Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Good Story

None of us walk around saying to ourselves that most of what we know about life, loving, and living we learned from stories, if not directly then indirectly. Stories are so much a part of our lives we don't even notice that we are being told or telling stories all the time.

The act of teaching through storytelling goes back to the beginning of man. Storytelling is the most important tool societies have. Stories are the foundation that nations are built upon.

The Bible uses stories to teach morality, man's relationship to others and to God...All of us remember our Sunday school lessons along with stories of 'The Little Engine That Could, A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, and Bambi.' They are such a part of children's lives and integrated so well that as adults we don't often notice they are lessons learned through stories someone told us....No matter the topic of conversation, stories will be woven into the discussion.

Parents shape their children with stories, teachers add to the shaping with stories, society reinforces the lessons in the stories. The most important thing about teaching with stories is that the message must be a consistent. How to be good and how to do good… what is bad and what is good… what we should or should not do…No matter the setting, there is the right story for the context directly or by inference.

The national media understands the importance of consistent storytelling.We can also include politicians. ( The story of the moment or the day.) We know, even when the stories they are telling us are wrong, or we know they are leaving out parts, so they can reshape the story to achieve a certain outcomes, we still listen. We listen because we were all taught to listen when stories were being told and, most importantly, we trust stories. But even when we don't fully buy into one of the liberal media's 'tall tales' many people will begin to question, to some degree, their own beliefs and reality. A story delivered really well, such as the State of the Union address this past week, will change some people's beliefs, ideas, and values.

Stories told by a good teller of tales are mightier than the pen or the sword to the listener. Today, in this election cycle, we find ourselves knee deep in storytelling and are impacted by good storytellers… Think what you will of the man as a leader, but Obama may well be the best deliverer of stories most of us have experienced in our lifetimes.

The task for us in all of this is to keep our focus… For the Tea Party the backbone in this campaign is to 'take our government back,' which is so broad and encompassing anyone, we can hang almost any notion onto it. Politicians know this about our goal and that is why they can dance around the edges giving the impression that 'they' will govern at our consent and that their belief in the governing process is the same as ours.…. This would be somewhat funny and maybe even clever if it hadn't been done over and over in the last twenty or so election cycles. Would-be candidates as well as thread bare incumbents keep telling the same time worn stories we want them to tell, but making the stories convincing is getting harder and harder…. (Romney was the first governor to create a state mandated health care program. Says he is proud of it and says he holds conservative values.) I wonder what part of this the voter can't seem to get?

This brings us back to the saying, "Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice and then the shame falls elsewhere.

There isn't any perceived need for most of our voters to keep up with or to participate in the governing process. They don't feel connected to it… Therefore there is little or no interest. For so many their lives are a pay-check-to-paycheck struggle. It crowds out everything else. For them government is about promises that will make their lives easier but are only understood by media sound bites.

How we think about something leads to preconceived answers and predictable actions. That is what national parties rely on along with the politicians and liberal media. Know that it doesn't matter if we are talking about Republicans or Democrats, incumbent, first time candidate, ABC, CBS, Fox, or CNN. The political establishment encompasses both parties and the news media indebted to and symbiotically entwined. Powerful combo…. How can a relatively small group of demeaned conservative voters hope to take on this powerful combo?

Well it has happened before…. Once upon a time there was a candidate, who was principled, held traditional Christian beliefs, and was able to articulate American conservative values simply and directly. He told the story of America…. Who Americans are… What America is… and what America can be tomorrow…He had a dream of America being the light of the world and the home of free men… In our hearts and minds we believed his story and were part of his dream… many disagreed but all understood… This simply spoken candidate beat an incumbent president worse than any president had been beaten in the history of presidents.

He's gone but we are still here and his dream is still with us in mind and spirit.

Google does its job and presents me with twenty to thirty political articles before my four thirty coffee making. In the years I have been reading these kinds of articles I have never seen so many comments posted by the other readers of these articles. It is a massive and consistent response. I began to see the responses build before the South Carolina voting. Since Gingrich did well at the polls the comments have quadrupled. Gingrich supporters are posting but the majority of the post are simply attacking Gingrich with vicious language. This is happening to such a degree it looks like it's well planned and coordinated. If it is not then woe to the conservative movement. Actually this is not as bothersome as attacks I see on Tea blogs around the country.

It is possible that the meaning of the term "conservative" has changed and I didn't notice. The national Republican Party's candidate does not fit into my notion of what conservative means. I know that some wiser than I can see the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare. If this was the only red flag I would just pass it off as , "Oh well. He slipped up." I personally don't care that he is rich, or that he is a Mormon, or that he's wimpy. I do care that he is saying Obamacare is wrong and he wants to fix it with the idea it would still be a national health plan..I do care that he seems to be without principles. We need a leader. America is not a balance sheet that can be read and modified.

I see Obama in front of a camera and I see Romney in front of a camera and if history tells us anything one is a better teller of stories than the other.That is what moves hearts and minds.

However, I can imagine Newt and Obama in front of cameras having a debate in front of the nation and would be willing bet a 'Big Mac' that the outcome would be very different. But, and it’s a big BUT, can this happen? Will the liberal press let this happen? Given the savage comments posted at these various political articles directed at Newt I wonder…. It is unique to see how 'conservatives' rationalize Romney with his Romneycare, which strikes at the very heart of the conservative beliefs, but Gingrich doesn't get an inch …. Or for any mistakes he has made in his life while in the same moment forgetting how long he has served and all he has accomplished for the country.

There is an adage for the consumer, "You get what you pay for." The American consumer bought Obama and now it seems the conservative consumers are buying Romney.

Seldom do I quote scripture but today John 1: 8-9 is bouncing around in my computer's memory: " If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and forgive us our sins." Biblical teachings point us towards a way to live our lives. Often we come up short even though we know the right thing to do.

