"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Illegal Immigration

It's amazing how fast the national media seems to move from one topic to the next, never missing a beat.  They are completely focused on convincing the American public that this or that is the issue they need to be worried the most about today (or this week, whatever they feel like this time).

The big issue was Social Security; the need to "reform" it, and the comments some people were making about it.  Now, the big issue in the news is illegal immigration.

If you are even the slightest bit informed, you know that illegal immigration is a problem.  A study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) shows that illegal immigration costs federal and local taxpayers $100 billion a year.  No human mind can fully comprehend that.  Last year, there were approximately 11 million illegal immigrants, along with their U.S. born children, in the United States.  Even without doing the math, by looking at those two numbers side-by-side you can see how much this is costing us.  Per household, it does come out to roughly $1,000 a year.  Since illegal immigrants are not distributed evenly among the states, that rate is higher in states with higher illegal populations.  The prevention is not an easy job, but it is one that needs to start, beginning with the federal government doing their part to help.

The fence at the border between the United States and Mexico is the main thing being used to keep illegal immigrants out.  It is approximately 650 miles long, 21 feet high and 6 feet into the ground, cemented in a 3 foot wide trench.  It was made with 5,000 PSI concrete, making it a very strong fence.  Its physical strength, however, does not keep people who are determined to come in from coming.  They just jump over the fence, glad and at the same time, probably wondering how long it will take us to figure them out.

There are so many different opinions on how to secure the border, something that sorely needs to be done.  One was a bill proposed by Arizona governor Jan Brewer last year.  Immigration Law 1070 would require all immigrants to carry their registration or legal documents with them at all times and also gives police the right to question anyone who appears to be an illegal immigrant.  This sounds like a perfectly logical way to ensure your legal immigrants have the most opportunity to earn jobs, and also to ensure that dangerous illegals are not roaming the streets in your town.  This only presents a problem for those here illegally; if you are a legal immigrant, this will not affect you.

E-Verify screening is another option states can take advantage of to protect their population.  This national online database gives the immigration status of virtually everyone in the country.  Therefore, if your name is not on that list, you are not here legally.  This is a tremendous tool for employers to check someone's status before hiring them.  The Legal Workforce Act is currently pending in the House of Representatives, which would require all employers to use the E-Verify system before hiring an employee.  This would conflict with the bill that California governor Jerry Brown is getting ready to sign into law, which would not require employers to use E-Verify.

A fence on the border is one of the most debated issues right now.  Many are saying we need a better fence to keep illegals out.  However, statistics show that a fence will not keep them all out.  We have a fence right now, and people are still coming in.  That's not to say we should take the fence down.  What I'm saying is, we need additional assets to that fence in order for it to be as effective as possible.  Border agents are one of them.  We have thousands of border patrol agents on duty right now, standing guard at the border.  The sad thing is, many of these agents lose their lives protecting our border.  We need more help from our national government to further protect these agents.  Many of these agents are state-issued, meaning that the national government is not doing its part.

The use of more drones and "aviation assets" (to quote Texas Gov. Perry) are something we definitely need.  They will not completely take over border security, but rather add to what we have now.  More cameras to show us exactly where the "hot spots" for entering the U.S. are could also prove beneficial, for obvious reasons.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers on border security.  I don't think anyone does.  What I do know, though, is that we need all-hands-on-deck in order to get this under control.  The issue of illegal immigration is not something that will be solved overnight, nor will it be solved without the entire nation standing together to fix it.  We especially need our president to support drastic changes to immigration policy in general.  The border states are not the only ones to blame for immigration.  They should not be facing it on their own simply because they are the minority.  While it should be a state-issue (every state has its own specific needs), the rest of the country should be supportive of them and the federal government should be doing their part to aid them.

Immigration is a vital part of this nation, and is another side of what sets us apart..  Every other nation in the world has to have walls to keep people in; we have to have walls to keep people out!  Immigration is a great thing when done correctly.  We have a great system in place for obtaining legal citizenship, and it should remain that way.  We should be encouraging all those who come here to seek that citizenship the way thousands have for generations.  That system needs no change; what needs to be changed is how people are actually getting in, in the first place.

"One of the critical issues that we have to confront is illegal immigration, because this is a multi-headed Hydra that affects our economy, our health care, our education systems, our national security, and also our local criminality."  -Congressman Allen West.

Social Security

Below is an excerpt from my article in Smart Girl Nation, which came out earlier this week.  Hope you enjoy it!


Believe it or not, there was an economic period that was worse than this one. In 1929, before the stock market crash, unemployment was at 3.1%, sheer economic bliss. After the crash, unemployment continued to go up until in 1933, it was just under 25%. Drastic measures needed to be taken to turn this around. President Roosevelt instituted his New Deal, which created nine new government programs designed to boost the economy and lower unemployment rates. Social Security was the only one that did not fall in either of those categories.

There were a number of reasons we needed Social Security in the first place. The first was the disappearance of family homesteads and the appearance of “nuclear families.” For centuries, the tradition was that parents and children lived together on family farms. Children took over for parents, had children of their own and cared for their parents. Everyone lived on the same farm for generations. This meant that grandparents never worried about their financial future. After the Industrial Revolution, people left the family farm for work in cities and big factories, changing what had been in place for centuries. Now, seniors were responsible for their finances. What would happen once they became too old to work? Now Social Security comes in. Before it, American workers had three options: work until you drop, an option many chose; stop work on their own initiative or their employer retired them, suffering the economic consequences; or become a superannuated worker, someone kept on with reduced responsibilities and pay in place of retirement pension.

There was one more option that was not as commonly chosen, called institutionalization. Right up to the time Social Security passed, there were approximately 2,000 poorhouses in America. These were places seniors were sent for the crime of being old and too feeble to care and provide for themselves.


You'll be hearing more from me this weekend, I promise :)  I should have a post up on immigration soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smart Girl Nation!

I am a member of Smart Girl Politics, and today, the latest issue of their magazine, Smart Girl Nation, was published.  My work was included, so check it out and tell me what you think!  www.sgpaction.com/sgn (page 16).

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Wisdom from Brilliant Minds

40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan:

"America is too great for small dreams."

"And you young people out there, don't ever forget that. Some day, you could be in this room-but wherever you are, America is depending on you to reach your highest and be your best because here, in America, we the people are in charge. "

34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower:

"Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America. "

"Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power. "

7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson:

"One man with courage makes a majority."

"You must remember, my fellow citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing."

16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln:

"A man's character is like a tree and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. "

41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush:

"If anyone tells you that America's best days are behind her, they're looking the wrong way."

43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush:

"This is a decent and honorable country -- and resilient, too."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Florida Straw Poll Results

Today was the Florida Straw Poll, following the GOP Presidential debate on Thursday night and CPAC FL conference yesterday.  The results of today's poll will come as a shock to many.  They definitely shocked me.

