The Kansas Federalist

Editor and Publisher Currie Myers, former sheriff of Johnson County Kansas and conservative strategist.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Independence Day - A Nation of Resolve

As I sat down to write this weekend about our Independence, I received my daily email from the Patriot Post, dedicated to Federalism at the National level. It was so well written that I wanted to share it with you. I was moved as I hope you will be. Enjoy the 4th and I pray upon you all that you explain the importance to your loved ones of this great day. Perhaps even read this post to your family on the 4th prior to eating, so that they can become more familar on what our country stands for and why we came into being.

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2006
A Nation of Resolve...

Two-hundred-thirty remarkable years have passed since July 4th, 1776—but what lies ahead for our liberty-blessed land? Let us take stock, at this anniversary of our nation's founding, of how we started on our course as a nation, and whether we still possess the character of that free people our Founders envisioned us to be.

Read the Declaration again with a fresh appraisal, and note the measured tones of the stirring words that begin the treatise: "When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation."

"When...it becomes necessary..." Armed hostilities had commenced on 19 April 1775, at the battles of Lexington and Concord, and a year before asserting American independence, on 5 July 1775, the Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition, beseeching the British king for a peaceful resolution of the American colonies' grievances. As with tyrants ever, the King declined the proffered peace.

The Founders further remarked on their natural hesitation to act boldly in severing ties to England: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." A second time in this passage, the Declaration signers contended they acted out of necessity.

The Founders described their entreaties to the British government: "In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

Once more: "We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation..."
It is remarkable, indeed, how our nation's character has changed. Upon deciding that independence was necessary, our Founding Fathers acted decisively. How often these days do we match such resolve?

Postmodern American man, steeped in moral relativism and doubtful of ascertaining truth, is a bundle of eclectic capacities and features—a far cry from the Founders' notion of human nature. They believed that each individual human is created in the image of God, with the stamp of that divine impress best seen in the fact that each of us is a morally choosing being, fully capable of knowing and distinguishing right from wrong.

Our Founding Fathers thus treated liberty of conscience, most particularly in regard to faith, as central to the project of freedom: "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..." The Founders believed our lives are not vehicles of pleasure but have moral consequence based on our chosen path of conscience and that government should follow our lead.

So started the American Revolution, with this formal statement: "We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States..."

The signers concluded, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." The Founders forged the earliest temper of our populace on the anvil of freedom, and we diminish such courage and resolve at our own great peril.

These were men, "heroes and patriots" in Noah Webster's words, intent on founding a country fit for citizens possessed of sturdy virtue, firm determination and sound judgment, and to inculcate within the new land's citizens a resolve for liberty. This is the heritage we celebrate this Independence Day. Let's live up to it.

Currie Myers - Kansas Federalist

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Two Mayors and a Bio-Ethical Dilemma

Johnson County’s Bioscience Role

Are the Fairway and Mission mayors attempting to bring embryonic stem cell, SCNT, or cloning research to Johnson County?

Johnson County was recently showcased as an up-and-coming player in the emerging biosciences field by members of the Johnson County Bioscience Coalition at an international convention held in April. Two Johnson County mayors, coalition co-conveners John St. Clair and Laura McConwell, attended “Bio 2006” April 12-14 in Chicago. Also attending was Andrew Nave, assistant director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council. Their goal was to show off Kansas and, specifically, Johnson County.

The conference provided networking opportunities for the Johnson County Bioscience Coalition, which was formed more than a year ago by St. Clair and McConwell, mayor of Mission. The coalition’s mission is to educate people regarding the Kansas Economic Growth Act and what it could mean for Kansas and Johnson County in the future. Comprising officials from city government, economic development, education and business, the group meets about once every two months. Speakers address a variety of topics related to biosciences.

Speakers have included Angela Kreps, president of the newly formed trade organization KansasBio, and F. Nicholas Franano of Proteon Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company developing pharmaceuticals to address the medical needs of patients with vascular disease. About 20 to 30 people attend each meeting, St. Clair said. St. Clair said a primary goal is learning how Johnson County can take advantage of the Kansas Economic Growth Act, which will infuse $580 million into the bioscience sector over the next 10 to 12 years. The act also created the Kansas Bioscience Authority, an independent group of local and national leaders in the areas of technology, science and business. That group is charged with creating an infrastructure to encourage industry growth in the state.

