(CCU Faculty) The fantastically successful, 1st Annual Western Conservative Summit is over. Some of our country’s leading thinkers and policy-makers joined concerned citizens from ten western States to reflect on where we are, where we need to go, and how conservatives can lead the way. Here are a few summary thoughts from the distinguished speakers who addressed the Summit:Our current situation is indeed bad: In his closing remarks during the final presidential debate of 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked the American people: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" If we consider where we are today, as compared to where we were just 18 months ago, the challenges facing our nation have grown worse. When we consider the major difficulties facing our country – the economy, national security, protection of liberty, and America’s international standing – it is exceedingly clear that since the inauguration of President Obama, these conditions have not improved. Our economy continues to struggle. More people are out of work and many of the jobs that have been created during past 18 months are government jobs (including many temporary census jobs). National debt has skyrocketed, borrowing has increased, and the printing of new money has hurt our long-term chances of recovery. Turning to foreign affairs: Iran has increased their production of nuclear materials; our relations with Israel are strained; North Korea has sunk a South Korean ship and suffered no consequences; and the situation in Afghanistan is increasingly unstable. Conservatives are realists: If we fail to recognize legitimate threats to our homeland and our economy, we will indeed fall prey to interests who seek to do harm to our nation and our way of life. Pointing out the great challenges facing our nation is not done out of a desire to be negative; it is done to accurately describe the situation so that the process of correction can begin. Threats from radical Islam are real. Our borders are far from secure and before any immigration law is enacted, this must be corrected. Conservatives recognize the great threat that living “beyond our means” has on our economic viability. Government programs seeking to stimulate economic growth have proven ineffective. Bailouts and government ownership only enable worse corporate behavior in that they remove the consequences of poor decision-making.What we seek to conserve is important: We are often criticized as being backward-thinking and opposed to “progress.” There are some things that don’t require progress: self-reliance; respect for others; maintaining the tenets of Western Civilization; and reliance on God as the author of our liberties. Each of these is something that doesn’t demand “progress.” Lincoln recognized that the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence could not be made better; rather, they demand protection and cultivation, especially among our youth.Conservatism is a far better protector of liberty than “progressivism”: When the ideals that we seek to conserve are secure, individuals will have far greater protection of their liberties. The programs that Obama has implemented have been harmful to the entrepreneur, adding new taxes and regulations. The policies of the Obama administration have been harmful to individuals, limiting our choices when it comes to how we spend our money, where and when we will be able to access our healthcare, and ultimately, what medical procedures will be available. Through policies such as card check, new financial regulations, gun control measures, and campaign finance regulations, progressives seek to limit how we as citizens organize to influence the government and how we carry on in our day to day lives. Conservatives view each of these initiatives as an improper taking of liberty by the government.America, in spite of her many problems is still great, and indeed the greatest nation: We have an unparalleled record of defending the poor and oppressed, of aiding people in times of crisis, of respect for Judeo –Christian traditions, and of protecting free-enterprise and individual’s rights. We have and will continue to seek relief for those who suffer under dictators. We do not seek to rule over others; rather, we seek to spread the ideals of liberty and equality, that all men might enjoy these blessings. While there are, of course, historical failings, for centuries the clear mission of America has been to spread these ideals. We should acknowledge past and current failings, but recognize that the good done by the United States far outweighs our failures. We are indeed “the last best hope.”Hope and Change are on the way: While we agree that our nation is facing difficult challenges, the current leadership in both the White House and the Congress is incapable of dealing with these problems. The Conservatives, who gathered in Lone Tree the weekend of July 9-11, are not mere complainers, nor are they the “party of no.” Rather, we are people committed to a positive agenda that seeks to restore our sacred faith, protect the entrepreneur, revitalize our nation, protect our fundamental liberties, re-establish our leadership in the world, and effectively defend our nation from those who seek her harm.As we come down from the “summit” weekend, we must maintain the momentum. Conservatives first must seek to impact electoral change, then must hold these newly-elected officials accountable. It is clear that previous Republican administrations and Congressional leaders have failed to uphold these ideals while holding power. As conservatives, we are committed to electing those who share our ideas as well as holding them accountable once they hold office.