Old friends and new filled the room at the South Florida 912’s Fifth Anniversary celebration. Jim Hunter regaled us with songs between 6 and 7 while folks checked in and had dinner. Meanwhile Hunter Armstrong and Kayce Shields worked the room for 50:50.
Shannon Armstrong – co-founder spoke about that first event. No one new exactly what to expect and where we were going. She spoke about the Principles and Values and talked about the importance of involvement. Doug Armstrong – co-founder, along with Shannon, described what it was like meeting Glenn Beck in Dallas the prior week. See Doug’s posting for a complete description. The most poigniant moment was Doug’s description of speaking and then praying with Glenn. Doug also spoke about the importance of ‘boots on the ground’ in winning in 2014.
Also speaking were Chuck Suits about working with Ronald Reagan, and Fred Scheibl on what the recent CD 13 election means to our local CD 18 race. Brief updates were given by Doreen Baxter on membership, Iris Scheibl on local issues, Mel Grossman on Seven50, Alison Rampersad requesting conservatives to join the REC. Candidate Alan Schlesinger, for CD18 also spoke about the importance of the race.
Special thanks to Jim Hunter for performing during the meeting. Thanks to Dennis Lipp who was our MC for the evening, Chuck Suits for leading us in the Pledge, Doug Armstrong for the invocation, David Donnally leading us the Star Spangled Banner, Jim Hunter and Kayce and Hunter for singing America the Beautiful with Jim, and the staff at Hurricane Grill and Wings who helped with the set-up and served the room efficiently with little interruption to the meeting.
We ended the evening with an anniversary cake – to celebrate and fortify us for the year ahead! See some pictures below.
- Trudy and Chuck Suits
- Shannon and Doug Armstrong
- Iris Scheibl
- Barry Carson and Alison Rampersad
- CD18 Candidate Alan Schlesinger
- Happy 5th!
- Dennis Lipp and Chuck Suits
- Co-Founder Doug Armstrong
- Co-Founder Shannon Armstrong
- Mercedes Garcia and Delia Garcia Menocal
- Hunter Armstrong, Kayce Shields, Jim Hunter
- Dennis Lipp and David Donnally Singing the National Anthem
- Doug and Dennis Invocation
- Mel and Barbara Grossman
- Good Crowd at Hurricane Grill and Wings
This was our first time at Total Wine in Legacy place and we were pleased with the space for a smaller meeting – with projector, screen, pc and wifi all built in. We plan to use this venue in the future.
We were happy to see some folks we hadn’t seen in awhile. Our agenda was fairly free form. Doug Armstrong (co-founder) kicked off the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. He then spoke briefly about our history – although the majority there had been members for several years. Shannon Armstrong (co-founder) talked a bit about the folks planning on speaking during the evening.
- Richard Raborn played a little bit of his speech at the Tax Day Teaparty in 2010. As a physician, he was describing what was going to happen as a result of Obamacare and all of his predictions, sadly, came true. He also described visiting Glenn Beck’s facilities in Dallas and having a great discussion with Glenn on his weapon collection. Dr. Raborn encouraged us to visit in Dallas if we got the opportunity. Richard also spoke about MercuryOne – Glenn Beck’s charity.
- Marianne Polulack told us about a free event at Calvary Chapel Boynton Beach this Saturday, 2/15 – Overview of America followed by One Nation Under God – both focusing on Americanism. For more information, go here
- Iris Scheibl gave an update on the IG Committee meeting on February 18th, the status of the Ethics Commission, and current OIG findings
- Virginia Brooks talked about the Florida Family Policy Council Pro-Family Days at the Capitol (Tallahassee) on March 17-18. For more information go here.
- Fred Scheibl spent some time recounting the movement’s and group’s successes of 2010, the difficult year of 2012, and the challenges ahead for us in 2014. One bright spot in 2012 for which South Florida 912 and other grass-roots groups should take credit is that Romney got more votes in Palm Beach County than John McCain did in 2008. So our efforts made an impact – it wasn’t Palm Beach County where voters stayed home. In 2014, we have to win, and Fred listed a number of issues that could but we shouldn’t let divide us. We need to take back CD 18 and keep Governor Scott in office.
- Lynne Sherrer described the most recent REC meeting and factionalism in the local party.
- Shannon then led discussion in the room on how to overcome this when there are issues that attract single issue voters who will reject a conservative over differences on that single issue and stay home even though the liberal opponent will do nothing about their issue. Examples of such issues are Seven50, Common Core and Immigration.
