Monday, April 28, 2008

Will Arkansas Be Spared May Day Protests?

For the last few years residents in Springdale and Little Rock have been subjected to protests from those who want to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Many suspect that a good portion of the marchers making demands are the illegal aliens themselves. Pictured above is march from Los Angeles. The city of angels is due another protest this year, but no cities from Arkansas appear to be on this year's list.

Every legal resident has a right to march in protest, and there is plenty going on that we should protest about. Still, we can hope that there will be no disruptive amnesty marches in our street on the next international communist holiday of "May Day".

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nevada Republican Convention Shut Down!

Supporters of Arizona Senator John McCain abruptly shut down the Nevada Republican convention yesterday when it became apparent that supporters of Congressman Ron Paul would win most or all of the remaining delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Convention Chairman simply said the meeting was over and walked out as the lights were turned off. Claims that the could no longer have the room were contradicted by hotel personnel. The incredible account is here.

This move follows on the heels of Paul supporters capturing a majority of National Convention Delegates in the state of Washington. Paul supporters are also on track (barring dramatic measures like the one in NV) to capture a substantial number of delegates from the neighboring states of Missouri and Texas.

Friday, April 25, 2008

OK Unemployment Rate Plummets as Illegals Flee

Prospects are looking brighter for legal citizens of Oklahoma.
World Net Daily is reporting that neighboring Oklahoma's unemployment rate has dropped to 3.1 percent. That is about a 25% drop from figures last year before groundbreaking legislation was put in place in that state which led many illegal aliens to self-deport. Unemployment is 5.1 percent and rising nation wide. This data suggests that employers who had been using illegals have been forced by market conditions to offer work to legal residents. Since those residents are liable to spend their money locally rather than wire their savings to Mexico, you can expect even more economic benefits to the Sooner state in the future.

The reason for the self-deportation is clearly a result of Oklahoma's new state law. "The bottom line is illegal aliens will not come here if there are no jobs waiting for them," an Oklahoma official told WND. "They will not stay here if there is no government subsidy, and they certainly won't stay here if they know that if they ever encounter our state and local law enforcement officers, they will be physically detained until they are deported."

It is a pity that our own Governor Mike Beebe continues to insist, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the presence of illegal aliens in our state is strictly a federal issue and that there is little that the state can or should do. I will continue to believe that Governor Beebe is in the pocket of the poultry industry (and others who lean heavily on illegal aliens) because the evidence screams that he is every time the issue comes up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

FCAC Launches Campaign To Defeat Proposed Lottery Amendment

On Wednesday, Family Council Action Committee launched its campaign to defeat the proposed state-run lotteries amendment being promoted by Lt. Governor Halter. Halter is currently spearheading a petition drive to put the proposed state constitutional amendment on the November General Election ballot. Under his proposal, the State of Arkansas would operate a lottery with a portion of the proceeds going to pay for college scholarships. Family Council Action Committee launched the Truth Campaign, a six-month campaign to tell the voters of Arkansas the truth about a state-run lottery.

To see ABC affiliate KATV channel 7's news coverage, go to:
To see the FOX 16 news story, go to: and choose lottery story from menu on the left

Cox outlined four problems with a state-run Arkansas lottery. Family Council Action Committee will be releasing 5 separate reports over the next two months on the following: 1. Failed Promises; Why the Arkansas Lottery Amendment Cannot Deliver What it Promises2. Legally Flawed; How the Arkansas Lottery Proposal is Legally Flawed3. State-Run Gambling; Why the State of Arkansas Should Stay out of the Gambling Business4. A Social Injustice; How the Proposed Arkansas Lottery Will Hurt the Poor5. Economically “Busted”; The Negative Impact of a Lottery on the Arkansas Economy

Senator Pryor To Hold Fundraiser For Court Candidate Courtney Henry

Attorney From Prestigious Law Firm Campaigns For Henry - a law firm that will inevitably argue cases before her if she is elected. Sounds like she might be beholden to this firm.

The Democrat Gazette and John Brummet both had articles featuring former Senator Jim Holt's involvement in the Courtney Henry and Ron Williams race for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Both articles cast Holt in a negative light, to say the least, and made it appear he was doing something unethical for rendering services to Ron Williams in his campaign and leaving the impression that Courtney Henry is, as a later email from one of her proponents says, "refreshingly bipartisan." 1

Even though Holt won the last statewide Republican primary with 56% (more than doubling the 2nd contestant in the three way race for Lt. Governor); won over Halter in half of the 7 counties which will vote in this race; and pulled 44% of the vote for Lt. Governor, it seems that the media believe that Senator Holt should crawl off in the corner somewhere and keep his mouth shut. Anytime he opens his mouth about anything, they find something to cry fowl about.

Note that on Henry's home page the first line says, "nonpartisan race" and the most prominent picture there is a picture of herself with Retired U.S. Republican Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt. Courtney repeatedly extols the support of this stalwart Republican (remember how she voted Democratic in several elections, voting a Democratic ticket in 2008 for either Hillary or Obama). 2

She has to deceive the Republicans in these 7 counties where she is running because over half of those counties voted for Republican Jim Holt and Asa Hutchinson in 2006, and all 7 counties voted for a Republican president in 2004. Now according to a recent email, [from an attorney from a prestigious law firm campaigning for Courtney Henry before whom they will surely argue cases if she wins] Hammerschmidt and Senator David Pryor, a stalwart Democrat, are hosting a fundraiser for Henry on May 12th in Fayetteville. 3

I am sure there is not a hint of any politics involved in any of this, just refreshingly bipartisan. (bipartisan, I thought we were supposed to have non partisan.) Yeah, I get it! It is no holds barred if you have political activists working for you from both parties but just not political activity from one side (like from 44% of the people in Arkansas, whose values Holt represents.) Yeah, that makes sense; then you can cut out any freedom of speech or activity from anyone to the right of the media. I am sure that is just what the Constitution meant when it guaranteed us freedom of speech.

This latest controversy came about when the media learned that Holt had sent out an email supporting Ron Williams and saying, "That’s why it is so imperative we elect judges that will align with our values. Ones who will do what is right and will not make laws from the bench." (Emphasis was in the original email.) God forbid that the values of the majority of the people in this area should be represented on the court.

Compare Holt's email to the one sent out by a Courtney Henry proponent, (see email below) the email that says . "Courtney's support in this election is refreshingly bipartisan." After disparaging Holt and referencing the two articles by the Democrat Gazette and Brumment, the proponent (attorney in large law firm) his email says, "Whatever your views of Jim Holt's tactics, respect is due Mr. Holt's ability to broadcast his message to a group of key voters. As written by one state-wide columnist this week:'"Now Courtney Henry, with all that relevant job experience and bipartisan support, finds herself running against a cabal of...Holtists.'" 3Note one meaning of the word cabal, and from the contest here probably is meant to mean, "sect" or "cult". Hummm 44% of Arkansans who voted for Holt for Lt. Governor involved in a Holtist cult? (Strange)

Of course this proponent of Courtney Henry is not participating in anything that could be called partisan. Referring to Holt and one major party in Arkansas as a "cabal of Holtists" in a email appeal for Courtney Henry's campaign could not possibly by the stretch of anyone's imagination be thought of as partisan.

Talk about swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat!

Senator Holt EARNED this influence by living on a subsistence level while he traveled the state for months on end, working 12 to 16 hour days. He has every right legally and ethically to market the skills he learned just like everyone else does. Thankfully, I know Senator Holt well enough to know that he will never market his influence for anyone whose values do not correspond with his, and so does the media.

That is really what this is all about – Holt's values. The liberal media don't like his values and are so fearful of his success, that they constantly try to beat him down to stamp out men like him who can't be bought or influenced by money, influence, or power. Folks like former Senator Holt really scare them; they can't find a way to control him.

Links used as background material for this article:

State Lottery: Odds Look Good for Bad Policy

A graphic from the Family Council's Action Center Website. The group opposes the lottery proposed by Lt. Governor Bill Halter
Groups who want to keep government-sponsored gambling out of Arkansas held a press conference yesterday, covered here.

Lt. Governor Bill Halter has pushed for an amendment to the state constitution to permit lotteries. There has been some concern that the amendment he proposes is not written tightly enough to limit it to the once-a-week format which most people think of when the word "lottery" is used. A loosely written amendment could open the door for a plethora of gambling activities.

