• The Year Ahead

    Happy New Year!  2016 will be a pivotal year for California and for our country.   As we look forward to the 2016 elections, our continued support as members of the San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club for local candidates is vital.

    California’s primary election is scheduled for June 7th and the national elections will take place on November 8th.  The traditional paltry turnout means our vote matters more than ever in contests that can affect the quality of life in the place we spend the most time — our hometown. This year’s local elections carry broader significance than usual. California’s economy, government and population are changing.  People are leaving and the effects of the exodus will continue to require painful adjustments. Our state government is reluctantly recognizing a new reality, and local governments will soon follow.  Hard decisions await.  It is important that local elected officials understand and possess the ability to explain and innovate.  As Lincoln Club members we must ensure that our candidates are the best candidates for the job. The San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club Board of Directors meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at RPSLO Headquarters at 75 Higuera Street, Suite 110, San Luis Obispo at 6:30pm.  Members are welcome to attend.  Our first meeting will be prioritizing and scheduling 2016 events, so if you have any suggestions either join us on January 27th or give me a call at (805) 994-7051 or email:  phyllisstout39@gmail.com. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve the San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club in this capacity – 2016 is our year to shine!

    Phyllis Stout, SLO Lincoln Club President

     

    Key Election Year Dates

    With debates over policy issues like immigration, personal issues like which candidate is “low energy,” and fundamental arguments about who is or isn’t qualified to be commander-in-chief, the nuts and bolts of how a candidate is chosen can get lost in all the noise. But here are the critical dates to guide you through this chaotic nominating contest.

    Feb. 1: The Iowa caucuses

    The Iowa caucuses are the first nominating contest in the nation. The momentum the winner receives that comes in the form of positive news stories, an infusion of cash from donors and sometimes additional endorsements is worth more than the handful of delegates needed to win the nomination.

    Feb. 9: The New Hampshire primary

    This is the first primary of the season (Iowa holds caucuses) and the culmination of hundreds of campaign events by candidates in the months prior. In the Republican field, more candidates are competing for a win in New Hampshire than in Iowa and the outcome could help to winnow the field.

    March 1: Super Tuesday

    It’s also called Super Tuesday because 11 states (12 for the GOP) hold their nominating contests that day. It’s also called the SEC primary because seven of the 11 states are in the South. With so many states voting, the stakes are high. Even if a winner isn’t clear after these states vote on the Republican side, the field is very likely to become smaller as candidates could start dropping out. The States voting here have to reward their delegates proportionally so theoretically every candidate can win some delegates.

    March 15: Super Tuesday, Part 2

    Only five states hold their contests on this day but it’s significant because of the number of delegates are at stake. Not only are the states large – Illinois, Ohio and Florida – and reward a lot of delegates but this is the first time in the primary that the winner is able to collect all the delegates from the state. States voting before March 15 have to reward  their delegates proportionally so that theoretically every candidate can win delegates in one state. However, only 16.2% of the delegates (400) will have been chosen from winner take all states.

    June 7: California Primary

    California’s primary proportionally allocates delegates and is not a winner take all state

    July 18-21: The Republican National Convention in Cleveland

    Conventions of late are just pomp and circumstance because a nominee is usually chosen during the primary process. But if no candidate is able to win a majority of delegates – 1237 of 2472 – then the delegates attending the convention will chose the nominee and vice presidential nominee.

    July 25-28: The Democratic National Convention

    November 8: Election Day

  • 3 Views from Fonzi’s Foxhole

    The Enemy Gets a Vote

    Nineteen years ago a distinguished Harvard professor of International Affairs, Samuel Huntington, published a book called “The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order.” In it he described the historical enmity between Western Civilization with its Judeo-Christian heritage and its 1400 year conflict with the Islamic empire. Liberal academics dismissed his thesis even as today we watch his predictions unfold with uncanny accuracy. Huntington described Islam as a militant, missionary religion spread by violent conquest, intolerant of any religious or philosophical rival. When confronted by Christendom, also a missionary, monotheistic religion, permanent conflict was inevitable. Unlike polytheistic religions, neither religion had room for accommodating the other.

    For 1000 years both were evenly matched with major wars establishing an armed peace with continuous friction until around 1700. The rise of Western economic and military supremacy resulted in the temporary decline of the major Islamic states bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Napoleonic Wars and French conquests in the region further weakened Islamic power culminating in the collapse of the Ottoman Turk Empire at the conclusion of WWI.

    Our short sense of history has led most westerners to assume that the current state of international affairs is something new. Reality is that it is simply a return to the near continuous state of war that has existed between the Islamic world and the West since the 7th century. As Huntington pointed out, between the 18th and 20th centuries, there were 92 Western versus Islamic conflicts where the West acquired Muslim territory (which was previously Jewish or Christian territory conquered by Islamic armies) and another 69 conflicts where Muslims regained that territory between 1920 and 1995. Between 1820 and 1929 fifty percent of religious inter-state wars were between Christians and Muslims. The difference today is that 19th century Western military superiority was near absolute. Current conflicts are fought with near military parity but Muslims use the “Dark Age” tactics of total war routinely practiced in the 7th century where neither sex nor age was given quarter and no distinction was made between combatant and civilian. Terrorism against non-Muslims is codified and acceptable.

