Chairman Doug Grindstaff, Executive Director Jean Barwick and other active members of the Williamson County Republican Party are regular contributors to the OpEd section of the Williamson Herald. Read their commentaries below.
3/14/2006 Ports, lies and security traps
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF, Guest Commentary
email@example.comWell it’s over! Dubai blinked! Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and the left-wing press have once again saved America! Should we rejoice?
If we enjoy being lied to, being incited into a mindless mob and pushing an over-reactionary Congress to protect us from an evil we never understood, we should rejoice. At least until the bills for our protectionism come due.
Perhaps a few facts will help us decide how jubilant to be. Let me first declare that I am no friend of Dubai or the UAE. As a matter of fact, I wish the whole Middle-East thing would just go away. But since it’s not, we should deal with facts, not campaign slogans.
PORTS ARE NOT FOR SALE. They are owned by local port authorities. Each port consists of numerous terminals, which are individually leased to terminal operators or shipping companies who want to control where they dock their ships. Decades ago regulations, unions, and low profits drove most of our shipping to foreign owned companies and with them the terminal leases. This transaction for example involved two of Baltimore’s seven terminals.
DUBAI WORLD PORTS is buying a British shipping company that leases some U.S. terminals. Of our five highest volume ports, 80 percent of the container terminals are leased to foreign-owned or -related companies, including one controlled by the communist Chinese government.
PORT SECURITY is not handled by the terminal operator. The U. S. Coast Guard handles port security and U.S. Customs inspects (or doesn’t inspect) the cargos. The Longshoreman’s union controls the work of transferring the cargo, no matter who has the lease.
COMPANIES DON’T SLIP TERRORIST EMPLOYEES INTO THE U.S. I know because I have worked internationally. Non-citizen employees apply for a work visa and get background checks, no matter who owns the company.
SECURITY DOESN’T BEGIN AT OUR PORTS. If a ship is carrying a weapon of mass destruction, it doesn’t matter if it goes off on the dock or two miles away. Port security is knowing what’s coming here and where it’s coming from. Strangely enough, Dubai has been until now the leading shipping port to cooperate with these inspections.
How then do these facts justify the new commercial of Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) glaring at the camera if front of a port location saying? President Bush wants to sell these ports to the UAE!? and ?We can’t sell our national security to foreign governments.?
Is Junior really this misinformed or is he deliberately lying? Either way he and many others joined the fiery and destructive rhetoric until nearly 70 percent of Americans demanded that the transaction be stopped.
Maybe we need the government to take over port operations in addition to security and customs. Maybe we need to improve port security. Maybe we need to plug the tunnels running under our ground borders. Maybe we need to honestly debate lots of security issues. But that’s not what this is about.
THIS IS ABOUT CRASS POLITICIANS crying, ?WOLF? in the name of national security and telling obvious lies for political gain. When a congressman says we’re ?Outsourcing our national security? and he knows it’s a lie, I feel betrayed. How do you feel
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3/28/2006 Who will elect our judges and county officials?
By JEAN BARWICK
firstname.lastname@example.orgWe are rapidly moving toward the primary deadline of May 2, 2006. Do you know the offices involved and the people running for these important positions?
Many very well informed people are not aware that this election will determine the four 21st Judicial District Circuit Court judges. I recently had a community leader express surprise that Circuit Court judges were elected offices. That’s not surprising really, since the elections only occur every eight years and appointments by the governor fill any vacancies in the interim. Many people will also be surprised to learn that these judges are the only court between them and the Tennessee Supreme Court for findings of fact, and these judges literally have the authority to order a death sentence. These judges, the district attorney, public defender and circuit clerk are very important positions and deserve our careful deliberation.
Also on May 2, Williamson County will elect most of our county government. Before anyone jumps up to scold me for being presumptive, I know this is a primary ballot and the final election is in August. But that fact can lead to apathy in the primary and it is prudent to assume that since the Republicans carried 73 percent of the 2004 election, most Republican candidates will win in August.
What percent of registered voters should go to the trouble to elect the people who set our tax rates, collect our taxes, vote on our roads, determine the future of our school system, judge in our county courts, and, in general, operate the government that affects our daily lives more than the morass of Washington politics?
In the last county primary, less than 20 percent of the eligible voters participated. Most of us either don’t agree with the importance of the county primary or are simply too busy to be bothered. How can we expect a democracy to work if 80 percent of us are too apathetic to vote?
On Tuesday, April 11, the WCRP will host a Candidates’ Fair at the Cool Springs Embassy Suites from 5-8 p.m. It is free and open to everyone who wants to meet the candidates and explore the issues that concern us most. We expect to have 70 candidates for office there to talk to voters.
Early voting starts the next day, April 12. We all have excuses not to vote on Election Day, but surely we can find one day to vote early. The election commission at 790-5711 can give you your early voting places as it is different from your regular polling site.
Please come to Candidates’ Fair, and please vote in this important election
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4/12/2006 When did illegal become undocumented?
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
email@example.comSen. Hillary Clinton said she will not vote to make undocumented immigrants illegal. What are they now? Illegal is breaking the law! Do we now have undocumented drugs, undocumented burglaries? Where is the line where illegal is not illegal?
In the past few months I’ve heard every possible rationale for granting amnesty to our estimated 12 million illegal aliens. What I have not heard is anyone willing to tell us the whole truth so we could make an intelligent decision.
We need a national debate on this. It is the most important issue of this decade. But we need a debate based on facts, not rumors and distortions. Consider these facts:
• Americans are pro-immigration! There are currently 26 million LEGAL immigrants here. We are pleased to have them contributing to our society.
• We do not need to replace 12 million illegal workers. Approximately 7 million of the 12 million are employed; 3 million are in our schools (costing $25 billion) and another 2 million not working.
• There are plenty of willing workers in America! The unemployment rate is 5 percent, but that only counts people filing for unemployment payments. Only 66 percent of working age Americans are employed, so another 40 million people either don’t want to work or have given up on finding a good-paying job. How much is it worth to us to entice 7 million of these people into the workforce where they can pay taxes and even pay for their own health care?
• The minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. The free market will raise our lowest wage to $10 and hour if we stop letting employers exploit the illegal immigrants. We need people to make a living wage. The amnesty advocates are not looking to help a few hard-working Hispanics. They are exploiting the most vulnerable of both Americans and immigrants to oversupply unskilled labor and keep wages low. It’s all about profit and votes.
• There are no jobs that Americans won’t do! There are lots of jobs Americans won’t do for $5.15 an hour. If the fast food restaurants pay $10 an hour, lots of workers will suddenly appear. That’s an extra quarter for a hamburger. The now infamous lettuce picker can be replaced if we paid $15 an hour. That’s an extra dime for lettuce to get Americans to do these jobs.
• Contrary to the myth of the amnesty crowd, all illegal immigrants are not hard-working people looking for a job to feed their families. Many are, but so are many unemployed and underemployed Americans. Today 26 percent of all federal prisoners are illegals. We should decide who comes here and who does not.
• We CAN and MUST protect our borders! The same people who say that’s impossible are the people who advocate legalizing all drugs and bribing terrorists to stay away. If this government can’t protect us, then we need to elect one that can.
