Tulsa County GOP State Committee Members

December 2013

A Message to Political Activists

by Joanna Francisco

Who Are We?

by TC Ryan

As I was navigating my neighborhood's icy roads this weekend, I approached a small hill that under normal conditions escapes notice. Yet this day, climbing that hill became quite a challenge for my ordinarily reliable minivan. As I began the slight ascent, my wheels began to spin in futility causing me to have to stop, back up, and start again more focused, more deliberate. My minivan – burning energy but going nowhere. I could not help but draw a parallel between those spinning wheels and our reliance on political means to achieve our goals. Activists working within the political process will certainly find themselves busy. We are constantly bombarded with proposed legislation, propositions, and regulations by governing bodies on all levels. Many of the people claiming that they represent us are really great at writing heaps of rules that infringe on our natural rights and wreak havoc on the market. In defense, we activists begin our campaigns, we spread the word, we educate ourselves and others on the issue du jour. Every once in a while we are successful. That is, we are “successful” if we only take into account electoral wins and we consider ourselves “defeated” if we suffer electoral losses. But electoral success is not the ultimate goal. It‟s not the goal for which I am working. It is not the reason I spend my energy, time, and financial resources. Evaluating success and failure based on the results of elections is spinning my wheels. Elections and political activism provide us with an opportunity to educate the electorate on foundational principles. That is my goal. Small victories come when someone “gets it” and then joins in the greater battle. Until a much larger portion of the population embraces the guiding principles of the philosophy of liberty, we will remain ill-prepared to throw off tyranny. Today's electorate

This past week I, along with a number of others, had the opportunity to host South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright in Tulsa for a fundraiser. Lee Bright is the top primary challenger to Senator Lindsey Graham and when I heard he was going to be in Oklahoma, I knew I had to help. When folks around Oklahoma asked me why they should get involved in a South Carolina primary I simply asked them, “Who are we?” The recent battles in Congress and the Senate have shown the differences in philosophy within the Republican Party. There are those who wish to decrease the size and scope of the federal government and reign in its out-of-control spending, and then there are those who simply wish to win re-election campaigns and to continue policies that are contradictory to the history of our party. Some Republican leaders have turned on those who dared to stand up to the Obama administration when they attempted to defund Obamacare citing that it would or could hurt the party politically. But I wonder, if we are not the party that will stand firm for the principles of limited government and against the increasing unconstitutional overreaches of the federal government, then who are we? When it came to light that the federal government was and is spying on innocent American citizens in the name of fighting terrorism, some - including Lindsey Graham - concluded that if you have nothing to hide, you should have nothing to fear. They believe that our Fourth Amendment rights are somehow expendable if politicians declare it so. Congressman Justin Amash presented an amendment to an appropriations bill to defund the NSA (the government‟s primary spying entity) which Congressman Tom Cotton argued against on the House floor likening America to the battlefields of Iraq and arguing in favor of unreasonable searches and seizures of private property. If we are not the party that will still declare “that government-provided security is a mighty poor mess of pottage in exchange for man‟s birthright of freedom” or if our attitude toward
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continued from page 1, Joanna Francisco

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is woefully uneducated, and worse, unprincipled. It is time for activists to stop, back up, and move deliberately toward the greater goal. The goal is liberty. The guiding principles are selfownership and non-aggression. The battle is not at the ballot box, but in the mind of every individual. Liberty is the freedom of individuals from coercion by external forces such as the majority, a government, the State, a ruling class, etc. Where there is institutionalized and legalized coercion, liberty is under attack. Self-ownership: You are the sole human owner of your life. It follows then that you are the sole owner of the fruits of your labor. You have the right to exchange your property with others without interventions and restrictions. You do not need to seek permission from other humans to simply live and conduct your affairs. You don‟t need to be regulated by people who claim a right to regulate and monitor you. You are an individual. The non-aggression principle: The initiation of force -taking or encroaching on a person's life (physical threats, physical harm, murder), liberty (enslavement, conscription, restrictions on free movement), or property (theft or destruction of property of any amount) is illegitimate and may be morally defended with adequate force to ward off such threats. Until the masses grasp these principles, no amount of electoral success will be sufficient to truly safeguard our God-given liberties. During this lull in political activity, take the time to explore the concepts of liberty, selfownership, and non-aggression and then let‟s take the next hill equipped with an understanding of these fundamental principles. Joanna Francisco Tulsa County State Committee Member j2and4@sbcglobal.net

protecting our God given rights do not reflect the sentiment that, "if we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to" then, who are we? There are a number of prominent issues coming up that will reveal who some of our legislators really are. Will our elected officials stand with Congressman Bridenstine to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment? Will our elected officials stand against federal and state overreaches like Common Core? Will our elected officials stand against unconstitutional mandates such as the Affordable Care Act regardless of political pressure? So, who are we? I believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle by which to restore and defend our natural individual rights to life, liberty and property. I believe we, as a party, are currently more aware of the greatness of our past like that found in the lives of men such as Robert Taft and Frederick Douglass. We are now more inclined to think like our founders such as Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams. I believe we are well on our way to leaving behind the elements of the party that gave us the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, and Medicare Part D because of this new awareness found by recently elected officials such as Congressmen Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Jim Bridenstine, and Tim Huelskamp, and Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee just to name a few. I also believe if we are to be the party of limited government that will protect the rights of the individual we should be willing, as party activists, to support those who are willing to pursue those causes. We supported Lee Bright‟s run against Lindsey Graham in Tulsa because we know who we are and who we are not. As Republicans we will never agree 100% on everything 100% of the time. After all, that lack of groupthink is what separates us from our Democrat friends. But our elected leaders should reflect the basic principles that our party once stood firm for: limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Those basic principles are the cornerstone of a party that will grow in numbers and strength. If you are interested in helping to restore liberty and to limit the size and scope of government in Tulsa County, please send me an email today. TC Ryan State Committee Republican Party of Tulsa County TC_Ryan@yahoo.com