    That is why last week the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) cold-bloodedly executed 200 Syrian children. It is why they executed a five-year old girl and a six-year old boy in Iraq, routinely torture children, including use of crucifixion; it is why girls and women are sold into sexual slavery and the few who escape relate their experience of being gang-raped multiple times a day. This barbarity will continue unabated as long as we are unwilling to stop it.

    What happened in Paris last Friday will happen again, almost certainly in America at some point. It will not stop until we stop it. France has declared martial law and bombed ISIS targets provided by American intelligence. If we had the intelligence, why didn’t WE bomb it? President Obama has authorized few military strikes, about seven to 10 a week with restrictions prohibiting any chance of civilian casualties. The result is that ¾ of our airstrikes return without dropping bombs. ISIS isn’t afraid of an America led by President Obama.

    France is reportedly considering sending a ground expeditionary force to fight ISIS. Iran has warned that if ISIS approaches within 25 miles of the Iraqi/Iranian border, they will intervene with ground forces in Iraq. Russia has landed in Syria with a Brigade-sized force for the first time in forty years. The stage is being set for a major regional war.

    Without consulting the enemy, Obama declared the Iraq war over, the country stable and abandoned the field. What he left behind collapsed and ISIS emerged. Since 2013, it has seized territory comparable in size to Britain and has spread across North Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula. Its tentacles reach deep into Europe and ISIS openly boasts of coming to America. Obama asserted he will do nothing militarily beyond current operations nor will he re-evaluate his decision to admit thousands of un-vetted refugees to American shores. Half of these refugees are young men of military age from throughout the Middle East. The FBI and Homeland Security stated they have no capability to vet them for security.

    What we need is a leader with the character of a Churchill, a Thatcher or Reagan. We cannot afford a replay of Chamberlain or the obstinacy of a Gladstone. We can’t afford the isolationism of Rand Paul or the indifferent shallowness of President Obama nor the gross incompetence of Clinton.

    President Obama seems concerned about his presidential legacy; he shouldn’t be as it’s already written in the blood of thousands of innocents. I’ll leave you with this thought from the Book of Proverbs: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”

    Al Fonzi, Atascadero News article 20 November 2015

     

    Silent Night, Silenced Nation

    Christmas is a time for reflection, for family but especially for Christians, the celebration of the birth of the Messiah, the Savior of mankind. It’s a time of year when generosity seems to flow unfettered as I personally observed as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Americans are incredibly generous from the smallest child giving a few coins saved to many, many people stuffing fairly large bills or sizeable sums of cash in the “Red Kettle” for charity. I also observed many acts of courtesy which seems to be more prevalent during the season.

    Naturally it is also a time for the skeptic and dedicated “Grinch,” the latter fearful of someone, somewhere being cheerful, to attempt to dampen down public enthusiasm. Take Cornell University for example: the University has put out a missive banning any mention or suggestion of Christmas, at least publicly, the colors red and green deemed particularly offensive to “someone” along with stars, Christmas trees or any other readily identifiable symbol of the Christian holiday, except of course in the absolute privacy of your personal living space. Since students usually have roommates in their dorms, I guess the mistletoe has to be hidden under your pillow.

    Many college campuses, especially those noted for their high tuition, self-identified as “elite” and adopting the language, mores and extreme forms of “political correctness” are especially sensitive to anything that harkens one’s thoughts to religion, especially Christianity or time-honored traditions. It makes one old enough to remember that it wasn’t always this way, evoking nostalgia for times past and saddened at what current and future generations are missing.

    America has radically changed over my lifetime. I wish I could say for the better but I think not. How much have we really lost? Enter into my time machine of old movies and a picture begins to form.

    A good place to start would be the 1947 classic film, “The Bishop’s Wife,” starring Loretta Young, David Niven and Cary Grant. It’s a simple story of a man with a problem, a neglected wife, Angelic assistance and how the world often interferes with the true spirit of Christmas. The story aside, the film reveals American innocence and accepted values that seem lost today. There isn’t a single episode of vulgarity, an untoward suggestion or an act of violence throughout the film, unless a snowball fight among children counts. The year this film was released is symbolic as it was the year when the Supreme Court launched its war on the American people to purge religious symbols from the public square. It was only three years prior that President Roosevelt called upon the nation to pray with him for the soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy on “D-Day.” Most people of faith considered that prayer answered, a gift we have apparently forgotten as the Court’s war on faith is almost complete. We could have reversed this at any time at the ballot box but nobody seemed to care enough to bother.

