E-Cigs & Vaping, Do Our Policy Makers Ask Real Questions Before Deciding?

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Recently I posted a series of questions on Facebook for our Community, the Tahlequah City Council, and the Cherokee County Health Coalition to consider in regards to the proposed Vaping/E-cigarette ban ordinances that are being promoted around the State.  Below is my original commentary and questions in black with research and answers provided by Kaye Beach, an independent researcher and activist that has over the years shown herself to be a wonderful asset to the people of Oklahoma in helping keep everyone informed on many issues our State faces.

If you are interested you can find more on Kayes work Here.

Dr. Shannon Grimes, Chairman
Cherokee County Republican Party

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The discussion about prohibiting Vaping products continues in our community. I think we would all agree that there are a great many serious questions that need to be asked and addressed when we are looking to limit and control the behavior of others.

Carol Choate recently had these comments in a news interview with Channel 2 out of Tulsa:

“We’re kind of with e-cigarettes like we were 50 years ago with cigarettes. We had no idea what cigarettes could do to us, but we know now that they cause cancer.”

“What this ordinance is all about is Public Health. Its about changing environments. Its about keeping our social norms.”

Regarding Vaping what do these statements mean? What environmental change is sought? What social norm is going to be maintained?

Those are just a few question based just on that interview. I have a lot more questions and not just for Carol Chaote, the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition, our community officials, and other interested parties. I would love for all interested parties to stop and consider these questions and more as we move forward.

Where did the proposed ordinance prohibiting Vaping originate?

From the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition and they were prompted to push the ordinance by the promise of funding from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET)

TSET uses funds from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement to incentivize policies that the TSET and their partners determine is desirable for the community. 

Did the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition propose the Vaping ban ordinance at the request of entities outside our community?

The ordinance is financially incentivized by entities outside the community.

The direct impetuous for the ordinance is provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust that is providing millions of dollars from the Master Settlement Agreement to communities for a variety of (sometimes) remotely related health initiatives under the Healthy Communities Incentive Grants program. 

In 2013, TSET is incentivizing cash strapped communities ‘tobacco control’ measures with $4.1 million dollars in grant money.  Banning e-cigarettes earns the highest level of grant rewards.

Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control – A One-Year RFP (PDF), Nov. 20, 2013.”

 http://www.ok.gov/tset/Grants/Communities_of_Excellence_Tobacco_Control_1_year_RFP.html

 (In 2012, TSET’s ‘tobacco control’ incentive budget was $6.06 million)

Does the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition have a financial incentive to see this prohibitive ordinance in place?

Yes.  TSET Grant funding is conditional upon the grant applicant working to ban e-cigarettes on city property and elsewhere. 

Millions have been set aside by TSET specifically for funding tobacco coalition grantees’ activities to reduce tobacco use in communities for 2013 (TSET has redefined ‘tobacco’ to include vapor devices and products) http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/TSET%20ProgramFact%20SheetFY12Final2%201.pdf

Grant applicants, like the Cherokee County Tobacco Coalition, led by Carol Choate, get 10% of the grant award. Carol Choate is the Cherokee County  “Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control” grant Coordinator

This grant money is contingent upon the community achieving certain ‘community indicators’ established by TSET including the establishment of a city ordinance to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vapor devices/products on all city property both inside and out.

There are a total of nine Community Indicators (or goals)  These nine ‘community’ goals were chosen by TSET (and the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC) which is funded by TSET)

Grant Applicants must, at a minimum, develop work plans to achieve all five of TSET designated “Core Indicators” and one “Optional Indicator”   Three of the five “Core Indicators” require e-cigarettes or vapor devices/products prohibitions so any organization that applies for TSET’s grant must work to achieve vaping bans.

This year, “The TSET Board of Directors doubled grant funds available to communities as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant.”  According to TSET.

In reference to Carol’s statement quoted above about the state of our cigarette knowledge 50 years ago, has our clinical sciences and testing improved in the last 50 years?

Indeed it has. And I would like to state, up front, that any person, entity or group claiming that there is no evidence that using e-cigarettes is much safer than smoking is either  ignorant, misinformed or (as much as I hate to use this term)  lying.

Do you think we can have a better idea about the risks quicker than in the case of cigarettes?

Science already provides enough evidence to conclude that vapor is much safer, by orders of magnitude, than smoking. 

For example: ‘Using the multi-criteria decision analysis method previously used by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) to rank the harms of drugs used in the UK, a working group of international nicotine experts convened by the ISCD considered the potential harms of a wide range of nicotine containing products based on sixteen parameters of harm to individuals and harm to others. Not only conventional cigarettes were judged to be by far the most harmful form of nicotine containing product, but e-cigarettes were ranked as similar in harm to nicotine patches [33]. By and large, nicotine per se does not cause much risk when separated from inhaling smoke.’ 

Multi-criteria Decision Analysis: A new approach to evaluating the harm caused by nicotine delivery products. http://www.drugscience.org.uk/external-resources/nicotine-mcda-briefing/

“E-cigarettes deliver the same nicotine found in the pharmaceutical products, with no more contamination by toxic substances than the pharmaceutical products already approved by  FDA.”

