Monday, December 22, 2008
“I’m tired of Christians being caught up in the commercialism of Christmas.”
“I can’t wait for Christmas to be over.”
Have you heard any of these over the last couple of weeks? Have you said them?I know that, for many Christians, the struggle between having the wonderful, memorable, traditional family Christmas and keeping our eyes on Jesus can be very frustrating. We see the anti-Christian Christmas bus ads or the sign in the Washington state capitol placed next to the nativity saying that Christianity is all just a myth, and it’s easy to get distracted and angry and frustrated. I know I do.
Of course, while we can't choose the pressures that come into our life, we can choose our reactions to them. Some people decide on constructive, pro-active responses to the commercialization/secularization issue, such as The Advent Conspiracy.
I don’t mean to imply that I don’t have same kind of stress about making sure all the family is visited and bought for and all that stuff. But I have found that the most effective way of keeping my focus is to immerse myself in Christmas music. But, like everything else popular involving Christmas, Christmas songs/carols/hymns/whatever-you-want-to-call-them have become marginalized, not by the secular world, but by the church.
This year, Christmas at our church has felt different. Well, really, holidays in general have felt different. I know that our church was always unique in its recognition of the non-religious holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day, but frankly, I’ve always considered that a good thing. If the church isn’t going to publicly, corporately thank God for His provision and blessing for our country and for our freedom, who else will? But back to topic….
Christmas has felt somewhat acknowledged this year, rather than savored, like the in-law you’re obligated to be polite to but can’t really wrap your arms around. Oh, we’ve done the Christmas boxes and other outreach programs that usually occupy December. I don’t mean it in that sense.
Building up to Christmas this year, we sang a couple of carols (a.k.a Christmas-themed hymns) a week, except for this last Sunday, Christmas Sunday, when we sang a nice little medley and a choir special I particularly enjoy. (I still can’t remember what “Noel” means. I should google it.)
Where I sit in church places me in the line of sight of several staff members during worship, both on stage and off, and it’s really hard not be a little voyeuristic. I noticed several members of our leadership were not only not singing – they looked downright bored. Until, of course, the non-seasonal songs of their preference came up, and then the eyes were closed and the arms were raised. And then, of course, twenty minutes later we are (correctly) told we should be able to worship without regard to our personal stylistic preference.
I’m sorry, but what part of “Mild He lays His glory by/Born that man no more may die/Born to raise the sons of earth/Born to give them second birth” doesn’t absolutely thrill you, as a believer?
I know I’m just a girl in the congregation, so my words will mean nothing to the church hierarchy, but it seems like we have been so (rightly) focused on worshiping Jesus as he is today, we forget to be thankful to God for sending him in the first place.
After all, that’s what Christmas really is all about. It’s the Christian Thanksgiving, not just Jesus’ birthday party. It is to take a day or a season to focus on specifically thanking God for sending us Jesus so that he was able to reconcile us to God, as the (Christmas) song says.
And that’s what the Christmas music is about. It seems like we have pushed it to the side, as though we should acknowledge it so we don’t make anyone mad but not really focus too much on it because we like our contemporary praise and worship theme we’ve been building on.
But, unless you are singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you are singing praise to God, whether in adoration or thanksgiving.
If the commercialization of Christmas distracts you, it’s not commercialization’s fault.
If you can’t worship God through Christmas songs, it’s not the songs’ fault.
Here are the lyrics from my favorite song rendition this year, a juxtaposition of two traditional songs. Next time you’re getting overwhelmed by the pressures of this week, recall these words, think of the men who wrote them, and the reason we sing them. It’s better than any 7/11 song you’ll sing all year.
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to rein
Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Worship Him, God Most High
God bless us, every one.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
If this doesn't make you want to say "Merry Christmas" to every Target cashier, I don't know what will.
I had to post this email I sent to my kid's teacher yesterday. They had to do an assignment to draw pictures depicting each step in the Kwanzaa holiday. Last year my oldest daughter had to sing Kwanzaa songs in choir while also singing Christmas carols. I just could not take this crap any more. This is the email I sent. Feel free to google anything below to verify what I said is true. Don't let your kids get this kind of communist propaganda from a self described racist and Marxist!
Madison and I think you are a wonderful teacher and we both agree that she has learned a lot and enjoys your class. However, I wanted to write you about something I am very concerned about.
Why is my child learning about and honoring a Marxist and Racist holiday invented by a convicted felon?
If the Ku Klux Klan invented a holiday would we celebrate that as well in the name of "multiculturalism?" My child last year during chorus had to sing Kwanzaa during Christmas. I bit my lip but no more. This is NOT AN AFRICAN FESTIVAL. It was completely fabricated by a left wing angry racist ex-convict.
Did you know?:
1. "When Maulana Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from "classical Marxism," he essentially explained that under Kawaida, we also hate whites.”
2. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, in 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa.
3. Just five years after his invention of Kwanzaa, he was convicted of torturing two black women by stripping them naked, beating them with electrical cords, placing a hot iron into the mouth of one and mangling the toe of the other in a vice. During the ordeal, he forced them to drink detergent.
Did you know any of this? If not, now that you do are you going to continue to propagandize our children?
I do not want any more assignments given to my child in this regard. I also strongly suggest you inform other parents of the details of this holiday and of the person who INVENTED it. I will pass this email on to other parents I know. However, I do not plan to escalate this issue unless Madison is punished in some way or continues to receive disguised communism lessons written by self described Marxists.
Thank you for your understanding. The direct tone of this letter is not directed at you. I don’t know if you invent these lessons or simply have them dictated to you by the Chapel Hill School system. If you wish to discuss this further please contact me. I will be happy to come and in and discuss this face to face with you and the Principal.
I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Law sought to prove candidate citizenship in Oklahoma
Lawmaker wary of Obama record
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT
December 12, 2008
Theresa Cao speaks about President-elect Barack Obama's proof of U.S. citizenship outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday Dec. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A state lawmaker, motivated by swirling questions on whether President-elect Barack Obama meets the U.S. Constitution’s citizenship requirement, said Thursday he will file a bill requiring anyone who files for office in Oklahoma to show proof of citizenship.
"This could have taken care of the whole thing if we had a state law that any candidate has to show it up front,” said Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow.
Under a proposed bill by Ritze, all candidates, from those running for district attorney to president, would be required to provide a copy of a certified birth certificate and a driver’s license or some other form of government-issued identification at the time they file with the state Election Board.
No identification is required to file for an office with the state Election Board, although candidates sign an affidavit stating that they are registered voters.
Ritze, a physician, said he has a master’s degree in forensics and has had extensive training in analyzing documents and has read about the documents the Democratic president-elect has submitted.
