Cobb County Board of Commissioners Blocks Opportunity for Dissent

Read the stunning rebuke of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as well as Chairman Tim Lee’s continued excuses for the process.  These are behind the pay wall.  You can comment here or on AJC if you have access.

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Recently, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners ratified a series of agreements between the county and the Atlanta Braves obligating Cobb taxpayers with $397 million in revenue bonds. Braves President John Schuerholz has publicly stated this deal would not have been completed if more time had been allowed for public scrutiny.

What the commission allowed on the night of the vote was a sickening display of affection as 12 supporters showered praise and admiration on the board for negotiating the public financing of a private sports stadium. This shows a lack of leadership and a serious breach of the public trust.

Knowing the contentious nature of this transaction and the magnitude of the obligation from the taxpayers, the commission should have made every effort to hear dissenting opinion. The AJC later reported that 3 of the commissioners were open to amending the rules to allow additional comment from the public. Any one of them could have made a motion. Once seconded, the chairman would have no choice but put the motion to a vote.

Chairman Tim Lee claims rules were followed. Yet the board’s Rules of Procedure were violated by releasing the agenda on Friday after 5 p.m., less than 5 days before a scheduled vote. Chairman Lee seems more concerned with getting the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce passed than he is with transparency and upholding the citizens’ rights.

Under the Georgia Constitution, the people have a right to petition those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances. Based on that principle, the board of commissioners has a higher obligation to hear from those that disagree with the funding for the Braves stadium. Instead, they chose to disenfranchise the citizens of their right to speak.

From the very beginning, this deal was done in secret, rushed to a vote after only 12 days, and now the commission has blocked public comment.  These are the actions of an oligarchy.  Ironic that this was pushed through following Memorial Day.  The Braves deal is just a symptom of a larger political disease running rampant through our governments.

Whether taxes are raised or money is shifted from other priorities, the fact remains this kind of public-private partnership is nothing more than corporate fascism, a merger of state and corporate interests benefiting the elite. That’s money that could be going to the general welfare of the county to fund schools, roads or other public services.

We elected the board of commissioners to represent the people, not the Chamber of Commerce and a multimillion-dollar media empire. No wonder public trust in government has deteriorated.

We’ve come to expect large document dumps after hours on holiday weekends from the federal government in Washington. Is this going to be the “Cobb way” of doing the peoples’ business? As usual, the deal is touted as a great model of public-private partnership that creates jobs and grows the economy. Isn’t it really another PPP that’s more about private profits, power, and politics than anything benefiting the public?

Field Searcy, a Cobb County resident, represents RepealRegionalism.com, an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition.

Source:  http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/cobb-board-blocks-opportunity-for-dissent/ngJxc/#b5a50c00.3471904.735399

Light this field

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

It is a long-held tenet of good governance in this country that the inherent power in any political subdivision resides firmly and ultimately with the people — and not those they elect to represent them. Or it should.

This non-negotiable truth has been cast aside and utterly ignored in Cobb County. The board of commissioners there badly needs a refresher course in this essential lesson of civics. This realization is based on the commission’s ongoing conduct around the matter of relocating the Atlanta Braves to new digs north of the ‘Hooch.

Cobb officials’ behavior thus far has drawn to mind images of questionable-at-best backroom deals forged in secret by political kingpins who believe their positions are beyond, or impervious to, public oversight and accountability. The process thus far as this deal clanks along has heavily tarnished the reputation of a county that, not long ago, was widely spoken of as an example of forthright, open government.

No more can that be said. Which is a profound shame, both for that county and the region it is part of.

In our view, there is no reasonable reason why a proposal of such importance to Cobb, this entire metro area and, arguably, much of the Southeast, had to be sprung upon the public and raced to done-deal status in scarcely two weeks’ time start to finish. Such a breakneck, reckless really, pace may have safeguarded vague business interests, but it has heavily damaged the public’s trust in government — in Cobb and beyond, we believe. Both this fractured region, and Cobb itself, should not have to bear such inflation in the price of civic distrust.