David Axelrod, Obama's campaign manager, took his first shot at Romney today… This is starting earlier that most had imagined. Axelrod was raising the question, "Is it right for Romney to have all this money when so many have little to none?" Kennedy beat Romney in the campaign for the Senate seat by focusing of this issue as well as how Romney made his money. Obama was busy yesterday refocusing Gingrich's call on him being the biggest food stamp president by saying, "Its not me but George Bush." I guess the label of 'food stamp president' was seen as a potential negative voter issue. Obama has the pulpit for the next nine months and not the GOP candidate.

In forty eight hours we will know who the Florida voters bet their future on.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Noise of the Democratic Process

This is another of our cold clear winter morning. Since I didn't want to read the myriad of articles waiting for me on the computer rehashing the Florida campaign and yet another 'presidential' debate I swiveled my chair and watched the duck in the pond. One starts to swim away from the group and they all follow…. Then another decides to go to a different part of the pond and they all follow. They don't debate… None resist… They are part of the group and whoever leads they follow. This social structure works for them. There seems to be little hostile behavior even in mating season… Dr. Doolittle wondered why we can't be more like them?

We are like them is many ways…We want social harmony…. We want to be part of the group and we tend to follow whoever is leading.

So, what's not to like?

Our leaders…. Our leaders want to direct us… Our leaders take from us…Our leaders are always manipulating our thinking and our perceptions of what is right or wrong, truth and untruths, and good and bad. Over time our leadership has convinced many that they know how our world should turn and that we do not. This is not so different from what kings and tyrants have done throughout human history.

To find ourselves in 2012 wrestling with the same problems of leaders verses 'the people' says something profound about each of us. This election campaign once again is a reminder of candidates efforts to manipulating our perceptions with campaign advertising and political platitudes. The millions of dollars being spent in Florida each day is for only one purpose and that is to create the perception for us that one guy is bad and the other guy is good or one is not as flawed as the other.

The national media says this political manipulation is what is really- really important while the country is sinking in debt with over fifty million people on government assistance. While, dummy me, wants to know the plan each candidate has to reduce the size of government. WHAT departments will be cut, what spending in what programs will be cut, etc. - because the devil is in these details along with my vote. We don't demand that they tell us. It's amazing and we are then always surprised by what they end up doing when they get elected.

There are many common sense writers in the national media and Mr. Sowell is one of my favorites as most of you know at this point. Below is his today's article...

Thomas Sowell: From TOWNHALL 1/24/2012

Just days before the South Carolina primary, polls showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich. Then came the debates and the question about Gingrich's private life, which brought a devastating response from the former Speaker of the House -- and a standing ovation from the audience.

Apparently the television audience felt the same way, judging by the huge turnaround in the support for Gingrich. The stunning victory in South Carolina brought Newt's candidacy back to life.

But the message from South Carolina was about more than a reaction to how Gingrich dealt with a cheap shot question from the media. Nor was it simply the Republican voters' response to Newt's mastery as a debater.

The more fundamental message is that the Republican primary voters do not want Mitt Romney, even if the Republican establishment does -- and it is just a question of which particular conservative alternative the voters prefer.

The successive boomlets for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain showed the Republican voter's constant search for somebody -- anybody -- as an alternative to Romney. The splintering of the conservative vote among numerous conservative candidates allowed Romney to be the "front-runner," but he never ran far enough in front to get a majority.

Mitt Romney's supposed "electability" -- his acceptability to moderates and independents -- has been his biggest selling point. Moreover, he is just the kind of candidate that the Republican establishment has preferred for years: a nice, bland, moderate who offends nobody.

This is the kind of candidate that is supposed to be the key to victory, no matter how many such candidates have gone down to defeat. If the bland and /inoffensive moderate was in fact the key to victory, Dewey would have won a landslide victory over Truman in 1948, and John McCain would have beaten Barack Obama in 2008.

Whomever the Republicans choose as their candidate is going to have to run against both Barack Obama and the pro-Obama media. Newt Gingrich has shown that he can do that. Romney? Not so much. Mitt Romney's fumbling when trying to answer the simple question of whether he would or would not release his income tax records is the kind of indecisiveness that is not going to cut it in a nationally televised debate with President Obama.

Gingrich is not just a guy who is fast and feisty on his feet. He has a depth of understanding of what issues are crucial, experience in how to deal with them and -- almost equally important -- experience in how to shoot down the petty, irrelevant and "gotcha" distractions of the media.

Does Gingrich have negative qualities? More than most. Wild statements, alienation of colleagues, reckless gambits. His use of the rhetoric of the left in attacking Bain Capital was a recent faux pas, though one that he quickly backed away from.

But if we are serious -- and there has seldom, if ever, been a time in the history of this nation when it was more necessary to be serious -- then we cannot simply add up talking points for or against a candidate. What matters is how that candidate stands on issues that can make or break the future of this country.
Polls show the public as a whole with more negative attitudes toward Gingrich than toward Romney. But negative opinions, like other opinions, are not set in stone.

If the election campaign changes the opinions of a significant minority of the anti-Gingrich voters -- when the alternative is Obama -- it will not matter how much the remainder may hate Newt.

Is this a gamble? The painful reality is that everyone in this year's field of Republican candidates is a gamble. And re-electing Barack Obama is an even bigger gamble.

Whichever candidate the Republican voters finally choose from this year's field, they are bound to have reservations, if not fears. Gingrich's worst could be worse than Romney's worst, both as a candidate and as a president. But Gingrich's best is much better than Romney's best.

Sometimes caution can be carried to the point where it is dangerous. When the Super Bowl is on the line, you don't go with the quarterback who is least likely to throw an interception. You go with the one most likely to throw a touchdown pass.

