There’s SO much to cover. In the national arena, we’ll be talking about the recent Ted Cruz win, as well as Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan to be his VP. At the state level, I’ll give you an update on how the nullification movement is going. We’ll also discuss opportunities for Tea Party activism in the upcoming 2013 legislative session. And no, that’s not all. We’ve got LOCAL stuff to think about as well. An analysis of the Henderson County budget situation came out last week and it’s well worth discussing. Join us at 7pm at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Hope to see you there!
At the July 17th tea party meeting, we discussed at great length our disagreement with Chief Justice Roberts’ decision concerning the individual mandate in Obamacare. Some of the grievances were as follows:
1. Anybody who reads Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution can clearly see that Obamacare is unconstitutional in its entirety. It was the duty of the SCOTUS to uphold the Constitution, and it failed. Even though the individual mandate was upheld, that does not change the fact that Obamacare is unconstitutional.
2. Roberts legislated from the bench. The clear legislative intent was that the individual mandate was a penalty, not a tax. Part of Roberts’ reasoning in his decision was that the mandate wasn’t a penalty, it was a tax. When you, as a judge, are disagreeing with the legislative intent behind a given law and change the meaning of it in your ruling, you are legislating from the bench.
3. By upholding the individual mandate as a tax, that itself adds another reason why it is unconstitutional. This tax won’t be a tax on your income, it will be a direct tax and it will not be apportioned. If we remember from our history, the income tax itself was struck down as unconstitutional because it was not apportioned. Then the 16th amendment was passed saying Congress could levy the income tax without apportionment. Yes, we would be paying the tax through our 1040 tax return, but the Obamacare tax is NOT a tax on your income. The triggering mechanism for the tax is not that you have income. The triggering mechanism is that you didn’t buy health insurance. Just because the tax has two ways of being calculated, flat rate and percentage of income, doesn’t make it an actual income tax.
Once the grievances were aired, a possible solution or next plan of attack was presented by yours truly, Clint Stutts. I want to stress that this particular solution should not be viewed as having been adopted by the Cedar Creek Lake Tea Party. There was no majority vote taken. I only asked that those who agreed with my solution sign a petition. My solution is nullification, and I drafted a resolution to that end. The text of that resolution is as follows:
“WHEREAS the several States composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their federal government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a federal government for special purposes. They delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving to each State the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whenever the federal government assumes powers not delegated to it, its acts hold no authority, are void, and of no force; and
WHEREAS the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; and
WHEREAS as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress; and
WHEREAS the assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” interferes with the right of the People of the State of Texas to regulate health care as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the federal government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite”; and
WHEREAS an unconstitutional act is still unconstitutional even if the Supreme Court says it is constitutional,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is unconstitutional and we the undersigned citizens of house district 10 call on the Texas legislature to nullify the Act in its entirety. ”
The whole point of the resolution is to urge our state representatives to put forth legislation to nullify Obamacare. In our tea party, we have two house districts represented, HD4 and HD10. Jim Pitts is the representative for HD10, and Lance Gooden is in HD4. Pitts actually sits on the State Sovereignty committee, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. We will be including a copy of nullification legislation, so the work will already be done for these representatives. The text of the legislation is as follows:
“An Act to render null and void certain unconstitutional laws enacted by the Congress of the United States, taking control over the health insurance industry and mandating that individuals purchase health insurance under threat of penalty.
SECTION 1. The legislature of the State of Texas finds that:
1. The People of the several states comprising the United States of America created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes, and nothing more.
2. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is reserved to the states respectively, or to the people themselves.
3. The assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” interferes with the right of the People of the State of Texas_ to regulate health care as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”
SECTION 2. NEW LAW
A new section of law to be codified in the [STATE] Statutes as Section [NUMBER] of Title [NUMBER], unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. The Legislature of the State of Texas___ declares that the federal law known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
B. It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” within the limits of this State.
C. Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or both.
D. Any public officer or employee of the State of Texas that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding two (2) years or by a fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment.
E. Any aggrieved party shall also have a private action against any person violating the provisions of subsections (C) or (D).
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.”
Over the next few months, I and others will be presenting this solution to other tea parties and will be collecting signatures for the petition for each house district involved. I’m going to the Edom Tea Party on the 26th to share it with them, and I’ve arranged for a 20 minute speaking slot at the August 18th meeting of the Ellis County Tea Party. I don’t know how far and wide this will spread, but at least East Texas is going to be vocal about it. Hopefully before the 2013 session starts, we’ll have alot of signatures gathered and can then present our resolution, petition, and legislation all at once at the district offices of our representatives.
If you would like to sign the petition, or would like to start one in your own house district, please email me at email@example.com.
The Cedar Creek Lake Tea Party will meet on 7-17-12 to have an open discussion about the recent Supreme Court Obamacare decision, as well as the runoff election on the 31st. Specifically, we’ll discuss the backlash against Chief Justice John Roberts and his decision to call the individual mandate a tax instead of just ruling it unconstitutional. Are there positive consequences of the decision? Yes! Are there negative consequences of the decision? Absolutely! This should be a very active discussion. Another question to answer is: what do we do now?
