Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter April 23, 2016
THE FAT LADY HAS SUNG
“IT’S ARKANSAS WORKS”
It’s over. Arkansas Works has passed and has been funded.
What else have I personally observed and learned from what has gone on over the last two weeks. And of course, my thoughts can’t include everything that has happened. There’s no way to be comprehensive. I anticipate and expect many to disagree with some or even many of my personal opinions but I have always tried to be honest in my personal opinion pieces.
I have learned that only a minority of our elected officials keep the promises they made while running for office. For most, politics gets in the way of integrity and principles. So sad, but considering what I have now witnessed over the vote for Arkansas Works, I believe my observation to be true.
Those that do keep their word will be attacked, misrepresented, maligned and threatened politically, materially and physically (and one actually had some of his personal property destroyed).
I’ve come to realize and accept that many of the newly elected Republicans are not really true conservatives Republicans but were masquerading as Republicans so as to get elected in a state that has turned red (Republican). Many of these legislators would have been Blue Dog Democrats (conservative Democrats) just a few years ago. In all fairness, maybe they should just be considered moderates (you decide what that means) since they are at least not fully liberal and left leaning as are today’s Democrats.
I’m not actually upset (but that doesn’t mean I’m happy) with Governor Hutchinson as many are over Arkansas Works and his method for getting it funded. (It’s obvious he really wants to keep 250,000 plus indigents insured while allowing $1.7 billion dollars to come into Arkansas). I remember very well during the time Asa was running for office. He never said that he would get rid of the Private Option (many I speak to seem to have forgotten this). He said he would study it and decide what he wanted to do. So his wanting to continue the Medicaid Expansion was not breaking his word or any promise. What he did was to have two advisory task forces (I personally was on one of them) and hired the Stephen’s Group to attempt to recommend ways to “fix the Private Option.” To be totally honest, we didn’t come up with much in the way of significant recommendations (outside of making it more efficient and getting rid of fraud and abuse – duh!). The governor came up with changing the name from Private Option to Arkansas Works and a few minor tweaks (a work requirement, a small monthly fee for some) and then the Federal Government refused to grant the necessary waivers. So essentially nothing changed. So, the Private Option = Arkansas Works.
At first I was angry, annoyed and disappointed with the governor when I heard the plan for amending the DHS funding bill with an amendment that would defund Arkansas Works on 12/31/2016. Why, because it was ploy known by all, that the governor has line item veto power and that he planned to veto that amendment thereby re-inserting funding for Arkansas Works after it passed. Then, it would no longer require 75% to vote for funding. It would then require 50% votes to override his veto and that would be impossible to get. So, the entire DHS funding bill would now pass. The more I thought about it, the more I had to admire his ingenuity (even though I didn’t like it) since all this was 100% legal and fully within the rules of the Arkansas government. It wasn’t even a secret trick since everyone knew his intention. Sadly, what it did do was to get two Senators to vote for the bill who had previously been against it (do they really think their constituents don’t know that they caved in?). Now, the bill could and did pass in both the Senate and House.
I also had to admit to myself that if the governor used a similar ploy to get a conservative piece of legislation passed (such as Pro-Life or Pro 2nd Amendment), we conservatives would probably be ecstatic and consider it brilliant and applaud him for his political savvy.
What I really found most objectionable was the scare tactics used by so many to try to convince the voters that the “sky would fall” and DHS would shut down (hurting the children and seniors, etc.) along with just about everything in Arkansas being underfunded. To those in the know, these claims seemed overstated and wildly exaggerated. They were reminiscent of the methods Governor Beebe and Democrats used in past to pass bills into law.
So, in conclusion, as of today, Saturday, April 23, 2016, Arkansas Works will continue to be funded. Over 250,000 indigent patients will continue to have medical insurance thereby allowing doctors, hospitals and others in the medical field to get paid for their services (and that’s a good thing). This year, the Federal government will pay 100% of the cost, 95% next year and then 90% in 2020 with Arkansas taxpayers covering the difference in the future. The money Arkansas receives will be printed by the Treasury and will further raise the out of control National debt. Those who have Arkansas Works, those who are between 18 and 65 and are healthy and capable of working, will now receive equal healthcare to those who work, pay taxes and also contribute to the cost of their health insurance. But, to those in poverty, their healthcare will be totally for free. No deductibles, no co-pays or co-insurance and all medications free (somehow that just doesn’t seem fair to those who work and pay taxes). And that’s bad.
Let me close with statement concerning my personal tension I have over all aspects of Arkansas Works:
JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS GOOD
DOESN’T MEAN IT STILL CAN’T BE WRONG.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter April 16, 2016
This has been an incredible last two weeks of politics concerning the Private Option/Arkansas Works. I thought I was beginning to understand the political system after participating within and around it for the last four years. As it turns out, I continuously discover how much I don’t understand plus the realization that, “Am I ever naïve!” So, let me tell you some (but far from all) of my recent “jaded” observations and conclusions.You don’t have to be insane to be in politics, but it really helps. I now believe that many, if not most in political office or running for office, might carry the clinical diagnosis of “Delusional Masochists.”Delusional because they think or believe they went into politics to make government better and thereby improve people’s lives. That’s why they sought political office and that’s what they promised their constituents and themselves. The delusion is that they actually believed and believe they can realistically achieve this goal (think Mr. Smith Goes To Washington). Then, if elected, the hard reality soon hits them that they are one of many, have little power to change things for the better, the political system is stacked and rigged against them and it becomes next to impossible to consistently adhere to your principles (assuming they had any to begin with). To get anything done, they frequently and often have to compromise beyond what they’re comfortable with or else “the system” punishes them and their constituents. Many end up making choices they never believed they would make.
Masochistic in that they are constantly attacked and questioned by their opposition and frequently even from their friends. It happens even more often if they hold fast to their promises to those who voted them into office. Those who disagree with them will often viciously and publicly attack them; both for their political stance but frequently also on a personal level. Often this recurs month after month, year after year, election cycle after election cycle. Then, they come back for more abuse by running again for office. Who in their right mind does that? Who voluntarily takes this abuse?
I’ll tell you who because I personally know them (those in Garland County and surrounding counties) and have observed their behavior throughout this recent legislative session. I am so proud of them because they have adhered to their promises and principles. They are Senator Alan Clark and Representatives Bruce Cozart, Mickey Gates, Marcus Richmond and Richard Womack (there are many others but I don’t know them personally). They ran for office promising to do all in their power to stop the Private Option/Arkansas Works by voting against the actual bill and then also to vote against the bill being financially funded (which would effectively kill it). You may disagree with their votes (and many do) but they were voted into office on this pledge and they are keeping their respective word to the majority who elected them.
I thank God for all who I have labeled Delusional Masochists. Just imagine what politics and government would be like without them. These above legislators are a special breed of people. I am proud to call them friends. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them and there never have been.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter April 9, 2016
AMERICANS ARE OUTRAGED
Is it just me or does it seem that just about everyone is angry almost all the time? I’m not talking just angry; they’re outraged. And it concerns just about any topic such as politics, religion, race relations, world events, world leaders, etc. You name it, someone’s upset. Oh, I don’t mean in your face or publicly angry since that might be physically dangerous and especially socially unacceptable. Yet, because of the machines (the Smartphones, tablets and computers) that so easily communicate over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., many people have become critics of just about everything and have opinions about all aspects of life. Sometimes appropriate, often not. They say things and post things that they would almost never say to one another in person.
