Republicans & Democrats Agree

Republicans and Democrats agree.  Even if the caucus system (neighborhood meeting) is not perfect, changing it too much according to many Republicans, and even the Chaijimdr of the Utah Democrats, will not be a good thing. Jim Debakis said,

“Maybe the Utah caucus system needs to be changed or revised. Maybe not.  But the recently announced initiative proposal to reconfigure  the way Utah’s political parties pick candidates, is certainly NOT a good idea.”

http://www.utahdemocrats.org/newsletter-letter-from-the-chair

Ask yourself the question, who benefits from the primary?  We can answer that later.

Sure, we need to streamline credentialing and check in.  Knocking an hour or more off the time-frame for the night is seen by a positive for all.  But many of the so-called proposals have not been well-thought out for their long-term consequences.  Gutting the system will be the same as eliminating it.

Why exactly do we have a neighborhood meeting?  Let’s answer the first question, by quoting the LDS Church on this meeting for their answer.  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-issues-letter-utah-precinct-caucus-meetings

             “Precinct caucuses are the most fundamental grassroots level of political involvement. They are best served by a broad representation of Utah citizens. Those who attend play a critical role in selecting candidates for public office.”

Are many of Utah’s Republican and Democratic voices being heard?  The answer can be seen by the enormous growth of caucus attendance over the last (four) 4 years.  Let’s look at one precinct in one tiny place, mine, in Wanship.  For years when I first moved here, the big secret was the caucus night.  A select few individuals showed up.  They held all of the positions for that precinct; Precinct Chair, Vice Chair, County Delegate and State Delegate were all voted on, or assigned.  You see, only three (3) people ever showed up.  But in 2010 things changed in American politics.  Americans began to wake up, and began to re-energize their ideas of liberty from the days of our founders and beyond.  They started studying the votes of their Senators and Congressman; they started watching their State Legislators with more vigor.  Therefore, in 2010, the people of Utah, came forward, and attended their meetings.  My little precinct had 68 people in attendance.  It mattered, and so, people showed up.  Then in 2012, they did it again.  48 people showed up.  Two years of record-breaking attendance.  And yet, the naysayers of the caucus system cried that no one was participating.

caucus dictionaryIn Utah, many showed up to their caucus meetings without a full understanding of the process.  They had a strong agenda to see Orrin Hatch re-elected, since the last time it was to see Bob Bennett ousted.  The job of a delegate is bigger than just one office.  There were many good candidates running in a variety of offices, from Auditor, to Governor, to State Legislator and Utah State Senator, as well as the Senate and Congressional candidates. 

The delegates should only choose to run, if indeed they are going to participate.  This is what sets Utah apart from every other state – the caucus system.  Even when a no name, like me, ran for Congress against the well-liked Congressman Rob Bishop, I had a chance.  (Not a big chance, but a chance.)  The caucus system is the only place in the world that can happen.  And winning or losing isn’t always what makes it so great.  It is the fact that the delegates become very educated in the issues of the day.  Let’s look at the issue in my race, specifically.

The NDAA 2012 was a virtual unknown to many delegates until there was a challenge in the Rob Bishop campaign.  Once the dangers of this bill were made public, many people began to understand our liberty is more important than our safety.  This is a basic tenet set out by Benjamin Franklin when he said,

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

This wasn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, but an issue of civil liberty.

The delegates received letters from Rob Bishop explaining his vote.  I explained why he was mistaken.  This became a national issue, and was even the source of the 13-hour filibuster with Rand Paul.  You see, the little clause known as 1022, and 1023 in the NDAA 2012 language gives the president too much power over our citizens.  Rand Paul’s stance was to get clarification from our president that non-combatants who may be deemed by this language as terrorists could not be fired upon on American soil.  These are our liberties and they are at stake.  Thank you Rand Paul, and our own Senator Mike Lee for standing up for our liberty on this day.  It was nice to have this threat under NDAA 2012 and the Patriot Act brought to the forefront of the American people’s minds again.

Other debates began to emerge as campaigns announced.  School trust lands became a hot topic of the Governor’s race in Utah.  Morgan Philpot and Ken Sumsion each giving their ideas on how best to handle our land.

