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.

Disabling the Electoral College before 2012 Election?

National Public Vote Compact, NPVC, is the method. The Presidency is the prize.

What a challenging debate Americans are having! The National Popular Vote Compact, NPVC, is the talk of state capitals from Columbus, OH, to Albany, NY, to Austin, TX. Our state legislators are casting critical votes to change our electoral process and, of course, we the people have an important voice in it all.

No wonder we insist on being highly engaged in this decision. From American history we know our electoral system was designed by the Founding Fathers to insure the most careful balance possible of votes and voices for America’s Presidential elections, to protect minority rights while recognizing and empowering the majority.

We are well aware that state by state adoption of the NPVC, also known as the National Popular Vote, NPV, would change the founders’ design for our Constitutional Republic and could circumvent those minority protections from what Alexander Hamilton called the possibility of oppression by the majority. Oh, the talking and debating…the discussions about Constitutional design…the weighing of the pros and cons… a discussion merited by the enormity of the proposed change.

Whoa! Wait just a minute here! Did you say you haven’t heard these debates? Did you say the NPVC is just meaningless alphabet soup to you? The vigorous debate over a change to this so called “direct vote” or democratic vote” didn’t get your attention?

You should know that your state has probably already adopted NPVC or is in the process of doing so.

Of course you didn’t hear this important debate about NPVC only because there is none. The NPVC, or NPV, is sold as harmless and described as a more democratic electoral method to give each American a direct voice in the election of our president. However, in a legal memorandum, Oct 27, 2011, Heritage concludes that:

Consequently, the NPV[9] scheme proposes an interstate compact in which participating states agree in advance to automatically allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, disregarding the popular vote results in their states or what the relevant legislatures might then desire. The NPV would “put the fate of every presidential election in the hands of the voters in as few as 11 states and thus…give a handful of populous states a controlling majority of the Electoral College,”[10] undermining the protections of the Electoral College.

Passage of this insidious compact is very close because 170 of the required 270 votes are from states already signed on. States where NPV is being considered or is close to passing are more than sufficient to implement the NPVC. Then it will apply to the 2012 election and every one after that so that a candidate can be elected by a few of the most populous regions in the USA. Since this is likely to increase the number of third and even fourth party candidates, one could win as little as 30% or 40% of the popular vote and be awarded the necessary 270 electoral votes. We could see European type elections with so many candidates that none has enough support to govern effectively.

Who exactly would benefit from a change in the electoral college system that has worked effectively for so many elections? Who would want to circumvent our founders’ intentions for the most balanced and representative selection of the president? This has been in progress, on a state by state basis, with stealth and steely determination since 2006. Multiple websites push the “Direct Vote” and “NPV” and “Democratic Vote” to create the impression this is truly popular when, in fact, it is being funded and pushed by those with their own political agenda.

The RNC recently voted to condemn this change to our electoral system, but too much damage has been done already. Some conservatives have voted for this and their lack of understanding of the issue is deplorable.

NPVC will bring out the grizzly in many of us who will not stand for deception and the manipulation of our constitutional safeguards. Our first task is to educate ourselves by checking some links here, and then we must alert others. Next, our state representatives must be informed, in no uncertain terms, that we strongly oppose this unconstitutional compact.

Calls, handwritten letters and visits to our state legislators must make it clear that if in process, NPVC must be stopped. If already passed, NPVC must be repealed. If introduced, NPVC must be rejected at once. Any legislator who votes for this does not know the constitution and is not protecting our freedoms.

Also, search on “National Popular Vote” and you will find countless sites advocating this “logical and fair” change to an outdated system. Watch this topic wherever it is posted because immediately someone will post comments insisting the NPVC is a good thing for America. Who is so closely tracking the issue and attacking every negative? Who is so determined NPVC must succeed? What do they have to gain?

In the Federalist Hamilton explains the need to protect the public good and the rights of the minority from the possible oppression by the majority in a “direct democracy” or “popular” vote:

When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed.

Alexander Hamilton; Federalist Papers # 68

Some related articles:

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.

Fl. Senate Candidates give more depth to their positions



About 200 folks attended the town-hall debate for Florida Senate Districts 25 and 27 GOP Primary candidates jointly hosted by SouthFlorida 912 and the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches (RCPB) at the First Baptist Church (FBC) in WPB. There were a lot of new faces in attendance and we hope that we’ll see many of them in future events by both groups! The FBC crew did a fantastic job in setting up the venue for us and many thanks go to them.