While there is concern about too much flexibility in the wording vis-a-vi what kind of gambling is permitted, there is also concern that the constitutional amendment has too little flexibility as to how the money raised is to be spent- it all goes back into the lottery or to higher education. This could result in a tax increase for the rest of us if the lottery increases gambling addiction and all the child welfare, criminal, and social service expenses that go with it. According to the amendment, no funds from the lottery can be used to "clean up the mess" that having an increase in gambling usually creates. Funds for clean up would have to come from General Revenues.

The state legislature refused to forward Halter's proposal to the ballot. Halter has teamed with a wealthy resident of Little Rock to raise $300,000 in order to get the proposal on the ballot. They need 78,000 valid signatures, which means they should collect 100,000 at a bare minimum to avoid scrutiny. If they get the required signatures, the chances look good. Polls currently show 64% of Arkansans currently favor a lottery. Given that our dominant state print media can be counted on to cheer every expansion of government that a liberal Democrat like Halter proposes, getting accurate information out concerning the deleterious unintended consequences of this poorly-conceived ballot measure will be difficult.

Regardless of how you feel about whether or not gambling should be legal, friends of liberty everywhere should be opposed to the idea of growing government by putting government in the gambling business. Especially granting government a monopoly in a business along with a guarantee that the government business created will not have to divert any of its funds to clean up whatever social mess its activities create. Those funds will instead be diverted from your pockets.

Some question the idea that a lottery leads to serious gambling addiction. Putting aside the fact that the amendment is not tightly worded enough to prevent more types of gambling than we would normally consider a lottery, here are some links to disabuse folks of that fallacy......

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Democrats Come Hard After Gilbert Baker

Immediately after the state GOP debacle of 2006, in which Republicans failed to capture any state-wide office, the party establishment rallied around then-chairman Senator Gilbert Baker of Conway. When they announced the meeting to elect state party officers for the next cycle, the email announcement went out with endorsements of Baker from what few top Republicans were left, such as Governor Mike Huckabee and Congressman John Boozeman.

How is that for stacking the deck? The announcement that there would be an election for chairman was sent to the party's email list with endorsements for re-election of the incumbent displayed prominently in the announcement! It was sort of an official party announcement/campaign ad all wrapped up together so that the faithful would know that they needed to stick to the plan.

Baker was re-elected with assurances from the party big-wigs that he was the one to stick with. The grassroots were thus cautioned against making any big changes just because things did not go the party's way at the ballot box. The message was :"In times like those, when the chips are down, the party needs stability most of all."

Four months after he was re-elected as state party Chairman, Senator Gilbert Baker resigned the position to focus on his state senate seat. The Chairmanship was suddenly open once again. Gilbert Baker endorsed little-known businessman Dennis Milligan for the chairmanship, and Milligan was quickly elected with no organized opposition.

There is a hypothetical subtext to that which I will only touch on in this report. When Baker was originally re-elected, the insiders tried to quickly put up former state Rep. Doug Matayo as Vice-Chairman. Conservatives in the convention reportedly stopped them from rushing him in, and instead pushed former Secretary of State Candidate Jim LaGrone for Vice-Chairman. At the time, the position of Vice-Chairman did not seem that important, but in retrospect one wonders if Baker and Company knew even then that Baker was only going to hold onto the office a few months and were planning on sneaking Matayo through on the hopes that he would step into the chair once Baker departed. Both Baker and Matayo are long-time allies of Governor Mike Huckabee. At any rate, for some reason the Vice-Chair, Jim Lagrone, did not step into the Chairman position when Baker resigned. Instead they held a completely new convention and put up a new man- Milligan.

Now I don't have much evidence to support that hypothesis, other than knowing some of the personalities involved and their SOP. It may be that Gilbert Baker did not catch wind of how hard the Democrats were going to come after his Senate seat until after he was re-elected chairman. At any rate, it has been told to me by a reliable source that he resigned the Chair because the Democrats were going to come after him hard and (hypocritically) use his "partisanship" as GOP Chair against him, along with accusations that he was not paying enough attention to the home folks. Based on the rhetoric coming from Baker's Democratic opponent, that seems to be the case.

Here is an excerpt from the website of one Joe White, the Democrat drawing a bead on Baker: "recently I’ve become concerned with the lack of attention our community is receiving from Little Rock. I’m running for the State Senate in Arkansas’ 30th district because I believe that Faulkner County deserves a Senator who will put politics aside and focus on the tremendous challenges that face us."

According to Steve Harrellson's "Under the Dome" blog, Senator Mark Pryor is actually doing a fundraiser for candidate White. That is pretty high profile fundraising for a State Senate seat. The message the Democrats seem to be sending is "don't advance the interests of the Republican Party if you are an office holder. If you do, we will come after you. If you try to back off from it, we still won't forget."

Benton County Sheriff, Collector, Coroner

The Sheriff's race in Benton County is another one that is hotly contested. Keith Ferguson is running for re-election against former longtime Sheriff Andy Lee. Public Information Officer Kenny Cradduk is also in the race. There are some rumblings that his position does not give him enough "street cred" with the beat cops, but I don't have anything definitive. In the same way, I hear even more vague complaints about Andy Lee and what went on when he was Sheriff. A co-worker told me that Lee was "controversial", but had no details on the controversy. Add to it that I might count a willingness to court controversy a plus rather than a minus. The best Sheriff in America might be that guy in Arizona who has a tent city and stirs up so much controversy. He is said to have the toughest jail in America. Lee is said to have had the second toughest when he was Sheriff. Guys would serve 90 days and lose 20 pounds.

The current occupant of the office, Keith Ferguson, seems to be doing a fine job. I really don't have a recommendation in this race. I have been advised by friends to vote both ways. I am hoping that you bloggers can help out here.

On County Collector we are leaning to Gloria Spring Peterson. She has an excellent resume, pleasant demeanor, and is campaigning hard for the job. I don't know anything about her ideology and am not sure it matters much in this race. We need someone who is honest, competent, and hard-working. The word is that people in the Collector's office like Peterson. I am open to input for her opponent, Tracy Sewell.

For Coroner Oxford looks strong. We had a Coroner relived of duty recently. Oxford was apparently performing most of her duties anyway. He might have gotten appointed to finish her term, but that would have made him ineligible to succeed himself under state law. So he continued as an assistant and is now running for the job.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Benton County Judge Race

This is one of a series I am working on for area primary races. I live in Benton county. The other contributors may or may not do the same for their areas of the state.
We have a hotly contested race for Benton County judge. There are five candidates in the race, and the winner will face Democrat Bill Williams in the general election.

To some extent it is hard to pick "front-runners" in local races, and the idea of looking only at "front runners" can be unhealthy. These seem like five good men. A couple may have more relevant experience and knowledge than the others. Senator Dave Bisbee and former Justice of the Peace Bill Adams seem to get most of the attention. Chris Glass is also running, and is also a JP. An attorney, he might do well among those who are looking for an alternative to the Bisbee and Adams. Bisbee has alienated many Republican voters by his propensity to enlarge government and raise taxes- including one less than a month ago, and Adams has angered some of the old guard in the local GOP for his previous challenge to retiring Benton County Judge Black.

Developer Kevin Harrison is in the race and has a reasonable amount of support in my area of the county, but the fact he is a developer is at least as big a minus as it is a plus in the minds of even many Republican primary voters. He has a very powerful and numerous special interest behind him in that there are a lot of other developers (editor's note- since this story first went to press I have some information that Harrison might be more inclined to limit development for environmental reasons than the others, and some indication that he favors sending zoning decisions to the voters rather than making the ruling on the Quorum court. Based on that, he would move into my top tier with Adams).

Greg Hines is also in the race. He is a deputy sheriff and might be best able to smooth over the current rough relations between the Sheriff's office and the current county judge. I don't see much other reason to prefer him to the others, and that is a problem that might fix itself since the current county judge, and perhaps the Sheriff as well, will be gone next year.

Glass might be the beneficiary of top business people who are off-put by controversies surrounding the two whose resume in government and command of detail in these matters seem to be strongest- Bisbee and Adams. Harrison rates a look from those who are concerned about the rate of growth causing environmental problems.

As for me, my vote goes to Bill Adams, and I'd like to explain why.

