Friday, December 26, 2014

How To Spot Two-Faced Politicians

 Murphey's Law
  Rep. Jason Murphey enjoys (okay, maybe 'enjoy' is the wrong word) a unique vantage point for ascertaining the true nature of some of his colleagues at the Oklahoma state capitol. This week he shares some insights for the sake of constituents who think a lawmaker' word is his true bond.
  His article is illustrative of the brazen hypocrisy and double-dealing ways of the halls of the legislative building.
          How to spot a 2-faced politician...     ©2014 Netflix
Murpheys Law: Two-faced Politicians
..."The large, faith-based group gave their attention to their speaker, an elected official, who to the casual observer appeared to be an individual of faith, motivated by the right reason and representing the important values for which this group spends much time and energy advocating.

But, those of us who are positioned to carefully observe the day-to-day activities of the political class knew the truth. This particular speaker is an extremely intelligent, shrewd politician who is one of Oklahoma's best at playing the taxpayer-funded political game...

As the chairperson of an important legislative committee, this person isn't content to just raise campaign contributions from one side of the issue, but is instead one of the most skilled politicians at perfecting the art form of shaking down lobbyists from both sides of a given point of view.
I suspect few if any of those who attended the faith-based event on that day had any idea of the facts described herein. They likely returned to their homes convinced of the politician's faith and support for issues of importance to them, completely unaware of the complicated taxpayer-funded game played by this person. But, in reality, they had just witnessed the work of one of Oklahoma's most clever politicians."

Read more at Murphey's Law 
David Van Risseghem

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Redefining the Drug War

 At this point, I am not willing to support a complete decriminalization of all recreational drug laws. In various writings of our founding fathers, we read the word "experiment" used to describe our new government. I see that same experimenting going on to this very day.  So it seems prudent to continually review our nation & state's public policy regarding issues which we are performing terribly at. So if you ask me about trying another tactic, I'll gladly take interest. But it has to produce practical results.
So many libertarians miss a key component in persuading folks to rethink a strategy on various banned herbs.  If I was going to embark on a new course, it would start with the herbs. Here is how I would define the issue to the public:
  1.  First of all, we will always need to be vigilant about public safety and the legitimate need to keep laws about endangering the public through personal intoxication. We need to speak passionately about the current inability to focus law enforcement assets on public safety because too much of our assets are paying for nonviolent simple possession incarcerations. Our courts and prisons are spending billions on exacting a punishment for things which are no more dangerous than a fella having a 6-pack in the refrigerator.
  2.  Secondly, our juvenile population needs to be protected from exploitation by those who would distribute these banned herbs.We need to take a lesson from Bill Clinton's success with "soccer moms". He didn't just talk in "Washington speak" . Women 'felt' his compassion. He stereotype "I feel your pain" language was very effective. These moms want a safe society for their kids!
  3.  A very strong argument can be made that our economy will have a HUGE SURGE of prosperity as this commerce is subjected to the same tax code as other retail items. The added revenues from this alone will fund extra cops who can patrol neighborhood schools, parks, & shopping districts. Kids can be much safer in our communities with a proper realignment of community and state policies on banned chemicals.
  4.  The organized crime associated with the huge industry is causing so much secondary crime. Even unrelated conflicts are being settled among gangs through drive-by shootings and other hit squad activities. They won't call the police when their home is broken into, because they do not want law enforcement tipped off about their associations or possessions. So they hire someone to exact a punishment upon whomever they guess is responsible.Marijuana is the biggest cash-cow of the criminal underground. Just adopting a Colorado reform would help defeat organized crime in the same way Al Capone was brought down by the end of liquor prohibition.
  You can argue your personal rights all you want; but if your emphasis is selfish, the soccer mom will also be just as selfish in her demands that the whole society abstain for the sake of her own kids. I'm not saying the personal rights argument isn't valid. I'm just saying it isn't going to win over anyone except the guy who's already secretly consuming banned herbs.
  And it just might be better to call this an experiment with a new public policy. Folks might be willing to try this new tact on a temporary basis. A person who is convinced of the correctness of this new public policy ought not be afraid that the practical results won't make their own convincing argument within 3 years.
David Van Risseghem

