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Passover, Easter, and Freedom

Published on April 21, 2014 by

This past week, the Jewish community and Christians celebrated holidays arguably the most joyous and holy times of year.  It was a privilege for me, to once again celebrate both holidays with friends and family. Surprisingly these celebrations brought into sharp focus some of the political issues we face as Americans.

Undoubtably, some will immediately react with the thought “Politics and Religion have no place with each other”, but my hope is that you will read on for a few more moments to allow me to explain my thoughts.  I believe that if you look at the events that inspired these holidays, it is evident the politics of those times played a significant role in both these stories, and to a great degree, have significant correlations to today’s political battles.

SederPlateIllustrationPassover (Pesach) is a holiday celebrating God’s deliverance of the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and from the tyrannical rule of Pharaoh into the freedom of the promised land.  It speaks of the leadership of Moses (Moshe) inspiring the Jews, and standing up to Pharoh – speaking truth to power.  It is a miraculous story showing God’s faithfulness to keep his word, and his power to not only provide for those who believe in him, but also to oppose unjust governance and tyranny.  It is a story of the Jew’s faith in the Lord and their trust in his faithfulness.TheTombisEmpty

Easter is a holiday celebrating the Christian belief that Jesus of Nazareth was not only the son of God, but also the Messiah.  He was sent to free the world from the shackles of sin and eternal damnation, through his death and resurrection three days later.

Both of these holidays, Easter and Passover, demonstrate a remarkable struggle of people against seemingly insurmountable corruption and evil, and through perseverance and faith achieving victory.

My experience with Passover was amazing , seeing the dedication to tradition, the remembrance of the bitterness of oppressive rule and slavery, but also the celebration of freedom and life.  The reverence given when speaking of God.  Watching with wonder as the reverence of the holiday was passed along to the next generation.

My experience with Easter was one familiar to me,  but no less touching.   Attending mass, remembrance of the death of Jesus , his sacrifice on our behalf to pay for our sins, and the celebration of His resurrection and victory over death.  Seeing the older guide the young to what would be their first communion, passing along the reverence of the holiday to the next generation.

The triumphant themes of both of these holidays are freedom and victory.  Freedom from tyranny…  Freedom from oppression and slavery…  Freedom from the penalty of sin.   Victory over a dictator…Victory over captivity…Victory over eternal damnation and death. Victory leading to the Promised Land.  Victory leading to eternal life.

Both of these holidays  provoke remembrance of tradition and struggles, reflection on our lives, and application of the lessons learned from their stories.  As I spend a great deal of my life covering the political world, it seems understandable now that my thoughts turned there.

The struggles we face today as Americans against corruption and oppression are pale when compared to the struggles of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and their flight from bondage, or the struggles of Jesus on his path to the cross, but to me the lessons learned of perseverance, faith, and determination are no less valuable.

As Americans we constantly struggle to keep the freedoms we have, in the face of an often overreaching and intrusive government. We struggle against government corruption, and against self-serving, or self-interested elected officials. We struggle against strangling regulations, overburdening taxation, and stifling political correctness.  It’s not easy.

It requires perseverance.  It requires faith.  It requires determination. It requires our participation.

The freedoms we have are worth the struggle, and the victory we receive by participating is an America that continues to cherish the rights of its people to freedom; of speech, of religion, from oppression, and from slavery.

I hope that this article has not offended anyone, although I am sure there are rabbis, preachers, and priests,  and perhaps some of you, who would easily point out my potentially simplistic observations. To those offended,  I would say “Ani Mitzta’er”, “Mea culpa”, “I apologize”, and “dimitte me”.

But if I can leave you with one final thought it would be this… Regardless of your religion, we are in a struggle that requires faith, and often times the oppression that we experience is not as profoundly obvious as outright slavery. Whether you are Jewish, Christian, or whatever belief you subscribe to, the lessons demonstrated by Passover and Easter are GOOD lessons, and can be applied to the struggles we face keeping this nation great and free.

Perhaps this year, our efforts to persevere will bring the fulfillment of the words of the Haggadah:

“This year we are here, next year we will be in the Land of Israel. This year we are slaves, next year we will be free.”

