Friday, July 29, 2005

"Urgent Dispatch From Headquarters"

Headquarters, Army of the Potomac

General Order Number One

Dear Brothers & Sisters in History,

The Meade Society will be setting up a 'Living-History' at the Wax Museum in Gettysburg the weekend of August 13-14th. We will portray the HQ of the Army of the Potomac after the Battle. We invite all period impressions to join us for the education, show 'n tell, and fun.

If you can participate, just send a brief message to me at: I hope to see as many as possible participate. Proceeds will benefit the Meade Scholarship & Historic preservation.

Thank you!

Major General George G. Meade, Commanding, Army of the Potomac (
Andy Waskie)


Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac after the Battle of Gettysburg
A Living History Display in front of the Wax Museum on Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg.

Set up: Friday, August 12th

Display: Saturday August 13th & Sunday, August 14th all day, each day.

Visit: camps; troops; speak to the Generals

Endorsements (Officers Present and on duty):

Major General George G. Meade, Commander, Army of the Potomac
Major General John F. Reynolds, Commander, First Army Corps, AoP.
Major General Winfield S. Hancock, Commander, Second Army Corps, AoP.
Brigadier General Andrew Humphreys, Commander 2nd Division, Third Army Corps, AoP.
Brigadier General Rufus Ingalls, Chief Quartermaster, AoP.
Brigadier General John Gibbon, Commander, 2nd Division, Second Army Corps, AoP.

Also present will be period civilians of the Sanitary Commission, etc.

All Are Welcome!

End of Dispatch


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Thursday, July 28, 2005

35: “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot News are reporting today that 15 Democratic legislators who voted against the recent pay raise (discussed here in #29: Legislation without Representation is Tyranny”) have been demoted from their current committee assignments.

Historian, educator, politician, and philosopher John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, once stated, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Pennsylvania Democratic Minority leader H. William DeWeese is an apparent example of such a sentiment. DeWeese is the man responsible for the aforementioned demotions. DeWeese is simply the most recent example of the loss of any ethical or moral guidance among our elected state and local officials. And it is not limited to the Democrats. That vote was taken in, and passed by both legislative houses of the State Assembly, houses which are controlled by a Republican majority. Nothing gets passed without the complicity of the Republicans. Adams County’s own legislators, Steve Maitland and Terry Punt, both Republicans, voted for the pay raise.

In his first lecture at England’s Cambridge University, Lord Acton said, "I exhort you never to debase the moral currency or to lower the standard of rectitude, but to try others by the final maxim that governs your own lives, and to suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty which history has the power to inflict on wrong." Strong words, and a warning of undoubted wisdom that should be heeded by any and all elected officials.

In Adams County, the County Commissioners, (herein referred to as "The Addams Family"), finally returned from their hiatus in the Bermuda Triangle and promptly unveiled a plan to foster the formation of geographic clusters of municipalities in Adams County in order to help deal with development. The implication is that they are helping to fight development. In reality, the clusters are being formed in order to get the clusters money to help with land zoning planning for development. The money? Oh, that’s coming from, you guessed it, the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, those wonderful folks who (almost brought us WalMart – twice) and who have been funneling your tax dollars into the runaway development of Adams County, including the casino. But do not be fooled, they act on the orders of "The Addams Family".

Does anyone remember "The Addams Family" ever polling their constituents about development? Neither does this blogger.

From top to bottom, the above is symptomatic of what is wrong with our governmental processes. Understand this: people run for office because they have an idea of what is good for society, and they want to make a difference. Once there, what should occur is the blending of those ideas with their peers, based on feedback from their constituents. Instead, the people are treated to the arrogance of power, the elected officials deciding unilaterally what is best for the people, without garnering the opinion of those people. The abuses of power by "The Addams Family", "The Strabaddies", and other local officials do not occur in a vacuum. They occur in a climate enabled by the state legislators, courts, and the Governor.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, evening viewing on C-SPAN was dominated by two men, U.S. Congressional Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), and Bob Walker (R-Pennsylvania). Night after night, for years these two men stood on the floor of an empty House of Representatives in Washington, and spoke into the Congressional Record, first detailing what was wrong with the philosophy of the four-decade old Democratic controlled House of Representatives. They transitioned into identifying the problems with the budgetary process, and finally, in the early 1990s, put forth the proposal for a “Contract with America”, which was, in essence, their idea of a solution. Indeed, according to Gingrich and Walker, the problem was massive budgetary allocations for huge government programs, like Public Welfare, for example, with little accountability, and no real way to measure the effectiveness of those programs. Instead, their “Contract” advocated the shift to what are known as Block Grants, allowing the states to administer the money with minimal interference from the Federal Government. Yes, there were strings. The states had to assure a certain amount of each grant actually got to the public, and had to provide performance agreements for those receiving the grants. Additionally, accountability for the grant money was both measured and monitored. In other words, the Feds told the states, “Here’s the money, meet these goals, provide proof, and do it as you see fit.” Among things they tied to the block grants were the highly successful Welfare Reform, which no longer simply handed out money to needy families, but required something in return – an honest effort to get off welfare. It was backed with money for educational and training programs, and for child care. Some states even tied child school attendance to welfare benefits, trying to break what was called the “Cycle of Dependency”. It worked. It was greatly successful. While Public Welfare was not entirely eliminated, it was greatly reduced, and the economy improved for it.

Gingrich and Walker did their homework. They could have played for the cameras and damned the Democrats until the cows came home, but chose, rather, to identify the problem, and devise an innovative, even radical solution to it. And they got feedback from the voters of America. People called and emailed C-SPAN to comment, The “Contract with America” grew, and became a Republican rallying cry until the 1994 elections arrived and presented the Party with the opportunity to prove their theories. And they did.

