Friday, April 30, 2010

Mike Lee -- Thinking INSIDE the Consitutional Box

An excerpt from inside the Mike Lee campaign this week:

Congress wants “out of the box” thinking to solve today’s challenges, but the solutions are “in the box” of the Constitution.

The popular buzz-phrase for solving problems today is, “you must think out of the box.” While that can often be helpful, in many cases it actually leads to wasted time and effort, especially when the simple, effective answer may actually be “in the box.” Going back to the basics can be the best path forward.

Washington’s “out of the box” thinking has given us too many government programs, unfunded entitlements and regulations like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D and Obamacare. The list goes on: auto company and bank bailouts, out of control illegal immigration, amnesty, “Cap and Tax”, and pork-barrel projects which produce soaring deficits and compounding debt.

Elected officials have forgotten that the solutions to our challenges are found “in the box” of the Constitution. Returning to the limited government the Founding Fathers created inside the Constitution will jump-start our economy, pave the way for real job creation, and enable individuals and families to earn, save and prosper.

An "out of the box" Congress results in:

•More government takeover of health care
•More bailouts, earmarks and deficit spending
•More talk of amnesty, anchor babies and illegal immigration
•More over-reaching government
•More generation crushing debt

A Congress "in the box" of the Constitution results in:

•More rights and controls returned to the States
•More jobs, growth and strength in the economy
•More national security through secure borders and proper paths to citizenship
•More individual liberty and personal responsibility
•More confidence in our future

It is time to stop “out of the box” and out-of-control government growth and return to “in the box” constitutional governance!

Mike Lee doesn’t just focus on the theory of the Constitution – he delivers real solutions for all that ails our country by applying the simple yet powerful principles found within the Constitution.

Join Mike Lee in restoring the constitutional debate to Congress and reclaiming our future!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mike Lee poll results. . .

From an astute political observer -- never trust one source, look at a lot of sources.  Here's a good one with recent poll results showing Mike Lee with a big lead going into the nominating convention. 

Here's The Salt Lake Tribune poll result.

There is only one question remaining -- will Mitt Romney's nominating speech on behalf of Bob Bennett make any difference in the hearts and minds of the delegates.  I'm betting his appearance will have ZERO impact, though I've seen the emotions run high at previous conventions many years ago. 

I think Mike Lee has a very good chance to sweep the nomination and avoid the primary when the other candidates see the handwriting on the wall and release their delegates to vote for Lee. 

Here's a thought:  Bennett could take a page out of Mitt's book and end up being the king maker at the convention.  If he throws in the towel and names Mike Lee as his logical successor at the convention, he would preserve whatever dignity he has left and the memory of a positive legacy for his three terms. 

Shoot, when you're in your 77th year, what have you got to lose?  Why not invest a little statesmanship into that legacy?  All it takes is a little grace and humility. 

What about it, Senator Bennett, are you up to it? 

Mike Lee -- the momentum is palpable

Here's the latest update from the campaign to all the insiders, volunteers and delegates to the state nominating convention -- I share it with all of you. . .  back in January when I endorsed Mike Lee no one knew who he was.  What a difference a few weeks can make!

Dear Mike Lee Supporters and Delegates,

As convention approaches, state delegates and supporters of each candidate are getting excited, curious, anxious, and everything in-between! During these final moments before the convention, it can become quite easy to let our passions take over and lead us to say things that we should not. Mike has strongly encouraged all of his staff and supporters to "play nice" by treating other candidates, their staff, and their supporters with the same respect and understanding that we would like to receive as well. The golden rule applies, even and especially to political campaigns!

Mike firmly believes that we should be arguing ideas and issues, not people. As you interact with others at conventions, cottage meetings, on Facebook, other websites, or wherever, please remember to be courteous and positive! Remember that you are, in a way, an extension of Mike's campaign. Please reflect positively on him by being positive yourself. Most of you have done a fantastic job at this — and many of you have commented that you were attracted to Mike's campaign because he always stays positive — but we want to ensure that our entire campaign can reflect that as well.

Two weeks left to convention!

We are excited as the race continues to heat up; support everywhere Mike goes is phenomenal! At the Utah County Convention he simply stepped to the podium and got a huge applause. That died down, he gave his name, and then another huge applause with cheering. Mike then gave a great speech which many obviously liked, as Mike came out way on top with 41% of the straw poll taken among the ~1,200 county delegates who participated. His message rings true. His ability to make a difference is evident. Mike is the right one for the job and he will represent Utah well!

A debate in Salt Lake was held Saturday night. Another straw poll was taken where only state delegates could vote. After three rounds of balloting, where only two candidates are voted upon in the third round (to simulate the state convention), Mike won with 62% of the vote! An interesting note is that the Holiday Republican Club, who organized the event, boasts that over the past ten years, their delegate straw poll has successfully predicted the outcome of the state convention every time with only one exception!

