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Are We, Anyway?
have a son whose job has required
that he and his family live in Europe for the past four
recently went for a visit, and they took Grandma along for a family
vacation to Israel. This was an extremely generous gift and
fulfillment of a long-held wish to see Jerusalem.
profoundly moved to learn about and experience the holy sites in
Jerusalem. However, the most compelling impression that was
on me during the Israel excursion was about the spirit and character of
the Israeli people. Without exception, Israelis greeted us
interacted with us in a friendly, warm, and hospitable
What’s more, they appeared to be happy and relaxed. This experience
belied the concerns expressed by some of my friends who feared it would
be unsafe to be in that corner of the world.
I was reminded of several nuggets from my reading that helped me to
make sense of the experience:
years ago, I read a book by the former Soviet “refusenik,” Medal of
Freedom winner, writer and statesman Natan Sharansky, entitled
“Defending Identity.” The book, which affected me quite
powerfully, explained how a strong national/cultural/religious identity
is vital to sustaining an effective and vigorous democracy.
recalled reading about a year ago an article, which I have since found
in the May 16, 2016 Wall Street Journal, about how Israel (Jews and
Arabs alike) rank very high on international ratings of happiness and
life satisfaction. This despite their being under unremitting
threats to their individual and collective survival.
airplane traveling to Europe, I read a book by Leo Maasburg, “Mother
Teresa of Calcutta.” Mother Teresa, asked how she could bear
working with people in hopeless poverty who were filthy, literally
sleeping naked on the streets, explained that the worst poverty she had
encountered was suffered by people in developed nations who had no
sense of being loved or of belonging.
I am convinced
that the Israelis, reverencing their shared history, culture,
accomplishments, and purpose have something that we Americans have
squandered and are in danger of losing entirely. Universities
media and many “leaders” revile our history, our culture, and our
traditional values. Children are indoctrinated early with
notions that ours is a rapacious, careless and destructive country,
rather than a “shining city on a hill” that was the Founders’ dream and
intent. Morals and values and institutions that have been
universally accepted and pursued for millennia are
People have no anchor when it is denied that objective truth exists,
rather than “truth” being merely a matter of opinion.
people are lonely, unhappy people. People are marrying later,
at all, and birth rates are too low. There is less
in civil society: less community engagement; less church attendance and
involvement; even less visiting and acquaintanceship with
neighbors. People who, one would think, have everything turn
drugs and pornography rather than building relationships.
Alienation feeds the sense of being aggrieved and outraged.
People protest without having even a clear notion of what they
Perhaps our nation will need to suffer real
adversity before people come to their senses and recognize the crisis
of morals and values we are experiencing. I hope
Founders, geniuses who were grounded in serious study and understanding
of history, devised a system that, if followed, ensures human
flourishing, protecting the God-given rights of every human
being. They knew that the success of self-governance requires
commitment, involvement, and virtue, else we will live under
tyranny. They knew that we are prideful, envious, venal and
slothful creatures, and that those who wish to govern us must be held
in check and the rule of law, rather than privilege must
It’s a good system, an inspired system, the most successful system the
world has known. Let’s not lose it. Let’s regain
being Americans. Let’s be happy again!
In Charge Here?
our representatives work to craft legislation to provide a replacement
for the abomination that is “Obamacare,” I fervently hope and pray that
they will be guided by our Constitution. I was powerfully
reminded of the need for a focus on liberty when I read Sohrab
Ahmari’s March 4 interview in the Wall Street Journal of Liz
Carr, creator of a dark-comedic offering, “Assisted Suicide: The
Musical” that is currently playing to enthusiastic audiences in
Britain. Performances of this anti-euthanasia work get
standing ovations despite the growing acceptance of assisted suicide in
Carr, a woman in her mid-forties, has a severely disabling genetic
condition that involves fibrosis and contractures of multiple joints
with resulting limitations on strength and mobility. She
considers herself lucky to have been born before the time when she
might have been a victim of abortion or cajoled to opt for assisted
suicide. Her physical disabilities notwithstanding, Ms. Carr
excelled academically, and she has had a very successful career as an
actress, a stand-up comic, a disability advocate, and now a
inspiring woman makes the point that those who promote assisted
suicide as positively aligned with values of self-determination and
choice are—wittingly or not—wrong because, even in states that allow
assisted suicide, the physician is the one who ultimately decides
whether to grant the request. Recently, there was a sad case
in the Netherlands, where permission for assisted suicide has led to
greatly increased suicide rates, in which a physician was acquitted of
murder charges after she directed family members to smother their
elderly relative who had requested a lethal injection but changed her
mind at the last moment. The physician was acquitted because
the court determined that she had acted in good faith. Ms.
