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Archive for November, 2017

News from Representative Thomas Rooney

 

 

 

 

November 27, 2017

Good afternoon,
This week, my staff will host mobile office hours in multiple locations throughout the district. During mobile office hours, caseworkers from my office will be on hand to help with any trouble you may be having with a federal agency. My caseworkers cannot assist with state or local issues, or problems you may be having with private companies.

Office of Congressman Tom Rooney mobile office hours

 Tuesday, November 28th:

 Lehigh Community Services

201 Plaza Drive, Suite 103

Lehigh Acres, FL 33936

Open from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 Friday, December 1st:

 Morgan Family Community Center

6207 W. Price Blvd

North Port, FL 34291

Open from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

 Please know you are always welcome to reach out to my office anytime at 202-225-5792. I would also encourage you visit my Facebook page and sign up for my e-newsletter to receive these regular updates. It’s an honor to serve you in Washington, DC.
Thank you,
Tom Rooney
Member of Congress
 Washington DC Office
2160 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
p (202) 225-5792
f (202) 225-3132

 

 

 

 

Okeechobee Office
304 NW 2nd Street Room 105
Okeechobee, FL 34972
p (863) 402-9082
f (863) 402-9084

Punta Gorda Office
226 Taylor Street, Suite 230
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
p (941) 575-9101
f (941) 575-9103

Sebring Office
4507 George Blvd
Sebring, FL 33875
p (863) 402-9082
f (863) 402-9084

 

 

 

DAILY GRIND

6

November 27, 2017

Permission to republish original op-eds and cartoons granted.

Click on link for story

The GOP tax bill is better than you think, but it still might result in a ‘Read my lips’ moment
In Pennsylvania, 1.6 million taxpayers took $11.3 billion in state and local tax deductions and $8.2 billion in real estate tax deductions. There, 56,000 upper income individuals could be seeing a tax hike in a state where Trump only won by 44,000 votes.

The Trump administration is taking on the opioid crisis
2015 was the worst year for overdose deaths in US history, until 2016 happened. Now, unless the federal government takes decisive action, 2017 will be even worse. The opioid epidemic has left both rural and urban America paralyzed. After decades of overprescribing, opioid deaths last year alone account for more lost lives than the entire Vietnam War. The Trump Administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is leading the way toward critical reforms throughout government to save American lives.

David William: Special counsel Robert Mueller stands on reputation that belies a record including fumbles
“At 73, Mueller has a record that shows a man of fallible judgment who can be slow to alter his chosen course. At times, he has intimidated or provoked resentment among subordinates. And his tenacious yet linear approach to evaluating evidence led him to fumble the biggest U.S. terrorism investigation since 9/11.”

Hill News Alert

The Hill’s Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill

Senators are aiming for a vote this week on a Republican tax reform plan.   The bill would temporarily cut individual tax rates and slash the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. It also includes a controversial provision to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate.
If all Senate Democrats vote against the bill, Republicans can only afford two defections in the upper chamber, allowing Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie.

Here is a look at how the votes are stacking up.

Read The Hill’s Whip List here

Tell Air Force Secretary to end religious discrimination

Obama’s hostility toward Christians still exists in the military.
U.S. Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon was asked in May 2017 to sign a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for a retiring master sergeant in a same-sex “marriage.”
As a devout Christian, Bohannon refused to sign the document stating it would violate his religious belief of marriage being between one man and one woman. As a result, the Air Force suspended the colonel and effectively ended his career.
Sign the petition to demand the Air Force to:
restore and protect Colonel Leland Bohannon’s Constitutional right to freely exercise his religious beliefs by reversing the complaint against him and removing any unfavorable remarks from his record related to this complaint.
Col. Bohannon requested religious accommodation after speaking with Air Force officials. Such an accommodation would have allowed Col. Bohannon to maintain his religious beliefs and excused him from having to sign the document.
About six weeks later, the Air Force responded but gave no answer to Col. Bohannon’s request, leaving him without a defense. The airman requesting the “certificate of spouse appreciation” filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Office against Col. Bohannon for refusing to sign the document.
As a result, “Bohannon was relieved of command. Additionally, a letter sent by a superior officer recommended against Bohannon’s promotion to brigadier general, effectively ending his career.” He appealed the decision, but Col. Bohannon was denied the appeal by Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
In May 2017, President Trump, Commander in Chief, issued an Executive Order calling the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide guidance to the executive agencies on the protection of religious liberty. The DOJ issued the guidance on October 6.
The Department of Defense (DOD) headed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is an executive agency that also gives direction to the U.S. Air Force led by Secretary Heather Wilson. So far, the DOD has failed to issue follow-up guidance to protect the religious freedoms the military is fighting to protect.
Sign the petition urging Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to protect the religious liberty of Col. Bohannon.
TAKE ACTION NOW! CLICK HERE TO SIGN PETITION
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One Sick Senator, He was a Male Adult Knew Exactly What He Was Doing Was Wrong To Start With No Excuses! Step Down!

