Santorum seeks local supporters

And another offshoot of the conservative movement is born. Former GOP Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum is making an attempt to localize his Patriot Voices endeavor:

Michael,

It’s been an exciting 9 months! Since Patriot Voices started last June, we’ve already accomplished so much. We stopped a United Nations treaty that would jeopardize our parental rights. We pushed for passage of the No Budget No Pay bill, which ensures that Congress won’t get paid unless they pass a budget. And Patriot Voices PAC helped elect several strong conservatives to key House and Senate races in last year’s election.

And now, it’s time to get connected at the local level to ensure we can accomplish even more. We are starting local chapters across the country to connect local members with our state and national leadership. The role of local chapters will be to help Patriot Voices advance the first principles of conservatism in local communities across the country. We encourage our local chapter coordinators to recruit members who believe in what we’re doing and who will be ready to activate, engage and support endorsed candidates, projects and activities.

If you are interested in starting a local Patriot Voices chapter, we have an exciting way to kick it off!

We’d like you to host an “Our Sacred Honor” house party. “Our Sacred Honor” is a DVD that I narrated, which explores the meaning of our founding documents, the intentions of those who drafted these documents and the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. I was fortunate enough to help tell this story through visits to many of our nation’s historic places that marked our country’s beginning.

(snip)

We look forward to working with you to make Patriot Voices a tremendous grassroots force across this country so we can impact the issues that will affect our country’s future in the years to come.

I actually found this quite intriguing, but a little worrisome at the same time. Perhaps the idea of the TEA Party as a leaderless institution has its merits, but to some it may seem like too many people are trying to cultivate the same ground here.

While he wasn’t my first choice by any stretch of the imagination, I ended up supporting Rick Santorum in the Maryland primary election because he was the best remaining candidate – overall, the voters in a number of rural Midwestern and Southern states agreed because he swept through those 2012 primaries like a prairie fire. And certainly there is a lot to like about their stances on issues - maybe I don’t fall in foursquare with Patriot Voices on everything, but they definitely fall within my 80 percent rule.

One thing I’ve noticed about the local conservative movement, though, is that it is very localized: we tend to focus on Maryland issues. Granted, many of them are extensions of fights which occur at the national level (Agenda 21 and Second Amendment issues immediately come to mind) but there are issues we don’t consider because we tie ourselves up at the state level.

I think that if you made a Venn diagram with one circle comprised of those who would be the target audience of Patriot Voices and the other being those who are active in the local TEA Party movement, they would intersect but perhaps not as much as one thinks. My thought is that, based on the social issue aspect of Patriot Voices which is not as pronounced in the TEA Party movement with its more libertarian streak, there may be room for both locally as separate groups who can work as allies on specific issues and try not to step on one another’s toes on the rest. Moreover, the national perspective of Patriot Voices may lend itself to greater opportunities for the overall pro-liberty movement at-large to work across state lines and bring together leaders from across Delmarva who may not otherwise be able to compare notes.

It will be interesting to see who steps up and becomes the leader locally – I can think of a couple candidates who may be good for the task and who read here regularly. We’ll see what they do. And I wouldn’t mind watching the movie, either.

Turning the Tides 2013 in pictures and text (part 1)

Yesterday was a good day at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis.

Somehow I had managed to miss the first two renditions of Turning the Tides, but when this year’s date was announced I pounced on making my way into the event this year. Part of this was the opportunity to network with over 200 of the state’s finest conservative minds, but part of it was a guest list dotted with nationally recognized speakers.

Unlike the many GOP conventions I had attended in the same building, there were no hospitality suites on Friday night. Turning The Tides was a one-day affair, which started with a breakfast I unfortunately missed. But I was set up on bloggers’ row next to a variety of state and local bloggers (including my “biggest fan” Jackie Wellfonder,) which gave me the opportunity to live-Tweet the event throughout.

The Tweets didn’t take long to build up steam once we dispensed with the preliminaries and heard from our first guest speaker, the exceptionally quotable Pamela Geller. Most people know Geller from her website Atlas Shrugs, which briefly covered TTT here, but she has been a tireless leader in the ongoing battle against radical Islam. (If you follow the link you can also see the extent of the crowd in the conference.)

Pamela praised the conference attendees, who she termed “smeared, defamed, and marginalized for standing in defense of freedom” by the “enemedia.” Her key point was defending the freedom of speech, without which “peaceful men have no alternative but to turn to violence.”