What do you do when taking risk or not taking risk carries the same danger?
What would this political campaign look like if it were simply framed in the question, "Do we want a man of True Grit as president or not?" All of the TV commercials and all the platitudes would simply fad away.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Rubber Meets the Road

I need some help… Try as I might I simply cannot get excited about Mitt Romney being our president. (Of course whether he can beat Obama in the elections is another question.) Out the door in this campaign the Tea Party members, for the most part, haven’t been able to ‘jump on’ his bandwagon….

Romney appears to be the choice of the national GOP..? It seems they see him as a moderate in his politics. (Code word for: Big Government.)

Romney is clearly the liberal media candidate of choice. My thinking is the media, on the whole, are liberal. They want him to run against ‘their incumbent hero’. Obama is their hero. He reflects their desire for large government committed to managing all aspects of our lives.

I don’t see how Romney can beat Obama. Romney can’t even deliver his political platitudes that he has rehearsed well.

We all love Ron Paul…. Many don’t see why Ron can never be President. If Ron ran against Obama it would be a greater lost than Carter’s loss against Reagan. His ideas about government are attractive…. BUT Ron’s politics simply cannot work in this complex connected world we live in….

IF South Carolina should pick Romney in a decisive way that could well mean he would be our candidate for president. At that point I would need to find some way to support him.

If he were to lose South Carolina, I think he would be much marginalized. He would then only have won New Hampshire. Then what? Who does that leave besides Newt? Many Tea members for very personal reasons don’t really want to get behind Gingrich.
Either of these scenarios would weaken the Tea Party’s passion and confuse the group goals.

I really would like to hear how others are seeing this evolving saga and, in particular what they are seeing in Romney that I can’t identify.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Reign of Error

Free market capitalism has many enemies -- strangely enough mostly among the intellectual elite, academic elite, political elite, as well as the officers in major corporations driven to control consumer's buying habits. These are people who believe that they have wisdom superior to the Tea folk as well as everyone else. They all have a clear notion that some higher power has ordained them and only they have the 'know' of good and right. ( They may be right because, I for one, know that I am not as wise are as smart as I believed I was in my twenties, thirties, and forties.)

Of course, and because of their ordained wisdom, they are obliged to watch over us and direct our behavior, and generally limit our freedom and rights to protect us from the mischief we are prone to. Such as not budgeting, not saving, over spending, and running up debts we can't pay. I know this group doesn't understand why I'm not grateful for all their help and to some extent I do feel a slight twinge of guilt. They work very hard at controlling what I do…. Allocating what resources I have…. So what's not to like?

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims is the most oppressive. C.S. Lewis
Every tyrant (s) who has ever lived has had what they considered good reason for restricting rights and liberty of their citizens. (Nothing new here.) A tyrant's agenda calls for the attenuation or the elimination of the open market and what is implied by it -- voluntary exchange between people. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what they should do. So they, over time, replace the free market with economic planning and regulation. ( Think Russia with their seventy years of one great five year plan after another.)

What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done? It's really a silly question, because the answer is so simple its greed. Simple human greed. When I say greed, I am not talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, lobbying for special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I'm talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves and their families through working hard and being creative… True throughout history, true today, and will be true tomorrow. The adage, I think it started in the forties was, 'Keeping up with the Jones." Along with 'Jones's' idea, this group though they would take that extra money and provide a better like they grew up in. Also, the idea struck them that they would better educate their children and in turn the children and grandchildren could have a better life than their parents had when they were growing. What a goal…..and that's what a little greed got them..!

(Greed - Noun: An overwhelming desire to have more of something such as money than is actually needed for the moment in time. You have to wonder if saving for a rainy day falls into that definition?)

When you tell anyone that they are entitled to something, such as monthly income from the government, they will believe you if you follow through and send them checks. Government (state & federal) have made promises to generations of working and non working families for as long as I can remember. Now many voters in many different states are waking up to the fact that these promises made and then depended on, can't be kept.

Looking into this 'stuff' is worrisome… I don't like doing it but below are two examples of over promising…..

"Heading into 2011, Illinois faced a budget deficit of over $13 billion and passed a massive tax increase both to personal income and corporate income tax rates.  They’re still broke.  With a pension system in shambles, Illinois also borrowed massive amounts of money to make this year’s pension payment.
In September, Illinois laid off 1900 state-employees and closed seven state facilities. Also, much to the chagrin of Wisconsinites who drive to or through Illinois, toll rates in the state have increased on average 88%.

Illinois’ budgetary moves failed miserably to solve their problems and the state is still projected to end this fiscal year on June 30th with a budget gap upwards of half a billion dollars and unfunded obligations of up to $8 billion.

As a result, this past week, Moody's lowered  Illinois’ credit rating, giving the Prairie State the lowest rating of any state in the nation. Therefore they will pay a higher interest to whoever is willing to loan them money.

Contrast that failure with Wisconsin’s recent successes.  Wisconsin’s budgetary reforms have set the state up for growth and prosperity.  Heading into 2011, Wisconsin faced a budget deficit of  $3.6 billion. Wisconsin boldly passed its now famous Budget Repair Bill that required public employee contributions for healthcare and pensions.  Like it or not, the Budget Repair Bill and other measures eliminated  Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion deficit without one-time budget fixes or accounting gimmicks.

Perhaps more importantly, the Budget Repair Bill also gave local governments more flexibility to deal with their budget challenges.  As a result, property taxes are flat or down across the state of Wisconsin.

Because of real, systemic fiscal reform, Wisconsin did not raise taxes, has its pensions fully funded , and has a solid credit rating. Thanks to the contributions for healthcare and pensions, Wisconsin did not have to lay off public employees.
It is clear that Wisconsin is on the right track, while Illinois is giving Greece  a run for their money when it comes to economic calamity.  The fiscal roadmap ahead for Illinois actually leads north.  Taxpayers in Illinois would do well to push for similar reforms to help grow their economy and pull it back from the brink of disaster.

