Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Ox Is In The Ditch

Every great cause begins as a movement, entwines itself with government, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Such as: SS, Medicare care, Medicaid, drug programs, pension programs, civil rights, HUD, Fannie May, Freddie Mack, AARP, foreign aid, wars, taxes, education, political parties, etc. each finding a home and protection under federal laws. Each evolving and growing using the federal government power to carry out their expended social agenda….Oddly, the payers don't seem to ever notice until some tipping point is reached…i.e. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, California, and the list is growing….

Who believes that if our national founders could look at where we are today would they see any resemblances to their handy work, their goals, or beliefs in what is going on? I hardly recognize it just looking back sixty some odd years. Methods used in carrying out missions change with time but principles don't change over time. By electing and reelecting people who are unprincipled the nation has lost its way.

They can fool some of the people all the time…..

The GOOD GUYS (?)---Our GOP is demanding 60 to 70 million dollars in federal program spending cuts as a requirement for their votes on the new Obama budget and raising the national debt ceiling…. I say, "At-a-Boy!"

IF they (our GOP) is willing to make these kind of sacrifices then our family must too. I talked this over with my wife and at first she didn't see why we should have to sacrifice anything since we didn't run this debt up. I explained that, for us in the Tea Party, it was important to walk what we talk….If we want our government to be conservative then we must be conservative.

I told her that the federal budget was 3.5 trillion, the 60/70 million in cuts equaled 1/35,000 of the budget….That each family must step up, cut back, and share the pain of this humongous cut our courageous congress are willing to make…

Given our family's monthly budget that means she (she, because she controls most of the spending) would need to find a way to match the 1/35,000 federal cut which would, for us, equal a stunting 9 cent cut each and every month from our home budget. She said, "I don't like it but I'll do it." (She has never waivered, in forty some odd years, in her support of me.)

So effectively, starting in March 2011, no more high living for us, no more luxuries, our personal spending will reflect the same percentage cut (1/35,000) as the federal draconian cuts. We are only going to buy a quart of milk every two weeks instead of weekly. For the rest of this year we can just kick back and watch this national debt drop like a rock.

We are beginning to wonder if even the good Lord can protect us from the duplicity of our elected congressional employees.

Not that I'm wanting to make a comparison but at least with the stated goals of the Muslim Brotherhood there is no duplicity.

They say: It must be remembered that at its heart, the Muslim Brotherhood is a covert organization albeit with a public face and there is discordance between its public and private positions. Although the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, along with the whole of the Global Muslim Brotherhood network, proclaims it support for democracy, the motto of their organization remains as it always has been:

- Allah is our objective.
- The Prophet is our leader.
- Qur’an is our law.
- Jihad is our way.
- Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

The Ikhwan's (the Brotherhood) work in America is a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging its miserable house" (meaning us and our way of life) at the hands of the true believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

Five simple statements and a short paragraph of their goals…bam…bam…bam and we know exactly where they stand and what they mean. In a way this reminds me of Newt's campaign in 1994. Simple stated goals that everyone understood. This gave the voters a clear choice….Our congress has writen a twenty seven hundred page Health Law and we can't understand any of it.

The Tea Party needs a simple direct agenda that doesn't leave an opening for the liberal press to spin or anyone to misunderstand. People need to know exactly what they are voting for…and the steps that will be taken to get there.

Definition: Skeptical optimist?

Son says to Dad, "Let me use your credit card and I promise not to spend as much as I did last time." Dad hands over his credit card…..

Can you think of any group of people this little vignette reminds you of?

Not that anyone one would remember but we had a article shortly after the old guard GOP published their Pledge to America. We questioned the pledge because of it vagaries. We got lots of 'comments' about the article and a few people unsubscribed to The Oxford Tea Party news letters. In looking back we wished we would have made more noise about the pledge. We saw it as the GOP's version of smoke and mirrors. It simply left too much room for them to do just what they are doing right now.

This old guard thinks they are safe for now... I wonder?

We need to keep reminding them: The plow is in the ground, our eyes are on the back end of this mule, and there ain't going to be no sun set till this whole field get turned.

