Obama Care Health Insurance Exchanges in Oklahoma
It has been several years since Obama Care first came on the scene and it was one of the main issues that drove the Tea Party movement into existence. In February of 2010 the former statewide umbrella group, the OCA, rescued the issue out of the Rules Committee by putting 500 phone calls a day into former Speaker Benge’s office and the issue sailed through the House and Senate onto the ballot for November 2010, with Oklahomans voting it into law in a landslide election. The new law allowed Oklahomans to opt out of Obama Care and many in the conservative community thought the issue was solved.
It was not; the State Chamber of Commerce owned House leadership forced the issue back on the agenda in 2011 under the guise of “Health Insurance Exchanges” until grassroots pressure forced ten freshmen legislators to switch their votes against the issue and the Senate found the will to kill the issue. Governor Fallin accepted defeat on the issue in April and on April 14th, moved her press conference forward several hours in an attempt to prevent the small contingent of Tea Party members at the capitol from attending her press conference. She then gave a statement that she was returning the $53,000,000.00 in Federal grants for the implementation of Obama Care Health Insurance Exchanges. Again the conservative community thought they had achieved a final victory.
Yet not a day later House leadership was busy making plans to bring the issue back to life and make it more palatable by calling the Health Insurance Exchanges by a new name and claiming that these would be Oklahoma Health Insurance Exchanges not Obama Care Health Insurance Exchanges and run by state rules overseen by state legislators. They stayed busy all summer and fall touting their new plan, holding regional dog and pony shows where “experts” droned on and on about the issue. Then at the Shawnee GOP House retreat we learned that Representative Glen Mulready was beating the drum again, telling legislators that they had done all they could to stop Obama Care but that it was time to go ahead and implement it.
Politicians do this over and over again: they claim to be against an issue, passing laws on the matter, only to quietly find a way to pass the issue into law, counting on the short attention span of voters and a compliant media to keep it out of the news. We see the worst of them beating their chests proclaiming the NRA support and vowing to stand for our 2nd Amendment rights all the while ensuring that good 2nd Amendment legislation is killed. We saw it with the Real ID act years ago when they passed a resolution stating that Oklahoma will not support the Federal law only to implement the biometric drivers licenses part by part. Now we are seeing it with Obama Care, campaigning against the issue during elections but bringing it back again and again until they manage to get it through.
I am also the State Co Coordinator for Campaign For Liberty, a national group that focuses on liberty issues, and they have an excellent training program that includes regular webinars with experts educating the state and local leaders. Last week we had a first class program on Obama Care that included a nationally known doctor, who was leading the charge against the program. The purpose of the training was to show how state governments were misleading the public and who was pushing for Obama Care and why.
We learned that there is absolutely no difference between state exchanges and Obama Care federal exchanges. Here is the relevant section of Obama Care that allows for the state run exchanges, emphasis is mine:
Each State electing to establish an Exchange must adopt the Federal standards contained in this law and in this proposed rule, or have in effect a State law or regulation that implements these Federal standards. Section 1311(k) further specifies that Exchanges may not establish rules that conflict with or prevent the application of regulations promulgated by the Secretary.”
Representatives like Representatives Glen Mulready and Jason Nelson that claim that they are setting up a state run exchange in order to avoid having to implement Obama Care are simply lying through their teeth. They pretending that they are simply making a website possible where Oklahomans could shop for insurance like EhealthInsurance.com or getting-health-insurance.com when the reality is that they are giving away the 10th Amendment rights of Oklahomans. They know that once the exchange is set up the Feds will dictate everything.
But why are these Republicans selling out on Obama Care?
The answer is simple, insurance lobbyists and State Chamber of Commerce lobbyists give them large campaign donations.
The State Chamber wants health insurance costs off business payrolls and onto the backs of taxpayers. Their member businesses also understand that benefit cuts are going to have to be implemented; they don’t want benefit cuts occurring when they are running the insurance program, they prefer to be able to blame the government for benefit cutbacks. One would think that businesses would just quit offering health care insurance but many believe that it is an important tool for recruiting top talent.
The insurance companies have a different approach, they want to see everyone forced to buy their product whether they need it or not. Health insurance is one of those expenses that a lot of people will not pay for. Who could blame them! If they get sick they just go to the emergency room or a free clinic. They can spend their paycheck on $100 sneakers and cell phones or drive a new car. Obama Care is a way of forcing everyone to pay for insurance, which is really just a way to spread health care costs across the entire population. Of course if you don’t work or are getting a disability check the government will pay your bills so Obama Care really just hits those that are gainfully employed.
The second reason why insurance companies want to force Obama Care on everyone is that it will severely limit the competition. That’s right, under Obama Care there will be very, very few companies with the experience, the personel, and the infrastructure to work with the Federal government. Blue Cross/Blue Shield was one of the companies that participated in the creation of Obama Care. Our own Representative Glen Mulready used to lobby for Oklahoma Blue Cross. With thousands of smaller health insurance companies driven out of the market, what do you think will happen to insurance rates?
When you start to shake your head at those of us that are pushing hard to educate Oklahomans and begin to feel uncomfortable about how we expose their dirty laundry to the world, ask yourself how uncomfortable you are going to feel when the day comes that your health care decisions are decided by a bureaucrat working to hold costs down instead of a familiar doctor working in your best interests. America has the most effective and technologically advanced health care system in the world if one is willing to work so that one can afford it. Yes, the costs are getting out of hand but most experts state that it is because of consumers not having enough skin in the game. When a third party pays, neither the doctor nor the patient has any incentive to keep costs down. Government regulation also adds a huge percentage to the costs, true heath care reform must address those two issues. Health care should be a commodity product where the fight for market share and productivity drives down consumer prices.
This next legislative session is going to be a battle ground on this issue. Conservatives must get involved in the fight to stop this unconstitutional law from stripping our freedom from us and our children that follow. Watch this newsletter for opportunities to act against the politicians and when you do respond with an email or a phone call, a donation to a good candidate or a plea for volunteers, tell them that you are a Tea Party supporter. Always remember that politicians can ignore you if you act alone but they can’t ignore you if you are acting as a group.
