It is sometimes helpful to put government issues in terms of people in order to understand them. For instance, this video really cut through a lot of empty rhetoric coming from Congress and the White House regarding the debt limit. So I was imagining what the Columbia River Crossing/ Light Rail boondoggle might look like on a personal level:
Imagine a situation where a family during difficult economic times had to replace their water heater within a few years, and knew it was going to be costly. Imagine the process of choosing which option in water heaters was a balance between function and cost effectiveness. Now imagine that the contractor they hire to install it decides to up-sell them, saying that they need a really expensive one that heats way more gallons than the family needs, that it ought to feed into a new jacuzzi as well. As he is coming up with the bid for all of this, the family also learns that actually, the contractor and the family’s HOA have already decided that this plan is the ‘locally preferred alternative’, and they have already voted to approve it, using the family’s funds. When the family protests, imagine the bank coming in and telling them not to worry, that they can provide a low-interest loan to pay for the whole thing, and that they can spread the cost over the next 30 or even 50 years. Now imagine that actually, they don’t have a choice about that either, the bank and the contractor and the HOA have signed all the necessary loan paperwork already on the family’s behalf. Now imagine that on top of all this, the family is required to hire a guy to maintain the new jacuzzi and water heater at union/prevailing wages, and he will also be charging them a fee every time they want to take a shower or use the jacuzzi. Also, they find out that in order to accommodate the new water heater, they have to remodel the garage such that the door is too low for their car to enter and park, so they have to park outside.
Imagine the family asking the HOA to be allowed to vote on this ‘locally preferred alternative’ and being mocked and laughed at by a circle of people that includes the contractor, the bankers, and the HOA. Then imagine the family appealing to their Congresswoman, only to find out that the contractor is one of her top campaign donors . So now the bank, the housing authority, the contractor and the congresswoman all shrug their shoulders and tell the family that they have been outvoted and the jacuzzi project is a ‘done deal’. They say further that if the family wanted to have input on the project, they should have gone to the two or three meetings that this circle was having a few years ago.
The family then asks how they are going to pay for things like their kids’ education, and the contractor responds, “Well, my kids are going to be educated instead. My son is training to be a contractor, and my daughter is training to be a Congresswoman.”
Does this situation seem at all strange to anyone?
Yesterday the WSRP State Committee voted 55-38 to cancel the 2014 State GOP convention, and replace it with a ‘candidate and party leadership training event’, apparently to be held somewhere in Eastern Washington. The reasons given ranged from “too expensive” to “too few participants”. The convention will presumably resume in 2016 in order to allow the
delegates party leaders to choose the nominee for President. Oh, and hopefully everyone likes the 2012 platform, because it won’t be changed until 2016.
Admittedly, my first reaction was akin to that of Doug Parris . It feels like yet another attempt to stifle participation by energized and growing minorities like the Liberty movement and preserve leadership for the likes of Kirby Wilbur and his friends. It was not surprising to find that King County GOP chair Lori Sotelo, she of the ‘Ron Paul insurance’ fame, was the one who introduced this measure. It seemed, after all, rather apropos for the woman who closed down a legislative district caucus to quell a Liberty uprising to now close down the off-year convention, possibly for similar reasons.
As I considered this further though, I realized that the state party’s abdication of its leadership has actually opened the door for county parties to assert themselves in new and creative ways. Like a perpetually drunken father, the WSRP has given up its position in the family structure and allowed other entities to take its place. Other entities, like…say…the Clark County Republican party. Fresh off its resounding success at the recent Lincoln Day gala, the CCRP may be just the group that could replace an aborted state convention with an event designed to appeal to a multiple-county audience.
Kind of brings a new perspective on the phrase ‘Be the Party’, doesn’t it?
File this under the most ironic slogan in recent memory.
