Category Archives: Environment

Whose World Is It Anyway?

This morning I read an interesting article on OZY titled “Don’t Let Old People Vote!” I won’t go into great detail, but it did raise an interesting question for me: Whose world is it anyway?

One of my independent opponents, Rick Tyler, longs for a return to the way the U.S. was in the 1950s and 1960s, when white Christian Conservatives were in control. Tyler is extreme, certainly, but parts of his attitude are reflected in many older Americans. Opposition to gay marriage and equality, environmental protection, improved funding for education are all much greater among older Americans than younger, while older Americans are more likely to vote than younger Americans.

This is due at least in part due to the fact that voter registration isn’t automatic. The seventy-five-year-old who has lived in the same house for forty years hasn’t had to re-register, while the twenty-five-year-old recent college graduate likely had to re-register when moving from home to college, then when switching apartments, then when moving from college to the new job–possibly six or seven moves since turning eighteen. If the twenty-five-year-old is in Tennessee, that requires mailing in a new registration form for each move at least thirty days before an election, since there is no electronic voter registration. Thus, part of the reason for lower voter turnout among young Americans is systemic, rather than simply being voter apathy.

This is problematic, because older Americans are, effectively, voting to force younger Americans to live in the world they want, rather than in the world older Americans would like to return. Unfortunately, the world they want cannot return, because America is unlikely to return to a manufacturing economy, not due to moving jobs out of the country but due to increased automation–and that automation is only going to continue to allow workers to improve productivity, which will continue to decrease the number of workers needed. We need trade laws that protect intellectual property rights (although not to the extreme duration that the Trans-Pacific Partnership mandates), because these are areas where the U.S. still excels. Protecting the environment is also less important to older Americans, because they are unlikely to suffer the consequences. Their college wasn’t free, so why should it be for younger Americans–ignoring the fact that a college student in their day could pay for school, room, and board with a part-time job plus a full-time job in the summer? And, of course, many older Americans don’t think that racism and homophobia was really that bad–because LGBT people stayed closeted and minorities “knew their place.”

As anyone who has read more than one post on this blog knows, I’m not a normal politician. I don’t look forward to tomorrow, next week, or next year: I look ten, twenty, and fifty years into the future. I think we need to be planning an online voting infrastructure now, and it should be trivial for someone to change their address in the system. I think we need to continue to improve our environmental standards–but we need to make sure that while improving standards we don’t also increase the regulatory burden on American businesses. If we add a new reporting requirement, we need to remove an existing one. Civil rights protections need to cover any group subject to discrimination on any basis besides their ability to do a job–with appropriate accommodations, where needed–or to pay for the goods and services provided. I have said before that we need to move toward a single-payer health care system, both to allow U.S. manufacturers to compete on a level playing field internationally and to make part-time employment affordable for Americans and small businesses.

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(from Pinterest. Original artist unknown.)

I have argued before that we need to consider raising the age for Social Security, but given current population trends, this may not be the best route. The world population growth rate is currently about half that of the 1960s–1.13% compared to 2.2%–and falling. Depending on the rate of improvement in automation, we may have to tweak the workforce by manipulating the retirement age upward or downward. If we find that we have too many workers, it may be useful to drop the retirement age to free up those slots. We may even get to the point where a universal basic income becomes viable and desirable, in the case of automation greatly reducing the need for labor. It isn’t something that we can afford today, and much more research needs to be done, but it is something that we should consider as an option later.

I don’t fear the future. I don’t think you should either–and you shouldn’t vote for anyone who does. We need to manage the world so that we don’t irreparably damage it while we are getting there, but the world can be an incredible place. We just need politicians who won’t sabotage us on our way there.

The election is in four days. Do your research, then get out and vote. Thanks for reading!

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Filed under Education, Environment, Gay Marriage and Gender Issues, Health Care, Listening, Racism, Social Security, Technology

Back to Work…

I have had a very busy couple of weeks, with having a sick kid, taking same kid back and forth to Louisville, and catching a bit of her bug myself. I did vote on Thursday, but, as is normal, I did not vote for candidates who actually won.

