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

Would my congressman’s vote have made a difference in any of these votes? Probably not, but that’s not the point. Democracy is about participation, not results.

This indeed is what Gabrielle Giffords would be signifying should she decide to resign. She would, after all, be replaced by someone chosen by the very voters that she risked her life to hear from on that terrible day in January.

I am also fairly confident that there are at least a few qualified candidates who the congresswoman herself might approve to serve in her place. I hear, for example, that there is an astronaut who might be looking for work this fall.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul Sracic.

 

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Most of the popular culture would have you think that if you believe in the true definition of marriage, you are part of a small minority. A new comprehensive study by the Alliance Defense Fund suggests otherwise. In what is likely the most extensive national research survey of its kind, ADF and Public Opinion Strategists found that 62 percent of Americans believe that “marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.”

This actually shouldn’t come as a shock. When this issue has been before the voters, 31 states have voted to protect marriage in their state constitution – like Arizona did in 2008. Reality is that we have much to be hopeful about in our battle to preserve the definition of marriage.

Who is the Father?

Father’s Day sparked a slew of stories about dads and their role in the family. Jennifer Lahl wrote this piece about a recent decision by British Columbia’s high court in favor of donor-conceived children having access to their biological information. Rulings like this are critical to advancing the public conversation about In Vitro Fertilization and understanding the rights of all involved – especially the children.

The New York Times told the story of a young boy, conceived through sperm donation, being raised by two women and the sperm donor (who the boy only knows as uncle right now) and the sperm donor’s same-sex partner. The problems with this arrangement are evident, and the long term effects on the child in this story will probably never be told. When the needs of children are second to the wants of adults, there are always consequences, and sadly, it’s typically the children who pay the price.

On the Radio

On Monday, I was on for the full hour of the Andrew Tallman Show on 1360 KPXQ AM to discuss the Abortion Consent Act litigation. I had a great time with Andrew talking about the pro-life movement in Arizona. Click here to listen to the podcast.

City Elections Impact Everyone

On the Foundations blog this week, CAP’s Blackstone legal intern Angelina wrote about the impact one city’s election can have on the entire state. Read more here.

Time is Running Out to Register to Vote

Many city elections are just two months away. If you’re not registered to vote, you’ll want to soon! If you are, please forward this email to your friends and family, and remind them to register and be sure to turn out to vote on August 30. We are in the process of compiling the results for our city election Voter Guide and will be publishing them in the next few weeks to AZVoterGuide.com.

 

Congressman Flake: U.S. Mission in Libya is Unclear

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2011
CONTACT: Genevieve Frye Rozansky

National Security Objectives Must be Defined

Washington, D.C. – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today voted against two legislative measures regarding U.S. military involvement in Libya. The first (H.J. Res. 68) would authorize the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya. The second (H.R. 2278) would limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of NATO Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya.

“The President still has not made clear what national security objectives are being met by U.S. participation in the NATO mission or how we can justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund our efforts there,” said Flake. “The time for debate over whether to authorize U.S. armed forces to engage in Libya was months ago, before the U.S. entered into the NATO operation.”

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Speaker Tobin Calls for Cyber Terrorists to be Held Accountable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX (June 24, 2011) – Speaker Andy Tobin released the following statement in response to the hacking group LulzSec breaking into the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s computers on Thursday and downloading hundreds of files:

“I am outraged to learn that a group of international hackers have illegally stolen and released hundreds of law enforcement files from the Department of Public Safety. Even more outrageous is that they have done this in response to the Legislature and Governor’s efforts to secure our border and protect Arizona citizens by passing SB1070. Instead, this extremist group has now put hundreds of Arizona’s finest in danger. These cyber terrorists should be prosecuted to the full extent possible. Their actions have compromised the safety of our brave law enforcement officers and their families. Therefore, we will be looking at whether additional policy is needed to fully hold them accountable in the event the release of this information results in harm to any of our public safety officers or their families.”

Follow the Speaker on Twitter: @Andy_Tobin

Taking on Sen. Pearce: Political suicide in District 18?

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Republished from Seeing Red AZ – http://seeingredaz.wordpress.com/
 
As conservatives observe the brazen efforts by the left to unseat Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce (R-Dist.18), it becomes abundantly clear that this is but the latest chapter in the vicious smear campaign that was waged against him during his past election.
 