In a January 2000 article in the Kansas City Star the following information was provided about the group:

“The initial work of the group has focused largely on raising awareness about opportunities and challenges that arise when working with biotech ventures. The coalition has brought in speakers and organized visits for its more than 150 participants to learn about such initiatives as the Kansas Economic Growth Act, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and the Enterprise Center of Johnson County. Nicholas Franano, who recently raised $19 million for his biotech start-up called Proteon Therapeutics, spoke at the group’s gathering last week. He offered tips and insight for navigating the venture capital industry. With the area’s proximity to such bioscience bright lights as the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the Kansas University Medical Center and a number of promising start-up companies, the opportunities for Johnson County seemed worthy of exploration as Kansas increased its emphasis on the industry, St. Clair said.”

The Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is being created in response to a bill introduced last session by state Rep. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, said Marcia Nielsen, assistant vice chancellor for health policy and governmental affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "The bill wasn't even voted on at the committee level," Nielsen said. "But we fully expect it to be reintroduced in 2006." To ensure that Cook's bill or subsequent attempts to criminalize somatic cell nuclear transfer don't become law, Nielsen said, KU Med has joined more than 200 other groups and individuals supporting the new Kansas Coalition. Creation of the coalition won't be formally announced until later this month, she said, but the group already has established a headquarters in Lawrence and hired an executive director, Lori Hutsles. Hutsles, who represented parts of Shawnee and Merriam as a state representative in the early 1990s, said Kansas Coalition's battle against criminalization of somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT, will take a slightly different route than Missouri's. The Missouri Coalition is attempting to collect the 150,000 signatures necessary to place a state constitutional amendment on the November 2006 ballot. The initiative would protect all forms of stem cell research -- including SCNT -- currently allowed by federal law. But the Kansas Constitution does not allow measures to be placed on the ballot by petition, Hutsles said, so the Kansas Coalition will focus on educating lawmakers, who could put a constitutional amendment on the ballot or at least reject bills targeting SCNT.

At the 2006 BioScience Convention in Chicago the Kansas report was filed at the conference. In examining the document (see Kansas Report below) the major funding sources are stated as the Midwest Research Institute ($12 million) and the Biomed Discovery Fund at the Stowers Institute ($50 million).

Read Individual State Reports (PDF files from 67-100 KB in size)

Kansas

The state's economic growth act has provisions for creating Bioscience Development Districts, which could direct a portion of an expected pool of state money topping $500 million to projects a community needs to land a biotech venture.

Some have talked about the possibility of fashioning a district from a corridor running largely along Shawnee Mission Parkway. It might stretch from the Bayer HealthCare complex to the west all the way east to the state line; essentially making it a neighbor of the current Stowers research facilities. The institute's plans for building a second campus in the Kansas City area also have been considered.

The coalition is not committed to creating one of the districts, but that is a future possibility. Organizers want to learn more about what would be involved in such a step. They also have more work to do in identifying how their region can best support and capitalize on the biotech industry.

'We are still evolving into the role this group will have,' St. Clair said.

While specific action steps are not yet clear, the possibilities definitely are intriguing, said Walt Vernon, chairman of the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.
Communities such as Fairway, Mission and Prairie Village are limited in that they have few sizable chunks of undeveloped land, Vernon said. While that lessens the chances of attracting a major biotechnology manufacturing operation, an incubator facility providing low-cost lab space and offices for small start-ups might be a possibility.

The questions the Kansas Federalist poses for its readers are the following:

Is there a potential eminent domain issue in these cities based upon better revenue for those respective city governments?

Will the Stowers Institute assist the Johnson County Bioscience Coalition financially in the further development of embryonic, SCNT, or cloning research?

What, if any, professional or business relationships with occur between the mayors of these cities and the funding of these projects in the future?

Will Tax Increment Funding (TIF), or other taxing opportunities be used to support these
programs in Johnson County?

Have the area universities and colleges developed into super businesses? A new type of business that brings enormous tax revenues, personnel, and resources to they’re new venture capital partners?

Citizens in the cities of Northeast Johnson County and Shawnee in particular should contact their respective mayors and get a complete and full understanding on the above questions.

Currie Myers – Kansas Federalist

Thursday, June 22, 2006

WMD'S VERIFIED IN IRAQ - JUST RELEASED

ALERT – FOX NEWS REPORTS

WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

Click here to read the declassified portion of the NGIC report.

"This says weapons have been discovered, more weapons exist and they state that Iraq was not a WMD-free zone, that there are continuing threats from the materials that are or may still be in Iraq," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Hoekstra said the report, completed in April but only declassified now, shows that "there is still a lot about Iraq that we don't fully understand." Asked why the Bush administration, if it had known about the information since April or earlier, didn't advertise it, Hoekstra conjectured that the president has been forward-looking and concentrating on the development of a secure government in Iraq.