• Amnesty did not work in 1986 when we granted it to 3 million illegals and passed a law to protect the borders and stop employers from hiring illegals. Twenty years later we have 12 million more waiting in line and we are being told exactly the same story. Even Sen. Kennedy knows that 20 years from now his bill will produce another 50 million illegals and another call for amnesty because the problem is too big. There are 500 million people living in Latin America and in 20 years there will be 750 million. We can import people until our living standards equalize with the rest of the world. Then people will stop coming.
• The Senate bill is amnesty! It gives foreigners the same incentive to break our laws. There is absolutely no way to determine when each one arrived here. The 1986 amnesty was rift with fraud and today the counterfeiting of documentation has greatly improved.
What then are we to do? Let’s begin by enforcing our existing laws. That means it’s illegal to employ illegals. Let’s stop giving welfare and healthcare to people who should not be here. Let’s enforce the law on our borders. Why do we need new laws? And just who decided not to enforce these laws? Perhaps that’s who should be in jail! If we simply do these things, illegal immigrants will go home and apply for legal status. Since many have children who were born here, they will go to the top of the list and return in due time to well-paying jobs where they can contribute to society as our current legal immigrants do.
Let’s increase our immigration quotas and let’s have a guest worker program. But let’s bring in people who will compete for jobs in engineering, programming, research, medicine, management, and teaching, particularly college. We have real shortages in those areas. Let’s control the unskilled immigration to a level that allows our current unskilled workers to compete at a wage level that provides a real chance to live the American dream.
If you agree with this article, send it to your friends and to all politicians. You can download it from www.williamsonherald.com. If you disagree, vote for Kennedy or McCain and enjoy the cheap labor while we exploit our unskilled citizens and immigrants.
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4/27/2006 U.S. workers exploited by foreign company
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis week Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff announced the arrests of 1187 illegal aliens at 40 U.S. workplaces of IFCO Industries Inc., a Dutch owned company. Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis were among the sites. He also announced the arrests of 7 company executives charged with conspiracy to transport, harbor, and induce illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. for commercial advantage. These charges carry a possible 10-year sentence.
Secretary Chertoff reports that this roundup is larger than all the arrests for 2005 combined. Okay, but why is that? What was the government doing last year? What was the government doing for the past 20 years since Senator Kennedy wrote the 1986 amnesty bill that promised border security and workplace enforcement? Now he is again proposing the same language on another amnesty bill and REPUBLICANS are likely to vote for it in the next few week.
We don’t need new laws and we don’t need another amnesty bill. This raid proves that we have the laws to stop illegal workers and to police the companies who exploit them. If you’ve been told the government can’t find illegal workers or that companies don’t know who has forged documents, just call and get your credit rating report. It will show the name that goes with that Social Security number, when and where the number was issued, one’s age, and one’s credit history for the past 5 years. Perhaps the government can’t check on a Social Security number, but private enterprise has already developed an effective system. One has to wonder if they haven’t yet discovered this breakthrough, or if this false issue is just another smoke screen to cover their unwillingness to enforce the laws they swore to uphold.
As for the proposed felony bill passed in the House that has caused so many illegal aliens to skip work and school to demand in the streets their right to be legalized, it is ALREADY a felony for a deported alien to return to the U.S. without a visa. When was the last time you heard of someone being charged under that law?
Two weeks ago, I wrote in this column that the problem wasn’t new laws but was enforcement. While this raid was merely a bone thrown to the restless voters, it does prove the level of our government’s malfeasance for the past two decades. Why only now?
The core issue isn’t whether to help some hard-working Mexican who’s trying to make a better life. The core issue is stopping the exploitation of our unskilled workers, both legal and illegal. We have 26 million LEGAL immigrants and we have 25 million unskilled citizens. The addition of another 12 to 20 million illegal aliens has over saturated the unskilled labor market and reduced wages to the point that millions of our citizens have dropped out of the workforce. Jobs at $9/hr will bring them back and will relieve the strain on the social support systems.
Chertoff reports that IFCO was paying $6.50/hr and cheating illegals on overtime. Workplace conditions were intolerable. An immigration official said, ?no legal facility would let people work in those conditions.? So this is what our Senators mean by ?jobs Americans won’t do.? Assuming IFCO cleaned up the hygiene and safety issues and paid $12/hr for these difficult jobs, Americans would do them. But that would cut profits at the Dutch company. I’m Okay with that. Aren’t you?
Family health care costs $4.50/hr. Public schools cost $9000.00 per student ($4.25/hr for one parent) Guess who is being exploited to pay for these exploited $6.50/hr workers?
So the illegal aliens are being exploited by a foreign company. Imagine that! But IFCO and all the other profit hungry companies lobbying for cheap labor are exploiting unskilled Americans who can’t live on $6.50/hr. And they are exploiting you, as you struggle to pay for the social costs that subsidize these companies.
If you’re tired of being exploited, e-mail this article to your friends and to your legislators. Tell them we don’t want and don’t need a new amnesty law. We want law enforcement. And we want a controlled unskilled labor supply that lets Americans and legal immigrants earn enough to live with dignity and hope.
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5/10/2006 A new tax, targeted only at low-incomes taxpayers
email@example.comTennessee has a new tax that has gotten only limited attention from the press, but will raise over one billion dollars this year. Yes, that’s BILLION with a B. The really nice thing about this tax is that it is only paid by the mathematically challenged and they are very happy to voluntarily pay the tax, even though disproportionately these taxpayers are low-income people.
What makes this low-income taxpayer generosity even more interesting is that most of this tax goes to operate the taxing agency and to support education for the children of higher-income taxpayers.
You may be thinking this is a joke and I wish it were. It is sort of a joke. It’s called the Tennessee Lottery. The lottery has been heavily advertising lately about the wonderful scholarships it has provided to Tennessee children, in excess of half a billion dollars. And it has. Since its inception the lottery has raised $1.9 billion and provided education funding of $567 million. The other $1.333 billion went to prizes and operating expenses including advertising. We have been unable to find the exact payout but it is most likely that prizes account for less than 50 percent. Lottery sales in the first quarter were $265 million and will exceed one billion for the year. Giving 30 percent to education seems pretty cheap.
Surprisingly, this article is not about condemning the lottery. I happen to think that Tennessee needed a lottery and that the scholarships provided are good for the state. We needed to stop the flow of gambling funds to surrounding states and we needed to provide scholarships to our youths.
My concern is the flagrant use of revenues to entice people to waste their money. The odds of winning in these games are worse than one can get at casinos and everyone knows casinos keep over 50 percent of all the money played. We have established a system whereby we judge success by the amount of money we can entice from people who can’t afford it. Multiple studies show that low-income taxpayers are disproportionably supporting lotteries. Why are allowing the exploitation of these people by a state sponsored organization?
People are going to gamble. People are going to dream of striking it rich. It is appropriate for the state to supply an outlet for this emotion to prevent illegal exploitation. But we should be spending the lottery advertising dollars educating people to the futile odds of even getting their money back, instead of selling them fantasies about getting rich quickly and effortlessly.
