Howard Tigelaar Transcript

Interview with Highland Park Tea Party member Howard Tigelaar at Boudreaux’s Cajun Kitchen in Richardson, Texas on July 16, 2010. Interview Time: 88:33 A.J. Bauer: So, Howard, starting out in what year were you born? Howard Tigelaar: 1945. AB: Are you from Texas originally? What’s your life trajectory — where did you begin and how did you wind up here? HT: I was born in Michigan, very poor area — exceedingly poor area. I mean, like, we didn’t have indoor plumbing and central heat installed in our house until I was probably nine, 10 years old or so. AB: Wow, that’s crazy. HT: It was — went to a small country school that had just two rooms — one teacher for grades kindergarten through fourth and another teacher for grades five through eight. So, I mean, it was in the sticks. I’ve lived the American dream. I worked all my life, worked two jobs to get through college. And then after college I went to graduate school and got an advanced degree. AB: Where did you go to college? HT: For undergraduate Hope College, a small religious school in Holland, Michigan. AB: And what did you major in? HT: Chemistry — but I got a bachelor of arts. Then I went to the University of Illinois and majored in physical chemistry. AB: And that was your graduate degree? HT: Yep. AB: And was that a master’s or PhD? HT: PhD. Then I did post-doc at University of Arizona. I got out when there were no jobs available at all because the space program had crashed and so there were engineers all over the place. Nobody was interviewing. I took a job outside my field at Rohm and Haas in plastics chemistry. I worked there for a number of years, then worked for a subsidiary of Rohm and Haas which was a medical diagnostics company called Micro-medic Systems, still a part of Rohm and Haas; left that, went to Abbot Laboratories. Left Abbot Laboratories and started my own business with another guy, but that failed and so then I came to work at Texas Instruments, which was more in with my background. So I worked for a number of years in the plastics industry, about four years, and then probably about four or five years in the medical diagnostics industry and then came to Texas Instruments where I work on semiconductor stuff — I worked there for 26 years and then retired. AB: So you’re currently retired? HT: No, I’m still working — I’m working now as a contractor for Texas Instruments as a technical writer in the patent department. AB: So when did you move to Texas, then? HT: In 1982. AB: And before that it was Michigan, Illinois, Arizona? HT: Yeah. No it was Pennsylvania, Buck’s County, Pennsylvania when I worked for Rohm and Haas for four or five years, and then back to Illinois to the laboratories and then back to Texas. AB: So you’ve really been all around. HT: MmHm. AB: What were some of your favorite subjects in school, college or grade school? HT: The sciences I did like. But one of the better courses that I had in college that really stuck with me was I was in an honors English course for four semesters where the teacher — we first started studying ancient literature, like the Greeks and that, and we’d at the same time we’d study the political environment, what was going on, we’d listen to the music of the day — so it was kind of an immerse in the cultures to kind of understand what the philosophers were writing about, you know. So that was important. And the literature that we’d mainly read would be short stories — and sometimes one assignment we’d have to read three short stories, so the class met three days a week. It was very tough. For each short story that we read we’d have to summarize what the main point was that the philosopher or writer was trying to get at in one sentence — a summary sentence. And to pack that amount — to condense a short story down to one sentence, and it had to be grammatically correct. I remember one sentence went a page and a half, and it took me about eight iterations in order to get it right, but it was really an amazing course and has been extremely useful afterward. AB: That’s an incredible skill to be able to make things so concise — really condense information. HT: It’s been really helpful. AB: So, what would you say is your first political memory? HT: Well, my father was a township supervisor, you know, so he was in politics and I saw a bit there. I personally don’t like politics, no. I mean to me government and politics, they’re really parasites on this society — they live off this society; they take the money from society and then, you know — now a government ideally to me is a very beneficial parasite, just like, I don’t know, the parasitic bacteria that’s in your system you know. AB: So symbiotic. HT: Right, and when they work together things are great, you know, but if one or the other — I mean if the government becomes too powerful, it’ll stifle the society. I mean the only real wealth is generated by the private sector — it gets siphoned off by the government. Just like a company — it’s simply common sense — just like any company that’s failed because it got too top heavy, too many management people, where they siphoned off too much of what the workers that were producing the wealth, and then the companies fold — they go belly up. And I see the same thing without our government gets too top heavy, it siphons off too much wealth from the private sector — I dislike, well I dislike politics because I do see it as a parasitic type — and just from the — there is so much dishonesty in politics, and so many politicians will just say what they think people want to hear. They’ll — one minute they’ll talk about, they’ll say something, and then they’ll turn around and do the opposite. That