I did learn that 70.35% of the primary voters in the 3rd District voted for Republican candidates, and that the Democratic nominee, Melody Shekari, ended up with under 2% of the potential voters in the district (8,651 votes of an estimated 541,000 residents over 18–I dropped foreign-born people from the Census number, figuring that while many of them became U.S. citizens and were registered to vote, we probably lose a roughly equal number of felons). The level of voter apathy is disheartening, to be certain.

So now we are down to five candidates in the 3rd District:

  1. Chuck Fleischmann – Republican Incumbent
  2. Melody Shekari – Democrat
  3. Rick Tyler – Independent “Make America White Again”
  4. Cassandra Mitchell – Independent (Green Party/Jill Stein supporter)
  5. Me

If we were to create a continuum from right to left views, we get something like this:

3rdContinuum

Obviously, this is my opinion, based on their positions on their websites. Fleischmann votes with the GOP almost all of the time and the GOP is trending right. Shekari is a Clinton Democrat, not a Sanders Democrat, so she’s more moderate. I had a long Skype conversation with Cassandra Mitchell, so I feel pretty confident in that analysis. Tyler had a very positive reaction from the Roane County Tea Party, so I feel that he is to the right of Fleischmann. I put myself in the middle because I’m all over the spectrum, depending on the issue. On most social issues, I’m pretty liberal, but on many fiscal issues I am pretty conservative. And I didn’t give myself a logo because I’m not part of any group. I have had a few groups try to get me to join them, but I think I would better serve as a true independent.

I have had a few people on Twitter ask for my support on various bills, and how I handled those should be an indication of how I would handle things if elected:

  • Read – Read the proposed legislation and related documents
  • Listen – Listen to people on all sides of the issue
  • Think – Does this bill adequately address the problem without creating more problems? How much does this bill cost? Does this bill benefit one class of people at the expense of another?
  • Vote

Currently, because of the abysmally low voter turnout, the tone coming from both sides in the presidential race, and the general level of fear in society overall, I am not in the most optimistic mood regarding the future of our country and the world. The problem, of course, is that I am having a hard time balancing the concerns I hear from people with the actual facts, which suggest that we are on the verge of an incredible future.

There are two interesting trends that most people don’t get. I remember growing up and seeing the world population graphs that suggested we were having a population explosion–and we were. But now the story is quite different. The rate of world population growth has been declining since 1970. There are varying estimates of the continuing rate of decline, but if we have a constant rate of decrease based on what has happened the past thirty years, the population will stop increasing around 2065. There are good and bad reasons for the decrease in birth rate: Improved education for women–women have fewer children if they know what causes pregnancy, improved accessibility to birth control, and population management methods (most notably the draconian measures taken in China).

While this is happening we are seeing a simultaneous dramatic growth in the Gross World Product. Since 1950 the GWP has grown by a factor of eight, while the world population has grown by a factor of three. Here’s what things look like from 2010 to 2100:

WorldPop-GWP

Right now the per capita GWP is around $10,500 per year. So if we went pure communist and divided the world’s production evenly, each person would have $10,500 on which to live. This is just below the U.S. federal poverty line for individuals ($11,800), but above the line for couples ($16,020 vs. $21,000) and families. Of course, if we went pure communist we would also kill the GWP growth rate.

Where things get interesting is around 2060, where if we tax at 30%–which is about what the average person pays now in combined income, sales, and property taxes–we end up with enough money to put everyone above the poverty line. By 2100, the amount is enough to provide almost $40,000 in benefits to everyone. The bottom line is pretty simple:

For the first time in human history, resource scarcity won’t be important.

As such, we really need to think about public policy differently. I think we need to focus on three areas:

  1. We need to act so that we do not screw up the world population trend. Keep increasing educational opportunities for women in poorer countries and make sure that birth control is accessible and affordable.
  2. We need to make sure we don’t screw up the world economy. We need to continue to promote trade–which includes trading labor via immigration–and avoid isolationism. We need government investment in basic scientific research so that private industry can apply that research to new products. We need government investment in infrastructure to encourage commerce.
  3. We need to make sure we don’t screw up the planet in the next hundred years while we wait for technology to catch up with human needs.

If we stay the course, we are going to end up with a pretty incredible world. If we are smart about our course corrections, we can make this happen decades earlier. If we are stupid and greedy–if people interpret “Make America Great Again” as “Make America Great and Screw Everyone Else”–we can make the trendlines we saw in the 1950s and 1960s true again.

