Guest Opinion: The New Reefer Madness: A Very Bad Idea

Marijuana

By Seth Leibsohn

Since just the beginning of this year, local media—both television news and print—have publicized and promoted at least 10 stories on the effort to legalize recreational marijuana use in Arizona. Two bills are being sponsored in the state Legislature and an initiative aimed at our  electorate for 2016 is being drafted. Little has been said or written as to why all of this is a very bad idea for our state and our country. But it is just that, a very bad idea.

Almost every argument in favor of legalization is, quite simply, wrong. At the economic level, we are told the revenues from legalization would boost our state budget and help solve our deficit. That was a promise made by the pro-legalization movement in Colorado, which predicted $40 million a year for school construction and $30 million for general state funds from marijuana taxes in the state. But, as the non-partisan Tax Foundation found, the numbers thus far have come nowhere close, making it “unlikely to even meet that $40 million need each year, leaving nothing for enforcement costs.”

Ask any governor of any state if they would rather keep all the revenue from alcohol and tobacco taxes or all the monies alcohol and tobacco abuse costs the state, and you’d get the same answer: The costs of substance abuse to each and every state are never even close to covered by the revenues generated by the taxes on those substances. As President Barack Obama’s former senior advisor on drug policy, Dr. Kevin Sabet, has put it, “[S]ocietal costs that accompany increased marijuana use will significantly outweigh any gains in tax revenue. Our experience with alcohol and tobacco shows that for every one dollar gained in taxes, 10 dollars are lost in social costs.”

Criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be nearly impossible and equally ill-advised at this point. I am not advocating that at all. But adding one more dangerous substance to the list of already too many legal and dangerous substances is pure madness. The debate as to whether marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco is irrelevant. We need, rather, to understand that marijuana is just, plain dangerous; and adding one more dangerous product (regardless of degree of danger) is more than a bad idea; it is public policy malfeasance.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported just last year that marijuana use by adolescents is associated with everything from increased risk of depression and anxiety to psychosis. And, it “exacerbates the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia.” Marijuana use is also associated with impaired school performance and increases the risk of dropping out of high school. In lay terms, marijuana damages the brain, especially the teen brain. Society has made tremendous strides in marginalizing and thus decreasing the use of cigarette smoking—which negatively affects the lungs and hearts of smokers. It is curious, then, that more and more are now turning toward legalizing a product that not only damages the lungs (like cigarettes), but also the brain.

Many adults think marijuana is relatively harmless based on their experiences in high school and college a generation or more ago. But that marijuana is not today’s marijuana. Today’s marijuana is a different drug, with THC levels reaching into the 20 and 30 percent range of potency, as opposed to the one-and-a-half to five percent potency of the 1970s and 1980s. And it is getting stronger by the day as vendors compete to provide ever stronger affects with an ever more potent product.

The quest to legalize marijuana at the state level is also an unconstitutional nullification of federal law—as a range of Supreme Court Justices from Anthony Kennedy to Stephen Breyer to Antonin Scalia agree. It also negatively impacts other states as pot sold “legally” in one state flows across borders and causes problems in neighboring states, thus nullifying those states’ decisions to remain within the law. Indeed, some 44 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado is sold to citizens of other states.
Despite what many say—either from unfamiliarity with the science or because of a political point of view or because some people simply want to get high legally—marijuana is dangerous. Making it legal will cost society more in financial and human damage than can ever be made up for by the false promise of tax revenue. And it will further destigmatize what every study on marijuana use and stigmatization has shown: the more society explains the dangers of marijuana, the less it is used; the more society countenances it, the more it is used.  Marijuana is illegal not because of bad policy but because it causes a lot of problems—a lot more than we will ever be able to apologize for if we unload this dangerous product on, and in to, more and more of our state’s and nation’s youth, which is—like alcohol and tobacco—where it will end up and do the most damage.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show, airing nightly on KKNT/960 am, and a Senior Fellow with the Claremont Institute.