    Courtesy of the Courts, Nativity scenes disappeared from the public square; the first to go being the one in front of our local Post Office. Banning Christmas carols in schools was followed by proscribing any public declaration of faith, prayer or religious texts, especially Bibles. From restrictions of faith we’ve progressed to active persecution of children of faith, banning private prayers over lunch at school, Christian clubs, any mention of God and even threats by federal judges to jail students who dare mention God at graduation ceremonies. How far we’ve travelled; one has to ask, is the nation better off because of this?

    This week a principal in a New York school banned any mention of Christmas, Thanksgiving or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Over Thanksgiving we were berated by commentators insisting “Thanksgiving was offensive to Native Americans.” Did anyone ask them? The Pilgrims were saved from starvation by local Native-American tribes who shared equally in the bounty of the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. This was followed by fifty years of peaceful relations, not broken until more secular-minded immigrants arrived from Europe.

    Political correctness and militant secularism is robbing America of its heritage and hope for the future. The insistence upon “multiculturalism” and the debasement of America’s heritage, passed down via 500 years of Western Civilization, is not making America better. People don’t endure hardship and danger to escape to America and “its streets of gold” because they want to make it just like the hell-hole they escaped. They flee religious persecution, which for Middle Eastern Christians is fast becoming the new genocide; they flee hunger, poverty, war and horrors our children have been spared, so far.

    Christmas and its wonders are ours to lose. Nobody can steal it from us unless we are silent. Don’t let them! Merry Christmas!

    Al Fonzi, Atascadero News article 18 December 2015

     

    Memo to Congress: How to Defeat ISIS

    As Republicans, we’re supposed to be smart about national security but it seems more often than not lately, we’re taking a cue from the Democrats. ISIS is a major national security threat as evidenced by the recent terrorist attack that occurred in San Bernadino in December. It’s not as yet an “existential threat,” that is, a threat that can physically destroy the nation as can Russia and likely China, but it’s a growing threat that can inflict severe damage upon us. Remember, it took only 19 motivated men to destroy the World Trade Center complex (seven buildings), kill nearly 3000 Americans and cause an economic loss of over one trillion dollars to our economy once the “butchers bill” had been paid. We still haven’t fully recovered from that attack.

    There is a moral dimension to the ISIS threat of which we are responsible. We broke Iraq and destroyed the glue that forced that collection of “Tribes with Flags” into a semblance of a nation-state, however corrupt and violent it may have been. Our invasion in 2003 unleashed the hounds of hell upon the Iraqi people in the form of sectarian violence not occurring since the original emergence of Islamic armies from the Arabian desert in the 7th century.

    Culturally, Americans are an impatient people with a short attention span. This resulted in us soon tiring of a very difficult war launched via flawed intelligence, poor strategy and even worse execution. It was a military and political disaster compounded by an even greater disaster facilitated by a precipitous military withdrawal ordered against all military advice by President Obama. As a people, we’re really good at not learning from our mistakes! Before readers accuse me of not supporting the troops or lack of patriotism, let it be known that my military career spanned 36 years and three wars with duty in infantry, armor, Special Forces and intelligence units. I served in Iraq in 2004 with special operations units and directly on the coalition general staff. I was able to see the war up close and personal in a way few ever will. Simultaneously with my tour of duty, my oldest son also served in Iraq with the First Marine Division in a hellhole called Ramadi, in which his unit, the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines was directly supported by the late Navy SEAL Sniper, Chris Kyle, whose exploits were documented in the film “American Sniper.” This made the war very personal for me as our family was about as invested in winning this war as any family could be. My wife deserves a medal as most of the emotional stress fell upon her.

    What has happened since the withdrawal of American troops is not just disheartening, it’s infuriating, as none of it was necessary or inevitable. Obama, Clinton and the Democrats own this disaster and every barrel of blood of the innocents it produces. What is frustrating is to hear Republicans talk like Democrats, the original political party of retreat and defeat. Defeatism has been the Democrats’ specialty since the fall of Vietnam to a conventional invasion from North Vietnam, made easy by a newly-elected Democrat-controlled Congress cutting off all military assistance to South Vietnam. Their planes didn’t have fuel to fly nor their artillery ammunition to shoot. No wonder that the invasion of South Vietnam that occurred in April 1975, led by columns of North Vietnamese tanks, supplied by the former Soviet Union, easily conquered a neutered South Vietnam. No wonder also that our current Secretary of State, John Kerry, is lauded in a North Vietnamese military museum for his leadership in assisting the communist North in achieving their victory through his subversion of the American war effort at home. Honestly, there really is a plaque in North Vietnam honoring John Kerry. I’ve seen it. It’s pathetic but you’ll never hear about it in our media.

    What I’m referring to about Republicans is the half-steps they take when emulating Democrats complaining about “America being the world’s policeman” and discussing strategies that call for “Muslim boots on the ground.” Well, there are “Muslim boots on the ground” but the problem is they belong to ISIS. There is no effective indigenous military force in the Middle East, except Israel, capable of defeating ISIS or any similar organization without strong, U.S. leadership and material support.