Monday, December 22, 2014

Making Room for Conservative Growth

  As a transplant from Liberal Minnesota, I spent much of the early 80s being a college kid and active student of the Oklahoma lifestyle.  What stunned me most is that Oklahomans didn't try so hard to run each other's lives. We didn't see the same mandate for state controls, and we are generally insulted that the eastern liberals in Washington display such an arrogant smugness to dictate every aspect of daily life.
  Then I joined the Republican party when Ronald Reagan used his superior communication skills to help me realize that freedom meant more than just surviving a global cold war. It meant that my own government was a potential danger to my freedom. That I should resist the well-intentioned big govt. fixes, because they often become the worst intrusions. And we can't seem to get rid of added bureaucracy once it becomes entrenched in the federal code and budget.
  Then I joined the Pat Robertson campaign, in 1988. I was not alone. Robertson escorted masses of new Evangelical Republicans into local and state party rolls.
  Did the old party regulars like the new life-blood of social conservatives? Yes, and no. Many were the voices of folks who felt threatened that the OKGOP would become a cult. They were convinced that the Evangelical conservatives would usher in Ayatollahs to rewrite the party platform from a fundamentalist filter.
  The latter 80s & into the mid 90s were a time of uncomfortable party distrust. We overheard so many insulting jokes about our passion and values. but it was also the beginning of a massive wave of political success. It took 25 years, but we learned to get along (mostly) and find our mutual values.
  Now we are met with a new friend, who's really not new at all! the Goldwater Republicans became the base of the Reagan Revolution. There was a time when establishment Republicans (including GHW Bush) used scary rhetoric to seek to diminish Reagan from within party ranks. (remember 'voodoo economics'?)
It was Reagan's Libertarian principles which the moderate factions used in an attempt to paint him as a nut. But after 8 years of Reagan, they all claimed that they were really his allies all along? Hmmm?
  In a 2012 party battle over state delegates, I told several party leaders; 
"I recall a time when I and my social conservative allies were seen a a grave threat to the OKGOP. We were treated horribly by some and much maligned for the reforms we felt passionate about."
I went on to conclude; 
"I don't want to treat the Libertarian faction with the same disgusting behavior that I and my evangelical brethren were treated to!".
  I feel that the 80s & 90s Evangelicals added a lot to the party. And I know we all helped enact a political revolution of the Sooner State.
  I also feel the Libertarians of today are forwarding some good ideas in many areas. They warned us that the 'Patriot Act' could result in some hideous spying and taxing abuses of the federal agencies; which came to be true. They warned us our monetary and lending policy would usher in the 2nd American Great Depression long before the Fall 2008 crash. They warned us that the same social & behavioral morals which we sought to enforce by legal code could be flipped so as to force us to pay the bill for aborting babies, & other contraceptive aids.
  Now we know there are good and bad ways of implementing any ideas. There are brilliant thinkers in every movement. Without good communicators, however; even the greatest principles will fail to be implemented because trust is essential to a democracy. Citizens need to know that a leader cares about the fears and aspirations of folks who feel vulnerable to the effects of the public policy of every level of government.
   So intellectual debates alone, will not win the day. We need to learn from Reagan's legacy and make every effort to communicate in a far superior way, so that all the rhetoric and demagogue of the left will fail to dissuade the public from their trust in conservative policies for governance. 
David Van Risseghem

Friday, December 19, 2014

RNC Sets New Rules For Presidential Race

  National Review recently reported on little-known rule changes made by the Republican National Committee members.
  1. States selecting before March 15 will be restricted not to allow winner-take-all. All statewide delegates will be awarded proportionately.
  2. States selecting after March 15 can award winner-take-all statewide delegates.
  3. Caucus states must award statewide delegates proportionate to Caucus night results.
  While the first 2 rules we  listed seem to support candidates with lasting power (well-funded/dedicated following), the 3rd item seems to reward movement candidates with broad popularity within conservative party circles.
  Oklahoma was run by similar rules in 2012. While Rick Santorum led throughout the primary campaign, his win only garnered slightly more than 1/3 of the delegates. Gingrich came in 3rd, behind Santorum & Romney, but collected nearly as many delegates as Santorum. Ron Paul did not meet the threshold for receiving state delegates.
  Efforts to mount a state convention coup will result in less real benefit to an ultra-committed small band of activists. 
  Iowa was a hotbed of scandal in 2012. First, the Romney campaign benefited from a willful refusal to report the most accurate totals (which put Santorum over the top). That led to a State Committee party fight and resignations. Then the Ron Paul team won everything at the state convention, and even removed the elected leadership from office a year early.
Read a detailed report at National Review,here.
David Van Risseghem

A New Kind Of Precinct Meeting

Several Precinct Meetings Will Look Much Different, This Winter.