In winding down from what was a tremendous effort to put out a superlative Lincoln Day Dinner last Saturday, party volunteers were treated the next day to the Columbian’s sniping coverage of the event on Sunday morning. Erin Middlewood, the author of what can only be described as an attempted hit-piece on the Tea Party cloaked as a report on a local fundraiser, gives us the latest reason why you definitely need to go to meetings, rather than let the Columbian go in your stead. An excerpt:
Even though most of the 250 Republicans who attended Saturday’s Lincoln Day dinner drank coffee with their dessert, it was clear the event was all about the Tea Party.
Speakers at the annual fundraising event at Vancouver’s Heathman Lodge called for the party faithful to stand up to government, defend freedom and protect gun rights. Auction items included ammunition and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
While U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler highlighted her efforts working within the halls of government, former gubernatorial candidate Shahram Hadian warned of growing tyranny and militia darling Richard Mack argued for local sovereignty.
The range of passions among the event’s speakers evidences an internal struggle within the local Republican party, now led by Tea Party and gun-rights activists who have nudged aside more moderate Republicans.
To read this article, one would think that the Lincoln Day Dinner had been transformed into a rabid militia rally, complete with members in camo gear wielding AR-15s and cutting their German chocolate cake with bayonets.
According to Middlewood, the fact that a gun or ammunition is sold at a fundraiser is evidence of the Tea Party ‘nudging aside moderate Republicans’. No word on whether the Princess Party that was sold at Saturday’s auction was also a sign that the Republicans were trying to revive the Monarchy. Do you think that Erin just might be introducing something of her own preconception into this story, maybe?
Regarding Richard Mack, the keynote speaker, Middlewood has this to say:
Mack argues that the county sheriff is the highest law-enforcement authority, a position advocated by the Posse Comitatus movement in the 1970s and ’80s, according to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights in Seattle. It said the controversial movement has been linked to white supremacist and anti-Semitic views.
Mack was a popular speaker among supporters of the militia movement in the 1990s. The Tea Party has revived his career.
“His ideas haven’t changed,” said Devin Burghart, vice president of the human-rights institute. “His acceptability has.”
The media continues to cast anyone who holds to states’ rights as a racist Neo-Nazi. Advocating that a Sheriff is the highest elected law-enforcement authority has nothing to do with racism; it is an opinion on the nature of effective government in terms of providing citizens with fair representation. Readers might be interested to note that Sheriff Mack dedicates his book to “Civil Rights hero, Rosa Parks”, and in his speech (you know, the one Erin didn’t stay to listen to), he used her as an example of the need for a sheriff to exert a higher authority.
Folks, ask every one of your public officials, when they’re forced, or had the quandary placed in front of them, are you going to side with the stupid law, or are you going to keep your oath? Are you going to side with the people and the Constitution, or are you going to side with stupid laws? Have we ever done that in this country? Have we ever had stupid laws? How about let’s go back to December 1, 1955. Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks. We arrested her…do you remember the ‘big-time charge’ she got? Do you know why she was booked into jail? …What would her booking sheet look like? Failure to give her seat to a white man! I don’t think I could write such a stupid thing, and yet, we had two cops, sworn guards of our Constitution, who put handcuffs on her and hauled her off to jail, because she wouldn’t give her seat to a white man.
This, of course, did not fit the story that the Columbian was trying to tell, that all Republican functions promote racism. Ironically, it was brought to my attention after the event that of the four Republican speakers that night, one was a Persian American (Hadian), one was Hispanic (Herrera), and one was African American, (Kolditz). All spoke on the dangers of government encroaching on the rights of citizens, a message that was enthusiastically received by the crowd.
The Columbian says “We go to meetings so you don’t have to.” Are they trying to encourage citizen apathy? If citizens don’t organize, if they don’t volunteer in their local party and their government, but just stay home and read Erin Middlewood’s grotesque perspective on meetings, would they gain the same knowledge and insight? A friend’s reaction:
In a most incredible moment of subconscious self-disclosure and candor, the Columbian published, in black and white, their belief that they should be the filter and portrayer of all things which should otherwise concern the citizenry. In this one simple remark they have unwittingly admitted what their dwindling readership and expanding ex-readership already knows: That the Columbian longs to be the arbiter of what you see and hear, and if their readers know the truth for themselves, then the Columbian’s disregard of it becomes blatant. So people, do the Columbian a favor and be ignorant.