It is not that Bisbee isn't effective. He is very effective. I just don't like what he uses his effectiveness to do- raise taxes and grow government. It isn't personal, I just think government has enough of our earnings right now and needs to find a way to limit its mission and live within those means. Adams shares that philosophy, Bisbee does not. If you want your taxes raised, vote for Dave Bisbee. If you don't, vote for one of the others, preferably Adams.

I also don't buy the selling point that Bisbee will have so much influence for Benton county in the state legislature if elected. When you go along with the Democratic Governor, it looks like you have influence because you "were on the winning side". But real influence is when you can change which side wins, not have an uncanny ability to hop on the right band-wagon. That ability does not mean he got, or will get, Benton county anything in return.

Adams has the same intelligence, command of details, and passion for government service that Bisbee has, but it is matched with a different philosophy. And though it may be hard for his critics to believe, he has a good dose of humility. That is a rare and valuable commodity in a "power profession" where the natural tendency is to come out of it more arrogant than when you went it. Adams appears to have backed away from earlier efforts to grow government revenue from the sale of hard liquor in Benton County, indicating a willingness to listen to people. That is, people who want the money the government has now to be spent better, rather than find a way to get government more money by "any means necessary".

The other "controversy" about Adams was his run against Black last time. I look at that as a plus more than a minus. For a variety of reasons I feel that it was time for Mr. Black to stand down and move on with his life. He has now come to the same conclusion himself, and the things that went down in his last race against Adams may be a part of that. I know that some in the old guard fear almost any change, but sometimes you have to change things in order that more fundamental things- like our continued prosperity, are not changed.

That is my turn. Anyone else want theirs?

Obama and "Clinging to Guns, Religion, Antipathy"

We are all bigots about something I guess. Barack Obama's longtime pastor and mentor seems to be bigoted against white people. Barack himself is more open-minded, saving his for the attitudes of "typical white person(s)"- such as his grandmother. He also does not seem to think much of the attitudes and aspirations of white working-class Pennsylvanians who are suffering from the evaporation of jobs from that state. When asked about his lack of poll support among that group, he described them as people who have ``gotten bitter and cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them''.

The evidence is quite strong that Barack Hussein Obama is bigoted against people like me. I am not from Pennsylvania, but I am a white working-class person who (like most of the Founding Fathers) is an orthodox Christian and strong supporter of the right to bear arms. Fortunately for his political aspirations, the dominant media largely share Obama's bigotries, so that to them it appears as if he has none. To them this sort of attitude is not bigotry, but simply "the way it obviously is". Most bigots are blinded to their own bigotry, even those who are quick to attack the presumed bigotries of others.

Now I could just stop here and say that I have as much right to mine as they do to theirs, but I am not. My position is that I have more right to mine than they do to theirs because what they might see as my "bigotries" are grounded in realty and truth while theirs are grounded in absurd delusions about the nature of human beings and the governments which they create.

I take his three "clingings" one at a time. Each should be measured against its statist secular liberal alternative....

1) Guns- The right of self-defense is a natural right which predates the Government of the United States and therefore is not a grant of the government nor does the government have any legitimate authority to take it away. That is why the Second Amendment does not say "the people shall have the right to bear arms", rather it says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms". The right is assumed, not granted.

The preferred alternative of statist secular liberals to free citizens keeping arms to defend against crime, and as a last resort government tyranny, is to trust the government for all security. This is an irrational position when one considers both local events and world history for the past 100 years. For local crime, most police forces are better at catching a criminal after they have perpetrated some awful crime than they are at preventing the awful crime in the first place. World-wide, despite the brutal wars we have experienced, more people have been murdered by the government of their own country than have died as soldiers in combat with the soldiers of other countries.

Because of these facts and the overwhelming strength of the objective evidence, it is more rational to "cling" to your own gun as a last resort for security than it is to relinquish all of your personal means of defense and entrust it completely to government officials.

2) Religion: I don't defend all "religion" here, because some religions are irrational and destructive. Still, the majority of the people that Obama was talking about are orthodox Christians. They believe in the God of the Bible. They want to live their lives the way He says that they should. The universe contains plenty of evidence that it was created by a Supreme Power. As one looks through human history, if ever that Supreme Power has come among men it surely was in the form of Jesus Christ, who changed human history.

Christianity has changed countless lives for the better, shaped the Western civilization that brought so much progress to humanity, and is the most dominant faith on the planet. The only other religion that is even close to "global" is Islam, which relies on forced conversions and violence to intimidate subjects from leaving of their own free will. No, clinging to the Christian religion is not irrational at all. It is the most rational choice one can make when considering both the broad scope of historical evidence and the effect that the teachings of Jesus Christ have on the soul of the honest seeker who hears them.

Clinging to God is not irrational, but rather it is the secular liberal alternative of clinging to a god-like nanny state that is irrational. Men like Obama want people to look to government for every need of life. Ultimately, government cannot fulfill man's needs- not even in this life, much less in whatever eternity lies beyond the grave. It is far more rational to cling to God than to government.

3) antipathy to people who aren't like them: Whether or not this is as irrational as the liberal alternative depends on the sense in which it is meant. If the "difference" is merely race, then it is irrational and is a violation of point two, since it conflicts with orthodox Christian teaching about the brotherhood of all men. If the "difference" is between legal citizens and those who barged into this country illegally, then that is another matter. It is perfectly rational for those who obey the law to have antipathy for those who disregard it. In fact, it is impossible for the rule of law to be sustained unless the law abiding are permitted to have disdain for those who break it.

The problem on illegal immigration is that Mr. Obama (like McCain and most of the others) really represents large corporations who want a free flow of labor to depress wages below the level that an honest free-market would permit. While they demand you respect all of the stupid laws which they make to favor their contributors, they themselves feel free to flout the laws on illegal immigration- and imply you are a bigot if you dare to utter a word in protest.

If by "different from themselves" it is meant a difference between those who share and respect our culture, morals, and traditions and those who disregard or disrespect them, then once again the thinking of the Pennsylvanians is more rational than that of the statists like Obama. Despite all the happy-feel-good talk about multiculturalism, the actual record of multi-cultural societies is one of division, friction, and bloodshed. American worked as a melting pot, but if cold ore is added in faster than the fires of community can melt them down, then the melting pot is broken. Other fires can then take hold, and they bode ill for our country. I am not only talking about illegal immigrants here. The debauched Hollyweird crowd, militant homosexuals, and Nation of Islam race warriors are in this group as well.

Antipathy for the Godless left who have coarsened our culture, undermined our values, and made it exponentially more difficult for families to raise well-adjusted children is completely justified and eminently rational. A continued prozac-response, where we lack the energy or moral fiber to protest the cultural polluters among us, is a far less moral response than antipathy. I only wish enough of us would raise the level of antipathy toward these people until they respond to it and quit "pushing the envelope" of deviancy any further. The only thing to the credit of some of them is that they are honest about being anti-god. I have the greatest antipathy for those of the Godless left who are dishonest enough to conceal their unbelief in the teachings of Christ and His Apostles with vague "God talk".

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Am A Victim of Identity Theft

(Note: This person is a close friend of mine in Arkansas , but she does not feel she can even give her name because her employers may see it as racial bias. I know it is true because I talked to her weekly as she worked through these problems.)

"The influx in illegal immigrants has helped cause identity theft to be the fastest growing crime in our country; I learned this last year. Someone wrote checks for thousands of dollars on my bank account. I closed out the account, and they still are writing checks in my name in various places; so now I am the criminal. I have to carry papers with me proving I am a victim of identity theft in case the law tries to arrest me.

I had no idea that such a thing could happen, but it has cost me my reputation (it hurts having places of business call you because of bounced checks) and brought a great deal of fear in my life because I will never know in the future, until the day I die I guess, how they will use my social security number. It has also cost me hundreds of hours of my time dealing with the problems that have resulted from this stolen identity."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nearly 300 Arrested in Immigration Raids in Five States - Including Arkansas

More arrests elsewhere!

Illegal Aliens Using Stolen ID's

(But these are just hardworking people wanting to provide a better life for their families.)

Excerpts from article: (See link below)

"Nearly 300 people were arrested Wednesday in immigration and identity theft raids at Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in five states.

