Monday, May 18, 2009

Senator Jim Webb Says Lying is No Big Deal!

Just in from Fox News, "America's Newsroom with Megan Kelly." Senator Jim Webb of Virginia stated that the controversy surrounding Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is, "No Big Deal."

Everyone has become familiar with the controversy surrounding Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and whether or not she was informed about the water boarding tactics used during the Bush Administration. She has also stepped forward in the last week and accused the CIA of misleading and lying to the US Congress. If that allegation is true than the CIA would be breaking the law. That sounds like a Huge Deal.

Senator Webb, allow me to explain why this is a "Big Deal." The American People must be able to trust in the honesty and integrity of the CIA and the Speaker of the House. If either one is abandoning these principles than it is a "Big Deal." The CIA has stated that she was informed and that they have the paperwork, notes, and presentation material to prove it. It is now up to Nancy Pelosi to prove that she didn't and if she can't she should apologize to the American People, the CIA, and then step down as Speaker of the House. Bottom Line, "This is a BIG DEAL."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Why is Obama still going to Notre Dame?

According to the latest news, President Obama still plans on attending the Notre Dame graduation ceremony. Many protests have erupted due to the President's invitation which also includes an honorary degree from the Catholic University.

My question is, "Why is Obama still going to attend the event?" The story has shifted and will no longer focus on the graduates or the graduation, it will instead focus on the President and the protesters. President Obama needs to graciously bow out of this event and allow the graduates to have their day, they earned it.

I agree that the protesters should have been out in force on this issue. It is hypocrisy to have the strongest Pro-Choice political figure giving a commencement speech to a university, whose faith is centered around the Pro-Life perspective. The university has said that this issue needs debate and perspectives from both sides. This is a good point, because the issue needs to be debated and heard, however a commencement speech at a graduation is not the venue. It is more an acceptance of President Obama's view of the issue that will be on display.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Augusta County Position to pay $100,000/year!

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors

On Wednesday, May 13, the Augusta County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to advertise an amendment to the code of Augusta for a new public position in the county. The Economic Development Director would be in charge of working between the Board of Supervisors and local businesses. The Director would be directly answerable to the Board of Supervisors and, according to Supervisor Tracy Pyles, could be paid in the range of $100,000/year.

Supervisor Tracy Pyles said, “Why are we rushing into this?” He further elaborated that we are in hard economic times and this position may not be needed right now. He went on to say that he wasn’t comfortable with the position being directly answerable to the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Nancy Sorrells responded by saying, “We need this position to help with retention of business already here in Augusta.” We will follow this story as it develops.

Rescue Squads to start charging for services in Augusta County.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance on Wednesday, May 13 that would allow the county rescue squads to charge for services. The reality is that the county will be charging the residents for rescue services and then they will distribute the funds back to the rescue squads and other emergency services.

Captain Bobby Snyder addresses the Augusta Board of Supervisors

Captain Bobby Snyder, of the Stuarts Draft Rescue Squad, stood before the board last evening and questioned the Supervisors about how the collected funds would be dispersed. He stated that there was no detail available and was worried that, due to charging residents for services, donations would fall short and money dispersed from the charges, back to the squads wouldn’t cover the difference. Captain Snyder went on to explain how the Stuarts Draft Rescue Squad has always been prudent with its funds. “We paid as we went. We didn’t spend money we didn’t have and we think before we spend.” He further stated that these questions have been on going and wished to have more detail before moving forward.

Supervisor Tracy Pyles agreed and stated, “Why are we as a Board rushing into this? We should be in lock step with the volunteers.” He further stated that when something like this is being considered that there is normally some sort of business plan put together. He asked, “Where is the business plan that explains how we are going to do this?”

Supervisor Larry Howdyshell said that taxpayers didn’t want increased taxes and in order to help continue services in areas were donation funds are low, some sort of additional funding would be necessary. Supervisor Coleman and Beyeler both said they had always been in favor of some sort of revenue recovery program such as this. According to John McGhee, Assistant Augusta County Administrator, a committee of area rescue workers will work with the county to start the recovery program which will take effect sometime in 2010.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Conversation with Delegate Chris Saxman

I had an opportunity to sit down with Delegate Chris Saxman and have a conversation about his experiences in the state legislator, where he stands on issues, and about his campaign.