Now, in a very short time, the “block grant” system has become corrupted. They are used to line the pockets of developers, who in turn donate to the political campaigns of the legislators. And the people are appeased by all the new structures, malls, highways, and such in their districts. But they are not consulted. They do not get asked, “Do you want a new mall here?” This is legislative arrogance. In Adams County it reaches down to the township level.

From the innovation and creativity of Gingrich and Walker, millions of persons freed themselves from the Welfare rolls, and became productive members of society. But Gingrich and Walker had a following that let them know they were on the right track. They were in touch with the people. They offered a plan, and the public approved it.

None of the current state or local officials has come close to keeping in touch with the people on that level. None. Some try. Some make an honest effort. Some just pay lip service to the effort, then follow the political machine leaders. DeWeese, Fumo, Rendell, Samuel Smith, John Perzell, Brightbill, Mellow, Jubelirer, Catherine Baker Knoll, and others are responsible for this arrogant atmosphere.

How bad is it? Our President of the State Senate, Catherine Baker Knoll, the Lieutenant Governor of the State, recently showed up uninvited at the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq. She made comments to the family to the effect that “our government is against this war!” This kind of arrogance should never go unpunished. Instead, however, the 15 Democrats who voted “no” to their own pay raise are punished by the loss of their committee status and the extra money that attended those positions.

Let’s put Lord Acton into context. He was writing at the time (1870) when the Pope had issued a dogma of Papal Infallibility…the Pope could never be wrong. His statement on this issue was, "Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Acton could just as easily have been talking about our elected Pennsylvania officials, from the township level to the Governor’s mansion.

“Legislation without representation is tyranny!”

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Please remember to donate to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173,
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

34: “Defining Liberty”

To our purpose here in this essay, the dictionary defines the word liberty this way:
  1. Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.
  2. A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference: the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.

In today’s United States, to most Americans, liberty is a synonym for freedom. We mouth the words together – freedom and liberty – and without much thought mean the same thing by them. But the definition above infers that liberty is a freedom. It also infers liberty, a specific freedom, to be a right.

The Committee of Five was formed by the Second Continental Congress to essentially come up with a statement that would announce to the world the freedom that the new United States was declaring for itself. These five men, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert Livingston of New York, and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania formed the committee. Almost immediately, four of the five agreed to allow the 33 year old Jefferson the freedom to pen the first draft, or as Jefferson himself told it in 1823,

…unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draught [sic]. I consented; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee I communicated it separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections. . . I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress.

Our founders in that Second Continental Congress then agreed on, affixed their signatures thereto, and had published, the most important words in our nation’s history:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So elegantly simple. Life, the right to draw breath; Liberty, freedom from unjust government; and the pursuit of Happiness, the right to seek ones own way, to be responsible for ones own actions aimed toward being a contributing member of society, and to gain personal satisfaction in so doing. So fundamental were these words to the rights of man, that they were capitalized in the Declaration.

So important was the word Liberty to the founders that a year before the Declaration was written, Patrick Henry addressed the Virginia House of Burgesses with the immortal words:

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

…and thus inspired a revolution. It was not something that came upon them suddenly, but was the culmination of several decades of growing abuses by the British King, George III. These colonists were not permitted to make their own way, to establish their own economy, which they felt could be more lucrative than what the Crown forced on them with its repressive tax laws. Indeed, the British government felt the colonies had been in revolt for several years, and the conflict with the American Minutemen Militia at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 was just the first open and armed instance of defiance to British rule. By June of that year the First Continental Congress authorized an army, and by July the Crown declared the colonies to be in rebellion. In March of 1776 the Second Continental Congress authorized the fitting out of privateers to take on the enemies of the colonies, and the following month opened American ports to trade with other countries; by May they had authorized the formation of local governments, thus assuming civil control from the British authority.

All this time the Colonial geniuses were agitating to separate. Thomas Paine wrote political essays published in pamphlets called Common Sense, and The American Crisis. John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the aforementioned Roger Sherman and others, were among perhaps the greatest collection of socio-political thinkers in one place, at one time, and with one common goal in mind, and became a force that no army could overcome. Writing in Common Sense, Paine said,

Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ’tis time to part.

These brave men risked all in daring to sign their names to a document that not only declared the British Government, perhaps the largest empire the world had ever seen to that time, to no longer be in control of those colonies, but also set forth the principles that would guide the new nation in its governance of the people. As the Liberty Bell was rung in Philadelphia, the prophetic Biblical inscription on it read,

Proclaim Liberty throughout the land!

Once established, one of the first areas of contention was the defining and drawing the scope of those rights of man. In writing a draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, George Mason wrote,

…a frequent recurrency to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessing of liberty.

But the author of the Declaration of Independence himself, Thomas Jefferson put it this way,

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

A careful reading of the Declaration of Independence will reveal that the rights of man, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, precede the formation of government, and,

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

What follows then is a cautionary note about what happens when governments lose sight of the responsibility to the individual rights of man:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The government of Pennsylvania, and the governments in Adams County have lost their way, and lost the essence of Rightful Liberty. When local governments make laws that allow those governments to dictate their whims to the people, they have abrogated their responsibility to secure these rights, and the consent of the governed must be withdrawn.

Passing laws that force communities to accept development and business without allowing a popular voice to have a say in the matter is tyranny. Conducting public meetings without allowing the public to be heard is the height of government arrogance, and insultingly says that the people’s voice is not competent to be heard. Making plans for the future of the people’s homes without allowing them a say in that future is a usurpation of basic Rightful Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

These affronts are present in our state laws as exemplified by Act 71 of 2004, the Pennsylvania State Gaming Law, and in the actions taken by the Adams County Commissioners, the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, and several township governments, in particular, that of Straban Township. They have combined to effect the rape of the land in Adams County, in a mistaken notion that they govern the land and not the people who live on it. No public opinion was legitimately sought, allowed, or taken into consideration when the casino was proposed, or when Straban Township altered its zoning plan, nor was any public input permitted, sought, or accepted when the Economic Development Corporation sought to force a WalMart Superstore, and a WalMart Distribution Center on the people of this community. In all of these actions, including the runaway development of Adams County, the Adams County Commissioners are complicit.