Also on the agenda is some discussion of the runoff election. This would probably focus more on the Railroad Commissioner races and the US Senate race. How can we help the candidates we support? Please plan to attend!
The 2012 Texas GOP Convention has come and gone, and alot transpired in those several days. This is my best attempt at an orderly summary:
First, most people were under the impression that the convention started June 7th. However, temporary committee meetings began on the 4th and continued through the night of the 6th. Those temporary committee meetings are terribly important, because that’s where such things as Rules and Platform are discussed and modified. Lots of work is done in those committees. If you don’t attend those meetings and offer testimony on the issues you are concerned with, you’ve missed your chance to have an impact. Unfortunately, since these meetings take place during the week, most people can’t just drop everything and attend. That’s the situation I found myself in. I was only able to attend the last two hours of the Temporary Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday night.
So how do people end up serving on those temporary committees anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked. The SREC committeeman and committeewoman for your senate district recommends one person from among their district’s delegates to serve on each of the temporary committees. Usually, your SREC reps will simply call or email all the county chairs in the district and ask who they’d like to see in one of those roles, and the list is whittled down from there. The state party chairman appoints chairmen of the temporary committees. Sometimes this means alot of establishment types get on the committees and run the show.
If you don’t get to serve on a committee, you can attend and testify. Something else you can do is take notes on who on the committees is voting wrong, so you can target them to be replaced by someone else when you vote on permanent committee members.
This year, there were quite a few people replaced when the permanent committee votes came up, and those changes allowed us to make alot of headway in the Rules Committee. Two issues we got settled this year are: 1. allowing video/audio recording of all committee meetings and 2. electing a permanent chair for the state convention according to the law. The first one is self explanatory. The second needs explanation. State election law spells out the order of all conventions, whether it is precinct, county, or state. You always begin with a temporary chair, hear the report of the credentials committee which determines what the roll and voting strength are, then you open the floor for nominations for PERMANENT convention chair. The reason for this is because the permanent convention chair appoints the permanent chairmen of all the committees. You don’t want someone appointing permanent chairmen to the committees if that person has not been voted on by the body of delegates to be permanent convention chairman. The party has never had a problem following the law with regards to the order of business in precinct and county/senatorial conventions. For decades, though, the party has failed to follow the law at the state convention. What has occurred for many years is that instead of electing a permanent chair before any business is conducted, we’ve waited until the convention is almost over before electing a permanent chair. This practice effectively removes the grassroots from the equation and keeps the establishment in power.
Debra Medina, former candidate for governor, actually sued the Republican Party of Texas in 2008 because of their violation of the law. The suit was dismissed over jurisdictional issues, but the merits of the case were never heard. In retaliation, the party passed a rule preventing her from purchasing a booth space for her non-profit called We Texans. That rule was removed in the amended 2012 rules, so she was able to have a booth at the convention this year.
Another aspect of the permanent chair issue is that of having a fair chairman. If the temporary chair stays in that spot and conducts business illegally, it is also very possible they won’t recognize points of order or other motions being made on the floor by the body of delegates. The whole point of not following the law on this matter is to keep the establishment’s stranglehold on the situation. Liars lie, cheaters cheat. Never forget that.
Now that I’ve established some background, here’s the play by play (which in my case starts Wednesday evening):
I attended the last couple of hours of the Temporary Rules Committee and saw them vote down the rule change which would have put the party in right standing with the law on the permanent chair issue. Next, we went to the SREC meeting. This was our last chance to get the permanent chair issue fixed before the convention. Steve Munisteri, the party chair, had drafted a rule change that would have provided for electing a permanent chair according to the law. He made the motion for the rule change, and Eric Opiela stood up with a point of order and said the rule change couldn’t be made because it wasn’t an emergency. Rule 1(c) says an emergency rule change would be an instance where party rules conflict with the law, and it was rather obvious that our rules conflicted with state law, so I don’t know why Opiela stood up with that point of order. Oh well. Liars lie, cheaters cheat. Regardless of the merits of his point of order, Opiela’s motion was voted on and approved, so Munisteri’s motion never even got voted on since it was ruled out of order. Among those voting with Opiela was our SREC committeeman for SD3, David Bellow. David is a solid conservative, but lacks knowledge on the rules. You can be a great conservative, but if you don’t know the rules you won’t be effective on the SREC. More on David later.
Thursday came around, and the first general session was mostly a waste of time as usual. Rick Perry actually gave a really good speech, up until he endorsed David Dewhurst and got booed. He should have expected that, because the crowd there was solidly behind Ted Cruz. We should have elected a permanent chair after speeches, but of course that didn’t happen. The real business started at 2:30pm in the first SD (senatorial district) caucus. In that meeting, we elected permanent committee members. We put a good guy on the platform committee, but didn’t have anyone good to run for the rules committee. Our rules guy seemed to look around the room to determine if those raising their hands were a majority, then he’d stick his hand up. That worked for us in the permanent rules committee meeting because by that time we did have a majority of good people on the committee so he ended up voting with us. That SD caucus was overall very difficult. We didn’t actually have a room, we were just in a huge exhibit hall and big curtains were put up as “walls”. There were loudspeakers in every “room”, so you ended up hearing all the other caucuses around you, but not able to understand the words coming out of your caucus chairman’s mouth. As a result, we were one of the last caucuses to adjourn. I think it ended up taking us three hours.