First off, I was surprised and refreshed by how accessible he is. He stated, “People come up to me and we talk all the time, I go to the local YMCA and use the elliptical and I connect with residents. I go to Food Lion and get groceries and people will stop me and ask questions, I love it.” He spoke about how he gives his email address and cell phone number out regularly. He spoke about the many town hall meetings he does and mountains of surveys that he puts out. “I don’t like being a politician that is constantly trying to get your attention. People don’t want to hear about politics every minute of every day. I respect their time and make myself as available as I can be.”

Chris Saxman is a very down to earth kind of guy. He isn’t just an elected representative; he is a husband and father of four. When he is not fulfilling his role in government, he is running the family business, Shenandoah Valley Water. I was impressed by his story of getting into politics. “When I was a high school teacher of US History and Government, my students suggested I become more involved – so I did. That was 1992.” He spoke about how important it has been for him, being a delegate, to have grown up here in the valley. He delivered newspapers and cut the lawns of people he now represents in the House of Delegates.

We also discussed the economy and job creation. I pointed out that his opponent wants to bring green jobs to the valley. Chris responded by saying, “We need all types of jobs. We can’t pick and choose what jobs will be created through government, that is not governments role.” He also said, “With unemployment reaching 10% in Virginia, residents want any job. They don’t want a government handout, they want to earn it.” He said, “When a person has lost their job, they also feel their dignity as a human broken by not being able to support their family, and they want that back, not a government handout.”

We spoke about what his recipe for job creation would be. He said, “We need to learn from other states past mistakes. Virginia is the #1 state for business for a reason. We look at what other states have tried and we implement the changes that work at growing business and creating jobs. The lowering of the marginal tax rates and other taxes also help to create jobs.” He said, “If government is going to spend money to create jobs, it should be through investment in infrastructure, such as roads, schools, libraries, and other services that are already provided but need repair and improvement.”

I asked him how he felt about being challenged in this election; he stated, “Anyone who tells you that they prefer a contested election to an uncontested one is not being honest. That being said, I do enjoy the arena of ideas and I am very much looking forward to this election.”

We also touched on education. Chris has been a long time advocate of school choice and vouchers. He believes parents should be free to pull their child out of a school that doesn’t have the best learning environment and be able to take their tax money with them to another school. He said when you remove a child from the public school system and put them in either private or home schooling that the government actually saves money, even after you give the parents the school voucher. He referenced a statistic that showed the state of Virginia actually saves about 1 billion dollars a year on education due to private and home schools.

We spoke about gun control and where he stands on the 2nd amendment. He said, “I have an A+ rating from the NRA; I carried Gun Rights legislation to the state government.” He recalled an instance in which he helped work out a deal that preserved a shooting range in Fairfax County.

I asked him, “What are the most rewarding moments of your political career?” He stated, “Having ground broken on the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, working to keep the Commonwealth Center open, and helping with the new Western State hospital, were among many things that I have been proud to help get through the state legislature.”

I asked him if he considered himself a conservative. He said “Yes, absolutely. We should only spend taxpayer money on things that government should do. We should spend it well and in a way that we can expect measurable results, so that we can find areas for improvement. We also need to practice restraint and look for the time tested truths of what works and what doesn’t.”

We also touched on Universal Health Care; I asked him what he thought of the idea. He stated, “I am completely opposed to it, show me one country where it has worked, and worked well.”

My last question was what are your ambitions for public office? He stated, “Right now, to win in November.”

Overall, I found Chris Saxman to be a very intelligent, well spoken, down to earth individual. He didn’t run from any question and took the time to explain and support his point of view until it was understood. Chris Saxman is running, as an incumbent this November, for the 20th house seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Interview done by David A. Karaffa

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What is a Conservative.

I was asked recently, “What is a Conservative?” At first, I was surprised by the question however, seeing that the word “Conservative” is tossed around in politics as a label, it could get confusing. So, I thought I would define it in my own words. Conservatism or describing yourself as a Conservative can really be explained by these main points or core principles.

1: Individual Responsibility – This means that the citizen is responsible for his or her own action not the government or any other body. We are responsible for our own future, not the government. No one is responsible for our actions other than ourselves, we don’t blame others for what we have done or could have done. This also requires the ability to stop, research, and think about our decisions before making them. This guarantees that our victories are our own. We believe that the oversight of government and its actions are the responsibility of the people they represent. If government becomes destructive or takes the direction toward tyranny and persecution, it is the fault of the people for not being informed and correcting it with the election of different leaders.

