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2018 Scrum

By Thomas Sowell

Recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice to those who have long been urging the Republican Party to reach out to black voters. Not only is that long overdue, what is also long overdue is putting some time -- and, above all, some serious thought -- into how to go about doing it.

Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson -- that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.

 Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats. Why should they vote for Republicans who act like make-believe Democrats?

Yet there are issues where Republicans have a big advantage over Democrats -- if they will use that advantage. But an advantage that you don't use might as well not exist.

The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students.

There are some charter schools and private schools that have low-income minority youngsters equaling or exceeding national norms, despite the many ghetto public schools where most students are nowhere close to meeting those norms. Because teachers' unions oppose charter schools, most Democrats oppose them, including black Democrats up to and including President Barack Obama.

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Forget those foolish people who parrot the line that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. There is. There is an even greater difference between conservatives and liberals. The challenge for conservatives is that they want to give people liberty, which is often the freedom to go get your own stuff without interference, and liberals want to simply give you stuff. When a majority in a country realizes they can vote themselves “free” (meaning someone else paid for it) stuff, liberals win. When enough people get hooked on free stuff and lose the ability to go get their own stuff, then liberals are really happy.

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By now most of you are familiar with the dust up over John Kavanagh’s use of as few ethnically based jokes to roast Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Western Conservatives Conference. KAVANAGH

For some reason the Southern Poverty Law Center felt it necessary to send a ‘monitor’ there and secretly record the event, even though the event was live-streamed. Afterwards the SPLC sent out a breathless account of how offensive Kavanagh’s remarks were. The Republic then dutifully parroted the SPLC’s claim and rounded up a left leaning attorney to wag his finger. You can read the report here.

Nowhere in the story was the question posed why was the SPLC spending time and resources on ‘monitoring’ a harmless conservative gathering or why the group was flailing its arms in moral outrage over fairly tame, but pretty funny material.

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By State Senator Al Melvin

Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been law since 1999. SB1062’s sole purpose was to update two sections of it. First, to clarify the definition of “person” to include all types of businesses and legal entities. Arizona laws largely conform to that, but more clarity was best. Second, to address the infamous photographer case in New Mexico where courts ruled that RFRA protections did not apply in a case involving two private parties. We wanted to protect people’s liberties, not just from encroachment by government, but from other private parties as well. al melvin

The bill did not change the protected or unprotected classes in Arizona. Hysterical pronouncements like “mixed-race couples will be kicked out of restaurants” were deliberately inflammatory. That discrimination remains illegal under Arizona and Federal law.

Democrats and liberals argue that businesses should operate only with the consent of government and they should have no say in who they do business with or how. If their doors are open, they must serve everyone and accommodate any request if they are physically able. But that isn’t the law now, nor should it be. A sign company doesn’t have to produce a banner that depicts graphic violence just because their customer wants one. A baker doesn’t have to bake a cake in the shape of a Nazi swastika just because a customer wants one. Still, opponents of SB1062 argue that the State of Arizona should force these companies to make these products or go out of business.

True liberty is not where you get to make everyone do everything you want them to do. True liberty is where you are free to do what you want to do. You are free to make your choices and so is everyone else.

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MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow is really liberal. And annoying. And she’s a partisan. But one can’t say she doesn’t bring it with passion. It’s worthy of respect even while it reminds those not like-minded why we are right.

That’s why a shout out is in order for SeeingRedAZ.com, one of the most influential and longest-running political blogs in Arizona. Its espousals are not moderate. Opinions were and always are conservative.

And even as the house has caved in on SB1062 – and Republicans run for cover – there stands SeeingRedAz, defending the policy. Proudly.

Theirs is a small gun in war that has been lost. But thank goodness they are there, adding to the debate. They make one think, just as Maddow does, but unlike her they are more often right than wrong. Just not on this one.

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A recent article discussed fear within the Christian community that Christians were losing the culture war and would soon be losing their rights as well. The writer interviewed Jim Phillips, the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church, to find out why events are moving against Christians with such speed.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

It was easy to be reminded of that quote as we watched virtually the entire Republican field for Governor run for the hills in the debate over SB1062, the religious liberties bill that was advocated for by the Center for Arizona Policy and was supported by 50 out of 53 Republicans in the legislature. Conservative Republicans supported the bill, but so did moderate Republicans like Frank Pratt, TJ Shope, John McComish, Steve Pierce, Bob Robson and Adam Driggs.