After meeting with lawmakers, precinct members break
into groups at a central meeting of several precincts.
  A growing trend of change in the OKGOP county organizations will be effecting many active Republicans, this year. The State Executive Committee is granting broad approval to County Executive Committees, to move precinct meetings down the road a few miles and coordinate numerous clusters into an event which will give voters greater access to lawmakers and party officials.
  Several Legislative members are hosting events at Libraries, schools, & churches. this will take a good amount of hosting pressures off local precinct committees and make a more inviting atmosphere for new voters and potentially active party members. The county leaders of the party are looking for ways to better publicize the events and give newly organized precincts more on-site assistance for turning dormant precincts into new growth in the GOP.
A portion of the letter from the OKGOP leadership, to county leaders.
  The Sooner Politics research team scoured the pages of the OKGOP Rules and we are now convinced that the move is on solid ground with the stated rules of the party. The state leadership included an instruction for this, in their call for Biennial Precinct Meetings. Their wording is a bit inaccurate, in that they believe a county has this authority, but the rules state that only when the state executive committee grants this latitude (which they have) does the county leadership have authority to move Biennial meetings outside the precinct boundaries.
  Other regular precinct meetings are completely governed by that precinct's own leadership, but when the county issues delegate credentials to attend and represent the precinct's voters at a county convention, then the county can stipulate a number of requirements for how that precinct meeting is conducted. OKGOP Rule 5 seems to contradict the action, but the Biennial Precinct Event is governed by Rule 16.
  Like any other new initiative, this effort will have some resistance to change. Human nature being what it is, a few folks will see a sinister plot or a power-grab. But this is a discretionary act by county volunteers who are seeking ways to address both problems and opportunities.
David Van Risseghem
  Sooner Politics is looking forward to hearing from participants and several have said that the Oklahoma City Republicans have been using this format for several years.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Join the Party!


The Oklahoma Republicans
Want You To Join
& Make the Party Bigger, Better,
& More Enduring

  Next month, the Oklahoma Republicans will hold a massive number of local meetings to elect new leadership for your neighborhood, your county, region, and state. Almost every office is open for party elections.

  We will compile a public policy document (platform) elaborating the guiding principles we promote. you can help us write it!

  We will send delegates to the larger conventions and in most cases, you can be a part of that delegation (we do open delegations).
  • Do you have an issue you want to see changes in?
  • Do you want to run for political office some day?
  • Do you want to support political reform?
  The Oklahoma Republicans have county organizations run by good people who want to hear from you and invite you to your neighborhood's next meeting. But we need to hear from you, soon.
... We aren't 
controlled by
union bosses,
 mob rackets,
 or Ayatollahs

  All of the neighborhood (we call them a precinct) meetings will occur sometime in January and there are thousands of them, so I can't post them all on this page.

  We aren't controlled by union bosses, mob rackets, or Ayatollahs. We are a massive bunch of diverse folks from every age (some are in high school and some are in nursing homes). Some will meet at coffee shops while others meet in mansions. But all of us are dedicated to a better government which better serves the great people of Oklahoma.

  We love the freedom our nation was founded upon, and believe in the goodness that drives us to help carry the burdens of others, that can't be carried alone.
  Call your county leader, today. Refer to this link for your county's organizers.
   We will save a seat for you!
David Van Risseghem

Say 'NO' to Oklahoma Super delegates!

OKGOP Executive Committee Recommends Breaking Party Rules

  In the call to the 77 counties for selecting delegates, The OKGOP Letter officially calling for biennial convention, has openly recommended that the county chairmen consider picking delegates for or possibly in place of duly elected precinct delegations.
  On page 14 of the PDF file sent to the county chairmen, the letter  recommended a process to pick people who neither attend their local precinct caucus meeting, nor even communicate with them. Then they recommend that these unknown  individuals be allowed to seek credentials up to the week of the county conventions!
  This trick is not new. This is one of the ways Gerald Ford used his power and influence to defeat Ronald Reagan, in 1976, for the Republican nomination.  And Bush41 tried to do the same thing in the 1988 presidential primaries.
David Van Risseghem
Page 14 recommends violating permanent party rules.
  The OKGOP Rules state that a precinct has the sole authority to select it's own delegation. If no one holds a lawful meeting, no delegates are credentialed from that precinct. We all have equal footing and voting power in this Grand Old Party; and we need to keep it that way. Delegate credentials are not free tokens given away to reward contributions, political favors, settle debts, or any other unauthorized activity!

Post Note: I heard from 2 executives who both said they were only asked to vote on the time, date, & distribution on delegate votes.
If the executive committee is lying, I'd like Chairman Weston to set the record straight. Otherwise, since the letter recommends violating party rules; and the job description for state chairman is to enforce the party rules, then an impeachable offense has occurred.

