Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Lap (A.K.A. Mike Broomhead)

As I walked into the I♥Radio Broadcast Headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, the massive array of logos provided a smattering of shock and awe.  I was there that day to interview Arizona's premier morning radio show host, Mike Broomhead.  He occupies the 6am-10am time slot on 550 KFYI (small factoid: KFYI means that the the station is on the west side of the country and the rest is For Your Information).
I got to sit in Broomhead's seat.

Believe it or not, Broomhead did not start out in the radio business.  He does not have a journalism or a communications degree.  He started out as a blue collar construction worker. Furthermore, he wasn't even a conservative growing up! Now please hold your cries of "sacrilege" to a minimum.

He was raised in a liberal household by a single mother, who faced the daunting task of rearing three young men into gentlemen. His uncles were your typical Mid-western, blue collar Democrats.  They worked as dock loaders and were card carrying Teamsters. However, a change occurred he was a teenager.  His family collectively realized that the only way to get ahead was to work hard and earn it.  No one was gonna give it to them.  This statement evolved into his personal work ethic.  "I always try to be the best at what I'm doing," he said. "I am completely average. Average height, average build, average looks, average intellect, there is nothing about me that isn't average.  The only thing I have going for me is work ethic."

His interest in radio started back in his construction days, and ultimately lead to him being a frequent caller. After his brother, an Army Sergeant, died in Iraq, he became more outspoken for veterans' issues. This led him to multiple speaking engagements.  After a while doing small work for, at the time, Clear Channel Radio, he was made a host.  Shortly thereafter, because of his hard work, a representative of Glenn Beck, a nationally syndicated radio host, approached him and asked if he would like to audition to be an occasional fill-in for Glenn Beck on his show.  At first he thought that this was a prank... that someone was yanking his chain!  But he made a few calls and was thoroughly blown away to hear that the offer was legit.  So Broomhead became a backup host for the Glenn Beck Show.

Because of his exposure to the public, he has often been asked if he will run for political office. Unfortunately, "Absolutely no" is his answer.  "I would rather talk to the voters than the politicians right now," he said.  Arizona, it is safe to say that we will have him around on the air for a while.

Finally, my last topic in the interview was his legacy. So I posed the question to him, "What legacy do you want to leave behind for your children and grandchildren?"

He uttered a soft groan as he leaned back in his chair.  "Ahh...You know, my grandfather was the biggest influence on me growing up.  My dad was an absent father even when my parents were married," Broomhead reflected. "So I remember there was a moment when I was watching TV with my grandson and he was sitting on my lap.  It was a very real moment when I realized that 'oh my god - I'm the lap!'  I used to sit on my grandfather's lap (and) now I'm the lap!"

Being the lap is a huge responsibility because it is the lap who inspires and provides wisdom to the kid... "In 20 years my three year old grandson will be either in college, looking for a job, or in the military.  What evil is he going to have to fight because we didn't?" he wondered.

One of the things that he most impressed upon me was that he was deeply religious. Everything he is, has, and is able to do, he attributes to God.  His story shows how, even with the odds stacked against you, with God on your six anything is possible.

Mike Broomhead was very generous and gracious during our interview
As we walked out of the building my mom started asking some pointed questions about the interview. Overall my impression of him is that he is a honorable, god fearing man.  He obviously cares deeply for his family and nation.  If you haven't heard his show, I highly recommend you do.  Tune in to 550 KFYI and judge for yourself.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Knowing the right people at the right time is completely awesome.

Case in point: this summer I was in Washington D.C. with my mom, my grandmother, and my sisters.  During a tour of the Capitol, my mom suggested that I make a phone call, find out if Congressman Paul Gosar was in D.C., and if he was, would he be willing to visit with us while we were there.  Fortunately for me, I know his district manager, Penny Pew, so instead of just calling his D.C. office, where I probably had no chance of success, I called Penny.  She was able to hook me up. After that phone call, I had an appointment to meet Congressman Gosar in 45 minutes!  It was weird to just call a sitting U.S. congressman's office and make a same day appointment, but he and I have known each other for a while.  Not only have I interviewed him in the past, but at every event that we are both at I make it a priority to catch up with him.