By the way how are we doing in Mississippi? Do we know? How are our systemic issues/our systemic debt such as Medicare, Medicaid, state workers, teachers, pension funds, etc., doing? What rating do our housing bonds have? It seems that most people in most states didn't ask these questions until the bottom fell out…..

Look at the other states that are in the news every moment. Look where their government is looking within their states budgets and see what problems they are struggling with. Do none of the same problems and potential problems exist here? Clearly some states have larger problems than others but is it possible that Mississippi has had such foresight as to avoid all these problems? If there wasn't one illegal foreign person in the state, Mississippi we would still be at the bottom of the education charts… Businesses would still not be pouring into Mississippi. Property taxes would still be going up…The big problems are government problems….We need government to focus on the systemic problems within our state.

Possibly, there are more important and pressing matters for Mississippi than are being look at in our congress at the moment? It would appear that something is getting sidetracked.

Many state are now having the most important conversation that many voters have seen in their lifetime. The future of many states are bleak. These states are trying to put a hold on their systemic growth problems and for many states that will be the best and only shot.

In every crisis there is opportunity….Many business in the "Tax Burdened" state will need to move in order to survive. If they move we need them here. In order for that to happen changes need to be made within our state. We need to keep that focus. Our government needs to keep that focus. We have a few towns that are attracting business. Look at what they are doing and then have our state as a whole make the needed changes. Business taxes-home taxes-sales taxes are the big three followed by state business regulations.

We are too few to be divided…Time is too short to loose our focus…Doors open and close very quickly…

I was talking to another person in the Tea Party about California and New York and she said, "Well, that could never happen here." I didn't know what to say or how to respond. Both of these states I had lived in and loved for most of my adult life.

The only trustworthy sound on the planet is the individual voices speaking about their personal experience…We know the truth of this and that’s why we are in the Tea Party….We are individual voices speaking out of the same beliefs, values, and principles...

Without freedom and truth there is no freedom or justice.

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow….


Americans always do the right thing but only after they have exhausted everything else.

I want to thank everyone who has started using my e-mail address to send me their comments or just to chat... Also, to answer a question from some of you on The Oxford Tea Party mailing list: Yes, feel free to forward us your articles. Please, send them to my e-mail address….The more people we can get to think about and talk about the Tea Party mission the better shot we have at achieving our goals.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free, His eyes are on the sparrow
I know he watches over me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Does this make a dent?

I've called around and it seems that not everyone has seen the list of the proposed GOP budget cuts…These are not big cuts in most areas and each area has been left with more than enough to continue doing whatever they are doing…Certainly we were hoping they would make some major cuts in some departments such as EPA as well as others that would limit what they are doing. Didn't happen….

There will be lots of noise about how crippling these cuts are for government. However, the individual agencies have such bloated budgets they won't miss a beat.

Hopefully, we have enough time before this bill comes to a vote to think about each of the cuts and time to make any suggestion we have to the powers that be...