Carr’s position is that legalizing euthanasia is inherently
disempowering of patients because of their unequal power in the
doctor-patient relationship, and that this fact is ever more
problematic in the modern welfare state.
Carr’s life story should bring up short those people who consign
those with physical disabilities; those with congenital cognitive
limitations; patients with dementia; the frail elderly; and the unborn
unlucky enough to have mothers who do not want them to a status that is
lacking in “dignity” or in other words less than human. Those
who make our laws should remind themselves not only of the tragic
history of the Eugenics movement (of which Planned Parenthood’s
founder, Margaret Sanger, was a proud proponent, remember), but also of
the very real danger of coerced, rather than “assisted” suicide and of
coerced, rather than elective, abortion, with government control of our
recent closing of ITT Tech was the latest of a series of successful
assaults on for-profit colleges by the Obama
Our benevolent leaders claim, of course, that they are simply trying to
protect students from predators in the marketplace who will charge high
tuition rates, leave the students with piles of debt, and provide less
chance of gainful employment than state-funded institutions.
there are, of course, some for-profits that cheat, the statistics
actually reveal higher graduation rates and higher post-graduation
employment numbers for those who complete programs at for-profit
We are all aware, also, of the huge increases
in tuition costs and accompanying dismal results of the public
colleges. And aren’t many of us dismayed to observe the
ballooning numbers of staff and burgeoning infrastructure of our
schools? These schools are in competition, it seems, to offer
most luxurious accommodations and amenities to their potential
customers, all the while affording sketchy prospects
post-graduation. We see plenty of examples: the new Ph.D.
as a barista, the unemployed 30-year-old still living in Mom’s
basement; a Women’s Studies graduate with no prayer of ever putting
that degree to use.
With colleges, as with elementary
and secondary schools, while more federal funding has flowed in, the
costs keep getting higher. Federal subsidies actually make
higher because they result in increased enrollment, more building, and
administrative bloat. There are now whole
as IT, that deal with functions that previously were handled by
professors. Many professors actually teach very little,
their time instead doing research and writing (which may be read by no
one); this brings about the need to hire many adjunct
Excessive and onerous regulations tied to federal aid and involvement
add to costs. Whatever government touches tends to
more expensive, less accessible, and of lesser quality.
important issue is the dysfunctional belief that everyone should go to
college. If college is to be genuine higher education, it is
endeavor that is appropriate only for those who are intellectually
equipped for scholarship—about one-quarter of the population.
This sounds elitist, and it is. In truth, a person does not
become educated by warming a seat in a classroom and passively
receiving information imparted by an instructor. Learning is
something that one accomplishes through individual effort and practice,
with appropriate guidance and consultation, as needed.
to make “higher education” available to all can have no other outcome
but dilution and degradation of the commodity. It is not news
that the performance of students coming out of our public elementary
and secondary schools is bad. It’s also worth considering
the prolonged dependency of young people who are expected to be in
school and out of the work force until their mid-twenties presents
their parents and society with a tremendous and unnecessary
One approach that would be beneficial would be
more emphasis of real-world training for useful work, instead of
marketing of frivolous and useless degrees. Most jobs still
not require higher education.
We should also think about
what might be the motivation for the political class to stand so
stalwartly for public education, and to demonize any training or
educational program that is not under state control. Could it
that those who represent the state have a vested interest in ensuring
that students will be taught or led to believe only what the state
wishes them to believe: that they must trust the government, rather
than their parents; that striving to excel is somehow unfair; that they
must give unquestioning obedience to the state? Many
people truly believe that government-controlled education is a public
good. I guess that depends on your definition of
good. As William T. Harris, one-time U.S. Commissioner of
Education, said, “Our schools have been scientifically designed to
prevent over-education from happening. The average American
(should be) content with their humble role in life…”
Living or working on today’s college campus must be, for one who is not
a member of a protected group, something like navigating a mine
field. One may, while totally lacking malevolent intent,
commit a “microaggression” or otherwise be guilty of insulting or
disparaging, or even “harassing” another by simply offering a
compliment or remarking about an interesting characteristic of
someone—if the other person perceives it, or claims to perceive it, as
disparaging or somehow threatening. A professor in Louisiana
was fired recently for alleged sexual harassment because she used
off-color humor. At the University of Kentucky one may be, I
read, subject to investigation if accused of making critical remarks
about a smoker.