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Questions, Answers, and More Questions about E-cigarette Public Policy By Shannon Grimes, Guest Contributor

Across the state of Oklahoma as well as the nation there is a rising resistance to a danger that is gaining momentum in our communities: Vaping. Yes, vaping. The act of using electronic nicotine delivery devices often called e-cigarettes. They are so named due to the vapor expelled during use, a vapor usually comprised of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and polyethylene glycol 400, mixed with flavors and sometimes nicotine. Interestingly, all these substances are considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA and are used in food and other products routinely. What has been surprising is that in many cases those organizations, groups, and agencies rising up against vaping are the very people and groups whose proclaimed goals seem most likely to benefit from the product‟s success. Anti-tobacco and smoking cessation groups and organizations for some reason are taking a stand against the practice of vaping and even promoting public bans in municipalities across the state and elsewhere. Here we will focus on Oklahoma and what seems to be happening here and why. Most of the impetus in Oklahoma against Vaping in public seems to be stemming from policies promoted by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), a state organization created by the voters of Oklahoma back in 2000 to manage and make use of the moneys the state is receiving from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement made with the Tobacco industry. TSET is providing millions of dollars from the Master Settlement Agreement to communities for a variety of related (sometimes only remotely so) health initiatives under the Healthy Communities Incentive Grants program. TSET‟s stated mission is “To improve the health and quality of life of all Oklahomans through accountable programs and services that address the hazards of tobacco use and other health issues.” According to Dr. George Foster, vice chairman of the TSET Board of Directors, once a city is designated as “Certified Healthy,” the city is eligible to apply for a separate grant from TSET as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant program. The TSET Board of Directors awards these grants to cities that have taken steps to build thriving, healthy communities. In 2013, TSET is incentivized communities' „tobacco control‟ measures with $4.1 million dollars in grant money where for some reason banning e-cigarettes was one of the criterion for earning the highest level of grant awards. All this raises many questions of “why?” Given that one of the primary purposes of TSET is to decrease tobacco smoking, that Vaping products contain ingredients that the FDA considers generally safe, that there have been no urgent health risks associated with vaping or its ingredients, that when nicotine is separated from smoking it seems to have risks similar to using the patches, and that almost all tobacco attributable mortality is due to cigarette smoking....WHY are TSET and TSET funded groups seeking a prohibition of vaping in public spaces which would only create a barrier to the community wanting to use e-cigarettes to stop smoking tobacco?? Why would an organization whose primary goal is tobacco smoking cessation promote banning what is possibly one of the best and safest methods of doing so? There have yet to be any factually compelling public health reasons given for the fight against e-cigarette use. There have been emotional appeals about children. There have been appeals to people‟s fears where vaping is equated to being similarly bad as smoking. There have been statements like, “What this ordinance is all about is Public Health. It's about changing environments. It‟s about keeping our social norms.” It could reasonably be argued that putting up barriers to keep people away from e-cigarettes could in fact encourage continued tobacco smoking and thus smoking related illness. Even among opponents of vaping it is generally conceded that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking. So what‟s the deal?
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Could there be reasons other than public health? Could there be reasons to oppose vaping other than its risks? Could it be that TSET Grant applicants get 10% of the grant award? Could it be that the amount that the states receive from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) each year varies depending on inflation and the quantity of traditional tobacco products that are being shipped within the U.S. and that e-cigarettes and other similar products don‟t count toward MSA funds? A note from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) Payment Distribution document for FY 2013 reads, “NOTE: As tobacco use declines nationally, MSA payments to all states will be reduced.” Comparing the financial incentives for TSET, municipalities, and TSET funded organizations to the arguments used to support e-cigarette bans raises many questions. These groups which ostensibly are seeking tobacco smoking decreases have financial incentives for continued smoking. Could it be it is these financial incentives and not the dangers of vaping motivating the e-cigarette bans being promoted across the state? No doubt many involved do truly want to help people in their communities stop smoking, but is the money getting in the way? After all, those MSA acquired TSET funds can be used for all kinds of healthy projects besides tobacco smoking cessation including things like bike and hiking trails and more. Dr. Shannon Grimes, Chairman Cherokee County Republican Party

Please note: The members of the Tulsa Area Trash Task Force are offering suggestions to TARE to improve the GREENWASTE collection process for Tulsa residents. Please share your experiences in dealing with the City of Tulsa’s GREENWASTE service from a citizen/consumer’s perspective and what you think could be done to improve the process. Contact: Nancyhumphreys4@yahoo.com or PM Nancy Humphreys on Facebook

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