Similar receptions were given to Mike in Uintah, Duchesne, Millard, Juab and Tooele County Conventions. Unfortunately, he fell sick for the Emery and Carbon County Conventions and wishes he could have been there. Mike always seems to be mobbed at these events and is often the last one to leave because there are so many people wanting to meet and ask Mike questions.

Thank you!

Again, a huge thank you goes out to all of our fantastic volunteers. We could not keep this campaign moving forward at such an incredible pace without so many wonderful volunteers who are ready to jump in and do whatever is required of them. We would especially like to thank those who arrived at this weekend's conventions before the sun was up and spent long hours smiling, passing out literature, and telling everyone why they like Mike. We love all of our dedicated, positive volunteers!

Convention help needed

Are you a state delegate who is wondering what you can do to help at the convention? Would you like to attend the convention even though you are not able to serve as a delegate this year? Do you want to give your children the opportunity to participate in the exciting atmosphere of the convention for a few hours to feel what it is like when good people come together to nominate good representatives?

We need you! This year's convention is going to be charged with excitement and we need an army of volunteers to keep that enthusiasm going. We have jobs for delegates, non-delegates, and even children (during credentialing only). While we will need help all day long, if you are only able to stay for part of the day we can still use you. We will also need help placing signs and setting up our booth very early Saturday morning. If you would like to become involved in the convention, please contact Jennifer James (, 801-300-8782) ASAP with as much information about how and when you would like to help as possible. Please invite your family and friends to come along to volunteer, too.

We will send out more information about the convention soon. You can also find convention information at   We hope to see all of you there!

Momentum moving forward

A recent article highlighting a poll that resulted in Mike's favor had this to say:

"The delegate poll "is great news," Lee said. "But we will take nothing for granted."

Lee said he'll keep meeting with delegates "almost 24 hours a day right up to May 8. We're going to run like we are way behind."

This is a campaign all full of volunteers. You can see the power of volunteers as we catch the attention of not only local media, but national media as well. We can win this as we all "run like we are way behind."

The best course is the present course. On to victory!

Bill Lee
Field Director
Mike Lee for Senate
(801) 722-4646

Mike Lee appears on Glenn Beck's radio show

Click on this link to hear an interview of Mike Lee on the Glenn Beck radio show. . .  if you love the Constitution, and you still believe in limited government instead of government growing at an alarming rate into every aspect of our lives, you will love what he has to say. . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In Praise of Cheerful Men by George Will

Next time you're tempted to air a grievance (and we all have them, don't we?), consider the blessed outcome of this story of patience, survival and eventual triumph. 

There is something about old people that inspires me, when I learn of their lives, their hardships, their adversities and the eventual triumph over it all.  To remain cheerful, faithful and true when all the world seems to have conspired against you, and to eschew skepticism, cynicism, doubt and fear in the midst of it all is to have truly lived. 

The heroes and heroines of George Will's story are just such people.

Oh, and to those who still deny the Holocaust, drink deeply from this page. . .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Almost Homeless" Finds Employment

NEW YORK -- This AP story caught my eye this morning.

Perhaps some have heard the plight of Paul Nawrocki.  He lost his job at a toy company as the rising tide of unemployment at the end of 2008 caught up to him.

So what did Paul Nawrocki do?  This isn't something we coach at the LDS Employment Resource Centers, but one has to admit, he was resourceful.  He took to the streets of Manhattan wearing a sandwich board and handing out his resume, and he became the face of the recession.  Little did he know when he began his campaign that his unemployment would stretch into 99 weeks.  But he persisted.

He appeared on CNN and was shadowed by South American photojournalists.  He gave more than 100 interviews in TV studios and on the street.  It was a long seige, but last week he landed a new job finally after declaring bankruptcy and his home still languishing in foreclosure limbo, wondering from day to day when he will be evicted.

Nawrocki's story is certainly compelling, but gives rise to the hope things are turning better for the unemployed among us.

The story underscores what we are doing every Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. at the LDS Business College:  "In the end, his path back to work wasn't through his television appearances, but through old-fashioned networking.  He went to a toy-industry fair, and a friend introduced him to the man who would become his boss.  Nawrocki believes the tales of his sandwich-board days helped him land an interview."

Each week I get e-mails from successful job seeking candidates who have come through our Professional Placement Program and the networking meetings we hold at the LDS Business College in the Triad Center each Monday morning in Salt Lake City.  We greet between 150 - 170 professionals each week and encourage them to network among themselves.  We provide inspiring speakers, training, and practical hands-on exercises as they prepare for interviews with potential employers, including resume coaching. 