2: Fiscal Responsibility – This means that we realize what we want to do with our financial future and work toward it. This also means that our financial future and financial independence are our responsibility, not someone else’s. We expect a fair wage for an honest day’s work. We don’t spend more than we can afford to pay back. We plan for the worst and work for the best. We are cautious in your spending and believe that we should keep the wealth we earn and be able to dispense it however we see fit, not anyone else.

3: Respect for our Founding Fathers and Founding Documents – This means that we understand that there is a lot of wisdom to the documents that we have founded our country on. We respect the fact that the wisdom of our Founding Fathers placed in our Founding Documents has stood the test of time for over 200 years. And that before changing them, a clear understanding of their original purpose is obtained.

4: Belief in God – This nation was founded under God. It’s in the Pledge of Allegiance, The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, it’s engraved on our national monuments and buildings, and it is even on our money. The Founding Fathers understood that the lawmakers of the land had to be responsible to a higher power in order to keep them honest and true. They understood that a federal government made up of men that didn’t believe in the higher power wouldn’t fear any consequence for tyranny or persecution against those they governed.

5: Respect for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – This means that we understand that Life is protected under the United States Constitution. We also believe in the right and liberty for all to pursue their dreams and to have their freedoms that are outlined in our Constitution.

6: Less Government – This is the belief that government by its very nature is a necessary corrupt thing. Without a certain amount of government, there wouldn’t be civilized society, however; with too much government comes tyranny and persecution. There is a delicate balance that must be maintained by those elected by the people, for the people, and made up by representatives of the people. We believe that when government becomes destructive or corrupt, than new people or government must be installed to bring back the balance that is needed.

7: Respect for the United States Soldier – We believe that the United States Soldier deserves the utmost respect and appreciation. We shake their hands when we see them and we thank them for their selfless service to our nation. We understand that they are putting the ultimate sacrifice on the line, their life, to secure our borders and protect our families and freedoms. Conservatives understand that the United States Soldier is given orders and they follow them no matter what. We understand that they are not responsible for the pressures that dictate military combat, but we thank them for their dedication in carrying out those orders. Conservatives believe that it is the nation as a whole that is responsible to take care of a soldier. They gave their all for us; we must reciprocate by taking care of them when they come home.

These are the core principles of a Conservative, we live our lives by these cores, we bring our children up by these cores, and we support candidates that believe in these cores. That is why this blog is called The Augusta Conservative, because that is my core.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Universal Health Care

Many Americans like the idea of Universal Health Care at first thought. Many believe that they will save a lot of money and gain greater access to better care. However, after thought, Americans feel anxious when they hear about Universal Health Care because questions start to arise;

How much will it cost in new taxes?
How good will the quality be compared to what I receive now?
How easy will enrollment be, and do I qualify?
Can I keep my Doctor or will I have to find a different one?
Will the Universal Health Care plan cover everything or are their procedures and tests that will have to be paid out of pocket?
Is there a cap to how much will be spent per year from my Universal Health Care plan?

Because clear answers to these questions are avoided by President Obama and its political supporters, let’s review some basic economics to help shed light on the daunting task of Universal Health Care.

Like any other service driven industry there is a balance between cost, availability, and quality. We will look at a couple of scenarios to understand this balance.

The current system of health care, as imperfect as it may be, is driven by a balance of quality and cost. As a result the better quality health care you receive the more it will cost. Because of that, not as many people will be able to get it because it is expensive. In a system that keeps cost as low as it is in the current system and makes it available to everyone will result in a poor quality. Imagine the influx of patients into Primary Care and General Practitioners offices if all the sudden everyone in your area had health insurance. Getting an appointment would become impossible, especially a sick appointment. Appointment times would be shorter to get everyone seen in the same day; many would be seen by some sort of auxiliary staff instead of a physician. These adjustments in the local doctors office is only the tip of the iceberg. Take this system to the hospital setting and imagine the differences in quality of care.

How do you fix the problem with quality but keep it available to as many as possible? Take in more money, or raise cost, to hire more doctors and staff. In order for every American to have access to the quality care that the members of Congress receive now, cost would have to skyrocket significantly.
In conclusion the demise of Universal Health Care would be paved with good intentions, and as much as we mean the best for every American, the fallout would be a poor Health Care System for every American.