Often, these postings are angry responses and comments following a printed article, letter to the editor or a blog. They’re often anonymous because the person is allowed to use a made up username rather than their real name. When this is the case, the person can say just about anything, no matter how ridiculous, outrageous, profane or just plain stupid. Yet, due to anonymity, they know there won’t be any consequences.
Frequently the postings are not anonymous (such as on Facebook) yet people still seem to feel they’re somehow shielded from personal consequences. Maybe they feel safe because any potential response, whether it be positive or negative, the response will remain in cyberspace. Maybe both sides just get to have a satisfying catharsis. If per chance the responder really ticks you off or offends you, you can just delete their post and block further replies giving you control over the encounter. What a feeling of potential power. It’s intoxicating and addicting. Why else would there be so much of it.
I just can’t get over public attacks between people. Just this week, think about the Twitter war when rapper Azealia Banks publicly called for Sarah Palin to be gang raped by a group of black men. And most likely nothing will happen to her. If anything, she will get more popular. What about Black Lives Matter groups advocating for police to be killed and politicians sucking up to these groups as if what they are advocating isn’t premeditated murder.
What about what’s been going on in politics for the last year? Do any of us remember in our lifetimes such nasty personal attacks? Can you ever remember wives and children of political candidates being attacked? One candidate calling another Little Marco or Lying Ted while the size of another candidate’s hands are featured as if that’s important.
Despite my dislike for Hillary and Bernie as potential presidential candidates, I was at least impressed by their civility towards each other. Well, that ended this week now that they are attacking each other and I’m expecting it to further escalate.
Hey, I could go on and on. I’m really sorry for just rambling this week. I’m just so fed up with what has happened to American society and its people. It’s going from bad to worse, as is the entire world. And I don’t really know how it’s going to get any better.
Sometimes I just want to stop thinking and being involved with any attempt to improve Hot Springs, Arkansas and even the U.S. But, so like many others, I can’t and won’t. I just hope I can continue to do my part without inappropriate anger, outrage and nastiness while refusing to return evil for evil.
Only with God’s help will you and I be able.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Part
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter April 2, 2016
AMERICAN’S RESTRAINT IS REMARKABLE
Easter has come and gone but not without further vicious attacks on Christians and Christianity. In Yemen, radical Islamic terrorists of ISIS crucified a Catholic priest on Good Friday after kidnapping him from an old people’s home where they also shot and killed four nuns. Why? Just because they were Christians; infidels. On Sunday, in Lahore, Pakistan, at a playground where Christians were enjoying Easter, a suicide bomber killed seventy children and their mothers. Why? Just because they were Christian; infidels. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. government now has declared that ISIL is committing genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims. It’s about time but what difference will that announcement make?
Since 9/11, there have been 28042 Islamic Terrorists attacks throughout the world. In just the last 30 days, there have been 147 Islamic Terrorists attacks with 1165 killed and 3221 injured. These were carried out by 36 suicide blasts in 25 different countries (Reference: TheReligionOfPeace.com).
Besides the 3000 killed in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, a number of other terrorist attacks and killings have occurred over the last fifteen years in the United States. None of us have any idea or data concerning how many attacks have been averted or thwarted by local police, the FBI and Homeland Security since these occurrences are essentially kept secret. We might all be shocked to find out how many there have almost been.
So, why have I entitled this message, “American’s Restraint Is Remarkable?” (I will even add Western Europeans and especially the restraint of Jewish Israelis). Answer: It’s because of what we haven’t done in response to our entire civilization, culture and religion being attacked and threatened repeatedly by radical Islam.
Here’s a theoretical scenario by comparison. What if an attack occurred in one of many predominately Muslim Arab countries? During the attack, dozens of Muslims, whether Shia or Sunni, have been killed. A group of Christians, responding to the repeated killings of their people, proudly claim responsibility. They also promise more terrorist attacks and killings. Can you imagine what would happen next? The Imams would preach to their people that the infidels Christians have attacked Islam, Mohammed and Allah. They would issue Fatwas to kill all Christians in the name of Allah. I believe there would immediately be a total annihilation, a holocaust, a genocide of every Christian living in every Muslim country. There would be increased attacks on Christians in non-Muslim countries. I also believe this is the answer to why Christians in Muslim countries have not fought back when attacked by Muslims. They know the horrific inevitable consequences.
Now, despite what CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) and other Muslim groups claim, since 9/11 there has not been widespread discrimination and anti-Muslim attacks in the United States (or Europe) against Muslims or Mosques. According to the FBI, in 2014, 57% of Anti-Religious Hate Crimes targeted Jews (647 instances) with only 16% targeting Muslims (184 instances). In reality, these are just a few episodes out of a population of 320 million Americans.
That is what I find remarkable. This is what I call civilization and civilized people. We continue to have Muslim friends and we go to Muslim doctors. For the most part, we don’t indiscriminately hate but focus our anger only on those who actually commit atrocities. This is why we all should be proud of who we are. We’re not Islamophobic but we do fear those who wish to harm us.
Yet, what I fear is what could happen if terrorist activity increases in the United States. What if, God forbid, bombs blew up in crowded areas of shopping malls, in the middle of Times Square or at local high school football games? What if, as in Israel today, people on the streets of America where indiscriminately attacked (stabbed or shot) by radical Muslims, yelling Allahu Akbar (“God is Great”). Remember, it is estimated that 32% if American households have at least one firearm with 270 million firearms owned by Americans. How long would Americans continue to remain passive, rather than reacting, if they feared for their daily safety, because of the actions of one religious group of people? Even civilized people have their limits.
Maybe this is what ISIS wants and is trying to achieve. I hope and pray we can somehow stop them before they get their wish.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter
March 26, 2016
I have to make a confession. I have been on vacation all week and have tried to avoid the problems of the world (for at least this week). Unfortunately, if you don’t turn off the TV and completely avoid the Internet, the world’s problems find you. Of course, seeing and hearing of the terrrorist’s bombings in Brussels was unavoidable.
Prior to that, I had actually found a YouTube video that encouraged me by the person’s willingness to objectively and honestly record his experience at a Donald Trump rally. I have been writing about Donald Trump and the protesters at his rallies and his description of what he experienced I found significant. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth the few minutes.
So, no opinion piece this week except for this off duty policeman’s opinions. PLEASE CLICK ON THE YOUTUBE VIDEO BELOW.
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter March 12, 2016
WHY IS TRUMP SO POPULAR?
Please believe me when I say that I am neither for nor against Donald Trump even though I favor Ted Cruz. What I write below is just my thoughts and analysis of the “Trump Phenomenon,” which it is.
Whether you love Trump or hate Trump, you have got to at least be impressed by what Trump has accomplished since declaring his intent to run for the presidency just nine months ago. His presidential candidacy was originally mocked and thought to be a joke. He was accused of really being for Hillary and this was nothing more than a sham. Essentially no one took him seriously but here we are today. He is leading in primary delegates and just keeps getting more.
