Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Diary Of A Campaign Kickoff

via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/diary-of-a-campaign-kickoff

Diary Of A Campaign Kickoff

A day inside the Richardson Campain...

I got a call this weekend form a campaign office. They were setting up a Monday series of events for announcing the Gary Richardson campaign for Oklahoma Governor, in 2018. I was given the opportunity to observe the event from the inside. I decided to accept. Here is a timeline and narrative...
I met up with the campaign bus at the parking lot of a south Tulsa Walmart. It was 8am. They had a large and comfy chartered coach. About two dozen invited guests were aboard. Some were Richardson's law associates, past clients, family friends, civic leaders, or just big fans of the message Richardson's campaign is advancing.  Every passenger was given a Richardson campaign tee shirt.
  By 8:30 we were on the road.  I sat by a former Richardson client. He's a professor of history at Oral Roberts University. We were en route to the Oklahoma History Center, on the campus of the Oklahoma State Capitol.  the Monday morning weather was beautiful and when we arrived at the venue there was a crowd in the large hall. the team had set up a perfect backdrop.. the Oklahoma Capitol building. It was in disrepair and scaffolding and tarps cloaked most of the exterior. How fitting for this populist message of Richardson's

  Like any campaign kick off, you're somewhat surprised by who you meet.   Former candidates for governor or other notable political faces... Robert Hubbard stepped up to greet me. He's a Yukon businessman. He's a popular Republican figure. Very likable and he ran for Governor in 2010. A couple of national campaign operatives were also there. Kirk Shelly was quietly observing the set up. He has served on several presidential campaigns, including Sen. Rand Paul and his father, Ron Paul.
  Sean Murphy of the Associated Press, spoke with me. We compared some issues we thought would be addressed. A couple TV cameras were set up. The Tulsa World & The Oklahoman were also there.

