The Tea Party of San Antonio is disappointed with the election results and very concerned with the widespread reports of election irregularities. These types of irregularities prove that Voter ID Laws are essential to the democratic process here in Texas and other states.
Regardless, the work that the TEA Party has been doing will continue. The TEA Party objectives are to advocate for a reduction in size and scope of Local, State, and Federal Government agencies and to work toward a fiscally responsible path to prosperity.
by Kenneth Bennight
Chicago and Boston’s penalizing Chick-fil-A because of its president’s social views is un-American. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental American value. Chicago and Boston attack exactly that. Neither city is asserting discrimination in employment or in public accommodation. If Chick-fil-A violates anti-discrimination laws, it may be penalized according to law. Chicago and Boston’s actions are not based in law. They are lawless.
If lawlessness in furtherance of government-approved orthodoxy becomes the norm, what else may follow? We have a new healthcare regime in this country. Heretofore, healthcare for most Americans has been rationed by price. Now it will be rationed by government boards.
If Chicago and Boston can deny development rights because an applicant has unapproved social views, what is to stop the boards from denying health care for the same reason or for some other political reason? That political discrimination in healthcare allocation would be illegal is cold comfort. What Chicago and Boston are doing transparently violates the First Amendment. Why is one form of lawlessness permissible and another not?
The San Antonio Tea Party has no official position on gay marriage, but it does not want to lose the rule of law.
Kenneth Bennight is Chairman of the Board, San Antonio Tea Party.
Venice Grantham from the Wilson County Patriots gave a wonderful Invocation and Benediction for the San Antonio Tea Party’s “Two Roads Diverge in America” event on July 14. These prayers stimulated some further thought for consideration.
I aspire to a purpose-driven life. Like Venice, my prayers are for understanding of my purpose and the wisdom, courage, and energy to fulfill it. I could pray for ease, but that would not fit for me—nor, I believe, would God, the Father, grant it. God knows that his children need to experience the pride of climbing big walls and achieving great things. Unless we have learned this value from God, the Father, our own mothers and fathers, and other mentors, we might not see challenge as a good thing. So what does this have to do with the culture?
I have characterized the last three years as a national values clarification exercise. In truth, every year is such an exercise. It is just easier to see it in that context in hard times. Is that God’s doing or our own?
I think it is both. It takes great discipline when things are going well to push ourselves to a higher level yet. Hard times force us to. “Sink or swim” can be tremendous motivation. I believe America displays its exceptionalism in hard times. Hard times, such as WWII, the Depression, and 9-11, have caused Americans to unify. Perhaps it is the awareness that we are so similarly affected by the catastrophic event—that we need each other—that gives us unity of purpose. When we are unified in a good purpose, we are exceptional. When we are not unified in purpose or the purpose is ill conceived, we are not exceptional.
A relevant example that has political and cultural implications is the entitlement culture. It is possible that independent of any self-serving political agenda, the “social safety net” was created to prevent people, particularly innocent children, from “sinking”—but, in so doing, we may have removed the motivation to “swim.” The initial rationale for this policy from a liberal point of view may have been charitable, but the unintended (or intended) consequence may have been sloth, dependence on government, a drag on the economy, and political exploitation of the poor as a voting bloc.
Another example is the idea that good social and economic policy should ensure that every American have a house, a guaranteed minimum wage, a fixed pension, and other guaranties that cost the producers of wealth while demanding nothing of the recipients of the largesse. As we have found out from the Fannie/Freddie debacle, the cost of endless entitlement expenditures and fixed taxpayer-supported government employee pension plans, these policies are a formula for bankruptcy.
By contrast, let’s look at Allen Tharp’s experience as a businessman. Allen, president of the SATP and business owner, has described the ups and downs of entrepreneurism in building his restaurant chain. Clearly, Allen learned the values that motivated this endeavor from good mentors—for example, aspiration, hard work, practicality, scholarship, etc. Multiply Allen’s experience by the millions of small business owners in America. They have been the engine of the American economy. Do we really think it is good policy to allow government through excessive taxation, over regulation, and unsupportable expenditures, waste, and corruption to suck up all the capital that allows entrepreneurs like Allen to succeed and employ people?