So, what is the standard analysis of his success from those who just recently were scoffers? Simple answer: He appeals to those voters of every race, religion and socioeconomic class of either political party who are fed up with politicians, whether they be Republican or Democrat and with corrupt government as it presently functions.
They love his directness and willingness to say what they’re thinking. They applaud his unwillingness to also be politically correct. They concur with him giving the middle finger to the political “establishment.”
He is perceived by many, rightfully or wrongfully, to have earned his wealth by his business acumen, hard work and cunning. Despite being a billionaire, he is “one of us.” They perceive him as a “doer,” not just a “talker.” That he will be able to stand up to and more importantly beat those countries, which have for decades taken advantage of the United States (economically, strategically and in many other ways) and have played the United States for the fool. They believe he knows how to get the economy booming again. That he really loves America, believes she is in decline and wants to “make America great again.” They feel the same way and believe he is capable of doing what he says.
Many believe many of America’s problems stem from illegal, uncontrolled immigration. There are also the potential dangers of Islamic Jihadists interspersed with Syrian refugees. He has promised protections and solutions to these problems.
What is amazing is that they are willing to ignore his obvious personal flaws and inconsistencies. They ignore his few bankruptcies because no entrepreneur ever succeeds on every project and they look at his present multibillionaire status and his overall achievements as evidence that he is extremely successful. Evangelicals ignore his biblical illiteracy and immorality because they want a President who can win. They don’t want a King Saul but a King David or King Solomon who despite their at times sinful ways made ancient Israel the envy and most powerful country in the world. And even many true Conservatives, knowing he is not a true Constitutionalist or social conservative, are still wiling to back him because of his expected fiscal conservatism.
I contend that Trump’s success is more than the logical reasons I have just summarized. Few have ever seen the enthusiasm he generates. Tens of thousands show up to his rallies and scream, yell and wave signs. The common explanation is that he is a populist. I don’t think that explanation is sufficient.
Last week I participated in a Grassroots Leadership conference, which discussed various leadership techniques. One of those was that of Saul Alinsky’s, “Rules for Radicals.” I had thoroughly written about him in the December 5, 2015 newsletter. He was the founder of the Community Organizing movement and its techniques. Whether you like his “Rules” or not, they work well. Maybe too well! The left usually uses these techniques but either group, right or left, can use them successfully.
I was struck by how many of them Donald Trump has and presently employs. This is not meant as a condemnation but just to point out his use of these strategies, which have been so effective. They are successful because they appeal to and stir up our basic human nature.
Below are listed just a few of these rules that Trump uses that are most obvious to me. They are given with examples in no particular order.
* RULE #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating.
Trump has ridiculed Jeb Bush as having little energy and he’s a loser, he mocks Carly Fiorina’s appearance, he calls Rubio, “Little Marco.” This technique has forced his opponents to retaliate and play his game, not theirs. Trump gets away with it and benefits, they don’t.
* RULE #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.
Lately, how many times have you heard Trump call Ted Cruz a liar? And because of this accusation, Trump belittles and attacks Cruz’s integrity and therefore claims Cruz’s Christianity is false, hoping this negatively influences Evangelicals.
* RULE #2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. This is why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.
Trump brings up issues to his followers but rarely goes into details on how he will fix those issues. This might only confused them and lose them (that’s assuming he has specific plans)
* RULE #1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.
Trump appeals to his followers because he is a multibillionaire and is therefore powerful. He is so rich that the establishment, money or lobbyists can’t influence or buy him. He doesn’t need them. He will do what he wants and is beholding to know one. He knows their techniques. He’s independently powerful. He also has people all over the world that love him and that he leads, influences and beats in negotiations thereby making great deals.
* RULE #7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics
Trump is constantly finding new people and ideas to attack and thereby keeps his followers excited. Due to his political incorrectness, which his followers love, he can say and do things that would destroy other politicians.
* RULE #8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.
This rule has Trump’s name written all over it. He constantly finds new and different issues and ways to accuse his opponents of wrongdoing. Before they can sufficiently respond, he attacks anew. Another example, in the Thursday March 10th Presidential Primary debate, a “new” Donald Trump showed up with a completely different demeanor. It again kept his opponents off balance.
* RULE #9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
How many times did Trump intimate he might run as a Third Party candidate if he isn’t “treated fairly?” The thought sent shivers down the RNC’s spine and they backed off. They’re still scared of that. They know only he could break his promise to never run as a third party and get away with it. His followers would still vote for him even if it meant giving the Democrats the win. I don’t believe he would run as a third party, but it is the threat that is effective.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I hope I have not offended anyone with this new, additional way of explaining the “Trump Phenomenon.” It was not meant to be judgmental; just informative and thought provoking. The more each of us knows and understands about the candidates and how they influence us, the better the choices we can and will make.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – March 5, 2016
(IT SEEMS TO ME) TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
I am sitting in front of my computer on Thursday morning wondering what in the world has happened to supposedly intelligent people in “leadership” in the Republican Party? Those in the “establishment.” Just to be clear, I am not writing about Republican primary voters.
Donald Trump has just overwhelmingly won Super Tuesday and is well on his way to being chosen, by the people, as the Republican candidate for president. Mitt Romney will be giving a speech in a few minutes that will supposedly viciously attack Donald Trump (P.S.- and so his speech did). A large group of previous GOP national security leaders have just issued a letter condemning Trump’s foreign policy. The National Review has declared that Trump is not a Conservative and is unworthy to be President. So have many other Republicans strongly come out against him.
Just to be clear, I have personally endorsed Cruz and am not a huge Trump fan. So I am not beating the drums for Trump but just giving you my observations, thoughts and analysis. What I am writing is not because I want him to be chosen but just my personal analysis of what errors I am observing and what could be the outcome (fallout) of those previous and future mistakes by the Republican Party.
I am disgusted with the stupidity of the actions of those who oppose Trump. Where have you all been prior to the start of the primaries? Why have you so underestimated his appeal “to the people?” By having and still having so many other candidates, they have diluted any chance someone else can consistently lead Trump in the polling. To this day, Trump has not received greater than 50% of the primary votes – a majority. He just leads all individual candidates in most states.
Until recently, most candidates attacked each other, not Trump. It’s typical of the Republican Party. You know what this is called? “Cannibalism!!” It’s when “you eat your own.” Now, Cruz and Rubio are finally going after Trump (I know, many will say he’s not really a Republican but he is the Republican frontrunner and they’re trying to devour him). It seems to me, it’s all “too little, too late.”
At this point, the best those opposed to Trump can hope for is for Cruz, Rubio and Kasich to win a few state primaries and deny Trump the 1237 delegates to guarantee his nomination at the convention on the first ballot. That would lead to a “Contested (Brokered) Convention” with the hope that someone other than Trump would be “coronated.”
If this occurred, do they not realize there would be a “civil war” within the Republican Party? I would anticipate “The Donald” would then run as an Independent (despite his pledge not to) and bring his followers with him. He is smart enough to know he wouldn’t win the Presidency but he would do this to punish the Republican establishment that truly would have treated him “unfairly.”