Joy Stone (past president of RCPB, 912 member and a parishioner at FBC) kept the agenda flowing. Assistant Pastor Brandon Shields led us in the Invocation and the Pledge. He was followed by Lou Galterio singing our national anthem. Shannon Armstrong (founder South Florida 912) laid out the debate rules and spoke a little bit about the founding of the organization and the importance of getting involved. Joy introduced the panelists: John Jamason – RCPB First VP, Ed Fulop – South Florida 912 organizer, Fred Scheibl – RCPB leadership and South Florida 912 leader and David DiCrescenzo -SouthFlorida912 leader, as our timekeeper. Melissa Andrews (president RCPB) spoke briefly about the club and reiterated the importance of getting involved, and then introduced each of the candidates with candidate biographies. After the debate, Joy turned the microphone over to Shannon, who introduced other candidates who each got a minute to introduce themselves: Sherry Lee for County Commissioner District 2, Tami Donnally for FL District 85, Joe Budd for Congressional District 19, Francisco Rodriguez and Pat Rooney for FL District 83, Michael E. Arth for Governor, and Steven Rosenblum for FL District 89. Jason Shields (SouthFlorida912 leader) concluded with the 50/50 drawing – won by Dean Taffell. The candidates and many in the audience mingled afterwards and it was a good opportunity for people to question the candidates directly.

The debate questions were intended to try and draw out differences between the candidates: Lizbeth Benaquisto, Mike Lamayer and Sharon Merchant for FL Senate 27; Ellyn Bogdanoff and Carl Domino for FL Senate 25.  Each candidate was given 2 minutes for introductions, 2 minutes to respond to each question, and 2 minutes to wrap up. Each candidate answered the same questions.  The audience was given an opportunity to score the candidates and then turn in their scoring sheets at the conclusion of the meeting.  About 1/4 of the folks turned in their sheets and we’ll compile the responses in a future post, recognizing that it’s not statistically significant nor scientific nor an endorsement. People rated candidates for whom they can’t vote. But it should be useful to candidates to see which topics resonated (or not) with the mostly conservative or GOP audience.

The following summaries of responses to questions are mine alone – and I didn’t take detailed notes. So attendees – feel free to post comments with additions/your perspective :

Immigration – Arizona has passed a law effectively giving state law enforcement the authority to enforce federal immigration law incidental to other criminal investigation. Have you read this law and would you support such a statute in Florida?

Domino – hadn’t read either bill but supported the immigration bill in the FL House that did not get voted on in the FL Senate
Benacquisto – supports dealing with immigration and concerned about all residents – no direct response
Merchant – absolutely believes in strict enforcement and would back a similar law.
Lamayer – has read both bills and very strongly supports enforcement and 10th amendment rights
Bogdanoff – expressed concern about the impact of illegal immigration on the state

States’ Rights: Do you support the lawsuit against the Affordable Health Care for America Act brought by AG Bill McCollum? What are the strongest / weakest arguments being made?

Lamayer – yes – since federal government forcing mandate on individuals and states unconstitutional
Benacquisto– supports the lawsuit – the healthcare bill poses potential impacts from a fiscal and social perspective
Merchant– strongly opposed Obamacare and is in support of McCollums bill
Bogdanoff– concerned about the cost of healthcare bill to FL (and other states) – with great expansion of Medicaid
Domino – will impact FL by $2 billion

Transportation: Two of you were in the legislature last year and voted for the “Sunrail” bill. Many think that this is not a good thing because high speed rail projects rarely pay for themselves and end up with endless subsidies. Others argue that it will bring “federal dollars” into the state that would have gone elsewhere. How do you defend your vote or how would you have voted on Sunrail? Why?

Bogdanoff (voted for bill) – while she was reluctant to vote for the 3 part bill, and in general, opposes taking federal stimulus $$, she felt that using federal dollars to build infrastructure while creating a lot of new jobs was worth it.
Domino (voted for bill) – would rather have the money spent in FL. He also mentioned the 3 parts to the bill and felt that getting funds for the south Florida trans. authority would give it some breathing room
Merchant – strongly against. Mentioned that in the bill CSX got total immunity from any liability.
Lamayer – quoted from a CNN article on how mass transit NEVER pays for itself and is a black hole
Benacquisto – while it’s troubling to put so much cost to FL in the future, we need to find a way to create jobs while reducing our dependence on oil

State Amendments: There are 9 constitutional amendments on the ballot in November, involving redistricting, “home town democracy”, class size, health care and other matters. Which of these do you think are the most significant, and what outcome would you like to see for them?