As such, I will work to steer policy in that direction. I will look to steer foreign aid toward projects that educate women. I will vote for legislation that increases funding for basic scientific research–as the return on investment tends to be at or near break even for the government anyway, and I will vote for intelligent infrastructure investment. I will vote for good environmental legislation: legislation that protects the environment while improving reporting and record-keeping requirements to lessen the burden on businesses. None of this is a zero-sum game: We can help people, business, and the environment at the same time. If we steer a smart course, we will all end up winners.


I will get back to my review of the GOP platform tomorrow. Thanks for reading–and feel free to tell me how horrible my new website header graphic is.

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Filed under Environment, Stuff About Me, Technology, Tennessee 3rd District

Republican Party Platform (Part 2 of ?)

logo-GOP

Building the Future

Technology

There’s not much controversial here. The key here seems to be private-public partnerships, which are fine–if they work. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband internet, the private players, pardon my language, suck. EPB here want to expand to the rural areas around Chattanooga, but Republican state legislators are blocking the move while Comcast and AT&T do nothing. Similarly, I agree that we are improving private launch capabilities for space research, but NASA needs adequate funding, which the GOP is unwilling to give.

America’s Electric Grid

“We support expedited siting processes and the thoughtful expansion of the grid so that consumers and businesses continue to have access to affordable and reliable electricity.”

I am pretty sure “expedited siting processes” is doublespeak for “weakened environmental regulations.” I don’t have a problem with streamlining the approval processes, as long as appropriate safeguards are in place. But the party of Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon–our two best environmental presidents–doesn’t particularly care about the environment.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Toward a Start-up Century

Once again we see talk of reducing regulatory burden when what we really need is to reduce the paperwork burden. The GOP wants to “consider the effect of capital gains rates,” but we all know that the GOP ideal would be to eliminate capital gains taxes.

What gets me here though is the mention of “National Labs, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and elements of the Defense Department” as “incubators of unconventional thinking.” So fund them. Democrats won’t argue.

The Federal Reserve

 

RonPaul

More transparency in the Federal Reserve System is probably a good thing. I’m not sure that annual audits are necessary, but some regular audits would not be horrible. I cannot help but get a little twitchy when someone talks about going back to the gold standard, as this is typically conspiracy theorist fodder.

Workplace Freedom for a Twenty-First Century Workforce

Often, “workplace freedom” is doublespeak for “giving employers the freedom to treat employees like commodities instead of like people.” Having said that, there are things in U.S. labor law that need reform. The Project Labor Agreements the GOP opposes often require union workers on government construction contracts–but minority construction workers tend to be non-union, leaving them out in the cold.

I have notice a disturbing trend in U.S. business regarding employees, and it is filled with irony. The group responsible for employees within organizations was rebranded from “Personnel” to “Human Resources” and is currently undergoing a second rebranding from “Human Resources” to “Workforce Management.” In the literature, HR-types justify the change by saying personnel departments treated employees like tools and HR treats employees as assets, but I disagree. I think personnel departments treated employees like people. (I think workforce management is a shift from assets to commodities, reflecting the disposable nature of employees.)

Transparency in unions is important, but I can’t help thinking that the objective here is to further weaken unions. Donald Trump is anti-union in his own businesses, and the party platform reflects that. I think many technology workers, for example, need union protection, as often their working conditions are borderline abusive, and they are under the constant threat of being replaced by imported H-1B workers.

If Republicans wanted true workplace freedom, they would move away from employer-provided health care and toward a single-payer system. One immediate benefit of this is that it would give parents to work part-time schedules while raising their children without fear of losing benefits or seniority–which should help reduce the wage gap. For many families, a forty-hour work week doesn’t make sense, and there is evidence that shorter work weeks make employees healthier, happier, and more productive. As pro-family as the Republicans claim to be, giving people the freedom to spend more time with their children would go a long way.

Having said all this, the actual policy recommendations in this section are pretty reasonable. As with anything, the devil is in the details.

The Federal Workforce

(There’s that word!)

“Federal employees receive extraordinary pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector.”