Ritze said he does not believe Obama submitted an authentic copy of his birth certificate.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes said he hadn’t seen the proposed legislation, but it appears to "be another typical Republican ploy of sour grapes.”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Obama’s electoral eligibility Monday. More challenges are pending.
The Obama campaign last summer produced copies of his birth certificate, which showed he was born in a Honolulu hospital Aug. 4, 1961. It had a Web site, fightthesmears.com, to refute what it calls misinformation about Obama.
"Both our national and state constitutions are clear in what they require for a person to be qualified to hold elected office,” Ritze said.
"If a person can’t prove their citizenship, they have no business attempting to represent the people of this state.”
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Cleveland County is trying to screw us over again.A short while ago, Norman City Council took a section of the city and exempted it from property taxes, the idea being that it would encourage retailers to come there and generate a bunch of sales tax revenue for the city. Which sounds great. I'm all about exempting as many people and places from taxes as possible. And, so far, the plan seems to be working. Retailers moved into the area and are doing well.
But of course, we've hit a snag. Cleveland County wants a new jail. And they are supposed to use Norman property taxes to pay for that jail. And now they don't quite have the income they are used to and were expecting to put toward said jail.
The answer? Raise county sales tax!
This means that those of us who live in Moore and Oklahoma City and every other city that is in Cleveland County will get our sales taxes raised to pay for Norman's jail.
I know what you're going to say, that it's a county jail and we live in Cleveland County so it's only fair that we be taxed, too.
No. This was the Norman City Council's doing, and now they are trying to make Moore, SOKC, Noble, Box, Clothier, Corbett, Denver, Slaughterville, Little Axe, Maguire, McKiddyville, Hall Park, Etowah, Franklin, Lexington, Needmore, Spring Hill, Stella and Willow View city residents pay Norman's sales tax for Norman's jail the way we are having to pay for Norman's library and Norman's roads.
And you Norman city residents shouldn't be too excited about this, either. This is your city council that screwed this all up, and now they are literally passing the buck to you, as usual. Haven't you had enough of these guys?
This is the Norman City Council's fault. Let them fix it without penalizing the rest of us.
The vote to increase the sales tax is this Tuesday! Of course, the sneaky little creeps haven't exactly advertised it.
So, already this year, we in SOKC have had to pay extra sales tax for the Maps for Millionaires so Clay Bennet has something to do on Friday nights. And we got extra sales taxes for the transaction between Tinker AFB and GM (there's your bailout, already). We also got our property taxed raised in the summer to go towards Norman's library. Now they are trying to make us pay even higher sales tax for the jail in Norman.
Don't let them get away with it. Vote no.
By the way, I wouldn't have even heard about this if it weren't for Rep. Mike Reynolds. He's the reason you are hearing about it and are aware that you have the opportunity to vote 'No.' Just FYI.
UPDATE: There's been some confusion as to the nature of the city/county property tax. Let me try and clear this up. The entire county's property taxes were to be put toward the jail without the creation of a new tax. But because Norman made certain areas property tax exempt, they can't pony up their share of the building fund, so they want to increase sales tax throughout the county to make up the difference.
I will also add, we need to be concerned about the fact that this tax is being used to fund a one-time project - building a building - and that the tax will continue once the intended use for it is past, or after the building is built. It's not like once the jail is completed they're going to say, okay, finished that one, we can lower your sales tax back. Remember the Ford Center.
Here is an image of the ballot. Note the stated yet still oddly vague supposed time-limit on the tax. (Click the image for larger view).
Also, they want to increase the sales tax a full percentage! That would make Cleveland County sales tax over 9%, making it the highest in the Central OK area. That'll be great for the economy.
The measure passed 63%-37%. That's still 36.5% more than I expected. At least we tried. We'll get 'em next time.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The incidents involving Prop. 8 protesters (a.k.a. the “anti-voting crowd”) disrupting church services, allegedly sending fake anthrax letters, pressuring ideological opponents to quit their jobs, blaming the black vote, and trying to shut down businesses who donated to Prop. 8 supporters are now, hopefully, common knowledge.
Am I the only one who finds this ironic? Maybe even humorously so?
Let me just speak to the anti-Prop. 8 crowd, homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. (If any of them even read this, which I doubt, but just in case….)
Aside from the horrible PR you’ve given yourselves by harassing churches and church-goers, boycotting businesses and hurling racist epithets, do you realize that’s you’ve shot yourselves in the foot when it comes to your own civil rights?
Did you know that on the same day Prop. 8 passed, half a dozen pro-life measures failed by a vote of the people in the states they were introduced?
Where are the pro-life riots? Don’t cite some random clinic shooting from the distant past. Where are the pro-life rioters today? Where is the bile and hate being spewed by the pro-life crowd?
The fact is, we lost that one. We know it. We’ll try again. That’s how it works. That’s how America works.
You don’t get that. And you aren’t forward-thinking enough right now to care. Negating a vote of the people – twice – just because you don’t like it, devalues the vote itself. Including yours.
If you can get this referendum overturned, then what happens? When the next vote goes the way you want, what happens when the opposing school of thought gets THAT one overturned?
Guess what? You created the precedent allowing it.
I say this in love, but it’s time to suck it up and admit defeat in this battle. Thrashing around like a collective Tasmanian devil at everyone who disagrees with you won’t get you what you want. Or worse, if it does, it will come back to haunt you later.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In case you haven't heard it enough, Oklahoma had a great night last Tuesday. Dana Murphy won the Corporation Commissioner position in one of the most key races in the state against nationally-funded gay activism poster boy Jim Roth, another one of Aubrey McClendon's failed investments. It's always a great feeling when the candidate who was outspent 4-1 wins.
We took a majority in the State Senate for the first time in forever, which involved Nancy Riley getting burned for costing us the majority last time. That felt good. And Sally Kern was also re-elected against a nationally-funded candidate. Grassroots conservatism is alive and well in Oklahoma, thank God!!
Right now, we've still got one battle being fought. State Senator Jim Reynolds is facing an ACORN travesty. His challenger, David Boren (no relation to that David Boren), also nationally-funded, is requesting multiple recounts of ACORN-tainted votes. Right now, the recount is in progress and Jim is still ahead. I'll update when we get final word. UPDATE: Jim gained 2 votes in the recount, winning the election. However, a hearing has been scheduled to investigate "voting irregularities on both sides." (I'm sure.)
We didn't lose any Republican US seats, which is also a huge win, considering our guys haven't been behaving well recently. However, they're still doing better than any liberal would in their positions, so I am thankful they retained their seats. And, in part because of their wins, the Democrats were kept from their super majority in Congress. Huge, huge victory.
And yes, Obama won. The first half-black man in the history of the United States to become President. Congratulations. Now let's see if he can manage to solve more problems than he causes.