“Evil is made possible by the sanction you give it,” she continued, “Withdraw your sanction.” She also called Delegate Nic Kipke, who ignored a boycott call by the pro-Islamic group CAIR, a “rare bird in today’s environment (because) truth is the new hate speech, and just telling the truth is an extreme act.”

She went on to explain how she purchased ad space on the New York subway in response to anti-Israel ads, but was rebuffed because “the word ‘savage’ was demeaning. So I had to sue…and I won on all points. Freedom of speech protects all ideas.” Ten of her ads were destroyed within an hour, which she termed “a physical manifestation of this war on free speech.”

She also detailed her battle against the Ground Zero mosque, telling us the images of 9-11 have been “embargoed” because they offend Islamic sensitivities. “You defeated that mosque (when) everyone was against you.”

Yet there is a “sea change” occurring in attitude, she said, citing how comments used to be highly stacked against her, but now run strongly in her favor.

“No war has ever been won on defense,” she continued. She begged us to use our “spheres of influence” to fight this fight. “Silence is sanction.” We have to contest acceptance of Shari’a, since Mohammed “ain’t my prophet.”

Geller finished by taking a number of great questions on anti-Shari’a legislation, a nuclear-armed Iran, and the “cultural war” of politics which will include the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera.

The next speaker, author Diana West, touched on the Current TV sale in her opening remarks as well, as well as the foreign ownership of Fox News. But her remarks centered on her choice in foreign policy, of which she remarked “I’m debuting it here” – with one option to follow the “neoconservative” foreign policy based on universal values. “This has been a disaster.” The other side was a more libertarian-style idea: “I subscribe to ‘coming home America,’” said West, but they suffer the same flaw in that negotiations with Islamic nations “worse than fruitless (and) dangerous to our liberty.”

It begins with love of country, said West, and we would keep the allies with the closest philosophical views. But it would require one radical change: “It would…require leaving the United Nations.” (That was perhaps her best applause line, which she said did far better here than the “blank stares” she gets at the Washington Times.)

It would also be designed with the interests of the American people in mind. “We should fight for the American people.” Instead, we’ve begun to negotiate with terrorists, defend Shari’a-based regimes, and tell our military to look askance at “absolute outrages against American beliefs and sensibilities” in Afghanistan and other Islamic nations.

“And why? Why – nobody’s answered this – why did the Obama administration lie for two weeks that lawfully-protected free speech in America caused the Benghazi attacks?,” asked West. “Why didn’t Mitt Romney ask any of these questions?”

The key question, said West, was whether we were fighting abroad to protect liberty at home. “American interests have been blown to smithereens” by leadership, Diana asserted. Our borders are “essentially open” while National Guard troops protect Afghan citizens. Moreover, this is a contradiction to American values because 3/4 of Hispanics want bigger government while just 2/5 of the population at large feels the same.

West outlined a number of changes she would make, from a secretive foreign policy without much Congressional oversight over “a President run amok.”

“I have not seen terrible damage from Wikileaks,” she continued. “I have seen much corruption and lies on the part of our public officials.”

“I don’t believe that’s the way a republic functions. That needs to change,” said Diana. The war of our next generation is not the one we’re fighting, but a war against Shari’a. “Liberty is imperiled right here in our back yard,” said West, who also called the Islamization of Europe “the great uncovered story of our time.”

Our first group discussion panel, moderated by writer and columnist Marta Mossburg, featured a solid bank of speakers: Frederick County Commission president (and 2014 gubernatorial candidate) Blaine Young, writer and author Stanley Kurtz, and Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild.

Young started out in a jovial manner, joking about the Geller controversy and about once being a Democrat: “Well, everybody can be misinformed, ill-advised, and brainwashed.” But he turned more serious about his assigned topic, telling those gathered “I’m a very pro-property rights person, always have been…property rights is where I’m at.”

Stemming from the very first attack on property rights, zoning, which began in the 1920s and has been accepted in most places – Young pointed out Garrett County is an unzoned exception – Blaine turned to the state as it stands and told us “we’ve never seen an attack like this on the state level,” referring to PlanMaryland. “This is a tool, to slow down the rural areas for growth.”

But Young’s most brilliant point was equating things done “for the Bay” with laws passed “for the children.” As I Tweeted:

 

Indeed, I have mentioned this a number of times over the years – here’s one. Great minds think alike?