The lottery is a tax on the mathematically challenged! Let’s see how little we can sell, not whom we can take advantage of. Our legislature should eliminate all Lottery promotions and require educational advertising as the price of licensing a lottery.
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5/25/2006 Immigration law changes are grave concern to country
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis week the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a law to grant amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants. This number will likely be 20 million people. The 1986 immigration amnesty law projected 2 million people. There were 3 million people certified in a massive document fraud and the borders opened for a flood of one million illegals per year waiting on the next amnesty law. These likely 20 million new citizens is in addition to the 26 million legal immigrants who have worked long and hard to play by our laws to be here.
This issue is the gravest issue to face this nation in our lifetimes. The Iraq war will be over; taxes will rise and fall; Social Security will be fixed; abortion will someday be voted on and resolved politically. But a suddenly enfranchised homogenous voting block as large as 15 percent of the population will destroy this country, as we have known it.
Consider if we were to merge the U.S. and Canada. We would double the geography of our country, but in the process we would add a block of 30 million liberal/socialist citizens of whom 11 million are passionately French, mostly with no English skills. In a country where conservative/liberal national elections are determined by only one or two million votes, do we really want to merge with 30 million socialists? Do we really want that many new citizens from either of two socialist neighbors?
So as the Senate fiddles while our heritage burns, what do they tell us? What is the difference between now and 1986?
"We’ll secure the borders." We said that in 1986. We cannot secure the borders while providing good jobs, welfare payments, and free medical care as rewards for coming here and giving only a free bus home when illegals are caught.
Some illegals have been caught six times before successfully entering.
"We’ll fine companies who hire illegal workers." We said that in 1986. It could be done now as it was a few weeks ago at IFCO Industries. But it is not done now and it won’t be done after this new amnesty law. These platitudes are to silence the voters while they lose their country.
"Illegals here less than two years will have to go home." There won’t be any illegals that have been here less than two years. People entering the country next month will have documents proving they’ve been here over two years. Another bone for the concerned citizens.
"To get citizenship, illegals will have to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line behind all the people waiting to enter legally." What does that mean? Some people have been waiting 15 years for an immigration visa. Are we to really believe that we will now grant visas to everyone in the world who’s applied? One can only hope that Americans are not as ignorant as our government apparently thinks we are.
Finally, the cruelest insult of all! "We need a guest worker program to allow immigrants to take low-paying jobs." Our leaders now admit that this issue is not about ?jobs Americans won’t do.? It’s about low-paying jobs. It’s not about helping immigrants. It’s about helping Tyson Foods and the rich megaf-armers in California who irrigate the desert and make big political contributions. If they can’t compete with ?low-paying jobs,? we can buy our vegetables from Mexico and the ?low-paying jobs? can stay there. The only losers are the mega-farmers and the profits they share with the politicians.
Who is really paying for these low-paying jobs? Who pays for the health care at the emergency rooms? Who pays for the education of these people? Who pays for the social services for these families? Who pays for the prisons where 26 percent of the federal prisoners are illegal aliens?
This is our last chance to speak, to protest, and to stop subsidizing the profits of ruthless companies who exploit unskilled workers, both legal and illegal. Call Sen. Frist (615-352-9411, 615-352-9985) and Sen. Alexander (615-736-5129, 615-269-4803) and tell them to stop this bill. E-mail all the U.S. House members to pass no laws. Rather they should hold hearings on why our current laws are ignored.
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6/8/2006 State legislatures overstepping their bounds in presidential elections
By JEAN BARWICK
email@example.comSince the 2000 presidential election we have been hammered with the outrage by Democrats that the election was "stolen" from presidential hopeful Al Gore, who received the majority of the popular vote but not a majority of the Electoral College. This constant refrain plays pretty well with the Democrats’ base who seem to have little regard for the United States Constitution and even less regard for recent history.
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, assumed our nation’s highest office with only 41.8 percent of the national popular vote. His 1916 reelection bid was successful with 49.3 percent of the popular vote. Harry S. Truman, another Democrat, became president in 1948 with 49.5 percent of the popular vote. Democrat John Kennedy walked away with the presidency in 1960 with 49.7 percent of the popular vote. Richard Nixon, a Republican, won the presidency with only 43.4 percent of the popular vote in 1968. Bill Clinton moved into the White House following the 1992 election with a mere 43 percent of the popular vote. Fairing better in his reelection bid, Mr. Clinton received 49 percent of the popular vote. In 2000 George Bush won the office with 47.8 percent of the total popular vote. From these numbers, it would appear that the Electoral College has favored Democrats over Republicans in recent history and that Gore’s failure was not the result of some vast right-wing conspiracy or a symbol of our failed government as the claims go.
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution established the Electoral College as part of the transformation from colonial governments to a unified constitutional republic to appoint electors equal to the number of each state’s congressional delegation. The House gives proportional representation to each state based on population and the Senate provides representation to each state equal to every other state. This arrangement guarantees equal representation and prevents states with large populations from imposing their will on smaller states. The Electoral College ensures that the president and vice-president are selected by a body of electors with the same proportional representation as the Congress.
A state-by-state campaign is underway to reform how each state awards its electoral votes in presidential elections. Proponents of the Campaign for the National Popular Vote (NPV) complain that presidential campaigns concentrate on and win electoral votes in battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, disenfranchising voters on the losing side of those states. They argue that the major party campaigns operate with total disregard for the interests of Americans outside the swing states and the result is low voter turnout, racial discrimination and the future of American democracy. For the NPV compact to succeed, enough states with a combined total of the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency must enact identical legislation requiring their electors to ignore the winner of their states’ election and award the electors from each state to the candidate who wins the country’s popular vote.
The NPV compact is not the first attempt to alter the Electoral College by amending the constitution but all have failed in Congress. The new tactic here is to by-pass Congress and change the laws through individual state legislatures. Under the NPV plan, as few as eleven states (compared to the 38 states required to amend the Constitution) pledging their electoral votes could alter the entire architecture of presidential elections.
If state legislatures have the power to award their states’ electoral votes to whichever candidate they determine to be the winner, the representation guaranteed by the Electoral College is gone. Candidates would concentrate their campaigns in densely populated urban areas, particularly cities in California and New York. The NVP initiative has fraud, corruption and endless lawsuits written all over it.
The Colorado Senate voted to ratify the NPV compact in April, followed by California lawmakers in May. The compact is currently under consideration in New York, Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri. Interestingly, the NPV slogan is "Every Vote Equal', yet the legislatures of both Colorado and California by-passed the popular vote of the citizens on this important issue. They’re likely getting in some practice for dumping their citizens’ votes should they not be in line with the national popular vote down the road.
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7/06/2006 Canada, U.S and Mexico - one big, happy family
by Jean Barwick
firstname.lastname@example.orgIn an attempt to assuage U.S. citizens' growing anger over the increasing burden of illegal immigration, the Senate crafted its immigration reform bill before passing it along to the Congress and the president ordered National Guard troops to the semipermeable membrane between the United States and Mexico, otherwise referred to as the border. While all of this theater was playing to an attentive U.S. audience, the Bush administration, without authorization from Congress, continued to broker a trilateral agreement initiated in 2005 with Canada and Mexico to establish trade and security policies that presented "new avenues of cooperation that will make our open societies safer and more secure, our businesses more competitive, and our economies more resilient."