Senate Passes National Defense Authorization Act
We try to focus on state issues with the theory that all politics are local, i.e., control the voter base at the local and state level and the Washington politicians will get the message. Occasionally the Feds do something so outrageous or stupid that we have no choice but to get involved. That was the case with the National Defense Appropriations Amendment (NDAA) that had been working its way through the Federal House and Senate. A lot of national attention was focused on the NDAA so we thought that surely the offending portions of the bill would be stripped out.
The NDAA is passed every year to lay out the budget and expenditures for the military along with various tweaks to the laws regulating the military. Normally they are ho hum issues but on occasion the liberals and progressives slip dangerous laws into the massive bills. A few years back during the Bush administration they actually gutted Posse Comitatus, the 1878 law that prevented American military from being used on American citizens on American soil. The offending language was slipped in by a couple of Democrats and it made it into law, but the offending language was stripped out the following year. This time though, the breach of our constitutional rights was intentional and much debated.
Basically this years NDAA has stripped American Citizens of due process protections. There was a Feinstein amendment, #1456, that provided window dressing to appease civil libertarians:
"The Feinstein amendment #1456, which passed on Dec. 1 (by a vote of 99-1), says that no provision of Sec. 1031 can be taken to "affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens."
The bill’s supporters didn’t oppose the amendment because Senators Lindsay Grahm and Carl Levin argued that the President already has the authority to detain American Citizens since the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled otherwise. The reality is that this Feinstein amendment was added nearly unanimously at the last minute to appease those that were rightly opposed to these detention provisions. Another excuse for voting for this bill was that the law supposedly exempted American Citizens:
"The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."
This is simply a clever deception, just because something is not required doesn’t mean it is prohibited, by extrapolation it is permitted. If that isn’t horrible enough for civil libertarians, the power to determine which citizens are indefinitely detained without charges or a trial now rests with the President alone.
I contacted one of our newsletter readers, Emily Shipley, Southwest Oklahoma Field Representative for Senator Coburn. Here is her reply:
“Dr. Coburn voted against the Defense Authorization bill because of there was not an open amendment process and the bill did nothing significant to change the way the government spends money on Defense. Several stories have gone around that American citizens or legal permanent residents could be detained in their own backyard, regarding section 1032 of the bill. However, the media has it wrong; the reports I have read say this affects US citizens, when it doesn’t.
I have attached a copy of the section pertaining to your particular question. The bill is over 900 pages long, so I only printed the necessary pages. I have highlighted the areas of your concern.”
The simple solution would have been to strike that portion or just make it plain that citizens may not be detained under military custody. Trust in the Federal government is nearly nonexistent among nformed citizens. We do not want anything implemented that can be turned around and used against the citizens of Oklahoma. We see our government implementing high policing policies where the focus is on protecting the state from the citizen. Passage of a law that could be used against citizens is proof that they are afraid of the citizens or are envisioning a situation where things get so bad that they need to turn the military and the police on the people.
We remember the MIAC report. We have heard many other instances of Federal experts proposing going after people that have more than 7 days of food stored, which means that every Mormon out there is to be considered a terrorist or every one of the so called preppers could be labeled terrorists. Let me tell you what got me into the Tea Party. It was watching my customers, almost exclusively upper class professionals that could afford an expensive kitchen remodel, storing food, water, guns, and ammo. When you see chemists, doctors, lawyers, large business owners, and even Federal government employees preparing for disaster then you know that this fear is wide spread, deep rooted, and somewhat rational.
I told Miss Shipley that we were writing a story on the issue and asked for Coburn’s position on this issue but she has not replied to our request; we don't want him voting "no" because of the lack of an open amendment process or lack of significant changes, we want him to vote no because of the danger to our freedom.
And which Oklahoma politicians voted for this stripping of Constitutional rights from Americans? Every last one of them
except for Coburn. Inhofe, Sullivan, Boren, Cole, and Lucas all voted for this bill. They need phone calls and emails to let them know that this law must be taken down immediately.
CONTACT INFORMATION – US Senators and Congressmen for OK
SENATOR/DR. TOM COBURN, http://coburn.senate.gov/public/
Washington D.C. 172 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510 (202) 224-5754 (202) 224-6008
Tulsa Office 1800 South Baltimore, Suite 800, Tulsa, OK 74119, (918) 581-7651 (918) 581-7195 fax
Oklahoma City, 100 North Broadway, Suite 1820, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 231-4941 (405) 231-5051 fax
Lawton, 711 SW D Avenue, Suite 202, Lawton, OK 73501, (580) 357-9878 (580) 355-3560 fax
SENATOR JIM INHOFE, http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/
Washington, DC, 453 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-3603, (202) 224-4721 (202) 228-0380 fax
Tulsa Office, 1924 S. Utica Avenue, Suite 530, Tulsa, OK 74104-6511, (918) 748-5111 (918) 748-5119 fax
Oklahoma City Office, 1900 NW Expressway, Suite 1210, Oklahoma City, OK 73118, (405) 608-4381 (405) 608-4120 fax
McAlester Office, 215 E. Choctaw, Suite 106, McAlester, OK 74501, (918) 426-0933, (918) 426-0935 fax
Enid Office, 302 N. Independence, Suite 104, Enid, OK 73701, (580) 234-5105 (580) 234-5094
CONGRESSMAN DAN BOREN
Washington, D.C., 216 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, (202) 225-2701 (202) 225-3038 fax
Muskogee Office, 431 W Broadway, Muskogee OK 74401, (918) 687-2533 (918) 686-0128 fax
Claremore Office, 309 W 1st St, Claremore OK 74017, (918) 341-9336 (918) 342-4806 fax
McAlester Office, 321 S Third, Suite 4, McAlester OK 74501, (918) 423-5951 (918) 423-1940 fax
CONGRESSMAN TOM COLE, http://www.house.gov/cole/
Washington DC Office: U.S. House of Representatives, 236 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-6165 (202) 225-3512 fax
