Young Republicans, You have it Wrong

According to a Fox News report today, younger Republicans say …

On same-sex marriage and abortion, young GOP leaders say Republicans should  tolerate a range of views, even while maintaining a socially conservative  identity. Some of these activists say their party must tread lightly after the  Supreme Court recently threw out the most powerful part of the Voting Rights  Act, the law that became a major turning point in black Americans’ struggle for  equal rights and political power.

Should? Republican leaders are already tolerating a “range of views” on crucial social issues. The truth is that the party is not tolerating its own written platform on the principled stands that will benefit society the most: championing a culture of life from the dangers of the decadent, profit-driven abortion industry, and protecting marriage and family from radical change agents determined to overturn the social order. Country club Republicans refuse to understand that pro-life and culture of death views are irreconcilable. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t allow anything and everything  without following the Democrats into the moral abyss. You must stand for something. It is not in the nation’s best interests for Americans to tear down the marriage culture and create generations of children who are confused about gender and sexuality. Especially when the radical change agents represent a tiny minority — albeit with tremendous wealth and political power.

No, we must hold the line on Judeo-Christian morality. Our worldview created the greatness of this nation and stands as the beacon light of freedom. The socialistic, amoral worldviews of the Left are deconstructing America, and putting our culture in decline. The only hope for America to reverse the cultural decline is to restore the values that made America great — not criminalizing the biblical worldview and free speech.

The Republican Party — in principle and platform — is the party of freedom.

The Democrats are the party of Big Brother and excessive control. Why would we want to be like them?

The Coming ObamaCare Damage

By Tom Jenney, Americans for Prosperity, Arizona Chapter

When it comes to the fiscal costs and human damage of expanding  Medicaid/AHCCCS under ObamaCare, we know that things will turn out  badly.  How do we know?  Because we’ve been there, and we’ve done  that.  Here is what past experience, here in Arizona and elsewhere, tells  us about the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion:

1)   The Medicaid expansion will cost much  more than projected.

2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.

3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get  fixed.

4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.

5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections  will lead to more tax hikes.

You can read more about each of those items below, and take  action at www.urapc.org

1)  The Medicaid expansion will cost much more than  projected.

None of the promised fiscal results of Arizona’s last Medicaid/AHCCCS  expansion (enacted by voters through Prop 204 in 2000) actually  materialized.  Prop 204 backers promised that the AHCCCS expansion  would save money in the state budget.  The Joint Legislative  Budget Committee was somewhat wiser, knowing that the expansion would cost the  state money.  The committee projected that covering the Prop 204  population would cost $389 million in 2008.  But the actual cost was $1.623  billion — four times as expensive as projected!

And of course, the projected $2 billion in federal matching funds is  not “free.” Certainly not for federal taxpayers — including millions of  Arizonans.  According to the Goldwater Institute’s Christina  Corieri, if Arizona and 11 other fence-sitter States join the 18  States that have already said No to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, the  country could save $609 billion by 2022.  That’s  real money — even in Washington!

2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.

Several studies  suggest that Medicaid may actually hurt its supposed beneficiaries, but there  has been only one randomized study (the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment)  comparing persons on Medicaid to persons having no insurance at all.   According to results  released recently, the study has so far failed to find  any evidence that putting people on Medicaid saved any lives or made any  improvements in several objective health markers (blood pressure,  cholesterol levels, and diabetes).

Things will get worse in AHCCCS the longer ObamaCare goes without  being repealed.  In Arizona, according to the Kaiser Family  Foundation, 23 percent of doctors say they will not accept AHCCCS  patients.  Combine large increases in the Medicaid population with a  declining number of doctors, and the result will be longer waiting times for  patients.  In medicine, longer waiting times often mean discomfort,  disability and death.  Read more about the human cost of the  Medicaid expansion HERE.

3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get  fixed.

The proponents of the current Medicaid expansion estimate that there is a “hidden health tax” of $2,000 per family per year in higher insurance premiums  caused by uncompensated  care (uninsured or underinsured people using the emergency  room).  13 years ago, backers of the Prop 204 Medicaid expansion  made the same argument, claiming that the expansion was going to  relieve the state’s uncompensated care problem.  But according to a Lewin  Group study, uncompensated care in Arizona increased by an average of  nine percent per year during the first seven years of the Prop 204 Medicaid  expansion, and the average family’s health insurance premium increased  from $8,972 in 2003 to $14,854 in 2011 – a 66 percent increase.

