Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Remembering Terri Schindler-Schiavo

I've occasionally resurrected old articles and columns I have written in the past. This week is the 9th anniversary of the intentional starving of Terri Schiavo, who was said by the media to have been "in a vegetative state", and said by her husband to "have wanted to die." The media ignored signs that her injury may have been the result of a failed murder attempt by her husband, and also ignored medical signs that Terri was, in fact, able to respond to the world around her. This column was printed in The Front Range Rampart in 2005.



People enjoy movies about the best of human nature, and the human spirit. And, invariably, the movies we find most compelling are stories about survival in the face of great odds.

When have we ever seen movies where responders to the scene of a bad accident exhort the victims, “Just give up! You’re not going to want to live like this.”? No! They say, “Come on! Hang in there! You can make it!”

We are uplifted by movies about the piano player or football star who’s lost his limbs, yet finds the will to live a productive life. Life’s not all about “quality of life.”

Ask Joni Earickson Tada, a quadriplegic who ably guides a paintbrush with her teeth and gives inspirational speeches to audiences around the world. She said, “I didn’t think I wanted to live like that, either.” But now she does. Injuries can change your whole life, but the human will to live can overcome despair. She redefined her “quality of life” and found her own life abundant in quality even in spite of her handicaps.

So how did our society so lightly begin making decisions for Terri Schiavo, whose supposed desire to die became accepted as Gospel by the courts and media on the basis of hearsay her long estranged husband first voiced many years after her debilitating injury?

Some of those movies about the human will to live are scary. Many stories over the years have frightened us with the thought of being hurt but alive – but without any way to let someone else know. In plenty of these stories, the human spirit perseveres and finds rescue. But not in all.

Terri exhibited convincing signs of consciousness and emotion, and could communicate in simple ways. All of this the media ignored. Some of us knew, but the world as a whole – the people Terri was counting on – did not hear her cry.

Terri Schiavo was the poster-child for disabled rights in this country, and we killed her.

How much further from here to a society where we “euthanize” the disabled to put them out of their misery? Or the elderly?

More stories – often sci-fi tales like Star Trek or The Time Machine – warn of the horror of a society that sacrifices the weak for the benefit of the society as a whole. Lebensraum.

America needs to step back from the brink on this dangerous subject. We need to embrace free will and individual rights in these cases, not allow the government to become the arbiter of life and death, coldly judging to favor the “best interests” of the broader community.

Terri, whose life was judged irrelevant and worthless to society by the “wisdom” of American courts, may well turn out to be one of the most important and relevant lives lived during our age. It is our duty to be compelled by her story, and her struggle for life. We must learn from this, and we must act.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The "Never Were Any WMDs" Lie

I'm continually frustrated that so many -- many Republicans included -- believe the lie that "there never were any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq".

It's patently -- provably -- not true!  And the lie can be easily refuted using entirely liberal news sources (because it was all over CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, etc.).  Or Bill Clinton's own words, etc.

So to set the record straight, this is how I (and the liberal news networks) remember the history leading up to the US coalition (there's another lie -- "no coalition" -- there were many countries who joined the invasion) invading Iraq in March of 2003 after a yearlong period of waiting in vain for diplomatic breakthroughs (i.e. no "rush to war" either).

Today many forget that in 1983 the world knew as an absolute fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had actually used WMDs (nerve gas) against Iranian soldiers in their war.  They knew because we had video of Iranian soldiers under the effects of nerve gas (I remember watching the video on CBS, and it was disgusting).  And the networks followed up enough that they were convinced the story was true.

So there -- just there alone -- we know for a fact that the "never were any WMDs in Iraq" statement is a lie.  Or at least an intentional omission by those who know, and an ill-informed mantra learned by many who have been lied to by people with a partisan political agenda.

But there's more...

In 1988 US news networks (liberals) knew as an absolute fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had actually used WMDs (nerve gas) against Kurdish separatists in Halabja, in northern Iraq.

In 1992, shortly after the UN coalition defeated Iraq in the first Gulf War, the world was appalled as the US appealed for an uprising in southern Iraq and then was slow to respond when it happened and the Iraqi army and air force crushed it.  The belated "no fly zones" couldn't save the rebels, and it only served to keep Saddam Hussein in power when his own people clearly wanted him gone.

In any case, then in 1992, Americans knew as an absolute fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government had actually used WMDs again (nerve gas) against Shi'ite separatists in southern Iraq.

And so, starting in 1992, the increasingly frustrated UN imposed sanctions upon Iraq requiring them to allow weapons inspectors "unfettered access" to Iraqi WMD sites so they could find and destroy all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.  However, it's clear from the record (this article from NPR details the whole history) these inspectors never had "unfettered access."  In fact, they were continually, routinely, delayed, misdirected and otherwise obstructed, so that they had no way of knowing if they were really finding Iraq's WMD stockpiles.  Many of these inspectors were convinced Iraq was hiding something, still.