Norman Office: 2420 Springer Dr., Ste. 120, Norman, OK 73069, (405) 329-6500 (405) 321-7369 fax
Lawton Office, 711 SW D Ave., Ste. 201, Lawton, OK 73501, (580) 357-2131 (580) 357-7477 fax
Ada Office, 104 E. 12th, Ada, OK 74820, (580)436-5375 (580)436-5451 fax
Congressman James Lankford
Washington Address: 509 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, DC 20515, 202/225-2132 Fax: 202/226-1463
Oklahoma Offices: 1015 N. Broadway, Suite 310, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, 405/234-9900 Fax: 405/234-9909
CONGRESSMAN FRANK LUCAS, http://www.house.gov/lucas/index.shtml
Washington, D.C. Office, House of Representatives, 2311 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, (202) 225-5565 (202) 225-8698 fax
Stillwater Office 720 South Husband, Suite 7, Stillwater, OK 74075, (405) 624-6407 (918) 227-0354 (405) 624-6467 fax
Canadian County Office, 10952 NW Expressway, Suite B, Yukon, OK 73099, (405) 373-1958 (405) 373-2046 fax
Woodward Office, 2728 Williams Ave., Suite F, Woodward, OK 73801, (580) 256-5752 (580) 254-3047 fax
CONGRESSMAN JOHN SULLIVAN, http://sullivan.house.gov/
Washington, D.C. Office, 114 Cannon Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, (202) 225-2211 (202) 225-9187 fax
Tulsa Office, 5727 S Lewis Ave, Suite 520, Tulsa, OK 74105-0014, (918) 749-0014 (918) 749-0781 fax
Bartlesville Office, 401 S Johnstone Ave, Suite 348, Bartlesville, OK 74105, (918) 336-6500 (918) 749-1781 fax
House Leadership Backs Down, Reinstates Sooner Tea Party Newsletter Delivery
Last week we reported that the Sooner Tea Party newsletter had been banned on the Oklahoma House of Representatives email server. Barbra Hoberock, a reporter with the Tulsa World, had done some digging around on the story, calling several legislators and even Speaker Steele’s office who blamed the problem on their spam filter. Speaker Steele’s staff chose to get creative, blaming the newsletter content for triggering the spam filter but what they couldn’t explain was how identical copies were getting through to House members when sent using personal email addresses.
The idea of the media looking into the issue must have spooked Speaker Steele because the last issue of the newsletter sailed right through the House spam filter and made it to the legislator’s email boxes. This should serve all as a good reminder of how our system depends on the media acting as a watchdog for our freedoms. The worst of the legislators cannot abuse their power without the media standing aside nor can they work their dirty deeds if the public stays involved. The media needs the public to pay their wages; the public needs the media to keep them informed; only the politicians benefit when either group gets distracted from their responsibilities.
1995 Oklahoma City Bombing Documentary Film Released
I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about this film even after knowing the producer and many of the individuals involved in the story for several years. That was no reflection on their character, indeed they are solid conservatives and dedicated to advancing freedom in Oklahoma. The skepticism was focused on the subject itself; The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. But my uncertainty turned out to be completely unfounded as this film is both beautifully produced and provides a fresh look at the act of terror that occurred almost 17 years ago.
The opening of the film showcases the dichotomy of Oklahoma City’s rural roots brushing up against glittering skyscrapers. The movie dives right into the Oklahoma City bombing by showing video and audio clips depicting the chaos of that April 19th morning. I remember it well as the blast rattled the windows in my home in Midwest City hard enough that we thought that Tinker Air Force Base had been hit. An in-law was working across the street in the Journal Record building but had gone in late that morning, making for an anxious wait till we learned that she was safe.
I had known people who died in the blast, had customers that were survivors of the blast, and I knew of widows left behind. So, I wondered if even after 16 years what the reaction to a film questioning the bombing investigation might be. But the film was very respectful to sensibilities while still getting their point across. The inclusion of many survivors and local experts no doubt added enormous credibility to the film while assuring Oklahomans that this was not outsiders disturbing old wounds.
The film lays out the government’s case first, mentioning an APB for two Middle Eastern looking suspects, then the subsequent arrest of Timothy McVeigh. Next the film dives into controversy by asking why no ATF officers were killed in the bombing even though the ATF was the alleged target of the act. An interview from a local TV station stated that ATF officials told one family member that they had been warned via their pagers not to come to work that morning. Next up were two implausible stories that ATF agents were present, one in a falling elevator, and the other a bizarre story about an ATF agent using martial art skills to escape. Elevator mechanics interviews state that the safety devices were not tripped, proving that no elevators had fallen and the door of the particular elevator had been jammed by falling debris.
Other interviewees and depositions state unusual ATF activity before and after the blast. Two witnesses report that former congressman Ernest Istook had prior knowledge of the event, and there were many reports about bomb squad trucks and sheriff department mounted units being sent nto the area. Multiple Oklahoma City police officers, Sherriff deputies, and even one Tulsa police officer were interviewed on the inconsistencies and dropped leads.
The film then mentions Jayna Davis, the lead reporter on the Oklahoma City bombing for Channel 4, who was fired about a year after the bombing along with her program director. I know Jayna Davis and that lady is consumed with this story even after 16 years. Her book the Third Terrorist opened up different scenarios on who was behind the bombing but she raised many of the same points that "A Noble Lie" brought up.
Something that I had not heard of before was that an Oklahoma City police officer was poking into the case and that he was tortured, then murdered in the El Reno area. One of his last messages to family before he disappeared was about visiting his mini storage building near El Reno and having to shake the Feds that were tailing him. The story is rife with serious questions concerning the murder investigation.
The Oklahoma County Grand Jury was mentioned as well as evidence pointing to multiple explosive devices found and inconsistencies in blast damage according to experts. One very troubling point was the mass of paper debris on the north side of the building that would have had to travel against the blast wave from the Ryder truck to land where it did. Only a bomb planted inside the building would have resulted in such a debris path and only a bomb planted inside the building would have resulted in the damage to interior columns that lead to the collapse of the Murrah building.
