Events the last few weeks have brought to mind the story of Alcibiades and his betrayal of Athens. Alcibiades was the last member of the Alcmaeonidae family and, blessed with the perfecta attributes for a politician but was willful, vain, and used to getting his way, doing greater harm to Athens than he did good. But what made Alcibiades remarkable was the fact that Athenians overlooked the obvious defects or made excuses for them while continuing to stake everything on someone with such character defects.
Alcibiades came to notice during the Peloponnesian wars and among his friends was none other than Socrates himself. Though very much respectful of Socrates virtuous lifestyle it was not in Alcibiades to follow the example. He turned out to be a war hawk once hostilities with Sparta were suspended after the Peace of Nicias. Looking for a way to reignite hostilities Alcibiades led an attack on Syracuse after convincing Athens that war was preferable to peace. The head of the opposition was Nicias, whom the previous peace treaty was named after but that didn’t stop Athens from drafting Nicias as co leader of the attack.
Yet only a month into the campaign Alcibiades was recalled to Athens in disgrace to face charges of vandalism and impiety but rather than face the charges he defected to Sparta and advised the Spartans how to best blunt the Athenian plans. The famous Spartan warriors coupled with the inside information of Alcibiades turned the tide of war leading to a disastrous defeat at Syracuse. But Alcibiades just wasn’t one that played well with others and he managed to feud with the Spartan king before fleeing to Asia Minor where he disrupted a key alliance between Sparta and Tssaphernes, actually orchestrating a plan to raise a fleet to come to the aid of the Athenian Navy in the Aegean.
Before long he returned to Athens covered in glory with his previous treachery ignored or forgiven. His new found status foundered though with his next military setback and he found himself exiled to Phrygia where the Spartans caught up with him and paid him back for his treachery.
Oklahoma political leaders would do well to remember how Alcibiades’s fate played out. One may have a plan and one may well believe that he has the will of the gods on his side only to see his past catch up with him. Alcibiades’s education wasn’t complete you see; he hadn’t learned that making peace with former adversaries can’t come at the price of selling out those that brought you to power. Political downfalls come not when you offend those in power, political downfalls come when you offend those who can actually hurt you. To profit from a political deal means surviving in politics long enough to enjoy the promises that were offered.
Oklahoma City Council Race
By the Watchman
In a recent article, seen here
, several items were pointed out as critical to Oklahoma City during 2013. We have decided to do a series of articles to cover a few of them. This article will cover the upcoming four City Council races this year. We may revisit these races periodically as they develop.
The incumbents of the four Wards have all decided to run for re-election. They are Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs, Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee, Ward 4 Councilman Pete White and Ward 7 Skip Kelly. We find one to be a curious decision for running for re-election. That is Councilman Skip Kelly. We’ll get into his decision to run later in the story.
The deadline for filing for the Oklahoma City Council seats is rapidly approaching. As indicated here, City of Oklahoma City | Council Election Cycle
, the filing period is January 29th
through the 31st
of 2013. That’s not far off. As of the writing of this article, there is no opposition candidates indicated for any of these incumbents. So we will go over the incumbent candidates to give you a little background on them. You can get a brief background on all of your council members here
First up is Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs. Councilman Marrs is the retired Fire Chief of Oklahoma City who served with a distinguished career. He has a tendency to play down his military service as a Vietnam Veteran. You can read more about his back ground here
. However, the Councilman played a leading role in getting Councilman Shadid’s resolution passed that gave special protection to city employees who were gay. You can see a video of it here
and a more detailed report on it here
. Giving special protective status to a certain class of people who were already covered , is enough to call into question the integrity of an individual’s voting record.
Then we come to Ward 3 Councilman Lawrence McAtee Jr. You can read the self-serving biography about him here
. When the City was faced with the dilemma of what to do with an unexpected budget surplus, he was one of the few voices in the Council Chamber who wanted to protect the citizens of this great city. You can read about it here
. Now admittedly 20 additional officers are not enough, but it would have helped. So why didn’t the other Council members see it that way. One did that was Councilman Pete White.
Next we come to Ward 4 Councilman Pete White. As indicated earlier, to his credit, when the City had a budget surplus, Councilman White wanted to use the funds to put desperately needed police officers on the street. Unfortunately, that did not happen. You can get more information on Councilman White here
. One of his more innovative ideas was to establish an ethics committee for the city. You may read about that here
. Needless to say this idea was shot down. Apparently they don’t like the idea of people investigating where their campaign money comes from. That in itself should tell you something about the character of the council members.