#1:  Herman Cain -- 37%
#2:  Rick Perry -- 15.4%
#3:  Mitt Romney -- 14%
#4:  Rick Santorum -- 11%
#5:  Ron Paul -- 10%
#6:  Newt Gingrich -- 9%
#7:  Jon Huntsman -- 2%
#8:  Michele Bachmann -- 1.5%

When I first saw the results, I could not believe that businessman Herman Cain won the straw poll!  He beat out both of the frontrunners to win it.  He really had a very strong showing at the debate on Thursday night, which I'm sure accounts for a huge amount of the votes he received.  This could really be the push that Mr. Cain needed.  After this, his campaign could take off.  While I do not think he is actually qualified to be president himself, I think he is more than able to lead in some way-- whether in a cabinet position or elsewhere.  This man is a true leader and deserves to be recognized.  America needs his experience and knowledge in business to fix this economy.  He would know what to do.  Not saying the other candidates do not, but it is certain that Mr. Cain would and does.

\The second thing that surprised me, and really, disappointed me, was Gov. Perry's "poor" performance in the straw poll.  He did come in second place, so not a disappointing outcome, so to speak.  The fact that second place was so far behind first just confirms that Thursday night was not Gov. Perry's strongest showing.  Nothing is over.  He has plenty of time to come back and prove to those who are doubting that he is the man for the job.  As someone said, if people want a smooth, eloquent speaker, they will re-elect President Obama.  We need someone with a true record.  The fact that Gov. Perry still came out ahead of Gov. Romney after all the attacks launched at him on Thursday night, assures Gov. Perry's supporters that he is still the "frontrunner." 

The last thing I was surprised by was Michele Bachmann.  Last place?!  After coming in first place in the Iowa Straw Poll, I was definitely expecting a strong finish from Rep. Bachmann.  Not so.  She finished last among the contenders, including behind Rep. Paul and former Gov. Huntsman, who I believe to be unable to win the nomination by any means.

An interesting statement came out from Gov. Perry's national press secretary, Mark Miner, who said, "Debates are part of the process but we are taking our message directly to the people. Mitt Romney has been doing debates and running for president for five and a half years and he comes in third. Must be a devastating loss for him and a morale buster for his campaign in a state like Florida after five and a half years."

Florida is set to be a huge battleground state and is on its way to being the clincher for the general election.  Since 1979, the person who has won the Florida Straw Poll has gone on to win the GOP nomination.  If that record holds true, we could have a real showdown come 2012.  People cannot tout the fact that Mr. Cain has no experience; then-Senator Obama had less than one year of Senate experience before he began his campaign for president.  He had no experience, business or political.  However, I do believe that Gov. Perry has the best chance against President Obama out of the current GOP field.  I think he has the best proven record of job creation.  He has more experience than almost all the other candidates combined.

You'll hear more from me about this showing in Florida.  My internet connection is not very good, but once I get it I will be voicing more of my opinions!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My thoughts-- GOP debate 9/22/11

This debate thought-sheet is going to be much shorter than my previous ones have been.  There were a few statements I thought were very, very good, or very, very bad.

"I will always err on the side of life."  This quote came from Gov. Rick Perry.  We have heard this before, but I believe it is something people need to pay a little more attention to.  Comparing this with former Gov. Romney's ever-changing stance on abortion, this is a strong statement to make.  It is very important for this country to "always err on the side of life."

"When countries vote against you consistently in the UN, you have to look at why are you really giving them money.  this world is in danger of becoming dramatically more dangerous in the near future."  Former Speaker Gingrich was talking about the possibility of a Palestinian state.  President Obama is actually supporting this.  It would make our world a much more dangerous place if this happened, and we need to stand with Israel and support them in their decisions regarding this.  Israel is, basically, our only true ally in the Middle East.

"92% of our people were insured before the healthcare mandate."  This comes from Gov. Romney.  I don't understand this.  If nearly all of your people were insured without a mandate, it required a state mandate in order to insure the other 8%?  Surely there must have been a different way.  It just really doesn't make sense to me.

"This economy is on life-support."  Another "I've heard it before", but this is a good one.  Herman Cain, though a businessman with no political experience, has been holding his own very well among the seasoned politicians. 

The quote of the night goes to former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson:  "My neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than Barack Obama."

The majority of the night went to Perry-Romney attacks, mostly on each other.  Obviously, since they are the two frontrunners at this point, they will be trying to out the other one and show that they are the better candidate.  I really do not think that they need to spend so much time on it.  They should be more focused on defeating President Obama than on attacking each other. 

The order I think the candidates placed in tonight: 
#1:  Newt Gingrich

#2:  Michele Bachmann
#3:  Rick Perry
#4:  Herman Cain
#5:  Mitt Romney
#6:  Rick Santorum
#7:  Jon Huntsman
#8:  Ron Paul
#9:  Gary Johnson

Honestly, Gov. Perry did not do as well as I would have hoped.  He stumbled on some of his answers, and he passed up some possible attacks on Gov. Romney.  On the flip side of that, this was Gov. Romney's worst debate performance so far, by avoiding many questions and not answering a question on whether he believed President Obama has very, very socialist views.  That makes Gov. Perry's performance even more disappointing.  He'll have to have a very strong showing at CPAC FL today in order to ensure he wins Florida.

Here are the answers on the last question, in case you missed it.

Who, out of the people on the stage with you, would you choose as your running mate?

Gary Johnson:  Ron Paul

Rick Santorum:  Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich:  "I have no idea"
Ron Paul:  "I have no idea" (copycat!)
Rick Perry:  Somewhere between Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich!

Mitt Romney:  Newt Gingrich
Michele Bachmann:  She avoided this question completely.
Herman Cain:  If Romney threw out his jobs plan and replaced it with his 9-9-9 program, he'd have a shot.  If not, Newt Gingrich.
Jon Huntsman:  Herman Cain.

Check back this weekend for another article on something that made me think tonight :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Leader We Need!

Town-Hall Meetings

Is there anyone that knows of a place or website that has the town-hall meeting schedules?  I'd like one for all the meetings, but if you know of anything like that, please comment and let me know!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chairman Darrell Issa & Operation Fast and Furious

Today I had the opportunity to listen in on a conference call with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.  He discussed Operation Fast and Furious, a program the Obama Administration implemented that caused the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry last December.

Operation Fast and Furious was created in the fall of 2009 and ran until early 2011.  In this program, the federal government allowed gun smugglers to purchase guns from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Arizona.  The government made no attempts to stop these purchases or to intercept the guns during or after purchase.  It is believed that weapons purchased by drug cartels through this program were used to kill border agent Brian Terry in December 2010.  Terry was killed in a firefight with Mexican drug cartels on the border.

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are investigating the situation.  As I listened to Chairman Issa speak this morning, it is obvious that he feels very strongly about finding out who is directly and indirectly responsible for Terry's murder.  The drug cartels and those who purchased the guns in the first place are directly responsible.  However, those who are indirectly responsible are members of our government.

That's right.  Members of the FBI and/or Homeland Security, as well as possibly within the actual administration, are responsible for allowing the purchases to be made in the first place.  Someone had to approve the payments.  A report that came out states that the FBI and the Homeland Security Department were not involved in this, since neither Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano or FBI Director Mueller knew about the operations before Terry's murder.  There is still the possibility, or assurance, rather, that there were people inside those departments that knew what was going on and allowed it.  Just because these two directors did not know does not mean it did not happen.