happens too often. I don’t know, I really think we should — I think term limits are very necessary. I think career politicians and I also think we have — I mean the only way our country is successful is if we have good, strong businesses. If we have good, strong businesses we have good jobs. And on occasion businesses do and have taken advantage of the workers, and in those cases, yes, the government really needs to step in and take care of it. But on the other hand, quite often the government does more harm than good. It goes overboard and over-regulates. And, like, unions have destroyed a number of very strong businesses in the U.S. — take the steel industry. The steel industry could not modernize and compete with foreign steel because they were against the modernization, which they thought would take jobs. So they saved jobs in the short-run but destroyed the industry and destroyed jobs in the long-run — the same thing with railroads. In railroads unions did the same thing. I had a friend when I worked out in Pennsylvania at Rohm and Haas — a very good friend — there was a consolidation of Amtrak and some other railroad out there. Well, in the consolidation he was like 50-some years, he had to go until about 60 I guess. Well he was essentially out of a job, but the union kept him employed. He had nothing to do — he went to work every day for five years, or I don’t know how many years, it may have been seven, it was until he reached where he could retire. He went to work every day with books, crossword puzzles and stuff and he’d go to work and be there. If he missed too many days, they would have let him go, because the rules were that. But he went to work for years and did absolutely nothing. I mean, that is just a drain on any business — to have stuff like that. Our automotive industry’s the same way, where you have this job bank stuff — where you have all these people sitting doing nothing, but they’re protected by the union. Is it any wonder we have trouble competing with foreign automobile companies? I mean it may save a few jobs in the short run but in the long run it’s devastating to these industries. AB: What kind of — what were some of the events or things that happened in your life that gave you this perception of government? Is it something that came to you pretty early on, or is it something you developed later on? This metaphor of the parasite, and things like that... HT: I don’t know, it’s just come over the years. I’ve been both on the worker’s side — I worked many jobs until — and then I’ve also gotten to be where I’m a manager. Well, I was not a high-level manager at Texas Instruments, but I had groups working for me of 15-20 people, something like that. Most of those were PhDs and highly technical stuff — it was a highly technical field. But, that was the hardest transition for me ever to make — to go from being a worker, where I could complain about the management, to becoming a manager where I had to make the decisions and come to the realization that you can’t make everybody happy. There’s always going to be people disliking you and disliking your decisions and stuff. It looks easy when you’re on the working end, but when you’re actually the manager and have to make the decisions and all that, it’s not as easy as it looks. And I see too many people in our government who’ve never been on that end — so they have no clue what it really does take to run a business, what it takes to make something profitable. AB: And, what’s your history of political affiliation? Have you been a member of parties throughout your life? HT: Not really. I guess I’ve been more conservative, so Republican. But, well, I am a registered Republican — as I vote. But I’ve on a number of times — I don’t vote straight ticket or anything. If I see a person that’s libertarian or Democratic or something that more shares my views and I see as the honest person, I’ll vote for them. AB: Do you remember the first election you ever voted in? HT: Not really, but I’ve voted ever since I’ve been able to vote, and I don’t, except for a few minor elections, I don’t tend to miss voting. AB: And so, you said your ideology has always been conservative — so have you always felt like you were a conservative or has that changed over time? HT: No, I’ve mainly been conservative. Really, feeling that the government’s job is to promote equal opportunity. I think the distribution of wealth and extending unemployment on and on is actually disastrous for the country and actually disastrous for the people. For example, I have — our niece lives up north of Chicago and is married to a carpenter, who’s a very good carpenter, and he works mainly for cash jobs. But, his friends up there work mainly for cash jobs — and his friends up there will work long enough until they qualify for unemployment and then go on unemployment and do cash jobs while they’re on unemployment and then when they’re getting near where their benefits expire they’ll hunt for another job and start working again. And they’ve been able to do that, so they can really work the system, you know. Whenever the unemployment benefits get extended, they stop looking for jobs — and I don’t think they’re the only ones that do this sort of thing. AB: So what are some of the most important political issues for you — and have those changed over time or been consistent? HT: Well, now — I mean the massive debt. I’ve never liked our government incurring massive debt. That’s one. The Federal Reserve I think is quite a problem because of the lack of accountability. I mean they’ve been fighting having any audit done by the Congress, even though they were created by Congress, and they pretty much