Friday brought another SD caucus and another general session, but before that started I was at the We Texans booth in the exhibit hall and noticed Eric Opiela talking with Debra Medina about something. This was a little strange to me because they are enemies on the permanent chair issue. As it turned out, Eric was trying to make a deal with her because he knew how bad his side lost in the permanent committee meeting the night before. More on this in a minute.
In our second SD caucus we voted out David Bellow as SREC committeeman. I know a contingent of us wanted him gone because he’s bad on rules and he pushed for Texas to be winner take all, but he was overwhelmingly beaten in that election. I thought it would have been closer than that. Jim Wiggins, who has already served on the SREC before, we elected in his place.
Once again the general session was largely a waste of time because of speeches. So we finally got through the speeches and the convention was called to order again. We elected a permanent chairman, who happened to be Steve Munisteri. He’s incredibly popular with just about everyone, and he was an incredibly fair chairman. I heard people talking about it who have been on the receiving end of a bad chairman, and they said they almost cried because of the great job he did. Now, back to the Opiela/Medina deal. When the Rules Committee report was offered for adoption, there was of course alot of debate. When we got to the rule concerning the permanent chair issue, Opiela and Medina got up to the microphone and made a motion to amend that rule. Apparently, Opiela just wanted to tack on an amendment and leave the rest alone. I don’t know what the hubbub was about, because the amendment didn’t seem all that important to me. Anyway, I thought it was awesome that two enemies could finally come together and put that issue to rest.
After that was over, more debate ensued on other rules, up until about 5pm when we adjourned so we could attend our congressional district caucus, and immediately following that at 6pm people who had paid their $200 to go hear Santorum speak could go attend that gala. I am peeved that we ended business so early so people could go to a gala, but who am I? We reconvened at 9pm (yes, 9pm) and resumed debate. Rules didn’t take much longer and we finally got into the platform. We then spent over an hour debating how the Immigration plank had been changed. And after all that time spent on that, none of the changes made from the floor actually ended up passing. I was in line at the microphone to amend the plank on foreign aid, and Josh Truitt was there to back me up. The plank as written said we oppose foreign aid, but it allowed exceptions. My motion would have amended it to say in effect “no exceptions” because it’s unconstitutional. About another hour passed while we were in line, and some idiot made a motion that we accept the rest of the platform as is. That motion passed, and that killed all debate. I was pretty upset because I was about ten minutes away from getting to the microphone. But it was 11pm by that time, and people just didn’t care anymore. That’s why the adjournment for the gala made me so upset.
Friday at 8am we had our second CD caucus where we elected delegates and alternates to Tampa. I ran for the third delegate slot and lost by 17 votes. It had gone around the room that I was a Ron Paul supporter, and that freaked alot of people out. Basically, the fear was that since I’m a Ron Paul supporter, I would vote for Ron Paul in the first round of voting in Tampa. This is not only false, it’s impossible. If you are a delegate and you sign the affidavit binding you to Romney, you have to vote for Romney. Furthermore, I’ve even heard that on the first round of voting they don’t even poll the delegates, they just report their numbers based on the affidavits. My goal in going to Tampa was to positively affect the national rules and platform. The elderly lady who got elected over me doesn’t have a clue about rules and platform. She’s going for the pageantry. Nothing against her, she’s a nice lady, but she’s basically just going to fill a seat. Anyway, we got three good people going to Tampa anyway: Mike Mart, Ray Myers, and Josh Truitt. Mike and Ray are delegates, and Josh is an alternate. More specifically, Josh is Ray’s alternate, so they will be working together. All three gentlemen will do a good job in Tampa.
That caucus ran long because almost every race went into a runoff. Thank goodness there were concession stands not far away or we would have starved to death in there. We had the final general session after that was all over, and Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst were allowed to speak. Cruz got overwhelming applause and people were waving his sign around. He gave a great speech without a teleprompter or a podium. In contrast, Dewhurst gave a flat speech, stayed behind the podium, and look uncomfortable the whole time. He also got heckled by several people saying “what about the TSA?” That’s in reference to his part in killing the TSA groping bill during the last session. After those speeches, we elected our national committeeman. Robin Armstrong won that race. If I remember correctly, we adjourned at about 6pm. My wife and I went straight home and crashed. I think we got 15 hours of sleep over three days. It was stressful, but it was well worth what we accomplished. I had been organized with the Ron Paul crowd for several months, so we knew what our goals were going in: Rules and Platform. We got our people there, got them all on the same page, and we got some important changes made. For the next convention in 2014, I’d like to see the tea parties organized like that. There was SOME organization, but it became evident during the debate over immigration that some folks weren’t clear on what they were supposed to do, and they ended up wasting time. To make a difference at the next convention we need to decide what our goals will be, who we want to put in leadership positions, how we’re going to organize, etc.
Cedar Creek Lake Tea Party