Franken on groping allegations: ‘This will not happen again’

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told reporters Monday that he will work to regain people’s trust in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct and vowed, “this will not happen again going forward.”  “I know I’m going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive, and that this will not happen again going forward,” Franken told reporters.  “Again, it’s going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust, but I hope that starting work today I can do that,” he added.

Read the full story here

TAKE A KNEE-MY @ss

NEAL MCCOY – TAKE A KNEE MY @SS (on my Facebook &Twitter) In a new song, Neal McCoy has his own opinion on people taking a knee in protest of the American Flag and Anthem. https://youtu.be/uPNnsi2dJIQ https://www.facebook.com/nealmccoymusic/videos/1560279557359040/

Lyrics: I pledge allegiance to the flag Of the United States of America I’ll stand and place my hand upon my heart Every time her anthem plays
And when I see somebody on TV Take their stand on bended knee Whether it’s on astro turf or grass I think of those whose freedom was not free And I say, “Take a knee my ass!”
I’ll stand up for the flag Take off my hat for old glory Thank God I live in the home of the brave And the land of the free
I’ll honor the ones who gave it all So we’re all free to go play ball If only for their sake I won’t take a knee
From Valley Forge to Vietnam 9/11 to Afghanistan That star-spangled banner does yet wave I won’t forget I owe a debt of gratitude I never can repay
Arm and arm and side by side American heroes fought and died Is showing some respect too much to ask? I speak for those whose freedom was not free And I say, “Take a knee my ass!”
I’ll stand up for the flag Take off my hat for old glory Thank God I live in the home of the brave And the land of the free
I’ll honor the ones who gave it all So we’re all free to go play ball If only for their sake I won’t take a knee
O say can you see? If only for their sake I won’t take a knee

Trump Mentions ‘God’ 9 Times In Thanksgiving Message – Here’s How Many Times Obama Did The Same. TRUMP MENTIONS ‘GOD’ 9 TIMES IN THANKSGIVING MESSAGE – HERE’S HOW MANY TIMES OBAMA DID THE SAME. November 24, 2017 by Benny Johnson

President Tump released his Thanksgiving message to the country Thursday morning. The message included a full-throated defense of his policies, the military and the future of the country. The president mentioned “God” nine times and “prayer” twice in his message.
Trump asked the nation multiple times to “thank God” in “prayer” and recalled the story of the first Thanksgiving, where pilgrims and Amerindians sat down together to enjoy a meal and thank God for the bounty of the harvest in the new land.
The president also recalled his predecessors, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were instrumental in designating Thanksgiving as national holiday.
“Today we give thanks for all of the pilgrims, pioneers, and patriots who have gone before us, and for all those warriors that have kept us safe and free,” he said.
WATCH:

Thanksgiving is a holiday with deep religious roots. (RELATED: Here’s How Thanksgiving Day Is Actually A Christian Holiday)
In contrast, in last year’s Thanksgiving message, President Obama mentioned “God” only once and never once mentioned prayer.
WATCH:
Two very different presidents.
Source: The Daily Caller

AMERICA UNDER SIEGE – SAVE THE DATE

A BEAR WITNESS CENTRAL CONFERENCE

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CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLICANISM—JUSTICE IS SERVED, AFTER ALL

