John and Pat Cardwell Transcript

Interview with Carrollton Tea Party members John and Pat Cardwell at their home in Carrollton, Texas on July 8, 2010. This transcript represents the first hour and a half of a nearly three-hour conversation. Transcript of the subsequent conversation available upon request. — AB John Cardwell: We’re here trying to build a better country. And I personally believe that everyone is well intentioned. Pat Cardwell: You want me to turn that TV off? JC: Yeah. A.J. Bauer: That would be helpful. JC: So therefore, the main thing that I dislike about discourse today is that people don’t want to listen to the other person’s ideas. All they want to do is talk over them. And this is not, to my mind, an ethical way to operate. But my thing is this — it’s that famous statement — I may disagree with what you have to say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. And that’s what you’ll find is in the Tea Party — is these type of people generally. AB: So let me start with some questions. I guess the way we can do it, because I know you said you wanted to hear my beliefs as well, we can... JC: Well, actually I’ve changed my mind. I would like to find out what is your goal as a journalist — why are you a journalist? That thing — because it’s very interesting because I think the field of journalism has become totally irrelevant. AB: I agree. And I’m not a journalist anymore. You’re kind of never not a journalist once you’ve become a journalist to a certain degree, but I’m becoming more of an academic. I was a journalist, but this isn’t really journalism what I’m doing necessarily, although it’s a fine line. JC: Well, academic is a little weird too. AB: It’s all the same weird. So just to structure things — if you don’t mind — we can go through some questions and then kind of engage after the fact? JC: That sounds fine. AB: Great. So starting out John, what year were you born? JC: 1935. AB: And tell me a little bit about your history. Have you always been in Texas, or what’s your work history? JC: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky. My father was a carpenter — well he started out as a manual laborer and became a carpenter — became a construction superintendent just by pulling himself up, trying to do better. At one time, in my youth, I served my apprenticeship as a carpenter in Houston Area Local 215. AB: So how did you end up in Houston? JC: Well my family — my father was from Louisville, Kentucky, where I was born but a carpenter can’t work outdoors 12 months out of the year. But in Houston he can. So therefore, he came down here during World War II on defense jobs and he arrived in Houston found, hey, you can work all 12 months of the year. So he decided this is wonderful. So we stayed in Houston. I went to the University of Houston on a violin scholarship. After about a year and a half I discovered that being a musician was not really a good way to make a living — so I decided I needed to find something else to do. Well, I knew carpentry and — Houston is 97 degrees and the equivalent percentage of relative humidity, so therefore working out of doors was not exactly a motivation. So what I did was, at that time, this was in 1953 or ‘54. PC: Excuse me are you guys hot? AB: I’m fine. JC: Yeah, cool it down just a little bit. In 1953 you had an obligation for military service. So what I did was, the Navy and the Air Force at the time had very good aptitude testing. So I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I thought well I’ll serve my military obligation and get some education at the same time — I wanted to be a pilot for one thing, but I’m a bleeder, so therefore that kind of shot that out. So I ended up in guided missiles — the first operational guided missiles in the Air Force — it was called the Matador, but anyway. So in that process I went to school in Colorado. I then went to Orlando, Florida, where we test-fired some missiles out into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Canaveral. Then I went over to Germany and was there for three years, and left the service at the end of four and a half years. Because I just — you have to understand — it might not be important for your purposes but... AB: It might be. JC: Guided missiles was not a flying organization. Now in the Navy if you’re on a ship and you’re an officer, you’re on the fast track. In the Air Force, if you fly airplanes, you’re on the fast track. If you don’t fly airplanes you’re not. So we had every loser of an officer. I had a guy who had a core thermos bottle with a flask filler. The bottom half was full of whiskey — he was drunk all the time. He’d give orders like this [turns his head]. He’d turn his head this way so you couldn’t smell his breath. But, anyway, upon my return from the Air Force — this is 1959 — I went to work for IBM. Now, what I did was I was going to go to school on the GI Bill and learn about computers, because I figured computers was something that was up-and-coming. If you wanted a good career, this was a place to go. Well, you couldn’t get a degree in information technology or computer science — all you could get was a physics degree or a math degree. Well, I figured, I’m just as well to go to work for a company and by the time I finish four years of experience in the computer industry, I’m probably better off than a college degree. And it turned out that way. I worked for IBM and then I worked for [inaudible] — I spent 40 years in the computer industry. And did some consulting in network design and business process re-engineering — that sort of stuff. AB: And are you retired now? JC: Yes, I’m retired. I retired 10 years ago. I’m 75, so. PC: But you wouldn’t believe he’s retired because he’s so busy. AB: I imagine. JC: So I guess that’s pretty much covers it. I don’t know what else you’d want to know about me. AB: That sounds pretty good for a start. So, in terms of education then, what were your favorite subjects in school? JC: Oh, math, physics, chemistry, music. AB: And do you still play music? JC: No, not anymore. What it was... PC: He’s got the instruments. JC: I’ve got the instruments in there but in my business I’ve traveled so much that there was no opportunity to establish anything regular. So it sort of faded away. AB: What would you say is your first political memory? JC: Okay, you have to understand — I’m a student of history. So my first political memory might be The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. If you understand. I have an uncle, well he’s dead now, and he was a history professor — and therefore, when you’re young you develop and interest. And I’ve always been interested in history because of that famous statement that if you don’t understand history you’re doomed to repeat it. Or that’s a paraphrase, but something close. AB: So, where did your uncle teach school? JC: He taught school in Los Angeles, I don’t remember where. And he taught at a college in South Dakota and colleges in California. AB: And so he helped instill in you this passion for history? JC: Yeah, I think it was more — and I read all the time. But through reading history, then, you begin to understand 1) the nature of man, 