I am willing to bet that white, middle-class students, particularly
males, are seldom if ever going to be the beneficiaries of official
policies that punish someone who may have hurt their
feelings. They, after all, are “privileged” and deserve to be
taken down a peg or two.
Such stifling of free speech and expression may at last—we may dare to
hope--have peaked. According to “FIRE” (the Foundation for
Individual Rights in Education), the proportion of public colleges with
speech codes that ban constitutionally protected speech has dropped
significantly. Unfortunately, the schools with these “red
light” speech codes still constitute almost 40% of public
colleges. The situation at private colleges is somewhat
worse, since they are permitted under the law to restrict speech, not
being bound by the First Amendment! A number of schools have
even established reporting systems that encourage students to report on
other students and faculty members who show “bias” in their speech or
We are permitted to criticize and disparage people in public life, and
those who go into politics or become celebrities must accept that being
targets of such criticism is just part of the life. When
people in public life, however, disparage ordinary people, as did
Hillary Clinton in her famous characterization of Trump supporters as
“deplorables,” it is clearly unacceptable, and that remark
certainly wounded her and her chances of prevailing at the
Restriction of free speech is harmful when it is used, not as a
reasonable guarantor of public safety, but in support of the political
cause du jour, to protect a favored group, or to further an ideological
agenda. When it gets really dicey is when one may not speak
the truth about an actual threat or real harm to the public safety,
because of “political correctness.” The recent example of the
radicalized Somali immigrant student at Ohio State who attempted to
kill other students by running them down with his car and slashing and
stabbing them with a knife, is illustrative. A student
journalist who had interviewed this radical Islamist and written about
his “soft-spoken” and “friendly” manner despite his feeling at risk of
attack for practicing his religion, wrote after the mayhem of November
28 that the student, Abdul Artan, must have “snapped” due to the
Islamophobic attitudes of the Ohio State student
body. Josh Earnest, the president’s press
secretary, expressed similar ideas. Another example
is the official designation of the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace
violence” when it was clearly a terrorist attack by a radicalized
Islamic extremist who wanted to kill infidels. Abundantly
documented, but still denied by officials.
Censorship has been a useful tool of tyrants since people began
organizing governments. The First Amendment was a
tremendously liberating law, one of the most effective ways of getting
people out from under the yoke of oppressive government. Why,
now, are people insisting on imposing censorship?
EPA - EXTREMELY PERNICIOUS AGENCY
history and abuses of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Click HERE for a very interesting blog
the Politics of Anger
is not politics as usual. The American Presidential election, the
Brexit vote and the rise of extremism in the politics of the West are
warnings of something larger, and the sooner we realise it, the better.
What we are witnessing is the birth of a new politics of anger. It is
potentially very dangerous indeed.
civilisation lasts forever. The first sign of breakdown is that people
stop trusting the ruling elite. They are seen as having failed to solve
the major problems facing the nation. They are perceived as benefiting
themselves, not the population as a whole.
are out of touch and surrounded by people like themselves. They have
stopped listening to the grassroots. They underestimate the depth and
breadth of popular anger. That happened in both Washington and
Westminster. The governing class fail to see the blow coming. That is
how the party of the status quo is defeated by the candidate of the
angry party, however incoherent his or her policies actually are."......
Trickle Down Outrage
"We write just a few days after the 2016 American Presidential
election. About half of those who voted were pleased with the result.
The other half were displeased: approximately 60 million on each side.
It’s not clear that a dispassionate observer would grasp that fact,
however. For the loudest, most strident, most uncompromising voices are
heard almost exclusively from one side of this divide: the losing side.
is not the place to comment on the politics of the election. But the
extraordinary response from those whose candidate lost an open,
democratic contest reminds us that elections can uncover cultural as
well as political fault lines...."