  Bob Dani was checking on all the details. He and David Tackett are a couple of the key campaign leaders. They seem to be a balanced team who provide the necessary skills Gary will need. Dani is the founder and leader of the High Noon Club. They meet regularly at an OKC shooting sports complex for a lunchtime political forum. Bob is a well-liked and established fixture in conservative circles. His 'gravitas' and approachable persona will fit Richardson quite well.
  Tackett is a likable bundle of enthusiasm and a mind in perpetual overdrive. He has worked for some prominent political firms, before launching his own consulting service. He ran for the legislature from a deeply Democrat district a couple times. Last year he backed Kevin McDugle and helped turn that seat red for the first time in state history. 
Gary stepped to the podium at 10:30 and without any fanfare, he began to introduce some individuals to the crowd. He wanted us all to know him, his family, and where he comes from.  He comfortably shares his convictions, faith, passions, and goals. He is a very deliberate and calm man. Some call him a populist, but there is no way you can justly compare his rhetoric or politics to a 'Huey Long'. He speaks in measured deliberateness. He rarely has a gaff or studder.
The speech didn't produce 'electricity' but it was full of resolve. It was delivered in much the same way a prosecutor would address a jury at the beginning of a courtroom litigation. He clearly laid out his case, the evidence, the law, and what they must make their decisions based upon.
After the speech, a small group of reporters approached the candidate. I stepped up to join them. I mostly observed. Sean Murphy (AP) began the questioning in his aggressive nature. He seemed to be following the checklist of issues that I earlier shared with him. The first issue was the 2002 campaign where Gary ran against the Republican nominee. Gary made no apologies. He said that his friend and law partner, Frank Keating; had discussed and informed him on what the state needed. He says Keating regretted not having sufficient Republican support on some issues. Gary said that he ran as an Independent because he felt his campaign platform would have broader support in a general election than in a Republican primary race. He was conciliatory regarding the Republican nominee, Steve Largent. But he said that the 2002 race had a lot of unexpected turns. He said that Vince Orza's collapse was a huge game-changer. He also indicated that Largent's campaign failed on it's own, and for a lot of issues and message mismanagement.
  My only active participation in the impromptu press conference was to seek clarity in Richardson's soundbite analogy, supporting a full performance audit of every state agency, in his first year in office.
​  He said;
  "A good physician always conducts the appropriate tests on his patient before prescribing a regimen of treatment to restore the proper and healthy balance of the patient."
  After the press conference and plenty of time to greet his guests, Gary and his caravan departed to a local restaurant for lunch. He nearly sustained a terrible traffic incident on the way. The SUV immediately in front of him at 28th & Lincoln Blvd. was crossing at a green light when a car ran a red light at full speed. The SUV was T-boned and rolled over. Gary and his staff immediately pulled up to set a traffic barrier so that the injured had a buffer from further danger. They called emergency responders and checked on the motorists for injuries or needs. When emergency help arrives, they provided necessary information and contact info, then joined us at the restaurant.
 Richardson traveled back to Tulsa on the campaign bus. He had nearly 2 hours with us and he took time to visit everyone. The two of us spoke on a number of matters. We had a very detailed private visit a year ago, when I first got the hint that he was considering this run for governor. Gary didn't just rattle off focus-tested phrases. He asked questions and listened. I found his perspective to be refreshing and 'outside the box' that other 'managed' Republicans were confined to.
 We pulled in to the Walmart parking lot near Oral Roberts University. His campaign office is just up the avenue. He asked us to stop by and visit his staff and other guests.  When we arrived, there was a separate crowd of Eastern Oklahomans waiting for him. there were the trademark balloons, tee shirts, punch, treats, and excited volunteers. Richardson gathered the crowd out into the foyer where he could properly address them for a few minutes. I decided to capture the comments on a video.
 Later I spent time visiting some of Gary's family. I expected a bit of formality and feigned friendliness. But there was none of that, this day. His kids seem very comfortable with who they are. Some talked of matters with an honesty that only comes from a determination to be themselves, warts and all. they kids have accomplished a lot on heir won. But they don't talk about achievement. They talk about family, passions, and things they truly enjoy.
  No one owns Gary Richardson. Yes, he's seeking campaign support. Yes, he's seeking donations, volunteers, and votes. But I don't see much possibility that a lobby group or political faction will get anywhere by trying to intimidate or bribe this guy. Is he the best candidate? We will eagerly be watching. But I expect we will see a type  transparency in this campaign which no other candidate will match.

from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/diary-of-a-campaign-kickoff

The Drug War: VietNam Part II

via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/the-drug-war-vietnam-part-ii

The Drug War: VietNam Part II

A prominent Oklahoma attorney told me, recently;
The most dangerous concern about marijuana, is 'getting caught'.
  Perhaps the least reported narrative of the 50 year drug war is the role that liquor and other pharmaceutical distributors have had on the effort to keep their indigenous competition suppressed through the criminal code.
  The idea that the world's highest incarceration rate is fueled by an effort to help liquor maintain it's market share, is too devastating for many Americans to find peace with. 
  It was easy to sell the notion of criminalizing 'the damn hippy drugs' in a decade when the generation gap was a massive culture war. Parents and older generations wanted to rid society of the long haired young men with unkept beards, tie-dyed apparel, and generally 'make them kids get jobs and speak normal again'... Groovy!
   But we've wholly lost our collective appreciation for natural remedies, holistic solutions, and ability to address a problem without a patented product from the drug store; or a proper tax-stamped purchase from the bottle shop. 

  Perhaps it's time to borrow an out-of-context phrase from Gov. David Walters... to "declare victory and get out of Vietnam". I'm a teetotaler and advocate for mental health care. I believe in dealing with serious mental health challenges with the wisest assistance and scholarship, rather than panicked self-medicating in secrecy. But I believe in empowerment of people... to to give them access and authority to help themselves.
​   We don't let people really care for themselves. We tell them that they are too stupid and will always be so. That unless they get the proper university diplomas and board certifications; that they will never be allowed to have the best tools for selfcare. 
  Yes, the liquor industry now is more powerful than ever before. Alcohol problems cost our society in tragic manifestations we can't even fully describe. The black markets of the mafia which control illegal substances have robbed society of an equitable tax base and created a vigilante industry which settles the score for evils done which cannot be even reported to legitimate law enforcement.  In short, we created a mafia which is bigger than the liquor prohibition era.
  Rarely do the real kingpins even get identified, much less captured and prosecuted. But daily we see scores of common folks suffer the vicarious vendetta of frustrated cops whose careers are based on the drug war's continuance.
   Here's a short excerpt from a fine essay the failed drug war.