Attorney General Eric Holder was not told about these dealings, either.  In his case, it was most likely because he did not want to know and was not doing his job properly.  It is obvious that someone, or multiple people, were secretly approving these payments and were somehow benefiting from it.  If they were not, there was no reason for them to continue with it.  There were FBI members who knew what their director did not know, since joint funding was used to pay for Operation Fast and Furious.

It was also suggested that all the recent position changes could be a way to keep people quiet.  ATF has been switching people around, and it could possibly be to keep them from coming out and telling what they know.

Chairman Issa also said that this has severely damaged our relationship with Mexico.  The Mexican Attorney General is very upset he was not briefed on Operation Fast and Furious before it began.  These illegal weapons were coming into his country by way of these gun smugglers, leading to more violence.  According to Chairman Issa, drastic measures will have to be taken to ensure we gain back the Mexican government's trust.  To do this, prosecution of those involved may be necessary, whoever they may be.

"There is an ongoing pattern of wrongdoing," says Chairman Issa.  These cases are pending until February.  Things could have been done much faster if the federal government was cooperating, but they are not.  Chairman Issa and Senator Grassley have requested documents containing whatever the White House knows about this situation, and that request has not been granted.  Keeping things open was in the Justice Department's best interest.  Since getting the Justice Department to prosecute the Justice Department is going to be a tough job, Issa says, they are continuing to drag things out to put that off as long as possible.

Chairman Issa agrees that Operation Fast and Furious does not make sense as a law operation.  He suggests that this was a way for the Obama administration to get the assault weapons ban back in place.

Operation Fast and Furious was a huge mistake in the first place.  It led to the death of one of our own border agents.  His death could have been prevented if the Obama administration had done their job and never given guns to smugglers and drug cartels in the first place.  I'll leave you with a quote from Chairman Issa:
"Anytime you give political appointees billions of dollars to put in the piggy bank, you're going to have this kind of misconduct."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No title for this; just listen

This is such a fascinating video.  It is truly like listening to President Reagan and President Obama debate one another.  See who you think is better qualified to be our president at this moment.  (By the way, we do not need to fundamentally change America; rather, we need to get back to our previous fundamentals!  [If you're in a hurry, I'd suggest you forward this first video to 5 minutes and about 20 seconds in, then listen to President Obama's remarks about the Constitution being a negative thing.])

God really gave President Reagan tremendous insight.  These words were spoken during the 1980s, yet they still have huge relevance today.  We need informed patriotism more than we ever have before. 
I love listening to President Reagan's speeches; he was a true leader with strong beliefs, and he was also a very strong speaker.  There's no "uh"'s and "um"'s in this speech :)

Happy Constitution Day!

Yes, today is a holiday!  It is called Constitution Day and celebrates the signing of our National Constitution.

The Constitution was signed on September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the new nation's brightest and best leaders and minds.  With all of their input, the Constitution was born and implemented.  Imagine the pride of those men.  They came to America under British rule, then won their freedom against the British army.  This was a great feat because the British army was considered the best in the world at that time.  They adopted their own Constitution and set of laws, creating a new nation out of practically nothing. 

We are all here in America today because of those brave men who were not afraid to take a chance.  Imagine if they had never done it!  Imagine if, when the British came over to fight here, they had given up and said it was too hard!  They stuck it out and fought for what they wanted.  They wanted a new nation where their children could grow up in a free land.  What they really accomplished was freedom for generations and generations.  Keeping the fight for freedom alive is something every American has a responsibility to do.

With all the criticism of the Constitution through the years, you would think it would have been gone long ago.  There were so many things to be changed, made into Constitutional Amendments, that why not just write up a new one?

That would have never worked.  The original U.S. Constitution is the founding document for this country and still has great relevance today.  The twenty-seven Amendments made to it make it all the better.  Even with all the disagreements over it, our Constitution has remained the law of the land for 224 years.  It will always have its critics, but the Constitution officially established itself long ago.  It is going nowhere.  It is and always will be the document everyone can look to as the thing that officially began this nation. 

When I think of the Constitution, three words come to mind:  The first is faith.  Faith in God, yes, but also faith in their cause.  Faith in each other to carry out the enormous task at hand.  If they had distrusted each other, you and I would not have been born in a free country. 
The second is courage.  Obviously, fighting the mighty British army was a daunting task at the least.  They went into it with a courage that was unmatched at that time, and has only been matched by our military men and women.
The last word is determination.  To win freedom, and to make the new country work.   Without determination to get things rolling, nothing would have happened! 

Have you ever actually read the Constitution?  It's really a fascinating read.  You can read it here:  http://www.constitutionday.com/.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just a bit on Social Security...

Just a bit, because this will be much, much shorter than my posts normally are :)

I am currently writing a piece for Smart Girl Nation, a national online magazine (which is the reason my posts have been less than normal this week!).  My piece is about Social Security-- its beginning, what it does, and if it is necessary.  I did not know too much about the system before I began writing.  I know now, though, that it really is a very complex system that was designed masterfully in order to still function today.  Yes, the system will default in the future for lack of funding, but the fact that it has survived through the 20th century and into the 21st is truly something remarkable.  I am really rather surprised that it has not been "reformed" before this.  The whole system has some incredible flaws, gaps in thinking, that could and should have been corrected long before this.

Texas governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry has been attacked from both parties for his "Ponzi scheme" comments regarding the Social Security system.  He has been accused of trying to frighten seniors (by Mitt Romney) by stating the system needs reformation.  He has been accused of being insensitive to the needs of seniors.  All of this is untrue.  He is being attacked as though this is the first time anyone has ever used the phrase "Ponzi scheme" in the same sentence as Social Security.  This is also untrue.  It has been used by people from both parties for decades.

Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh had some interesting things to say about Rick Perry being attacked on his choice of words.  He says that by the rest of the GOP Presidential candidate field attacking him on this, they are literally catering to the liberal media.  He says that all the media wants to do is attack and find fault with Rick Perry in order to help President Obama win reelection.  By going along with the line of attacks that they are, the rest of the Presidential contenders are helping President Obama more than they are helping themselves. 

I could try to sum up everything Mr. Limbaugh said, but I think it would be better if you just take a look for yourself:  http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_091211/content/01125106.guest.html.

Social Security has, in the past few weeks, gone from an almost "undercover operation" that no one discussed or questioned, to now being one of the hottest discussion topics in the country.  The fact that Governor Perry is calling it a Ponzi scheme is adding to that.  This system does need to be reformed.  By continuing in the direction it is headed right now, it will default by 2027, if not sooner.  All the people who have been paying taxes into the system for their entire work lives will lose all of that money.  This is just not right, the choosing of whose money is protected and others' is not. 

The next issue of Smart Girl Nation comes out on September 27th-- you can read my full thoughts there! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two "Perry for President" Endorsements

Texas Governor Rick Perry has received two big endorsements in his campaign for president this week. 

