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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ANOTHER HAGERSTOWN PLAN, ANOTHER RANT, ANOTHER ELECTION

    
Or as this mayor so famously likes to say...another day in the neighborhood.
 Sorry,  I couldn't resist.

     I attended the Hagerstown mayor and council meeting yesterday only because another economic redevelopment group, Urban Partners, was to present yet another Economic Development and Implementation Plan. I understand that this most recent study was funded by a non-matching grant, which a lot of people in this town think is "free money," but in reality it is still taxpayer money coming from the state. The study may be relatively free, but implementation of these plans tend to be short on private investment and costly to the taxpayer. I thought I better see where this is heading if anywhere.

THE PLAN
 

     The Urban Partners team presented eight "catalytic projects and programs." I waited for just one of them to be a brilliant $83,400 new idea. It never came. At most we got a new variation of the same ideas. Here they are:

1. Strategy for new office development and recruitment
2. Maryland Theater Expansion Project
3. USMH Expansion Support Strategy
4. Hotel/Conference Center/Heritage Center/Commemorative Park
5. Linking City Park and A&E District with trail and new housing
6. Expanded downtown A&E District with trail and new housing
7. Expanded operations of the City Farmer's Market.
8. Expanded and targeted home ownership support strategies

    Without any mind boggling new ideas, I began to wonder what the difference is between the Urban Partners group and the Soro Development group that presented their similar plan in January 2013. Soro also reached out to stakeholders. Soro also presented a plan. Soro also wanted the mayor and council to give them the nod to proceed. That is where things fell apart, but this time the mayor and council were more receptive. The most obvious answer is that Urban Partners presented with an attitude of respect and humility. Soro came on like gangbusters with claims of connections to investors and state government purse strings. They were selling themselves more than their concepts for the city. I had the impression that it was Soro's local connections that gave pause to mayor and council. They barged in like a bull in china shop stomping on everybody's toes. Oh, and they also wanted $100,000 and something in writing in order to proceed. I did not hear anyone from Urban Partners mention that more money would be needed in order to proceed with feasibility studies for these projects or as they called it "drilling down deeper." I hope I am not wrong in assuming that it is coming out of the $83,400. I did hear the often repeated "This is not set in stone. This is just a starting point." Yeah...a little deja vu. No, a lot of deja vu.The final plan will be presented on June 24.

THE RANT

    There was one entertaining moment when Councilman Metzner went on a rant against the Washington County delegation.  He could not believe that they were not on board with securing a bond bill for $750,000 for the Maryland Theater. I am no expert on bond bills, but I do want to address this particular bond bill (GAM-HB1240) because there are some misconceptions and accusations that even I understand, and I can't let them go unchallenged.
    As I stated earlier state grants are not free money. The title of this bill says a lot: Creation of a State Debt-Washington County-The Maryland Theater. It is a state debt. It is not included in the Capital Budget. Those who use bond bills to win elections would like voters to believe that there is this big pot of their taxpayer money set aside to be spent on local projects, and that if we don't get our share of the pot someone else will. First, there is no pot of money from which Washington County gets their share to bring home for pet projects. State debt is created in order to get that money.  The super majority Democratic Party in Annapolis uses bond bills to curry favor for legislative votes. A Delegate who likes to bring home money to win votes, will almost always vote with the ruling party and will always vote to pass the budget, no matter how bloated it is or what fund had to be raided to make the budget appear to be balanced.  If you do not vote for the budget, you do not get your request for state debt (bond bill), and you don't get to be the big shot back home.
    So, when Metzner bellowed, "When they vote against bond bills for us, they are voting for money for someone else!" This is not true because 1.) bond bills are not voted on by our delegation, and 2) there is no pot of money that someone will get our share of...it's new debt. This bond bill was presented to the Appropriations Committee, which happens to be Delegate Serafini's committee. Whether or not he said something to sway the committee against approving this new state debt for $750,000 or not, I'd have to watch the video. He is a fiscal Conservative, so it would not surprise me to know that he wasn't interested in creating this debt. The only other way it could be our delegation's fault is if it is because they did not vote for the bloated and falsely balanced budget, which means they will not get the approval to create debt to take money home. Delegate Donaghue plays that game, but I guess he didn't play hard enough this time. He couldn't vote along Party lines on the gun control bill because his constituents would have run him out of town.
    Another question, although I love the Maryland Theater and would love for them to be able to reach all of their capital goals, is it fair for that non-profit (usually it's a private business) to get special favors over another non-profit. Directly after the meeting, someone said to me, "The museum had to work hard to raise the money for the new atrium. Why didn't we get help?" That's a valid and fair question. Why? Who gets to decide who the winners and the losers are in Hagerstown or Washington County? Is it who you know? Is it political will? Who makes these rules?
    I want to clear up one more misstatement by Councilman Metzner. He felt that because there was private money and city money available for the theater that the state money should automatically follow. He said, " They [Serafini and Shank] sat right there and said that it is usually one-third [private], one-third [city/county], and one-third [state] for funding for projects." He was referring to a joint city-county-state meeting regarding the stadium debacle. Yes, they did, but they did not say that they would support it. Shank and Serafini pointed that out only because the one-third private investment was clearly not available for the stadium. They did "a Gysperts" and did not say if they would or would not support it. How's it feel? Not good...I know.

THE ELECTION

As the election season heats up, I believe the bond bill issue is going to be significant. Do we want to be represented by those who don't think twice about creating debt in order for us to have what we want when we want it? Our current delegation was elected by the majority of the voters who did not want more debt. The voters will again be asked to decide if they want pro-bond bill candidates or fiscally Conservative candidates. I just hope that they vote with full knowledge of what a bond bill is...and isn't.


Dictionary.com. :
pork barrel. pork barrel. a government appropriation, bill, or policy that supplies funds
for local improvements designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents.






Thursday, April 3, 2014

DOES THE HERALD MAIL LOVE TO HATE THE TEA PARTY?