This pattern of obstruction continued even as late as 2003, just weeks before the US coalition invasion of Iraq.  Inspectors would be told there were WMDs hidden in a presidential palace (you remember this from the news, don't you???), the inspectors would lead a convoy there to inspect it, Iraqi soldiers would hold them up for 2 or 3 hours, or a full day, so they couldn't inspect it, and then once they finally arrived they found -- surprise, surprise! -- that there was no evidence of WMDs remaining.  That was the repeated history of a decade of UN weapons inspections!

Yes!  The inspectors did find and destroy large quantities of WMDs and many WMD-producing facilities (again, what do the liberals say?  "Never any WMDs in Iraq"???), but there was always a feeling that there was more being hidden.  On more than one occasion, Iraq was found to have been lying and hiding WMD programs which were later discovered by weapons inspectors and destroyed.

Why should they -- and the administration of George W. Bush -- have assumed that they'd found everything when there was so much evidence that Iraq continued to hide and obstruct, and had been shown to have hidden WMDs which were later found?

The history generously supports what President Bush said, in 2002, "We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger."  I agree! 

In late 2002, shortly before the US led invasion, the UN found Iraq to be in "material breach" of its obligations to obey UN resolutions (i.e. it was still avoiding and flaunting its obligations to submit to inspections, and presumably was still hiding things from inspectors).  And Hans Blix, head of the UN inspection regime, was frustrated.  NPR says: "Blix does express frustration with Iraq's failure to account for its vast stores of chemical and biological agents it was known to have at one point."

So there is the crux of my argument -- expressed not by partisan US officials, but by a relatively neutral Hans Blix of the UN: 1) he indicates there were once "vast stores of chemical and biological agents", 2) Iraq was "known to have [them] at one point," and 3) Iraq was responsible for a "failure to account" for these vast stores.  He's admitting that the UN inspectors knew Saddam Hussein had vast stores of WMDs at one point, and the UN inspectors had no way to confirm that they did not still exist!  Obviously, despite continued operations and the destruction of much of Iraq's stockpiles and infrastructure, the total stockpiles destroyed and the entirety of the infrastructure destroyed could not reliably be estimated to equal Iraq's total capacity at one time.  Even Blix, as late as 2002, believed Saddam still had WMDs hidden somewhere.

The most pressing concern, in US foreign policy circles, that a weakening of resolve from Russia, Germany and France (each of which had financial ties to Iraq, and would benefit from a lessening of sanctions) would allow Saddam Hussein to be released from UN sanctions and mandates, so that he could resume his former activities unmolested, and could thereby prove a destabilizing influence in the Middle East, as well as continuing to fund worldwide terrorism.

Admissions and Allowances:

1) It's true.  By 2003, Saddam Hussein may not have had a substantial WMD stockpile.  He might have destroyed it in secret, though there was no way for US intelligence officials or UN inspectors to know this.  Why should they have trusted his word, when in so many other cases he was known to have lied?

2) It's possible, even if Saddam Hussein's WMD stockpile and his biological and nuclear weapons programs had really been dismantled, that he wanted the world to think that he still had such weapons and such capabilities.  He may have seen benefit in making its bitter enemy Iran, or even other enemies, believe he still had the ability to use WMDs.  In fact, it's p
ossible that Saddam Hussein set himself up for invasion by refusing to deny that he still had WMDs.  The obstruction of the inspectors may have been a ruse to make Iraq's enemies think that he still had WMDs when he didn't.  Still, President Bush can't be blamed for not taking Saddam at his word, and thinking the worst of him, right?

3) It's possible the CIA and the Bush Administration overstated the case for WMDs still in Iraq.  That's what administrations do!  The Obama Administration has obviously overstated the case for US citizens' ability to "keep the health plans they like".  Why aren't liberals up in arms about that?  What's clear from the evidence is that the Bush Administration could rationally and realistically believe Saddam Hussein's Iraq still had WMDs, and might retain some ability to create more.  They also believed the inspection regime, and the full array of UN sanctions against Iraq, might soon come to an end, and Iraq might soon be free to reconstitute its WMD programs anew!  So no wonder they might have tried to push the envelope a little in order to provide rationale for an invasion that would put an end to Saddam Hussein's destabilizing shenanigans once and for all.  I believe the Bush Administration thought it was doing the world a favor by invading Iraq, and the evidence presented here shows you why.

That said, it's also possible, as was reported by reliable intelligence sources, that Iraq smuggled the remainder of its WMD stockpile by truck convoy into Syria in the weeks before the US invasion.  It's entirely possible that the WMDs we've been concerned about during the Syrian Civil War in 2013 did in fact originate in Iraq, in 2003.

In any case, here's what the evidence proves:

1) it's provably clear that Iraq did have substantial stockpiles of WMDs at one point,

2) mainstream, typically liberal, news sources reported as absolute fact in 1983, 1988 and 1992 that Iraq actually used nerve gas WMDs against its enemies, internal and external, and

3) UN weapons inspectors had no way to confirm that all of Iraq's WMDs had been destroyed.  In fact, the continual obstruction of inspections by Saddam Hussein's Iraq led rational people, including some of the inspectors themselves, to believe that Iraq still hid at least some WMDs as late as 2003, and might even have some hidden infrastructure to resume production.







Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Interview With a Black Republican 2: Theron Bell (2005)

This is the 2nd of two interviews I conducted in 2005 with prominent Colorado Black Republicans.  Theron doesn't like the term "Black Republican" — he's a "Republican" just like any other — but his record as a Black man in government positions as early as the 1960s is a testament to the vision of both Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party.

Please also read my interview with Arniter Jamison and my analysis of who really made the 1964 Civil Rights Act possible (well-meaning people, Black and White alike, were on different sides of that Act, but the point is the Democrat claim that they were the only champions for civil rights in the '60s is a lie).

Theron Bell: A Black Republican for Reagan in 1966



“Can you go down to Santa Barbara?” asked the voice on the phone. “What for?” asked Theron Bell, sitting next to his friend Herb. “To meet with Ronald Reagan.”

They had gotten an inkling to get involved in local politics. Herb was a Democrat, but Bell convinced him that if they could find a good Republican candidate to back for Governor of California, they would both volunteer.

That’s how these two black men in 1966 ended up spending an hour riding horses and talking with Ronald Reagan at his ranch. And that’s how Bell ended up committing most of the rest of his life to implementing Republican policy from Sacramento and Washington D.C..

Most of Bell’s experience had been in middle and upper management in auto sales, insurance and trucking. His only experience in politics had been campaigning for Alaskan statehood. But that planted a bug in him that would be with him for the rest of his life.

Bell was asked to chair Reagan’s speaker’s bureau. He would call up Reagan’s movie star friends, and ask if they’d speak for him. But if no one could, then the task fell to Bell.

At one such appearance in Sacramento, Bell arrived late and hung out at the back of the room as the other candidates made their pitches to the audience. Bill Bagley, a state legislator who was speaking for one of the other candidates, told the crowd what a racist Ronald Reagan was – that was the angle his opponents were using. Then, to great effect, Bell took the stage on Reagan’s behalf and said, “It’s obvious Mr. Bagley doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” Reagan got the endorsement that night.

Because of Reagan’s positions on welfare, and his support in 1964 for similarly tarred presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the charge of racism would not go away. But opponent George Christopher once called Reagan a bigot within his hearing. Reagan’s response was, “If you say that about me one more time, I’m going to knock you right on your ass.”

For that matter, Bell says, Goldwater wasn’t a racist either. The Goldwater’s department store was the first in the country to hire a black man as vice president.

Much of the charge of racism for both Goldwater and Reagan stemmed from their opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But Bell said he, himself, had mixed feelings about the Act. “I was the first black business manager in the country,” Bell said of his time as an auto dealer. “It’s still a mixed bag,” he says. “I think [the Act] probably set blacks back about 10 years in their progress, because people were already beginning to make inroads into decent jobs and into the professions on their own merits, without the legislation.”

“Obviously, the legislation helped open doors, to the restaurants and things like that, in certain parts of the country. And broke down some of the racial barriers in the south... I’m not sure that wouldn’t have happened anyway. Especially after World War II and the Korean Conflict, when they integrated the armed services. It was already taking place.” Bell was one of those pioneers who forged a path for the future, on his own, without the Civil Rights Act.

Governor Reagan tapped Bell to head up his California Office of Economic Opportunity. “Reagan ended up appointing more blacks to policy-making positions than all of the previous governors of California combined,” Bell said.

As Director, he helped generate business and jobs. “We had put together in California a program to increase the number of minority owned businesses,” Bell said. It was so successful that Richard Nixon used it as a nationwide model when he became President.

Partly because of that notoriety and experience, Bell was appointed as state director for Nixon’s ACTION agency, where he served through most of the '70s.

Bell was called back into service by President Reagan in 1981. He took over as Director of the Minority Business Development Agency — the federal agency Nixon had created on Bell’s California model.

Ironically, President Carter had slashed funding for minority business development. Its budget had fallen to $20 million. Bell’s connections with Reagan and his team paid off. “We tripled the budget each year for three years,” he said.

Bell helped set up national and local business groups, such as the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which still helps local minority firms today. He funded 100 centers to lend support to minority-owned businesses. He helped owners network between themselves to their mutual advantage. He set up an international export program, and launched several trade missions. It was all more ambitious than what previous administrations had tried, and it got to the root of the needs of struggling minority-owned companies.

Bell also got Reagan to proclaim “Minority Enterprise Development Week” to pay tribute to their economic contributions. That recognition, Bell said, “means a lot when it comes to getting new business, especially with major corporations. They do a lot of networking at those events... They tend to increase their revenues, hire more people, and pay more taxes.”

And he’s proud of having ended a form of corporate welfare. There was a program that gave taxpayers’ money to major corporations to encourage them to help minority businesses. “They can fund the program,” Bell said to himself. “They just throw away that much money. So I told them they weren’t going to get renewed.”

Reagan and Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldridge ignored complaints, backed Bell’s decision, and the corporate welfare died away. Bell says the program still supports minority businesses, but today it’s funded entirely with corporate money.

After Reagan left office, Bell worked for President George H.W. Bush, and then for the governor of Virginia. Once, Bell ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Alexandria, Va., on a Republican platform. Then he and his wife moved to Littleton, Colo., where they remain very involved in local Republican organizations.