- Candidate Alan Schlesinger, one of several running for CD 18, described how he is no longer seeking a political career (which he already had in CT), but is driven to run to preserve America as we know it. He also stated that throughout his political life, he does not pander to his audience but maintains consistent views to all to whom he speaks. He said that we may not all agree on each others positions, but that you will always know where he stands.
Shannon talked a bit about our March 13th 5th Anniversary Meeting – SAVE THE DATE – we’ll be at Hurricane Grill and Wings in Lake Worth. So even if you haven’t been at a meeting lately – come out for this important celebration!
Doreen Baxter did the drawing for door prize – another beautiful handiwork made by Doreen and Dennis Lipp. The meeting was over, but most stayed to discuss various issues with each other.
Some pictures from the event:
- Doug Armstrong
- Shannon Armstrong
- Dr. Richard Raborn
- Marianne Polulack
- Iris Scheibl
- Virginia Brooks
- Fred Scheibl
- Alan Schlesinger Candidate for CD18
We’ll be having our February meeting in Palm Beach Gardens next Thursday, February 13th. Our agenda will be a general round-table discussion to gather input on future topics and focus areas for the year. So if you care about our direction – this is the meeting to come to!
Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Place: Total Wine & More in Legacy Place Click here for directions
Time: Meet and Greet at 6:30
Meeting Begins at 7pm
As always – candidates are welcome! Note – there is no food served at Total Wine so plan to eat either before or after our meeting.
2014 is a vital election year – so join in the discussion!
Please RSVP below so that we can have an idea of how many folks to expect. Thanks!
It was a full house at our January meeting – we ended up being packed in like sardines at Hurricane Grill and Wings. But it was great seeing so many new and familiar faces. Shannon Armstrong kicked off the meeting, Dennis Lipp and Shannon mc’ed, Doug Armstrong led us in the Invocation and Pledge and Doreen Baxter handled getting everyone signed in. Thanks also to the support team with Mickey Polulack bringing the sound equipment, Fred Scheibl the projector and Dennis the screen. Hunter Armstrong handled the 50:50. And thanks to the staff at Hurricane Grill and Wings who managed to squeeze amongst the tables to get everyone served who was ordering!
Doug related the impact that handing out toys for Christmas to hospitalized children and their families. Also speaking about the experience was MJ Dustan. Major kudos to Janice Price , who made handmade cards and Marlayna Bock who made over 20 teddy bears. Andrea Plescia then told us how 912ers donations affected the homeless veterans and that a huge number of Christmas Cards were also distributed to the vets at the VA hospital on their meal trays. Kudos to all who participated. 912ers made a difference.
Fred spoke about the upcoming Palm Beach Gardens City Council Candidate Forum on February 25th co-sponsored by South Florida 912, and the first forum on CD 18 Republican candidates to be held at Bear Lakes Country Club on Wed January 22. He also relayed a request by Mel Grossman, President of the Palm Beach County Tea Party, asking people to turn out for the February 4th County Commission Meeting at 2pm for the Matters by the Public section, to ask them to opt-out of Seven/50. Wear red shirts and if you plan to speak – fill out a comment card prior to 2pm.
Our first scheduled speaker was Bill Arterburn, who was originally going to just give a report on The Convention of States presentation made in the Palm Beach County Tea Party Jupiter meeting earlier in the month. But he signed up onto the team and thus gave us a ten minute overview of the effort. He represents District 90. Bill did a great job explaining the objectives of the Convention of States. The Convention of States Project is urging state legislators to call a convention of states under Article V of the Constitution. The delegates at such a convention would propose amendments to the Constitution that would curb the abuses of the federal government. For more information either go to their website or contact Bill at email@example.com. The project is actively recruiting volunteers.
We then segued to the subject of the Affordable Care Act by watching an AFP video being used in states with vulnerable Senators which makes the case that Obamacare is hurting real people. First up was Marion Frank, Wellington Chapter Leader from the Palm Beach County Tea Party. She has been speaking out against Obamacare since 2009. But at our meeting she was speaking as a member of a medical practice directly impacted by the implementation. Doctors are retiring. Waiting until 2016 and a new president is too late – our medical system will be destroyed long before then.