Matt Batzel is the Executive Director for Wisconsin of American Majority

States must balance their budgets at least on paper…. However, I think if you do a little digging you will find many states consistently use accounting tricks to come to a balance, and voters be damned.

In the mist of presidential campaigns why is this 'budget thing' this being brought up and what's the point? Unless I simply slept through the campaign speeches and missed some candidates showing great interest and detailing how they will go about balancing the national budgets, or reducing debt, or doing any of the mundane things they are responsible for. I assume there is little interest or they have no real plans concerning budgets. Lack of financial responsibility brought us to this brink. I don't see any passion in our candidates to right this ship of state. New jobs will not be created without the president and congress committing themselves to conservative financial goals and balanced budgets… Of course without that action things will get worse. (We are watching the 'mother' countries in Europe sink under the weight of poor financial planning.) This is way past the point of liberal verses conservatives, this candidate verses that candidate…. We and Europe are at the financial tipping edge.

How long has it been since Congress passed a budget? In our house we have a budget and even then we have to adjust it month to month. We do this because its our money on the line. Government doesn't do it because it is our money on the line.

My two cents worth: The Tea Party members in Mississippi would do well to get together and discuss what needs doing. This worked well in Move the House group……Look at the results.

Like it or not the Tea Party is on stage. It is talked about and reviewed by the media and liberal Dems daily….With the elections Saturday in South Carolina we will know better how the election winds are blowing. Everyone will be looking closely at the conservative vote trying to figure out the impact the Tea Party had. (Now conservative voters and Tea Party members are referred to as one and labeled as radical.) Not long ago I took offense to the radical label but you know I'm beginning to realize how radical our group really is. It seems the GOP sees us as dangerous as the Dems do…. Maybe rightly so. (I hope so.) Placating RINO's have played their part along with the liberal Dems in getting us to where we are. My prayer is to replace all of them. We got rid of about seventy In the last go round.

We have a shared destiny. The more cohesive our Tea groups are the more ideas can be shared. There is the power. Whatever we want our destiny to be, it will only be achieved together.

Jefferson said, (I have to paraphrase because I can't remember the full quote)
"When a man lights his candle from my candle he gains and I don't lose anything." What Jefferson did not note was that now there are two lighted candles and twice as much light and neither lost anything.

(I got a number of comments about something I said in the last article. Let me address it here: In our representative form of democracy congress passes all laws and defines the tax burdens… They are the ones whose votes decide what is or isn't done and hopefully their votes will reflect the will of the people who elected them. In our form of government the people will never run the government. We can suggest, nudge, plead with them to do one thing or another and also can hire and fire them every so often but nothing more. Even the president has only limited powers over congress but not complete power.)

Huntsman dropped out of the race and has thrown his support, what little there is, to Romney…. I think it is fair to say that if Romney should win the presidential elections we will see Huntsman in a major position in the new government. That's a good thing….I like him. Also, after next Saturday's voting I suspect Perry will be gone and this will leave three viable candidates for Florida to jockey with.

I thought the debate last night was one of the best ones. We are beginning to get a better sense of who these men are behind the campaign slogans, ploys, and the drums of the liberal press. We can see from the response of the audience last night what issues and which candidate they are emotionally responding to. All dedicated men and good Americans. I wish they, as a group, would move to Mississippi and run for office. Short of that, whoever becomes 'the' candidate and should he route the current Prez, wouldn't it be really cool if, like Lincoln, puts all of these other candidates in his cabinet?

294 days, 9 hours, and 31 minutes till the polls open in November.

Tea Party folks never have to ask, "For whom the bell tolls."


Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Shared Destiny

The most important things we can accomplish we must do with others. Our strength lies in our ability to connect and network with others. Most in the Tea Party know we all share the same destiny. We get it… Our government does not.

When President Johnson started the war on poverty he could not have imagined where this would lead. Also, it was not just the President but most of Congress and most of the voters were in support. Regardless of which side of the War On Poverty law you came down on, no one had any clear sense of where this would lead nor the impact in would have on the nation and horrors of this well-meant tyranny on generations of our most impoverished. This program appeared to most as compassionate the right thing to do, and was grounded firmly in Christian values.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims is the most oppressive. C.S. Lewis
Mr. Birdnow wrote the best informative article I have ever seen concerning our social poverty programs by linking the programs to government, economics, and labor. As it turns out, as most things government does, it is more complex than meets the eye or fully understood by citizens outside the social system networks.
After reading this article you will have a broader view of what we are facing.
Brian Birdnow
Dan Glazier is undoubtedly sincere in his declarations, but he unwittingly illustrates a nearly insurmountable obstacle in the continuing quest to conquer poverty. That obstacle is the anti-poverty industry, itself. When trying to define the “anti-poverty industry” we generally mean the large and ever growing cadre of social workers, bureaucrats, health care providers, public interest attorney-judicial types, the subsidiary clerical people who assist the aforementioned personnel, and the academic-educational underpinning of this entire system, all of whom have a material stake in the preservation and maintenance of a permanent underclass, which keeps a roof over their own heads, and puts food on their own tables. The anti-poverty industry, although populated by idealistic and earnest workers, depends on an intractably large and growing underclass as a precondition for the continued existence of their own jobs.
The structure of the anti-poverty industry is centered within the numerous layers of the political system. It also branches out into the private sector, and includes many entities, which are neither fish nor fowl, those being quasi-governmental systems such as the public transit authorities and the like. The governmental element of the anti-poverty industry is vast, and growing daily. The federal government employs hundreds of thousands of social workers, dispersed throughout the dozens of agencies including HHS, Homeland Security, Treasury, and the DOD. In addition, the federal agencies employ tens of thousands of clerks and other support staff to further advance their missions. All of these personnel owe their employment to poverty, and the preservation thereof.
This basic industrial structure is replicated in each of the fifty states. The state governments employ thousands of social workers in their various agencies and departments, they use thousands of bureaucrats of different types to keep the paperwork flowing, and the machine humming. Unemployment counselors, welfare caseworkers, public health officials, state probation and parole officers, and the clerical staffs attached to these bureaus all have a stake in the establishment, and maintenance of a permanent underclass.
When we move down to the county/municipal level we see an expansion of the anti-poverty business. The county and city governments employ countless people in jobs, some patronage and some professional, ostensibly dedicated to the eradication of poverty. The social workers, bureaucrats, clerks, caseworkers, court personnel, and public health officials are joined by hundreds of thousands of other anti-poverty workers, who are based in the schools, and increasingly in the universities. Many serve as record keepers who archive and catalogue data, while others serve as professional scolds who lambast their fellow citizens in the newspapers and journals. The common denominator uniting this disparate cohort is the fact that they depend on the poverty of others for their livelihood.