Before you believe the hospital lobby’s arguments about uncompensated care,  be sure to read Christina Corieri’s latest post: Medicaid  expansion will line hospitals’ pockets.

4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.

The main reason Arizona’s Medicaid system (AHCCCS) is not as bad as that in  most other States is that Arizona waited two decades to join the  Medicaid programBecause we held out, we were able to  bargain for a better deal — a Medicaid program that has been better at  controlling costs and has provided better options for patients than in many  other States.

But Governor Brewer’s team has failed to even try negotiating with  Obama’s department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In its  most recent message about the Section 1115 waiver, HHS said “we  do not anticipate that we would authorize enrollment caps or  similar policies” while still letting States get 2-to-1 matching dollars.   But of course, “we do not anticipate” is not the same thing as saying “No.”  Right now, HHS is in the position of having to negotiate with  States, because 18 States have already said No to the Medicaid expansion, and 12  States are still on the fence.  At this point, we don’t know if HHS  really means “No,” because the Governor’s team simply threw up the white  flag and capitulated to the demands of the Obama  Administration.

Further, the Governor’s cost projections are based on AHCCCS coverage  under cookie cutter Medicaid rules — in other words, how much things  will cost if we capitulate and run AHCCCS according to federal diktat, without  negotiating for better ways to run the program.

5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections  will lead to more tax hikes.

Proponents of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion are trying to do an end-run  around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection in the Arizona  Constitution.  Under Prop 108, it is supposed to take a two-thirds majority  of the Legislature to raise taxes.  But Medicaid expansion  proponents want to allow an unelected bureaucrat at AHCCCS to raise  state taxes (mainly hospital bed  taxes) by hundreds of millions of dollars per year — without a two-thirds  vote of the Legislature!

In their efforts to squeeze a giant hospital bed tax (“provider tax”) through  a tiny loophole in Prop 108, Governor Brewer and others are trying to  pretend that the provider tax is not a tax — even though the  provider tax is a TAX under the Social Security Act.  They are  also trying to pretend that: the provider tax is not allocated according to  formula, although it plainly is; the provider tax does not have a limit,  although it is limited by federal law to six percent; and, we don’t know how  much money will be raised by the tax, even though the Governor and some  Legislators are building budgets around the expected revenue.

History shows that removing taxpayer protections inevitably leads to  higher taxes.  If Arizona’s Legislators delegate to an AHCCCS  bureaucrat the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, they  will kill Prop 108, clearing the way for other departments and agencies to raise  taxes without getting approval by legislative supermajorities.

To block the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion and to stop the end-run around  Arizona’s constitutional taxpayer protections, go to www.urapc.org

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney Arizona Director Americans for Prosperity www.aztaxpayers.org tjenney@afphq.org

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/arizona/legislativealerts/medicaid-expansion-been-there-done-that/#ixzz2aGHMiPUI

2013 Legislative Session Wasn’t all Bad

By Tom Jenney, Americans for Prosperity, Arizona Chapter

As you probably know, Governor Jan Brewer, with the help of Democratic  legislators and 14  Republicans, managed to force the ObamaCare  Medicaid expansion through the Legislature.  (That battle is  not over.  Click  here to take action.)  And almost nothing was done during the  2013 legislative session to curb the power of government employee unions.

But the 2013 session did bring some good news for taxpayers.   Several bills supported by AFP-Arizona were passed by the Legislature and  signed into law by the Governor, and several of the bills we opposed were  blocked.  More info is available at this  link, but below is a quick summary.

HB  2531 — This bill, sponsored by Rep. J.D.  Mesnard, reforms Arizona’s tax code to allow businesses to get an  immediate income tax deduction for equipment purchases.

SB  1363 — Sponsored by Sen. Rick  Murphy, this bill expands eligibility and funding for Arizona’s  system of school choice education saving accounts.

HB  2458Sponsored by Rep. Paul  Boyer, this bill will help to prevent fraud in Arizona’s  recently-created system of school choice education savings accounts.

HB  2608 — This bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Phil  Lovas and was a key policy priority of House Speaker Andy  Tobin, is an important first step in the reform of government  employee pensions.  HB 2608 converted the Elected Officials Retirement Plan  (EORP) from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.