Elated, because what an opportunity!  How many families get to spend some time with a sitting congressman in his D.C. office?!  After we finished the tour, we made our way over to Congressman Gosar's office.  My family and I walked around inside of the building twice before we found it tucked unobtrusively on the west side of the building. His office used to be Lyndon B. Johnson's when he served in the House.  However with a  joking gleam in his eye and tone, Congressman Gosar told us that he remodeled it to "remind the Texan that he is from the great state of Arizona."  The walls are painted in Arizona's colors of red, blue, and yellow, and the baseboards are painted copper.

As a quick side-note, before I finish the story of our visit, here's a little bit of background on him.  He is a dentist, who was unhappy with the shenanigans in D.C. Rather than complain and do nothing, he jumped into the fray.  Many politicians cater to special interest groups and he is the same, though his "special interest group" is his constituents and his state.  Not only that, but he is easily accessible to the people he serves.  He is constantly conducting meet and greets throughout his district.  In addition, he took time out of a day with his family to be available for a phone interview with me.  His contributions include his recent water rights bill, fighting to prevent congressional representatives from flying first class on the taxpayers' dime, and voting in favor of the "no Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," to name a few of his activities.
Scalpel, forceps, Snickers?

While we sat and spoke in his office, he settled into a comfortable demeanor and soon we found ourselves completely engrossed in an enjoyable conversation.  My little sister even got to hear first hand how even candy can be used in dentistry.  One day during a break on the House floor, one of his coworkers' daughters had a loose tooth that had gotten twisted around.  Gosar calmly had a member of his staff get a chilled Snickers bar from a nearby mini fridge.  As the Snickers was being brought to him, he explained what he was going to do.  She was to bite down as hard as she could into the chocolate. After her jaw locked, she sharply opened her mouth and the troublesome tooth remained trapped in the caramel center.

I walked out on cloud nine.  I love being able to talk with prominent people.  The only reason that meeting was even remotely possible was by having connections.  I would like to conclude by thanking the two people who gave me and my family that wonderful afternoon.  These "gatekeepers" are Sean Johnson and Penny Pew.  Without these two people and the connections they have helped me make, this day with Congressman Gosar would never have happened in a million years.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Congressman Trent Franks

Courtesy of Wikipedia

The phone rang.  I jumped up... "Hello?" 

In my ear, I heard, "Jarrod, how are you?  It's Congressman Franks." 

Wow.  How many 16 year olds answer their cellphones and have a sitting United States Congressman on the other end?  So cool.

I got to interview Congressman Franks on October 24th.  I had been trying unsuccessfully to set up an in person interview for several months.  When I saw him at Governor-Elect Doug Ducey's event in October, I made a beeline for him and told him that I was being stonewalled by his office staff as I was trying to set up a time to interview him.  Imagine my surprise when the congressman wrote something on a business card, handed it to me with instructions not to give it to anyone else, and told me that it was his personal cellphone number, where I couldn't be stonewalled!  He told me to call him the next day, which I did. Congressman Franks returned my call and graciously took time out of his day to make the phone interview possible.

Congressman Trent Franks is Arizona's 8th Congressional District Representative, which covers much of Maricopa County.  He has been in Congress since 2003.  He has time and again shown his staunch support of rights outlined in the Constitution.  The National Journal labeled Franks as one of the "most conservative" members of the House. He is the chairman for the House Constitution Subcommittee, which examines pieces of legislation and reports its findings to the full committee.  "It is one of the most important subcommittees in Congress because it's committed to preserving the foundation architecture of this republic," Franks stated during the interview.  Typically the full Constitution Committee will assign legislation to the Constitution Subcommittee to have its constitutionality examined. 

The purpose for the interview was to satisfy my homework requirements for Level 3 of the Center for Self Governance curriculum.  I needed to interview an elected and a non-elected government official. As part of the Center for Self Governance curriculum, I need to become subject matter expert on an issue.  My issue is the preservation of second amendment rights.  I chose Franks because he spoke about that during the Western Conservative Conference.  "It is not government's place to meddle and handicap law-abiding citizens - especially in an area where the Constitution has already explicitly made its case," he states under Issues on his federal congressman's webpage.  "More citizens should even be encouraged to own weapons and to become more proficient in the weapons they own."