In addition to those who directly depend on poverty for their monthly paycheck, there are thousands of others who are indirectly dependent on poverty for their daily bread. The anti-poverty business now encompasses many technically private entities that actually depend on poverty, and government funding, for their survival. The Legal Services shell-game, building subsidized housing, health care for the indigent, and contracts to bus low income students and to transport poorer workers to and from their jobs are all generally private endeavors, but the existence and viability of the agencies involved hinges on the continued impoverishment of a large and growing underclass.
None of this is meant to impugn the integrity of the earnest and idealistic folks who labor in the anti-poverty business. They all hope to end the scourge of poverty, and with God’s help, they might someday succeed. If, however, we reach a point where (as Herbert Hoover said in the spring of 1929) “…the poorhouse is vanishing from among us…” we will have no need for the veritable army of anti-poverty workers. The social service providers, the welfare caseworkers, the unemployment counselors, and the various supervisors and underlings in the thousands of antipoverty bureaus around the country will be laid off due to lack of business.
As former President George HW Bush said back in 1989, “The best anti-poverty program is a job.” Bush The Elder was not a man noted for eloquence, but he got that one right. An economic boom such as the one the country experienced between 1983-2008 would be a much more successful attack on poverty than the redoubled quasi-socialist approach of the Obama Administration. However, a political party and a President who have bet their political futures an a business-as-usual approach to fighting poverty cannot run the risk of actually succeeding by unleashing the heretofore bound Prometheus of the American economic engine. This would likely bring about substantial declines in unemployment and poverty. The only observers who would find any clouds in this sunny scenario are the legions of anti-poverty workers who would correctly sense their waning job security if we really make any progress in conquering poverty.
Happy New Year to all Townhall readers, even the liberals!
Brian Birdnow
(Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area. As reported on TOWNHALL web site.) Which I read everyday. (Drop him a note.)

Professor Birdnow we owe you.
When we consider how deeply entrenched Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare, Prescription drugs, Medicaid, and all the other direct and indirect family support systems are we become sensitive to the political dangers for politicians in broaching the subject of social programs reforms. If some magic wand was waived and all of these support programs were ended tomorrow what would this country look like in thirty days? The center could not hold.
In spite of the inherent dangers for the politicians and for the country, we must alter each and every program or in a few more years the country will be consumed by the cost. Do we see any signs in any of our candidates that gives us hope that they see this picture clearly. Do we think any of them have doable ideas that will help alter these programs in positive ways without doing massive harm. All I am hearing are the same political platitude, I have heard since……forever.
As Jefferson so eloquently put it, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
The National Debt clock tells us, as of this moment, each taxpayer's obligation to the federal government's social programs (SS, Prescription drugs, Medicare, and other unfunded liabilities) is $1, 037,876.00. This number has risen a few thousand bucks since I started writing this missive and by the time you finished reading it the clock will have added another few thousand bucks to each of our debt.
All of the Kings horses and all the Kings men can never turn this clock back to what it was again.
With all of this to-do and focus on 'who-be-da-Prez', it is Congress that is most critical for our goals as the Tea Party and hopefully for the majority of voters. The Senate is the key for us as well as the need to expand our presence in the House. Given the liberal media excitement over who said what about whom, they are ignoring/avoiding what is going on in all the other areas of the elections. For us this is a serious and a deadly mistake. Real power for change comes through our Congress.

As the election for president heats up all attention will be on it…. We must be focused on our goal of winning back our government and that is about the House of Representatives and the Senate. This branch of government has the real power if it is used. (Think Obamacare)

It is now 269 days, 9 hours, and 38 minutes till the November voting get under way.

Makes you feel like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. So much to do, so little time.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Ideas Breed