To Continue reading, click HERE
at "The New Criterion"
Sigh of Relief
my mind, Democrat-party leadership in general, and the actions of the
Obama administration in particular, have meant erosion of our most
fundamental rights as American citizens: life, liberty, and the pursuit
The womb has become a parlous place under
Democrats. Frank encouragement of elective abortion is a
disgrace and not only violates the right to life of the most
vulnerable, but also contributes to moral numbing and coarsening of our
culture. Government takeover of health care inevitably
necessitates rationing and euthanasia for those who use too many
resources—the elderly and those with expensive chronic illnesses and
disabilities. I can easily imagine, too, imposition of
prenatal testing and forced abortion of “defective” fetuses.
liberties concerning free exercise of religion, free speech, and the
right to peaceably assemble have been under serious assault.
have not been able to feel confident of protection against unreasonable
search and seizure of our personal information and effects (think
mandatory reporting of income and assets;) due process (RICO statutes,
for example;) or assurance that private property seized under eminent
domain is actually for public use and not just for corporate profits
(Kelo.) The Left’s relentless assault of Second Amendment
not only abridges liberty, but can also be construed as endangering the
right to life.
The “pursuit of happiness” is usually understood
to refer to the right to use one’s knowledge, talent, and drive to
achieve material success and to maintain and control the fruits of
one’s labors. Confiscatory taxation and onerous regulatory
seriously impede innovation and the creation, building, and sustenance
of business enterprises.
The American people have
resoundingly rejected the Left’s agenda. Now we pray that our
President and the members of the legislature, thankfully turned a
little bit redder, will get the message and not betray us.
Trump does not need to get rich through government service.
gives me hope.
formerly known as liberals
Preeners vs. Nearly Everyone Else
General Mills, “in an excess of caution,” has voluntarily recalled,
more than ten million pounds of flour, and also some baking mixes
containing the targeted lots of flour, because of the possibility that
the flour was contaminated with a particular strain of E. coli
bacteria. This bacteria causes acute gastrointestinal
sometimes including bloody diarrhea. In weakened individuals
the very young or the elderly, it may cause renal failure, and even
death. While E. coli contamination of grains is rare—meats
produce being more usual sources—it can happen if grain crops are
irrigated with tainted water. There were thirty-eight cases
illness caused by the E. coli strain in twenty different
Ten were hospitalized, none developed renal failure, and all recovered.
to trace the genesis of such illness by the FDA include genetic typing
of the organism and interviews with victims asking them to recall
everything that they have consumed in the previous seven
Two cases involving genetically identical organisms are considered to
constitute an outbreak. In this case, about half of those who
were afflicted reported having cooked something at home using flour,
some reported using a General Mills flour product, and some admitted to
possibly having consumed raw dough. E. coli is destroyed by
cooking, and General Mills flour products have a prominent warning, in
red ink, on the packaging against eating it raw. It
be noted here that, though heating does destroy pathogens, heat
treating also damages properties of flour that affect its behavior in
the cooking process. Good-bye home baking.
to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, "To date E. coli O121
has not been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour
manufacturing facility, and the company has not been contacted directly
by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these
products…" Nevertheless, to protect their brand and fend off
lawyers, General Mills made the recall, at considerable cost to the
company and, ultimately, to consumers.
this seem like overkill to you? Does it remind you of the
case in which a woman successfully sued McDonald’s when she placed a
cup of scalding hot coffee between her thighs while driving and
suffered burns when the coffee—wonder of wonders—spilled?
remind you of the rule at many schools barring any peanut containing
foods in the building because one percent of the U.S. population has a
peanut allergy? Does it remind you of the current imbroglio
public restrooms in which we are asked to place our children at risk of
affront or assault to accommodate a truly tiny slice of the
populace? Does it remind you of the insistence on providing
spaces” to mollify the habitually indignant? Does it remind
of a bartender being sued because he served a person who drove away
with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit and was involved in an
much responsibility, really, does society as a whole have to
accommodate the peculiar vulnerabilities, exaggerated sensibilities, or
personality aberrations of a tail of the distribution when such
accommodation causes marked inconvenience, distress, or economic harm
to the vast middle? I believe that full disclosure of
in prepared foods is essential, but I also believe that the parents of
a child with peanut allergy are responsible for teaching their child
the appropriate preventive measures and appropriate intervention to
avoid problems. Warnings on labels about potential risks,
from eating raw flour, are appropriate and pro-social.
and not the providers of a good or a service, however, must be
responsible for heeding warnings and exercising common sense.