2) the evils of government and 3) the necessities of government. You know — anarchy is worse than government, but that’s just about the only thing. So I’ve never been really a fan of government. For example, we’ve had two presidents since World War II that I’ve had any faith in — that’s Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. PC: That you didn’t have faith in? JC: No, that I had faith in. And the rest of them were just... PC: Yeah, you had faith in Ronald Reagan. AB: So, I guess with the question of your first political memory — maybe less a question of the first books you’ve read and things like that — I guess what I’m looking for is the first time you were conscious of politics in your life as opposed to — was it reading those kinds of books? JC: The nature of the history of man basically covers governance. I became interested in governance and I like the type of government the United States has — or had. Which it still claims to have. AB: When you qualified that you went from saying has to had. What kind of government did it have that it doesn’t have now? JC: Let’s say I’m a constitutionalist. The federal government should be involved only in the interrelationship between states, should provide secure borders and should provide for a military — an Army basically, Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. for the protection. In other words, society should function and the government’s only role should be the protection of that functioning. Am I making any sense? AB: Yeah, you are. JC: And that’s government at all levels. AB: When did you begin having these beliefs? You said something along the lines that you’ve never been a fan of government, when did you? JC: Well, the government is a necessary evil — the people who wrote the Constitution think so. AB: But what I’m saying is when did you first start to understand the evils of government, or first start to think of government in those terms? JC: Probably in my late 20s, early 30s. AB: And what caused that — what were the factors that led to your... JC : The factors that led to that was — government, starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt — was doing things that were unconstitutional. I mean we have a Constitution with a bunch of good ideas, and there was a loss of abidance by the rule that the end does not justify the means. AB: So, you were born in ‘35, so that would have made you about 10 when Roosevelt died, or so. Do you remember the Roosevelt administration? JC: No, no I don’t remember the Roosevelt administration — only by reading. And that’s when most of that crud started was Roosevelt. AB: So when you say in your late 20s or 30s that would have put this in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s? JC: Yeah, yeah. My thing is that I was established in my career by the end of my 20s and I began to look around. You know? Normally, when you’re in your 20s, you’re just starting out in your career; you’re in your little cube there and unless somebody sticks their fist in your cube you don’t notice anything. AB: So who stuck their fist in your cube? What sparked your interest to start thinking about politics? JC: Now, you have to understand I was not active in politics until about 10 years ago — 10 or 20 years ago. PC: Yeah around when we got married — we got married during the campaign. JC: The thing is at that time I realized the country was not the country that I grew up in. AB: What was the factor 10 or 20 years ago that made you want to be more involved in politics? JC: It was a situation that — okay, the interstate commerce justification for forming the departments of Health, Education and Welfare. Those are not federal government functions. The federal government should stay out of all that stuff because they’re state functions. For example my children — Texas has something that’s called an independent school district. Now I moved from a big city school district to an independent school district because I liked the independent school district. And the independent school district is that the local school board runs the school and at that time the federal government and the state government was trying to take control of things. And they would come to our schools and say you’re going to do this. And the school would say well if we don’t what are you going to do about it? And they said we’ll take away the money that we give you. And my school district responded we don’t take any of your money so leave. This was back when my children of my first marriage — the government started trying to take over the education of my children, which was none of their damned business. And I saw freedoms going away. AB: What are some of the freedoms you saw going away in particular? JC: Freedom of religion. Now, see, it’s interpreted by our government as freedom from religion. In other words, I don’t mind — see the only reason that; the only thing that says anything about churches and state in the federal papers is that the state should establish no state religion — and the reason for that was that each of the stupid colonies had their own religion, and if they hadn’t have put that in there they wouldn’t have been able to form the union to begin with. And there’s no legal justification for this separation of church and state garbage. What it amounts to is that people want power — people go into politics because they want power. And any person or thing that stands in their way they’re going to crush if they can — that’s both parties; that’s both houses. That’s everybody who lives in Washington, okay? What has happened is these people have forgotten, as I said, the end does not justify the means. And they will do anything. Now, I’m a Tea Party person; I’m a conservative — and by conservative I mean I believe in the Constitution as written. I believe that the Supreme Court has been derelict in its duty. I know that the Congress, that the Legislative branch and the Executive branch have been derelict in their duties — they all violate the Constitution every day. And there’s a fourth group — it’s called the press, which have been derelict in their duty. They’re the referee in this game of power and they’re supposed to make sure it’s played by the rules. Does that make any sense? AB: Yep. So a little bit to unpack there. You mention in terms of freedoms you felt were taken away 10 or 20 years ago — one of them you said is freedom of religion. How do you feel freedom of religion has been taken away? And then also how — what was it 10 to 20 years ago? Was there a specific act or event that provoked your interest? JC: Okay, in the ‘60s they put into the pledge of allegiance, “One nation, under God,” and they’ve been trying to take it away for 20 years. I don’t know why. I don’t know what difference it makes — except that maybe government wants to be God. And of course, in the Declaration of Independence it says that man has been endowed with certain unalienable rights, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government is trying to take away the right to bear arms. And now we’ve got this border thing where the government for 20 years or more has refused to provide integrity to the border