James Madison put it very succinctly when he wrote,

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

Finally, Jefferson wrote in 1786,

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him…the idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural rights.

The time has come for government to restore the Rightful Liberty of which Jefferson wrote. It is time for the people to make their governments do this.


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Gettysburg, PA 17325

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

33: “Three Women”

Ancient Greek playwrights dramatized their times by telling the stories of their heroes, and their villains. Hercules, Orestes, Agamemnon, Ajax, and the god Prometheus have all come down to us over the millennia, and their dramatists, such men as Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes told their stories in the form of dramas, often in competition with other playwrights. Euripides won 24 of these competitions, meaning 96 of his plays (they were submitted in sets of four) won top prizes in their competitions.

Several of these dramatists wrote of Greek or Trojan Women as well. In Lysistrata, Aristophanes told of Greek women who, weary of the constant and protracted wars their men engaged in, shut themselves off from their men, and essentially went on a strike of wifely duties until they won their point. In Electra, Sophocles drew the character of a woman wronged, who used her inner strength in an attempt to gain retribution.

In Antigone, Sophocles tells of a woman who defies the orders of a king in an attempt to bury her fallen brother. She runs afoul of cruel King Creon who in anger at her defiance, declares her a criminal, and banishes her to starve in a cave outside of town. Such strength, and nobility of character given by these playwrights to their women in the face of adversity, and in spite of the actions of the men that surround them, is typical of the women portrayed in their dramas.

At the start of Antigone, this warning is issued,

"And now what is the proclamation that they tell of/made lately by the commander, publicly,/to all people? Do you know it? Have you heard it?/Don't you notice when evils due to enemies/are headed towards those we love?"
In Gettysburg, we have been experiencing our own “Greek Drama” over the past few months. A son of the realm has returned to town, created a kingdom, and now attempts to expand that kingdom. But the king has angered many of his fellow citizens by the manner in which he seeks to expand, and his seeming disregard for the older traditions of the town. Some feel his success would destroy those valued traditions.

As the Greeks had strong women, so, too, has Gettysburg been blessed. They are many in number, but we shall speak of three who dared to show their courage, and take on not just one Goliath, but two at the same time.

Susan Star Paddock, Jean Siderio, and Linda B. Perkins traveled to Harrisburg on Thursday to attend a meeting of the newly formed Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. They went, even though they knew in advance they would not be permitted to speak -- such has government silenced its own constituents. These three ladies went anyway, wearing their “No Casino Gettysburg” t-shirts, and became media darlings of the day. The news of the fight against a casino in Gettysburg has finally hit the networks. NPR and ABC are carrying the story. MSNBC is also. A trip through the halls of the Capitol Building, followed by the media, turned into a trip through a gauntlet of well-wishers, from legislative staff to legislators, and the three women were given encouragement to keep up the fight; they had support in Harrisburg.

No Casino Gettysburg finally had a face, or rather three faces, in their now national fight to stop the casino from being built here.

The two Goliaths are Chance Enterprises, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Chance Enterprises is the corporate entity comprised of investors who wish to build the casino here in Gettysburg. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a pair of Acts last year that enabled gaming in the state. It has been a pet project of the Governor, Ed Rendell, since he was Mayor of Philadelphia, perhaps even farther back than that. The Governor has even met with a national organization of casino operators in an attempt to raise funds from them for political purposes. That makes him a super-Goliath. His office has promised that he is keeping a tally of support for and against the casino, at least the one projected for Gettysburg.

The visit to Harrisburg has upped the ante on public relations against the project in Gettysburg. In fact, in terms of PR, Chance Enterprises now has an unmitigated PR disaster on its hands. Public opinion locally has been organized against them for months, ever since the first announcement of the projected casino. Now, however, the fight has gone nationwide. Chance Enterprises needs to quietly fold its tents and steal away. It was a bad idea from the start, and nothing they have said or done since their announcement has provided a shred of evidence to recommend the project. In fact, their PR folks, a Pittsburgh law firm, claims to have conducted a survey, the raw data from which they refuse to allow anyone to see, and the numbers of people surveyed change based on which news outlet reports on it. Some say 300 were phoned, others say 600. In the face of such obfuscation, it is no wonder they cannot refute the facts that their promised 800 jobs are not needed in Adams County, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and the promised money for the schools and communities simply will not exist – ever. Not only is the project a bad idea for Gettysburg, it is a misguided one as well. Such efforts would be better placed, and of more economic benefit – if indeed there is to be any community economic benefit, in depressed areas such as Chester, Delaware County, or in the coal region of northeast Pennsylvania. Those regions truly need economic development like what Adams County is facing. Adams County does not.

This fight is now a national one, and we have three heroes to stand for the many heroes who stand on street corners collecting signatures on petitions, work in the administration of the effort, make phone calls to gain support, or simply those who donate. No Casino Gettysburg has three faces, in the form of three women worthy of a Greek drama.

Please remember to donate to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173,
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!


Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

32: “An Open Letter to Governor Rendell”

Governor Rendell,

I am writing this letter in hope of appealing to, as Abraham Lincoln put it, “the better angels” of your nature. I am asking that you set aside the results of one of your long term goals as governor of our great Commonwealth.

By its nature, gambling in Pennsylvania has the appearance of a pot of gold under the rainbow, an answer to a growing state budget that is outstripping revenues. Unfortunately, the legislation presented for your signature last summer, Acts 71 and 72, falls far short in so many areas as to become some of the worst legislation ever written. It is full of conflicts of interest, ethical wrongs, and open invitations to graft and corruption.

