Today I had the honor of carrying the Marine Corps Colors in the Pentwater Memorial Day Parade. There were over thirty veterans marching in the parade, from WWII veterans, to Iraq vets like myself, and several Korean War and Vietnam vets as well.

Tim White - Memorial Day Photos

Memorial Day Parade 2010 - Pentwater, MI

The turnout was phenomenal, and it warmed my heart to see so many come out to remember our fallen. We marched through town, carrying the colors of our respective services, with Old Glory leading the way. A drummer kept time, and we marched in step to the accompaniment of cheering and whistling onlookers.

We made our way to the marina, where a few words were spoken, a moment of silence was observed, and a wreath was laid in Pentwater Lake. The rifle squad from the Pentwater VFW fired a 21 gun salute, and we made our way to the Pentwater Village Green.

At the Village Green, veterans from the crowd were asked to join those in ranks already assembled. About 15-20 men and women from several generations came out to join us as the national anthem was played. The Pentwater marching band played a rousing military melody, and my spine stiffened with pride at the notes of the Marine Hymn. A veteran gave a speech, another moment of silence was observed, and as we departed, you could hear “Thank You” and “God Bless You” being said from every direction.

Finally, we headed out to the Pentwater cemetery, where Taps was played. After all these years, those magical notes still get me a bit misty-eyed, and today was no exception. A local clergyman led us in prayer, and we laid a wreath at the war memorial in the cemetery.

Memorial Day has always had special significance to me. I began playing Taps at funerals when I was about 10 years old. My Grandfather, a Korean War Era Marine, was the chaplain for his VFW post. He used to take me along to funerals and have me play. Later in life, as a Marine, it became even more significant, as I learned the stories of the heroes who gave all to defend freedom.

But it was in 2006 that Memorial Day really became personal. I lost several good friends in the fall of 2006 and early 2007. They were fellow Marines, Brothers, who are greatly missed. Men like Troy Nealy, Minhee Kim, Luis Castillo, and several others. While each of their lost lives hurt, one was particularly personal for me.

On Feb 19, 2007, Brett Witteveen died in Iraq, on patrol in Fallujah, with Alpha Co. 1/24 Marines. Brett was a great friend, and like a little brother to me. I remember when Brett used to come by my house, put on my pack, and talk about joining the Marines someday. I was so proud of him when he eventually did.  He was just 20 years old when he passed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, and miss him terribly.

Memorial to Brett Witteveen in Grand Rapids, MI

I hope everyone took at least a few minutes today to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many veterans. Without those that have come and gone before us, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today. In closing, I wish to pay tribute to my grandfather, SGT Robert P. White, USMC. I miss you, Pop.

A few months back, someone slipped a pill in my drink, while I wasn’t looking.

No, nothing as scandalous as a ruffie, nor even as trippy as ecstasy. Instead, someone slipped me the Red Pill, and I began to wake up and see what was going in our government.

In case you’re not familiar with the pill I am referring to, allow me to share a quote from The Matrix:

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Obamacare, wake up!

OK, so nobody really physically slipped me a pill. Nevertheless, I have been driven of late to stay abreast of political goings-on, and obsessed with researching and understanding the inexplicable push by Democrats to force through a Healthcare Bill that is rife with controversy, encompasses one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and provides healthcare to…well, I haven’t figured that out yet.

The reason I use the Matrix metaphor is because the majority of my fellow citizens seem to still be asleep. The deeper I look into this bill, the more disgusted and sickened I become. I try to shake those near me awake, to no avail. They either don’t see the problem, or refuse to. They have become so desensitized to government corruption that they don’t realize how severe our plight has become.

Equally disconcerting is when people are aware of what the current administration is doing, they shrug it off, or try to justify it by pointing out the indiscretions and wrong-doings of past administrations (namely, President Bush). I seem to remember learning a  lesson as a child, a lesson like: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

By this logic, I guess the next administration can just come in and do whatever it pleases. Then again, why wait for the next administration? Obama has two years left. Will we give him a blank check to continue unraveling our country?

I saw a similar defeated attitude in Iraq. When patrolling the villages around Fallujah, as elections were drawing near, I had the opportunity to ask the Iraqis of Al-Anbar how they felt about the upcoming elections. The prevailing theme was, “They’re all liars, and what we think won’t make a difference, anyway.”

There were some exceptions, where people were excited about the elections, but they were in the minority. I did what I could to encourage the people of Iraq to stay motivated. After all, this is what my fellow Marines and I had fought for. The right for Iraqis to have free elections, and liberate themselves. Had it been for nothing?

The lesson I took away from my time in Iraq in 2008 was a painful one. You can’t help those that won’t help themselves. If you believe you are beaten before you even begin, you will surely be defeated.