Next we come to perhaps the most inscrutable Council member of them all. We are talking about Ward 7 Council member Ronald “Skip” Kelly. You can read his self-serving biography here
. It’s not what you find in his biography that’s bad, it’s what’s not in it that makes him corrupt.
In April of 2009, Councilman Kelly was arrested for DUI in Oklahoma City. This was his first offense. He pled guilty to a Misdemeanor DUI. He paid his fine and did all the other necessary items to complete his sentence on this charge including the suspension of jail time. He was basically treated like anyone else. I have no problem with this with one exception.
Skip Kelly is a Criminal Defense Attorney, and should have known better. Why is he out there endangering the lives of others just so he can have a drink? Hasn’t he learned anything from all the cases of DUI he defended? Does he think that because he’s on the Oklahoma City Council that he is above the Law?
Being drunk wasn’t his only problem that night. Apparently he couldn’t refrain from urinating long enough to make it to the County Jail. I found this report
on line. This is not the conduct of a City Councilman. This is the conduct of a slobbering drunk. And to think that without a challenger, he may well be re-elected.
The next hearing on his case is scheduled for March 15, 2013. That’s 10 days after the primary. If there is no challenger, he may very well have been sworn in by then. The reason for the delay in his trial, is they are awaiting a ruling on whether or not his previous conviction of a DUI makes his second conviction eligible under state law for a felony since the law changed after his first conviction. This is important, because if it’s ruled that it doesn’t apply under the current law, then this will constitute a first conviction and will be a misdemeanor under current state law. It will also allow him to hang onto his seat as Ward 7 Councilman. If they rule it a felony and he is convicted, he will automatically lose his seat on the Council.
The citizens of Ward 7 can do better than this. They deserve better than this. A City Councilman should respect and obey the laws of the City, not flaunt them every chance they get. An attorney should know better than anybody what those laws are, particularly a practicing criminal defense attorney. Councilman Kelly, it’s time for you to withdraw from the race for Ward 7 City Councilman and let someone in that can better represent the people. Your indiscretions leave the confidence of the people so shook up, that we cannot even trust that you are sober at the City Council meetings. Do the right thing and withdraw.
Vote Conservatively; Find Yourself Targeted in the Primary
By the Watchman
The political drama should be over with the passing of the fiscal cliff compromise, but it’s not. For the first time in decades, a Speaker of the House, John Boehner, brought a bill to the floor, and passed it, with a majority vote coming from the minority party in the house. This is a disgrace. An opportunity to force real change and real cuts in spending was wasted, all because the Speaker didn’t want to force the issue by allowing the country to go over the cliff. Well boo hoo hoo for his hurt feelings. This should have cost him his position as Speaker, but the old guard rallied around him and voted for him again.
That’s not to say there wasn’t a large amount of Conservatives who were against him. As you can see in this report, Boehner Coup Attempt Larger Than First Thought : Roll Call News
, there was a large contingent that was giving serious thought to challenging him for his position. It’s unfortunate that none of them would stand up and claim the mantel as leader for this coup. It is with a whimper that the coup fell apart and the Speaker won re-election on the first vote.
Now of the five Representatives Oklahoma has in the House, only one voted against Speaker Boehner. That was Freshman Representative Jim Bridenstine. He voted for Eric Cantor. You can see the roll call votes here
Based on his vote, there is a disturbing report coming from House leadership that they are beginning to look for a primary challenger for Mr. Bridenstine. In fact, according to this report
. There are more and more signs coming out of the GOP establishment that they plan on revenge on Conservatives during the 2014 campaign season and Representative Bridenstine is high on their target list. To me, this is clearly an open declaration of war.
It’s beginning to look like we have four Representatives in D.C. that are there to get along just to get along, and one that is there to do a job for the people he represents. That one is Mr. Bridenstine. I would suggest that those of you who can, get behind this gentleman and support his candidacy both financially and physically.
Quoting the Constitution Rather than Defending It
By the Watchman
Since the defeat of Al Gore for the Presidency in 2000, the Liberals in this country have gone absolutely nuts. The radical wing of the Democratic Party has taken over. They have thrown the rule of law out of the window. For the last three years, the Senate has violated the law by failing to pass a budget. This has, in part, led to our out of control spending and $16 trillion plus dollar debt. And now these same radicals want to ignore the Constitution and put the Presidency into the possibility of impeachment just to push a blurring of the lines between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch.