Bell believes in Republican philosophy, and he feels those concepts of individual rights, free enterprise and opportunity are beneficial to all Americans — black and white alike. To Bell, few people represent the very best of Republican philosophy as well as Ronald Reagan.

“There is only one man that I admired and respected more than Reagan,” Bell says. “And that was my Dad. The man [Reagan] was sincere, he was a delegator, he had a vision for this country, and what you saw was what you got. I just loved him. In my opinion he was the best president we’ve ever had.”

Bell doesn’t understand why most black people today identify with the Democrat Party, rather than with Republicans. “Many people have forgotten that it was Abraham Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was Dwight Eisenhower who established the Small Business Administration, and also made certain that discrimination in the military was reduced, and eventually eliminated. It was Nixon who established the Office of Minority Business Enterprise. And it was Ronald Reagan who funded that same program at an increased level and created minority enterprise development, which opened the doors up for a lot of minorities to now become big companies.”

“The Democrats’ approach is a joke," Bell says. They act like if you're Black you have to be a Democrat, like there's no choice. Like they "own" Black people. Successful Blacks are a threat to the stereotype the Democrats promote. "I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been called an Uncle Tom by some of those so-called honorable black Democrats.”

What do Republicans need to improve? “The Republicans don’t reach out like the Democrats do. It’s almost as if they’re afraid to reach out. The door is open, and Republicans expect blacks and other minority groups to walk in the door just like they did.” He says it doesn't always work like that.

Bell contrasts the parties like this. “The Democrats promise a lot and don’t deliver. The Republicans don’t promise a lot. They do promise the right to earn a good living.”

To Theron Bell’s mind, that’s worth everything.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Transforming Abortion Politics

by Ed Hanks

Time was, you couldn't get elected as a Republican in Colorado if you didn't have the "three exceptions." Candidates would be coached to say, "I'm opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother."

Such candidates were actually considered fully pro-life. Or "as pro-life as we can get."

Thank God that time is past.

Pro-life groups were complicit, allowing candidates to get away with calling themselves "pro-life", even if they supported abortion for what turns out to be 8,000 dead, fully innocent, human babies every year. Yes, it's less than 1% of abortions nationwide, but those 8,000 children have the same Right to Life as the rest of us. They should be protected -- there's no reason to exclude these innocent children as less than human, just because the circumstances of their birth involved a rape.

Today's pro-life movement realizes that. It's time candidates realize that too.

How important is it to you that your representatives in Congress and at the State Legislature share your views on life issues? That they be not just "pro-life with exceptions," but fully pro-life, opposed to all abortions?

If you think that's important, I'm going to remind you in just a moment and see if it was really that important.

The world is changing. More than 50% of Americans -- more than 50% of WOMEN! -- tell Gallup Polls they're pro-life. A quarter of Americans think abortion should never be allowed, except to save the life of the mother (which is not really an abortion, so long as the doctor tries to save both mother and child). Even the European Union is entering a petition-gathering phase to try to ban abortion across the European continent. If the EU doesn't approve it, at least it will put Europeans' representatives on record for their constituents to know where they stand.

The same thing is happening in the US. This year, six of the top candidates for the GOP presidential nomination (Bachmann, Santorum, Paul, Perry, Gingrich & Cain) endorsed the Personhood of the unborn child, pledging that they would support abortion for NO reason.

In Colorado, 69% of Republicans at the State Assembly voted for Personhood protections beginning at conception.

Yet, only 25% of Colorado legislators support Personhood -- about 25 of them, only half of the Republicans.

One reason why is there's more money available to support liberal candidates, even in GOP primaries. A pro-Personhood candidate in 2010 lost the primary to the legislature's most pro-abortion Republican because the pro-Obamacare medical lobby came through with thousands of dollars for her! Now, Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) is the most liberal Republican in the Senate, and she voted with the Democrats to kill this year's Fetal Homicide measure which would have simply recognized unborn victims of crime as victims under the law, and not just a sad side-effect of an attack upon her mother.

Making sure that you and your friends only vote for pro-Personhood candidates is just one part of the solution.

Another key part is making sure pro-Personhood candidates have enough money to compete, not just in the November elections, but even in the June primary election against Republicans who aren't pro-life.

So how important is it to you?  Is it important enough to contribute just $50 to pro-Personhood candidates?

If so, please use this donate button and give $50 to the Conservative Renewal Fund (CRF) small donor committee.
Being pro-life is not the only criteria for the candidates to meet -- they're asked to be pro-liberty and fiscally conservative too -- but every candidate who gets money from the Conservative Renewal Fund will be pledged to support Personhood protections for unborn children in law -- from conception until natural death.

I realize the financial stresses placed upon families these days.  My family feels them too.  But we do find small amounts to give to causes we believe in, including to support Personhood and the candidates who also support Personhood.  If you've found it in your heart to "put your money where your mouth is," then bless you!

If you are willing to give more, then I will point you to another committee that does the same thing, but which deals in larger amounts of money.  Colorado Conservative Action (CCA) has the same criteria as the Conservative Renewal Fund, and you may donate up to $500 to give to candidates through CCA.  The button to donate to CCA is below.