With hundreds of millions of public dollars now linked to this deal, taxpayers are fully justified in demanding that they have a right to know just what is, or was, going on much earlier than they did. And these same citizens are correct in questioning why this agreement could not have been conducted to a much-larger degree in the clean light of day. To do otherwise, as Cobb has done, frankly stinks.

Yet, the commission has been maddeningly consistent in its lockout of those who might dare criticize its maneuverings. During a commission meeting last month, opponents or skeptics of the proposal were barred from stating their case. Bureaucratic reasons feebly offered for this outrageous affront of the right to petition government also badly fail the smell test.

Cobb’s mulish insistence on keeping the public as far away from, for as long a period as possible, the decisions around the Braves’ move also unfairly call into question, if not impugn, the merits of what, at its core, is simply a business deal. Albeit a big one that moves an Atlanta — and Southern — institution from the central city to a new OTP home.

It’s worth stating here that this newspaper is not opposed to the team’s move. This Editorial Board has no position on where the Atlanta Braves ultimately play America’s pastime. In our view, the team, as a private-sector entity, is to be expected to seek the deal offering the best possible upside — wherever that may be around this great town.

Yet, Cobb County government’s behavior to this point has done no favors for a proposal that is best considered dispassionately — and openly. That would have been the best way to reach the best deal for all concerned, we believe.

And it should be the way forward from this point on for Cobb’s county commission.

Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.

Source: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/light-this-field/ngKYG/#1e1d7d57.3471904.735399

Cobb rightly seized fast-moving opportunity

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

When the Atlanta Braves approached us about building a new stadium in Cobb County, it was a tremendous opportunity for our community. And like most opportunities, it was only going to exist for a short time.

The team wanted to move from its old stadium. Cobb County had the infrastructure, the capability and the ideal location for this to happen. We were the best choice­ — but we were not the only choice.

Even metro Atlanta was not the team’s only choice.

With discussions of moving the franchise out of downtown it was a priority for me to get the team and their planned $400 million private development here in Cobb. Thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in local investments and new economic growth are now on the horizon. Thanks to our community and their support, this move will benefit metro Atlanta and boosts the region’s economy with every game.

The necessity for a fast process frustrated some, even as most residents celebrated. We were aware of our critics’ objections. We held meeting after meeting after meeting to discuss everything with the public. We posted details to the Internet and shared it with the media.

We held almost a dozen public meetings between the announcement and last month’s vote. Opponents routinely attended and detailed the reasons they felt we should not help bring the Braves here. We listened. And though we do not believe they are correct, we respected their concerns.

Individual Cobb County commissioners held their own public meetings to hear from both sides. Commissioners kept a careful tally of those who called and emailed their offices with opinions both for and against the stadium agreement. The numbers were overwhelmingly in favor of this deal.

We worked to ensure residential property taxes would not rise as a result of this project. Businesses near the new stadium will bear a substantial portion of its construction costs and the team itself will invest $280 million upfront and another $6.1 million annually for 30 years. These figures exclude the estimated $400 million the team plans to spend by creating an entertainment district around the new stadium.

Cumberland area businesses are willing to help support this agreement because they understand what it means for them. It means customers. The Board of Commissioners understands what it means for the county. It means jobs. It means visitors. It means an unparalleled economic boost that will benefit the entire county. It means funds that will help keep our tax rates low.

We could have held a year’s worth of meetings on this topic with the only result being that the team would go elsewhere. The fundamental objections of critics would remain, the huge support would remain, but the opportunity would be lost.

Instead, this will be a successful project for the public and the region, because we made the right choices for Cobb.

Tim Lee is chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.