We heard about social security reform, debt ceilings, the war on drugs, the wars overseas, ending of federal departments, etc.  This is what makes the caucus system work.  People that have very little knowledge of government and the “great debate” begin to be involved in that great debate.  They begin to see that the media (the ones that make the money) aren’t always truthful.  They realize that just being a voter at the end of the day isn’t where the real decisions get made.  They also realize that being a delegate (especially a state delegate) requires a lot of focused time, consideration, and effort on their parts to do their precinct justice in being represented.  Not everyone can do this job.  Not everyone has the time to give to it.  Not everyone wants to do it.  Not everyone is educated in government enough to do the job.  But at your neighborhood caucus you can talk to your friends and neighbors and find out who in your neighborhood is qualified, has the time, and will be fair to all the candidates for office.  Each candidate deserves to be taken seriously and treated with real respect.  Even if you love your representative, the ideas that are brought forward for discussion make the system work that much better.  Citizens become informed directly from their representatives as they vie for votes.

Do not water-down the caucus system with proposals that make it possible for coercion at any level.  The votes need to take place in person.  The votes need to be by secret paper ballot.  The only thing that needs to change is check in.  It should be electronic and quick.

So let’s go back to our original question, who benefits from a water-down or elimination of the caucus system?  The media, and the wealthy.  They win, and you lose.  The people that make radio ads, TV commercials, and newspaper ads win.  They want you, the people, to be persuaded by sound bites.  There is big money in campaigns.  People spend hundreds of thousands of dollars before it ever gets to a primary and then millions at the primary level.  Follow the money.  The primary election does not create a more informed voter, just a voter that has been marketed to the most.

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, it was hours of discussion on a topic to be rebutted for hours.  We must stop asking our society to make important decisions about the future of our state or country,  based on sound bites.  If we are in a primary mentality only, that is all we have left, and the guy with the most money, most of the time, will always come out on top, principles be damned.  This will end our Republic, and we will become a straight democracy.  Ask anyone who has studied history, a democracy is the first step toward socialism.

Save our caucus system, and maintain our republic.

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Friendship & Miracles – A Night We Will Not Ever Forget

by Jacqueline Smith

(I wanted to post some pictures but that will have to be later.)

Yesterday, the campaign trail was loaded with stops.  Many had three stops to make.  It started with a nice breakfast at the Wasatch County Lincoln Day breakfast.  Aaron Gabrielson did a great job putting on a fabulous event.  I did not attend this event, because I wanted some shuteye, and it is not in the 1st District.

We all met up in Duchesne for a nice meet and greet for a few hours.  Brooks Snow and his team, again, fed us lunch and we had a chance to get to know the good people in Roosevelt.

Then it was off to Vernal for the Uintah County Lincoln Day Dinner and VIP reception.  We were all following each other around the state.  Sean Reyes and I have been together for the last 4 days in a row.  You really get to know the other candidates when you are running for office.  Joni Crane put on a fabulous event.  The décor was beautiful, and you really could tell a woman’s touch was involved.  It was well organized and very well attended.  There were just too many people to meet.  I had been in heels all day, and I was wishing I could just put on my cowboy boots by that time.  Nevertheless, it was fun.

We were able to here from Senator Mike Lee, Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Orrin Hatch, and Representative Rob Bishop.  Then all of the candidates had an opportunity for a short 3-minute speech.  I had not prepared one before today, so this was a new adventure.  Everyone articulated their ideas and thoughts well.  It is amazing how much you can get out in 3 minutes, and how much is left untouched.  Hard to make a lasting first impression in 3 minutes, but it was a generous thing to do since there were so many candidates.

After the dinner, they had a great auction and Mike Lee did a little dance while holding up on the items for auction.  It was a fun time.

We mingled for a while after dinner, and then decided it was getting late.  We all had long drives home.  There were nine of us that decided to head over to a legendary spot in Uintah County known as “Skinwalker Ranch.”  It is one of those mythical places were people say paranormal activity occurs, and many are frightened by the stories surrounding the area.  We talked to a few locals, and they were fully convinced it was not a place they wanted to be.

So three cars, full of tired campaign staff and candidates headed to Skinwalker Ranch.  We loaded up on some caffeine and snacks at a gas station, and I felt like I was in high school on a dare.  It was fun.  Morgan Philpot, Toby Emory, and Keith Kudor were in one car.  Kara Harrison and Cindie Quintana were in another.  Cleve Smith (my husband), Kim Weis, and her daughter Cheyanne and I were in another car.

We stopped at the overlook to Skinwalker Ranch.  It was peaceful and absolutely beautiful.  The stars filled the sky with the blackness that surrounded this rural area of Utah.  It was breathtaking.

One of the rumors is that if you are caught on or near the ranch you will be chased off by dogs, or cars, or police will show up.  Sure enough, Officer Luecerno (I hope I remembered his name right.) came by.  We took him off guard because three cars in the middle of nowhere had stopped, and the people he pulls up to see are men and women in suits.  The officer mistook my husband for an FBI agent that works in the area.  He was great.  Talked to us about the rumors, and showed us where the boundaries to the ranch were.