Already, newspapers across the country are writing of conflicts involving lobbyists who own interests in gaming companies, making deals with gaming equipment manufacturers -- and not one spade-full of earth has yet been turned to construct a casino in Pennsylvania. A member of the State Assembly is under investigation regarding a land deal for a proposed casino -- and not one cubic yard of concrete has been poured yet to construct a casino. The State Assembly is one of the parties responsible for selecting members of the Gaming Control Commission, yet these same elected officials are permitted by language in Act 71 to own a percentage of a casino, or casinos – a clear conflict of interest. There is more, such as the oppressive language struck out of Act 71 by the Commonwealth Supreme Court that allowed the Gaming Control Commission to locate a casino wherever it chose, regardless of local zoning ordinances, or local opposition.

In Gettysburg, local opposition is extremely broad based and organized against the placement of a casino there. Polls conducted by the local members of the State Assembly over a year ago show a minimum of 70% of the local constituents oppose the presence of a casino in the area. More recent polls show a higher rate of opposition, and even more alarming, over 50% of visitors to Gettysburg who were asked, responded by saying they would not return to Gettysburg if a casino was located here.

Many in Gettysburg feel that one of the heroes of the great battle that was fought here said it best. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment wrote after the war,

"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream; And lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls."

A casino would be most inappropriate here. Nevertheless, those investors have “gold fever”, and nothing else seems to matter but making their fortunes.

For the reasons stated above, I urge you in the strongest of terms to foster the repeal of Act 71 and Act 72. There is little to recommend either piece of legislation. Act 71 will make a lot of money for a few investors, but will do little for the communities in which the casinos are located but cause heartache and economic shortfalls, and corrupt the lives of many who are involved in the industry, even peripherally. As you are aware, Act 72 has been rejected overwhelmingly by the school boards of the Commonwealth. Few believe the funding for education will meet or even approach projected levels.

Good legislation, once passed, requires the confidence of the people, and neither Act 71, nor Act 72 holds such confidence. The reasons vary, but the lack is apparent. In general, both Acts were arrogant and misguided attempts to solve fiscal problems by involving the people of the Commonwealth in an industry that attracts addiction, and for which there is a side industry based on aiding the recovery from that addiction. That simply does not square with the meaning of the word from which we derive the word “Commonwealth”: commonweal, meaning the general well being of the people. Neither Act 71, nor Act 72 meets this litmus test.

Please foster the repeal of these two bad Acts, and sign the repealing legislation, rather than vetoing it. Set the State Assembly to the task of passing responsible legislation to develop alternatives to Act 71, on a much smaller scale than the current bill, and do not tie municipal or educational funding to it. They can and must do better than Acts 71 and 72.

Thank you Governor, for your time and attention to this matter.



Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to
NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 18, 2005

31: “Someone Just Doesn’t Get It!”

Last Thursday, July 14, the Gettysburg Times ran this as their top letter to the editor in their Editorial Page As our readers see it column:

“Notes slots pledge to community”

Editor, Gettysburg Times:

“On July 7, 2005, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced their choice of executive director. Anne Lacour Neeb, from Louisiana, has accepted the position and will begin when her background investigation is completed. The Patriot News in Harrisburg quoted Ms. Neeb as saying, “gambling ‘if it’s done correctly,’ will benefit the state.”

“As an investor in Gettysburg Gaming Resort & Spa, we interpret her remarks on two levels. On the state level, Ms. Neeb refers to correctly adopting regulations for gaming and gaming sites, and applying the law that was passed. In carrying out their duties, the Gaming Control Board will facilitate economic gain for the state, county governments, and local governments.

“Chance Enterprises also interprets this from our perspective. It is our intention to do it “correctly” in Gettysburg. We will adhere to the law and the regulations adopted by the Gaming Control Board and abide by a code of conduct that includes promoting responsible gaming by offering informative materials on gaming to customers, identifying where to find assistance, and displaying prominently probabilities of winning so that our customers can make responsible choices for themselves. We will prevent underage gambling and unattended minors in our place of business. We will serve alcoholic beverages responsibly. We will advertise responsibly. Perhaps the most important pledge an investor can make, however, is to the community. Our pledge is to work with the communities of Adams County to assure that this remains a safe and healthy place to live, work, and recreate and to assure that the historical significance of Gettysburg will be upheld.

“David LeVan is a respected and responsible leader in the Gettysburg community. He can be trusted to continue that style of leadership for Gettysburg Gaming Resort & Spa. As for myself, I have spent the past five years helping to build an even stronger Adams County through its non-profit organizations. I feel a duty to continue that sense of community building through Gettysburg Gaming Resort & Spa.

Barbara B. Ernico
Camp Hill”
Wow. Its hard to compete with towering arrogance like that. This Blogger finally understand why the French became enraged when Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”

Calling on one of this Blogger’s favorite local acquaintances, W. G. Davis, for a response, he had one waiting. It seems he fired one off to the Times within an hour of reading the Ernico letter. Alas, they do not publish him any more, either. Perhaps they can be shamed into it. Here is what he wrote:

“Editor, Gettysburg Times:

“Ms. Ernico's letter printed in the July 14th edition of the Times is full of promises. Unfortunately they are promises Ms. Ernico cannot keep, nor can she guarantee that they will be kept. For example, will there be someone there to explain warnings on the addiction of gambling when people walk in the door? She mentions "displaying prominently the probabilities of winning". The only thing those who gamble in the casino need to understand is that the House never loses. The percentage of money taken home by gamblers after also figuring in their losses is miniscule. Few win big; the vast majority lose their money. She also promises to serve alcoholic beverages responsibly.

Alcohol is served in the casino (free of charge), to make you gamble more. It is served to loosen you up, break down your inhibitions, and weaken your skills and judgment. That is why alcohol is served. It is NOT served as a refreshment.