The Trentadue case was also brought up about the Federal prisoner murdered at the Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. An enormous amount of inconsistencies were involved as well as the disappearance of evidence in the torture/murder of the Federal inmate. An anonymous caller said that the FBI killed Trentadue in a botched interrogation due to a misidentification of Trentadue. The FBI allegedly thought Trentadue was an extremist, who had been robbing banks to finance a war of terror against the Federal government and that details of extremists appear to be centered around John Doe #2, the never identified suspect that was the subject of a manhunt in the first day of the OKC bombing.
The film doesn’t claim that the Federal government blew up the building but it does point to a sting operation gone out of control. I was expecting a judgmental attitude with the film just because of the controversial subject but instead I found a very well thought out story and a very well produced film that asked a lot of questions and exposed a lot of information that I had never heard. The film is thought provoking and left me with a feeling of further unease toward our government agencies. I highly recommend this video for all Oklahomans interested in the facts behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
More information can be found here
at the Free Mind Films website. The cost is $19.95 and the film was produced in Oklahoma by James Lane, a long time activist for Ron Paul and liberty issues.
Over a Billion Dollars of New Debt for Oklahoma?
Last week we reported on the high points of the Shawnee Dog and Pony Show, errr… the Shawnee House Caucus Retreat, and reported an enormous amount of new bond indebtedness that was planned for 2012. Inside sources leaked a copy of House leadership’s laundry list of special project spending. Here is a copy of the original document
that was leaked to the Sooner Tea Party a few weeks back then later confirmed from an internal House email:
$270,000,000.00 for Higher Education Chairs
$200,000,000.00 for State Capitol Building Maintenance
$170,000,000.00 for National Guard
$130,000,000.00 for State Capitol Building
$45,000,000.00 for VA building and Mental Health Sharing
$40,000,000.00 for the Native American Center
$40,000,000.00 for the Jim Thorpe Building renovation
$40,000,000.00 for a Museum of Music/Popular Culture Tulsa Project
$40,000,000.00 for Weigh Stations
$40,000,000.00 for Medical Examiner’s Office
$20,000,000.00 for Muskogee Music Hall of Fame
$5,000,000.00 for Wrestling Hall of Fame
So the plan that was put forward by House leadership at the Shawnee retreat was to sell $1,040,000,000.00 in bonds in 2012 to pay for cultural centers, Higher Education pork, and a small amount of core government needs like Weigh Stations and the National Guard. One billion and forty million dollars in new debt that will have to be repaid out of tax payer’s pockets, increasing the state budget by 15% in 2012. But if you include the interest paid on the bonds, you are looking at over two billion dollars. Plus the company selling the bonds gets a nice percentage off the top and many companies investing in these state bonds will get lucrative interest rates. You really don’t think they are going to get that money for .0025% like the Fed rate? Uh uh, this is corporate welfare at its best; those bonds will have a hefty interest rate.
In addition to the ultimate overall cost to taxpayers, We should have some problems with why this money is needed.
Why do Oklahoma colleges need another quarter of a billion dollars for the Chair positions? Most of these colleges are already filthy rich in investments and endowments. The idea behind the $270,000,000.00 bond is for the State of Oklahoma to borrow the 270 million, and then give it to the colleges to invest so that the professors are paid out of the interest income from the 270 million. That is like the bum on the street corner asking for $75.00 to buy lottery tickets so he can buy a sandwich.
Why wasn’t the Capitol building maintained properly? What happened to the tax money collected for maintenance over the last 100 years it has been around? The answer is that no, they don’t budget for maintenance.
Since the National Guard is controlled by the President, why is Oklahoma needing to spend .17 billion dollars? When was the last time the National Guard was called out in Oklahoma? And how about the new National Guard Reserve Center in Norma and the 63rd and Kelly National Guard complex that was funded? Supporting the National Guard is good but how much more do they need right now?
Why are there two figures for Capitol Building maintenance? The total is one third of a billion dollars.
Why is Oklahoma paying for the VA building? Because only a small portion of the proposed building is for the VA, the rest will be leased to the State Mental Health Department. People will support it if they think it is benefiting veterans so this is a way to drive up state debt while stripping the money that goes to the Mental Health Department and diverting it elsewhere.
The American Indian Cultural Center has failed to attract significant private funding. Governor Henry gave them six million in 2010. Why are we investing in a project that is not economically unfeasible? The answer is to make Oklahoma City property developers richer by attracting more tourists to the Bricktown area.
Why was maintenance money not included for the Jim Thorpe building in past budgets? Businesses have to budget money for repair and maintenance, why isn’t state government doing the same?
Is building music centers and pop culture centers a core purpose of state government? If these museums are viable, they will attract private investors.
What happened to our old Weigh Stations? Why do we need to build new ones? One of the byproducts of NAFTA was lots of truck waivers for weight stations, the use of digital bar code readers over the highways to implement tracking technology so the weigh stations got neglected. However, the Department of Public Safety, the Corporation Commission, and the Department of Transportation all have separate organizations all watching for truck size and weight. Wouldn’t enough money be saved to pay for new weigh stations if the agencies consolidated?
Why isn’t the current Medical Examiner office useable? Why must it be moved to Edmond if that is the plan? The answer is simple; the University of Central Oklahoma was given the right to bring the Medical Examiner Office to their campus on the condition that they sell the bonds and build the building with the M E office leasing space. UCO wants the benefit of having the M E office but wants all Oklahomans to pay the costs.
Five million for a wrestling museum? Really? What idiot thought up that idea in this economy? Next thing you know is that they will be spending millions of state tax dollars telling us that “professional rasslin” is real. I wouldn’t mind seeing a match between Speaker Steele and Representative Reynolds!!! So, if that is part of the deal maybe we should look into this.
Of course these questions are facetious, we don’t need these pork projects and of course the money for maintenance has been systematically diverted into corporate welfare programs or citizen welfare programs. My real question is what in the hell was House leadership thinking when they thought of spending another billion dollars since they were cutting agency budgets last year? News flash for House Leadership: The economy is in the toilet and people are tightening their belts and just trying to survive. This is not at all the best time to expand government and incur more debt! How about being responsible stewards of the public money and budgeting properly?
