Letter to Editor: Concerns over Darby Farm Future in Royal Oak

I am writing on  a matter that carries potentially grave consequences to the neighborhood in which I live. I refer specifically to the village boundaries plan, the subsequent zoning and potential development on the Darby Farm property in Royal Oak.

The potential for substantial development of the 35 – 40 acres of property, if not more, in question is truly a game changing prospect for our community. You have undoubtedly heard all of the cogent arguments and I will not reiterate all of the details of each of them in this correspondence. But I will say that it would be incredibly unwise to set the stage for the development of that particular property for a number of critical reasons:

Edge Creek has been determined to be the most polluted creek in the County, with fishing restrictions already in place. Unless the County is willing to simply write off this beautiful waterway, the last thing it needs is significant development just yards from the Creek’s headwaters, further threatening its very survivability. People in our neighborhood are already asking questions like “Should we not be eating crabs caught off of our dock”, “Why is our Creek so polluted”, and “Isn’t there something we can do to improve the condition of the Creek?” And we are seriously considering setting the stage for potentially major development so close to its banks? We need to be focused instead on getting those still on septic to convert their systems, eliminate the run-off from Darby Farm and other properties along the banks, and otherwise seeking to save the Creek rather than further degrade it.

And safety of residents and visitors remains a huge issue. With single lane roads and compromised (or no) shoulders throughout the continuous area, the eventual development being considered will seriously increase the risk of more serious accidents in the area, especially for bikers and pedestrians.

The quality of life for those residing in and around the Village is the third concern I wish to highlight. Some have questioned the “right” of current residents to restrict development after “they” arrived in Royal Oak. To that I say that we welcome others to our neighborhood; it is the type of development and density that is being considered by some that concerns us. I understand that the boundaries plan itself is actually favorable in this regard; it is the potential future development at 4:1 on that certain portion of the property that concerns us. I can’t even imagine the level of our angst if more than the 35 – 40 acres could be zoned at 4:1.

In conclusion, allow me to request that you not recommend or support any plans that are likely to set the stage for the catastrophe of converting Royal Oak into everything it is NOT today. I do so on behalf of so many other residents that are less vocal, but no less outraged by the prospect of the life changing developments being considered by some for the future of Royal Oak.

Thank you so much for your patience and consideration in reading this lengthy email, and for your dedicated and ongoing service to our beloved County and community.

Len Wolf

From South of Left Field: Racist much by Jimmie Galbreath

From South of Left FieldRacist much

Truth is often unpleasant. Having grown up in the heartland of Jim Crow, the innate racism of the region was woven into me in ways that decades later I am still striving to unravel. The journey and struggle will last the rest of my life. Our society, America, is also faced with this same struggle. The evolution of any society requires factual information combined with critical self-examination.

Emotional responses will occur in reaction to new knowledge or awareness, and this is the moment where new understanding can be forged. Growth happens when the emotional response is examined with brutal honesty, and that which embarrasses us is accepted as being a part of who we are. Only then can we change and grow.

The Confederate States of America is such a journey for me. ‘Common knowledge’ reinforced by our limited teaching of history built a myth about the Civil War for me as a child. A genteel plantation based society of grandeur fighting nobly to continue its way of life. Great Generals and soldiers strode the field of battle against the odds, outnumbered but gaining many victories before being overwhelmed by superior numbers. They fought for ‘States Rights’ to continue self-government rather than being told how they must live by Washington.

This vision was reinforced and anchored to my reality by the monuments, flags, and celebrations. The problem was, none of it was true.

Older and better educated now, it is clear that economic self-preservation by the rich upper class that populated the state governments and wealthier professions drove us to rebel in an attempt to protect their power and wealth. A wealth-based entirely on slavery. The slaves were considered little more than animals and were treated as such. This view was reinforced from the pulpits throughout the South. I have provided a snippet from three articles of Secession laying out the reasons for leaving the United States of America.

Georgia – “For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States concerning the subject of African slavery. ”
Mississippi – “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. ”

Texas – ” She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. ”

Now a small example from the Confederate Constitution itself – ” Article IV Section 3(3) – The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have the power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several states; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form states to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory, the institution of negro slavery as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress, and by the territorial government: and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories, shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the states or territories of the Confederate states.”