In my opinion, at this time, the only fair way for someone else to get the nomination would be if the field of candidates were narrowed down immediately to Trump vs. just one other candidate. But who would step aside for the good of the country after all their time, effort and money spend, plus their egos? If that single candidate received over 50% of the upcoming primary votes, that would show proof that Trump was not truly the favorite of the Republican voters. I doubt that will happen but anything is possible, just not probable.
Sadly, all this is occurring while Hillary’s chances of being indicted have just gone up significantly which would increase the Republican candidates chance of wining in the fall. It has been reported today that most likely a grand jury is already hearing testimony about the abuse of her emails and that her computer server IT person has been given immunity to testify about the details of how and why a non-secure server was set up.
My final thought is relatively simple. We conservatives consistently take the Constitutional position that “the will of the people” is what the government and elections should follow. This is central to our basic conservative values. We may not personally like the choice of the majority of the people but once that majority candidate choice is known, he should be treated correctly, fairly and then fully supported. All else would be hypocrisy.
If we don’t support the eventual chosen candidate, what are the two other UNacceptable alternatives? One is voting for Hillary or Bernie, which is unthinkable. The second UNacceptable choice is to not vote at all which is the same as voting for the Democratic Progressive Presidential candidate?
I have also heard some say they are unwilling to vote for what they consider to be the lesser of two evils. So, by not voting, we then get the greater of two evils? How does that make things better?
Finally, no one can claim this political season hasn’t been and continues to be exciting and unique with unexpected twists and turns. I just hope and pray this bodes well for the future of the United States.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – February 27, 2016
THE NEW “PIED PIPER”
I want to spend a few minutes this week on Bernie Sanders. I doubt anyone reading this newsletter is supporting or voting for him but it is still good to know as much as possible about the “other side.” This week, I realized how little I knew about him as a person and his life’s story. Yes, we all know a lot about his being a socialist and being U.S. Senator from Vermont since 2006. We know he wants a political revolution of Democratic Socialism for America. He also wants to punish Wall Street and the Banks and tax the rich and give the money to the poor. He desires free college tuition and Universal Healthcare. He wants “social justice” and a leveling of the playing field for all Americans. He is Robin Hood incarnate fighting all the evil Sheriffs of Nottingham.
I must admit that I disagree with just about everything he wants to do to America. But, when I have listened to him I at least feel he is sincere and was not pandering to the public or flip-flopping (as Hillary does). Bernie has remained the same Bernie and that’s the major problem.
Now having said that, who is Bernie Sanders the person? Until this week I had not seen anything biographical written about him or his life. When I read the article below, I felt I needed to share it with you all.
Bernie and your money
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said last month his parents would never have thought their son would end up in the Senate and running for president. No kidding. He was a ne’er-do-well into his late 30s.
“It’s certainly something that I don’t think they ever believed would’ve happened,” the unabashed socialist remarked during a CNN Democratic town hall forum.
He explained his family couldn’t imagine his “success,” because “my brother and I and Mom and Dad grew up in a three-and-a-half-room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and we never had a whole lot of money.”
It wasn’t as bad as he says. His family managed to send him to the University of Chicago. Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck—and it was a government check.
“I never had any money my entire life,” Sanders told Vermont public TV in 1985, after settling into his first real job as mayor of Burlington.
Sanders spent most of his life as an angry radical and agitator who never accomplished much of anything. And yet now he thinks he deserves the power to run your life and your finances—“We will raise taxes;” he confirmed recently, “yes we will.”
One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps and it was all downhill from there. Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail.
Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment—and this is what his friends had to say about him.
The only thing he was good at was talking . . . non-stop . . . about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”
So he tried politics, starting his own socialist party. Four times he ran for Vermont public office, and four times he lost—badly. He never attracted more than single-digit support—even in the People’s Republic of Vermont.
He finally wormed his way into the Senate in 2006, where he still ranks as one of the poorest members of Congress. Save for a municipal pension, Sanders lists no assets in his name. All the assets provided in his financial disclosure form are his second wife’s. He does, however, have as much as $65,000 in credit-card debt.
Sure, Sanders may not be a hypocrite, but this is nothing to brag about. His worthless background contrasts sharply with the successful careers of other “outsiders” in the race for the White House. The choice in this election is shaping up to be a very clear one. It will likely boil down to a battle between those who create and produce wealth, and those who take it and redistribute it.
So now you know “the rest of the story.” Bernie is a habitual loser who wants to run America. Despite his dismal personal achievements, he is mesmerizing a fairly large portion of young people (Millenials – those born from 1980 to 2000 -16 to 36 years old) to follow him like the “pied piper” lead those to destruction. Heaven help America!
Even though he will probably not succeed in displacing Hillary Clinton from the Democratic nomination (unless she is indicted), his significant appeal to so many should bring great anxiety to those of us who believe in free enterprise and economic freedom. Why do so many want to do away with the economic system that has lifted up the greatest number of people out of poverty and has given Americans enormous prosperity? I guess the answer is that getting it all for “free” just sounds so good. Alas, that only works in “fantasyland,” not the real world.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – February 20, 2016
To my friends and supporters:
WHY I WILL NOT RUN IN NOVEMBER
FOR POLITICAL OFFICE
Please allow me to walk you through a story that began in 2012 and then again in late 2015.
Every two years, three of the six City Directors are elected. In 2012, I was suddenly and unexpectedly asked to run for City Director, District 6. I had only been attending the Tea Party lunches for about six weeks but I guess my questions and discussions with the Tea Party leadership made them believe I was a viable candidate and a conservative despite being a relatively unknown individual in Hot Springs. It also helped that they had no one else who would run. I had never, ever thought of running for any political position but they assured me that I could easily win against an incumbent by the name of Tom Daniels (it actually turned out to be Randy Fale). It all happened so fast and I guess I was so flattered that after speaking with Marilyn, my wife, I said yes. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
To those that have never run for office, you need to know it is hard work, expensive, time consuming, exhausting, humiliating, frustrating and often a dishonest process. Yet, it is also exciting and you get to meet and know hundreds of new people and your life is never the same; in reality, only better. I now know a decision to run for office should not to be made lightly but only after much thought and prayer.
After deciding to run, I was blessed to have many in the Tea Party help me with my campaign especially since I had no idea what I was doing or what had to be done. They set up Meet and Greets at people’s homes where I gave personally written short 20-30 minute speeches. After the speech I asked for donations (money) to fund my campaign (eventually raising $16,000) and requesting people’s votes. This was the most humbling thing I had ever done in my life. Multiple candidate forums were attended with speeches given and these were followed by question and answer sessions.
Signs of various sizes had to be designed, ordered, received and then inserted in the ground in various locations after asking and getting permission (I’ll bet you don’t know how much rock there is just 3-4 inches below the ground). “Push cards” were written and designed and were given out at events and also mailed to those living in District 6. Political ads were placed in the Sentinel Record, the local newspaper. The physically hardest part of campaigning was walking door to door in 95-degree or more summer afternoons and evenings, day after day. The fun part was for two weeks before the election, you and your friends stand on street corners waving your signs twice a day and waving at people and they respond back to you by honking and giving you thumbs up.
