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The Villages Conservative Media
Feb 15, 2019
President Trump declares National Emergency
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Congress Has Failed Once Again to provide the necessary funds and resources to protect America and it's citizens.
Tony Ledbetter, energetic Volusia Republican "boss" dies
By Mark Harper
Posted Feb 13, 2019
Volusia County Republican Party Chairman Tony Ledbetter, whose energy is widely credited with a flip of the county’s registered voters from blue to red for the first time since at least Reconstruction, died Wednesday.
Known by party member as “The General” or “The Boss,” Ledbetter was a controversial figure unafraid of challenging norms, much like the candidate he supported starting in 2015, when he started delivering hundreds of signs and Make America Great Again hats to Donald Trump backers.
“I’m a Type-A personality. Donald Trump is a Type-A personality,” Ledbetter once said. “I’m going to be the leader of the train. ... That’s what Donald Trump is.”
Tony Ledbetter speaks at the Republican Lincoln Day dinner at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach last August. He died Wednesday. [News-Journal/Nigel Cook]Ledbetter, 71, of Ormond-by-the-Sea, had been ill with cancer for the past 10 weeks and died Wednesday morning, his wife, Toni Wright Ledbetter, said.
“This happened so quickly,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s like we couldn’t find a way to tell everybody. ... He just didn’t have time.”
She shared the news on Facebook with Volusia County Republicans.
PHOTOS: Remembering Tony Ledbetter, Volusia Republican Party chairman“He just had an enemy he could not defeat,” her post reads. “The cancer came fast and showed no mercy. He is at peace.”
The death came as a shock to many, even close friends and Republican Party members. The Ledbetter they knew was an energetic, forceful figure who found himself at odds with some Republicans, but the party he ran consistently won since he was first elected chair in late 2012.
“Wherever he was, you knew he was there,” Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley said.
“What a loss. ... He was focused like an arrow,” said state Sen. Tom Wright, R-New Smyrna Beach.
Marilyn Ford, who as the party vice-chair is now the acting chair, said Ledbetter was “tireless” with a “clear and singular vision” of what he believed.
“During election cycles, I don’t doubt he went to bed thinking about candidates and waking up thinking about candidates,” Ford said.
Vic Baker, a friend who co-hosted a pro-Trump radio show with Ledbetter in 2017, said he was fearless.
“There were people who disagreed with him. There were people who didn’t like him. But there were very few people who didn’t respect Tony,” Baker said. “He was absolutely a tireless, dedicated supporter of President Trump and his agenda.”
Ledbetter was born in Columbus, Georgia, where he graduated from Jordan Vocational High School in 1965. He served in the Air Force four years and worked in the insurance industry for years.
He had two children, Anthony Scott Ledbetter and Kimberly Lynn Ledbetter Patterson.
And he lived with his wife, Toni, for 32 years. They moved to the Daytona Beach area in 1996.
By then, he had started a small business, and his wife said Ledbetter’s strength was as a “wonderful salesman” influenced by the author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
The Ledbetters tried a 3-D picture business in the 1990s but the trend came and went.
They later started Miracle Lace Visor Inc., in Daytona Beach, which sold one-size-fits-all decorative visors starting with a single cart at the Daytona Flea Market. The company later grew to sell in at least 10 foreign countries as well as across the United States, where business picked up during a wave of patriotism following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Miracle Lace made red, white and blue visors.
Politically, Ledbetter considered himself first and foremost a “Barry Goldwater conservative,” dating to the GOP’s 1964 presidential candidate. Ledbetter got involved in the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and entered the local political scene during the Tea Party movement in 2009.
The next year he became vice chair of the Volusia County Republicans before his assumption of the chairmanship in 2012.
Toni Ledbetter said her husband had tunnel vision.
“Whatever his focus was, it was 100 percent. ... And No. 2, he had great discipline,” she said. “He was a very black-and-white guy. What you saw was what you got. He wasn’t capable of thinking in color. ... Once he was committed to something, it was Katy bar the door.”