    I am writing in response to the Apr 2nd Letter to the Editor that was published in the Herald Mail, titled “Of course the tea party is biased against the president” by Rodney Guessford. See http://tinyurl.com/hmandteaparty . This is just one of the many op-eds, editorials, and Feedback column anti-TEA Party comments that I have had to refute since the campaign season has started to heat up. However, I have only been able to provide rebuttals mostly on-line. The HM either does not print my op-eds or op-eds written by TEA Party members, or they hold them and print them long after they have lost relevance. Not all Feedback column rebuttals make it to print. The editorial columnists do not respond nor do they provide a printed public forum for rebuttals. The number of syndicated editorial columns are equal in number for both sides of the public narrative, but the local columnists are either Liberal or Liberal-leaning Republicans, and of course the HM publishes their own Liberal opinions on a regular basis. If the Herald Mail wanted to be fair, they would provide the local TEA Party a column. Even though the national media is trying to convince us that the TEA Party is dead, it has proven to be--and continues to be--relevant nationally and locally since its inception five years ago. It is time to give us a voice.
“…It’s no more biased than the people in this county, especially the tea partiers. Tea party is so biased on their side that they make up stuff, because they have no ideas and no plans.”

    Mr. Guessford and I started an on-line debate on March 27th when he first made the Feedback statement, “…It’s no more biased than the people in this county, especially the tea partiers. Tea party is so biased on their side that they make up stuff, because they have no ideas and no plans.” I assumed that he was making that accusation against the only TEA Party in this county, the Hagerstown TEA Party (HTP), and I challenged him to provide evidence. He still has not been able to provide any. I don’t think that he has a clear understanding of the movement nor has any knowledge about the local group, but before, I attempt to provide both, I will respond to his letter.

    In his latest Letter to the Editor (HM prints his letters), Mr. G stated that the TEA Party is biased against the president. I personally am 100 percent against his policies. I think it would be safe to say that most Conservatives are against most of his policies. He uses some of the signage at TEA Party rallies as evidence that we are biased against the president personally. He just falls short of saying we are racists. The TEA Party has no control over who wanders into one of their rallies. If you want to find a nut in a crowd you will find one. Depending on how large the crowd is you may find many. Has he ever seen a union rally, a civil rights rally, or a gay pride parade? There are always people there who do not reflect the integrity or the spirit of the group at large. It can’t be helped, but the Liberal media has used it in an effort to discredit the TEA Party.
"Well, the last I looked, Hawaii was still our 50th state."
    He believes that all TEA Party members think BHO is not an American citizen and asks the rhetorical question, Is Hawaii still our 50th state? Yes, Hawaii is a state, but can somebody tell our president that we only have 50 states. See mistakes are also made, but only the TEA Party’s are fodder for a media frenzy. All political parties have their characters and bad actors, and the Democratic Party has had their share, but only the TEA Party’s get the negative press coverage.

"The tea party’s always saying we want our country back. Back from where?"
    We want our country back to a time when our Constitution was the firm foundation that protected our freedoms and made us the envy of the world; when people took responsibility for themselves, their families, and their healthcare; when the church and the community provided “social services;” when the Welfare program was a temporary safety net and not a generational lifestyle of dependency; when our national budget wasn’t burdened with entitlements for almost half of the country, indefinitely, and growing; when you had to earn the privilege to become an American citizen, you didn’t brake our laws by entering our country illegally and then burden the American taxpayer with social services meant for our citizens; when things were made in America by American workers; when corporations were never too big to fail; when the government didn’t pick winners and losers; when you were free to say what you want, own the gun that you want, and your privacy was protected; and when America stood by their allies and were feared and respected by their enemies. It has nothing to do with wanting black segregation and "gays back in the closet."
The truth about the TEA Party

   The TEA Party is NOT a nationwide organization led by some central governing body. It is a nationwide (becoming world-wide) grassroots movement. Each group, actually each member, is independent. For instance, the HTP has a Board of Directors, but they are not managed by a larger entity, nor do they attempt to manage their membership. The board just provides enough structure to provide independent like-minded citizens opportunities to meet and network, participate in political activism (locally, in Annapolis, and in D.C.), and stay informed and educated on current events and the political process. We prefer to call our members Conservatives because they may actually be registered Republicans, Libertarians, Independent Constitutionalists, and yes even Democrats.  We don’t all agree on everything, so we limit our mission to things that we all agree are important: protecting our Constitution and our freedoms, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and Capitalism. As a group, we DO NOT get involved in social issues. Social issues are not addressed or promoted at TEA Party meetings, at our events, or on our social media. Members are free to participate and/or promote social issues as individuals.

    As I have told Mr. G on-line, I will be happy to discuss or debate issues. I hope that I don’t have to waste any more time clearing up misconceptions based on negative stereotypes developed from a hatred of anyone who doesn’t agree with him or others like him. Unfortunately, I think it will be an on-going daily battle. This battle should be fought fairly on a level battleground. E-mail Jake Womer (jakew@herald-mail.com) and respectfully tell him that the TEA Party deserves a voice. Love us or hate us, many of us are HM customers, we are a part of the community....and we are here to stay.

* I need to aknowledge that the HM article published about our Meet the Candidates for County Commissioner held last night (4/3/14) was positive and fair. It is the first time that there was not one negative implication or something that would make the public wonder if we are a legitimate organization. The attendance was a little understated, but usually the media grossly underestimates the turnout at our events. I don't think it was intentional. I just think it was a wrong guesstimate. We had seating for 100 and there were not many empty seats.


We promote patriotism, capitalism and free markets as well as personal and fiscal responsibility. We believe it is important to preserve and uphold the Constitution of the United States as well as the freedom and liberties granted to us by our Creator.