Remember, if YOU don't donate, someone who supports abortion surely will, and the results will be predictale. Pro-life candidates cannot win enough of these seats without financial support from like-minded citizens.

If you can only contribute a smaller amount, or if you'd prefer not to donate online, please send it in by mail:

Ed Hanks
Colorado Conservative Action
1005 Northridge Rd.
Littleton, CO 80126
720-301-4270

Bless you for your beliefs, and bless you for the moral support you provide to efforts to establish Personhood for the unborn. Bless you if you've decided to support these candidates financially.

Please, if you cannot spare money, PLEASE pray for us, please help collect signatures for the 2012 Personhood amendment, and please vote for ONLY those candidates who pledge to support Personhood.

A list of pro-Personhood candidates in Colorado can be found at the Colorado Right to Life Blog.

Together, we will persevere and the children will be protected.

The world is changing! Will you help change it?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Backing Conservatives in Primaries - Why It Matters

Two things happened at the Colorado Capitol Wednesday (Apr. 11) which illustrate how utterly important it is to support conservative candidates in primaries. Vocal personal support isn't enough - they need your financial support, within your means.

In a minute I'll explain an easy, affordable way to help.

Case 1: Some Republicans Oppose Republican Principles


Wednesday, House Republicans and Democrats debated Colorado's budget. There are 33 Republicans, and 32 Democrats - a 1-vote GOP majority.

Conventional wisdom says when it's that close, you support any Republican, no matter if they oppose conservative principles. Don't rock the boat.

Some Republicans, led by Rep. Chris Holbert and Rep. Marsha Looper, rocked the boat. They made a stand against taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Any taxpayer funding (direct or indirect) for an organization that provides abortions is illegal under Colorado law - it's in the Constitution. That doesn't stop Democrats from trying anyway. And they did Wednesday.

Holbert, Looper, and a number of other stalwart conservatives rallied the troops and got every Republican to vote NO on funding.

That's a success story. But how did we get there?

Wouldn't it have been easier to block funding back when the GOP had more than a one-vote majority? Seems like a point in favor of the "big tent" and "don't rock the boat" camps, but it's not.

The backstory is that just a few years ago, even when Republicans held a substantial majority in the Statehouse, a few Republican legislators - as many as one-third - would have voted with the Democrats to support Planned Parenthood.

Primaries matter. Supporting conservative candidates matters.

If conservative candidates hadn't stepped up and challenged the liberal, RINO Republicans (Republicans in Name Only), and if conservative citizens hadn't stepped up and donated to the conservative cause, a majority of the House would still support Planned Parenthood and all the killing they do. Excusing all the state laws they violate. Accepting all the young women they place in jeopardy.  

YOUR tax money supporting the deaths of thousands of unborn children in Colorado! 

Supporting conservative candidates matters!

In 2010, my political committee, Colorado Conservative Action, helped Rep. Chris Holbert win a 3-way primary election. He's now a rising star in the conservative movement, and is leading the fight on many conservative issues.

Case 2: Some Republicans Are Liberal Extremists


In 2003, Scott Peterson killed his pregnant wife Laci and dumped her body, and the body of his unborn son Connor, into San Francisco Bay. California charged him with two murders.

In the years since then, public outcry caused 38 states to enact laws allowing the killing of an unborn child during the commission of a crime to be charged as a separate murder. Colorado, almost a decade later, remains one of a handful without such a law.

Why? Because so many Republican legislators did whatever Planned Parenthood wanted. Pro-abortion forces had a functional majority in a legislature controlled by Republicans! And Planned Parenthood didn't want any laws on the books that might suggest an unborn child has value to anyone - even his or her own pregnant mother.

Polls show anywhere from 70-90% of citizens believe the killing of pregnant moms' "wanted" children should be prosecuted as murder. A majority of Democrats hold such a position. Even a majority of pro-choicers. Opposing these laws is extreme!

But Wednesday, Republican Senator Ellen Roberts voted with the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to kill even this most basic protection for unborn children - a measure supported by the vast majority of Coloradans. Roberts has been in the pocket of Planned Parenthood since she won her first election.

Supporting conservatives is important. Supporting them financially is especially important.

In 2010, Colorado Conservative Action (my political committee) gave money to conservative Republican Dean Boehler during the primary in an attempt to prevent Ellen Roberts from being elected to the Senate. She won the primary anyway, but it wasn't easy.

Colorado Conservative Action tried to stop Ellen Roberts, and her extremist agenda. Maybe with more donations we could have done it. 

She's the most pro-abortion Republican in the Senate. She's also the second worst tax-and-spend Republican in the Senate, according to the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.

Beware all the liberals dressed as conservatives this election season. There are many Republican candidates who don't match their rhetoric.

CCA only supports candidates who are pledged to be 1) pro-life, 2) pro-gun, 3) fiscally conservative, and 4) pro-liberty (and all the things that entails - 10th Amendment, property rights, etc.). You can feel confident that if you donate to Colorado Conservative Action these candidates will be vetted on these important principles, and the money will be wisely allocated only to candidates who really mean what they say.