Don’t Embrace Big Federal Government, Support the Compact for a Balanced Budget

By Nick Dranias

Yes, it’s true. The handful of folks who still oppose states organizing behind the Compact for a Balanced Budget to advance and ratify a powerful federal Balanced Budget Amendment embrace big federal government. Of course, they may not mean to do so. But the truth is that by hugging and holding the political status quo, the Balanced Budget Amendment fear-mongers are in a death embrace with the things they claim they oppose.

Why is that? Simply put, we no longer enjoy the form of federal government the Founders originally created. This is because the Constitution as it currently exists has three fatal flaws, which will inexorably lead to tyranny unless they are fixed with a constitutional amendment.

The first is the federal government’s unlimited borrowing capacity. This enables politicians to promise at no immediate cost anything it takes to get elected. That’s like handing liquor and car keys to a teenager. It guarantees a system crash propelled by mindless spending.

The second is unlimited direct taxation authority courtesy of the 16th Amendment. This empowers politicians to make 49% of the nation pay for anything the 51% want; and also to impose complete economic destruction on political enemies and disfavored policy ideas. If this flaw persists, what the IRS did to conservative groups two years ago is just a small taste of what the future holds.

The third is the unlimited concentration of power over national policy making in Washington, DC courtesy of the 17th Amendment. This amendment removed the states from a position of control over the U.S. Senate. It has enabled the federal government to ratify treaties and laws, as well as populate the federal judiciary and federal agencies, without any respect for state sovereignty. And it allows a growing distant political class in Washington, DC to easily leverage overwhelming national power to crush dissent and policy diversity in the heartland.

These three flaws will cause the federal government to gradually accumulate and centralize all political power over time. Over time, these three flaws will make it impossible for limited government and freedom-oriented elected officials to outcompete elected officials who favor big federal government for votes. Consequently, hugging and holding this fatally flawed system is doomed to produce the opposite of freedom. To mix metaphors, voting people in or out of the federal government under these conditions is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Only a constitutional amendment can fix the three fatal flaws of the Constitution as it currently exists. Nothing else will.

But it is irrational to expect two-thirds of each house of Congress to propose the necessary reform. The numbers did not add up in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, and they just do not add up today. Instead, especially after the last election, there is a much more plausible pathway; that pathway involves organizing three-fourths of the states and simple majorities of Congress behind the necessary reform amendment in a targeted fashion. It means supporting the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Simply put, the Balanced Budget Amendment advanced by the Compact for a Balanced Budget gives us the best shot of addressing each of the Constitution’s three fatal flaws with fundamental reforms.

To fix the flaw of unlimited federal borrowing capacity, the Amendment imposes an initially-fixed constitutional limit on available borrowing capacity. This limit gives the federal government an additional 5% in borrowing capacity above the outstanding federal debt upon ratification. This 5% cushion allows for a 1 to 2 year transitional period to responsible budgeting and fiscal planning. And there is no doubt the amendment will focus the mind during that transitional period. This is because the debt limit is coupled to a mandatory spending impoundment requirement that kicks-in when 98% of the debt limit is reached. Spending will be limited to available tax and fee cash flow if the debt limit is hit. There is no exception except for the referendum process described below. This one reform guarantees that Washington politicians will immediately lose the ability to promise anything at no immediate cost to get elected.

To fix the flaw of the unlimited centralization of national policy making in Washington, the Amendment empowers a majority of state legislatures to veto any increase in the federal government’s constitutionally-fixed borrowing capacity. To get any additional borrowing capacity above the initial constitutional baseline, simple majorities of Congress will have to refer-out a measure proposing the increase. The proposal will be deemed denied unless it is approved by at least twenty-six state legislatures within 60 days of the referral. With the federal government borrowing nearly half of discretionary spending, this referendum process divides power over national policy making between the states and the federal government in a big way.