It was a fairly uneventful trek, but we were so close we wanted to experience this part of the Uintah basin.  On the way home we did a three-way call so we could all chat for the hours we would spend driving.  Each of us shared different experiences we had in our lives, and we all grew closer as a group, laughing and talking.  We told them the tires were pretty bald on our vehicle, and since the snow was getting heavier, we were planning on going pretty slow.  No one said we were going to stick together, but we did, and I believe that was providential.

Then the calls began to drop frequently as our reception weakened about 20 miles before Daniels Summit.  Cleve and I talked about how so many of us believe we have been given a call to proclaim and protect liberty.

Then the unthinkable happened.  The car in front of us, holding Morgan Philpot, Keith Kudor and Toby Emory lost control and was gone from the side of the road.  Cleve said,  “They just wrecked.  They’ve gone over the edge.”

We pulled our car off the side of the road where we thought they had gone off.  Cleve said that his first thought was, “I just lost three friends.”  We could not see their lights anywhere.  I saw the cliff off to my left, and I immediately began praying aloud for God’s protection of these men.  I did not know how they could have survived the drop off.  Cleve and I were running as fast as we could.  We must have run about 100 yards before we got to where their vehicle was on its side down a 70-100 foot very steep decline.   Kara Harrison mentioned she had never seen a woman run so fast in the snow in a skirt. We shouted to them.  They shouted back that they were all okay.  It was an absolute miracle.  Divine Providence had definitely intervened.  They climbed the side with help of straps from someone who had stopped.  Another woman stopped and gave us a sleeping bag out of her car to wrap the guys in.  We were on the side of the road for hours waiting for police and an ambulence.  Keith seemed like he was in shock.  A few cuts.  Toby had a small cut on his head, and Morgan had bumped his shin and there was a huge knot on it.  But they walked away.  It was amazing.

I had silently thanked the Lord when Morgan Philpot gathered everyone together and we formally thanked God for our protection.

Today I remembered a blog post I had done years ago.  Boyd K. Packer was speaking in Provo, and I remembered the words he spoke after receiving the Lifetime Freedom Award.  Here is an excerpt from this blog post

…After receiving the award, President Packer spoke of the freedoms the nation enjoys today — freedoms that came at a price.

He reflected upon James Madison’s record of the Constitutional Convention, referencing the weeks of time and effort that had been exhausted creating the U.S. Constitution allowing the freedoms enjoyed today.

He then told a story about the day that the men were individually signing the Constitution. During the convention, President George Washington was sitting in a high-back chair that had a picture of a rising sun on the back. Benjamin Franklin said that he had been looking at the sun all during the convention. He said he was never sure if it was a rising sun or a setting sun. But, as the men came forward one by one to sign the document, Franklin said that day he had the confidence to know it was a rising sun.

“Now 12 wars later and all that has gone on, that sun is now obscured,” President Packer said. “We know that war can’t destroy it, but if it is destroyed it will be from within. And now we face a danger greater than any of the wars we have faced. To honor the Constitution and to honor freedom is a sacred duty for all of us.

“I invoke the blessing on you who are doing this sacred work that you will keep it up, and that in due time the challenges that we face now from within can be conquered so that this nation may remain free.”

Last night I experienced that blessing, and I believe this is a sacred work.  I believe this is much more than a political position for either Morgan Philpot or myself.  We were witnesses to yet another miracle of God in our lives.

http://www.jacquelinesmith2012.com

The Constitution Hanging by a Thread?

It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  However, today is the first day of a New Year.  We have so much to be grateful for in this country, but we also have much to be wary of as well.  Today, a bill (HR 1540) goes into effect.  This is the NDAA or National Defense Authorization Act.  This one bill is over 500 pages, and quietly passed into law.  Click here for a link to the bill.

This is anything but an exhaustive article, but I want to hit a few points, so take the time to read this briefly and then dig deep and find your own answers. 

Today, I would dare say, our Constitution hangs by a thread.  I am reminded of the phrase attributed to Martin Niemöller,

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” 

This statement was first published in 1955 in a book called, They Thought They Were Free.  How many Americans watched the ball drop, celebrated with friends, played games and got drunk last night, and thought they were free?  I know that I enjoyed the night with family and friends alike.  However, I have no illusion that I am as free today as I was yesterday.  I still live in the greatest country on earth.  I still have more freedoms than most people have ever had, but they are dwindling quickly, and I am watching.