and protect the people of the United States. And all this stuff has for one thing, legislation — don’t try to quote me on this because you’ll be guilty of plagiarism — that legislation is not intended to be good for the country or bad for the country, it is intended to get its author re-elected. And there are three kinds of people in the world: those who contribute to political campaigns, those whose vote can be purchased through the largess of government, and those who do neither. Is it any wonder that there’s no legislation that favors those that do neither? And it’s because of this — for example, one of the things that really tore me up a few years ago, is that Charlie Rangel is not in prison. If that man was a private citizen, he would be under the jail. AB: Why Charlie Rangel in particular? JC: Because he’s a crook! AB: Right. JC: You’re from New York, you know he’s a crook. AB: I mean why him in particular — a lot of congressmen are crooks. JC: I’m just saying, he was one they blew the whistle on — they had all the evidence there and refused to prosecute. That’s why I picked Charlie Rangel because the evidence about him was taken out of the closet. Does that make any sense? I pick Rangel because he’s a figure — there’s a lot of people who do bad things. With Rangel we know he did bad things, we know what bad things he did, yet he never was tried for any of it. AB: And you mentioned that you only recently within the last decade got involved in politics. What was the act you did to get involved? Did you volunteer for a campaign? JC: Well, I’m on the side — up until about three or four years ago, I knew they were corrupt, okay? I didn’t know they were intent on destroying the country. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s liberals, that’s conservatives — that’s Democrats and that’s Republicans, okay — professed conservatives. Real conservatives want to save the country, but real conservatives are not necessarily Republicans, although we typically vote Republican because there’s no hope if you’re voting Democratic — if you see what I mean. PC: Isn’t that why the Tea Party has such profound influence? Because they’re neither Republican nor Democrat? JC: And we’re not a third party. PC: They’re just trying to bring out the things that we desperately want. JC: What we’re trying to do is get the most conservative candidate elected to office — whoever that might be. My thing is this — you’re a young man. I’m 75 years old — I don’t have any horse in this race. I don’t really give a damn if this country goes down the tubes or not because it’s not going to affect me, personally. It’s going to screw you to the wall. We’re sitting here with 13 and a half trillion dollars in debt, now it’s not Obama’s fault alone, because we had $6 trillion in debt when George W. Bush came into office. We had $10 trillion in debt when Obama came into office — we now have thirteen and a half. It is estimated that in the next 10 years our national debt will be 95 percent of our gross national product. You’re going to see hyper inflation. You’re going to see the dollar — well when the dollar goes down the tubes that is hyper inflation — but the dollar is getting worthless. And nobody cares. I don’t understand it. And we’ve got things like, I’m sorry but homosexual marriage. Now, I’ve got nothing against homosexuals — there’s two down the street, they’re very good friends of mine. I’ve worked with them my whole life, but you don’t call it marriage. Call it civil union — give them all the rights of married people, but don’t call them married. And these distortions — we’ve got schools that won’t have a valedictorian because it makes other kids feel bad. And this trend towards socialism is asinine, because if I’m working 12 hours a day and you’re working four hours a day, and you and I have the same lifestyle, pretty soon I’m going to quit working 12 hours a day and start working four, because there’s no benefit to me working 12. Does that make any sense? That’s what happens in socialism. Read about Jamestown colony, and what happened there. Jamestown colony was a socialist colony — everybody was starving to death. The governor of Jamestown colony, the guy in charge, said we’re going to start paying farmers for what they produce, and everybody started eating. Because people are lazy, and the greatest freedom in a free society, this is another quote, is the freedom to fail. And we’re trying to remove that freedom from people. AB: You mentioned earlier when you were saying why you became more interested in politics was that you didn’t recognize the country anymore. What was it like when you were growing up? What was America like then as opposed to now? JC: I started out living in the ghetto, okay. I ran around with 20 kids — you know you have your buddies, you have your friends and then you have your acquaintances and that sort of thing — but this total was about 20 — four of us don’t have prison records, okay. Yet, without a college degree I worked myself up to be a computer consultant — a very successful one. I designed networks for TI. I helped [inaudible] Corporation and Wal-Mart rework their business models. So, that mobility was possible. That mobility is no longer possible. We removed all manufacturing from this country — I don’t know why — in the name of free trade. Now, there’s one or two things you can say — you can say that America doesn’t deserve the standard of living we have, so let’s go free trade — let’s all draw two dollars a day like they do in China. Or, put in protective tariffs, return manufacturing here, so that a guy who doesn’t have the brains or the desire to go to college can earn a living wage. But no, our government doesn’t care whether they earn a living wage — they don’t want them to earn a living wage because they don’t want them to pay taxes so they’ll be dependent on the government and vote for the guy who does this stuff for them. AB: Do you remember the first election you ever voted in? JC: No. I’ve been voting since I was in my 20s — I thought it was my duty. Since I returned from the Air Force, I’ve been voting. PC: Do you have enough light? Do you want me to put that lamp on over your shoulder? AB: No, I’m more than fine. I’m good. JC: I vote in every election. And with few exceptions I was voting for the lesser of evils. I wasn’t voting for a person I wanted because that person didn’t exist — or actually, that person did exist but could not be nominated by either party, I don’t know why. AB: So what’s your affiliation of party affiliation then? JC: I’ve always affiliated, because I’m a conservative person, with the Republican Party. I did not go with Ross Perot when he made his wild run, because I felt that only the Republican Party had enough opportunity to gain enough power in Congress to accomplish anything. AB: So you said you’ve always been aligned with the Republicans because you’re a conservative person. When did you — have you always been a conservative person? JC: Yes. AB: How did you come to your conservative beliefs? JC: It’s simple. As a conservative — and now, again, the structure of the United States government as it was originally set up — was basically