Finally, to fix the flaw of unlimited federal taxation authority, the Amendment imposes a tax limit requiring two-thirds of each house of Congress to approve any new or increased income or sales tax. The current constitutional rule allowing for tax increases with simple majorities will be restricted to measures that would completely replace the income tax with a consumption sales tax, eliminate tax loopholes, or impose new or increased tariffs and fees. The reform will divert the pressure for new revenue to the places where special interest pushback will be the strongest, further ensuring that deficits are closed by spending reductions first.

National polling shows that each one of these policy fixes are supported by supermajorities of the American people. With Alaska and Georgia already on board, and at least ten states looking to join the Compact this session, the Compact for a Balanced Budget is an eminently plausible route to the reforms we need to save and restore the Republic.

Indeed, with demographic change threatening the supermajorities needed to get the job done, the Compact for a Balanced Budget may be our last best shot at preventing the federal tyranny that will otherwise inevitably result from the Constitution’s three fatal flaws of unlimited debt, unlimited taxation, and unlimited centralization of power in Washington.

Nick Dranias is President and Executive Director of the Compact for America Educational Foundation. Please visit their website at www.CompactforAmerica.org.

Boehner Re-elected Speaker . . . And You Got Played

David SchweikertBy Rachel Alexander
Townhall

Last week, John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily won re-election as Speaker of the House. Only 25 Republicans defected, with 216 Republicans voting for him. In the days before the election, there was a flurry of emails and activity on social media about the vote, calling on members of Congress to oust Boehner. After the vote, conservative talk show hosts were outraged, denouncing Republicans who voted for him as RINOs and traitors. Even well-loved, conservative members of Congress like Utah’s Mia Love did not escape the anger. Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) missed the vote, but said he would have voted for Boehner.

To many, it did not make sense why conservative Republicans would settle for another term of the compromising Boehner, considering Republicans now control both chambers. In Arizona, the most conservative members of the delegation all voted to retain Boehner: Rep. David Schweikert, Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Trent Franks. Only Rep. Paul Gosar, who has the lowest American Conservative Union rating of the four, voted against Boehner. Newly elected Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson also voted for Boehner. After the vote, some conservative activists in Arizona started calling Gosar the only true conservative in the delegation. Something wasn’t right. I called Rep. Schweikert to get to the bottom of it.

He told me the vote was largely ceremonial. The real decision was made six weeks ago, at the House Republican Conference. After that, it was too late to persuade most members to change their minds, deals had been made. Anyone who agreed to switch their vote after that could not be trusted based on prior experience. South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney confirmed this in a post on his Facebook page. Two years ago, the Boehner opposition collected signed pledges from enough members of Congress to defeat him. But when it came time to vote, almost half of them changed their minds.

The last minute flurry of emails came from conservative organizations trying to make money by getting conservatives outraged. While it is important these groups raise money, it was a rather sneaky way to do it. By then, it was too late, it was the wrong battle, and provoked fights with conservative members of Congress that could have been avoided.

Conservatives like Schweikert have been trying to remove Boehner for a lot longer than a handful of days last week. He told me he has been working on the ouster for two years. Where was the outcry six weeks ago when the real decision was made? Where were those feigning outrage over the past two years when it came to actually doing the work necessary to get rid of Boehner?

One unfortunate byproduct of the rise of social media, blogs and email is the ability for people to send out emotional blasts about a particular topic as their activism of choice. Instead of GOTV (Get Out The Vote), it is now GOYO (Get Out Your Opinion). Activists have replaced the hard, dull but necessary work behind the scenes with speeches. Unfortunately, there is only so much room at the top for a few national talk show hosts to bloviate.

Replacing Boehner is much more difficult and complex than a last-minute outburst. Getting better leadership is not going to be accomplished with a short and catchy soundbite. It is a deeper, two-fold systemic problem.

The first part of the problem is that no one wants to be Speaker. What most people don’t realize is the primary job of the Speaker is fundraising. The Speaker spends nearly all of their time flying around the country working pricey fundraisers. Most of the names floated around at the last minute as replacements for Boehner could not – or would not – follow through here. Last year, Boehner raised an impressive $100 million. Rep. Mulvaney noted that Gohmert was not a realistic candidate; despite all the media attention he only received three votes. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) got 12 votes, but has a terrible voting record, evenworse than Boehner’s. Boehner is actually the most conservative Republican speaker in 50 years.