A-Call-to-Arms-for-Tea-Party-Republicans-and-RINOs-Alike

On the face of it, Mitch McConnell’s attempt to preempt the judgment of the people of Alabama is blatantly unjust, plainly unconstitutional and obviously an act entirely motivated by vengeful arrogance. The primary voters in Alabama rejected his will, and he means to make it clear to them that he and his elitist friends are now the sovereign masters of this country, not the sovereign body of the people of the United States. The signs of his intent are the best proof yet that the elitist faction leadership of both wings of the current so-called two-party system have willfully abandoned their sworn duty, which is to help the people of the United States implement the scheme of representation the U.S. Constitution establishes for the self-government of the American people.
People like Senator McConnell obviously think that, contrary to the plain meaning of its words, the Constitution’s purpose is to give the appearance of lawful authority to what they smugly regard as self-vindicating exertions (and proofs) of their own superior power. They think it exists to make it less overtly violent and costly to impose their faction’s will, i.e., the will of those who once disdainfully arrogated to themselves alone titles of mastery, such as oligarch; noble; aristocrat, excellency, and other such vaunts of self-satisfied ambition.
What is worse, these titles once included words like person, gentry, gentle folk, and the like that were meant to distinguish human beings from creatures devoid of the traits and qualities that mark out humanity from the rest. From its very inception, the people of the United States rejected this arrogant elitist prerogative. They asserted human equality—in substance, by the power of God’s Almighty being and will; and in obligation, on account of the code whereby His will informs the existence of all things, including humanity. This code prescribes the conditions for human existence, the terms on which it is recognized as human, and preserved.
This understanding of God’s authority, was plainly expressed in the most famous words of the American Declaration of Independence. As a nation, we cannot too much revisit and ponder them, for they justify our sovereignty as a nation, and its root in each individual’s responsibility to God for the good of the body politc that, taken together, we comprise. Our sovereignty as a people is thus not restricted to this or that self-aggrandizing class among us. It derives from natural obligations that are shared by, and within the reach of, all of us.
To do right we must fulfill those obligations. This statement reminds us of the primordial meaning of the word right, as it is used in the Declaration of Independence. To do (exercise) right is to conserve and preserve our existence as human beings. The commitment to do (exercise) right in this way is the distinctive hallmark of the people of the United States. Obviously, this understanding of right is not just about how the material condition of one human being compares with that of another. It is about whether and how each of us expresses and acts on the will to take responsibility for the whole of humanity, as well as ourselves, according to the distinctive disposition God has prescribed for our nature. Whether the means at one’s disposal is a widow’s mite, or the mighty armies of the whole nation, the obligation remains a constant, equally applicable to all. This disposition to make provision to care for the whole, and what comprises it, is an indispensable characteristic of sovereign justice, i.e., that which just powers exist to serve.
What we make of this equally shared obligation to do right by God’s will for the existence we all have in common, is much affect by another distinguishing feature of our humanity, our freedom. We are free to decline God’s will for our nature. This makes sense since our being derives its substance from God, whose freedom is absolute. He has freely determined Himself in every way our existence requires. But His freedom remains intact. If we reject His determination, as it were straying outside the bounds that (as the word ‘determination’ implies) arise in it, according to His will, the freedom we thereby choose necessarily implies an outbreak of God’s being as it is apart from (in the absence of) the determination by which He conforms Himself to the requirements of our existence. This outbreak implies our non-existence, which is, from our perspective, annihilation.
These reflections open our mind’s eye to the fact that the exercise of right and that of freedom are not synonymous. We cannot be too much reminded that every right involves freedom, but every freedom does not involve right. People have the choice to reject God’s provisions; to act as they please, regardless of the consequences for humanity or any other form of existence. That willfully contrary use of freedom is recognizable as the root of abuses and injustices in every sphere of human activity. When it appears in the political sphere, it raises the issue of justice, both in the damage it inflicts and the execution of justice it requires. It’s fair to say that every use of sovereign power involves this issue in some way. Therefore, when its requirements are simply abandoned, that dereliction does not just threaten those directly damaged, it threatens the existence of the just community as a whole.
What better way to assure that this threat is never neglected than to make the whole people responsible for the sovereign powers that may thus be abused. Like the human body, when one part of the body politic hurts, that hurt is liable to be felt by others, and eventually communicated to the whole. This may be the good reason why America’s Founders preferred democratic republicanism to every other constitutional alternative. It may not deal with injustices instantly—but it makes it far more likely they will be dealt with after all. This is what has happened, time and again, in the history of the United States. There is no reason on earth or in Heaven, to let an elitist clique manipulate us into discarding it now.

How The Civil War Gave Us Today’s Thanksgiving, And What It Can Teach Us

Today, Americans will gather around kitchen and dining room tables from sea to shining sea for one of our most distinctly American celebrations. For generations, we’ve marked the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.

At the end of this fractious year, coming together in gratitude may feel difficult. In a nation that seems to be fraying at the seams—battered by racial tensions, political turmoil, bloodshed, and scandal—exactly what do we have for which to corporately give thanks?