set up to allow business to function and provide it with protection. And I like that with the government staying out of people’s business. And I like freedoms. For example, Dallas has a law which says you can’t smoke. I feel that if a guy opens a restaurant and is willing to lose the business of non-smokers, he should be able to put up a sign that says “smoking permitted.” And if you don’t want smoking, then don’t go there. The market forces will take care of themselves — you don’t need laws. What you need laws for is to keep people honest. AB: Tying that back with your free trade statement — so market forces are what drive companies overseas to look for lower prices — how do you reconcile that? JC: Well, it’s very simple. Do you want — if you’ve got people who can’t achieve enough to get a college education, what do you do with them? AB: No, I agree. JC: What do you do? You have to protect their ability to make a living. See a country, in case nobody has noticed, every country is for itself in this world. And there was a thriving — there were thriving communities all through the South; they were textile mills. My shirt’s made in Bangladesh. And there’s no way — okay, if you want your people to have a certain standard of living, then, and if things can be made cheaper someplace else, then the only choice you’ve got is protective tariffs to maintain that standard of living. Because there’s not enough money that the government can give these people to maintain a decent standard of living — no matter how hard the government tries. And, something I’ve told Pat... PC: That’s me. JC: It’s not 1946 anymore. Do you know the significance of that statement? AB: 1946? The end of price fixing? JC: No, the end of World War II. At the end of World War II all the manufacturing in the world had been destroyed in the war with the exception of the United States. We could charge anybody whatever we wanted for goods. And therefore if a union said we’re going to shut down the plant if you don’t give us a 20 percent raise, they said go ahead and have a 20 percent raise the other people in the world have to pay for it anyway. So that distorted the realities of life. And what happened was we were selling our seal to Japan and other countries that were building more modern industrial plants than we had. And so the result was that we became non-competitive — but we wanted to pretend that we were still competitive so we started running up debts. It’s like a guy who has a job and he wants to appear that he’s richer than he is so he charges stuff on credit cards and then pretty soon he’s so deep in debt that he’ll never get out. So we’ve done the same thing. This is all a myth. JC: I mean, am I saying anything that you’re interested in? AB: No, absolutely you are. So when you say this is all a myth, kind of elaborate on that a little bit more. That’s interesting to me. JC: Okay. We have massive unemployment and it’s not going to get better. Forty percent of people in the United States do not pay any taxes at all. Therefore the government’s income is low. And it’s getting lower because as you lose those manufacturing jobs you lose the taxes that you got from people who work there. And Keynesian economics does not work. Here’s a quote from Keynes, basically — somebody asked him what are the long-term affects of your economic policies, and he said, “I don’t know, I’ll be dead anyway.” So he didn’t give a rip. And that attitude got so bad that George Bush, when we had that little downturn before the major collapse said go ahead and spend money! Keep the economy going! If that’s what keeps the economy going, we’re in a world of hurt. Before Keynes took over our economic policy in this country, the rules were that you had to manufacture something — sell it somebody else — to create wealth. And like John Paul [sic] Galbraith said, how long can we survive selling McDonalds to each other? And we’re finding out. AB: But Galbraith was a Keynesian economist. JC: I know he was, but he did say that. AB: What characteristics do you find most important in a political leader? JC: Integrity. PC: Did you say political meeting? AB: Leader. JC: Leader. PC: Oh, leader! JC: And of course I would like for him to say what he means and mean what he says. Obama lies every day to everybody, okay. And these other people do to — his whole administration lies all the time. But that’s not uniquely Obama’s problem. That’s all of Congress. That’s all the Senate. And they think we’re stupid enough to believe them! But we aren’t. The only people who believe them are the press. PC: Well do you think that this might be why the Tea Party got started? JC: This is why the Tea Party started. PC: People were tired of being stupid and they’re speaking up. JC: It’s because there are those of us who want integrity in our government. How can Congress sit there with a 17 percent approval rating thinking that they’re going what’s best for the country? AB: That’s interesting. I’ve heard that from a lot of people, that the basis for the Tea Party is the desire for integrity in politicians and politics. Why do you think — maybe your own personal reasons for joining the Tea Party — why, do you think, now? Why do you think people are rising up against the dis-integrity of government now as opposed to say five years ago or ten years ago? JC: Here is the simple thing — okay, you talk to your neighbors, you talk to your friends. But there’s nobody — there’s not a large enough number to attract attention. And nobody wants to listen anyway, because nobody cares, okay. Now, all of a sudden, somebody cares. So you say, okay here’s some people. Okay, number one I can’t spout the Republican line; I can’t spout the Democratic line. Third parties are a total failure. The Tea Party is the first thing where I have a voice. I don’t know why our country is a bunch of lemmings going over a cliff — I haven’t figured that out. AB: So that’s really interesting — that really helps me understand why you became interested in the Tea party — do you have any ideas as to why you think the Tea Party itself arose when it did? JC: Well, I think what happened is that somebody somewhere said something and attracted a group of people. That group of people said I agree with you. They made the noise, the noise was heard. So you ask why? It was just — there are... PC: Out of desperation, John; out of desperation. JC: Well, you see my thing is this — I’ve got children and I’ve got grandchildren. And my children and grandchildren are going to live in hell if this isn’t stopped. PC: Yeah. AB: And that’s changed significantly in the last 18 months or whatever since the Bush administration... JC: Well, no. I’ll be honest with you. If you check you will find — like I was a regular contributor to the Republican Party until George Bush took office. At the end of his first term I quit giving them anything. And they called me and she’ll tell you. I told them why. AB: And what did you tell them? JC: Well, we had a country that was $6 trillion in debt. George Bush came in saying he was conservative — he was going to do this, okay. We voted him a majority in Congress, we voted him a majority in the Senate. We put