Head West, Turn Right

The Joint Blog of the Conservative Northwest Blogging Alliance: Red State Points of View from a Blue State Point on the Compass.

Friday, July 29, 2005

That Was Fast

Before I can even welcome him aboard, our newest member has posted. Please give a big welcome to Island Republican.

At the same time, we mourn the loss of a good Oregon Blog, "Ya Think So?" We're gonna miss you, Ricky.

Is Brian Sonntag Qualified to do Performance Audits?

Washington State is about to join the “Performance Audit” bandwagon. In general, the concept of Performance Audits is good. But with any service provided by government, it is only as good as the leader of that government agency.

As part of the new gas tax passed in the 2005, the Washington State legislature required performance audits of large Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) projects. In addition, Initiative 900, Performance Audits of Government (I-900), will greatly expand the number and scope of performance audits in Washington State. In response to I-900, the legislature passed its own performance audit legislation. All these performance audits are required to be performed by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

The Washington State Auditor will have to complete its first Performance Audit in the near future. And what type of experience does Brian Sonntag have to perform and supervise these audits?

Mr. Sonntag does not have a college degree.

Mt. Sonntag is not a Certified Public Accountant.

Mr. Sonntag is not allowed by law to sign an opinion on financial audits.

Mr. Sonntag does not have the minimum qualifications to apply for the entry level job of Assistant State Auditor (Bachelor's degree, which includes 10 semester hours or 15 quarter hours in accounting).

The political discussion in Washington State needs to address this issue. Could you imagine having the State Attorney General not being a lawyer? Washington State needs and should have a CPA as its State Auditor. Both the Democratic and Republican parties need to attract and promote candidates for State Auditor who are CPAs. Legislation should be considered requiring that the State Auditor be a CPA.

Washington State deserves better than Brian Sonntag.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

McGavick Spoof Website Fools Seattle PI's Connelly

If you haven't already heard, a spoof site designed by a "former" Young Democrat snared the Seattle PI's Joe Connelly.

This would probably have gone un-noticed if not for the careful and inquisitive eyes of both THE SHARK (SoundPolitics.com) and Pajama Jihad Warrior (pajamajihad.blogspot.com).

Links to more info on this story here, here, and here.

Cross Posted at Respectfully Republican www.plucrs.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

23 Days Late

(Cross-Posted at Memento Moron)

I have for some time found myself at a loss as to which modern American political movement closest matches my own beliefs, political views, and philosophies. I understand that it is more and more common, as well as admirable, for individuals to eschew party names or other labels in favor of voting their conscience. While this is an excellent way of applying your beliefs to your voting habits and to choices you make that affect political outcomes, it can become time-consuming in discussions to have to explain just what your beliefs are. Thus, it is often more efficient to identify yourself with a particular party or movement in general, and divulge any variations from that norm only when they are germane to the conversation. This becomes more problematic the more eclectic ones beliefs, I suppose. But I digress. Well, only just a little. The point is that while I find myself agreeing quite frequently with particular parties or movements, there have been numerous occasions where I’ve had to make exceptions to my support or agreement.

Over the course of the last year (wow, I’ve been doing this a year!), while expressing my own views on this blog, I’ve read the comments by my readers, and I’ve read other blogs and the comments by their readers, and in doing so, have learned more about politics and political theories and history than I ever knew before. And while I’m still a novice in such things, I feel confident in saying that I now understand my OWN political views better.

There was a time when I was a staunch modern conservative. This was as a very young person, and was mostly influenced by my family upbringing. During my college and early adult years, I was strongly influenced by opinions and attitudes within the culture of Christian Missionaries, which is what I aspired to be. This led to an odd mix of beliefs all based on what I perceived to be sound biblical doctrine, and I suppose you could say I was socially conservative, fiscally liberal, and a dove with regard to foreign policy. The High Water Mark for my adherence to these positions was in

Churchill’s comment about the effects of age on ones politics certainly rang true in my case, and as time wore on and I began to think out certain positions I held, I grew more hawkish and more fiscally conservative. On social issues, I found myself growing more conservative on some points and more liberal or moderate on others. Eventually I found myself once again firmly in what I believed to be the Republican camp (and, to be honest, that is the way I usually vote), though I found, and find, myself more in agreement with libertarians on some issues.

From there my understanding of my own views evolved to the point where I considered my self a constitutionalist. I believed, and for the most part still believe, that the Constitution was and should be the final benchmark for law in the United States.

But recently I found myself challenged – not to question my belief in the Constitution, but to question its exact place in my political philosophy. As I mentioned in an essay early on in my blogging days, my political views are still guided by my religious beliefs, as horrifying as that might be to some. The First Amendment was established, I believe, not to prevent an individual’s religious beliefs from having ANY effect on that individual’s political views, but rather to prevent organized religion from dictating public policy, and to prevent government from dictating religious doctrine. Therefore, I reject the Separation of Church and Brain.

