6 things to consider when selecting candidates for the GOP’s State Central Committee

As Utah Republicans start their 2019 county conventions, it is important to make wise decisions about who will represent you on State Central Committee, the governing body of the Utah Republican Party.  This is especially important given the problems of the last couple of years. Now that the US Supreme Court has declined to hear the SB54 lawsuit, what direction will the party take? Here are six key points to consider as county delegates evaluate candidates for the GOP’s State Central Committee (or SCC): Transparency The SCC rarely has roll…

Book Review | Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt

Rarely have I enjoyed a piece of political commentary as much as I did Stephen Greenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics. In William Shakespeare’s day, it wasn’t safe to disagree with power. Unlike today’s America, with the protections of the First Amendment, his world was governed by the near-absolute power of the monarch, the aging Queen Elizabeth. And speaking ill of the queen led to swift and often deadly punishment. Instead, the Bard through his plays would examine the ways and means of tyranny, delving into the past and into foreign…

A right or privilege?

“An armed citizenry is governed, and unarmed citizenry is ruled.” The National Rifle Association As expected, following the New Zealand shootings, their Prime Minister announced a ban on all semi-automatic weapons as a response. Couched in the rhetoric of “safety” this ban uses the usual ineffective approach to such issues. In the United States, we have the protections of the Second Amendment. The fundamental question that needs to be answered is whether gun ownership as a method of self-defense is a right or a privilege. There are several disturbing trends…

Even politicians need sleep

At a public meeting, a state legislator appeared almost drunk. His speech was slightly slurred and you could tell he was just giving automatic responses. He hadn’t been drinking but was exhausted from a lack of sleep. Utah has a part-time legislature with a 45-day legislative session. During that time, the legislature is extremely busy with committee meetings, general sessions, and reading through bills. Curious as to how big of an issue this was, I asked a group of legislators at another public meeting if they were getting enough sleep…

The real scandal

The real scandal is, or at least ought to be, that grade inflation and credentialing are alive and well in our world. A thinking observer should say “OK, so Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin could buy their kids into Stanford or Harvard, but how could unqualified kids survive there?” Sadly, admission IS the game when it comes to top schools. The rest is, in two words from Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, “grade inflation.” For decades the top schools give students grades they don’t earn so as to guarantee their…

The numerical agenda behind open borders

“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” – Ronald Reagan President Trump declares a national emergency at the southern border, igniting a partisan firestorm, a new funding bill comes from Congress that exacerbates border problems versus solving them. With border security a polarizing matter both from ideological and economic perspectives, it is time to examine the issue more closely. The puzzling questions as Trump seeks decisive action with little cooperation, seeking to remedy policies of past administrations that have failed to enforce the borders or universally…

The no-win scenario for the caucus

Photo by Keith Bacongco

In the Star Trek universe, there’s a famous training exercise required of all starship captains called the Kobayashi Maru. It’s designed to be a no-win scenario to test the character of leadership, but never to be won. Captain James T. Kirk famously cheated to create a way to win, stating flatly that he didn’t believe in no-win scenarios. Right now, opponents of the signature path to the ballot find themselves in a no-win scenario. Unlike Captain Kirk, they can’t cheat their way to victory. The landscape for changing the status…

Reimagining Welfare (Part 2 of 2)

In Part I, I explained, “Caring for our neighbors in need is the only way we’ll achieve a higher sense of self, community, and democracy – a transcendent political culture.” Let me try to explain how to accomplish this great vision. Sixty years of a failed War on Poverty suggests we tie the welfare of one another to community, not government. Tying the welfare of one another to government has failed. Yes, wealth per se – some $22 trillion over the past 50 years – has been redistributed. Many people…

Reimagining Welfare (part 1 of 2)

The contentious debate over Medicaid expansion is a great example of why I founded Next Generation Freedom Fund to encourage Utah’s conservative policymakers to see the poor, poverty and poverty relief in transcendent terms. The divisive politics surrounding Proposition 3 have little to do with the general unity over the policy of Medicaid expansion. Regardless of state legislators tinkering with the initiative, the fact remains that nearly every legislator has now voted for Medicaid expansion. I raised this point four years ago in defense of the Healthy Utah plan: The…

All eyes on Venezuela

“The past may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme” – Mark Twain Last week an unheralded military event occurred. Reports indicate the United States moved 5,000 troops into South America. They are in Columbia (with permission) and are heading inland towards the Venezuelan border. This occurred just days after the Trump administration joined twenty-eight other European and Western nations to support Juan Guaido as the new interim President of Venezuela, declaring the Maduro administration as illegitimate and in violation of basic human rights. You can read a detailed…