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and email inboxes are buzzing with comments about Western Conservative Summit 2010, July 9-11 in Denver. Here are three examples, including a photo snapped by one of the bloggers as John Andrews and Bill Armstrong introduced Dick Morris to congressial candidate Cory Gardner, right, while Frank Gaffney and CCU student Matt Lenell looked on:
By Peg Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org) Attended by over 650 people from many states, graced with a dozen renowned national speakers and numerous local candidates, the First Annual Western Conservative Summit can truthfully be declared a resounding success. Certainly one of the most important political events in Colorado this year, the Summit was incredibly inspiring. Arthur Brooks' presentation on capitalism and freedom, for example, was classic. Each speaker addressed the need to regain America's prosperity and moral strength from his/her specific area of knowledge, so that the total was a great breadth of understanding and ideas for what to do. I can hardly wait for the 2011 Summit. ---By Ron Michel (email@example.com) My feet hurt, I am exhausted after three days of the Western Conservative Summit -- the best conservative event I have ever attended. My head is STILL spinning with all the wonderful messages from the star-studded speaker line up. One super, motivational, inspiring on-target informative message after another. You laughed, cried and prayed. Most of us will be praying even more for our country. What kind of country will we leave our children. Makes one want to dedicate even more energy to win in 10. (WININ10) Where do I sign up for next year? You just can't thank CCU and Senator Armstrong and Senator (the Energy Bunny) Andrews enough. AWESOME. ---By Ron Bella (firstname.lastname@example.org) Colorado Christian University sponsored a Western Conservative Summit near Denver, Colorado the weekend of July 9 - 11. Of particular note is that this was a debut for this summit which the sponsors intend to hold annually. One might have expected there to be problems with the venue, the events or between persons in attendance. If there were problems, they were hidden from the guests. The quality of the speakers and the efficiency with which the program was executed was a model for such events. Senator Bill Armstrong, John Andrews and Colorado Christian University are to be congratulated. They did a particularly wonderful job.Guest speakers included Michele Bachmann who led as the keynote dinner speaker on Friday evening. For anyone who has only seen Michele interviewed on Fox News Channel the address had to be eye-opening. Michele is a quality orator. Saturday presentations began with: **Arthur Brooks spoke to the assault on capitalism
** Lt. General Boykin spoke of defending ourselves in a dangerous world
** Frank Gaffney spoke of the Reagan concept of peace through strength
** Tom Tancredo addressed the issue of cultural identity
** Michelle Malkin spoke to the Culture of Corruption
** Foster Fries spoke about healthcare
** Mary Katherine Ham addressed the youth of America and the importance of their votes
** Joseph Phillips entertained us with a winning message for conservatism today
** A Tea Party Panel addressed national issues
** A State Issues Panel addressed Colorado
** Dennis Prager spoke of Moral Clarity
** Kamal Saleem conveyed the mind-set of the terrorist and radical Islamist
The conference concluded on Sunday with: Lee Strobel who spoke of God in America and Dick Morris who provided a view of the coming elections laying a strategy to ensure victory for America
Yogi Berra once said that people can observe a lot by just watching. Well, it would be understated to say that people could also hear a lot by simply listening (and thus educate themselves tremendously). Each of these individuals had a message. Oh, the message might be disputed by persons on the left. After all, this was a conservative summit. What people should take into consideration is the facts that were presented, the manner that they were tied together to very logical conclusions and what one might actually see that substantiates some of the referenced fears - simply by watching. ** What do we see happening in our country?