Is there any evidence of big business hiding and lying about the effects of Vaping such as was done by the Tobacco Industry historically?

None that I am aware of although it is apparent that the anti-smoking industry advocates are unfairly conflating the e-cigarette business with Big Tobacco.  The truth is that this product was not developed or marketed by the tobacco industry until very recently, after it became clear that vaping is the wave of the future. 

Is there any evidence that Vaping is anywhere near as toxic as tobacco use?

If you mean the use of smoking tobacco, no.  Not all tobacco use is equal.  Smokeless tobacco products are well-established by science and historical statistical data to be 98% safer than smoking tobacco.   

Smoking cigarettes accounts for every one of the app. 440,000 deaths that the CDC attributes to tobacco each year.  The number of deaths from all other tobacco products combined is so small and difficult to track that the CDC doesn’t even bother. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking & Tobacco Use: Tobacco-Related Mortality,” August 1, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/index.htm)

‘E-cigarette vapor, as inhaled by the users, is mainly water, propylene glycol and glycerin, with small amounts of nicotine and flavoring. There is no carbon monoxide, no tar and no products of combustion.

There is no side-stream smoke or vapor. None. Propylene glycol and glycerin are generally recognized as safe. Propylene glycol has been used as the propellant in asthma inhalers and is the main ingredient in theatrical fog’(Statement by Joel L. Nitzkin, MD, MPH, DPA Past Co-Chair, Tobacco Control Task Force American Association of Public Health Physicians Senior Fellow for Tobacco Policy, R Street Institute September 4, 2013 http://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Nitzkin-duluth-statement.pdf

Evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes do not raise serious health concerns and is considered to be much safer than smoking tobacco by orders of magnitude.

Is there any compelling evidence or research showing harm to Vaping users beyond possible nicotine addiction realizing that not all even use the nicotine versions?
No. While e-cigarettes are relatively new and any long term effects cannot be established, we do know a great deal about the ingredients of e-liquid and their effects on the human body. 

Community ‘health leaders’ that refuse to provide truthful information about alternative nicotine sources and misguided prohibitions are a far greater threat to public health.   How many current smokers will be dissuaded from switching to a safer alternative for nicotine and continue to smoke?   This is nothing short of tragic because smoking is the single most harmful method of delivering nicotine and it is smoking cigarettes, in fact, that responsible for all of the some 440,000 deaths attributed to tobacco. 

Is there any evidence, compelling or otherwise, about risks to those around persons using Vaping product?

Evidence isn’t evidence unless it is compelling and there is no such evidence. 

There is much evidence, however, to show that, not only is vaping much safer that smoke, e-cigarettes have less toxins that FDA approved nicotine inhalers and no one is suggesting that this product be banned from public use.

Passive vaping, compared to cigarette environmental tobacco smoke: Total organic carbon in the test chamber after 5 hours of smoking or vaping, showed no detectable levels of acrolein, toluene, xylene and PAHs for the e-cigarettes, compared to high levels in the cigarette chamber. (Giorgio Romagna, Konstantinos Farsalinos, et al, 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 2012)

FDA approved nicotine inhalers have higher amounts of six carcinogens, including five to ten times the amount of three heavy metals compared to e-cigarettes. (Michael Siegel, “Anti-Smoking Researcher Misleads Public with Invalid Comparison of E-Cigs and Nicotine Inhaler: Correct Analysis Shows that Nicotine Inhalers Have Higher Amounts of Six Carcinogens,” Tobacco Analysis, July 25, 2013. http://www.tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2013/07/anti-smoking-researcher-misleads-public.htm)

As Dr. Joel L. Nitzkin, speaking against a similar prohibition ordinance in Duluth, MN. Recently pointed out “If the nicotine and trace carcinogens in e-cigarette vapor presented any significant hazard to bystanders, those advocating for this legislation could have and should have included pharmaceutical nicotine inhalers in this ban. The fact that they have not done so strongly suggests a perception on their part that no such hazard exists”

 

“For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk tohuman health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.”

T.R. McAuley, et al, “Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality,”Inhalation Toxicology October 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23033998

 

There is simply  no threat to bystanders from exhaled e-cigarette vapor that justifies a ban.

 Are the fears about tobacco risks and dangers being applied to Vaping? Is that fair or honest given that the two products pretty much only share one factor, nicotine?

Yes to the first question and No to the second.  And it is the fears and risks of smoking, not tobacco, that is being fantastically misapplied to vapor.

If people actually stop using tobacco and thus stop paying the tobacco sin taxes do many of the non-profits and organizations that nominally seek cessation risk having lower funding?

46 states get a bundle of money from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The Master Settlement Agreement was an agreement reached in 1998 between the tobacco industry and a number of states that had filed lawsuits against tobacco manufacturers for reimbursement for smoking-related health costs.  The amount that the states get 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. 

E-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products don’t count towards MSA funds. 

E-cigarette sales means less tobacco settlement money for the TSET

Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) Payment Distribution Through FY2013 “NOTE:As tobacco use declines nationally, MSA payments to all states will be reduced.”

http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/MSAFinancial4_30.pdf


Is the desire to have cessation of Tobacco use with all its problems or nicotine in general?
Good question because the goalpost keeps moving. 

