Representative Government Does Not Mean Secret Government

There was a bill (HB 0362) http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/hbillint/HB0362S02.htm  in the Utah House Operations Committee recently that had to do with transparency in the collective bargaining process.  We all want transparency, right?

Well, apparently not everyone.

I recently heard a clip sent to me by a concerned citizen in Wasatch County, Utah about their representative and what he said regarding transparency.  Kraig Powell, the current House Representative for District 54 is on record calling the tax-payers wimps, and comparing transparency in government to transparency in a private business.  BIG DIFFERENCE!

Here is a portion of his remarks.

 

I have typed out this Representative’s statements for ease of reading if you don’t have access to the audio, below my remarks.

The discussion is on a bill that would allow public access to meetings when discussing reform of public pensions or salaries.

Key points:

  •  A shareholder of a company and a tax-payer are two very different things.  If a shareholder is not happy with a company he simply sells his shares or votes out the CEO or board of directors.  If a tax payer isn’t happy, he can’t simply “sell” away his shares.  He is taxed involuntarily and cannot simply “opt out.”  Yes, he can vote out the current Representatives when unhappy, but taxation will always occur.  And a CEO would have a fit if labor were dictating to the CEO what their pay scale had to be.  This is why collective bargaining is often seen in a poor light.  Employees don’t call the shots.  It is the job of those footing the bills to call the shots.  In the case of CEO’s, it is the board and the shareholders.  In the case of the government, it is the elected representatives and the tax-payers.
  • A CEO who has shareholders must make sure that whatever they are creating  makes a profit.  Government doesn’t actually “create” anything, but uses our money to do the bidding of the tax-payers, and should not be doing the bidding of the employed.   Government employees  have a right to negotiate, but the tax-payers have a right to listen to the process.
  • To use the terms Republic and Democracy in the way Representative Powell used them, was a gross misrepresentation of what our founding fathers discussed.  He made some true statements, but misrepresent the bill, by making it sound like if the public attends the meeting, they get to vote.  Just because meetings are open and transparent does not give everyone a vote at the meeting.  It is still a representative government (A Republic).  It is only when each and every person has a VOTE that it becomes a Democracy.  That is not at all what this bill would have done.  It was simply to open up the process so that taxpayers could understand the bargaining that was taking place with “OUR” money.
  • Mr. Powell was very upset with me and others when we went to the tax-payers  and put forward a signature petition to stop a tax increase in Summit County.  He claimed we were trying to legislate through a democracy. (I called this petitioning   my government for redress). However, he feels getting signatures to put yourself on the Republican ballot somehow is not the same thing.  I think we can clearly see that Mr. Powell uses these terms to fit his agenda, not to discuss the actual principles behind the words.  For more information on a Republic vs. Democracy please click here .
  • My next point would be that people are busy, Mr. Powell.  We are not WIMPS as you called us.  There are so many meetings.  County Council meetings, no-wimps-signSchool Board Meetings, City Council Meetings, Planning Commission Meetings, Rec. District Meetings, and on and on.  There is no time for simple living anymore.  To keep up with all the bills the legislature puts forward is more than a full-time job.  This is why we have watchdog groups, like Utah Tax Payers Association, to watch the bills you vote on and give you a score.  (Which was about a 50% I believe.)   The “tax-payers” you chastise for not running for these positions simply want to attend their daughter’s piano recital, or coach their son’s baseball league.  They simply want to keep the fruits of their labor and be left alone to govern themselves.

As you listened to the audio, I’m sure there are other points you know I could make.  But it is left to you to decide.  The point of this article?  Know your representatives.  Learn what they are saying when they think the “public” isn’t paying attention.  You the tax-payer are not wimpy, you are busy.  You want to trust these people with your money and your liberty.  And maybe, sadly, you simply cannot.

I encourage you to vote for Wylder Smith, the person running for District 54, that simply wants to protect your money, protect your liberty, and allow you to govern yourself.

 

Transcript of audio:

 (Vice Chairman) “Representative Powell”

(Kraig Powell) “Thanks very much Mr. Vice Chair, I will try to be brief.  I have listened to the arguments, there are lots of good arguments on both sides.  What we do here in public policy and government is usually balancing, so anybody who is on one side of this issue, please don’t think you have the complete truth.  Um, we have to always find something somewhere in the middle.  This has been a policy in Utah for a long time as near as I can tell.  And what the Representative is proposing seems to be a major change.  In order to make a major change I think that there needs to be a major justification.