HB  2045 — This bill mandates that health care providers make  some cash prices available to their consumers.  By doing so, the  reform will introduce greater price competition to health care in Arizona, help  to prevent some fraud and over-billing, and let the market guide  consumers toward better health care choices.  Thanks to the efforts of Sen. Nancy  Barto, this reform was included in the AHCCCS payments overhaul  bill sponsored by Rep. Heather  Carter.

AFP-Arizona is grateful to report that two corporate welfare bills were  blocked.  Governor Brewer vetoed HB  2342 and the Senate held HB  2646.  (Both bills were sponsored by House Speaker Andy  Tobin.)

While a bill increasing local bonding authority and property taxes  (HB  2399 — Rep. Heather  Carter) passed and was signed by the Governor, a bill creating  new local taxing districts (HB  2456Rep. Phil  Lovas) was successfully blocked.

AFP-Arizona will soon publish its 2013  Legislative Scorecard (the 29th annual scorecard put out by  AFP-Arizona and the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers).  On the Scorecard,  you will be able to see how your Legislators performed on these bills and dozens  of others. Grassroots Education Events in July

On July 25, our sister organization, AFP Foundation-Arizona, will co-sponsor  an all-day Scottsdale simulcast of the Western  Conservative Summit, with live presentations by Arizona Congressmen  Trent Franks, Paul Gosar and Matt Salmon.  And on the evening of July 31,  AFPF-Arizona will celebrate Milton  Friedman’s birthday with a panel discussion on Common Core.   (Click on the links to register.)

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney Arizona Director Americans for Prosperity www.aztaxpayers.org tjenney@afphq.org

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/arizona/legislativealerts/it-wasnt-all-bad-news/#ixzz2aGEVG5zU

Register for City Elections and Vote!

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

The deadline to register to vote for the August City Elections is this Monday, July 29! If you’re not registered visit azvoterguide.com today to register online – it only takes 5 minutes!

Also – this will be the last 5 Minutes for Families for the summer. We will still be sure to notify you of any Breaking News or Action Alerts if needed. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all that’s going on with CAP this summer. We’ll resume our weekly Friday emails in the fall.

Conscience vs. Career

For Christians, faith penetrates all aspects of life. It informs every decision we make – from home life to work life, faith shines a light unto your path of daily choices.

That’s why protecting rights of conscience is so essential. It is impossible for believers to separate out the decisions we make in public life from our private life.

Sadly however, we’re increasingly seeing individuals across the country be forced to check their sincerely held religious beliefs at the door of their office or school.

The First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits this type of religious discrimination, yet there is a great need for statewide public policy to ensure no one is ever forced to choose between their conscience and their career.

That’s why Center for Arizona Policy has worked with state legislators to pass a number of critical religious freedom laws to protect the religious liberty of business owners, professionals licensed by the state, students, and more.

As one family’s story shows, these laws are having a real impact on lives.

NSA Demands Passwords and Security Questions/Answers

John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent NewsA Satirical Look at Recent News

CNET reports that Internet service providers are being pressed by the National Security Agency to turn over users’ passwords and security questions and answers to the Government. While many see this as an invasion of privacy, NSA Deputy Director John Inglis called it “an essential building block of national security.”

“What good would it do us to warehouse all the data we’re collecting if we could be shutout of access by inability to get past users’ security walls?” Inglis asked. “Loyal and law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from the NSA. Only those engaged in activities hostile to Government policies will be targeted.”

The NSA’s reassurances did not impress Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) who called it “an essential building block for unlimited government. Access to passwords would allow the Government to seize control of users’ accounts. Bank deposits could be cleaned out. Fraudulent transactions could be conducted making the users liable for civil damages and criminal charges. It would enable an ‘Orwellian’ nightmare state to arise.”

Inglis characterized Wyden’s fears as “at best, paranoid delusions,” but left open the possibility that “they might represent a more sinister effort aimed at thwarting our attempts to protect the nation from persons engaging in anti-government conspiracies.”

US Ups Pressure for Russia to Allow Snowden Extradition

US Attorney General Eric Holder issued a written demand that the Russian Government apprehend NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden and send him back to the United States to face charges of leaking national secrets. In an effort to soothe concerns that Snowden might be ill-treated, Holder promised that “we will not be seeking the death penalty, nor will Mr. Snowden be subjected to torture.”