This is the List of 70 Spending Cuts to be Included in the CR follows:
·         Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies   -$30M
·         Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy   -$899M
·         Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability   -$49M
·         Nuclear Energy   -$169M
·         Fossil Energy Research   -$31M
·         Clean Coal Technology   -$18M
·         Strategic Petroleum Reserve   -$15M
·         Energy Information Administration   -$34M
·         Office of Science   -$1.1B
·         Power Marketing Administrations   -$52M
·         Department of Treasury   -$268M
·         Internal Revenue Service   -$593M
·         Treasury Forfeiture Fund   -$338M
·         GSA Federal Buildings Fund   -$1.7B
·         ONDCP   -$69M
·         International Trade Administration   -$93M
·         Economic Development Assistance   -$16M
·         Minority Business Development Agency   -$2M
·         National Institute of Standards and Technology   -$186M
·         NOAA   -$336M
·         National Drug Intelligence Center   -$11M
·         Law Enforcement Wireless Communications   -$52M
·         US Marshals Service   -$10M
·         FBI   -$74M
·         State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance   -$256M
·         Juvenile Justice   -$2.3M
·         COPS   -$600M
·         NASA   -$379M
·         NSF   -$139M
·         Legal Services Corporation   -$75M
·         EPA   -$1.6B
·         Food Safety and Inspection Services   -$53M
·         Farm Service Agency   -$201M
·         Agriculture Research   -$246M
·         Natural Resource Conservation Service   -$46M
·         Rural Development Programs   -$237M
·         WIC   -$758M
·         International Food Aid grants   -$544M
·         FDA   -$220M
·         Land and Water Conservation Fund   -$348M
·         National Archives and Record Service   -$20M
·         DOE Loan Guarantee Authority   -$1.4B
·         EPA ENERGY STAR   -$7.4M
·         EPA GHG Reporting Registry   -$9M
·         USGS   -$27M
·         EPA Cap and Trade Technical Assistance   -$5M
·         EPA State and Local Air Quality Management   -$25M
·         Fish and Wildlife Service   -$72M
·         Smithsonian   -$7.3M
·         National Park Service   -$51M
·         Clean Water State Revolving Fund   -$700M
·         Drinking Water State Revolving Fund   -$250M
·         EPA Brownfields   -$48M
·         Forest Service   -$38M
·         National Endowment for the Arts   -$6M
·         National Endowment for the Humanities   -$6M
·         Job Training Programs  -$2B
·         Community Health Centers  -$1.3B
·         Maternal and Child Health Block Grants  -$210M
·         Family Planning  -$327M
·         Poison Control Centers  -$27M
·         CDC   -$755M
·         NIH   -$1B
·         Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services   -$96M
·         LIHEAP Contingency fund   -$400M
·         Community Services Block Grant   -$405M
·         High Speed Rail   -$1B
·         FAA Next Gen   -$234M
·         Amtrak   -$224M
·         HUD Community Development Fund   -$530M
Just pick one of these such as High Speed Rail and you have to wonder why this is on budget along with it's sister Amtrak…. People are not using Amtrak. Look at all the Housing programs hidden behind different names.

Anyway, here is the news about the GOP cuts…. At this point we can't even guess what will stay in the bill and what will be traded off….

I guess our leaders have been practical and done what they feel they can get through both houses. The vote on the debt ceiling will be where the trading gets done.

I want to thank all of you that begun to use my e-mail for comments and discussions. It is so much easier for me to respond.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now Is The Winter

Readers who have never had the opportunity of working under a state or federal contract, or in conjunction with government in one form or another, have missed a great learning experience. There isn't any way to understand the extent to which the government entwines itself in the fabric of business life in America without have lived through state and federal auditing processes with state and federal auditors.

So what most voters are left with are vague references from business and sparse articles written outside of the main stream media about 'regulations are destroying American businesses.'

The Oxford Tea Party will run a short series of articles about local, state, and federal government workings. Clearly we have a bias. However, we will try to simply present some stories and let readers draw their own conclusions.

There is an interesting table in a USA Today story from last year, comparing the compensation of federal and private employees. Scroll through the list. Notice that government economists make more than private ones! There is a disparity between what the private sector jobs pay and government sector jobs pay. We wonder why. Certainly this is a large block of committed voters.

(NOTE: These numbers do not take into account health insurance or retirement packages which in some cases run as high as 80% of salaries. Also, in each category take the "difference" and multiply by the thousands of workers in each category.)