“Ms. Ernico pledges to work with the communities of the county to assure that it remains a safe and healthy place to live. If she means this, then why do the investors continue to press for a casino here in the face of obvious opposition, that is both principled and logical? Why, for example, would they insist on building a casino in a property adjoining a youth sports park? Do they want to attract folks who drink and gamble to our children's ball fields? And, please, enlighten us, Ms. Ernico, how would the historical significance of Gettysburg be upheld by the presence of a casino?

“Finally, Ms. Ernico touts her "good works" with unnamed non-profit groups in Adams County. So she says. If she is so interested in improving Adams County, then why is she still living in Camp Hill?

W. G. Davis

Indeed, why is Ms. Ernico living in Cumberland County?

I assume that due to limitations on the number of words the Times will print, Mr. Davis left a few things unsaid. For example, Ms. Ernico states,

“Our pledge is to work with the communities of Adams County to assure that this remains a safe and healthy place to live, work, and recreate and to assure that the historical significance of Gettysburg will be upheld.”
Can someone please enlighten me as to how the investors in a business that is built specifically to attract gamblers (many of whom are addicted to gambling), and enhances that attraction by offering free alcohol (many who will come will be alcoholics) can make such a pledge with a straight face? They are going to attract high numbers of gambling and alcohol addicts to their Spa, and they think the community will remain safe, healthy, and a fun place to be. Handing out brochures from Gamblers Anonymous at the entrance to their Spa is tokenism. It is lip service. It is, “let them eat cake.”

G. K Chesterton said, “Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” Barbara Ernico seems to think she’s living in an Aristocracy and is a part of it because she has money.

Barbara Ernico, the LeVans, and the rest of the investors just don’t get it. Neither do the Straban Township Supervisors ("The Strabaddies"), the Adams County Commissioners ("The Addams Family"), the state legislative representatives (who act more like bleating lost sheep than political leaders), and of course, the Gettysburg Times.


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Friday, July 15, 2005

30: “The Twilight of Oppression”

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
--William O. Douglas

The late Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court is probably spinning in his grave over the recent Supreme Court decision Kelo v New London. The Supreme Court ruled that government authorities have the right to seize private property in order to allow developers to build on the site. The only stipulation is that it must be for the public good.

The Fifth Amendment says, in full (applicable portion in bold):

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

has this to say about the case:

“In 1998, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer built a plant next to Fort Trumbull and the City determined that someone else could make better use of the land than the Fort Trumbull residents. The City handed over its power of eminent domain—the ability to take private property for public use—to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), a private body, to take the entire neighborhood for private development. As the Fort Trumbull neighbors found out, when private entities wield government’s awesome power of eminent domain and can justify taking property with the nebulous claim of “economic development,” all homeowners are in trouble."

The implications for Adams County are disastrous. In a county where most of the agricultural and open townships are fighting development, there are politicians at all levels of government, from the Straban Township supervisors ("The Strabaddies") to the Adams County Commissioners ("The Addams Family"), to the unusually taciturn state representatives, to the Adams County Economic Development Corporation (that suddenly gained vast new power with the Kelo decision), who are all, essentially, rolling over and playing dead to the developers.

On the southwest border of the county Wormold Development out of Maryland is looking for every legal loophole they can find to win a court battle so they can place an 1800 unit housing development in Liberty Township. For the record, that is more homes than there are in the Borough of Gettysburg.

In the northern part of the county, sprawl is creeping down from Cumberland County and Carlisle, which has become a major trucking hub because of Interstate 81. Adams residents pay the price for not developing by enduring the trucks that move both ways on U.S. Route 30 right though downtown Gettysburg. Sooner, rather than later, however, there will be a bypass put in that will connect Interstate 83 in York with Interstate 81 somewhere around Chambersburg or Shippensburg.

Straban Township, of course, wants to develop itself, to pave itself over and eliminate 80% of the green space (open and farm land) in the township. It is likely that most of the farmers there are unaware of "The Strabaddies" and their municipal land grab. Why else would they rezone the entire township and pass the new plan one day after publicly announcing it in the newspapers? Are "The Strabaddies" against the casino? Of course not, silly. They are even pressing the state legislature to allow them a bigger cut of the casino pie so they can start their own police force. Really! This blogger can recommend an investigation for that force to take on once they are established.

It will not be long before the missing Adams County Commissioners show up long enough to surrender their right to declare eminent domain to the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, as the City of New London did to their EDC.

The Adams County Economic Development Corporation has been working in secret for 15 years or more to bring development into Adams County. Sadly, they refuse to accept that it is not necessary in a county with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. There is only one reason for all this development: greed. (See the top right of this blog page for a description of greed.)

And so, the twilight of oppression deepens and the people of Adams County will drift rapidly into becoming “the unwitting victims of the darkness” – victimized by their own elected officials, and unwilling to do anything about it.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

29: “Legislation without Representation is Tyranny!”

The Hanover Sun of Friday, July 8, 2005 contained an editorial of some note. In the editor’s own dry manner, the Pennsylvania State Assembly was taken to task for passing a massive pay increase for themselves.

“Lawmakers won't pay for pay raise.
It happened in the middle of the night while most of us slept, as if to drive home their point about working long hours.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly voted themselves a 16-percent pay increase very early Thursday.
Our lawmakers, who now earn $69,647, voted to increase their annual base salary to $81,000.
But you know what? That's OK.
Really, it is.
It's OK because we allow it, time and time again. And because they know that we allow it…”

The editor’s point is that the legislators know their constituents will complain, and then will reelect them in November.

The editor continued in this vein and remarked on Adams County’s two legislators, Representative Steve Maitland, and Senator Terry Punt, both of whom voted for this pay increase.