To bolster his credibility, Holder cited the case of Private Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier on trial for providing documents to WikiLeaks. “Private Manning wasn’t tortured,” Holder pointed out. “He has been provided with full accommodations of food and lodging while enjoying a fair trial.”

Upon his arrest, Manning was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The Government is seeking a sentence of imprisonment for life for actions it says “aided and abetted the enemy.”

In the event that Holder’s “sweet talk” fails to persuade the Russians to surrender Snowden, the US Senate is taking up a bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The bill would impose “sanctions” against any country that “harbors” Snowden.

“Snowden’s revelation of the surveillance performed by the NSA has done incalculable harm to the image of the United States,” Graham asserted. “Now that everyone knows the government is spying on them their vision of America as a free country has been irreparably damaged. Snowden’s fleeing to Russia has allowed this notorious trampler of human rights to pose as a defender of this traitor’s freedom of speech and travel.”

Graham said “ideally, Snowden ought to realize what he’s done is wrong and take his punishment like a man—as my good friend Senator McCain did when he was tormented for seven years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. Failing this, it is important that Congress go on record condemning Snowden’s treachery and not let President Obama hog all the credit by taking him out with a drone strike while we look like a bunch of gutless wonders.”

Obama Praises Ho Chi Minh

During a joint meeting with current Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang, President Obama praised hard-core Vietnamese communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh as “inspired by our founding fathers.”

According to Obama, “Minh adopted key tenets of the program for liberty advocated by America’s revolutionary heroes—free public education, progressive income taxes, centralized banking, and the foundation stone of universal equality: from each according to ability, to each according to need.”

President Obama expressed optimism that “the growth of mutual respect and trust between our two countries will enable a greater cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

President Truong offered his “sympathy for the adversities your Government faces with so many internal opponents,” and promised to “share the methods that have made our country more unified. In Vietnam everyone works for the success of the Government. Perhaps you can learn from us as we have from you.”

There are some signs that the Obama Administration may be taking heed of Vietnam’s unifying initiatives. In Vietnam, bloggers who insult the government are imprisoned, priests are persecuted, political dissent is suppressed, the media censored, and anti-government “parasites” sentenced to forced labor.

At the University of Central Missouri students belonging to the College Young Republicans were barred from attending a speech given by President Obama—as a “security precaution.”

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced a federal program to subsidize minorities who want to move into “white neighborhoods” they can’t otherwise afford.

Contradicting a recent Supreme Court decision, Attorney General Eric Holder announced it will block states from carrying out “election reforms that do not conform to the Administration’s vision.”

President Declares Scandals “Phony” and “a Distraction”

In a bid to change the national narrative, President Obama slammed ongoing investigations into Administration actions as “phony” and “a distraction from the real issues Americans care about.”

Incidents being investigated include the attack in Benghazi that killed the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, the IRS abuse of political opponents, and the extensive spying on US citizens by the NSA.

“The tragedy in Benghazi was heart rending,” Obama acknowledged. “But no matter what we do now we can’t bring those people back to life. Stirring things up, trying to figure out who to blame diverts us from moving forward toward more productive uses of our time.”

“The punishment of those low-level employees at the IRS who may have exceeded their authority is something that will be handled administratively,” the President reassured. “Those hoping to trace their missteps back to me will be sorely disappointed. I gave no explicit orders for any IRS employees to harass my political enemies. I can’t be held responsible for any transgressions they may have committed out of excessive zeal and loyalty.”

“Finally, I would think that the House’s recent rejection of Congressman Amash’s attempt to rein-in the NSA is proof that, at the very least, this so-called scandal is one joined by a majority of both Parties,” the President maintained. “Mature adults recognize that privacy is a luxury we can no longer afford. Electronic communications are going to be intercepted by somebody. Isn’t it better that the Government have access so we can help protect people from malevolent forces?”

The key issue from which our attention is being diverted is, according to the President, the significant progress the economy is making under his leadership. “We have restrained the unfettered greed of those who in their quest for profit would force larger and larger numbers of Americans into the workforce,” the President boasted. “At the same time, the Government is providing more people with disability benefits and food stamps than ever before. We’re well on our way to severing the link between effort and reward that has enslaved humankind since the beginning of time. Freedom from toil has been achieved by more Americans than ever before.”