Friday, March 14, 2014

MEET THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND

    I attended a forum last night in Anne Arundel County for candidates who are running for governor of the state of Maryland. I am writing strictly for the voter who may not have the time or opportunity to attend a forum where they can meet the candidates. I want to provide not only their answers to the questions, but I also provide some video and personal opinion to give a feel for the candidate and his character.
    The forum was organized by two Republican clubs, two ladies Republican clubs, and the AA County Republican Central Committee. It was very nicely planned and well attended. There were around 20 elected officials present and welcomed from the podium, and I'd estimate about 150 in attendance. The candidates that participated were: Charles Lollar, Ron George, David Craig, and Brian Vaeth. Larry Hogan had declined the invitation.
    I can't say that I personally learned anything new about the candidates as far as where they stand on the issues, with the exception of Vaeth whom I have never before seen or even read anything about his campaign. I did find myself with different or evolving impressions about some of these candidates than what I had previously.  Ron George presents very knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of all of the major issues, which shouldn't surprise me since he already serves as a state delegate. George seemed to know the story behind the story on every topic. I was aware of David Craig's extensive experience, but I didn't know he had such an easy going personality. When I first saw him many months ago in Hagerstown he seemed rather stodgy and stiff, but last night he was relaxed and confident and even humorous at times. Lollar is consistent in presentation every time that I've seen him speak. He is confident, intelligent, and ready to share his vision. Vaeth is the un-politician, somewhat unpolished and at times inappropriate and provided the audience a lot of comic relief. Larry Hogan had declined the invitation, and I am hearing a lot of chatter about it. People are starting to take offense and think that he may be over confident about his following and their votes.
    The forum began with 1.5 minutes each for an opening statement. I have posted them on YouTube at http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G8TR7r39uqc. This was followed by moderated Q&A with each candidate getting equal time to answer. The questions were almost too wordy to understand, so I will do my best to paraphrase and make them more concise. It was no surprise that the candidates' answers seemed all over the board and off topic at times. For instance, the first question was primarily about the minimum wage increase, and was probably the most straightforward of questions, but the candidates were mostly off topic.

Question 1-  What are your thoughts on the minimum wage increase?

George:   He talked about himself as a business owner, why he first became involved in politics, and then stated that he wants to lower income taxes by 10% immediately and retroactively.
Lollar:  He talked about the low quality of life in this state and that increasing the minimum wage will not make it better, but could in fact make it worse because of the loss of jobs. He said that he would start by eradicating the 80 new taxes passed by this current administration. He talked about the bait and switch use of taxpayer money, and that he would eliminate the income tax. He has worked with Arthur Lambert to develop a 5-year phase out plan, and then he finished his answer with a promise for transparency.
Vaeth:  He talked about renewable energy, in particular solar energy, as a solution to the state's economic woes, saying it would create jobs and give people who don't want to go to college usable skills with which to make a living. He then talked about making people pay the taxes that they owe and cracking down on truckers to make them pay for road maintenance.
Craig:  He started out asking, How many of you had a 30% raise this year? I am assuming he was referring to the large increase in the minimum wage, and he did get a few laughs from the audience. He then said that the average person on minimum wage are approximately age 24 or younger and they are working a temporary job not meant to be a career.
 
Question 2-  What are your thoughts on the Rain Tax?

Lollar:  He would repeal it. He thinks that Marylanders need to be educated on the facts about what is actually polluting the bay.  Just because something sounds right they line up behind it. He claimed that the Susquehanna River is the source of pollution to the bay, and that Maryland does not add to it. Vaeth: He  believes that we need to fight all federal mandates on our state. He is against fracking near the bay, and that we should begin manufacturing hemp products.
Craig:  He would repeal it. He said that he had fought against it since it was first mentioned two years ago. He warned us to watch for a Trash Tax sometime in the next two years.
George:  He fought against it since he first heard about it and before it was even proposed. He said it was passed without even going to committee and that he voted against it on the floor.
 
Question 3-  What are your thoughts on the business climate in the state, and what would you do to improve it?

Vaeth: He would work with businesses on an case-by-case basis finding their particular challenges. He would have also have an individualized tax plan for each business because one size doesn't fit all. He again reiterated that he would attract businesses through new energy programs.
Craig: He believes that the income tax is the tax that most affects small businesses because small business owners usually file their business taxes with their personal income taxes. He would phase out income tax over 5 years and pay for it by asking every department head in his administration to cut their budgets 3% a year for 3 years.
George:  Referenced a 10-point promise that can be found on his website. He would cut income tax 10% immediately and it would be retroactive. This would give people more discretionary money to spend and it would help the economy.
Lollar: Stated he has travelled all over the state to talk about this issue. He talked to the watermen on the Eastern Shore, talked about opening up fracking to those in Western Maryland, and  learned that Carroll County was most concerned about the minimum wage increase. He intends to offer a "real" Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
   
Question 4-  What would you do about Obamacare and the delays that have cost the state $30.5M in the first year?

Craig: He would apply the 10th Amendment of the Constitution for states rights. He said Obamacare is unaffordable and inaccessible. He claimed that doctors and hospitals are cutting services because of this law and it will increasingly affect accessibility of healthcare.
George: He believes that contracts for the implementation of Obamacare in this state have been tied to donations and fundraising opportunities. He made a strong statement that he would not listen to the Feds on this or on Common Core.
Lollar:  Obamacare cannot work in the state or in the nation. He will not submit to the mandate and would instead develop private healthcare exchanges like some that have already developed in other states. He said that it is important to be able to balance the budget so that we can stand up to the Feds. When we depend on $9.3B from the Feds in our budget, we can't take a stand. 
Vaeth: Believes that accountability is needed most because he thinks it is a kickback scheme. He said that we need to go after the website developer to get our money back. He believes we need to take care of veteran's healthcare first.

Question 5: What is your view on Common Core, and should AA County switch to an appointed or elected School Board?

George: Stated that there have been five bills on Common Core. The first two were OK, but when they began to try to mandate it I began to fight it. He would restore parental rights, protect privacy, and take the control from the Feds and give it to the local school boards.
Lollar:  He is against Common Core and would provide the alternative of school choice. Parent's tax money would follow the child to whatever school they choose, public or private. The state and the Feds should have no say. He would increase standards by increasing choices.
Vaeth:  Common Core is yet another corporate kickback scheme. He named the Gates Foundation as a participant. He wondered if there were any teachers consulted in developing it. He is against the distribution of tablets to the children, saying that the information on the tablets can be modified without notice, while a book cannot.
Craig: He called upon his 15 years as a teacher and school administrator. He said it is about common sense. Politicians should not be making these decisions, and that only the teachers and the parents should have control of education. He thinks that Common Core is another 10th Amendment issue.
   
Question 6- Do you think teacher performance should be tied to test scores? 

Lollar: Stated that measuring teacher performance in this way will lead to teaching students to a test and that this should be avoided.
Vaeth: Believes that you can't base teacher performance on a failed curriculum. He also shared that he was a bad student and would not want a teacher to have to pay in some way for his refusal to learn. He thinks that teachers should be assessed by other teachers.
Craig:  It would not be appropriate for teachers or students, and he also believed that it would lead to teaching to a test. He thinks that this should be between the teachers and the school administrators.  George:  Introduced his running mate as a teacher. He said that he homeschooled his children. He believes in school choice. Not sure if he answered the question.
 