Many in the grassroots complain when the NRCC doesn’t spend money on long-shot races. What they don’t understand is there is only limited money to go around, and it is dependent upon the ability of the Speaker to raise it. Unless the grassroots is willing to start writing hefty checks, it is imperative that the Speaker is someone with charisma who doesn’t mind spending a significant period of their life on an airplane.

The second systemic problem is Congress has become so corrupt it is currently impossible to reform it. Senior members of Congress are so entrenched in leadership positions, as chairs of committees and subcommittees, that these “cardinals” retaliate against anyone who dares to challenge the status quo and power structure. A conservative reformer like Schweikert, who actually would make an excellent Speaker, has no chance at the position because he stood up to the old guard. He lost his position on the powerful Financial Services Committee because he bucked party leadership and voted against a debt ceiling increase.

Sadly, new reformers like Schweikert tend to become disillusioned over time, and eventually leave office. If they can hold out, however, eventually the old guard will age out of office.

It was futile to cast a protest vote for someone other than Boehner. It simply enlarged the target on the backs of reform members of Congress. Several who opposed him, including Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, both of Florida, were immediately stripped of their committee positions, and there are more on the chopping block.

Contrary to talk-show hype, the vote for Speaker did not juxtapose conservatives vs. leadership. It should be more accurately described as emblematic of the reformers vs. the establishment cardinals.

Schweikert may be the smartest member of Congress. He’s also consistently labeled one of the five most conservative members by various organizations, with a 98.67 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. To label him a RINO over one vote, while letting other Republicans off the hook with much lower scores simply because they did not vote for Boehner, is illogical.

Reforming Congress is like a game of chess. You can’t take out the king instantly, you must set the stage first to take out the king or you will be out of the game. Those who run for office know you rarely win by running for president first, you must first win at a lower level office. Naturally, the same is true for taking out the Speaker, what is so difficult to understand about this? You must chip away the power structure supporting him before you can topple him.

Instead of blasting conservative members of Congress over Boehner, activists should set up meetings with these reformers and ask how they can help with the day-to-day work of cleaning up Congress. It may not be flashy and glamorous, but the flashy and glamorous GOYO approach is not working. Stop being played.

Arizona Small Businesses “Thrilled, Inspired” by Governor Ducey’s Regulatory Proposals

NFIBforwebPHOENIX, Ariz., January 12, 2015 — The following is a statement from Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), reacting to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s first State of the State Address:

“Arizona small business owners are thrilled and inspired by Governor Doug Ducey’s bold initiative to make Arizona the best place in America to work and do business.

“Governor Ducey’s new regulatory moratorium and top-to-bottom review of regulations throughout state government are exactly what an all-too-often beleaguered small business community has been counting on him to pursue and deliver.

“In his State of the State Address today, Governor Ducey again demonstrated that he grasps how burdensome and job-killing over-regulation can be for small business’ ability to survive, let alone grow and prosper. Adding a small business owner to his Regulatory Review Council will help ensure his commitment to reducing timeframes for permits and licenses are accomplished.

“Small business owners work very hard to comply with the mountain of regulations federal, state and local jurisdictions impose on them. It’s spectacular to hear Governor Ducey commit to eliminating bureaucratic entanglements that are outdated, irrational, unfair or destructive to free and honest enterprise in Arizona.

“NFIB is making regulatory reform and government efficiency our top 2015 legislative priority including Governor Ducey’s initiatives outlined in his State of the State, a law ensuring small business owners are made aware of their due process rights during the regulatory process as well as reforming the ‘corporate culture’ within the state bureaucracy from one that metes out harsh penalties to one that assists our small business job creators with regulatory compliance.”

# # #

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

The More Spending and Debt Amendment (some erroneously are naming the balanced budget amendment).

Once again the powers that be are attempting to lead conservatives by the nose by marketing their ploy as fiscal conservatism, but in reality just backdooring in even MORE spending and debt.