The official said the findings did raise questions about the years of weapons inspections that had not resulted in locating the fairly sizeable stash of chemical weapons. And he noted that it may say something about Hussein's intent and desire. The report does suggest that some of the weapons were likely put on the black market and may have been used outside Iraq.
He also said that the Defense Department statement shortly after the March 2003 invasion saying that "we had all known weapons facilities secured," has proven itself to be untrue.

"It turned out the whole country was an ammo dump," he said, adding that on more than one occasion, a conventional weapons site has been uncovered and chemical weapons have been discovered mixed within them.

"We know it was there, in place, it just wasn't operative when inspectors got there after the war, but we know what the inspectors found from talking with the scientists in Iraq that it could have been cranked up immediately, and that's what Saddam had planned to do if the sanctions against Iraq had halted and they were certainly headed in that direction," said Fred Barnes, editor of The Weekly Standard and a FOX News contributor.

The release of the declassified materials comes as the Senate debates Democratic proposals to create a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq. The debate has had the effect of creating disunity among Democrats, a majority of whom shrunk Wednesday from an amendment proposed by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to have troops to be completely withdrawn from Iraq by the middle of next year.

At the same time, congressional Republicans have stayed highly united, rallying around a White House that has seen successes in the last couple weeks, first with the death of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then the completion of the formation of Iraq's Cabinet and then the announcement Tuesday that another key Al Qaeda in Iraq leader, "religious emir" Mansour Suleiman Mansour Khalifi al-Mashhadani, or Sheik Mansour, was also killed in a U.S. airstrike.
Santorum pointed out that during Wednesday's debate, several Senate Democrats said that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, a claim, he said, that the declassified document proves is untrue.

"This is an incredibly — in my mind — significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false," he said.

As a result of this new information, under the aegis of his chairmanship, Hoekstra said he is going to ask for more reporting by the various intelligence agencies about weapons of mass destruction.

"We are working on the declassification of the report. We are going to do a thorough search of what additional reports exist in the intelligence community. And we are going to put additional pressure on the Department of Defense and the folks in Iraq to more fully pursue a complete investigation of what existed in Iraq before the war," Hoekstra said.

FOX News' Jim Angle and Sharon Kehnemui Liss contributed to this report

Kansas Federalist note – Why is just FOX News and Drudge reporting on this new public discovery? In today’s day and age of electronic, fast-breaking news, why hasn’t the mainstream media reported to the people of this country the truth that WMD’s did exist and existed in vast qualities in Iraq.

Will the mainstream media as well as liberals across this country apologize to the United States and to President Bush for calling him a liar? When will we understand that terrorism is a clear and present danger to the United States of America and we must be offensive in our tactics or we will end up fighting terrorism again on our homeland?

Currie Myers – Kansas Federalists

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Happy Father's Day Dad!

In contrast to Steve Rose’s column last week in the Sun explaining to his deceased father about how the area has changed for the worse due to conservatism, I offer my thoughts to my own father whom past away in 1993.

Dad,

I miss you terribly and want you to know that Bernadette and the kids are doing great. You would be proud of them, Dad! The kids are really solid citizens and are involved in their school. They haven’t been a bit of trouble. We teach the golden rule, we pray as a family, and we stress that the kids believe in something more than themselves.

You would be surprised of some of the politics around here however. It’s nothing like Jefferson County where you raised us. We actually have people here that run for office but they don’t tell us what they believe. Some of them never answer questions that are asked of them and they have no principles. They complain all of the time and name call and they run for office as Republicans but they don’t have Republican beliefs. One political group is using the name and picture of President Eisenhower and they say they are just like him. Remember Sheriff Eisenhower of Jefferson County? The sheriff when I was growing up and a cousin to the former President? Remember how strong-willed, disciplined and conservative he was? I really tried to emulate him when I was sheriff here in Johnson County. He sure was a good man!

Taxes are really getting high here Dad. And now as a business owner and entrepreneur I really see the benefit of low taxes and less government regulations. We’ve also had the government really abuse eminent domain. And you wouldn't believe that our country has allowed illegal entry into our country and we deny it’s wrong. It seems more and more we care not for the rule of the law, but for political correctness and political pandering.

Remember when we saw that movie “Coma” together in the 70’s. The movie where they harvested body parts to be used to help others and how you said that one day that will be a reality unless we are strict in our moral courage to prevent such actions. Well it’s happened Dad. We have cloning and embryonic stem cell research and organizations, including our colleges, that promote such activities. And the reason? It would be a great source of revenue to the area.

But even though we have some problems and some obstacles to overcome. And even though the newspapers here might as well be liberal political action committees and registered as such, I see the light. The grassroots, the people that walk the walk and talk the talk, are here and are in significant numbers. They are truly the silent majority that rises up and keeps everything in check. So I’m excited Dad. I’m involved and ready for action and I hope that you’re proud of me for taking a stand and fighting the good and honorable fight.