This e-mail message is typical:

"Brother Goates -- I've got a job!!  It's temporary for now, but it's exactly the kind of experience I need to advance my career, and it's enough $ to live on.  I really appreciate your help and smile during this time.  It had been 6 months, almost to the day.  I truly believe I was doing all I could on my end, and as I asked Heavenly Father that if I'd learned what I needed to up to that point, would He please give me a job as soon as possible.  I got a call the next day.  It's through a temp agency, but there's a chance the company will be able to hire me directly in the future.  I hope to keep in touch.  Here's some advice for those still going to the meetings:  Keep going, do your part.  Networking is key.

"Even though networking didn't get me this job it will help me in the future, because I plan on maintaining relationships with those I've met.  This has been one of the best times of personal growth in my life.  More advice:  if you don't feel you can do all that you're encouraged to do, start where you can and make steps towards becoming more effective, such as talking to someone that you wouldn't have before, or making an extra phone call, going to the temple weekly, spending an extra hour a day networking or job searching, going out of your way to think of some else who may be in a tough situation.  Make this an opportunity to get something(s) great out of this time, and you will.

"Thanks again, and I wish you success and happiness!  Thanks to those who are encouraging in the meetings as well."

There's magic each week as we meet together.  Our professional volunteer staff are themselves job seekers who are offering their time and expertise to all who come.  To them goes much of the credit for the success of our offering.  Here's another one that illustrates what can happen through hard work, presistence and adaptation:

"Elder Goates, as you requested, here is a brief story of my unemployment and finding a job. I'm sure you won't want to use it all, but feel free to use any parts of it you may find appropriate:

"On the morning of July 20, 2009, I was called to a meeting and was informed that it would be my last day at work. I would remain on the payroll until August 14, and then have a severance package that would run for several weeks. It’s never good news to lose a job, but that particular job was the least favorite job I had ever had and I actually felt a sense of relief.  Even with financial services being hit hard by the economic conditions, I was confident that my skills were sufficient to land me another job quickly.

"While I had interviewed for jobs occasionally over the years, it had been since 1990, that I had really looked for a job.  I was totally unprepared for how profoundly the job market had changed in that time.

"Having severance pay, I didn’t get real serious about job hunting until after a previously planned family vacation in mid August.  I thought I could do it on my own like I did in 1990, and made little effort to reach out to others for quite some time.

"I was not made aware of any of the resources available to me through LDS Employment Resources, including the various networking meetings in Salt Lake City and Davis County, until sometime in October 2009, and my pride got in the way of participating until November.

"Since November 2009, I have been a regular participant in the Salt Lake and Centerville networking groups.  The training, inspiration, and fellowship were what got me through close to 9 months of unemployment.

"On April 16, 2010, I accepted a position with the FDIC as a Loan Review Specialist, assisting in the examination and regulatory process of banks, primarily in Utah and Idaho.  I got the job not as a result of networking, but as a result of being willing to consider all opportunities.  The job was posted in, and the federal application process is long and tedious.  On the job posting, it showed 'few openings' in Salt Lake City.  I had applied for the FDIC in the past and not heard anything from them.  With few openings and a history of not hearing from them, I was real tempted to just ignore the opening and save myself the several hours required for the application process.

"The FDIC’s application period ended on March 31, 2010, and on Monday, April 12th, while at the Salt Lake Professionals networking meeting I got a call from the FDIC to see if I could interview on Wednesday of that week.  The interview went very well and they indicated that they had to move on the position quickly or their authorization to hire would expire.  By Friday, April 16, I had an offer, which I accepted.  We are still negotiating some salary issues, but I think I will end up near my former salary.  In the worst case, it will be enough. My wife and I have learned that we can make do on much less than before my unemployment. . .

"There are several lessons to be learned from my unemployment experience. Among them are:

"1.  As a job hunter, you can’t afford to overlook any potential opportunity.  Your next job is out there waiting for you, but you don’t know where it is, and it may be in a place you didn’t think of.  I almost failed to apply to the FDIC because I thought it was a futile waste of my time.  I’m so thankful that I took the time to apply for this job.

"2. The more you learn about the job hunt/application process the better the chances are you will be considered for the job.  The federal job application process is unlike anything in private industry.  If you aren’t familiar with the application process, whether it’s federal or private, you can’t put your best foot forward and won’t be a serious candidate.  I applied for several federal jobs before getting this one.  I learned a little for each application and each successive application was better than the last.

"3. The resources provided by LDS Employment Resources are just awesome; from networking, the Professional Career Workshop, resume training, to Me in 30 and Power Statements; the tools provided free of charge are world class.  While my job was not obtained through networking, the Salt Lake and Centerville networking meetings sustained me through my period of unemployment.  The friends I made will be friends for life, and the training and inspiration were invaluable in my job hunt.