It’s not as if our national discord is contained to the halls of Congress or the editorial pages; it invades our daily lives. When we can’t even watch the Lions game or get a second-rate cup of coffee from grandma’s Keurig without political implications, has Thanksgiving become a meaningless exercise in whistling past the graveyard?

Thankfully, the roots of our Thanksgiving celebration—like the discipline of thanksgiving itself—go deeper than happy feelings over food and football. Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving, celebrated by that tiny band of Separatists at Plymouth in 1621. However, we may not realize that our modern Thanksgiving celebration originated in our nation’s worst period of turmoil and bloodshed: the Civil War. In that story, there are lessons that can help us today.

How the Civil War Led to Thanksgiving

It’s a fairly simple tale. In America’s early days, thanksgiving celebrations were sporadic and mostly regional affairs. The popularity of the holiday began to grow in the 1840s and ‘50s, thanks primarily to the dogged efforts of author and poet Sarah Josepha Hale. As literary editor of the widely read Godey’s Lady’s Book, Hale used her platform to advocate a national, unified Thanksgiving Day. Besides writing multiple Thanksgiving editorials, she lobbied state governors and wrote to one U.S. president after another, finding more success with the former.

In the meantime, affairs in the United States were growing increasingly rancorous. In the bitter years immediately preceding the outbreak of war, Hale promoted her national Thanksgiving Day as a way to find unity. In 1860, she wrote: “Everything that contributes to bind us in one vast empire together, to quicken the sympathy that makes us feel from the icy North to the sunny South that we are one family, each a member of a great and free Nation, not merely the unit of a remote locality, is worthy of being cherished… We believe our Thanksgiving Day, if fixed and perpetuated, will be a great and sanctifying promoter of this national spirit.”

It was not to be, of course. By the autumn of 1863, Americans had already seen more than two years of war’s devastation in their towns, farmland, and families. The nation was freshly reeling from the Battle of Gettysburg, which had claimed the lives of 51,000 men that July. While terrible in its toll, Gettysburg marked a turning point in the war—a decisive Union victory that ended Confederates’ hopes of invading the North. At the same time, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was making a name for himself in the West, showing badly needed military leadership on the Union side. The tide was turning.

At this time, perhaps due to these victories, Hale’s cause suddenly broke through at the White House. Shortly after receiving a letter from Hale, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for a national day of thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday that November. November 26, 1863, marked the first in a now-unbroken line of American Thanksgiving holidays.

Lincoln’s wartime Thanksgiving proclamations of 1863 and 1864 are well worth reading. Besides providing a window into our history, they can also teach us what it means—and how it helps—to give thanks in the midst of national strife.

Lessons from Lincoln: First, Seek God

Perhaps most noteworthy is the clear religious tone of the Thanksgiving proclamations. Lincoln did not call for vague, general gratitude of the sort we find in modern Hallmark cards. Rather, he called for “thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens,” and even more strongly in 1864, “thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” Lincoln couldn’t have been clearer in his belief that thanksgiving must have an object, and that the proper object—the Giver to whom thanks is due—is Almighty God.

This is important especially when times are troubling and uncertain. As Lincoln’s audience knew all too well, our earthly blessings—home, friends, family, and life itself—can be lost in a moment. While gratitude based on temporal things will eventually fail us, thanksgiving is an act of communion with the eternal God. As such, it anchors us to something that will last forever. For precisely this reason, the Bible speaks of thanksgiving as part of the antidote to anxiety.

Is there anything more characteristic of our culture in 2017 than anxiety and fear? It is what drives so much of the violence and vitriol we see: mutual distrust between Left and Right, and fear of a future in the other’s hands. We would be well-served to remember that both Left and Right are under the care and authority not of Congress or President Trump, but of “the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” Through Thanksgiving and praise to him, we can take our eyes off our uncertain circumstances and place them instead on the unchangeable God.

Rediscover Repentance

While proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, Lincoln also calls for repentance. In his 1863 proclamation, he calls on Americans to pray “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” The following year he sounds even wearier, asking citizens to “reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers.”

Notice what isn’t said. There is no finger-pointing, no claiming of the moral high ground, no shaming of the evildoers. Lincoln speaks not of “their” but of “our” perverseness and disobedience. In the same sentence, he acknowledges the human toll of the conflict, asking for prayers on behalf of “widows, orphans, mourners, [and] sufferers.” It’s a passage that speaks not of anger or blame, but of deep sorrow and self-examination.