Stanley Kurtz quickly asserted that “President Obama is not a fan of the suburbs.” As a community organizer, those who mentored Obama had the main goal was to abolish them because they were drawing away tax money rightfully belonging to the cities. To that end, Obama “has been a huge supporter” of that movement. “Barack Obama wants to redistribute the wealth of America’s suburbs to the cities,” said Stanley. He identified the philosophy as the “regional equity movement.”

But among the federal programs imposed on the state, the Sustainable Communities Initiative is perhaps the one affecting Maryland the most. “Nobody pays attention to the Sustainable Communities Initiative,” despite the fact Baltimore was a “regional planning grant” recipient. It’s a program where the federal government pays for regional planning, such as PlanMaryland but on a smaller scale. The goal, though, is to make the receipt of federal aid contingent on adopting these plans, much like schools which accept federal money do so with stipulations placed on them.

And while everyone has heard of Agenda 21, not so many are familiar with the workings of the Smart Growth movement, concluded Kurtz. “Conservatives are missing where the real threat is coming from,” warned Kurtz, “We haven’t studied the home-grown (regional equity) movements.”

But Rothschild was the most strident speaker. “The question of the War on Rural Maryland begs a bigger question: why does this happen?” Richard went on to postulate that it happens “because we let them.”

“Those people that disrespect the Bible and the Constitution are invariably the ones who know the least about either of them,” said Rothschild. “We (conservatives) are abdicating our responsibilities at all levels of government to do what needs to be done.”

“Being a Constitutionalist requires practice,” opined Richard. Elected officials need to ask themselves not just ‘what would Jesus do,’ but a second question: what would Jefferson do?

Elected officials aren’t trained to uphold their oath of office and the Constitution. “We’re not thinking the right way.” As an example, he stood alone in his county in an effort to nullify SB236. A further test was when he went to the recent Maryland Association of Counties meeting and asked six random county officials about what they would do if an order was passed down to confiscate guns in their county.

“Three of them said they don’t know, and the other three said they would resign from office,” Richard charged. “Not one said they would nullify, interpose, or engage their locally elected sheriff to defend their citizens’ Constitutional rights.” That was the fundamental problem.

Richard even spoke on comments he made regarding the SB236 Tier IV opt-out provision proposed right here in Wicomico County. (The original post is on the Conduit Street blog.) “They do this because we let them…we are tolerating the intolerable.”

“I don’t negotiate one-sided contracts…we shouldn’t even engage,” Richard opined, “Constitutional rights are non-negotiable.” Rothschild vowed to work with the Institute on the Constitution to put together a training course on how to uphold their oath of office.

“(Liberal groups are) going to spend a fortune to try to defeat like Blaine and people like me during the next election because they hate us,” Richard concluded to a raucous standing ovation. And he’s right.

The final session of the morning discussed the “War on Jobs,” with Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and Delegate Nic Kipke, who was introduced as a member of the Maryland Health Reform Coordinating Council. Fitton focused on illegal immigration while Kipke naturally looked at Obamacare. “Nic knows more about Obamacare than the legislators who voted for it in 2010,” noted moderator Paul Mendez of Help Save Maryland.

Fitton described his work with Help Save Maryland and other legal groups interested in upholding the idea that workplaces should have workers here legally. But that fight began with Montgomery County Community College giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens. “They thought they could get away with it,” noted Fitton. A nice thing about Maryland law, he continued, was that it has a provision allowing citizens standing to sue the government to prevent illegal expenditures of funds.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been given to illegal aliens who can’t work, stated Tom, “Maryland is a magnet for illegal immigration, and the impact on jobs is obvious.” Most affected were the construction trades where the majority of contractors, who are law-abiding, are “competing against crooks.”

“It’s a racket” to keep certain politicians in office, Fitton charged. And speaking of Maryland politics specifically, Tom also alleged there was corruption behind the passage of the ballot initiatives. “(O’Malley) was using his office to promote the approval of the referenda,”

Tom also had kudos for Delegate Neil Parrott, who he’d worked with on the ballot issues, calling him an important figure in Maryland democracy. “We’ve been proud to stand with him,” Fitton beamed.

The lesson here, Fitton said, was that the illegal immigration issue is not automatically a turnoff to Hispanics. He cited polling data which said, in the most recent election, 40% of Hispanics “agreed with the idea of an Arizona-style approach to illegal immigration.” It was 13 points more than Romney received among Hispanics at large. “This is a majority issue for us,” Fitton claimed.