Broadcast technician----$90,310----$49,265----$41,045
Budget analyst----------$73,140----$65,532------$7,608
Civil engineer----------$85,970----$76,184------$9,786
Clergy----------------- $70,460----$39,247-----$31,213
Computer, ISM--------$122,020---$115,705------$6,315
Dental assistant--------$36,170----$32,069----$4,101
Electrical engineer-----$86,400----$84,653----$1,747
Financial analysts------$87,400----$81,232----$6,168
Graphic designer--------$70,820----$46,565---$24,255
Highway MW------------$42,720----$31,376----11,344
Landscape architects--$80,830----$58,380---$22,450
Locomotive engineer---$48,440----$63,125---$14,685
Mechanical engineer--$88,690----$77,554---$11,136
Office clerk------------$34,260----$29,863----$4,397
Pest control worker-----$48,670----$33,675---$14,995
Physicians, surgeons---$176,050----$77,102----$1,052
Physician assistant-----$77,770----$87,783---$10,013
Procurement clerk-----$40,640----$34,082----$6,558
Public relations-------$132,410----$88,241---$44,169
Recreation worker-------$43,630----$21,671---$21,959
Registered nurse--------$74,460----$63,780---$10,680
Respiratory therapist---$46,740----$50,443----$3,703
Sheet metal worker------$49,700----$43,725----$5,975

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA

You look at all the job titles and wonder why these folks are on the government payroll? Why isn't the work they do being done by the private sector for the government? Assuming the government should be doing the kind of work these people are hired to do in the first place. Clearly there are surveyors in the private sector that could do the surveying that government need done and for less money. Also, the fact that government doesn't need surveyors every day…..So why are they there?

We went to sleep at the wheel is the answer...Is the answer…Is the answer…

We hold the seeds for failure or greatness in our hands every day. Each of us has a choice….(and YES we still have a few choices left.) The game of kick the ball down the road is over as well as the great American rational of, "Oh I voted for him/her because they didn't seem as bad as the other him/her."

How many people do you know who did not listen to The State of the Union address? For us, the easier head count would be, how many people do we know who watched The State of the Union address? So little interest….

Regardless of what most citizens think or feel about their government, a common thread seems to be detachment. Most seem to feel they don't have any power to affect how they are governed and fewer seem to realize how government impacts their lives every day. At the core of "the American experiment" is the idea of a people who form a government for themselves. A government by them and for them. Between yesteryear and now something profound has happened. To say this is to say the obvious but obvious to whom? Certainly there is no one obvious place, person, or thing to point a finger at because this change in perception and attitude in Congress has come about over generations.

In any number of ways it is difficult to understand the wrath directed at the Tea Party who are little more than a small percentage of the American people whose only goal is to get their government back to the basics. A government for and by the people. How is that a threat to anyone or any group we ask?

Well we are a threat to the centralizing of power in the hand of a small percentage of our population, the autocratic structure of government itself along with a national elite news media, who have effectively controlled what we do as individuals and as a people. No one and no groups are willing to give up this kind of power. History teaches us it has to be taken. In our history the power had to be taken back with swords and guns but we have a better battering ram--the vote!

This is not a zero sum game. If we win this struggle to get our government back to the notion of a government for and by the people it will win along with us. If we lose the government will continue on its autocratic path and it will lose, we will lose as our nation declines. Will these power groups see our mission in this light? Not a chance.

In the last few days we have seen a bill to tax money transfers working its way through our State legislature. The bill wants to use our taxing power to single out and punish a specific group of people. When we have used power like this in the past it has always had unintended consequences. In a broader sense whenever government, at any level, has used its power to punish a group or limit what one group can or cannot do indirectly affects everyone's freedom. Certainly we have the same frustration as everyone else has over our immigration problems but using taxing authority to punish is an abuse and does not in any way solve the issues of illegal immigration. Also, transferring money is used daily by citizens of this country. They transfer money to children, family, and friends around the world. At different times our children were in Europe and Mexico as well as other places and we were always having to transfer them money and more often than I would like to remember.

If we are not very careful in supporting these kinds of freedom limiting bills we are going to begin to look like our elected officials who say one thing while doing another.

My wife's mother got off the boat at Ellis Island as a young women. As a much older woman she still remembered what her family's life was like in a country where freedom was granted one at a time by government as well as taken away one at a time. Why this time in our history is so urgent is because our government is doing and has been doing the same thing. Something we have only begun to notice.

Never again. Never again will we put ourselves in a position to have to negotiate our freedoms with our government.

In 641 days, 20 hours, and 33 minutes 'Never Again' will be shouted loudly from the Maine to the California and they will know we are coming after them.