Speaking from One Woman to Another

Speaking from One Woman to Another – A Response to Karina Bland of the Arizona Republic

by  Sheila K Muehling

Over the last few years, I have asked myself many times why women are being used as political tools.  Why now, why not 40 years ago?  Why not 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Before President Obama was elected I don’t remember a great deal of talk about women and what we want or don’t want.  My question is “Are women really ready to become active? Are women really ready to put in the effort?”  As a woman who has always been involved, I would like to share my thoughts.

Unlike the majority of people I know, I still receive the Arizona Republic and the Wall Street Journal newspapers every morning. Last week I opened the paper and on the front page was printed a rather unpleasant picture of President Trump and Joe Arpaio.  And to top off the specter of it all to the left an opinion piece from Karina Bland. What was the name of the piece, “Women want to get active; can they unite?” I would really like to know why this opinion piece was position on the front page but I think it doesn’t take much to understand that decision. However, as I read the article Karina started with her September 22nd evening observations of the Trump rally. She shared that everything on the streets was orderly and the protesters were handing out water, clearing sidewalks for wheelchair bound participants, giving out lollipops and making sure people were not overwhelmed with the heat. It was a picture of LALA land.  Of course early in her piece (above the fold) she positioned her comment about Heather Heyer who was the young women killed by the white-nationalist and how someone was carrying a sign that read “Heather deserved a better president.” Karina goes on to talk about the happy protesters who only wanted to exercise their rights but in speaking about the Trump supporters she throws in their use of “the middle finger.”

At this point, I would like to take a trip down memory lane before I finish my thoughts and share how I feel about Karina’s column.  As a woman, I too grieved over another loss of life – the two men who stood on a roof in Benghazi and prayed that their country would not leave them to die. Their country did not answer their prayers. Our President went to bed and then off to a fundraising event.  I grieved for a young man who knelt on the sands of a foreign country and had his head cut off. Our President went golfing.  As a woman and a mother of sons the age of these three men, my sign should have read “They deserve to have a better president.”

President Trump did not have control over a vicious man who decided to run down a crowd. President Obama had total control over a military that could and should have at least tried to save those lives.  The press has spent two weeks talking about how terrible the bigoted and racist Trump is but if you go back and look the press spent only a short time holding Obama responsible for the deaths in Benghazi or the beheadings of American men.

Karina continues her article with comments on the “Women’s March Events” where she sites five million women were involved in the month of January. I don’t know how many women were involved but I do know that the mess that was left in Washington after the “women” marched was despicable. Google and look at the pictures. If the behavior of the women in Washington was what Karina is promoting, as a woman, I will pass.

Karina goes on to talk about a group called “Nice White Ladies”. There was something about wanting to fix racism and finding it as difficult as talking to a manager of Whole Foods.  I read her description of that group and I am still trying to figure out the point.  Again, I think I will pass.

Then Karina addressed the conservative women who were at the rally. They questioned the negative press about the President, they told her that the Republican party was made up of all races and how race was not the issue. They were focused on healthcare and tax reform. Wow, that is a novel idea.  One woman shared that she felt the President loved and supported this country and was willing to help make it better. One woman told her she felt that Arpaio worked to make our state safer for her children and grandchildren.  The women who spoke to her talked about getting involved in the school board and the local town government.  Many were sickened by the removal of our history and asked how are our children are going to learn if they never see. They all chimed in that they were tired of sitting back and were ready to get involved.  Hey, I think this is a group I can relate to.

Suddenly the protesters came back into focus.  Karina told of seeing signs that said, “Old white men have been in charge too long” and “The future is female”. There was even a woman who had a T-shirt that said, “Legal Observer” just to make sure if anyone got in trouble they were there to help. Give the protesters comfort to know their legal rights were being watched.  We used to call those type of lawyers “Ambulance Chasers.”

But let’s go back and look at what her article was supposed to be about. It was getting women to become active and uniting them. My question is how did this article unite anyone?  I am around women and men for that matter every day.  I bring up current events and nine out of 10 of the people I am talking to haven’t a clue what I am talking about. No one I know reads a paper like the Wall Street Journal but they all believe everything Facebook says.

If you want to get involved then make a commitment.  Signup to be precinct committeemen and go to the meetings. Read the bills posted at the state capital and research what they mean. When Common Core was marching through the state capital I begged women with school children to listen to me and research the information. I even created an extensive PowerPoint that I was willing to send them to watch. But out of the hundreds of people I spoke to not one asked to see it. They had other things on their mind like working out, or yoga, or the vacation they were planning.