The United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. The average U.S. private sector worker gets 16 paid days off–vacation days and holidays–per year. Every EU country has a legal minimum of four weeks paid vacation, not including holidays, which is what full-time federal employees get after three years of service. So, on vacation time, the federal government is in line with the rest of the world. To me, that indicates that we should pass legislation to bring the private sector into line with the federal government, and not the other way around.

As far as pension benefits go, I wouldn’t have any problem with transitioning federal pension plans toward 401(k)-type retirement plans, provided they included matching similar to what good private employers offer.

The big picture, though, is that I think much of this section is just spiteful. Most federal employees tend to vote Democratic, so slapping them around would make Republicans feel good.

We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government

This is largely a propaganda section. I’m sure I’ll address most of the problems with this as the specific issues arise further in the document.

The Judiciary

The GOP wants a Supreme Court that will overturn decisions like Roe v. Wade (abortion), Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage), and the various decisions that kept Obamacare in place. Of course they do.

Administrative Law

The platform sees a problem with executive branch workers creating rules instead of Congress. Raise your hand if you think Donald Trump wouldn’t rule by decree. George W. Bush wrote more executive orders than Obama has (Obama will probably end with slightly fewer at the end of his term), but Republicans weren’t complaining then.

The First Amendment

Religious Liberty

This section is mostly baseless fear mongering and a twisted interpretation of Amendment I’s religious liberty clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The Supreme Court has, on numerous occasions, interpreted this as meaning that government and government employees cannot endorse one set of religious beliefs over another. A religious school can require a teacher to belong to that school’s religion and to live according to its tenets, but it can’t require the same from the custodian, as teaching religion has nothing to do with the custodian’s job and thus would violate anti-discrimination laws. Public school teachers, coaches, and administrators cannot lead public prayers or allow school equipment, such as amplifiers, to be used for that purpose, but there is nothing that prevents students from doing this on their own–and there is no danger of any law passing that would prohibit this, and even if it did, it would be unconstitutional. 

I have no desire to restrict anyone’s ability to practice their religion, but I do think many people–like certain megachurch leaders–abuse the tax-free status of their institutions. Likewise, when a business like the new Ark Encounter discriminates in their hiring practices, they should not receive government tax credits.

The platform also condemns those who would boycott businesses that “support traditional marriage.” I strongly oppose anyone who threatens violence against said businesses, but a for-profit business is not a church, and as such is subject to state and federal civil rights legislation. Even if the business is not violating the law, there is no reason to compel someone to support business owners who disagree with their views or lifestyle. Frankly, if you’re going to conduct your business according to your perceived Christian values, post those values so people don’t waste their time and yours.

The platform supports the display of the Ten Commandments–which version?–in public places. There is nothing wrong with that, provided that members of all religions are allowed to equally display texts from their religions. The Constitution does not give Christianity a privileged place in American society.

The bottom line is this: You are free to practice your religion in any way that you want, but you are not allowed to do this while representing the government or with the use of government resources. The Constitution was written to guarantee equal treatment of beliefs, without interference from the government. The Republicans believe that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation, despite John Adams’ explicit words to the contrary, and want to make it into one.

A Personal Note

As you may have guessed from the above, I am not a Christian. Depending on your definition, I am agnostic or atheist, based on where you choose to draw the line. I was baptized Catholic, but for various reasons–mostly my inability to believe in miracles–I don’t think I ever believed in the Christian God. I believe that Christianity can make some people much better, but I have seen warped versions of Christianity turn people into monsters. Most of my friends are Christian, including one preacher, and I respect–and sometimes envy–their faith. It would be better for me politically to either hide my lack of religion or pretend to be Christian, but I would rather be honest and true to myself than dishonest and loved.

The candidate in this race who emphasizes his Christianity the most is Rick Tyler. If you think that all Christians are better than all atheists, you really need to take a long look in the mirror.

Constitutionally Protected Speech

“Limits on political speech serve only to protect the powerful and insulate incumbent officeholders.”

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Charles Dharapak/AP/Corbis

OK…I’m back.

