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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
South Florida 912 supports West Palm Beach City Watch for its rally to protest the WPB-led lawsuit against the Inspector General funding.
County Commission votes to penalize West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach over Inspector General Lawsuit
The two county budget workshops for this year are Monday 9/9/13 and 9/23/13 at 6:00 PM.
As a constituent in your district, I strongly urge you to vote NO on the authorization for use of force in Syria, for the following reasons:
- The rationale for action is lacking moral authority. The stated premise for action is “punishment for use of chemical weapons”, “violating international norms”. But the arbiters of international norms are the United Nations, the ICC, or at least a consensus of the signers of the weapons treaties or a sizable consortium of global powers, not the President or Congress of the United States. It would be justifiable perhaps, if backed by the international community, not opposed by the UN, the Pope, the European Union, the Arab League, and others who more fully embrace “international norms”.
- Use of force in Syria is an act of aggression that will provoke a response. We must be prepared for whatever form that takes, be it terrorism at home, abduction of the children of diplomats and officials (as Iran has threatened), conflict with Russia who has warships in the area, or an attack on Israel. Taking action without the will, resources and assets in place to deter or counter such a response with overwhelming force would be irresponsible. Failure to deter or counter will only lead to more degradation of our influence in the world than this President has already caused. If the US attacks Syria, it must be willing to see the conflict through to a victory for our interests, otherwise there is much to lose.
- There is little downside for inaction. For Congress to not authorize force against Syria will not (as some have claimed) “weaken our ability to respond to other threats including the Iranian nuclear program”, if the vote is clearly limited to Syria and a vote of no-confidence in this President’s ability to conduct a limited military action.
- We are not sufficiently prepared for this action. The Obama military cuts, together with sequestration, have weakened our ability to act if the conflict escalates (as it likely will) beyond a “limited punitive strike”. Leaving Iraq without a residual force, the mis-adventure in Libya including the Benghazi debacle, bumbling our actions with respect to Egypt – all have weakened our credibility in the Arab world, making retaliation more likely and the effectiveness of a strike that leaves the Assad regime intact unlikely.
I am not an isolationist and believe that US military intervention when our national interest is clearly defined is justified and sometimes necessary. A successful intervention has a clearly defined policy goal, a definable and achievable military objective, a plan that provides sufficient resources to prevail, and indisputable political support both at home and abroad. This president’s wish to intervene in the Syria civil war passes none of these tests.
This past weekend in Orlando, Americans for Prosperity Foundation hosted a conference for grassroots activists from around the nation.
With informative breakout sessions in the mornings to highlight successes on the state and local levels, and “big tent” events in the afternoon with national conservative leaders, there was something for everyone, including ample free time to “network”.
The “malaise” that affected many of us locally after the bitter results of the 2012 Presidential election has been pretty widespread, and organizers from many locations reported falling attendance at many of their events. Hopefully, that is now starting to change. Although we are still licking our wounds, conferences like this one demonstrate that there is still life in the conservative grassroots, we have leaders in the movement that “get it” and have the fortitude to take it to the President – to lead the fight against the train wreck that is Obamacare, the endless debt and deficits, the administration that cares little for the rule of law, the separation of powers, or the role of the states in our constitutional republic.
“It’s amazing what is possible in America“, said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, when people are free – free to make their own choices, free from the suffocating regulations of intrusive government. He talked about education as the key for the jobs of tomorrow, and the success they have had in his state in shutting down failing schools and greatly expanding the charter school system which has done a lot to improve the lot of minority children. Last week, unfortunately, Obama’s Justice Department has decided to sue Louisiana to roll back these reforms and return students to their failing schools. Judging by his fiery critique of the President and his policies, it is clear he will stand up against our rogue Attorney General and fight to retain the success they achieved.
Our own Senator Marco Rubio declared “There is nothing wrong with America – but there is something wrong with this President“. The good news, he said, is that “we still have time to save the American Dream“, by reforming the tax code and eliminating regulations. “We don’t need Common Core”, he said, and he will not vote for any budget that funds Obamacare or to increase the debt ceiling without a balanced budget amendment and specific cuts.