"More than 20 were arrested in Batesville, Ark., on federal warrants for alleged document fraud or identity theft.

"Atkinson said the company went to ICE agents with information about identity theft at the Arkansas plant. The company uses a federal database to check identity documents of new employees, but that wouldn't stop a person from using a real, but stolen ID, he said.

"The company has about 55,000 employees and operates dozens of facilities, mostly across the South and in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

"The poultry raids were the largest of several immigration enforcement actions across the country Wednesday.

"The raids were part of a long-term investigation, officials said. Plants were raided in Mount Pleasant, Texas, Batesville, Ark., Live Oak, Fla., Chattanooga, Tenn. and Moorefield, W.Va., authorities said."

Link to entire story:

Courtney Henry Votes Democratic/Ron Williams Votes Republican (Opponents for AR Ct of Appeals)

There has been considerable controversy over Courtney Henry and Ron Williams' race for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, the state’s second highest court. The paper reported that "Ron Williams hopes his “conservative judicial philosophy” can win him a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

However, his opponent, Courtney Henry is also appealing to conservative Republican voters, and many people feel she has been quite deceptive in lining up many Republicans as supporters.

It , therefore, should be of interest to many to learn that Courtney Henry's Individual Voting History Report at the courthouse shows that Courtney Henry voted as a Democrat in the 2008 Presidental Primary, which means she voted for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Courtney Henry also voted as a Democrat in the 2006 Primary; voted as A Democrat in the Primary Runoff in 2006; and voted as a Democrat in the 2004 Primary.

There is no indication on the voting record that Courtney Henry ever voted as a Republican. (see this link for a copy of the actual voting record: )

On the other hand, Ron Williams' Individual Voting History Record shows that Ron Williams voted as a Republican in the Presidential Primary in 2008; voted as a Republican in the 2006 Primary; voted as a Republican in the 2002 Primary; and voted as Republican in the 3rd Congressional Primary.

There is no indication on the voting record that Ron Williams ever voted as a Democrat. (See this link for a copy of his actual voting record:

Anyone can go to the courthouse and look at these records.

We can't be too diligent in checking out the details on candidates! We must stop just listening to words and look for actions. From the words and demeanor of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on CNN on religion and politics last Sunday night, even a conservative Christian would have been convinced they both were saintly people. Fortunately they have been in the news enough that we know of their actions as well as their words.

Note: When you check the links above for the copy of the actual court record, put the cursor on the information and click; and it will enlarge and make it much clearer. Click again and it will reduce the size. For the Party look at the 5th column for R or D.

32 Illegal Aliens Arrested in Meth Bust in Batesville, Arkansas

(I am sure these are just hardworking people wanting to make a living for their family)

Following are excerpt from two articles; Links given below the excerpts.

"Sixty-five suspected drug dealers are off Central Arkansas streets tonight. Half of them were in the country illegally. Thursday, federal drug agents announced a major meth lab bust out of Batesville. It took almost three years to catch the suspected ring leaders and their counterparts."

"32 of the 52 suspects arrested are illegal immigrants."

"This is the largest seizure I've ever seen," says William Bryant with the Drug Enforcement Administration."

"To put into perspective how major this is. The average street rate for one gram of meth ice is about $244. In this bust, agents seized over 100 pounds of meth ice. That's equal to 11 million dollars in drug money." - Fox news THV News

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Local Primary, Local Races, Benton County

We have a little over a month until the May 20th primary election. As most of you know, Arkansas moved up its primary date for President in order to be a part of "Super Tuesday", but the primary election date for all other offices is still to come.

Since the two establishment parties seem very reluctant to run candidates against each other, often the only "choice" an Arkansan has is who to vote for on Primary day. Whoever wins the primary wins the seat by default. We are a one party state, but the identity of the party changes when you get to NWA.

At any rate, I have been remiss in my duties by not giving local races the attention they deserve. Rep. Steve Harrelson over at has done a very good job on the legislative races state-wide. As someone who believes that more control ought to be passed down to local government- right down to families and individuals- I should give it more press.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'd like to highlight a few of the races in my area, which is Benton and Washington County Arkansas. If Debbie and Iris want to do the same thing for the Northeast, and one of the others for Central Arkansas, I'd be tickled. Right now we have two big races for County Judge and Sheriff. Candidates for the former include Bill Adams, Dave Bisbee, Chris Glass, Kevin Harrison, and Greg Hines. We will try to sort that one out.

The Sheriffs race is a re-match between Andy Lee and incumbent Keith Ferguson and it has also drawn lots of attention.

Judges races should not be overlooked, and the Court of Appeals race between Courtney Henry and Ron Williams has not been, at least not here. We will try to bring more light on that one too. There are several judicial races. With our wacky "code of judicial conduct" it will be hard to make an informed choice. If anyone out there can help us with those races we'd be obliged.

County Coroner and County Collector? Someone help us! Gloria Spring Peterson has a good resume for the Collector slot, and at least one person who works in the office says she is the way to go. OTOH, being best-liked by the employees is may not be the sign of a boss that will please the customers. On an artistic note, Sewell (Peterson's opponent) has the best looking signs.

At any rate, we plan to dive into that in the next two weeks. Let us know any info you have on those local races.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Green Party: Rising to Challenge

Think Green.

The Green Party of Arkansas has nominated candidates to oppose Democrat Mark Pryor, Republican Congressman John Boozeman, and Democratic Congressman Mike Ross. They indicate they will also mount challenges to Democratic Congressmen Vic Snider and Marion Berry.

I find this development interesting for at least two reasons. One is that the state Republican party failed to find any challengers to any of the Democratic members of Congress or Pryor. It seems the Greens will challenge them all. Conversely, the Democrats failed to find anyone to challenge Republican John Boozeman, but the Greens did. Are the Green's on the way to becoming the state's second party? Not until they start winning some offices, but I find it telling that the two establishment parties don't make it a priority to challenge one another's incumbents.

The failure of the two establishment parties (we can define "establishment parties" as those whose political conventions are paid for with taxpayer dollars)to oppose each other's incumbents actually gives an opening to a third party because one can vote for them without fear of throwing the election to another party whose nominee you care for even less. Sometimes I get the impression that the insiders of each political party have more anger and animosity towards the reform factions in their own parties than they do for the insiders of the other party. Top Democrats and Republicans seem to get along with each other pretty well, it is the "riff-raff" on their own side that they get ugly with.

If the Green Party is rising, it is probably a bigger threat to the Democrats than it is a threat to replace the GOP as Arkansas' second party. They seem to know it too, because they took the person who so far looks like their best candidate- Rebecca Kennedy, and are running her against the least-liberal Democrat, Senator Mark Pryor. Kennedy is still overmatched against Pryor, but I thought she handled herself very competently when she was their candidate for Attorney General in 2006.

On the other hand, they seem less interested in mounting a serious challenge to Republican John Boozman. They are running a 27 year old graduate student against him who describes himself as a "fiscal conservative" who wants the federal government to provide free health care for all, address climate change, and fund a whole lot more government programs. He needs to look "fiscal conservative" up in the dictionary. I don't think it means what he thinks it means. Still, my point is they seem to be looking for good candidates to oppose the Democrats. For the Republicans, they just want to make sure there is some kind of opposition.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beebe to Abolish National Guard and Our Kids First

Governor Mike Beebe Explains the Principle Behind "The Beebe Doctrine":

We are not going to do the federal government’s job or raise taxes on Arkansans for duties they are already paying taxes to the federal government to accomplish,” Governor Mike Beebe is quoted as saying in this Democrat Gazette article this week.

The National Guard is run by the state with a combination of state and federal funds. Since the defense of this country is the job of the Federal government, and Arkansans are already paying taxes to the federal government to do this job, it seems clear that the Arkansas National Guard stands afoul of the Governor's new guiding principle. Our Federal Government has an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, and about a dozen quasi-military law-enforcement agencies. Why tax Arkansans again for a national guard to assist those federal organizations to do jobs that the feds are supposed to do?

In the same way, Our Kids First is an Arkansas initiative which overlaps with the federal Medicaid program. It seems to be another instance where the state is augmenting the federal government's efforts with a program of its own. According to the Beebe doctrine, such efforts should not be made.