Don’t believe what is posted on the Internet and on Facebook without researching it first. Really stupid things come up on Facebook. Go to city government meetings because that is where many issues that affect you and your family start. Attend the school board meeting once in a while. When there is an election research the candidates. Just because they can afford the signs and the TV ads doesn’t mean they will represent you and your loved ones.  Go to the local debates and ask questions of the candidates.  And please, don’t become hero worshipers and groupies.

So Karina, if you are reading my article, from one woman who is involved to another, the next time you write an article about women getting involved, leave the media spin in the coffee room and talk about real life and how women can get involved. It doesn’t start at a rally to protest the President of the United States.

Statement By Nicole Cardon And Her Family On Today’s Passing Of Wil Cardon

Wil Cardon

Wil Cardon

August 26, 2017

“Today a father, husband, son, brother and friend to so many left our family to be with the greatest angels, of which he will now be one.

The only thing that can stop tears at a moment like this is remembering Wil’s smile which was as wide as Arizona, especially when it came to his five children.

His gregarious approach to life, business, our family and his faith enriched all who were fortunate to shake his hand.

I don’t think I ever met someone who loved people more.  Despite his success in the business and philanthropic arenas I think the moments I witnessed with his children, helping a person on the side of the road or even applying to be a high school football coach were the ones that gave him the most joy.

It is no secret Wil suffered from depression, and struggled with it.  He tried mightily for us, for himself and for all to overcome it.  Today it finally took him, as it takes way too many.

Few would want to say more about the person we will remember forever than our family, but we hope our privacy can be respected to grieve, and to plan a tribute that has come far too early.”

===

Please pray for the family of Wil Cardon.

POLL: 61.8% of Arizona Voters Believe Confederate Capitol Mall Monument Should Be Kept

High Ground

Survey reveals the complexities of navigating this controversial issue as independent and unaffiliated voters lean towards keeping monument

PHOENIX (August 24, 2017) — A statewide survey of likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters revealed that nearly 62% of voters believe that the memorial to Confederate Soldiers on the Arizona Capitol Mall should be kept. The results are derived from the same survey that showed President Trump with a 41.8% approval rating and 56.8% opposition to a pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Q.        In the past week, there has been a national discussion over whether or not statues honoring members of the Confederate Army should be removed from public spaces. Currently, there is a memorial to Confederate soldiers at the Capitol Mall, which is on public land across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Do you think this specific memorial should be kept in its current location or removed?

51.5%  Definitely Kept
10.3%  Probably Kept
6.0%    Probably Removed
26.3%  Definitely Removed
6.0%    Don’t Know, Refused

AZ Confederate Monument“These results show that this debate is not simply a partisan issue. More than 61% of independent voters and 60% of unaffiliated voters believe that the memorial should be kept.  Bear in mind, these are the same groups that currently have lower than 33% approval of the President,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. “It is clear that this issue is complicated and deeply personal.  As the political parties continue to appeal to smaller and smaller audiences and cater to identity politics, they will find it increasingly difficult to address complex issues.  The challenge that the survey reveals is that there are mixed results with an ‘either/or’ approach.”

The survey specifically asked about the Confederate monument that currently stands on the mall in front of the Arizona State Capitol.  It did not address any of the other Confederate monuments or freeway names throughout the state.

“Instead of simply using this issue as a partisan wedge to cudgel opponents with or advance an ideological agenda, we need our leaders to lead a constructive dialogue.  Arizona is a unique state with an independent spirit and has shown time and again that it is up to the challenge to face and have thoughtful discourse on tough issues,” Coughlin concluded.

As I have said before, we must find our way back to discussing, learning, and growing from meaningful discussions about our collective past. Taking a hard and fast approach to this issue may not have the desired results for those seeking to build a General Election coalition.  It is my hope that these results will be viewed as a call to bring people together to have a thoughtful dialogue.”

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%.

Q.            In the past week, there has been a national discussion over whether or not statues honoring members of the Confederate Army should be removed from public spaces. Currently, there is a memorial to Confederate soldiers at the Capitol Mall, which is on public land across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Do you think this specific memorial should be kept in its current location or removed?

51.5%  Definitely Kept
10.3%  Probably Kept
6.0%    Probably Removed
26.3%  Definitely Removed
6.0%    Don’t Know, Refused

The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics

Age Group:

10.8%    20 to 29
15.3%    30 to 39
19.7%    40 to 49
29.5%    50 to 64
24.7%    65 Plus

Sex:

48.0%    Male
52.0%    Female

Party:

44.2%    Republican
31.8%    Democrat
15.0%    PND
9.0%      Independent/Other

Congressional District:

11.0%    CD1
14.3%    CD2
7.0%      CD3
11.0%    CD4
12.3%    CD5
13.7%    CD6
6.0%      CD7
13.0%    CD8
11.7%    CD9

View HighGround’s post HERE.