** What do we see happening in the Obama Administration?
** What do we see happening in the Congress?
Some things cannot be denied. Just like that old joke of the man caught by his wife cheating on her with his mistress, "Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?" All persons should demand that when persons attempt the art of persuasion with you that they provide evidence. You simply cannot allow persons to succeed in their arguments by dismissive comments or disparaging remarks about the individual who is sounding the clarion bell. Warnings surround us that should tell us all that if we fail to take heed our great nation could be destroyed. Colorado was identified as at the epicenter of this coming election because we have a golden opportunity to take control of the state legislature and win the gubernatorial election. At the same time Colorado can replace a US Senator and as many as three Congressmen with people who believe in the beauty of the nation and the applicability of the Constitution to our current daily lives. A special compliment to John Andrews who masterfully moderated the entire event. He sprinkled a touch of humor into the proceedings and banged that heavy gavel with the professionalism one might expect of someone who was once the President of the Colorado Senate.
Take a photo tour Western Conservative Summit 2010: Western Conservative Summit Photo Essay
Bill Armstrong and I as conveners of Western Conservative Summit 2010, together with Centennial Institute Fellows Kevin Miller and Greg Schaller, have drafted a statement of vision and principles for American conservatives in the coming decade, entitled "Freedom in the Balance: The Lone Tree Declaration."
The declaration will be taken up on Saturday, July 10, by participants at the Summit, which is scheduled for July 9-11 at the Denver Marriott South. (The hotel is in a town called Lone Tree, with mountain views south to Pike's Peak and north to Long's Peak.)
We will invite all to add their names as signers. Afterward, the Lone Tree Declaration will remain on a dedicated website where conservatives across the country can affix their signatures as well. Here is the text:
FREEDOM IN THE BALANCEThe Lone Tree Declaration
Proposed for Signing by Participants atWestern Conservative Summit 2010July 9-11, 2010
We gather as grateful Americans, on the week of Independence Day, in the shadow of the Continental Divide at Lone Tree, Colorado. Our signatures on this declaration, to which we invite others not present to add their names as well, affirm six tenets of who we are and what we stand for:
1. In our adherence to the self-evident truths of the American Founding, we are conservatives.
2. In our debt to the civilizational heritage of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia, we are Westerners.
3. In our concern for the mounting threat to liberty, seeing freedom in the balance, we convene with solemn purpose at this Summit.
4. We seek a conservative renewal for our country through civic action that puts principle above party, resists the corruption of power, bridges intramural disagreements or rivalries, and protects an open public square centered on the nation’s Judeo-Christian core.
5. We commit ourselves unswervingly to a political and social order that upholds individual freedom and personal responsibility, limited government and the rule of law, free enterprise and private property, traditional family values and sanctity of life, compassion for the poor and voluntarism in service to others, natural law and morality, strong defense and secure borders, all in keeping with the original intent of the Constitution.
6. We reject, and will resist, the socialist temptation, transnational progressivism, secular utopian illusions, appeasement, disarmament, or capitulation to jihad and sharia.
Reminding our compatriots that with 2010 America enters a decisive decade for its survival as a free society, and appealing to God for His mercy and help, we declare our fidelity to the Spirit of 1776. To its revival we mutually pledge our solemn faith.
