A Bit of a New Direction

A BIT OF A NEW DIRECTION

June 1, 2010 by Jonathan | Edit 

Those who know me know that I have recently undergone a dramatic change in my life.  I had the blessing of awakening to an understanding of the principles of liberty and the awful situation that we are in due to our choices and how they place our liberties in jeopardy.  It amazes me how blindly I walked through life until recently.  Thankfully, I recognized my opportunity to change.  It was an opportunity to replace an incorrect worldview based on emotion and tradition with a sound foundation based on truth and principles.

To read more of this article please click here 

Jon Hellander and Mel Brown Meet the Delegates of District 53

Jon Hellander

“It is better to be despised and have liberty, than to be loved and subservient to the government.” — Jacqueline Smith    

On April 22, 2010, a group of state delegates for District 53 had an opportunity to put questions together that would be asked to each candidate.     

Jon Hellander was first and the moderator, Tom Burton, from Campaign for Liberty, drew the questions.     

Each candidate brings a very different style to their answers.  Mel Brown, being the incumbent, is a polished politician, who is knee-deep in the issues and brings a much richer background to his campaign.  He is a parliamentarian, and when you know the rules, you control the game.  He talked about the things he has done while in office, and spoke of his commitment to the area especially the fight against equalization for education.  Jon Hellander on the other hand, comes to this    

Mel Brown

campaign without the experience in legislation, but with many years experience in business, with 22 of those years being here in Summit County.  He stands firmly on principles. He is not a polished spokesman, like so many politicians, and comes across as someone with common sense wanting to change the nature of the political system.  Jon’s statements were always put forward inside his principal belief on the issues, not on specific bills like Mel’s answers.  It is currently Mel’s job to know and follow each bill, and Jon is looking at things from a principled perspective.  Mel has a voting record, and Jon has his word.  It will be up to the voters to decide who they believe will best represent them based on their answers, and their record.  http://www.UtahGrassRoots.org    

Most of the questions had similar answers, as is expected in an inter-party race; abortion, illegal immigration, defense of marriage amendment, etc.  This article will be focusing on the places where answers were different, as that is what the voters need to look at in order to make a good decision.    

 Here are some of the questions asked and their responses – paraphrased.    

Do you support taxpayer dollars being used to support out of classroom activities for union lobbyists? 

Jon’s response was that he is against any taxpayer money paying for activities involving union workers, but especially taxpayer money earmarked for our children’s education.  Mel’s response was that he is also against it.  However, when the bill was put forward to end this practice of waste with our taxpayer money, Mel Brown voted against this bill. (SB77)  His reasoning was that it should be local decision.  While I agree that decisions involving curriculum, etc should be at the local level, it is my understanding funds are allocated at the state level. 

Do you believe that a sales tax increase for all that is offset by tax break for a few is redistribution of wealth?  And will you vote to raise taxes if elected? 

Jon’s response was, to tax all and give breaks to a few is “socialism.”   He went on to say that taxes do not need to be raised, but cuts need to be made and better management of our money needs to be in place to ensure we are using our taxes wisely.  Jon promised to vote NO for any tax increases, regardless of what they were called.  Mel’s response , “All taxes are too high.”  That sounds great, because he’s right; however, he went back to 1998 to talk about how a newspaper article touted him as “Conan the tax-slasher.” 1998?  Really?  What does his record show now?  The last 3 out of 4 years Mel Brown has voted to raise taxes, including the increased sales tax that was “justified” by a tax reduction to a few.  He never actually answered the first question about the tax he actually voted yes on.  He did say he would not raise taxes.  Check his record.   

What are your thoughts on property rights?   

Each candidate answered this question identically saying they believed property rights are vital.  However, when a smoking bill went through the legislature this year, Mel Brown voted that even in your personal property (your vehicle) if a child is present you don’t have the right to smoke.  While this may seem well-intentioned to most of us that know second-hand smoke can be dangerous, it is a direct infringement on rights.  Property rights, parental rights and personal responsibility cannot be lost on well-intended legislation. (HB82)     

Mel Brown also voted to pass legislation allowing the power companies to curb your electrical consumption.  This goes against property rights as well.  Thankfully, our Governor vetoed this bill. (SB47)   

What are your thoughts on vouchers?   

Jon and Mel also agreed on this in word.  They want vouchers, they want school choice.  Again, the voting record on Mel differs from his answers.  We have no way to determine Jon’s answers because he has no record to run on, but since Jon has used both public and homeschooling methods, parental choice is a big issue to him.  Either you will trust him, or you won’t.  Mel voted against the voucher bill put forward claiming it was in direct conflict with our state constitution, and it left out homeschoolers.  (Homeschoolers do not want government money period.)   Here is what the Utah Constitution says in Article 10 Section 9:   

“Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization.”   