First the goal was ‘smokefree’ then ‘tobacco free” (although smokeless tobacco carries only about 2% of the risk that smoking tobacco does) and now it appears the war that began with smoking, is being extended to nicotine regardless of the deliver y system, unless of course, the delivery system happens to be a profitable pharmaceutical product.  It is important to remember that these government approved smoking cessation products fail 93% of smokers who use them as directed Link

Here are some key terms and definitions issued by TSET to guide tobacco coalitions;

DEFINITIONS:

The definitions of tobacco,tobacco-free, smoke-free and vape-free is consistent throughout this document:

  • Tobacco: Any product that contains or is derived from tobacco and is intended for human consumption excluding drugs or devices approved for cessation by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This includes e-cigarettes and vapor devices.
  • Tobacco-free:  Prohibits the use of any tobacco product by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
  • Smoke-free: Prohibits the use of combustible tobacco products.
  • Vape-free: Prohibits the use of e-cigarettes and vapor devices/products

 Does the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition really want to decrease Tobacco use and if so why try to prohibit a product that is very promising in actually helping attain that goal?

The Cherokee County Community Health Coalition will have to answer that question themselves because I am at a loss to explain the incongruence of their efforts.  You might try asking them some pointed questions about their stance, for instance, “How much safer than smoking does an alternative source of nicotine have to be before it is considered an acceptable alternative?”

Does the alternative need to be 20% safer than smoking?  50%?  If they say 100%, you are not dealing with a rational mind.  If I had a loved one who smoked and couldn’t or wouldn’t quit, an alternative that they found to be an acceptable substitute for smoking that was 20% safer would be enough for me to encourage them to switch.  E-cigarettes, which contain no tobacco, no tar, no carbon monoxide are 99% safer that smoking cigarettes

The truth is that the efforts of overzealous anti-tobacco organizations like the Cherokee County Community Health Coalition means that more smokers will continue this deadly habit. 

Is there any evidence that prohibiting Vaping would have any significant positive impact on public health?
Yes!  .As the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) points out, “Almost all tobacco-attributable mortality in the USA is due to cigarette smoking.” Link   and there are no serious denies that that vapor is much safer than smoking.

 (AAPHP) states that it “favors a permissive approach to e-cigarettes because the possibility exists to save the lives of four million of the eight million current adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness over the next twenty years.”  Link

If there is no compelling evidence regarding public dangers of Vaping and there is no compelling evidence regarding significant positive public health benefits from a ban then is there any REASONABLE grounds for such a ban in our community?

There is not.  I trust the people of Tahlequah will guide their elected officials towards a rational stance on vapor product use

Kaye Beach, Independent Researcher  11/29/2013

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High School Senior Hits It Out of the Park With Anti-Common Core Speech

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A high school senior in Tennessee gave an excellent 5 minute speech exposing Common Core and asking the school administrators to stop and think about why they would support this.

Just watch the video for yourself. It’s a must-see.

Criticizing Republican Officials & Politicians: Dave Weston

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This is not the first time I have publicly criticized Dave Weston, our state chair, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

Just a few months ago, I wrote a post addressing Mr. Weston’s false view of Liberty. Need a reminder on what his view of Liberty is? Check out this quote:

There are a lot of people pushing the wrong kind of Liberty in our State. Liberty is not doing what you want. It is doing what you should.

Obviously, Oklahoma’s State GOP Chair is starting off on the wrong platform. His platform stands on a false sense of liberty, which ends up being authoritarianism.

This false platform fits perfectly with Mr. Weston’s statement at the Wagoner County GOP meeting last night (Thursday, Nov. 7th):

You cannot criticize your officials or the candidates in the party. You must support them with a smile on your face, and if they are the lesser of two evils go with them…you need to smile and go along in order for us to get back on track…

In other words: Let’s be hypocrites! Mr. Weston is encouraging people in the Oklahoma Republican Party to not only be hypocrites, but to not speak the truth. This is so authoritarian, it’s not even funny! Completely disgusting.

So, let’s lay out *just one* example of what we are not supposed to be doing:

Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin actively supports the use of drones in Oklahoma. The Governor takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States & Oklahoma when she is sworn in. Yet, in this one instance, Governor Fallin has now voided her oath by violating the 4th Amendment, which protects the privacy of the people.

Governor Fallin does not uphold the oath to the Constitution, so I will call her out on it. Because she happens to have an “R” by her name, does that mean I now must be quiet and not speak the truth about her? Absolutely not, I will speak out against her unconstitutional actions, which go against the people of Oklahoma.

Mr. Weston, telling us “if they are the lesser of two evils go with them” & that we “need to smile and go along in order for us to get back on track” is the exact reason we are in this situation to begin with.

Just look at America: We’ve had one generation after another accepting the “lesser of two evils” because they had an R or a D by their name. One generation votes for the R, hoping something will change. Nothing does. The next generation votes for the D, hoping something will change. Again, nothing does. Both of their policies are almost identical, they just vary on a few things. But, the overall picture stays the same.