so Fast, Mr. Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan has condemned, and even threatened to sue,
Donald Trump over Mr. Trump’s promise to impose a temporary ban on
Muslim immigration. Mr. Ryan, and others on both sides of
politics, have claimed that such a ban would be unconstitutional and in
violation of our values and traditions as Americans.
there is much precedent for restrictions on immigration, both by
Congress and by the President acting alone. The Plenary Power
Doctrine, articulated by the Supreme Court, gives Congress broad and
deep power over immigration law. Under powers
Congress, the President alone may suspend the entry of “any class of
aliens as immigrants” if their entry would be detrimental to the
The 1952 MrCarran-Walter Act,
devised in response to the threat posed by Communist infiltration of
the United States, passed with broad, bipartisan support and over the
veto of President Truman. The Act allowed deportation of
immigrants or naturalized citizens who engaged in subversive
activities, and also allowed barring immigration by suspected
subversives. McCarran-Walter remains in effect, though it has
been modified by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
(Hart-Celler), which gave preference to immigrants with needed work
skills and family relationships with U.S. citizens; and by the
Immigration Act of 1990, which aimed to increase the diversity of
immigrant groups and to eliminate exclusions viewed as inhumane, such
as of homosexuals. President Carter invoked McCarran-Walter
1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis. He ordered that there
would be no visas issued to Iranian citizens except for humanitarian
reasons or in the service of our national interest; Iranian students in
the U.S. were ordered to report to the INS, where they were questioned
with regard to their support for Ayatollah Khomeini, and thousands of
them were deported. The ACLU and other left-wing groups
Carter of fearmongering and of engaging in a witch hunt, and a lawsuit
was filed on First Amendment grounds, but Carter’s ruling
critics object that Trump is targeting a religion, rather than a
nationality. There is, however, much to be said in support of
assertion that Islam is as much a political system as a
Islam was actually founded on political grounds, when Mohammed was
asked to be the ruler of the city of Medina because he was considered
capable of resolving conflicts among several Arab tribes. He
made leader, then proclaimed to be the Prophet of Allah.
Throughout its history, Islam has sought to extend the caliphate and
impose Sharia Law on the world. In more recent times, Islam
militated against Western “imperialism,” mostly focused on Western
economic and cultural hegemony.
Finally, it is important
to recall that the rights confirmed by our Constitution and Bill of
Rights are the rights of Americans, and cannot automatically be invoked
by non-citizens. Though we would like all peoples of the
enjoy the natural rights enumerated in our founding documents, not all
peoples or political systems agree, and some would prefer to destroy
what we have, rather than to join with us in living lives as free men
and women. It behooves us to protect what we have.
Food and Drug
Administration, through its newly-released regulations on electronic
cigarettes, sounded the death knell for the numerous start-up
businesses that are developing and marketing the devices. The
regulations forbid marketing of an e-cigarette until the FDA has
approved an application that provides proof that the product:
1.) is safer than regular cigarettes; 2.) that it helps smokers to
quit; and that 3.) these benefits are substantial enough to outweigh
the risk of e-cigarette “vaping” being taken up by
nonsmokers. The costs of compliance with these regulations
are acknowledged by the FDA to be “burdensome,” with costs of at least
$330,000. For each product! What small business wishing to
market at electronic cigarette can survive in this
situation? The big tobacco companies, which have
been gobbling up the e-cigarette market, can survive, of
the new regulations seem
to be totally wrong-headed in that they are meant to actively
discourage development and use of e-cigarettes, which seem clearly to
be a much safer alternative to tobacco
smoking. A barrier is erected that
impedes research and development of improvements to the technology so
that it could be even more effective in lowering the health risks of
is just the latest of a
number of regulations imposed, purportedly in the public interest, that
benefit entrenched interests or political favorites and do no or little
good, and often great harm.
the ethanol mandate,
for one. It has been convincingly shown that producing
ethanol from corn consumes more energy than the energy saved by using
it to replace part of the gasoline for motor vehicles, and that it
damages the engines, besides. Diverting this vital food crop
has also resulted in the deaths of many from starvation, I
read. Distortion of markets is another result of this real
ripoff that benefits a few powerful agricultural interests.
energy” is another
example. Remember the frustrated and outraged citizens who
were told that they must stop using incandescent light bulbs.