Now we shoot for 2010 to take back Congress like we did in 1994 and elect a Republican governor in 2010. (There is an underground effort to recruit JC Watts. I doubt he'll go for it, but we can dream.)
Prop. 8 passed in California, a huge win for traditional values. And as usual, the crowd who preaches "tolerance" the loudest is assaulting the elderly and stomping on crosses, trying to get the courts to yet again overturn the will of the people. Good luck with holding the public's sympathy on that, guys.
So now, life goes on. And I am letting you know now, my activity on here may be less than before. I am turning my focus to larger projects, and as such need to limit dividing my mind. Or, to usa an analogy, I'm starting to train for a marathon, and while the sprints have been good, I need to start aiming a bit higher.
I know you don't know how you'll get on without reading my posts every few days. Don't worry. You'll be fine. And I'll be back whenever there's something noteworthy, which there will be. OK Legislative session starts soon, so there will be plenty to talk about!
See you then!
Friday, October 31, 2008
I should have gone on about this earlier, but I didn’t feel it necessary, or really, I just didn’t want to take the time. I wish I would have before because I could have pointed out many of Obama’s misunderstandings and explained things to you better. However, one issue recently mentioned again is more than enough.
Obama says he wants his healthcare plan to cover pre-existing conditions. Even if everything else he wants to do was a viable option – which it’s not – this one thing would cause so many problems it would totally disrupt the entire industry on its own. Aside from that, healthcare companies wouldn’t cover them on their own so it’d take a government takeover. This would trigger more problems than I could list if that happened.
Getting coverage for pre-existing conditions sounds great. If you have some major sickness, you would want your carrier to pay for your care because they would have had to pay if you had coverage before you were diagnosed with your illness, right? Great idea….you may think…
Covering pre-existing conditions is an impossibility with insurance! Let me point out that health insurance companies will cover you for things you already have like high blood pressure or minor arthritis, maybe asthma, but not for something like cancer or diabetes, or any other major disease that can result in major treatment needs coming up. You will pay an additional rate if you have high blood pressure because you are a higher risk, just like people who have tickets or accidents in their driving history will pay more for car insurance.
Now you may say at this point, “Insurance companies are being greedy, they can’t do that. They can’t cover me for one thing and not for another.”
Let me give you an example with something you are probably more familiar with: your car insurance. Obviously, you know you have to have car insurance to have coverage when you have an accident. Say you don’t want to pay for the insurance (like 33% of drivers here in Oklahoma) so you don’t buy it. You are then involved in an accident where you are at fault. Just call up the insurance company and pay your first month, they’ll cover it, right? No, that would be called a pre-existing condition. You’ve already wrecked your car, they are not going to pay for that or the other person you hit. It just can’t happen. They would go out of business; it’s unethical to get a service for which you have not paid. You should have had insurance before you got in the accident.
Apply this same principle to health insurance. If you’re sick with something before you get insurance, they can’t give you new coverage. You should have already had health insurance. Even if you had to quit your job because of health, you have something called COBRA already available where you can keep your insurance for 18 months after you have quit working, regardless. Also, you can get in a state insurance pool that does not exclude anyone for anything.
No insurance company can reasonably cover pre-existing conditions. If the insurance company said they would do this, no one would get car insurance and then the rate all the good drivers would pay would be so astronomical it would be unaffordable, more than it already is. Insurance is about spreading risk. The insurance company has people (actuaries) who do lots of math all day and estimate out how many people are going to have accidents on average and they set premiums accordingly. People trying to get coverage for something that cannot be estimated would drive the industry into the ground. It’s not greedy to make money, it’s how business has to work. The insurance industry employees thousands of people and they have to earn a living just like every other industry. Did you know that Wal-Mart makes a profit? So does the movie theater, the restaurant….everyone does. They would go broke if they covered pre-existing conditions. No one would pay for insurance until they needed it. The companies would get stuck with major bills for major health conditions and would not be able to pay the claims of people who really paid for the service.
Insurance is designed as a transfer of risk system. You get it when you don’t need it to pay out when you do need it. You can’t buy life insurance when you just found out you have cancer and only 3 months to live. It doesn’t work that way. It goes back to welfare, wanting something for nothing. Society can’t function that way. Insurance definitely can’t function that way. They can’t pay for the guy who wasn’t responsible and didn’t take care of his insurance and let the guy who is responsible stuck with the bill.
Hope this makes sense. Bottom line, let competition rule the health insurance industry. Competition is what has driven this country forward and we are on the verge of letting it all go.
Don’t let that happen. Vote for freedom, vote to keep our Republic strong.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Issue: Property tax exemption for disabled veterans
State Question 735
Legislative Referendum 343
Originating Legislation: HB 1808 (2007)
Principal Authors: Senator Mike Mazzei, Representative Randy Terrill
Election Date: November 4, 2008
Ballot Title (as re-written by the Attorney General)
This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 8D to Article 10. The measure takes effect January 1, 2009. It creates an exemption from personal property tax. The exemption would be for the full amount of taxes due on all household personal property. The exemption would apply to certain injured veterans. It would also apply to those veterans’ surviving spouses.
To qualify for the exemption an injured veteran would have to meet certain requirements. First, a branch of the Armed Forces or the Oklahoma National Guard would have to have honorably discharged the veteran from active service. Second, the veteran would have to be an Oklahoma resident. Third, the veteran would have to be the head of the household. Fourth, the veteran would have to be one hundred percent permanently disabled. Fifth, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs would have to certify the disability. Sixth, the disability must have occurred through military action or accident, or resulted from a disease contracted while in active service. The Legislature could pass laws to carry out the exemption. Such laws could not change the amount of the exemption.
Personally, I think Vets don't see nearly enough benefits, particularly disabled Vets. If someone is rendered unable to work as a result of them taking a bullet or a grenade to keep me and my family safe, I'll pick up the slack for their property tax. Vets already have difficulty seeing the full benefits they are already entitled by law. I have no problem adding this to the list in the hope that it relieves the sacrifices they and their families have made for their country. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Issue: Applications for property tax exemptions
State Question 741
Legislative Referendum 344
Originating Legislation: HB 3354 (2008)
Principal Authors: Senator Jim Wilson, Representative Randy Terrill
Election Date: November 4, 2008
Ballot Title (as re-written by the Attorney General) This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It would add a new Section 22A to Article 10. This section is related to exemptions from property taxes. It would require a person or business to file an application for an exemption. No exemption could be granted prior to filing an application. The Legislature may write laws to carry out the provisions of this section.