“We’re really in a battle for our lives in a lot of ways,” Kipke opened. “It used to be we were in a battle for our rights, but we’re also in a battle for our way of life.”

He went through a couple examples of the “trainwreck” of Obamacare, one being the fact that the age breakdowns – lumping everyone from age 21 to 60 in a group – will create a spike in rates making insurance unaffordable to young people. (One estimate pegs the additional cost as anywhere from $280 to $400 a month.) “It’s almost designed to fail,” said Kipke.

The second problem is that the exchanges will essentially all offer the same programs – health insurance has to be approved by and purchased from the state – generally these are the “richest packages available.” At this time, Maryland is one of just eight states with an exchange in place. “If Obama is successful, health insurance will be purchased through the state, and it will be the state design,” Kipke said.

The Delegate urged us to use him and Delegate Parrott as a conduit to the General Assembly. “If you have access to technology, you should see the stuff that goes on. Bring a camera, we’ll tell you where to stand and we’ll put you up in front of the next Delegate who embraces socialism. We’d love to get that on video.”

That brought us to the lunch break. While most of us grabbed a quick bite to eat, there was a lot going on both inside and outside the lobby.

On the inside, a total of fifteen groups had information tables and other items set up. Here are a few of those:

In order, these were Accuracy in Media, Defend Life, Maryland Republican Network, and Election Integrity Maryland. Other groups in attendance were the Franklin Center (sponsor of Bloggers’ Row), the Red Maryland Network – which did a live broadcast from the lobby – Institute on the Constitution, Americans for Fair Taxation, Montgomery County Republicans, Stop Agenda 21, Help Save Maryland, the Leadership Institute, Maryland Legislative Watch, Constitutional Conservatives for Maryland PAC, and Conservative Victory PAC.

There were also merchants, with event T-shirts and Breitbart design shirts on sale.

We also had a chance to meet some of the speakers and purchase their books.

From left to right, represented were Stanley Kurtz, Diana West,  Pamela Geller (crouched), and Tom Fitton. Dun Scott (husband of organizer Cathy Trauernicht) is standing in the center; thanks to Ann Corcoran for the correction.

As I noted, there was also action outside the building. The CAIR protest of Pamela Geller finally showed up two hours after she finished speaking. (Photo by and courtesy of Jackie Wellfonder.)

Yet the ten protesters got media attention. If it weren’t for them, I doubt the TV stations would have showed up.

So that’s where we stood as lunch concluded. In part 2 I’ll cover the four intriguing seminars which occurred afterward and the closing remarks by Jim Rutledge.

Gambling: Maryland’s growth industry?

There are guys who really must like parsing economic statistics, and I’m getting the impression Change Maryland employs several of them. Toying with Martin O’Malley like a catnip-addled feline pawing about a ball of yarn, their latest effort is summed up neatly this way by Change Maryland head Larry Hogan:

Combined, the gambling industry is expected to generate 3,250 jobs or nearly 40% of the 8,500 new jobs announced in 2012. Other sectors pale in comparison with cyber security expected to generate 2,612 jobs, healthcare 379 jobs and manufacturing 334 jobs. By contrast… sectors (lauded) by the O’Malley Administration, most notably green energy, are expected to generate just 110 jobs.

“I don’t know how Martin O’Malley can say with a straight face that jobs are a priority of this Administration with numbers like these,” said Hogan. “These numbers are lopsided and pitiful.”

I’m not sure if the total includes the dozens of jobs created by the fat Christmas bonuses awarded by the media conglomerates who own the television stations made wealthy by the millions of dollars spent contesting Question 7, but it is a sad state of affairs when casinos create more jobs than manufacturing. Yet that’s the reality in Maryland. And as Hogan pithily adds:

While I’m glad that some will get jobs as blackjack dealers and cocktail servers, the best careers are those that require science,  technology and engineering skills that Maryland educators are working so hard to develop in the classroom.

The Change Maryland release compares the job creation in Maryland and Virginia, and makes the case that our neighbor to the south is kicking our tail in that regard.

Looking at these statistics in a more parochial manner, the Eastern Shore as a whole is getting very little benefit this year from the state’s economic development team, with one project apiece in Dorchester and Worcester counties. Total jobs created (over three years, mind you) are projected to be 80. The two companies in question invested a total of $3.5 million in new facilities, but by way of comparison that’s less than a month’s revenue from the casino at Ocean Downs. And 80 jobs is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the major employers here in Wicomico County alone.