"4. Don’t give up! The employment outlook for financial services is about as bleak as any field out there, but there are jobs and well-qualified people are being hired.  You may have to reinvent yourself and look at opportunities you may have over looked under other circumstances.  I found that the networking groups helped sustain me and give me the push I needed to stay active in the job hunt."
I am always grateful for those who take a minute to document their successful employment searches, and to send back a note of encouragement to others.  Their willingness to share is a testimonial to the process we put the candidates through.  While we don't have jobs to offer per se (and sometimes people are disappointed that we don't just do it all for them), we do offer hope, a pat on the back and the warm hand of friendship, tools and networking to all who participate as they learn what they need to learn from their life experiences. 

Fixing a Broken Federal Government TODAY

Find out why the buzz about Mike Lee is gaining momentum and the bandwagon is getting bigger every day.  There's plenty of room for everyone on this bandwagon, and it's time you were on board with us. 

From the Mike Lee campaign -- a clear message and a call to action:

Dear David,

In a recent Fox News opinion poll conducted April 20-21st, 58% of all Americans and 75% of Republicans said they believed that the federal government is broken. The poll also noted that 68% of all citizens disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

How do you fix a broken Congress? It may not be as difficult as it sounds or seems. It starts by electing a new generation of leaders who are willing to not put off until tomorrow the hard and difficult decisions that need to be made today.

Politicians who have been in Washington too long continually focus on tomorrow -- not because tomorrow is better, but because tomorrow never really comes in Washington. Today's problems are perpetually pushed off to be paid for and dealt with at a later time. With no tomorrow to deal with today, they:

•Incur trillions of dollars in debt, which they claim can be paid for tomorrow.
•Put off eliminating bankrupt entitlement programs for tomorrow.
•Postpone addressing the drain of illegal immigration on our nation until tomorrow.
•Refuse to balance the budget and end pork-barrel earmark spending -- because that, too, can be done tomorrow.

There is no tomorrow in Washington, which is why the U.S. Senate needs Mike Lee today!

•Mike Lee will reject deficit spending today
•Mike Lee will start the repeal of government-run health care today
•Mike Lee will begin to retire career politicians with term limits today
•Mike Lee will reduce government regulation today
•Mike Lee will restore the constitutional debate in Congress today

We can no longer put off fixing a broken federal government and Congress until tomorrow. Change in Washington begins with change in Utah today.

Elect Mike Lee to the U.S. Senate – with your vote, tomorrow starts today!

Updates from the campaign:

•See Mike's new video segment about a Supreme Court building thermostat and a related observation about how Congress works.
•Radio talk show host Mark Levin recently endorsed our campaign.
•Radio talk show host Glenn Beck praised our campaign's efforts this week to restore the constitutional debate to Congress.  [Beck said the Republican Party is attempting to suppress voices like Mike Lee's because as an independent thinker Lee threatens to disrupt the status quo Senator Bennett cherishes.  In this one instance I wholeheartedly agree with Glenn Beck and Bennett will pay for it -- sorry my blogger program doesn't support an audio file.]
•New post: Afghanistan and National Defense.
•Mike was the first congressional candidate in the country to sign the Contract From America.
Upcoming events:

•“Meet Mike” in West Valley City, Friday 4/23, 10am - 11:30am, 4740 South 4100 South
•“Meet Mike” in South Jordan, Friday 4/23, 12pm - 1:30pm, South Jordan Library
•Tooele County Convention, Friday 4/23, 6pm - 8:30pm, Fireman’s Museum, Tooele
•Meet the Candidates, Friday 4/23, 6pm - 9pm, South Town Expo Center, Sandy
•Salt Lake County Convention, Saturday 4/24, 8am - 3pm, South Town Expo Center, Sandy
•Utah County Convention, Saturday 4/24, 11am - 5pm, Mountain View High School, Orem
•“Meet Mike” in Kaysville, Saturday 4/24, 2pm - 4pm, 1149 West Hanline Circle, Kaysville
•Salt Lake City Debate, Saturday 4/24, 6pm - 8pm, Salt Lake County Council Chambers, SLC

For details on these and other upcoming events, please consult our events page on the website.

P.S. Be sure to connect with us on our website, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to keep up with the latest updates from our campaign!

Please join me in supporting the next Senator from Utah -- Mike Lee.  I will do everything I can to assure his sweep at the state nominating convention on May 8th.

Obamacare: The Hard Reality

The news is now trickling out to employees of large and small companies that are still fortunate enough to have health care benefit plans.  Not surprisingly, these employers are still trying to assess the impact of Obamacare on their companies and their employees. 

It is obvious to me that once they have had a chance to review the Obamacare bill in its entirety they will begin to implement its provisions as they are able.  What is interesting to me is that the confusion is rampant and the implications are staggering. 