Meeting in Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005, President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin adopted the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, and assigned as many as 20 ministerial-level working groups from multiple U.S. government agencies, including, e-commerce, aviation and maritime policy, and border and immigration policy to hammer out the details. The Canadian and Mexican governments have set up similar SPP offices.
The task assigned to these working groups, operating under the auspices of the Department of Commerce through the North American Free Trade Agreement office, is to implement the Security and Prosperity Partnership by defining the specific goals and actions necessary to sustain North America as a viable economic entity and as a secure environment for its citizens now and in the future.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to dilute the sovereignty of the United States, the "nonpartisan" Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) developed a 59-page document in support of the SPP which details a five-year plan for the establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community. The document, "Building a North American Community," is based on the vulnerability of the United States on several fronts - national security, energy needs, global economic competition and the widening gap between the economies of the United States and Mexico, and, of course, the presumption that the United States has no control over any of these factors.
Described in the everybody-just-needs-a-big-hug language of the CFR plan, the three partners in the trilateral agreement are no longer referred to as countries - they are now a "community" in which we share people, prosperity, resources, corruption, poverty, and crime within a "common security perimeter." The plan describes a freer flow of people within North America and "harmonizing" visa and asylum regulations within the shared perimeter.
According to the CFR plan, there will be no illegal immigrants or undocumented workers. The "North American preference" plan will allow employers to recruit low-paid workers from anywhere in North America. The United States already enjoys this benefit of the partnership, but now Canada can work toward a "seamless North American market."
Buried in the fluff is the meat of the trilateral agreement - unparalleled U.S. foreign aid to the other two countries, specifically Mexico, in the form of "multilevel development" from the World Bank, long-term loans and a plan to pump private capital into Mexico. Integrating Mexican citizens into the U.S. Social Security system is called the "Social Security Totalization Agreement" included in the plan. To ensure equal education for all, the plan calls for fund development for educating Mexican students in the United States.
The closest any of the activity of the working groups has come to full disclosure is a bill introduced by Sen. Richard Luger (R-IN). S. 853, titled "North American Cooperative Security Act" seeks to empower the Secretary of State to "establish a program to bolster the mutual security and safety of the United States, Canada and Mexico, and for other purposes." If the "and for other purposes" catchall doesn't make you nervous, nothing will. The bill, introduced on April 29, 2005 underwent two readings and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations where it remains today. Let's hope it dies there.
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7/20/2006 Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) to speak in Williamson County
by Doug Grindstaff
email@example.comThe Williamson County Republican Party will hold its annual Reagan Day Dinner on Aug. 4, the day after the Aug. 3 election and state primary. The theme of the event is "Reuniting for November." The dinner is scheduled for 6:30pm at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cool Springs.
All primaries that involve contested seats will necessarily reflect strongly held opinions that differ and create friction. This is currently true of the U.S. Senate race, and, to a lesser extent, our own State Senate race.
Regardless of whom we support in the primary, we must always remember that the differences within our party are much smaller than the differences that divide us from the party of Howard Dean.
Republicans stand for traditional family values, smaller government, lower taxes and strong national defense. We believe in a lawful society but we don't need a law for every detail of our lives. We believe in giving people a hand up, not a hand out. While not all our elected officials always live up to these creeds, for the most part, they do.
Our creeds are the antipathy of the party of Howard Dean and Harold Ford Jr. Their party seeks the hand of big government to control the citizens but a weak national defense to move us closer to international government. It doesn't surprise me to hear the Democrats chant cut-and-run in Iraq, but I never thought I would hear the Supreme Court quote international law as a source for "creative interpretation" of the "Living Constitution."
It becomes more obvious every day that a large percentage of our citizens are big government, big brother socialists. No recoil from that label can change the class warfare, redistribution of wealth philosophy that the Democrats so vehemently espouse. Their vision of the world is not the society that we have always known. Theirs is a world society where the super-rich Kennedys and Kerrys run the country with their foreign friends, deriving their power from the welfare given to the ever-larger, dependent under-class that they create with failing school systems and uncontrolled immigration.
So we close this primary and come together to elect the people who will protect our country and our way of life. We are very fortunate to have the governor of Massachusetts and potential 2008 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, to travel here for our reuniting event. Gov. Romney, is the son of three-time Michigan Governor, George Romney. He founded the world renown Bain Fund and later stepped in to save the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He was elected a Republican governor in the Democrat-dominated state of Massachusetts and has garnered a national following. He is a man of strong principles. His trip to Williamson County has attracted national media and blog attention and we already have reservations from Memphis, Jackson and Columbia.
This will be the largest political event in the history of Wiliamson County. It will reunite the party. It is an event you will not want to miss. Call the party office at 790-7642 to make a reservation while they are still available. Don't miss Mitt!
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8/3/2006 Where have all the voters gone?
firstname.lastname@example.orgThe candidates have knocked on doors, made countless phone calls, eaten enough barbeque and ice cream to last a lifetime in an effort to get their message to the voters. At day's end, Williamson County will have a new circuit court judge and the winners of the Republican primaries for Governor, State Senator for the 23rd District and the U.S. Senate will emerge.
This has been an unusually long election season and by the November general election it will have taken up the better part of the year. Voter turnout statewide has been disappointingly low, particularly in Williamson County. At the close of early voting barely 4000 of the 105,000 registered voters in the county had cast their votes. The reasons voters stay away from the polls in such large numbers eludes us, but we continue to speculate and legislate, hoping for higher turnouts and parity among all American voters.
For decades various political groups have complained that the election process in the United States is deeply flawed and disenfranchises large blocks of citizens who could and would vote were it not for prejudice and corruption at the federal, state and local levels. The most recent example in our state was the Shelby County special election to fill John Ford's seat in the state legislature. Voting irregularities in Shelby County disenfranchised every legitimate voter who cast a ballot in good faith only to be betrayed by a handful of corrupt political operatives and poll workers.
Last month President Bush signed a bill which passed the Senate by a vote of 98-0 and the House by 390-33 to extend provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This bill, originally signed by President Johnson, ended poll taxes and literacy tests that has been used to keep minorities from voting. There is no question that barriers to minority voting had existed and this bill was needed to end these unjust practices. Despite the overwhelming majority of votes, many state lawmakers objected to provisions in the law requiring permission from the Justice Department to amend their states' voting rules and requirements that ballots in certain communities be available in languages other than English.
In 1993, Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The so-called "Motor Voter" registration provision falls under this act and makes voter registration available at the same time as driver's license application or renewal. "Motor Voter" registration is an applaudable initiative but raises issues with people who obtain driver's licenses illegally. Also included in the NVRA is the law requiring the acceptance of mail-in voter registration - another great initiative provided voters appear at the polls with valid identification and verifiable voting credentials. Provisions in the NVRA also provide for agency-based voter registration. This provision requires that every individual applying for federal or state public assistance or renewal of services be offered the opportunity to register to vote.