Unfortunately for Senator Rubio, there is still a lot of anger in the movement about his role in passing the “gang of eight” Senate immigration bill. In the hall were members of Flimen with pink shirts that said “Pink Slip Rubio”, and throughout his speech you could hear sporadic calls for “No Amnesty”. Although he avoided this issue in the speech, he did address it in a smaller group that met with him prior to the session. In a hotel suite with about 40 supporters, after answering some questions about Syria, Obamacare and other issues for which he was among friends, someone in the back asked “what about immigration”. A hush fell across the room at this point and he had no choice but to address it with a somewhat lengthy justification that amounted to “the status quo is unacceptable so we have to do something“. To me it sounded like doubling down. Not good.
Then Arthur Brooks, President of American Enterprise Institute, succinctly summed up the Obama message: “Rich people have your stuff and I’m going to get it back for you.” This shouldn’t have worked as envy is not American, but unfortunately all our side had to say to his supporters was “You’re a moocher” – no wonder we lost. The words “fairness” and “compassion” have been kidnapped by the left and we should take them back and own them, because progressive ideology is neither fair nor compassionate. As a humorous and memorable side comment illustrating our difference in values, he recalled a bumper sticker seen in San Francisco – “Your body may be a temple but mine is an amusement park”.
Next up was Governor Rick Scott, gearing up his re-election bid with a positive jobs message. Recalling his 2010 pledge to create “700,000 jobs in 7 years”, he reported us as on-track, with the likelihood of 900,000 jobs created by 2018. Scott is still popular with the Florida grassroots, although his support for Medicaid expansion had a lot of heads scratching. We do still remember that he declined to create a state Obamacare exchange, though. A few hecklers in the audience periodically shouted “No Common Core”, reflecting dissatisfaction with the direction that our education system has taken over the last few years. Scott talked about his activities as a booster of the state’s business climate and his good-natured rivalry with Texas and Governor Rick Perry who was the last major speaker of the day.
A 2012 Presidential candidate until his campaign faltered early in the primary process, he is possibly gearing up for another run in 2016. Well known as a jobs governor, the record of the Texas economy on his watch has been very impressive. As he makes the rounds of the states selling the Texas miracle, he has gained the ire of many blue state governors who do not appreciate his pointing out the shortcomings of their performance or the failings of the Progressive economics.
On another theme, “All roads lead back to the states“, said Perry. One size fits all federal programs (like Obamacare) are anathema to the founding principles of this country. A favorite target of the Obama administration, whose ideology sees the power in the states to be a roadblock to their big government agenda, Texas is now being sued by Eric Holder and the Justice Department as they try to end-run the Supreme Court and re-impose Voting Rights Act restrictions that require federal permission for such things as Voter ID laws.
On the final day of the conference, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another possible 2016 presidential candidate and clearly the favorite of the gathering gave us reasons for optimism. With the success of Ron Paul’s filibuster on drones, and the failure of gun control initiatives after Sandy Hook, the President was forced to “listen to the people”, he said. On Syria, with Obama now going to Congress for authorization, on immigration, on common core, – the people are making their voices heard and throwing a wrench into the Obama agenda. His job as a Senator, he says, is to restore economic growth as the lack of growth is related to all of our other problems. Tax Reform (“Abolish the IRS“), and regulatory reform (“Repeal Obamacare – every single word“) are the key. He sees Obamacare as the greatest job killer of all time and sees de-funding it in the upcoming budget process as the key. In answer to skeptics that see that tactic as a political liability for Republicans, he says “You lose 100% of the fights you surrender at the outset.” Standing ovations were frequent for this speech.
All in all, the speakers reminded us that conservatism is not “in trouble” as the mainstream media may have you believe, but resurgent and full of fire. With his agenda in tatters, the Obama team sees winning back the House and holding the Senate next year as their only chance to have a legacy of anything but failure. Any thought of compromise or even dealing with a Republican House is not is the President’s wheelhouse. Although 2014 will be a harder slog than 2010 when we took them by surprise, at the end of this conference it was clear that we have depth, we have tools and we have a maturity that comes from adversity and learning from the losses of 2012. Thanks to AFP and organizations like them, the conservative grassroots will have help and structure that will amplify our effectiveness going forward.
Dennis Michael Lynch is the author of “They Come to America”.