The first came on Monday from Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.  Governor Jindal is of Indian descent and has done wonderful things for his state.  For those who say that Governor Perry is unelectable, they can look at this endorsement and be forced to consider the other side of things.  With Governor Jindal's endorsement, especially coming this early, he must be pretty confident in the Texas governor's chances.  Governor Jindal is more than accepted among the top Republicans, meaning that his opinion matters.
Governor Jindal released this statement:  “Rick Perry is the candidate who can lead our party to victory in 2012.  His record on job creation simply cannot be beat, and the one million jobs he’s helped create as governor is a stark contrast to the 2.4 million jobs lost on President Obama’s watch.”

The other endorsement, which came today, is from Nevada governor Brian Sandoval.  This is a great endorsement as well.  The first reason is because Governor Sandoval is among the GOP's new generation of Latino "stars" (some others being New Mexico governor Susana Martinez and Florida Senator Marco Rubio).  The Latino vote was a huge swing for President Obama in 2008 and is crucial to his re-election in 2012.  The second reason is because in 2008, President Obama won the state of Nevada over Senator John McCain by a margin of 12.5%.  This does not matter as much in the primaries as it will in the general election, should Governor Perry receive the GOP's nomination.
Here is the statement released by Governor Sandoval:  "Our nation needs a leader in the White House who understands the role of government and our economy. Governor Rick Perry has the strongest record of job creation, fiscal discipline, and executive branch leadership among the presidential candidates. As a governor, Rick Perry created a tremendous blueprint for job creation and as President, I know he will get America working again. I consider Governor Perry a friend and I am proud to endorse his campaign for President."

These endorsements come in the same week that former Minnesota governor and former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney for president (see below).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Thoughts on the GOP Debate 9/12/11

I am going to try a different format for my debate review.  I will be going through each topic that was discussed and giving you what I thought were the best answers.

#1:  Social Security.

We all knew this would be one of the first things discussed after Governor Perry's comments on Social Security being a "Ponzi scheme" in the last debate.  What I noticed the most about this part of the debate was that, no one would back Governor Perry up on his "Ponzi scheme" comment.  Most of them did say that the Social Security/Medicare system needs to be reformed and fixed. 
Representative Bachmann made a point to say that we need to keep the promise to those already in the Social Security system who are receiving benefits, as did Gov. Perry and Speaker Gingrich.  This is an obvious statement.  What I really wanted to hear was how we should reform it, and I believe that answer came from Businessman Herman Cain.  He said that the government should "start with optional personal retirement accounts" to fund seniors. 
I do agree with Gov. Perry that Social Security, as it is right now, could be compared to a Ponzi scheme.  That is why we need to reform the system, not for those already in it and paying for it, but for those who are just getting in.

#2:  Government Spending.

"If you had an all-out effort to balance the budget, you would have hundreds of billions of dollars in savings."

Those words came from Speaker Newt Gingrich.  I believe he is completely right.  If the citizens, and our government as well, really took a deep look at our national spending right now, I can assure you there are many areas that could be cut completely.  Or if not, most of them could be cut down a bit to get rid of some unnecessary additional spending.  As Governor Perry said, in Texas, they cut their Health and Human Services Department from 10 agencies down to 5, and in the process got rid of things that were unnecessary. 
Representative Bachmann believes that we need to become an "ownership society" where everyone pays for theirself instead of waiting for the government, and therefore the taxpayers, to do it for them.  Former governor Mitt Romney believes that we are "not going to balance the budget by pretending all we have to do is cut the waste-- we have to reign in spending."  Yes, this is true.  However, at this point, we need a first step.  We need to cut the waste now, and reign in spending once that is finished.
This issue, thumbs-up goes to Rick Perry.

#3:  The Economy.

Representative Michele Bachmann was the first to answer this question.  She answered by saying that raising the debt ceiling was the worst thing we could have done in that situation was to "give President Obama what he wanted" and raise it.  I find it ironic that two different things Rep. Bachmann has claimed to be at the helm of opposing-- raising the debt ceiling and ObamaCare-- have both been passed in some form.  Her arguments do not seem to be reasonating too well in Washington.  They have not been effective as of yet, and this is all she ever really states as her record, although I do think that on this question she gave the most clear answers.
Mr. Cain believes that "this economy is on life support" and we need to "throw out the entire tax code and implement my 9-9-9 tax program." 
My favorite line from this topic came from former Senator Rick Santorum:  "Obama's economy would have to make a drastic improvement to be a disaster."

#4:  Jobs.

On jobs and job-creation, most Republicans will say the same thing.  Gov. Romney said that "we've gone from a pay-phone world to a smart-phone world and President Obama keeps jamming quarters into the pay-phone."  Newt suggested that "the American people create jobs, not the government."
Aside from that, my clear winner on this topic was, once again, Governor Perry.  His answers were spot on.
President Obama's first stimulus package, which cost $800 billion, he said, created zero jobs.  A plan with half that amount, $400 billion, would create half the jobs-- that would equal half of zero.
Former governor Jon Huntsman said that his plan would be to "reform this tax code" in his first 100 days of office.  How this would create jobs, I do not know.  We'll have to ask Governor Huntsman a couple more questions on this one.
Governor Perry also said, "People are tired of spending money we don't have on programs we don't want."  He said that President Obama has overseen the loss of 2.5 million jobs during his term, while during his tenure as governor of Texas he has overseen the creation of one million jobs.  He says he has cut taxes by $14 trillion since becoming governor.  He also said, "five years in a row people are coming to Texas for business and to live, and they aren't coming for high taxes."

#5:  Federal Reserve.

This answer did not have a clear winner.  There were really no clear and concise answers in it.  Senator Santorum said he believed we should make the reserve a single-charter instead of a dual-charter, making it easier for citizens.  Governor Perry was again questioned on his comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's acts of printing money being treasonous. 

#6:  Executive Orders.

The main issue discussed within this topic was the mandate that Governor Perry put out in Texas requiring girls going into the sixth grade to get an HPV vaccine.  Rep. Bachmann was his loudest critic during these questions.  She said that "these little girls won't get a mulligan and their parents won't get a do-over," if they get these vaccines.  Since Gov. Perry's Chief of Staff was a lobbyist for Merck, the drug company used, Rep. Bachmann suggested that Gov. Perry was using them simply for the support he received from them during his campaign. 
Governor Perry returned by saying that this was not a mandate.  There were clear parental opt-outs within this law.  He also said that he "received a $5,000 contribution from Merck.  I raised about $30 million.  If you think I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended."
I have to give the upper hand to Rep. Bachmann here.  While no girls did receive the vaccine before it was repealed, this law should never have been passed in the first place.

#7:  Healthcare.

I believe they may as well have not even discussed healthcare last night.  Every candidate on the stage said the exact same thing they have said before, with the exception of one quote from Rep. Bachmann (below).  Gov. Perry said that "states will get to decide what they want to do" if he's president.  Gov. Romney was questioned on his healthcare plan in Massachusetts, and everyone on the stage cited their intentions to "repeal ObamaCare immediately."
"To tell someone they have to buy something against their will to be a citizen is simply unconstitutional."