Benacquisto – against Amendment 4 – Hometown Democracy – because it will shut down growth and incentives for people and businesses to move to our communities. We need growth now.
Lamayer – against Amendment 4. For Amendment 7 redistricting – using FL Senate 27 as an example of geographic and unemployment having so many differences in a single district
Merchant – for redistricting (although she didn’t mention which of the 3 amendments) and against Amendment 4
Bogdanoff – concerned about the way FL constitution has so many amendments and people generally vote for them without knowing the issues. But she is for the class size Amendment 8 because the consequences of the class size bill was to force children to be bussed to another school when class size got to 19. This gives parents and schools more flexibility.
Domino– sponsor of Amendment 3 – Additional homestead exemption for first time homebuyershould help with the glut of houses. Also caps property tax increases to 5% instead of 10% year. He is against Amendment 4 as anti-growth and anti-business. For Amendment 8 for the flexibility.

Education: Since its inception, the FCAT has been controversial. This year several thousand students in the state failed their second try at the test and could not graduate. Does this suggest there is a problem with the test or the instruction, or is it working as advertised? What action (if any) should be taken by the Legislature?

Domino– HS students get 6 chances to pass the FCAT from 10th grade on. HS graduation rate has gone from 54% to 74% and Florida schools have improved greatly. If you don’t test, you don’t care. We must have standards.
Bogdanoff – For accountability, but when FCAT passed, people started teaching to the test. Teachers needs to be trained now to teach, not just teach the test. She prefers end of course exams.
Merchant – Parents have a major role in making sure their children are learning. Teachers should also be accountable. She would have voted no on SB6. She believes in merit pay but not having everything decided by Tallahassee.
– Lamayer – SB 6 is a bad bill. Quoted that only 40% of juniors passed FCAT. Education isn’t matching testing.
Benacquisto – doesn’t like FCAT. Puts too much stress on the students. Too much emphasis on one test.. Testing should be done at the beginning of the year so that student’s weakness can be addressed over the school year to focus on helping the students succeed.

Spending/Taxes: The budget for last year and this was balanced with considerable help from federal stimulus funds for which the governor and the legislature has been criticized, since the stimulus comes with future mandates and other entanglements. Should the budget have been balanced without the stimulus? If so, what would you cut or what additional revenue would you have gone after?

Merchant – the budget, instead of being over $70 billion, should be around $64-65 billion with significant cuts instead of relying on Uncle Sam. Need to entirely rethink the budget and against using various trust funds to balance the state budget.
Lamayer – enforcing illegal immigration would save $$ right away. Stop moving money from one fund to another. Reduce government. Lawsuit reform like in TX generated lots of jobs. Also oil and gas reserves in FL equal those in Alaska.
Benacquisto – government is spending too much of our money. Streamline process using infrastructure technology. Create jobs by incentives to corporations. Clean energy and information technology is the answer
Bogdanoff– the budget is driven by Education, Medicaid and the prison system. Only about $1billion left that can be addressed. She would give tax credits to businesses that create jobs. Saved $3.8 billion with the Gov’t Efficiency Act of 2010 – this will be repeated every year to address spending.
Domino– Every department has to justify spending. Our growing elderly population is increasing costs.

Each of the candidates made closing statements. District 25 candidates Carl and Ellyn focused on their attributes, although Ellyn specifically asked the audience for their vote. The District 27 candidates, however, did direct criticism against each other – and I could hear the crowd reacting.

Although the number of questions was limited and we didn’t have time for all topics and time for audience questions, we hope that this event gave the public an opportunity to learn more about the candidates and the issues. Thanks to all of the folks from the South Florida 912 and Republican Club of the Palm Beaches and First Baptist Church for all of their hard work!

Mike Lameyer Addresses the Issues in Local Town Hall

At West Pines Baptist Church Town Hall last night in Greenacres, Mike Lameyer, candidate for Florida Senate District 27, answered questions on a variety of issues of interest to Floridians.

Attendees were met at the door by 912 leader Ken Barnett in his colonial garb with musket, and 9-12 founder Doug Armstrong acted as Master of Ceremonies. CD19 candidate Joe Budd made a few remarks in support of his friend Mike, and Austin Parris spoke for Tami Donnally who was traveling at the time of the meeting but sent her support.

Education, taxes, illegal immigration, and offshore drilling are important topics for Mike and the audience shared his interest.

It was announced today that 3000 students state-wide have failed their second try at the FCAT, and Mike used this fact to discuss the problems in Florida education and some solutions he would propose. The FCAT itself he feels is flawed and should be abolished in favor of something akin to the California achievement tests. This could prove controversial in the race as many Republicans feel that the FCAT provides an objective measure of student and school performance – blaming the test is ignoring any deficiencies in the learning process. He did say that the major issue we have is the under performance on reading skills, particularly in the early grades, and he would like to see more emphasis in this area as it is key to learning all subjects.