Proposed on July 2, 2010, by:
John AndrewsDirector, Centennial Institute
William L. ArmstrongPresident, Colorado Christian University
Kevin MillerChairman, National Freedom Initiative
Gregory SchallerAssistant Professor of Political ScienceColorado Christian University
('76 Contributor) Four members of the Colorado General Assembly, two from each party and each house, reflected on the recently completed 2010 session before a crowded room at this month's Issue Monday forum, hosted by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. Democrat State Senator Betty Boyd, first to speak, announced that she was pleased with the legislative session’s results. The legislature fulfilled its one requirement, balancing Colorado’s budget by cutting spending in K-12 education and closing holes in tax revenue. Colorado’s government also created jobs by increasing the renewable energy standard to 30% by 2020, passing a clean jobs bill, and giving more flexibility, though cash, to institutions of higher education. The Medicaid efficiencies act fought Medicaid fraud, a healthcare transparency act allowed individuals to learn more about healthcare, and the government increased general equity by instituting gender fairness in insurance rates and campaign finance reform.After this positive general picture, Democrat Representative Mark Ferrandino promised a more specific discussion. He praised bipartisan criminal justice sentencing reform, and mentioned the fact that Colorado’s prison population is decreasing. He discussed two bills that he sponsored, the 21st century SMART government act, an attempt to maximize the performance of tax dollars, and the cap on pay-day lenders. He explained that Colorado’s budget breaks down to three major sections. Colorado spends 53% of its budget on education, 35% of it on Healthcare, and 15% on Criminal Justice. Last year, the budget fell short by 200 billion dollars, while many cuts to K-12 education, Medicaid provider rates, senior property tax exemptions, operating expenses and the number of state employees promise better returns for next year.Republican State Senator Josh Penry (pictured below) continued the positive note by praising his fellows as good legislators, but he brought a sobering perspective on the state session. Mentioning that these times present great changes and challenges, he explained the reforms to PERA(the Public Employees Retirement Association). Currently, the association operates on a 30 billion dollar unfunded liability. The association lacks resources, and the reform proposal did not gain unanimous support. Nevertheless, this session of the Colorado Congress cut benefits to existing retirees, cutting the unfunded liability in half, but failing to eliminate it. Penry also lamented the session’s lack of leadership on the budget, explaining how the Democrat majority raised taxes, repealing many exemptions, most notably the sales tax exemption on energy. Even businesses that supported tax increases in the past opposed this unprecedented increase. Penry ended on a negative note, explaining that many “cuts” merely shifted the finances of the government, and the general fund increased by 6 %.
Last, but certainly not least, Republican State Representative Amy Stephens (pictured below) continued this negative litany, to the delight of the crowd. According to Rep. Stephens, businesses described this session as the most hostile to business in Colorado history. Businesses have been “paying their fair share,” in the tax increases for the past four years. Nevertheless this session of Congress produced some successes, notably legislation against medical marijuana, cuts to PERA, flexibility in higher education, and accountability in the evaluation of teachers. Even so, she agreed with Senator Penry that the number of state employees increased to over 2,000. Many ridiculous bills that should not have been entertained passed. Stephens noted that jobs are the key to fixing the economy, and that pressure on industry will only increase unemployment. She attacked the session’s energy policy, which gave the green economy breaks, while attacking oil and gas. Raising energy quotas, she warned, will put people out of work. Socialism, for all its good intentions, only makes things worse, Rep. Stephens concluded.
Betty Boyd responded to this negative view noting that the session effected only 12 of 100 existing tax credits, and that oil and gas, in addition to green energy, gained a boost from the session. Only coal lost. She also praised Colorado’s Medicaid program as the leanest in the country, noting that 70% of its clientele are children, while 70% of its funds support the elderly. Candidates opened the question and answer session with the education reform bill. While Rep. Ferrandino stressed the importance of evaluating teachers and principals, Sen. Boyd argued that students need to have some “skin” in the CSAP game, an incentive to do well. Senator Penry brought up the question of tenure, stating that the government should be able to boot an underperforming teacher at will, but admitting that this bill, which involves a time limit of 1000 days, is a sizeable achievement. Centennial Institute moderator John Andrews noted that two bills passed by dividing the opposing party. The Republicans backed the teacher tenure bill, and the democrats supported the coal bill. Penry noted the large amount of shale finds flooding the gas market, and Rep. Stephens declared that