Yesterday, I was sent the following communication from the Human Resources department of a Fortune 500 company which shall remain nameless for obvious reasons.  Try to find any clarity in this letter, and search for anything but ambiguity:

To: All Full Time US Employees

From: Benefits

Dear Employee,

As you know, health care reform legislation was signed into law by President Obama in late March. This legislation has significant implications for both employers who offer health care benefits and for the employees and families covered by those plans. Our agency participates in the *** Group Health and Welfare Benefit Plan (the “*** Plan”), and *** will be working with the agencies in the Plan to implement the provisions of the law, as required. However, this will take some time and much analysis; so, for the time being, the *** Plan management has asked us to share the information below with our employees.

We know you probably have some questions and may have some concerns about health care reform and how the legislation will impact you and your benefits. As your Plan managers we have been closely following the health care reform legislation and the implications for our employer-sponsored health care benefits. However, due to the complexity of the law and many last minute changes that were made just before passage, as well as yet to be issued regulations, it will take some time to sort out exactly what the legislation means for the *** Plan, the individual participating agencies and you as participants. While some provisions of the new legislation will take effect later in 2010, these do not impact the *** Plan; accordingly, we do not anticipate making any changes prior to the 2011 plan year. In addition, the major provisions of the new legislation will not take effect until 2014. In several instances, you will find that the requirements of the new health care reform legislation are already in place under the *** Plan. For example, the medical plan options under the *** Plan do not contain any pre-existing condition exclusions and annual physicals and preventative screenings are covered at 100% in-network.

One provision of the new legislation that has received a lot of attention is the provision related to the requirement that health plans must cover children up to age 26. Unfortunately this provision is not as clear as the media has been reporting. For example, while there have been assertions in the media that this provision will take effect immediately, this is not the case. In most cases, this provision will take effect on January 1, 2011, and we anticipate that is when the provision will apply to the *** Plan as well. Over the next few months we will continue to work with our consultants and legal counsel to review the new legislation and forthcoming regulations in more detail and further assess their implications on the *** Plan. We do not anticipate having definitive details until the fall of 2010. However, as these details become clearer, you can expect to receive further updates from us.

One final comment: As always, your benefits require you to be actively involved to get the most from our plans. While we evaluate the new legislation, we encourage you to focus on what you can do today to take advantage of the coverage currently in place. This might be a good time to review your company-provided health care coverage to become a better informed health care consumer. For instance, if you haven’t already, consider scheduling your annual physical and make sure you and your family are getting the preventive care exams you need.

Again, you can look forward to receiving further updates regarding the new health care reform legislation from us in the next few months ahead.


Human Resources

Note the oxymoronic name of the bill.  The net effect of the "Affordable Care Act" is that once again paralysis has overtaken American businesses as they attempt to even understand was has been done to them.  Imagine the chaos that is permeating the insurance providers at this juncture!  All smiles on the day it was signed into law.  Do they have any idea what damage they have wrought?

A separate Congressional Budget Office analysis, also released Thursday, estimated that 4 million households would be hit with tax penalties under the law for failing to get the government-mandated insurance coverage.

CBS News reported yesterday that neutral analysts have now examined the legislation in a report issued by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).  They have concluded the health care remake will achieve Obama's aim of expanding health insurance - adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.  But their analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, however, since the report also warned that Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, forcing lawmakers to roll them back. 

Quoting from the CBS story:
"The U.S. spends $2.5 trillion a year on health care, far more per person than any other developed nation, and for results that aren't clearly better when compared to more frugal countries. At the outset of the health care debate last year, Obama held out the hope that by bending the cost curve down, the U.S. could cover all its citizens for about what the nation would spend absent any reforms. The report found that the president's law missed the mark, although not by much. The overhaul will increase national health care spending by $311 billion from 2010-2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent. To put that in perspective, total health care spending during the decade is estimated to surpass $35 trillion.

"Administration officials argue the increase is a bargain price for guaranteeing coverage to 95 percent of Americans. They also point out that the law will decrease the federal deficit by $143 billion over the 10-year period, even if overall health care spending rises.

"The report's most sober assessments concerned Medicare.

"In addition to flagging the cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers as potentially unsustainable, it projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular program. Enrollment would plummet by about 50 percent, as the plans reduce extra benefits that they currently offer. Seniors leaving the private plans would still have health insurance under traditional Medicare, but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.

"In another flashing yellow light, the report warned that a new voluntary long-term care insurance program created under the law faces 'a very serious risk' of insolvency."