#8:  Illegal Immigration.

This question goes to Governor Perry.  He is the only candidate with real experience dealing with the border, as Texas has 1,200 miles of border with Mexico.  His most memorable quote from the topic's discussion:  "Fence is not the answer...you've got to have the aviation assets in the air giving real time information to the agents on the ground and boots on the ground as well.  Texas has asked for federal government support with more national guard agents and has not been answered."
Senator Santorum said that we need more fence.  Gov. Romney said that we need to get rid of the "magnet" drawing illegals here by getting rid of the companies that are hiring them.  Gov. Huntsman said the only way to fix illegal immigration is to fix the Department of Homeland Security-- yet another answer from him that confuses me.  I must have heard a different question than he did.
Gov. Perry then went on to be attacked about his plan for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.  His biggest critics were Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Huntsman, and Gov. Romney.  This was his response:  "If you've been in TX for three years and are working hard toward your college degree and are actively pursuing legal American citizenship, you pay in-state tuition.  No matter what your last name sounds like.  Plan was passed with only four no's in the Texas House and Senate."

#9:  Defense Spending.

This was one of the issues I was most anxious to hear about.  Our national security threats have never been higher and we need to keep all the aid we can going to defense and to our military.  Speaker Gingrich pointed out that "we are far underestimating the threat to this country." 
The loudest voice on this question was Rep. Ron Paul, who has as of late loudly denounced military spending.  He opposes wars of any kind and says the area we can cut the most spending from is the military.  Last night, he said that "there's a difference between military spending and defense spending" and that "there's a lot of room to cut on the military, but not on defense."

Those were the main talking points in last night's debate.  While there are more little things I could comment on, I won't.  I'll leave it to what I've already said.  I do believe, though, that everyone ought to read Rep. Ron Paul's post on his blog and leave him a comment.  In it, he states that 9/11 was the United States' fault.  We are the reason that it happened, he says.  There are not even words to describe how untrue that is.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summary of President Obama's new jobs plan

...no, that was not all he said :) it was a good bit of it, though.  By saying that so many times, I think President Obama took some attention away from what was actually in his speech.  I definitely plan on reading the bill for myself-- just because President Obama proposed it does not mean it is a bill that could not be passed.  Once I read it I'll be able to give you a better review of it.

Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney

Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who dropped out of the presidential race last month, has chosen a candidate to endorse.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Defining Patriotism

Patriotism is something that most Americans pride themselves in.  Everywhere, you see the "Proud to be American" signs and stickers, you see flags waving high and proud.  Most people take this for granted, either as something they assume they already have or something they do not need to focus too much on having.  One person not caring enough won't make too much of a difference, will it?

It will.  Every person who is a American citizen should love this country and the things it stands for.  They should loudly say that they are a proud American.  Too many people today are just assuming that by living here, they are being patriotic as they should be.  This is just not enough.  I'm not saying to go out to an open field and scream it at the top of your lungs (although, maybe that would get something started!).  I'm saying that we need to show the other nations in the world that we are AmericaThere is so much more to those words than, I think, anyone can fully realize.

The word "patriotism" means devoted love, support, and defense of one's country.  "Patriot" means a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.  Notice that in both descriptions, the word devotion is key.  We must be devoted to this country in order to call ourselves proud, patriotic Americans.  I think that we as a nation are, sadly, losing sight of this goal.  The goal to keep patriotism going strong and teach it to the generations to come.  Without patriotism, America is nothing more than another place on the map.  The reason that we are what we are today is because of faith, hard work, and patriotic hearts.

Most people who want to rebuild this nation, give the economy a "jolt" (to quote President Obama), recognize that we need the first two.  The third is something commonly overlooked.  If we are just taking care of America for the sake of doing it, nothing will truly change.  It takes hearts and minds fully devoted to this country in order to make a difference. 

The fact that our current president does not have this attitude is not helping us teach others to.  When our nation's leader, who should be a walking example of that patriotic spirit, goes to other nations and apologizes for America-- just for being America-- we do not have the example we should.  This leaves the responsibility to true, die-hard patriots who want to make a difference.

Anyone can truly make a difference and influence others if they are willing to take that responsibility.  The word influence is taken from the Latin word, influenza, which is what we call the flu.  Just as the flu spreads quickly from person to person, your influence on someone will cause them to influence someone else, causing a chain reaction.  Everyone has influence on someone.  Right now, we need more influences for loving this country.  America is the greatest nation on earth.  We are the only true free nation in the modern world.  Most nations have to have walls and fences to keep people in; we have to have them to keep people out!  There are that many people longing for the opportunity to live in a free nation.  Too many of the people who do live here take that for granted, or do not recognize how special that privilege truly is. 

This weekend would be a perfect opportunity to start this.  The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks are a time that every American will be united together once again.  All we would have to do is continue it through the weekend and pass it on to others. 

It just seems like too many people are losing faith in the American dream.  They are losing the feeling of patriotism and love for their country they once had, whether it be through something they have seen, heard, or done.  Maybe it is nothing they can put a finger on, but they know they are losing the faith they once had in America and its leaders. 

Patriotism does come by who is in the White House, what the stock market is doing, or how much money you have.  Among other things, it comes through seeing an American flag waving high above a building.  Through seeing the Statue of Liberty sitting on Liberty Island.  It comes through seeing our men and women in uniform, fighting for our freedom.  It comes through hearing the Pledge of Allegiance and our national anthem.  With those things, patriotism is bound to swell up in any true American's heart.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Raise Your Flag

September 11th, 2001, is a day I barely remember.  I do remember that I was sitting at my dining room table when my mom turned on the television to watch the attacks happening.  I remember the whole day just seemed sad.

Now that I'm older, I've read as much as I can about that day.  I wanted to really remember it, not just the little that I actually did.  I think it is important that all of us remember it as much as we possibly can.  We need to remember the lives that were lost, and we need to remember the heroes that appeared that day.  The firefighters, yes, and also the commonly overlooked heroes.  People who went through the North Tower to be sure as many people were out as possible, then died in the building's collapse.  People who overtook the terrorists in the cockpit of Flight 93 to prevent an attack on D.C.

Just think about it.  What would you do if you were sitting in your office, when suddenly you felt a huge crash into the building?  Things started catching on fire.  Most of the power went out, and all you could see outside the windows was darkness.  You had no real connection to the outside world and did not know what was going on.  Or you could imagine you were actually on one of those planes-- any of the four that were hijacked that day.  The first two flew straight into two of the tallest buildings in the world.  With that much jet-fuel being thrust into such an explosion, the planes literally evaporated.  Or being on Flight 93, on which the passengers stormed the cockpit and saved an attack on Washington, D.C., from happening.

9/11 was really a thought provoking day.  We were attacked on our own soil, and for that one day, every American was united.  Everyone was standing together against the terrorists that were trying to break us.  We would show them that it was not possible, no matter how hard they tried!