This argument did not hold water for me, as the state funds would not be given to a school directly.   Vouchers are not a direct support of any school.  If the state were making the decision of where to send money, that would be direct support.  A voucher is given to a parent, and the parent is deciding where the money is spent.  The money then follows the student where a parent decides is best for their child.  This is not a direct support of any school.  Sources on “the hill” say that Mel was against the voucher bill from the very beginning.  And to take it a step further, you could argue the other direction that the public system has become an atheistic institution, which is it’s own religion, or to put it bluntly it’s a religious organization of secular humanism.   

Nevertheless, let’s say he’s a strict Constitutionalist.  While he may argue using the Utah State Constitution for one bill, it appears he didn’t even look at the U.S. Constitution for his vote on another bill.  (HB150)  This bill is in direct violation of our 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Mel voted yes on that bill.  This bill would allow internet service providers to turn over service information without a warrant.     

How do you feel about sunsets in legislation?  

Jon was adamant that the way it is currently handled is a bad practice.  He feels that to re-authorize programs in our government, each should be looked at individually, and not lumped together into one bill and reauthorized at the same time. (HB221).  Mel finds this practice suitable and believes that the committees that recommend the bills reauthorization have already done their homework.  

What are your thoughts on water?   

 This question on water began a pretty heated argument from a person in the crowd with Mel.  Both candidates recognized that water is very important.  On the one hand, Mel claims the state owns all the water, and on the other, said that the state doesn’t sell any water.  The person in the audience said, if you pay a fee of any kind in order to get water, you are paying the state for water, and actually run others wells dry.  Mel doesn’t see a fee to the state as a payment for water.  Not sure on this specific issue, but I do understand that water is our life blood here in the desert and it is a commodity that must be used wisely.  Jon also understands that ranchers and farmers, those that feed the rest of us, hold water rights as vital to their survival.   

What are your thoughts on privatizing more of the government jobs?   

Jon and Mel both recognize that some things government must do, but that there are many programs that could be done better, with less waste in the private sector.  Mel spoke of a Privatization Policy Board that he implemented years ago, that needs citizen involvement to get rolling.  This sounds like a great idea, and something that I want to look into.  Any time we can move jobs into the private sector, everyone wins.  Government wins because there is a profit motive, and profits mean tax base.  The people win because they are given jobs where they must perform, and there is no drain on the tax system. What are your thoughts on legislation with your name on it?   

This was one question that Jon had the opportunity to answer that Mel never did, because Mel’s answers went on much longer.  That question was about legislation put forth in order to appear as if you are getting something done.  Jon does not believe in this position.  He feels that legislation for the sake of legislation is just bigger government with more intrusion.  Our founding fathers would argue that the point of congress was to create laws in the hopes that they would have so much disagreement that very little would be passed.  Jon does not have a specific agenda going into the legislature, other than ensuring we limit the size of government, expand personal liberty and responsibility, and defend our 10th Amendment rights (state rights).   

      

Will you revisit the raw milk bill and correct the regulations to ensure a free-market system and allow individuals to have the liberty to legally share their milk through cow sharing again?     

This question did not get asked, and that was unfortunate for the voters of this district.  I am all for buying raw milk, and there was a bill that passed with the help of Mel Brown that made the sale of raw milk in Utah legal with some big restrictions.  However, this bill also eliminated cow sharing.  Mel is on record as saying, “I don’t usually vote for raw milk, but I’m voting for this bill because the restrictions are so strict it will make it impossible for any new raw milk dairies to open.”  This statement disturbs me because it seems to go directly against free market principles and because his family is in the dairy business eliminates any competition in the form of raw milk.  It also created a bit of a monopoly within the state of Utah for the people who pushed the legislation through.  A well-intended bill that gives one thing while taking away so many others.  It hurts the free-market, and individual liberty by making it difficult for rural families and small farms to enjoy the benefits of raw milk in their communities without driving a great distance to get their supply.   It would be nice to know what both of these men think about this.     

Final Message:     

UtahGrassroots.org  puts Mel Brown (since he has a voting record) with an overall score of 49% for his career in the legislature, with a 64% for this year.  (All our legislators received higher scores this year with individual liberty and states rights being the forefront of this session.)  Some legislators received 100% and some 95% on their voting record.  Mel is not in the top 25 of the conservatives in our state, but he is also not in the bottom 25, where most Democrats fall.  This would indicate he is more of a liberal Republican.  We have no way of scoring Jon, since he has no voting record yet.      