One of the things the editor did not comment on was the claim made by the legislature in their announcement that they had not voted themselves a pay raise in over ten years. Well, that’s because they had voted once to give themselves automatic pay raises tied to the annual increase in the cost of living (see? no vote required.) They have had pay raises every year since their last money grab. They also had done nothing over the past four years to restore some pay increases to state employees viciously cut by the Governor because they backed his opponent. Fast Eddie Rendell is a virulent anti-Union Democrat.

These are the same ethically challenged people who gave us those two model pieces of ethicless legislation called Act 71 and Act 72. For example, it took the State Supreme Court to knock out the section allowing the State’s new Gaming Commission to place a casino anywhere it wanted regardless of local zoning ordinances (not that Straban Township would object!), and the same people who get to appoint members to that board, voted to allow themselves to own a percentage of a casino. That is a clear conflict of interest.

But Pennsylvania voters tend to be complacently myopic when it comes to their own representatives. “It isn’t my representative who’s doing this, it’s the darned Republicans/Democrats!!!” Then Joe voter will go into the booth in November and pull the party lever.

They almost deserve what the legislators do to them.

This is not a partisan issue. There is a Democrat in the governor’s mansion, and the legislature is comfortably Republican. Yet this kind of negligent legislating borders almost on the criminal. It is bipartisan. In other words, it is done with the full cooperation of both parties. I’ll repeat that: both parties are complicit in their negligent disregard of even the most basic ethics of their jobs.

These people are legislating but not representing, too caught up in the power games of politics. DeWeese, Fumo, and Rendell – they are the power brokers in the state. There are others, too, but these men have accumulated power far beyond what they should safely have.

As this blogger wrote in the previous essay, “Greed knows no limits, and has no character. Greed endures no absolute moral values, and has its own ethics. Greed has no memories but vengeful ones. Greed has no friends, and no family, only partners, and partners are expendable. Greed consumes and corrupts absolutely. Greed is blind to itself.”

Unfortunately, our statewide elected officials, and in many cases, our local elected officials are afflicted with at least five of the “seven deadly sins”. The seven sins are: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed, anger and sloth. It will be up to the readers to determine which are the five. One, by itself, should be enough to bounce anyone from office.

A recall movement has the advantage of immediately making the elected official responsive. As long as that petition is out there and gaining signatures, that elected official will finally become responsive to the will of the voters.

Act 71 has to go. It is too corrupt, and too corrupting. It will take Act 72 with it, and good riddance. The Governor must go. Frankly, it is time for the legislators to go, and work for a living instead of legislating for it.

Locally, the Adams County Commissioners must go…if and when they are ever found again. The Straban Township supervisors, and their Zoning Board must go. The Adams County Economic Development Corporation must go. These are all complicit in the runaway development of Adams County symbolized by the proposed casino.

There is a saying in politics, “All politics are local.” It is true. Ultimate political power is local.

Also true is the fact that legislation without representation is tyranny.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

28: “Assessing the Situation and Defining Greed”

It is time to pause and assess the situation here in the Gettysburg area. We need to take a look at the status of the dual fight to halt the casino, and roll back development. Right now, there seems to be a pause in the action while the area goes through the very heart of its tourist season and the fruit industry enters its busy time.

We need to ask ourselves some serious questions at this point:

First, and foremost, the farmers of Straban Township need to ask themselves if they are comfortable allowing the township to gobble up their farms for development. Won’t happen, you say. Who have you been listening to, "The Strabaddies"? They have had designs on the farms of the township for years. Take a look at what they did to the farmers’ wells in the middle of the last drought, and then lied at the Supervisors’ meeting that the Electric Plant and County Prison test wells were on a different water table than the farm wells that were drying up all around them. Now they are armed with a Supreme Court decision that allows them to take your farm because a developer wants to put 400 houses and Sheetz on your acreage. Don’t think "The Strabaddies" will do it? Remember what happened to the poor homeowner at the intersection of Granite Station Road and U.S. 30? Rather than do it themselves, they got their buddies "The Addams Family", as we refer to the Adams County Commissioners to, declare eminent domain and take his land.

Second question - has anyone searched the Bermuda Triangle for "The Addams Family"? Seriously, where are the Adams County Commissioners?

Third question – does anyone wonder why the supervisors in Liberty and Freedom townships fight so hard to deny and delay development, yet "The Strabaddies" never met a patch of grass they didn’t want to pave over? What is this fixation these guys have with development? And we are not talking about your usual development, but the rapid urbanization of Straban Township. They are planning to do in ten years what normally would take 100-150 years to accomplish at a normal pace.

Fourth question – who is feeding the people of this area the line of bull that all this development is a good thing? What this kind of development does is deceive two classes of people, the current residents who are lied to when they are told of all the benefits and jobs that will be created by the development, and those who will be attracted to the area because of the development and the promised jobs and low taxes. Development consistently underperforms financially for the area being developed. It does not generally underperform for the developers, however, but they will be long gone before the facts finally sink in that everyone left behind is now holding an empty bag. What they leave behind are those two classes of people, now a single class, faced with mounting government debt, costs, and the resultant skyrocketing taxes. But the developers will be gone, and "The Strabaddies" will be in their beach cabanas in Florida.

Fifth question – what kind of folks are they that want to build a casino here? David LeVan grew up here in Gettysburg, went on to be the CEO of Conrail, and came back to the area to build Battlefield Harley Davidson. He donates generously to many worthy causes in the area, including preservation interests. His wife Jennifer owns a shop in town called Just Jennifer. Now, however, he heads up a group of investors that seek to build a casino here. What boggles the mind about him, and the other investors, is the fact that in spite of very loud and strong opposition to his project, he is content to continue on with it. This is a man who is apparently used to success, and used to getting his way. The kind of arrogance that insists he knows better than the rest of the folks who live here is indicative of someone who allows greed to consume him. In this he is not alone. Bob Monahan is paying the area back for his failure to get the NPS Visitors Center project contract he came so close to back in the 1990s. Local public opinion may have had a role in that back then. But, we have seen his greed explicitly displayed in a newspaper article when he made the comment that the casino was a done deal…it would be built here somewhere, so it might as well be on his property. All the while he was distancing himself from the investors. Monahan has not forgotten the storm over his role in the Visitors Center controversy years ago, so he is now armed with a “See? I am doing something positive for the community” attitude and a historical movie project to prove it.

