If you’re going to call me an extremist, do it for the right reasons

7 Oct

If I had a nickel for every time I was called an extremist, I’d have a lot of nickels.

Just this weekend I was told I have “extreme thoughts,” coming from a person who stands against those who disparage members of the community who act or think differently than others.

Realizing that folks who throw around the extremist label are just repeating a narrative that has been drum-beat into their psyche by the political class and a complicit media, I typically don’t push back — funny how we’re more receptive to messaging that is consistent with our core beliefs.

To expect a fair, open-minded discussion here is expecting a world that never was, and never will be. But in a moment of frivolity, and boredom, I decided to inquire as to why this individual saw me as extreme.

I participate in political discussions on a Facebook page dominated by liberals, but much of that time is dedicated to exposing professional activists on the left who have a penchant for claiming to represent the community — a ruse the local media can’t get enough of.

But rarely do I delve into my personal beliefs, and the moral busybodies on the left, trapped by the bounds of their own self serving sanctimony, seldom ask.

I admit that I was part of the tea party early on, at least until I had my fill of self serving charlatans driven by ambition who succeeded in pushing themselves to the forefront. People hoping to take advantage of the Republican Party’s vast resources who not only turned a blind eye, but in some cases were complicit as the party began to exert its will on the movement.

When I realized that I could still advocate for issues and candidates that are important to me without the tea party, and in the process surround myself with folks who had their priorities in order, I bid adieu to those out for personal gain.

But all that aside, when I asked for clarification on what constitutes “extreme thoughts,” the response was to be asked about my views on same sex marriage.

An interesting inquiry, considering I have invested little time on the issue.

My personal belief is that, regardless of how you feel about “marriage equality” — the new code word for same sex marriage — that ship has already set sail and those who believe in the sanctity of marriage where left on shore.

At the same time, it’s hard to argue that it’s not discrimination to tell a man and woman they can marry, but tell two people of the same sex they cannot. Which I stated in my response to him, along with the belief that it’s not government’s role to decide who we can marry.

Never did I say whether I support same sex marriage or not, but my answer seemed to pass muster. Convinced he would not call me an extremist on that issue alone, I asked for other reasons but none were forthcoming.

While marveling at the idea that a single issue could result in me being seen as a person who holds extreme or fanatical views, I wondered if this was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

I get it that the push for marriage equality is part of a bigger pursuit by the gay community for “all the semblances of normalcy,” as Erick Erickson stated. But to cast aside the religious convictions of so many who feel otherwise and force them to approve, then I ask: Who’s the real extremist?

But this is not about same sex marriage, it’s about being called an extremist. And if you choose to assign that label to me, at least do it for the right reasons.

I believe government has grown too large and is involved in too many aspects of our lives; I believe government spends too much; I believe there are elements in both parties out to secure votes by expanding entitlements in America; I believe there is an ongoing effort to undermine the free market system in America, or at least what’s left of it, and move the country away from self reliance and personal responsibility; I believe there are those seeking to remove God from our society.

And I believe the Marxist-inspired “progressive movement” in America, heavily funded by organized labor, plays a pivotal role in all these things.

I oppose the progressive-led Democratic Party with all my being, seeing it as a clear and present danger to the great experiment known as the United States of America; I thoroughly dislike what the Republican Party represents and am astonished that the elitists who control it are so easily outclassed by the left in all but self enrichment; I am disgusted with what the tea party has become; and find the Libertarian Party’s only redeeming quality to be that they can be counted on to do more harm than good.

Come to think of it, maybe I am an extremist.

Rick Singh ‘guest column’ in Orl Sentinel prompts questions of abuse of power, unethical journalism

6 Oct

By Tom Tillison

Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh was given a platform by the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday as a “guest columnist” to state his opposition to Orange County Charter Proposal Question D — which would establish Term Limits and Non-Partisan elections for constitutional offices.

For clarity, constitutional offices include the Orange County Sheriff, Tax Collector, Clerk of Courts, Supervisor of Elections, and yes, the Property Appraiser.