Gov. Doug Ducey: Ex inmates in Arizona’s fire-crew program given a real second chance

‘I felt like a zero. Now I feel like a hero.”

That’s what an Arizona inmate said to me when I traveled to Navajo County in the summer of 2016. My team and I were up north observing the damage caused by the Cedar Fire and meeting the brave firefighters who risked their lives to protect our state’s landscapes.

The man I met was part of a group of inmates enlisted in a fire-crew program operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections. The agency’s program selects current inmates to fight fires throughout Arizona while serving their time in prison.

To me, the program is a way of letting these individuals pay back their communities and, by giving them a chance to be productive members of society, increasing the likelihood that they won’t return to prison after being released. Often, it means a job is waiting when they walk out the doors.

One squad boss who spoke to KOLD News 13 in April said that the program has “been a life-changing experience for me. I know a lot of the guys out here feel the same way.”

I told that story during my State of the State address in January, and I’ve thought about it many times since. Exchanges like this — and the positive outcomes we’ve seen from Arizona’s forward-thinking corrections efforts — are one of the reasons we’re investing more in anti-recidivism programs this year.

The next time a Sawmill Fire rages through Southern Arizona, threatening our neighbors’ homes, property, and livelihood, I want it to be easier for individuals released from prison to stand up and protect their communities.

That’s why the new state budget I signed a few weeks ago is investing $1.5 million to create a post-release fire crew. (The existing program enlists current inmates; the new program enlists released inmates.) We’re giving Arizonans a real second chance to turn their lives around in a meaningful and productive way.

Our anti-recidivism strategy is a win-win for everyone involved, including hardworking Arizona taxpayers. After all, it’s expensive to house inmates — and, according to the data, 39 percent of inmates released from prison will eventually return to prison. That’s a big bill to pay in the long term.

Taxpayers already give enough of their hard-earned money to government. They shouldn’t be expected burden the ever-growing costs of recidivism because of outdated policies.
This new fire crew accomplishes both: It protects taxpayers from long-term prison costs, and it improves public safety. And it’s not the only investment we’re making to make that happen.
Our fiscal year 2018 budget also finances the expansion of “Employment Centers” within Arizona prisons. These centers help inmates do things like build résumés and find jobs before they’re released, giving them tools to lift themselves up and build better lives rather than revert to their old ways.

This is a common-sense investment to reduce the state’s prison population and save taxpayers money.

So far, we have opened three of these successful Employment Centers, including in the Manzanita Unit in Tucson. All three centers are now open and operational, and we’ve already seen 35 individuals receive job offers after participating. (There are nearly 200 inmates currently going through the program.)

Our goal is to give people the tools they need to improve their lives, help them see value in themselves (maybe for the first time in their lives), and offer them a concrete way of paying back their communities.

Whether that means analyzing the effects of outdated occupational licensing processes on individuals with criminal records or enabling released inmates to work as peer coaches to help those struggling with addiction, our state is taking the lead when it comes to getting people back on their feet.

That’s how to give Arizonans a real second chance — and how to save Arizona taxpayers money while doing it.

This guest opinion originally appeared on Tucson.com.

 

BISHOP OLMSTED LAUNCHES COUNTER-OFFENSIVE AGAINST SECULARISM, SEXUAL REVOLUTION WITH ‘INTO THE BREACH’

PHX

From LifeSiteNews

“… Bishop Olmsted issued “Into the Breach” yesterday, an Apostolic Exhortation in which he condemns gender ideology and the Sexual Revolution, saying it is a very real spiritual battle that is, “killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.”

“The world is under attack by Satan,” the Arizona bishop states, “as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident.”

Bishop Olmsted has been a vocal defender of life and Church teaching on sexuality.

“How did it come about that a culture so steadfast in supporting marriage and spousal commitment two generations ago became a culture that has reduced sexuality to mere pleasure and self-serving ends?” he asks, answering that it is the Sexual Revolution, which has “ushered in the scourge of abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse so rampant in recent decades.”

The Sexual Revolution has given fake freedom, he says, and undermined the family.

“Instead of real and authentic love, this false ‘liberty’ offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain,” states Bishop Olmsted. “Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love.”

The Revolution also violates Natural Law, according to the bishop, and has failed in its purpose.

“Instead of the freedom that comes with accepting the truth of God’s design for human love between a man and woman, the Sexual Revolution has arrogantly rebelled against human nature, a nature that will never thrive in confusion and lack of self-control,” he continues. “Indeed, the ‘love’ promised by the Sexual Revolution has never been found.”