The GOP is opposed to overturning Citizens United because they benefit tremendously from it. Likewise, they would like churches to be able to engage in political activities, currently prohibited by their status as 501(c)(3) non-profits. Congress has repeatedly passed legislation–which courts have upheld–that prohibits campaigning by organizations that operate on a tax-free basis. If this restriction were not in place, it would certainly be abused by candidates and political parties.


That brings me to page 13 of the 58-page platform.

Tomorrow night I will be speaking to the Roane County Tea Party. I hope this meeting is better than the last one I attended.

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Filed under Corporate America, Environment, Religion, Republicans, Taxation, Technology

Democratic Party Platform – 2016 Draft (Part 3 of 6)

Part 1

Part 2

DNC Logo

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

The Democrats are far, far better on environmental issues than the Republicans. I am interested to see what the Republican platform says, but my guess is that it will be wrong on climate change. Overall, I am disappointed in this section only being a page and a half long.

Clean Energy Economy

I like what the platform says here, especially about wanting to make a huge push toward clean energy in the next decade. I would like to see something about how cutting reliance on fossil fuels will also help the trade deficit and reduce the income potential for Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, like ISIS. (That it also hurts Putin’s Russia is a bonus.)

Environmental and Climate Justice

This is an interesting section, but, like some previous sections, it does more problem definition than suggesting solutions. People responsible for water poisoning like what happened in Flint need to be held accountable with jail time. We need to make sure that communities threatened by climate change get the resources they need to lessen the effects of rising sea levels or dangerous storms. Loan guarantees to help people make their homes and businesses more resistant to storms would be a good first step.

Public Lands and Waters

I love the National Park Service. Western senators, typically Republicans, continuously push to allow for mineral and forestry exploitation of public lands. We need to carefully review such requests to make sure that the long-term environmental effects are trivial. I would have liked to see the platform call for fully funding the National Park Service, which, from an economic standpoint, makes sense, as the 10-to-1 return on investment for the economy means the government makes a profit on funds invested.

Provide Quality and Affordable Education

Higher Education

Given Clinton’s recent statements on making public four-year colleges free for families making under $125,000 per year, I expect this section to be updated, as this version only calls for making community colleges free. I would prefer that this section not only focus on college education, but a return to vocational education as well, since many jobs don’t–or shouldn’t!–require four-year degrees.

Student Debt

I would prefer to see some means here to give preferential treatment to students in majors where there’s a realistic career path, but what is here is pretty good.

For-Profit Schools

Tightening the requirements for for-profit schools is a must. We are wasting billions of dollars in federal financial aid on these schools. I know it’s anecdotal, but I have yet to know someone who has received long-term gainful employment as a result of a degree from one of these places.

Early Childhood, Pre-K, and K-12

This section hits the buzzwords, but I’m not sure it actually changes anything.

  • Early Head Start – Check
  • High academic standards – Check
  • Better balance on testing – Check
  • Mentoring – Check
  • Recruiting teachers – Check
  • STEM – Check
  • Opposed to for-profit charter schools – Check

While they stay the course, the Republicans are supporting things that actually damage the system:

Testing will still be fatally flawed, unless they can grasp the concept that the only way to measure student progress is to get a baseline at the beginning of the term, test at the end, and compare the difference. Measure improvement, not the actual final score.


For a party that is supposedly progressive, there’s very little progressive in their positions on the environment and education. I don’t expect to get to Part 4 (Healthcare and “Principled Leadership”) until Monday, so enjoy your weekend.

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The Chattanooga Tea Party and “Agenda 21”

I took Zari with me to a meeting of the Chattanooga Tea Party tonight. It was educational and informative. One of my opponents, Ron Bhalla, was also in attendance. Like I’ve said before, I like Ron and much of his platform, and since independents can vote in primaries in Tennessee, I will probably vote for him in the Republican primary.

Tonight’s meeting opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance–we’ll get back to that. After explaining the mission of the Tea Party (“The Chattanooga Tea Party is a grassroots-initiated non-partisan outcry against the deliberate, irresponsible, and unconstitutional policies resulting from the growth of our Federal Government’s size and power.”) and making some announcements, including the announcement that the Chattanooga Tea Party will be hosting Rick Santorum on February 25th, and announcing an Education and Training Summit from Common Sense Chattanooga, the speakers for the evening were introduced. Don Casey and Ken Freeman lead the Alliance for Citizens Rights (ACR), an Alabama-based group focused on the evils of “Agenda 21,” sustainable development, and comprehensive planning. I can’t remember if it took two or three slides for them to lose me.