I see justification for this bill for two reasons. 1) Randy Terrill is listed as a co-author, and I trust his judgment. 2) There was recently unearthed by Rep. Mike Reynolds a list of people who received personal and business property tax exemptions from Gov. Henry, with no paper trail or regular justification. We need such paper trails to verify these exemptions are given justly, not as kickbacks or rewards. -------------------------------------------------------
Issue: Rights of hunting, trapping, fishing and taking game or fish
State Question 742
Legislative Referendum 345
Originating Legislation: SJR 38 (2008)
Principal Authors: Senator Glenn Coffee, Representative Randy Terrill
Election Date: November 4, 2008
Ballot Title (as approved by the Attorney General)
This measure adds a new section to the State Constitution. It adds Section 36 to Article 2. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. Such activities would be subject to reasonable regulation. It allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to approve methods and procedures for hunting, trapping, fishing and taking of game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means. It makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish. The new law will not affect existing laws relating to property rights.
This bill has been given the stamp of approval by the NRA, so it's probably alright. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Issue: Sales of wine by winemakers
State Question 743
Legislative Referendum 346
Originating Legislation: SJR 29 (2008)
Principal Authors: Senator Tom Ivester, Representative Danny Morgan
Election Date: November 4, 2008
Ballot Title (as re-written by the Attorney General)
This measure amends Section 3 of Article 28 of the Constitution. It requires a customer to be twenty-one and physically present to purchase wine at a winery, festival or trade show. The measure changes the law to allow certain winemakers to sell directly to retail package stores and restaurants in Oklahoma. The change applies to winemakers who produce up to ten thousand gallons of wine a year. It applies to winemakers in state and out of state. Those winemakers may not also use a licensed wholesale distributor. They must sell their wine to every retail package store and restaurant in Oklahoma that wants to buy the wine. The sales must be on the same price basis. The sales must be without discrimination. Those winemakers must use their own leased or owned vehicles to distribute their wine. They may not use common or private carriers. If any part of this measure is found to be unconstitutional, no winemaker could sell wine directly to retail package stores or restaurants in Oklahoma.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this one. Winemakers who produce 10,000 gallons of wine a year can sell directly to retailers, but not to distributors? And there is a caveat "just in case" this measure is found to be unconstitutional? I'm all for free trade, but this seems to be a measure limiting certain regulation by imposing other regulation. I just don't know. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. --------------------------------------------------------------
Contact For More Information:
The Senate staff members listed below may be able to provide further information on the state questions listed in this legislative brief. However, the provisions of Section 16-119 of Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes prohibit state officials from directing or authorizing the expenditure of public funds to be used in support of or in opposition to measures being referred to the people for a vote, and provide misdemeanor penalties for offenses. In addition, rules of the Ethics Commission prohibit the use of public funds, property or time to influence the results of a ballot measure. Due to these restrictions, the information on state questions that the Senate staff is able to provide may be limited. Committees raising or expending funds in support of or in opposition to a state question are required to register with the Ethics Commission (www.ethics.ok.gov).
State Questions 735 and 741: Joanie Raff, Legislative Analyst Judy King, Staff Attorney
State Question 742: Jeri Trope, Legislative Analyst
State Question 743: Lexa Shafer, Legislative Analyst Selden Jones, Staff Attorney
Prepared By: The Oklahoma State Senate, Senate Staff Senator Mike Morgan, President Pro Tempore Senator Glenn Coffee, Co-President Pro Tempore
Barack Obama will be speaking tonight, taking over nearly all major network and cable news stations.
I suggest we all honor ABC's decision not to air the 30-minute Obamamercial and watch Pushing Daisies.
Or read. Or do laundry. Do anything else.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I tried to share the link to this blog with a friend of mine on facebook via the new instant messaging tool they have.
It was blocked:
Because it's facebook, they can't tell me who reported it or why.
You know, not that we're adults or anything, but I would imagine that if you had a problem with something a person wrote - an independent blogger, not even a major news outlet - you might mention it to the blogger rather than just reporting the link to block others access to it.
In fairness, facebook has not blocked all access to this link from their site (yet). I'm just not allowed to share the link via messenger anymore.
Facebook has unblocked my link. No notice or explanation. maybe it was a fluke. Who knows. But it's cleared up now.
For weeks, we’ve been anticipating a Democrat surge in the Senate, envisioning a horror movie in which the ultra-liberal President Obama is allowed to ride roughshod over Truth, Justice and The American Way by the Democrat super-majority in the Congress.
But how likely is that scenario?
This is just a theory, and I may (God forbid) be completely wrong, but just bear me out.
Let’s not look at this from the perspective of the Presidential election. What hasn’t received much press is the battle for the House and Senate.
Perhaps, a few weeks ago, the horror movie seemed inevitable. Eight years of media-fueled Republican/Bush hatred drilled the image of a Blue Capitol into the minds of Americans.
Then, the Bailout Bill.
Since then, has there been more anger toward a Congress since the War Between the States? (The draft, maybe. And they’re the side that keeps suggesting bringing that back). Trillions of dollars have been lost on the Stock market. Homes values nation-wide have dropped 17%.
Even Saturday Night Live acknowledged that the Democrat Majority was responsible for the Bailout and for the irresponsibility that led to it, making Bush look like a pawn in the Democrats’ evil plan.
Subsequently, they had to pull and sanitize the skit. Gee, wonder why.
Is it possible that the Democrats are actually losing ground? We aren’t hearing much about Democrats retaining seats from the MSM. The Dreaded Murtha finally looks like he’s going to get the boot. Cindy Sheehan was running against Nancy Pelosi. Barney Frank has been exposed as a nutcase. (Or, as I like to call him, Future Cartman.)
And we have the Bailout Bill to thank for this.
Had we actually squashed the Bailout, none of this would have been exposed. The frustration toward the Democrat legislative branch would have been kept at a simmer rather than the raging boil it is now.
Again, this is all theoretical, and it may not affect Obama in the slightest.
But Jack Murtha is losing his seat. SNL spoke against Democrat leadership and got punished. People are noticing.
And it all comes back to the Bailout Bill.
This letter is written by Charlie Meadows, President of OCPAC, the premier Conservative PAC in Oklahoma.
Read and vote DANA MURPHY next Tuesday!!!!
Members and friends of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC)
I wanted to send out this special e-mail about the short term corporation commission race between Jim Roth and Dana Murphy. I am often asked if these e-mails can be forwarded? By all means please do, as I think most Oklahoman’s don’t know much about this race. Also, if this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to receive our e- mail on a weekly basis, just send me your name and e-mail address and I will add you to our list. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe McCain and Inhofe will win in November with sizeable margins. Therefore the most contested statewide race this year will be the Corporation Commission race between Republican Dana Murphy and the Democrat incumbent Jim Roth. This is a special election as Roth was appointed to the position about a year and a half ago by Governor Henry.
