January Meeting brings out Standing Room-Only Crowd for Obamacare Discussion

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 cosdistrict90@gmail.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!

Some Pictures:

  • Shannon Armstrong Shannon Armstrong
  • Doug Armstrong Doug Armstrong
  • Dennis Lipp Dennis Lipp
  • Andrea Plescia Andrea Plescia
  • Fred Scheibl Fred Scheibl
  • Marion Frank Marion Frank
  • Tami Donnally Tami Donnally
  • Andy Schaller Andy Schaller
  • Larry Kawa Larry Kawa


Reasons for Optimism – The “Defending the American Dream” Summit

Speaker Videos

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.

Bobby Jindal

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.

Marco Rubio

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.

Arthur Brooks

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”.

Rick Scott

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.

Rick Perry

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.

Ted Cruz

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.

Ohio 912’ers and Tea Party Define THE Narrative for Victory in 2012

Ohio Takes the First Popular Vote on Obamacare. That Vote is NO.

Many Americans work long hours so that weekends and evenings become precious family time. However, Ohio Tea Party, 912 and other patriots volunteered countless of these valuable hours to gather signatures in all 88 counties of Ohio to force the issue of Obamacare onto their state ballot this November . Where there was a county fair, a town’s parade or festival, a church social, the patriots were there filling petitions one citizen, one signature at a time.

They gathered 440,000 signatures. And the resulting ballot Issue #3 passed on Nov. 8 by a resounding vote of 2 to 1.

A vote for Issue #3 was a vote against Obamacare. Ohioans were the first Americans who actually got to vote on Obamacare, and they voted NO! The 20 month effort of over 4400 volunteers resulted in every Ohio voter having the chance to reject the forced healthcare mandates of PPACA, known as Obamacare.

While the very end result remains uncertain since PPACA can have no state allowed to go their own way on healthcare, Ohioans have done an historic service to all Americans. They showed us what a determined and organized grassroots effort can accomplish.

In addition, Ohio’s volunteers defined a clear narrative for political victory in 2012. Americans may disagree on tax changes and on how to best create jobs, but the Ohio vote shows overwhelming opposition to Obamacare. Politicians who supported it or are not working to repeal it are putting themselves on the wrong side of the voters’ mandate and will not be trusted to work for the best interests of Ohio and all America..

Thanks to Ohio’s vote damning the takeover of America’s healthcare, candidates determined to repeal PPACA can know their voice will surely be heard and the votes will be theirs.

Obamacare: Government Decided, Government Provided

In 2014 your healthcare will change. Your doctors and hospitals are all planning changes right now to comply with the PPACA (Obamacare) so they can remain in business.

Did you know that in 2011 your W-2 will have to include the value of employer provided healthcare benefits? Not taxed…yet.

Did you know millions of low income Seniors, income under about $20,000 per couple, will be forced onto Medicaid?

Did you know that 17% of hospitals may close due to PPACA (Obamacare) per the CBO (Congressional Budget Office)?

Did you know a physician shortage of 63,000 doctors is estimated by 2015 as doctors retire and move into other medical roles to escape PPACA?

Did you know that all insurance companies will provide only those treatments approved by the Secretary of HHS or the company will be OUT of the insurance exchange and OUT of business?

Did you know what happens in your doctor’s office no longer stays there? Your medical history, procedures, medications, conditions, will be available to your dentist, therapist, any medical professional treating you and various government workers overseeing the database.

Did you know that in 2011 cuts to Medicare home health care are denying basic services such as physical therapy and home health aides?

Did you know that in 2012 Medicare cuts to dialysis treatments begin?

Did you know that in 2012 cuts to Medicare Hospice begin?

Did you know in 2014 government IPAB begins submitting proposals to cut Medicare?

Did you know in 2014 the government will impose tax on nearly all private health insurance plans.

Did you know in 2017 all physicians must use pay-for-quality programs where your doctors receive more for following government treatment guides and are penalized if they do not?

Did you know that doctors are now combining into large medical centers so they can comply with the complex mandates and stay in business?

Did you know Obamacare relies on ACO’s (remember HMO’s?) to take care of us as our “medical home” where we can be tracked and provided ONLY THAT CARE the government’s Independent Payment Advisory Board determines should be given?

Any of these changes by themselves is detrimental to our healthcare and in combination will destroy America’s healthcare…the finest in the world. Notice everyone wants to come here for their care.

PPACA ( Obamacare) will take away access to healthcare with rationing by waiting.