This committee can only donate to candidates at the state level (i.e. not candidates for federal, county or city offices). By law, I cannot promise to support a particular candidate.

Its goal is to replace liberal Republicans and Democrats with principled conservatives in the State House and Senate by financially supporting them in primaries, and then also in the November election.

Will YOU Donate to Help Conservative Candidates?


Please contact me if you have any questions, or if you want to make sure I'm the real thing. I've worked on campaigns since 1984 and served as a political communicator at the State Capitol as press secretary and speechwriter. I know how to evaluate candidates and how to spot evasions when trying to pin them down.

Colorado Conservative Action can receive checks, or Paypal donations, from US citizens of up to $550 per election cycle. Less than that is fine.

If anything more than $50 is outside your budget, then you could donate to my small donor committee, the Conservative Renewal Fund (I sometimes call it the "Conservative Renewal Authority" for fun).

Anything you can contribute will help the cause. Contributing to Colorado Conservative Action magnifies your money, allowing you to donate more than just direct contributions. It also amplifies your political voice, because candidates who receive donations from CCA know they're getting it because they are steadfast in defending conservative principles and they'll be held accountable.  

Thanks to your generosity, conservative candidates will get a check with a "note" attached - one that says, "Thanks for standing up for conservative values!"

Every individual citizen can donate up to $550. Other members of your household may also donate $550. I'll need to know the name and occupation of each individual donor.

I will appreciate anything you can give, and so will principled candidates.

Ed Hanks
Colorado Conservative Action
1005 Northridge Rd.
Littleton, CO 80126 720-301-4270
coloconservative@aol.com

Find Colorado Conservative Action at www.coloradoconservative.org
($550 donation limit - US citizens only)

or

Find the Conservative Renewal Fund at www.renewalauthority.org
($50 donation limit - US citizens only)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How “Bitter” Conservatives Got Us President Reagan

If not for the “unreasonable” refusal of conservatives to vote for Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential race, we might have missed the presidency of Ronald Reagan altogether.

Would that have been a good thing? Avoiding Carter's disastrous four years?

Indeed, we could have gone straight from a 6-year Ford presidency (1974-1984) into an 8-year Bob Dole or George H.W. Bush presidency (1981-1988) without even bothering to change business as usual in the GOP.

Just imagine. A regime of moderate Republican control – Nixon, Ford, Dole, Bush… Maybe culminating decades later with Mitt Romney.

We could have seen four decades of Republicans, with only brief, one-term Democrat “corrections.” None of the controversy over “divisive” social issues. None of the pain of reducing government. And, in fact, none of the rabid dislike of Republicans by liberals – why hate those whose differences are merely a matter of degree?

Without that jolt of cold-shower Carterism, would the conservative movement have been strong enough to put Reagan over the top in 1980, against strong challenges by “Vice President Bob Dole” or perhaps “Senator George H.W. Bush?” President Ford would have steered the nomination in their direction. Without Carter, the inadequacies of the Republican establishment would have gone un-exposed, the yearning for a conservative hero uninspired.

In 1976, the incumbent president, Gerald Ford, had taken over from a wounded and resigned Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter took him on – a fresh, up-and-coming governor from Georgia, with a promise to govern as a moderate, not corrupted by Washington politics.

The decision in November wasn’t really a post-Watergate blowout, like many assume. The fact that Carter won by 57 electoral votes obscures the fact that he took only 50.1% of the popular vote (Ford 48%) and a switch of only 29 electoral votes – Texas and Delaware would do it, or New Jersey and Missouri – would have given Ford a full term of his own.

Ronald Reagan spoiled his party.

Reagan, formerly an actor and new-ideas governor of California, didn’t feel Ford met the test for wise government policy. Ford was an example of the “traditional, Rockefeller Republican” who agreed with Democrats that government could provide the solution to problems… IF used in the “right” way. So Reagan declared to run as the conservative alternative to the presumptive nominee.

Everybody knew how THAT had worked out before – 1964, Barry Goldwater. The “failure of conservatism.” Eyes were rolled.

Conventional wisdom said it was stupid to boldly defy the Soviet Union, or to drastically shake up government structures and spending, to try out new, untested economic policies.

But conservative Republicans – the “Tea Party” of that day – were fired up about a paradigm change in Washington. They got behind Reagan in the primaries, and Reagan and Ford entered the Republican National Convention with virtually a 50-50 split in delegates. The decision hung in the balance. Some historians suggest it was Sen. Goldwater’s endorsement of Ford – “for the good of the Party” – that tipped the scales and barely allowed Ford to prevail.

Ford mounted a competitive race against Carter. In the end, he lost the General Election by the slim margins described earlier. Most historians partially blame the bitterness of conservative Reagan supporters who wouldn’t come around behind the more moderate nominee. For many conservatives, Ford was just too tainted with old, country-club tradition to support. This wasn’t why they’d gotten into politics – to choose the lesser of two evils.

Wouldn’t it have been better to choose the “better candidate,” when given a choice between only two people who were likely to win? Why not vote for Ford, if a non-vote or a third-party vote were essentially a vote for Carter? Many Reagan supporters “sucked it up” and voted for Ford, while holding their nose.