Question 7- Can you name one thing positive that this administration has done in the last 8 years?

Vaeth:  Nope.
Craig: He [Martin O'Malley] plays guitar well.
George: He does not agree with one thing. He said that Brown is an empty suit who still has not presented an economic plan, and that the state has been completely mismanaged.
Lollar: There were some good intentions, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
 
Question 8- What can you do to increase voter confidence? 

Craig: Stated that he has a history of restoring confidence when he served on city council, as mayor, and now as county executive. He has an open door policy, and supports hiring an independent auditor giving them free reign to audit anything.
George:  The problem is that the government doesn't trust you! They don't trust you with the 2nd Amendment or to run your business. He will build trust by trusting the people first.
Lollar:  He will build trust by limiting the size of government without  cutting essential services. He will guarantee a Tax Payer's Bill of Rights. He is profit-minded, so he plans to not only balance the budget but make money and return it to the people. He will avoid partisan politics, and bring Maryland together to find solutions regardless of party.
Vaeth: Vote for Bongino. He said he would get the DOJ to investigate everybody. He would especially look into all of the money for consultants and reports.
 
Question 9- The day after the primary, how will you reach out to voters in the larger areas [Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince Georges County]?

Lollar:  Stated that his business is in PG County, and that he already has Democrats for Lollar groups in all four [not sure where the 4th is located] major areas.
Vaeth: Take away their pensions. I will tell them that I will protect entitlements and then I won't. I will trick them like they tricked us. They took our pensions.
Craig:  Stated that he has won over Democrats several times in his career when he won elections from long-term Democrats. He lamented that too many Republicans stay home and do not vote.  George:  I either failed to note his response or he was passed over. I am sorry if it was my mistake.
 
Question 10- If you caught your child with drugs, would you call the police? 

Lollar:  She would wish that I'd call the police! He added that he felt it would be his responsibility to deal with it as her parent.
Vaeth: I don't have children, but I think it should be handled by the parents.
Craig:  Stated that his children are successful adults, but he thinks that it is a matter for the parents.
George: It would be my responsibility as a parent.
 
    The candidates were given equal time for closing statements. I posted a video on YouTube at
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KqoAB_KEGNo.
 
























Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CONGRESSMAN DELANEY: FIRST IMPRESSION

    Congressman John Delaney appeared and spoke at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues event. It was my first opportunity to see him in person and to hear him speak. I was glad to see that he didn't have horns and he had left his pitchfork at home. I admit he has been somewhat demonized in Republican circles. First, we did not take kindly to having District 6 gerrymandered for the sole purpose of almost ensuring that a Democrat would oust our long-time Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett. It really got our back up when John Delaney, a Democrat, did in fact win that seat in the 2012 election. Since winning that election I have not heard a positive word spoken about the man. I too felt a little sour, but I went to this event feeling more curious than bitter.
    I have to say that I found his style to be quite disarming. I knew that he is a successful award-winning businessman. It was touted all threw the election cycle, and we were reminded again in his introduction. I get his newsletters and emails, and clearly he tries to present himself as a moderate Democrat...almost a Republican whisperer, but of course I had my doubts.
    He began by stating that he wanted to talk about our region from an economic perspective as of now and over the next couple of decades. He acknowledged that there has been a lot of debate on economics and how to be able to solve our problems as a country, as a state, and as a region. He does not agree that the answer is about taxes being too high or too low, or government being too large or too small. He said that these issues are important but not central to creating jobs. These are things that are easily calibrated. The budget is very fixable: tax reform policy and entitlement reform would fix it. It's not that hard. He couldn't very well tell Conservative Western Maryland that new taxes are necessary, nor could he say they are not...because he is branding himself as a moderate. It was quite fascinating to watch. He later disarmed the crowd about Obamacare by throwing in a statement that the state of Maryland has the worst access to healthcare in the country. It was almost an afterthought just thrown in while talking about something completely different. You could almost hear the collective sigh in the room..Oh, OK he understands that problem. Then he quickly moves on having sowed the seed.
    Delaney said that the real challenges are getting business and government working together, and the dominant trends in the world, i.e., technology and globalization. Now this is where he begins to shine. He is in his element. Economics is not one of my strengths, but I will attempt to pass on his wisdom, and I say this with all due respect. In a nutshell, I paraphrase:
Today, there are about 7 billion people in the world and about 5 billion of those are participating in the global economy in some way.  Thirty years ago there were 5 billion people and only 1 billion in the global economy. That is 5 times as many in 30 years, and computing power has increased 100 fold. These are the things that have disrupted the world. We need to figure out where this is going and be equipped as a country, a state, and a region. 
I told you he is good! Conservatives don't get upset. Keep reading! He goes on to say, and again I paraphrase:
We have to be competitive because the bar has been raised. Standards are higher. We have to educate our kids and adults too or they will be phased out of the economy.  Government can help us to that end. What the government does well  [could not say as provided in our Constitution] we need it to do more, and what the Government doesn't do so well [could not say sucks at and appear moderate or be true to his Party]we need it to do less. With this global technology-enabled economy some do very well. You have to have skills, an education, and capital. If not, you will be displaced and you will be working unskilled labor and not doing so well. It is not the fault of tax policy or those who have done well. How many of us have capital in this economy? According to him if you don't have an adequate education you better have skills and capital.  
     Bottom line is, according to Delaney, government is the answer. It does not look good for those who do not or cannot meet the new world order criteria. This is a stunning statement, but I see the reality all around me. There are people with degrees who are out of work for years now. There are people who were productive at an  executive level most of their adult lives, with impressive experience and sufficient education, but they have no capital. How about the many, whom I suspect are the majority, who have no education or a minimal college education, no experience, and no capital? I don't disagree with his grim perception on the state of things. Of course, I do not agree that government is the answer. I just want to say, Thank you globalists! We are lucky enough to have a president who calls himself a citizen of the world and takes great pleasure in humbling us by redistributing our wealth amongst his new BFFs globally.  Delaney went on to say that this is how we make our country competitive:
1.  Invest in infrastructure. (yawn) This will create jobs right away. Can somebody say shovel ready? Yes transportation, but also communications, energy, and education. Can somebody say Keystone Pipeline? I think I even heard the word stimulus.
2. Research. Cyber security is expected to go from a $60B industry to a $600B industry in 10 years. Everyone should be investing 10% into cyber security.
 3. Immigration reform. (I'd be yawning if I wasn't so aggravated.) This has moral and business dimensions. He offered no specifics. 
4.  National energy policy. We can achieve lower prices and cleaner energy. Keystone Pipeline...just saying. He offered no specifics.
5. International tax policy. This is where he talks about a bill that he introduced called the Partnership to Build America Act (HR 2084). This bill attempts to get people to bring their money back into the U.S. from overseas. This is a problem, and this bill may work. It would require a lot of cooperation from many entities to even get it started because it depends on U.S. corporations putting up $750B to be sold as cheap bonds that will not be  government guaranteed. Every $1 that they "invest" they can bring $4 back tax free. You can read about the bill at http://delaney.house.gov/information-on-congressman-delaneys-infrastructure-bill
    There was a short time for a few Q&As. The first question was asked by Brian Poffenberger and one that I appreciated. He asked Delaney to, without using common superlatives, please explain specifically how Washington County can participate in the good things that are going on in Maryland. I was not as impressed by his vision for Western Maryland as I was by his knowledge of economics. Delaney's answer had three components:
1. Play a role in the economy of the super-region of Boston to Richmond. He plainly stated that we would never be a hub of any great importance in this region, but that we could build on transportation and logistics. Our role would be distribution and logistics fulfillment. In other words, trucking and warehousing. That left me feeling a little cold.
2. An indirect issue to our region is I-270. I-270 needs to be easier to travel (no way?), and the I-270 bus rapid transportation corridor is the best value for investment over the Red and Purple Lines. He wanted us to note that this was a statement outside of his Party line. Noted, along with the many times the word bipartisan was spoken. He was still building the brand. So, what about I-81? 
 3. Cyber security. Spend 10% on non-government cyber security. He said tax free zones should be considered.
     Another question was asked about his opinion on the regulatory environment. He answered way overloaded and offered an opinion on Dodd Frank. He thinks that Dodd Frank was a good bill that got out of control. He blames it for the failed economy of 2006 when 19 out of 20 top corporations needed government money. However, he does not think it should be repealed. He believes parts of it should be dismantled taking a reasonable approach.
      In summary, this is my first impression. If I didn't already know that he is a Democrat, he may have skillfully been able to sell me on the moderate non-partisan brand, particularly when talking about  economics, which is his forte. He is likable in every way, not offensive or arrogant, and seems completely genuine except for his attempt at branding. That said, I know that his opponent Dan Bongino has graduate degrees in both Business Administration and Psychology, and he is also a business owner. I am sure that he could very aptly talk about economics, and with the mess this country is in I am glad that both candidates share this knowledge. What makes Bongino stand out in a big way over Delaney is his grasp for the entirety of what is plaguing this country and this state. In addition to economics he speaks passionately about protecting our Constitution, about 2nd Amendment issues and issues of privacy. He doesn't measure his words when addressing the largest threat to our economy, which is the failure called Obamacare. He is not worrying about his brand or even his Party when he talks openly about career politicians on both sides of the aisle.  Dan Bongino gets it! Bongino has a vision that includes but is larger than economics. Delaney does not. I am happy to report, however, that he is not a demon and I will no longer be interested in any further opinion in that regard. Issues! Issues! Issues!