Just having insurance does no good, if there are no providers because they have been driven out of business by Obamacare. Americans will be begging for any medical care and this administration would use that crisis to provide government chosen and trained doctors, nurses, etc.

Every facet of your healthcare: Doctor, hospital, dialysis, stents…

Government Decided and Government Provided.

Telling Healthcare Reform Like It Is

Healthcare, as we know it, is going, going and will soon be gone. 

Your Dad needs bypass surgery but three of the four surgeons near him refuse Medicare patients so he will go on a waiting list.

Your Mom is recovering from a broken hip but no home healthcare is provided to help her transition back to functioning independently. 

Your husband is battling heartburn and must wait 3-7 weeks to see a gastroenterologist.

A pediatric well care appointment for your son involves a 24 day wait.

The PPACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare,  has caused some of these scenarios already.  The worst of the provisions of PPACA (Obamacare) law are written to be implemented only after the next Presidential election. Then we will have less availability, higher costs and fewer treatments compared to the  medical care we now receive.

We can look at healthcare in the UK, Germany and Canada to know that less innovation, less availability and decreased quality of care is ahead for us.  Massachusett’s healthcare reform, started in 2006, contains almost all of the major provisions of PPACA (Obamacare) and the demand for healthcare there has soared as have the costs…with hugely increased waits for basic care.

These may be unintended consequences from well meaning politicians but overwhelming evidence, wherever this type of healthcare is done, demonstrates the damage PPACA (Obamacare) will accomplish.

Learn what is in Obamacare, what is in the Ryan alternative and how to question your politicians about their position on this issue so you can help to preserve America’s healthcare. Come back to South Florida 912 for more healthcare information to come.

If Obamacare is implemented, by the time your 2 year old celebrates a 10th birthday America’s healthcare system will be as inefficient, unresponsive and impersonal as the IRS, Amtrak, Fannie and Freddie. All are examples of massive government control doing what it does worst.

Barbara Samuells

Michele Bachmann at SFTP Event

Minnesota Congresswoman, leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, and possible presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was in town on Friday for several meetings with GOP ‘insiders’.  On short notice,  the South Florida Tea Party put together a meeting with her at the Abacoa Country Club.   Representative Bachmann has been making a concerted effort to meet with the grass-roots everywhere she goes.

Quite a few 912’ers were among the 300 or so attendees as Congresswoman Bachmann surprised most with the news that the Obamacare legislation, aka the “Affordable Health Care Act”, contained over $100B in startup funding that was unknown to most of the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the House move to defund Obamacare cannot touch this money.

Here is a video that Ms. Bachmann has posted on her website and facebook page about the Obamacare funding:

Some pictures from Boris Balaban:

ObamaCare Implementation

912 Listed among the Opponents of Judges Perry and LaBarga

In our “Leader’s Picks”, we recommend a NO vote for two of the four Supreme Court Justices on the ballot. In our view, Justices James Perry and Jorge Labarga, in voting with the majority to remove the challenge to Obamacare from the ballot, took a political position and are attempting to legislate from the bench. We are joined in this by other South Florida grassroots groups, the Christian Coalition, and the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

An October 29 article by Anthony Man in the Sun Sentinel, mentions us in this context and describes various positions on the issue. Click HERE for the article.

SFTP Candidate Forum

On Monday 10/4, assisted by South Florida 912, the South Florida Tea Party held a well-attended candidate forum in the Borland Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

After an introduction by SFTP Director Pam Wohlschlegel, the Pledge of Allegiance by 912’s Jason Shields, and the anthem sung by Lou Galterio, special guest Joyce Kaufman whipped up the crowd for the main event. Organized as two forums with pre-arranged questions, congressional candidates for districts 16 (Tom Rooney and Jim Horn), 19 (Joe Budd), 22 (Allen West) and 23 (surrogate for Bernard Sansaricq) faced off, followed by the state level candidates for FS27 (Lizbeth Benacquisto), FH83 (Pat Rooney and Mark Marciano), FH84 (Albert Key), FH85 (Tami Donnally and Joe Abruzzo), FH87 (Bill Hager) and FH89 (Steven Rosenblum).

In her introduction, Pam restated the three areas of interest of the Tea Party – fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets, and said the questions would be limited to these areas. That was mostly true, although the area of illegal immigration tended to stray beyond its economic impact.

A synopsis of the candidates answers to the questions can be found below the pictures.