“In its wake is wreckage, countless broken hearts bound by fear of more pain, broken lives, broken homes, broken dreams and broken belief that love is even possible,” the bishop says. “This is the rotten fruit of the Sexual Revolution”…

 

While the Apostolic Exhortation is targeted towards Catholic men, it is a must read for all people of faith, especially men.  It’s inspiring to hear a prominent man of the cloth speak so boldly about Truths that need to be spoken and debunking the lies the Secularists are peddling today in our schools, our media, and pop culture.

We at ArizonaInformer would like to extend our gratitude to Bishop Olmsted and the Phoenix Diocese for their steadfast leadership in guiding Catholics (and everyone of goodwill) out of the darkness of Secularism and into the Light and Truth that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

WATCH: OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR ‘INTO THE BREACH’:


 Read the full Apostolic Exhortation HERE

 

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen –
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Thoughts on the City of Phoenix LGBT Ordinance

A few thoughts on today’s culture war battle at the City of Phoenix.

I attended the meeting for the purpose of testifying against the tax on food. I signed a card for that specific agenda item having no intention of testifying on the LGBT ordinance.

My position on this has been very clear. I simply do not believe that the City of Phoenix should inject government policy into the personal and private lives of any Phoenicians except when a crime is committed. Some liberals and libertarians would say “keep government out of our bedrooms.” OK, so how about a little consistency by keeping government to a minimum in our private business matters? What the City of Phoenix did tonight was invite a huge conflict between Constitutional rights and individual sexual identity.

By now social conservatives should realize they have lost the culture war on issues related to sexual identity and behavior. The most reasonable position social conservatives can now take is to hold back any level of government from the power position of  picking winners and losers in the conflict between sexual identity and free speech, religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Locally, social conservatives did not lose the culture battle in Phoenix tonight. Social conservatives lost the culture battle in November of 2011 when it failed to elect conservatives to the Phoenix city council.

We knew this was coming. The signs were there in 2011 when mayoral candidate Greg Stanton made wide overtures to the LGBT community and efforts to align Phoenix with San Francisco values. Anyone who dared to point it out was labeled a bigot. So goes the spirit of tolerance on the left.

(Too often, both sides fail to see this as a debate over public policy rather making it about personal attacks on individuals and their sexual identities.)

Tonight’s meeting was a reflection of the very intolerance those pushing for tolerance decry. Anyone who dared to oppose the ordinance was booed and jeered. No respect for human dignity and certainly no respect for the public policy process.

Social conservative did turn out at the meeting – certainly not in number. And those who did engage were speaking a different language to the huge LGBT majority who did turn out (probably with plenty of advance notice). Two different languages because there are two different worldviews – one based on faith, the other clearly sexual and secular in nature. There were translators in the testimonials – individuals who know the difference and can communicate between the two worldviews – Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rev. Jarrett Maupin spoke. These individuals are bilingual on issues that tangle logic and emotions.

And there was a tremendous amount of emotion – mostly from the LGBT – about living with a sexual identity that conflicts with traditional societal norms. Who was going to argue with the dozen of transgendered individuals who gave personal stories of rejection, anger and sympathy?

Which brings me to my personal feelings on the whole matter.

My pastor, my church, my Jesus preaches love. The Word commands us to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves second. There are two commandments in the New Testament. That’s it – pretty simple. My pastor (who happens to oversee five campuses in Phoenix Metro) reminds us to look past a person’s self-identity and love them no matter what. We are to love them like Christ would love them – regardless of their sin(s) (I’m not going to name them here. You can look them up.) But most important, we are to bring others into a real and living relationship with Christ allowing Christ to work in their lives toward God’s glory.

This is where I separate matters of faith from the role of the state (in this case the City of Phoenix).

If I were Mayor of Phoenix I would have rejected the idea of injecting my sliver of government into the personal and private lives of individuals. To do otherwise is asking for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This seems to be the only position a reasonable community of people can hold without forcing a cultural conflagration to take place.

Entangling sex and politics is a messy business as we learned tonight. Hopefully our politicians will take note and keep social engineering to a minimal melodramatic level in the future. Political social conservatives lost tonight but true Christianity continues to love on.

The “Open Government” Initiative Is Utter Trash

[Update: Site Administrator has moved it under “Guest Opinion”]

(Author’s note:  This is NOT a press release, it’s a Guest Opinion, but I don’t have that log-in.  This opinion was posted anonymously for a reason:  some people can’t express their opinions without endangering their jobs.)