Conservatives please be aware and READ THE BILLs.  Don’t listen to what people say, look at the words of the actual bills.  You may be shocked that what some trusted sources are pushing are very, very different than what they say it is.

In the case of the “Balanced Budget Amendment”, it is really anything but.  Sure, any moron could balance a budget by raising the debt ceiling even more.

Advocates for the so called “Balanced Budget Amendment” have no intent to eliminate debt.

On the contrary, their proposed Amendment should be named the “Authorized Debt Amendment”. The authors of this model legislation want us to believe Congress can “balance” the budget with debt. To add insult to injury the several states will authorize not just the new an increased debt, but all previous debt in the Constitution of the United States through their constitutional amendment.

In last year’s proposed Arizona HB 2305 we read: [page 2 lines 9-14]

9 SECTION 7. “BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT” MEANS THE FOLLOWING:

10 “ARTICLE __

11 SECTION 1. TOTAL OUTLAYS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL

12 NOT EXCEED TOTAL RECEIPTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AT ANY POINT

13 IN TIME UNLESS THE EXCESS OF OUTLAYS OVER RECEIPTS IS FINANCED EXCLUSIVELY BY

14 DEBT ISSUED IN STRICT CONFORMITY WITH THIS ARTICLE. [Emphasis added]

What determines the initial excess to be financed by debt? [page 2]

15 SECTION 2. OUTSTANDING DEBT SHALL NOT EXCEED AUTHORIZED DEBT, WHICH

16 INITIALLY SHALL BE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO 105 PERCENT OF THE OUTSTANDING DEBT ON

17 THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE. AUTHORIZED DEBT SHALL NOT BE INCREASED

18 ABOVE ITS AFORESAID INITIAL AMOUNT UNLESS SUCH INCREASE IS FIRST APPROVED BY

19 THE LEGISLATURES OF THE SEVERAL STATES AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 3.

How does Congress increase the initial authorized debt? [page 2]

20 SECTION 3. FROM TIME TO TIME, CONGRESS MAY INCREASE AUTHORIZED DEBT TO

21 AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF ITS INITIAL AMOUNT SET BY SECTION 2 ONLY IF IT FIRST

22 PUBLICLY REFERS TO THE LEGISLATURES OF THE SEVERAL STATES AN UNCONDITIONAL,

23 SINGLE SUBJECT MEASURE PROPOSING THE AMOUNT OF SUCH INCREASE, IN SUCH FORM AS

24 PROVIDED BY LAW, AND THE MEASURE IS THEREAFTER PUBLICLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY

25 APPROVED BY A SIMPLE MAJORITY OF THE LEGISLATURES OF THE SEVERAL STATES, IN

26 SUCH FORM AS PROVIDED RESPECTIVELY BY STATE LAW; PROVIDED THAT NO INDUCEMENT

27 REQUIRING AN EXPENDITURE OR TAX LEVY SHALL BE DEMANDED, OFFERED OR ACCEPTED

28 AS A QUID PRO QUO FOR SUCH APPROVAL.

In layman’s language Congress can increase the national debt to “an” (read “any”) amount approved by and with the blessing of only 26 states.

Fiscal conservatives and state sovereignty champions agree with constitutional advocates that federal spending is so unrestrained as to be deemed “run-away”. The problem of deficit spending is magnified by states “balancing” their own budgets by claiming federal funds to do so. And states (including Arizona) will never restrain federal spending as long as they remain dependent upon federal funds to balance their own budgets.

This amendment will not restrain federal deficit spending; it will authorize federal deficit spending.

Conservatives, watch out for the snake oil salesmen, because they are coming.  Look under the covers and please READ THE BILLS!

Ted Cruz, Matt Salmon Win Straw Polls at Maricopa County Republican Election

Here are the results of the straw poll conducted during the January 10th Maricopa County Republican Committee Statutory meeting. The poll gauged precinct committeemen support for the 2016 Presidential candidates and support for the Republican nominee to the US Senate (currently held by John McCain).  Twenty-five poll sheets were provided to each of the 20 legislative districts to distribute to the first precinct committeemen to register.  The poll was separate from the balloting for officers and resolutions.