In 2002, the federal government, responding to pressure from certain groups who were deeply disturbed by the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, enacted the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This sweeping voting reform effort provides federal funds to states to replace punch card voting systems, and funds the Election Assistance Commission to set minimum standards for state and local governments in the administration of federal elections. Controversial from its inception, HAVA activists have pushed through legislation to allow voter registration on election day, provisional balloting, instant runoff voting and are actively pursuing voting rights for citizens with felony convictions. Amnesty for illegal immigrants will no doubt lead to further "enhancements" of HAVA laws.
So here we are. All the government assistance programs are in place to enhance the voting opportunities of every American - no poll taxes, no literacy tests, painless voter registration, provisional ballots, no picture identification, ballots in multiple languages, electronic voting machines and a wide window of early voting. Now all we need is some Americans.
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8/31/2006 There you go again, Junior
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
email@example.comHarold Ford Jr. is blasting us again with an ignorant class warfare tv ad funded by the East Coast liberals and Left Coast movie moguls.
First he spent millions to tell us that Bush was selling our ports and endangering our national security. When this was exposed as a gross lie (The Coast Guard and Homeland Security are responsible for port security and local cities own them. Companies contract to manage them), he moved to complaining about high gas prices and the huge salaries paid to oil executives (as he filled his oversized SUV).
Now he is back on “his” farm and complaining about the billions in tax breaks going to oil companies who make billions and the road to energy independence by growing corn.
Never mind that Junior grew up in Washington D.C. and downtown Memphis, it’s a rural state and we need to “ponder to the pickups”. Never mind that tax breaks are only given to entice oil companies to drill here rather than other countries and apparently have been too low since the percentage of imported oil keeps rising. Never mind that Exxon makes less profit as a percent of sales than most family business including the Ford family funeral home. This is a chance to ponder on the pain felt at the pump these days.
But aside from the blarney of the billions, what about he corn story? The truth is there is not enough land in the U.S. to produce ethanol to replace gasoline. It requires six gallons of petroleum to manufacture 10 gallons of ethanol. Amazingly, ethanol in an automobile gets 30% less mileage than gasoline so it takes 9 gallons of ethanol to replace 6 gallons of gasoline. So for the effort of growing and producing the ethanol, we gain one gallon out of ten.
Can that be true? “Brazil uses all ethanol.” No, Brazil uses 20% ethanol and has domestic oil and gas production for 80% of their needs hence energy-independent. They also produce ethanol at half the cost of U.S. production as a result of cheap labor and cheap tropical land that grows sugar cane…not corn. U.S. ethanol costs $4.00 a gallon after subsidies and tax breaks, so E85 increases the cost at the pump and reduces our mileage. So this commercial is about our we can increase our pain at the pump while feeling good about sticking it to big oil.
If Junior thinks ethanol is so great, why did he vote to impose a 59-cent a gallon tax on imported ethanol? Answer: Ethanol is a farm subsidy and farm subsidies buy votes! Republicans will propose to drop the import tariffs on ethanol this session. Will Junior vote to drop them?
But what about energy independence? Once again the rhetoric flounders on the facts. Thanks to misguided and deceitful policies supported by the Junior crowd, we only produce 30% of our oil needs. Adding Canada and Mexico, we only get to 60%. Tropical Brazil only supplies 20% of the needs of their third world country. We are going to get ethanol to 40% of an economy that is one-third of the world’s GNP? If you believe that, you will probably vote for Junior!
Is there no answer to this quandary? Of course, there are many answers. They just don’t pander to voters!
Before I get letters from the “why can’t we all just get along and do with less” crowd, we can do with less. We can cut our standard of living to the level of Mexico and reduce our oil consumption. But do we all want to eliminate air conditioning, heat our homes to 60 degrees and ride bicycles? Those who want to do that should do so. I don’t!
The real answer is technology. In 1910 the automobile was seen as the environmental savior to eliminate manure in the streets. If we all drove horses today, our streets would be knee-deep and we would produce more methane gas than we now produce carbon monoxide. A car today traveling at 65 miles per hour pollutes less then a 1970 car with a full tank and the engine turned off. Technology is the answer but we can’t get there by shutting down our economy.
But energy independency is important and we need to move toward it. Last week BP Oil announced they might have to close Prudhoe Bay for pipe repairs. Crude oil jumped $2.25 a barrel and gas was expected to jump 10 cents per gallon. For the last 10 years, Republicans have been trying to open ANWR to drilling but the Democrats say it would only be 5% of our annual consumption and not worth the trouble. PRUDO BAY IS 2%? Junior voted repeatedly against ANWR!
The answer to inexpensive energy with no pollution is nuclear! This should be the environmentalist’s dream, but they hate it. They teamed with the Democrats to shut down the industry. France produces 78% of its electricity in nuclear plants while we produce only 19%. We haven’t built a nuclear plant in over 30 years and two companies have now worked for l0 years trying to get a license to build one. What’s wrong with nuclear? It is NU-CLEAR! We lose more coal miners each year then we have lost people in our total history of nuclear power. Why don’t we have more?
Junior voted against it!
If we converted our natural gas power plants to nuclear and used that gas for transport trucks, we could reduce imported oil by 21%. That’s more than converting all the cars in America to E85 (15% ethanol) and with less pollution than E85. Junior voted against nuclear power plants!
If we drilled for oil and gas off shore of the East Coast and the west Florida Coast, we could increase our domestic production by as much as 30%. If we allowed only natural gas drilling off our shores, (there has never been a beach polluted by natural gas), we could easily convert half our personal cars to natural gas AND reduce pollution. This would reduce oil imports by another 20%. Junior voted against offshore gas drilling!
If we imported liquefied natural gas from friendly countries and converted the other half of our personal cars to natural gas, we would reduce pollution and eliminate both Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil! Junior voted against building terminals to import liquid natural gas!
You must be wondering, “ If this is so simple, why haven’t we done it?” Because it takes tough leadership! Because it takes time to educate people! Because it is easier to pander to our ignorance than to provide the truth. Because a Tennessee corn field is a better photo op than nuclear plant being built. Tennessee deserves better but;
Junior won’t vote for it.
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8/31/2006 Diversity is in the eye of the beholder
firstname.lastname@example.orgIt comes as no surprise to most conservatives that public pre-school, elementary and secondary education is the latest battleground for advancing the homosexual agenda. With institutionalized diversity training an accepted prerequisite for college enrollment across the nation safely in the box, pre-K and K-12 are the next planned target of increasingly powerful gay rights activists.
Heavily lobbied by gay rights groups, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association (NEA), has already established a history of introducing and passing a number of controversial resolutions to equip public school teachers with the tools to guide children toward the acceptance of same-sex orientation. Through carefully constructed language, like “need based curriculum,” “bias-free screening” and a host of other euphemisms, activists hope to advance the homosexual agenda tucked among legitimate issues of race, disability, and gender bias in early childhood education.
Prior to their meeting in Orlando this summer, word leaked that the NEA had planned to introduce a resolution to advise and support public school teachers who wished to include developmentally appropriate same-sex marriage issues into their classrooms. In the midst of the unexpected controversy that followed the leak, the resolution was withdrawn at the request of gay activist groups.