How can there be any doubt that the Confederate States fought to preserve slavery? Because I thought of the Confederacy as a part of my heritage this hurt. Was I calling a war fought to keep slaves something I was proud of? A heritage is something of pride, a source of identity held up to honor who I was. I found nothing here deserving of honor or pride but rather regret. No wonder the claim of fighting for ‘states rights’ was used as a reason to try leaving the United States. Leaving to protect slavery was too shameful to be claimed or admitted.

Now the luster of the genteel plantation society began to show it’s an ugly truth. Human slavery was the foundation; filled with beatings, children sold out of the arms of their parents, degradation, and rape when it suited the owners. To claim this as my heritage, even though my family was not from that class, is to say this is a source of pride for me. It isn’t now.

The people whose statues are at the center of the latest tumult rejected citizenship; they were no longer citizens of the United States of America. Those generals commanded armies that fought and killed US soldiers by the hundreds of thousands. They killed American soldiers for the right to keep slaves. They were not soldiers of the United States of America.

These people and ideals should not be a source of heritage but rather a history. They belong in history texts, museums and battlefield parks. To improve us all this history needs to be displayed as the dark chapter in my family history just like it is the dark chapter in American history. Taught and displayed to encourage us all to lay to rest the roots of racism that stalk our streets today.

To many, this likely sounds harsh, but it is a literal truth. Strange as it may sound I am still subject to sudden flashes of resentment when the subject of the removal of Confederate statues comes up. Intellectually, I know the statues must be removed to a purely historical setting or melted down. They do not reflect the United States of America. They are not soldiers of the United States of America. Emotionally this child of Jim Crow has still got some growing to do.

A final note; I am disappointed to learn that the Talbot Boys retain enough support to continue to survive. It is a symbol glorifying the fight to protect slavery, lifting those who fought and killed American soldiers up as people to be glorified for their actions. The presence of this monument on county property clearly states to one and all that Talbot County as a whole has chosen to honor the effort to continue slavery by honoring those who fought to protect it. Talbot County displays no other message here.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned a dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way, he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served three years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Letter to Editor: The Importance of Purple in Talbot County

Over the past few months, we’ve seen tremendous enthusiasm and support for Talbot Goes Purple, our substance abuse prevention initiative. We’ve visited more than 50 community groups across Talbot County, talking about the project and spreading awareness about the dangers of recreational use of prescription painkillers.

Our stark reality is that we’re in the middle of the deadliest drug epidemic in our history and much of it starts with improper use of prescription painkillers. We’ve got to start teaching our kids these bills are basically synthetic heroin and misuse WILL lead to heroin dependency.

The good news is that our community has rallied together for Talbot Goes Purple, with hundreds of people ready to stand up against substance abuse. Countless people have reached out asking how to get involved.

Here’s how you can join us as we stand up against substance abuse:

Have the ‘new conversation’ with your kids.
Learn about the Good Samaritan Law and tell your kids about it.
Get trained on Naloxone, a life-saving medicine that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
Share our educational messages on Facebook.
‘Go Purple’ with us on Sept. 1!

Talbot Goes Purple focuses on creating purple clubs in our high schools, through which our teens will learn they don’t need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project encourages our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

Purple lights are available at ED Supply in Easton, and we hope everyone can display purple lights starting Sept. 1.

To kick off the project, we invite you to our ceremonial lighting at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Talbot County Courthouse. The following evening, Chris Herren speaks at a FREE event starting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Easton High School.

You can find more information on our website, www.talbotgoespurple.org. We hope you all join us in this fight!

Joe Gamble, Talbot County Sheriff
Lucie Hughes, Tidewater Rotary

Letter to Editor: Faith Community of Talbot County Condemns Violence in Charlottesville

We, leaders of Talbot County’s faith communities, condemn, in the strongest terms, the racism, the anti-Semitism, the anti- Muslim and the xenophobic hatred and violence brought to Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

The bold actions of neo-Nazi, KKK, and other white supremacist groups were evil as measured by any standards in our diverse religious traditions.

We will not be silent. We are called to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all, to love our neighbor, and to strive for true equity. We denounce the cowards who spew hate and who advocate against these universal values. The actions of these white supremacists, many of whom are young white men in their 20s and 30s, are destructive to the very fabric of our community and nation.

Bigotry cannot go unchecked. We call on the citizens of Talbot County to join us in condemning the actions of these individuals and these organizations. We call on elected officials to publicly and explicitly condemn white supremacy and the organizations that advance sick ideologies and practices. 