Thanks again for everything you gave me. For all the opportunities, the love, the discipline and the belief that whatever I would take on I would be successful. Please pray for our family and watch over us. Some day I hope to hold onto your hand and walk the path that you now know is true and righteous!

Your loving Son,

Currie

Currie Myers – Kansas Federalist

Monday, June 12, 2006

Local Taxes Outpacing Inflation - The Downfall to Johnson County

Some of the elected official’s in Johnson County and their tax and spend philosophy has started to catch up with them. As core government service and infrastructure needs grow, the county and cities, whom have spent valuable taxpayers dollars on non-core government services are started to realize their financial mistakes, or have they? Some local politicians who see the ever- growing budget burden don’t seem to get the big picture. County Chair Annabeth Surbaugh has already committed to seeing county residents get hit with yet another tax increase and the BOCC Commissioner representing Northeast Johnson County, Ed Peterson, has stated publicly that he is not against the “nuclear option” of raising the county’s mill levy to 7 or 8 mills. In any event, perhaps some of these bureaucrats/politicians have forgotten they serve in elected positions.

To get some sense of how much property values and taxes have gone up in the last 10 years, The Kansas City Star tracked the average appraised values and the average tax bills for about 110,000 single-family homes listed on the tax rolls in 1996. In those 10 years, the average appraised value of the homes rose 63 percent, while the average tax bill went up 43 percent. By comparison, Kansas City’s inflation as a measurement of consumer spending increased 22.2 percent for the same period, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Alan Cobb, executive director of the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said he was not surprised that real estate taxes in the county were outpacing inflation. “Unfortunately, it seems that government generally spends twice the rate of inflation,” said Cobb; whose organization opposes tax increases. “School funding in Kansas is well above twice the rate of inflation, especially the last two years, and the state budget is going to be twice the rate of inflation. ”Cobb’s organization wants to limit the growth of local and state budgets, in part, to the rate of inflation in an initiative known at the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Many local politicians and government managers use the excuse that all these tax increases are for core government services. But is it really? The fact is that local and county government has been spending tax monies on non-essential services for years now. It’s really a matter of prioritization and needs versus wants. Not to mention the fact the current tax monies used under the public safety tax that is supposed to be used for capital projects is being diverted in order to fund the county’s operating budget.

TABOR could be a great start in order to prioritize future funding and keep a lid on tax increases in the future. In addition, the TABOR would also allow for population growth in its formula, as well as increases in inflation. Elected officials willing to embrace TABOR should be given special thought in the election booth this August and November. There is no question that a multitude of services is a very nice thing to have in your community. However, those services must be measured against the potential for businesses, both old and new, along with residents, fleeing high cost areas to a more tax friendly oasis on the plains. Perhaps Miami County could learn from the accomplishments and mistakes of Johnson County and be a serious competitor for the wealth that Johnson County once proclaimed.

Currie Myers – Kansas Federalist

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Do You Contribute More Than You Consume?

As Americans we live in the finest country in the world. Freedom’s that others cannot imagine. Capabilities that others cannot fathom. Dreams that others will never realize. When I think of the opportunities that I have had in my life I am humbled by the works of others in allowing it to happen.

First and foremost your opportunities are predicated on faith. I’m not a big believer in luck. Believing in something greater than yourself and not afraid to stand in defense of that faith is of paramount importance. Second is the value of family and friendships. When one stands together there is nothing that you cannot achieve in life. And finally third is morale courage. The ability to stand and argue in defense of your beliefs. Victimization and nay saying is not the mantra of a Federalist. Federalists fight the fight. They do not develop apathy in life. Resolving problems, righting wrongs, and protecting others is a way of life.

You can determine if you are a Federalist or not by one simple question: Do you contribute more than you consume? In your family, do you bring leadership and resolve to your family or are you just a member of the clan? In business, do you strive to find solutions and better performance or do you just complain and wish life were better. In politics, do you stand in the background afraid of taking a side or do you have the moral courage to stand up and fight for what you believe?

The easiest path to take in life is being in the background. Being a part of the crowd and not separating yourself from the pack. The hardest thing to do is be a leader. To be the person that will stand up, defend your beliefs and take the lead in serving your country. The greatest thing about this country is that any one person can be that leader or that series of leaders. You don’t have to be the wealthiest, or even the most powerful. The United States of America is waiting for you. Be a leader, defend your way of life and stand ready to serve your country. Don’t just consume, contribute!

Currie Myers – Kansas Federalist