Let’s begin by saying that a lot of what you are hearing from all the news networks is B.S.. The President and all his flunkies along with all the politicians will try and scare you into believing that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we won’t be able to pay our bills. That is a bold faced lie. What we won’t have the money to pay is about 80% of government employees and most of the politicians. That would not be a big loss. One year with a balanced budget for a change. Just think what that would feel like.
This started a few months ago when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the statement that President Obama should use the 14th
Amendment to bypass Congress to raise the debt limit. You can see that statement here
. Now if you go down to the second video clip you will see that the somewhat confused Ms. Pelosi wasn’t sure if it was the 11th
or the 14th
Amendment that needed to be used just a few weeks earlier. I guess one of her staffers had to do some homework for her. Lord knows in her senility she has forgotten how to do it herself.
After several weeks of research, Minority Leader Pelosi came out with this statement
. You’ll notice here that she has made a decision on which amendment to violate. Unfortunately, her researchers didn’t read the entire 14th
Amendment completely. I’ve saved you the trouble of looking it up. You can see it here
. If they would have only read the entire amendment, they would have caught this “Section 5 The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of the article.” That would mean that it would be an impeachable offense for the President to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling under this amendment of the Constitution.
Now another area where a lot of the political pundits and talking heads are saying that he should raise the debt ceiling is under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution. You can read the entire Article 8 here
. This is the article of the Constitution that gives the power to incur debt to the Congress not the President. Unilaterally incurring debt without the consent of the Congress is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and as indicated here
. should result in an impeachment of the president.
What’s not been discussed is the discipline of those members of the Senate and the House who have pushed the President’s side of this. We are talking about House Minority Leader Pelosi and Senator Schumer. Both of these individuals should be brought in front of their respective ethics committees for violations of the Constitution. Both Chambers should seek removal from office for these representatives for these extreme violations.
That also brings up the four wimps we have as Representatives in Congress. I would expect Representative Bridenstine would do the appropriate thing necessary to bring this matter to the full house. The other four members of the house I would expect to sit on their hands with their heads up their Kris Steel and say I didn’t see anything. If that is the case, they should be removed from office as soon as possible.
Organizational Day or Organizational Play?
The third floor north hallway has been turned into a bunker for the former supporters of Jeff Hickman. This isn’t the last hours of the Hitler regime where chaos and despair permeate the air; this is a stronghold of House leaders that once opposed TW Shannon as Speaker. Just how did they wind up not only gathering the plum committee assignments, not just the most important House leadership slots, but also the power to set the House Rules for the coming two years. Why is it they and not the Shannon supporters holding the key ground. Why have the majority of the Shannon supporters not been told about meetings to revise the rules or invited to attend? We now know the answer but are conservatives in Oklahoma ready to face the reality? But first lets look at where we are now….
The Organizational Day went off as expected with two exceptions. TW Shannon was elected Speaker, Mike Jackson as Pro Tem, election results were accepted, Rep Pan Peterson offered motion for mileage and per diem.
And the exceptional items? The first was that the traditional office expense payment of $350.00 per legislator was morphed into a new form. This money is for office expenses of a personal nature, business cards, stationery, things outside the state provided items like paper, copier supplies, or postage. What Pam Peterson brought forward was a new program where Representatives purchased needed personal office items and submitted a receipt to the Comptroller for reimbursement under the guise of opening up House expenses to the Open Records Act. Sounds good, right? More openness and transparency?
But as always the devil is in the details. First is that the comptroller would have to offer rules and procedures, putting an unelected bureaucrat dictating the spending of elected officials. Second is that the Ethics Commission has ruled that office expenses are a legitimate use for campaign funds. As the source of the funds wasn’t required to be specified, legislators can now purchase items using donated campaign funds, send a receipt to the comptroller, and get a check made out in their name as reimbursement. They just converted donated campaign funds into personal cash….
This is also a continuation of another way that politicians can convert campaign donations into personal cash; remember the Ethics Commission reports where politicians were shown purchasing tires for their cars, gasoline, oil changes, and Pike Pass bill? Well, these same politicians are collecting mileage from the state… money that is paid to them personally despite the actual expenses being paid out of their campaign checking account. All tax free of course after the politician most likely use the same receipts on their personal tax returns to add to their deductions.
