Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

No Third Party, Please

There's a lot of talk going on about forming a third party - the Tea Party. That could possibly be the most devastating thing that could happen to the United States. The Tea Party should be bigger than that - it should be the force that holds both Republicans and Democrats to the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation. An outside group that can harness public activities for or against politicians may be able to do far more for this nation than a third party.

Establishing the ideals that are endorsed and supported by the Tea Party, requiring candidates to commit themselves to those ideals before receiving any support from the Tea Party, and by holding those same candidates to their promises when they are elected would do far more than electing a handful of people to the House and Senate. The Tea Party can have far more influence by NOT being a part of the Beltway Insider club than they can by joining it.

The Tea Party convention in Tennessee had a great opportunity to establish its basic ideals, in writing, after strong negotiation among the various "delegates". They failed to do so. They cannot afford to miss any other such opportunities. The "Tea Party" is best associated with Internet networking and support. Let the people from last week's convention gather together online (Facebook, anyone?), put forth a list of principles, have those principles debated (add some, delete some, make significant or even cosmetic changes to them), and then vote on what ones are to be included in the Tea Party agenda, and which any candidate for public office must support at least a fair percentage of them in order to get support (financial, physical,and electronic) from the Party.

Here's my list of principles I would like to see as part of the Tea Party agenda:

  1. Conduct a campaign to reduce the size and scope of the Federal government and the concurrent bureaucracy.

  2. Support the creation of an impartial committee to examine the full scope of the Federal government, its regulations, restrictions, rules, and support, as well as its cost, and recommend a series of closures, realignments, reductions, and de-fundings, similar to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee. Unlike BRAC, require the House and Senate debate the issues, and require a straight up/down vote on each recommendation. The Tea Party can decide, based on the discussions, how to respond to the actions.

  3. Require all legislation in the future to reference the specific Constitutional requirement (article and paragraph) under which the legislation falls. If this cannot be done, then the Congress has no authority to establish the legislation.

  4. Establish control of both the northern (US/Canada) and southern (US/Mexico) borders of the United States, for political, economic, and national security reasons.

  5. That means reining in illegal immigration, closer scrutiny of people entering the United States by air or sea, and greater control over both the issuance of visas to foreign nationals, and ensuring that those over-staying their visas are hunted down and deported.
  6. Simplify the tax code, reduce taxes, and eliminate loopholes for special interests. This goes in conjunction with #1.

  7. Reduce the complexity of government.

  8. Reduce or eliminate duplicate functions or jurisdictions, duplicated forms or records, and duplicated activities. Revise and simplify all government regulations, restrictions, or other rulings.
  9. Restructure the entire civil service hiring process.

  10. Civil Service job applications forms are some of the grossest violations of the "KISS" principle on record. There is no reason to continue with a huge, cumbersome bureaucracy in human resources management when we have computers that can do most correlation jobs better than most humans. Also, the complexity of civil service form (SF)171 drives many people to seek jobs elsewhere. It's a waste of government resources.
  11. Eliminate all "public sector" union affiliation.

  12. There is no "right" to a government job, nor of keeping a government job. The entire civil service function is to get and maintain a government job. Civil servants serve "at the convenience of the government". Political agitation, political actions not commensurate with a person's job description, and certainly any use of political differences to provide preference or to restrict hiring and promotion of individuals should be cause for immediate dismissal.
  13. The government has no "right" to demand that certain employees belong to a union. Government interference in private-sector employment must be ended immediately.

  14. Government operations should be subject to outside auditing at specific intervals. This includes audits not only of the financial operations of an agency, but an audit of employment records, regulations affecting the agency, or issued by the agency to regulate, restrict, or limit the actions of private citizens or other outside groups.

This is enough for you to get the idea. None of these items would be implemented by either political party, for obvious reasons. The government isn't going to simplify itself, or stop compounding the burden it inflicts upon citizens and businesses. The only way to achieve these goals is by having an outside party pressure both government and its members to make the changes necessary to accomplish these tasks. The Tea Party can (and has) have a positive or negative impact on any election. By only supporting those who not only endorse the goals of the Tea Party, but also work inside the system to make the necessary changes, the Tea Party can exert fantastic influence on both elections and laws. By opposing bad legislation both vocally and by electronic print, the Tea Party can force those currently in legislative positions to work more closely for the nation's good, rather than the politician's good.

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