him in the presidency. He had the same thing Obama’s got, but he didn’t do shit. PC: Now John don’t say that. AB: It’s okay. JC: He ran the debt up to $10 trillion. And — trying to buy votes, basically. And so therefore I had no place in the political system of the United States as of George Bush’s second term. You work to get them into office and then they don’t do anything. And then, and then Obama gets in and does even worse. And quite honestly if he has his way this will be a socialist or communist country in the next 10 years. Or George Soros’ way, I’m sorry. Here’s Obama talking about stopping drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. You’ve got a bunch of oil rigs down there, offshore oil rigs — two days after that announcement was made a Brazilian oil company said we’ll take up the leases to all those rigs and move them to Brazil. And, that oil company is 70 percent owned by George Soros. Now, whether that’s a payback or not, I don’t know. But you can mark my words — if they sign a six-month moratorium on drilling in the gulf it’ll be 8 to 10 years before drilling starts back up in the gulf, because all the equipment will be on lease overseas and we won’t get it back. AB: One more question and then we’ll switch gears. You mentioned, or you prophesied I guess, that we’ll be socialist or communist in the next 10 years if Obama succeeds. What do you think makes him different than say the Clinton administration in terms of socialism? JC: Because he’s an ideologue. Clinton was a pragmatist, does that make any sense? AB: Yeah. What makes you think Obama is more of an ideologue than Clinton? JC: Just what he does. And he is a pure politician. And all he wants is power. If he has his way, every illegal alien in this country will become a citizen and will vote for him. See the goal of the Democratic Party is to get more than 50 percent of the people in this country not paying taxes so that they will owe the government something and therefore will ensure them re-election forever. And you’ll no longer have a two-party system. They’ve already taken over the banking industry, the car industry, they’re working on the medical. And the government has no right to that ownership. PC: I was turned down two weeks ago — I have an ENT, a nose throat ear man who suspects I’ve got a serious problem with my throat — he recommended me to a neurologist and when I called — this is the first time this has ever happened to me in my whole life — I was turned down because I have Medicare. I also have a supplement that picks up where Medicare doesn’t cover anymore and I was turned away and we’re what you call middle class. JC: And we donated money to all this crap while it was being diverted to general fund and replaced with IOUs to keep it looking like the government had a balanced budget. No — you asked me why I’m in the Tea Party, it’s the only voice I’ve got. I hope I’m not being incoherent. AB: No. You’re being very coherent. It’s very helpful. Now we’re going to take a little side track and we’ll switch back to the Tea Party here in a bit. These are more cultural type questions. Would you consider yourself a religious person? JC: Yes. AB: How so, what denomination? JC: I’m a Christian. PC: Nondenominational. AB: And have you switched around at all? JC: I’ve been a Christian all my life. AB: What role would you say it plays in your life and in your political beliefs? JC: As a Christian I believe in integrity. PC: I knew you were going to say that. JC: And I believe in right and wrong. And unfortunately that’s being lost. PC: And as a Christian you love your country. JC: And I love my country — and I want my country to succeed. But I don’t want some middle African dictatorship running the country, or some northern European dictatorship — it doesn’t matter. I don’t like dictatorships. AB: What’s behind your fear of dictatorships in the country? JC: What’s behind it? AB: Yeah, what would make you think that there would be a “middle African” or... JC: Okay, let’s understand something. Governments which hold elections — we’re a constitutional republic, or a confederacy of states, whatever you want to call it. Democracies last, typically, 200 years. And they’re replaced by dictatorships, because they become corrupt. And somebody comes up and says hey, I’ll get rid of all this corruption, you just make me generalissimo whatever and I’ll stop all this. Well our country is getting there. Seventeen percent of the people approve of the actions of the Congress and the Senate. And when I said the decline and fall of Rome — I’m not talking about the Caesars — we’re worried about the Roman republic. The Roman republic collapsed under its own weight just like ours is. The Weimar Republic in Germany collapsed and Hitler took over because of financial woes — like we’re putting ourselves into. AB: This is going to sound like a strange question coming after that, but what kind of music do you like? JC: Okay. PC: He’s a singer! JC: Okay, I sing Southern Gospel, typically. PC : He’s a bass, does that surprise you? AB: No that doesn’t surprise me. That’s great. JC: One of my favorite groups is the Doobie Brothers. Carlos Santana. Carole King. Motzart. Willie Nelson. No, here’s the thing: I like any music that’s well done. AB: How about movies: do you watch movies often? JC: Yeah, on occasion. AB: Do you prefer a certain genre of movie? JC: Oh, I’m usually an adventure movie type person. Because I watch movies to escape, rather than for any message that might be in there. PC: Just as a distraction. What’s the name of the guy you like? Chinese guy. JC: Oh, Jackie Chan. That’ll give you an idea of what I’m interested in — something light and entertaining. AB: You mentioned earlier that you’re a reader. What type of books do you like, generally? JC: A variety. PC: History. JC: I like the Borne mysteries. And I forgot this British woman’s name, she writes mysteries — Clark. The last book I purchased was a biography of Dietrich Bonhoffer — I don’t know if you know who Dietrich Bonhoffer was. AB: Who was it? JC: Okay, he was a Methodist theologian and preacher. PC: A German. JC: Yeah, he was a German. He took part in the plot to assassinate Hitler and he was hanged by Hitler. Really quite a hero — you follow me? AB: Yeah. So what would you say are some books that have been most influential in your life? JC: Evidence Demands a Verdict. AB: What’s the author? JC: Oh, what’s his name. I’ve got other books by him. PC: It’s not real old. JC: I’ll find it [leaves room] well come on in here! AB: Oh, here’s your book shelf. Here you go. JC: And then over here — anyway. But, mostly my books are on theology and people. AB: Lot of religious books. JC: Josh McDowell. That was probably a very influential book on my life. The novels are not here of course. AB: So a lot of Bible books — Bible study type books. JC: Yeah, I’m a Bible student. Most of the other books I read I get rid of them, because once you’ve read them it’s over. AB: Right, because these are more for studying. Any other books or authors that come to mind? JC: Well, I’ve got a — I’m interested in the Founding Fathers. I’ve read books on all of them — Washington, and