Deb Denys, the longest-serving member of the current Volusia County Council, called him “a force to be dealt with” who had accurate instincts and deep convictions.
“Tony was the difference between success and failure in Volusia County,” she said.
Victories and controversies
Local Republicans had numerous signature moments during Ledbetter’s tenure, starting with the shocking victory of Jason Davis as Volusia County chair in 2012. Ledbetter assisted Davis in that nonpartisan race and his aggressive tactics brought the weight of the Republican Party behind other such races for County Council, School Board and municipal seats.
That practice was divisive to some Republicans, and later came back to bite Davis in 2016 after the party distributed voter guides that endorsed Ed Kelley, who knocked off the incumbent for the county chair position. Davis went so far as to file a criminal complaint against Ledbetter. Prosecutors found no criminality.
On Nov. 6, 2013, Ledbetter was part of protest against a 10th-grade world history textbook used in Volusia County schools because it contained a chapter about the rise of Muslim civilizations without a corresponding chapter on Christianity. In Ledbetter’s black-and-white worldview, it didn’t matter that the history book was organized chronologically and the district used a sixth-grade textbook with a chapter on the earlier rise of Christianity.
The protest became heated, and the School Board called off its meeting that night due to security concerns.
Some Republicans took issue with Ledbetter’s activism, with then-County Councilman Pat Patterson describing it as “echoing the extreme.”
His work with the Republican Party was done as a volunteer. Although party chairs typically remain neutral during contested primaries, Ledbetter made no bones about his support for Trump in 2016 and Ron DeSantis in the 2018 governor’s race. And for both campaigns, Ledbetter took paying gigs before they faced GOP opponents in their primaries.
Ledbetter said he was able to separate his roles as a campaigner and a party boss.
“I’m either wearing the Republican hat or the Trump hat. I don’t mix the two together,” Ledbetter said.
Sometimes his Facebook posts waded into fanatical territory. In one instance in 2018, he responded to a post about Islam and Muslims by writing: “ANIMALS REMOVE THEM FROM OUR COUNTRY.”
That year he also shared a post calling the billionaire George Soros “a true Nazi” who is “largely responsible for the invasion of Europe.”
He brushed off criticisms as part of the partisan warfare of campaigning.
“The only reason it would be a story here is because the Republican Party has turned the tables on the Democrat Party in Volusia County. ... They want to reverse our advances,” he said.
One of Ledbetter’s proudest moments came in 2016, when he was part of the Electoral College.
Following election night but before the Electoral College certified Trump’s victory, Ledbetter received more than 25,000 emails urging him to vote for Hillary Clinton, who had won the popular vote.
Ledbetter wrote an opinion piece making his case for the United States as a republic, not a democracy.
He pointed out that Trump won 2,623 counties while Clinton won just 489. “This alone proves the Electoral College gives all Americans, no matter where they live, their voice in the most important decision we face every four years,” he wrote.
As news of his death spread Wednesday, a tide of tributes rolled in.
Flagler County Republican Club President Danielle Anderson called him “a giant in conservative circles.”
The state party tweeted about Ledbetter’s loyalty and dedication.
“No matter which side of the political aisle you find yourself on, there can be no debate that in Volusia County, Tony Ledbetter was and is a legend,” state Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, R-DeLand, said. “Today we lost a champion.”
A celebration of life has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Volusia Memorial Funeral Home, 4815 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Port Orange.
Here is a link to his full obituary.
Trump To California: Give Us Our $3.5 Billion Back For That 'Green' High-Speed Rail
Ken James/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By JAMES BARRETT
February 14, 2019 One of the much-critiqued goals of the since-disappeared FAQ Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent to major news outlets and posted on her "Green New Deal" information page was the creation of so many high-speed trains across the country that "air travel stops becoming necessary" (don't spend too much time parsing the grammar of that line). Right on cue, newly elected California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced in his State of the State address this week that he was ... canceling most of the high-speed rail project that has already taken over a decade and is now projected to cost taxpayers a staggering $77 billion because, well, it's just not realistic.
Play VideoSo now President Trump wants federal taxpayers' money back.