While not surprised that the Sentinel would give Singh, a progressive Democrat, such a platform, my initial thought was to wonder how long I would have to wait to see an opposing point of view given the same opportunity.

But the more I thought about it, the more outraged I became.

It seems to be an easy reach to say that were it not for his position as an elected official, Singh likely would not have been given this advantageous opportunity — despite their dwindling numbers, the Sentinel still reaches enough folks to sway the direction of local issues. (Just ask a few Republican politicians.)

Folks may or may not agree that it makes sense to remove politics from constitutional offices — who wants a partisan Sheriff? — but to allow an elected official who stands to directly benefit from not adopting this measure to publicly advocate against it in the hometown newspaper certainly gives the appearance of impropriety.

At a minimum.

The more vocal among us may say, as an elected official, it’s an abuse of power.

With Orange County Democrats holding an edge of almost 100,000 registered voters, Singh would certainly benefit when he is up for reelection in 2016 if he can place his party affiliation next to his name.

Yet, he dares to claim that making these offices non-partisan “will only heighten political partisanship.” But it doesn’t take much imagination to suggest that he’d be the first to scream from the heavens IN FAVOR of non-partisan elections if Republicans held the 100,000 advantage.

It’s a given that Singh’s actions here are self-serving, and sadly, we’ve come to accept that as the norm from politicians these days.

But are the actions of the Orlando Sentinel so easily swept aside? Is it acceptable that an elected official was given a platform to push an issue that he stood to gain from? Are there no standards left for ethical journalism? At a minimum, do they not owe it to the community to provide balance and offer an opposing point of view from someone of equal stature?

A lot of questions I know, but the future of Orange County is going to be rather dismal if residents don’t start seeking answers soon.

Black Minister calls out FL Teacher Union & School Boards

1 Oct

I am really glad to see that a prominent Florida minister, Bishop Victor T. Curry-who happens to be black,  is publicly calling on the Florida School Boards Associations and Florida teachers unions to drop their lawsuit against the nations largest private school choice program. Bishop Curry says it is “cruel irony” that the FEA and FSBA would file against the tax credit scholarship  program on August 28, the anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King.

This harkens us back to the image of Democrat Governor George Wallace’s attempt to block the entry of black students into a “white” school.   Today, it is the Democrat-supported Unions & School Boards who are blocking predominately black students from leaving their failing schools. Kudos to Bishop Curry for standing up against these public school zealots! We must put students first by increasing access to all forms of education.

READ MORE

Greater Orlando Tea Party OPPOSES State Amendment #1 on Nov Ballot

1 Oct

In an email, The Greater Orlando Tea Party announced its opposition to Florida State Amendment #1: The Water and Land Conservation Initiative saying  “it will reduce the amount of privately owned property and negatively impact local revenues. It also intrudes on the legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to allocate our state’s revenues in the interests of our entire state.Important- Amendment 1 on November 4th Florida Ballot”.

The content of the email follows:

Absentee Ballots are going out Sept 30th.

Please vote NO on Amendment 1!

An Analysis of Amendment 1: The Water and Land Conservation Initiative

BALLOT TITLE: Water and Land Conservation – Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.
BALLOT SUMMARY: Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.
Amendment 1 alters SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund to include:
a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents. b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes: 1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands. 2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e). c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.

IMPACT ON PRIVATE PROPERTY
Amendment One departs From a Historical Philosophical Perspective of Private Property
In the first half of our nation’s history, it was the practice of the government to encourage private ownership through land grants and other such vehicles. This amendment reverses that tradition. It seems to embrace a philosophy found in this quote (a philosophy which is supported by many of the pro-conservation/sustainable development organizations):
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.
Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle…
Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset…”
From the Preamble, UN Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 1976
Amendment One Departs From Our Founding Fathers’s Intent For Private Property
Our Founding Fathers placed safeguards into our Constitution as a hedge or safeguard against government tyranny. As a result, America became an exceptional and unique place on earth by virtue of being founded upon the right of private citizens to own and use property.
Amendment One dangerously opens the door for government to own and control more land. That means less land is owned and control by private property owners. This amendment presents an alternative view to that intended by our founding fathers.
Today, more than 50% of the American west is owned by government. In the state of Utah, 87% of the land is owned and controlled by the federal government. Despite efforts by the state to reclaim their land, the federal government refuses to return it.
Giving government large sums of money to buy land puts Florida on a trajectory similar to Utah.
The intent of this amendment is primarily land acquisition for the purpose of conservation.