    Since the end of WWII, there has been one and only one western power strong enough to consistently provide the leadership for Western Civilization against whatever dark forces are arrayed against us. That force is America, not Britain, not France nor Germany. All were left exhausted by two world wars and Britain spent the next thirty years watching a former mighty empire crumble to dust, as did their military. Britain and France together have fewer aircraft carriers than we used to deploy to the Mediterranean in the Sixth Fleet, which by the way, no longer really exists under Obama, except on paper.

    If you want to defeat ISIS, or any other military force 50,000 strong, ruthless, embedded within the urban civilian population and heavily armed, you can’t do it with airpower. You don’t have the targets, which is why 75% of our bombing missions return without dropping ordnance, especially when combined with extremely restrictive rules of engagement imposed by the risk-averse policies of the Obama administration.

    Defeating ISIS isn’t rocket science and dozens of American generals, colonels and lieutenant colonels, retired or active can lay out a strategy for victory. Victory is defined as the utter annihilation of ISIS, defeat in detail. If prisoners are somehow taken, they should be turned over to the local governments in which their crimes were committed to face Iraqi/Syrian justice, which will be swift and absolute. ISIS is a criminal organization which violates the laws of land warfare under multiple international treaties as a matter of policy. They boast about this and should be held legally accountable just as we once held the Nazis accountable, especially the fanatical members of the “SS” whose savagery against civilians knew no bounds. But I digress.

    To defeat ISIS requires a sufficient military ground force: I suggest the use of the U.S. III (Third) Corps out of Fort Hood, Texas, comprised of two heavy divisions and an armored cavalry regiment at a minimum. It could be reinforced by the use of the 101st Airborne Division, which is really an Air Cavalry Division with hundreds of helicopters, attack and otherwise, for use in highly mobile dessert warfare or supporting urban combat. It is a force of about 70,000 men which should be reinforced further with another four heavy divisions and Air Force Special Operations Gunship Squadrons for aerial firepower. Add in A-10s for close air support and you have rolling thunder that will crush anything ISIS has.

    To suggest that ISIS will simply blend in with the civilian population and disappear discounts the visceral hatred the civilian community has for ISIS fighters. As occurred in the previous surge and the Sunni uprising, the civilian population is very likely to assist Iraqi and American intelligence units to locate and identify ISIS terrorists.

    When accompanied by Iraqi troops in support of American forces you have a military steamroller that will bury the Caliphate. A blocking force of the Jordanian Army and Air Force in the north, possibly with Turkish assistance will put an end to any hope of escape by ISIS.         Captured foreign fighters would be turned over to the host nation suffering ISIS atrocities, regardless of citizenship, including Americans. If you want to halt ISIS recruiting on the internet, let “wannabe warriors” watch a few ISIS foreign fighters take the walk of 13 steps up an Iraqi gallows, begging for their lives, not dying as martyrs in combat but despised as cowards and murderers. That should take some of the glamor and ardor away for ISIS membership.There is a legal component that is essential. ISIS is a criminal organization guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Anyone who has served with ISIS, supported them in any way, materially or otherwise, is equally guilty and should be hunted down worldwide. We will extradite them to the country of their crimes just as we hunted down and extradited Nazis for seventy years after the end of WWII. With no place to hide and severe sanctions on any nation granting them asylum we can purge the earth of this scum.

    Finally, there is an ideological component. Only a better idea can defeat an idea. We have to be willing to acknowledge what the threat is and who threatens Western Civilization. We are in a 1400 year-old conflict between Western Civilization and Islam, specifically, the radical, fanatical form of Islam manifested in the armies of the 7th century best represented today in the Wahabi and Salafi sects of Islam. As a faith, Islam is not monolithic nor does it have a single central authority. Theological authority is dispersed among regions, Mullahs, Imans and Mosques worldwide, each pronouncing new interpretations of the Koran with Hadiths regulating the lives of Muslims according to whatever Koranic authority decides to postulate. It is generally divided among Sunni practitioners (from which the Wahabi and Salafi sects emerged) and Shia Muslims with many offshoots and subsets. Both are hostile to non-Muslim faiths but the Sunni/Wahabi and Salafi sects are the most violent, intolerant and confrontational sects that comprise about a third of Islamic adherents.

    Finally, we have to acknowledge the facts on the ground and to be willing to aggressively and psychologically defend Western Civilization from the threat militant Islam poses to all, but particularly to women. No apologies are necessary to Islam whatsoever and any politician engaging in such rhetoric betrays a 2000 year old struggle to defend God-given rights to the individual, such as personal freedom, dignity and the rule of law over tyranny. Islam recognizes no such individual rights but only the duty of the individual to submit to the will of God as interpreted by the Koran, whether you believe it or not. A victory of Islam over Western Civilization ensures a return to the status of chattel for western women, in addition to the end of art, music and culture as we understand it. It is a threat as existential as nuclear war and with results that will leave us all almost as destitute.