"I believe the function of government is to protect people's lives and rights," says Congressman Franks, on the purpose of government.  
I asked him why he identifies as a staunch supporter  of the Constitution.  He replied that "I believe the whole function of government, especially the American government, is to protect peoples' lives and their Constitutional rights.  If we do that, it would absolutely be a paradigm shift in the right direction."  Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, define personal rights as inalienable (God given, unable to be given or taken away by people).  That means the government can't decide who gets them and who doesn't.  Government's only purpose is outlined in the Declaration: "To secure these rights, government was instituted among men," and it is supposed to be impartial in the protection of all people's rights. 

Congressman Franks entered politics to serve.  He said that his entry into politics started many years ago as a child's advocate, where he represented the interests of children caught up in the justice system. "When I was in high school and growing up, children's issues were very important to me," Franks stated.  He was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives when he was 21.  As a member of the Arizona Right To Life organization, he successfully campaigned heavily in favor of stricter child abuse laws.  He defeated his opponent, Glen Davis, by a mere 155 votes; every vote counts.  

During his tenure in the Arizona House, he served as vice-chairman for the Commerce Committee and as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Child Protection and Family Preservation.  As Vice-Chair for the Commerce Committee, he dealt with legislation pertaining to Arizona's industry.  Governor Evan Mecham appointed Franks as head of the Arizona Governor's Office for Children, a cabinet level post, in January of 1987.  The Governor's Office for Children is a division within the Governor's Office responsible for the supervision and direction of Arizona's policies and programs affecting Arizona children.  The Arizona Legislature and the Governor's Office was just the beginning for Franks' political career.  He entered the federal stage when he was elected to represent the 2nd Congressional District in 2002.  Since then, he has won reelection seven times.  In 2010, the national census gave Arizona additional seats.  Franks' district was cut up and essentially reduced to Maricopa County.  However, due to the size of Maricopa County, he still retained over 90% of his constituents.  

Throughout his career in politics he has been given numerous awards, including the Guardian of Seniors Rights Award from the 60 Plus Association, the Small Business Advocate Award from the Americans for Tax Reform, and the Education Freedom Coalition bestowed upon him the Friend of Education Award.

Again he demonstrated his belief in children's issues that when I asked him how he thought we can fix our country. He responded with, "If we do the right thing by our children, we will eventually be okay.  If we don't, then there's no hope."  I think he's right.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics

            The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was originally an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury.  The FBN was established by a congressional Act of June 14, 1930.  This act consolidated the functions and jurisdictions of the Federal Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotic Division.  Both of these agencies were brought into existence to take charge of law enforcement responsibilities that the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, 1914 and the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act, 1922 (Also known as the Jones-Miller Act)

            The Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon appointed Harry J. Anslinger as the first Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner.  Interestingly, Anslinger's wife, Martha Kind Denniston was the niece of Secretary Mellon. With Anslinger’s leadership, the Bureau aggressively lobbied Congress to pass harsher laws on drug usage, possession, and smuggling.  Also the Federal Bureau of Narcotics is directly responsible for criminalizing cannabis by lobbying Congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.  The Bureau also strengthened the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.  Although the Bureau gave some attention to cannabis their main objective was combating opium and heroin smuggling.  

"The first Federal law-enforcement administrator to recognize the signs of a national criminal syndication and sound the alarm was Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics in the Treasury" (Ronald Reagan 1986)

            One of the bureau’s major victories in the fight against opium was the passing of the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942.  To further the effect of this law, the FBN operated several offices overseas in France, Italy, Beirut, Thailand, and Turkey.  It was these offices that eventually brought down the French Connection from which a movie was based.  There were never more than 17 agents spread between these overseas offices.  Because they did not posses law enforcement powers in these foreign countries, those agents relied on local police to help them make arrests and not double cross them.

            When Anslinger retired in 1962, Henry Giordano was appointed to replace him as the FBN’s commissioner.  In 1968 Giordano successfully lobbied Congress to criminalize the possession of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide).  Giordano went on as the commissioner until the FBN was merged with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) in 1968.  The BNDD is the direct predecessor to the most recent federal drug agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why Gun Control is Dangerous

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
                                                                -Thomas Jefferson
                As of 2009 the population in the United States, according to, was roughly 309 million people.  Based on production data from firearms manufacturers, there are around 300 million privately owned firearms.  100 million or so are handguns (pistols).  Firearms are grouped into three different types: rifles, pistols, and shotguns.  Both rifles and shotguns are categorized as long guns.  In the United States a person must be of the age 18 or above to purchase a long gun, 21 years+ for pistols.  For the past century, the progressive left has sought to infringe upon the 2nd Amendment rights of every citizen in this country.  What part of “Shall not be infringed” is too hard to understand!?  Gun control in the United States is unconstitutional and dangerous for the country and her citizenry.