This has put me in a dilemma with regards to my stance as a constitutionalist on several occasions, the most notable of which was the Schiavo case. Without launching into a separate debate on the merits of that case, for the purpose of THIS discussion, it must suffice that I believed I was helping to defend an innocent life in taking the stand I did on that occasion. In doing so, and in actively following the blogosphere’s discussion of the case, I was challenged by a post by Naked Villainy’s Smallholder, questioning the depth of commitment to the Constitution of Republican congressmen who were interfering in the case; and the depth of commitment to the Constitution of conservatives in general by their approval of these actions.

And while I’m not sure he was 100% right (not being as much of an expert in the Constitution as I am a believer), he did have a point, one I had to consider and finally concede, at least on my own behalf. In this case, I had to admit, I was willing to waver in my commitment to the constitution in order to remain firm in my commitment to defending life. I found myself further troubled when confronting the argument that the Federal Government was acting unconstitutionally in waging the Civil War, a war I believe achieved great good. This put me, you can imagine, in the unenviable position of once again needing to readjust exactly how I represented myself politically. Eventually I concluded that I still considered myself a constitutionalist, but what I call a Means Constitutionalist, as opposed to an Ends Constitutionalist. By that, of course, I mean that I believe that adherence to the Constitution is NOT the highest end of American Law, but rather, that the Constitution itself is the greatest means by which we strive to the highest ends of American Law. And what is that highest end?

For a very long time, in fact, ever since the days when I was an anti-abortion socialist-leaning pacifist, I held firm to a belief that in arguing the constitutional merits of any given policy or law, modern politicians were overlooking the importance of the Preamble to the Constitution. It was, and is, my belief that within the Preamble, the framers laid out exactly what end they intended to achieve, and in the rest of the Constitution, expounded on how to achieve it.

These are the ends of Law in the United States, and of the Constitution itself: Union, Justice, Domestic Tranquility, Common Defense, General Welfare, and Liberty. Any law that opposes those ends, whether technically adherent to the rest of the Constitution or not, should be opposed. Any law that promotes those ends, whether technically adherent to the rest of the Constitution or not, should be supported. The former should be rendered unconstitutional as quickly as possible, the latter rendered constitutional. But if the day ever comes when the Constitution ceases to uphold those ends, I will cease to be a constitutionalist. In short, my loyalty to the Constitution and to the United States is conditional upon their loyalty to the principles upon which they were founded.

How can I say such a thing? Sedition! Well, not yet. But sadly, the day may come when my words above would be seditious. So be it. For this belief of mine is based on another set of words that were, when coined, equally seditious. But you just said that the Constitution is the final authority on what the ends of our law are! No, I said that the Constitution, or specifically the Preamble, expresses what those ends ARE, and the rest of the Constitution expounds on how they’re to be achieved, but it is not the final AUTHORITY on what they are. Well, then, what or who is? I am. You are. We all are, individually and collectively.

It’s simple, really. With regards to the end of American government, the Constitution addresses almost all of the most important “5W/H” questions:

We the People of the United States

in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Notice the glaring omission?


At first blush, I thought that that was what the preamble was about. But I came to believe that the preamble explains WHAT we are setting out to do. But why do we want to form this more perfect union? Why bother creating this finely crafted, well-thought out document?

I finally concluded that the reason WHY, the authority and motivation behind the Constitution, could be found in a document several years older than the Constitution. And I have come to view THIS document as the authority on which rests the constitution. Of course, I am referring to the Declaration of Independence. Specifically, I believe the foundational concept, the authority upon which rests the entire US Constitution and government, is expressed in the following clause from the Declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

...That’s it. That’s why we have a constitution, why we have THIS constitution. And the rest of that clause goes on to explain why I think it right and proper and altogether fitting to hold to the position I do, which is that I am a constitutionalist only as long as the Constitution achieves this end. Because I believe…

...That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tom Cox For State Rep?

Crossposted at http://nwrepublican.blogspot.com/

Tom Cox running as a Republican for House District 29? Ok ok, it is not as big as say running for governor or someone challenging Wu. However it would have some major implications on the state house.

Here's the deal... For the last ten years or so Mr. Tom Cox has been running for everything in sight as a Libertarian (or as I have been wan't to call them, Libercrats because all a libertarian can do is elect a Democrat.). Including running for House District 29 in the last election cycle.

He had a most terrible showing in that race even running against the pro tax republican Mary Gallegos. However he was successful in throwing the seat to the dems. Which is what many movement Republicans were secretly hoping would happen after Gallegos stabbed them in the back. Cox did significantly raise his name ID in that election however.