    So please, no more nonsense about a few Special Forces troops or a more intense air campaign; military half-measures and war on the cheap are doomed to fail. This is war and there will be casualties on both sides. “Freedom isn’t free” is not a cliché, it’s quite real for families that suffer the ultimate sacrifice. This is a long war and it’s absolutely necessary for us to display the political will & moral courage to fight it and fight to win, for it is truly a fight to the death.

    Al Fonzi, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, (Retired) January 4, 2016      

  • Apathy: Destroyer of Liberty

    Our founders were wise beyond measure. They gave us a Republic organized upon the lines of personal freedom with written limits on the powers of government. This gift of liberty came with only one real caveat; it works only as long as we we’re engaged in the affairs of government. If anything would kill it and reduce us to serfdom, it was apathy and lack of moral character.

    Historically, most people live under tyranny in one form or another. We’ve done fairly well, surviving 239 years with only a couple of nasty bumps. Before we indulge in congratulations we should pause and reflect that the average life-span of a Republic is about 200 years, after which, self-indulgent decline seems to rot societal structure from within. When that happens, apathy towards those who rule or aspire to rule is widespread with disaster not far away. Self-government is hard, requiring perseverance and dedication to finding the truth. Most importantly, it requires citizens to hold those in power accountable.

    Over the last seven years, Americans have endured a prolonged state of war, economic dislocation, loss of international prestige and trust of our allies with contempt from our enemies. We have choices to make and we will make them in the next year. We will live with that choice for at least four years afterwards, assuming the Republic survives.

    I remember the Watergate hearings in the 1970’s and how the public was riveted to televised hearings regarding the malfeasance of the Nixon regime, ultimately caught in a cover-up to obstruct justice. Democrats led the charge but Republicans were equally outraged, ultimately voting to hold a Republican president accountable.

    Since 2012, one scandal after another has surfaced with federal employees abusing their authority, violating the rights of citizens and obstructing the investigations initiated by congressional oversight committees. I never thought I’d witness federal officials refusing to provide documents under subpoena to Congress let alone actually destroying them after an official subpoena was issued. Yet, just that has repeatedly occurred, as federal officials exercise their 5th Amendment rights to refuse to testify before congress and then deliberately destroy potential evidence, with seeming impunity. It happened with the IRS, it happened again with the State Department regarding the Benghazi hearings that attempted to assign responsibility for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Tripoli in 2012.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now presidential candidate, danced through the recent hearings with accolades from the national press corps for sidestepping her personal responsibility, any responsibility really, for the death and destruction inflicted upon American national interests.

    The chaos in Libya occurred on Clinton’s watch; the Libya policy that overthrew the Libyan dictator was hers and she spared no effort in accepting its initial apparent success. Then she walked away, ignoring the chaos that ensued.

    Remember the 2008 presidential campaign of a phone call at 3:00 am and “who was going to answer the phone?” Clinton berated Obama as being unqualified to deal with those “crisis in the night calls.” As it turns out, nobody answered the phone, especially Clinton.

    Prior to that deadly September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the ambassador made over 600 requests to State Department HQs in Washington for additional security assistance. He was turned down even with multiple attacks on the consulate and the diplomatic facilities of other countries in the months preceding September 11th. After the overthrow of the Libyan government, the record reveals virtual total silence from Clinton.

    After the attacks killed the ambassador and three other Americans, “the lie” became official government policy, the lie that said a video instigated the attack, not terrorists. Any official challenging “the lie” experienced career-ending reprisal, as did the Libya Deputy Chief of Station, Gregory Hicks, demoted by Clinton for truthfully testifying to Congress about the events of that night in Benghazi.

    That lie was personally spread by Clinton, directly to the parents of former Navy SEAL Ty Woods and communications technician Sean Smith as their caskets were off-loaded from military aircraft to waiting hearses. “The Lie” was spread further by Administration hacks for weeks, though Clinton knew it was a lie from the day of the attacks. She said so in e-mails and phone calls to her daughter, to the Libyan President and to the Egyptian Foreign Minister in the first 24 hours after the attack.

    The question for Americans is what is the character of a politician that could look a grieving parent in the eye and lie to them as their son’s casket is being carried home? It’s the mark of the most venal of politicians that engages in deliberate deception for political purposes. If we don’t hold Clinton accountable, the shame is as much ours as any she should bear.                           

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Presidents Message – Thanks

    Dear Lincoln Club:

    Thank you all for allowing me to serve as President this past year.  We started the year with 60 members and now we are close to our goal of 100.  I think our Christmas Dinner will put us over the top.  As a club we are growing in influence.  We are poised to build on our electoral successes in 2014 by supporting strong local candidates that value personal freedom.

    Please join us at the Christmas Dinner on December 3rd.  We are excited to have Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen as our guest speaker.  As always it will be a fun night.