Oh well, at least they kept their wish list for new state debt down to a little over one billion dollars. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that the list above is just the House Leadership list presented by Representative Earl Sears at the December Caucus meeting in Shawnee. Representative Guy Lieberman had a list too that covered what Governor Fallin and other Republicans wanted in 2012:
- Highway bonds at $15,000,000.00 for structurally deficient bridges
- $8,300,000.00 per year for three years for County roads and bridges,
- Raising the road tax cap from $425,000,000.00 to $550,000,000.00,
- Adding $35,000,000.00 to the state emergency fund,
- Adding $14,000,000.00 for reinstating the National Board Certified Teacher Stipend that Barresi defunded this year.
That adds nearly another $215,000,000.00 the total new debt.
Oh, and remember the Governor’s closing fund? That slush fund for corporate welfare that was passed this last session? Governor Fallin wants that piggy bank filled too.
Oklahoma must be doing rather well, if they expect to spend this kind of money? Ah, not really. Before the combination of Bush spending and Obama Spending put our economy in the ditch Oklahoma had an appropriated budget of around $7,000,000,000.00, that'sseven billion dollars. Last fiscal year the State Equalization Board told the legislature that they had around 5.9 billion to spend but RINO House leadership managed to spend 6.5 billion. To pay for the extra spending they used 100 million from the Rainy Day Fund, 98 million in Federal stimulus money, stole 100 million from ODOT (Oklahoma Department of Transportation), found 45 million from raising “fees” and played around with 47 million in OHLAP Scholarship money. Most of those were one use tricks that are not going to be able to help out in the 2013 fiscal year.
So, Oklahoma is looking at dropping a half billion from the revenue picture for the next fiscal year. Where are we going to get the money? Opps, we are getting ahead of the cart, there is more money to come up with. Last year Oklahoma hit the automatic tax decrease trigger so the next fiscal year will have 70 million less in tax income, and 86.3 million in tax credits moratorium that still remain a liability on the State books. There is 660 million in the Tobacco Endowment but only the interest income can be spent under our State Constitution, around 36 million plus 16.2 million from the Tobacco Revolving fund. Figure roughly that Oklahoma is in a 600 million budget hole, not counting putting off the 2013 accruing tax credits if needed again. Hey, that is alright, they pay great interest for the corporate investors that pushed their creation and are now reaping the benefits. Add to all of this approximately 1.25 billion in new debt that House leadership wants to sell.
Do you see why we need to clean up Oklahoma politics before we address Washington politics? Special interests are stealing Oklahoma taxpayers blind and running up public debt while they line their own pockets and erode our freedom. We have this wonderful opportunity to use the economic downturn to downsize government but instead the special interests are growing government. Please call and email your State Representative and your State Senator and demand that they get Oklahoma’s finances in order. Mention that you are a Tea Party member and remind them that they can be replaced if they don’t look out for the best interests of the people.
Here are all the House members in two fifty member blocks of email addresses
. Use Bcc in your email address header and email fifty of them with one email yet they won't know who else got the email.
Representative Sue Tibbs Threatens New 2nd Amendment Right Bills
Representative Sue Tibbs has been the bane of the 2nd Amendment supporters in Oklahoma for the past few years. She gained attention last session for screaming at a couple of citizens for daring to ask her about her views on the Open Carry bill. In 2010 Representative Tibbs threatened a Tulsa activist with arrest after he dropped by her office to ask her about the issue. Who was this individual that was threatened with arrest? Some wild eye Tea Party radical? Nope, a Tulsa County GOP Board member no less and one of Representative Tibbs’ own constituents.
So it is no surprise to hear a report that while attending an Oklahoma Farm Bureau Christmas Dinner Representative Sue Tibbs went after Representative David Derby who is known as a 2nd Amendment supporter. Tibbs and Representative Ron Peters were sitting at a table next to Derby when she started berating Representative Derby, asking him “What gun bill are you going to run this year? You know I’m going to kill it!” Representative Derby was said to not have risen to the bait, instead he was reported as asking Representative Tibbs what bills she was supporting in the coming year. Representative Tibbs replied that she was supporting a ban on the over the counter purchase of allergy medication like pseudoephedrine, requiring Oklahomans to go to a doctor to get a prescription to buy the common allergy medication. They currently have it behind the counter and you have to fill out a form so the State can track who is buying and how much. That isn’t good enough for Tibbs, she wants to drive up the cost of basic health care and inconvenience hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans.
Here is Representative Sue Tibbs Contact information, She is term limited but there is nothing wrong reading her a riot act so she understands just how despicable the average Oklahoman thinks she is.
Oklahoma State GOP Party Platform versus the Tea Party Values
Many of us in the Tea Party ranks got into the movement because of our disgust with both major political parties. Most eventually realized that in Oklahoma you had to have a vehicle for change as a third party is very difficult to get on the ballot under existing state law, so the Republican Party became the obvious choice as they were much closer to where we were than the Democrats. What we didn’t know was that not only were we close, but that the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform was far ahead of us on most of the issues. Why then were elected Republican officials generally as bad or worse than the liberal Democrats that were leading the country off the cliff?
The answer is not that much different than what causes most of the problems at the state Capitol, the lack of citizen involvement leading to a handful of people being in charge and the political cover allowing them to twist the Republican Party into a country club for the elite. The Republican Party is ruled by popular vote and has a set of state rules that are sometimes followed but more often disregarded when it suits those in power. There is a statewide Executive Committee composed of state party officials and County party officials. There is the Rules Committee responsible for setting and maintaining the state party rules, the Credentials committee that is the gate keeper for saying who is allowed to vote or run for party office, and the Platform Committee which is responsible for setting the ”planks” of the platform, the generally accepted issues and positions that together make up the Republican brand.
As you can imagine the real power is in the Rules and Credentials committees so the elite work hard at keeping those slots in their hands. But they have to allow some of the conservative Republicans to serve on a committee so they have always used the Platform Committee as their dumping ground to pigeonhole those pesky and persistent conservatives that break through the ranks.
