Romeo Area Tea Party
When: Wed April 30th @ 7PM
Where: Washington Township Hall/Senior Center
57900 Van Dyke, Washington Twp.
(park in the back lot and enter in the South entrance)
****This event is free and open to the public****
Copperhead is unlike any Civil War movie to date. It is a film of the war at home – of a family ripped apart by war, of fathers set against sons and daughters, of a community driven to an appalling act of vengeance against a man who insists on exercising his right to free speech during wartime. A story of the violent passions and burning feuds that set ablaze the home front during the Civil War, Copperhead the Movie is also a timeless and deeply moving examination of the price of dissent, the place of the individual amidst the hysteria of wartime, and the terrible price of war – a cost measured not in dollars but in fractured families, broken loves, and men dead before their time.
Based on the extraordinary novel by Harold Frederic, who witnessed these conflicts firsthand as a small child, Copperhead tells the story of Abner Beech, a stubborn and righteous farmer of Upstate New York, who defies his neighbors and his government in the bloody and contentious autumn of 1862. The great American critic Edmund Wilson praised Frederic’s creation as a brave and singular book that “differs fundamentally from any other Civil War fiction.”
Copperhead is the great untold Civil War story. Far from the Virginia battlefields whose names etch our history, the war of Copperhead visits the devastation and unimaginable loss of a civil war upon a family and a community whose strength and very existence are tested by fire, rope, knife, and betrayal. This is the Civil War come home.
With Copperhead, director Ron Maxwell, who with Gettysburg and Gods and Generals established himself as our foremost cinematic interpreter of the American Civil War, takes on the War from a stunning and unexpected and richly, unforgettably humanist angle.
Americans will spend more this year on taxes than food, clothing and housing combined
It’s Tax Freedom Day in Michigan.
That’s the day people have to work to in the year to cover tax bills for the state and federal government. Americans will spend $4.5 trillion on federal, state and local taxes, which is 30 percent of total income. The figures are in a yearly study done by the Tax Foundation.
“Tax Freedom Day, which comes on April 21st nationally and April 17th for Michigan, is the day when America (or Michigan) as a whole has earned enough to pay its total tax bill for the year,” said Lyman Stone, an economist who co-wrote the study. “That bill includes all federal, state, and local taxes.”
Total tax burden differs by state due to policies. Michigan is about in the middle of the pack for overall taxation.
“States land where they do in the Tax Freedom Day lineup for essentially two reasons: state tax policies (lower taxes meaning earlier tax freedom days) and state income,” Stone said. “States with high incomes pay significantly more federal taxes, so lower-income states tend to have earlier tax freedom days. As Michigan is a roughly middle-income state with about average state taxes, the result is a tax freedom day close to the national average. With Gov. Snyder’s reforms in the last few years, the state tax component may gradually fall, although one would hope that incomes (and thus federal tax liability) would rise.”
According to government figures cited in the report, Americans will spend more money this year on taxes than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
The study tracks overall taxation back to 1900 and notes in that year, “Americans paid only 5.9 percent of their income in taxes, meaning Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.”
The latest day was in the year 2000 when it fell on May 1 as Americans paid 33 percent of their total income in taxes. Including federal borrowing would move the event back 15 days.
The states with the latest Tax Freedom Day are Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The states with the earliest day are Louisiana, Mississippi and South Dakota.
April 15, 2014 by Brandon Smith
The label of “fringe” is a common one used by statists, bureaucrats and paid shills in order to marginalize those who would stand against government corruption. The primary assertion being sold is that the “majority” joyously supports the establishment; and the majority, of course, is always right.
The liberty movement, which is a collection of numerous freedom organizations and political activists brought together by a shared philosophical bond, has been accused of “fringe” status for quite some time. With corporatist dominance over the mainstream media for decades backing an elitist machine in Washington and a global banking cartel footing the bill with money created from thin air, any such accusation can be made to seem “real” to those who are unaware.
The problem has always been a matter of physical action giving rise to an acknowledgment of numbers.
We have all heard the old story of the debate within the ancient Roman government over the idea of forcing the slave population to wear distinct armbands so that they could be more easily identified among the regular population. The concept was rejected on the realization that if the slaves were given a visual confirmation of their considerable numbers and strength, they would be encouraged to revolt against the Roman tyrants. That is to say, as long as the slaves felt isolated, they would remain apathetic and powerless. Of course, that was not always the case. Sometimes, a small group would stand up despite their supposed isolation, and the rest of the world, wide-eyed and astonished, would take notice.
The liberty movement has just experienced one of its first great moments of realization and empowerment in Clark County, Nev., and millions of past naysayers have been shell-shocked.