Source: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/cobb-rightly-seized-fast-moving-opportunity/ngKYM/#031fafaf.3471904.735399

The Illusion of Choice

media-consolidation

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Oleg Ivutin’s childhood home became part of Russia on the border with China. He sees growing similarities between the USSR that he remembers and the USA today. What this powerful interview and montage of a scripted message delivered to hundreds of thousands of viewers by different various local news stations around the country and ask yourself, who’s really writing the news! The full infographic also reinforces the message that we are being controlled.  Download full infographic here.  Source: Frugal Dad.

Oleg Ivutin 1 from Wonderland on Vimeo.

Building the Machine: A Movie about the Common Core


 

The Film

Building the Machine introduces the public to the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on our children’s education. The documentary compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Parents, officials, and the American public should be involved in this national decision regardless of their political persuasion.

What is the common core?

The Common Core is the largest systemic reform of American public education in recent history. What started as a collaboration between the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to reevaluate and nationalize America’s education standards has become one of the most controversial—and yet, unheard of—issues in the American public. In 2010, 45 states adopted the Common Core, but according to a May 2013 Gallup Poll, 62% of Americans said they had never heard of the Common Core. Prominent groups and public figures have broken traditional party lines over the issue, leaving many wondering where they should stand.

Find out more about the Common Core: www.hslda.org/commoncore – See more at: http://commoncoremovie.com/about#sthash.2RmLW5VV.dpuf

Regulations Are An Exec’s Best Friend!

“The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits.” ~Bloomberg News

By Bruce Duncil

We’re repeatedly being told that high taxes and onerous regulations are behind the joblessness in the ‘jobless recovery’. Aside from the obvious fact that there is no recovery (except for Wall Street and Washington), this ‘colloquial wisdom’ consists of lies.

No corporation pays taxes. Taxes are born solely by the customers and shareholders. Corporations are parking money offshore because that is where they have their factories, many employees who cost a fraction of American labor, and their real opportunity for growth.

Since before GE and Westinghouse lobbied congress to put the US on 60 cycle AC power to prevent European manufacturers from competing locally, and before they also lobbied for laws to ‘electrify America’ to sell every house major appliances, major corporations have LOVED regulation! Here, for your enjoyment, are 15 reasons why:

  1. When shaped properly, they limit competition, They can be used to favor some suppliers and exclude others, by design.
  2. They replace the customer with the government; the easily influenced single bureaucrat dictates market needs and wants, the latter becomes relegated to the role of mere consumer for whatever is thrown out.
  3. They allow government bureaucracy approvals, not the purchaser or user, to determine what ‘quality’ means; government approvals become synonymous with ‘quality’.
  4. They can drive, and therefore limit, requirements for innovation. All new entries must meet the criteria, thus favoring incremental rather than revolutionary product development which benefits suppliers and retailers alike.
  5. They can mandate features which can minimize the risk of product failure in the market.
  6. They facilitate development of so-called ‘public-private (government/business) partnerships’, creating revolving doors between government and business to mutually benefit employees of both.
  7. They shift the ‘burden’ of R&D along with capital investment to government (or ‘public-private partnerships’), along with the risk, costs, and choices circumscribed by R&D prior to product/service development.
  8. They benefit large and limit small companies by controlling competition and innovation, they drive industry consolidation further, leading to oligarchies which are easier to control.
  9. They can force premature product obsolescence, reducing time between necessary replacements, thus increasing purchasing and raising costs by adding additional ‘bells and whistles’ that are intended to increase profit margins
  10. They provide job security for both the government bureaucrat and the employee.
  11. They allow the means for throwing off all additional costs to the public in taxes or to consumers in higher prices at little economic risk (‘the government made us do it!’) as part of the ‘cost of doing business’.
  12. They allow additional ‘bells and whistles’ to be added, thus greatly expanding the possibility of higher after-market service contracts on products sold or leased.
  13. They leverage the public’s increasing desire to ‘standardize’ products to minimize the pain of choice.
  14. They make the public think they are magically protected from risk.
  15. They become the ‘silver bullet’ solution to every problem discovered, thus extending themselves in perpetuity!

 

 

Understand the Matrix of Liberty

Watch this video to understand the matrix of liberty.