Next up was Tami Donnally. Tami was recounting her experience as a small non-profit business with about 23 employees. They had a plan that worked for them and their employees for several years which was affordable; they had the same doctors for many years through many serious illnesses; they had a hospital they liked – in network – Wellington Regional. And they had pre-existing conditions. Their plan was cancelled due to the Affordable Care Act. They tried to stay with the same insurance company – however pre-existing conditions came into play for one of them and they were rejected as a group. All the promises made by the President were false as far as they were concerned: They were NOT able to keep their plan. None of their doctors were in their new network – they were NOT able to keep their doctors. Their hospital was not accepting the insurance – they were NOT able to keep their hospital. And – the new plan’s premiums were over twice as high and deductible and out of pocket increased about four-fold. Not Affordable. Such a deal….
Finally – our key speaker, Dr. Larry Kawa spoke about his lawsuit against the IRS and other government entities challenging the Employer Mandate portion of the law. To his knowledge, he is the only large business so far suiing that aspect of the law. His case is based on the fact that he was classified as a large business because he has over 50 employees and he spent a lot on legal fees and implementation preparation. The President delayed the Employer Mandate by a year to 2015 (via a tweet) and thus Dr. Kawa claims injury as the basis for legal standing. He seeks implementation of the Employer Mandate. His case is being handled by Judicial Watch and details can be found here .
Folks seemed ready to engage – and it will take all of us to make a difference in 2014! Hope to see you at our February meeting!
- Shannon Armstrong
- Doug Armstrong
- Dennis Lipp
- Andrea Plescia
- Fred Scheibl
- Marion Frank
- Tami Donnally
- Andy Schaller
- Larry Kawa
We had a little bit of everything at the December meeting of South Florida 912 at LaBamba in North Palm Beach.
Jim Hunter regaled us with some great songs before the meeting – battling a little bit with muted Mexican and Christmas music in the background – but he was great! David DiCrescenzo led us in prayer and then we did the Pledge of Allegiance. Shannon Armstrong – co-founder, served as MC for most of the evening.
We had several people cover various topics – Doreen Baxter – our Membership leader – spoke a little bit about bening a member. Marianne Polulack told us about what was new on The Blaze network and how much Glenn Beck has expanded over the last year. She encouraged 912ers to check it out.
Shannon talked about how one thing that distinguishes 912 is our involvement in previous charity programs such as relief for floods in Tennessee, Haiti relief, her family’s 12th year of bringing presents to children in Palms West Hospital, gift boxes to soldiers, canned good drives, operation sunscreen, veterans programs, foster care support etc…
Andrea Plescia thanked everyone for the donations to the homeless Vets – she is tireless in her activism in support of Veterans. Hunter Armstrong read a story about the history and significance of the Candy Cane.
Fred Scheibl discussed the vote earlier in the day by the PBC Board of County Commissioners to proceed with exploring putting a .5% surtax on the ballot in November. Dan Guethon, chairman of the REC’s youth outreach committee, and the Young Conservatives at Florida Atlantic University brought another young YR with him and spoke about how South Florida 912 made young people feel welcome.
Carlos Muhletaler of Americans for Prosperity spoke briefly about what AFP will be doing in 2014. Tyler Armstrong read a short essay on George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas, 1776.
Beverly Hires, one of 6 GOP candidates for Congressional District 18 against incumbent Patrick Murphy talked about her motivations for running.
Tyler Armstrong then read “George Washington’s Christmas”, a blog post by Brian Tibbs about crossing the Deleware on Christmas day 1776, that ends with “So, this Christmas, remember Washington and the greatest Christmas present he ever gave the United States. The gift of hope. The gift of victory. The gift of America. “. Shannon, Alexa and Hunter Armstrong then joined Jim Hunter in leading us in a Christmas carol to end the meeting.
Whew – we covered a lot of ground but also had a lot of time, during a brief intermission, to mingle and touch base with old friends and new. It was a nice way to close out the year.
Looking for a very active 2014 as we’re back in Election mode! Watch the website and facebook page for upcoming details.
Meanwhile – wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Hurricane Grill & Wings
4075 State Road 7 (441)
Wellington, FL 33467
Click here for directions. We will be in a separate room. Order off the menu as you wish.
Meet and greet at 6pm
Meeting begins at 6:30pm
Our guest speaker will be Christina M. Martin of The Pacific Legal Foundation . Pacific Legal is challenging Obamacare as well as several other incursions on the Constitution. Their motto is “Rescuing Liberty from Coast to Coast”.