Every September 11th, we should bring back that unity and remember the lives lost, and re-voice the mission to fight terrorism.  Every year, but especially this one.  This is the ten year anniversary.  The attacks happened whole decade ago!  There are many things we can do to help do this.  One of the simplest things you can do is raise a flag; put up your American flag, just as a small sign to everyone who sees it that you do remember.

The Foundry and Heritage are doing their part to get the word out to raise your flag.  By visiting their website, http://blog.heritage.org/9-11-project/, you can see the efforts they are putting forth.  By supporting their efforts, you are really showing that you have not, and will never, forget that day.  The day that every American was united against terrorists.  By raising a flag, you can help bring that unity back in one of the times we desperately need it the most.

Below is a video remembering the 9/11 attacks.

My thoughts on the GOP debate 9/7/11

Last night's debate at the Reagan National Library in California was the first in which Texas Governor Rick Perry participated.  Overall, this was not the best debate I've seen.  The moderators seemed stuck on pitting the candidates against each other, which does nothing to help voters determine who best fits their standards for a presidential candidate.  No one really "stood out" in last night's debate.  Here is who I think did the best, going to who I think did the worst.

#1: Rick Perry.  I think Perry came out of the gate very well.  He showed himself to be quick on his feet, and not afraid to say what he thinks.  Examples of this are when he compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme and voiced his support for capital punishment.  People may say he stumbled, but to me, he just speaks slower than the rest of the candidates.  He thinks about what he is going to say before he actually says it.  Something I did find interesting:  Perry was the only candidate I saw taking notes throughout the debate.  Every time they put the camera back on him, he was writing something down.
None of the other candidates really took the opportunity to attack Perry in his first debate.  I found this surprising, since Perry has been surging ahead of all of them in the polls since his entry into the race. 

#2:  Newt Gingrich.  One of my favorite things to watch last night was how Newt goes after the moderators.  His comment about not pitting the candidates against each other took everyone by surprise.  As for his answers, I think he did good.  Not great.  He seems to do the same thing in most of the debates; he does well, but it never seems to be enough to be declared the "winner."  Last night, I was definitely more impressed by him than I have been in previous debates.

#3:  Michele Bachmann.  I think she did all she could do last night, but honestly, this has become a two-man race.  She comes across as very confident, but to me she seems to be saying the same things over and over.  I don't know how many times I've heard "I won't rest until we repeal ObamaCare."  While it does need to be repealed immediately, saying it so many times may get old with some people.
Aside from what is going on now, I just do not think a member of Congress can get the nomination.  Your Congressman is very similar to your city council; they represent a small area.  You wouldn't nominate your city councilman for president, would you? :)

#4:  Mitt Romney.  Last night, Romney did nothing special.  He certainly did not do enough to take the lead in the polls again.  His answers were okay.  To me, Romney just seems like a politician.  He says all the time that he opposes ObamaCare, but his own state-mandated healthcare was the foundation for it!  No matter how much he says he opposes it, his own product was the inspiration for it.  When he now comes out and says all of this, it just sounds like something he has to say.  He did not do enough to question Perry if he truly wants to get back into frontrunner position. 

#5:  Rick Santorum.  We really didn't hear too much from Santorum last night.  He was asked four or five questions at the most.  I really like Santorum and I wish he had gotten more of a jump-start, because I think if he had he would really have a chance.  I love how he stands strong on his morals and on the important issues.  Even though he does not get too many opportunities to speak, he comes across as, I think, very sharp when he does.

#6:  Ron Paul.  Honestly, this man confuses me.  I do not see how he can have such Libertarian views yet still garner so much support!  Every time he speaks he receives applause.  Some of his ideas are realistic, but most are not.  I do not think he has any chance of getting the nomination in 2012. 

#7:  Herman Cain.  I think Herman Cain would have a chance in 2012 if he had prior political experience.  A lot of his ideas are very good regarding the economy and small businesses.  I just think he needs political experience.  Once he gets some experience in other important things, like foreign affairs, I think he could really take Washington by storm!

#8:  Jon Huntsman.  Oh my, where do I begin?  Huntsman just always, to me, seems to be in a world of his own.  I think that he is so focused on appealing to voters that he fails to do so.  By focusing so much on it, you lose track of what you really need to do.  I won't go into so much detail on what I thought of last night, other than I did not think it was good.  I disagree with him on many social issues, such as same-sex marriage and evolution (he agrees with both), that the ball stops right there for me.  His speaking skills just are really not that good.  He seems to stumble over his words a lot.

Now, some of my favorite quotes of the night!

Moderator Brian Williams directed a question at Speaker Gingrich, explaining that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's term expires in 2014.  He asked if Speaker Gingrich would appoint him to another term.  The Speaker's response:  "I would fire him tomorrow."

When questioned on immigration, Jon Huntsman included in his answer, "We need to do something to attract brainpower to this country."

When asked about taxes and his plan on reforming the system, Businessman Herman Cain included, "If ten percent is good enough for God, nine percent ought to be good enough for the Federal government."

When he was asked about climate change, Governor Perry responded, "Galileo was even out-voted for a spell.  Just because some scientists say global warming is an issue does not mean it is true."

I cannot wait for the next debate on Monday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do we need a Department of Education?

The Department of Education was founded in May of 1980 as a way for the Federal government to better serve American students.  It was a way for them to monitor the learning experience in schools, see which were working the best, and to give additional funding to school districts that needed it.  It was designed to make sure each child had an equal opportunity for the best education they could possibly have. 

Schools in America were fine before the ED (Education Department) was formed.  That children were not receiving a good education before that, was not the case.  This was something done by President Carter, only months before he lost his bid for a second term.  This was something that, I think, was never needed in the first place. 

First of all, the budget for the Department of Education is approximately $69.9 billion.  They give the most funding to elementary and secondary schools, and even then they only give about 10% of a state's total school year budget.  Where is the rest of that money going?  As it states on the Department of Education website, that money is classified as "discretionary appropriations."  Discretionary means "subject or left to one's own discretion" or "for any use or purpose one chooses" (http://www.dictionary.com/).  What this means is that the government does not have to tell anyone where this money is going.  It is their own choice.
Well, the government would most likely say, to testing the school districts and seeing which are doing the best.  This is probably true; but aren't the states able to do the same thing, and probably with better results?  By better results, I mean that since they would only be testing their own school districts, state officials would be able to do deeper testing and would understand more the needs of certain schools.  They could see what the schools could do without to cut down spending. 

The states that receive the most funding (or have their own high funding) spend the most money per student.  New York has the second highest per-pupil expenditure in the nation at $16,794, but has one of the lowest graduation rates at 70.8%.  The District of Columbia has the third highest per-pupil expenditure at $16,353, and the second lowest graduation rate at 56%.  On the other hand, Wisconsin has the highest graduation rate in the nation, with 89.6%, and only spend $10,791 per pupil.  Iowa and Minnesota, both with 84.6% graduation rates, also defy the national average for per-pupil spending, yet keep their graduation rates up ($9,520 in Iowa and $10,048 in Minnesota). 