    Onward to victory,

    Jordan

  • View From Fonzi’s Foxhole – Unite or Die

    Watching the republican debate last night on CNBC confirms to me that Republicans, more than ever, need to unite and cease the ideological intra-party warfare. We are conservatives all in one form or another as compared to the Democrats, who are extreme by any definition and captured as a party by the most ideologically rigid and mean-spirited elements of the “American Left.” These people do not love America or Americans. They are “tyrants-in-training” and will adopt the harshest possible measures to destroy political opposition to their agenda, restrained only by what remains of rule of law in an increasingly lawless administration. While that analysis may seem harsh, one only needs to read their literature and their commentary, not to mention listen to their words when they think nobody is listening. They’re dangerous to the Republic and to any freedom-loving individual who would dare defy their plans to “fundamentally change America.”

    These extremists are relentless, focused and well-organized. As we saw in Wednesday’s Republican debate, their media allies are fully mobilized to support them by conducting a campaign to undermine, discredit or personally destroy any and all Republican candidates, doing whatever it takes. Our continued infighting will only serve to aid their campaign and it’s time we put our disputes aside and recognize that a “House divided against itself cannot stand.” America is in as great a peril from the subversion within as it ever was from any external threat. If we fail to unite, then the warning given by the Founders to “Unite or Die” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • When Government of the People, Isn’t

    The phenomena of Donald Trump and his Teflon-coated political campaign is producing panic in the political establishment and political commentators, questioning the driving force behind his popularity, though it’s blatantly obvious to any third-grader.

    Government in America is no longer “of the people, by the people and for the people” which is in mortal danger of perishing from America. We’ve become an oligarchy, ruled by despotic, unelected, unaccountable government agencies and arbitrary bureaucrats and we’re angry!

    On a small scale, we experienced it locally several years ago when an obscure agency, the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) banned plastic bags without consent or a “by your leave” from the voters. The IWMA is composed of elected officials from cities, county supervisors and community services districts but does not represent any single electoral district. Most people never heard of them. In fact, they were previously low-key enough to ignore. With barely a whisper, they decided to do “what was good for us” and enacted a legal ban, complete with fines and jail time for offenders, before the public even knew what happened.

    This happens continuously in California and across the nation with obscure local agencies enacting enforceable dictates upon unsuspecting citizens until they run afoul of some regulation and hauled before an inquisition with little legal recourse. On a State or National level such an experience can be devastating, especially financially, with levied fines of tens of thousands of dollars for the smallest of infractions, even if innocent. Running afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS, the Corps of Engineers or Fish & Wildlife for an environmental offense can and often does bankrupt people. Stories abound of unsuspecting citizens obtaining local and State building permits and suddenly confronted with draconian fines and threats of imprisonment as an EPA agent decides that their locally approved driveway is suddenly a threat to the “three-spotted louse-wart” spotted half a mile away.

    Last week, the California legislature refused to pass SB 350, which imposed unreasonable restrictions on the ability of Californians to drive their cars; it arbitrarily raised energy and fuel costs via regulations on the energy industry. The Democrats in the legislature revolted, realizing that the poor, working-poor and middle class would be severely impacted by SB 350. They joined Republican legislators in opposition, but Governor Brown, taking a leaf from the Obama playbook, stated he would impose the goals of SB 350 anyway via regulations through the State Air Pollution Board. We don’t elect those people; the governor appoints them. The ultimate effect will be to raise the price of gas by many dollars per gallon, forcing the public to cut their driving by half, whether they want to or not.

    In California we often vote on constitutional amendments or initiatives, such as Proposition 8 to defend traditional marriage. Prop 8 won but a federal judge, who was gay, ruled it unconstitutional, even though the U.S. Constitution has not a single word giving the federal government jurisdiction over marriage. The 10th Amendment dictated such power was delegated exclusively to the States. Governor Brown and his Attorney General refused to appeal the decision, thus millions of California voters saw their votes nullified on the whim of three lawyers. A county clerk in Kentucky is being pilloried for refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay marriages on grounds of religious conscience, which is supposed to be protected by the First Amendment. She requested a religious accommodation to simply replace her name with that of the “Commonwealth” or the governor. The “establishment” refused and insisted she violate her conscience, “or else.” Today, her critics piously state “The law is the law, but was it always?

    In 1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which compelled everyone to assist in the apprehension of fugitive, run-a-way slaves. Failure to assist could cost you your property and your freedom. An accusation of being an escaped slave was sufficient to compel a free black man or woman of a northern free state to be transported to the South in chains, without legal recourse. Northerners revolted, used violence against “slave-catchers” and assisted free blacks to escape to Canada. About 20,000 free northern blacks fled to Canada for political refuge, most remaining till this day even though the Civil War emancipated American slaves.

    In modern context, should a doctor be forced to violate his conscious and be mandated to perform abortions, late-term “partial-birth abortions” or participate in assisted suicide should that become the law? Should we eliminate Conscientious Objector status for those faced with compulsory military service who’ve declined direct participation in combat? At what point do we deny who we are and who we’ve always been?