As of a result of the practice of packing the Platform Committee with cast off conservatives, the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform is quite conservative and has created an enormous dichotomy between the elected Republican officials, the elected Republican state officials, and the Party Platform. The elites do try hard to tamp the lid on the Party Platform by keeping one of their own in charge of the Committee. They failed in 2009, with former Senators Randy Brogdon and Kevin Calvey heading the committee. But they managed to “plant” (no pun intended) a notorious RINO, the former Ken Miller Legislative Assistant, Angie LaPlante in the Chairman spot in 2011.
Several members of the 2011 Platform Committee had stories of Chairman Angie LaPlante stripping issues out of the Platform after the entire committee had voted the issues into the platform, a direct violation of the trust of the dozens of Platform Committee members that were elected specifically for this task from across the 77 Oklahoma Counties. The Party Platform is assembled by the committee, then voted in at the Republican State Convention after a small amount of discussion. But even with the Angie LaPlante t subterfuge, the 2011 Republican Party Platform remains a dream template for Tea Party activists.
The Republican Party Platform starts out with ten principles:
1. Our rights of life, liberty, and property are natural rights granted to us by God and protected by the Constitution.
2. In the right to worship as we please without government intrusion or interference.
3. The federal government’s power is constitutionally limited, yet responsible for protecting our sovereignty, establishing justice under law, and securing our liberty through a strong national defense and effective law enforcement.
4. God is the Author and Creator of life and that all human life, both born and unborn, should be protected.
5. Traditional marriage consists of one man and one woman.
6. It is the private sector and free market principles that best stimulate economic development rather than government subsidies or programs.
7. Taxes collected at all levels of government should be used only for legitimate government functions and those functions carried out efficiently so that tax rates may be kept as low as possible.
8. That government closest to the people governs best and is preferred to centralized control.
9. It is the right of every parent to act in his or her children’s best interest including choosing the form of education, whether public school, private school, or home school.
10. We should welcome immigrants, who want to legally seek freedom and opportunity, who want to work for a living and who will embrace our values, learn the English language, and respect our national sovereignty.
I fail to see a single word that the majority of Tea Party supporters does not embrace. There are a few issues that are not a core Tea Party issues but the majority of members privately support the issues. If the Tea Party is radical, then so is the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform.
In Section I they lay out the Republican values on family issues:
- Marriage as between one man and one woman.
- The right and responsibility of parents to rear, educate, discipline, nurture, provide healthcare and spiritually train their children without government interference.
- Federal and State legislation, which prohibits recognition of same-sex:tax policies, enactment of legislation, and public assistance policies that encourage a commitment to traditional marriage and to strengthening families.
- Employers and taxpayers should not be forced to violate their convictions or to bear the cost of granting “same-sex marriages” the benefits that are due traditional marriages.
- Support the patient (family)-doctor relationship and oppose nationalized medicine.
- Support an individual’s right to elect not to have health insurance. support drug testing for any person applying for or receiving any type of government aid.
And how has House Leadership voted lately?
- They legalized same sex couples or same sex couples married in other states or countries to get survivor benefits.
- They tried to pass a law giving a transvestite the right to alter their birth certificate after a sex change operation.
- They tried on multiple occasions to ram Obama Care/Fallin Care down our throats.
- They continue to plan to force a so called “state” insurance exchange on Oklahomans while knowing that it must comply with the Obama Care standards and be controlled by the Federal government. They refused to hear Representative John Bennett’s bill to force Welfare recipients to submit to drug testing.
In Section II they cover Education issues:
- Uphold and teach the definition of the traditional family at all levels of public and higher education.
- Parents should be allowed to use their education tax dollars for the family’s choice of schooling by the use of vouchers and/or tax credits.
- The imposition of national curricula, aptitude testing, and teacher certification or education standards on any Oklahoma school is not acceptable.
- The public school system is for the benefit of U.S. citizens and for those who have the legal right to be here.
- Multiculturalism promotes cultural segregation and should not be taught.
- Oppose all federally mandated programs, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, and support academic freedom in the classroom.
- Support decertifying all teacher unions in Oklahoma
- Oppose allowing Public School Districts receiving any state funding to pay or collect any employee’s organizational and/or union dues by using the payroll deduction system
- Support independent auditing of all public schools, career-techs and institutions of higher education in Oklahoma.
- Encourage the state legislature to address “sunset laws” on all career-tech mileages.
So how did House leadership vote lately?
- They refused to sanction or control Barresi after she turned on grassroots activists and began implementing Federal education programs
- They have refused to push a voucher program forward
- They have refused to rid out state of illegal alien parents and their children that clog our local school systems and absorb enormous amounts of money for bi lingual education
- They have continued to allow the State Chamber of Commerce to push for gay rights and transvestite agenda bills in order to make Oklahoma more “cosmopolitan”
- They have refused to push a bill forcing teacher unions to collect their own dues
- They have continued to allow lobbyists from higher education to influence legislation that protects waste and corruption in higher education
In Section III they cover State issues:
- We believe in transparent and honest government with minimal intrusion, providing protection for all its citizens with fair and equitable treatment, enforcement, and justice.
- We believe violation of state and local laws by federal officials shall not be tolerated, including but not limited to molestation by airport security personnel.
- Support strict law enforcement and punishment for all crimes,
- Oklahoma’s efforts to attract industry should be grounded upon the establishment of a favorable and friendly economic climate rather than upon tax and other governmental subsidies to individual businesses.
- Support corporate and business laws and regulations to encourage business and economic development while reflecting free market principals not corporate welfare through the Department of Commerce or similar agencies.
- Support strong enforcement of state and federal laws dealing with and removal of illegal aliens.
- We oppose any form of amnesty.
- Support substantial state fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
- Demand that the Oklahoma Legislature not implement any form of insurance exchange, the Governor be compelled to return any federal grants that could create such an exchange, and that our elected representatives refrain from any and all activities which would enable and implement “Obama Care”.