Arizona Voters,

Let me be brutally frank.  You’ve been dazzled by good-sounding ballot initiative titles quite regularly and, in the end, the initiatives never do what their liberal proponents have duped you into believing they’d do.  Let me give you some examples to illustrate and prove the point.  According to “Clean Elections”’ liberal proponents, the measure was supposed to “level the playing field,” which has been an illegal purpose according to American jurisprudence for quite some time, but in the end, it got more conservatives elected.  The recent proposal to increase sales taxes by 18% was sold to you as a measure to protect education, health care and public safety funding.  Did it?  No!  The Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to give us more competitive races.  Has it?  No!  We’ve got more uncontested races and races that will be decided in a primary than ever before!  Term limits were supposed to force turnover in politics so those “evil politicians” couldn’t accumulate too much power.  In reality, politicians stay in power despite term limits by playing a virtual musical chairs of elected positions.  Ultimately, you,. The voter, are directly responsible for killing institutional knowledge and increasing the power of unelected legislative staff members.  Great job!

Certainly you have heard the cliché, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Frankly, voters, you’re WELL PAST the shame on you stage!  You voted for all the above measures and NONE of them delivered on the promises the liberal proponents made to you!  Similarly, this “Open Government” initiative sounds great at first blush, but its liberal proponents will not deliver on their promises.  They will fail you this time like they’ve failed you every time before.

If you read between the lines of the arguments that the sponsors and proponents of the jungle primary make, it’s plain to see that they have an agenda:  to drag the political football to the left.  The sponsors and proponents of the initiative argue that a jungle primary will fill the legislature with fewer extremists and more moderates will be elected.  No Republican has any business voting for this initiative.  Democrats?  Well, what Democrat doesn’t want fewer Republicans elected overall and a greater percentage of those Republican office holders to be moderate?  Independents, if you want to continue to be dissatisfied with the parties, go ahead and vote for this initiative.  Do you, voters, honestly believe that extremist Democrats like former State Senator Kyrsten Sinema or current State Senator Steve Gallardo will be ousted by moderate Democrats?  Extremist Democrats won’t be ousted at all, but what the liberals are hoping is that conservative legislators will be picked off by liberal “Republicans” like Senators Rich Crandall, Adam Driggs, John Nelson, Nancy Barto; Speaker Andy Tobin; Representatives Heather Carter, Karen Fann, Bob Robson; and former-Rep. Bill Konopnicki, etc.

So, with extreme Democrats and liberal Republicans in power, you can see that the ultimate result will be that the state will take a hard left turn because liberal “Republicans” will betray the party’s principles and side with the Democrats when it matters most.  Big government is already a problem considering our national debt and deficit spending, this initiative will only compound our problems by adding irresponsible state spending on top of outrageous federal spending.

Recently, we’ve witnessed ultra-liberal Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts embark on a “Dekookify” the state campaign.  Laurie has heralded this “Open Government” proposal in her column and has argued, like the sponsors of this measure, that it will remove the “kooks” from the legislature and install moderates in power.  Let’s be perfectly clear:  the ONLY people Ms. Roberts considers “kooks” are conservatives and she is the Left’s willing “useful idiot.”  Ms. Roberts is so benighted that she doesn’t understand that without the “kooks” she’d have nothing to write about and she’d be out of a job.  People want to hear about CONFLICT, it’s what gets them engaged and interested in politics.  If she got what she claims she wants, moderate legislators all holding hands and singing Kum By Ya and constantly passing “non-controversial” legislation that steadily grows the government, no one would want to read the stories about everyone compromising.  It’s one of the reasons why Rodney King’s admontion , “Can’t we all just get along?” is so laughable.  Like it or not, humans LIVE for conflict.  It’s the common and uniting theme in our history, our music, or novels, our plays, our news, etc.  Laurie Roberts would put herself out of a job because even fewer people would buy the Republic, subscriptions would decline even further and there’d be no money to pay Ms. Roberts’ salary because no one wants to read non-stories with no conflict.  Idiot.  I am ASTOUNDED that she is actually PAID to put her opinions in print!!

Let me ask you, voters and Ms. Roberts, if the electorate is so dissatisfied with our elected officials, why do we have so many uncontested races?  Why are so many contests being settled in the primary?  Why isn’t EVERY race contested?  Why aren’t ALL races settled in a general election?  The fact that we have so few contested races reflects that people aren’t as unhappy as you, Ms. Roberts, and the sponsors of this initative (and even the proponents of the IRC initiative) like to intentionally mislead the public into believing.  The lack of any real contests proves that you are a bald-faced liar, Ms. Roberts, and that goes for the sponsors of this initiative as well.  Shane may have treated you with kid gloves on Sunday Square Off, Ms. Roberts, but I won’t because you’re threatening the state that I love dearly.  I take my patriotism very seriously.