Upon passage however, Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the homosexual lobby kicked their public relations machines into high gear and the media happily engaged in a feeding frenzy to declare SB1062 the next SB1070. And why not? SB1070 was great for ratings!

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We are fans of what Scottsdale Fashion Square is seeking to redevelop and stay relevant in a rapidly changing retail landscape.  But it is a lot.  While Mayor Lane and others have turned off the subsidy spigots for developers generous heights are another form of the same. shopping 2

That’s why the Scottsdale City Council shouldn’t simply be acquiescent obligers.  They should be part of an innovative approach to the sizable request.

Here’s an idea.  Scottsdale’s Museum of the West has reinforced a general well-being for the largely western art galleries along downtown’s Main Street.  The same can’t be said of the more contemporary ones along Marshall Way or elsewhere in downtown.  Periodic arts events like Canal Convergence are good.  Permanent, successful galleries are better.  Unfortunately there are fewer of them in downtown today beyond Main Street.

This is where Scottsdale Fashion Square comes in.  The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) is an interesting building but its size and location make it more cute than impressive. 

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Today’s bombshell announcement that popular and principled U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon would not seek re-election is a political earthquake in Arizona Republican circles.  Kudos poured in from diverse voices such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kyrsten Sinema.  All of the kind words are deserved. MattSalmonRepArizona

Now attention will turn to Salmon’s possible replacement.  Whoever wins the GOP primary in August will be the presumptive congressperson as the district is solidly trunk and tusk.

The silver medalist to Salmon the last time around, Kirk Adams, would be a formidable candidate.  A former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and current Chief of Staff to popular Governor Doug Ducey, Adams has the brains, resume and money raising ability to go the distance.  Senate President Andy Biggs will also be a top contender by virtue of his title and immediate backing by Salmon.  He also has his own money by virtue of winning a sweepstakes contest – no joke.  How much he is willing to spend remains to be seen.  Add Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri and House Appropriations Chairman Justin Olson as impressive potentials too. 

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Several weeks ago it seemed the demagogues were about to drive Scottsdale down by driving away the top school in the country and Scottsdale.  Economic developers in other cities were frothing: if the best city in the Valley said bye-bye to BASIS would or should any company say hello?

Then Governor Ducey weighed in . . . and the Wall Street Journal . . . and late today Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Necessary legal threats were made.  Mayor Jim Lane showed leadership, bringing together neighbors and school backers.  Virginia Korte, once a skeptic, showed the temperament and prudence of a future Mayor. Councilwomen Klapp and Milhaven showed their usual, steely resolve.  Even those acting supremely demagogic previously, Smith and Littlefield came around in the end leaving only the confounding Guy Phillips.  He the supposed Tea Partier.  He the supposed constitutionalist.  As the lone vote against BASIS he ignored the law and in one issue transformed himself from Scalia to Sanders.  Council candidate rival Dan Schweiker will surely make him feel the burn in the upcoming election.

But for tonight there’s reason to celebrate that Scottsdale didn’t ultimately fumble and the adults stepped forward to govern, as they usually do in Arizona’s most dynamic city.

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This weekend Canal Convergence returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s a wonderful concept and celebration of Scottsdale ingenuity at its best.  Turning a non-descript waterway into a campus for capitalism and, periodically, the arts.  For this we can applaud Scottsdale Public Art.  For this.

But for two other reasons bureaucrats need to be held to account, or heads need to roll.

Why?

Several years ago Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven wisely spearheaded an appropriation to fund a dramatic new entry way to the Marshall Way arts district north of Indian School Road.  It’s an area that has struggled in recent years as salons have replaced galleries and Main Street has exerted its primacy.  

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In baseball a successful team needs good starting pitching and a good closer.  That’s how we view this editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal.  We started opining on the matter weeks ago.  But we can’t think of a better closing editorialist than the Wall Street Journal to lay bare what is now a national embarrassment for the city.  Hopefully, Scottsdale’s governing adults will end the ridicule Tuesday rather than allow our fine city to become a further laughingstock and defendants in a major lawsuit.

Issues with neighbors can be worked out.  Turning your back on the #1 charter school in America, the law, Governor Ducey, rumblings from the Attorney General’s Office, state lawmakers and the overwhelming constituency for a flagship BASIS campus? That’s how closers, and top cities, blow leads and their reputations.

