Notes from Clouds Over America Conference
February 8th & 9th, 2013
Featured Speakers and a summary of their remarks:
Tim founded the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) in 2009. It now is Oklahoma’s leading advocate for gun rights. Tim is currently a pastor in Seminole.
Tim spoke about 5 or 6 legislative initiatives underway in the State Legislature (there are about 60 bills in total in this area).
SB 173 is modeled after Wisconsin legislation. It provides liability protection for any establishment which allows carry permit holders access. It would provide protection for colleges as well, but apparently under current law college presidents can approve individual permit holders access to their campus, but not one has done so. Today they argue the liability issue. This law would remove the liability argument, but Tim thinks college presidents will just find another excuse to not allow permit holders access to campus. The bill also clarifies that if a permit holder enters an establishment which is posted with “no gun stickers”, that the permit holder is only subject to a trespass violation if he refuses to leave (apparently a County Sherriff tried to say that failure to leave was a much more serious violation than the law currently states.) HB 2211 changes the definition of concealed and also includes liability protection.
SB205 revises the prohibited places in the State Self Defense Act. A key element of the act involves no guns in a meeting where political officials are present, but meeting is not defined. So some real weird results can result. It also tries to address the requirement that you may have a gun in the car only when dropping off a student; but what if you are dropping off your spouse who is a teacher; and what about being able to walk the child to the door; etc. There apparently has been a lot of resistance to this bill in the past.
HB1622 (Rep Kern) would allow private schools to make the decision about allowing guns on their property. This would help the Christian schools, particularly those using church property.
There are several nullification bills. The Federal Gun Free School Zone Act, a product of Diane Feinstein, does not allow guns within 1000 feet of any school property. The law does provide an exclusion for carry permit holders if their permit is from the state involved, but the gun has to be in a locked case in the trunk when, for instance, you drive by or within 1000 feet of school property. One would think that an OK permit holder would be protected say in TX which has reciprocity with OK regarding carry permits, but the Feds do not acknowledge reciprocity. Tim said his whole town is covered by the law since it is so small. He said if you drove down the Turner Turnpike with a gun in the car you would commit 3 federal felonies due to the close proximity of school property to the Turnpike. Fortunately most law enforcement agencies are not enforcing this law; but he cited a guy in Virginia who was arrested for speeding in a school zone. Since he had a carry permit from another state (with VA reciprocity) he kept his hands on the wheel and so advised the policeman. He was arrested under this the federal law which carries a mandatory 5 year federal sentence. Obama wants to increase this law to 2000 feet and a 10 year mandatory sentence.
One approach to alleviate the issue raised by the Federal Gun Free School Zone Act is SB401 introduced by Sen. Dahm. It would say that for purposes of the Federal law any OK citizen with the right to keep and bear arms is considered by the state to be licensed for the purposes of the Federal Gun Free School Zone Law.
A true nullification bill is SB548, also introduced by Sen. Dahm. It in essense says that federal gun control legislation violates the 2nd amendment and therefore null and void in the state of OK. It also says that any federal officer, agent, etc. who tries to enforce such federal laws in OK has committed a felony and is subject to arrest and mandatory prison time.
Finally Tim mentioned House Joint Resolution 1026 which is a constitutional amendment. Tim said our state constitution stinks with regard to second amendment rights. The current wording in the State Constitution says “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited, but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.” Not that the words after the “but” in essence could be interpreted to allow the Legislature to take away our rights. Thus the proposed constitutional amendment reads as follows: “The fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and to bear handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives and other common arms, ammunition and the components thereof, for security, defense, recreation, lawful hunting, or any other legitimate purpose shall not be infringed. Regulations of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny and shall not frustrate or impair the purposes of this right.” The proposed constitutional amendment, which if it passes we would vote on in 2014, would supposedly make OK the premier state in constitutional 2nd amendment protection.
These bills have to pass through two committees (the Rules Committee and the Public Safety Committee) under new Senate rules, to make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The rules chairman, A. J. Griffin, has agreed to hear SB 401, but has not agreed to SB548. We need to contact all the Senate Rules committee members and most importantly Sen. Griffin and encourage them to consider and pass these bills.