The emotionally hardest and most devastating aspect of the election process is when the opposition circulates rumors and lies about you as a person. There is so little you can do to correct the false information. Your integrity is questioned and you’re just so frustrated.
Then came election night. I barely lost, 51-49%. I really wasn’t depressed. I had done much better than I expected against my opponent (Randy Fale) and it was a “once in a lifetime experience.” I swore to my wife and myself I would never do it again. Once was enough.
Fast forward to late 2015. Many conservative groups began discussing plans for the November 2016 elections for City Director, Districts 1, 3, & 6. I was approached by many, many individuals and groups and asked to seek the position for City Director. Many were unhappy with the present director and truly believed I could win the position if I chose to run. Additionally, no one else was seeking the position.
I have to honestly say that I had no desire to put my wife and myself through the ordeal of again campaigning for political office. I don’t seek the “power” that comes with having a political position nor do I care about any other secondary personal gain. Yet, I have come to really love Hot Springs and am unhappy with the way the City Directors have dictated policy and repeatedly ignored the desires of the people they represent. And I hate the way they disrespectfully treat the County. Wanting better for Hot Springs and believing I could be a part of its improvement and believing I could win, I agreed to again seek the City Director position.
Why did I believe I have the best chance to win? Since 2012, I had become well known in the community and believe I have a good reputation for integrity and my political opinions. During the last three years I had become Chairman of the Garland County Tea Party, 2nd Vice Chairman of the Republican Party, Board member of the Charitable Christian Medical Clinic (where I also volunteer as a physician), I was a monthly guest on Dick Antoine’s radio talk and call in program. In addition, I had written a weekly conservative opinion column in the Garland County Tea Party newsletter and I often wrote letters to the editor in the Sentinel Record newspaper. People knew who I am and what I stand for.
During this time I met a young woman (at least younger than me) by the name of Renee Westfall. She is a lifetime resident of Hot Springs and has great knowledge of the history of the city and its politics. She too is very unhappy with the city’s leadership and desires to change it. Our views and desires concerning Hot Springs are very similar. She and I met many times. I often asked her if she was going to run for City Director. She repeatedly and publicly said she was not going to run for City Director, District 6. Assuming I would win, I looked forward to her advising and helping me improve city government.
Near the end of the year, Renee changed her mind and has now committed herself to also run for the same position I agreed to seek. Many have asked her not to run since they believe I have a better chance of winning. They believe defeating the present City Director is of primary importance. Her Facebook answer to everyone on January 21st was, “No, I will not bow out. My intention is to win for the people of Hot Springs to reclaim their voice in government.”
I believe Renee will make an excellent City Director. What I don’t know is whether or not she can defeat the present incumbent director. I believe Renee and I would appeal to the same group of people who are unhappy with the present city directors. If so, their votes would be split between the two of us and would guarantee a victory for the present City Director. I care too much for the future of Hot Springs to let that happen. This campaign is not about me; it’s about Hot Springs’ future.
It would be foolish and arrogant of me, knowing and believing I was going to lose, to spend 6-8 months campaigning and also raising and spending $20-25,000 of other people’s money. There would be no way to win if your voter base is split between two similarly politically minded candidates.
So, I hereby declare publicly, I WILL NOT RUN for City Director, District 6 in November 2016. I know I am disappointing many of my friends and I so thank you all for trusting and believing in me. I truly hope you understand my reasoning as put forth in this letter. Better to give Renee a chance to win than both of us losing and thereby hurting Hot Springs’ future.
Should Renee for any reason change her mind before the final filing date, I would of course reconsider. I truly wish Renee the best.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – February 13, 2016
THERE IS STILL HOPE
I assume we have all been watching the results of the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. I would imagine that you have also listened to and watched a number of the speeches given after the results have been announced. This then followed by analysis after analysis by supposed political experts.
If you’re like me politically (and I assume you are if you’re getting this newsletter), then the most frightening candidate is COMRADE Bernie Sanders. I can’t even imagine the United States becoming a “Democratic” Socialist country (he keeps emphasizing “Democratic” so the majority of the public will think that somehow it’s not real socialism; somehow a better version). He attempts to convince his listeners that somehow stealing from one group of people and giving to another group is fair, right and just.
But what scares me the most (but doesn’t surprise me) is how young people, the so called Millenials, are so ecstatic towards his message. Watching them as he speaks, I just wonder if they are stoned on his message, something else, or both.
That’s why I was so encouraged on February 11th to read the Arkansas Democrat/Gazette guest writer below. He is a Millennial that gives me hope for the future.
Republican youth are far from selfish
SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE FEBRUARY 11, 2016
It is often said that today’s youth are quite liberal. Others add that Generation Y, or Millenials, as they are better known, are the “laziest generation” yet. According to the experts, we are less industrious, moral, and hardy than our forebears.
As the chairman of the Arkansas Federation of College Republicans, I would respectfully disagree with such statements of overarching characterization.
The conservative youth of our proud state are anything but members of the laziest generation. We are concerned citizens. We are active members of our local communities. We believe in a promising future, and we are willing to work for the American Dream.
In regard to the perceived “liberalism” of America’s youth, we do in fact care about our neighbors (the idea of “caring” being a liberal buzzword). We greatly desire to share in the opportunity that our nation’s democratic liberty provides. One might even describe us as “socially conscious.”
While this idea of social consciousness is often attributed to liberalism, conservative youth are here to reclaim the idea that caring about individuals is not just a Democrat’s concern.
While the traditional Republican mantra has been one of hard work and bootstrapping one’s way to success, the Democratic mantra has been one of government empowerment. It’s easy to see how people might be persuaded to vote Democratic. Nevertheless, that is not the message of the incoming generation of conservative leaders.
While we believe hard work is absolutely necessary, we emphasize that smaller government creates more opportunity. Smaller government empowers individuals to pursue their dreams without the shackles of bureaucratic red tape. We want a hand up, not a hand out. In reference to the age-old adage, we want to teach individuals to fish, not just give them a stamp for it.
As socially aware individuals, Arkansas Republican youth are also fiscally conscious. We understand that with a mounting national debt of almost $19 trillion, we will someday be responsible for the bill. It’s not typical for youth to lecture their elders about monetary responsibility, but faced with college loans, job placement, and next month’s rent, the national debt is a concerning crisis.
We believe that America cannot keep wading deeper into the waters of financial irresponsibility.
The youth of Arkansas are ambitious, engaged, and hopeful for a bright future. Our message is clear: We care that people are able to live the American Dream.
Our conservatism is not a selfish one, but one that desires for all individuals to have the chance to pursue their visions of life, liberty, and happiness.
Through limited government, expanded opportunity, self-determination, and personal responsibility, we are determined to flourish, and make this nation proud.
—––––– › –––––—
Jeremiah Moore is the chairman of the Arkansas Federation of College Republicans, the largest youth political organization in the state.