Both men apparently believe if they spread some money around people will be more inclined to let them have their way. Well, a few will. But most will not. And they will not because they believe it is not in their best interests to allow these two arrogant pseudo-philanthropists and their greedy county and municipal government sycophants to ruin a lifestyle that has taken over 250 years to develop, and that in the process of creating something larger, 150,000 men fought here and created a memorial to our nation, and that memorial, which does not end at the boundaries of the park, will not tolerate being sullied by the likes of a casino, or rampant development.

The people of Adams County need to look at their area and see that it is the area of the California Gold Rush of the 21st century. Developers and investors see fortunes - huge fortunes - to be made along the U.S. 15 corridor. The local residents have been paying the price for a few decades while Straban has been developing its “Golden Mile”. Now "The Strabaddies" have doomed four out of five farms in the township to be handed over for development. Do not think that it won’t happen here. It already has, and continues to happen here. And your nicely balanced, rural, conservative, low tax, low unemployment haven is about to disappear forever, to be replaced by a sprawling urbanized area filled with enormous housing tracts, industrial parks, commercial campuses, shopping malls, lots of hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and a casino.

And when it is done, when the building stops, the reality will set in. First, the developers will be gone, seen driving south on US 15 with wads of your cash wrapped tightly in their fists. With no more building boom, the county unemployment rate will skyrocket as thousands of construction workers and small contractors who rode the boom are suddenly without any work. Some will move out of the area to compete elsewhere, but most will stick here with kids in the local schools. The tax base will plummet, and those who do have work will start to pay more and more to support the ones who have little or no income. It snowballs from there. Without the tax base, the better teachers will begin to leave through attrition of retirement, and quality education will go down.

The final question is this: What will you do when all of that green is gone? How will your life be enriched by the absence of fields of grain, and corn, and cattle? What will your life be like when the only green that is left is in the Battlefield Park, on the playing fields of the schools, and on the lawns of the summer homes of the investors who paved over the county, built all those industrial plants and office complexes, stores, malls, and housing developments, including the casino?

Greed knows no limits, and has no character. Greed endures no absolute moral values, and has its own ethics. Greed has no memories but vengeful ones. Greed has no friends, and no family, only partners, and partners are expendable. Greed consumes and corrupts absolutely. Greed is blind to itself.

Greed is what we face in Adams County today.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

“Pipe the Admiral Over the Side”

There is an old naval custom that involves a tribute to any person holding command of a naval vessel and those of flag rank – Commodore, Admiral, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral, Fleet Admiral, and the one-time rank of Admiral of the Navy held only by George Dewey, the hero of the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish American War.

Prior to electricity, rapidly alerting the crew of a naval ship to emergencies, or the routine turn of the clock, involved the beating of a drum, the blowing of a fife, or a small, shrill steady toned whistle, called a bosun’s (shortened form of boatswain) pipe. The pipe is able to produce different pitches based on how the piper holds the pipe in his hand, and different combinations of notes, and how long they are held, or whether they are trilled or not convey a message.

When one of the officers noted above arrives at a naval ship, or departs from one, there is a ceremony conducted at the quarterdeck. [A quarterdeck is any place designated as the location of the entryway for boarding or disembarking from a ship.] A small party of sailors, or Marines, if there are any aboard, are gathered there to line the side of the ship and render a salute as the officer comes aboard the ship, or departs from it. At the command, the sailors or marines salute, and the bosun starts to pipe. The salute, and the piping is held until the officer has fully come aboard ship, or when leaving the ship, until the top of his head becomes lower than the deck as he descends into a waiting boat. This custom is called manning the side. It is a sign of respect to a command authority. In the U.S. Navy, command authority is not given, it is earned. And the path to command is often filled with roadblocks, setbacks, and events totally beyond one’s control. For those who make it, it is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Yesterday, we lost a shining light from more recent naval history. Vice Admiral James Stockdale, USN, Retired, Annapolis ’47, passed away at age 81. Admiral Stockdale followed the path to flag rank through the Naval Aviation branch. He flew fighters and fighter-bombers from the decks of US Navy aircraft carriers. For his valor and heroism in the service of his country, James Stockdale was awarded numerous citations, including two Purple Heart medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Distinguished Service Medals, four Silver Star Medals and for his extreme sacrifice during eight years of captivity in the Hanoi Hilton, James Stockdale was awarded the Medal of Honor. No Naval officer of flag rank has ever matched that record. As a young man, Stockdale developed a keen interest in the Roman philosopher Epictetus, and during his captivity, it was the stoicism of Epictetus to which Stockdale clung, openly defying his North Vietnamese torturers.

Admiral Stockdale accepted the request of H. Ross Perot to join his campaign for president in 1992, as Perot’s running mate. In his initial public address, Admiral Stockdale candidly opened with the remarks, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?” The press, and political opponents belittled and mocked him for his candor, yet this man of extreme courage remained steadfast to the end of the campaign, and quietly went back into private life. This man of great personal character, courage, and class, died yesterday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease, a true and great American hero in every sense of the word.

One last time, let us pipe the Admiral over the side.

“Attention on deck! Hand salute! Pipe! Two!”

“Stockdale, departing.”