Needless to say, the state’s efforts are puny and minuscule compared to how much they put into attracting jobs along the I-95 corridor. Our tenth or so of the state’s population could use more assistance in trying to grow and develop as opposed to the War on Rural Maryland we’re forced to endure from Annapolis. More or less we’d like to be left alone, although if you could work with Delaware and the federal government on an interstate-grade highway from Salisbury to I-95 at Wilmington we would be mighty thankful. I look at it this way:  if we could get ourselves to be an easier 4 hour drive from the New York megalopolis, I believe it could help both tourism and industry. Something I didn’t know until I looked it up is that we here in Salisbury are actually closer to New York City than to Cumberland, Maryland.

But whatever the job creation task required, the folks at Change Maryland are generally quick to point out that Maryland is lacking in that department. You can call it partisan politics if you want, and perhaps you’d have a point since Hogan is a Republican. But facts are facts, and the numbers which come from neutral referees continue to show that Maryland isn’t the job-creation machine our state government would lead you to believe that it is. And when three of the four counties which make up our little corner of the state lag with unemployment over 9 percent (Wicomico isn’t much better at 7.9%) it tells me that the “One Maryland” fallacy espoused by our governor is just that.

If a chain is defined by its weakest link, we’re the ones who need the attention. Stop listening to the Agenda 21 crowd who would like to return the Eastern Shore to a pristine wilderness (aside from the beachfront condos they annually rent in Ocean City and from Ocean Downs, since it creates revenue for the almighty state) and start listening to what we who live here have to say. Really: I’m not lying to you when I say growth is good for us, so help us cut our unemployment rate down by stepping aside and letting us do it.

Trying to shed the tiers

Last spring environmental advocates claimed a victory with the passage of SB236. While it was dubbed the “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012,” the reality is that for most rural areas of Maryland it will do neither.

But radical environmentalists like the 1000 Friends of Maryland characterized SB236 and other measures in this manner:

The 2012 legislative session will be remembered as one that provided critical new tools to clean up our waters and slow rural development. (Emphasis mine.)

While a number of rural counties have debated the effects of the bill, they’ve come to the realization that the state holds the trump card. That wasn’t lost on Delegate Mike McDermott, who noted shortly after the bill’s passage last spring:

(The bill) is a far cry from preserving agriculture and farming in Maryland. This is the great land grab by Maryland – hurting farmers in the name of preserving them.

It is reasonable to draw conclusions from this bill that this spells the end of rural development in Maryland. It will devalue farmland and place farmers who must borrow against their land for the next planting season to have land that is not worth anywhere near what it is in today’s market. This destructive bill is the camel’s nose under the tent.

This view is shared by a growing number of those aware of the insidious effect of government, especially in Cecil County. Their Campaign for Liberty group echoed McDermott’s remarks:

Senate Bill 236 (Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012) requires all counties to adopt a “tier map” that will severely limit future development. It is part of Governor O’Malley’s “Plan Maryland” legislation and the U.N. ‘s Agenda 21 program. SB236 will infringe on private property rights, decrease property values, and cause property taxes to go up.

Yet the state is also planning another route of attack on rural development, as a recent meeting in Wicomico County suggests. The September 2012 Growth Offset Policy Meeting was attended by several in the local TEA Party along with area planners and environmental groups, which may have been the target audience because the meeting was held during the day when most private-sector people work. It outlined a plan by the state to reduce nitrogen loads in Chesapeake Bay via a state-imposed nutrient cap. Of course, that cap is always subject to change, and the costs will be borne by the private sector but collected by a government agency which will obviously take their cut.

But we don’t know what their cut will be, nor do they. One meeting attendee related the following:

When I asked them how many additional state employees they were going to need to administer this program, they had no answer.  When I asked how they were going to regulate such an obvious moneymaking, ripe for fraud scheme, they acknowledged it was a problem, but they had no answer.  When others asked how the farmers were going to be able to finance their operations due to reduced land value to borrow against, they had no answer.  When the NGOs asked how they could make money off this by cleaning up a stream and claiming the credits, they weren’t sure, but the greed was evident in every NGO there.  When I asked how a developer could be sure that his credits that he purchased would be good from year to year (what if the farmer didn’t do a good job and they took his credits away from him?)…would the new homeowner be responsible for getting new credits???  How long did you have to buy credits for?  (they thought maybe 30 years for a house).  Everything was said with the caveat that it might change….