can print money at will — which is really a tax on us. They print a bunch of extra money for the government, which the government is able to spend and get the true value out of it, before the inflation hits, but by the time all those extra printed dollars get to us they’re worth much less than when they were printed. So it’s just a hidden form of taxation — and actually it’s one of the reasons that the European market may fail, because of the Euro, and actually — I forget which economist it was — predicted the failure of the Euro when it first was decided to have it. And his reasoning was that you’ve got all these independent countries and they no longer are able to control the currency. So they’re going to get themselves into debt, and they won’t be able to print enough Euros to get them out of debt because they don’t have that power, so — I can’t remember who that economist was, he was very good. But he seems to have been right on the money — that’s what’s happening now. Like with Greece, they’ve gotten themselves into debt, they’re not — they were not as fiscally responsible as they promised to be and now they’re in trouble and they need bailouts and their hands are tied because they can’t print Euros to inflate themselves out of debt. AB: How long have you been concerned about the Federal Reserve? HT: Oh, a couple of years mainly. My son sort of pointed it to me — he sent me a couple of books to read. He said dad, you ought to read this — it’s scary. So I read the books and essentially the big banks got together and created the Federal Reserve in order to allow them to take bigger risks, and should they run into problems put the tax payers on the hook to bail them out, and that’s what’s happening. And also, well, like this bill that just passed yesterday — the financial reform bill. The people who wrote the bill are many former Goldman Sachs people and then Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. I mean, those guys were — maybe they’re good ones to write the bill because they were so instrumental in causing this problem in the first place by their support of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But these regulation bills tend to get written by people from the big companies and the regulations — the big companies can handle the regulations, the main people that the new regulations are going to hit are the smaller people. It’s going to drive people out of business, the smaller ones out of business. It’ll give more security to the big financial institutions and less security to the smaller financial institutions. The big financial institutions rig the system, and I mean take for instance the FDIC — the Federal Deposit Insurance. Now, most insurance is based on risk — you know, the higher the risk the more the insurance you have to pay. Every institution has to pay the same amount depending on what their deposits are. One bank over here can have the riskiest investments — put their deposits at great risk. They pay no more FDIC insurance than the bank over here that’s very conservative. What kind of insurance is that? That’s ridiculous insurance. It should be based on — the bank with the higher risk should pay a heck of a lot more FDIC insurance than the bank that’s very conservative and has its investments at low risk — but that’s not the case. It’s been, you know, the big banks have written the laws to their advantage — which they do. AB: What would you say are the most important characteristics in a political leader? HT: Characteristics, political characteristics? I don’t understand. AB: So, when you’re deciding who to vote for, what do you look for in a candidate? HT: Someone with my values and someone with a history that I can look at to make sure they’re not blowing smoke in my face. Oh, another I think very important — two other things that are very important to me in politics are, well, the illegal immigration thing and voting. There are so many — I feel that my vote is being stolen many times by fraudulent votes and fraudulent voting. And I am quite upset that our justice department has specifically said that they will not enforce the motor voter laws. They do not want — they are not going to make states clean their voter records of dead people and felons and other people who should not have the right to vote. And my son lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In New Mexico you do not need a voter card. And voter fraud is just rampant out there. He was encouraged — he went to a voter poll and they mistook him for one of them and encouraged him to vote multiple times and he even encouraged him to vote at his precinct and then go to other precincts and vote there too. One of his friends went in to vote and found that his ballot had already been cast — you don’t need a voter ID — so he insisted and showed him that he hadn’t voted and he showed his ID and they said, well, your name’s already been marked off the list so you voted. And he insisted that he didn’t and wanted to vote, so he was given a provisional ballot or something like that that he could cast and it was put in another box where if the election were close his vote would be counted. So his vote was just gone — I mean, someone whose vote will be counted and may well have been opposite to his vote. The fraudulent vote was counted and his vote was never counted because it wasn’t even close. So, that — I think that vote fraud is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. And I know a lot of people are against it, but I think that a national ID card that everybody carries that’s tamper proof that you have — has biometrics somehow. And you need that card to have a job, and you need that card to