Rabbi Donald R. Berlin

Rev. Sue Browning
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton

Molly Burgoyne-Brian
Clerk, Third Haven Monthly Meeting

Rev. Roland C. Brown
Pastor, Union Baptist Church, Easton, MD

Fr. Kevin Cross
The Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford

Pastor Rusty Curling

Nancy M. Dennis
Pastor, St. Stephen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Duke Dixon
Presbyterian Church of Easton

Michelle Hammond
For The Love 4 Health Outreach 

Rev. Dartanyon L. Hines

Rabbi Peter E. Hyman
Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

The Right Reverend Joel Marcus Johnson
President, The Oaks of Mamre Graduate Center

Walter Johnson

Walid Kamsheh, M.D.
Islamic Center of Delmarva

Rev. John F. Keydel, Jr., Interim Rector
Christ Church St. Michaels

Vy. Rev. James Nash, V.F.
SS Peter and Paul Parish

Rev. Missy Rekitzke

Rev. Nancy Sajda, Interfaith Minister
President. P.E.A.C.E.

Rev. Dr. Flavia Skilbred
St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Cordova, MD

Rev. Dr. Wm. T. Wallace, Sr.

From South of Left Field: Shaking the Ground by Jimmie Galbreath

Lets pick up where ‘Definite Problems’ left off last week. From the chart in ‘Definite Problems’ over the last 30 years the bottom 80% of us have experienced continuingly falling income. This decline has occurred under both the Democrats and Republicans; the D-R Axis or DRAxis. Finally re-electing the DRAxis or doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a good definition of insanity.

If you are like me the idea of being in numerous mass protests waving signs or trying to run for office is too overwhelming. Leading a political charge is just not my cup of tea, although I am anxious to vote for it. Right now it seems all the new energy is out protesting after the elections are over. This ‘after the fact’ burst of activity makes a big splash and feels good for those engaged in it, but the real power lies in what befalls down the road at the polls. So how do we take the DRAxis out behind the woodshed?

Let’s discuss what needs to happen around the backside of the woodshed. Our current existing gaggle of miscreants lives for the financial support and the wealth that they get by selling their elected power. The key words here are ‘elected power.’ As long as we can be lured into voting the DRAxis by slick media and PAC ads, then we have no power. If we don’t vote at all, we have no power. The only way to take the DRAxis behind the woodshed would be large numbers of us refusing to vote for DRAxis candidates. This approach would have a dramatic impact. Chaos would ensue even greater than the Tea Party in the Republican henhouse. The more incumbents toppled, and the more people coming in from outside the DRAxis, the harder it would be for money to get what it wants. The DRAxis would fight back of course, and there would be plenty of stalemates and raging in the press. Like any path to real reform, it would take time, stubbornness, and pain. Is anyone salivating at the thought of this fight like I am?

It is true that the fundamental structure of our Government as laid down by the Founding Fathers will always resolve itself into a two party system. There is nothing about the structure that prevents new parties from gaining power and struggling with the two parties we already have.

At least one of the existing parties has to go! The internal structure of the DRAxis has proven itself highly capable of smothering any effort at internal reform. What will not bend must be broken.

Behind the real woodshed, there will be no votes for anyone with an (R) or (D) behind their names. It doesn’t matter if the new candidates are wing-nuts as long as they are not DRAxis. Until we pave the road outside of DRAxis with votes, no quality people or parties are going to be out there for us. Set your jaw, keep casting the votes, and in time better candidates will come. Keep doing this until they do.

The thing to remember is that wing-nut laws and tax codes can be reversed and failed policies overturned. Don’t let the fear of them stop you from paving a new path for new candidates and new parties. Until we are willing to provide a path to office for better candidates, there will be no better candidates. DRAxis will not change, we must. This is especially important for those who have stopped voting. Find your rage, turn your disillusionment into rage if you need too. Don’t wait for others. Pull the lever! Fire the shot! Keep doing it!