Of course, Beebe did not actually apply his principle to our partnership efforts with the Federal Government as regards to national defense, nor did he apply it to our partnership efforts with the Federal government for health care for poor children, nor for the partnership effort with the federal government in education. Actually, it seems he only wants his guiding principle to apply only to one narrow area. His scope here was narrowed to law enforcement. He did not want to expend any Arkansas dollars or effort on law enforcement jobs that Arkansans are already paying taxes to the Federal government for.

So does that mean state law enforcement will no longer cooperate on Federal Drug Task Forces? If there is a terrorist suspect around will they not cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security? If one of the FBI's ten most wanted is in Arkansas, will they not aid the FBI in apprehending them?

Well, actually that was not what he meant either. Think narrower. The Governor meant to apply "The Beebe Principle" to only one very narrow area of the already narrow area of law enforcement. He does not want to do ANYTHING to reduce the amount of illegal immigration, as he sees this as the exclusive duty of the Federal government. With every other issue under the sun, he has no problem partnering with the Federal government, or even having a duplicate program that does the same job they are trying to do but better. Only on this single issue- illegal immigration, does the Governor take his stand, promulgate the "Beebe Doctrine", and on principle refuse to lift a finger!

It turns out the State Police have signed up for some federal training in how to recognize fraudulent ID documents, of the type most frequently used by illegal aliens. The press asked the Governor if this meant that the state was going to take advantage of the law passed in 06 which made it legal for state police to enforce federal immigration law via means of a Memorandum of Understanding with ICE. While the law made it legal to do so, nobody in state government has taken advantage of that law and none of them seem to want to do anything.

Beebe about fell over himself explaining that he did not want state law enforcement doing anything about violations of immigration law. Neither did the state police. Spokesman Bill Sadler said that they decided arresting illegal aliens "was a matter best left to federal authorities" and that officers would arrest illegal aliens "only if they have committed a serious crime".

Meanwhile, Oklahoma and other states have begun very successful law enforcement efforts against illegal aliens. While other states are doing it, the powerful illegal alien lobby is still insisting that it can't be done at the state level and that it shouldn't be done. Big businesses like the poultry industry that have successfully depressed wages by using illegal aliens still have more pull in state government than the average citizen who is tired of seeing his/her town overrun with illegal aliens.

So just to recap, the principle behind the "Beebe Doctrine" is not as wide as the headline of this article would indicate. The principle behind the "Beebe Doctrine" is applied only to such a conveniently narrow slice of life that one could fairly conclude that there is in fact no principle behind it at all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beebe Kept Legislators in the Dark on Budget

Here are the assembled members of the Arkansas Legislature, as seen through the eyes of Governor Mike Beebe. The Governor believes the best way for them to thrive is to be kept in the dark and fed male bovine fecal matter.

Last week the Governor declared a special session in which he permitted members of the legislature wide latitude on how they could hold the rubber stamp which they used to approve all of his plans without deviation. For the most part, they either quietly rolled over or even loudly cheered their marginalization. They voted many to few that there was a highway funding "emergency" which forced them to approve the Governor's plan for natural gas severance taxes now, now, now- rather than wait for the regular session seven months from now when they would not be bound by the Governor's special call.

I applaud our young service men and women fighting abroad to maintain our freedom and right to self-government. I only wish members of the legislature would exercise that right once in a while. What do they face that is more fearsome than the guns and bombs our young soldiers face?

The Governor's plan was to divert 95% of the revenues from the tax increase and use it to fund a tax cut for working families. Just kidding. Lighting has already struck once on that issue, and Mike Beebe shows no intention of ever doing that again, no matter how badly Arkansas families are hurting nor how fat with surplus funds the state government is. His plan on tax cuts is to keep talking ad nauseum about the one he gave in the past in order to avoid giving one in the future, even if it is only sharing revenues from a new tax increase with the People.

His actual plan was to divert 95% of the severance tax increase money from General Revenue to "roads" (without mentioning which roads get built). The legislature voted with the understanding that there was plenty of money in the General Revenue. One week later, the state releases a report that claims there WON'T be enough General Revenue to fund all budget items in 2009.

According to this Demozette article, "He said he didn’t reveal the budget cut during the special legislative session last week because he had made no decision about how much to cut."

Right. They don't need to know anything except where the "Yea" switch is when your plan is presented, right Governor?

"He said that even if he had told lawmakers about it, he would have had no worries about them wanting to steer the severance tax increase — expected to yield $ 57 million next year — to the general revenue budget."

Well then why not let them know what is coming so that their vote will be an informed one?

This [the severance tax ] is a specific itemized program with a totally new and different revenue source for highways,” Beebe said. “It’s got nothing to do with general revenue. We’ve been upfront all the way around on this that we wanted it for highways. [General revenue is ] a totally different deal."

The Governor is full of mushroom food. The gas severance tax has everything to do with General Revenue. That was where severance tax money was going until they just changed it. The modest severance tax that we had went 100% to general revenues, and they had to change the language in the law to divert 95% of it to this new "highway" fund. And no one seems to know just which "highways" will be built or maintained with this "different revenue source for highways" except the Governor. That just seems to be the way he likes doing business. Meanwhile the branch that is supposed to have the "power of the purse strings" acts like Beebe's got incriminating photos on 80% of them.

The idea that the severance tax has "nothing to do with highways" is like your spouse purchasing a new sports car and then claiming that it has "nothing to do with the family budget" because it was financed out of your raise, which is "a totally new source of money for new sports cars". The implication that money spent on one thing could not have been spent on another instead is absurd. And if your spouse used that raise to buy the sports car, and then you found out the next week that your spouse knew at the time they diverted the money that you were going to face that cash crunch, then I suppose you might be a tad upset. Unless, apparently, you are an Arkansas legislator (80% anyway).

Beebe Trying to Forestall A Drive to Lower Taxes

Last week, April 3, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported: "Richard Wilson, assistant director of research for the Bureau of Legislative Research, said he expects the state to have a surplus of at least $ 155 million at the end of this fiscal year on June 30," (having already reached "144. 8 million above the forecast" for this fiscal year in 9 months). 1

Less than one week later, April 9, 08 the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported: "The state has cut its projected budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 by nearly $ 107 million. The paper even reported, '“Something’s weird,”' said Richard Wilson, assistant director of research for the Bureau of Legislative Research, when informed by a reporter about the revision." 2

There may be a very simple answer for this "weird" development. Governor Beebe may be trying to forestall a drive to lower taxes. The good report on the surplus was released on the day Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law a bill to increase the state severance tax on natural gas, which was a good report for that week. However, there was a cry across the state for the Governor to use this surplus money to finish what he promised he would do when the economy could handle it – eliminate all the sales tax on groceries. The heat made this revision of projected cuts in the budget a good report for this week. And somehow the 2nd report was INADVERTENTLY released a month early.

These two articles raised the following questions in my mind. I hope someone will answer them for me?

Why don't we just take that $144.8 million surplus we already have this year and fund the shortage next year (if there is one)? Or is that money already spent and if so on what? If it is not spent, is it still in the general fund? This week's article indicated this amount of projected reduction in money would be drastic, and "The projected change will lower the funding of Category B to 53. 9 percent of its total. That’s a drop of $ 106. 7 million." If the projected change would affect the state this negatively, why didn't the surplus affect the state just as positively? I didn't hear about anyone's ship coming in this year.

And who actually made these revisions in expectations? Weiss said the reduction reflects Gov. Mike Beebe’s “conservative budgeting philosophy.”

Is the Governor the one that has the economic and budget skills to make these projections on the budget? Somehow I thought these decisions were made by someone in the Department of Finance and Administration.

Who else besides Beebe has input into these projections?

Did eliminating the grocery tax cost the state anything, or did it increase the taxes the state collected? According to an AP story, "Gov. Mike Beebe said Wednesday that he doesn't regret signing a $121 million tax cut [partial elimination of sales tax on groceries] into law last year." It would appear that the state would have been $121 million short in tax receipts this year with the partial elimination of the grocery tax. Instead we are in just nine months $145 million above the forecast. 3

Did the people take the tax saved on groceries and spend it on other things that are taxed? In other words, did this tax cut stimulate the economy in much the same way the stimulus package is supposed to stimulate the national economy? If so, wouldn't it be to everyone's advantage to eliminate all the taxes on groceries?