Samuel Adams. PC: Who wrote Evidence that Demands a Verdict? JC: That’s Josh McDowell. That’s a Christian book. He’s a guy who started out to prove that Christianity was a fake and he ended up being a very strong Christian theologian. AB: And you were raised Christian? Was your family very religious growing up? JC: My mother was a Southern Baptist and my father was an alcoholic. [laughter] AB: Sounds like the start of an autobiography. JC: My mother took me to church but never went herself. AB: So you kind of developed your faith on your own? JC: Yes. And for a while there I was walking away from it — then came back. Logically it was the only thing that worked. PC: What part of New York are you from? AB: Well, I’m from Texas originally — I’m from Flower Mound. PC: Are you really? AB: Yeah, but I live in New York — Manhattan now. But I went to Austin for school. PC: My first marriage was to a New York Italian. AB: Yeah, I don’t have anybody in my family from New York — it’s all from the Midwest and stuff. JC: When I retired I was living in Flower Mound. You know the north side of Lake Grapevine, down in that area? AB: Oh, that’s not too far from where I lived. I lived off Morris and College. Over near Marcus High School. Everybody has a Flower Mound connection — at least a lot of people around here do. Anyway, switching gears what does it mean to be an American to you? JC: Well, we have a — to be an American, one to have the opportunity to follow my dreams to do what I want to do — which I did. Through my own endeavors to achieve something not through some favoritism of government, and not to be thwarted by government. That I basically live in a country full of generous people — that helps the whole world, whether the world lies it or not. You understand what I mean, whether they appreciate it or not. And I hate to see the government get in a position where it has to raise taxes so that we can no longer be generous — where there won’t be enough money left for us to do the good things that we’d like to do. I like to think as an American that my vote means something. And to quote Michelle Obama — she said for the first time she’s proud to be an American. Well, first time I’m afraid of my government — because I think it’s evil. Now I think our foreign policy is Little Ebner — did you ever read Little Ebner? Big and strong and stupid. Oh, question — just to give you an idea — the French drove the Chinese out of Indochina. The United States drove the Japanese out of Indochina with the help of guerrillas. The United States let France back into Indochina and anyway, do you know who the head of the guerrillas was to help the United States get the Japanese out? AB: Ho Chi Minh. JC: Yes. And we double-crossed that man. There was no reason for there to be a Vietnam war. People said get out of the war and we said we’re not going to get out of the war. What they should have been saying is get out of the Southeast Asia treaty. AB: Were you opposed to the Vietnam war during the Vietnam war? JC: Yes. But not — what I kept telling people who were complaining about it is you need to get us out of the treaty. Because if we don’t live up to the treaties, the country’s reputation is not worth anything. You know, it’s like this healthcare reform. They sold that thing saying — there’s 30 million people without health insurance. Health insurance was never the issue — it’s health care. Those 30 million people were getting health care. PC: They were on Medicaid and they were getting it! Parkland Hospital. JC: Parkland Hospital has a clinic down here — if the federal government wanted to help, come down to Parkland and say look how many more people would you have to put in your clinic system in order to cut down on the wait time. And that would be a hell of a lot more effective than what they’re trying to do. Is this making any sense? AB: Yep. It is. You mention Michelle Obama’s quote — and then you said this is the first time you were afraid of your government. Is this really the first time you’re afraid of your government? JC: Yes. AB: Why? JC: Well, through the George Bush — recently. Say the last six or eight years. AB: And why afraid? Why that emotion? JC: Well, because they’re going around taking people’s land — and we’re supposed to have the right to own land. The government just comes down and takes it whenever they want it. They passed laws where people can’t smoke in a restaurant. Now I don’t smoke — don’t get me wrong. But a restaurant owner ought to be able to make those decisions himself. And they keep suing to stop bearing arms — but yet, every place that has the right to carry concealed weapons, the crime rate goes down when they vote it in. AB: Maybe in the same vein — what does it mean to be un-American? JC: What does it meant to be un-American. Well, my thing is — I said what American is. Pick a country in the world other than the United States and it’s un-American. Because they don’t do the things that we do. AB: What are those things in particular? JC: Well, charities. Help in case of national emergencies. PC: Freedom to worship. JC: And until we go communist in this country, the right to be rewarded for your labors. AB: So you don’t see other countries as being charitable or as people being rewarded for their labors there? JC: No. I’m talking about the average person — I’m not talking about some privileged class of people. AB: And do you feel a stronger cultural identification with your country, your state, your religious group, any other group — class? If somebody were to ask you, say an alien from out of space, who are you, what would you respond? JC: I’m a conservative Christian. AB: So switching gears to a topic you might be interested in — and this will transition well into the questions you have for me — where do you get your news? What are your primary sources? JC: Well, my primary source is Fox News — the Wall Street Journal. Because, the other news sources — I’m talking about major network news sources and major newspapers — like the network news should be part of the entertainment division, because they don’t get into anything. The idea is that the Wall Street Journal and Fox News are about the only ones who do any investigative reporting, unless it’s the local hooky playing at school, you know. But the country is really going down hill and they don’t report anything. AB: What were your primary sources of news before Fox News? JC: My primary sources of news — I did the same news as other people. Sometimes I would go out on the Internet and look at some things, and I quit subscribing to my local newspaper. I subscribe Sunday only to the Dallas Morning News. They said they’d give me the rest of the week for free and I told them I didn’t want that trash in my yard. AB: And do you get any of your news from the Internet or is it mostly television? JC: Well, like I said, it’s mostly the Wall Street Journal or Fox News. The Internet — there’s a thing called World Net Daily — I do that sometimes. There are a couple of other things I go and look at, okay. But those are my priority ones. AB: Do you listen to talk radio at all? JC: For a while I did. Okay, Mark Levin I like, okay? Rush Limbaugh is