Now, I know Mr. Cox somewhat and I know his personality type even better. He wants to be in Salem in the worst way. After running a very high profile spoiler campaign for governor Cox almost switched parties to run for that district 29 seat back when. Almost...I opposed the campaign of Cox in that seat because I just don't think that third parties are the way to effect change. The Tom Cox campaign proved me right. However I did not oppose Cox on an issues basis, and rumor has it that Cox has matured and has learned a lesson.

That lesson is that, if you want to effect policy change you need to win elections.Now the rumor is that Cox is flirting with changing parties and taking his name ID and grassroots machine and throwing it after district 29 once again. This time as a Republican. SMART MOVE.

If he were to run as a Republican in that district he would be going into a general election starting out with about 47% of the vote instead of 5%. HUGE difference. The Republicans would stand a GREAT chance of ousting the DemocratICK Rep. Chuck Riley , and gaining another super solid vote on the Republican side. (note: one should not overlook the necessity of having not just republicans in the house but SOLID Republicans. You know those guys that won't break your hearts.)

So there is pressure for Cox to change parties again and Cox is, as some might say "bending under the pressure." However that is not how the Coyote would put it. No, we here at NWRepublican call it "maturing."

Tom Cox, if yer coming over, welcome aboard! I think you'd find the sailing much smoother than you think. Certainly much smoother than tilting at those windmills. THIS... Now THIS might just work. Might just work for everybody, Republicans, Libertarians, Oregonians.

Yip Yip

Friday, July 22, 2005

Exercising ignorance

An utterly ridiculous commentary made its way into the LA Times today. Jonathan Chait has a bit of beef with a president who considers exercise important:

Bush can bench press 185 pounds five times, and, before a recent knee injury, he ran three miles at a 6-minute, 45-second pace. That's better than I could manage when I played two sports in high school. And I wasn't holding the most powerful office on Earth. Which is sort of my point: Does the leader of the free world need to attain that level of physical achievement?...

...My guess is that Bush associates exercise with discipline, and associates a lack of discipline with his younger, boozehound days. "The president," said Fleischer, "finds [exercise] very healthy in terms of … keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind." The notion of a connection between physical and mental potency is, of course, silly. (Consider all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood — or, perhaps, the president himself.)

What a bogus thing to say. Since when did "all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood" bench press 185 pounds five times and run three miles at a 6-minute, 45-second pace. I doubt most of the actors in Hollywood could even run three miles without having a stroke or something. To make such an argument that mental and physical discipline aren't related is not a little spurious.

Fit though he is, as are most of our recent Republican presidents (no coincidence there I'm sure), I like to think Bush is just a small reflection of the impressive Father of physically fit presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. T.R was a lot closer to fanatical about exercise than any of us will ever know.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Face Of Compassion?

So is this the face of compassion? Reason? Understanding?

This is the man (Bret Harter) arrested yesterday for allegedly making threatening phone calls into Lars Larson's personal phone. Threatening his wife.

Sounds like the standard response for liberals doesn't it? I mean they cannot hold an argument so they always turn to name calling and trying to scream louder than the other folks. If that don't work threaten them, take their homes, sue them and finally... Find some kind of scandal.

So perhaps this is actually the face of reason. The new hero of the left?

I can't wait to find out if this guy is a DemocratICK precinct committee person, or made contribution to X-Pac or something like that. Inquiring minds want to know.

Just leave it to the Coyote to dig up some carrion... hehe...

Crossposted at http://nwrepublican.blogspot.com/

New Member

Please welcome the newest Blogger to join the Alliance, The Polish Immigrant.

Monday, July 18, 2005

WSU plays dirty

Imagine this: a group of 40 hecklers are paid to go and shout out threats at the actors in a "controversial" student play... Sound far-fetched? Think again.

This from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
On April 21, 2005, Lee and his student cast performed the final production of Passion of the Musical, a play they had widely publicized as being potentially “offensive or inflammatory to all audiences.” During the play, a group of 40 student protestors repeatedly stood up, shouted about being offended, and verbally threatened audience members and the cast. FIRE has obtained a document confirming that administrators at Washington State’s Office for Campus Involvement (OCI) purchased the hecklers’ tickets.

Read the full story on their site, but don't bite your cheek too hard!

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled

Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor's notice

Now let the insanity begin.

If the first retirement has to be one of the conservative bloc, it might as well be O'Connor because her checkered career is more ambiguity than brilliance. At least she her move was made on a positive note--right after her solid defense of private property in the recent Kelo v. New London case--although she shared much of that lost-cause-glory with justice Thomas.

At the very least, she has shown a vote of confidence in President Bush versus the possibility of a future liberal nomination. Perhaps a little anger over the Kelo case has something to do with her sudden timing.