Unjust wars continue. Out of control spending continues. The murder of unborn babies continues. Shredding the Constitution to nothingness continues. The killing of innocent men, women & children continues. Stripping Americans of their liberty & freedom continues.  Authoritarianism continues. The prisons continue to swell with people who should not be there. The drug war continues. Nothing changes. And, so the same, sad story is told over and again in America, all for the political gain of whatever Party has been in control, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.

So, yes, Mr. Weston, I’ll just sit here quietly and say nothing when our Party leaders & politicians continue to run roughshod over the Constitution & the voices of the people?! I think not!

As the Vice Chair of this county, I will not keep quiet, because I stand for truth. Speaking the truth is what’s right.  I will not “go along in order for us to get back on track”, because it.will.not.work. Appeasing men will get us nowhere. The truth hurts, but it is important and must be spoken.

-Qadoshyah Fish

Open Carry Incident with Girls in Walmart

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On Thursday afternoon,  September 12th, 7 of my friends & I stopped at a Walmart in Marshfield, MO to get some food as we were traveling on our way to Saint Louis, MO. My sister, Suriyah & I were open carrying, as well as our friend, Brian. We all went into Walmart and parted ways – the 3 guys went one way and the 5 girls went another way. We all used the restroom and then proceeded to get some food in Walmart and stop for a sandwich & salad in Subway. The videos of this incident are at the bottom of the post.

Unbeknownst to my girlfriends & I, Brian had been asked to leave Walmart due to his unconcealed firearm. They let him check out and he went to the car to put his firearm away. During that amount of time, we saw some managers rush into Subway and they seemed like they were looking for somebody. The gal who was getting us our sandwich asked them, “Are you guys looking for somebody?” But, they did not answer. They also never approached my sister & I to ask us to leave. We had no idea that they were “watching” us because the two of us had firearms on our sides. One of my sisters did say to us, “I wonder if they are freaking out about the guns?”  But, we didn’t think much of that.

Within moments though, as we were about to leave Subway, I looked up and saw multiple police officers, one with an Assault Rifle, rushing in the doors. Before we could leave, the officer came up to us in a rather harsh & angry tone and demanded to see identification from all 5 of us. He did not ask us what was going on or anything to find out our side of the story. My sister & I both handed him our handgun licenses at first, because we figured that was the identification he was looking for. But, he proceeded to say he did not want to see those, but rather wanted our driver licenses. He then kept our ID’s and the ID’s of my girlfriends who did not have any firearms on them, and told us to walk outside, thereby, technically detaining us.

After we walked outside, my friend, Brian, was coming back from the car and saw all the police vehicles in front of the store. That certainly alarmed him as he did not know what was going on with his daughter and the rest of us girls who were there. Once Brian walked up, the officer also asked for his ID, even though he had no firearm on him at this time.

My brother & dad came out of Walmart shortly thereafter also to find the police officer detaining us. He immediately asked for their ID’s as well, even though neither of them had a firearm on their side.

He then had us stand there while he ran our ID’s. During this time while we were waiting, we talked to the Sheriff and another one of the officers who had responded and asked them what the 911 call was that they received. The officer did not want to give us the exact details, but basically said it was a ‘panicked’ call and was much different than what they saw when they showed up.

While the first responding officer was running our ID’s, the Police Chief of Marshfield showed up to talk to us. He basically gave us the run-down of the laws of Missouri, how you must leave a business if they ask you to leave, why the police officers respond, etc – all of which we already knew. We had looked up the laws of Missouri before we traveled there, so we were well aware of everything that pertained to carrying a firearm.

Finally, after about 30 minutes, they let us go on our way.

The video we put up on YouTube has generated over 250,000 views in the past few days. We never expected this kind of response. There are a few things people need to learn from this.

The most important lesson we should learn from this is, if you don’t use your rights, you’ll lose them. THE reason that this incident happened and was handled the way it was by the responding officers, is not because some girls we’re trying to cause a scene, but because society has an illogical fear of firearms. And seems to think that any citizen open carrying is a cause for concern or that their firearm is going to jump off their hip and start shooting people out of control. It’s so rare, people freak out. What stupidity.

Criminals, typically, at least are not going to be openly carrying a firearm. They don’t want people to know what they’re up to. So, when you see 5 girls together, only 2 of which have a firearm on their side, peacefully shopping & laughing together in Wal-Mart, there should be no cause for concern.

Some believe open carrying makes you a target for criminals. I could see the potential for that, but have never read stories of that happening. In fact, I’ve read multiple stories where citizens open carrying have DETERRED crime. There’s the precise reason I open carry: Out of love & care for my fellow man. I would never want to be in the situation of that woman in the Luby’s Texas shooting. She lost her parents and many more fellow citizens that day due to a mad man with a gun, who she could’ve taken care of had she not left her firearm in her truck.