getting to where he’s more of any entertainer than — in my opinion. And a lot of times your talk radio people do this — they walk out. There’s the blonde lady. PC: The blonde lady? JC: She shows up on Fox, but she. AB: Is it Laura Inghram? JC: Laura Inghram, yeah. But I have XM radio in my cars, to I’m bouncing around to all the different. So there’s a lot of talk radio that I get into. And National Public Radio I listen to, to get the other side of the story [laughter]. AB: What — are there particular shows you watch on Fox or just throughout the day whatever’s on? JC: Whatever’s on and then I might go off and do something else. PC: We watch Huckabee on the weekends. JC: Yeah, that’s one of my favorite shows, because he seems to be a nice, honest, clean-cut man. AB: What are your opinions of the news media? JC: Okay, can I go back a little bit? AB: Go back as far as you’d like. JC: We have what we call checks and balances in this country. We have the executive branch, and the legislative branch and the judicial branch —all are supposed to be checking each other. And the news media used to be called the Fourth Estate. And their job was to make sure that the other three branches played by the rules. It doesn’t matter what the rules are if people lie; it doesn’t matter what the rules are if people don’t obey them. The only control that the citizen had over any of these three groups was the news — and the news just quit doing it. AB: When did the news quit doing it? JC: Maybe my whole life. No, wait a minute — there were some guys. Walter Cronkite, oh, there’s several of them — that generation of news people. Once you got past them it all faded away. And maybe a little past them. I’m trying to think of him — had a mustache and kind of a round face. PC: He’s dead? AB: Who was after Cronkite? JC: Or maybe around the same time as Cronkite. PC: Is he still alive? JC: Well, he’s the guy that never expressed liberal or conservative points of view and after he retired he let everybody know he was a liberal. But he did his job — which was to keep both sides honest. Does that make any sense? And see the media — the news, the printed, the TV — all of them — I don’t know what their game is. I haven’t figured out: Why are you a journalist if you aren’t trying to protect your country? And keep your government honest? AB: What is your opinion of journalists? JC: They don’t do their job. Now, this may be due to pressures from above, you understand what I mean? Maybe it’s the corporations they work for. I don’t know why, but — and example, one guy I always had respect for was John Stossel. He’s now left because he couldn’t take it any more and moved to Fox. But that’s a shame. Walter Cronkite was the guy I was thinking about. AB: Yeah, yeah. So you say that’s a shame that Stossel’s moved to Fox. JC: Yeah, it’s a shame he had to leave — that a man who tried to do a good job — that his network wouldn’t be proud of him. AB: Well, I’m sure he’s getting paid a lot better by Fox. JC: Well I’m sure he is too. But what I’m getting at is his network had a treasure there. But his integrity and his way of dealing with things — his honesty — and he also investigated stuff. He came out with it honestly and wasn’t appreciated by his employer. They’d rather have somebody who’s entertaining at the 6 o’clock news — Katie Couric or somebody like that — who’s just a talking head, hasn’t had an original thought in her life. And like I say, I don’t know whether it’s journalists themselves or the environment. AB: Last little line of questions. How and when did you first become aware of the Tea Party movement? PC: Fox? JC: No they did a demonstration and it was reported both on the regular TV and Fox TV. PC: Yeah. JC: The regular TV said these are a bunch of assholes and I decided that’s somebody worth looking into — they sound like they might be my kind of people. AB: When was this? Was this back when it was all starting? JC: Yeah, back when it was all starting. AB: So back in April 2009? And when did you go to your first meeting or gathering? JC: It was probably earlier this year — I’m not the type that goes off to join something. Actually what it is was I’m a member of the Republican Club over here — the metroplex Republican Club. I’ve been attending there for several years. There were — at that Republican thing there was no desire for the country to be better, all they were worried about was whether Charlie could get more votes than Bill. You know? To them there was no objective — they didn’t care whether or not the country was going down the tubes, all they cared is whether they were the ones who were going to guide it down the tubes. And so I quit that and so when I quit the Republican Party that’s when I started attending Tea Party meetings. AB: Was there a certain event or act that made you say, “okay, I’m going to go out to a meeting”? JC: Oh, it’s just — okay number one, Tea Party meetings are not highly advertised. The first kind of meetings I went to were in Dallas — the Dallas Tea Party, or the Central Texas one. I didn’t know there was one in Carrollton. I found about it through the Dallas one. AB: So it’s kind of word of mouth. JC: It’s kind of word of mouth type of networking. So therefore you have to want to attend a Tea Party meeting to find one. AB: I agree with you — just trying to find Tea Party gatherings on my own has been difficult. JC: It hasn’t been easy, has it? AB: No. But like you said, you have to be very motivated to find these meetings — what was your motivation? JC: Here were some people who seemed to care whether the country lived or died. And quite honestly — I live in North Dallas and I doubt whether 10 percent of the population cares whether or not the country lives or dies. All they really care about is can I make the next payment on my Lexus? AB: When you say the country “lives or dies,” what would it look like when the country dies? What are you envisioning there? JC: When what we owe approaches gross national product. When the government takes over 60 percent of the businesses in the United States, which they’re working on, okay? AB: Okay. JC: Those are two indications of death. When, basically, there’s a national police that are like the SS in Germany, where you don’t dare say anything anymore. But they come to the door and take my Bible. AB: And you’re really concerned that that’s... JC: That’s where we’re going! All I’m trying to do is slow it down. AB: What would you say are the main values of the Tea Party movement? JC: Okay, the main values of the Tea Party movement are this — is that we’re trying, and it has nothing to do with the Republican Party, okay? AB: Right. JC: But it’s just that the Republican Party is more conservative than the Democratic Party. Would you buy that? AB: Right. JC: The purpose of the Tea Party is to facilitate the movement to the right of the Republican Party. In other words we’re supporting the most fiscally and politically conservative people who are running for office. And quite honestly we don’t care if they’re Democrats or Republicans. It just happens that that you’re not going to find many conservatives who are Democrats. And our only chance is to