If the proponents of this “Open Government” initiative aim to get more Democrats elected and, of the Republicans elected, more moderates, think about what the impact would be on voter registration.  It would energize the Democrats and they’d recover their flagging registration percentages while disenfranchised and discouraged conservatives would flee the Republican Party to re-register as Independents.  This initiative is insidious and it’s a liberal’s wet dream come true.  I cannot urge voters enough to reject this initiative.

I know you, voters, are also familiar with the cliché, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”  As stated above, no one would pay attention to politics if we all elected a bunch of moderate, compromising legislators that had no guiding principles.  Basically, you would lose any interest in politics and that, my friends, would breed corruption.  Is corruption  really what you want?

I know you’ve also heard the adage that, “There’s not a lick of difference between the Demopublicans and the Republicrats.”  This measure would fuel that cynicism and continue to drive people away from the parties.  In essence, it is a lack of adherence to a set of guiding principles that has driven voters from both parties.  Former President Ronald Reagan likened strong adherence to principles to, “bold colors” and likened a lack of guiding principles to, “pale pastels.”  He wanted stark contrasts between Republicans and Democrats.  It is a LACK of differences between the parties that breeds cynicism, opacity.  Bold colors have served BOTH parties very well.  Democrats are energized by liberal politicians like President Obama and Republicans are energized by strong conservatives like Ronald Reagan.  Democrats have been critical of both Clinton and Obama for not being liberal enough!  Similarly, conservatives castigate moderate Republicans for not being conservative enough.  To further illustrate the point, no one gets excited about moderate elected officials.  No one cares about liberal RepublicanU.S. Sens. Lindsay Graham or Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins.  So, if you vote for the “Open Government” initiative, you’re going to be voting to replace our current elected officials with boring officials that prove the old cliché about there being no difference between the parties and you’re going to be asleep at the wheel (or voter booth as the case may be…if you even bother to vote in the future).  Is that really what you want?

As stated above, elected officials’ lack of adherence to a clearly defined set of guiding principles has driven liberals out of the Democratic Party and conservatives out of the Republican Party.  Not only will this initiative promote opacity in government because it will breed apathy because of boring elected officials, but it will also breed opacity in that it will continue to drive voters from the parties and thereby make it much more difficult to identify and target voters for contact by those seeking office.  It’s easy for Republicans to target Republicans in an election and easy for Democrats to target Democrats…but how does a campaign identify exactly what an “Independent” believes and get information to like-minded independent voters to turn them out to vote?  If you vote for this, people are going to become increasingly dissatisfied with the parties and you will receive less information on the candidates.  In other words, you’ll not only be voting for a lack of enthusiasm about politics if you vote for this initiative, but you’ll also be voting to make yourself more ignorant about candidates since you can’t be as easily targeted for contact.  Apathy, ignorance, opacity.  Sounds like just what we need!

One concept that you, voters, seem to fail to grasp on a regular basis is that we are guaranteed a republican form of government.  The initiative process is a democratic form of government.  We’ve been warned since Plato and even by our Founding Fathers that democracy is an inferior form of government to a republic.  Your consistently poor votes on initiatives are proof of that fact.  You’ve heard the cliché that, “elections have consequences.”  That cliché is absolutely true.  WAKE UP, people!  Quit falling for soundbite arguments and do some critical thinking for once and REJECT this utterly stupid proposal!  I know my arguments are counter-intuitive, they take some time and thought to understand, but I believe the points are valid because they’re supported by evidence.  If you pass this initiative, you get what you deserve…and I’ll be observing the results and waiting in the wings to excoriate you again when I’m proven right.

RIP. One More Malaria Death on to Malaria’s Annual Million Fatalities Worldwide

June 2012 opened with the closing of a coffin. Under the sun-sheltering expanse of a white canvas tent, amidst a hundred men and women, hailing from over a dozen countries, we came to give our final respects to a colleague who died of malaria. The victim, very well-educated, bi-lingual, Africa-savvy and very well-liked … an American, a wonderful example of the best our nation can offer … lost consciousness at home for hours before alarmed neighbors, after a no-show, no replies to phone calls, broke down the door and discovered the disaster, too far advanced to turn around even with emergency medical intervention.

That this person’s responsibility had been with coordination and support for prevention/treatment programs for HIV/AIDS in a number of countries across Africa only added an uncomfortable irony and a wider impact to the loss, and a reminder that HIV/AIDS infection requires a lot more purposeful intimate physical contact than just dining out in the evening at a restaurant, sitting typing at the office computer, slicing vegetables in the kitchen for dinner, playing in the yard, reading a book in a hammock at the end of a day or sound asleep alone in bed. Malaria is transmitted in the most common of circumstances, by mosquitoes which lurk in homes, schools, offices, buses, bushes, trees … even the colorful bloom-filled flower pots can shelter killers.