This arrogance is only exceeded by the added insult of abrogation of their responsibility to the community they are supposed to serve. How? By openly advocating greater apathy among its citizens – and doing so in the very banner of their political content!
So stay home. Disengage. Let them go to the meetings for you. They’ll tell you what happened.
Another friend had this to say:
Trying to link the new leadership of the CCRP, the Tea Party, and conservatives in general to “white supremacist and anti-Semitic views” is obscene. I am a Jew firmly planted in the midst of genuine Christian, conservative, patriotic citizens and have never felt a glimmer of racial bias or anti-Semitism. I’m more secure at a CCRP board meeting or a Tea Party rally than I would be at an editorial board meeting of the Columbian ad shopper or a gaggle of their left wing reporters.
That tired old racist crap is working just about as good as the sales department at the “Fish Wrap.”
See you at the next meeting.
I found this woman’s story very compelling, particularly her description of an immigrant’s perspective on political developments in America.
During the Ron Paul campaign last year, I encountered several immigrants from the Russian community who told me the same thing: that they were concerned about the decline of this country into the Socialism that they had just left behind. This was a big reason for their support of Dr. Paul, who enjoys a large following in many other countries as well as here in the U.S. He was the only candidate with a serious plan to arrest these trends and restore freedom, and he awoke legions of people to the gradual restrictions being put in place every day.
We were very proud to have Ms. Kolditz speak, and I hope you find her story as interesting as I did.
On Saturday the Clark County Republican Party held its annual Lincoln Day Dinner. This event typically serves both as the major fundraiser for the year, and as a chance for interaction with active Republicans in the community. It also provides an opportunity for the new Executive Board to communicate something of their approach to party leadership. The board chooses which speakers to invite, as well as the items to be procured and auctioned.
Last year, the dinner was held during a primary election cycle, and the keynote speaker was Rob McKenna, who was running for governor. His primary opponent, Shahram Hadian, was not allowed time to speak, and therefore the party choice was communicated as plain as if they had publicly endorsed McKenna on everyone’s behalf. I have spoken to several of Hadian’s supporters in the Tea Party who took this as a tremendous slight, both to their candidate, and to themselves. Whenever incidents like this occur, it provides incentive to make changes like the ones that were carried out at December’s Organization meeting.
It was no surprise, then, to learn that the new leadership, which is headed in large part by those same Tea Party folks, had chosen to ask Hadian to speak this year, along with libertarian Sheriff Richard Mack, and Dixie Kolditz, a South African apartheid survivor who recently ran unsuccessfully for LD 19 State Representative. Oh yeah, and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera got some time as well. Fresh off her vote against CISPA (a pleasant surprise for Liberty supporters), the bill that opened the door to government spying on people over the internet, Jaime is, as always, walking the tightrope between her moderate, CRC-supporting donors, and the grassroots conservatives who find her performance leaving something to be desired.
The big question for many heading into this Lincoln Day Dinner, however, was not if Herrera could reach into her bag of moderate platitudes and find something digestible for her conservative constituents as they ate their chicken dinners, but whether or not the new group in leadership of the CCRP could pull off a successful fundraiser. In many ways, the old establishment had been clinging to this last hope that the new group would fail to raise the funds necessary to run an effective party and that they would disappear soon thereafter.
I am pleased to report that these hopes have now been officially dashed. Not only was the event a success in terms of presentation, but the fundraising goals were met and exceeded. Among the tremendous auction items that these hard-working folks were able to put before a sold-out crowd were:
*A condo in Hawaii for five days
* A week at the beach in Florence, OR
*A full house painting, one inside and one outside
*A wine tour for up to 12 people in the Yamhill County area
*An AR-15 rifle and a Remington shotgun
*Various boxes of ammunition
*Numerous bottles of wine, beers, and other alcoholic beverages
*A brand new gas barbecue grill
*Gift certificates for things like meat, music lessons, YMCA membership, Mexican dinner for 8, and holsters
*1 DeWils Wine Cabinet
*A diamond necklace, and other jewelry
*A home alarm system
*3 different Hotel packages with the Hilton, Heathman, and Camas Hotels
*Various meals/private audiences with elected officials like Liz Pike, Don Benton, David Madore, and Ann Rivers.