Here is a link to the editorial.

 

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We don’t typically tout more government.  But Scottsdale is of the size and scope that more is needed.  And it would be one of the best reforms the city has ever adopted.  Here’s why.

Last we checked members of the Scottsdale City Council were paid $24,000 per year while the Mayor gets $36,000.  They are supposed to be “part-time” jobs.  Yeah, right. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Scottsdale is a big, thriving, complicated city.  It does not have a district system.  That means it’s pretty much up to everybody to work on everything.  Big-time development projects.  Contracts for major events.  Pensions. Law enforcement.  Budgets.  Our heads hurt just writing this.  Imagine if we had to govern it.

We left off an important job description:  constituent service.  Nowhere is this more important than at the local level, the government closest to the people.  Potholes.  Speed bumps.  Barking dogs.  Garbage service.  Code enforcement.  Litter. Landscaping.  Do the requests of and constituent complaints to municipal officials ever end? 

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We’d been hearing good things about new Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell.  Like her moxy and focus on the destination, not the journey.  This stands in marked contrast to the recently departed David Peterson who etiolated the district.  And when this became apparent even to him Peterson bailed on his fellow bureaucrats, actually blaming two women on the School Board desirous of more accountability.  Remember when George H.W. Bush was famously called a wimp?  Peterson took it to a whole new level. And to where did Peterson flee?  A large construction contractor who contracted during his tenure to build millions of dollars worth of schools.

So, in  many ways, Birdwell and the district have nowhere to go but up.  And based on her recent comments in this Scottsdale Independent article about a proposed Basis charter school that has stirred up debate at 128th & Shea, north is exactly the direction Birdwell appears headed.

Birdwell didn’t just forcefully dispel some beliefs  Scottsdale Unified was stoking opposition to a flagship campus for the top ranked charter school in the country, she destroyed them.  Indeed, she basically said “bring it on.” We have always believed Scottsdale’s K-12 public schools offer the “ultimate choice.” Now it finally appears to have a leader to take that message forward.

More importantly, she showed character.  That’s more than we can say in this instance for two of Scottsdale’s typically stout councilmembers:  David Smith and Guy Phillips.

We recall (because they apparently don’t) that when sworn into office they committed to upholding the law.  Not the ones they agree with, all the laws.  We are particularly troubled by Tea Party Constitutionalist Phillips.  He surely supports a strict constitutionalist to replace Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Yet, when it comes to honoring an unambiguous state law allowing this charter school to locate at this location Phillips goes all Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

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What morons.

In this Age of Trump let’s dispense with editorial etiquette.

We’re talking about the grumblings over Scottsdale Fashion Square’s redevelopment plans.

Excuse us? IMG_6334

The beloved mall is facing an onslaught from online shopping. Barney’s is departing in a couple of months. Drive by 68th and Camelback and the Dillard’s parking lot. It looks like a ghost town. Restaurants are coming and going.

Critics of the retail behemoth act like it’s the age of Ricky Ricardo not Amazon and Apple.

If mall owners need more height and hotels to bolster the future give it to them. Fashion Square isn’t the little engine that could. It’s the locomotive for local sales tax dollars that funds the essence of Scottsdale’s quality of life. And it’s more important than ever. The Chapman Automotive Group is the latest group of car dealerships leaving McDowell Road. That will leave a city sales tax hole of millions annually.

Where will it be made up? By whom? The rosary beads of the nattering nabobs of nimwittedness?

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The momentum in downtowns Tempe and Phoenix is undeniable.  It represents good news for every Valley resident.  But let’s be honest.  What’s taking place in those two city centers is a little like watching Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa awhile back, not Willie Mays.

In Tempe, local taxpayers have forked over huge sums to create Town Lake.  After a slow start they are starting to see a return on investment with stunning new projects on its shores.

In Phoenix, one could lose count of the citizen’s largesse between Chase Field, Talking Stick Arena, the Phoenix Convention Center, light rail and Arizona State University’s downtown campus.   It might be a bit Denmark but a relentless (and generous) commitment to the city core has resulted in a recent tipping point.  One of the best exemplars of that recently was Barron Properties, it of the Greenhaus demolition on Roosevelt Row.  When asked if they would accept millions in city subsidies to alter its behavior it said it didn’t want or need such public assistance.  A developer not accepting a hand out?  “Copper Square” has arrived.