- Demand our legislature repeal HB 2026 (of 2009), known as the HUB. We further demand the repeal of SB 1373 (of 2010) and the elimination of the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust. We further demand our legislature cease and desist all activities related to building any healthcare exchange, trust, or network relating to healthcare.
- Oppose any exemptions to the current Open Meetings and Open Records Act.
- Support the Attorney General’s efforts to enforce State Question 755, banning the use of Sharia and international law in Oklahoma courts.
- Call on the Attorney General to vigorously enforce Article XXII, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits foreign governments from owning businesses or real estate in Oklahoma.
- Believe that it is the responsibility of individual legislators to read and to be knowledgeable of all pieces of legislation prior to voting.
- Believe all bills should be limited to one issue.
- Recommend an explanation of the specific Oklahoma and United States Constitutional authority and a statement of its origin when filing a bill.
- Support carry openly or concealed in the permit holder’s vehicle.
- Support the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which explicitly limits the Federal government’s powers to those enumerated in the Constitution of the United States.
- The Sovereign State of Oklahoma shall empower state law enforcement to restore the peace and protect Oklahoma citizens through the arrest and prosecution of any persons/agents attempting to inflict unconstitutional laws/mandates on its citizens.
- Support driver’s license photos of a lower resolution that is perfectly adequate for visual identification, but not for biometric tracking.
- Support the repeal of mandatory fingerprinting or other traceable biometric information, and we oppose the maintenance of a biometric database, in connection with an application for a driver’s license or government ID.
- Oklahoma should “opt out” of the National Real I.D. Act and should not participate in any federal national or global I.D. scheme.
- Believe a fee shall be defined as funds collected for voluntary use of government service, be used exclusively for that service and not to exceed the cost of that service.
- Support legislation requiring that all state fuel and vehicle taxes and tag fees go to state, county & local transportation infrastructure.
How has House leadership voted lately on these issues?
- They have attempted to block Tea Party newsletters and sanction House members that expose corruption from within the Republican Caucus
- They refused to hear Representative John Bennett’s TSA regulation bill
- They have pushed Speaker Steele’s “Soft On Crime” agenda that lead to mass inmate releases that canceled out the sentences handed down by juries
- They have restored special interest tax credits and are planning more raids on the public treasury
- They have perverted and killed bills that would have increased illegal alien removal from Oklahoma
- They have repeatedly attempted and continue to attempt to implement Obama Care
- They have refused to subject the legislature to the state or Federal Open Meeting and Open Records Act.
- They engineered the killing of the second, improved anti Sharia law legislation
- They have supported Governor Fallin’s program to allow communist Red China to purchase land in Oklahoma and have given them aid and support
- They have refused to ensure that legislators have sufficient time and refused to require that legislators actually read legislation before voting on it
- They continue to file enormous bills with hidden laws like the transvestite birth certificate change or same sex couple benefit changes
- They have refused to allow bills that would have required every bill pass a U.S. Constitution and a state Constitution test before being filed
- They have killed every single Open Carry bill that has been filed or corrupted the bills until the bills own authors no longer supported the bill
- They have refused to pass a single 10th Amendment style bill but have preferred to bow down to unconstitutional Federal mandates and laws
- They have refused to implement law requiring Oklahoma peace officers to protect citizens from unconstitutional laws
- They have killed all the anti biometric bills, all the anti RFID chip in drivers license bills, have implemented the REAL ID Act piecemeal
- They have forced a biometric photograph system on Oklahomans and enabled Fusion Centers and data sharing with international agencies
- They have continued to pass taxes disguised as “fees” including a tax on medical care
- They have raided the fuel tax and tag tax funds and diverted the money to pay for corporate welfare and social programs
In Section IV they cover Federal issues but only one issue needs highlighted:
- Support the Tenth Amendment that states “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
How did House leadership vote?
In 2010 and 2011 all bills that would have forced the Federal government to justify unconstitutional mandates and Federal laws have been killed in committee by House leadership.
In Section V they cover State issues on Budget and Taxation but only two need highlighting:
- Support a resolution by the Oklahoma Legislature insisting that the United States Congress obey the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Support the use of “zero-based budgeting” to require justification of need.
How did House leadership vote?
- In 2010 and 2011 House leadership killed bills that would have had Oklahoma leaders standing up against illegal Federal intrusion
- They have refused to have state agencies use zero based budgeting
In Section VI they list supplemental issues and only one needs highlighting:
· The Oklahoma Republican Party will only support candidates for public office who wholeheartedly support the core principles and positions of the Republican Party as expressed in the statement of principles of the Platform of the Oklahoma Republican Party.
For those critics that try to paint the Tea Party as non republican and not conservative I would ask that you read the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform.
Only the blind or stupid would not admit that Tea Party values are identical to the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform.
Only the truly corrupt or the truly ignorant would attack the Sooner Tea Party’s efforts to force Republican elected officials to support the Republican platform.
Only the truly deceitful would continue to the Republican Party with the current and past Republican Party Platform instead of admitting that they view the platform as mere marketing fluff to bamboozle the masses.
Only the truly oblivious would continue to support the corrupt State Republican leadership that allows elected officials to violate Republican Party values.
Please take the time to actually read the 2011 Oklahoma Republican Party Platform then be ready to attend the next precinct meetings, the next county convention, and the next state convention and force the Republican Party to live up to it’s own standards.
Watch the Sooner Tea Party newsletter for information on upcoming meetings. Precinct meetings will take one hour of your time, county conventions will take a half day of your time, and the state convention will take a day of your time. In return you can enable honest, conservative Republicans to take control of the Republican Party and force the RINOs (Republican In Name Only) back into the Democrat Party from whence they came.
Hickman-Steele Alliance Disintegrating?
We reported back around the end of October that Representative Jeffrey Hickman, the losing candidate for the Speaker Designate slot, had made remarks comparing Speaker Steele to an albatross around his neck, blaming the loss of the Speaker Designate Race on Speaker Steele’s heavy handed leadership.