, member of the United States House of Represe...
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I belong to many different “groups” on Facebook.  There are many disccusions…usually trivial and meaningless, but sometimes the debates are very interesting.  I am saddened by the educational dead zone that exists.  Yes, many know some facts, and many know the rhetoric on the left and on the right, but many are blind to the duplication of history that is being performed right before their eyes.  At least, some of them.  They trust their government.  They trust that human nature “could never” do something like happened to the Jews during WWII.  But it has begun, in the same manner as it did then, and many other times in history.  You remember the saying, those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  One of our Utah Representatives, Rob Bishop, was a history teacher.  Has he forgotten the lessons he taught?  Because it appears he saw no problem with this bill. 

Let’s not repeat history, let’s make history.  Let’s be the first nation in the history of the world to not fall into tyranny, but liberate ourselves once again the individuals in America from a tyrannical Federal Government, that believe our rights as American citizens can be tossed aside for a little safety.  We do this not by violent measures, but by a strong state government that is unwilling to allow the Federal government to overreach its jurisdiction within our state.

I am not a Rachel Maddow fan, but this clip illustrates that this is not a left / right issue, but an issue of civil liberties that should alarm all of us.  It is not R’s vs. D’s.  It is us (the people) against the tyranny of a much-too-large Federal government and it’s overreaching powers and authority.  The blame I place is not on the Democrats, because the Republicans control the House.  It does not sit entirely on Obama’s shoulders, however, he signed it without a veto as he should have. 

 

You can see how your House representatives voted click HERE.  Three of Utah’s representatives (Jim Mattheson –D , Rob Bishop –R , and Orrin Hatch of the Senate – R) decided your rights as an American citizen no longer deserved the protection granted in the Bill of Rights.  What does the Oath of Office mean to people?  Does it mean anything?  Do they understand they are not there to protect us from would-be crimes, but to protect our rights and liberties?  How long will the people of Utah allow their representatives to disregard their oath?   We have many Republicans running against Jim Mattheson in the 4th district including two of my favorites, Carl Wimmer and Mia Love.  We have a few candidates considering Orrin Hatch be “called home” namely Dan Liljenquist and Chris Herrod.  Also, Tim Aalders has talked about running, but is not official as of late.  But who is challenging Rob Bishop?  No one!  Really?  He goes unchallenged, and that causes me to believe Utah is fast asleep at the wheel, or they think Rob unbeatable.

Montana is doing something about this, and I hope Utah will join in the fight with them.  It’s time to re-call these men for violating their oath.  See the Montana article HERE.  But in order to be like Montana, we will need a very strong governor that will push hard against the Federal government. So far, Gary Herbert hasn’t been that guy.  Our individual liberty demands that our state sovereignty be strengthened.  We have a few candidates that have stepped up to run against Utah’s governor, namely Morgan Philpot and Ken Sumsion.

I’ve had people say to me, “Come on this will never affect YOU.”  Well, this bill, hasn’t had time yet, but it’s predecessor, The Patriot Act already has.  Rachel Maddow brings up the movie “The Minority Report.”  Please read my post on that subject here called Guilty until Proven Innocent.  For I have felt the sting of The Patriot Act myself, and wonder what would possess my Federal Government to suddenly see me, a mother of five, as a terrorist?  And yet, I was questioned because of the Patriot Act as if I was one.  If I have no right to trial, no right to a lawyer, no right to even know my charges, then what hope would I ever have of liberty or freedom in this once great country? 

Do you see how slippery the slope is when we trade essential liberty for a little temporary safety?  In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “we will have neither, and deserve neither.”

Other articles you may like peruse from Forbes and the ACLU and a few that talk about why this is a very real threat: 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/the-national-defense-authorization-act-is-the-greatest-threat-to-civil-liberties-americans-face/?mid=569

http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/president-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-law

http://theintelhub.com/2011/12/17/crushing-the-disinformation-surrounding-indefinite-detention-of-americans-under-the-ndaa/

http://www.infowars.com/president-obamas-ndaa-signing-statement-i-have-the-power-to-detain-americans-but-i-wont/

http://www.naturalnews.com/034538_NDAA_American_citizens_indefinite_detainment.html?mid=56

Since this was published, Ron Paul has asked for section 1021 to be repealed….

The Battle for State Rights Continues in Utah

The battle rages on with Utah taking the lead.  Thank you to Governor Herbert and Representative Wimmer and his colleague Chris Herrod, for leading the way.  Utah education funding could be a non-issue if the Federal Government will get out of our way.  Take a look at the total land owned by the Federal government in western states.

Thanks to Jared Law for showing this on his website.

For another post on this, including an interview with Congressman Rob Bishop click HERE.

Western States Owned by Federal Government — Utah Fight Backs

Utah is one of many states that have joined to create a 10th Amendment Task Force.  If the Federal Government takes our land, it takes our resources, and it takes our possibility of revenue.