Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County, Ohio, hosted a CANDIDATE FORUM on Saturday, September 10, 2016.  There were also three issues coming up on the ballot that were covered, as well.

You can view the entire event or just the individual issue/candidate videos below this listing: 

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Kirsten Hill, Chairman of Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County

Michael Moats, Marketing Chair, Totally Engaged Americans.

Michael Moats, Marketing Chair, Totally Engaged Americans.





Ohio Tea Parties for Trump

It was certainly a tough primary where some very sharp elbows divided many good conservatives. Thanks to Ohio Conservatives United, we see that Ohio Tea Parties clearly preferred Ted Cruz over any other candidate. We can also see that Cruz did not reach a 50% threshold, a problem also experienced by Donald Trump in the actual vote tallies. Maybe that number was unattainable when you had 17 total candidates competing for attention, but it remains true that more people voted for somebody other than Donald Trump and fewer people voted for Donald Trump.

But that doesn’t matter any more. Election Day is two months away and early voting is one month away and Donald Trump is the nominee. Leaders from Ohio Tea Parties and the liberty movement have created Tea Party for Trump, a website designed to get Trump supporters involved in Ohio as well as Pennsylvania. The graph below (click to enlarge) is the “Polls-plus” path to 269 electoral votes from the website FiveThirtyEight.com, and we can see that Ohio and other states in the Great Lakes area are all around the middle tipping point. Ohio should be the next domino to fall in Trump’s path to victory, and while Pennsylvania has been on the Republicans’ wish list for some time, it seems that it is now more attainable than it has in the past. It is important for all Trump supporters to get involved, and Tea Party for Trump might be a great place to start.

538plus_sept6We also have to acknowledge the few NeverTrump conservatives out there. The Tea Party began with people who were willing to put principle over party as we saw national Republicans supporting or at least allowing progressive policies to take hold. It shouldn’t be surprising that some activists are continuing to follow their principles which lead them away from the Republican ticket.

Many more people in the Tea Party, however, have decided that Donald Trump will have a team of people who will move this country in a more conservative direction. This includes enhancing our national safety with increased border security, and creating a more business-friendly and individual-friendly environment by turning back laws and regulations which restrict economic growth. Many in the Tea Party will vote for Donald Trump and work on his behalf.

The 2nd Amendment Arguments

Obama on a stockpile of guns yelling at a hunter "Guns are bad!"David Conte was one of our speakers last Saturday morning at our monthly meeting, and he shared with us his experiences and discussions he’s had with recruiting for the NRA with debating the gun question. For the last number of years, any incident with a gun has been grouped into a category of “gun violence” to which the only solution is gun restrictions. Of course, this is the argument by those on the left and mindlessly repeated on the mainstream news. Last week’s sit-in by Democrat members of the House of Representatives is only the latest effort by those on the left to force this issue into debate. So let’s debate it.

The 2nd Amendment IS NOT About The Gun

The terms assault rifle and assault weapon have been thrown around so often that it’s become the language of anything bad. Even the intermediate-level gun user could tell you specific differences between the different rifles and guns, but we have Congressmen and advocates who carelessly use these terms incorrectly and they go unchallenged. There is an Orwellian manipulation of language where if you make an association often enough, it will become true.

When the left decide to wade into the language of the Constitution, they usually state that the Founders couldn’t have been thinking of an AR-15 when they wrote the 2nd Amendment. They may also go into a hunting argument and ask why a person needs a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a turkey.

At this point, we need to stop the argument and state that the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting and it’s not even about the guns. Is the 1st Amendment about the internet? People use the internet to express their thoughts and ideas, and are utilizing their protected right to free speech. Is the 4th Amendment about text messages? If I wrote a note with paper and pencil and gave it to a person, the police would need a warrant to search the person’s personal property. If I send that person a text message, that message is not considered the property of either my friend or myself but property of my phone carrier. Is that what the Founders had in mind?

The 2nd Amendment IS About People

Remembering the history of the Bill of Rights, the Federalists didn’t even want a Bill of Rights because they thought it would be redundant. The danger of putting down our Natural Rights on paper, some thought, is that they could be misconstrued at a later time. By writing down our Natural Rights as a way of preventing the government from infringing on those rights, we may also be giving permission to future Congresses, Presidents, and Supreme Courts to alter the language and the meanings these ideas.

So even before the 2nd Amendment, the original Federalists might point to the Declaration of Independence and say that we have a right to life and property. Therefore, we have a right to protect our life and property. And finally therefore, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The thing about Natural Rights is that they do not change with time or with technology. If we are to live in relative freedom, then the police and law enforcement cannot be everywhere at all times. If there is a crime being done against my person or my property, I have a right to protect myself.

When the left sees a gun crime like a mass shooting, they think that stopping the gun will stop the crime. People on the right aren’t for simple vigilante justice, but we do recognize that a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun even though it doesn’t make the 24/7 news cycle.


Feds dump on Amherst (Video)

Amherst (Ohio) School Board Meeting, Monday, June 20, 2016.  About 150 Amherst citizens came out to share their concerns about who should be using which bathrooms and locker rooms in the schools.  The impetus for these concerns originate from the federal government’s reinterpretation of Title IX.

Rex Engle, board president, makes an opening statement at the beginning of video Part 1 and a closing statement (minute 26:30) in Part 4.

To get a quick background on the bathroom / locker room issue that has unfolded in Amherst since the federal government sent their “Dear Colleague” letter last month, check out other recent posts:  Being PolicyFluid in Amherst SchoolsThe firestorm begins in Amherst, Ohio, and cis vs trans or policy.




Cis vs Trans or the Bathroom Policy Can of Worms?


Rex Engle, Amherst OH Board of Education president, at 6-20-16 meeting in the junior high gymnasium.

The Amherst Board of Education met this past Monday evening at 4:30 in the Junior High School gymnasium, a venue sized to hold the crowd of interested parties expected there to voice their concerns over the new federally “mandated” bathroom policy.

Board President, Rex Engle, opened the BOE’s meeting in their standard way with the Pledge of Allegiance and included a tiny amount of housekeeping items before he dove straight into Agenda Item 6, the “transgender bathroom policy.”


Amherst resident and parent, Markos Athineos

One-by-one, those citizens who signed up to speak to the Board stepped up to the podium and shared their concerns. Engle did have to change plans slightly when a few audience members complained loudly that they were being prohibited from speaking; it turned out that those folks were late to the meeting and didn’t sign up to speak.  Engle acquiesced and assured the audience that everyone who wanted to speak would be granted the opportunity.  They were still limited to five minutes, no matter what their own timing pieces indicated.   (It took nearly two hours to complete the roster of speakers.)


Kirsten Penton Hill, one of the Amherst residents who spoke at the BOE meeting Monday, 6-20-16

There was only one real surprise that came out during the meeting, something that even the Board might not have picked up on, and it was that “transgender” people felt debased and insulted when they are called “transgender.” Who knew?  They want to be called merely “Trans.”  Again, who knew? 

If you’ve been living under a rock – or in outer space, perhaps – and don’t know what the uproar is about, in a nutshell it is this:

People with boy “parts” shouldn’t be allowed
in the bathrooms where there are

People with girl “parts,” and, of course, vice versa.

But it’s the sexualization of the transgender issue that has nearly obliterated the emotional needs of both Cis and Trans children. (Cis and trans are latin for “on the side of” versus “on the other side of.”)  Cisgenders identify with the male or female anatomies they were born with, while Transgenders identify with the opposite of their naturally-occurring anatomies.

Most of the fear expressed at the podium Monday night was all about those people who are neither Cis nor Trans, but rather the “perverts” who prey on young, unsuspecting children and adolescents who enter bathrooms with the intent to practice their perversity. The other expressions were from folks sympathetic to the emotional needs or disposition of the people who feel they were given the wrong body at birth.

The Amherst Board of Education appeared to be sympathetic to both sides of the argument and even claimed to have been considerate of trans needs right along. It remains to be seen, though, if the Board puts its dollars where its mouth is, and how long they can fend off the Federal government in its quest to insinuate itself into each and every aspect of our lives.  It’s probably not at all about the children, rather it’s about imposing the Federal will on each and every one of us – whether we need it or not.