I hope to get some answers on these questions. I realize the last one would be hard for liberals to answer. Liberals do not believe tax cuts stimulate the economy. That is, of course, unless it is good for their political careers like this year when they decided that extra dollars in the pockets of citizens in the form of the stimulus package would indeed stimulate our economy and also help them get re-elected.

1. State’s tax collections exceeding expectations by Michael R. Wickline, April 3, 2008.
2. Web site tips hand; state cash to tighten by Michael R. Wickline, April 9, 2008
3. Ark. governor says no regret over tax cuts despite $107M cut by Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press Writer, April 9, 08

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

State Budget Changes: Beebe Covers His Flank

Governor Mike Beebe gives a thumbs up to his compliant accomplices in the state's print media such as the AP's Andrew Demillo, who went the extra mile and far beyond to protect the Governor from criticism.

Governor Mike Beebe , with the help of a cooperative state print media, completely dominated the legislature and got everything he wanted in the Special Session. The state's severance tax for natural gas will be greatly increased, and all of the money will be kept by the government, mostly to spend on roads. Beebe elected not to use any of the funds for a tax cut. None of the bonanza will be shared with the taxpayers.

While he was winning that immediate battle, the decision to keep all of the money in Little Rock certainly raised some questions. Questions like, "why wasn't the severance tax money used for a major tax cut? The state treasury is overflowing while families are hurting. What good are new roads when we can't afford the gas to drive on the roads we've got?"

Those were difficult questions to answer. The state is currently sitting on a $140 million dollar surplus; the natural gas finds are certain to boost tax revenues even without a tax rate increase; and the Governor had made a commitment to eliminate the other half of the sales tax on groceries. With families hurting far worse than state government, why the urgency for a special session to raise taxes even further?

It appears Beebe and his friends in the corporate media have gone into spin-overdrive to protect his flank on this one. I believe the surprise and premature release of the low state budget projections for 2009 was an attempt to blunt some of the criticism for Beebe keeping all of the money for himself and returning nothing to the taxpayers. “Something’s weird,” Richard Wilson, assistant director of research for the Bureau of Legislative Research was quoted as saying when informed by a reporter about the revision. And indeed it was. The projections were not supposed to be available for another month.

The state paper laid out all of the facts, but you had to really read between the lines to put it together. A superficial reading of the front-page-above-the-fold story left the casual reader with the impression that the state government was about to be short of money and would have to tighten its belt. That of course would give cover to the Governor for his failure to share the bounty of the severance tax increase with We the People.

The pundits who are supposed to analyze all of this are so far missing in action. AP writer Andrew DeMillo was even worse. His reporting made Beebe look like some kind of epic hero, redirecting people's attention to his grocery tax cut and asking him if he regretted giving us back so much now that the state was short of money! If this story is any indication, Andrew DeMillo is to Mike Beebe as Baghdad Bob is to Saddam Hussein.

The truth is that Beebe gave us as little as he could get away with on the grocery tax cut. He was running against a guy who was promising to cut it all at once, and both should have known that we had the money to do so. The tax cut was 121 million dollars, but we were sitting on a record surplus many times larger. And the money was still coming in. Despite the grocery tax cut, we have accumulated $144 million dollars in extra surplus over the past year. This means we could have eliminated all of the tax on groceries and still had a small budget surplus. The reason we did not do that is because Mike Beebe is calling the shots, and he wanted the government to have the money more than he wanted you to have it, plain and simple.

Since Beebe now exercises great influence on how General Improvement Fund money is spent, it is to his personal benefit to hoard as much extra tax money as he can and wait as long as possible to return it to you. The GIF money is the interest money from all the extra state revenue sitting in the bank all year. The more money sits in there, the more interest is accumulated. And that means that Mike Beebe's barrel of pork money gets bigger. He can buy a lot of influence with that cash. This is one reason why the ledge defers to him now.

So perhaps the Governor hears complaints that he is keeping all of the money while families are hurting, and suddenly the state releases figures that show, by golly, the state is going to be hurting too! Why, that is the reason they had to keep all the chips from that tax increase. Its for the children! Only families have children too, and they actually live there.

The ballyhood "shortfall" of $107 million in 2009 is only a projection, and a convenient one at that for a Governor looking for political cover for his tax increase. On the other hand, the surplus of $144 million is real and sitting in the bank earning interest for the GIF fund Mike Beebe oversees right now. If there is a shortfall in 2009, it can be more than paid for by the overage from the last 12 months. Not only that, the latest figures from the article show that tax collections are higher than expected.

I am way long here, so please hit the jump for the rest of it....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Williams vs. Henry Appeals Judge Race and "The Code"

Before I can even get to the specifics of the race, please permit me to brief you on the background of this issue. This is especially needed since the state media organs make little effort to inform you of the realities of judicial politics in this state- to the degree that they attempt to uphold the absurd fiction that there are none and that there should not be any:

The Arkansas Court of Appeals is a court that basically stands between Circuit Courts and the State Supreme Court. Liberals thought they had a fool-proof plan to insure that other liberals continue to bench-legislate in Arkansas a few years back when they got folks to approve making judicial races "non-partisan". That is to say, instead of filing as a Republican or Democrat, they filed as independents with the election being held on the same day that the two dominant political parties held their primaries. Since the Democratic primary vote is about 7-10 times the Republican primary vote, they figured it would result in statist liberal judges for as far as the eye could see. The only down side was that the state Democratic party could not benefit from the massive filing fees generated by having judges run as candidates of a political party.

Well, of course their strategy is working well state-wide. Our arrogant, elitist liberal judges forced homosexual adoption and foster parenting on the state over the objections of the state Department of Human Services who actually had to deal with the fallout of screwed-up children. They then all but ordered a tax increase so that school funding was above the invisible line that they imagined was the "constitutional" level, along with a powerful push to wrest control of education further away from parents in their local communities and to centralize control with fellow arrogant elitist liberals in the State Department of Education.

But while it is working well state wide, it backfires in Court of Appeals districts like the one in Northwest Arkansas, where Republican voter turnout actually exceeds that of the Democrats. They get things 90% their way state-wide, but that is not good enough for elitist big-government liberals. They will relentlessly pursue 100% of all judicial power and attempt to slime any challenge whatsoever to their monopoly of judicial philosophy.

That brings us to the Courtney Henry vs. Ron Williams race. Williams is the conservative in the race, Henry the liberal. Don't be fooled by the fact that former Republican Congressman John Paul Hammerschimdt has endorsed the young Mrs. Henry. His reasons have to do with personal ties and knowing her since she was a cute little girl. I mean him no disrespect when I say that he never was much of a philosophical conservative.

Former State Senator Jim Holt, with whom I have practically parted ways with since the race for Lt. Governor was over, is backing Ron Williams and is even working for Williams as a consultant and sign coordinator. This of course throws the liberals in the media into a conniption fit, since to them only liberals are allowed to be judges and judges should have the final say on what the other two branches of government can do.

The Demozette Column and the Arktimes column both have a negative tone toward the hiring of Holt. The Demozette especially leads with charges that the actions of the Williams campaign may violate the Arkansas Code of Judicial Ethics.

For more about what that means in real-talk, hit TUESDAY below and scroll down.

The World Turned Upside Down In Iraq

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"
-- George Washington

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am not "for" the Mahdi Army of Mr. Al-Sadr in any battles they might have with American troops. My position has been that the American troops and tax dollars should not be there to begin with. We have no business or right to take sides in or referee an Islamic civil war, whether we "win" or "lose" there we have lost strategically. The wasting of our military and our Treasury in some Neo-con delusion of nation-building seriously weakens us in our defense against greater threats. The whole war was and is a gigantic strategic blunder.

Again, I am not arguing that Al-Sadr is "the good guy" here. His militia is largely composed of thugs. So are those of the other guys. There is no significant faction of "good guys" to back.

With all that being said of the particulars, no thoughtful supporter of the right to keep and bear arms can be comfortable with the principles involved in the latest round of fighting in Iraq. Al-Malaki has told the Sadrists "you cannot participate in the political process unless you first give up your weapons".

This ultimatum should be anathema to all patriotic citizens of this country. It has been ingrained in us since childhood that we cannot trust a government that wishes to disarm us, and that all of our other rights depend on our right to keep and bear arms. We believe, for us, that an armed populace is the best defense against tyranny. Do we believe that for others, or only for ourselves?