We’ve been criticized simply for open carrying, even by pro-2nd Amendment folks. They say we should’ve expected this if we’re open carrying. Well, since this is so normal for my sister & I to open carry almost everywhere we go, and we receive compliments regularly, this was the last thing we were expecting. Especially when Missouri allows those 21 and older to open carry without an infringement card. It’s time to start open carrying everyone, so that people get accustomed to this. Someone has to start doing it, so start educating people just by being a walking example.

Yes, we showed our ID’s and have been criticized for doing so. First off, I obey Romans 13. Due to not wanting to inflict undue harm on ourselves, considering the fact that the officer was very upset, we did hand him our ID’s. And I have no regrets for that. I DO wish I had asked him some questions or talked to him more as I showed ‘my papers,’ in the hopes that it would make him stop and think just how silly it was for them to be acting that way towards us, when they happened upon a peaceful group of citizens. And never once asked us for our side of what was going on.

We’ve been accused of ‘causing havoc’, ‘staging the incident’, ‘not leaving when asked’ and so many more false accusations. Seeing that open carrying is something my sister & I regularly do, this was the last thing we expected to happen. Open carrying is normal for us and we receive compliments regularly – never anything negative until this happened. We knew the laws in Missouri. We knew we could legally open carry. We knew they accepted our state’s permits. We didn’t see any ‘no weapons’ signs posted on Walmart’s doors. We simply used the restroom, got some food, bought a sandwich/salad at Subway and that was it. We were about to leave when we saw the cops coming in the doors, which completely surprised us. We were never asked to leave by Walmart, otherwise we would’ve left. My friend, who was open carrying, was asked to leave and he did so, but he was not with us in the store, so we had no idea that he had been asked to leave.

Finally, thanks to the vast majority of people who have been fully supportive and encouraging through this!

Qadoshyah Fish

Cherokee County Republican Party Passes Resolution Against Aggressing Syria

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In the political environment of the war drums beating for new military action and the President himself admitting that “Mr. Assad doesn’t have a lot of capability”, and “He doesn’t have a credible means to threaten the United States.”, the Cherokee County Executive Committee voted unanimously in support of the SYRIAN ANTI-AGGRESSION RESOLUTION presented below on 9-9-13.

This resolution is not about President Obama.  It is not in any way condoning horrors that are happening in the Syrian Civil War.  It is simply stating, well, you can read that for yourselves.

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SYRIAN ANTI-AGGRESSION RESOLUTION
Emergency resolution.

WHEREAS, neither the government nor the people of Syria have acted in an aggressive manner towards the United States of America and;

WHEREAS, neither the government nor the people of Syria represent a clear and present danger to the United States of America and;

WHEREAS, neither the government nor the people of Syria represent a threat to the people of Oklahoma, specifically the citizens of Cherokee County, and;

WHEREAS, a preemptive military strike is an act of aggression against a sovereign state and people;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee of the Cherokee County Republican Party believes that no military strike should be carried out against the Syrian people or government. Military strikes include soldiers on the ground, surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles or anything else that can be construed as an act of war;

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Representatives of Cherokee County, Markwayne Mullin, United States House of Representatives; Tom Coburn, United States Senate; and James Inhofe, United States Senate, should take all necessary means to insure that no military action be taken by the United States military, the President of the United States or his agents.

One Year Ago Today: Reflections on the RNC

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It’s been one year this month since I and several other Oklahoma state delegates contested the OK GOP’s state delegation elected at the OK State Convention on May 12, 2012. The process in Tampa at the RNC started on August 20th, when we presented our case in front of the RNC Committee on Contests. They ruled against us (big surprise – NOT), and so we contested it to the Credentials Committee, which met on August 24th.

You can read more about this at, Oklahoma Delegate Battle due to OK GOP Disregarding the Rules.

It had been a long, hard week (actually weeks with all the preparation) bringing this contest to the RNC. My status update on Facebook one year ago today – August 24th, was this,

Sigh….I’ve been crying for an hour now :(. I didn’t expect the credentials committee to rule in our favor, but to see complete and utter disregard for rules and all…well, it can be discouraging. The fight was necessary tho and well worth it.

I had so many responses and so many comments to this post that it was very encouraging. My mom’s response, though, was my favorite of all,

Take heart, dear daughter, the battle for truth will never be over. The 2 things that people say shouldn’t be talked about are religion and politics. In these 2 areas we have learned that the battle for truth is not an easy one, not a well liked one by the majority, not something that the masses want to hear about, BUT we fight on, we press on and we speak the truth despite the results we see around us. I love you!

I remember where we were in those months from May 2012-August 2012 with all the political happenings. We felt so strongly that this was the right thing to do. And, it was the path God took me on and had me stand for the truth in this situation.

We did this because, as I wrote on our drive down to Tampa, FL on August 18th,

 …I am going through all of this with the committee on contests because the truth must stand and I want justice to prevail.

If this was a case in the court of law, we would have already won. It’s not a hard case. Yet, we are dealing with a party that doesn’t blink an eye about injustice. So, I have trust and hope in God that He will bring us through this and let the truth prevail.

I believe in miracles.

That’s the best way to sum it up.

I’m fighting hard because the lives of many depend on this. The lives of our soldiers. The lives of unborn babies. The lives of innocent men, women & children. The lives of American citizens. The lives of my brothers & sisters. The lives of my family & friends.