Malaria strikes anyone, no respecter of age, sex or social status. We nearly lost three of our own to it … in three different countries. We’ve spent days at a time in hospitals, sleeping on the floor by our children’s sides to keep 24/7 vigil during the malaria seasons, in grim solidarity with crowded clinic wards of African parents staying by their children’s bedsides, watching the life-saving drip-drip of the IVs. Over the years, we’ve hauled disoriented colleagues to the hospital who were unaware their reasoning faculties were degrading as their fevers were spiking, been part of pounding on doors to find other absent colleagues in their apartments. Every single fever must be evaluated with the potential of malaria in mind … misjudged and the costs are appalling.

We were all bitterly reminded the hard way a few days ago: in malaria zones, one has to keep track of co-workers, especially of the unmarried staff, because without a spouse or family to raise the alarm or take charge, more single aid workers die, not caught in the cross-fire of actual conflict in conflict zones, but silently on their couches in the security of their rooms. In this region, five thousand miles wide, there is not a soul who doesn’t know personally someone who’s been sick or died from it or been sick with it themselves or not been treated at least once for it, preventatively or therapeutically.

The oil companies seem to get nothing but dismissive abuse from our media and administration, so it would be inconvenient to report the number of employees of oil companies stationed overseas who’ve died of malaria or how many of their spouses and children have been lost to it as a result of their work location. Maybe we will remember next time at the pump that a percentage of any offshore-originating gallon of gas extracted out of tropical malaria-endemic zones didn’t make it to our gas tanks without a collateral human cost in malaria mortalities. Our Military, our State Department, our Foreign Service and every type of foreign-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and private company or corporation loses staff every year to malaria. That’s all despite medicines and preventative resources.

We can reduce the transmission, and protect ourselves to a point, but until malaria’s destroyed, it’s an omnipresent mortal danger. This month, as happened again this time with a face and a name we all knew, a person who lived quite comfortably over twenty years in Africa died of malaria … the parasite is extremely unforgiving of complacency.

The onslaught of the infection initially resembles flu … so staying home resting seems to be the sensible thing to do. But single adults die at higher rates simply because no one knows what’s happening to them, and before they comprehend they need help, they are incapacitated.

Yet for the toll which malaria takes on Westerners, noting that before the discovery of quinine, the malarial regions of Africa were once called, “The White Man’s Graveyard,” and Christian missionaries accepted missions to Africa knowing full well in advance they could only hope to live on average only about two years after their arrival, it is nothing compared to the magnitude of the devastation it wrecks on Africans every single day. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are sickened with it every year, up to a million die from it – men, women, children, infants and growing children in the womb, killed by the parasite before they had a chance to see the light of the world, women carrying robust babies to term, then delivering stillborn, the malaria devastation of the body … and of the spirits of the grieving. Malaria leaves widowers, widows and orphans; it strikes down breadwinners and caretakers leaving many of those who depend on them destitute or stranded.  It destroys children at higher rates than adults.

Malaria invades the liver and attacks the blood cells. The parasite enters a cell, consumes it, reproduces itself and bursts out multiple parasites, looking to invade other cells. It progresses then exponentially, destroying more blood cells. The destroyed cells float uselessly, pumped around by the heart, unable to carry oxygen or nutrients. The heart stresses pumping blood which doesn’t work, organs are damaged, the victims struggle for oxygen. Chronic sufferers, in a slow-motion downward spiral can’t sleep, yet are exhausted. They can hardly fulfill their normal tasks; they work at a greatly lowered capacity, and are extremely vulnerable to opportunistic secondary infections of all kinds, including deadly tuberculosis, thus enabling the spread of that scourge and others.

Is there any greater active mortal threat to human life on this planet today? But the priorities of today’s world are peculiar. Sudanese struggling with a deadly cholera epidemic were disgusted that epidemiological research teams had been flown to Sudan at great expense to investigate possible avian flu in literally a handful of local chickens … an urgent priority apparently based on a computer model of a hypothetical avian flu pandemic which never materialized … money which could have gone to the cholera outbreak for urgently needed treatment for real, not virtual sufferers. While doctors of virology sternly inspected a few barnyard birds, humans were literally dropping like flies a couple miles away. The terror of potential avian flu was obsessive in the media … the real cholera – well … same old same old: a short, buried paragraph … maybe.  Not noteworthy. 

