Rep. Marcy Kaptur held a town hall on August 31 at the Vermillion library discussing a wide range of topics with an extra emphasis on the algal blooms that greatly impact the western coast of Lake Erie. She took questions that addressed the refugee resettlement program, the VA appeals backlog, the story of a German teen who was denied entry by customs agents (story here and follow-up here), bipartisan mental health legislation she is working on with Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), and how to enforce laws against defacing mailboxes. This particular gentleman from Vermillion has a cluster mailbox which consistently gets littered with signs for garage sales, car sales, and other paraphernalia. This gentleman was furious that there were laws against defacing mailboxes, yet nobody from the city or the postal office were willing to enforce those laws. So there are laws on the books, but the executives in charge decline to enforce them! If he was talking about immigration laws then he may not have gotten such a sympathetic ear, but laws against defacing mailboxes are sacrosanct! The irony, for some of us, was rich.
One of the most interesting topics that Rep. Kaptur brought up was a federalization of the Lake Erie coastline. Those, of course, are my words and not hers. She discussed the success of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (stretching in parts from Zoar, through Akron, and to Cleveland following the original Ohio Canal towpath), and hoped that the National Parks could create a bike path from Ashtabula to Toledo celebrating Ohio’s role in the early 19th century expansion into the northwest as well as in underground railroad. This ties into controlling the algal bloom problem as the federal government could create and manage coastal wetlands which would help filter pollutants before they enter Lake Erie. Continue reading
Who do grassroots, liberty-minded, constitutional, small-government, tea party voters like in the presidential race? Are groups like Totally Engaged Americans behind the 20% support of Donald Trump? In a word… no!
Donald Trump has support among the tea party, but he’s not their number one candidate and in our survey taken at our last general meeting, he only garnered enough votes for fifth place. Trump remains number one in every major poll taken over the last month, and Trump is certainly number one in news coverage, but somebody else has received consistent and strong support over a summer of voting with different groups all across the state of Ohio. (See Ohio Conservatives United.)
Ted Cruz won our August survey with about 33% of the votes for number one choice for president. He articulates conservative principles and understands the wisdom of the Founders. In Federalist 51, Madison wrote: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
And then he continues: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” The first concept of government controlling the governed seems to have been accomplished quite well. (In fact, maybe too well in some people’s opinions.) It is the second concept that has failed. We in the grassroots conservative movement generally believe that our government and our leaders in both political parties do not feel obliged to control themselves with limiting the scope of government’s power over the individual. Continue reading
Last Saturday, we heard from Rep. Terry Boose on the state of the Republican agenda in the Ohio legislature and how it differs with the priorities and programs advocated by the governor. Putting Boose’s information together with an earlier talk by former Ohio Rep. Matt Lynch, we see how Governor Kasich has handled (or mishandled) the issues of education and health care in this state. And it’s no spoiler alert for those who have followed these issues to say that John Kasich has taken sides AGAINST conservatives when it comes to Common Core and Medicaid Expansion.
Fight Against Common Core
Without getting too much into the history of Common Core, it essentially grew from a desire of many state governors to have a common set of academic standards from which they can assess their students. To achieve this, they needed common assessments, i.e., testing companies to compose these tests. The education system being what it is, lesson plans and text books needed to be created to “teach to the test,” and this is where the rubber hit the road. In the classroom, the elementary math was confusing to many students and parents, and other English and science standards seemed to be well below common expectations. And behind it all was the Department of Education giving money to the testing companies, the textbook companies, the states, the school districts, and so on.
Ohio began Common Core testing last year and many districts had trouble scheduling for the volume of testing needed to satisfy the new requirements. The vice president of Firelands Local Schools made national news last February when his letter to Gov. Kasich went public excoriating him on his misrepresentations and lack of understanding when it came to Common Core. Continue reading
Once again at our monthly meeting, held on the second Saturday on the month in Amherst, the attendees took a Presidential Preference Survey designed and distributed by Ohio Conservatives United. The survey asks 1) to rank your candidate preferences at the current time from 1-5; 2) whether or not you would consider voting for a candidate who a consensus of Ohio conservatives are backing, even if that person is not your Number 1 choice, and 3) political affiliation and whether you would consider pulling a Republican ballot in the March 15 primary. Illustrated on the graph is a representation of the July group’s Number 1 picks.