Second issue on this topic is the motion that authorized this including opening the records up to the Open Records Act. Will this now allow Open Records Act requests into other House records and spending? If so then this is a good thing.
Second exceptional item on Organizational Day was that the House Rules were not brought up; the vast majority of Representatives still have not received any draft copies nor has their input been requested or allowed.
Typically a draft copy of proposed House Rules are released before caucus in December, then the proposed House rules are discussed at caucus, and the committee chairs and vice chair appointments should have been out before the December caucus. House rules are typically approved on organizational day, putting this process thirty to 45 days behind schedule. This is problematic because if rules not approved by first or second day the legislature will grind to a halt as there are no official rules or procedures to run committees or handle bills. Imagine playing a board game like Monopoly without rules. Now imagine trying to maintain order with 101 legislators without known rules.
In the past House Rules were used as an instrument of oppression. Democrats had refined the rules to maintain control by shut off amendments in committee and on the floor. Despite promises to the contrary, Republican refined rules to be more abusive once they took control of the legislature.
Why is this so important? Because we live in a republic not a democracy. A republic has rules to protect the minority from mob rule; a democracy is where 51% of the people can take away the rights of the other 49% of the people. House Rules should protect the rights of the minority, be in the Democratic minority, the Conservative minority, or the supposedly outed Steel/Hickman minority. A perfect example of abusive House Rules is the reprimand of three conservative House members in 2011; publically elected Representatives chastised over trivial, politically correct situations to punish them for their conservative beliefs.
Word about the informal committee that is working on the House Rules is leaking out and it appears dominated by RINOs Jeff Hickman and Jason Nelson. Remember that Hickman was defeated in the Speaker race; what is the thinking behind putting that rascal in charge of drafting rules? And Nelson is one of the original Transvestite Republicans Caucus, so named for their vote to allow transsexuals to get a new birth certificate listing their new “sex”, wiping out any record of their sex at birth. There are a few conservatives on this informal committee but the word is that they are heavily outnumbered and the group is heavily influenced by Joel Kintsel, the House Parliamentarian that some claim has had a change of heart on integrity and ethics thanks to a huge increase in pay when he was lured back after leaving the House Parliamentarian position in 2011. Kintsel was also the former Speaker Kris Steel best man at his wedding.
What we do know about the rules is sketchy. There is a Calendaring Committee that is to decide what bills are heard but will that Calendaring Committee be open with recorded votes? And if the Calendaring Committee is staffed by former Steel supporters how will it rule any different than Floor Leader Pam Peterson?
Here are some major points on House Rules that we should be watching:
- Discharge Petition rules are used to protect access for those in the minority. Discharge Petitions are a way around the Floor Leader or a committee chairman if good but controversial legislation is being blocked. Right now the bar is high; signatures from 68 representatives are required to get a bill a fair vote, more than are required to actually pass the bill. Common sense states that a Discharge Petition should require far fewer signatures for a bill to be heard, 25% is a good number.
- Joint Rules put the House at a disadvantage to the Senate. The Senate bills enjoy several advantages once they come into the House for a vote. The germane rule isn’t applied to Senate bills, i.e., the bill don’t have to deal with the actual bill being discussed; it doesn’t have to deal with the main amendment being offered, or to the actual measure itself. The Senate doesn’t have the arbitrary eight bill limit for bills filed that House members contend with. Understand that there were no Joint House/Senate Rules prior to the Republican takeover in 2005.
- Under joint rules GCCA (General Conference Committee on Appropriations) bills aren’t subject to amendment at all; only a yes or no vote is allowed and they dare you to vote against the bills. GCCA bills also are allowed last minute votes even if they aren’t appropriation bills; bond bills like the wasteful Capitol improvement bill of 2012 and the recurring Native American Cultural Center bond are allowed to escape modification by House members via amendments. Imagine if the bill that killed off the EDGE Fund could have been amended to take that $160,000,000.00 in the EDGE Fund could have been diverted to fixing the Capitol building instead of going into the higher education black hole. Giving the GCCA the ability to run regular regulation undercuts the legislative process of by stripping the ability to amend and debate legislation.
- Making sure that bills go to the proper committee that has jurisdiction over the area of government that the bill actually addresses. What leadership does is stack certain committees like the Rules Committee where controversial bills can be easily killed by term limited politicians or politicians sitting in “safe” districts where they are unlikely to be challenged by an opponent.