    Trump reflects the growing anger of an abused, ignored American electorate. Government ignores this anger at its peril.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Presidents Message – Party Invitation

    Lincoln club members,

    We are excited to invite you to our October 11 social event at 3 o’clock at the Windows of the World restaurant in Morro Bay.  The event is free for members and only $20 for nonmembers.  Please mark it on your calendar and come join us and local elected officials for some mingling with like-minded folks.

    While you have your pen out please mark your calendar for December 3 for our annual Christmas dinner.

    Our club has seen tremendous growth this year and we are in striking distance of our goal of 100 paid members by the end of 2015.  We are the force to be reckoned with on the local political scene.  We will continue to help elect conservatives here in San Luis Obispo County that will promote fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, and more individual freedom.

    As always, if you want to help the cause go to our website SLOLincolnclub.org and become a member.

    Jordan Cunningham,  SLO Lincoln Club President

  • Nine Minutes to Catastrophe

    Intelligence operations almost always make good copy and sometimes exciting movies. The reality is somewhere between with tedium, patience and determination becoming the most decisive factors. Seldom do intelligence operations resemble a “Mission Impossible” scenario, but occasionally they’re close.

    Navy nuclear attack submarine crews are unlikely James Bond characters but engage in incredibly dangerous and vital operations. During the Cold War one such crew penetrated the fleet anchorage of the Soviet Northern Fleet and tapped into an undersea cable, capturing the most closely held secrets of the Soviet High Command for several months. The operation was a spectacular success until the Soviets got wise from Washington leaks via high-ranking political types trying to score points with the media. The Glomar Explorer operation in the Pacific to recover Soviet nuclear missile warheads from a sunken sub off Hawaii was another case of “blown cover” by the press. Loss of secrecy costs money (Glomar Explorer cost millions) and could cost lives, such as an entire Sub crew when engaged in dangerous operations. One of my peers lost his life in East Germany in 1985, executed by the KGB when his operation was leaked and penetrated by Soviet counterespionage. Thus when I hear about a high-ranking politician acting in a totally irresponsible and arrogant manner in the handling of military or diplomatic classified information, I do a slow burn.

    Former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of an unsecure server and e-mail put herself and the nation at extreme risk as diplomatic communications and military operations are always the highest priorities for intelligence collection. Diplomatic communications reveal “Intent,” the “Holy Grail” of intelligence collection. We can count tanks and planes all day, but having insight into foreign intentions is the key to sound foreign policy decision-making. If they’re reading your mail they have you at their mercy, in war, diplomacy or trade. Every intelligence analyst will confirm that ALL cabinet-level officers and their aides are targeted by multiple foreign intelligence services. We can safely assume virtually all of Clinton’s conversations as Secretary of State are archived in Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean intelligence databanks. She put your families at extreme risk for her own nefarious reasons.

    That brings me to the Iran nuclear agreement under review by Congress. Hopefully, they will garner the votes to override a presidential veto and kill the agreement as it’s worse than a very bad agreement.

    We were promised inspections “anywhere, anytime” by the White House, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Energy and other key negotiators as recently as April 2015. There is no such provision and the Ayatollah’s and Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander says all military installations are permanently off-limits. The agreement also ignores the four American hostages still being held by Iran and lifts the embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.

    The only use for a ballistic missile is to put a weapon of mass destruction on top of it, like a nuclear weapon. Iran’s ballistic missile program already has the ability to conduct space launches of small satellites into orbit; now they can refine their missiles, increasing range and accuracy with impunity. They are also already violating existing sanctions: They sent the commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, to Moscow, contravening a travel ban under current sanctions to negotiate arms transfers from Russia to Iran. The Quds Force clandestinely operated in Iraq to kill and wound over 1000 American troops during the last decade. Soleimani’s mission was to expedite the delivery of prohibited S-300 anti-aircraft/anti-ballistic missiles to Iran from Russia. The S-300 is a game-changer for the Israeli and American military. It’s a quantum leap in capability, greatly increasing the risk to aircrews launching strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    For the Israelis, the situation is extremely grave. The Obama administration has made it abundantly clear they have no intention of ever exercising a military option against the Iranian nuclear program. The Israelis were left out in the cold as the window of opportunity for a successful airstrike against Iranian nuclear sites diminishes. The Iranian nuclear “agreement” with President Obama allows Iran to eventually become a legally armed nuclear state by the next decade without internal change to their apocalyptic foreign policy requiring the annihilation of Israel. Half the world’s Jewish population lives in Israel. The flight time of a ballistic missile from Iran to Israel is nine minutes. In nine minutes Iran can murder more Jews than Hitler murdered in nine years.

    Sunday, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States stated that Israel will have to act in its own interest, which in this case, is national survival. Facing a regime determined to destroy every Jew in the world, Israel will be forced to strike Iran first. Obama’s agreement leads not to “Peace In Our Time,” but paves the way for nuclear war.