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TIM ROWLAND SHOULD JUST STOP WRITING ABOUT POLITICS


     Hit and Run Rowland (HR2) has struck again in a column entitled "Republican male politicians, just stop talking about women", attacking the Party of which he falsely claims to belong (in the full sense of the word belong). I call him HR2 because he writes mostly negative inflammatory pieces about Conservative individuals and the Republican Party, then he hides refusing to answer comments or engage in a discussion.  He rarely writes about issues, writing only about what has already been sensationalized in the Liberal mainstream media. His column is like reading a political version of The National Enquirer where issues are avoided and personal attacks are encouraged. He really should stick to writing about farm animals.
    Today he blathered about the Republican Party's misunderstanding of women and their alleged War on Women. He offers three "proofs" of Republican misogyny, which are the most over-used attempts of the media to try to inflame the public against Conservatives.

1.  Birth control (Republicans think women are sluts)
2.  Legitimate rape (one goofy politician)
3.  Christianity and the concept of  "submission to one's husband"


"I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”
Rush Limbaugh
   

     The first issue that was left out of Rowland's article is birth control and who pays for it, and most recently who must supply it against their religious beliefs. Like the saying goes, "I still don't know how someone's reproductive system can simultaneously be 0% my business but 100% my financial responsibility." Many taxpayers object to paying for other's birth control.  Most recently, based on their religious beliefs, a group of nuns and the Catholic Church fought against Obamacare's mandate for them to supply birth control to their employees. This is  a very reasonable argument. Most mainstream religions would consider an unmarried woman fighting for birth control as wrong or promiscuous behavior. Did Rush go too far by stating that the young woman who was fighting for free birth control "must be a slut"? Yes...and guess what?...he apologized.

[crickets chirping]
Dave Letterman, Bill Maher, et al

    Now here is the hypocrisy of the Left that Rowland also left out of his article: Liberals have publicly called  Sarah Palin and her daughter sluts without apology and even refused to condemn those that did. Palin has also been called a c@#t. She has been deemed deserving of having men deficate into her mouth. Her special needs child was said not to be hers, not to be her husbands, and called a retard. Hustler did a porn movie about her called, "Who's Nailin' Paylin?" and Eminem rapped about sex with Palin in "We Made You." Where was the outrage from the Left? Why doesn't Rowland write about it?

We should not judge all Muslims by the actions of a few terrorists. It is OK to judge the Republican Party by one ignoramus who happens to be a Republican.
   