Monday, July 04, 2005

27: “Aftermath: Independence Day, 1863”

It is 6:00 PM on the afternoon of July 4, 1863. After three days of pitched battle, during which the Army of Northern Virginia threw itself against the Army of the Potomac, approximately 51,000 Americans have been killed, wounded, or captured. The once fertile farms along Emmitsburg Road, Chambersburg Pike, Hanover Street, and the Carlisle and Harrisburg Pikes are strewn with the detritus of war. The streets of Gettysburg are crowded with the men of Ambrose Powell Hill’s Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia on the west and south sides, and on the east end by the men of Jubal Early’s and Robert E. Rode’s Divisions of Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps.

Covering those fields are broken up wagons, and ambulances, artillery caissons, limbers and gun carriages, canteens, packs, cartridge boxes, broken rifles, and of course, the toll among the living: many of the wounded still lay where they fell, as do the dead. Thousands of horses and mules also dot the landscape, some wounded, most dead.

All the barns for miles around are full of the wounded and the dying, and outside them are those that are already dead, and next to the line of soldiers who have yet to be treated are piles of limbs sawn from human bodies because they were too shattered to patch up. Retreat from the wound, and make your incision in healthy flesh and bone, leaving extra flesh to provide a flap to close the wound after the amputation.

Already, General Robert E. Lee has contacted his Union counterpart, Major General George Gordon Meade, and offered to exchange prisoners. Meade has declined. It has been raining most of the day. The rain would continue for many days, almost as if nature was attempting to wash clean what 150,000 men had done to her, and to each other, at Gettysburg. Lee is shaken by what has happened to his vaunted troops over the previous three days. He has been repulsed with heavy losses by a commander who has only been in command less than a week. The Yankees did not turn and run. They stayed and held their ground, and it was good, advantageous ground. They held the heights. He had not wanted to fight here, but his men had stumbled into it, and driven the enemy from the field on the first day. But “those people” as he calls them, simply went south of town and took position on the heights there, and Lee had attacked all along their line. Not a single one of his nine divisions escaped unscathed. His losses amounted to almost a full third of his army, most never to return. They would be, like all the losses, irreplaceable. It would be time to order the men to prepare for the journey back to Virginia soon.

Across the way on the high ground, George Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac since the 28th of June, wasn’t quite sure of Lee’s intentions. His troops had detected no preparations for a renewed assault, nor did it appear that Lee was packing up to leave. Yet the offer to exchange prisoners certainly meant there would be no more fighting, at least for this Independence Day. Was Lee inviting attack? Even with the horrible losses they had taken on the past three days, they were still, in a word, dangerous. In comparison, while his force had experienced heavy losses as well, they were not as severe as Lee’s were. But his army was somewhat disorganized, mainly from the piecemeal way commanders grabbed regiments and brigades to plug gaps in the lines. They were tired – battle weary, hungry, dirty, and in need of hot food, and cool water, but most of all, rest. Though he was leery of what the old fox across the way was up to, he was grateful for the respite from three days of absolute carnage. He had decisions to make. He must begin to formulate a plan for an assault on Lee’s forces on Seminary Ridge, if he was still there in the morning. He must also hope that young General Wesley Merritt would be able to cut off the road through the village of Fairfield 8 miles to the southwest, to deny Lee that shorter route over South Mountain and back to the Potomac River. Meade already missed the severely wounded Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, and the dead John Fulton Reynolds, one of the best friends he had in the army, and one of the army’s prized generals. He would not miss that devil Sickles. Meade decides to gather his generals that evening and postpones the decision of what to do until then.

Most of the wounded have been gathered, and some of the dead have been buried in hastily dug graves right where they fell. Those who fled the fighting are rounded up and returned to their units.

In the aftermath of this battle, the two commanders were struggling with decisions on what to do next. What were their paths leading away from Gettysburg? For Lee, the path would end with his death in 1870, and a place in American history among the nation’s most effective, and beloved leaders. Meade, however, was victimized by a scoundrel of the first order named Daniel Sickles. Until he died two years after Lee, Meade fought to clear his name, accused of almost losing the Battle of Gettysburg, by Sickles, a pre-war congressman of some ill-repute, and initially vilified by Lincoln for not pursuing Lee’s retreat more aggressively. Lincoln never fully trusted him again, and although he never had enough cause to remove him from command of the Army of the Potomac, a position he would hold to the end of the war, he saw fit to place him under the command of Ulysses S. Grant at the end of 1863, and allowed Grant to have his headquarters in the field with the Army of the Potomac. This unusual arrangement left Meade as only the titular head of the army, as Grant would issue the orders to the end.

Because this was a Civil War, and not an international one, some people feel it was not as important as, say, World War One, or World War II, or Korea. Because the enemy of either side were Americans, it is hard to generate a feeling of antipathy for either, or to deny a feeling of empathy for both. But it was of extreme importance to all of us, perhaps the most important to us since it gave us the form of the nation we have today.

Regardless of which side one favors in the American Civil War, one most realize that based on the outcome in April of 1865, the path away from Gettysburg started by both Lee and Meade, leads directly to where we are today. The Civil War gave America a national identity and a respect around the world. We were no longer the former colonies of Great Britain, but were now the United States of America, a title adopted some 90 years prior to the end of the Civil War.

Gettysburg was the largest battle of the American Civil War, and no one paid homage to the battle here more eloquently than did President Abraham Lincoln in his November dedicatory address at the National Cemetery. The battle here indeed gave the nation “…a new birth of freedom…”.

A new birth of freedom for a nation founded on the principles of the Rights of Man, and his inalienable right to freedom. We first had to fight the British for those rights, and then we had to fight ourselves. One of the most significant places we engaged in that fight was right here at Gettysburg. Lincoln knew how important the battle here was, and what it meant to the nation. Just read his address.

No community with a heritage that deeply important to the entire nation should have that heritage cheapened by the tawdriness of a gambling establishment. It is not what Gettysburg has been known for over the past 142 years, nor is it what Gettysburg should be known for any time in the future.

Please remember to donate to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

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or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

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