vote. I think you need that. AB: You mentioned that your son was approached by some people about going to multiple polling places and that they assumed he was one of them. Who is them? HT: Well, in New Mexico it’s Democratic controlled. AB: So they assumed he was a Democrat? HT: Yeah. I don’t know, I know that there’s fraud on the Republican side too. However, where I have lived I have experience the other vote fraud much more. For instance, my wife grew up in Hammond, Indiana. Gary, Indiana and around Chicago — it is so corrupt up there. At least it was, and it still is. I mean that’s a strong Democratic machine. Minnesota — Al Franken you know, essentially, was elected on fraudulent votes. I think they know now that there was approximately 400 votes that were cast by felons that should have been off the rolls, but they weren’t. The secretary of state is Democratic up there and they counted and recounted until Al Franken was finally elected. Now in retrospect it looks like he shouldn’t have been. But it’s too late. And then the attorney general specifically saying, well — the attorney general dropping the case against the Black Panthers that were intimidating voters standing there in full military garb with batons. And they already had a judgment against them because they didn’t show up for trial and then they turned around and said insufficient evidence and dropped that case. Plus, they’re not going to enforce the motor voter laws — they said they’re not going to do that. It’s very disturbing. AB: You said earlier when I asked about what values you look for in a political leader, you mention a person who shares your values and has a history. When you say shares your values, what are those values? HT: Fiscal responsibility, smaller government and national security, mainly. AB: And so, go ahead. HT: I was just going to say — national security and immigration. The — it’s kind of, I think, they say if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes a truth. And the accepted deal is that illegals only take jobs that Americans don’t want. I mean that’s been said over and over again. However, I worked at Texas Instruments — this Hispanic lady in her mid-40s cleaned my office and did just an excellent job. And I thanked her, and we never talked that much, but then I was taking another job where I was going to leave the country and work in Belgium for a while and she came in and I said I really want to thank you — because one of the jobs I did to put myself through college was a janitor, so I know what the job is — I know what corners you can cut. I know when something is done right, and she did it right. So I thanked for the job she did on the office, and I mentioned to her that I’d been a janitor and noticed the extra things she did. And we got to talking a little bit — it turned out she was working as a janitor at TI, putting her husband through accounting school because he wanted to get a CPA so that they could open an accounting business. They had owned a business cleaning high-rise offices in downtown Dallas that employed about 75 people — they were driven out of business by a company that employed illegals and under-cut them. And she was Hispanic American and was very upset about it — that this was allowed to happen. That’s one instance — I mean, I don’t even look for these things, you know, so if I know of two or three instances where — another one. My brother is a loan officer up in Michigan and he knows of a business — a three-generation business, you know with the grandfather, father and son, did framing and drywall in the construction industry. They were driven out of business by contractors who employed illegals and they couldn’t compete up in Michigan. And they ended up shutting down their business and the son and his family moved down to Louisiana because you could get jobs doing Katrina clean up — but their business was shut down up in Michigan because of illegals. Now there are two examples that I know of without even trying of good American jobs that Americans did want, but they couldn’t compete because the illegals pay cash — they don’t pay unemployment insurance and insurance and all that so they can undercut them. Yeah the companies that employ them make money, but they’re taking American jobs. And the national security — having a border with just in Arizona alone almost a million people came across the Southern Border last year. They caught about 240,000 of them and sent them back, but almost a million came through there. You know, the lack of security there. And it’s not just poor South Americans and Mexicans coming across the border — with that many people they’re coming from a lot of other countries too. And I’m quite upset with both the Democrats and the Republicans for the lack of border security. AB: So switching gears — would you consider yourself a religious person? HT: Yes. I do not believe that man is the most intelligent thing in the universe — in fact I find it inconceivable, well I know that many people are not religious and sort of assume that humans are the most intelligent thing in the universe, which boggles my mind. That seems as strange to me as I’m sure someone that’s sure that there is higher intelligence — it’s a belief, one way or the other. AB: Do you go to a specific church, or are you a particular denomination? HT: Yeah, Methodist I guess. AB: And what role you would say that your religious beliefs play in your day-to-day life and in your political beliefs? HT: Well, it does. I mean I do believe that if I’ve been blessed in my life that I owe it to try to help other people who may not have been as fortunate. And that’s a non-reported fact I think of — if you