The dangerous “curly fry” fluorescent, now thankfully being superseded
by vastly superior LED technology, was the product of General Electric,
a huge political donor.
which was supposed to be a means of financial “reform,” was almost
certainly the main driver of the 2008 financial crisis. There
is much evidence of financial benefits to politicians and their friends
associated with Dodd-Frank.
could cite many
more. Some of the ridiculous and harmful regulations and laws
foisted upon us result, no doubt, from legislators’ ignorance or lack
of sophistication about the issues involved, especially the scientific
aspects. Other times, laws and regulations are passed out of
hysterical overreaction to dangers or the hyping of trivial or
nonexistent danger. The banning of DDT, a time-tested and
relatively benign pesticide when properly used, occurred in reaction to
a non-factual scare-book, “Silent Spring.” Unavailability of
DDT has been directly responsible for millions of needless malaria
deaths around the world.
Probably always a major
contributor, though, is the fallen nature of human beings: vain, venal,
and envious. Albert Jay Nock, American Libertarian author,
educational theorist, and social critic, wrote more than eighty years
ago, “Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any
point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders,
administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional criminal
A Whack Job on
I read with great interest recently an op-ed by Eva
Moskowitz, founder and CEO of the Success Academies network of charter
schools in New York City. Ms. Moskowitz described a pattern
criticism of the charters by the press and by many Education professors
because they enforce what the critics paint as overly strict
discipline. The charters’ strict approach, including students
being required to walk in orderly fashion in the halls and to follow a
speaker with one’s eyes; and pushing students to achieve their
potential create a safe, productive learning environment that supports
student success, in Moskowitz’ opinion. She compared as
the 90% math-proficient rate in Success Academies’ Central Harlem
schools to the 15% math-proficient rate in Central Harlem’s district
schools. About ten times as many apply for admission to the
charter schools as there are places available. District
meanwhile, are under-enrolled. Ms. Moskowitz wrote that
know that lax discipline in schools puts their children at risk of
bullying; of being robbed of learning time by disruptive behavior by
others in the classroom; and even of being subjected to violent
attack. The parents who apply for Success Academies for their
kids, and then hope and pray they will be accepted, know the difference
between a good deal and a bad deal.
As a Baby Boomer who
attended parochial schools, I never sat in a classroom with fewer than
forty-five students. Seats were in rows; all stood and
the teacher; unruliness was not tolerated; and movement through the
halls was orderly. No one questioned that the teacher was in
charge, and one teacher had no trouble managing the large number of
students. Outcomes were expected to be good, and they
Recently, I spoke about elections to a Civics class composed of
students from a homeschool group. They were informed and
prepared; they asked many excellent questions; and they were extremely
polite, to the extent of each one thanking me as they exited the
classroom. Clearly, those kids knew what was expected of
and they delivered.
Many public schools, as we all know, have
gone seriously over the edge. Not only are many
schools scenes of frequent threat and sometimes almost incredible
mayhem, but students have little incentive to work hard, unless they
have strong parents pushing them, because no one is allowed to
fail. Vast amounts of money are thrown the schools’ way, with
resulting improvement in outcomes.
must be accountable, and there should be well-conceived incentives in
place for teacher excellence. But students, also, must be
accountable, and incentives put in place for their behavior.
Teaching children is a most important service done for them, and
education must be a collaborative endeavor. A
presence in the classroom should be considered an earned privilege,
rather than a prison sentence. Students who neither maintain
calm, orderly, attentive, and respectful behavior; nor demonstrate
compliance with assigned work, should be excluded, with the expectation
that they earn their way back into the classroom.
would, arise, surely, with children who have incompetent parents, but
basic student accountability must be upheld so that the classroom is a
place wherein learning can take place.
Another Way to
Make America Great Again
I learned, Saturday, of Antonin Scalia’s sudden death, I was shocked
and saddened. This brilliant, witty, principled, and humane
Supreme Court Justice was a national treasure. One of the
I was also frightened, as I immediately could
predict the reaction of the administration and the Democrats: literally
licking their lips as they contemplated the prospect of replacing
Scalia with another leftist jurist to help them advance the agenda that
is inexorably leading us down the path toward frank
I was reminded of one of the many famous quotes from William F.