At the time we already knew about the sad state affairs of the Republican Party, as I wrote in the same post above on our drive to Florida,

The Republican party shows us yet again they don’t care. They don’t care about rules. They don’t care about being fair. They don’t truly care about changing the horrible course our nation is on. They don’t care about who the troops want in office. They don’t care. And it disgusts me.

But, I wanted to give it one more go, for the reasons mentioned above. Knowing what I know now though and seeing the utter depth of the cold, heartless, uncaring, unloving Republican Party, I would not do this again. Since the RNC in 2012, the complete and utter disregard of the rules, the total sham of a ‘Convention,’ & the complete lack of love, care & justice from the Republican Party has continued to show. Maybe, part of it, is because I was so involved for awhile there and it has become increasingly clear to me.

We have a Party full of politicians who do not uphold their Oath to the Constitution, who don’t blink an eye at sending our sons & daughters to die in unnecessary wars, who have no spines to stand up for the lives of our babies who are being murdered by the thousands every day, and who have no compassion on the lives of people who are refused life saving medical treatments, simply because it’s not ‘FDA approved.’

This is a Party that is supposed to stand for ‘Limited Government’ & ‘Freedom’, yet they cannot even achieve that at the Republican National Committee level. If they can’t even stand for justice, truth, and love at the RNC level, this Party is in bad, bad shape. The way the RNC is run: supporting lies, no justice & no care, is how many of the Politicans are who come out of this Party. Obviously, since the various levels of “authority” in the Party are complete hypocrites, they cannot even call out those who stray from the principles this Party is supposed to stand for.  Therefore, it just continues to spiral down a disgusting path.

The Republican Party does not listen to the voice of the people and they don’t care. This is why I have come to the conclusion that I would not spend the energy doing what I did last year. Because we are dealing with a Party that doesn’t even blink an eye about injustice.

I realize that many people may be taken back by this post coming from the Vice Chair of a County Republican Party. While the local Party can have a better voice and control of the message that is spread, if the office holders have strong, steadfast principles, the levels above them are corrupt. Oklahoma has a State Chair that believes, “True freedom is doing what you ought to do. False freedom is doing what you want to do.” You don’t have to go very far in the levels of the Republican Party to see the hypocrisy and lies.

It is likely that I will (and have) upset people with my strong words, but the Truth hurts.  I care for our soldiers who are dying as they are sent to useless wars. I care for the lives of unborn babies who are aborted by the thousands. I care for the lives of my brothers, sisters, family, friends and all of you – my fellow citizens. And, so, I will continue to speak out, both through my local Party and outside of it, however I can, to expose wrong doings and to speak on behalf of those who have been shunned and silenced. Whether it is for the unborn babies who are killed each day, for our troops who are sent to wars carelessly to die for an unjust cause, or for those who are denied life saving treatment because Politicians (including many Republicans) are too cold hearted to care.

Qadoshyah

Let’s Stop the Trend toward a National Presidential Primary

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In  the past those of us that went to the Republican National Convention in Florida last year have shared concerns about rules changes pushed through that centralized party power and weakened the grassroots.  We want to keep everyone informed on what is happening as this internal party conflict will have a profound affect on our party as a whole and the methods and means we use to nominate our Presidential candidates.

Our Nation Committee Woman Dr. Carolyn McClarty has even came to Cherokee County and elsewhere speaking against the power grab rules changes.   You can read about Dr. McClarty’s visit to Cherokee County Here if you missed it before.

Even now we have grassroots leaders across the States still fighting the fight and working to undo the damage of those recent rules changes.  Below is a letter recently sent to our National Chairman Reince Priebus discussing concerns and ways to address them.

Dr. Shannon Grimes, Chairman
Cherokee County Republican Party

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By: Morton C. Blackwell (Diary) | August 2nd, 2013 at 05:20 PM | 3

Mr. Reince Priebus, Chairman
Republican National Committee

Dear Reince,

You received last month my notice, as required, that I shall propose a single amendment to The Rules of the Republican Party at the August 14-17 meeting of the RNC in Boston.

It’s a one-word amendment to Rule 16 (c)(2) to change the word “may” back to the word “shall” – a small change of wording that would have a major effect on our Republican presidential nomination process and please a great many grassroots Republicans.

Because many new people have recently become Members of the national committee and because debate on Rules matters is customarily limited, I decided to discuss this matter in advance and in some detail in this letter to you, with copies to all RNC members.

My change would repeal one of the worst power grabs pushed through by Ben Ginsberg at the 2012 Republican National Convention Rules Committee in Tampa.

For decades, Republican leaders watched as state after state moved their presidential primaries earlier and earlier. We moved closer and closer each election cycle to what amounted to a “national primary,” where a majority of convention delegates would be elected on a single day or within a period of a very few days. There was almost unanimous agreement that a national primary is a bad idea.

Here are some of the reasons why almost all party leaders agreed that something had to be done to stop the movement toward a national primary:

1. The selection and binding of most national convention delegates in a very short period of time would give a huge advantage to a very wealthy candidate. There would not be time for anyone who started without such wealth to build a base of supporters by proving himself or herself to be an excellent candidate early in the presidential nomination season and, over time, building a winning grassroots campaign.