To keep the door open for future passage, the educators easily adopted a compromise resolution as part of the B-10 Resolution on racism, disability, sexism, sexual orientation, gender identification discrimination and religion. The text of the resolution includes: “The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion.” Although the original resolution was withdrawn, the educators laid specific groundwork for re-introducing the issue at a later date.
While the NEA seems determined to promote tolerance of alternate sexual lifestyles, it is decidedly intolerant of other issues that promote diversity. The group discourages competition by opposing school voucher programs, parental option plans, tuition tax credits, distance learning, and for-profit schools. Homeschooling is a favorite target of the left-leaning, elitist group. Resolutions at this year’s meeting included the NEA demand that homeschoolers meet all the curriculum requirements of each state. Further, they called for the exclusion of home schooled children from public school extra-curricular activities. Vocal supporters and contributors to such lofty issues as global and multicultural education, global environmental issues and international codes of justice, the NEA still has time to kick some homeschooler of a public school basketball court.
The NEA is on the front lines of the social engineering that is reshaping our country. Parents must continue their vigil over their children’s public education working with teachers to shape the public school curriculum, but having the courage and conviction to say no when the issues cross the line and become indoctrination. We are isolated from many of the polarizing issues in Williamson County schools, but they are coming, and we will have to deal with it.
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9/11/2006 Don't cry wolf when you read the truth
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
email@example.comI recently wrote an editorial about energy policy and exposed Harold Ford Junior’s slick New York campaign ad pandering to the uninformed with half-truths and deceptions.
A responding editorial considered this an “attack”.
If one assumes that shining the light of truth on a misleading campaign ad is an attack, then he can expect a lot more. I don’t consider that an attack of any sort. An attack could include personal things such as one might do if a candidate grew up and went to school in Washington DC (not Tennessee), and has never worked for a living. My column was about the truth behind ethanol and about the crassness of exploiting a sensitive issue with distortions. It is simply insufficient to cry “attack” and “factually incorrect” particularly when I have spent hours researching and documenting the facts. Not one fact was questioned and no new facts were offered. I’ll add a new one: Ford voted seven times against authorizing drilling in ANWR to open known oil reserves. I have the dates.
But now I have some more truths and facts that need exposure. Junior’s newest campaign ad says “nothing is more important than our security”. But the truth is that Ford:
1. voted against the reauthorization of the PATRIOT ACT;
2. voted against reorganizing the U.S. Intelligence Agencies;
3. voted twice to cut intelligence spending;
4. voted for a substitute amendment on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus for a 25% cut in defense spending.
I like to deal in facts and truths. The truth will keep us free! But some issues have to go beyond facts to opinions and decisions. Here is where we need to consider the wisdom and judgment of a candidate. For example, Ford’s conclusion on Iraq is that we should divide the country into three parts and then we can get our troops out (Washington Post). Wow! Is life ever simple for simple people. Yet I’m sure that sounds attractive to many voters as the “press” daily drums our body count.
But a slightly deeper inspection reveals overwhelming issues here. If the Kurds in the north become independent, Turkey will likely invade because otherwise the large Kurd population in Turkey might revolt to become part of a Kurd nation.
The oil money comes mostly in the Shiite south and the Sunnis of the middle section would go to war to get the oil wells. The Shiites and the Sunnis have been fighting since 632 when Mohammed died. The majority of people agreed with the Council of the Elders (Sunnis) that prophet’s successor would be Abu Bakr, a close follower. But a minority called Partisans of Ali (Shiites) insisted on a blood relative (Mohammed had no son to succeed him). This succession question went to armed conflict and the Sunnis won. Even today, Shiites are considered a second-class minority (15%) but they do control Iran. If the Sunnis invade the south to get the oil, Iran would defend their brothers. DOUBLE WOW! Now we have the prospect of a full-scale war in Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Turkey is in NATO and Iran is on the verge of having atomic weapons. Sound like a plan to get our troops home? I know these are opinions but they are opinions based on facts.
I am not attacking Junior. I don’t know if his conclusion was based on pandering or on his own ignorance of the Middle East. I do hope that voters will look to the facts not to the slick New York ads!
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9/28/2006 I don't think this is Kansas, Todo!
By DOUG GRINDSTAFF
firstname.lastname@example.orgCall me Dorothy! Where am I? I remember a time when Republicans were debating about who was the more conservative and Democrats were all trying to create another People’s Republic. Now, I see television inundated with commercials about how “moderate” and nearly conservative Harold Ford Jr. has become! Junior now claims in one ad that he is to the right of Bob Corker on illegal immigration. This editorial page carries articles by Democrat party officials who describe Junior’s voting record as “moderate and pragmatic” and “some complain it's downright conservative”.
Amazing, Todo! In Williamson County, even the Democrats are conservatives! Even more amazing, Todo, these slick Ford ads are being paid for with money raised by those famous east coast “conservatives”, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, and the always dependable “conservatives” from Hollywood.
Junior has raised 68% of his reported funds from outside of Tennessee and in money donated to U.S. Representatives by Hollywood. He is second only to the congressman from that district. Why, Todo, would these good socialists spend their money to try and elect a “moderate” and “downright conservative”? Could it be that like two week old puppies, their eyes are suddenly open?
I fear, Todo, that we have here another Slick Willie, who is today what the polls say can get votes! If we go to www.vis.org/crc/getreportcard.aspx, we can see how various organized groups rate Junior’s voting record. I am afraid this Oz campaign conflicts with the facts!
For example, the bellweather liberal Americans for Democratic Action consistently ranks Ford at 70% to 80% agreement on his votes. This is only l0% lower than Hillary Clinton or John Kerry! The “get tough on illegals” guy is rated at 90% by the liberal National Hispanic Leadership. The U.S. Border Control site rates Junior at l5% for the years known. A look at the five liberal advocacy groups shows Ford is the most liberal of Tennessee’s Democratic Congressmen. Maybe this is why he raises so much money in New York! What do the conservative advocacy groups say about Junior? The American Conservative Union rates him at 20%. The Eagle Forum is also at 20%.
What else makes a conservative? Some think it's being pro-life. The National Right to Life Committee gives Junior a range of l0-20% in the past six years. But NARAL Pro-Choice America rates him at 50-100% during those years. Pretty liberal on that, Todo!
Some think conservative means small government and low taxes. The National Taxpayers Union rates Junior at 10%, 40%, l0% and 0% with two years unrated. An average of l5% is pretty liberal, like John Dean liberal. Taxpayers for Common Sense Action gives Junior a 30% but a conservative would run at 80%.
Prayer in school? The Americans United for Separation of Church and State, aka No Christmas, gave Junior a l00% in 2005. He only got 50% from the ACLU, but I am sure he can improve.
Conservatives are strong on national defense. Junior gets a 40%, 80%, 80%, 50%
from the Peace Action Group; a 60% average from Peace Majority Group; 85% from Peace Pac, and 65% from the U.S. Campaign To End Israeli Occupation.