Here are the problems that I have with what has been proposed today.  First of all I think that the meetings will be unworkable.  Because there will be different sections of the meeting and will be continuing going in and out and in and out, and …well wait a minute that’s not salary, that’s not benefits.  Can we do that.. closed, … can we do that closed, I don’t know can we do that closed or not.

 

The analogy has been made that the taxpayers being as shareholders basically.  I don’t think that corporations and CEO’s bring shareholders to every meeting when they are setting the employee salaries.  In fact I think that the corporations and CEO’s would probably resist that.  The shareholders certainly have a voice in the corporation but they don’t negotiate the salaries and benefits of the employees in the corporation.

 

Next, there has been this discussion that somehow the taxpayers have some right to be there in the room at every minute of these negotiations.  What I want to remind the members of committee is our constitution set up a government form that’s called a Republic.  A Republic is different than a Democracy.  In a Democracy what you do is you get everybody and they come to all the meetings and they make all the decisions.  And our constitutional founders made a very specific decision not to have a democracy.  They thought there was some decisions that are better made by our elected representatives.  And that those are things the elected representatives need to make.

 

Basically, I think what’s happening in this instance is the taxpayers are wimps.  Taxpayers are not going to their local school boards and their not going to their city councils and getting elected to these bodies.  If there are decisions that are being made there what is wrong?  Why aren’t you going and stopping this from happening? I would suggest that you do that and go get elected there and make sure that these decisions that supposedly are not being made in the tax-payers interests.”

 

(Vice Chairman) “Representative, can I ask that you wrap up?”

 

(Kraig Powell)  “I will be very quick.  It’s a failing of our Democratic and Republican democracy system, not a failing of labor.  In fact one way to make sure you do that is make sure they are not taking any campaign contributions from these types of organizations.  I mean that is one of the biggest concerns right there.  Maybe that’s the problem,  I would make sure … try clean up the process.  And run for the offices yourself.

 

This is my last point Mr. Vice Chairman.

 

The legislature is in complete control of our cities, our counties, and our school districts. We pass laws all the time here that change everything that our school districts do.  We can pass a law and change the pensions, we could completely remove the pensions if we want to, so let’s just do that.  Rather then get involved in very sensitive meetings that are going on and are working well, that we could change if we wanted to.  Instead we are going to inject ourselves at the legislature.  I think the legislature is wimps as well.  If we are not passing the pension reform that we need to solve this problem and instead we say we are going to disrupt your meetings. For those reasons I just can’t support the bill.”

 

(Vice Chairman) “Thank you Representative, I didn’t realize your last point was going to be a planet instead of a dot.”

 

 

 

Labels, Campaigns, and You

by Jacqueline Smith

I recently received an email sent out by the Democratic Candidate for Treasurer.  It linked Henry Glasheen the Republican Candidate for Treasurer to the “right wing” group The STAR Forum in a negative way.  First, Henry Glasheen is not a member of our group.  While most of the members support Henry in his election because he is a fiscal conservative, and qualified enough to handle this position, my main point of this article is to discuss labels. 

Labels are a way for the opposing view to denigrate individuals and groups.  Going back in history, we look at the Nomad age.  Those who were living on farms and in stable homes, also known as the Agrarian culture called the Nomads “barbarians.”  Once the Industrial Age caught on, those people building factories looked at the Agrarian age as “Third World.”  Each group wants to denigrate the other with a label.  What might the Information Age call the Industrial Age builders?  Polluters maybe.

Many labels have been attached to the freedom movement, such as “tea baggers,” “racists,” “hate-mongers,” and “right-wingers“ etc.  This type of label is not only inaccurate, but can fool us, if we as a people do not look at the entire picture.  We have a right / left paradigm in our society, and I have used the terms myself.  Liberal / Conservative is thrown around a lot as well, but with less negative connotations.  If you are using a term to describe a standpoint, be sure you are using it with accuracy.  Liberals call themselves liberals.  That is not a derogatory term.

 I think it would be good to define right-wing.  The video linked here is a video that shows why right-wing is the opposite of the definition many people place on groups intent on supporting the Constitution of the United States as seen through the eyes of the founding fathers.  Right wing actually is a call for anarchy.  This is not the case for The STAR Forum at all. 

The STAR Forum stands for Save The American Republic.  I cannot imagine a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent not wanting to Save the Republic.  Unless you believe in total anarchy or Fascism / Communism, we have common ground.  If you believe in God or simply in good, we have common ground.  If you believe that the Constitution of the United States is the law of the land, and holds government at bay to ensure the highest level of liberty for the people, then we have common ground.  If you believe that government is necessary, but should be limited, we have common ground.