Then we’ll watch a video by Dr. Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute speaking about How Conservatives Can Win Our Fight Faster and Better. Dr. Brooks describes the Five Pillars of Morality – two are shared by 100% of the population and only 30% share the other three, and the 30% are just Conservatives. Yet we continue to focus our messaging on the 30% that no one else can relate to and one additional topic that no one views as a moral issue! After the video, we all can discuss how we are perceived and how we can better relate to ‘everyone else’.
As always, we’ll also hear from members on upcoming issues locally and from any candidates present.
Please feel free to bring your family and invite a friend. We will be discussing our November and December charities at this next meeting as well; a letter writing campaign for veterans for the holidays, Wreaths across America and the toy drive for Palms West Hospital children’s ward. I need volunteers to take the lead on each of these issues so please email me or call if you are ready to get involved.
We hope you can join us!
Please RSVP below so that the restaurant can have an idea of table setups.
We were happy to see several new faces last night as we held the first South Florida 912 meeting in awhile. It was our first time at La Bamba in North Palm Beach, and the back room worked out well for us.
Dennis Lipp, leader, was our MC for the evening. Doug Armstrong, co-founder, spoke on the loss of our dear friend and fellow leader, Jason Shields. He introduced Kaycie and Sean Shields, Jason’s daughter and son, and related our activism to our concern for the future of our children. He also said that he’d once again be adding his Tavern Toons ‘comics’ to the website. Shannon Armstrong co-founder spoke about the difficulties of staying engaged, but the importance in doing so. Fred Scheibl, leader, took us through the South Florida 912 mission statement, past significant actions by our group, upcoming elections and candidates and how to find them on the website , and issues on the horizon such as a proposed sales tax increase. Fred also mentioned the Council Watch Project, which is looking for volunteers to attend their city council meetings and write about them. Lynne Sherrer talked about Common Core and the importance of getting informed and involved.
Our keynote speaker was supposed to be Sid Dinerstein – however Sid had a conflict and wasn’t able to make it. But he was there through Youtube – and we watched his excellent presentation entitled “Building a Permanent Republican Majority” . Since the time he initially made the speech there have been various outreach efforts initiated by the local county party to do exactly what he suggested. But his speech is really directed at doing the same at a national level!
Doreen Baxter, leader, talked about our new members and how membership helps support the expenses of the organization.
It was great getting back together. Watch the website for details on our November meeting.
- Lynne Sherrer Spoke about Common Core.
- Dennis Lipp MC for the evening
- Doug Armstrong Farewell Jason
- Dennis Lipp and Carol Hurst
- Fred Scheibl Elections, council watch and sales taxes
I attended several sessions and found most invaluable, especially when panelists made points that provoked new insights or paradigms. Listed are brief descriptions of the panels and my ‘takeaways’. If you attended the same sessions, please add your comments. If you attended different sessions and would like to have your ‘take-aways’ posted – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it for you.
Medicaid Expansion: Breaking the Bank while Cheating the Poor
“Did you know that 13% of patients on Medicaid are more likely to die than patients without any insurance? It’s a true and startling fact. This workshop will focus on the problems and cost associated with expanding this broken program, and show how enterprising doctors are offering better solutions.”
Tarren Bragdon, Foundation for Government Accountability, CEO
- Medicaid should only be for the truly needy
- Largest cause of government spending and borrowing
Avik Roy, Manhattan Institute, Senior Fellow
- Our system is breaking by cost overruns by Medicaid
- Medicaid pays only ¼ of the price that private insurers must pay, so most providers will not take Medicaid patients
- Health outcomes are worse for Medicaid patients than for people who have no insurance and go to emergency rooms. Government run single-payer outcomes are worse than anything else
Lee S Gross, MD, Epiphany Health, Co-founder
- Epiphany Health is a concierge plan for the little guy, not insurance. Those on Medicare cannot go to a concierge plan doctor and are forced to stay with Medicare providers.
- Several Republican governors are opting for the Medicaid Expansion because Hospitals are lobbying like crazy: Ohio, Michigan, Arizona
- Hospitals love taking Medicaid money and then subsidize the shortfall by charging privately insured patients more to make up the difference! Hospitals are the ‘enemy’ – not the insurance companies
- Doctors now work to satisfy the hospitals not the patients because 7 years ago 70% of physicians had private practices while now – 70% of physicians are in hospital owned practices!
“….Come find out how activists across America have helped to decrease their state burden an put money back in the pockets of their fellow citizens.”
Dr. Christine P. Ries, Georgia Institute of Technology, Professor of Economics
- The GA Tax Reform Council has made significant progress in rolling back taxes
- Tax Reform The Game was developed by Dr. Ries, and allows for interactive modeling of changes (eg implications of lowering/raising taxes and spending), incorporating dynamic assumptions for economic and job growth based on such changes. Play with it!