The sentence about how the NGOs could make money off this was telling – no one’s paying a farmer to clean a stream, but these advocacy groups look to make a mint. And the state of Maryland will only be only too happy to hand it over to them by taking it from a farmer or job creator.

Worth noting as well is that the Growth Offset Policy Meeting was organized by the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and given “generous support” by the notoriously radical Town Creek Foundation, which is “dedicated to a sustainable environment.” “Sustainable” is a code word for controlled.

Yet the state of Maryland may not necessarily be the beneficiary. It may be but a serf to a United Nations master, according to this group which opposes the UN’s Agenda 21. They continue an evolution which has seen the doctrine of one’s home being their castle forfeited to county control through zoning, the subsequent loss of county power to the states, the states losing their grip on local issues to the federal government, and finally nations ceding sovereignty to a world government called the United Nations.

Step one of that evolution was pointed out in the Cecil County Campaign for Liberty’s critique of the bill. If rural land is devalued, it indeed reduces the landowner’s net worth at a greater rate than his property taxes went down – remember, in Maryland assessed land values are only set every three years so the farmer pays on a higher value at the higher property tax rate set when overall land valuation declines (as it will) but a county maintains constant yield. Of course, this is the secondary effect of the county doing the state’s bidding.

But rather than meekly submit to the request of Annapolis, some of Maryland’s rural counties are fighting the state. Late last year four counties formed the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition. What began in western Maryland has spread eastward, with Wicomico County tardily joining the fold a week ago and bringing the total membership to nine. Members are geographically spread across the state, with the original four in the west, Cecil County bridging the gap between shores, and four counties on the Eastern Shore (Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, and Wicomico.)

Yet not all counties are taking their membership seriously. For example, Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt is quoted as wanting to “make it clear that the coalition doesn’t oppose Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley or any of the state initiatives.” Maybe he should, considering the state is trying to usurp local control which has served us well for decades. Pollitt will probably be the weakest link on a body which was spearheaded in part by Frederick County Commission head (and 2014 gubernatorial candidate) Blaine Young.

But the toothless Republicans on our County Council might just play along, warned my friend:

It seems that if each county would just designate the preserve land as Tier IV, that would be sufficient.  All the law requires is that the county designate four tiers.  Wicomico is looking at designating all agricultural land Tier IV.  We need to dissuade them.  Do the minimum and fight the state…but can we get our Republican councilmen (6 vs. 1 Dem) to do the right thing?  Plus our county executive is a Democrat and a big spending liberal.

Personally, I’d put everything in the least restrictive tiers and dare the state to stop us. Someone needs to tell those Annapolis bullies to pound sand and we’re just the county to do it – if a few people get the stones to do so.

I think those of us who live in Wicomico County are bright enough to realize that there is land which can and should be preserved as agricultural area because it’s not suited for growth. But that decision should be made locally and in such a manner that when things change – as they always do – we have the flexibility to adapt rather than be tied down because someone in Annapolis (or Washington, or at the United Nations) thought we should place thousands of acres off-limits to development because they feel it would be nice to construct a wildlife corridor down the Eastern Shore.

If an area doesn’t grow, it shrivels and dies. I like to look at old maps and ponder what happened to villages such as those I grew up around in Ohio: towns like Ai (yes, that’s the name), Lytton, Whitesville, Seward, and many other specks on the map were once prosperous enough to be considered a town but somewhere along the line something changed. Perhaps the railroad chose a different route, or the major highway passed them by. In many cases, business and industry failed or departed for greener pastures.

Essentially, the glue which holds the bulk of the Eastern Shore together comes from the products of farmers and watermen. Yet those who run our state continue to make life more and more miserable for them with the only question being whether this effort is a subconscious one, or purely intentional with the aim to conform our little slice of the world with their dream of control over our lives.

Consider that much of the problem with Chesapeake Bay – aside from the fact we’re dealing with a group which will move the goalposts if we ever approach their idea of cleanliness in order to continue their reason for being – comes from those urban areas these environmentalist do-gooders want us to emulate, and it makes me wonder why they want the rest of us to live that way.

Sons of Liberty punctuate Wicomico MSOP meeting

In front of about 50 diehard lovers of freedom who decided the fate of their country was more important than a Ravens game – which meant they had their priorities in order – the Wicomico chapter of the Maryland Society of Patriots met Thursday night at Mister Paul’s Legacy Restaurant.