If my assessment of this time in America as a national values clarification exercise is correct, we seem to be getting closer to the final exam. We can learn from the hardship we are experiencing and likely will experience more, or we can reap the consequences. In academic terms, we can get an A on the lesson or an F. We can sink, or we can swim. We can pass an America on to our children and grandchildren that lives up to the promise of and the price paid by the Founding Fathers, or we can be another once-great civilization relegated to second-class status. One nation under God, or or one nation gone under.
I prefer an A, swimming, a good legacy for future generations, exceptionalism, and one nation under God. How about you?
Heavenly Father, You chose a road for all mankind. It is the road of life.
Along that road, you placed signposts for us to follow called the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. As children growing up, we depended on our parents to make choices for us and we learned from their values. When we grew up, we had to take responsibility for our choice of roads, reaping the benefits or suffering the consequences. We now see those consequences coming home to roost in America.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values…
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance as we travel on your road to redemption.
Lord, our country is in great jeopardy at this time.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
We know that you have been with us along our road of life. If we did not feel your presence, it was because we made a wrong turn, but you were always with us on our road.
We wish to return to your way Lord, with your values and lessons constructed for each of us in our journey of life.
We ask that with your guidance and our efforts that in our upcoming election we will reshape our government with elected officials with integrity, honor, and ethics to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free to fulfill your purpose for our lives, and restore the values our country once held.
Editor’s note: Several previous articles have kept you abreast of our struggle to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service official designation as a 501(c)4 organization. After months of waiting for their response, we received a request for additional information, some of which we considered as unreasonable, inappropriate, and intrusive. We soon learned that other Tea Party and conservative groups were receiving similar requests. In response, the SATP Board of Directors requested the assistance of Jay Sekulow and his team at the American Center for Law and Justice who agreed to represent us and other such groups before the IRS free of charge. Recently the ACLJ received word that the information provided by us and others would in fact suffice to gain our requested status. We’re pleased to report that we are now in possession of documentation that grants us the 501(c)4 status we requested. Below is the official announcement by Ken Bennight, Chairman of the Board of the SATP, of this milestone. Please join us in celebrating this success and take time to express your thanks to those who made this possible.
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Internal Revenue Service has just issued a formal determination that San Antonio Tea Party, Inc. has qualified as a 501(c)4 organization under the Internal Revenue Code. Many of you are probably aware of the controversy concerning the 501(c)4 applications of Tea Parties across the country. Many Tea Parties, including the SATP, received voluminous interrogatories. SATP’s leadership team spent many hours compiling the best answers that we could to most of the questions, though we did resist disclosing the identities of contributors
In achieving this result, SATP owes a debt of gratitude to both John C. Calhoun & Company, P.L.L.C. in San Antonio and the American Center for Law & Justice of Washington, D.C. for their invaluable assistance. We also must thank Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison as well as Congressmen Lamar Smith and Quico Canseco, all of whom formally expressed concern that the IRS follow the law in granting and withholding 501(c)4 designations. Special recognitions should also go to Sharon Hall. Though all members of the Board and Executive Committee assisted in formulating a response to the IRS, none of us did as much as she to contribute to the result obtained.
A 501(c)4 organization need not pay income taxes on its income, but it differs from a 501(c)3 in that contributions to it are not deductible by the donor. SATP’s nature does not qualify it to be a 501(c)3.
The IRS determination concludes a long process and many hours of work. Receipt of the designation rededicates us to the task at hand in 2012. Let us all go forward and work for a result in November that enhances liberty.
Join the San Antonio Tea Party and other conservative groups as they converge on the Alamo this Saturday, July 21st, for the Texas Freedom Rally.