look at how much money has been given by the religious community to help others in other countries and then you look at how much money is given by the non-religious community — there’s just no comparison. It’s not even close. The non-religious community talk a good game, but they tend to want to help people with other people’s money rather than their own. AB: And so, what kind of books do you like to read? HT: I read a lot of just kind of thrillers like Robin Cook and, oh, Dan Brown and I forget the names — read a bunch of thrillers, Austin McClain. I used to read — but I also read books like — I’m reading one, what’s the name of it, I have a hard time remembering the names of the books. I forget — but it’s about the whole history of atomic development. That covers the politics that was going on in the country at the time — it gives biographies of all the main characters involved in that. So I read that — I’m reading a book about Africa. The Broken Promise I think was the name of it — it goes through the history of the various countries in Africa and who the colonial big players were. Well, Germany was driven out after the First World War, but Belgium, France and England. And how — what happened to all the countries, how did they — because it was in the ‘50s and ‘60s and everybody thought that they’d be the next big trading partner with Europe and then essentially the whole continent went to crap — and what caused it and what happened. There’s one thing that I found in that book that I found very disturbing and I do not know the answer too — and I do not know the answer there is. But one of the factors that caused the problem — not the only by far — but one of the factors is that the average birth rate of a female in Africa was six kids per lady over the years, and for a couple of countries it was eight children per lady. During those years, there was a huge amount of foreign aid that went into Africa. The infant mortality rate plummeted; the age of the people was extended. There was a huge population explosion in Africa in many places. Even if they hadn’t have had their absolutely corrupt leaders and things like that, the population explosion just outstripped the resources of the countries. And a lot of the mass starvation and problems, you know, today are caused by that. So how do you solve that problem? Because you know the right thing to do is to cut down on the infant mortality rate and help these people out of their poverty and stuff, you know, but if you do that and don’t take care of this birth rate problem of six births — you’re going to set that continent up for even greater failure in the future because of population explosion. So how do you deal with that? I don’t know what the answer is. I think it’s a big problem that nobody talks about. So that was one book I got. And then I do read some political books — like my son gave me the one A Creature from Jekyll Island, that’s the history of the Fed. And I did read, not all of them, but big parts of Obama’s books just to see what he was about before I voted in the presidential election. AB: What are some books that have been important to you in your political development and the ideas that you have? Have you read any books that have been really formative to you? HT: Oh, let’s see. There was a good book that I read by Newt Gingrich about change that I think has a lot of good stuff in it — essentially saying both the Republican and Democratic parties have gotten too beholden to state employees, unions, and so that the fundamental change — we desperately need fundamental change in order for our country to survive and be able to compete. You know, we’re on a downhill track right now, where our children and our children’s children are going to be in deep trouble. And it’s just common sense, if you look at the benefits that many state employees get and their benefits compared to people in the private sector. In the private sector our benefits have been going down hill — where we have to pay more and more, whereas in the public sector their benefits have been getting better and better. And, yet, all of the public sector benefits are paid for by the private sector. And it does not make sense that the public sector is so much better off than the private sector. I mean, look in this recent downturn — you look at the private sector, and the number of private sector jobs that have been lost and the number of benefits that have been cut to people in the private sector — and these are the ones that are generating the wealth. And then look at the number of government jobs that have been lost and how many government benefits have been cut in this downturn. It’s a stark contrast. Much of the bailouts that were handed out to the various states did not go to create jobs, what they did was they took — many of the states took the money and kept from laying off state employees. So where the private sector is really suffering and laying off, they took huge amounts of money and just kept going. In fact, there’s been job creation in the public sector when there’s a downturn in the private sector and the cash that you have coming in, you know, is going down — it makes no sense to keep supporting. I grew up in Michigan and my family’s in Michigan — Michigan’s a disaster state and it has been. Granholm, Governor Granholm turned Michigan into a disaster state before the downturn of it. And the city of Detroit dropped over a million people in population. It was once over 1.8 million and now it’s just over 800,000 people. There was this huge decrease in population there. The number of state employees and city employees and government employees didn’t drop by more than half — they