The CBS story cited above contains several other reports you should review on your own, but the point is this:  This government's radical lurch to the far left agenda of the Obama administration in its attempts to reform health care is going to be challenged in the courts for years to come.  The country has been set on a course of indeterminable length and complexity that is anything but predictable. 
These are but two samples that hit my radar yesterday, and there appears to be no end in sight. 
We must make a start in retrenchment of runaway government spending.  The mid-term election of 2010 will be pivotal in that effort.  A winning platform will include drastic cuts in federal government spending, dramatically reducing deficit spending, eliminating the seniority system in Congress, and returning power to the states.  Those who oppose those ideas must be voted from office and replaced with those who will pledge to re-enthrone the Constitutional provisions of limited government.
That's why Mike Lee is the obvious choice for me for the U.S. Senate seat currently being held by Senator Bob Bennett.  The old ways of doing things in Washington D.C. are proven to be disastrous. 

I have been asked to participate in numerous polls since being elected as a state delegate.  With one particularly engaging employee of a polling firm out of Colorado commissioned by The Salt Lake Tribune, I asked her when she was finished with her questions, "So tell me off the record, what's it looking like for Senator Bennett?  Do you think he will find any support at the nominating convention?"  Her response was candid -- "The people I've been calling are not supporters of Senator Bennett.  I haven't talked to anyone yet who is voting for him."  I know, I know, unscientific, only one caller, I know, I know. . .  but it's going to prove to be an epidemic that can't be stopped.

We must and we will begin again, beginning on May 8th at the Utah Republican Nominating Convention, where Senator Bennett will be eliminated from the ballot in November.  This time, one hopes, it will be the REAL change, as opposed to that "changy thang" we got in 2008.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bennett's future resembles a "hanging chad"

I suppose there are some people remaining in Utah who are standing gape-jawed at the spectre of eliminating Senator Bennett as a candidate for the 2010 senatorial race in November. 

To those who are still catching up to the political reality about to grip our fair state, the National Review published an article two days ago that just popped up on my radar.  It summarizes nicely the problem Senator Bennett will have in the upcoming state nominating convention on May 8th.

Absent a viable alternative to Senator Bennett, obviously there would be nothing to talk about going forward, but in Mike Lee we have that alternative who represents a freshman class of Senators that will capture their respective primary elections and go on to win in November. 

The fact there are SIX others besides Mike Lee vying for the nomination against Bennett speaks volumes about the anger being registered against the incumbent.

Senator Bennett will soon be in everyone's rear view mirror as we plan for a bright future without him.  Rest assured, this is not a Utah anomaly.  This year it is going to be a trend-setter.

Though he will likely avoid his primary, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is trailing badly behind the potential Republicans in Nevada, while Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is neck and neck with J.D. Hayworth in Arizona in his primary.  Florida is also staging a primary where Governor Crist (R-FL) is in trouble.  The Indiana seat vacated by Evan Bayh (D-IN) is looking more and more like a safe haven for a political upstart who's a fourth-generation farmer.  Even Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) political fortunes have eroded, that pompous liberal who insisted on a general calling her by her title "Senator" instead of the tradional military "m'am." 

The good old boy (and girl) network appears to finally be going down in flames.  Watch for Utah to set the example for the rest of the country.

I have never jumped on board with any of the right-wing movements that are abroad in the land.  The radio talk show hosts are too bombastic for my preferences.  The tea party movement, while laudable, is too extreme, as is the Club for Growth. 

The extremes, as I have noted before, are not where we should be looking for our guidance.  I prefer playing it down the middle of the fairway.  This year in my mind that means seeking and finding candidates who are solid in their Constitutional values and anchored in the proposition that limited government is best.  I know "limited government" seems oxymoronic, but it's still a goal worth pursuing and it's not extreme. 

It's always a good idea in golf to play from the middle, and it is certainly truer now in politics than ever before. 

Having said that, here's a good list (it's Mark Levin's) for a starting point to change things up in Washington D.C. and rid the planet now and forever of the "senioritis syndrome" that has so badly afflicted us in national politics for so long:

Marco Rubio (Florida) opposing Governor Crist for the seat vacated by Mel Martinez
J.D. Hayworth (Arizona) opposing John McCain
Sharron Angle (Nevada) opposing Harry Reid
Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) opposing Arlen Specter
Marlin Stutzman (Indiana) opposing any Democrat for the vacated Evan Bayh seat (he leads by 10 points)
Mike Lee (Utah) opposing Bob Bennett
Chuck DeVore (California) opposing SENATOR Barbara Boxer

Imagine what a different and better world it would be if all seven were elected this fall.  You want change you can believe in?  That's a pretty good start in my judgment.

I for one am grateful that Mike Lee here in Utah is shunning a party label and has openly criticized the Bush administration that flouted big government solutions.  All that, of course, has been blasted into insignificance compared to the Obama administration's largesse at the taxpayers' expense.

The point is, this year's election phenomenon is not isolated to Utah.  As I predicted after our March 23rd caucus meetings, this tsunami is going to engulf the country.