If there are only DRAxis candidates then utterly reject the incumbent. DRAxis uses polished spin doctors to sell these people, so reject every effort to paint them as being for you. If they were, we wouldn’t need to do this. Thirty years of data does not lie! Go to the primary of your choice and fire the first shot, it is the only bullet we have in this fight. Go to the general and fire another! As an example for us here in the First District

I currently have my hopes for Ben Jealous for Governor and Michael Pullen for The House of Representatives. I happen to personally know both and trust them. Their choice to run within DRAxis is unfortunate, but like Bernie Sanders, the current landscape drives them into the DRAxis meat grinder where money and tremendous pressure has successfully co-opted so many well-meaning people before. My choice will be very hard if a non-DRAxis candidate pops up, but the road to reform must be paved with votes to defeat the DRAxis. Nothing less will do. Good people like Ben and Mike who want to support us don’t see another path because we have not been paving another path with votes.

The choice I face will be faced by a lot of us. DRAxis will not reverse our falling standard of living because they are supported, elected, and ultimately paid by the wealth. It is our own fault that this has happened. We let them buy our votes with empty promises and slick advertising.

The DRAxis committees, DNC and RNC, are funded by the wealthy. They will continue to support the wealthy gathering ever greater income at our expense. Don’t let poverty and want swallow us slowly. Don’t turn away from those already swallowed, because if this decline is not reversed, it will swallow us all.

Let’s keep taking the trip to the woodshed, year after year until….

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

From South of Left Field: Definite Problems by Jimmie Galbreath

“People with definite plans and definite expectations have definite problems.” My Dad drove me crazy with this little gem in my early years. I still have no idea where he got it. Somehow today it seems appropriate to our fractured nation.

The internet abounds with funny, comforting little memes suggesting simplistic solutions to issues that are interconnected and complex. Build a wall, ban gays, kill someone with bombs or drones, $15 minimum wage, the simple solutions go on and on. Like a child’s mobile no one part can actually be touched without every part moving as a result. Not that leaving it alone means nothing changes, everything changes as time passes.

We live in a complex ‘system’ that changes over time. No company, no government, no economy and certainly no society is ever unchanging. Even religion changes over time. Otherwise, the Crusades, witch trials and the Inquisition would still be with us. When an imbalance in our ‘system’ rises to the point of becoming a definite problem such as police violence, mass shootings, income inequality, lack of medical care and so on the social discourse settles onto some simple solution or particular plan. These definite plans come with a definite expectation of quick resolution that is seldom met.

Let me paint a picture and see if it makes sense to you. A stable ‘system’ would have the wealthy (corporate) and general population both exerting a fairly balanced influence on the government. The government should function to regulate the opposing desires of wealth concentration on the corporate/wealthy side and a reasonable standard of living on the population side. A good measure of whether this balance exists is the degree of income inequality. After all, more income for a few equals less income for the many. If in fact jobs are being created for the betterment of the many then we should see balanced income growth with all income levels increasing about the same.

Houston, we have a definite problem. Looking at these charts, it is apparent that since about 1980 increases in income have been largely confined to the upper 20% and the rest of us have been losing income. Now comes the definite expectation, the belief that the answer to this starts with an increase in the minimum wage. Folks I hate to point this out but the minimum wage is not why the increases in income are going to the top 20%. Government guides income increase through the tax codes, not the minimum wage! This doesn’t mean the higher minimum wage is a bad idea; it means it doesn’t do anything to address the actual problem.

Here’s another definite expectation, the belief that this can or will be addressed by one of the two existing political parties. The truth is that the tax codes and laws that have tilted the ‘system’ to favor those already wealthy were enacted by these two parties. Like everyone in a capitalist economy, the Parties work for money. That is why the Democrats push for the $15 minimum wage and the Republicans push for tax breaks for business. These things don’t change the cause of the ever increasing inequality; it is just a pretense at change that has no real impact.

The existing political parties are graveyards of popular political movements from both the right and left. Don’t believe it? Ask the Tea Party where the ACA repeal is. Watch as the Democratic Party slowly tries to absorb the Bernie folks and smother them in useless quibbling and ineffective goals like the minimum wage. All the while the wealthy grow ever richer, and we grow ever poorer. The function of the Republican and Democratic Parties is to smother popular will and continue to empower the upper class. The ONLY tool left to us other than open violent revolt is our vote.

So long as we continue to vote for the same old people and same old Parties we will get the same old results. It is insanity to expect anything different. Until the angry and disaffected finally begin to vote and refuse to vote for anyone with an (R) or (D) behind their name nothing is going to change. Think the Green, Independent or Libertarian is a nut? Look at the graph again. Look at our current President. A new Party is needed, one that does not have an existing bureaucracy which is paid by the wealthy and serves to smother the popular will.