dropped, I don’t know what the real number was. They dropped like 25 percent or something like that, so it was some. But she’s been taxing the rest of the state and funneling it over to Detroit to keep the thing going. And it’s just been devastating. I have — I know a guy up in Michigan who works for a big accounting firm, and one of his clients was a company that owned restaurant chains up in Michigan. And last year that company made something like $50,000 profit and paid over $360,000 in taxes to the state of Michigan — they’re closing down their restaurants because it’s not worth their effort and because the taxes were going to increase again. So they were shutting down. AB: What was the name of that Newt Gingrich book, do you remember? HT: It’s called Real Change, I think. He’s big time in the Republican Party — he was speaker of the house. AB: Right, and he’s going to run for president. HT: He might. I don’t know. I don’t know if he will or not. But anyway, he — in the book anyway — talks about change is not only needed in the Democratic Party but in the Republican Party, that the political landscape needs to change in order for our government — I mean change has to be fundamentally be made in the Republican and Democratic side if our country is going to remain competitive in the new world market. AB: So, changing topics again — what does it mean to you to be an American? HT: It means freedom and opportunity. It means that I can make most of my own choices and that I have a better opportunity than any other country that I know of to succeed or fail based on my own merits. AB: And the inverse of that question — what does it mean to be un-American? HT: Not like America, or? AB: Just, when you hear the word ‘un-American’ what does that mean to you? HT: I don’t know. I guess, when I see people making — who are trying to, I think, destroy our ability to — who are encroaching on these freedoms that we have. Most of the time they’re telling us that they’re doing it for our own good, but. For instance, I’m not a smoker, but I’ve anti- — the smoking laws. I think that’s an encroachment on our freedom. I think that, you know, a person that has a restaurant should be able to either have a smoking environment or not a smoking environment. I am free not to go there, you know. A person who wants a job is free not to work there if they don’t like breathing smoke or other people’s smoke. I just — and, now trying to regulate all the stuff supposedly for my own good, but once they start doing that, I don’t agree with it. AB: And what would you say is your primary source of news? HT: News? The Internet and various TV programs and e-mail. The Internet is big, because — I don’t know, we stopped taking the newspaper just because we disagreed — we saw what they were covering and what they were not covering and decided we didn’t want to support. AB: When did you make that decision? HT: About two or three years ago. AB: And when you say you saw what they were covering and what they weren’t covering. What weren’t they covering — how did you know what they weren’t covering? HT: Well, because we’d see it on the conservative news programs, or hear it on the conservative news programs and it just wouldn’t show up. And — for example, my friend, one of the people that I work with, he takes the Dallas Morning News, I forget what magazine he takes, and he has television but he doesn’t have cable — so he gets CBS, NBC, ABC news and gets the Dallas Morning News. He feels he’s well-informed. This bit about the Black Panthers and voter intimidation, the government decided to drop the case — he heard nothing about it. It wasn’t covered. The ACORN stories that were going on, where that couple posed as a hooker and setting up business and went to multiple ACORN places and got a very similar response; he heard nothing about it — it wasn’t reported. I asked him if he heard about that there was a good chance that the votes of felons in Minnesota put Al Franken over the top and got his seat — he hadn’t heard that. AB: So, real quick, you say the Internet, TV and e-mail. What are some Web sites you frequent? HT: Oh, well — Free Republic, Drudge Report, Harrington [sic] Post. AB: Huffington Post? HT: Huffington Post, yeah. AB: And. HT: And sometimes the Dallas Morning News — I look at that. AB: And when you say some TV programs, what are the TV programs you like to watch? HT: Shepard [Smith], Bill O’Reilly, on occasion Hannity. AB: Do you listen to talk radio at all? HT: Yeah, I do listen to talk radio on occasion. I listen to Rush Limbaugh sometimes, but not regularly. AB: What were your news sources before the Internet? HT: It was mainly the newspaper and Time Magazine and U.S. News and World Report. And actually the main CBS, NBC, and ABC news. AB: And back then did you feel those sources were biased? Or when did you develop that critique? HT: I didn’t know they were — if they were biased or not, but in retrospect I kind of think they were. AB: What are your general impressions of the news media? HT: They’re a joke. I pay very little attention to them — I mean, no. Oh, I also listen to PBS — Public Radio. AB: NPR? HT: Yeah. The Diane Rehm Show, All Things Considered, stuff like that. And, even though they try to be balanced, they are more on the left than they are on the right. For instance, I listened to Diane Rehm, well it wasn’t Diane Rehm it was her stand-in, it was yesterday an interview with David Axelrod — and she gave him some tough questions and then he’d answer, but absolutely no follow up. He could answer them any way that he wanted, whereas other times I listen and they do have more conservative person on and they’ll ask a question, he’ll