Reductio ad Hitlerum (a.k.a. Godwin’s Law)

From Wikipedia: Reductio ad Hitlerum is an ad hominem or ad misericordiam argument whereby an opponent’s view is compared to a view that would be held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party. It is a fallacy of irrelevance, in which a conclusion is suggested based solely on something’s or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning. The suggested logic is one of guilt by association. Sometimes, in online use, this is called Godwin’s Law, where the argument is ended and the person making the Hitler/Nazi claim is automatically declared the loser. Your opponent may be doing something you find absolutely morally reprehensible, but if he’s not pushing people into gas chambers, he’s not someone you should be comparing to Hitler.

One of the first three slides showed a picture of a crowd making the Nazi salute. To quote Willy Wonka, “You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”

Agenda 21 is the final report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also called the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. I am far too familiar with this document, as the Earth Summit was the subject of my final course at USC. (I got an A in the course, mostly by demonstrating how easily a sufficiently motivated actor, in my team’s case OPEC, could derail the conference. Our mock conference succeeded in passing a ban on whaling–trivial in comparison to what actually happened in Rio.) According to the ACR website, Agenda 21 “is a plan that calls for the international control and regulation of virtually every aspect of human activity that might impact the environment, which is essentially everything humans do.” According to my knowledge of the document and study of the issue–that isn’t remotely what the document says. What Agenda 21 did was provide a framework for states to cooperate on environmental issues.

Some of what the ACR people said was correct: As a result of Rio, groups created international standards to help national, state, and local governments address environmental problems. In some cases in the U.S., governments have used eminent domain to acquire property for environmental purposes. In other cases, governments have passed regulations mandating more environmentally friendly business practices. And yes, sometimes these actions have gone too far. This wasn’t the main theme of the ACR presentation though.

In short, environmentalists are anti-Christian Socialists who are working to replace God with Mother Earth by brainwashing children with a “Pledge of Allegiance to Earth.” Below is the video they showed:

I don’t disagree that making children recite a pledge to the Earth is brainwashing, but, frankly, so is the Pledge of Allegiance we make children recite in school each morning. You may approve of one more than the other, but if the children don’t truly understand what they are pledging to–and I don’t think many six- or seven-year-old children truly understand the definitions of “pledge,” “allegiance,” “republic,” “indivisible,” or “liberty”–then it’s brainwashing. I do strongly believe in teaching children to be patriotic, and maybe the Pledge is a way to do that. Personally, I’d wait until the kids were a bit older before asking them to recite it. I’d also like to remind people that the Pledge was originally written by a Socialist…

Over the course of the presentation, I heard the speakers state that supporters of sustainable development “make fun of” Christians, are against Christian principles, and that the Endangered Species Act is “anti-Christian” because it puts animals and plants on the same level as people. The attendees, almost entirely elderly white Christians, blurted “Amen!” often enough that I thought I might have mistakenly walked into a revival. By the time the presentation was over, I was glad Zari was getting restless, because I was ready to leave so I could clear my head of the conspiracy theorist mentality that was pervading the room.

If you had told me last week that I would find myself agreeing with Chattanoogans Organized for Action more than the Chattanooga Tea Party, I would have thought you were crazy. I’m willing to bet that no one at the meeting tonight voted for a Tea Party candidate for President in 2008, and I’d be surprised if any of them voted for anyone but McCain/Palin. I did vote for the Boston Tea Party ticket in 2008. I am strongly in favor of taking power from the federal government and giving it to state and local governments or the people. If I could have a federal government that stuck to defending individual rights and creating and maintaining the infrastructure needed for a strong economy, I’d take it in a heartbeat. For all the claims of being non-partisan, I felt that at the Tea Party meeting I was around more Republicans than when I attended the 1988 California College Republicans Convention.

I really, really, really wanted to like the Chattanooga Tea Party. It saddens me that instead of sticking to their stated goal of reducing the size of the federal government they have deviated toward black helicopterism, climate change denial, and adopting the platform of the Christian Right.

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