The Firestorm Begins in Amherst, Ohio (Video)

Just slightly west of Cleveland, OH, is the city of Amherst, an unlikely hot spot for a confrontation between the parents of school-aged children and the federal government.  But that’s where Markos Athineos, Amherst resident and father, finds himself at the moment.

From  the May 23, 2016 edition of the “Amherst News Times” we read:

Federal transgender bathroom policy supported locally

School officials in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington say they’ll comply with a new federal bathroom and locker room policy for transgender students.

The policy directive reminds school officials that they must treat transgender students as the sex they identify with including when it applies to bathrooms and locker rooms.”

Athineos was invited to talk about the locally “mandated” bathroom policy at last Saturday’s Totally Engaged Americans meeting in Amherst.  Athineos went into detail about the back-and-forth discussions he had with district superintendent Steven Sayers, which included the written intervention of Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine.

It was clear that Athineos is sympathetic to the plight of the transgender students and pleaded with the superintendent for a reasonable solution.

Below is an excerpt of Athineos’ talk:

Athineos hopes that everyone concerned about the transgender bathroom policy issue – and how it’s being handled in Amherst – will attend an upcoming meeting:

“Please attend the Amherst Board meeting, June 20, at 4:30PM, Amherst Junior High Media Center, 548 Milan Avenue, Amherst OH

Don’t let the safety, modesty and privacy of your kids be violated.”

June 17, 2016 Update to post  –  Markos on the RADIO.

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Markos Athineos was on WHK radio AM1420 on Friday, June 17, 2016.  Listen to the interview here starting at minute 15:20.  Again he explains the up to date situation on bathrooms & locker rooms in Amherst Schools.

Being PolicyFluid in Amherst Schools

Transgender LogoAmherst Schools are walking a fine line by promoting the transgender agenda with regard to bathroom rights, while at the same time never voting on an actual policy change to codify those rights. This issue became front and center when President Obama and the Department of Education posted a “Dear Colleague” letter informing schools that students must be allowed to self-report their gender. It claims that if a school does not treat the student by their self-reported gender, then they may be in violation of Title IX, the 1972 law that generally prohibited certain discrimination between males and females.

It is clear that the 1972 law is speaking only of a person’s biological sex. Any transgender awareness at the time certainly did not reach the halls of Congress. Yet as progressives frequently do when it suits them, they have removed  chromosomes from the definition of “sex” and inserted the term gender identity. So who made this decision? How do they have authority to make this change? And wouldn’t it be better to have citizens buy in to any change through the democratic process? Voting and public discussions are the way to change people’s hearts and minds, not by issuing edicts from on high.

Returning to Amherst, questions were raised about their school policy regarding the transgender issue as defined in the Dear Colleague letter. Those questions went unanswered, though, until Superintendent Steve Sayers announced his support of the edict in the Amherst News on May 23. (And note that Oberlin and Wellington schools have responded as well.) He said the school’s job is to create a safe environment for its students and that this includes allowing students to go to the bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender of their choice. Missing in Sayers’ equation, of course, are the students who feel UNSAFE by sharing a bathroom or locker room with a student of the opposite biological sex. These students are likely being told to get over their transphobia and to stop being a bigot. Quite a lesson from a school alleging a safe environment for all of its students.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wrote a letter to the Departments of Justice and Education asserting that the Dear Colleague letter was simply a threat and was sent without the force of law. And again he reiterates the political truth that we have known for generations but is antithetical to the philosophies on the left: “There are many, many questions that, consistent with constitutional guarantees, are best left to the decent, common sense judgment of individuals and communities at the state and local level.”

Please watch the Steele News Live video from May 19 on the transgender issue.

And finally, please attend the Amherst School Board meeting at Amherst Junior High School,  548 Milan Ave, Amherst, OH on Monday, June 20 at 4:30 for an evening of public discourse on the matter. As DeWine stated, there can be common sense responses to this issue that should be agreeable to students, parents, and school personnel.