We find ourselves being drawn into this civil war on the side of those who are telling their political rivals "you cannot participate in the upcoming elections unless you first disarm". How many of us would accept it if President Hillary Clinton laid down an ultimatum to the Republican party that their right to participate in the political process would be revoked until members of the Republican party surrendered their guns? That is a pretty tight (though not perfect by any means) analogy of what is happening in Iraq right now, with most Republicans in America cheering for the side that wants to take away the guns of its political opponents while its own militia keeps theirs.

Many, perhaps most, Iraqi security forces were/are also members of one militia or another. The side that won the first election (which JAM boycotted because it was run under foreign occupation) had its militias put on uniforms. The two biggest militias in Iraq besides the Mahdi Army is the Peshmerga, which is the main Kurdish militia, and the Badr Brigades. The Badr Brigades are the militia of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, the other main Shiite rival to JAM. Those two militias, along with Sunni militias paid for by the United States, now comprise much of the Iraqi Security forces. JAM tried to infiltrate those forces as well, but with less success outside their Basra and Baghdad strongholds.

Those two are groups which favor an Iraq that is divided into autonomous regions, a privatized oil industry, and a continued foreign presence to keep that form of semi-country intact. The minority Sunnis mostly favored a unified Iraq when they thought they could run it, but now that Al-Queda has been crushed, and they got a taste of what it was liked being ruled by irrational religious fanatics, and they discovered that America would include them in the distribution of checks, they are moving toward Al-Malaki's vision. JAM prefers a unified, unoccupied Iraq with a nationalized oil industry. When you slice through the cover of religious and ethnic differences, much of this is about whose friends get the chips.

I am an American, and I am pulling for American forces to, if there must be battle, win every battle. Were I an Iraqi whose party lost the first round of elections, and the guys in the other party insisted I give up all means to resist them before they would let me exercise my right to self determination, I would probably tell them they can have my weapon when they pry it from my cold, dead, fingers.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sex and Potatoes

I expect that I will get a much more diverse array of search engine hits on this article than usual. They may not fit the usual profile of our readers here on Arkansas Watch, but these are not usual times.

I got a call the other day on behalf of bureaucrats in Benton County. The purpose of the survey was to "help determine how tax dollars in your area should be spent". They began to poll me, asking detailed questions about my head and my stomach. Questions like, "How many times a week do you eat potatoes? Do not include potatoes that have been fried or cut up into chips." From there they went to mental health questions, down to and including, "do you ever feel stress?" and "how much of the time do you feel that you don't have the emotional support that you need, once a week, most days of the week....".

You should feel really good about rolling out of bed at 6:AM tomorrow and spending a beautiful Spring day at work so that you can earn money to send to the government in taxes so that they can pester people about how many times a week they eat un-fried potatoes! How often to I lack the emotional support I need? Thankfully, since I got married seldom-to-never. But suppose I didn't? Will they send a government official around to give me a hug?

The whole thing is a perfect example of the government meddling in affairs which are outside its God-given functions as laid out in scripture and supported by history. It is not the government's job to insure people have the emotional support they need- that is the job of families and churches and individual people. Government can't do that job well. It's the wrong tool for that kind of job. All it can do is act indirectly by setting policy to strengthen the family and our connections to one another. One way they can do that is to spend less money so that families are not taxed so much so that they don't have to work all the time like hamsters on a treadmill to pay for things like these studies to see where government can next enlarge itself.

There was a knock at my door about ten minutes into this study, so I excused myself. They kept calling back day after day to complete the study. They finally got ahold of me once they started calling at night. This time the questions focused on my sexual habits and any diseases that I might have. I was sorely tempted to make up some wild answers, but I was afraid that any fantasy problems I invented would result in the creation of a new government office in my county to solve it! I declined to give much info in that area, except indirectly to boost my count in "times per week that I engaged in vigorous physical activity, which is defined as activities which induce heavy breathing".

So get out there and get to work- Your state government officials need you to generate even more tax money so they launch a new program insuring that you eat the proper number of potatoes. They have to do stuff like this because other stuff, like reducing illegal immigration, is "a federal issue" according to our Governor and therefore not their job. Maybe this program can hire the people who have been put out of work due to illegal aliens flooding the labor market. They could hire them to go around and give hugs from the government- after they have completed their certified training of course.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Severance Tax/Beebe Says Grocery Tax Not As Important as Education Reform

Education Budget Has Doubled In Last Ten Years -
More Money Involved Than Beebe Acknowledges

Evidently Governor Beebe wants to use the severance tax for roads so he can use all the extra money the Fayetteville shale economic boom produces for educational reform – the same reforms that have failed the last ten years when the budget for education has almost doubled (from $2.2 billion in 1995-96 to $4 billion in 2004-05.) 1

According to Beebe, education is more important than eliminating taxes on groceries. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette in today's paper reported that "Beebe said he would seek further reductions in the grocery tax once the state meets its essential needs, including the highest priority: education, “'It’s our No. 2 priority,'” Beebe said of grocery-tax reduction."2

Of course, Priority One (Educational Reform) will never allow Priority 2 (Eliminating Grocery Tax) to take place. At the present rate of increases for educational reform, there will never be enough money in Arkansas for the citizens to have any tax relief whatsoever. How can money spent on the following failures in education be more important than giving people a little tax relief by eliminating the grocery tax? (Ask teachers you know just what the state of education is if you don't believe the following. I myself have been an Arkansas teacher for about 30 years.)

· Only nine states scored lower than Arkansas on the ACT test in 2007. Arkansas dropped slightly in 2007, but the national average improved. (The ACT test is the culmination of K-12 instruction and is used by colleges all over the nation to award scholarships.)
· The graduation rate dropped slightly more than 10% in one year according to the last educational report in Arkansas (2005-2006) the next report won't be available for a few more months.
· College Remediation Rate is 51.6% (46.6% in 1995); National Average is 33%
· Only Nine States Scored Lower Than Arkansas in 8th Grade Math on NAEP Test; only sixteen states scored lower than Arkansas on the 4th Grade Reading NAEP Test, etc. in 2005. In 2007 our scores were even lower. Arkansas Department of Education Director said, "We have slipped a bit in terms of state rankings in all areas, save mathematics at the fourth grade."
· Only 28% of AR students pass test on Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while 59.4% pass nationwide
· Test Scores on nationally normed tests are 11 Percentile Points lower in 2006 than in 1990 (a 22% decrease) (Later scores are not available yet)
· In its latest State of State Standards in 2006, Fordham Foundation gave Arkansas an F on its Math Standards, F on U S. History Standards, an F on World History Standards, a D in Science and a C in English for an average of F.
· The National Report Card on Higher Ed. gave Arkansas a D+ in High School Preparation for College in 06 in its latest report.
Educational Reforms Have Cost $1.4 BILLION since 2003, which equals about a 3% sales tax increase in Arkansas. 3

There is probably a lot more money involved in the Severance Tax and the Fayetteville shale project than Governor Beebe is letting the people of Arkansas know. The Arkansas Democrat reported today that "Beebe’s severance tax proposal is expected to raise $ 57 million next year, rising to possibly $ 100 million within three years."

But the U of A study reported "Over the next five years, the Fayetteville Shale play could have an overall economic impact on Arkansas of $17.9 billion, create more than 11,000 new jobs, and pump $1.8 billion in new taxes into the state, according to a new analysis. They also reported that the Fayetteville Shale project had resulted in "Over $100 million in state and local taxes" in 2007 (before the severance tax increase.) 4
Not to use some of that money for tax relief when so many families in Arkansas are hurting is immoral and cruel.

(Iris Stevens is an Arkansas public school teacher of about 30 years.)

For documentation on the above facts and more information on education reforms see this link:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Severance Tax Passes, No Loyal Opposition in Arkansas

The severance tax increase on natural gas passed, and 100% of the funds extracted from honest businessmen will be hoarded by the state rather than returned to the people in the form of offsetting tax cuts. This is at a time when families in Arkansas are hurting, but the state treasury is overflowing. The natural gas industry went along with the increase (out of fear something worse would happen to them if they did not) so it was hard to argue that the increase should not be enacted. All that was left was the issue of what to do with the money. Conservatives, both Republican and Democrat, wanted to use the money to fund a tax cut to hard working Arkansas families. Liberals, both Republican and Democrat, wanted government to keep all of the money. In the end, we discovered that over 3/4ths of our legislature are liberals, regardless of how they represent themselves when election season rolls around.