Those of us who are of the Christian faith place our ultimate hope in the Second Coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. But until that time comes, we all must find hope in people and those who have leadership over us. Reading this young man’s thoughts helps me to not believe all Millenials and young people are like those waving signs and screaming loudly behind Comrade Sanders. Not all young people expect and demand to get things they have not earned.
Whether he knows it or not, Jeremiah Moore is Tea Party. I would be honored to meet this young man.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – February 6, 2016
PRIMARY SOAP OPERAS
As I write this newsletter, I am sitting in a beautiful condominium in Park City, Utah. We arrived Sunday and after it stopped snowing on Monday, on Tuesday, I had the best day snow skiing I can ever remember. At 68 years old, I never expected to ski that well ever again.
But, I awoke on Wednesday with a terrible head cold and viral-like symptoms. Needless to say, I then spent the rest of the week inside watching the television’s talking heads pontificate on the results of the Iowa caucus and then discuss the upcoming New Hampshire primary. I was even so bored that I watched the Democratic debate between Hillary and Sanders.
What have I learned? I’ve learned that the process leading up to choosing the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates is the equivalent of a daytime soap opera with all its intrigue. No matter where you pick it up, you can figure out the plot. The exaggerations, lies, innuendos, backstabbing, dirty tricks, accusations, belittling and bravado never ends and just keeps accelerating. Yet, it’s so entertaining. You have to keep watching for fear you might miss something even though you say you don’t really care. It’s striking to watch different TV networks and their prejudices towards different candidates, pro and con. How they can emphasize some aspect of the race for or against their choice.
Now think for a moment about the insanity of the innumerable political polls that have been reported over the last 6 months, the last month and the last few days before the Iowa Caucus. Nobody had it right. They were all useless. Trump was supposed to get 28% to Cruz’s 24% but it ended up just the opposite. Rubio was to have 13% but got 23%. So why do all networks keep reporting rubbish? Why are the polls so inaccurate? Probably because of their inability to get a representative sample of voters due to fewer and fewer landlines, more mobile phones, peoples unwillingness to answer their phones due to caller id or to take the polls, inherent bias of internet polling, etc.
The Eleventh Commandment was a phrase used by late President of the United States Ronald Reagan during his 1966 campaign for Governor of California. The Commandment reads: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. Well, how’s that working out? Hillary and Sanders seem to be wisely following Reagan while the Republican field of contenders are devastating and attacking each other. The blood is running in the streets. How will they all then turn around and hug one another when “the One” is chosen? The Republicans are verbally attacking each other with great research that the Democrats will later use against their own candidate. Oh, the insanity of politics.
As of this writing, there are still eight Republicans in the New Hampshire primary. Outside of Trump, they are all spending (wasting) millions of dollars on advertising. When finally one is chosen, then fundraising starts again so more money can be wasted on both sides. Yet, what other choice or alternative is there?
Finally, after having said all this, I do acknowledge the importance of who will be our next president even if the mechanism of getting elected is so flawed (and always has been).
If a Democrat, we can all expect more and more progressive policies.
If a Republican, at this point, we don’t know what to expect. Will it be a Social Conservative, a Fiscal Conservative or a Constitutionalist or a combination of all of the above?
At this point, all I can say is, “Stay Tuned
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – January 30, 2016
PATRIOTIC AWARDS BANQUET
My opinion for the week,
THE GARLAND COUNTY TEA PARTY
The First Annual Garland County Tea Party Patriots Award Banquet was held on Thursday evening, January 28th. Tom Wilkins’ downtown Hot Springs Five Star Theater was home for a sold out crowd of over 125 patriots. The evening began with a wonderful buffet supper, which was then followed by many patriotic activities.
Those in attendance enjoyed the presentation of the U.S. and Arkansas flags by the Hot Springs Honor Guard. Nancy Carlton beautifully sang the national anthem. A bugler played the official songs of the different branches of our Armed Services as those who had served stood for recognition].
Dr. Jack Sternberg welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to the event. All the elected officials in attendance were then recognized by name for their service to the city, county and state. Rebecca Seewald then amazingly sang, “Let Freedom Ring.” (If this song didn’t get you all fired up, your wood is all wet).
Jack then introduced Tom Wilkins, the evenings’ Master of Ceremonies and long time patriot and promoter of entertainment in Hot Springs. Jack read a short but impressive summary of many of the projects Tom had accomplished over the years.
Tom then introduced the guest speaker of the evening, Jan Morgan.
She gave a challenging, encouraging and convicting talk about America, patriotism and the need to be personally active in saving our country. She reminded us of the sacrifices of our Founding Fathers to have the opportunity we to live in the greatest country in the world. We have to continually remember to fight to keep the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the foundation of our country. The Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, is what guarantees and protects us all from government tyranny and personal harm.
Then came the announcements of who won the Patriotic Awards:
Patriotic Volunteer of the Year — Clay Herrmann
Patrick Henry Award — Mayor Ruth Carney
Patriotic Media Award — Hot Springs Daily e-paper
Patriotic Business Award — The Gun Cave
Patriotic Organization Award —
Garland Good Government Group (GGGG)
Patriotic Bulldog Award — George Pritchett
Patriotic Woman of the Year — Dianna Cowan
Patriotic Man of the Year — Dr. Jack Sternberg
Patriotic Lifetime Achievement Award — Hettie Lou Brooks
The evening concluded with an uplifting song sung by Rebecca Seewald.
To sum up the eveining, it was a great night for all those in attendance. It honored so many who have served the cause of freedom in our community. It included all those who were nominated to those who won their categories. It also honored everyone who attended and have shown his or her patriotism over the years.
Finally, it was a call and a reminder to continue all our efforts to keep America, America. The greatest country in the world.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – January 23, 2016
I had written a very powerful opinion piece for this week’s newsletter but you might never get to see it. You are probably wondering, “why not?” The answer has to do with the following Old Testament scripture that I try my hardest to adhere to:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (counsel)
I have now written a weekly opinion piece for the last 52 weeks. I usually write it early in the week and then look it over the next day and usually find something I didn’t say or something that I could have said better. I NEVER send it out without at least two and often more people looking at its content, spelling and grammar. My wife Marilyn is always the first whose opinion I seek; then others. I always ask for their opinions and advice concerning the appropriateness of what I have written. Is it consistent with the ideals of the Tea Party? Could I have said it better? Can you think of anything I should add to clarify or improve upon what I have written? Is it worthy to be sent out to over 950 people on the newsletter’s mailing list? Does it make sense? And finally, should I even send it?
Without getting into details, I was very upset and hurt over an encounter I had with a group of people. I wrote a newsletter opinion piece for all of you to read about why I was upset and how they needed to change. Immediately when my wife read it, she encouraged me not to publish it in the newsletter. Even though she thoroughly agreed with the content of what I had written, she wisely advised me to send it as a letter directly to those in the group and not make it a public issue. By keeping it private, there would be a greater probability that the letter could lead to future improvement concerning the issues I had addressed.
I also discussed this with the Tea Party leadership group that meets every Wednesday. Even though I am the Chairman, I do not unilaterally make decisions for the Garland County Tea Party. All plans and directions for our group are thoroughly discussed by the members in leadership. Concerning this opinion piece, most agreed with Marilyn that I shouldn’t use the newsletter to address the problem.