There may be a small number of people who have been reading the Oklahoman closely and on a regular basis over the past 3 or 4 years who may know that Jim Roth is an out of the closet homosexual. However, most Oklahomans are unaware of his un-natural sexual perversion. I don’t believe he makes any mention of his homosexuality on his web-site nor has the liberal Tulsa World informed their readers about that information, though they have endorsed him.
In brief, the largest PAC in the nation supporting homosexual candidates considers this one the most important races in the nation (see www.victoryfund.org). In addition, Jim Roth’s Corporation Commission Campaign was a sponsor of the 2008 Gay Pride Parade held earlier this year in Oklahoma City (see www.okcpride.org). Then of course, when Roth was a County Commissioner in Oklahoma County, he supported having pro-homosexual books accessible to small children in the Oklahoma County libraries. Have you ever wondered why the homosexual community from all over America would contribute tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars to Jim Roth’s corporation commission race in OKLAHOMA?
The hyper-tolerant, anything goes liberal crowd will say, all of that character stuff, integrity and sexual preference does not matter. To talk about it is only a diversion from the business at hand. The only thing they will suggest as important, is how well a person does their job. Therefore I want to examine the job performance of Roth as a corporation commissioner.
In one of his TV adds he portrays himself as a tough advocate of the people who stood up to those BIG UTILITIES and said NO to a two billion dollar rate increase. In his silliest commercial, he portrays himself as a penny pinching paperclip counter, a conservationist wanting to save money for the ratepayers. While it is true he voted against the rate increase request, it was actually1.8 billion not 2 billion dollars, he is most likely going to cause the ratepayers to pay far more for electricity in the future. An estimated $5 billion more for electricity over the 40 year life of the generation plant he voted against.
You see, he voted against building a high-tech clean burning coal fired generation plant, next to an existing clean burning coal fired plant. As the administrating judge at the corporation said, this expansion will save the ratepayers significant money over the many years to come.
Roth, will say it was too risky and the utilities shouldn’t be allowed to collect money for the plant before it is built. Again, this is not watching out for the ratepayers as the sooner the utilities could start collecting rates to pay for the plant, the less they would have to borrow and thus this would be less interest that rate payers would eventually have to pay. By the way, what is risky about a coal fired power plant? They have been used for a long time, and the new ones are much improved and much cleaner.
Three of the state’s utilities were going into an unusual partnership in building this expansion which would have saved the ratepayers $100 million dollars in construction costs alone rather than each of them having to build or buy separate facilities. It was estimated the utilities spent up to 50 million dollars in engineering and planning costs to get the project to a vote before the commission said no in a 2 to 1 vote. However, later on, Roth voted for a rate increase to allow the utilities to recover that cost.
Without the badly needed generation capacity, American Electric Power-PSO of Oklahoma was forced to ask for a rate increase to purchase 2 smaller natural gas generation plants. Roth voted for that rate increase. OG&E was forced to purchase a gas fired plant along with the GRDA, and Roth voted for that rate increase. Commissioner Bob Anthony, always the rate payer’s friend, refused to vote on that rate increase as a protest about the higher rates consumers were going to have pay for electricity in the future.
Then of course the popular thing to do today is to be in favor of wind generation as well as other renewable energy. So OG&E requested a huge rate increase to build wind farms in far Northwest Oklahoma and the transmission lines to get that electricity to the metropolitan areas or to be able to transmit that electricity to sell out of state.
Here is the dirty little secret about electricity generated from wind. When the turbines are moving they are producing cheaper electricity. Yet, all of the significant cost to those giant windmills and perhaps much of the cost for the transmission lines is a duplication or a doubling of the cost for infrastructure.
The reason is that wind is not a reliable source of electricity. On those brutally hot days of Summer, when there isn’t a whisper of a breeze and the demand for electricity is at peak load, we have to have enough TRADITIONAL generation capacity to provide the necessary electricity. These are high demand times when the wind produces little to nothing and we must pay twice for the generation capacity.
So the question must be asked, where has Jim Roth saved the consumers any money? I would suggest he has cost the ratepayers more and in the long run, much more. If that is the case, why would Mr. Slickster shaft the ratepayers as a commissioner then tell them he was watching out for them?
You might not have to go any further for that answer than to understand who it is, besides the homosexuals, that are supporting and funding his campaign. Raising huge sums of money for him are none other than multi-millionaires and billionaires such as Aubry McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, George Kaiser of Kaiser Oil and the Bank of Oklahoma, as well as Clay Bennett, married into the Gaylord family and managing partner of the new OKC Thunder NBA basketball team.
McClendon has spent millions in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas fighting the construction of generation plants which would use coal and therefore not buy gas to make electricity. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to suspect his reason to oppose the coal fueled plants would be to force the utilities to build or buy gas fired plants of which he will be most happy to sell them all the gas they need. I actually want them to sell a lot of gas, but to power autos with, and not to make electricity. That would actually help to make us become less dependent on foreign oil.
One of Mike McCarville’s blogs recently revealed that according to e-mails which were made public in the Seattle trial to move the NBA Sonics to OKC, Jim Roth hinted at the close alliance he shares with McClendon. In a 2007 letter which he subsequently wrote to the sports editor of the Seattle times he said, “From the beginning, Clay and Aubrey initiated a genuine kindness and friendship toward my partner and me. They have publicly and consistently supported me, even pushing back when right-wing attacks have occurred.”
It appears there is a close relationship between these powerful men and Roth, who certainly went to bat for them when the homosexual community in Seattle was attacking them while they were in the process of moving the team to Oklahoma.
Bottom line, I believe Roth is a puppet on a string for people that I believe want to control and use the regulatory power of government for their personal purposes. I also believe, if Roth wins, he will use this election as a launching pad to a future U.S. Senate race or perhaps Governor some day.
On the other hand, I believe Dana Murphy is honest, independent (can’t be bought), is supremely prepared as she has a degree in geology, law and was a hearing judge at the commission for several years. I also believe she wants to serve in this capacity with no intention to run for another office sometime in the future. I believe Dana will seek that delicate balance which is the best for the oil and gas industry and the consumers at the same time. That is the real job of a corporation commissioner. I urge folks to vote for Dana Murphy and support efficient and effective government for the benefit of all Oklahomans.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The first video is Laura's.
This is why the North Side Elitists keep recruiting naive, inexperienced people (or, to put it more bluntly, useful idiots) to run against him. He won't play ball and help the elitist RINOs like Lance Cargill cover themselves in their collusion with corrupt officials.
Look for more heads in the future.