Chris Farr, AFP Foundation, NC Deputy State Director
- Succeeded in bringing down the tax rates, capped the state gas tax and eliminated the estate (death) tax in this purple state!
Joe Henchman, TAX Foundation, Vice President for State Projects
- States that made significant progress in lowering rates in the past year were: Wisconsin, New Mexico, Indiana, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Massachusetts, North Carolina, DC (see details at their State section)
- For state by state data on surges in income tax revenues go to their article: States see Spring Surge Income Tax Revenues
Waste Watchers: Finding Government Waste & Shedding Light On It
“We’ve all heard the stories about government wasting tax dollars on $12 bagels and parties in Las Vegas….Our seasoned experts will explain what causes this waste, and help you learn how to identify and expose all the pork”
The focus of this session was on state and local levels – however all were referred to a wiki-like site for federal spending (outrages) called Spendopedia!
Susan Combs, TX Comptroller of Public Accounts
- Schools are 1/3 of the state budget and school construction is the biggest boondoggle/source of waste!
- It takes persistence, creativity and determination to find waste
- “If you can’t defend it, don’t spend it”
- She uses data-mining software to uncover Medicaid fraud
- NO GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING! – Be ruthless about demanding information
Dan Epstein, Cause of Action, Executive Director
- Grant money from Federal Government to States is typically used (funneled) to groups lobbying for increased taxes!
- Since government doesn’t want to be watched, the FTC looks at all watch-dog groups’ websites.
- In order to get fee-waivers on the Federal level it’s necessary to be a non-profit and categorized as a ‘news media requestor”. Have to fight for your rights – eg AFL/CIO has ‘news media requestor’ status whereas his organization is suing since rejected for such status.
- He recommends getting published on the Washington Freebeacon!
Mary Ellen Beatty, Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, Director of Citizen Outreach (click on state for your state’s websites)
- Franklin Center is a network of ‘investigative reporters/bloggers’ looking for Waste, Fraud and Abuse at schoolboard, city councils, county commissions.
- It only takes a handful of people to ‘shine the light’ on each of the above
- Review their websites, and write about it!
- Call out elected and government officials by name and link to their name in articles to trigger Google Alerts!
- Tweet @ the officials’ twitter accounts because the tweets are public
Tips from the Q&A Session at the end of the panel:
- To see examples of FOIA requests search on ‘foia letter generator tool’
- If you get pushback – MAKE A STORY OUT OF IT! Use the Franklin Center. Document every details and again – NAME NAMES!
- Don’t be labeled as a NUT! Be professional and respectful
- Be creative in fighting copying fees (used to hide stuff) – offer to come in and just read the material, use your phone to take pictures of the pages, don’t accept paying per page!
Building Bridges and Creating an Army: The Importance of Relationships
“So you want to make a difference. Before you can truly be effective, you need to build a network. These are fellow activists you can leverage when it comes time to act on your issue”
Jen Stefano, AFP State Director
- Know who and what you are
- Explain policy issues from the Point of View of those to whom you’re speaking
- Go to their meetings (the people you’re trying to reach) – don’t expect people to come to yours
- Do you have the same people coming to your meetings over and over and they don’t ever DO ANYTHING???? Stop!
Daniel Garza, The LIBRE Initiative, Executive Director
- Of the self-identified Hispanic population, 1/3 speak only Spanish, 1/3 are bi-lingual and 1/3 only speak English
- A very large percentage (of the Spanish-speaking) have their tv’s tuned only to Univision and get all of their news/politics/etc from that station
Evan Feinberg, Generation Opportunity, President
- Aimed at youth
- Jobs and NSA spying big issues
IT’S AS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT MESSENGER AS IT IS THE RIGHT MESSAGE!
Many South Florida 912 members live in County Commission District 2. So I wanted to let you know that Commissioner Burdick is having a town hall on Wed. June 5th. If you can make it, I think you will find it very informative.
Wednesday, June 5th from 7:00 – 8:30 pm
The Palm Beach County Vista Center
2300 North Jog Road
West Palm Beach (just north of Okeechobee Boulevard)
Some of the possible topics for discussion:
1. Overview of the FY2014 budget
2. Office of Inspector General
3. C-51 Reservoir ($1 billion)
4. Questions and Answers
Please bring your friends and neighbors.