What have I learned over the years and what can we all learn from this situation? I’ve learned the hard way not to go it alone. When I make major decisions, whether they are life choices or financial decisions, it is always best to hear the wisdom of those I trust and respect. It is then that my (our) chances of choosing wisely are vastly increased.
In today’s world and society, we all think we know best. In some areas, that may be true but more likely, we all could use a little help. To think otherwise is arrogance. Many problems could be avoided if we just slowed down and were willing to listen more and maybe speak a little less.
I know and accept that I’m the first one needing to take my own advice. Hopefully, I will as will you.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – January 16, 2016
KEEPING IDENTITIES SAFE
It may surprise you all, but I don’t always have a weekly opinion to share. Or at the very least least, I’m not yet ready to share on paper something that’s on my mind.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an informational newsletter concerning the penalty, or lack of penalty, for just carrying a firearm into a “gun free zone” There have so many people thanking me that I thought I might try again to share some knowledge I have gained over my lifetime (often after I have made a mistake and had to correct it). The present topic is a significant problem that few people understand and specifically, what they can do about it.
The problem is “Identity Theft.” When cyber thieves use your personal information (birthdate, address, Social Security number, etc.) to open new credit card accounts or directly buy merchandise. We all hear about it constantly. Many years ago I contracted with LifeLock identity protection and paid yearly for their services. At some point, I actually and finally called them and asked them how they protect my identity. The simple answer was that they monitor for identity theft and notify me “immediately” after my identity has been compromised or stolen. Then, they will help me restore my destroyed credit rating. Well, that didn’t make me feel very good and safe. Where was the proactive protection?
So, years ago I did my own research and found a relatively simple and almost free (just a few dollars one time) way to totally protect myself. I recently found a great article explaining what I have known and have been doing personally for years. I could not have said it any better so here’s what you need to know to be safe:
Why and when you should consider freezing your credit reports
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Freeze your credit reports before you get burned.
That’s the message from security experts, consumer advocates and some state Attorneys General. They say more people should consider a credit freeze as a way to block identity thieves from opening new credit cards and other accounts in your name. They recommend a freeze even if your identity hasn’t been stolen.
“It’s much better to shut the door before it even takes place,” says Mike Litt, a consumer program advocate at the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “You can save yourself so much time and headache.”
I didn’t listen, and now I regret it. Someone recently applied for 10 credit cards in my name and opened two wireless phone accounts. Removing the fraudulent activity off of my credit reports took hours: I had to make several phone calls, send paperwork and fill out a police report. And my credit score will probably be hurt temporarily until everything is removed. I could have avoided all that if I had frozen my credit reports earlier.
But there are some downsides to a credit freeze to consider. It also blocks you from opening new lines of credit, so if you plan to take out a mortgage or apply for a new credit card you’ll need to remember to unfreeze it each time. And residents of some states have to pay a fee for a freeze.
Here’s more on how credit freezes work:
Q: What happens during a credit freeze?
A: New creditors won’t be able to view your credit reports. That prevents new credit cards or loans from being opened since lenders look at credit reports to decide whether to offer you credit. Instead they’ll see that the report is frozen. The freeze won’t affect any credit cards or loans you had before the freeze was placed; those creditors will still be able to see your reports.
Q: When should I freeze my credit report?
A: It’s a must if an account has been opened in your name or if you’ve been notified that your Social Security number was taken in a data breach. Even if identity theft hasn’t struck, you still should seriously consider it, since data breaches have become so common. So far in 2015, there have been 766 data breaches at banks, government agencies and big companies, exposing more than 178 million records, according to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center. A breach of government records, for example, exposed Social Security numbers of about 26 million federal employees and their spouses.
Q: How do I freeze my credit report?
A: Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You’ll need to freeze your credit report at all three because some creditors only use one. Contact Equifax at www.freeze.equifax.com or 800-349-9960, Experian at experian.com/freeze/center.html or 888-397-3742 and TransUnion at transunion.com/securityfreeze or 888-909-8872. They’ll ask you for your Social Security number, name, address and other details.
Q: How much does a credit freeze cost?
A: It depends on the state laws where you live. Fees are typically between $3 and $10 to freeze each credit report, and you may pay another fee to unfreeze. Freezes are free at a few states, including Indiana and Maine. Fees may also be slightly different at each credit agency.
Q: Will the freeze hurt my credit score?
Q: Is this different than credit monitoring?
A: Yes. Credit monitoring services, which you have to pay a monthly fee for, alerts you if a new account is opened or other suspicious activity takes place. A credit freeze is the only way to stop criminals from opening new accounts in your name. Some experts don’t recommend credit monitoring because it’s expensive, as much as $20 a month. Instead, you can monitor your credit report on your own. You’re entitled to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com .
Q: When do I need to unfreeze my credit reports?
A: If you’re applying for a mortgage or auto loan or credit card. That’s because lenders check your report to see if they should lend to you. You can ask the lender what credit reporting agency they use and unfreeze that one, says Litt. You can unfreeze a credit report temporarily or permanently at any time.
Q: How do I unfreeze my credit reports?
A: By contacting the credit agencies again. When you ask to freeze your credit reports you’ll get a number that you will need to save. That number will be your key to unfreezing your account, so keep it in a safe place. Losing the number will delay removing the freeze.
Q: Will a freeze protect me from all identity theft?
A: No, it only stops thieves from opening new accounts. Thieves can still use your existing credit or debit cards to make fraudulent charges, so you will still need to check your statements every month. It also doesn’t protect against other types of identity theft, such as taking out prescription medication in your name or filing fraudulent tax returns, says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center.
So, in summary, I personally have frozen my credit reports years ago with all three credit reporting agencies. It did it simply over the Internet. Two years ago, I changed my mobile phone service from AT&T to Verizon. I gave them my credit card for Autopay but I then received a call that they couldn’t set up my account because they attempted to check my credit but the credit agency wouldn’t release my credit report (It really works). I asked them which agency. After they told me, I went on the Internet only to that one agency’s website, put in my special code, temporarily unfroze my report for 5 days (it froze itself again automatically) and all was well.
I beg you all. Don’t be lazy. Protect yourselves. It’s so simple.
“A WORD TO THE WISE SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT.”
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – January 9, 2016
How boring life would be if we as citizens of Hot Springs and Garland County didn’t have an issue to be upset or even angry over. Not to say those emotions are not righteous, appropriate and necessary. It’s that there is always something. I guess it is human nature that if you put three people in a room, you get four opinions. No one has a monopoly on always being correct. And I sure don’t. Just read my autobiography.
So, what’s the latest controversy?
“To Annex or Not Annex, that is the question.”
It’s possible that some have missed the origin of this controversy and its latest manifestation.
To review, the 2015 Arkansas General Assembly passed a law (Act 109) which stated it was now permissible and legal for a city to annex an area (enclave) without those living in the areas approval as long as the area was bordered on three sides by the city and the fourth side was a lake or river (or another state, a military base, a state park, or a national forest). This empowered the City of Hot Springs to propose annexing five enclaves (A,B,C,D,E) which surround Lake Hamilton. Enclave A has already been annexed by a vote of the Hot Springs City Directors.