These groups may not ALL be right but they ARE all consistent. They ALL say Junior is a typical liberal just like the ones sending him his campaign funds. If Tennessee wants a liberal in the Senate, they should vote for one. They should not be fooled by slick ads that grossly distort the truth.
Todo, next week we will visit the Wizard, because the wicked witch is not dead!
She is in New York raising money for Junior!
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10/12/2006 On the ballot - one man, one woman
By JEAN BARWICK
email@example.comFollowing the 2004 landmark high court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, hopes were high in the gay community that the favor of activist judges and local officials would have a cascade effect and same-sex marriage would become constitutional law in all 50 states. Those hopes have dimmed, however, as rulings in a number of states have failed to recognize the constitutional right of same-sex marriage.
Lawsuits filed this year by gay activists in New York and Washington state were unsuccessful and these states upheld current state laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This summer, activist judges' lower court rulings to ignore state constitutional laws in Georgia and Nebraska were overturned. A state Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage is currently pending in New Jersey following decisions by trial and appellate judges that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marriage. A similar case has been filed in favor of gay unions in Maryland.
California, often on the leading edge of liberal thinking, shocked the nation in 2005 by circumventing the state's legislative process to become the first legislative body in the United States to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage without a court order. A veto by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger redirected the decision to the state Supreme Court to decide whether California will legalize same-sex marriage.
Next month, state amendments to ban same-sex marriage will appear on the ballot in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. Alabama approved the the ban in June of this year when when 80 percent of voters approved the measure in a statewide referendum. In an attempt to avoid the melee seen in Massachusetts, as many as twenty states have addressed the issue by including bans on same-sex marriage in their state constitutions.
Despite the groundswell of citizen initiatives nationwide, proponents of traditional marriage have failed to win the hearts and minds of Congress and the Senate to pass the Defense of Marriage amendment to the United States Constitution. This summer the Senate voted down the measure and Congress could not attain the necessary two-thirds majority to pass it. As it stands now, the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution recognizes the right of each state to define marriage and requires that every other state recognize that definition.
So what is it that bothers traditionalists about same-sex marriage? The overwhelming majority of us view marriage and family as the cornerstone of civilization and the hallmark of a stable society. Even in the face of an alarming divorce rate, we still regard traditional marriage and family as one of the most basic social and cultural institutions. For most of us, the real question is what happens to the institution of marriage and family itself should same-sex marriage become legal across the nation. This question has barely entered the national debate. Proponents of same-sex marriage argue now that it is an issue of civil rights. Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that abolishing the legal and social concept of marriage between one man and one woman, and fostering flexible family models to include any number of adults and children, also abolishes the rights and responsibilities of the traditional family that has endured for thousands of years. For most traditionalists, once marriage is defined to mean everything, it means nothing.
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10/23/2006 Friends don't let friends skip voting
firstname.lastname@example.orgLet me guess. You’re sick and tired of this election and of being up to your knees in mud. With three elections in one year and with millions spent on TV ads, everyone has the right to be a little fatigued. We all feel that way to some extent.
But before we tune in to Desperate Housewives and zone out for the year, we need to reflect on what this last election means to all of us.
On the state level, Republicans are within six seats of a majority in the House for the first time since Reconstruction. Republicans have a majority in the Senate and will be able to control committee assignments and agendas if they hold their lead. This state election is of vital importance to the future of Tennessee.
Williamson County’s own Sen. Jim Bryson is running for governor. He has a tough battle against a wealthy and entrenched second term governor. Some Republicans have voted for Bredesen in the past and may do so again. This is unfortunate since Bryson needs to leave Williamson with a big lead to offset the big Democratic vote in Davidson County. I am quoted in another paper as saying that people who vote for Bredesen aren’t really Republicans. I’m guilty. I don’t think that Bredesen is a bad person or even that he’s been a bad governor. However, one cannot really vote for a person anymore. In today’s politics, a vote for Bredesen is really a vote for the liberal judges he appoints, a vote for increased government spending, a vote for increased taxes, and a vote for lax controls on illegal immigration.
I used to say I always voted for the person, not the party. Then I learned the hard lesson that I was being tricked into voting for the party regardless of whom I thought the person was.
At the federal level we need to support Rep. Marsha Blackburn. “ No New Taxes” Blackburn brought you the sales tax deduction on your federal taxes and is now a national leader in the party. We need to show the national party how really popular Marsha is at home.
And, of course, we have the Senatorial race. Frankly I’m embarrassed for Tennessee that this race is even close. Bob Corker is a successful, self-made businessman and mayor who grew up in Tennessee and was educated in our public schools and universities. He understands Tennessee and he understands what it means to make a payroll at the end of the week. He is an honest, conservative, religious, and giving person with the values we know and trust.
Rep. Harold Ford Jr. was raised in Washington DC where he went to an exclusive private school. He attended universities in Pennsylvania and Michigan and received a law degree. He failed to pass the Tennessee Bar and cannot practice law. He has never held a job outside the federal government. After facing several investigations, indictments, and felony trials, Harold Ford Sr. passed the family-owned 9th congressional seat to Jr. at the tender age of 26. If you were presented with a 36 year old Senatorial candidate who was raised in Washington DC, was educated out of state, never held a real job, and wasn’t smart enough to pass the Bar, you would likely wonder how he even got the nomination. So am I.
But I digress. I’m sure the voters in Williamson County know all this and will vote for the right people. I am simply asking that you please vote and that you ask your friends, your family, your neighbors, your business associates, and anyone you meet on the street to please vote.
In 2004, 80% of our registered voters went to the polls. But this August only 14% voted. Please don’t let this election be lost because you are too busy or too fatigued to vote. Remember:
FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS SKIP VOTING
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11/23/2006 Whose money is it, anyway?
email@example.comIn the spirit of the season, let me begin by thanking those people who took the time to write to comment on my last opinion piece. I want to especially thank the person who took the time to organize the people to write and for sending me the e-mail.
I have tried to glean something from all this effort, but it’s hard to respond intelligently when the only salient comment is “your mother dresses you funny.” I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s comment after going to see a talking mule. He said, “It’s not that he said anything intelligent, it’s just amazing that he spoke at all.”
Perhaps we should address an issue instead of trying to attack the messenger. For example, I see Bob Tuke, the State Democratic Party Chairman, posted a letter on his web site saying, “ The Bush reign of terror has ended.” I’m sure that Mr. Tuke is a nice and principled person, but I think to accuse our president of being a terrorist when we are at war with terrorists is a terrible mistake. It provides our enemies with both encouragement and propaganda materials. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
There were a few items in these letters that I found to be intriguing. One says, “… if you don’t think greed (loss of tax breaks) and bigotry weren’t ….”. Now just how does one get to the conclusion that keeping taxes low equates to a tax break and constitutes greed? One can only reach that conclusion if he believes that all income belongs to the government and that the earner is fortunate to get some of it.
I happen to believe that the money I earn is mine. I think 35% is too much for the government to take and, yes, I would like to again see Reagan’s 27%. Here is a plain and simple example of the heart of economic conservatism, versus collectivism. I will avoid the word socialism because it seems that people who admire the European socialist governments do not like to have the title applied to their leaders. I don’t mind being called a Conservative.