"California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars," Trump tweeted Thursday morning. "They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a 'green' disaster!"
Newsom set himself up to be called out by the president. In his State of the State Tuesday, the liberal governor specifically mentioned trying to figure out a way not to pay federal taxpayers back.
"Let’s be real," Newsom said in his State of the State address. "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were."
Having admitted that the Democrat-led California government could not be relied on to handle complex building projects and failed on the key issues of oversight and transparency, Newsom refused to entirely let go of the high-speed rail dream — in part because he didn't want to give that $3.5 billion back to Trump.
"Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises, partially filled commitments and lawsuits to show for it," said the Democratic governor. "And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump."
As The Daily Wire noted Tuesday, the plan, as of now, is to complete only the Central Valley segment of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles train. Newsom's admission that the project, which is now 11 years in the making, is not realistic fiscally comes after a series of delays and significant increases in estimated costs. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
California voters approved a $10 billion bond in 2008 largely for the construction of bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The state finally broke ground in 2015 on a 119-mile segment between Madera and Bakersfield, but the project has lost popularity and become a growing political target as it blows through deadlines and budgets. A revised business plan adopted last year pushed back the completion of the project by four more years and estimated a final cost of $77 billion.The issue of high-speed rails became a national conversation last week when Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the Green New Deal and her since-deleted explainer and FAQ, which promised among other things to “[t]otally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle."
Venezuela was my home, and socialism destroyed it. Slowly, it will destroy America, too.
Daniel Di Martino, Opinion contributorPublished 3:15 a.m. ET Feb. 15, 2019
While neither 'Medicare-for-all' nor a wealth tax will turn America into Venezuela overnight, all it would take is a series of catastrophic policies.The first time I couldn’t buy food at the grocery store, I was 15 years old. It was 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela, and I had spent more than an hour in line waiting. When I got to the register I noticed I’d forgotten my ID that day. Without the ID, the government rationing system would let the supermarket sell my family the full quota of food we needed. It was four days until the government allowed me to buy more.
This was fairly normal for me. All my life I lived under socialism in Venezuela until I left and came to the U.S. as a student in 2016. Since the regime in charge imposed price controls and nationalized the most important private industries, production plummeted. No wonder I had to wait hours in lines to buy simple products such as toothpaste or flour.
And the shortages went far beyond the supermarket.
My family and I suffered from blackouts and lack of water. The regime nationalized electricity in 2007 in an effort to make electricity “free.” Unsurprisingly, this resulted in underinvestment in the electrical grid. By 2016, my home lost power roughly once a week.
Our water situation was even worse. Initially, my family didn’t have running water for only about one day per month, but as the years passed we sometimes went several weeks straight without it. For all these problems, the regime has blamed an iguana, right-wing sabotage, and even the weather.
A rich country, wasted resourcesThe excuses for these shortages were hollow: In reality, Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world to use for electricity, and three times more fresh water resources per person than the United States. The real reason my family went without water and electricity was the socialist economy instituted by the dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.
The welfare programs, many minimum wage hikes, and nationalizations implemented by their regimes resulted in a colossal government deficit that the central bank covered by simply printing more money — leading to rampant inflation. Now, prices double every few weeks and the standard of living continues to plummet.
A man walks past a mosaic depicting late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (left) and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 30, 2019. (Photo11: JUAN BARRETO, AFP/Getty Images)
I watched what was once one of the richest countries in Latin America gradually fall apart under the weight of big government.
I didn’t need to look at statistics to see this, but, rather, at my own family. When Chavez took office in 1999, my parents were earning several thousand dollars per month between the two of them. By 2016, due to inflation, they earned less than $2 per day. If my parents hadn’t fled the country for Spain in 2017, they’d now be earning less than $1 per day, the international definition of extreme poverty. Even now, the inflation rate in Venezuela is expected to reach 10 million percent this year.
Venezuela has become a country where a woeful number of children suffer from malnutrition, and where working two full-time jobs will pay for only six pounds of chicken a month.