Any American readers recall any news reports heralding the annual opening of the onslaught of the full-bore malaria season in thirty countries and how awful it is? No?  Did we all not get grim statistics from Iraq intoned daily from the networks?  Today, in this 24 hours, while you are reading this, more people worldwide are dying from malaria than a year of war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.  The media can make time if they want to.  We had wealthy suburbanites outside of Washington DC earnestly ask us if we were afraid of the avian flu. With the real deal, malaria, cholera, yellow fever, dysentery, meningitis, dengue fever … well avian flu … wildly mild in comparison, bordering on a joke … has a lot of serious real-world competition.

What was going on alarmed us: WHY are so many Americans today terrified of computer models while ignorant of common brute reality? Africa is not a country, it’s a huge continent plagued by malaria. America is actually in the minority of the planet which isn’t affected by malaria … thanks to the efforts of Americans.

In America, Malaria-free wasn’t a natural gift, it had to be accomplished.

With battle triumphs under America’s belt in the war against malaria, how goes the war today?  When Bill and Melinda Gates announced their Gates Foundation’s support of anti-malaria efforts, they discovered their one gift had nearly doubled the entire world’s funding for that sector. So many people at risk and affected, yet so underfunded.

President George W. Bush committed billions to fighting and treating malaria and HIV/AIDS in Africa. When Africans came to the White House to thank him, the media mentioned not the funding, not the diseases, not Bush’s unprecedented efforts to help Africans have a better quality of life, but that he was an awkward dancer.

Decades ago, Americans broke the back of malaria parasite transmission in the United States with a massive integrated public health program.  America’s astounding transformation of Panama a hundred years ago during the construction of the Panama Canal from a deadly, disease-ridden zone to a beautiful, healthy,  tropical settlement is a tour-de-force of Occam’s Razor applied up and down to cut malaria and yellow fever out of the area, a superb case study on how it’s done.*  The anopheles mosquitoes continued on … but no longer infected with the deadly malaria parasite, yet the drive was cut short in Africa before that critical tipping point had been reached so malaria came back with a vengeance.

Environmentalists must still value their hatred of DDT over the value of human life in Africa; they constantly resist the use of it to hard-hit regions, pushing measureably less effective alternatives, yet insecticides have never been or will be a magic bullet.  Their effectiveness depends completely on the effectiveness of a combination of complementary works.  DDT was and remains the best suited of all the insecticides to the habits of the anopheles mosquitoes, yet was always simply a “force-multiplier.” Alone, it was not enough. Malaria has always required a multi-pronged attack for malaria eradication, by shovel and trowel, hammers, saws and nails basics: draining standing water, leveling ground, installation of window screens, bed nets, removal of trash, debris and other objects, denying the mosquitos stagnant water in which to lay their eggs, educating the public as to the nature and quirks of the insect enabler of their microscopic enemy, to be used against it.   The malaria parasite will die out without the vehicle of a particular species of mosquito to move it from infected person to uninfected person.

Today’s generation –  healthy and robust, beneficiaries of earlier, concerted efforts to wipe out malaria from America evidently have little empathy for doing the same efforts for Africans. Despite proof it can be done, a lazy argument that ‘we just have to live with it’ is making the rounds. Our forefathers didn’t accept that, why do the beneficiaries of their hard work shrug off their duty to the next generation or to those in this generation who are still under siege from this ruinous parasite? Our means are more than ever before in history, so why the unnecessary surrender?

The second the world believed it might be vulnerable to dying by avian flu, the media gushed and money surged to the cause … evidently the same people who panicked about avian flu cutting their own lives short don’t think malaria can reach them, so they aren’t interested. No skin in the malaria game. The ‘we have to live with it’ is really, ‘they have to live with it. Yet, if malaria re-appeared in Philadelphia or in Washington, DC where it once flourished, how long would it take for the massive public panic and a frantic outcry to DO something?

Now, at the cusp of the arrival of rains to break the long dry season, knowing the dusty ground will be inundated soon with puddles the size of ponds, ponds the size of lakes, and water, water standing everywhere in open drains, those with means have much to consider to prepare … screens, nets, repellents. Africans with little spare money prepare themselves to be stoic. The rains mean the agricultural season can begin, which means food and life, but the swarms of mosquitoes out of all that stagnant water bring death and debilitation.

It is no mystery how to stop transmission of the malaria parasite. The world, led by Americans in historical malaria eradication, has many successful historical models which wiped it out in entire regions, even before any newer innovations in drugs and technology. What is required today is to restore the will and the conscience to use what we have to decisively defeat a plague which destroys life and handicaps the productivity of a huge part of modern humanity.

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* Superb account of the malaria and yellow fever eradication program in Panama is found in The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough

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Update from West Africa:  Many thanks and welcome to Glenn Reynolds and Instapundit readers!