The race is on, conditions are not and will not improve so long as the Republican and Democratic Parties have the power. Wealth demands ever more wealth and will rely on the police and military to control us. Over 1,000 citizens a year are already dying under the guns of the Police. That is more than any other country on earth! We have more citizens in prison than any other country in the world and the second highest incarceration rate in the world. These things are not accidents; they are the result of desperation and oppression in a population whose standard of living is falling.

The only way to shake the foundations and hopefully usher in real change is to reject the Republican and Democratic parties completely, shatter them and throw open the doors to new blood. Take risks, seek the people who will enact law and tax code to suppress excessive wealth and rebalance the life of all Americans. If we want America to be Great again, we must create an environment that allows Americans to become Great again. Let’s level the playing field.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned a dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way, he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served three years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

From South of Left Field: Bandaids and Broomsticks by Jimmie Galbreath

So much has been put out about Health Care it seems a difficult subject to open any new ground. From the south side of left field, however, something is clearly amiss in all the articles, speeches, announcements and memes, something vital.

To begin with, Health Care in America is first, foremost and always a ‘for profit’ undertaking. Turning that around, if the Medical Industry/Insurance/Hospital/etc. can’t make a profit treating you then they don’t want to treat you. How would you feel seeing someone sick and unwanted? How would you feel if it was someone you knew? When I lived in Mississippi with a wife and two small children, I was confronted by a ‘medical’ decision, delivered by the family physician we had used for nearly 15 years. Our life had taken a bad turn, we had lost our medical insurance, and we were no longer welcome. Please find another doctor. Offering to pay in advance for my children wasn’t good enough, go away. This aspect of medical care in America is real; it was real 20 some odd years ago, it is more real today.

Over the years the cost of anything and everything medical, including profits, has risen faster than either inflation or general income. Medical treatment just like the cost of college is becoming unaffordable to an ever growing portion of the American public. Medicare and Medicaid were created to provide government help to those without any other hope of medical treatment, but the numbers left out in the cold continue to grow, and the coverage has not kept up.

Then the ACA, Obamacare, was created as a vehicle for the government to help the uninsured by providing government payment toward the medical insurance premiums. The ACA didn’t stop there; it added financial penalties for those who didn’t sign up for an insurance policy. Of course, the insurance companies continued to demand ever larger premiums while arguing to be allowed to offer fewer services for the premiums. When they couldn’t get enough money, they quit offering policies. Please understand, this is what a business does. It doesn’t have anything to do with humanity and never will.

We Americans have been taught by business to believe no one does anything and everything better than business does. In truth, the only thing business does make is profit, everything else is secondary – period. We have also been taught by the same pundits that Government can’t tie its own shoelaces and business can improve on everything government does. Let me repeat myself; the only thing business does make is a profit. If you can’t pay for it, you can’t have it.

Now we come to the crux of the matter. Today America stands for the sick and dying only getting the care they can pay for themselves. PERIOD. This is America today. We do not believe a life is worth saving if it is American and poor. This is the message from Washington; this is the message from Wall Street, this is the America others see every day as our politicians quibble and dither and accomplish nothing of worth.

Americans will donate to overseas disasters, politicians spill our blood, dollars, and lives all over the world every day for various causes. We ship food all around the world, but a poor American isn’t worth a Bandaid here at home. The vital piece that is missing is a sense that all Americans are worth caring for. The broomstick? The broomstick should be used to sweep away the politicians struggling mightily every day to protect the medical industry rather than us. So far it only gets used to sweep the suffering under the rug. If this truly is America, it is no wonder we aren’t Great. Greatness begins with the people. Where is our Greatness now?

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in petroleum engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS and then in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

From South of Left Field: Cover and Concealment by Jimmie Galbreath

Let’s see if I get some blowback for this one, Gun Control.

Now, I grew up cutting my teeth on ‘The Lost Cause’ and World War II as an impressionable little redneck. Liberal colleges and Unions were hotbeds of Communism and guns were tools for hunting and killing wild dogs and vultures to protect new born calves (baby cows for you city folk).

A little over the top but it does reflect my background and my view of guns; not automatic weapons and 30 round magazines by any stretch. I would have laughed at someone saying they needed such things for sport. This brings me to the point, why do some people ‘need’ these things?