Now, here I am back home, 18 months later, seeing some disturbing similarities. People believe that the government will do whatever it wants, and that all politicians are liars. A people so discouraged in their leadership that they are convinced that resistance is futile. (Yes, I spent too much time watching Sci-Fi movies in my younger days.)

President Obama, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and their party have managed to bull through H.R. 3962 – Affordable Health Care for America Act. The Act was passed and signed into law today by President Obama in spite of the objections of the American people. Numerous polls indicated that this was not healthcare reform that the American people want.

There are plenty of sources to cite that claim this is because of misinformation propagated by the Republican Party. The GOP has been accused of fear mongering and spreading lies about the bill. Allow me to toss my chips in with the GOP on this one. I have spent hours reading the bill, and have found nothing in it that convinces me otherwise.

On the contrary, I have found it much easier to debunk the supposed benefits the Democrats claim are being provided. It’s been said that we need some true Bi-Partisan effort to achieve heath care reform, yet the only thing Bi-Partisan about this bill has been the opposition to it. Not one single Republican voted for this bill, but several Democrats voted AGAINST it.

President Obama has made claims that the Republicans are fighting the bill just to be stubborn, labeling them “The Party of No.” In fact, in an attempt to make an appearance of bipartisanship, the Democrats tacked on some Republican amendments to the bill. They refused, however, to address the problems that Republicans had with what was already in the bill. When the Republicans held their ground on the issues, and refused to vote for a flawed bill, they were again accused of being “The Party of No”.

I’m so sorry, Mr. President, that the Republican Party wasn’t as easy to buy off as some of your Democratic colleagues in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Northern Michigan (Yes, YOU, Mr. Stupak!). The Republican Party was on the right side, this time. The side of the people.

In conclusion, I ask that my fellow Americans do one of two things: Either wake up and get involved, or have the decency to plug me back into the Matrix. I’m getting too old to fight these battles alone.

Besides, I can’t pull off the leather trench coat look like Keanu Reeves, and I would damn sure look ridiculous in leather pants.

Congressional Candidate Jay Riemersma will be in Hart, MI visiting with Oceana County residents tonight from 5pm-7pm.

It’s an informal event, and all are welcome to attend. This is a free event, and families are welcome. Jay will be on hand to answer questions, and wants to meet and hear from as many Oceana County residents as he can. This is  a great opportunity to get to know the man that we want to see representing Michigan in Washington. Refreshments will be served starting at 5pm.

Jay Riemersma is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat for Michigan. The 2nd District includes 11 counties in West Michigan, from Holland to Benzie. Oceana, Mason, Muskegon, Manistee, and Lake Counties are all a part of the district, and I hope to get people motivated to get out and vote this year.

The seat has been held by Congressman Pete Hoekstra for the last eighteen years. Pete is currently running for Governor of Michigan (GO PETE!). We need to make sure that we replace Pete with someone of similar Conservative values, and Jay is the guy for the job.

I will be hosting the event at the Starting Block, the local small business incubator that I have blogged about before. The Starting Block is a great venue for Jay, as Jay plans to address the challenges that small businesses face today. Jay is all about getting government out of the way of business, and the Starting Block is all about helping small businesses get started. When small businesses can flourish again, our economy in West Michigan will heal.

So please, come on out and see us tonight, be it for ten minutes or two hours.

Tim White hosts Jay Riemersma Meet & Greet

The Starting Block is located just off of Polk Road in Hart, about a mile east of US31. Take the Polk Road exit off of US31, head east toward downtown Hart, and just look for the signs! If you see the Oceana County Fairgrounds, you went too far.

www.JayRiemersma.com

In my little town of Hart, MI, you can always find something new. Being a Realtor here, and having lived here for 15 years, I don’t know how I didn’t know about the Starting Block and the folks that are doing some amazing things over on Industrial Park Drive.

The Starting Block in Hart, MI

The Starting Block is a kitchen incubator and entrepreneurial center. It is a nonprofit, regional economic development organization committed to small business development initiatives. The Starting Block helps entrepreneurs in an 8 county region from Manistee to Holland start and/or expand their food-related business at reasonable rentals without the initial investment or costly facilities and equipment.

OK, I borrowed most of that last paragraph from their brochure. Here’s my take on what Jane, Jim, and Ron are really up to over there:

AWESOMENESS!!!

With the help of The Starting Block, over 25 entrepreneurs have taken an idea, and turned it into a business venture over the last four years. The majority of these are food processing ventures, like Good Life Granola, Randy’s Granola, Wee Bee Jammin’ fruit jams, and a myriad of other products, ranging from dry spice mixes to meat stuffed pasta shells.

The Starting Block starts out by helping an individual with an idea to develop a label, and get it approved. Once the label is approved, the Starting Block has a large common kitchen with industrial mixers, convection ovens, stoves, and more.

They’ve even brought in packaging equipment. A small business owner can come up with an idea, apply for USDA and MDA approval, prepare the product, package the product, and even store the product all on site. Most importantly, since The Starting Block is a nonprofit organization, the costs to do so are very low.

The Kitchen at The Starting BlockYou can use the kitchen, and all the equipment, for $10-15/hour. Dry storage runs $10/month for a pallet, and cold storage runs just $1.50/cubic foot. This is incredibly low overhead for a start-up business, and a great way for a fledgling company to get its feet under it and get running. Oh, and if you need a special piece of equipment, just ask Ron, he’ll probably be able to find it for you.

The kitchen is also available to caterers, church, school, and civic groups.

In addition to the kitchen incubator side of the house, The Starting Block also leases office space to start-up businesses. Summit Laboratories is one company that leases space on site. They’re just getting up and running, and recently received accreditation that will allow them to provide food processing testing for local farmers this season.

Office space starts at an incredibly low price of just $110/month for a 90 square foot office. It even includes phone and internet access. Need something a little bigger? You can get 225 square feet for just $275/month!

In addition to all this, The Starting Block provides its users with countless other resources, including product development, ingredient sourcing, nutritional analysis, marketing strategies, a resource library, computers and internet access, and so much more.

The Staff at The Starting Block

The Starting Block Staff

The Starting Block is staffed by Ron Steiner, Jim Henley, and Jane Dosemagen. These three folks wear a lot of hats, and are ready to help you take your idea for business to the next level. Jane was extremely helpful in giving me a tour today, and I thank her for helping me gather this information.

Small businesses are vital to rebuilding our economy, and the gang at The Starting Block are providing an invaluable service to Hart, Oceana County, and West Michigan.

To learn more about The Starting Block, visit http://www.startingblock.biz or stop by. The Starting Block is located at 1535 Industrial Park Drive, just off of Polk Road in Hart.

*Photos courtesy of The Starting Block and http://www.startingblock.biz and used with permission.

Let me be clear: No matter how disillusioned or unhappy you are with the Government, or how angry you are at the system, crashing a plane into a building full of civilians is deplorable. I’m disgusted.

Look at this guys’ history: A business man himself, he started two companies of which he was the CEO. He was busted for attempting to fraud on taxes. Even after his “horrible” and “tragic” life, he still had a nice house to burn to the ground and a private plane that he owned to fly into a building. Cry me a friggin river. Poor oppressed bastard.

Certain groups are already claiming that this is the government’s fault. They claim that because our economy is so bad, and times are so hard, that people are bound to snap. Some have even said to expect more acts like this. Let them be warned:

I joined the Marines after 9/11, because I won’t sit idly by while innocents are killed. I volunteered to go to Iraq numerous times to fight those who would see our nation fall. I hunted down terrorist and insurgents in Fallujah, and I’ll hunt them down here if I have to.

I’ve been to third world countries. I’ve seen what true hardship is. I’ve lived with people who couldn’t get clean water, or electricity, or a decent meal for weeks. These people lead hopeless lives because this is how their father’s fathers lived, and they think it’s normal. Still they don’t gripe and complain like people do here.

Here’s the thing:

Tim White says VOTE!We can fix the problems we have. We all have a voice. A voice is not enough, however. You have to take action. If you feel, as I do, that your interests are not being represented in government, then get active in your local political arena. I have jumped in with both feet, working to get candidates elected in West Michigan who I feel will make things better. I dare say the reason we find ourselves in the state we are in is because we became complacent, and let it happen. Register to vote, and VOTE!

Get active in your community, and HELP!

I’m working with the local city manager of Hart and several community members to revitalize our local downtown and economy. I joined the Rotary Club of Hart to get involved and help with community projects. I pray to God everyday to watch over us, and to help our nation regain its former glory. It takes a lot of my time, and it’s a lot of work, but these problems aren’t going to fix themselves. If a small town Realtor like myself can do it, you can, too. GET INVOLVED!!!

There are many things you can do to make your frustrations heard, and work to solve them. Flying a plane into a building, or going on a shooting rampage is not a noble or heroic act of rebellion. It’s murder. It’s wrong. Become part of the solution, and not the problem.

90 Minutes with Jon Bumstead

February 17, 2010

The elections this year may just be the most important election of our lives. Michigan’s economy is in a deplorable state, unemployment is the worst in the nation, and Michigan needs jobs. Our current elected leaders just haven’t done what’s best for Michigan.

This November, there are several seats up for grabs in Lansing, and a Congressional seat in Washington. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching the candidates in each race, and have even interviewed or talked with those I favored.

What I’ve done is sought out candidates whose moral, spiritual, and economic beliefs fall in line with my own, and I evaluated their leadership ability and their willingness to serve the people.

Today I clinched my pick for the 100th District State Representative Seat.

Jon Bumstead for 100th District Michigan State Representative

Photo courtesy of http://www.jonbumstead.com

Jon Bumstead of Newaygo sat with me today for about 90 minutes in my office. We shared our stories with each other, and I asked Jon where he stands on some of the issues Michigan is struggling with.

Jon agrees that what we really need to do in Michigan is get control of our spending, and reform our tax code to make Michigan more attractive to prospective businesses. We need less government interference in business.

Jon is pro-life, and a member of Newaygo United Methodist Church. Jon is a family man, with three kids, four grandchildren, and has been married for 23 years. He respects the importance of family.

One thing I always look for in a candidate is candor and work ethic. Jon has both. He knows where he stands, and he’s not afraid to let you know it. Jon has been a homebuilder and a firefighter, so he knows the value of a hard day’s work. Having been self employed, he knows first hand the struggles a small business owner deals with.

I support Jon, and will be voting for him in the Primaries this August. As always, I encourage you to do your own research and make your own opinion. For what it’s worth, though, I recommend Jon, and I think he’ll do an outstanding job for us in Lansing.

You can visit Jon’s website at www.jonbumstead.com

You can also find Jon on Facebook .

Get involved. Your future, and the future of West Michigan is at stake this year. If you’re not registered to vote, get out today and register. Help us get Michigan back on track, because Michigan is worth saving!

MCRP photo by Tim White

Photo by Tim White

Last night the Muskegon County Republican Party hosted the 2010 Lincoln Day Dinner, and in attendance were several of the key Republican candidates for the 2010 Elections. The event is a fundraiser for the Michigan GOP, and is held to honor the first Republican President,  Abraham Lincoln.

Pete Hoekstra, photo by Tim White

Guest Speaker, Congressman Pete Hoekstra (Photo by Tim White)

I attended the event as a guest of  Congressman Pete Hoekstra. Pete and his wife sat with us for dinner, and for the Congressional Candidate Panel that followed. I had the opportunity to speak with Pete, and I’m confident and hopeful that he will be our next Governor. I’ve been volunteering on Pete’s campaign for Governor since last summer.

Pete introduced the Republican Congressional Candidates there to speak that evening. Bill Cooper, Senator Wayne Kuipers, State Rep. Bill Huizenga, and Jay Riemersma. All four are hoping to replace Congressman Pete Hoekstra in Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District. Pete Hoekstra has held the seat for the better part of two decades, but is stepping out of that position to run for Governor.

The Panel of candidates fielded questions from the audience, and from the moderator, David Farhat. The questions included:

  1. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
  2. What should be done about the Asian Carp invasion of the Great Lakes?
  3. How do you feel about the Michigan Film Tax Incentive?
  4. How do you feel about the Michigan Business Tax?
Jay Riemersma, Bill Huizenga, Photo by Tim White

Jay Riemersma and Rep. Bill Huizenga (Photo by Tim White)

Jay Riemersma took the opportunity to remind everyone that both Kuipers and Huizenga had both been in office when the MBT was passed, and that BOTH gentlemen voted FOR the legislation. Riemersma went on to point out that, “The Michigan Business Tax has destroyed the entrepreneurial spirit in Michigan.” Huizenga, visibly flustered, attacked Jay’s lack of political experience, and protested that his record has been distorted. (Huizenga did indeed vote for the original draft of the  Bill, prior to the 22% surcharge being added.)

You can basically carve the four candidate options right in half at this point. Neither Riemersma nor Cooper have ever held public office. Both agree that sending more career politicians to Washington is not going to help fix the economy. Kuiper and Huizenga are both citing their experience in office as their strengths.

If the volume of the TEA Parties is any indication, it would seem the American people don’t really place a whole lot of weight on whether you’ve been in office or not. In fact, considering the shape the State of Michigan is in right now, it’s kind of like applying for a job at a cruise line and boasting that you were part of the navigation crew aboard the Titanic.

At the end of the night, the winner of the Straw Poll was announced. Jay Riemersma won the poll, indicating that when it comes time to put someone on the ballot, Jay has support in Muskegon County.

Jay Riemersma is a candidate that puts leadership and principle out front, and that’s what he’s counting on to get him elected. He cited the work of Pete Hoekstra over the years, and hopes to emulate what Pete has done, which is to stand up for the people, and be their voice in Washington. Jay demonstrated last night that he’s not afraid of a little confrontation, and if he sees something that’s out of bounds, he’s going to throw the flag.