    The second issue that was left out of Rowland's article is abortion and whether it is morally acceptable in cases of rape. One ignorant Republican stated that if it was a legitimate [actual] rape that no pregnancy would result. This is clearly one misinformed, misguided, and ignorant individual who happens to be a Republican. I don't know him. I know many, many Republicans, and I can state without reservation that I have never met one who would agree with that statement, nor do I. Yet, this one statement by one individual is used shamelessly in an attempt to prove that Republicans hate women. It was a valid question about an issue that has been debated for decades. I might add that statistics show that less than 1% of abortions are due to rape or incest. Rowland thought it would be cool to use this one statement to flippantly sully "his peeps" the Republicans. This is called a legitimate writing skill?
   
This is one of the most misrepresented tenants of the Christian faith used to divide Americans and further an agenda.

     The third issue that was left out of Rowland's article is the Christian precept that "wives should submit to their husbands." This is also a Jewish and a Muslim precept. Of course all three major religions have devotees that range from modern to orthodox. It is disingenuous to attach this thought only to fundamentalist Christian Republicans. This is one of the most misrepresented tenants of the Christian faith used to divide Americans and further an agenda. Those who use it always intentionally leave out the part where husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives like Christ did for the church. In other words it is a two-way street of giving and preferring one another over one's self. Liberals make it sound like Christian Republicans actually believe in wife rape, battery, slavery, abuse, forced pregnancy, with no choice of a career or the pursuit of happiness. Are you kidding me? Do you know the fabulous, intelligent, educated, gifted, motivated, and successful Republican/Conservative women that I know? The only ones that I know that treat Conservative women that way are Liberals! Again, this was used by Rowland in an attempt to cleverly brand all  men on the Right as Neanderthals.
   Here again is the hypocrisy of the Left, also not mentioned in Rowland's article.  Liberals have shown that they cannot conceive of the notion of submitting to anyone in a decision-making process. I certainly have seen that. However, they don't mind at all forcing their wives to submit to public humiliation.  She is made to face the public with a smile when her Liberal politician husband publicly announces that their marriage has been a complete sham (only after getting caught) and that he is actually gay... or when her Liberal politician husband gets caught getting BJs in the Oval Office...or when her Liberal politician husband gets caught twice sexting with other women...or when her Liberal politician husband has been caught in an affair that resulted in a love child, even while she--the wife--is dying of cancer. They were all forced to submit to degrading themselves in public for the cause of Liberal politics.


The real acts of war against women...


1. Ted Kennedy, one of the heroes of the Left,  was driving drunk and drove off of a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island where his car was submerged in water. He saved himself, leaving his passenger  Mary Jo Kopechne to drown.  He was married with 3 children, which is probably why he did not report the accident and that Kopechne was in the car for almost 10 hours! His constant selfish behavior humiliated his wife to the point that she drank herself into alcoholism in order to cope.

2. Bill Clinton, the rock star of the Left, took advantage of a 21-year old female intern. He was the most powerful man in the world at the time and at least 20 years her senior. It was revealed that he used her to get oral sex in the oval office. He then demonized the young girl and her girlfriend who had the audacity to expose his behavior. Talk about sexual harassment on the job! There are about a dozen women who made allegations of his aggressive sexual behavior over many years beginning when he was the governor of Arkansas. Each time the woman was threatened by his cronies, ruined publicly, or silenced in some way. He lied about Monica Lewinsky and when he knew he couldn't get away with it any longer he ruined her life making her the laughing stock of the country. All of this while his wife was forced to stand by him publicly.

3. The Left promotes abortion at any time in a woman's pregnancy, performed in any place (doesn't have to be a hospital), by anyone (does not need to be an M.D.) without allowing them to see a sonogram or receive counseling about how they will deal with this act for the rest of their lives. This is considered a kindness towards women?

4. The Left claims to support women yet they set out to destroy and dismiss any successful woman who happens to be a Conservative. If they can't prove her to be an adulteress or a enticer of men, they attack her intelligence and characterize her as an idiot. So-called women's groups do not ever rise to defend them.

   Did Tim Rowland write anything of substance in this piece about Republicans? The article was just full of silly frill and fluff with no facts and no depth of opinion. Will he respond to comments?  Never.
   The Herald Mail should allow the local TEA Party to have a column where issues would be debated and discussed openly and intelligently. They cancelled Mail Call in an attempt to improve the image of the city. The next obvious step is to cancel Rowland and/or provide a new column written by a local who is not afraid to take comments and discuss and defend what they write.

I am a liberated Conservative woman! Come on Ol' Hit and Run Rowland...bring it on!!








 



Friday, January 17, 2014

DEFENSELESS

    I have been asked to say a few words at a gun rally, and I've been thinking about what I want to say because, as I told the person who asked me to speak, I am not an experienced gun owner. I have only one gun that I purchased less than a year ago. As a TEA Party person, my entire argument against the recent attack on the 2nd Amendment is just that...a constitutional issue. He said, well talk about that! Why now?
   Until recently purchasing a gun was on my to-do list, but it was low priority. If the stars aligned someday where I had the money to purchase a gun, the imminent need for a gun, and the confidence that I was able to possess a gun responsibly...then I would buy a gun. The minute that the elitist gun grabbers started messing with my 2nd Amendment rights, my God-given instinct to protect myself and my loved ones, buying a gun became high priority. Why? First, because I am an American! You don't tell Americans that you have arrived to save us from ourselves and to do so you will be infringing on our rights. We don't like that, so I thought to myself...I am going to buy a gun. If I had the money I would buy 10 guns! How dare they!! I wasn't alone. So many guns were sold in the state of Maryland that they couldn't keep them in inventory. They couldn't keep up with processing all of the new gun purchases. WE ARE AMERICANS AND YOU DO NOT MESS WITH OUR RIGHTS! Clearly.
   There was another reason. Some of you know my story of losing my only sister to a maniac with a gun. I wrote about it in detail and you can read it here in Damaged Humans Kill--Not Guns: My Story: http://liberatedconservativewoman.blogspot.com/2013/01/damaged-humans-kill-not-guns-my-story.html. I am going to talk about it again, but not in detail. I want to tell the story differently and quickly in three scenarios: what happened, what would have happened under SB281 with all of the regulations that are in the bill and including the ones that we all were able to block, and lastly what should have happened.