If you put six people around any coffee table or in any cafĂ© in any town in America discussing almost any conceivable topic, they will share their ideas. Each will hear the other's ideas…. These new or different ideas will add to each person's knowledge base. They now come up with their own new ideas. It is as if when ideas get shared they breed new ideas and then even newer ideas. Just average folks doing common everyday things. Shared ideas breed ideas …. Ideas then spread…and breed more ideas...
This goes on across the nation everyday about every single pursuit where there is common interest. If this is so, why aren't all of our problems solved? Well, first there is usually not enough understood about the subject and given each person's history there are biases and beliefs that each person brings to the table. So that slows the breeding process.
More often than not in the cafes the folks at the table drift in and out of discussions of politics. Here knowing is represented mostly by the latest sound bites the liberal media has spawned presented to their audience in such a way each night saying 'this is truth' and being accepted by many as truth... Now that we have access to more information and at the very least the same information the media has, we are no longer chained to their 'news speak.' That is a good thing There are more and more citizens searching out the information they need. And their shared ideas are growing along with their understanding of the government's workings. It appears that more citizens are realizing that the elected do not consider the goals of the voters and that they are acting without their consent. Though limited in numbers, it is a tsunami kind of awakening. The 2010 election, were the frontal edge and the larger wave is on its way.
It's not how smart each individual is that counts. It's how well they communicate and exchange ideas with each other that makes a society, a town, or a nation work. Informed voters communicating with each other is the death knell for politics as we have known it. Informed voters with knowledge and understanding can't be manipulated as easily. Where we in the Tea Party find ourselves is at a moment in time where there aren't enough informed voters. What can we do? Or can we do more than what we are already doing?
I hope so, and more importantly, I believe we can. Also, I believe this is the last time the Tea Party will tolerate this kind of group of presidential candidates. We are learning how to find candidates, train candidates, and replace inept destructive elected representatives. We cannot ever again allow the national parties and their sources of financial aid to manipulate us through their hidden campaign agenda. We knew Romney was their pick long before Iowa. We knew any other candidate who showed any promise would be a target. We have seen this movie before. This was the same core GOP group, with different names, that did not see Romney as a electable candidate last go around and this same group did not see Reagan as a electable presidential candidate either. The ideology of this elite group in the upper echelons of the GOP doesn't change by changing its members. The core of this failed ideology is that power should be concentrated in the hands of a few and they see themselves as that few… Their belief is that the people should sit down and shut up and they will run the nation…. Isn't that just ugly…. And isn't this a ugly thing to say…But/and this is the ideology of our Prez, the GOP's and the Dems….
We at The Oxford Tea Party believe that the home discussion groups are a good way, if not the best way, to help spread the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. Showing up on the streets is very important. That gets our ideas in front of people. Educating, we think, is most powerful. Ideas spread by informed people.

Sooner or later, and hopefully sooner, we in the Tea Party will find ways to spread our ideas faster because time is not on our side….. Move The House was one good lesson that has been learned… And the accomplishment of the goal was profound to all and the politicians in particular. Coming soon to our local theaters and TV screens is the most important election most of us have been confronted with. All of the nation's chips are on the table.

By next week in South Carolina the 'contest' (Is that not a hideous term for what is going on? Contest makes it seem like a game.) for the candidate for president could well be decided. Clearly the national GOP has picked Romney….. Ron Paul may show well if it is a small turnout. As clearly as the GOP are backing Romney they are clearly against Gingrich…. (Gingrich is a threat to the national GOP group. As president he would become the head of the Party. As such he could clean out that group and most probably would.) Santorum's liberal big government positions is his history and will do him in….With this many candidates on the ballots the vote will be spread thin…. All that can be said is the national media, the same group that cheered Romney's victory of 14 votes in Iowa, will hit the headlines once again should he show well or wins. (Margin be damned.)

There are many of Tea groups in South Carolina and they are active. Last election they were the difference in the elections. It seems that no one is sure how they will come down and support which candidate.

I personally have a terrible record in voting for presidents. John Kennedy when I was a young person, Ronald Regan with I grew up, and Bill Clinton by voting for the third party candidate Ross Perot. So, given my poor 'president picking' history I don't think anyone should pay any attention to who I think could and should be elected. I voted for Perot knowing that he could not be elected. I called that my voting on principle vote. If I paid attention to or even cared what the liberal media says about Gingrich being a bad candidate and a terrible person Newt will continue to get a check from us every few weeks. If he should become the presidential candidate and at some point later this year, even if I am sure he cannot win, I will still vote for him.

I am not going to offer up a campaign speech on Newt's behalf. We have all known him over twenty plus years of service. Clearly, for many, his mistakes and short comings have become more important than his accomplishments. The 1994 elections were as important as the 2012 elections. Newt transformed the House and reset the Washington agenda. Maybe it's my age but I just cannot see these leadership skills in Romney.

Enough pondering. It time to hit the send key.

There are 298 days, 23 hours, and 10 minutes till the voting starts. Not much time and so much to do...


I have a video link below that I think is interesting from New Hampshire voting booths. What a great film for supporting voter's ID.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ducks - This Time Its Different

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims is the most oppressive. C.S. Lewis

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. OK, that works just fine for ducks but what happens with politicians desperate to be reelected? First they wait to make sure they know which way the wind is blowing and then they pull out their campaign scripts and begin their Duck Act. Looking like, walking like, and quacking like a conservative - which is just what we want to see and hear. Then, through faults of their own, they slip up and we discover them to RINOs….Not ducks...(RINO stands for Republicans in Name Only…Just in case anyone missed it.)

There is an old adage that says, "Fool me once shame on you".."Fool me twice shame on me." Our conservatives want-to-bes can RINO us twice in one well structured campaign slogan….It doesn't seem to matter if they did the same thing to us yesterday, twice today, and three times tomorrow nor does it matter if we are talking liberal Democrats or so-called conservative Republicans. We the voters say at-a-boy, that’s just what we want to hear….

At some point we all must take responsibility for this remarkable mess. Not just conservatives, but independents, Dems, GOPers because we are all responsible. We didn't come to this point in time on the back of the watermelon wagon. We are the best educated, most productive, best informed generation in the history of America. What we have done with all that is we have is allowed five or six hundred of our elected representatives to systematically destroy the greatest country in the history of the world. I want to say, "Lord help us," but I'm not because he has helped already by giving us the ability to see, listen, think, evaluate, and act.

I don't want to labor this litany of failures and abuses but lets look at a few simple examples in recent government history concerning services that are important to all of the us:

A.. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
B.. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
C.. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
D.. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more..
E.. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
F.. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
G.. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. 32 years of failure.... (Paid for by guess who?)