At the end of the evening, everyone enjoyed chatting together.  It is the goal of The STAR Forum to bring people to awareness of the principles, the issues and the process.  We are looking for solid candidates that exemplify the standards set forth by our founding fathers.  Many people are speaking constitutionally right now, because it has become popular to be a conservative.  Each candidate must be vetted, and their record looked at carefully to ensure you are choosing a candidate that truly will stand and help Save The American Republic.

This is the obamacare that tries men’s souls…

The following is a condensed version of the message I shared at our STAR Forum of Phoenix meeting March 26th:

I’ve had a fairly emotional week.  Hearing on Sunday night that Obamacare passed in the house in spite of a complete lack of bipartisan participation and a strong vocal resistance from the people made me lose faith in the legislative process.  It further tarnished my opinion of our president and other federal leaders who seem to have forgotten or just refuse to accept that they are our representatives and our servants.  It sickens me.

As I was looking more into this I found out that the bill actually includes articles providing for the formation of Obama’s “civil army” that will be appointed by him, take their orders from him, report to him, operate on their own ranking and pay scale independent from the one established by congress for our current military.  I wonder just how devious and dark President Obama’s true designs are.

I also know that to get too caught up in the negative points will become destructive to me and my goals.  I have been critical of Glenn Beck at times because I felt that he got too angry and didn’t offer a plan of action to deal with all of the problems he was identifying.  I don’t know how correct this assessment of mine was.  Lately I have appreciated his efforts to educate people.  I also appreciate something I heard him say this week.

He explained that a lot of people were surprised that he wasn’t crying and frothing at the mouth about the Obamacare vote.  He said that the reason why is that he appreciated that those in our government who hate freedom and have a complete disregard for the constitution and for the people they were elected to serve have clearly identified themselves.  Then he reminded us of a powerful lesson from our history.

December of 1776 was a bleak time in the colonies.  General Washington and his armies had lost every battle so far in the war.  They were starving and freezing.  I believe that the states were not sending supplies, reinforcements, or the pay that the army needed.  They were disheartened.  Many soldiers were leaving and choosing to not continue on with the army.  It was a dangerous time during which we could have easily lost our ability to continue fighting for our independence.  It was at this time that Thomas Paine penned his famous words, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

His words inspired the troops.  They inspired the people.  The colonies continued their fight, and eventually we were victorious over the oppressive English.

This story reminds me to never give up.  We have lost battles.  We have lost freedoms.  We have strayed too far from the government designed by our founding fathers to protect our liberties and freedom to prosper.  But the war is not yet over.

I don’t know what will happen from here.  I have an idea how it ends, but I’m not certain what route will carry us from point a to point b.  All I know is that I do not want to be counted among the summer soldiers.  I am not a sunshine patriot!  I will continue to educate myself and act on opportunities that present themselves to help others learn and act as well.  I will share the message of liberty.  I will support others who will stand with integrity for the constitution and the principles on which it was designed.

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered…” but it will be conquered.  Tyrants will fall, and Freedom will ring, and I choose to fight on her side so that I can stand tall and proud when that day comes!

I want to thank Jeffrey, Ed, Jason, Jim, and the wonderfully beautiful Ashlee for your attendance and participation.  I’m especially glad for the example of Ed becoming a GOP Precinct Committeeman and for Jeffrey pointing out that more of us should follow suit.  My email has been sent to our district chair to inform of my intent to become a committeeman myself.

I invite all within my “voice” to educate yourselves.  Read a book about history or government.  Get involved.  Come to a meeting or start your own.

If you live in the Phoenix area you can find our contact information on the tab above or visit www.thestarforumphoenix.wordpress.com.  We have monthly meetings scheduled for the last Friday of each month.

Finally, good job to my fellow liberty lovers in Utah for your participation in the Caucus.  I’ve heard great things about your efforts and results!

Thomas Jefferson Education on Glenn Beck

By Jacqueline Smith

As many of you know, I have been homeschooling my children, and educating myself using The Thomas Jefferson Education, sometimes known as TJed.   The class being referred to in this clip is being taught here in Utah (Wanship) by the founders of  The Thomas Jefferson Education system.  This will be a wonderful free event.  Please make plans to attend.  It is on Friday afternoon April 30, 2010.  Do your best to take some time off work and attend this special event, you won’t regret it.  You must RSVP for this event, at our meet up site by clicking here.

We are in a leadership crisis in our country, and the only way to change direction is to become liber.  Liber is the latin word for tree bark.  You see, tree bark was used to write on.  It is also the root word of library, and liberty.  In order to be a free people, we must be educated, and we must educate ourselves in the classics.

It will take leadership to move not just our political arena forward in America, but our enrapreneurs, our educational arena, our media, our communities.  To understand the leadership model of education, I highly recommend attending our TJed for families event.  Dads …. you need to come, too.  A family that learns together has much more impact on the world.