influence the Republican Party — and we’re doing it from the grassroots. I mean we’re school board, city council, and all the way to national. AB: And what would you say are the biggest misconceptions people have of the Tea Party movement? JC: The biggest misconception — okay, the biggest misconception that people have of the Tea Party movement is that the word ‘Party’ is in it. It’s a movement not a party. We field no candidates. PC: There’s no dues. We don’t pay any money. JC: Well, I donate money every time I go because they’ve got to keep going, but you know how that goes. PC: Not any regular dues. JC: What was the question again? AB: What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions of the Tea Party movement that people and the media talk about? JC: The biggest misconceptions of the Tea Party movement are that the Tea Party movement is a bunch of un-educated, red-neck, roughians. Every time they’ve tried to hang that on the Tea Party it’s blown up in their face. You’ll find that the education level of the Tea Party is usually bachelor’s degree and above. These are bright people. They’re successful in their careers and they want other people to be successful in their careers. But the point is that the misconceptions are being — well they’re not misconceptions. They’re lies that are being broadcast by people in power. Because people in power, quite honestly, are afraid of this. If America ever wakes up, and sees these people for who they really are — for example, I think this midterm election is not an anti-Democrat election. It’s an anti-incumbent election, and the Republican Party had better understand that. Because we in the Tea Party — like for example, the Tea Party is just as much against Kay Bailey Hutchison as they are against Barack Obama. PC: Exactly. JC: And as soon as we can get somebody to take her seat, we’ll do it. AB: What do you make of the racism charges that get levied so much? JC: Against who? AB: Against the Tea Party. JC: It’s just a bunch of lies. Okay, check it — that time when this guy was supposed to have spit on that black guy walking up in Washington — that turned out to be a lie. It was dis-proven. PC: They’ve got to tell lies because the Tea Party is gaining such recognition. JC: Well, no it’s just the situation... PC: That’s human nature though. JC: Starting with Bill Clinton — and it wasn’t Bill Clinton really. It was those thugs that worked for him — Carville and I forget who is buddy was. But they were the ones that brought character assassination into American politics. They removed all politeness from it. James Carville was the one I can remember, I can’t remember the other guy — Ickes, was it Ickes? AB: I’m not sure. JC: I think it was Ickes. No — that’s part of the character assassination. And it’s just a thing that, well the Democrats are more likely to do it than the Republicans. AB: More likely to use character assassination? JC: Yeah, character assassination. AB: And why do you think that particular accusation as opposed to other — I mean ‘fascist’ or something else? JC: What, you mean racism? AB: Yeah. JC: Okay — if you want — what you’ve got to do is demonize someone. And, for example, and racism is the most wonderful thing to do — they’re doing it to the governor of Arizona. They’re saying ‘that racist law’ — that law is a perfect copy of the U.S. law. And so if the law she wrote is racist, then the U.S. law is racist. But you won’t hear anybody saying the U.S. law is racist. No. It’s a cloud of disinformation — it’s like the magician. He gets you to look at this hand while he’s doing something to you over here. So, yeah they’re going to pull the race card every time they can — because they’re trying to appeal to voters and trying to get a block of voters. That’s all it really amounts to. AB: Last question: Are there any questions I didn’t ask that I should have asked or anything else you’d like to tell me about the Tea Party movement or anything else? JC: I think I covered the Tea Party movement pretty well — these are people who care about the future of this country. PC: What was that we went to that was in Arlington at the Ballpark? JC: At the Ballpark. PC: That was my first time to have any contact with the Tea Party — John had had more than I had. Well, I’ve got to tell you the truth I was expecting to find people with a real rowdy type of personality — yelling out names or something. No. They were upper middle class, very calm, very polite, kind people. And a lot of them had things painted on the backs of their shirts saying “we love our children” or “we’re worried about our children’s future.” JC: That’s what most of us are caring about. PC: It’s their future. We’re afraid — you’re not old enough to collect Social Security but this year Obama took away our raise in Social Security — and we always got a raise, every year. We didn’t get it this year. But that’s not the main issue. JC: No, that’s not the main issue. The thing I’m concerned about, quite honestly, is that China is already saying they don’t want any more of our bonds. And — but we won’t quit spending money. Now, it’s just like a credit card. You’ve got to pay it sometime. And it’s going to be you and your children that are paying it. I think the number is $46,000 per human being in the United States. But what I’m trying to say is — and yet they’re coming out with these trillion dollar things every month. It’s really weird — and they’re trying to turn you and me against each other, because if they can get us mad, watching each other, then we won’t be keeping an eye on what they’re doing. But the thing is, it’s all power. That’s all it is, is these people want power. And the power mongers are both Democrats and Republicans — and we’ve got to get them all out of Congress and out of the White House for us to have a change. PC: I don’t know if you’re a religious person or not, but we had recently became very interested in Dr. — what’s his name? JC: Charles Stanley. PC: If you ever get a chance to watch him while you’re here — he doesn’t preach, he talks. And he’s got some problems with his legs — so he just sits on a stool. JC: He’s on the Family Network. AB: I was going to ask yeah. JC: The Family Network on the cable. And he’s on at 8 o’clock in the morning on Sunday. That’s 242 on Verizon Fios. PC: Sunday mornings we watch him at 8 o’clock. We watch him from 8 to 9 and then we go to 11 o’clock church service at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, which is nondenominational. Bent Tree Bible Fellowship — they had a write-up in the New York paper last year about how they reach out to help people — just reach out to help people. JC: There is the thing — his Fourth of July sermon. PC: Oh it was fantastic. JC: It was on the national debt. PC: And our country. JC: And the shape our country’s in — the problems we have in our country. And he has a Web site called In Touch. And you can go to the homepage on the In Touch Web site and you can actually play that last week’s message. AB: I’ll have to go check that for sure. Well, those are all the questions that I had. — Interview conducted by A.J. Bauer —

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