I know that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are founding documents and they are clearly deserving of our respect. Time and reading have also allowed me to understand that the Constitution was intended to be a living document rather than a fossil. Amendments have been added, and one actually deleted in our history as our earlier generations have made changes to keep up with world developments and social evolution.

Some actions taken to improve our society have been the 13th Amendment (1865) which abolished slavery (finally), the 15th (1869) protected the right to vote regardless of race and the 19th (1919) which allowed women to vote. Now please reread those three again and try to imagine the society and values that required Amendments to state these rights.

Folks, Americans have demonstrated by these three Amendments the growth AND the gap between the world of the Founding Fathers and the world as of 1919. Our society and our world are still changing and what is and is not in our Amendments reflect who we are today. We have passed an Amendment to abolish alcohol, the 18th, and then repealed it with the 21st Amendment. We decided with the 17th Amendment in 1913 to elect our Senators by popular vote rather than let the State Legislatures do it. In short, the idea that a Constitutional Amendment sits on a pedestal set in stone for all time is silly. So is the concept that the Constitution is like a bible, fixed for all time and beyond tampering or improvement.

Now to guns. The Second Amendment states ‘A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ In the 18th Century, this was a concept rooted in the history of England so people would have recourse by combat against their government or with their government in defense against invasion. In the world of black powder muzzle loading guns, muzzle loading smooth bore cannons and uncontrolled free flight rockets that sounds reasonable enough.

In America, the presence of a frontier with raids by or against Native Americans as well as a total absence of law enforcement to shield citizens from criminal attack gave further need for having weapons at hand. For me, the image of the Minuteman reflects the reason for the Second Amendment.

Now passes some hundreds of years from then to now. Welcome to the world of scoped sniper rifles that can kill over one mile away, laser scopes, night vision goggles, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars, flame throwers, rapid fire artillery, napalm, computer guided missiles, drones, armored personnel carriers, tanks, air strikes, cruise missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons and so much more. That list should paint a picture of what a ‘well-regulated militia’ needs to be ‘necessary to the security of a free state.’

At this point, most would launch into an impassioned argument, but I am largely done. The point here is that for America, times have changed. For our Constitution times have seen it changed to reflect what is hopefully an evolving people. Our struggle to remain a united Nation and to move in the direction of retaining some degree of greatness requires we challenge what is held to be true from time to time.

For myself, I believe the 2nd Amendment is obsolete. State power has grown and changed dramatically, and our best path to internal freedom and a greater sense of security is through our votes, not our guns. The answer to the fear of government is the power of our votes applied in defiance of what any media outlet says. Don’t trust the media, don’t trust the politicians because if we don’t watch them, no one else will. Use your own mind and values and reject all candidates of any Party who don’t pass your own smell test. No vote cast is wasted.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Letter to Editor: Time to get Serious about Healthcare

We might recall President Trump admitting to his “great friend” from Australia, ”You have better health care than we do.” That moment of accountability was refreshing.
Perhaps he was reminded that Australia is ranked 4th for positive healthcare outcomes by the Commonwealth Fund, while the U.S. is in last place. We also have the highest drug prices and lowest life expectancies among the nations studied by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the OECD is finding better healthcare outcomes in 29 other industrialized nations, although our costs are by far the highest.

A resident of Scotland visiting relatives in Easton suggested the “big lie” underpinning American health care is that “markets are always more effective than collective action.” She may have a point, considering our outcomes. Capitalism is essential to our economy, but oversight is frequently required in consideration of our general welfare.

Her friends back in the U.K. “thank their lucky stars for universal coverage.” Like the citizens of most other industrialized nations, they have proportionately more physicians and see them more frequently. We were heading to the U.K., too, until their system became overwhelmed, and we were required to do more than establish a local address.

Our own Dr. Andy Harris has been warning us, “Medicare is not single payer,” and suggesting that the marketplace must lead the way. Competition is helpful, but Medicare offers options for additional coverage, as do the single-payer systems of nations whose citizens are spending less, enjoying better outcomes, and living longer.

Once the Affordable Care Act was passed following a year of public hearings, review by 3 congressional committees, and the consideration of 130 amendments. President Obama continued to prioritize reducing costs. A measure he proposed shortly before leaving office would have reimbursed physicians a set amount for the Medicare prescriptions they write rather than basing their reimbursements upon a percentage of the cost of each, thereby encouraging prescribing more expensive medications and driving costs up.