And those efforts will mirror the freedom demonstrated in  the words spoken at Jesus’ tomb that sat empty on the third day:

“He is not here, He has Risen…”

Regardless of how you spent your week and weekend, it’s my sincere hope that it was with family and friends, celebrating freedom and victory in whatever way fits your beliefs.  It is worth the struggle, worth the perseverance, worth the determination, and is a blessing.  At least, that’s the way I see it… Hopefully, you do too.

 
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Chip LaMarca Makes The Best Case Against Chip LaMarca

Published on April 7, 2014 by

Let’s take Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca (R-Holness) at his word. Here’s Chip announcing his County Commission campaign in May 2010.

Listen to LaMarca’s words:

“Does Broward County Government work for you?”

“The resounding message I received was that Broward County government is broken. People are ashamed and tired of the corruption. They’re ashamed and tired of the ‘me first’ mentality of many of the elected officials. Ashamed and tired of those who run for office…who end up helping themselves and their friends. They’re ashamed and tired of officials who prefer to wine and dine with influence peddlers rather than with their hard-working, tax-paying constituents.”

“Commissioners are using their positions to enrich themselves….The good people of Broward County have had enough.”

“Four years ago, [Ken Keechl] ran on a platform of changing the County Commission, but unfortunately folks, I think the County Commission changed him.”

“My opponent should exercise the same fiscal discipline and prioritizing that constituents have to do on a daily basis. See, he should be first and foremost a servant of those who elected him. Not of his own personal ambition, gain or the fortunes of friends. He should have held himself to a higher standard.”

“[My Mom] raised me to understand that service to our community is not about using your position to move onto easy street.”

Ok, now let’s compare his words with his record.

LaMarca voted to give $400,000 dollars to Broward Health to sign people up for Obamacare. David Di Pietro, his political “guru”, is the chairman of Broward Health. Ed Pozzuoli and the Tripp Scott law firm, big supporters of LaMarca, are lobbyists for Broward Health. The night before LaMarca approved the $400,000 payment, Pozzuoli had the nerve to lecture BREC members about “unity” and the evils of Obamacare.

“My opponent should exercise the same fiscal discipline and prioritizing that constituents have to do on a daily basis. See, he should be first and foremost a servant of those who elected him. Not of his own personal ambition, gain or the fortunes of friends.”

What about the Florida Panthers boondoggle? One report detailed shady contributions to the LaMarca campaign tied to a Florida Panthers executive. A twentysomething relocates to Broward from the chilly Northeast and one of her first acts is to give LaMarca a $1000 contribution? Um, ok. Chip claims he won’t support the huge taxpayer bailout for the Florida Panthers. But last year he was really gung-ho about buying the team a $4.2 million scoreboard.  When you hear LaMarca pontificate about “higher standards,” don’t forget about Chip, Barbara Sharief and Marty Kiar partying with Panthers officials and lobbyists at the Billy Joel concert.  They claim they bought their own tickets. But doesn’t it look bad if you’re partying with the people feeding money to your campaigns while seeking an $80 million taxpayer bailout?

“They’re ashamed and tired of the ‘me first’ mentality of many of the elected officials”

Then there’s the fancy parties that would make F. Scott Fitzgerald blush. LaMarca attends a fancy gala at the Museum of Discovery and Science with Elvis impersonators and scantily clad models. Oh, don’t forget the Museum survives with taxpayers dollars approved by the county. One of the Museum’s biggest backers is married to Chip’s personal lawyer Steven Stoll. Di Pietro and Stoll represent LaMarca in his ongoing foreclosure case. did they say it’s cool to spend $300 on a party?

Speaking of the foreclosure case, Michael Moskowitz represents the bank suing LaMarca. Moskowitz is a lobbyist for the Florida Panthers and other local businesses. Jay Spechler, the mediator in the foreclosure case is married to the director of the Young At Art Museum in Davie. Chip never mentioned this when the museum sought a bailout from the County Commission.

“They’re ashamed and tired of officials who prefer to wine and dine with influence peddlers rather than with their hard-working, tax-paying constituents.”