Taxes are too high across the board in Mike’s view, local, state and federal. He attributes the high corporate tax rates in the US as a major contributor of sending jobs offshore, and believes that the state of Florida should do more to attract businesses. Unlike the Scripps affair, he would make tax incentives contingent on quantifiable job growth by the recipients.

Many in the audience had questions about immigration, and Mike indicated his support for the Arizona legislation that has been soundly criticized from the left, including our President and Felipe Calderone of Mexico. Mike believes that the spectacle of the Democrats in Congress giving Calderone a standing ovation when he said the Arizona law “makes racial profiling a basis for law enforcement”, was a major outrage. He thinks it would be perfectly acceptable for Arizona to counter the threatened Los Angeles boycott by shutting off the 25% of electrical power they provide to that city. A similar law would be appropriate in Florida.

On offshore drilling, Mike spoke of some of the technical aspects – specifically that the acoustic shutoff valves required in the North Sea exploration areas should be but are not required in the Gulf. He also brought up the little known fact that much of the oil in the near-shore areas of the Florida peninsula can be tapped from safer shore-based drilling. The BP disaster is an accident – there are risks associated with energy production and this should not be used as an excuse to shut down domestic oil exploration.

As the meeting was winding down, Mike mentioned that he plans to do these town halls frequently all across the district which stretches from Palm Beach County all the way to Fort Myers on the west coast. Confident in his positions and fed up with the status quo at all levels of government, Mike is off to a good start in his primary race against Sharon Merchant and Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Below are a few pictures from the event. For a video of Mike CLICK HERE

Obamacare violates 13th and 14th Amendments

First, there are some people attempting to portray kindhearted freedom loving Americans as racists. They are doing that to try and instill fear in us to speak out. They will try to pick apart everything we say to try and portray us as racists. When they don’t find what they are looking for, they will manufacture it. It is important that A. we don’t give them material that is racist in nature and B. we don’t allow fear of these groups to prevent us from speaking out. If we do either, they win.

I am not mincing words here but let me be clear that I am laying out just one more way that the recently passed healthcare bill is a danger to our Constitutional freedom. How much do you know about the part of the Constitution aptly known as the 13th Amendment? That Amendment was one of the most sweeping legislative works in American history. The 13th Amendment ended legal slavery in the former Confederate States of America.

Let me present this scenario: Lets say that as a prominent national politician I proudly announce that I am going to support repealing the 13th amendment and legalizing slavery again, but this time slavery would not be restricted to people of a certain skin color or nationality. Would the American people accept such actions? How would the media react? I bet many of you have never read the 13th Amendment or the 14th Amendment that strengthened the 13th. Since this is such a major part of American History check it out really quickly. This is the basic version so it won’t be so time consuming.

Amendment XIII.**

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XIV.***

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

*Superseded by section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment.

** The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified December 6, 1865.

*** The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified July 9, 1868.

So, fast forward to 2010. Have you noticed a conflict between these Constitutional Amendments and the stellar redesign of our Healthcare system by Obama, Pelosi and Reid?

Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment of a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. But, now if I don’t buy health insurance, the IRS can fine and imprison me without even due process as the IRS does not answer to any branch of our government. So, my Constitutional right to decide for myself what kind or how much insurance I want or need has been usurped. So has yours. What happened to equal protection under the law? Obama will not be bound by this legislation. Neither will press secretary Gibbs or Nancy Pelosi. So now you and you and me too are not equal citizens of the USA anymore. We now have a “tiered” citizenship where laws no longer even on paper apply to everyone equally. This is a huge step towards possible slavery for all, regardless of . You and I no longer have say so over what we do or even what we buy. Given the fact that they are stripping our citizenship away, how long do you think your right to vote will last? Think about it: those now in power know they will be slaughtered in the next election. Look at the potential danger here. There is every possibility that in the 20,000 pages of legislation passed since TARP, language could have been slipped into each of these laws that when added together could turn this country into a dictatorship with an executive order from President? It is a simple fact that the President is surrounded by people who have stated a desire to do exactly that. That is the method that the USSR used to destroy the U.N. from within. Adolph Hitler pulled a similar power grab in the Weimar Republic by first gradually stripping rights, then burning the government building (the Reichstag) then removing the Prime Minister and declaring himself dictator and ending elections which “fundamentally transformed” the Weimar Republic to the 3rd Reich. To make clear, I am not in any way calling Obama a Nazi, or Hitler, but am pointing out that the methods being used today to “fundamentally transform America” are very similar to those used to bring representative governments full circle to dictatorships in the past.