The president brushed aside arguments that his vision of a leisure society is unrealistic. “I converse with reporters on this topic all the time,” Obama offered. “They tell me my ideas are great. And off-the-record, most Republicans tell me the same thing. They’re just afraid to agree with me publicly out of fear that misguided GOP voters won’t understand the wisdom of my policies and will oust them in a primary election.”

Chicago Launches New Campaign against Gun Violence

With over 500 murders committed in the City in 2012, Chicago officials are desperate to stem the tide of violence. This week, the City will be mailing letters to persons identified in a “heat list” developed by a Yale professor, who studied murders on Chicago’s West Side between 2005 and 2010.

“The purpose of the letters is two-fold,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “On the one hand, we are letting these criminals know that they are on our radar. Maybe if they know we know who they are they’ll be less eager to risk getting caught committing a crime.”

“On the other hand, recognizing that many of these criminals lacked a good male role model growing up, we thought that maybe a little fatherly advice might be what they need,” Emanuel added. “I mean, if no one has told these young men that murdering someone is wrong, we want to be the first.”

The mayor favorably contrasted the letter writing campaign with New York City’s stop and frisk approach, which he called “unacceptably dangerous. Maybe New York cops can get away with stopping these kind of people on the street, but here it would be an invitation to get shot. It seems less likely that a mailman would get shot delivering one of our letters. Even if we’re wrong about that, replacing a mailman requires less training and is less costly than replacing a cop.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and do not change the context. Thank you.

Rep. Schweikert: Where Some Compromise, Others Have Conscience

The Arizona Republic recently ran a story suggesting Congress has lost the art of compromise. To make the point, they highlighted the recent votes in the House on the FARM Bill.

Claiming this bill was “a federal lifeline” for farmers and “families in need of help putting food on the table,” they pointed out that I didn’t “compromise” and voted against this measure.

The point was also made that a vote seemingly as uncontroversial as a farm bill, should not be a vote of principle but merely a difference of opinion on policy, and therefore something both sides could agree to pass.

I disagree.

We are in the midst of a spending crisis. Those of us committed to stopping out-of-control spending need to step up our game. As a conservative, I do not oppose excessive spending measures to be disagreeable. I simply recognize what many in Washington ignore — we can’t afford them.

Each and every one of these spending votes is, in fact, a matter of principle. It is morally wrong to continue to spend money we don’t have while racking up debts so great that our children will never begin to pay them off.

Excessive government spending has hurt our economy, created millions more in unemployment, and driven our national debt to dangerous levels. And that is not a matter of opinion, policy or lack of compromise. That’s reality.

Consider the food-stamp program.

It’s reality that in the 1970s, just one in 50 Americans received food stamps. That number is now one in seven.

It’s reality that taxpayers currently spend $80 billion a year on food stamps — a 62 percent increase from the last FARRM Bill.

It’s also reality that in the past five years our national debt has more than doubled to more than $17 trillion. Every high-school graduate owes $910,553, and every baby born this year owes $1,496,098.

That’s tragic.

Even though it was a huge win for taxpayers that the House split the food-stamp portion out of the farm bill, the farm portion was still riddled with waste and abuse.

Since the New Deal, Washington has been picking winners and losers in the agriculture industry through a combination of price controls, import restrictions, subsidies and cash payments. While this was initially a laudable goal, the farm bill today has become nothing more than corporate welfare — where, bizarrely, some farmers are even paid not to farm their land.

Some can claim it’s members like me, holding out for real and lasting spending reforms, that are standing in the way of “compromise.” If you use Washington’s definition of compromise, which seems to be spending more money than we have, then maybe you are right.

However, true compromise cannot be an excuse to keep spending away America’s future. Sadly, that’s where “compromise” has gotten us thus far.

I was elected on a platform of reducing the size and cost of government that have left us trillions in debt and threatened our economic prosperity.

I plan to continue doing just that. I promise to stand firm and unequivocally oppose legislation like the farm bill that continues the Washington tradition of out-of-control spending with money we don’t have.

Because with more than a $17 trillion national debt, the stakes are too high to abide by Washington’s definition of “compromise.”

U.S. Rep. David Schweikert is a Republican representing Arizona’s Sixth Congressional District.