It is obvious that spending more per student does not assure the highest graduation rates.  Rather, it seems that the states that do spend the most money are the ones who are struggling.  I would think that this is the purpose of the ED-- find out why these states are struggling when they have, supposedly, invested the most.  Or could it be that, since the ED gave them the extra money to invest, they do not want to investigate why the states are doing poorly?  Just a thought.  It could be true, and maybe it is not, but all the same, I personally do not see a need for the Department of Education.

Instead of having one national department for education, why not let the states have their own?  Education is nowhere in the Constitution.  Nowhere does it say that there must be a federal department for it.  This is where the 10th Amendment would come into practice, which states that the powers not given to the federal government are given to the states.  Since the power to oversee education is not in the Constitution, that power is given to the states. 

Also going along with that, we have approximately 100,000 schools in the United States.  Is it even possible that one national department could properly serve every single one of them?  It would be better to have state departments; that way, the states would be able to take better care of their own students. 

The Department of Education is costing us billions of dollars every year, dollars that could be saved or spent elsewhere.  Testing schools for success is a job for the state, not the national government.  Students would have a greater opportunity for a great education if the department overseeing it was smaller, and therefore could focus on what really matters.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Brilliant Minds

"Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation.  You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known."  -Ronald Reagan.

"All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind."  -Abraham Lincoln.

"Do not pray for easy lives.  Pray to be stronger men."  -John F. Kennedy.

"Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged."  -Ronald Reagan.

"It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one." -George Washington.

"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."  -Dwight Eisenhower.

"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace."  -John F. Kennedy.

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, we will be a nation gone under."  -Ronald Reagan.

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."  -Dwight Eisenhower.

"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."  -John F. Kennedy.

"Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'. "  -Ronald Reagan.

"I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."  -George Washington.

"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help."  -Abraham Lincoln.

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty."  -John F. Kennedy.

"Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States."  -Ronald Reagan.

"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."  -George Washington.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The REAL meaning of Separation of Church and State

Why are we, as a nation, so alienating something that was such an integral part of the beginning of America?

One of the biggest issues today, and one that has been going on for centuries, is the "separation of church and state."  There are those who say that government has no business being involved in religion and vice-versa, and there are those who will say there is no way to separate the two.

Those are the two extremes to this argument.  Most people would probably be found somewhere in the middle, whether they be leaning to the former or the latter.

To find out where this argument originally began, it is necessary to find out where the phrase "separation of church and state" actually came from.  A common misconception that many people have is that the separation of church and state is actually in the Constitution.  On the contrary, the only mention of the state's involvement in religion is found in the First Amendment:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  The term "separation of church and state came out of a letter written by Thomas Jefferson.

The Danbury Baptist Association wrote a letter to Jefferson in October of 1801.  They were a religious minority in their state of Connecticut.  They were complaining that in their state, the religious freedom they enjoyed was not looked upon as an immutable right, but as a privilege granted by their state legislature; they were looked upon as "favors granted."  In his response Jefferson did not address their issue on a state level, but on a national level.  Also in his response was the phrase "a wall of separation between church and state" from which we get the short-hand we use today, "separation of church and state."  Jefferson was saying that there should be no state-run church or an official state church.  He was in no way saying that in order to serve in government, you must hide your religion or deny it when questioned. 

That is the phrase's history.  You can see it was never meant to be what it is today.  In America a person can practice whatever religion they choose freely with no interference from the government.  Politicians should not be required to hide their faith; rather, they should be encouraged to share it in a way that does not force it on others.

I think this is one of the main issues with this debate.  We as a nation must find that fine line between being able to share one's faith freely while still respecting others' beliefs.  This is one of the things I feel we have lost.  When one religion is being put down and people are attempting to destroy it while other religions are being lifted up and accepted, this is when the line has been crossed.  Aside from government staying out of religion, we as citizens must be able to respect one anothers' beliefs.  Those of us who want to share our faith must be an example to those who want to destroy it; show them through your actions rather than your words.  Showing them that way is the only way they will truly see what you want them to. 

With all that said, this nation was founded on Biblical principles and needs to get back to them today.  These were not forced on people, but were just what was used.  The Founders knew that the principles they used were not only God-inspired, but plain common sense.  While not all of the Founders were professed believers, they all had a respect for God and what He is.  They all knew that a Supreme Being had created the universe.  The Founders who were believers, along with the ones who weren't, agreed that the founding documents for their new nation should be based on God's Word.

Separation of church and state is one of the most heated debates going on in America today.  It has been going on for centuries.  I think that if we do not get a handle on the "religious situation" going on, our entire democracy will be at stake.  If politicians continue to hide what they believe from the citizens they want to elect them, they will never be completely truthful with them and therefore will never be able to properly serve the people.  Everyday American citizens should be allowed to speak about what they believe without having to fear physical or emotional harm being done to them. 

Separation of church and state is not in the Constitution.  It was never meant to be what it is today.  It was meant as something to make sure the government here in the United States did not adopt an official state church as countries with monarchies have done.  It was meant to ensure the government could not in any way prohibit someone from practicing their beliefs as they chose to do so. 

There should be a separation between church and state.  The government should in no way dictate what Americans are allowed to do in terms of their beliefs.  We need a separation or the government we enjoy in America called Democracy would soon turn to something called Dictatorship.

There are people today who would love for all of us to believe "separation of church and state" means that there can be no reference to God or any specific faith whatsoever in anything concerning government.  They would love to take it out of our currency, our Pledge of Allegiance, even our schools.  In reality, most of the places that these references have been were designed that way centuries ago.  They were designed based on the new nation's principles.  Principles that, if we would go back to them, would drastically change things in America overnight.

The entire idea surrounding this phrase needs to change.  We need to realize that we are a diverse society, whether your or I like it or not.  Diverse not only in religion but in race, ethnicity, and many other things.  Diversity is one of the things that sets America apart.  Along with that comes a responsibility; and that responsibility is to respect one another in everything, whether we agree or disagree.  Protesting and being outraged about something, in most cases, does not change it over to your favor.  Rather, it usually makes things even worse.

I'll leave you with two things to think about:
Why, in times of personal and national distress, do some people look to faith for help and answers, but in times of peace ridicule it and the people who live it on a daily basis?

State has the need to stay out of church more than church has the need to stay out of state.

Thoughts?  I'd love to hear them! (:

Letter from Representative Wayne Christian endorsing Rick Perry

Representative Wayne Christian was named the most Conservative State Representative in Texas by the 2011 State Legislator Rankings released by the Texas Eagle Forum, receiving a score of 100%.  Below is a letter from him in which he endorses Governor Rick Perry for President and also clears up a bit of the rumor that has been started about the Trans-Texas Corridor that was once proposed.  He praises Governor Perry's leadership skills and says that he believes Governor Perry is the best Conservative fit for the job and the one who can beat President Obama in 2012.

I believe Governor Rick Perry would be dynamite (which means "great" in Texas) as President of the United States. Having served approaching two decades in the Texas House, I have worked with Rick Perry during his service as Agriculture Commissioner, Lt. Governor and Governor of the State of Texas, and have come to appreciate his style of leadership, responsiveness to constituents, and character.