Scenario #1: What Happened

    My sister, Teri, had been involved in a long drawn out bitter divorce with a man who had many issues. His issues started in childhood with a learning disability and speech impediment made worse by a cruel father. His issues worsened after Viet Nam when he came home with PTSD. In the separation and divorce process there were many "professionals" such as psychiatrists, social workers, and lawyers who were aware of his anger issues. Teri, could not get anyone to protect her. All of the professionals at the VA, law enforcement, psychiatric services, and lawyers could not protect her. That is an important subject for another time.
    On Father's Day in 1993 he came to her house to pick up their 4-year old daughter for a court-ordered visitation. Her fiance was in the living room reading the newspaper. Teri and her teenage daughter were in the kitchen. He carried a long box into her house and sat it on her dining room table. As she saw him take a shot gun out of the box she called 911. He shot her dead while she was talking to 911. Her fiancĂ© ran for the door. He was shot in the back of the head and was killed on his way out the door. The daughter by now had picked up the phone and was talking to 911. He shot her. She fell to the floor and saved her life by pretending to be dead. She saw him point the gun at the 4-year old, shake his head no, then shoot himself dead. Teri was completely defenseless in her own home. The 911 operators couldn't save her. The police couldn't get there to save her. Martin O'Malley couldn't save her. Running couldn't save her. Defenseless.
   Her three children were without a mother. Our parents were heartbroken and were never the same. I raised the 4-year old and that has been bitter sweet. There was untold misery for our family, our extended families, and our friends. There were many "walking wounded" as a result.

Scenario #2: What Could Have Happened Under SB281 (as originally proposed)

   When my sister came to the realization that no one could protect her except for herself, and knowing that he would be coming to her house on Father's Day under a court order, she goes to her local gun shop to purchase a gun. Let's just say she survived the waiting period, had time to take a course, and even though she lived paycheck to paycheck, she scraped together the money for the course and the licensing fee. She has the gun.
    He carried a long box into her house and sat it on her dining room table. As she saw him take a shot gun out of the box she tells her daughter to dial 911 (as Maryland officials suggest). Teri runs to her gun safe, manages to remember the combination under duress, gets the gun out of the box and then runs to another safe where she has her ammo. She manages to remember the combination under duress and gets to her ammo and loads her gun. We all know that it would have the same outcome. Time is not going to stop for her to get her weapon in time. Under current Maryland law she is still...defenseless.

Scenario #3: What Should Have Happened

   When my sister came to the realization that no one could protect her except for herself, and knowing that he would be coming to her house on Father's Day under a court order, she goes to her local gun shop to purchase a gun. It is only the day before he is to come, but she is able to purchase a weapon for her self-defense and takes it home. She has her gun ready,with the safety on, hidden but within reach. She sees him taking the shotgun out of the box and just as he turns and points it at her...BOOM!
   She lived, and we all lived happily ever after. End of story.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    WE CANNOT ALLOW THEM TO RENDER US DEFENSELESS! You can have an arsenal of guns, but if they are not at hand at the time when you need them because of laws that go against nature, the instinct to protect yourself, you will not survive an attack.
   This is the year to push back like never before. Go to every rally that you are able to manage. Write your state and U.S. elected officials and write them often. Support those elected officials that are fighting for our 2nd Amendment rights, no matter if they are in your district or not. We have a few political warriors who are fighting for us. We need to support them in any way that we are able.
   Make no mistake--they have rendered us defenseless and they are not satisfied. They will not be satisfied until it is illegal for law-abiding citizens to own a gun. Put up a fight! Push back!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OPPORUNITIES TO ACT:

1.) Hagerstown TEA Party Members Meeting, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. The speaker will be Robert Bowman, a board member of Maryland Shall Issue (MSI), the primary sponsor of the 2A Tuesday rally in Annapolis, MD on Feb 4th.
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/hagerstown-tea-party-membership-meeting-registration-7132701101

2.) 2A Tuesday Rally in Annapolis, MD. The HTP is chartering a bus. Click on the following link for more information and to purchase your tickets for the bus.
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2a-tuesday-rally-bus-trip-tickets-9923365052

       

Monday, December 16, 2013

SENATOR SHANK ANNOUNCES A NEW FREEDOM AGENDA



ACTION ALERT



    Calling all ACT-ivists! It's time to get serious and ACT!! We are in for the fight for our lives in 2014. This could be the final battle if we do not get off of our couches, turn off the TV or the XBox or whatever is distracting us, and fight not only to protect our rights, but to take back the rights that have already been taken from us or...that we have foolishly given away. You may think that this message is not for you. Unfortunately those who are act-ivists are usually too humble to consider themselves as such, and many of those who call themselves act-ivists rarely ACT. The most basic definition of an act-ivist is:

Someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change.  (see http://www.macmillandictionary.com) 

In short, act-ivists ACT and they ACT in an effort to achieve a desired change in their political environment. If you have ever done something as simple as signing a petition, writing a letter,  or making a phone call while hoping to achieve political change...you ACTED and you are an ACT-ivist.  Conversely, if you sit on a board of a large activist organization and you do nothing but show up to board meetings...sorry, not an act-ivist.
    Because this country is currently in critical condition, I am asking everyone who reads this to search themselves to look for that inner act-ivist and ask yourselves 4 simple questions:

1. Do Americans have the freedoms that they had 50 years ago, 10 years ago, or even one year ago and will they have the rights that they have now 50 years from now, 10 years from now, or even next year?