2. The front-loading of our delegate selection would give the major liberal media an opportunity to build up quickly someone they wanted our party to nominate. The liberal media can, in a very short time, generate favorable coverage and national celebrity for any Republican candidate they choose. They have done this before and might do it again. It takes longer for grassroots Republicans to unite behind their choice of candidates.

3. There should be a sufficiently long period in the nomination contest to test every potential nominee in a number of successive contests in a wide variety of states and circumstances. Without such a testing period, one lucky break or one early mistake could result in our nominating someone due to a fluke.

Something really had to be done.

Literally for decades, our Party wrestled with this problem. Many solutions were proposed. One, called the Delaware Plan, actually passed at a Convention Rules Committee, but some states objected and filed a minority report which would have resulted in a Rules battle on the floor of the convention.

Our presidential nominee that year didn’t want a convention floor battle on anything, so his people pressured enough supporters of the Convention Rules Committee’s Delaware Plan to withdraw their support of it. No reform was passed that year.

Front-loading of the primaries got worse, but it became clear that no presidential candidate about to be nominated at a national convention would let a Convention Rules Committee change the timing of presidential primaries because there was always a fairly strong minority of the states which, for different reasons, opposed any one of the several proposed reforms of the system. No convention floor battles would be tolerated.

Front-loading of the delegate-selection process grew and grew.

Finally, it was decided to set up a special commission to propose a Rules reform to somehow spread out the delegation-selection period enough to prevent a national presidential primary. Enormous amounts of time, talent, and RNC money were invested in coming up with a solution. A solution was found that almost everyone accepted. A special “one-time-only” Rules change permitted passage between conventions of a reform of delegate-selection-timing rules, so no national convention would have a floor fight over it.

The reform provided that, with the exception of four smaller “carve-out” states, delegate selection and binding could not begin until March, but no winner-take-all primaries could be held before April. States choosing to hold binding presidential primaries in March, the Rules said, “shall” have to allocate their delegate votes among the candidates using some form of proportional system. That reform was adopted and was in effect for the 2012 nomination process.

The reform would have worked as intended, but the strong compulsion to move to the front of the line in the nomination process led some states to disregard our Rules and to schedule binding, winner-take-all primaries before April 1. Those states which “jumped the gun” were subjected to the penalty of losing half of their allocated number of delegates, but that penalty wasn’t strong enough to stop some state legislatures from leap-frogging those states which were in compliance with our Rules of the Republican Party. As a result, our 2012 presidential nomination process started much earlier and therefore lasted much longer than our Rules intended.

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Don’t Tread on Me: Private Property – The Key to Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty

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By Joanna Francisco August 1, 2013
Committee Women for Tulsa County Republican Party

The right to acquire, control, defend, and bequeath property is essential for a peaceful, prosperous, and free society.

Good fences make good neighbors. Where property rights can be legally defended, even the most incompatible people can live peacefully and securely side by side. When the law supports the right to defend one’s property, there exists a climate of mutual respect for the property rights of all. Morality aside, if I know that my attempt to commit theft against my neighbor will be met by sufficient defense, I will surely consider that when evaluating the risks associated with thievery.

When people have confidence that the law will protect their right to defend their own property from aggressors, the whims of the majority, and the edicts of rulers, their creativity, energy, and resources can be unleashed to pursue their individual interests and focus their efforts on developing goods and services in the market economy. In this environment, people are freed up to serve themselves and their fellow man, acquire wealth (property) for themselves, and control their wealth as they see fit rather than expending that same energy jumping through compulsory bureaucratic hoops.

When it comes to government’s role in property rights, either we live in a society free from the threat of government aggression against our property or we live under varying degrees of coercion by an organized group of people who seek to control the resources of others in order to enforce bureaucratic central planning, expropriation, monopolies, corporatism, and the like.

Under which condition would you prefer to live?

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Free Markets are the Answer to Healthcare Costs

Health care costs are spiraling out of control, but why? That is the real question people and “experts” are not thinking about. The discussion seems to stop at “costs are too high; we need to intervene to lower costs or get care for everyone!”

I agree there is much wrong with our system. But it has developed as a hodgepodge series of government interventions and private sector compensations that has lead to our tangled, overpriced mess. In a normally functioning economy, technology will increase efficiency and quality of products and services. There is no utopian system where everything will be roses and ice cream for everyone, some will always have more or better than others.

The cost is high due to government interventions in the market. Taxation and regulations caused employers to find other ways to compensate employees (employer-paid health plans). These plans have become endemic and inefficient, but folks will continue using them because they are paying for them. Then there was Medicare, HMO/PPO creation and other regulatory pressures as more businesses started competing for government regulatory boons. It took time, but interventions in the marketplace have turned things upside-down.