For more information, please visit our Education Resources here.

Our Gun Culture in America

Labor Day, the Border, and Our 2nd Amendment Rights

Written by Jacqueline Smith

us_and_canadian_flagA

We were well on our way to Washington DC for the 9/12 March.  Our children received wonderful memories and lots of history.  We thought it would be wonderful to see Niagara Falls.  We planned on seeing Niagara Falls the entire time, but figured we would travel through Buffalo NY and then backtrack and see Palmyra on our way to Boston.  Our KOA situation became grim as it was Labor Day weekend and really didn’t know how far we would get until the day we needed the rental, so we traveled North into Michigan to stay at a KOA that could accommodate us.  This took us off the original track.  The next day we plotted Niagara Falls into the Garmin and it took us north to the Canadian border.  Oops.

Having traveled to Canada in the past, I remembered that my Driver’s License was a valid form of ID for crossing the border.  Wrong.  Just this June 2009 a new law went into effect that even though getting into Canada is fairly easy, without a passport or birth certificate, you can’t get back into the U.S.

gun

Well, when asked if we had any firearms, we were honest and explained we had a handgun, and a shotgun.  Remember that because we are in a motor home, in the U.S. we have the right to bear arms according to the second amendment of the Constitution.  What ensued next, surprised us.  We were sent to the immigration office on the Canadian side.  Women in bulletproof vests escorted us (with our little children in tow) out of the motor home.  They inspected the motor home and confiscated our handgun.  (Apparently, handguns are illegal in Canada.)  We were told if allowed to stay and pass through Canada, they could not guarantee we would allowed back in the United States.  However, if we turned around here at the checkpoint, we would have to be allowed back in.  We thought okay, it completely throws off the schedule, but we love the United States and like our rights here.  Therefore, we opted to turn around.  After being escorted back to our RV, the woman in heavy protective clothing, reached into her pocket and placed our handgun in a rag in the outside compartment and watched us lock it.  They would not allow it back on board.  Nor would they allow us to touch it. 

Heading back to the U.S. I felt relieved, but also felt nervous.  Border agents walk by cars and ask them what brings people to the U.S.  Knowing honesty is always the best policy, we told them what happened.  The feeling of dread instantly left us.  Not only were we treated wonderfully, but everyone wanted to know about our guns, telling what kind they had.  A completely different feeling pervaded.

Upon entrance to the U.S. because we were Canada rejects, we have to go back through U.S. customs.  Not something that is normal.  They had a TV going and what was on but FOX NEWS.  This was a sigh of relief for me.  Once inside they had to clarify our rejection, check ID, confirm our concealed carry permit, and inspect our guns.  They also took down our serial numbers for the books.  Not sure how I feel about that, but we weren’t in a position to argue.    I proceeded to ask many questions to the officer that was processing us.

We found out that Garmin and the navigation system that gives the shortest route to Niagara Falls is responsible for catching quite a few illegal aliens and criminals.  But that’s redundant.  Because once they cross, if they are turned away, they are caught on the way back in.  They said this happens all the time, every day.  They were especially busy with Labor Day.  We also found out that the reason the Canadians were so freaked out by us, is that their Border Patrol agents are not armed at all.  They aren’t allowed to carry weapons.  All the Canadian agents had bulletproof vests on.  American agents, just wore their blue shirts, with a beautiful weapon strapped on their side, showing anyone looking who is boss.  The officer told us that, as I stated earlier, handguns are illegal, and that’s the real reason we were turned away, but because we didn’t have proper ID that made it a sealed deal. 

They were required to inspect our vehicle to see our guns, and when my husband opened the side compartment on the outside of the RV, the officer said, “Why are you putting that nice of a gun in a rag outside your vehicle?”  My husband explained the border patrol agent incident in Canada.  He told us to just put it back in our RV, and not worry as long as we had the ammo in a separate place.  My husband and the officer talked for a bit about different guns they both owned and we were sent on our way.  We were treated with great respect.

The gun culture of America is wonderful.  In Canada we were seen as such a threat, and in America in was almost exciting for these agents to meet responsible, gun-toting citizens, that were behaving in a respectful and responsible manner. 

 What a wonderful country we live in.  Our rights are what make us a great nation.  It is imperative that we continue to stand for liberty and freedom in all aspects of our lives.  Our Constitution was founded on principles that will stand forever, but as citizens of this great land, it is important to remember that it will only remain when we understand our freedoms, and when we quickly put our policies and our elected officials back on track when we notice our freedoms being eroded.

constitution

FREEDOM CAN WIN!

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