*Lunch with Lars Larson.
The work that it took to sell tickets, procure auction donations, plan the event, solicit speakers, accommodate guests, and set up the auction itself was tremendous, but it was executed so professionally as to make one look forward to the next convention rather than dread it. In addition, it was great to see so many PCOs helping at every level. Brian Rohan, a PCO in LD 17, was even chosen to be Master of Ceremonies, and fulfilled the task with distinction. This event had a great grassroots flavor, and confirmed in the minds of many that this is a very special group of folks that have assumed the leadership of our local party.
While there is still a campaign underway to raise money from among the PCOs to match donations from a few local businesses, it is exciting to look forward to a day not far off when the party can turn its attention from fundraising to the projects and creative enterprises that this group was known for during last year’s election cycle.
As many are aware, House Bill 1588 , a bill that would seriously hinder the private sale of firearms by compelling the seller to do a background check on the buyer and then pay a fee for filing the sale with police, will be voted on as early as tomorrow. The penalty for wantonly selling a second-hand piece of equipment to a friend or neighbor without filing the proper paperwork and saying ‘pretty please may I exercise my 2nd Amendment rights’ would be a gross misdemeanor charge, a fine of up to $5000, and possible jail time of up to 364 days. If that doesn’t sound quite right to you, here is a list of Washington State Representatives who, according to this article from redstate.com, are apparently still mulling this over:
Rep. Maureen Walsh (R, 16th LD)
For those in Clark County, you might also try 17th LD Rep Monica Stonier, (360) 786-7994. If anyone actually gets through to her, post what her office has to say in the comments section below. One would think that a Representative from a swing district might be convinced to think twice about voting to turn her constituents into criminals. These things have a way of coming up during election cycles.
The cause of liberty had a very big day yesterday.
In a 13-hour marathon filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul appears to have galvanized liberty-lovers of all stripes behind his fight for a more Constitutional approach to government. While the main body of conservatives and libertarians were already enamored with the rising Tea Party star in the Senate, Paul also added admirers last night from the Liberty holdovers who hated his endorsement of Mitt Romney in the general election, as well as Republicans who hated his endorsement of his father, Ron Paul, in the presidential primary. He even added the left-wing civil rights group Code Pink to his list of admirers. (Does this mean that they won’t demonstrate at the RNC if he is the nominee in 2016?)
While the filibuster was primarily spearheaded by Dr. Paul and his close allies, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, it was also interesting to observe those who chose to make an appearance in support of the filibuster. Of particular note was Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, who has an interesting history of voting against the Establishment on issues like bank bailouts, indefinite detention of Americans, wire-tapping, and even GMO labeling. Senator Wyden made his appearance very early in the day, before it was deemed ‘politically safe’ to do so, and he gets my respect for ‘standing with Rand’, just as he did when he voted against T.A.R.P. while Republican Senator Gordon Smith voted in favor of it. He has cast a myriad of terrible votes on spending and social issues, but where civil liberties are concerned, Wyden seems to have more conscience than most Senators on either side of the aisle.
The bipartisan coalition, which has been labeled the ‘Checks and Balances’ caucus, made an interesting point throughout the day regarding the exercise of power in U.S. government. Contrary to recent trends, they see the Legislative, not the Executive branch as the proper source of policy regarding who ought to be droned into Eternity and who should get a trial first. Senators Paul and Cruz have even been cheeky enough to propose legislation designed to hold the President’s trigger finger in check. No word on whether this moves them up on the Homeland Security ‘threat list’, or if they are still safely nestled behind home-schooling, food-storing Constitution Party members.