give an answer and then they’ll hit him with another and another type thing. But, to me anyway, it seems not equivalent, but you know, I don’t know. AB: And so, how any when did you first become aware of the Tea Party movement? HT: Probably pretty much right from the start, because by e-mail we got the YouTube video from the guy — I forgot who he was now — the reporter on the financial station where he brought up — are you listening? Type thing. AB: Right, Rick Santelli right? HT: That’s it. And then we heard that there was going to be a meeting so pretty much out of curiosity — we’d never been to anything — we went down to Dallas and then — and it’s I find it interesting and amusing too, for example we went to one in Ft. Worth — it was cold, it was raining, but there were I think by conservative estimates about 20,000 people showed up out there, in the rain. And I was there the whole time. I saw — there was one sign I didn’t like — it was something like ‘Bury Healthcare With Kennedy’, which I thought was in very poor taste. But other than that — that was the most tasteless sign I saw. I saw absolutely nothing that had any racial tones at all — and there was a huge variety of people there. But in the major news — I was listening to all the stations and — estimations were that there were two- to three-thousand people. It was very much underreported. AB: What motivated you to go out to those meetings — you mentioned that you’re not a big fan of politics — had you ever been active in politics before this? HT: No. I don’t like politics. I don’t like being active in politics. I really am much interested in doing other things — other than politics. When my sons were growing up we needed soccer coaches — I don’t like coaching. I don’t know much about soccer, but it was something that was needed and had to be done, I thought, so I did it. Right now, in my opinion, our country is headed for really hard times and I think the current administration is doing their best to bring us — change America into a European-style country. I’ve lived in Europe. I don’t want that. I mean, I would be a cripple today, and be walking around with a brace on my leg if we had the same health care as they do in Belgium. I was living in Belgium; my company paid a bunch of money for us to use the Belgium health care system. It was great if you didn’t have anything much wrong with you. But while I was over there I had a disk in my back rupture and it pinched he nerve to my right leg to where my leg was completely numb and extremely weak. I called our emergency number to find out what to do and they said that they’d paid the Belgium system and that I could go to their hospital and the best one was like University Catholique in Brussels. So the next morning I went; they gave me a shot in the back and an x-ray and said come back — a shot for pain, it was very painful — they said come back in a week to 10 days if you’re still having a problem. And I had had one other disk go out like 10 years before, so I knew what was going on and I said hey, I need an operation as soon as possible because the nerve is dying because it’s pinched off — I need to get that fixed. They said, well, come back in a week or 10 days. And I said that’s going to be too late, I need help right now. And they said, well the x-ray looks good and I said I need an MRI. And they said, well, come back in a week or 10 days and the specialist will put you on a waiting list for the MRI if he or she thinks you need it. So that’s the help I got. If I stayed there, I would have come back, the nerve would have been dead, my leg would have been useless — so I called American Airlines as soon as I got home and told them I had a medical emergency and they got me on a plane the next day, and in less than a week I had an operation here. That — I have a friend whose mother was put on a waiting list for a heart valve, I think, replacement up in Canada and she deteriorated to the point that she died when she had the operation. My family lives in Michigan — there’s a big medical business in Detroit and Ann Arbor and all that where people come from Canada to get medical help in the U.S. because they’re on waitlists in Canada — that’s where we’re headed. That’s where we’re going. AB: So the health care issue — is that what motivated you to join up? What was the main factor that caused you to join the movement? HT: Seeing the policies that the current government is doing — I mean, I was very upset with Bush at the end — throwing away and doing the TARP. And then, right from the beginning, as soon as the new administration took over, and I was already concerned from what I had read in Obama’s books — you can see his philosophy in the books and what he wants to do and what he thinks is fair. And I think that it is going to — I’m really concerned about my children and grandchildren, that they are not going to have what we had. AB: And when you said you read his books — what scares you about it? HT: Essentially, trying to — well I think — really rewarding failure. Taking away from people who have worked hard to succeed and rewarding — I mean that — the bailouts — these big financial institutions, Freddie Mae — they essentially are throwing more money at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and encouraging right now to give just as risky of loans as they have in the past. And the — a lot of these programs are also going to — I mean the people who got into loans that they never should have — that they couldn’t afford in the first place. Giving them money and not giving people money who did act — who bought houses that they could afford. You reward bad behavior and you’re going to get bad