2. Is there something--anything--that I can do?

3. Am I willing?

4. How can I get started?

     I recently attended the Western Maryland state delegation pre-legislative meetings with the Washington County BOE, the county commissioners, the Hagerstown mayor and council, and finally the community. It was a long day, but I stuck it out hoping to be inspired to fight on or at least find something interesting to write about. I was feeling mostly apathetic because the last time that I saw this delegation it was at the post-legislative community meeting and it appeared that we had lost every battle. (See Senator Shank Perceives Two Marylands.) The super-majority Democratic administration had passed over 40 new taxes (including a Rain Tax), brutally infringed on our 2nd Amendment rights by passing SB281, and gerrymandered us out of our solid long-time Conservative representation in the U.S. Congress. So, I spent the entire day waiting for a glimmer of hope that this year would be different. It looked as if it wouldn't come...right up until the last 10 minutes of the day when Senator Shank said:
"It is time to push back..."
Yes, my little act-ivist heart went pitter patter. Suddenly this depressing marathon was worth every minute of lackluster comments and requests coming from those who are supposed to have an enthusiastic vision accompanied by workable plans for our county and city in the coming year. Those four words were the spark that I needed to reignite the act-ivist passion needed to continue to fight. Make no mistake. It will be a fight.
    Senator Shank stated that while he is concerned about the issues of the Rain Tax, Common Core, and the corporate tax climate, he is also interested in a few alternate issues as well. He and Delegate Serafini are creating a Freedom Agenda. This is huge! Yet you did not read about it in the Herald Mail when they reported on these meetings. He only spoke about it briefly. I know he plans to give more details at a later date. He did say that the Freedom Agenda would push back on privacy issues (state laws regarding email, drones, and cell towers) and would also entail creating a Religious Freedom Caucus. He stated that there are two very different world views in Maryland with limited choices. Those who do not feel represented in this state can either relocate, get involved in the secession movement (he believes it is not viable), or get involved in the political process and be prepared to fight. I am very interested in hearing more about the Freedom Agenda from Senator Shank. I have since corresponded with Delegate Parrott as well, and he also is ready to push back (push back is his middle name), and we all believe that the Hagerstown TEA Party (HTP) will play a big role. The HTP's Board of Directors are currently in the process of developing a vision for 2014. We will be meeting with Conservative elected officials, other local Conservative leaders, and our members to get feedback and suggestions about how we can most effectively move forward in the new year.
    I wish that I could say that the fight will only be against Liberal Progressives. Not so. The establishment Republicans, at least at the national level, are publicly declaring war against the TEA Party and other Conservative groups (Libertarians, 912 Groups, Restore America's Mission, Campaign for Liberty, Americans for Prosperity, et al), although the TEA Party seems to be the largest target. I wish that it wasn't so. I have said it many times. If establishment Republicans would stand firmly on their own platform and be willing to fight to defend it, the TEA Party would go to the front lines with them. We would fight with them and for them. But, if they continue to sell out and cheapen the principles of their own platform...we will fight them! I am all for compromise, but a compromise typically results in a 50-50 outcome or at least close to it.  I am tired of the charade of the establishment Republicans at the national level pretending to  take a stand only to inevitably give in and give the Progressives all that they want. There is usually a payoff. It is too predictable. Either these Republicans are the biggest losers ever to exist or it is all theater with a pre-planned outcome that protects a career politician's seat or enriches someone personally or someone's constituency.
So we will be fighting on two fronts. It seems insurrmountable, but always remember that radical ragtag little group that took on the the largest military of its time to form their own country...and won. We will have to unite in order to take on the Progressive machine. It is very important that every single Conservative resist the urge to criticize one another and to only promote their primary issue.This is another whole topic of discussion for a later time.
    Lets consider those four questions that we need to ask ourselves:

1. Do Americans have the freedoms that they had 50 years ago, 10 years ago, or even one year ago and will they have the rights that they have now 50 years from now, 10 years from now, or even next year?
    The answer to that is no, no, no and most likely no, no, and no....unless we ACT.  When I was in elementary school in the 1960s who would have believed that the day would come when it would be illegal to pray in school or to say the Pledge of Allegiance? Who would have thought that in the United States of America the government would be able to take your private property againsts your will for the good of society (eminent domain)? Just a year ago it seemed a ridiculous notion that the government would ever seek to infringe on our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms or the privacy to own the unregistered weapon of our choice for the protection of ourselves and our families...and then it happened. We all know that SB281 is just the beginning of the Progressive plan to disarm every American. Who in their wildest dreams would have thought that the U.S. Supreme Court would protect an unconstitutional law that requires American citizens to purchase a product (health insurance) or be penalized? So what will it be next year? There is no question that at this time our freedoms are more at risk than ever before. We can not let them gain anymore ground. We must take back what they have illegally taken from us.

2. Is there something--anything--that I can do?

    I realize that not everyone has the time, the finances, or even the strength in body to commit to or participate in every aspect of act-ivism every time an opportunity or need arises. Some can. Most of us have some kind of limitations, but there is always something that we can do. Recently I realized that many or even most of who were active in the TEA Party at its inception in 2009 were already retirees. Five years can make a huge difference in the physical capabilities of a senior citizen, so I understand that there are many who feel that they can no longer participate in grassroots act-ivism. I suffer with a painful spinal condition that limits what I am able to do compared to what I want to do, so I get it, but most of us  (not all) can still do something at home. If you can use a telephone or a pen and paper you can still play an important role in this critical defense of our freedoms. I just ask that you search yourself and try to find something that you can do to support the HTP in 2014. We will be reaching out to everyone with a specific plan of action in the next few months and it would mean so much to us to know that we can count on you.

3. Am I willing?

    This is where we really need to get honest with ourselves. If you are reading this you must have some interest in current events and Conservative politics. Something in your gut is telling you that this country is in trouble. You may have searched yourself and found that you do have skills, talents, time, or finances that can be used in the upcoming and ongoing battle for our freedoms. But, are you willing? How much does your freedom and the future of our nation mean to you? What are you willing to invest in saving our country from a Socialist Progressive agenda? How much is it worth to you to preserve the freedoms that has made this country the envy of the world for future generations? Will you give up a couple of TV shows so that you have time to participate? Or will you give up one frivolous expense in order to donate money? Or will you have the courage to get out of your comfort zone to ask the hard questions or publicly take a stand in some way? Are you willing? If so, you are  a patriot and an ACT-ivist reporting for duty. Proceed to the final question.


4. How can I get started?

    As I said earlier in this post, the HTP is in the process of developing a vision and an action plan for 2014. We need your input. I will personally be calling our membership because I want to hear your ideas and suggestions. We have close to 700 people on our contact list. Certainly we can get at least 50% of you to commit to some form of act-ivism in the coming year. Can you imagine all that we could accomplish if even 50% of you who placed your information on our contact list were to stand together in the coming year? It would be phenominal! We plan to have a membership meeting, tentatively on January 23rd, to discuss the details. Please plan to be there! Please plan to get involved.

    You do not have to wait for me to call you. If you have something that you would like the board to consider as we develop the vision and action plan, you can email me at lgivensevans@reagan.com or call me at 301-992-6943. If you don't get an answer, leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible.

Share this blog with someone that you know! Encourage them to get involved!!

Win or lose our children will tell their children that we did all that we could to defend our freedoms!