Contract From America

The Tea Party Patriots (TPP) is soliciting input on the top 10 issues for the “Contract From America”.

The Contract from America serves as a clarion call for those who recognize the importance of free market principles, limited government, and individual liberty. It is the natural extension of a movement that began in the local communities and quickly spread across America in response to unprecedented government expansion, reckless spending, and a blatant disregard by our leaders of the nation’s founding principles.

During the past several months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have debated thousands of ideas to solve our nation’s most pressing problems. It has been an open process and has provided a genuine opportunity to give voice to a broad cross section of concerned Americans.

Now we enter the next phase; to narrow the list and let America draft the final version of the Contract from America. Click HERE to vote on your priorities. The final document will be unveiled on Thursday, April 15, 2010. Together, we can and will make a difference.

Choose from the following list by voting HERE:

  • DEMAND A BALANCED BUDGET
  • STOP THE TAX HIKES
  • COMMIT TO REAL GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY
  • PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION
  • PASS MARKET-BASED HEALTHCARE & HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM
  • ENACT FUNDAMENTAL TAX REFORM
  • END RUNAWAY GOVERNMENT SPENDING
  • LET US SAVE
  • PROTECT INTERNET FREEDOM
  • GIVE PARENTS MORE CHOICES IN THE EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN
  • PASS AN “ALL OF THE ABOVE” ENERGY POLICY
  • PROTECT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
  • RESTORE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY & CONSTITUTIONALLY LIMITED GOVT
  • PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
  • REJECT CAP & TRADE
  • STOP THE PORK
  • AUDIT THE FED
  • NO MORE BAILOUTS
  • STOP CAREER POLITICIANS & CURB LOBBYIST POWER
  • SUNSET REGULATIONS & ENACT FUNDAMENTAL REGULATORY REFORM
  • LET US WATCH
  • The EPA is Coming

    This is from Carl Iken of the Treasure Coast Tea Party. If anyone has the time to research this, attend the meeting, and report on it, please follow the EPA link at the bottom of the posting.


    Proposed Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters

    The EPA is trying to regulate changes in Florida and ONLY Florida. As we know anytime the EPA or any government agency wants to “regulate” something it costs us more money. There are 3 hearings scheduled throughout Florida. If you can, try to attend one.

    The dates of the hearings remain the same, but EPA has expanded the times for the hearings, and was able to move the Tallahassee hearing to a new, larger space. Below are the current times and locations for each date. Even with these changes, the afternoon sessions may be at capacity. Those concerned about seating or long waits should consider attending an earlier or later session.

    February 16, 2010 at the Florida State University (FSU) Conference Center (NEW location)

    555 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1640

    10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon (NEW session)
    1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    February 17, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal

    7800 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819
    1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (this session has been extended 1.5 hours)
    7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (this session will begin 30 minutes later than originally planned)

    February 18, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Palm Beach Airport

    1301 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
    12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. (this session will begin 1 hour earlier than originally planned)
    6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (this session will begin 1 hour earlier than originally planned)

    EPA encourages you to preregister for this hearing. Preregistration is strongly encouraged, as we expect a large number of participants.

    Click here for more info

    Populist Constitutionalism – Is That What We’re About?

    Larrey Anderson (author of “The Order of the Beloved“, and the memoir “Underground: Life and Survival in the Russian Black Market“), has a thoughtful article this week in the American Thinker. In it he postulates that the common bond that holds “tea party” groups together and will ultimately make the movement successful is our shared belief in the truth and validity of the Constitution.

    “Populist Constitutionalism” – that’s what the Tea Party is all about. Love and respect for the Constitution is driving the movement. Sharing the document, and then discussing the meaning, purpose, and the ideas of the Constitution, that is the process that is taking place as a result of this love and respect.

    This discussion is what America needs right now. The Constitution (and a real federal government) is the set of principles that can unite all Americans (with the possible exception of the most radical of those on the left who want to see some kind of socialist central state.)

    Social conservatives, fiscal conservatives (that might be liberal on some social issues), libertarians, and moderates can agree to disagree about issues like abortion, legalized drugs, gay marriage, etc. The Constitution teaches all of them that the resolution to these problems should be conducted on the state or community level, as opposed to the national, level.

    These divergent groups agree that the federal government has, over the last several decades, stepped further and further outside of the bounds of the Constitution. Issues, including health care, cap and trade, and excessive regulation of businesses are outside of the specific powers granted to the federal government. More and more Americans are aware of this fact. And more and more Americans are sharing the promises and the premises of the Constitution with their friends and neighbors through Tea Parties being held across America. This is what I mean when I say that the Tea Party is “populist constitutionalism.”

    Read the full article HERE.

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