                Thomas Jefferson, in his book “Commonplace Book”, wrote calling gun control on example of “false utility”-a backwards and irrational position on crime prevention that will only serve to make the problem worse.  The other founding fathers would not be pleased with the federal government throwing the Bill of Rights and the Constitution out the window.  For that reason I believe that they would support the right for the citizens to possess “military grade” firearms.  

Before we go any further let’s take a look at the Assault Weapons ban of 1994.  In Section 3 ‘Definitions’, any semi-automatic rifle that is able to take a detachable magazine and that has:
·         A folding or telescoping stock (i.e. a but stock that collapses or lengthens depending on user preference)
·         A threaded barrel (i.e. a barrel with an extended tip with threads for screwing on a sound suppressor, flash-suppressor, or any other device to the front of the firearm.)
·         A pistol grip (again another feature for user comfort)
·         A forward grip (on a rifle proper shooting from dictates that the non-trigger hand is forward of the magazine for stability)
·         A barrel shroud

A gun with any of these features would be illegal to manufacture or sell in the United States.  The last item on the list is a barrel shroud.  This term has caused a lot of confusion for the media and others reading the bill.  According to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), who wants to ban barrel shrouds but admitted that she did not know what it is, a barrel shroud is a “shoulder thing that goes up.”  A barrel shroud is actually a composite, metal, or plastic device that partially or completely encircles the barrel to prevent the shooter from sustaining burns from the barrel as it heats up.  The evidence shows that those who want this sort of ban, want shooting a firearm to be more dangerous for the user and other innocent people.  

The author of the Assault Weapons Ban, Senator Dianne Feinstein, wants to ban firearms based on cosmetic features.  Many people don’t want to be judged by how they look but are perfectly happy to forbid the sale and manufacture of these types of firearms.  Those who want to ban firearms disguise their intent by the careful use of smoke screens.  They twist the verbiage.  They cry “regulation” with the ultimate goal of disarming the citizens of the United States.

Gun control is dangerous because an armed citizenry is essential to maintaining a government that fears the citizens.  When governments no longer fear the citizens, tyranny rises up.  Any piece of legislation that infringes upon the rights of citizens in direct contradiction of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is void.  It is the duty of every government official at every level to stand in opposition to unconstitutional measures.  The oath of office binds the official to “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”  When Congress, the Supreme Court, or the executive branch attempt to illegally infringe on the rights of the citizenry, they become a domestic enemy.  The founding fathers recognized that technology would advance, and they made provisions in the Constitution to legally amend it.  However those in power have tried and occasionally succeeded in illegally crafting legislation that infringes on guaranteed rights.  

Before Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) on Nov. 9-10, 1938, when the Nazis smashed and pillaged, and murdered hundreds of Jews, the Nazi party first imposed regulation on gun ownership. Soon after, they created a national gun registry so they knew who had guns, then they had Kristallnacht, and finally they exterminated over 11 million people.  To keep an event similar out of America, it is imperative that there are no unlawful infringements made on anyone’s rights.  The Nazi government did not fear resistance and look what happened. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lincoln Luncheon

View photo.JPG in slide show
me during my speech
    On March 8th,  the Maricopa County Republican Party held the annual Lincoln Luncheon at the El-Zaribah Shrine auditorium in the downtown Phoenix area. My attendance was made possible by Jean Mattox and Vera Anderson of the Deer Valley and Daisy Mountain Tea Parties, respectively.

    I was figuratively floating off the ground as I walked in because I was excited to other people who also have a keen interest in politics.  After my mother and I signed in, we perused the booths of prospective candidates, like gubernatorial candidate Senator Al Melvin, whom I sat with at the Western Conservative Conference, former Mesa Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith, and candidate for Superintendent for Public Instruction Diane Douglas.  Also present were Attorney General Horne and the founder of the Center for Self Governance (C.S.G.), Mark Herr, who was the keynote speaker that afternoon.