IMPACT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS
As the amount of government owned lands increases, two things happen fiscally:
First, the amount of private lands on the tax rolls will be decreased. Therefore, tax revenues will decrease making less funding available for things like law enforcement, first responders, local services, infrastructure maintenance, and local education. Local governments will have to raise property taxes or take the unprecedented step of cutting their budgets.
Second, more taxpayer money will need be diverted to pay for increased maintenance cost of ever increasing amounts of conservation lands. Currently, the state lacks money to maintain the properties owned by government.
Counties with the most land in government owned conservation lands, have the highest tax rates.

IMPACT ON THE STATE BUDGET
It is the Florida Legislature’s constitutional responsibility to work with the Governor to craft an annual balanced budget to meet the needs of our state. Through the Legislature, all the needs of the state are considered, debated, and approved by elected representatives. This is designed to address in a balanced way, the comprehensive state needs.
Amendment One restricts the Legislature’s ability and flexibility to budget or allocate funding for an array of state-wide critical needs such as transportation, education, affordable housing, and economic development, etc.
The purchase of land by government is a one-time expense. The maintenance of government property is a growing, on-going expense to also be accounted for. In other words, as government ownership of land increases, so maintenance costs increase including more employees, more facilities, and more equipment.

IMPACT ON THE STATE ECONOMY
Nearly one-third of Florida lands is used for agriculture. Agriculture, including farming and ranching, is one of our state’s top economic engines providing jobs and produce. And, Amendment One names both for purchase. The majority of lands put into conservation make little to no contribution to the economy. As private land with its real or potential contribution to our state’s economy is removed from production, it moves from becoming a producer of revenue to becoming a user of revenue. Thus, the state’s is weakened. Less land in production means our state is less productive and less competitive in the world.

IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Today, more than 27% of Florida is already in conservation (The Florida Natural Areas Inventory). Add lands for government facilities and the amount of land owned by government is more than 30%.
Florida has more land per square mile under government ownership than any other state east of the Mississippi River. The amount of government owned land will be greatly increased if a projected $18 B were to become available for additional land purchases.
Sustainable Development groups of UN AGENDA 21 have plans to purchase millions of additional acres for additional parks, wildlife refuges, wildlife corridors, forests and conservation areas, just to name a few. Amendment One supplies the cash to do so.

SUMMARY
Amendment 1 would be an unneeded and harmful addition to the Florida Constitution. It will reduce the amount of privately owned property and negatively impact local revenues. It also intrudes on the legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to allocate our state’s revenues in the interests of our entire state.

Nearly one-third of our state is owned by government. Approximately another third is in agriculture. Documentary transaction stamps are already used to fund a number or environmental programs. A growing economy already allows for more money to be allocated for government land purchases.
Alternatives to buying land exist.

One option would be to purchase conservation rights from farmers. This prevents such lands from being developed but allows the farms to remain in private ownership and in production.

Another option should be considered. Doc stamps are expensive, adding significantly to the transaction costs of real estate. Why not reduce or eliminate the Doc Stamp tax altogether to help, in no small way, all Floridians to exercise their rights of property ownership?

Republican Party tagline through 2016: ‘We’re not them’

30 Sep

Thirty-five days until the November election and the Republican Party has long since gone to ground.

If we didn’t know better, we’d swear Boehner, McConnell and Co. had members locked in a basement somewhere deep within the U.S. Capitol — the federal witness protection program has nothing on the GOP when it comes to the art of disappearing.