I’m sort of glad they modified the choices at the end. Anyway, Dr. Greg Belcher, the leader of the WMSOP, opened the meeting by bringing up the subject of an upcoming petition drive which had copies on each table, including mine. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but I’ll bring you up to speed in a moment.

Senate Bill 236, which passed in the 2012 regular session, is thought of as an extension of the PlanMaryland and UN Agenda 21 movement to revoke property rights. In fact, Belcher intoned that “our property rights future is at stake.” All 24 Maryland jurisdictions, including Wicomico County, are supposed to have the prescribed four-tier plan in place by December 31 of this year.

Next with remarks was local activist Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland, who reminded us that there are two more online poll watcher training seminars coming up: October 1-2 and 24-25. While this training isn’t required to be a poll watcher, it’s helpful to know what can and can’t be done, said Cathy.

Keim briefly went over the seven statewide issues on the ballot this November, with a particular emphasis on the latter four. “Martin O’Malley will look pretty silly (running for President in 2016) if we stop him” in 2012, added Keim.

She mostly reserved comment on Question 6, though, to the next speaker: Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland.

Broadus actually began his presentation by speaking briefly about Question 5, the redistricting issue. He quoted former Baltimore County GOP head Tony Campbell, who commented that “all we have to do is show people the map and it’s a winning argument.”

As for the gay marriage issue and other referendum questions, Broadus emphasized the importance of reaching out to the local minority population. For example, in majority-minority Prince George’s County local leaders there support both Question 4 (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) and Question 6 because they are considered civil rights issues, and oppose Question 5 for the same reason. On the other hand, they are against Question 7 (expanding casino gambling) because they see it as benefiting the so-called “1 percent,” said Broadus.

Gay marriage is on the ballot, not just in Maryland, but three other states: Maine, Minnesota, and Washington, Robert reminded us. “The goal (of proponents) is to change our society,” he added.

Broadus also conceded that some were for Question 6 because they had gay friends or family, but asked whether the relationship with these friends or relatives was more important than their relationship with God. And while secularists “are attacking on all fronts,” Broadus called this “our Roe v. Wade moment” and admonished people not to trust the polls on this issue.

In response to a comment about secular rather than faith-based arguments about Question 6, Broadus believed this was an effort to neutralize gender in society, even though God created man and woman differently. “Marriage is not a right,” concluded the longtime marriage protector.

Finally, it was time for our main speakers, the Sons of Liberty. If you can’t read the background slide, here it is below.

It’s sort of a long name for their ministry, but Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan have taken their show on the road to hundreds of high schools throughout the country. What we were presented is only about a quarter of what they do in a normal high school stop, said Dean.

In his presentation, Bradlee Dean bemoaned a nation which had seen a “decline since the Supreme Court said no to God” back in 1962. What we are now seeing is “the fruit of a nation which turns its back on God.”

Bradlee continued by saying the Catholic Church is “right on the money” in fighting President Obama and his contraception regulations. He asked, “Why are (leftists) always attacking God? Because they want to be God.” Dean showed a number of different quotes from the earliest leaders of our country acknowledging the divine Providence shown by our Creator, as opposed to the secular humanist attitude of today’s leaders.

That general attitude was due in no small part from our mainstream media. Just read the quote on the wall behind Dean.

It was determined that controlling 25 newspapers would do the trick, and this was back in 1917! Now we have a cabal of alphabet networks working in conjunction with the largest newspapers to promote a overtly secular agenda. “You’re being lied to. End of story,” said Dean. “The media works for a corrupt administration.” Even Fox News didn’t escape Bradlee’s blunt assessment, since they decide what they want to report to you as well.

At this point Dean stepped aside for a moment, allowing “The Other Guy” Jake McMillan to present a short question-and-answer section admonishing us to think about what we read and say, with a little audience participation.

A sample question: What do they call the raised lettering which enables the deaf to read? Most people would reflexively say “Braille” but if you pay attention you’ll know the true answer is “deaf people can already read, they just can’t hear.” It was part of a broader point that “most of the liberals count on ignorance of the issues,” said Jake.

Returning to the microphone, Bradlee rattled off a number of observations about the media and Hollywood. One slide referred to a warning sign he saw in an AMC theater in Kansas a few years back when the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ” was showing. While the sign correctly noted the movie was in Aramaic and Latin, with English subtitles, and had violent content enough to earn an R rating, curiously there were no other warning signs for the other PG-13 and R rated movies in the theater. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the indoctrination,” said Bradlee. “If I entertain you, I’m controlling you.”