Buckley, iconic conservative thinker and pundit, founder and long-time
editor of National Review magazine: “A conservative is a fellow who is
standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’”
For many years, we
have been experiencing the gradual destruction of our culture, our
institutions, and our national character as the left pushes, pushes,
pushes, and the right never pushes back enough. Justice
steadfastly fulfilled the “yelling ‘Stop!’” function by interpreting
the Constitution as it was intended by its writers, not according to
his personal values, or guided by the idea that our Constitution should
be considered a “living,” malleable document. He was able to
resist the temptation to dictate matters of values and morals from the
bench—those issues, such as homosexual “marriage,” affirmative action,
and capital punishment for example, that are more properly matters for
democratic debate and voting.
Critics of our
Constitution complain that it does not include enough “rights,” such as
a minimum wage or “free” health care and education. These
would like to use the Constitution to bludgeon those who are not, in
their view, sufficiently enlightened, no matter how much such action
violated the rights of the bludgeoned. The freedom from
government guaranteed by our Constitution has served us very well,
creating the most powerful engine of prosperity in the history of the
world and, consequently, an amazing panoply of American contributions
to the world in medicine, communications, pure science, engineering,
and even arts and letters. I personally believe that our
Constitution has fostered the creation, as well, of a unique American
character that is, despite what they are telling our kids these days,
pretty benevolent and moral.
The all-powerful state that
owns everything and controls everything cannot coexist with a people
who are educated and involved. I read this morning that
percent of Americans surveyed had “never heard of” Antonin
Scalia. The same source cited a CBS/New York Times survey
2010 that found that only 16 percent of millennials were able to
define, in their own words, the word “socialism.” (30 percent
those over age thirty and 57 percent of Tea Partiers were able to do
so.) Such ignorance is a national disgrace, and a
danger. Thomas Jefferson told us, “An enlightened citizenry
indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.
Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated
sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”
Scalia was an example of a man who loved the law; who took seriously
his commitment to thoroughly know and understand the law; and to
interpret and apply the law as written in the Constitution and made by
the representatives of the people. I hope that
be found to fill his very big shoes.
Killing the Goose
Do They Get Away With It?
In an outrageous but depressingly predictable ploy,
Hillary Clinton, other Democrats, and the media are blaming Michigan
Governor Rick Snyder for the contaminated water supply to Flint,
Michigan. The Governor, a la Harry Truman, has acknowledged
the buck stops at his desk and it is his responsibility, as the chief
elected officer in the state, to address the problem. But
gesture cannot be taken to mean that he, or Republican “neglect” are
responsible for a catastrophic failure of local and federal
The back story: Flint, an auto factory
town like Detroit, has suffered from decades of declining population
while the bloated pensions and union health benefits roll on.
present, 40% of Flint’s residents are officially in poverty, and the
union benefits consume one third of every dollar in the city’s general
Flint, for years, had purchased drinking water
from Detroit. The (Democrat) city council decided to join a
regional project to pipe water from Lake Huron, hoping to save millions
of dollars. Detroit (under Democrat rule seemingly forever,)
apparently feeling dissed, retaliated by cutting Flint off long before
the projected completion of the new pipeline. Someone—it’s
clear who, and all likely suspects are denying responsibility—decided
to rely temporarily on water from the Flint River.
the pipes are old, the people running the show had no clue how to
control for corrosion, and lead and other contaminants began leaching
into the water. Residents started complaining immediately
murky water. Officials offered assurances and
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA both were
aware many months before this story hit the press of the lead
contamination, but that buck was passed and passed and
the Wall Street Journal opined, “If contaminated water had flowed
somewhere inhabited by a manatee, the feds would have sped to
Michigan.” Too bad the good people of Flint did not merit
This kind of lead contamination is a real
problem, unlike many other distorted or grossly exaggerated risks
touted by the EPA. The people of Flint cannot drink their
without harm, and the damage that has been done to the infrastructure
by mismanagement will not be easily or quickly fixed. This is
true emergency, and how it will be resolved remains to be
Finger pointing won’t serve.
I think we can all agree
that governments do have responsibility for infrastructure and for
protecting the health of the public. When
interests and butt-covering bureaucracy get in the way of basic
protections and services we have a real problem.
the midst of pervasive turmoil: the terrorist massacre in San
Bernardino, potential rioting in Baltimore over the Freddie Gray
matter, bomb threats and active shooter situations on the news nearly
every day, it is too easy to neglect attending to last Saturday’s Paris
climate agreement and its potential for extreme economic harm to the
fact, looking into it, one has to think that this looks like one more
failure to protect the interests of the United States by those who are
charged with that duty. Or, more darkly, to even think that
agreement represents willful compliance in a program to decrease and
delimit the wealth, power, and influence of our country.