But ignoring titles, let’s focus on the question of “whose money is it?” This is the question that will haunt us for the near future. We won’t have any “tax increases” but we will hear plenty of “pay as you go.” That means if we want to fund schools, the military, or social programs, we need to “invest more of your money”. Never mind that tax receipts are at the highest level in history, you need to pay a higher percentage of your income or else you’re greedy. The Republicans did a poor job of restricting spending and have paid a dear price for it. You can expect the new Congress will bring more spending and more taxes.
While one writer apparently didn’t know what Sandinista meant, another tried to provide a history lesson. A few details he missed are that Daniel Ortega led an armed rebellion in Nicaragua under the banner of “ political pluralism.” Only after he was firmly in power did he announce he was a Marxist and proceed to flood his government with Cubans. His government nationalized banks, companies, and large farms, passing ownership to his supporters. The Contras (counter-revolutionaries) formed to avoid living in a communist state. Our Democrat controlled Congress did indeed make funding to them illegal and Oliver North did indeed break the law to send them funds. That is unfortunate and misguided. The rightly elected Democrat Congress had earned the right to prevent funding an anti-communist rebellion.
Without our funding the conflict came to a stalemate, and the president of Costa Rica brokered an election, which, much to his surprise, Ortega lost in 1990. Ortega then renounced his Marxist ideas, became a “populist” (or liberal) and continued to lead his party.
He has now run for the presidency three more times. In 1996 he got 43% of the vote and in 2001 he got 42%. But as a result of corruption in the elected government, he bargained criminal amnesty for the President in exchange for modifying the constitution to allow the president to be elected with 35% of voters without a runoff. Guess what? This month in a five-way race, he was elected President with 39% of the vote. I suspect that the Sandinistas will now change their policies back to the Marxist government they always wanted. It seems that even socialists don’t like to campaign as socialists but change after they’ve captured the power. They truly believe that the government owns all the money and they should decide who gets to keep any of it.
Whose money do you think it is?
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12/7/2006 Our federal judges make new laws
By JEAN BARWICK
firstname.lastname@example.orgLate in November, District Judge James Robertson, an appointee of President Clinton, ruled that the federal government discriminates against blind people by printing currency that looks and feels the same in all denominations. The 26-page ruling follows a four-year legal battle waged by the American Council of the Blind in which the plaintiffs claim that the U.S. Treasury Department is in violation of the Rehabilitation Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government programs. The Treasury Department issued no comment on the ruling and was given 10 days to decide if it would appeal the ruling. However, given that the Administration doesn’t want any controversy, and it’s your money they’re spending, they will likely not appeal.
Government attorneys argued against the changes on grounds that varying the size or texture of the bills would make it harder to prevent counterfeiting. Costs associated with printing bills in varying sizes are estimated to be $250 million for equipment and $60 million in annual expenses. U.S. currency has undergone a number of size and material modifications since 1929 to discourage counterfeiting and to reduce production costs. If we add the expense of changing the cash infrastructure built around a particular bill size at ATMs, bill exchangers, cash registers, etc., not only in the U.S., but worldwide, this is easily a billion dollar decision. The counterfeiting issue could cost us untold billions.
A couple of points in the judge's decision stand out as agenda-making from the bench. First, the court points out that blind people must resort to "an impressive array of coping mechanisms" to function effectively in the marketplace, and the blind are often dependent on sighted consumers and salespeople for assistance with identifying their money. In the face of this dependency, the court ruled that the blind are denied "meaningful assess" to U.S. currency if they cannot accurately identify paper money without assistance from sighted persons.
Second, Robertson justifies his position against the fact that the United States stands apart from its peer nations by not producing currency accessible to the blind. Judge Robertson states, "We have evolved, however, and Congress has made our evolution official. by enacting the Rehabilitation Act, whose stated purpose is "to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society." He further states that since the U.S. is the only major country to have paper money of the same size, it shouldn’t be a problem for us to change.
Perhaps this is a good idea. Perhaps we do need to do something to make it easier for the one million blind people in our country to use our money. But perhaps we should also make it easier for them to read labels and instructions on packages. Perhaps there are many things we should do, but the question is “Who should decide that?"
It seems we go to a lot of trouble to elect a Congress to decide these things. Perhaps if someone held hearings they would find that a computerized reader given to every blind person would only cost 100 million dollars and would solve many more problems than money.
How did we get to the point where a single federal judge thinks he should decide that which we elected a Congress to do, even if he does think our European friends do have all the answers. The sheer audacity of this ruling makes yet another case to eliminate the lifetime appointment of federal judges.
I would like Congress to take up this debate to help the blind in a meaningful way. I would also like Congress take up the debate to limit the terms of federal judges and to impeach judges who think they make laws, not interpret them.
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12/21/2006 The Christmas Gift of Immigration
email@example.comEveryone knows the crisis we face in this country regarding illegal immigration.
Daily we see the horror stories where 10 illegals are killed in a wreck of a cramped van crossing the country or where a drunken illegal who has been arrested and deported is back and kills an innocent couple going to the store.
Nationally over 25 percent of all federal prisoners are illegal aliens. In Los Angeles County, illegal aliens represent 95 percent of all warrants for murder, 75 percent of LA’s most wanted list, 50 percent of all street gangs, and 65 percent of all births. LA County estimates that 40 percent of its l0 million people are illegal and working for cash. There are an estimated 300,000 illegal aliens living in garages in LA.
At Parkland Memorial, the hospital where John F. Kennedy died in 1963, a recent survey showed that 70 percent of the 16,000 annual births were to illegal aliens at an average cost of $4400 each. That’s $49 million paid for by the taxpayers!
These facts go on endlessly, making it hard to remember that there are 26 million legal immigrants in this country. They play by the rules, work hard and contribute to our society. Not all legal immigrants are good and not all illegal immigrants are bad.
But we can sort out the good from the bad if people register and come here legally and we can stop the criminals from coming back again and again.
I had an inspiring experience last week. I met two immigrants from China who are living the American dream. Sam Chin came to America as a government-sponsored student. He now has two master’s degrees. David Lin came to New York sixteen years ago and attained refugee status because of his dissent against the Chinese communist government. Working backbreaking hours washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant, David attended English classes instead of sleeping. He mastered the language and the art of Chinese restaurants. He saved enough money to open his own restaurant. He was successful enough to open more restaurants.
David and Sam met at a Chinese dissidents conference and became partners. Now living in middle Tennessee, they have l0 restaurants including a new one in Leiper’s Fork. They employ over 200 people. They pay taxes. They sell good food at good prices. They don’t ask people to speak Mandarin. They don’t march in the streets carrying foreign flags and demanding rights. They just work 80 hours a week and help other people.
David and Sam and Juan and Alma and Giorgio and Ingrid and Ming and all of the hard-working legal immigrants are a special Christmas gift to America!
Our special Christmas gift to them is to give them the freedom to work hard to make a better life.
May we all resolve that in 2007 and beyond, we will work very hard to ensure that future generations, born here or somewhere else in the world, continue to have that freedom and opportunity.
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