MUSKOGEE — Corrupt businessman Steve Phipps, the linchpin of a three-year FBI investigation, told a federal grand jury he could implicate more than 30 people — including Democratic Senate leader Mike Morgan — in "criminal activities and/or political corruption,” a court document shows.
Phipps’ willingness to talk and his ability, in many cases, to produce supporting documents explains why prosecutors offered him such an extraordinary deal: Although he admitted on the witness stand to committing 300-400 felonies, Phipps was charged with just one — conspiracy — and faces a term of no more than five years in prison.
Phipps testified at least three times to the grand jury and has met with FBI agents numerous times. He will be sentenced when his cooperation is finished.
His list became public during testimony last week at the federal trial of former state Rep. Randall Erwin.
The page shown to jurors didn’t say what information Phipps had or how he knew about "criminal activities and/or political corruption” by those on the list. Virtually all of the big names on his list are Democrats.U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling declined comment about the document, as did Phipps’ attorney.
Those on the list whom Phipps previously implicated in open court include former state Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan and his wife, Lori; former state Reps. Mike Mass, Randall Erwin and Jerry Hefner; former state Sen. Gene Stipe; and Stipe’s younger brother Francis.
Mass and the McMahans await sentencing for their relationship with Phipps.
Francis Stipe died after pleading guilty in April to four felony counts. Gene Stipe’s trial on the same four counts is on hold pending a mental competency hearing. Hefner hasn’t been charged with any crimes.
U.S. District Judge Ronald White allowed one page of the document to be displayed on a big screen for jurors as Phipps read from it. That page included names of 34 people about whom Phipps said he would provide information.
On Wednesday, the judge said he had erred in allowing the document to be entered into evidence. Phipps’ written statement no longer is an exhibit for Erwin’s trial record. However, the 34 names will become part of the trial transcript.
It’s unclear how much the grand jury has heard from Phipps about many of those people. Grand jury proceedings are secret.
The reason: Phipps testified that some beneficiaries of his illegal contributions weren’t aware of the true source of the money. Henry and Boren have said they were unaware.
also see: http://static.newsok.biz/flash/stipe/stipe.html?KeepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=500&width=988
Friday, October 24, 2008
We were actually given what the qualifications for President are by the Founding Fathers. There aren’t many; the reason, presumably, being that the Founding Fathers wanted as many citizens as possible to be eligible to run for office, thus avoiding an elitist ruling class who came out of the affluent or the inbred, like they were used to in Great Britain.
However, the qualifications they did list are very specific:
Article II, Section 1: No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
- Must be a natural-born citizen (or a citizen at the time of the Constitutional Convention, which pretty much rules out everyone alive today – yes, even McCain)
- Must be at least 35 years old
- Must have resided in the US for the last 14 years
That’s it. Those are the only legal qualifications for the President. Pretty simple, right? Pretty cut and dry?
Yet there is question in Barack Obama’s qualifications even under these few standards.
I don’t like conspiracy theories or the narcissistic attitudes they prop up, “I know something you don’t know.” So I didn’t pay much attention to this story when it first surfaced, because it seemed like a fringe rumor that would be quashed pretty quickly.
However, that is not what’s happened. Obama, among many other documents, has refused to produce his Birth Certificate for the lawsuit brought against him challenging his natural-born citizenship. We have to ask, why?
There was a time limit set for his response time. According to the law under which this lawsuit was filed, Obama had a certain period of time to respond by producing his birth certificate or some other document challenging the suit, or else be seen to admit guilt to the charge filed.
Therefore, in the eyes of the law, he has admitted guilt of the allegation alleged in the lawsuit –that he is not a natural-born American citizen.
The time limit for the production of these documents coincided with his trip to Hawaii to visit his grandmother. A trip during which he has banned all media access to his activities. Two weeks before the election. And in his absence, he handed the reigns of his campaign to Hillary Clinton, of all people. Again, why?
A man who has nothing to hide acts like it. Obama has failed to produce documents and then effectively went into hiding when the deadline approached.
This is probably the most important issue in this election. Why? Because if someone Constitutionally unqualified for office is elected to the Presidency, then voter fraud doesn’t really matter. Our Constitution becomes impotent.
"Obama posted a birth certificate on his website."
"Factcheck.org posted a birth certificate."
"Under later amendments his citizenship is otherwise validated."
These are all addressed.
Watch this video, and then pass it along.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity was a huge success yesterday with 35 babies saved that we know of and two girls coming to Christ. We know that it is because of all of you and your willingness to allow God to use you that this is possible. While we know about 35 babies saved, I am sure there are many more we don't know about.
I know that many of you faced persecution for standing up for the babies and God will bless you for your courage. What is important for you to remember is that you were not alone even if you felt like your were. Over 200,000 students were with you around the world in 25 countries take the same stand yesterday is solidarity.
I felt the best way to tell you about the day was to allow your words to speak about the event. Here are just a few testimonies I have received from yesterday, and there are hundreds more.
“I attend a Baptist college so I knew I wouldn't get much of a chance to spread the word so after my last class I went down to the mall and was there for about 20 minutes before a group of teenage girls walked up to me and asked what I was doing. I handed them a paper and one started to cry. I took off the tape and asked what was wrong. I found out that 2 of those girls had just set up an appointment for an abortion. We sat and talked for almost an hour; it was clear that God was at work. Not only did these girls cancel the appointment but I had the privilege to lead them to the Lord.”
"I'm speechless! I saved a baby today! Without even saying a word! Praise the Lord for His hand is upon us and our harvest shall be bountiful"
“ I was surprised as to how much I prayed; I have never prayed that much in school, ever. There were originally five people doing it this morning and by the end of the day it doubled. I was super happy. You never know how many people are affected by the things you do.”
“There was another woman considering abortion, so again I broke my silence and had a 15 minute tear-session/convo with her and she too opted for adoption! I'm so far beyond ecstatic and I am yet again radically affected by this!”
"Today was great!You could walk down the wall at school and see red tape everywhere. Very few people stayed silent it is hard not to talk for a day but having tape over your mouth helps. I had so many people come up and ask what the tape was about. I showed them my badge. I cant wait for next year. This day means a lot to me. I got pregnant when I was 15 and people told me I was ruining my life and I should just abort him. I didn't and I couldn't be happier. I've gotten my GED am In college and have gotten a job offer for when I grad. I'm proof that you can make it no matter your age and I want everyone to know."
"When I got back to class, I stayed silent- lunch was crazy, my white board got a lot of good use. I brought about 15 people who were wondering about what I was doing to one area and told them about it. After a heated debate with a fellow student, about 13 of them changed their views on abortion. Next year I'm going to hold a part-year club and it will be the most successful year of Silent-Day for me and for that school"
"I was brutally picked on today, but I don't care, I'll do it again next year. Children will live and that's what I care about! I broke my silence today for a girl, she not only opted for adoption but talked another girl into opting the same way!"