Traitor or Patriot? You decide.

See the exclusive interview of Edward Snowden by German Television Channel NDR. He reveals the real nature of the public/private surveillance state.

To quote a recent article, “Computers and networks inherently produce data, and our constant interactions with them allow corporations to collect an enormous amount of intensely personal data about us as we go about our daily lives. Sometimes we produce this data inadvertently simply by using our phones, credit cards, computers and other devices. Sometimes we give corporations this data directly on Google, Facebook, [or] Apple’s iCloud … in exchange for whatever free or cheap service we receive from the Internet in return. The NSA is also in the business of spying on everyone, and it has realized it’s far easier to collect all the data from these corporations rather than from us directly. The result is a corporate-government surveillance partnership, one that allows both the government and corporations to get away with things they couldn’t otherwise. There are two types of laws in the U.S., each designed to constrain a different type of power: constitutional law, which places limitations on government, and regulatory law, which constrains corporations. Historically, these two areas have largely remained separate, but today each group has learned how to use the other’s laws to bypass their own restrictions. The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits. This partnership manifests itself in various ways. The government uses corporations to circumvent its prohibitions against eavesdropping domestically on its citizens. Corporations rely on the government to ensure that they have unfettered use of the data they collect. ”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-31/the-public-private-surveillance-partnership.html

Is he a traitor or patriot? You decide.

Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f93_1390833151#lajdTeJ8f5XEVHch.99

How the Democratic Party Went from Thomas Jefferson to Karl Marx

By Daniel Greenfield (Bio and Archives)  Tuesday, May 12, 2009   Canada Free Press

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior

“That brought us to our essential difference, the difference of the Evolutionary Collectivist and Marxist, the question whether the social revolution is, in its extremity, necessary, whether it is necessary to over throw one economic system completely before the new one can begin. I believe that through a vast sustained educational campaign the existing Capitalist system can be civilised into a Collectivist world system;” – H.G. Wells, Russia in the Shadows

This quote comes from H. G. Wells’ conversation with Vladimir Lenin. Wells was highlighting the difference between Lenin’s radical revolutionary program and Wells’ own “Open Conspiracy” evolutionary collectivist program.
What that means is that Lenin and H. G. Wells didn’t disagree on the final destination, a collectivist world system… socialism on a global scale applied to everyone and every single country. What they disagreed on was how to get there.
Lenin favored a violent overthrow of the existing free market capitalist systems, putting an end to democracy and individual freedoms by armed force, and replacing them with a revolutionary people’s government that would administer social justice.
As a Social Liberal, Wells favored a slow gradual takeover from within, using every cultural and political tool available to shift society over to a socialist system. He called this the “Open Conspiracy”, because social liberals would openly work to end capitalism and replace it with socialism.
Bill Ayers, Obama’s close associate, is a good example of Lenin gone Wells, or a revolutionary socialist becoming a social liberal. The difference is that the revolutionary socialist plants bombs, the social liberal works from within the system to achieve the same ends over a longer period of time.

The major shift from classical liberalism to social liberalism, required redefining government power

In the United States, Social Liberalism took over the Democratic party in the early 20th century. That fundamental shift can be seen by comparing Grover Cleveland to Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
As the last Classical Liberal Democratic President, Grover Cleveland was a firm believer in controlling the size of government, cutting taxes and vetoing most spending bills. He worked to reform the Federal government when needed, had little liking for unions or socialists and believed the Federal government should stay out of most affairs. This did not make him unusual, but in line with classical liberals all the way back to Thomas Jefferson.
A mere twenty and forty years later, the next two Democratic Presidents, Wilson and FDR, were enthusiastic about expanding government and using its power to bring about social justice. The newly transformed Democratic Presidency believed that government should be in the business of regulating everything and poking its nose in everywhere. By the time FDR was using government regulation to control the price of meat and putting unions in the driver’s seat, socialism was well and truly here.
The Democratic party had gone from being classically liberal to socially liberal. Where the classical liberal thought that big government should leave people alone, and treated rights as freedom from government tyranny… the social liberal thought that government should control people to enforce social justice and disdained rights as “negative freedoms”, instead favoring “positive freedoms” that would involve government abridging rights to create social and economic equality.
The major shift from classical liberalism to social liberalism, required redefining government power. Where classical liberals saw government power as a tyrannical force that needed to be controlled, social liberals saw government power as a benign tyranny that could be used to check the greater danger of unregulated social and economic systems.
Classical liberals believed freedom came from ending government intervention that created inequality. Social liberals believed that equality was more important than freedom, and that it could only be achieved by curbing anything that prevented equality.

FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society

The Social Liberal takeover of the Democratic party was not complete with Wilson or FDR. It isn’t complete today either, as there are Classical Liberal Democrats still in Congress and in various state governments. But with Obama, the Social Liberal takeover has reached almost revolutionary proportions.
The two great Social Liberal moments in the 20th century came as political opportunities resulting from crises. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society were agile exploitations of an economic and social crisis that enabled them to push through a Social Liberal agenda that fundamentally altered the relationship between Americans and the Federal Government.
Obama’s ascension to power represents the Third Wave of Social Liberalism in America, exploiting the so-called economic crisis to execute an equally far reaching Social Liberal program. What the Marxists in Russia or Latin America have tried to do in a matter of years, Social Liberals in Europe and America have waited decades and even over a century to push through.
With a free market economy and a long tradition of stubborn individualism, America represented the Social Liberal’s greatest challenge. The Open Conspiracy has slowly worked to undermine that, emphasizing the security of government collectivism, pushing community over country, class and race over citizenship, and collectivization based thinking over individualism. Meanwhile America’s cultural values and national standards have been chipped away at, making it possible for the vulgar adolescent charade that was the 2008 election to take place.
By embracing social liberalism, the party of Jefferson broke down the “wall of separation” between government and the individual that served as the Constitutional guarantee of civil liberties against a tyrannical government. Social liberalism meant the end of individual rights and the beginning of civil rights with government authority placed above all else. And by doing so the Democratic party replaced individual freedoms with an all encompassing bureaucracy, and liberty with socialism, and now with Obama, America stands on the verge of closing the gap between Wells and Lenin, between the Evolutionary Collectivist and the Marxist.

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior are just some of the building blocks of the emerging “Great Society”, the socialism with a human face that Social Liberals have aimed at for well over a century. Unlike Lenin’s revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, our transition to a Marxist system was meant to be gradual and seamless. Like a lobster in a pot of boiling water, the temperature was being turned up slowly and gradually. Even now when banks are being nationalized and major automakers turned over to union ownership, it is mainly people over 40 who are even noticing that anything is wrong.
The Revolution as it turns out will not be brought to you by Coke, but by Pepsi. Flags will be waved, even though they are no longer American flags. A new symbol has been created, a new seal has been set and a new America is being planted over the protesting remains of the old. But the struggle remains the same.
The question is, will we choose to be free or slaves. Will we protect our freedom from government, or give up our freedom to government. Will we come out of the shadows of Obama and the Social Liberal revolution of 2008, or will a new Iron Curtain rise over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appears at its Front Page Magazine site.
Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com

Agenda 21 Resources

Regionalism and PPP’s: Threat to the Republic

UN Agenda 21: Global to Local – Freedom 21 – v8

Understanding Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development – A Brief Analysis

How to Handle Predetermined Consensus Meetings

Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus

Defeating the Delphi Technique

Defeating the Delphi – Step by Step Instructions

Freedom 21 Agenda for Prosperity

Democrats Against UN Agenda 21

Official United Nations Agenda 21 website

Exhaustive Links and Analysis of Agenda 21

Tom DeWeese: Agenda 21 & International Redistribution of Wealth

 

Tom DeWeese, the founder and director of the American Policy Center (http://www.AmericanPolicy.org) informs the sheriffs about the origins of Agenda 21, the central planning strategy that has grown out of the United Nations since 1987 to become soft law in the cities and counties across America to control all facets of the economy for an international redistribution of wealth.