this bill did not represent Obama’s mandates, but a compromise that supported states’ rights. Amy Stephens voiced her concern for one bill in particular, which would provide transparency on the origins of gifts, grants and donations which fund the state government. She noted that, if early childhood education was founded by Focus on the Family, many complaints would arise, and that citizens should be concerned about the businesses that fund the government.Mike Fallon, candidate for U.S. Representative of Colorado’s First District, voiced his concern that cutting the reimbursement to Medicaid drives people from primary care into the hospital. As a doctor, he noted that, as costs for private insurance increase, thanks to Medicaid cuts, citizens opt out of insurance, visiting the Emergency Room for basic care. This shift decreases the cost that the government has to pay for healthcare, while increasing its cost to the consumer and the market. Mark Ferrandino responded by stating that we need higher reimbursement cuts, rather than rate cuts. In short, the government should not fully reimburse doctors for caring for Medicaid patients. This did not address Fallon’s complaint, and voiced the very practice that Fallon complained against.Finally, John Andrews called on each of the statesmen to explain why their party should be in charge in 2010. Amy Stephens argued that the budget crisis calls for true leadership, and that Republicans serve business, which will boost the economy. Mark Ferrandino mentioned that the last six years of democratic control saw investment in transportation and infrastructure, that Colorado’s unemployment rate of 8 % falls short of the national 10%, and that the economy has turned around, with more people entering the market. Josh Penry argued that every democrat is running on past tax increases which hurt the energy market, making Colorado, which once possessed the best oil and gas environment, the worst environment for such energy sources. In contrast, Betty Boyd argued that the democrats created jobs, and that the economy is turning around. She explains that, when a party is in power, it has to govern, which is more difficult than complaining about the mistakes of the other party.Although these four legislators participated in the same session of the Colorado General Assembly, all have taken a different view of the events that occurred. Some disagree on basic facts, such as whether or not the budget had been balanced. Other disagreements, while agreeing on the facts, such as which bills passed or failed to pass, arise from contrasting ideas on what helps the economy. The Democrats Betty Boyd and Mark Ferrandino pointed to government jobs and praised the session for producing more employment opportunities. The Republicans Amy Stephens and Josh Penry noted the displeasure of businesses that will have to pay higher taxes in the future to cover up for government irresponsibility. The continuing economic crisis seems to indicate which side is in the right.
('76 Editor) A Colorado Springs citizens group working against over-government hosted me for a luncheon talk on April 28. The Limited Government Forum's theme this month was Tax Freedom Day 2010, which falls on April 9 if you exclude the deficit or on a near-record May 17 if borrowing is counted. My comments on "Independence or Dependence: The Choice is Ours" drew upon an upcoming Denver Post column, a warning from Scottish historian Alexander Tytler, and a Rudyard Kipling poem. Those materials are linked here: Andrews at LG Forum 042810.doc (39.00 kb)
Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, one of several contenders for the Republican nomination in Colorado's 7th congressional district, pledged Tuesday night at CCU that if elected, "I will fight to repeal this health care monstrosity and replace it with free-market reforms."
Frazier spoke on health care, the deficit, and other issues to a packed audience of students and campus neighbors, about 50 in all. The event was sponsored by the Colorado Republicans chapter at Colorado Christian University.
CD-7 takes in much of Jefferson County, including Lakewood where the university is located, as well as parts of other counties in Denver's north and west suburbs.
An invitation to speak at CCU as a guest of the Centennial Institute is pending with Congressman Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent.
Others seeking the GOP nomination in CD-7, including Mike Sheely and Jimmy Lakey (who has since dropped out) have attended Centennial forums in the past.
CCU student David Keimig, well-experienced with the health care system, listens to candidate Ryan Frazier's policy discussion Tuesday evening.
A regional summit of conservative leaders from 15 Western states, California to Kansas, headlines the Centennial Institute's crowded calendar of policy events for spring and summer 2010. "We'll take a July weekend and energize the Right for challenges ahead," said Centennial director John Andrews.
The calendar in brief is outlined below. Details will be announced soon for the Western Conservative Summit, Friday July 9 through Sunday July 11, at the Marriott South in Lone Tree, Colorado, between Denver and Colorado Springs.
A registration fee will be charged for that event. Otherwise, the Centennial programs listed here are free and open to the public. Reservations are required, however -- email your name and the number in your party to Centennial@ccu.edu.