We could all learn a lesson here. In our outrage culture, we often start pointing fingers before the casualties of the latest horror have even been laid to rest. There is little reflection, little grieving, little repentance. Having done away with the notion of God as judge of all mankind, we’ve appointed ourselves in his place, which doesn’t allow us to acknowledge our own failings.

This is not to suggest that society should never render judgment on moral questions, but that it should do so with the humility of looking first for the logs in our own eyes. Our end goal should be not wholesale condemnation, but restoration—just as each of us has at times needed to be restored.

Look for Blessings, and See Them as Mercies

Finally, Lincoln points out that even in the midst of unimaginable trial, there are daily mercies for which we can give thanks. His proclamations list many of them: fruitful fields and healthful skies; peace with foreign nations; a flourishing industrial economy; health on battlefield and home front; growth of the free population “by emancipation and by immigration”; and the fortitude to withstand the trial at hand.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things,” Lincoln hastens to add. “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

This is the opposite of the way we tend to view the world. We see provision, order, and prosperity as the norm—no more than we deserve. It’s the hardships, the difficulties, the times of want and suffering that are aberrations to the natural order. If we took an honest look at the whole of history, however, we would see that the peace, order, and prosperity we currently enjoy are remarkable anomalies of the human experience. Further, they are not only blessings but mercies—far beyond what we deserve.

Thanksgiving and repentance share a common premise: that both mankind and the world we inhabit are fallen. We are bent toward evil, and life is bent toward suffering. While this may seem a depressing perspective, in truth it is a freeing one. It frees us to rejoice in daily blessings, even in the midst of hard times. It frees us to see our fellow humans with mercy, just as we often require mercy. It frees us from the worrisome burden of being our own sovereigns and moral authorities, allowing us to worship and trust the God who is.

With all respect and gratitude to Sarah Josepha Hale, it’s clear that her vision of a Thanksgiving holiday as the miracle cure for a fractured nation was naïve. The act of humble thanksgiving itself, however, could serve us very well—today as always.
From Alexander Cain 

If the late night “comics” told more jokes like this and made fewer political comments maybe we would enjoy TV again.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go into a bakery.
As soon as they enter the bakery, Hillary steals three pastries and puts them in her pocket.
She says to Donald, “See how clever I am? The owner didn’t see anything and I don’t even need to lie.” I will definitely win the election.
Then Donald says to Hillary, “That’s the typical dishonesty you have displayed throughout your entire life, trickery and deceit. I am going to show you an honest way to get the same result.”
Donald goes to the owner of the bakery and says, “Give me a pastry and I will show you a magic trick.” Intrigued, the owner accepts and gives him a pastry. Trump swallows it and asks for another one. The owner gives him another one. Then Donald asks for a third pastry and eats that, too.
The owner is starting to wonder where the magic trick is and asks, “What did you do with the pastries?” Trump replies, “Look in Hillary’s pocket”.

What Does the Democratic Party Stand for Today? Illicit Sexual Behavior, Bribery, Cheaters, Liars, False issue chargers, Party of Division, Baby killers, Obstructionist.

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll is bad for President Trump, but one number is raising some eyebrows when it comes to Democrats.
It asked whether people thought the Democratic Party stands for something or just stands against Trump, and people chose the latter by a 52-to-37 margin. So that is a majority of registered voters who think the opposition party isn’t defined by anything except opposition — that the Democratic Party has no real message.
This isn’t out of nowhere. Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, seemed to confirm the majority’s belief in an Associated Press story that just happened to pop the same morning the Post-ABC poll did. “That message is being worked on,” the congressman said. “We’re doing everything we can to simplify it, but at the same time provide the meat behind it as well. So that’s coming together now.”
Then there are those special-election losses — especially that backbreaker in Georgia, in which there was some Bernie Sanders-related consternation about whether Jon Ossoff was progressive enough.  It’s a bit of a mess. And it’s a mess that’s complicated by the fact that Democrats are really good at being disorganized and also don’t really have a leader to speak of at the moment. But here’s what else we can say: It probably doesn’t matter.
Republicans ran for years on a message of “Obama is bad” and “undo what Obama did” and it worked out pretty well for them in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Charlie Cook had this prescient quote in Rolling Stone in March 2010, when Republicans were actually in a pretty similar spot to where Democrats are right now and people were wondering what the message was:  “Does the Republican Party lack a clear leader? Absolutely. Do they lack a positive message? Of course. Do their demographics suck? Yeah,” Cook said. “But in a midterm election, none of that matters. Because midterm elections are a referendum on the party in power. And to throw one side out, you’ve got to throw the other side back in.”

 

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