2016 Presidential Candidate – Votes
Ted Cruz – 66
Scott Walker – 59
Ben Carson – 49
Mitt Romney – 43
Jeb Bush – 30
Rand Paul – 29
Mike Huckabee – 16
Rick Perry – 13
Allen West – 10
John Kasich – 7
Newt Gingrich – 5
Bobby Jindal – 5
Condoleezza Rice – 5
Dennis Michael Lynch – 4
Rick Santorum – 4
John Bolton – 3
Marco Rubio – 3
Chris Christie – 2
Susana Martinez – 2
Sarah Palin – 2
Mike Pence – 2
Herman Cain – 1
Mitch Daniels – 1
Nikki Haley – 1
Paul Ryan – 1
John Thune – 1
Kelly Ayotte – 0
Haley Barbour – 0
Carly Fiorina – 0
Peter King – 0
Tim Pawlenty – 0
Rob Portman – 0
Brian Sandoval – 0
Tim Scott – 0

 

2016 Senate Candidate – Votes
Matt Salmon – 106
David Schweikert – 66
Sarah Palin – 49
John McCain – 39
Trent Franks – 38
Write in – 34
Christine Jones – 13
Jan Brewer – 8

Write-Ins – Votes
Paul Gosar – 18
Claire Van Steenwyk – 3
Gabby Saucedo Mercer – 2
Ray Kouns – 1
Joe Arpaio – 1
Wendy Biggs – 1
AJ LaFaro – 2
Kelli Ward – 1
Bill Montgomery – 2
Steve Smith – 1
Susan Bitter-Smith – 1
Mickey Mouse – 1

Do the January 8th Victims Justify “Takings” of Private Property?

The Arizona Citizens Defense League expresses its ongoing sympathy to the families of those taken and injured in the December 8th, 2011 attack.

in a 1/8/15 Opinion piece, Ms. Sarah Garracht Gassen of The Arizona Daily Star, presents Patricia Maisch’s idea to a call the murders, a “taking,” rather than a “loss.” We agree. The question is, “should those actions be used as a predicate for more takings of peoples’ rights?”

Ms. Maich asserts that, “It’s such a small goal…that, “every gun sale requires a background check…” No, it is not a “small goal” at all, nor does it involve any “common sense.”

First, the Right To Keep and Bear Arms is a basic fundamental right, according to the Supreme Court’s “Heller Decision.” Firearms are legal, tangible, personal property. Requiring prior government permission to transact them, turns a right into a privilege. It is already a crime to transfer a gun to a prohibited person, per Arizona Law. ( ARS 13-3102. )

Second, it is absolutely impossible to enforce a “background check.” Such rules would only obtain the compliance of those least likely to misbehave, and the non-compliance of those most likely to do so.

Third, using the actions of a disturbed man as a position of cover from which to diminish the rights of others, is disingenuous at best, and evil at worst. The American ideal of justice does not involve the punishment of the innocent for the acts of the guilty.

Fourth, it is not rational to believe that the insane or the criminal will submit to a background check, or that it would stop them from such acquisition. The Tucson and Virginia Tech killers, both PASSED background checks, and the Sandy Hook killer, bypassed the process by an act of murder.

We admire Ms. Maisch’s actions to disarm the attacker that day, and her desire to prevent future attacks. Let us be clear though: a “background check” will not affect the criminal or the crazy. All it does is register every transacted gun. This gives government a fishing license and a fish finder, for every person with an alleged “disability,” such as the retired NY Sheriff who had his 4 handguns seized recently for seeking treatment for insomnia. ( http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/02/veteran-and-former-cop-sues-after-guns-confiscated-because-he-sought-treatment-for-insomnia/ )

U.S. Violent crime rates have been in decline since the 1990’s. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/us/study-gun-homicide/ ) Far more guns are used in America to prevent crime than to facilitate it, according The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, by more than a 5 to 1 ratio. The news cycle though, is driven more by blood than fact.