Having attempted to repeal the ACA 60 times over 7 years, Republicans rejected that, too. Now, with control of both the White House and Congress and 7 months of behind-closed-doors meetings, no viable replacement plan has been offered. The Republican health care bill has virtually no industry support and little public support. We have been promised a viable plan within 2 years.

In the meantime, progress is being made. Kaiser Health News and the National Alliance Healthcare Purchasers Coalition are reporting that covering preventive care is paying off. The impacts of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure account for a majority of our health care spending, up to $2.3 trillion per year, yet preventive care for these conditions is rarely covered by insurance with high deductibles.

Coverage for the maintenance of type 1 diabetes is paying off in Minnesota. Over $1 million has been saved on emergency room utilization and hospitalization so far. HealthPartners is suggesting it’s time to change our conversation about healthcare spending.

Our president has made pretty much every statement imaginable concerning health care, from “Everybody’s going to be taken care of,” to “Let it fail,” and “We’re not going to own it.” At this point we might simply hope to hear someone ask, “What good capitalist could argue with better outcomes at less cost?”
Carol. Voyles

From South of Left Field: Leaders, Leaders Nowhere by Jimmie Galbreath

It increasingly bothers me when our elected officials are so casually referred to as leaders. Occupying a position of power doesn’t make someone a leader. I guess it is time to dive into the dirty business headlong.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Now for those still with me after mentioning those two, please join me in considering the broad view of earlier political campaigns. They were fairly sedate affairs without a great deal of drama or any real fire. The self-appointed members of each Party would stand up and declare they were ‘The Leader’ we all needed. Then came the struggle between each of these self-appointed ‘Leaders’ to attract votes. The elections would proceed with all the gravity and decorum of a kindergarten playground with noisy games and some name calling and for us the occasional plugging of ears and eye rolls. Once in office, the inevitable declaration of a ‘Mandate from the people’ would follow, and nothing of real substance to our wellbeing would be enacted.

Then came the run-up to the 2016 election. Ladies and Gentlemen, we present for the first time in a long time the appearance of not one, but two actual leaders. Folks I am not kidding, two actual leaders. These were candidates who attracted the support of people, often across Party lines. Candidates who called forth citizens that had been absent in past elections. Leadership with declared intentions and visions that did not spring from the existing parties; but from the sense of the pain of the general population. They were Leaders because each one had a message and a style that touched us in a way that caused us to respond.

Please understand that in the end being a real political leader doesn’t mean being right or the best. It means these candidates knew how to inspire and rally support from a population. Human history is filled with Leaders who inspired and the results of their Leadership are scattered all over the moral landscape. Most of them tapped into a pool of people disillusioned with the conditions of the time. People who felt oppressed or betrayed or forgotten. People like so many of us today.

I don’t know about y’all, but I found it very entertaining watching the mainstream politicians in both Parties struggling to come to terms with the support that rallied behind those two. Strangely, as time went on it became apparent that instead of embracing the sudden rise of Leadership that could energize popular support the parties sought ways to undermine these two. Even the press worked against Sanders by actually blacking him out.
It is clear that we have a severe Leadership problem in America today. Our population is feeling a deep lack of faith in our politicians based on a gut level realization that we are losing our affluence. My heart tells me my children face a bleaker future than I did. Education is moving beyond our grasp, jobs with decent pay are harder to find, the hope of a secure retirement is fading, and poverty engulfs more of our citizens each year. In the face of what my gut tells me the feel good drivel offered up by the political ‘leadership’ smells like something from my childhood on the dairy farm.

My point? Inspiring Leadership arises when people experience widespread disillusionment and anger. These new Leaders will be people with a voice and vision that differs from the staid establishment. This establishment will likely oppose the new Leaders so as to protect their moneyed patrons. This is both an opportunity for us, the citizens, and severe risk.

At the risk of sounding like a rabble rouser, embracing change requires ‘We The People’ choose new Leadership if we wish our Government to evolve to better protect our livelihood and well being. Expect the old hands to put on the cloak of the new Leaders as they appear, aping the tone and content but changing nothing. The Corporate Press will strive to herd us toward our old patrons of wealth. Resist them both, look to the new, strive for better.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned a dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way, he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS then in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.