Friday, December 5, 2014

How Many Prohibitions Do We Keep?

  As a 'teetotaler', I am glad our nation ended it's "war on liquor" 81 years ago. While I personally discourage leisure consumption, The abuse of the legal code for the sake of oppressing personal freedoms which we don't personally approve of, is really not in keeping with the founding principles of our nation.
  • We don't make atheism illegal. 
  • We don't make swinger clubs illegal. 
  • We don't make fortune-telling illegal.
  I urge continued prosecution of those who endanger the public or exploit children through liquor marketing and consumption, But if the fella next door sips a bourbon before bedtime, that's his business. I hope he sleeps peacefully.
  I'm just glad that organized crime was dealt a deadly blow by removing the prohibition amendment. Al Capone and other racketeers made millions off illegal liquor.
  Now if others draw a parallel between liquor then, and hemp, today; we might have an intellectually stimulating discussion... 
David Van Risseghem

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Can The OKGOP Leadership Do Better?

   As the Oklahoma Republican Party nears a state of full saturation in state government, the concern is not so much whether the Republican lawmaker is being heard, but rather; does the Republican politician even speak for the conservative electorate who sent him to the capital. There will always be the opportunist seeking to hitch his horse to the back of the party wagon. But that politician is primarily self-seeking, whose aim is principally to get himself re-elected.
   As the local town folk shake off the last bit of Democrat dust and seek leaders who will provide good government.  That goodness is also defined by how free the people can remain. 
  • How few regulations we bind upon the backs of producers. 
  • How little taxes we extract from income earners.
  • How efficiently we solve state challenges in cooperation with other private & public sector solutions.
  • How the great traditions and values of our diverse families are celebrated, rather than maligned.
   What message will our massive majority of elected officials support in unity and great resolve?  Can anyone command the respect and trust of the elected officials, so that the legislature produces sound conservative legislation? Is there a person with sufficient moral authority to insure that state agencies adopt regulations which reflect the strong commitment to liberty which our founding fathers fought & died for?
   I believe our Republican Party needs now, more than ever; to be disciplined in how we identify state challenges. Last Winter we watched a sneak attack of compromised Republican senators who sought to give away the Oklahoma Electoral College votes to a compact of mostly liberal states. It is reported that the OKGOP chairman (David Weston) voiced some displeasure in this sly maneuver. But the Bingman-controlled senate just ignored Weston altogether.
 Why is that?
   Even the local Republican party apparatus is confused by some of Weston's actions. This past Spring, Weston demanded the resignation of a County Chairman, citing a "state party rule" which bars her from her county chairmanship if she files for elective office. There is no such rule; and Weston should know this. To date there is no record of retraction or apology from Weston for seeking to prohibit the County Chairman of her full participation in the party (an infraction so serious that it should result in Weston's removal from office).
   Last Winter the party leadership planned one of the biggest formal fundraiser events, at the Tulsa Renaissance Hotel Ballroom. The details of the event eventually helped get the ball cancelled (postponed, but never rescheduled). Those details upset large numbers of Tea Party members because the headliner (Mike Huckabee) was promised a percentage of the event proceeds. But more specifically, the proceeds were earmarked to go to HuckPAC, where they would be redirected toward opposing the Tea Party candidates in states like Kentucky & Tennessee. Dinosaur senators like Alexander & McConnell were among the biggest intended recipients of  funds from the OKGOP Ball.
Senator Randy Brogdon
   We do have better options. We just need to encourage good leaders to come up to the platform and lead.  When I look around for better options, one name comes to mind. The Sooner State GOP has a rare opportunity to choose a well-known and highly respected former state senator for our next state chairman. Senator Randy Brogdon is said to be considering the race for GOP State Party Chairman. With sufficient rank-and-file support, we could see  a leader like Brogdon lay the groundwork for a successful effort to be the next state GOP chairman. And that is good news for conservatives who want political discipline and a clear conservative message to be promoted throughout the state and exported to the rest of the nation.
   The passion of the values voters, liberty advocates,  and the visionaries who see the potential in a state which puts off the bondage of mounting taxes, debt, and oppressive regulation; want a more effective leader who can channel the energy and conviction of the Tea Party into a Republican return to the sound governance which respects freedom and rewards the industriousness and ingenuity of the free market.
David Van Risseghem
   We need to do better than this current confused effort. We need a better state party leader whose capacity to lead is proportionate to the overwhelming majority of voters' choice.