The recent killings in France, a country with strict gun control, demonstrate just how well that works. In a crisis, no one was equipped to stop the murderers or help the police.

Ms. Maisch asserts that “the gun lobby…remains deathly effective at confusing guns with freedom.” The Arizona Citizens Defense League IS the Arizona gun lobby, and we have no confusion whatsoever – guns ARE freedom.

We suggest several solutions. First, focus the personnel who would do “background checks,” on known offenders. They are the ones most likely to re-offend. Second, get known, violent mentally ill people the treatment they need. Third, make sure plenty of armed, trained citizens are present in society to neutralize the threat when it occurs. Last: leave us alone.

Charles Heller is Co-Founder and Communications Coordinator for the Arizona Citizens Defense League. You can visit them online at www.azcdl.org.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich Endorses Lisa Gray for Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman

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Phoenix, AZ
 – Attorney General Mark Brnovich endorses Lisa Gray for Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman.

“I proudly endorse Lisa Gray for Maricopa County Republican Party Chair. Lisa is a tremendous force in grassroots politics and is an accomplished leader in our party. Her dedication, passion and leadership is exactly what the party needs and she has my full support,” stated AG Brnovich.

I’m honored to receive the support of our new Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Mark’s work ethic, integrity and love for Arizona and our Nation are to be admired. In his inauguration speech he referred to the opportunity to achieve the American dream where a public school kid from an immigrant family can become your Attorney General.  He understands that the Republican Party fights for the protection of the ability for every child of God to pursue the American Dream, as do I.  I am thankful for his leadership and support.

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Lisa has been deeply involved in grassroots politics for years in Arizona. Most recently she was the campaign manager for State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and coordinator for the AZGOP Super Saturday statewide GOTV effort. She has a long list of leadership experience including serving as a Legislative District Chairman, First and Second Vice Chairman, Sun City Republican Club President and Northwest Valley Tea Party Leader. To learn more, visit www.TeamRed.GOP

Salmon Wins National Columnist’s ‘Profile In Courage Award’ for Cowardly Boehner Vote

BOOTJanuary 6, 2015 will go down as the largest betrayal of the Arizona Tea Party since its rise in 2009.   As expected, John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the House but what was not expected was that every Arizona Republican, minus Rep Gosar, would roll over like beaten dogs in yesterday’s vote.  Another sad take-away from yesterday’s vote was that Tea Party darling David Schweikert was officially diagnosed with ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ yesterday—  we at Arizona Informer wish David a speedy recovery and a long, peaceful retirement from public office.

One particularity odd moment in yesterday’s vote was Matt Salmon’s cowardly tactic of waiting to see how the wind blew prior to casting his vote (for Boehner) on a second call. The tactic, panned on social media, has now been picked up by several national Conservatives including Iowa radio host and Iowa Caucus king-maker Steve Deace at Conservative Review.  Steve Deace describes Salmon’s move as the following:

“…Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t hand Matt Salmon a profile in courage award for waiting until the second time through the roll call to finally vote for Boehner as Speaker, once it was clear he had the votes. The people of Arizona haven’t seen such bravery since Pat Tillman…”

OUCH!

Salmon’s despicable move was a finger in the eye of the Arizona PCs and Conservative activists who spent the last few days burning up the phone-lines locally and in DC explaining their opposition to another 2 years under Speaker Boehner.  Earlier this week we declared that Reps Franks, Schweikert, and Salmon were at ‘a time for choosing‘, and today we have that answer.  Boehner’s Three Stooges have chosen power and NRCC cash over the will of their own constituents.

The only request we have for Representatives Salmon, Franks, Schweikert, and McSally (a lost cause from the start) is stop begging us for money and to call Speaker Boehner to knock on doors and make calls for you come 2016.  We understand today that we dedicated conservative grassroots activists are of no value to you.  The feeling is now mutual.  We’re just glad that everything is now in the open.

And to Representative Paul Gosar, THANK YOU!  We’re at the ready whenever you need us.