That brings us to Scottsdale.

Sure, some public money has been used to create a “Waterfront.”  But the bones were largely in place thanks to Salt River Project.  Its commitment to arts facilities is significant, but not altogether different than Tempe or Phoenix.

What makes Scottsdale’s success distinct is the stunning, accomplishing vision from the private sector.  It’s led by nightclub impresario turned developer extraordinaire Shawn Yari. 

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It’s not often the former stomping grounds of drug lord Pablo Escobar are invoked for municipal inspiration.  Then again, Bogota, Colombia is not infamous like it was two decades ago.

Today, a renaissance is occurring.  There can be found remarkable ideas Scottsdale and other Valley cities should adopt.

It’s a Sunday tradition in Bogota to close many city streets from 7a-2p to enable people to bike them.  All at once a sense of community and adventure is created.

Whether it’s many, several or one think how interesting it would be to bike the middle of 68th Street, Via de Ventura, Sweetwater or even the beautiful, meandering Thompson Peak as it flows through some of the city’s best neighborhoods and touches the majesty of the McDowell Mountains.  It’s an idea that need not be Scottsdale’s alone.

Would it be inconvenient for some?  Of course.  But it would also be a romantic ride available to all.  Streets are shut or redirected frequently for parades, road races, major sporting events and arts fairs.  So why not for the people as well as the special interests?

Scottsdale could use a bold idea to maintain its status as the Valley’s planning ingénue, even one imported from a place whose exports used to be more destructive than delightful.

 

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*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu starts his congressional race in a commanding position on the GOP side but his campaign has been a comedy of errors since announcing.

*No truth to the rumor that Jeb Bush is looking at Brock Landers, otherwise known as former Congressman Ben Quayle for Vice President.  Keep those Bush-Quayle signs in the closet.

*Few elected officials have learned to serve with a smile better than Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri

*Mrs. Arpaio needs and deserves prayers

*The campaign to inject new funds without a tax increase into Arizona’s K-12 education has hired people from both sides of the aisle.  Smart.  The statewide vote on Proposition 123 is May 17th.

*Will Arizona feel the Bern?  Quite a bit of GOP polling on the field for Arizona’s presidential primary March 22nd.  Someone could make some news polling the donkeys. 

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The Scottsdale Center for the Arts is a fine facility.  But for years it served as a dungeon for the Mayors of Scottsdale State of the City.  Few attended the dimly lit serenade.

Leave it to a reformer like current Mayor Jim Lane to change the approach.  His upcoming address on February 25th is timely to remind all, how he is a mayor for all. lane portrait

Scottsdale is a city synonymous with luxury. Yet it like every city has those who struggle to make ends meet, need food or just need a hand to get through the day.  That’s where critical city programs and facilities like those at Vista del Camino come in.  But it can’t do everything.

This is why Operation Fix It was spawned by the city years ago.  It extends an embrace to those having a hard time helping themselves.  A senior no longer able to keep up with home repair or landscaping.  A tired neighbor(hood) that needs a little sprucing up.  When things fall through the cracks, when people can no longer go around or through walls, a small safety net is there. 

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By Burdick for Glendale Mayor

Mark Burdick has spent over 32 years in public service. An Arizona native, Burdick began working for the City of Glendale as a firefighter in 1983. He served as a paramedic, captain and ultimately spent more than 12 years as the fire chief.

During his career, he has had numerous notable accomplishments, with programs that received recognition beyond the city limits. Burdick may be best known for his ability to create sustainable public/private partnerships, from working with a medical university where a two-person station was built on campus, to providing personnel for an air-ambulance operation that significantly reduced response times.

As fire chief, Burdick oversaw the building of a public safety training facility with four Valley partners, creating a true regional training center. Luke Air Force Base personnel worked with Burdick to pilot a first-of-its-kind dual staffed fire engine, operated at the base's fire department that utilized two Glendale firefighters and two Luke Air Force firefighters.

Learn more here.

His outreach and involvement with the community is significant as a member of numerous local boards and committees. Burdick served on two Governor appointed committees: the Central Region Advisory Council and the Arizona State Fire Safety Committee. Additionally, he was the President of the Arizona Fire Chief's Association and remains on the executive board today.