While the June group had a Walker-Cruz-Rubio grouping at the top, July shows that Cruz and Walker receive just over half of the Number 1 votes. For liberty-minded individuals, these two have a lot to offer the conservative movement. Ted Cruz is probably the most ideologically articulate of the candidates and even Alan Dershowitz, his Harvard Law professor, said Cruz was one of the best debaters he had ever taught. Scott Walker has proven that he can win in a Democrat state and survive the hostility of the unions and others on the left, and he has done so while maintaining a positive attitude and outlook. Now of course, perfection is a difficult hurdle to jump, and neither Cruz (with his vote for the Corker amendment allowing the Iran deal to move as it has) nor Walker (with his support for amnesty followed by a convenient flip-flop) are perfect, but these two clearly understand the principles important to grassroot conservatives. Continue reading
“We have strayed greatly from the founders’ intention” said Tim Spickler at last Thursday’s TEA Talk about the freedom of speech and right to assemble. It is important to study what was going on at the time when the framers put the freedom of speech and the right to assemble into the Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights.
Note that these “rights” were not originally part of the Constitution but the anti-Federalists threatened that they would not ratify the Constitution unless they were included. December 15, 1791, was when the Bill of Rights were officially ratified and added to the Constitution. They were intended to clarify rights that were not mentioned in the body of the Constitution.
“When they [first amendment rights] were written, were these rights designed to protect someone who burned the flag, for example?” Continue reading
“‘What’s happened to me?’ he thought. It was no dream.” In Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” the main character wakes to find himself transformed into an insect and now cannot rationally interact with the world he once knew. On Saturday, June 13, Peter Kirsanow said that he feels the same way, except that HE is fine and the nature of those in power are unrecognizable. Kirsanow has served in Washington for almost twenty years as a member of the National Labor Relations Board and currently as a member of the US Civil Rights Commission, and he described the complete sense of disconnect between the people in Washington and everyday Americans. (Download the audio of his speech here.)
Richard Nixon is recognized by many Americans as one of the most lawless presidents in American history. Among his charges for impeachment were that he “endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service… confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause… income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” (In fact the entire articles of impeachment can be found here, and they are quite a read!) Well, if lawlessness actually occurs but no media is there to cover it, does it matter?
Under President Barack Obama, the IRS did in fact conduct themselves in an unlawful and discriminatory manner by scrutinizing conservative and tea party groups more closely and unfairly than they treated other groups. The news of this abusive targeting first came to light when Lois Lerner herself ADMITTED as much in May, 2013 (story from The Hill). The IRS claims that it was not political and was an honest error in judgement. The IRS also claims that Lerner’s hard drive crashed along with those of other employees, and that her emails were simply lost and could never be found. Anybody who has served on a jury knows per instructions from the judge, that if one part of a witness’s testimony is proven to be a lie then we may consider the rest of the testimony to be a lie if we choose. Well Lerner’s emails have NOT all been lost, and conservatives should have no trust whatsoever in any claims coming from the IRS on this matter. Continue reading
In our monthly meeting last Saturday, attendees participated in a presidential preference survey designed and calculated by Ohio Conservatives United. We have written about this group in an earlier post, and in short, its goal is to create a conversation between ALL tea party, 9/12, and other liberty groups across Ohio to hopefully develop a consensus candidate. The group’s motto: “If Ohio conservatives unite, we win. If we split and fragment our vote, the establishment Republican wins.”
In our Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County group, we took the survey and the results are described above. Gov. Scott Walker had the most top votes with about 26%, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz at 22% and Sen. Marco Rubio at 19%. These three candidates comprise two-thirds of the number one choices. At the bottom third were Gov. Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson at 11% and Sens. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum and Gov. Mike Huckabee at 4%.
Now with such a modestly-sized group as we are, just a handful of people who choose to attend or not attend a particular meeting will sway the results on the margins. But this survey will be taken throughout the year, so everybody who wants to participate will be given their opportunity.
Results from other Ohio groups show a very strong preference for Ted Cruz. In fact from what I can find thus far, Cruz has won every presidential preference survey except for three: one group picked Paul, one picked Carson, and in Lorain County, we gave Walker the win. Continue reading