But others stuck defiantly to principle, and refused to endorse a moderate, “government is the answer” political philosophy that they felt was already destroying the country.

Without this outgrowth from the bitter primary battle, Ford might well have won. The entire course of American and world history would have been different.

No President Ronald Reagan. No conservative takeover of the GOP. No shakeup of the Washington establishment. No challenging military buildup against the Soviet Union. No “pesky” divisions over the abortion issue.

If conservatives had just been “sensible” and supported the Republican nominee, no matter who he was, or what he believed, would that have been a good thing?

Ronald Reagan required two things to have a chance to win in 1980 – for Gerald Ford to lose… AND for Jimmy Carter to win! The dismal failure of the Carter presidency set up Reagan’s victory in 1980, by showing just how bankrupt, and how mistaken, the Left’s progressive, pro-government fiscal policy and timid foreign policy ideas were.

If there had been no President Carter – and if Gerald Ford had continued those same left-thinking policies the modern GOP had typically accepted – there would have been no conservative revolution.

Would that have been a good thing?

At least the GOP would still hold the White House, right? Isn’t that what’s important? The lesser of two evils? Perpetually?

In the end, withholding one's vote, as a matter of principle, is how principled voters change their party - NOT in the short-term, but definitely in the long-term. Parties DO NOT change unless voters reserve the power to withhold their vote on principle - they only get worse, and less principled, taking their voters for granted.

A vote for a “moderate Republican” today may stifle the conservative movement – cutting off the career of the next Reagan - and continue to habituate the GOP to cultivating more moderates in the confidence that conservatives will vote for whomever they give us.

The wise move for conservatives is to vote for the nominee if he is a conservative, and to hold out for better if he’s not. Don’t feed the trolls in Washington!


Ed Hanks is a former political speechwriter and press secretary who currently works with the pro-life Personhood movement, and consults for pro-Personhood candidates.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tom Tancredo for Governor

Tom Tancredo is clearly the best candidate for Governor of Colorado, but some of my very conservative, less conservative, and generally Republican friends have gotten stuck on some misinformation which keeps them locked into supporting Republican candidate Dan Maes.

I've expressed my view on voting for principles over party before, in The Folly of the "Big Tent." Basically, political parties give your principles voice and strength only so long as your party actually follows those principles. If they've stopped following your principles, then voting third party is the ONLY way to make your voice heard, even if it means "losing" the election cycle by causing your preferred party to lose. Next time around, the party will be smarter about what positions they take, and considering how humdrum support for the GOP was from its own "base" in 2006 and 2008, contrasted against how strong many of the GOP candidates are this time around, this pretty much proves my point. I.e. by not voting GOP, conservatives "fixed" the GOP (to an extent).

The fact that Tom Tancredo is a "third party" candidate (nevermind that he's polling three times higher than the Republican candidate for governor) should not scare people off. The American Constitution Party is a party that has always stood for values the GOP has always said it stood for (during election time anyway). The fact is, none of us really know what Dan Maes believes, because we know for a fact he's lied (if you doubt this, see below), and so we're never sure if what he says he believes is really what he believes. This is especially clear since his statements on abortion, gun control, immigration policy, etc. have changed over time.

There are two major sticking points keeping Dan Maes supporters from giving up on him and turning to Tom Tancredo, despite the fact that Maes is unlikely to get more than 10% of the vote, in the final tally. Those are 1) partisan/factional investment in the candidate you supported from the beginning, and 2) distrust of Tom Tancredo. I'm going to try to defuse both of these reasons.

Many Republican voters believe in a principle of "always vote Republican." Talk-show host Mike Rosen is the biggest pusher of this concept, which of course I disagree with. Compounding this is this year's Tea Party movement, and its many passionate supporters (who I generally agree with), who believe the Tea Party "made" Dan Maes, and so if Maes loses, so does the Tea Party. The problem with this is that the candidate who the GOP nominated, and who the Tea Party pushed, is NOT the same candidate we thought he was when we supported him. This can be seen by comparing his contradictory statements on the issues, examining his squirrelly campaign spending and hidden books, and understanding his falsified or exaggerated resume. It can be further illustrated by the fact that most of Maes' most vehement critics are his former supporters, including some who volunteered for him (particularly campaign treasurers!), or worked on his staff.

Whether his side or the police chief's side is correct, with regard to his brief record as a police officer in Kansas, it's clear that Maes was not the "Serpico" law-enforcing star he made himself out to be. At best, he worked undercover in a non-dangerous relationship with small time crooks. At worst, he was collaborating with organized crime and tipped them off to a police investigation. I've read the relevant documents on Talking Points Memo and I can establish no "proof" one way or another. Maes also claimed to be a successful businessman, which also appears to have been an exaggeration or falsification. He had good years and he had bad years. And no one is quite sure how he's paying for his house in Evergreen, which brings us to Freda Poundstone...