Our government torments us with their sincerely exercised tyrannies assuring they are for our own good. Even though their well meaning schemes oppress us over and over, we send our approval - by reelecting them.

Our poorer group of citizens sees and accepts the political system as it has evolved and uses it effectively. We, in the Tea Party, on the other hand seem not to be as insightful. We rail against each new restriction, new regulation, each and every new tax…. We came together and in 2010 and won a battle… Our reward in this 2012 election cycle, for all our good work, is a slate of candidates who, with the exception of one or maybe two, are RINOs simply making quacking sounds.

Our national media along with the people who do political polling assure us that Romney is our best shot for beating Obama for president. This is being echoed by the national GOP so it must be so. These trustworthy groups are in the 'know' but should we be uneasy with their prophecy? Have they ever been wrong? Have they ever mislead us? Well, maybe in 2012 we will do our on vetting and look beyond the traditional political pundits, sound bites, insightful one minute ads, and dismiss all of their quacking.… Our ideals, beliefs, and principles for a president may need to be reconsidered. (Out of the 300 million of us we seem to have come up short.) So the best we can hope for is a candidate committed to conservative ideas, able to articulate to conservative voters, and experienced in the working of government. Those requirements narrow the field of candidates down to one and by throwing in lots of imagination maybe two.

When Romney ran against Kennedy in 94 for the senate, Kennedy would have won no matter what…However, Kennedy campaigned against him using Romney's history as a business man. Speaking of baggage, the national media hasn't used Romney's baggage buried in the details of his business life, what he did to make his money, and his time as governor as of yet. Note: Romney did not run for governor for a second term because he knew he couldn't win. Excuses were given but the bottom line was the people at that point knew who he was….

We said "NO" to him the last time he ran for president…. There were reasons we did and the same reasons exist today. Here he come again, nicely packaged, very deep campaign pockets, but still as shallow as a mud puddle. The national GOP thinks he has the 'right stuff' to get elected…Here we are, once again, not simply with Romney vs McCain but Romney and a whole gaggle of ducks and ducklets.

Fair is a childhood concept. Anyone who has raised two or more children know how they perceive 'fair'. For most, as we mature, the notion of fair becomes a distant construct. We know life is not fair. We accept that some people have more and some have less than others. Progressive socialism strives through wealth distribution to make life fair. The fact that it fails, over time, in every country that tries it, does not in anyway teach a lesson to people in different countries who haven't tried it. In Europe every citizen in every socialist nation is paying a price for wanting more from less. They have been jarred awake…Blood is beginning to seep into the streets there while our President is out selling the same agenda of spreading the wealth because he believes it’s the fair thing to do.….. Many listen and it sounds pretty darn good to them.

Margret Thatcher said, "Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples money." If being in debt as a nation is a indication we have run out of money it is because we have run out of money and borrowing now from people in other countries.

We must start looking closely at our group of candidates. Everyone was more than willing to look at Gingrich and his history. We know Ron Paul's history…It is getting close to voting time and we need to take care and carefully look at Romney and maybe even Santorum (sp) although I don't really think so.

Romney I'm sure is a good man…. That said, we need to look at his 'accomplishments' by selecting a couple of examples which serves as a way to generalize his behavior in so many areas or his life as well as government. I realized I have chosen a 'hot' button but also something very important to conservatives in general and in particularly conservative women.

"One year after his pro-life conversion, in July of 2005, Mitt Romney vetoed legislation that would expand the use of the morning after pill arguing that it would contribute to abortions….However, just three months later Mitt Romney slid back and signed a bill that expanded state subsidized access to the morning after pill.

Two months after his pro-life conversion, Mitt Romney appointed Matthew Nestor to the bench in Massachusetts, Romney seemingly bowed to political pressure making Nestor a judge even after Nestor, according to the Boston Globe as far back as 1994, had campaigned for political office championing his pro-abortion views.

You would think Romney had been around the block a pretty long time only to finally come to the obvious realization about abortion in July of 2005… (If in fact he did have one of ah-ha moments.) He said he was pro-life in his quacking but not in his walking… Nestor is still on the bench and the state is still subsidizing the 'morning after pill.'

Life happens…Things in life change… Knowingly and sometimes unknowingly we instigate things and events that impact us. Sometimes for the good and sometimes not. No matter, the idea of freedom and the only real freedom we have lies in our choice in deciding how we respond to these experiences. We are not the upper and lower class, we are not the haves and have nots, we are not the smart and the dumb, we are not the conservatives and the liberals. So no matter how each of us identifies with certain group it, defines our personal selves and political selves. We are interlocked with all other citizens by sharing the same destiny. No matter how much effort our President puts into pitting one imagined group against another, we are we. We are the citizens and we are the nation and he is an elected employee…Here today and gone tomorrow.

We are living in a time of rapid change. Once change happens you can't undo the change. Once we knew the world was round instead of flat didn't mean that everyone accepted the reality. So much of the flack the Tea party gets has to do with not accepting new realities.

Driven by America's science and technology the world is getting somewhat flatter. National boundaries are getting blurred. (An example: There are two consistent readers on this Tea Blog who live in small separate towns in north west India. I have no idea why they come to this site. What could they be looking for and/or what do they get when they log on? Unless they have 'Goggled Oxford' I would bet they don't know where Oxford is and may know were Mississippi is. I would bet for each of them, they have some sense of a shared destiny. What happen here impacts them there and what happens there impacts us here. We are interlaced and interlocked.

These up coming elections will have an impact on the world. For 100 years and not always wisely America has been the world leader. We are not some parochial corner of the world in the hands of an out-of-control government. For now and for the next few years we must continue our burden as the world leader.

To be the most powerful nation in the world we must be the most powerful producer in the world. Military power did not put us at the worlds' center but our ability to produce. We educated our children and they built a production machine founded on growing science and technological changes … The world is healthier because of our patented medicines and our patented innovations in technology.