Among the war's many tragic consequences and by far the worst is the criminalization of a vast, ever increasing percentage of our population, destroying families and individuals by the millions. We are now the world's leading jailer - even communist China - who we criticize for its slave labor camps - imprisons at a lesser rate. We make mockery of the once cherished phrase - Land of the Free.

When people are arrested on felony drug charges, they are usually dragged from their homes or places of business and booked into filthy, dangerously overcrowded county jails pending bonding proceedings. Physical and sexual assault is commonplace. The arrested person generally will forfeit his job or career, long before any conviction or acquittal of charges. These people are instantly transformed from taxpayer to tax burden. Statistics bear this out; of over 50% of men employed before a prison term, less than twenty percent hold steady jobs thereafter. Studies indicate profound mental and attitudinal changes take place within an individual after five years of incarceration: depressive neurosis, hostility, anomie and withdrawal are the result. Prison levels ego.

Marriages are the first casualty of arrest and conviction - prison itself being statutory grounds for divorce in most states. The mental stress of arrest; being forced through the criminal justice system, job loss and subsequent imprisonment is often followed by the added trauma of divorce and loss of parental rights. The American criminal justice system has no regard at all for the family structure of the accused, and that cost might be a necessary evil in protecting citizens from violent crime, but drug prohibition accounts for over 50% of the 1.6 million people currently imprisoned. It is important to note that in addition to this figure, there are approximately 2.5 million drug offenders on parole or supervised release. This does not enumerate the further millions that have exited the system, having finished probation.

The destruction is massive and with a rippling effect on the family, there are between one and two million "orphans" of the drug war. This is the politic of prohibition. There are now criminal records on 50 million Americans.

"Many criminologists have begun to ponder the unthinkable: that the criminal justice system itself, rather than guarding the peace, contributes to social instability in America."

The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission, HarperPerennial, 1996.
  There are two fundamental objectives which are tied to the drug war, which need to be not only kept, but enhanced.
  1. Keep our public safety objectives. Mostly this is tied to traffic and workplace standards. We cannot tolerate a casual indifference to intoxicated people who victimize indiscriminately by operating big things which can hurt others.
  2. Protect kids from exploitation. Kids are designed by nature to be the responsibility of their parents. As such, parents have a moral authority to insist that all of society respect their role in deciding what their children are going to be subjected to.
 Some would go further and argue that these two objectives can be fully protected by using civil courts to grant relief, award damages, and even punitive redress for harms done. But dead people can't file claims. So we need to keep a public policy which has a criminal law component. Hence, a drug war which is scaled back. A drug war which does a better job of the two objectives, without branding 8% of our Oklahoma population as felons, for essentially victim less crimes.

from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/the-drug-war-vietnam-part-ii

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Rebuke of Legislators & Preachers, by Bob Linn

Bob Linn made a bold thesis, rebuking the spineless politicians and preachers for hanging a fine public servant out for media ridicule.
  Dr. Everett Piper, of Oklahoma Wesleyan University; reposted an excellent thesis from Bob Linn; regarding the Oklahoma House Page program, and the effort made by it's director, to protect the children entrusted to our lawmakers, by the parents.
  Two weeks ago, a large group of known cross-dressing teens were coming to the capitol for the day.  In anticipation of this, the page program's director made an effort to let the kids in her care know that they can have special access to some private restrooms, in the event that they are confronted with males being in the female restrooms.
  Sadly, the page program's director was publicly reprimanded for taking this initiative. Not one legislator came to her public defense. Not one clergy group came to her public defense.
Pages are selected from among Oklahoma's high school students.