The answer is real free market health care.. For some meat and short-term transition, I would propose something like the following. Those who want the added protection can purchase high-deductible catastrophic health plans, voluntarily sharing the risk. Then give tax deductions or credits for health care up to said deductible. This would put the onus of the everyday health care costs back onto the patient, where it belongs, which would make them more price- and quality-conscious. Doctors, too, would have to start competitively seeking patients through better pricing and service. This system probably would also decrease bureaucratic overhead, which would also contribute to lowered prices.

Market pricing discovery would occur and competition would drive down costs. Doctors would begin using technology, not as another thing to bill insurance, but to more efficiently treat the patients so they stay in business. Docs who don’t try to fix the problems would be more likely to fail, as clients would seek care that worked. Both patient and doc would be rewarded for good, moderately priced care. I think there would likely be an increase in the amount of charitable or discounted care for the poorest, but that is certainly debatable.

Tax deductions and credits for medical expenses would be incentive for some to seek more care than they otherwise would. But as it is now, patients are not rewarded for being price-conscious (in regard to insurance co-pays and such), and doctors are financially incentivised and distracted by having to bill for procedures and coding correctly so they can be paid for their work. More procedures generally mean more insurance money. It is part of the financial card game the doctors and insurance companies are forced to play, with cards in hand that have been stacked and restacked to favor various special interests.

We as a nation need to get beyond the emotional arguments going on about health care. There needs to be discussion about how we got here and the principles involved; we have a better chance to fix the problem instead of just adding more problems to the existing unjust system.

Regards,
Dr. Shannon Grimes

Originally appeared: http://tahlequahdailypress.com/letters/x1896302544/Health-care-alternative#sthash.goN4kpOp.dpuf

Cherokee County GOP Chairman in the News on Marriage

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Locals ambivalent about same-sex unions

By TEDDYE SNELL Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a pair of decisions that have far-reaching effects on same-sex marriage.

The court ruled that married, same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits, and by declining to decide California’s Proposition 8 case, it effectively allows same-sex marriage in that state.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act was struck down 5-4, extending benefits for same-sex couples who were married in states that had been allowing gay marriage. The court also provides the Obama administration executive power to broaden other benefits through executive action. The majority of justices ruled DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment by seeking to deprive personal liberty.

In the Proposition 8 case, the ruling essentially sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, “with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction” – meaning the trial court decision, which struck down the law, will stand.

Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriage, and in fact has passed countermeasures indicating it will not do so. But one local lawmaker agreed the SCOTUS decisions may mean new state legislation could be in the works soon.

“I think we’ll probably have to tackle the issue very soon,” said Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee. “It won’t be anything I’ll introduce – we only have 12 Democrats left in the Senate – but I know it will come up.”

Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, said the Legislature has already addressed the marriage issue.

“The Supreme Court decision strengthens states’ rights,” said Brown. “We dealt with [same-sex marriage] in 2010. We passed a marriage act defining it as between a man and a woman. I guess we can visit the issue again, and recite the definition again, but the law is in place.”

Jim Bynum, chairman of the Cherokee County Democrat Party, said the ruling was more about individual rights than a ruling on marriage.

“I don’t think it’s a ruling on gay marriage or non-gay marriage,” said Bynum. “It’s about the individual rights of the people of this country. It has nothing to do with sexual preference or how you choose to have an orgasm. Why would you discriminate against a person about a religious moray based on the Old Testament as interpreted by a primitive people more than 2,000 years ago? People change, the U.S. Constitution changes. Our framers knew that and expected to change. It’s a dynamic document. Liberty and individual freedoms are what’s important.”

Shannon Grimes, chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party, said that in kicking the issue back to the states, the Supreme Court made the right decision.

“There is no constitutional authority for Congress over marriage without using the broadest sorts of interpretation that are explicitly counter to intentions when our Constitution was drafted,” said Grimes. “There is no constitutional prohibition of states legislating about marriage, though I myself wonder why anyone would want the government involved in marriage to begin with. From a Christian perspective, marriage is a covenant between husband, wife and God. When and how did we start letting government add itself to that sacred covenant? As best I can tell, it’s largely due to financial and tax advantages that people have welcomed government involvement in marriage.”

Grimes prefers government to stay out of the marriage issue.

“But if we are going to have government involved in marriage contracts, then those contracts must be equally protected by the law, no matter my own opinion on someone else’s ‘marriage’ – just like other contracts, particularly at the federal level,” said Grimes.

Local residents Bri and Cherokee Lowe were married legally in Iowa in 2010, but choose to live in a state where their marriage is legally invalid.

“We are still living in Oklahoma because we want to fight these fights, as exhausting as they can sometimes be,” said Cherokee. “I am very excited that DOMA got struck down, but I am unclear on how this will affect us.”

Cherokee believes the rulings are the first step in what is bound to be a long, but crucial, process.

“It’s not as simple as women being able to vote,” said Cherokee. “This has ramifications in every area of our lives, from adoption of our children to insurance and beyond. I told Bri I think it is going to take at least six months to see how much this affects us. As it is, I think everyone is unclear on how it will. Even taxes will be affected. What I would like to see happen is just that Oklahoma will finally recognize our union as a ‘real’ marriage.”

The Press asked its Facebook friends to weigh in on the decisions. For the most part, area residents who weighed in seemed to favor the move.