The Handcart Pioneers

You will think it strange, perhaps, that I would pick this topic for a bright, sunny spring day in April.  However, I do so intentionally -- as they did then, so must we today.

There has never been such an advocate for the lessons to be learned from our pioneer ancestors as we had in President Gordon B. Hinckley.  The steeled and seasoned fiber of his ancestors was carved out of those early difficult circumstances.  From the depths of their adversity a mountain empire of faith would one day emerge.  We are the beneficiaries of that resolve.  Little wonder that President Hinckley had a portrait of "Brother Brigham" in his office and that he said he regularly "consulted" with his predecessor on matters of import for the kingdom. 

In the 1850s, Church leaders decided to form handcart companies as a way to reduce expenses so that financial aid could be extended to the greatest number of emigrants. Saints who traveled this way put only 100 pounds of flour and a limited quantity of provisions and belongings into a cart and then pulled the cart across the plains. Between 1856 and 1860, ten handcart companies traveled to Utah. Eight of the companies reached the Salt Lake Valley successfully, but two of them, the Martin and Willie handcart companies, were caught in an early winter and many Saints among them perished.

Nellie Pucell, a pioneer in one of these ill-fated companies, turned ten years old on the plains. Both her parents died during the journey. As the group neared the mountains, the weather was bitter cold, the rations were depleted, and the Saints were too weak from hunger to continue on. Nellie and her sister collapsed. When they had almost given up hope, the leader of the company came to them in a wagon. He placed Nellie in the wagon and told Maggie to walk along beside it, holding on to steady herself. Maggie was fortunate because the forced movement saved her from frostbite.

When they reached Salt Lake City and Nellie’s shoes and stockings, which she had worn across the plains, were removed, the skin came off with them as a result of frostbite. This brave girl’s feet were painfully amputated and she walked on her knees the rest of her life. She later married and gave birth to six children, keeping up her own house and raising a fine posterity. (“Story of Nellie Pucell Unthank,” Heart Throbs of the West, comp. Kate B. Carter, 12 vols. [1939–51], 9:418–20). Her determination in spite of her situation and the kindness of those who cared for her exemplify the faith and willingness to sacrifice of these early Church members. Their example is a legacy of faith to all Saints who follow them.

A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.” (William Palmer, quoted in David O. McKay, “Pioneer Women,” Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1948, 8).

I have learned a valuable lesson as I have aged.  It is that God has seemingly inexhaustible stores of patience for his children.  From time to time, it seems, we are reminded of the delicate nature of our grasp on life on this planet, suspended as it is in the vast reaches of a cosmos that is virtually unknowable because of its immensity. 

Thursday at 6:00 p.m., a 4.9 earthquake was registered on seismometers in Utah, notable only because so many along the Wasatch front felt it.  The epicenter was near Randolph, Utah, in Rich County.  Many described a gently rolling or vibration sensation, lasting only a few seconds.  A few minor items were knocked off a few shelves, but for the most part it was uneventful.

However, this week a volcano erupted in Iceland.  "The skies are totally empty over northern Europe," said Brian Flynn, deputy head of Eurocontrol, adding "there will be some significant disruption of European air traffic tomorrow."

The agency said about 16,000 of Europe's usual 28,000 daily flights were canceled Friday — twice as many as were canceled a day earlier.

U.S. airlines canceled 280 of the more than 330 trans-Atlantic flights of a normal day, and about 60 flights between Asia and Europe were canceled.

The International Air Transport Association said the volcano was costing the industry at least $200 million a day.

On April 7th, another earthquake rattled Anchorage, Alaska, this one registering 4.6 on the Richter Scale.  Once again, it's hardly worth noting in light of the devastating human suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January.  That one registered 7.0 and left a wake of devastation, death and destruction.  It will never be fully known how many people died.

How many earthquakes happen every Month? Day? Minute?  Here's a handy reference guide for earthquake awareness.  Click on the link.  Summarizing their data:

Per month.........Approximately 80,000
Per day.............Approximately 2,600
Per minute.........Approximately 2

And, per second, one earthquake is felt approximately every 30 seconds. Of these, only a relative few are capable of causing damage. Earthquakes are common natural events imbedded in the fabric of the earth's construction for a purpose known best to the Creator.

If the creation of this earth is really the result of "intelligent design," one asks, then why wouldn't the Creator make a planet that was a little more stable than the one on which we live?

That Intelligent Creator has given us an answer (and this is just one snippet among many that could be cited):

For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations: Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.
Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked.
Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord;
For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying — Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord?
Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words — Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?
And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.
O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
Behold, the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.
Behold, verily I say unto you, that these are the words of the Lord your God.
Wherefore, labor ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time — for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth.
For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth.
For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come.
For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.
And he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire.
And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment.
Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.
Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.  (Doctrine and Covenants 43:18-35).