Last but not least is Commissioner Dale Holness (D-King of Broward). Chip went along with Holness’ “pork project” which gave $15,000 to a charity connected to Holness. Last month, Daily Broward revealed LaMarca allegedly helped Holness recruit a Democrat for the District 2 commission race. Even more worrisome, Buddy Nevins at BrowardBeat thinks this was another Holness ploy to become “King of Broward.” Dale Holness wants to be our king? The guy who didn’t pay his taxes on multiple properties? The guy who acts like a “slum lord?” Holness who got busted lying about where he lives?

On Facebook, LaMarca’s political “guru” called Holness and LaMarca “foxhole buddies.”

“He should have held himself to a higher standard.”

 

 
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Hey Harry Reid: Compromise This!

Published on April 4, 2014 by
courtesy teapartytribune.com

courtesy teapartytribune.com

Hey Harry Reid, I’ve got your compromise, right here…
This may not be a popular thing to reveal, but I’m going to do it anyway. I am okay with not always getting my way. As the father of four girls, I would love to spend the miniscule amount of free time I do have with the television on. But I don’t get to always watch the shows I want to watch. I have to compromise. Same goes with what type of restaurant we’re going to visit. If the entire family is part of that equation, I weigh the pros and cons, and arrive at a choice that will be something that everyone will eat (and not waste the money on). How much would I really enjoy a meal that I want, while the rest of the family spends that glorious ten minutes rolling their eyes at me?

Compromise is a necessary skill.  It’s not always pleasant, but give and take on both sides is a necessity.

So when did this stop being the case for Democrats in Congress?

Congress’ approval rating is presently hovering around 9%, only slightly higher than the rating for the “Al Sharpton Sings Jimmy Buffett Tunes” Facebook fan page. There are many theories about this low rating, but the general consensus seems to be the lack of working together.

I’m old enough to remember when our representatives had to propose their bills with a very light pencil, so that they could easily revise what was being proposed in order to get the bill through, with some of what they originally asked for intact. Make no mistake, I’m NOT calling for principles to be compromised, but rather a process where no one gets everything they want. That’s the point of having a system with checks and balances in place. It exists for a reason.

Congress spends most of the time separated into two groups: The constantly shocked and pissed crowd, and those constantly ready to feel offended. I blame both parties for this. Running legislation through in the middle of the night is bullshit, as is shutting the whole thing down because you don’t like the way something is heading. Grow up, kids.

You know another factor for that low approval rating? Continuously trying to tell the American people what they really feel and need. You are representatives of the people. Act like it. This week, Senate majority leader Harry “The Cryptkeeper” Reid decided to explain that the latest Obamacare extension was needed because the American people were “not educated” about the internet.

Seriously?

This coming from a guy that still sends out memos to his staff with the “Grandma just got her new computer machine font”:
hELLO fRIENDS,
tHIS iS sENATOR rEID aGAIN.
If Harry wants to single out a group of not-the-brightest-bulbs-on-the-internet, he might want to direct that critique towards the Obamacare website creators, but I digress…
Harry Reid has been in office since The Beatles released, “Abbey Road”. Think about that. He epitomizes the career politician. Reid has refused to entertain debate or compromise in dozens of instances with his “friends across the aisle”. By the way, with some of these exchanges between representatives of both parties, the American people are pretty hip to the fact that you despise one another. Adding that, “friends across the aisle” line makes most of us more frustrated than Joe Biden trying to tackle a long division problem.
It is imperative we recognize there are representatives trying their very best to represent the people that sent them to Washington, D.C. They do exist. I’ve met many politicians that are just as frustrated with the lack of compromise as we all are. They are out there. They battle daily with the onset of apathy, which is a killer, when representing their constituents. Not only that, but sarcastic rants from average Joes like myself.

So, how do we get these cats compromising again? I’d love to say term limits, but the chance of that happening is only slightly higher that I get bitten by a radioactive spider this week. How about getting involved at the local level and learning about what a politician believes in? Ask questions. You are allowed to do this. They are supposed to represent you.

 
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