Read Steve Deace’s piece at Conservative Review

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ArizonaInformer.com‘s focus is to call out bias and activism by the local media, monitor Arizona’s institutional left, and to hold Republicans accountable to the grassroots.  It’s our primary mission to inform Arizonans with the Truth and amplify the voice of Citizen Journalists — all with a heavy dose of snark.   We are factually correct and politically incorrect.  #War

Surprise! (NOT!) Average Affordable Care premiums going up in 2015

Reprinted from YahooNews.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many people covered under President Barack Obama’s health care law will face higher premiums next year, the administration acknowledged Thursday. While the average increases are modest, it’s more fodder for the nation’s political battles over health care.

Officials stressed that millions of current HealthCare.gov customers can mitigate the financial hit if they’re willing to shop around for another plan in a more competitive online marketplace. Subsidies will also help cushion the impact.

It’s currently taking an average of 30 minutes for returning customers to update their coverage.

Premiums for the most popular type of plan are going up an average of 5 percent in 35 states where Washington is running the health insurance exchanges this year and will do so again in 2015, said a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Monthly premiums are one of the most important and politically sensitive yardsticks for Obama’s health care law, which offers subsidized private insurance to people who don’t have access to coverage through their jobs. Sharper premium hikes were common before it passed.

The modest average increases reported for 2015 mask bigger swings from state to state, and even within regions of a state. According to data released by the administration, some communities will still see double-digit hikes while others are seeing decreases. Most are somewhere in the middle.

“Prior to the Affordable Care Act taking place, we saw double-digit increases in health care costs in this country,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “Those were routine.”

Many people who go back to the website “will now find that their costs are limited to only 5 percent on average,” he said, “a much lower cost increase than was in place before the Affordable Care Act.”

Even after Thursday’s report, the bottom line remains blurry.

Last year’s report provided average premiums for three types of plans across 48 states — close to a national number. This year’s report has no comparable statistic.

With both chambers of Congress under Republican control next year, the health care law will face even closer scrutiny from opponents still pursuing its repeal.

Nonetheless, industry experts said the picture appears positive for consumers and the administration.

“Benchmark premiums going into year two of the health law are very stable nationally, driven largely by strong competition among insurers,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “How the law is playing out varies quite a bit across the country, with premiums increasing in some areas but actually going down in other places, which is almost unheard of.”

Administration officials said that on the whole, the market for individual insurance has gotten better for consumers.

“In today’s marketplace, issuers are competing for business,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “Returning customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save.”

The administration says about two-thirds of current customers can still find coverage comparable to what they have now for $100 a month or less if they shop. That estimate takes into account the tax credits that most consumers receive, which cover about three-fourths of their premiums on average.

Also, 91 percent of customers will have a choice of three or more insurers this year, with each company usually offering a range of plans. That’s a notable improvement from last year, when 74 percent of customers had similar options.

The most popular coverage, known as the lowest cost silver plan, will go up 5 percent next year across the 35 states included in the administration’s analysis. The second-lowest cost silver plan — the benchmark the government uses to set subsidy levels — will go up an average of 2 percent.

Tax credits are based on a person’s income and the premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan in their community. The slow premium growth for the second-lowest cost silver plans is also good news for taxpayers who are subsidizing the program.

Open enrollment season for 2015 is now in its third week and runs through Feb. 15. The next big deadline for consumers is Dec. 15, the date by which new customers must sign up if they want their coverage to take effect on Jan. 1. For current customers, it’s the deadline to make changes and updates that would take effect Jan. 1.

Current customers who do nothing will be automatically renewed in the plan they have now on Jan. 1. But with all the changes in premiums for 2015, administration officials and consumer advocates are urging people to come back and shop.

“For the vast majority of people, if they stay in the same plan, I think they’ll see rate increases in the single digits to high single digits,” said Andy Slavitt, a top HHS official overseeing technology and management issues.

The administration has set a goal of 9.1 million people enrolled in 2015, including most of the current 6.7 million customers.