by Bob Linn

Capitol Cross-Dressers

There is a short supply of men in the Oklahoma Legislature these days. Parents must now question whether they should allow their minor children to participate in the Page Program at the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Do not blame Karen Kipgen who supervises the program. When seventy students who are confused about their sexual identity arrived from Tulsa, Karen realized there would be cross-dressers in the women’s restrooms. To protect her pages, who are underage girls, she made arrangements for the pages to use a private restroom. As a courtesy, she emailed a note to those legislative assistants affected, explaining why this permission was granted for the day.

Her motherly intercession on behalf of her charges was betrayed by one of the assistants, who turned her innocent effort into a public firestorm. The un-named assistant made Kipgen’s private email known to the visiting students and allowed it to be published, along with Karen Kipgen’s picture, by media outlets from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This, however, was not the most reprehensible reaction to her effort.

How would the Christian statesmen in the legislature respond? Would anyone defend Karen Kipgen? The awkwardness was palpable as Karen was left standing all alone under the national spotlight of condemnation, while the trouble-making assistant received a pass, her identity remaining anonymous. Rather than publicly supporting Karen in her stand for Biblical values, members of the legislature wilted before Oklahoma’s most vocal minority. But wouldn’t anyone? Activist sexual perverts have established a track record as the most hateful minority in the history of American society, seeking to bankrupt anyone who does not affirm their militant moral standards.

We have come to expect people like the un-named assistant and the media to froth at the mouth over opportunities to smear the innocent and to force their newly discovered moral absolutes on the entire culture. Drawing from the lessons of history, we learn that these new sexual morals are not new. They are ancient corruptions that have proven to be irrational failures.

Moral degeneracy has made great headway in contemporary American culture due to the decline of the American pulpit and the objective standard it is ordained to uphold. This greatest nation in the world, the beacon of Christian liberty, was founded in the midst of an enlightened culture made possible by the political sermons of its preachers, the Sunday afternoon Bible reading of its congregations1, and the leadership of those pastors who helped pave the way to the fight for our independence from a decadent England.

The gender disguising we witnessed recently in our Oklahoma Legislature is a part of the camouflage which French historian Arnold Toynbee indicated could never withstand the light of Biblical truth.2 Herbert Schlossberg, a leading scholar on the relationship between Christianity and societies, describes Toynbee’s camouflage as consisting primarily of the “myths of secularity that people have wrapped around academic disciplines.”3 Schlossberg goes on to note that, “Expelling the Biblical presuppositions that were the only ones that could provide a foundation for rationality, we unwittingly invited the irrational to join us.”4 He observes that while cultures have often survived the domination of wicked people in high places, they will not long survive the people’s insistence that wickedness be dominant nor the continual boast that evil is good.5

Are there any enlightened patriots in Oklahoma? Any real men who would do us the favor of occupying seats of leadership in our state? Is there a man anywhere who, in a position of elected leadership, would have praised Karen Kipgen for her foresight, decency, and leadership? Is there a leader in our midst who would have told those corrupt minds with loud voices that he stands between the vulnerable and those who pose even the hint of a threat?

It is long past time for Oklahoma’s preachers to preach absolute morality for the general culture, as did their Biblical predecessors. Men like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the Apostle Paul (Romans 1) knew that God’s law extended to all men and should never be shut up behind the closed doors of religious institutions. Perhaps from among such preachers we will find men to light our way back to the Kingdom of Heaven. After all, it is that Kingdom, when all the dust settles, which will appear eternally glorious. Let us pray for men with the wisdom and backbone to lead us in the direction of the Kingdom.

1 Angelo Codevilla, The Character of Nations, P 226, 227
2 Arnold Toynbee, Reconsiderations, Vol 12 of A Study of History, P 67
3 Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, P 169
4 Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, P 169
5 Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, P 296

from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/a-rebuke-of-legislators-preachers-by-bob-linn