I covered my views in detail on the Bundy Ranch saga in Nevada in my article“Real Americans Are Ready To Snap,” amid the usual choir of disinformation agents and nihilists desperate to convince Web audiences that the liberty movement would do nothing to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s militant assault on Cliven Bundy’s cattle farm. This assault included hundreds of Federal agents, helicopters, contractors hired essentially as cattle rustlers and even teams of snipers.
The statists and socialists were certainly out in force to misrepresent the Bundy issue and frighten anyone who might consider taking a stand for the family. The Southern Poverty Law Center, not surprisingly, was hard at work spreading lies and disinformation about the confrontation in Nevada, painting a picture of fractured patriot groups and militiamen with “little training” going to face Federal BLM agents and likely “ending up dead.” The SPLC insinuated that the movement was ineffective and in over its head.
The reality was much the opposite. Liberty groups arrived in droves and were staunchly unified — not by a centralized leadership, but in defense of the basic moral principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Sources on the ground at the Bundy ranching operation relayed to me that at least 1,000 activists and militia members arrived over the weekend, with many more on the way. This one event proved certain points:
- The liberty movement is not afraid to put itself in harm’s way for the right cause — even if this means facing off against highly armed government thugs.
- The liberty movement has the ability to field a response team or even an army anywhere in the country at any time within a couple of days.
- The liberty movement has the ability to change the course of events, even to the point of removing Federal agents from a region who are acting in an unConstitutional manner.
- The Federal government is not invincible, nor is it unfazed by liberty movement opposition. They worry about our strength and ability.
Over the past weekend, we witnessed the true influence of the liberty movement. As thousands of activists and militia arrived in the area, the BLM finally began to understand what it was facing. The government agency that has been terrorized farming communities throughout the West for years, the agency armed with military-grade weaponry and hundreds of agents, ran away as freedom fighters descended on the region.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, two politicians who were deathly silent during the beginning of the Federal incursion on the Bundy ranch, have now suddenly become vocal in defense of Nevada ranchers against the BLM. It’s amazing how “inspired” politicians can become to do the right thing when they see an army of liberty activistsmarching against tyranny.
Not only was the BLM forced to remove itself from the area, but it was also forced to relinquish all the cattle it had stolen from Bundy over the course of the past week. Here, liberty groups close in on the cattle holding pens of the BLM and take back Bundy’s property.
Statists and socialists are indignant and furious over the surrender of the BLM. The same people who boasted that liberty activists would be slaughtered by Fed agents are now frothing at the mouth because they did not get their massacre. Not only that, but the bureaucracy they worship has shown itself to be impotent in the face of Constitutional champions. All I can say is nothing puts a bigger grin on my face than to see statists cry like babies when their delusions of grandeur are trampled on.
This was a major victory for the liberty movement. But let’s be clear; the fight is far from over.
I suspect that the Bundy event will be spun by news agencies and the government until it is unrecognizable. They will claim that the BLM left not because they were wrong, but because they were trying to keep people safe. They will claim that liberty movement protesters were the aggressors and the poor BLM agents were just trying to do their jobs. They will argue the so-called Federal legality of the raid itself, and paint Bundy as a “freeloader” who refuses to pay taxes and who is living off the American people. They will do everything in their power to destroy the image of the victory and soil the name of the Bundy family.
What they don’t seem to understand, though, is that the liberty movement does not care what the Federal government deems “legal” or “illegal.” Our only interest is what is Constitutional and what is moral. The dispute was never about the “legality” of Bundy’s use of the land, which his family used for grazing without interference for generations — until 1993, when the BLM used the absurd endangered species protection racket to put all of his neighbors out of business and threaten his ranch with invasion. Statists continually attempt to argue this issue from the standpoint of Federal legality, obviously because the Federal government has the legislative and bureaucratic power to make any despicable action legal (at least on paper) if it wishes. The liberty movement has no interest whatsoever in Federal interpretations of legal precedence. We care only about what is right. As the old saying goes, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.
The liberty movement also fully understands that the Bundy victory was only one battle at the beginning of a long war.
The BLM may very well be waiting for activists to leave the area before attacking again. And even if that is not the case, tyrannical systems have a way of attempting to make up for signs of weakness by escalating violence during the next siege. That is to say, we should expect the next event involving the BLM or other government agencies to be even more vicious than the Bundy incident. It is simply the natural inclination of totalitarian systems to exaggerate their power when their failings have been exposed.
That said, it should be noted that corrupt leadership often crumbles in the face of steadfast resolve and courage. We have a long way to go before this Nation is once again truly free, but the liberty movement has proven its invaluable worth over the course of the past several days. We arrived at a crossroads, and we are now moving forward in the right direction — without fear and without regret. It is in these moments when history is made — when common men and women thwart the odds, defy the darkness and make good on their beliefs by risking everything in the name of freedom.