Like I said these are just a few of the amazing stories I have received so far and they keep pouring in.
We need your Pictures and Stories
We would love to have all the pictures you took during the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity. Please go to www.silentday.org and upload them along with your stories. You can also e-mail the to email@example.com. If you good high res pics we would love to have them for a calendar and poster we are going to make.
Support The Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity
Has the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity been a blessing to you? Have you seen the amount of good that has come from this event over the past 5 years? Do you believe in this event and Stand True (the ministry that puts it on every year)?
If so, we would ask you to please consider helping to support this event with a donation. It takes a lot of time and money to make this amazing, pro-life, witnessing, opportunity happen. I know most of you are students and don't have a lot of money. Most of you will spend at least $5 on a value meal or some kind of fancy latte between now and the event. Would you consider skipping that meal or coffee to help the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity?
Here are four ways to donate:
1) Send a PayPal donation to firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Go to www.silentday.org and click on the donate button
3) Call the office at 937.339.5648 and make a credit card donation
4) Send a check to Stand True - PO Box 890 - Troy, OH 45373
For Christ I stand,
Bryan Kemper - email@example.com
Founder - Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity
Monday, October 20, 2008
At the beginning of last weekend I got really discouraged. I was sick of hearing the garbage from the media and the libs. I was sick of being yelled at, called names, cut off, and generally disrespected for no other reason than the fact that I like Palin. That’s what it really comes down to, I discovered. Because I support Palin. It doesn’t matter what I think about McCain v. Obama’s tax plan, it doesn’t matter where I stand on the life issue, it doesn’t matter what I think about congress, it just matters that I support Palin. Because I hold the same ideals as Palin people are shocked, SHOCKED, that I might want someone who thinks like me being in office, yes, one heartbeat away from the presidency.
Anyway, I was feeling pretty disheartened. I’m told by people on the right and the left that it is over, Obama is going to win, and that is that. It’s just how it’s going to be. I am forced to see my wonderful country turn socialist by one of the most dishonest men in America: Senator Barack Hussein Obama.
I just kinda shut down from politics. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, I didn’t want to talk about anything. What’s the point? If he’s won and we’re all doomed, why fight, why care about ACORN, Ayers, “spreading the wealth around”, or the media attacking Joe the plumber? You’re just going to get yelled at by a bunch of people who can’t get over the fact that life isn’t fair. These are the same people who believe that Bush is solely responsible for the fact that life isn’t fair and some will have to work harder than others.
I was sick of it, I was done. But after events on Saturday and having the weekend to think about it, I came to realize why I care so much, why these conversations with my friends yelling at me and calling me names were on my mind, why I continually research, read, and discuss even though I really didn’t want to: her name is Feruza.
Why do I care? Because of people like Feruza. Feruza is a wonderful friend of mine from Uzbekistan. She’s a little older than me and doing her first year of school at O-Trip. She was just now able to come here this year to begin studying in America. This alone is a foreign concept to me because I have no clue what it is like to desperately want to go to another country and study to get an education. Sure, I would like to study abroad for the cultural benefits, but, I think the best education is found in America.
Feruza spent the 4th of July with my family and has since fallen in love with the “real American family.” At least, she really likes my family. I asked her what she was going to do with her business degree. She said that she was wanted to stay here and own her own business because she really couldn’t do that in her country.
Think about it, a woman from another country wants to come to America so she can study, drive (which she can’t really do in her country and wouldn’t do because of some of the cultural ramifications), own a business (which she said women couldn’t really do in her country either), and just live in America.
After taking Feruza out for one of her very first birthday celebrations ever it made me realize why I care about American government so much: (I mean, aside from being a Christian and it being part of our stewardship to Christ.) because of people like Feruza.
I want women (and men, too) to want to come to my country and be encouraged to start a business. I want people like Feruza to have hope that they can have whatever life they want for themselves. I want Feruza and people to live in a country where if you just work hard, you’ll get to where you want to go. You’ll have struggles, set backs, deception, and hard times, but in America, you have a better chance at success from just plain old hard work than anywhere else in the world.
I care, study, campaign, discuss, vote, pray and cry for the Feruza’s who haven’t been able to make it here yet. So, I haven’t given up. Am I sick of being yelled at by emo libs? Yeah. Am I tired of the media strangling the truth? Yeah. But God is faithful. Second Chronicles is very clear on what this country needs to prosper. Repentance.
If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
So, all we Christians need to do to win this election is repent and live perfect. =)
Let me include another verse in here:
Let Your mercy be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
The word used for prayer here is where we get our word “prosecute”. And the word for petition is the concept of begging for mercy. Bro. Tom put it this way, first, you are the prosecutor making your case to God, being specific, on why you are praying for the things you are, then you crawl up into the witness stand and beg for mercy.
So, let me challenge you, don’t sit and fret like I’ve been doing, and don’t get depressed that this thing is all over. The Lord is near and he will hear our cries. Repent and seek His face, make your case to God and then beg for mercy. Do it for not only yourselves but for Feruza’s everywhere.
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Since that time, I've had to ponder a few things.
1. It's NEVER acceptable to pass a bad bill because it has a couple of pleasing belatedly-added amendments that don't change the fundamental nature of the bill. Putting jewelry on a pig doesn't make it Cindy Crawford. (Though it may make it Janet Reno). I don't believe in "incrementalism" or compromise when it comes to protecting American's rights or tax dollars, unlike Mike Reynolds' recent primary opponent.
2. Tom Coburn is one of the most respected fiscal conservatives in the Senate (respected by other fiscal conservatives, I should say), and I know from history he also believes and acts in accordance with point 1.
3. I'm not omniscient, and I didn't take the time to read the 700+ page bill myself, so granted, I only know the publicized aspects of this bill. Therefore, I need to remain mindful of the fact that there are aspects of this bill and the surrounding circumstances of which I am not completely aware.
4. Regardless of how I feel about this bill personally, it is unfair and incorrect of me to attribute motivations to the legislators who voted the way they did. I can't see into their hearts, only God can.
Today, I received a response from Sen. Coburn. All things considered, I appreciate his office responding to individual voters regarding his vote, since no one else from Oklahoma who voted "Yea" has. (And I wrote them, too.)
It's a long (form) letter, but I hope you'll take time to read it. I believe it will be worth your time.
I'll warn you right now, though. If you can't honestly attempt to separate the facts from the hype you've heard, if you can't get over yourself and the idea that you know more than anyone else, if you're not finished wallowing in victimhood and a "woe is me" attitude, if you aren't willing to open your mind to potentially new information that may contradict what you've heard, then there's no point in you reading.