However something has happened that has gone unnoticed by most. We are slipping behind in these two important areas. I am laboring this 2012 campaign and the people because we must find leaders who can look past the next election and do the future planning that is needed to keep the country at the center of this productive world.

We are now 303 days, hours, and 40 minutes till the last round of voting.

Whatever we want to do of importance we must do with others. We are interlaced will all others like never imagined. The people in power need us divided. We must work together because we are connected together.

Dunne said: Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Let me end this by suggesting that you take a few minutes and click on the link below. Its enlightening, a little scary but offers some obvious answers.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Sometimes when all the news 'sound bites' start bouncing around in my head along with the insightful liberal media articles assuring more debt is good and that the conservative Tea Party and its dumb redneck members are destroying America I take a time out…. I simply sit at my computer watch the ducks on the pond or watch the squirrels burying acorns at a hurried pace. Sometimes I read or I listen to music. This morning it was music, a Woody Guthrie's album singing about the dust bowl disaster of the thirties.

I realized once again how easy it is to forget. As a percentage of the population at that time, the dust bowl was a greater natural disaster in terms of human and financial loss than Katrina or any other disaster and lasted for years.

I did a quick Google search and it seems this disaster isn't mentioned in any of our American history books used in public schools today. (The Google search could be wrong. I hope so.) I can't believe some history teacher somewhere wouldn't just slip in something about that part of our history. Who knows maybe it wasn't taught when these teachers were in school either.

The nation was in the throws of the Great Depression so most everyone to some degree was hurting. In retrospect it's difficult to know how much attention these thousands of displaced families were given. Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck follows one family's flight to California….My mother's grandfather, whose farm was outside of Muskogee, was blown away. He, his wife, and the eldest son didn't leave until the wells dried up. In today's world, how many have an inkling of what it means to a family when their well dries up?

During the thirties the banks in Mississippi foreclosed on twenty five percent of the family farms. This number may not be right on target. Foreclosures may have been some more or some less in the twenties and thirties.

During these two decades the nation was in the final throws of transition from an agricultural society to a industrial society. In the earlier part of the century over eighty percent plus made their living farming and we ended the century with less than two percent farming.

The only purpose of recanting this history is to say the American spirit has been tested and retested. Our forefather, and our nation'sw founders put down human roots in this land. Floods and tornados leveled towns, people died, trees and crops died, but the human roots were deeply buried and did not die…. and never will.

Many know and value the stock we sprang from.

In his book, From Audacity of Hope, President Obama said: "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." The liberal press must be right because this dumb redneck can't quite get the idea that a man, in our country, can say such a thing and still be elected president. Not only that but he could possibly be reelected. Just one more example of how out of touch I am in today's world.

Tipping times are time, of significant transition. Few realize the tipping is taking place or even that something really significant is happening. 1955 was such a tipping point and no one seemed to have a clue as to its significant when white collar workers out numbered blue collar workers for the first time. During the first Clinton campaign NAFTA was a campaign issue and finally got passed. During that campaign Ross Piero warned of the great 'sucking sound' of jobs disappearing to other countries. NAFTA was another tipping point. It took time but all of the lower skilled jobs that our less educated did simply disappeared never to be seen again. The world's greatest manufacturing nation became a non-manufacturing nation, the nation the world had relied on and was beholden to. Now a nation that is beholden to great degree on others. Everyday we shop and read labels. The reality of this change stares back at us, not understanding the full meaning of "made in some country other than here."

2007 was a tip point. This tipping point went unnoticed and it meaning is even more abstract. Simply put, more people live in cities and urban areas than in the small towns and farming communities. As cities become more expensive as well as the surrounding urban areas the poor and poorly educated are pushed out and go back to the small towns and rural communities. Communities without jobs, where the only support are social programs. And the poverty spiral bleeds into the next generation and the next.

Why am I rambling about these emerging super cities and great sprawling urban areas? Because we have elections happening. We need to elect people who can think past the next election cycle. Most of the major problems are systemic and are growing. In a few years we will look back and be amazed that we only had a few trillion of debt back in 2012.

The new leaders must have a clear vision of what is needed and the fortitude to take the steps to fix tomorrow's problems today. We are here because the good-old-boys we have reelected over and over could never set aside their personal goals. In the process of selling their votes congressional for votes the nation has suffered in incalculable damage not simply measured in dollars.

The GOP candidate seems to be Romney. That is where the money and effort is being funneled. Soon we will begin to see if the voters believe he has the backbone and skills to be president at this time in our history. Its time for Ron Paul to go back to Texas. He has served the country well and long enough. Perry may be tough enough but do we think he has the skills and experience to be president in the turning troubling times? The others are want-to-bes without any real credentials. That leaves us with just one candidate who has the skills, credentials, long vetted, short and long vision, and the courage to act. Along with, what many believe, is electability.

Today the vetting by the public begins in Iowa. Within six to eight weeks we will see which candidate voters believe can lead the nation and beat Obama in November elections. What is most needed is personal soul searching. This is, in my mind, the most important election in my life time. The future is what is at issue not what this or that candidate did or did not do in yesteryear.

After these first few primaries watch which conservative candidate the liberal media pushes and which one they ignore or attack. The one who gets attacked is the one they do not want to run against Obama. (Let me quote Barney Frank again: He said, "Romney would be the best thing that has happened for the Democrats since Barry Goldwater.") Barney said a lot in this statement and Romney is the Dems candidate of choice. Just a note: Polling companies are liberal in their heart or hearts. LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post polls always get different results than most other pollsters. Their results plays well with their liberal readers.

Mr. President, it is now 308 days, I hour, and 21 minutes till the 2012 voting begins. In 2010 we came for the good-old-boys….This time we are coming for you.