Two new reports came in this week stating that Representative Hickman is considering a coalition with conservative legislators and Democrat legislators with the purpose of removing Speaker Steele, leaving Representative Hickman to step up to act as interim Speaker until the 2012 Speaker election where Hickman believes he stands a chance at regaining the Speaker slot.
Two other reports came in to buttress the intel, the first describing a private conversation between Representative Hickman and a confidential source where Hickman claimed that “The TW Shannon coalition will not hold together.” The second report was about remarks by Representative Hickman at a public meeting where Hickman expounded on the issue, claiming that State Chamber of Commerce candidates were targeting conservative House members and could possibly win enough seats to tip the balance back into a rural/State Chamber regime.
The rural clique at the Capitol is quietly fanning the flames against Speaker Steele, believing that their best scenario is with Speaker Steele removed. One report claimed that Representative Dale DeWitt was involved and that DeWitt had a lined up a candidate for the powerful Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman slot, with the idea of booting Representative Earl Sears from the A & B Chairman position were the Speaker Steele regime to fall. Capitol sources say that either side of the rural clique, DeWitt’s group or Hickman’s group, had enough numbers to combine with conservative and Democrat House members to force Speaker Steele to step down and that it might come down to who moves first.
The conservative block of House members is exploring a plan that suits their interests best, believing that the TW Shannon team needs time to prepare for taking the reins in 2013. Rather than elect an interim Speaker that might be seen as a threat to the ascending TW Shannon team, the conservatives are working on an “emasculate or eviscerate" plan, the idea being to strip Speaker Steele of most of his power by requiring the majority of the Speaker’s decisions to be approved by the House members.
With five separate cliques dominating the House membership, State Chamber clique, Democrat clique, conservative clique, the unitedTulsa/rural, no two cliques have the numbers to control the Speaker election on their own. Last session Speaker Steele’s State Chamber clique and a united Tulsa/rural clique had enough numbers only due to a half dozen conservatives that believed that Steel would act in a fair manner. After Speaker Steele turned on the conservatives, they switched their alliance to the TW Shannon team they were able to dominate the Speaker Designate race with the help a dozen or so House members from the State Chamber clique.
Opening day of the 2012 legislative session is going to be interesting. There is no way to predict which rural faction will break first, but the prize will be several key committee chairs and various leadership positions, all of which enable the occupant to raise large amounts of campaign money. No doubt about it, the stakes are high, tempers are short, and any thoughts of loyalty have evaporated after the October 26th Speaker Designate race. The key to forming and holding a new coalition together is going to be rescinding the 2011 House Rules so that conservative and Democrats House members have a say in what bills get heard.
Senate District 17 Up For Grabs
Democratic Senator Charlie Laster announced that he was not running for his seat in 2012, and would step down to focus on family and his law practice. The Republican Party and the Tea Party are looking for conservative candidates to run in the primary election in 2012. Qualifications are simple; you must be over 25 years of age, a registered voter of the Senate District and must live in the Senate District
and I believe you should have been registered with the Party that you choose to run under at least six months prior to the filing date. You can’t be an officer of state or Federal government or a felon and run for legislative office.
To be considered a viable candidate you must be capable of raising a minimum of $20,000.00 early in the campaign. A hard working candidate willing to knock on doors until the primary election could win the race but some serious cash is going to be needed for campaign signage, push cards, and advertising. If you know of a potential candidate living within Senate District 17 please get in touch with us ASAP.
Shakedown at the Capitol?
At the end of November Representative Dale DeWitt was appointed House Majority Floor Leader, replacing the outgoing Dan Sullivan. Representative DeWitt wasted little time in taking advantage of his new position by sending out this December 13th 2011 letter th 2011 letter
to Oklahoma Capitol lobbyists. Like a school yard bully he started going after the lobbyist's lunch money in record time.
We began receiving email and phone calls about the letter toward the end of last week but the one that was the most troubling was one sent by a lobbyist that stated some real concerns. Floor leader is one of the three House leaders that can kill any bill they don’t like, the other two being Speaker and any committee chairman. So the position is basically a gateway through which every single bill must travel, so when a floor leader asks you a favor, you had better reach for the checkbook or your clients will pay the price.
The controversy centers on Republican Representative Dale DeWitt mailing a letter to Capitol lobbyists asking for campaign donations, not for himself, not for the Republican party, but for a Democrat Senate candidate for Senate District 20. But there is another twist, rather than sending the cash to the candidate, one Phil Berkinbile, the lobbyists are told to send the cash to House Floor Leader Dale DeWitt so he can “personally thank them”. This is an obvious quid-pro-quo situation, an obvious attempt to increase donations to Berkinbile and curry favor with Floor Leader DeWitt.
Put yourself in a lobbyist shoes. Why would you want to choose a candidate in an open primary with multiple candidates, ensuring that you will alienate the other candidates? But if you don’t step up and donate, you risk alienating the new House Floor leader, making it likely that any bill you support will not get heard on the House floor should it make it through the committee process. This is clearly an attempt for Floor Leader De Witt to milk lobbyists for donations for a personal friend.
To complicate the lobbyist’s dilemma, redistricting turned the former rural district into a more urban district, making it more likely that Berkinbile will lose the race. The lobbyist that sent the email obviously considered this a shakedown by a powerful politician for personal gain. Berkinbile is a director of the state CareerTech system, filed for the seat that had been held by David Myers, a Republican from Ponca City, who died last month. Sources claim that Berkinbile recently registered as Republican and donated against Republican candidates like former Republican Representative Rex Duncan. Duncan was considered a true conservative Republican which must have been what Berkinbile found offensive.
Getting past the obvious conflict of interests and blatant use of his position to shake down lobbyists, one wonders what DeWitt’s Republican Party members think of DeWitt helping to elect another RINO? What would the Republican Party itself think of such an obvious liberal running as a Republican? And we wonder how the Republicans took control of the Capitol a few years back? It looks like they did so only after all the Democrats re-registered as Republicans.
Don't forget the Wednesday night work parties starting at 4 pm. Get involved; help us hammer the bad politicians until they become good politicians. This Wednesday we are going back to work Representative Jason Nelson's House district.
Call 405-412-6233 for more info.
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