Coming Events – Spring-Summer 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 12 noon
CCU Dining Commons Annex
Luncheon Briefing: "From Muslim Terrorist to Christian Pastor"
Kamal Saleem, Author of "The Blood of Lambs"
Thursday, April 8, 130pm
CCU Beckman Center 210
Classroom Talk: “Faith and Politics in Washington Today”
Tim Goeglein, Former Bush Assistant / Now VP, Focus on the Family
Friday, April 16, 9am-4pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Conference: “Best Practices in Teaching Western Civilization”
Dr. Michael Poliakoff, Keynoter
Monday, April 19, 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: "Taxpayer Protection in Colorado, 1985-2010"
Douglas Bruce, Author of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights
Monday, May 24 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Legislative Report”
Sen. Josh Penry & Rep. Mike May
Tuesday, June 15
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Forum: "Times Square, Detroit, Fort Hood: The New Face of Jihad"
John Guandolo, Counter-terrorism Expert
Friday, July 9 – Sunday, July 11
Marriott South, Lone Tree
Western Conservative Summit
For Key Influencers from 15 States
Monday, August 16 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Energy Insanity”
Jim Felton & John Harpole
Monday, September 20, 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Preview of Campaign 2010”
Mark Hillman, Jon Caldara, Rob Witwer (Invited)
('76 Editor) Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian medical doctor once recruited to a radical Islamist cell by Ayman al-Zawahiri (himself an MD in Egypt who has since become second in command of Al Qaeda), spoke on "Confronting Radical Islam" to a lunchtime audience of almost 100 students, faculty, and friends from the community at the CCU dining commons on March 3.The violent and brutal doctrines assumed by many Westerners to be part of an extremist fringe are in fact mainstream Muslim teachings, Dr. Hamid said. He described an "ABC list" of such doctrines that can be used to test the claim that Islam is a religion of peace. The first seven letters of his alphabet, all derived from the Koran, are apostate-killing, barbaric treatment of women, calling Jews pigs and monkeys, declaring war on non-Muslims, enslaving fellow human beings, fighting Jews and Christians by holy command, and gay-killing.Not one book is in print from a Muslim authority denouncing these practices, Dr. Hamid said. Nor are there any prominent mosques and clerics on record against them.His own book "Inside Jihad" was on sale after the talk, which was jointly sponsored by the Centennial Institute and a new CCU student group called the Mideast Reconciliation Initiative. Chapters in the book address the making of an Islamic terrorist, myths and misconceptions about Islamism, the failure of Islamic societies, the failure of the West, steps toward an Islamic reformation, and a strategic plan to defeat radical Islam. The author's website, TawfikHamid.com, has ordering information for the book.Tawfik Hamid's talk at CCU is linked here. (Allow time for file to fully download before playing.)
The West must wake up to the cancerous threat of violent Islam not only on its borders but in its midst, Hamid told CCU audience
('76 Editor) A man in Denver, call him Jim, emailed me in connection with our Feb. 17 debate on medical marijuana and potential legalization of the drug. His comments speak for themselves:
I was hoping to make it to the debate but couldn't. I did want to share with you some thoughts on the topic of discussion. I was addicted to drugs for 15 years. Though marijuana was the least harmful drug it lead to harder drugs. People like to say that it is only "habit forming" which is part of the lie that addicts buy into. All addictions are based on the addicted person convincing him/her self into a lie that what they are doing is "OK". It is a lie.
My addiction to marijuana consisted of 15 years of daily looking for the drug and or doing it at every chance I could. I have been clean for 25 years but still have memories that haunt me to this day, including the death of two very close friends that died at the hands of drugs and their behavior changing effects.
I also have a friend that is moving his business because a "pot store" moved next door. We now have the druggies and drug dealers opening up shop "next door", a thought that makes me sick. It needs to be stopped.
My hopes and prayers are that the lawmakers will come to their senses and start making decisions that will benefit the majority and not a relatively few lost individuals.