The fact that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity and others are lining up to get interviews from Rand is evidence of a new turn in the Republican Party. Instead of circling the wagons around the most moderate, big-government guy they can find who will still agree to call himself Republican (McCain, Romney, Dole), the talk radio circuit is finally agreeing with the Liberty/Tea Party movement that the more principled approach is also more compelling to voters. Instead of shedding core values in an attempt to appeal to statists on the Left, the Doctors Paul have been making the case for some time now that a strong, Constitutional approach to civil liberties will draw those who are disenchanted with the hypocrisy of the Democrat party to the Liberty side. The idea is summed up in the slogan ‘Freedom is Popular’.
In the meantime, while Senator Paul was sneaking bites of candy bar between words during his 13-hours of advocating for liberty, John McCain and Lindsey Graham were enjoying filet mignon with their pal, President Obama. On the Senate floor this morning, McCain offered this reaction to Rand’s efforts:
McCain completely missed the point that Holder refused to declare what McCain thought was ‘obvious’, that American non-combatants cannot be attacked by the President in a drone strike. If it was so obvious, why did Holder stop short of stating it? Are we supposed to take McCain’s word for it, as an extension of the Obama Administration? I knew they were close, but this might be a new level of intimacy.
The money quote from Lindsey Graham:
“I was going to vote against (Brennan) until the filibuster, so he picked up one vote,” Graham said, laughing to reporters in the Capitol.
There is always a question for unprincipled statists who have no PAC money at stake regarding how they ought to vote on the President’s appointments. Graham, McCain, and the other moderate neoconservatives have found their answer: When in doubt, find out how Rand Paul is voting and vote against him.
“When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.” – Adolf Hitler
On the heels of State Senator Don Benton’s attempt to dictate to Washington State citizens how long they should remain married comes HR 1934 , a bill with 59 co-sponsors in the State House, including seven Republicans (Reps Hope, Nealey, Johnson, Smith, Magendanz, Fagan, and Walsh). This amazing piece of legislation would allow a judge to order a parent to surrender their own child for regular visitations with anyone who can establish that they have had a non-monetarily-compensated, “ongoing and substantial relationship” for at least one year with the child. This might include grandparents, former foster parents, former significant others, neighbors, Sunday School teachers, Boy Scout Leaders, that weird unmarried uncle you don’t want your kids around…anyone who a judge deems to have met the criteria, the will of the parents notwithstanding.
The fact that legislators, including ‘small-government Republicans’ continue to put forward legislation that assumes that the State has a right to meddle in any and every facet of our private lives and families should confirm to us that the Liberty movement is an idea whose time has come. The founders of this country were often given to citing ‘Natural Law’ as a basis for the overthrowing of tyrants. God put children under the stewardship of parents; it is the most sacred and well-established, self-evident relationship on Earth, and no state or agent thereof can supersede that relationship.
Every citizen must draw a line in the sand beyond which a government may not go. A law-abiding, peaceful person has the right not to be interfered with by the government. For me, the line is when the State dictates to me how I should raise my children and to whom they will be subjected during their formative years. I do not give my consent for the State to determine these things on my behalf. I also do not give my support to any politician who believes he or she can erode at my God-given parental rights via legislation, no matter which party they identify themselves with.
Recently, Don Benton put forth a bill, Senate Bill 5614 , the ‘Family Second Chance Act’ that would require a waiting period of a year before finalizing a divorce in an effort to compel those who are about to put a financial burden on the State to think it over more carefully. It would also require the contemplative couple to read a state-issued handbook on ‘the benefits of reconciliation’. No word on if there would be an exam on the material, and what, if any, sanctions would be imposed in the case of a grade of ‘D’ or lower.
My initial reaction when I read the article in the Columbian was anger that I had helped by voting and asking others to vote to elect a big statist who would presume to use the government to tell adults how long they should remain married, thereby taking the ‘nanny state’ idea to a new level, that of a kind of secular parish priest. In the course of throwing up my hands in frustration and despair however, I came to the conclusion that actually, this bill is a stroke of pure genius.