Sponsored by several conservative groups, the Texas Freedom Rally will be focused on connecting Texas youth and minorities with conservative political groups who are focused on voter education, registration and the election process.
The program will feature future members of Congress and statewide elected officials, joined by local and statewide community leaders and candidates. Speakers include Barry Smitherman, Dr. Donna Campbell, and Rafael Cruz (father of U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz). TX Attorney General Greg Abbott and former TX Solicitor General Ted Cruz have also been invited, but have not yet confirmed. (Candidates who may be participating will speak from their subject-matter expertise and not as candidates for their respective offices.)
Rally topics will include the economy, taxation (including ObamaCare), regulation, education and how citizens can take action.
Workshops will be conducted from 1:00-5:00 PM, with the official evening program beginning at 6:00 and lasting until 8:00 PM.
We expect this family friendly event to be very well attended. Bring your patriotic spirit, flags (US, TX, and historic), and signs. Signs should be respectful and agenda-appropriate; no profane, violent, or inflammatory wording.
Invite your friends and fellow conservatives (and non-conservatives you hope to educate).
Thank you interest in saving our Nation!
Government growth is partly caused by what is called the Tragedy of the Commons. The traditional explanation of the Tragedy of the Commons is that of a pasture held in common for all to use. Collectively, villagers would benefit if the grazing burden were limited to the carrying capacity of the commons, but each individual benefits more from grazing as many animals as possible. Those who limit the burden they impose on the commons benefit not the village as a whole but merely others who add additional animals. The result is a commons so overgrazed as to be of little benefit to anyone.
That the phenomenon exists is generally agreed, right and left disagreeing only on how to deal with it. The left wants to rely exclusively on regulation. The right prefers, where feasible, to eliminate regulation in favor of property rights, believing that owners are less likely to abuse their own resources than public ones. The concept applies to many areas, such as air and water pollution, fisheries, radio spectrum, a cookie jar in a home with several children, and the like. The concept also explains unenterprising collective farm workers.
What is less often discussed is that the public purse is itself a commons and is subject to the tragedy. Sophisticated economic interests know the public purse can function as a cookie jar, and politicians seeking favor are happy to treat it that way. Earmarks are an easily understood example. Had the Ketchikan “Bridge to Nowhere” been built, it would have facilitated the re-election of the politicians pushing it, but it was a poor use of limited taxpayer resources. That the politicians behind that bridge were Republican shows that this problem is not limited to one party.
Though there is currently a push against earmarks at the federal level, that push is unlikely to be sustained forever, the federal government is not the only level of government dispensing benefits, and earmarks are not the only way the public purse is abused for private interests. Economic interests always have an incentive to seek beneficial subsidies, regulation, or other government action. Import tariffs on Brazilian sugar cane subsidize and are guarded by the domestic sugar industry. Whether production of ethanol consumes more energy than it yields is controversial; but Big Corn, allied with dreamy-eyed greens, fights vigorously to retain a mandate for ethanol in gasoline. The list is endless, and the process spirals, with the government growing ever larger and ever more intrusive in the economy. That is the path to stagnation, something we are currently getting a taste of.
Given that the public purse is a commons, it seems essential to find some way to limit the livestock. Property rights in the public purse seem problematic, and even those on the right propose many forms of new regulation. The best known is a balanced budget amendment, but others abound. Some propose introducing zero-based budgeting at the federal level, sunsetting all federal agencies and programs, giving the president a line-item veto, and giving some percentage of the states a veto over federal programs. Perhaps the most dramatic example is Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett’s proposed federalism amendment. Among other things, it would significantly curtail the scope of federal power under the constitution’s commerce clause.
There will be benefits and burdens to each of these proposals. We need a vigorous public debate over how best to solve the problem. No one suggestion is necessarily essential, but it is essential that some reforms are enacted, or our public purse will go the way of commons pastures. If you are wondering what that looks like, look at Greece.
Ken Bennight is Chairman of the Board of the San Antonio Tea Party.