     

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club

    First printed in Atascadero News article 21 August 2015

     

  • Separating Wheat from the Chaff

    The political season is upon us once again as candidates almost too innumerable to count seek the presidency. Somewhere one can only hope that a leader will emerge who understands and lives the virtue of selfless service to the nation.

    Some are born to lead at least as we understand what it means to lead. Others are formed in the crucible of severe trials, arising at a moment of crisis when others despair or are broken by extreme stress. Once we had a ready supply of heroes and heroines, those who put themselves to the most extreme tests and persevered under incredible hardship.

    Our grandparents were fortunate in that the late 19th and early 20th century provided multiple opportunities for genuine heroes to rise to public recognition. One such man was Ernest Shackleton, famed explorer of the arctic regions. He participated in three major arctic explorations during which his ability to motivate his men and most importantly, keep them alive, became his reason for notoriety in the early 20th century. His second Antarctic expedition came within 97 geographic miles of the South Pole, whereupon, faced with the prospect of almost certain death of his men from starvation if he continued, he made the decision to turn back, even though it cost him the fame of being “the first” to reach the South Pole. A remark later attributed to him was that “it was his duty to bring his men out of the cold.” Another explorer achieved the honor of being “first to the South Pole” but Shackleton continued his quest for polar exploration.

    In his last expedition attempting to cross the polar seas his ship “Endurance” became trapped in sea ice and was crushed. He kept his men alive for another year under incredible conditions, even making a 720-mile voyage in an open lifeboat to obtain rescue for his men stranded on a rocky, polar island. He succeeded and obtained brief fame, but died in debt and obscurity until his exploits were given new life by historians long after his death. Shackleton is an icon of leadership under the harshest of conditions, putting the welfare of his men above his own at every turn.

    One hopes that those seeking the highest office in the land have similar qualities. Once upon a time we expected those in high office to demonstrate a lifetime of integrity, sacrifice and personal courage, both moral and physical. Teddy Roosevelt demonstrated personal courage in his leadership of the First Volunteer Cavalry in the Spanish American War as a Regimental Commander, personally leading his unit in a charge up the hills of San Juan under murderous enemy fire. Supported by the regular Army all-black 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, Roosevelt’s unit carried the day and made the Spanish positions defending Santiago untenable and led to a rapid ending of the war. Roosevelt inspired the nation and the Republican Party placed him on the “ticket” as Vice-President to William McKinley. President McKinley’s assassination placed Vice-President Roosevelt into the office of President. His trial by fire prepared Teddy as no experience could, as having faced death the machinations of mere politicians were hardly intimidating. Roosevelt stormed through the Washington establishment like a tornado in a chicken farm. His eldest son, Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt III, modeled his life after his father, landing at Utah Beach at Normandy on “D-Day” in 1944. Insisting on sharing the hardships of his troops, he landed with the first wave of soldiers. He was killed in action, earning the Medal of Honor for his actions at Normandy.

    Thousands of men and women display extraordinary courage under difficult circumstances when the moment arises; most are quite ordinary people by worldly standards, not having great wealth, fame or even incredible skill. Something needs to be done and they act; most are never recognized, especially in military service.

    One such hero is Captain John Ripley, a Marine officer serving in South Vietnam in the Spring of 1972 during the North Vietnamese “Easter Offensive.” Approaching the Dong Ha Bridge, a North Vietnamese armored column was held up by a battalion of South Vietnamese Rangers advised by Ripley, who then proceeded to mine the bridge with explosives. For over two hours, while repeatedly exposed to fierce enemy fire, Ripley hauled 50lb explosive charges underneath the superstructure of the bridge, successfully detonating the charges and halting the enemy column of tanks. Ripley was given the Navy Cross and then quietly served out another 20 years of service until his retirement. Most Americans have never heard of him or a thousand others like him.

    Hopefully, we’ll look beyond the hype of political candidates and search for a life of integrity, personal sacrifice and candidates that accept responsibility for failure as well as success. Prayerfully, we’ll seek candidates that put the country before party and the nation before ego and ambition.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club

    First printed in Atascadero News article 7 August 2015

  • Membership and Participation

    Presidents Message – Membership and Participation

    We hope your summers going well. The Midstate fair came into town again and we successfully help staff the GOP booth and register new voters.  Our voter registration efforts, coordinated with other affiliated groups, will make the difference in 2016.  We anticipate close elections but keeping our durable majority in SLO County.

    Membership in our club is growing and we are on pace to reach our goal of over 100 paid members by the end of 2015.  If you haven’t joined yet and have been planning on it, please stop what you’re doing right now, go to our website www.slolincolnclub.org and join the club.  It is the best way to make a difference in local politics.

    If you are a member, thanks for your support.  We continue to promote our values of lower taxes, government accountability, personal freedom, and opportunity for all.

    Onward to victory,

    Jordan Cunningham