We wanted to know why, and he is telling us. We should at least allow the man the opportunity to explain himself. All emphasis is added by me.
Thank you for contacting me about the economic stabilization legislation recently passed into law. As you can imagine, I have received a large volume of letters and calls and look forward to having a chance to respond. I appreciate the valuable input I have received over the past several weeks from my fellow Oklahomans on this issue.
After hearing the concerns of my fellow Oklahomans who were angry and suspicious of this proposal and the anxiety of other Oklahomans who were concerned about the consequences of failing to pass this recovery bill, I struggled with what was best both for taxpayers and the economic future of our nation, our children, and our grandchildren. After much consultation and consideration, I decided to vote for the plan.
Our country finds itself in the midst of difficult economic circumstances due to tremendous strain on worldwide financial markets. I believe the challenges created by this situation are so great that failure to address them could spill over into the broader economy and negatively affect every American.
In recent months, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have attempted to address the situation through arrangements with Bear Stearns, insurer AIG, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While many Oklahomans are rightly uncomfortable with bailing out large banks and corporations at the expense of taxpayers, the purpose of the legislation was to protect ordinary Americans and not Wall Street executives. The economic stabilization bill addresses a different problem in a different way, and is just a set of tools that can prevent a worsening crisis for Oklahoma citizens.
As a staunch advocate for free enterprise and the elimination of wasteful government spending, many have wondered why I chose to support this legislation. To answer that question, it is important to know how we have gotten to this point.
Plummeting home values have left many homeowners with mortgages that exceed the market value of their homes, making it uneconomical for them to sell and making it impossible to refinance their adjustable rate mortgages into more affordable loans. As a result, many people have become delinquent on their mortgages and, in many cases, have entered foreclosure.
The financial institutions holding those troubled mortgages have, in turn, found themselves unable to collect on those mortgages or resell them to other investors. Because these assets cannot be liquidated, the banks holding them have significantly cut back on the amount of money they lend as they try to preserve their capital. This in turn is severely restricting the amount of money that Americans can borrow.
Families and businesses alike rely heavily on financial markets. Families borrow to purchase cars, appliances, furniture, and other consumer items. Businesses borrow for various essential reasons as well-for everything from overcoming short-term cash flow problems to investing in new equipment or new ideas. A collapse of the financial markets would prevent consumers and businesses from getting the funds they need to consume and invest-undermining two key drivers of the U.S. economy.
What is missing from this account is the role Congress played in creating these economic troubles in the first place. For years, Congress pursued "affordable housing" policies with the goal of providing loans (subprime loans) to borrowers that could not pay them back. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - companies charted by Congress - encouraged banks to make subprime loans by purchasing the loans from banks and turning them into investments. Investors believed that the mortgage-backed investments were a safe investment because of the implied backing of the federal government and purchased them in great amounts.
These policies, along with low interest rates, pushed housing prices artificially high and created the often discussed housing price bubble that could not be sustained in the long run. Once the housing bubble burst and prices declined, investors were left with mortgage-backed investments that were worth less than their face value, and because of an accounting rule (mark to market) financial institutions had to value them far below their true value thus causing the banks to show much less capital than they actually have. The effect of these policies has been the crippling our country's financial system.
As much as members of Congress want to find scapegoats, the root of this problem is political greed. Members of Congress from both parties wanted short-term political credit for promoting home ownership even though they were putting our entire economy at risk by encouraging people to buy homes they couldn't afford. Then, instead of conducting thorough oversight and correcting obvious problems with unstable entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, members of Congress chose to ignore the problem and distract themselves with unprecedented amounts of pork-barrel spending.
If the American people are angry about the financial situation of this great country, there is only one place they need to direct their anger - the United States Congress. The economic recovery bill does not represent a new and sudden departure from free market principles as much as it represents an emergency response to congressional actions that have ignored free market principles, and our Constitution, for decades. If anyone in Washington should offer their resignation it should be the members of Congress who peddled the fantasy of free home ownership without risk. No institution in our country is more responsible for the myth of borrowing without consequences than the United States Congress.
In 2006, along with nineteen other Senators, I called for major regulatory reform with regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We warned of the dangers of these laxly regulated entities, and the enormous risk they could pose to the housing market, the financial system, and the economy as a whole. Yet Congress failed to take any action and the problem grew worse until we have found ourselves faced with an imminent financial catastrophe.
Failure to act now could have devastating effects on our economy. If banks continue to fail and stop lending, many Americans could lose their job, be unable to secure a loan for a car, home or college education, and find their life savings and retirement in jeopardy. Our economy depends on having liquid assets available for credit and lending just as an automobile engine needs oil. If those liquid assets stop flowing, our economy will be seriously damaged and will require far more costly and lengthy repairs.
My first priority in the Senate is to protect the American taxpayer. The plan put forth by Treasury Secretary Paulson and the Bush Administration is not perfect, but I believe is the right action to take at this moment. Consequently, I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to secure the following key provisions to protect taxpayers in the final version of the economic rescue package:
- Reduces Taxpayer Exposure - Rather than a $700 billion blank check, as requested by the Bush Administration, $250 billion would be available immediately to the Treasury Secretary with stringent oversight. Any additional funds would require further Congressional approval.
- Wall Street Helps Bail Itself Out - Addresses the frozen assets clogging up the financial system. Participating institutions holding these assets would pay the insurance premiums - in effect helping bail themselves out rather than rely on taxpayers' hard-earned money.
- Increased Oversight and Transparency - While the Paulson proposal explicitly removes any judicial oversight and lacks transparency provisions, the negotiated economic rescue package establishes a bipartisan oversight committee that requires honest and transparent reporting to Congress and the public. In addition, the programs will be monitored by a Special Inspector General, and reviewed and audited by the Government Accountability Office.
- Increased FDIC Insurance - FDIC insurance limits for bank accounts were increased from $100,000 to $250,000.
Taxpayers who want to ensure that this doesn't happen again should send a very clear message to Washington that it is time for Congress to live within its means and restore the principles of limited government, balanced budgets and free markets that made this country great. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this bill does not lead us down a slippery slope to European style socialism and slow economic growth. I will also promise taxpayers that I will do everything in my power to block what I expect will be hundreds of attempts by politicians in Washington to continue business-as-usual borrowing and spending in the next Congress.
In a time of crisis, American families have to make hard choices between budget priorities. So should Congress. If politicians want to create new programs they should eliminate duplicative programs or reduce funding for less important programs. The only way we can put this crisis behind us is for Congress to rejoin the real world of budget choices and consequences which, as we have seen in recent days, can be ignored for only so long.
Again, thank you for contacting me on this most important issue.
Tom A. Coburn, M.D.
United States Senator