I wish we had an opposition party in this state, but sadly we have two political organizations both of which favor more money in the hands of government and less in the budgets of families. Hardly a peep was heard from the state Republican Party in all of this. Rep. Aaron Burkes of Rogers was vocal against it, but to show you how encouraged he is, the man about to leave the legislature while he is still eligible for more terms! Sure, a few local Republicans complained, but there was no leadership and no organized opposition on what should have been an easy chance to get a tax cut- after all the Governor needed 3/4ths of the vote to raise this tax.

There is no loyal opposition in state newspapers either. While the Democrat-Gazette was at least willing to give opponents of the tax 1/20th of the space of tax proponents in their articles, other papers were unwilling to do even that. Anthony Childress of the Jonesboro Sun wrote a column in which he only quoted officials whose offices were the direct beneficiaries of the tax increase! Is this what passes for "journalism" in Craighead and Greene Counties? It is unconscionable that the only people Mr. Childress chooses to quote are government officials whose offices will be the direct beneficiaries of this tax increase. That article is better described as propaganda designed to herd people, rather than a serious look at a public policy issue.

I gave Mr. Childress the opportunity to set me straight if I missed something in his article, which is a fairer shake than Arkansas families got in his piece. He did not return my e-mail. Right now, power does not have to defend its actions with logic, reason, or morality. But Truth has a power and a morality of its own, and in time will assert its primacy. For now, they don't have to give you, or anyone else, an explanation.

Now the GOP House members pretty much did stand firm. Sometimes a good one makes it to the House. If they want to move up from there though, they have to favor big government where big business wants it. When you move to the Senate you find that only one Republican Senator, Denny Altes of Fort Smith, voted against this bill. All the rest of those "conservatives" voted to let the already fat state government spend all of the money.

It really is shocking the disparity in the voting that exists between GOP house members and GOP senate members in this state. The evidence supports the contention that the Republican Party works against the advancement of true small-government conservatives and selectively favors the advancement of those who will vote for larger government. This is how the GOP got stuck with its loser crop of Presidential contenders. The conservatives were all Congressmen whom few had heard of. Those who were better known and in higher offices were the liberals.

I already told you that Senator Denny Altes was the only Republican in the Senate who stood up to the statists on this vote. Below (list from is the vote in the house. The people in green voted for the government. Those in red voted for Arkansas families. They represent patriots we can be proud of. Sadly, where they are Republicans, they represent people who will get little-to-nothing in the way of support for higher office from a state Republican party which has sold out to business interests who "partner" with the government to spend your earnings.

District 1: Steve Harrelson (D-Texarkana)
District 2: Larry Cowling (D-Foreman)
District 3: David "Bubba" Powers (D-Hope)
District 4: Bruce Maloch (D-Magnolia)
District 5: Willie Hardy (D-Camden)
District 6: John Lowery (D-El Dorado)
District 7: Robert Jeffrey (D-Camden)
District 8: Gregg Reep (D-Warren)
District 9: Eddie Cheatham (D-Crossett)
District 10: Allen Maxwell (D-Monticello)
District 11: David Rainey (D-Dumas)
District 12: Robert Moore (D-Arkansas City)
District 13: Clark Hall (D-Marvell)
District 14: Benny Petrus (D-Stuttgart)
District 15: Lenville Evans (D-Lonoke)
District 16: Earnest Brown (D-Pine Bluff)
District 17: Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff)
District 18: Toni Bradford (D-Pine Bluff)
District 19: Bobby Pierce (D-Sheridan)
District 20: Johnnie Roebuck (D-Arkadelphia)
District 21: Scott Sullivan (D-DeQueen)
District 22: Bill Abernathy (D-Mena)
District 23: Randy Stewart (D-Kirby)
District 24: Rick Saunders (D-Hot Springs)
District 25: Gene Shelby (D-Hot Springs)
District 26: Mike Burris (D-Malvern)
District 27: Dawn Creekmore (D-Hensley)
District 28: Lamont Cornwell (D-Benton)
District 29: Janet Johnson (D-Bryant)
District 30: Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs Village)
District 31: Dan Greenberg (R-Little Rock)
District 32: Sid Rosenbaum (R-Little Rock)
District 33: Fred Allen (D-Little Rock)
District 34: Wilhelmina Lewellen (D-Little Rock)
District 35: Pam Adcock (D-Little Rock)
District 36: Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock)
District 37: Kathy Webb (D-Little Rock)
District 38: David Johnson (D-Little Rock)
District 39: Sharon Dobbins (D-North Little Rock)
District 40: Barry Hyde (D-North Little Rock)
District 41: Ed Garner (R-Maumelle)
District 42: Sandra Prater (D-Jacksonville)
District 43: Jeff Wood (D-Sherwood) In Iraq and can't vote
District 44: Will Bond (D-Jacksonville)
District 45: Betty Pickett (D-Conway)
District 46: Robbie Wills (D-Conway)
District 47: Eddie Hawkins (D-Vilonia)
District 48: Susan Schulte (R-Cabot)
District 49: Mark Pate (D-Bald Knob)
District 50: David Evans (D-Searcy)
District 51: David Dunn (D-Forrest City)
District 52: Nancy Duffy Blount (D-Marianna)
District 53: Denny Sumpter (D-West Memphis)
District 54: Otis Davis (D-Earle)
District 55: Tommy Lee Baker (D-Osceola)
District 56: Buddy Lovell (D-Market Tree)
District 57: Jerry Brown (D-Wynne)
District 58: Tommy Dickinson (D-Newport)
District 59: Lance Reynolds (D-Quitman)
District 60: Johnny Hoyt (D-Morrilton)
District 61: Nathan George (D-Dardanelle)
District 62: Shirley Walters (R-Greenwood)
District 63: Frank Glidewell (R-Fort Smith)
District 64: Jim Medley (R-Fort Smith)
District 65: Tracy Pennartz (D-Fort Smith)
District 66: Rick Green (R-Van Buren)
District 67: Steve Breedlove (D-Greenwood)
District 68: Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville)
District 69: George Overbey (D-Lamar)
District 70: Stan Berry (R-Dover)
District 71: Eddie Cooper (D-Melbourne)
District 72: David Wyatt (D-Batesville)
District 73: J. R. Rogers (D-Walnut Ridge)
District 74: Chris Thyer (D-Jonesboro)
District 75: Joan Cash (D-Jonesboro)
District 76: Ray Kidd (D-Jonesboro)
District 77: Charolette Wagner (D-Manila)
District 78: Billy Gaskill (D-Paragould)
District 79: Mike Patterson (D-Piggott)
District 80: David Cook (D-Williford)
District 81: Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home)
District 82: Curren Everett (D-Salem)
District 83: Beverly Pyle (R-Cedarville)
District 84: John Paul Wells (D-Paris)
District 85: James Norton (R-Harrison)
District 86: Monty Davenport (D-Yellville)
District 87: Mark Martin (R-Prairie Grove)
District 88: Marilyn Edwards (D-Fayetteville)
District 89: Jim House (D-Fayetteville)
District 90: Roy Ragland (R-Marshall)
District 91: Bryan King (R-Green Forest)
District 92: Lindsley Smith (D-Fayetteville)
District 93: Jon Woods (R-Springdale)
District 94: Eric Harris (R-Springdale)
District 95: Aaron Burkes (R-Lowell)
District 96: Keven Anderson (R-Rogers)
District 97: Mike Kenney (R-Siloam Springs)
District 98: Donna Hutchinson (R-Bella Vista)
District 99: Horace Hardwick (R-Bentonville)
District 100: Daryl Pace (R-Siloam Springs)

A Conservative Place to Go for President?

Rumors are that former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia will seek the Libertarian party nomination for President. I don't know if he will get it because that party has taken an even more radical bent since Ron Paul attracted many of the more moderate ones to the GOP.

If they want a serious 3rd party ticket, they should ask Ron Paul to run as the Vice Presidential Candidate. Paul can give the five million in donations that he still has on hand to his own campaign, and also avoid "sore loser" laws that prevent one from running for THE SAME office after one has lost a Republicrat primary run in that state.