The purpose of The STAR Forum is to educate people in ways of government workings.  We seek to give individuals the tools necessary to participate in an environment that may otherwise seem foreign.  We teach the proper role of government, and give the individuals the ability to look at history and better understand the period we are entering, known as The Fourth Turning.  It is individuals aligning themselves with others that want to recognize the vital role they can play in ensuring liberty for all.  It is recognizing the need for charity, honesty, and public virtue from ourselves on a daily basis.  We believe that an educated electorate is the most important thing in maintaining a Republic as our form of government.  We are not a democracy, because our founders understood as James Madison said, “…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of  property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”  In addition, Samuel Adams stated, “Democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.”

If placing labels on individuals or groups is the only way to win elections, and it works, it will not be the fault of the person placing the label, but the individuals who are fooled by those labels and vote based on the “feeling” the label creates.  Be an educated voter.  Look at comments and phrases placed on opposing candidates in context.  Do not believe everything you hear.  Study things out for yourself.  Find the candidates that align most with your views and belief systems.  Above all else, remember that this Republic has lasted longer with our Constitution than any other written Constitution on the earth.  It is the duty of all who take office, and all who vote, regardless of party to align themselves within the bounds of that document.

 FREEDOM CAN WIN!

Jeff Sandefer’s State Policy Network Speech

The following speech is available to read in it’s entirety by clicking here

flying flag

SPN Speech

Thank you, Rich.  It is an honor to be introduced by such a good friend, a man who not only is my favorite education reformer, but brings incredible energy and good humor to such a difficult quest.

It is an honor too to be with so many freedom fighters. From my years on the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, I have seen how a state think tank can do so much for the cause of liberty. My thanks to all of you, for all that you do.

As I was preparing this talk, I was wondering what it might feel like to be on the front lines, defending freedom, in times like this.

Do you feel as I do?

Are you still wondering how a President from Texas, a self-proclaimed “compassionate conservative,” could have understood so little about freedom and free markets?

Are you angry with men like Mark Sanford, who with so much promise and so much to give, let personal appetites destroy their ability to serve?

Are you holding the Republican Party banner at arm’s length, like a soiled piece of cloth, wondering if we can ever wash off the stench from politicians who promised one thing to get elected, but spent money like drunken sailors once they were in office?

Does your heart, like mine, cry out for a Buckley or a Reagan or a Thatcher?

I am nothing more than an entrepreneur, a teacher and a father of three.  But I have had the honor of teaching with some of the finest entrepreneurs in this country.  And I have sat at Bill Buckley’s feet, and watched Margaret Thatcher from up close and studied Ronald Reagan from afar.

If you feel as I do today, please listen closely to what I say next, for it embodies all that I have learned as an entrepreneur and a teacher:

Do not give up hope.  For we freedom fighters have three simple truths, ancient truths, entrepreneurial truths, that are the secret to the American dream. Embrace them, master them, and you not only change the world – but you will change yourself as well.

Let me say that again:

Do not give up hope.  For we freedom fighters have three simple truths, that are the secret to the American dream. Embrace them and you not only change the world – but you change yourself as well.

I came here today because I believe that some of you in this room will change the world.  Not in a small way, but in a profound one. Because I have witnessed how the courage of ordinary people, armed with these three truths, can change the world.

Can the truths change your life as well? Stay with me for these next few minutes and I promise you’ll have your answer. …(Read the rest of the speech here)

We Must Be Educated to WIN.

This video shows parliamentary procedure, or Robert’s Rules of Order being used.  If you do not understand this system, you cannot win.  We must educate ourselves in the process of liberty, because these same rules are used on the local levels as well.  This video shows, however, that when you have corruption at the very top (the speaker), even knowing the rules won’t help you.   If you are interested in a class on Robert’s Rules of order, please contact a parliamentarian and start a class in your neighborhood.  Even better, start a STAR Forum near you.

Treaty to End U. S. Sovereignty?

 Here is a link to a copy of the treaty.  And here is a link to the entire speech at Bethel University.

Also, please read this PDF, and you’ll get the picture of where our current world is headed.  We must remain the beacon of REAL HOPE!   FREEDOM CAN WIN!!

Glenn Beck reviews the Tytler Cycle of Democracy

This is a great clip from the Glenn Beck show on the Tytler Cycle of Democracy.  This also correlates to The Fourth Turning.  Click on the GREEN words to read more about these two cycles, posted earlier on this website.  Enjoy.

Judge Napolitano Gives Constitution Lesson

Whether you agree with healthcare reform or not, this is a good video on our Constitution limiting powers of the Federal Government.  Enjoy