behavior. I mean, think in college. What if the college professors decided that nobody should get less than a C — no matter what you do you ought to get a C. And then they go a little bit farther and figure that people who’ve worked hard and gotten B’s and A’s, that’s really — why don’t we take, you know, some of the A’s and real super star type points and give those to the people who are really struggling and having a hard time and — let’s bring them all. I mean do you think people are going to work as hard to get good grades if everybody gets through? I think there would be a lot of people who just take the ride, who say if that’s all I have to do is show up for class, I don’t have to study, I don’t have to write papers, I don’t have to do anything, that’s all I’m going to do. That’s essentially what they’re trying to do in our society — it’s rewarding — I mean look at these people I know up in Chicago with the extended unemployment benefits. They look for a job when they’re running out — when they get extensions, they don’t look for a job. So as long as unemployment benefits keep getting extended they’re not going to look for a job — there’s no reason for them too. In fact, their life is actually better when they’re on unemployment — I mean it’s difficult now but, and they’re not as good now, but they can keep pretty busy with cash jobs, bringing them in — so they’ve got double income. In fact a bunch of those people out there, they were laughing about it. They took a two-week cruise to the Bahamas — I mean they’re on unemployment, they’re unemployed, but now they got money from this cash job and stuff like this — so they took a trip down in the Bahamas. Well that’s pretty good if you’re out of work and you can do that. I mean, those are — that’s certainly not typical or anything, but that’s something that does happen. AB: And what do you think are the biggest misconceptions the media has about the Tea Party movement? HT: Oh, just a bunch of bigots — and I think it’s a misconception that it’s all white people. Yeah, the majority are, but I see a number of African Americans, I see a number of Asians, I see Hispanics, I see all types of people — and also it’s not just old white farts like me — I mean there’s a lot of young kids out there that are — it’s a much more diverse group than they think. And I have not — really, I have seen no hint at all of racism at any events. What I see more than anything is fiscal responsibility. AB: I think those are all my main questions — are there any questions I didn’t ask but should have or is there anything else I should know? HT: Well, it astounds me how the liberal side ignores history, ignores facts. I mean, if you look at the obvious — you look at the states that are not in fiscal trouble. Look at Texas and, well I’ve forgotten the other ones right now, but there’s a number of states that are doing fairly well, you know, with their budgets and stuff. Texas has no state income tax. Texas is one of the lower tax states in the nation — but it’s also one of the most business-friendly. So there’s people coming in here from all over for jobs and, you know, just look at the contrast between Texas and Michigan and you see how the fiscal policies — the differences in fiscal policies can affect the jobs and what goes on, you know. But that seems to go [motions over his head] — it’s just completely ignored. California, New York, well not New Jersey anymore because they got a new governor. But California and New York and some of these other states want wealth re-distributed from Texas and the other places that have been careful with how they spend their money, to bail them out. You can see it’s coming. Why should we help them out, because they didn’t take care of that. It’s just — it’s just perpetuating and rewarding bad behavior. I don’t know — it boggles my mind that if you just study what is already there and look at the states, you know, that are doing well in terms of jobs, are doing well in terms of their state budgets and stuff — are they run by fiscal conservative people or are they run by fiscally liberal people? Look at it. See what it is, and try to go from those examples of what — and look at our history. Look at the history of the U.S. The economists after World War II predicted that there would be one of the biggest depressions going in 1946, because you had all of these soldiers returning from the war without jobs and they cut taxes [pause]. Will it turns out that was a non-depression or recession. And in fact it was a booming economy. I don’t know — it seems, I mean many of the liberals I think are well-intentioned, but some how refuse to learn from history, just ignore history. I mean when you bring up what happened in the Carter administration and the results that it caused — that somehow it’s not going to happen again, you know, and even the policies of FDR — early on, and his secretary of the treasury — they did the New Deal — they spent a lot of money to try to get us out of the ditch that we had and that — and his secretary of state or secretary of treasury said we have spent all this money, we don’t have any more jobs or something like that, that’s all we have is big debt. It didn’t work. It didn’t work then — luckily World War II came along and helped us out. I don’t know — it just astounds me that you can think that by spending more money somehow we can spend our way out of — spend our way back in prosperity. If it doesn’t work for an individual family, how’s it going to work for the federal government? But somehow, the belief is that that’s the way it’s going to be. — Interview conducted by A.J. Bauer —

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