Senator Dahm is a freshman senator from senate district 33 (Broken Arrow I believe).
Senator Dahm reviewed the history of how we got to where we are with a fiat currency. Sound money he said is a mythical creature today. He believes we need an audit of our gold and silver reserves. He said the US has only $400 billion of gold reserves, enough to run the government for 3 plus months. He reminded us that FDR used an Executive Order to confiscate our gold in 1933, and the same thing could happen today.
He has proposed a bill to extend the exemption for OK sales tax and capital gains tax to Oklahomans who invest in gold and silver.
Representative Dan Fisher – States Rights
Dan is Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Yukon, and a freshman representative. He is one of the leaders of the Black Robed Regiment.
Although the world is growing dark, Dan contended it is growing gloriously dark. A diamond shines brightest amongst lumps of coal. He led us through the thoughts of the founders about states rights and talked about three things that have led us to where we are: judicial tyranny, legislative tyranny, and the tyranny of neglect.
What can we do? Dan supports nullification. He said his friend David Barton does not support nullification, but instead wants to use the courts. Dan believes the courts are too packed with progressives to ever be a successful and final deterrent to the encroachment of the federal government in all areas of our lives. States will have to start doing the heavy lifting.
Specifically he recommended Obamacare nullification, which simply means that Oklahoma says the law is unconstitutional and our state will not implement provisions of the law. He has a bill for this. He thinks we must push back on attacks on the 2nd amendment (see discussion above). He wants the legislature to just outright outlaw abortion in OK (that will put pressure on the supposedly pro-life OK supreme court). He thinks we need to pass American Law for American Courts (HB 1060 which is working its way through the legislature). And we need to pass Rachael’s Law, one of his bills, that would protect Oklahoman’s from foreign attacks about books, etc.
Charlie currently serves as Chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC).
Charlie began by saying that “This ain’t your granddaddy’s chamber”, a quote from Chad Warmington, PR guy for State Chamber. Charlie went on to show just how true Chad’s statement really was.
Charlie recommended we look at the OK-SAFE website for details about the state chamber and its avowed purpose to advance corporate interests ONLY. No conscience, no morality – just whatever is good for business. Pure pragmatism without a heart.
[More info here via OK-SAFE on topic State Chamber admits running campaigns – thinks tax cuts don’t matter]
[I witnessed this last year when the State Chamber opposed American Law for American Courts apparently because it did not have an exclusion for corporations. Rather than suggesting they would support the bill if and only if the bill included such an exclusion (note that all states previously passing ALAC had such an exclusion), the State Chamber apparently just came out against the bill. This is to my way of thinking a perfect example of not including morality in your thinking, and is reprehensible in any organization. ALAC is the type of bill that Republicans or Democrats, pro-business or pro-labor, anyone who wants to protect the rights of women and children, should support. I hope our local chambers of commerce believe in doing what is right as well as supporting business, and have the courage to say so to the state chamber; but I am not sure that this happens.]
The state chamber “finds, runs and finances” “pro-business”candidates. This is from their own speeches. In other words they buy votes.
He mentioned the Ried Score [also mentioned via OK-SAFE in article on State Chamber admits running campaigns – thinks tax cuts don’t matter] . He gave examples of how this ‘score” is arbitrarily manipulated.
Charlie says the State Chamber opposes many good bills because they want to be seen as “progressive” in such places as the East Coast, the West Coast and Chicago. Any bill which, to their way of thinking, makes OK look backward, red neck, etc., they will oppose no matter if the bill is actually good for OK.
[More info via OK-SAFE pdf format here Oklahoma State Chamber 7–17–2012 Meeting Transcript “…the legislature spends a lot of time talking about things that just don’t matter – I mean, they want to talk about tax cuts and all that stuff.” – Chad Warmington]
Dr. Duke Pesta – Freedom Project Education
Dr. Pesta taught at OSU at one time.
The Freedom Project Education is a K-12 classical school taught entirely online. They are in their third semester and have 260 students (two dozen in OK). Students are taught with live teachers and can interact with the teachers and with classmates. It is Christian based education; uses Latin to help tie back to classical studies, and teaches economics from the 6th grade on.
Children attending FPE are free from the worries of the zero tolerance school society so prevalent today for such things as pictures of guns; free from the absolute tolerance (wholly inclusive) of school society today for graphic sexual education, homosexual education at very early ages, abortion education, etc.
They teach logic. They want to teach students how to think, not what to think. They teach Christianity, patriotism, American exceptionalism.
Parents are encouraged to monitor the instruction.
For more information see FPEUSA.ORG
Dr. Sterling Lacy – Beating Discouragement with Hope
Dr. Lacy has been an ordained minister for 50 years, holds a PhD in Christian Psychology, been in private counseling for 35 years, and recently became a County Judge.
You may read about his topic in this month’s New American magazine.
It was a good inspirational talk.
Kevin McAfee – Hollywood vs Morality
A Bethany, OK product, Kevin has been in the film and television industry for over 30 years. After serving seven years as the CEO of Every Tribe Entertainment based in Los Angeles and owned by the Hobby Lobby Corportation, Kevin founded Veritas Entertainment. His latest project was the movie Last Ounce of Courage.
“To be light in the darkness you have to be very careful.” He told about the challenges of being a Christian in Hollywood. He believes in “flagpole stories of truth.” He believes is spiritually based decisions. It is not about conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. It is about right or wrong. Right is right.
The goals of Veritas include safe, family friendly, truthful content. Their values include courage, character and conviction. They want to partner with like-minded individuals/companies with good entertainment ideas. They have a dream to educate children to become media missionaries.
He made a first time announcement during this meeting: they are forming Crown Cinema whose goal is to have 5000 churches with full screen capability and surround sound within 3 years. Cost will be $75 million. They will bring one movie a month to these church venues. These will be movies that you do not have to research to be sure they are “safe” for your family and your children. Sounds like a fantastic idea.
Pastor Paul Blair – Campaign Experience or How to Make the Richest Men in OK Hate You
Pastor Blair grew up in Edmond and for the last 12 years has been pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, Edmond. An interior lineman at OSU, he went on to play for the Chicago Bears. He has owned a small coffee and blending company for 25 years.
Pastor Blair relived his experience running for State Senate in 2012 against one of the best funded men in the Senate (funding I presume from out-of-state, corporations and the state chamber- only 7 ½ % of his opponents funding came from his district-see state ethics commission for funding details).
Pastor Blair spoke about three hypocrisies:
1. Legislators campaign on smaller government, but grow it instead. He reiterated time and again that our out of control spending, even at the state level, is not a Republican nor Democrat problem. We are out of control in our state and we have a supermajority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate and we have the Governorship. Spending in OK increased 72% in the last ten years – did your individual income experience such an increase? Not mine.
48% of state money comes from Washington, and our legislators keep asking for more. We will never be able to reign in the growing federal government with such leadership at the state level (my comment, not his).
2. Legislators campaign on lower taxes, but never deliver. He argues that big business does not want lower state income taxes, because they want the state to have plenty of money to dole out kickbacks to the big corporations. Thus the losers are the individual citizens and the small businesses.
3. Legislators campaign for Pro-Life. However, in private, they work against pro-life bills. Take for instance the Personhood Act. In the first part of the last legislative session (that is 2011) the House voted 74-2 FOR the Personhood Act, but the Act died in Committee in the Senate. The next year, 2012, the Personhood Act passed the Senate 34-8, but died in the House in some special newly invented “House Poll” which had unrecorded votes. So – Senators and Representatives can argue they voted for the Personhood Act, and they have no record showing how they killed the bill in alternate years. This to my way of thinking just simply STINKS (once again, my comments not his).
Pastor Blair offered a couple of ideas if you are considering running for office.
1. Know your reason for running. You should believe in the rule of law, you should see it as a covenant between you and the people you serve, you should fear God and believe in Natural Law, you should be men and women of truth, and you should hate covetousness.
2. Count the costs. Special interests pick, fund, indoctrinate and control much of your opposition. These interests will do anything to keep their men and women on the payroll.
3. Who is going to stand in the gap if you don’t run? This is a long term battle. We must educate the people, expose corruption, and replace bad candidates with good ones.
Kaye Beach – Facial ID and Surveillance
Kaye is a 20 year hairdresser turned activist in 2007.
Kaye’s speech was about how the government at all levels is working to implement high tech biometric surveillance of the entire society. There are two parts to this: use of the latest in technology and tying it to biometric data. The goal is to be able to identify us without our knowledge, through such things as surveillance cameras. But remember, now with cell phone cameras a plainclothes agent of the government can scan a crowd and using facial recognition identify everyone in the crowd.
The Real ID Act of 2005, a federal act, tried to impose international standards on our state drivers licenses. (Realize, the ultimate goal is to make this a worldwide sharing of data). About 25 or so states passed nullification bills, including OK, which in essense said we aren’t going to do this. This action was bipartisan. The ACLU and the ACLJ stood side by side on this issue. But in spite of this the Real ID ACT is marching on.
In OK the legislature in 2008 said we would not implement this act and ordered the Dept. of Public Safety to destroy all data they had collected. Have they destroyed it? NO. In fact they are moving ahead in its implementation. They have (or are close to having) 14 of the 18 benchmarks in the ACT met in OK.
The FBI says they will be fully operational in 2014. How are they doing it? They are acquiring as much biometric data as possible from where – the state databases.
More than 25 states have implemented technology to identify people in the field.
– enroll citizens thru drivers licenses, carry permits, etc
– adopt international standards
– link the databases
Kaye objects to biometric data on her driver’s license from her deeply held Christian beliefs. She applied for an exemption for her thumbprint, but was denied. She has sued and the Rutherford Institute is assisting her, but she still has uncovered legal costs of about $5000. If you want to help her out with her legal expenses, I’m sure she will accept any help she can get.
HB2168 would among other things include a Biometric Indentification Religious Exemption. She encouraged us to contact legislators requesting that they support this bill.
Jenni White – Common Core State Curriculum
Jenni is co-founder of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE).
Jenni’s presentation was so loaded with facts about the horrible nature of the Common Core (CCSS) that there is no way I can begin to summarize it here. Go to the ROPE website and you will find tons of information.
Common Core is scheduled to be fully implemented by 2014. Thus we must STOP it this year in OK.
Although there is a federal law (two of them I think) that says unequivocally that the federal government cannot be involved in school curriculum, Common Core, when taken to the bottom line is nothing more than federal control of the curriculum of our nation.
The Common Core curriculum is written by paid consultants. Who pays them – Bill Gates Foundation, etc. There are numerous charts that show the funding and interconnection between the “providers”, the government, and the funding organizations. If you connect the dots it becomes pretty clear that Common Core is nothing more than the federal government control of our curriculum. Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist and his folks are involved in writing the curriculum.
The feds will argue that the states voluntarily agreed to adopt the standards. And that is true, except that they fail to mention the promise of money that comes with the “voluntary” agreement. Did you know that our state legislators agreed to Common Core back in 2009, even before many of the standards had even been written. Shades of Nancy Pelosi! Why did they do this? My answer – Greed, pure and simple. They wanted to be able to qualify for Bush’s Race to the Top funds, so they agreed to Common Core. Course here we are 3 years later and did we get any Race to the Top funds – NOPE. But we are commited to Common Core. And we are going to have to pay for its implementation as well!
Why is it so bad? This will be my words, not Jenni’s. No way I could capture all her detail.
First and foremost it is bad because it is federal government control of our education system. I thought we had local control of education in the US.
Second – the Common Core Curricula as it exists today is bad. The math curricula is out of step with the learning process. They claim it is college preparatory, but in reality it is only high school graduation preparatory. The English curriculum removes cursive and it replaces much of the study of literature with the study of “informational documents” like Obama’s Ex. Orders or writings of the EPA. Just imagine what will be in this curricula years down the road.
Third – the curricula leads to the testing standards, the PARCC I think they are called. If you don’t teach the common core, then how are the students going to pass the tests. If the students don’t pass the tests then the schools will get D and F ratings. And, due to the fact that State Superintendent Baresi and Governor Fallin accepted the NCLB waiver, the federal Department of Education can take over the school. How is this local control??
Fourth – The SAT and ACT tests are being changed to agree with the CCSS. Thus private schools and home schoolers that want to prepare their students for successful completion of the SAT and ACT will start teaching Common Core. [My opinion: we need a growing set of Christian Colleges that rely on another test to determine entrance requirements].
The plan is to homogenize the entire society, using the school curriculum to accomplish their purposes. And our State Legislators are falling right in line with this plan.
In summary, CCSS leads to no choice, it leads to mediocrity, it leads to normalization of secular thinking in all areas of life, it leads to revisionist history. It is the exact opposite of excellence. And it does away with local control of our schools.
Of course the State Chamber of Commerce touts all this stuff. (I wish some of our local big players in the local chambers would wake up and realize what their money is going for. I don’t expect much from the big corporations; they lost their morality long ago. The Green Family in OK is still fighting for principles, but even Mardel sells Common Core textbooks for homeschoolers.)
Jenni ended by saying “They will not assimilate me” (She showed a picture of a borg).
Dr. Duke Pesta – University Ugly
Dr. Pesta spoke this time about the ultimate source of all these education issues – the universities, or academia. They create curriculum, they teach the teachers of the future.
He argued that many in our society have a romanticized view of the college campus – a place where ideas are debated. He said this is far from the truth. Academia does not share your values.
He shared a list of courses you can take in college – Lady Gaga, the joy of garbage, harry potter, underwater basket weaving (yes, two colleges actually offer this), porn studies, cyber pornography, Japanese animated comic books, etc.
The average college graduate of today does not read as well as a high school graduate of 30-40 years ago.
Many parents argue that their kids are well prepared to withstand the attack they will encounter at college. But he argues this is a myth. Girls first going to a dorm are “counseled” by university staff in birth control, given morning after pills, encouraged to explore sexual relationships, given sex toys, and some colleges even offer free sex change operations. All this is paid for by the tuition.
Dr. Pesta says college professors believe it is their job to erase all the bad ideas parents, Christian Schools, etc. instilled in students. So it is a war. They set out to destroy all you have taught your kids. And do you think our children are really ready for this war when the professors have them captive for up to 6 years (many students are taking 5-6 years to complete a 4 year college degree, and probably taking government loans to do so).
The students will see a non-stop onslaught of left wing philosophy including Marxism when they enter college.
Bob Donohoo – Strategic Activism
Bob Donohoo closed out the conference with some suggestions of what we can do.
First he said we need the appropriate amount of law, not too much law. I agree. And I often hear committed conservatives say “There ought to be a law.” No, there ought to be less laws, and far fewer regulations.
Bob broke our elected officials into three categories: the Principled, the Opportunists, and the Defiant.
He suggested we need to work with all three. The Principled will normally vote the way we want because their worldview is similar to ours. But we still need to educate them on specific issues. Remember few legislators actually read the bills they are voting on. They rely, just like the rest of society, on sound bites about what the law does or does not do. I suspect most of the information they are fed is false.
The Opportunists is the largest group and we need to advise them. We need to convince them that the cost of going against liberty is greater than anything they will receive in return. It’s a simple cost/benefit analysis for them. By accepting special interest money they need to know we are watching and we will expose what they are doing. If we are successful we can convert many of the Opportunists into the Principled.
The final group is the Defiant. We need to expose their voting records, we need to inform their constituents at election time, and we need to help their opponents. If we are successful we will reduce the number of the Defiant.
When lobbying be sure to present a few facts for your legislators. A one page dot point works well. Remember, in many cases the legislators are not reading these bills and they don’t know what they do or don’t do. So quickly educate them.
Notes from Gary:
I hope these notes are helpful. If I got something wrong that a speaker said or meant, I apologize. I was writing pretty fast. This was a very good conference and I recommend your participation in the future.
DVDs were made of the presentations. I failed to pick up a copy of the order form, but I think if you call Fairview Baptist Church they can tell you how to order a copy of the DVD. Whole conference is $25, if I remember right.
Special thanks to Gary Kilpatrick for this personal report from the conference!
Gary retired from ConocoPhillips in 2004 where he served in a number of management positions. He is a Sunday School teacher, an ACT for America Chapter leader and has served on the Republican Party State Platform Committee. In the last several years he has become increasingly concerned about the future of our state and our nation.