As far as the left is concerned, Sen. Pearce has one problem: He’s effective. The best way to undermine this conservative patriot and Constitutional scholar is by attempting to embarrass him with a costly recall. Make no mistake; the underlying issue is illegal immigration.
 
But facts are impossible to refute. The reality is that any Republican challenge mounted against Pearce would signal a swift end to future political aspirations for such a naive recruit. Ask Kevin Gibbons. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Gibbons, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake’s immigration lawyer brother-in-law, saw the result of that clearly when voters trounced him by a nearly 69 percent margin – as Pearce won 5,717 votes to Gibbons 2,587 votes in the 2008 GOP primary. Rack up another loss for belly-crawler Nathan Sproul.
 
Pearce has been the prime sponsor and author of some of the nation’s strongest legislation in dealing with welfare and voter fraud perpetrated by foreign nationals in our state illegally.  His efforts denied bail to illegal aliens who commit serious crimes, and punitive damages to illegal aliens attempting to sue American citizens.
 
Among other successes, Pearce authored the toughest employer sanctions law in the nation to stop employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens by revoking their business licenses – a law recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Arizona’s SB1070  (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act). has been emulated around the nation.
 
Pearce knows the law. Prior to his legislative service, Pearce was a Justice of the Peace and Chief Deputy for Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Throughout his career, he has been an unrelenting supporter of Arizona’s citizens. The Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee recently gave Pearce a unanimous vote of confidence against this recall effort.
 
His level of support is best summed up by the statement Maricopa County GOP chairman, Rob Haney made after the resolution of supportwas passed: “It would be an imprudent decision for any pretender to mount a challenge to someone with the level of support and respect enjoyed by Senate President Russell Pearce,” said Haney.
 
We agree.

 

Arizona Chamber names Senator Pierce ‘Senator of the Year’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

(Phoenix, State Capitol) —-Sen. Steve Pierce, a Republican from Prescott, has been named the 2011 Senator of the Year by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Pierce is Majority Whip and has been a member of the Senate since 2009.

“Senator Pierce’s hard work in 2011 stood out. He has a strong pro-business record and this year he was focused on shepherding job-creation legislation to passage. We applaud his support of the economic competitiveness package and for his leadership within his caucus,” says Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Sen. Pierce knows that doing the right thing isn’t always the popular thing. We commend him for his work to advance to the ballot a measure to eliminate public funding for political campaigns. It’s a stance that might not earn him the title of Mr. Popular among his colleagues, but we believe his leadership on this and other important issues helps make Arizona a better place to work and live,” says Hamer.

Sen. Pierce is a third-generation Arizonan, a graduate of Prescott High School and the University of Arizona. He operates the ranch outside Prescott that his father acquired fifty years ago.

The 2011 Chamber Awards Luncheon honoring Sen. Pierce and others is being held June 24 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

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Waring Receives Endorsement of Phoenix Association of REALTORS®

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2011
CONTACT: Jim Waring

Organization of more than 9,000 Real Estate Professionals Cites Pro-Growth Agenda

PHOENIX, AZ- Jim Waring, Republican Candidate for Phoenix City Council, today proudly announced that his campaign has been endorsed by the Phoenix Association of REALTORS® (PAR).

“As a matter of good government, Phoenix needs leaders who are willing to challenge the status quo with new ideas and a vision to enhance our economic future,” said PAR President Susan Ramsey. “At a time when it’s difficult to find the political courage to cut debt, taxes, and spending, we need leaders willing to stand up and say we’re going to do more to help our citizens.”

“I am grateful for the support of PAR, and I look forward to serving my community as we seek an economic rebound to these down times. This includes leading the charge to strengthen the health of our real estate market in the Valley,” said Jim Waring, who has made the city’s economy-including cutting the city budget and holding the line on taxes-a cornerstone of his campaign.

Waring has previously received numerous accolades for his work on behalf of limited government. He has been named a Champion of the Taxpayer by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, and a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent and Small Business.

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Jim Waring is the Republican candidate for Phoenix City Council in District 2. He previously served in the Arizona State Senate from 2003 – 2010, where he was named Champion of the Taxpayer for his efforts to reign in government spending and reduce waste. To learn more, visit JimWaring.com.