American liberals embrace same failed policiesEven though so many of us Venezuelans fled to America to escape from the destructive consequences of socialism, liberal politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., have praised the same kind of policies that produced famine, mass exodus and soaring inflation in Venezuela.
Even worse, in recent weeks, Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna, and Tulsi Gabbard have mischaracterized the current protests against Maduro and condemned President Trump’s widely-supported moves to help end Maduro’s dictatorship.
Additionally, many congressional Democrats support “Medicare-for-all” and the "Green New Deal,” proposals that would nationalize the health insurance industry, guarantee everyone who wants it a job and massively raise taxes, increasing government intervention in the economy like few countries except Cuba and Venezuela have seen before. Proponents think that they can give all Americans quality health care, housing, and everything for free and that somehow politicians can do a better job at running a business than the business owners themselves.
Daniel Di Martino, center, with his parents in Caracas, Venezuela, in December 2016. (Photo11: Family handout)
These proposals would skyrocket the budget deficit and national debt, which just reached a record $22 trillion. If that is not enough, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, endorsed paying for the proposal by asking the Federal Reserve to print money. This is exactly what produced Venezuela’s nightmare.
Still, the liberal economist Paul Krugman recently argued in a column that “whenever you see someone invoking Venezuela as a reason not to consider progressive policy ideas, you know right away that the person in question is uninformed, dishonest, or both.”
I can assure Mr. Krugman that I’m neither uninformed nor dishonest. Of course, it’s true that neither "Medicare-for-all" nor a wealth tax alone would turn the United States into Venezuela overnight. No single radical proposal would do that. However, if all or most of these measures are implemented, they could have the same catastrophic consequences for the American people that they had for Venezuela.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said: “The United States will never be a socialist country.” I sincerely hope the president is right, and that every American can resist the lure of false promises — so this great country can always shine above the dark cloud of socialism, and avoid Venezuela’s fate.
Daniel Di Martino is a Venezuelan expatriate and Young Voices contributor studying economics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Follow him on Twitter @DanielDiMartino.
Virginia delegate who proposed abortion until birth wants to protect insects
By Newsroom | January 31, 2019 , 12:50pm
FacebookTwitterMore110KVideo of Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran defending her controversial bill that would allow abortion even up to birth in the state of Virginia caused outrage this week. The bill, however, did not make it out of committee. And yet, it has opened the eyes of many to the extreme position of political pro-abortion activists. And in another eyebrow-raising discovery, it turns out that on the same day, Tran also introduced a bill to prevent spraying for certain pests such as “gypsy moths” and “fall cankerworms” during certain months. The Daily Caller reports:
The Democratic Virginia delegate who has recently come under fire for sponsoring a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would allow the termination of a pregnancy up to 40 weeks old, is also the chief patron of a bill that would protect the lives of “fall cankerworms” during certain months.
Democratic Virginia Del. Kathy Tran introduced “House Bill No. 2495 – Fall cankerworm; spraying prohibited during certain months” on Jan. 9, the same day as “House Bill No. 2491 — Abortion; eliminate certain requirements.”
The text of Tran’s bill further states, “No locality, including a service district created pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 24 (§ 15.2-2400 et seq.), shall spray any pesticide intended to suppress an infestation of the fall cankerworm during the period beginning March 1 and ending August 1.”
READ: Is VA Gov. Northam misleading public on details of extreme abortion bill?
Many find this ironic in light of the fact that in a recent video, Tran uncomfortably explained under questioning that House Bill 2491 would even allow for abortion once a woman is in labor at full term — in other words, no limits on “eradicating” preborn children:
Photo(s) of the Week
President Trump gives a hug and kiss to Jordan McLinn who suffers from muscular dystrophy before signing the “Right to Try Act.” This is OUR PRESIDENT! #RightToTryAct
A Significant Crisis
FBI & DOJ?
Quote of the Week
"Once again, it is incredible how Obama and the progressive liberals, with the help of mainstream media can so easily convince the American people that a lie is the truth and the truth is a lie. In fact, it would be dazzling if it weren't so disturbing." Plundered by Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D.
“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” --General James Mattis
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