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by Ron Barber

This morning former Rep. Ron Barber endorsed Tom's campaign for Congress. Take a look below at the email he sent his supporters: 

Dear friend,

Since I left Congress, I don't miss the dysfunction in Washington, but I do miss the chance to stand up for Arizona families who are getting a raw deal. That's why I am so excited for the opportunity to elect a real leader to Congress. I'm talking about Tom O'Halleran.

Won't you join me and make a contribution to Tom's campaign?

Arizona needs leaders in Congress who understand how to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. I trust Tom to look out for families who live paycheck to paycheck. 

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By Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

Thanks to our great hosts, Craig and Carolyn Jackson, Governor Ducey, a fantastic Host Committee and supporters just like you, our re-election campaign kick-off October 21, 2015 was extraordinary.  Your endorsement of my re-elections has likely made this event the most successful political campaign support event in Scottsdale's history.

As we work to take Scottsdale from better times to the best of times I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all that you have done for me and to make the city I am privileged to lead the best city in America. 

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Colorado's Cory Gardner endorses Marco; says "Our country needs a new generation of leadership"

"Today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
- Cory Gardner
Watch The Interview Here

FOX News' Happening Now
Sen. Cory Gardner
November 2, 2015
Cory Gardner: "Well, today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
...

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By Paula Ngon
Student:Arizona State University

With the 2016 Presidential election quickly approaching, the amount of candidates still occupied with playing the political games are giving voters no definite direction. The mudslinging is splitting the country in different directions regarding who is fit to run this nation. However, one candidate is gaining momentum by doing things differently.

Bernie Sanders is blowing the door to American politics wide open this campaign season as he surges in the favor of the next generation. It comes as a shock because Sanders, 74, is nearly three times as old as some of his biggest supporters however, he has definitely rocked the millennial vote.

With the boisterous empty promises of Donald Trump and the investigation scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton, Sanders offers a refreshing take on this election cycle. He is seen as trustworthy, honest, and clean and voters praise his consistency and transparency.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Holds News Conference On Capitol Hill

He is fighting for progress, a value young voters are rallying behind. Millennials want advancement and improvement of our society, not a backwards march to the reign of yet another Clinton or Bush presidency. With the generation's current lack of faith in the government they are looking to start anew with fresh ideas, new systems, and a different type of leader.

A vote for Bernie is a vote for a man who has been fighting for the same issues that have troubled young voters for years when no one else was listening.

The Sanders' campaign has ignited engagement in younger voters who are concerned with the direction this country is headed. Bernie cares about education, he cares about equality and he cares about equal opportunity for all. His focus on national issues gives hope that this country will change for the better.

Not only does he have the endorsement of the younger generation, he has the accompaniment of their passion and skill for social media. The buzz surrounding Sanders on the internet is astonishing. Supporters are creating memes, merchandise, and hashtags to generate name recognition and endorsement and they're succeeding.

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By Alex Meluskey for Senate

A few days ago I introduced myself, and I really want you to get to know me, and to vet every candidate before you commit. I want to EARN your support, and I don't want you to give it blindly.

As you do this, I want to take a moment to let you know where I stand on some of the most important issues facing America. I also would be honored to host you at our Campaign HQ Open house.

• Veterans - Our representatives and the Veteran’s Administration have failed our brave veterans. My number one priority in the U.S. Senate will be to FIGHT day and night for those who have fought for the freedom of us all.

• LIFE - I am staunchly pro-life, and will FIGHT to see the human traffickers at Planned Parenthood prosecuted.

• Taxation – As the FAIRtax State director in Arizona I will FIGHT to abolish this unjust system of confiscatory taxation and replace it with a system that is fair, flat and which taxes consumption, not labor to capture the revenue of the underground economy.

• Border Security and Immigration - Border security IS National security, but focusing on the border alone leaves us vulnerable. We must definitively secure ALL points of entry into the United States. Amnesty of any form is unacceptable, and a slap in the face of those who followed the law.

• Israel - There is only one true ally to the United States. Israel is that ally, and we must stand ALWAYS with the Jewish state. Our leaders MUST take an active role in preparing the damage done to our relationship by the Obama administration.

• Limited Government- The federal government is a product of the Constitution, not the other way around. As such, the government’s power is LIMITED to those enumerated. We must FIGHT to make sure the constitution is respected and followed. 

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