Apparently, the Creator uses natural disasters through which His voice may be heard by all -- and in that voice can be heard an appeal to "come unto me."  This mortal probation is fragile at best, as our pioneer ancestors learned all too well.  What they also learned in the depths of their adversity, apparently, was how to communicate with -- and become well-acquainted with -- their God.

America is on the brink of yet another renewal, perhaps even a "retrenchment."  Time will tell whether or not it can be accomplished in a civil and orderly transition of political power or if it will all break down in chaos.  This much is certain, in this election year as none I have ever known in my lifetime, the masses are aroused as they perceive their freedoms have been eroded by exploding taxpayer-funded bailouts, massive debt and unending government budget deficits.

From time to time because of our unstable nature as mortals, it seems, we must be reminded by the God of Heaven who we are and what we are to be about:

And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One — yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths!
Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;
Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.
Yea, and if he say unto the earth — Move — it is moved.  (Helaman 12:1-13).

In the days that lie ahead, whether it is voluntary or of necessity, like our handcart pioneer ancestors we will all become better acquainted with the God who made us.  Of that much I am certain.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Like Mike (Lee)

Here's the latest missive from Mike Lee, addressed to all the state delegates for the upcoming Utah State Republican Nominating Convention. 

You'll discern quickly why I support him -- he thinks and writes about exactly what's on the minds of all Americans as we approach this critical juncture in America's future.  (And oh, by the way, his message is filled with hope and is forward-leaning into the wind of opposing forces).

I predict Mike Lee will be the party's nominee this fall.  I encourage you to learn more about him by clicking on the links cited below:

Dear David,

We live in troubling times, with troubling problems and troubling trends, and yet because of our Constitution, we are not a nation in trouble. A biblical verse offers sound advice for each of us as we lean into the stiff wind of the prevailing economic, social and political challenges: “Cast not away therefore your confidence” (Hebrews 10:35).

If there were one message I could deliver to every Utahn (and indeed every American), it would be to live with confidence. No one need live in fear. And while the pundits of doom and gloom will have us believe that all is lost — that the economy is broken beyond repair and that people are powerless to change the status quo — they are wrong; unless, of course, we let the President, Congress and government bureaucrats run every aspect of our lives. Listening to the constant banter of negativity and conflict could leave even the most positive and confident among us wondering whether it is still worth getting out of bed every morning.

There are far too many in this country who have lost confidence in themselves, in the inherent goodness of the people and communities around them, in the free enterprise system, and in the greatness of America. While there are difficult days and trying times ahead, we cannot cast away our confidence.

To me, confidence is never arrogance. True confidence comes from having respect for the challenge, being ready for the task, having a solid plan to execute, and the patience to persevere. The type of confidence that is necessary to reform Congress also requires a keen understanding of, commitment to, and ability to apply the text and original understanding of the Constitution.

My confidence, and that of hundreds of campaign volunteers, isn’t based solely in the fact that we are working around the clock, criss-crossing the state, and calling delegates one-on-one every day. We have respect for the challenge, we are ready for the task, we have a plan to execute, we will persevere through anything, and we have the Constitution on our side. Combine all of this with our confidence in the people of Utah, and it adds up to unstoppable confidence.

I recently received an added dose of this kind of confidence while speaking at a campaign event in Lindon. Toward the end of the meeting (and after I had fielded questions from many of the nearly 100 delegates in attendance), we announced that we would have time for only two more questions. Shortly thereafter, my wife, Sharon, pointed out that a 12-year old girl — who had sat patiently raising her hand for about an hour, but had somehow gone unnoticed — should be permitted to ask the final question. Her inquiry was the best one of the night: “What will happen to our country if we don’t follow the Constitution?” The deep insight underlying that question reinforced my confidence in this cause, in the Constitution, and in our country.

As your future U.S. Senator, I am confident we can reject deficit spending and reverse the direction of our national debt. I am confident we can reform the tax system while reducing the size, cost and reach of government. I am confident we can re-energize the economy and repeal the horrible heath care bill. I am confident we can make hard decisions to ensure the confidence and future of our children and grandchildren. I am confident we can do what so desperately needs to be done.

We live at a time in our nation’s history that should inspire confidence — one in which all Americans should move forward in the direction of their goals and dreams. I have great confidence in the American people. As a country and as individuals we need not cower, but must stand as a confident example of all that is good and all that is right in America.

This is the source of my confidence — the type of confidence Ronald Reagan possessed as he declared that it is always “morning in America.” So I invite all Americans to “Cast not away your confidence.” Instead, I invite you to add your confidence, your voice and your vote to this cause. Working together we can, we must, and we will restore the constitutional debate to Congress and reclaim our future.

(signed) Mike Lee

P.S. We've got a full week of events coming up; be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to keep up with the latest updates from our campaign!