The thought came to me as I was pondering how any Republican could be disingenuous enough to call himself a proponent of ‘small government’ while putting forward legislation that would make Kim Jong Un blush. I suddenly realized that what that wily old Senator intended by introducing such ridiculous legislation was to expose the lunacy of the government being involved in marriage at all. For years, conservative legislators have been saying that they “would prefer it if marriage were not the province of the state at all, but since it is…(insert socially-conservative statist legislation here). Senator Benton, seeing this disturbing pattern, decided to call their collective bluff by putting forward a bill so heavy-handed and infringing on individual civil liberties that it would force them to look in the mirror and see the hypocrisy they had been participating in and repent. He also clearly intended for an anti-Republican backlash to occur that would lead to major reforms in the way the Party approaches issues involving civil liberties. One need only read the comments after the Columbian article to see that his plan is working perfectly!
There really is no other conclusion for a rational person to draw. Don Benton is brilliant! This bill will advance the cause of Liberty more than pikers like Ron Paul ever dreamed of doing. Let me just say to Senator Benton, if he is reading, that I am sorry for ever doubting you.
This morning, in response to criticism from Paul Harris at yesterday’s CCRP Central Committee Meeting, Liz Pike distributed the following email to all PCOs:
Dear Clark County PCOs:
I am writing to clarify details contained in a bill I introduced, House Bill 1788 – the Safer Schools Act of 2013. Recent massacres at “gun free zones” in public schools prompted me to start a broad community discussion about how we can make our schools more safe in Washington. I believe in government that’s closest to the people. Elected school boards are without a doubt – government closest to the people. This bill gives them the authority to allow certain permanent employees the opportunity to carry a concealed firearm onto school grounds.
Here is a link to the full bill:
The following colleagues helped craft the legislation and also co-sponsored the bill:
Rep. Matt Shea
Rep. Jason Overstreet
Rep. Dave Taylor
Rep. Elizabeth Scott
Rep. Brad Klippert
Here is an overview of the Safer Schools Act of 2103:
• Bipartisan legislation allows school boards more options for school safety
• Allows coordination between School Administration and local law enforcement officials.
• Hundreds of parents, teachers and School Board members support my idea.
• School boards would adopt written policies within the guidelines of the bill.
• Allows qualified permanent school employees to enter a physical training program created by the Criminal Justice Training Commission. (CJTC)
• CJTC trains every law enforcement officer in the State of Washington.
• Liberals hate this bill because it’s perfect.
The person who entered Sandy Hook Elementary School last December broke at least 8 laws when he committed those terrible crimes. One more law on the books would not have stopped him. Criminals intent on harming innocent victims do not care about gun laws. For this reason, I am morally opposed to any sort of restriction on firearms. When government restricts second amendment rights of citizens, it just means that the bad guys are the only ones with the guns. US crime statistics have shown that as the number of concealed carry permits rise in each state, violent gun crime goes down in those states.
When gun violence occurs in a public school, who is the first person called to the gun free zone? Answer: a cop with a big gun. Who is the second person called? A preacher to conduct a memorial service. The two very things not allowed in public schools, guns and prayers, are the first responders when gun violence occurs.
Rep. Pederson, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is not willing to move this legislation out of his committee. The deadline for him to hold a public hearing and committee vote on this bill is this Friday, Feb. 22nd. There is only a limited amount of time for legislation to pass through the process and we are near the end of that cycle. If we don’t come up with a better solution to ensure the safety of our children and school teachers, I will introduce this bill again next year because I am looking for solutions.
Lastly, my overall goal with this legislation was to elevate the community discussion to identify ways to make our schools more safe for our children.
I am happy to address any specific questions you may have. Thanks!
WA State Representative, District 18
Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
Cell (360) 281-8720
Personal Email: ElectLizPike@comcast.net
Legislative Email: Liz.Pike@leg.wa.gov
WA State Representative