Common Core: “Building the Machine” Debut
The Home School Legal Defense Association released its long-awaited documentary on the Common Core national standards last week, Building the Machine.
The film offers clarity to an initiative that is little known by the American public but will affect millions of students across the country.
Spearheaded in 2009 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Common Core was immediately incentivized by the Obama Administration with $4.35 billion in competitive Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers. Forty-six states signed on and agreed to implement the standards by the 2014–2015 school year with little public input. Indeed, a Gallup poll released last summer showed that 62 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with Common Core.
The new film is likely to change public awareness about Common Core. It is, as the film notes, “the biggest reform you’ve heard nothing about.”
As Queens College professor emeritus of political science Andrew Hacker states in the video, “I’m trying to think of something analogous to this that slipped through so easily on the national basis and I really can’t. That’s why I called it radical; you know it’s a real change from the past.”
Sandra Stotsky (University of Arkansas professor emerita of education reform) and Jim Milgram (Stanford University professor emeritus of mathematics) offer their perspectives on the rigor of the standards. Both sat on the Common Core validation committee but refused to approve the standards. According to the film, each member who refused to sign off on the standards was “expunged” from the record, making it appear there was little if any dissent with the content of the standards.
Jason Zimba, the lead writer for the Common Core mathematics standards who was highlighted in the film, admitted that Common Core represents “a minimal definition of college readiness” and was not designed to prepare students for admission to selective colleges.
At the heart of the film is the notion that parental control in education will be jeopardized by national standards. “Who does the child belong to?” asks Ze’ev Wurman, a former U.S. Department of Education official. “Is it the government’s right to teach the child what the government thinks the child should know? Or is it my child and I [who] should have some say in it?”
With the implementation deadline drawing near, many states are pushing back against national standards. As Stotsky states in the video, Common Core is an “opening wedge” for top-down education reform and centralization. Research shows that the greatest factor in educational success is parental involvement—something Common Core critics fear will be diminished.
Brandon Hershey is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.
This Legislation Would Let Government Take Over U.S. Mortgage Market
In 2009, Congress used nearly $200 billion to bail out the housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These companies are still operating under the direct control of the federal government, and taxpayers are underwriting an even larger share of mortgages now than in 2008. Even worse, the U.S. Senate is poised give us Fannie–Freddie 2.0 in the new housing reform bill that Senators Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) have released.
The Johnson-Crapo bill would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but would also replace them with a new government agency that expands the federal government’s grip on the housing market. If the Johnson-Crapo housing bill is adopted, the federal government will have effectively taken over the U.S. mortgage market.
Trigger warnings: New wave of political correctness hits campuses
Hypersensitive students and professors all over the country are about to score another victory for political correctness if they succeed in their mission to normalize the use of “trigger warnings,” which are intended to protect people from taking part in class discussions and media that might offend them.
Trigger warnings are most commonly attached to online news articles and blog posts. They warn readers that the post contains specific, offensive content. An article about sexual violence, for instance, might come with a trigger warning for rape victims. The idea is to prevent post traumatic stress.
But censorship-inclined activists are now eager to force professors to attach trigger warnings to their syllabi.
“Some students and professors argue that nearly everything should come with a trigger warning,” wrote Laurie Essig, a professor of psychology at Middlebury College and a contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Mrs. Dalloway? Trigger warning: suicidal tendencies. The Great Gatsby? Trigger warning: suicide, domestic abuse, graphic violence. Think I’m making this up? I’m not.”
Essig provided the example of a Rutgers University student who praised trigger warnings as an ideal compromise between free expression and censorship, noting that “by creating trigger warnings for their students, professors can help to create a safe space for their students — one that fosters positive and compassionate intellectual discussion within the collegiate classroom.”
Students at the University of California-Santa Barbara are doing their best to make their PC dreams a reality. The student government passed a resolution that urged administrators to adopt mandatory trigger warnings as official university policy last month.
“This is not meant to censor … but it really just asks that professors and other people on campus acknowledge the effects of triggering content on students with PTSD,” said Bailey Loverin, the student who sponsored the resolution, in a statement.
While the push to mandate trigger warnings is largely coming from the left, some liberals are condemning it in no uncertain terms. The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg called the pro-censorship agenda of the PC crowd “left-wing anti-liberalism,” in a column:
Perhaps every political generation is fated to be appalled by the one that succeeds it. In the 1960s, longtime socialist intellectuals were horrified by the anarchic energies of the new left. Then some of those new leftists reached middle age and watched, aghast, as new speech codes proliferated on college campuses during the first iteration of political correctness. I was in college then and am now in my thirties, which means it’s my turn to be dismayed by a growing left-wing tendency towards censoriousness and hair-trigger offense.