Congressional Panel

The first question asked the congressional candidates if they would extend the Bush tax cuts – all said yes, although Democrat Horn qualified it with “for now”, and Joe Budd added that he would keep the estate tax exemption at last year’s $3.5M rather than letting it stay unlimited.

Next up was the cost of Obamacare. Rooney put it at $1 trillion and would like to see it repealed or defunded until we have a new President in 2012 when we can implement tort reform. Jim Horn said its biggest loss was to our freedom. Budd said it will destroy Medicare for seniors by setting the reimbursement rates to half that of Medicaid. Allen West called it socialism, bureacracy, taxes and the introduction of education control through the student loan provisions. The Sansaricq position was that it is socialism – repeal or defund.

Asked about the effect Amnesty would have on the economy, Rooney brought up the strain illegals put on the health care infrastructure and schools, and emphasized the rule of law. Horn wants to control the borders, then discuss comprehensive reform. Budd tagged it as a $200M problem for health care, and a $4B problem for the schools, that we need work visas but NO AMNESTY. West compared the problem to the fall of Rome, that the constitution provides for controlling the borders and gives states the right to protect themselves if the federal government fails to do so, and suggested that the border patrol should train with the military. The Sansaricq position is no amnesty, encourage legal immigration, that our capitalist republic is at risk.

Asked for 3 bills they would introduce to spur economic growth, Tom Rooney stressed not punishing success. Jim Horn would impose a tax penalty on companies that outsource jobs overseas, and Joe Budd would roll back regulations, lower corporate tax rates and implement a sound domestic energy policy. Allen West would reverse the growth of the public sector, reform the tax code with a flat tax, stop the bailouts, bring back the Glass-Steagall act, and encourage the return of the manufacturing sector. Sansaricq would secure the borders, implement e-verify, repeal Obamacare and institute term limits.

FInally, the candidates were asked for specific budget cuts. Rooney wants to roll back spending to 2008 and end everything instituted since then. Horn would also roll back to 2008. Budd would cut his own office budget and call for across the board cuts, while West would go back to 1975 and evaluate all the programs started since then, killing the ones that have been unproductive. The Sansaricq camp changed the subject and called on Alcee Hastings to debate him.

State Legislature Panel

The first question was to list 3 bills to spur economic growth in the state. Lizbeth Benacquisto wants to cut spending, stated that government does not create jobs but should foster an environment that is friendly to business and cut taxes. Steven Rosenblum would end the drilling bans, implement tort reform at the state level, audit the budget, and implement a zero-based budget process for the state. Bill Hager would get government out of the way, have lower taxes and fewer regulations, and make an effort to attract business from the high tax states like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Joe Abruzzo wants to teach Portuguese and Mandarin in the state schools (sees China and Brazil as trading partners), offer income tax holidays for new businesses, and streamline tax reporting processes. Tami Donnally would support small business 99% and eliminate costly mandates and regulations. Albert Key would kill the business intangible tax and eliminate $5 from the drivers license fee. Mark Marciano would reduce regulations, lower the time needed to obtain permits, incent startups in areas outside of tourism and agriculture. Pat Rooney would eliminate overlapping departments in state government and cut regulations.

On the question of amnesty, all were against it for various reasons, and most stressed the costs and the need to support the rule of law. Rosenblum and Hager were in favor of an Arizona style law. Mark Marciano stressed fixing the border.

Audience Ratings of Senate 25/27 Candidates

The audience at the 912/RCPB town hall debate was asked to rate the responses of the candidates in each of 6 question areas based on the following scale, and leave their score sheet with us at the end of the event.

  • 5 – The candidate is completely aligned with my views on the issue.
  • 4 – The candidate is mostly aligned with me but there are a few areas that I’m worried about
  • 3 – The candidate is mostly aligned with me but there is one MAJOR problem area
  • 2 – The candidate is mostly opposed to my views on the issue
  • 1 – The candidate is completely opposed to my views – it would be awful if he/she was elected

Forty nine people responded (about a quarter of the audience) and this is the result:

As you can see, in district 27, Mike Lameyer and Sharon Merchant were neck and neck with scores in the mid 4 range, while Lizbeth Benacquisto trailed the others with scores in the mid 3 range. In district 25, both candidates tracked each other closely except on immigration where Ellyn Bogdanoff had the advantage over Carl Domino. For this crowd at least, Sunrail is very unpopular and both incumbent candidates did poorly on the transportation question.

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