With polls indicating favorable results for the party on Nov. 4 — Real Clear Politics Average has the GOP up 3.8 points in the latest Congressional Generic Vote polling data — Republican leadership is walking on eggshells in hopes of making it to election day without a serious blunder.

Recent history shows that’s a legitimate concern. Right, Todd Akin?

The chances of the Republican Party regaining a majority in the U.S. Senate are also looking better, even if Dick Morris has gone on the record to say he agrees.

And the incredible thing is, the Republican Party arrived at this advantageous position without doing much of anything other than not being Team Obama.

While things continue to deteriorate on both the home front and on the world stage because of the lack of leadership coming from 1400 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., those who criticize President Obama for leading from behind are content with backing into the November election.

The GOP is willing to hide under their desks in exchange for electoral success, even as the world around them collapses. Which brings up a legitimate question: What kind of leadership can we expect should Republicans take control of both houses in Congress?

Sadly, the Wall Street Journal has already answered that question in an article published earlier this month that suggested if the GOP gains control of both chambers, there will be an emphasis to avoid “a sharply confrontational tone that some Republicans fear could endanger the party’s electoral prospects in 2016.”

Or, in other words, more of the same weak-kneed approach until Nov. 2016.

The mind boggling reality is, as incompetent as the progressive left shows itself to be, the Republican Party seems incapable of showing the American people that it offers anything better, other than “we’re not them.”

Video

Orlando Sentinel Forum on Closing the Income Gap – A Snapshot of Left’s Agenda in Orange County

18 Sep

The Orlando Sentinel held a “Florida Forward” forum Tuesday in Winter Park which was a great snapshot of what is going on in Orange County and across the nation.

The progressive left in Orange County is leading the charge to change our county charter to mandate employers provide paid sick leave and higher minimum wage to their workers. This is only the beginning, folks, these activists are being paid by outside entities to push agendas of this nature through ballot initiatives, right here in Orange County.

If these initiatives pass, you are sure to see businesses leaving Orange County for friendlier turf. “Orange County is the New Detroit” might not be too far fetched. How will this help the poor?

Please watch this video and notice that economic facts are lost on the democratic activists, when they have very valid “feelings” to address. As one of the primary leaders of the progressive left, you will see how panelist Stephanie Porta — Organize Now, formerly ACORN Florida — is so ill prepared that she has to shuffle and read from note cards the entire time, with no actual economic knowledge from which to speak.

Not to go without mention, fellow panelist Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief, failed congressional candidate and short lived candidate for Orange County mayor, defends single parent homes and is against these poor communities having a choice in public schools.

Very telling that the better informed panelists, UCF economist Sean Snaith, Valencia economics Professor Jack Chambless and lawyer and commentator Tico Perez, all presented real solutions to the problems facing the poor in our community. This falls on the deaf ears of Porta and Demings, because the narrative of school choice, graduating from school, lowering-out of wedlock births, tech school opportunities and hard work, doesn’t win elections, which appears to be their #1 agenda.

Orange County Public Schools Target Chaplains

27 Aug

In an effort to appease a radical atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Orange County Public Schools General Counsel, Woody Rodriquez, issued a memorandum specific to Apopka High that will affect all public schools across the county. The letter states that Christian acts of praying, reading the Bible and playing Christian music will no longer be tolerated in connection to  high school football.

As a result, the  long tradition of football team chaplains will come to an end in Orange County.

Todd Starnes of FOX News reports that a local pastor who volunteers as chaplain at Olympia High School was told he could remain if he were to be called a  “life coach” but he could no longer preach Christianity or quote from the Bible with the players.

“I could no longer open the Bible, talk about the Bible, talk about God or pray with the team in any capacity,” pastor Troy Schmidt told Fox News. “It was heartbreaking.”

Coach Bobby Bowden weighed in on the issue of Orange County Public Schools taking faith out of football, saying he’d do it anyway.

“I don’t care about political correctness,” Bowden said. “I want to be spiritually correct.”

To access the memorandum: Religious Issues Memorandum (Final Draft)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 705 other followers