For the last two months, citizens from both the City and County and from the proposed annexation areas have publicly expressed their opinions, for and against the annexations. The City Directors then have the final vote “to Annex or Not Annex.” So far, Enclave A has been annexed. They are now looking at annexing Enclave B.
Arguments for annexation can be as simple as it is just illogical for there to be little pockets of the county that presently surround Lake Hamilton that are well within the surrounding city limits. It is inefficient for county services to have to make special trips, crossing areas of the city, to serve these areas. That with annexation, there would be better police and fire protection along with simpler waste disposal. That the residents would see their water bills decrease since county residents pay 50% more for their water. There would be an improvement in ISO firefighting ratings so that homeowners would see a savings on their home insurance.
Arguments against annexation have been well expressed by George Pritchett, Skip Houston, Russ Skallerup and many others who have spoken at the City Board meetings and have written in the Sentinel Record. The arguments can be broken down to personal and economic.
Many enclave (county) residents just don’t want to be city residents. They specifically bought their homes to be in the county rather than the city. They don’t want to live under the city’s extra rules and regulations.
The economic arguments include the fact that city services will be “diluted” as existing resources will provide services and public safety protection to possibly 20 percent more people and area. Presently the city has no plans to construct the additional fire stations they say are needed. Nor does the city have the money to do so. Annexation will not improve city revenue unless a property millage tax is imposed since these are mostly residential areas. The annexed areas will cost the city more than they generate. Garland County isn’t fighting these enclave annexations as the responsibility and costs for all services (such as street maintenance) are shifted to the city, while the county only experiences a loss of state turnback revenue. In essence, the city has little to gain and much to lose.
The city’s Board of Directors have heard all these arguments before and still voted to annex Enclave A. I expect in the near future they will annex the other four areas they have proposed. Are they not listening to the people? Are the people who speak representative of the citizens of the enclave areas or are they just angrier and more vocal and more willing to go to the Board meetings and object? The answer is, who knows?
So, what would I do if I were presently a City Director? I would not annex any further areas without a vote of the enclave residents; for or against and I would have the vote on Election Day, November 8th, so as to maximize the vote. I would then make my decision based on the will of the majority. I would not want city residents to also vote since it is the enclave area residents who are personally and most affected.
But, since I don’t expect our City Directors to do what I consider to be fair and just, I am making the following proposal. In the near future, before the city board can vote again on annexation, the Garland County Tea Party along with other concerned citizens should lead in an effort to have private vote. The vote would allow those who live in the enclave areas the opportunity to chose whether they wish to be annexed or not. The results could then be presented to the Board of Directors. They would then truly know the will of the people and then hopefully they would act accordingly.
Let me know what you think of my suggestion. I think it is “fair and balanced” and just might be acceptable to all parties involved. But that’s just my opinion. Better yet, my hope.
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party
Garland County Tea Party Weekly Newsletter – January 2, 2016
A MADMAN’S INVITATION
As most of you know, I am a retired Medical Oncologist. To maintain my medical license, I am required yearly to have many hours of CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits. Each week I receive one hour of CME by attending a very informative weekly cancer conference at what is now CHI St. Vincent’s hospital. This last week I noticed for the first time the above sign (No Firearms or Weapons Allowed) on the entrance to the hospital.
For at least ten years, I have and maintain my Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) Permit. For the last two years, I carry whenever I am outside my home. I feel it necessary because of increased crime here and nationwide along with the infrequent but yet real threat of mass public shootings by either deranged individuals or terrorists. I personally am also extra concerned because I am the Chairman of the Garland County Tea Party and write this weekly outspoken newsletter. I am also Jewish and Christian.
Here’s my dilemma. What to do about secretly carrying a concealed weapon into an area of a private business (not a government building) that posts “no firearms allowed” and is therefore a “gun free zone?” So I asked a local gun store owner what happens if you’re discovered since I didn’t know and many of you also might not know. He told me the consequences of carrying a firearm in a private establishment, If you aren’t a concealed weapons permit holder it’s a misdemeanor. If you have a CCW permit, it’s a felony (because supposedly you should know better).
I was also told something similar by a local bank president whose bank also has the above policy. I asked him why such a policy? His answer was that the bank would rather give an armed robber the money (since the bank and the money are insured) than risk people being shot trying to save the money. It was for me to wonder what about the right to save your own life if the robber just doesn’t walk out of the bank (i.e. – teller hits the alarm, the bank is surrounded by police and now there’s a hostage situation – that’s what always happens on TV)? My life’s not insured by the bank: only the money. Only my weapon gives me a chance of survival. Who has the right to deny me that chance?
So before publishing this newsletter, I decided to fact check the Arkansas penalty for having a firearm in a “gun free zone”. I found nothing on the Arkansas State Police CCW permit website nor could I find any applicable law on the Internet (using Google) for Arkansas. I then spoke with a number of CCW permit instructors who I thought would/should know and none of them had an answer. I contacted my son, a Pulaski County Deputy Sheriff, and he didn’t know. I then asked Jason Stachey, Acting Hot Springs Chief of Police who met with Terri Harris, Garland County Prosecuting Attorney, who gave me the answer. This answer was then confirmed by the Arkansas State Trooper CCW Permits office and finally by Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, who I spoke with personally.
The answer is that there is no specific law or penalty for being caught carrying or having a firearm in a “gun free zone.” The offense would be treated as trespassing. If the business owner asks you to leave and you do so, no crime has been committed. If you refuse to leave and law enforcement is called, you could be charged with Criminal Trespassing; a misdemeanor and that would still be decided by the local prosecuting attorney. So the original information I was given turned out to be totally wrong. I will bet that many of us have been worried over the years believing we were violating a written state law if we carried into a private business “gun free zone”. I hope this really helps all of us who believe in the 2nd Amendment.
Now for the bigger issue:
Does anyone in their right mind really think that the above sign stops “bad guys” from entering their establishment with firearms intending to do evil? If it did, I doubt that we would have had the following:
Of the recent shootings that have captivated headlines, many have occurred in posted “gun-free zones”: the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California; Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado; Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Virginia; Fort Hood, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee, like all U.S. military bases; Century 16 Cinema in Aurora, Colorado; and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. On and on it goes. Since at least 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. Every mass public shooting — and there have been plenty of mass shooting in Europe — has occurred in a gun-free zone
The next logical question:
Should private establishments fear those legally carrying firearms such as Concealed Weapons Permit holders? Are they a danger? Nationwide, only a tiny fraction of 1% have ever abused their rights and inappropriately used their weapons so that can’t be their rational for not allowing legal carry in their establishments (www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/concealed-carry). In addition, stories abound of armed citizen preventing crimes and killings because they were armed.
So what good does “gun free zones” do? Why do some establishments have them? Why shouldn’t law abiding, background checked, concealed carry weapons permit holder who want to protect their lives and the lives of others be allowed to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights?
So I ask again of many establishments, What good does “gun free zones” accomplish? Please, someone tell me,
WHY DO YOU HAVE THEM?
Jack Sternberg, MD
Chairman, Garland County Tea Party