Dean then turned to a distinction not often found in the media, which commonly refers to our nation as a “democracy.” (As have presidents since Ronald Reagan, Bradlee noted wistfully.) Our nation is a republic, continued Bradlee, ruled by law and principle rather than by what the public desires. Dean quoted several early Americans who pointed out that democracies expire from within to become tyrannies. And having visited hundreds of public schools, Dean observed that they commonly are surrounded by fences, covered by security cameras, and patrolled by armed law enforcement officers. “They’re getting kids ready for a police state” in public schools, he warned.

Continuing on to a subject near and dear to several there, Bradlee went on to describe the fight about gay marriage as one “about upending your Constitution.” It’s being used as a “political battering ram” to take us further away from our roots as a nation. “You’re dealing with totalitarianism,” Dean believed.

But it wasn’t all bad news. Bradlee wanted to stress as well his thoughts on those who have perished in defending those rights endowed by our Creator, the over 400,000 who died and the millions who live on while missing their friends and family lost in battle. “Who’s going to stand up for the veterans?” he asked.

Overall, the message was simple yet elegant: “If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any rights.”

Afterward, Bradlee and Jake stuck around for over a half-hour to answer questions, sell their various wares, including CDs, DVDs, and books, and pose for pictures like the one below.

From left to right you have Bradlee Dean of Sons of Liberty, Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland, Jake McMillan of Sons of Liberty, and Dr. Greg Belcher of the Wicomico Maryland Society of Patriots. It’s also worth mentioning that a number of Republican Central Committee members were in attendance, along with the head of the Worcester County TEA Party and MSOP head Sam Hale.

And while there was no media there besides this reporter and Julie Brewington, who’s mostly pulled away from her Right Coast Conservative blog (but was videotaping the proceedings nonetheless), we did have two write-in candidates for office.

On the left is Mike Calpino, who’s running in the First District Congressional race as the write-in not endorsed by either political party, and on the right is Worcester County resident Ed Tinus, who is resurrecting his U.S. Senate campaign after finishing last out of nine Democratic candidates in their primary with 1,064 votes, or 0.3%.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this meeting because I’d not heard of the Sons of Liberty or Bradlee Dean’s Christian rap-rock band Junkyard Prophet before last week when I first promoted this meeting. In doing a little research on the group, the prevailing opinion on them was that they were typical bigoted Christian haters – yet I found nothing overly controversial about their viewpoints. I will grant they did not speak much specifically about gay marriage or Question 6, but their opinions on the subject are likely shared by millions in this state and across the nation. Having seen the trend of a nation falling away from a Christian God, they obviously fret that allowing same-sex marriage may open the door to an even further slouch towards Gomorrah, to borrow a term made famous by Robert Bork. I think it’s a legitimate concern, others may disagree.

And if the idea of public school is to teach children critical thinking then I can’t understand what the big deal is to have them come to a school for a few hours and speak to the kids there. But the impression I get is that Sons of Liberty faces a lot of static in putting together these presentations simply because they don’t have a politically correct viewpoint, even if the opinions they present are based in historical fact.

The duo is in the midst of a four-day swing through Maryland and northern Virginia, with future stops in several other states. Dean admitted it was hard on him to be away from his five children, but the fight to preserve his country and its God-given freedoms was worth it. Having heard the presentation, I tend to agree.

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  • Campaign 2014 – Maryland

    Primary election will be June 24, 2014.

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    First District - Congress

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    Maryland General Assembly (local)

    Senate District 37

    Republican

    Richard Colburn (incumbent)
    Addie Eckardt

    Democrat

    Christopher Robinson

    ___

    House District 37A

    Republican

    (no candidates)

    Democrat

    Sheree Sample-Hughes

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    House District 37B

    Republican

    Christopher Adams
    Rene Desmarais
    Johnny Mautz
    Allen Nelson
    Karen Tolley

    Democrat

    Rodney Benjamin
    Keasha Haythe

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    Senate District 38

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    Mike McDermott

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    Jim Mathias (incumbent)

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    House District 38A

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    Percy Purnell, Jr.

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    Carl Anderton, Jr.

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    Norm Conway (incumbent)

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    House District 38C

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    Mary Beth Carozza.

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    Judy Davis
    Mike Hindi

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    February 10, 2014