He has consistently presented an open door to this representative from rural East Texas. More than once, he has been willing to listen to my ideas, and then as a result of his endorsement and personal involvement, rules were changed, laws were instituted and funding was made available that benefited my constituents and all of Texas. Many times he opposed more powerful individuals and groups who could provide him much more financial support and power than could the "common folk." These common folk were the good people of Texas who depended only on his integrity to simply do the right thing.

Governor Perry is in no way perfect. He has made errors. As we say in Texas, the only person who was perfect was crucified a couple of thousand years ago. With that being said, after a quarter century in politics, Rick Perry's record shines better than most. Of course he was once a Democrat and Republicans may criticize him for that. However, the Governor is not the only Texan, who after entering into public service, experienced the Democratic Party's dramatic shift away from principles consistent with rural, conservative values, and chose to do something about it--He became a Republican.

I was the first Republican from East Texas to enter the Texas House and remained the Republican with the most Democratic district in the Texas Legislature for three sessions. Many times folks in Republican circles are quite taken aback when I do not raise my hand when asked, "Who has always voted in a Republican primary?" Fact is, as recently as a couple of decades ago, we had no Republican primary in my part of rural Texas. Thus, Governor Perry, who entered state politics farther back than me, was courageous enough to take a stand early on and join other statesmen like Ronald Reagan and Phil Gramm in acknowledging that the Democratic Party had left their conservative beliefs behind.

Much has been criticized of Governor Perry's initial support for the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). As President of the Conservative Coalition of the Texas Legislature, I was deeply involved in that entire process. My rural district was directly in the path of the TTC and the project was largely viewed by my constituents as an abuse of the governmental power of eminent domain.

Truth is, the TTC started as a expansion on the I-35 corridor. The plan was added to legislation by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) as a new "branch" of highway that ran from south Texas to the north right through my district. TXDOT presented facts that upon the completion of the Panama Canal expansion many of the trading freighters, which currently only serve the West Coast, would be able to bring their cargo to Texas ports. It was anticipated that this would place a tremendous burden on the current highway system as it heads north. However, the flawed TXDOT presentation of the plan and threats to private land ownership were not handled well. Citizens throughout Texas were insulted by the methods of potential property seizure, foreign control of Texas properties and other abuses. It was wrong, and when presented with the will of Texas citizens, Governor Perry put a stop to it.

While driving my daughter back to begin a new semester at Baylor University, I received a call from the Governor's office requesting that I invite a group of my fellow Texas Conservative Coalition legislators to his office to meet with him and TXDOT leadership. The following week several of us met with Governor Perry and the TXDOT Commissioner and Executive Director to share the frustration and opposition of our constituents across the state to the TTC. After a lengthy meeting, Governor Perry did something that has made me respect him as I have no other leader which I have observed or served alongside. He sat back in his chair, gave our arguments thought and said, "Tell your constituents you talked to the Governor, and the Trans-Texas Corridor is no more." To this day, the handful of legislators in attendance at that meeting have respected Rick Perry--a man who was confident, honest, and exhibited absolute integrity to his citizens. He often does not receive the proper recognition and credit he deserves for his decisive response to the will of Texas citizens against the TTC. When presented with their objections and opposition, he brought a halt to the ill-conceived TTC. This is in stark contrast to our current President who sees the destructive results of his policies and has no intention of admitting fault or changing course, but instead blames everyone else for his errors in judgment.

From his action to end the TTC to his signature on legislation to protect the rights of coastal property owners struggling to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a hurricane, Rick Perry has responded to Texan landowners' concerns about private property rights. I was one of those 125 landowners who faced a loss of property to be determined by a governmental agency's assessment of where grass grew before and after a hurricane. I applauded Governor Perry as he stood with the Texas House and Senate (and eventually the Texas Supreme Court) against some very vocal opposition to sign into law Rep. Hamilton's bill preventing a potential land grab by the state. In this past session, Governor Perry declared eminent domain reform legislation an emergency item and saw it all the way through the legislative process until he signed it into law, strengthening the rights and protections of private property owners across Texas.

If ever there was a day we needed a leader in this country who does not place his pride and ego ahead of what is proven to be the will of the people and in their best interest...this is the day. A real leader who puts what is best for his citizens ahead of personal pride and opinions is what America needs.

Governor Perry stood against the temptation to use two of the worst hurricanes in Texas history to increase taxes and unnecessarily increase the burden on Texas families and businesses. He led by proposing to utilize the Obama stimulus funding for one time expenditures only (ie. to address hurricane damages), and avoid the creation or expansion of programs that future Texans would have to fund. Handing out the bacon would have been the response of many politicians who were given the opportunity to appropriate billions of federal dollars, but Rick Perry did not choose that course, and even refused federal money that had strings attached for future state spending obligations. He proved to be a leader who thought first of the impact to taxpayers in the future above the opportunity to start more government programs.

The single accomplishment that earns more of my respect for Rick Perry than any other is that he has vetoed more bills than any other Texas governor (and not because of how long he has served). As a legislator, I realize how hard and expensive it is to get a bill passed. From one committee to another to the House floor to Senate committees, to Senate floor and back to the House again--passage of any piece of legislation is a long, costly road with a great investment of money, time, expertise, and reputation. Governor Perry has vetoed a particular bill of mine that I still believe was extremely important, and to this day, I respectfully disagree with him. Yet, his individual courage and strength to stand alone on principle against the majority of the Legislature and powerful, rich special interest groups who can turn political contributions on and off proves the character of this man and that is why I want him in the White House.

I can give example after example of times when Governor Rick Perry stood on the side of "the little guy" over government expansion. There are many paths to more financial support and more power that are achieved with much less effort than standing with the common man over the rich and powerful. As Representative of a poor, rural district I can tell you Governor Perry has stood for us and what was best for Texans many times.

As I mentioned at the start of my comments, Perry isn't perfect, but unlike many politicians, he is brave enough to stand firm when he believes he is right, and courageous enough to admit when he is wrong. There can be no doubt that Texas under Governor Perry's leadership has done something right over the past decade, as we are undoubtedly the leader in jobs and business opportunities in the Free World. Texas has seen an increase of 1 million new jobs during Rick Perry's tenure as governor, while the rest of the nation has seen a loss of 2.5 million jobs, and over 70% of our job creation is in the vibrant and growing private sector of Texas. That stewardship is sorely needed in D.C.

The quote from President Harry Truman, "the buck stops here," is true of any great leader. Governor Perry has proven that when the buck stops at whatever desk he is sitting, there's a heap more good than bad. Our nation would be well-served to have a leader like Rick Perry as our President, a man who has proven his ability to successfully foster a job-creating economy while reining in government growth, as well as someone who has learned from past errors and demonstrated the genuine desire to be responsive to the people he represents.

Thank you for your time,


By David Bellow, http://texasgopvote.com/2012-presidential-election/most-conservative-state-representative-texas-endorses-rick-perry-president-expla-003248.