The New Republic also published an article critical of trigger warnings.
“Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them,” wrote Jenny Jarvie in an article for TNR.
Obamacare Is Still A Fraud!
by Chip Wood
What a disgusting amount of self-congratulations we’ve had to endure from Barack Obama and his cronies, who are now boasting that 7.1 million people had signed up for Obamacare when the first open enrollment period ended on March 31.
“The debate over repealing this law is over,” the President declared. Continuing his outburst of wishful thinking, he added, “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”
Not so fast, Mr. President. The issue is not nearly as settled as you’d have us believe, as a closer look at those enrollment numbers will quickly reveal.
How many of those alleged 7 million new customers for Obamacare had no health insurance before this? It’s no surprise that we can’t get precise numbers out of this Administration, but consensus estimates are that it’s about 2 million.
In other words, about 5 million of the people who’ve signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act previously had some form of coverage. How many of them were among the approximately 5 million people who had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare? Nobody’s bothered to find out. But you can bet it’s a bunch.
We all know that Obama repeatedly promised us, “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan. Period.” And of course, we all know that was a lie – and the President knew it. Some 5 million people found that out the hard way, when they received letter from their insurance companies notifying them that their health insurance coverage was canceled.
We were also promised that the cost of health insurance would drop dramatically. After all, that’s why the word “affordable” was included in the name of the law. That turned out to be another blatant misrepresentation. Millions of Americans have seen the cost of their health insurance go up. The only ones getting a deal are those receiving a government subsidy.
In other words, Obamacare turns out to be another Democratic scheme to redistribute the wealth. In the words of former President Lyndon Johnson, it’s all about their plan to “take from the haves and give it to the have-nots who need it so much.”
And if you think the price of health insurance has gone up this year, just wait until next year, when the insurance companies factor in their actual costs of this monstrosity. It turns out that far fewer young, healthy adults are signing up for the program than its planners estimated.
Everyone knew that older Americans would be the most costly people to insure, especially now that anyone with a prior medical condition is entitled to coverage. The idea was that these higher costs would be balanced with the premiums paid by younger Americans, who typically have the fewest claims.
The plan might have looked good on paper, but it came crashing up against reality: Huge numbers of young Americans declined to sign up. And at least so far, the Administration isn’t allowed to round them up and force them to join.
So what will happen? The result is bound to be a substantial increase in health insurance premiums next year. Many insurance company analysts predict that increases of 25 percent to 50 percent will be the norm, with some policies rising even higher than that.
If you think Obamacare is unpopular now, just wait until those rate increases hit. Of course, this will be well after the elections this November. The Democratic leadership is hoping to get past the midterm elections without too many losses — and that the shock and anger over Obamacare will have largely dissipated by the time we elect a new President in 2016. Let’s hope the voters have longer memories than the Democrats are counting on.
But back to those sign-up numbers, which had Obama performing a victory dance in the Rose Garden on April Fool’s Day. (Mmmm, think it was just a coincidence that the big celebration for Obamacare came on April 1?)
One of the most closely guarded secrets of Obamacare is the answer to this question: How many of the people who signed up for coverage have actually begun paying for it? If you haven’t paid for it, you’re not officially enrolled in it. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, whose department is responsible for the program, says she’s sorry, but they can’t tell us. She’ll admit that, overall, the number is probably about 15 percent to 20 percent. That would be almost 1.5 million of those alleged 7 million sign-ups.
That’s why syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer says, correctly, that the Administration’s claim of 7.1 million sign-ups is a “phony number.” Of course it is.
But it turns out that the number of non-payees is actually much higher for people who have never purchased health insurance before. Maybe as much as double the “average” rate.
If true, this means that as many as 800,000 of those supposedly 2 million new customers will never be officially enrolled, because they won’t make their first payment.
When the debate over Obamacare began, we were told this massive takeover of our healthcare system by the Federal government was necessary, because something like 40 million Americans didn’t have health insurance.
Well, now it looks like 38 million of them still don’t.
If other words, millions of Americans have lost health insurance they liked, thanks to Obamacare. Under their new plan, they’ll see higher premiums and much higher deductibles. They may no longer be able to see they doctor they prefer or go to the hospital of their choice. And just wait until they have to confront one of those “death panels” that Sarah Palin made so notorious.
This is what “success” looks like? Sure. And in the inimitable words of George Orwell’s 1984, “Freedom is slavery.”
Until next time, keep some powder dry.