   Mark Herr introduced the Center for Self Governance.  After showing the audience a short "I'm Mrs. Powel" video, he went on to discuss the success that the Center For Self Governance has had and how that could translate for Arizona's political environment.  Then another person who has also taken some Center for Self Governance classes and I were called up on stage to speak about our experiences with the Center for Self Governance classes to an audience of over 400 people.  Since I had forgotten the speech I was going to give, I just spoke about how the skills that the C.S.G. taught me allowed me to talk to my peers about politics in a way they would understand and get motivated to exercise their civil rights.

  When I made it back to my seat, my lunch had arrived.  As I ate, I spoke with my dining companions.  One gentleman owned his own business and was a military contractor.  He made parts for the F-16, F-18, and F-35 combat fighter planes.  During lunch, all Republican candidates for governor present walked onto the podium and gave a short speech to campaign.

   In conclusion, the Lincoln Day Luncheon is an event that I highly recommend, whether you are involved in the political system or want to be.  You can meet a bunch of different people at the local, county, state, and federal levels by just being there and mingling.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mark Herr and the Center for Self Governance

After taking the Level 1 class of the Center For Self Governance, which is an organization that teaches citizens how to maintain an open dialogue between government and people, I was able to contact the organization's founder, Mark Herr.  We managed to arrange time for us to get together at a Jason's Deli for an interview.

He was born in England, raised in Korea on a military base, served in the military on Japan, and now lives in Tennessee.  When asked what his background in politics was he answered, "Nothing... I have no background in politics." After seeing how things were going in Tennessee, he met with three other concerned citizens and organized the curriculum and the organization

In 1787, after the first constitutional convention, as Benjamin Franklin walked out the door, Mrs. Powel, the wife of the inn owner where the founders were staying, asked him, "What kind of government have you given us?"  Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."  This is significant because when he said "you", he was directing that to a woman who could not vote or own property.  So even if you can't vote or run for office, you are not absolved of your duty to stay involved.  It is very hard to be involved if you don't know the system, though.

The Center of Self Governance teaches to focus on Ms. Powel, not the issues, because Ms. Powel is a metaphor for the ultimate source of power: the people.  "If you don't know how to wield your power then you will be stuck in the quicksand of issues and candidates.  And it will suck you into fighting fires set by people who do not want you to wield power," Mark stated.

People of all walks of life can go to these classes. There have been several Democrat state legislators from Washington State who attended classes.  There have been Democrats, Republicans, young, old, white, black, Hispanics, atheists, Christians, and candidates running against each other in the same class.  It doesn't matter because the Center For Self Governance is not a partisan group.  They teach the fundamentals of liberty, which are all the freedoms described in the Bill of Rights.  Those are God-given, inalienable rights that no bureaucrats can lawfully change.

Mark then outlined what he wanted students to take away from each level class.

  1. In level one, students learn that they don't know the language that is spoken at different levels of government. Because they don't know the language, they are losing the battle to keep the republic.  They don't know the difference between a democracy and a republic, power and governance.  Contrary to what is taught, the United States is a republic.
  2. In level two, students learn the technical skills to communicate effective self governance.  Things like appearance are very important.  For example, in some parts of America, if you knock on doors wearing a suit, the first impression many residents will have of you is that you are from the police or CPS, whereas in a wealthier part of town if you knock on doors with your pants sagging, people will not open their doors to you because in both scenarios you are deemed a threat.
  3. Level three is a macro view of government, much like the way an astronomer studies the night sky. We see the big picture on how and why things work.
  4. Then level four is like how a biologist looks into a microscope to see the DNA.  We have a micro view of the workings of government.  In level 3, we looked at Congress as a whole, and now we look at how the various sub-committees work and why they exist. 
  5.  Level five brings all the pieces together.  The understanding of the language, the knowledge of the inner workings of government, and an understanding of their fellow citizens all combine to form an effective tool to open up a dialog with government, collaborate with their fellow citizens, and plan strategies with their team to save the republic from social and political corruption. 
I recently attended and finished the class portion of Level 2.  I am having a bunch of fun doing these classes and will continue all the way to Level 5.  One of the things that I took away from the two levels of classes that I've done is the story of Mrs. Powell.  I am looking forward to learning about the more overt workings of government.