Freda Poundstone says she gave Dan Maes $300+/- cash because he asked her to help him pay his mortgage, which was behind. Many Maes supporters suggest that Freda Poundstone is a longtime politician, and a Tancredo supporter (though she was earlier a strong Maes supporter), and therefore her word cannot be trusted. Here's my refutation: No one has to believe Freda's account in order to know that Maes lied to all of us. Dan Maes himself admitted he received a substantial sum of money in cash (around $300) from Freda. Whether you believe Freda is telling the truth or not, Maes acknowledged she gave him money, which means either he was lying to us about being a successful businessman, and instead he needed help with his mortgage, or he accepted an illegal cash donation and then didn't report it on his campaign finance filings -- a double illegality. Take your pick -- Maes is either a liar, or a crook. Ironically, he looks better if Freda is telling the truth!

I, personally, was a Dan Maes supporter until after the primary. I voted for him, and I didn't switch automatically when Tom Tancredo entered the race. Once I concluded Dan Maes had lied to me (and especially once he appointed Tambor Williams as his running mate -- someone who I like personally, but whose position on abortion differs from mine), I could only start to believe at least some of the many other charges of resume falsification and financial irregularity were true also. I know Dan Maes lied to me, so I don't trust him, and I don't understand how anyone else still can!

The other objection is some people don't trust Tom Tancredo, and think he's a closet liberal. I laughed the first time I heard this. I got concerned when I saw some of the charges made by Maes supporters about Tancredo, and I looked into them. Some of these charges didn't make me happy. But overall, Tom Tancredo's record is consistently -- even stunningly! -- conservative. I have no worries that Tancredo is a "tax and spend" liberal, as some of these people charge. I was right the first time -- the charge is laughable.

Everyone who's been around Colorado politics for long knows that Tom Tancredo and Bob Schaffer were our most conservative representatives in Washington DC for many years -- they generally voted the same -- and until Doug Lamborn got to Congress Tancredo probably had Colorado's most conservative voting record ever! The National Taxpayer's Union measures fiscally conservative votes in Congress, and rates Congressmen on their votes. Tancredo's worst rating ever was in 2008, when he got 77% from NTU (which still ranked him as the 51st most conservative member of Congress!). In his 10 years in DC, Tancredo was ranked for 5 years as one of the top 5 MOST conservative Congressmen in the whole House of Representatives (i.e. in 2001 he was ranked 3rd out of 435!). Colorado's local affiliate of the NTU is the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT). In 1977-78, when Tancredo was in the legislature, he rated 100% with CUT. He was always in the top 15 most fiscally conservative legislators, and many of those other legislators who have earned top rankings from CUT over the years are supporters of Tom Tancredo. At least 2 members of CUT's board of directors are listed on Tom's endorsement page. I can find no CUT board members on Dan Maes' endorsement list. The charge that Tancredo isn't conservative enough is silly. A few bad choices (which only dropped him to 77% with the NTU) cannot outweigh his years of fiscally conservative leadership.

Lastly, some question Tancredo's ethics for having presented us with a confusing range of political choices this year. First he was in, then he was out, then he was in again... Many fault him for not winning through the Republican primary, but I believe I understand what happened. He was not being "underhanded" as many charge. He was doing what he felt was the best choice at each moment. I'm no close friend of Tom's, though I did get to spend some very revealing personal time with him in Philadelphia in 2000, which made me really like and trust him. But I've had occasion to speak with him in private at different times, and it's only reinforced my feelings of trust in him. With that insight as a guide, here is what I believe happened, to explain his seemingly odd behavior:

Tancredo didn't want either Scott McInnis or Maes as Governor (he apparently picked up things about Maes early on that others like me didn't recognize -- either that he wasn't qualified or had serious problems in his background). Tancredo figured he and Josh Penry would split the conservative vote (Penry was the conservative "golden child" back then, though his luster has been tarnished by his own behavior during the 2010 campaign), so Tancredo dropped out to avoid being a spoiler. Shortly afterward (to my memory), Penry was also talked into leaving. Having no better choices, Tancredo backed a qualified but not-so-conservative McInnis after getting certain promises from him, because he figured he was better than an unqualified Maes. McInnis pressured him to attack third parties to prevent defections (i.e. a well-publicized article where Tancredo said the Tea Party shouldn't mount a third-party challenger), and Tancredo went along because he hadn't considered third parties viable. Then the plagiarism scandal hit McInnis hard, and it looked like Maes might pull off the nomination. Tancredo offered to rejoin the Republican primary, but since most of us still trusted Maes, no one listened. And so Tancredo went to the Constitution Party. In the end, Tancredo may have been the only one who saw all this coming, and I believe he decided unselfishly at every point.

Tancredo helped found the Independence Institute -- one of the nation's foremost watchdogs on fiscal and civil liberties issues -- and served as its president. Tom Tancredo is a reliable fiscal conservative, and has been his whole career in politics. One reason GOP insiders don't like him is he often refused to "play ball" when the President or GOP leadership asked him to vote for Republican-sponsored spending packages. Tancredo is also more trustworthy than Maes on issues protecting a Right to Life for the unborn, because both Tancredo and his running mate have endorsed Amendment 62, the Personhood Amendment.

We need Tom Tancredo's kind of leadership at the State Capitol. I urge all conservatives and all Republicans to vote for him, and not Dan Maes.