- Give legislators the right to have their bills be heard. If not all of their bills then allow some of their bills to be heard in committee for a straight up yes or no recorded vote. Don’t allow elected representatives to be frozen out of the process by leadership.
- Watch that the new House Rules don’t limit debate and discussion of any bills. Parliamentarian procedures exist to find a consensus on a discussion; if there is no support debate will be limited on an issue. Current rules can prevent any debate or discussion of a bill or can limit debate to very few minutes. But there is talk that the standing House Rules Committee might be given the ability to add onerous rules on hearing an any particular bills, creating an obstacle course for conservative bills.
- Conference Committees, when different versions of a bill pass the House and Senate the bills comes to a Conference Committee where they versions are synchronized. Previously Speakers could create ad hoc committees until two years ago, ensuring favored legislation would pass . Members must be physically present to vote on a bill and require a recorded vote.
As tradition and past rules dictate that the floor leader is allowed to deny a bill being put on the agenda to deny that bill a fair up or down vote the usual procedure is to put a term limited legislator in that post. It is also a good idea to look at assistant floor leaders for RINOs where we find RINOs like Lee Denny, Dale Dewitt, Randy Grau, Randy McDaniel, and Charles Ortega. Only one conservative serves as assistant floor leader, Paul Wesselhoft.
Let’s look at the House leadership team’s 2011 RINO Index scores. 100 is a perfect conservative score, 0 is a perfect liberal score:
TW Shannon 40 , Mike Jackson 30, Pam Peterson 30, Dennis Johnson 40, Fred Jordan 40, Lee Denny 20, Dale Dewitt 25, Randy Grau 50, Randy McDaniel 50, Charles Ortega 35, Paul Wesselhoft 90, Todd Thompsen 40, Lisa Billy 30, Dennis Casey 40 Josh Cockcroft 70, Sean Roberts 45, Jon Echols (freshman, no record), Glen Mulready 40, Todd Russ 45, Mike Sanders 40, Steve Vaugh 60, Weldon Watson 20, Harold Wright 30, Elise Hall 40.
In short there are two true conservatives, Wesselhoft and Echols, and two right of center members Vaughn and Cockcroft. Of the other nineteen their average 2012 RINO score is only a paltry 37 out of 100 points.
So it is looking like Speaker Shannon is likely to play games at the start of session. It is obvious that the delay of handing out draft copies of the House Rules may well mean that the Rules won’t be to our liking and that their game plan is to try to push the House Rules though without input from the House members and without discussion or debate. Instead they might well try to ram the House Rules down everyone’s throats while crying panic at the start of session. Our advice for the freshmen legislators, and it is they that are the game changes as they aren’t solidly aligned at this point, is to refuse to stampede. If the House Rules are presented to you with no input, simply vote against them rather than acting like Nancy Pelosi and voting for the rules to find out what is in them. The world won’t end on Opening Day if the House Rules aren’t approved. Stick to your guns and House Leadership will have no other option but to do the right thing and get your input and arrive at consensus before offering up new House Rules.
2013 Senate members and House Members
Please copy the block of emails for your contact list so you are able to email all of them and help to inform and educate them before the new sessions begin. Use Bcc to send dozens of email with one email from you to them. This will look like you send each one of them a personal email with only their email showing as the recipient. Please mention the Sooner TeaParty in your emails so they will have a healthy respest for what we do.
Here are the updated House members email addresses in three blocks of Thirty- four each and updated senate emal addresses in one block.
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Former Senate Candidate, Former Tulsa City Council Candidate, and Dead Beat Mom Nancy Rothman Hired with Tax Money
Yo, dudes, love your points of view. Now, where can I donate to your/our effort? I don't see a button anywhere nor a link to a donations page?
My donation is not much but........
- Staff costs for research and for maintaining our website. We have a full time staffer that helps research articles, formats the newsletter, and maintains the website. Right now she spends a lot of time reposting previous newsletter articles on our website so that the search engines can find them easier. She also is working on the 2012 RINO Index and will be helping prepare the 2013 RINO Index which is going to take a huge break with the way things have been done. Rather than grade the legislators after the fact we are going to tell them in advance what they will be graded on. These rascals will learn to follow the Republican Party Platform and the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitution.
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