On January 30-31, 2012 over 100 county sheriffs and peace officers, from over 30 states, united to uphold their oaths of office, protect citizen liberty, and stop state and federal tyranny. Inspired and led by the example of former Graham County Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, the meeting, which was held in Las Vegas, was funded by the generous donations of thousands of Americans from all fifty states, as well as the support of freedom loving sponsors.

The agenda included training on the Bill of Rights, Interposition, Nullification and the importance of Property Rights versus Privileges.  Many sheriffs, a police chief and even a county commissioner shared their experiences, challenges and actions taken to uphold their oaths of office, directly with the sheriffs in attendance.

The videos of these presentations are shared here on the County Sheriff Project YouTube channel. We hope that you will share these videos with your own county sheriff and all the oath takers in your county.  To read the meeting agenda, see the event sponsors, learn more and show your own support for helping back more constitutional county sheriffs, visit http://www.CountySheriffProject.org

NSA Spying on Americans

Do you think your phone calls are private? Watch this short set of videos and learn how all digital communications: phone, email, chat, web surfing, etc. have been systematically collected for at least 10 years by the NSA.  The first video is from CNN (approximately 1.5 minutes).

This second video is from AT&T Whistleblower Mark Klein.  He explains the secret room at AT&T only accessible by NSA cleared personnel. (Approximately 5.5 minutes.)

Read the transcript of an interview with Mark Klein on PBS back in 2007. The interview explains how splitters have been installed at all peering links on the backbone of the Internet.  The splitter siphon’s off a copy of all phone and Internet traffic?  Where does it go and what do they do with it?  Watch the next video as William Binney, an NSA whistle-blower and participant in the Steller Winds Project, explains how all the data is collected and used. (Approximately 8.5 minutes.)

William Binney is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying; A top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

If all of that is not enough to convince you, watch this interview with NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice as he explains that the NSA was spying on Supreme Court Judge Alito and then Senator Barrack Obama. You have to ask yourself, who is really running this country?

Read more about N.S.A. domestic spying: http://invisibler.com/the-program-interview-with-william-binney/
This is a very disturbing video about how our governmenthas been spying on US citizens.

As reported by Wired Magazine in March 2012, CIA Director/General Petraeus said we’ll spy on you through your dishwasher. See http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/. This is how the new smart meter technology will be utilized. It’s a gateway to communicate with your smart appliances.

In addition, the FBI will be spending $1 Billion on face recognition technology which can be enhanced with images from Facebook and other social media see article here: http://rt.com/usa/news/fbi-recognition-system-ngi-640/.

The Patriot Act allows government agents to write their own search warrants without review by a judge and it’s illegal for you to even discuss with your attorney.  (Search YouTube for video presentation by Judge Andrew Napolitano regarding natural rights and the Patriot Act parts 1, 2, &3.) And again, under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, the provisions of the NDAA allow the federal government to arrest and detain U.S. citizens without ‘due process’ until the ‘end of hostilities’ on the order of the Executive Branch.  Without due process means, no judge, no jury, no lawyer.

When you combine the above you will see that we are losing our God given rights under natural law and under the Constitutional protections of the Bill of Rights. Specifically, the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.  The right to freedom of speech and thought; the right to privacy and to be secure in our persons, houses, and papers; and the right to due process.  We are losing our system of checks and balances. We are moving away from the rule of law to the rule by men.

So, considering all of the above, there are two approaches.  We can either retreat and allow the controllers to continue
to implement a surveillance/police state tyranny.  Or, we can make a stand for liberty and use their own social media tools against them to make more people aware of what’s happening.  I for one will do the latter.  If we don’t stand up for our rights and freedoms, we will lose them.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” ~ Thomas Jefferson