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The Tea Party Agenda For Our Nation—Is This What You Want?

What does the so-called Tea Party stand for? What is the Tea Party agenda?

A recent blog post by Tea Party follower David Jennings at his Houston and Texas political blog Big Jolly Politics gives a clear sense of the ideologically extreme Tea Party agenda.

Mr. Jennings regularly attends and offers up observations from meetings of Tea Party cells. His most recent report from the Clear Lake Tea Party here in Houston gives a clear sense of a radical, unworkable, and often un-American Tea Party vision for our nation.

Reporting on a talk given the Clear Lake Tea Party member named Robert Gonzales, who Mr. Jennings describes as the “founder” of this local Tea Party cell, Mr. Jennings offers up a list Tea Party priorities for the days ahead.

Here are some of these Tea Party priorities as reported by Mr. Jennings—

* “Reject Obamacare.”

Repeal of Healthcare Reform will allow insurance companies  to once again toss people off coverage because they get sick, and will allow insurance companies to once again impose lifetime caps on policies. Is that what we want to go back to in our nation? Read about Healthcare Reform for yourself. It does a lot of good. For the extreme right in this nation, the issue is not the good points or the weak points of Healthcare Reform. Instead, it is all about political ideology and scoring political points no matter the merits of the program. You see the same with the reflexive far-right rejection to the idea of global warming.  No facts of any kind matter in the discussion. Ideology and anger are all that counts.

* ” Reinstate Judeo-Christian Values. ….Prayer back in schools and hanging the Ten Commandments in public buildings…”

People can pray anytime they want.  People can live true each and every day to the religious values they hold. Are these values so weak that they must be posted in every building? This would be little different from how an insecure and fearful totalitarian state posts propaganda in every classroom and in every possible location. Where is the confidence in ideas that Christians hold as eternal?  Does Christianity need government support? Can’t people find the truth for themselves rather than forcing one idea of truth on an ever-more diverse nation? What will stop a future government from posting anti-Christian messages in public buildings at some point?

* ” English as the official language….”

It sure would be intrusive of government to tell people how they should speak.  Will the declaration of an official language come with a language police? Will private business places that advertise to Spanish speaking customers or Chinese speaking customers be subject to fines or some type of official sanction?  Will people inform on others who are speaking the wrong language? We could set up a whole new language enforcement bureaucracy.

* “….Deport all illegal aliens, post the army along the border…”

How would we find all the undocumented people in this country? Raids into private business places and into private homes? Informants?  Does the Tea Party think they will just turn themselves in to the authorities?  Does the Tea Party think family and friends will just allow these people to plucked from their homes without a fight? If all undocumented people are being deported, what would they have to lose by fighting back? Do we really want the army employed for domestic purposes? Will the army take part in the raids to track down the so-called illegals? Once our country is cleansed of the illegals, what domestic mission will our army next be given? How about enforcing the payment of taxes? I think the army would be very useful for that purpose.

* “Repeal property taxes.”

Those three words are the extent of what Mr. Jennings wrote as the Tea Party goal on this subject. We already have no income taxes in Texas. Due to Republican mismanagement, Texas has a budget deficit of over $25 billion. Texas is nowhere near first in the quality of education we offer our children. How is “repeal property taxes” a serious idea in any respect?

* “ Reassert states rights under the 10th Amendment: Eliminate funding for EPA, education.”

It is worth noting that states rights is found in the Tea Party creed in the same place as is eliminating EPA and education funding. This is the states rights doctrine. It is about separating ourselves from the nation as a whole. Yet the air in Texas can be so bad that even the Republican State of Oklahoma has complained to the federal government. Being a bad neighbor can infringe on the rights of others. People in Houston know how bad the pollution was before stricter environmental regulations.

Do you think we should eliminate education funding? Kids who grow up in Texas are going to have to compete for jobs with kids from the rest of the nation and from around the world. Adherence to the lost cause of states rights will be cold comfort when you are breathing even more toxic air, and you are not educated well enough to get a job.

This radical Tea Party agenda is held by only a minority of Americans. But in mid-term elections with reduced turnout, a minority can easily carry the day. The same can be said for local elections that draw less attention than a Presidential election. The Tea Party is holding meetings and organizing.  Far-right ideas are held by some of the loudest voices in the 24 hour internet/cable news landscape.

It is the choice of every freedom loving American who values the future of our nation to either get involved in public affairs or, instead, to allow your life to be defined by others. Is the Tea Party/Republican Party plan outlined above what you want to see for  yourself, for your family, and for your nation?

Copyright 2011 Neil Aquino

January 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Air Is So Bad In Texas That It Offends Oklahoma—States Rights Views Infringe On Our Neighbors

Pollution coming from Texas is so bad that it offends Oklahoma.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Coal-fired power plants in Texas are responsible for dozens of bad air days in neighboring states each year, according to a new analysis released by an environmental group Tuesday. The study, produced by the Sierra Club, attributes as many as 64 days with harmful levels of smog in Oklahoma to Texas’ coal plants. It also ties the plants to as many as 20 days of unhealthy air in Arkansas and up to 16 in Louisiana. “The coal plants are a real problem — not just for Texas, but the entire region,” said Jennifer Powis, a regional representative for the Sierra Club, which opposes the new push to build more coal-fired plants in Texas. The report supports earlier concerns raised by Oklahoma officials about the potential impacts on their state from the nearly 30 coal-fired plants either operating, permitted or proposed in Texas. The attorney general for Oklahoma asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency in May to require Texas to show that the new plants will not foul the state’s air before issuing permits for construction…..Oklahoma, for example, had 64 days that exceeded soon-to-be-finalized federal limits for ozone in one year because of emissions from existing coal plants in Texas. The proposed plants would cause another 11 days of dirty air north of the Red River, the study concluded.”

Oklahoma is no tree-hugger place. Yet the air coming from Texas is so bad that Oklahoma is angry.

Texas is fighting the Environmental Protection Agency over clean air standards and over greenhouse gas emission standards.

It’s all part of the so-called states rights kick that Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the state legislature are indulging in for temporary political gain.

We cannot not forget that no man is an island.

We can say we are going it alone, but all things are connected. Our bad air is harming people in other states. It is also, of course, harming people in Texas as well.

States rights is a philosophy that may sound good to some. But the reality has been that over our national history, this idea has been used to justify the worst civil rights abuses.

In this case, we see that states rights views are being used in a way to justify even more harmful activity.

I am in no way a reflexive opponent of industry.

Industry is needed to create the products we use in our lives. People need the jobs that industry provides. The technology that drives industry is an extension of our intellects.

A balance must be found between clean air and the needs of industry. The State of Texas has no interest in finding that balance. The State of Texas wants to press ahead with an extreme ideological point at the expense of others.

When even a very conservative state like Oklahoma objects, you have to wonder if we are going overboard with a my-way-or-the-highway view in Texas.

We are playing the music very loud all day long and our neighbors object. We are not the only people who live in the neighborhood.

Public Citizen Texas is doing a great job in fighting for clean air and an economically prosperous future for  Texas. Check out the Public Citizen homepage and see the great work they are doing.

( Below–Picture I took a few months ago on a cloudy day of industry in Pasadena, Texas.)

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November 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment