“The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will, be recalled.”

~ George Washington (1787)

Monday, May 30, 2011

"...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..."

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
President of the United States
Gettysburg Battlefield
November 19th, 1863

These words are as true now as then.  Lest we forget.

Memorial Day: A Teen's Mission

Our nation has many fine young people.  Here's a story of one:

Lest we forget.

Friday, May 27, 2011

June Meeting

The next Walla Walla TEA Party meeting is on Monday, June 13, from 6:30pm - 8:00pm, at the Walla Walla Airport Conference Room.

The business meeting starts at 6:30 PM, with the speaker of the month at 7:00 PM.  The speak will be announced shortly, so please check back here for updates.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Sustainable Development"

"Sustainable Development" is defined by the International Institute for Sustainable Development as:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

 In theory, this sounds fine.  In practice, "Sustainable Development" harkens back to the United Nations "Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests". 

Effectively, "Agenda 21" defines the basic planning process for land development for local governments around the world.  The article "Agenda 21 UN: The History of Sustainable Development - Connecting the Dots" is a good read on how this all came about, including the spread of this doctrine across the United States.

What does this mean at the local level?  A good example is Carroll County, Maryland, where a "smart growth plan" called "Pathways" because the mechanism of choice for a land grab by the County a few years ago.  The plan "...proposed a breathtaking reshuffling of land rights:"
  • Rezoning of thousands of acres of beautiful, low-density agricultural farmland and protected residential conservation land into office parks
  • Down-zoning of agriculture land to prevent future subdivision by farmers
  • Up-zoning of low-density residential land around small towns into higher density zoning to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums
  • Inclusive housing with placement of multi-family construction on in-fill lots within existing residential single family communities
  • Endorsement of government-sponsored housing initiatives (subsidies) to ensure healthier, balanced neighborhoods
Fortunately, this plan was defeated by alert community members.  But it's a major example of how private land ownership is under attack by government at all levels.  Another small, but important example of  that movement is the application of eminent domain to private property in New London, CT, for the express purpose of seizing private property for economic development.  A blatant land grab endorsed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

How this applies to the Walla Walla TEA Party Patriots is quite simple:  The City of Walla Walla Sustainability Committee.

This is a permanent committee, with the stated purpose:
To conduct scenario planning to prepare for social, economic, and environmental changes in an efficient and cost-effective manner and to provide advice to the council upon the development and integration of sustainability parameters to be used in the implementation of the goals, objectives, and policies of the Walla Walla Comprehensive Plan.
The committee was formed in 2010, and is just starting to organize itself.  It's part of the City Planning Department, under the Sustainability Office.

This is all quite legal, but it is appropriate that tax payers ask relevant questions.  For example, how much does it cost the city to maintain a "Sustainability Coordinator"?  In light of budget woes, is such a position truly needed?  Are there any costs to maintain the committee itself?  And so on.

Citizen involvement in government is to be encouraged.  But there was an active push to develop this advisory committee at the same time the streets of Walla Walla "lacked a street advocate".  The City Manager, Nabiel Shawa, and Public Works Director Ki Bealey, are involved with the sustainability committee as well, according to minutes on the committee web site.  Granted, they are seeking input on community development.  That's why the committee was formed.

But has the city pushed as hard for a streets advisory committee?  Is there a streets coordinator?  One has to wonder just where the priorities of the City of Walla Walla truly lie.  And if the tax "revenue" so badly needed for street maintenance is more a matter of the priorities of the City of Walla Walla.

UPDATE: I forgot to note that this post is based on contributions from other members of our group.  My apologies.

"Fixing streets boils down to more money"

City officials explained what it would take to fix streets in the city of Walla Walla: Money.

Essentially, the City Manager, Nabiel Shawa, and Public Works Director Ki Bealey, explained to a public meeting (attended by 10 people, half of whom were public works employees), why street maintenance funding has dwindled since the 1980s.

Fair use prevents posting the complete article here, so I recommend reading the article at the Union Bulletin (log in probably required), or in the 15 May hard copy edition.  But the key points from the article are:

  1. Tax "revenues" have decreased for a variety of reasons, including I-695 and "stagflation" in the 1980s.
  2. There isn't any street advocate in Walla Walla during the annual budget discussions.
  3. The streets in Walla Walla are falling apart due to less money. 
  4. The subject was studied in Walla Walla in 2004, and were rated at 60% of optimum. The current estimate -- 7 years later -- puts the roads at 40% of optimum.
  5. "We are taking comments from the town halls and surveys to try to put together a specific plan to take back to citizens after Labor Day with an eye toward a November ballot issue," Shawa said.
Utility maintenance is a prime task of local government, so I'm stunned at the idea that a "street hero" is needed to prod city officials to do their jobs.  The lone commenter on the UB article puts it much better:
 I think it is fairly obvious that citizens had no idea they had to champion an obvious necessity in the budget--and that the city had "promised" raises to people while every other entity was going about breaking promises to ensure their own bottom lines. Maintenance of the streets fall into the  "No-Brainer" category of givens.
 The city is currently in the process of conducting a scientific survey to determine which of the four options people would support (in a public ballot).  The options to increase street maintenance funds, as presented by Shawa, are:
  • Option A, Shawa explained, would be to tack on $50 to that $30 vehicle tab renewal fee. Add to this the $13 of required fees, and the average cost for a passenger vehicle would be $93 per year; vehicles over 4,000 pounds and trucks would pay more. Currently, the city has the right to add up to a $20 vehicle tab fee, but anything above that would require a simple majority general voter approval.
  • Option B would be to implement a property tax levy of 50 cents per every $1,000 of assessed property value; the owner of a $150,000 home would pay $75 per year. The levy would also require a simple majority voter approval.
  • Option C would be an additional two-tenths of a percent to the current 8.6 percent sales tax. This too would require a simple majority voter approval, but the additional sales tax could only be collected for 10 years, after which point voters would have to approve it again. Walla Walla County is also considering adding one-tenth of a percent to fund mental health services. If both passed, the sales tax in Walla Walla would be 8.9 percent.
  • Option D came with a caveat of threatened cuts to the Aviary, library or other departments, as $1 million would be dedicated from the general budget. This would not require voter approval, but also would not increase taxes.
In all fairness, this is a balanced list of options.  Option D is a good one as well, and kudos to the staff for making it. I recommend keeping a close eye on this one, but a letter or e-mail to the city is in order, if you can't make the town halls.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thank the veterans of World War II

Watch this video, and spread the word.

Thank you.

Congressional Behavior Explained (or: Pavlov was right)

This came to me from a friend.  It explains much, and offers an excellent solution:
If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result ... all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.  Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.  The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.  After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.  The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked.  The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment... with enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth.  Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs.  Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask?  Because in their minds...that is the way it has always been!

This, my friends, is how Congress operates... and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

File under "Not if they tied my hands behind my back, and dragged me by my tongue for 40 miles"

With an ever growing government, decreased accountability, and more regulatory law by bureaucratic fiat, US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has a great idea: give the President more authority to appoint key positions in the Federal government.

Behold, the ironically named bill S.679, "Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011"

J.E. Dyer, writing at Hot Air, puts it succinctly:
This, introduced by Chuck Schumer on 30 March 2011, looks like a very, very bad idea, from the perspective of anyone who wants government to be smaller and less intrusive – and wants the executive to be policed better by the legislative branch. President Obama and his czars are the obvious counterargument to this bill. They make a powerful one.
More than 200 positions would no longer require Senate approval, including many key financial management and oversight positions. I find this idea to be chilling for anyone occupying the Oval Office, let alone President Obama.

Neither Senators Murray or Cantwell sponsored this bill, but that doesn't mean they will oppose it.  And I wish that I was surprised to learn that seven Republican Senators co-sponsored it. 

I recommend letting all of our elected officials know about this really bad idea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


A press release from the County Commissioners:
The Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners have developed an informal, brief, three question, survey that they plan to utilize as a means of gathering information from county citizens to help guide future discussions. The survey responses are for internal, informational use only, and will be destroyed with no record maintained other than the response data. Citizens have requested an opportunity for input regarding matters that might have an impact, financially or otherwise, resulting in this informal survey being developed to help obtain that information easily and at no cost to the county or those taking the survey.

The non-scientific survey is intended to serve as a non-binding, informational guide for the county commissioners, and is available electronically on the county’s website (www.co.walla-walla.wa.us). The survey will be on the website until close of business on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

Utilization of such informational, non-binding surveys in the future to allow citizens a convenient means to have input may be an option considered by the county commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners has attempted to hold meetings in various areas of the county in past years, as a way to allow more access to those citizens who are unable to attend regular commission meeting, with only limited attendance. This survey mechanism is a trial to help citizens have input.
This survey concerns taxes, always an important topic to TEA Partiers.  You will have to enter your name and address to participate.  I expect that this is to prevent people from voting the Chicago Way ("Vote Early!  Vote Often!"). 

Click here for the survey.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Democrats and Their Hypocrisy, Example #2,198,589

Actually, I don't think think we can count the times the Democrats have displayed hypocrisy.  But we sure can remind ourselves of their lack of integrity.  If you're feeling pain at the gas pump, you'll appreciate this one:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obama Administration: Any day ending in "y" is a great day to discuss taxes

Obama administration floats draft plan to tax cars by the mile:

"The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.

The plan is a part of the administration's Transportation Opportunities Act, an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.

The White House, however, said the bill is only an early draft that was not formally circulated within the administration."
Click the link to read the whole thing.

Jazz Shaw, a blogger at Hot Air, notes that the White House response on this story is "unlikely" (see update).

Facebook Page "Upgraded"

The membership was deleted in the process.  I saved a list of members, and will be messaging them, which turned out to be unnecessary; the membership list seems to have migrated as well as everything else.  But you should be able to visit as usual.

I don't know what the fuss was all about.  But then, I'm not a multi-zillionaire running a social network spanning the world.

Let me know if you have problems: w2teapartyblog -at- yahoo.com  (use "@" in lieu of "- at -")

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

National Day of Prayer

In 1952 a joint resolution by Congress was signed into law by President Truman, declaring a national day of prayer.  In 1988 the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently designating the first Thursday of May as the national day of prayer.

"The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning." (quote from the National Day of Prayer web site)

This year the National Day of Prayer service will be held at First Presbyterian Church:

National Day of Prayer Service
Thursday May 5, 2011
12:15 - 1 PM
Guest Musicians: Walla Walla University String Quartet
First Presbyterian Church
325 1st Ave (corner of 1st & Birch)

SEALS take care of Osama bin Laden nicely, not so much with computer viruses

Ads, Promising Photos Of Dead Osama Bin Laden, Deliver Viruses

If you get a message about OBL photos, think twice before clicking.  Or at least check your anti-virus software first.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Facebook is upgrading their group format. They've posted an FAQ at:


If you don't voluntarily upgrade, eventually, your group will be archived, which apparently means "Not easily accessible". So, I will be upgrading sometime on 5 May.

Before then, I'll try to save all the information I can. According to the FAQ, the following WON'T be saved:

* Recent news
* Group officer titles
* The info box under the old group picture
* The group network
* The members of your old group.

I've messaged all of our members on Facebook; I'm posting this in case you haven't checked your page recently.  If there's a problem, come back for information, or contact me through:

w2teapartyblog -at- yahoo.com  (use "@" in lieu of "- at -")

Thank you.

Jeff Stidham
Administrator (one of them, anyway!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"They were wrong."

A report from Martha regarding the meeting with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers:
Back in Washington, D.C. some politicians dismissed the tea party movement.  Some politicians told their colleagues not to worry about how the Tea Party would react to their votes.  Some politicians proceeded with back room deals and business-as-usual.  Some politicians lost sight of their true constituency.  Some politicians thought WE THE PEOPLE would not notice.
They were wrong. 
Last Thursday, Tea Party Patriots nationwide met at their representatives offices to remind their elected officials who they work for.  Walla Walla Tea Party Patriots did the same and met with Congresswoman McMorris-Rodgers staff. 
We discussed our concerns and presented a letter to the congresswoman outlining our position on three points and requested she votes as follows.
  1. Vote "NO" on increasing the debt ceiling.
  2. Vote "YES" in support of Senator Toomey's "Full Faith and Credit Act".
  3. Vote "NO" on any tax increases.
Our Nation's credit has been stretched to the limit.  It is now time to cut up America's credit card.
The "Full Faith and Credit Act" will insure that America pays its debt first and does not default on its many obligations.
Tax increases at this point in the recession will only slow our economy's fragile recovery.  There is sufficient revenue to operate the government if it can be used responsibly. 
Tea Party Patriots continue to grow nationwide and are paying close attention to activities in Washington. 
WW Tea Party Patriots are fortunate to have a good relationship with Congresswoman McMorris-Rodgers and her staff.  We will continue to voice our opinions and be the conservative voice for Walla Walla to promote our core values of fiscal responsibility, limited constitutional government and preservation of free markets.
 Thank you, Martha!