Paris agreement was lauded by President Obama as bridging “the old
divides between developed and developing nations that had stymied
global progress for so long.” U.N. Secretary General Ban
touted it as “a truly universal agreement on climate change.”
Unfortunately, these statements are not true. The fact is
the agreement obligates developed nations to progressively ratchet up
their contributions to undeveloped nations, whether or not those
nations do anything. This is new; previous agreements did not
bind parties, as this one does, to “successive nationally determined
contributions (that) will represent a progression beyond the Party’s
then current nationally determined contribution and reflect its highest
possible ambition.” In addition, the agreement contains no
“escape hatches” for developed nations to use in case the economic
damage turns out to be more severe even than expected. The
for the United States would be crippling, possibly fatal.
big question is whether Obama will bypass Congress—again-- and ratify
this agreement which, although it is not called a treaty, meets the
1969 Vienna Convention definition of a treaty: an “international
agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by
international law.” Ratification by executive decree would be
violation of Article Two of the U.S. Constitution, which constrains the
president by requiring the advice and consent of two-thirds of the
Senators to ratify a treaty. He will at least be sorely
to take such action, and the history of his contempt for the
Constitution does not console. A Republican
installed in 2017 would surely reverse the agreement but, should
Hillary Clinton be elected, all bets would be off.
astounding level of support for Donald Trump in this political season
seems to be attributable, in large part, to his stated positions about
dealing with immigration. His promises to take measures to
the influx of illegal aliens, enforce our immigration laws, and provide
no path to citizenship for illegals resonate with many Americans who
are rightly concerned. These Americans see the rapid and
accelerating change in our demographic picture, and they fear losing
the common customs, mores, values, and even language that have
constituted our national character. They see young people
expensive degrees and then being unable to find work in their field of
study or even to find work at all, and living in their parents’
basement. They are outraged to then read that companies want
bring in more foreign graduates to fill a dearth of qualified
people. They correctly perceive that it is more difficult,
especially, for those without higher education to get jobs.
feel threatened, vulnerable, and angry when they see the evidence of
incompetent scrutiny and inappropriate admission of prospective
immigrants, such as Tashfeen Malik, one of the pair of San Bernardino
shooters and when they read of “sanctuary cities” and a clamor to
welcome “refugees” who they believe may often actually be dangerous
radicals who wish us harm and are just looking for a way to get into
The administration and most elected Democrats
accuse Trump, and others who are concerned about these matters, of
bigotry and racism. The President mouths platitudes about an
attitude of acceptance toward all comers as being part of “who we
are.” People on the Left extol multiculturalism and
on bilingual education, rather than expecting that immigrants become
assimilated into American culture. They seem quite willing to
accommodate cultural-religious preferences for the immigrant, such as
foot baths and prayer rooms for Muslims in universities and excusing
Muslim employees from performing tasks such as handling pork products,
when Christian students might be forbidden to have a chapel and all
other employees must be available to perform any jobs to which they are
assigned. The President wants in the worst way to shield
from deportation; luckily he is being impeded somewhat by the federal
courts. Supporters of free-and-easy immigration deny that
immigrants take Americans’ jobs, insisting that immigrants perform jobs
that Americans are unwilling to take on. They pooh-pooh
about abuse of our social welfare programs by illegal aliens, while
people see around them the evidence that the system is being stressed
to the breaking point.
Is it any wonder that many are
suspicious that this overly welcoming attitude and excessive
accommodation of immigrants are part of a program to grow the base of
Democrat voters by giving out lots of free stuff or, more ominously,
reflect an active animus toward America as she stands and a compulsion
to “fundamentally transform” our country?
A few facts may prove enlightening.
our history, there have been successive waves of immigration, with
quiescent times in between, which allowed for assimilation and
intermarriage, adding to the richness of American “melting pot”
culture. Since 1965, when the passage of the Hart-Cellar Act
established chain immigration, there has been an unremitting deluge of
immigration to the point that immigrants and their children now
constitute one-quarter of the U.S. population. The mandate to
focus on family reunification rather than bringing in people with
needed skills has created an immigrant population that is poorer, less
educated, and less skilled than before. The presence of a
generous safety net often is a disincentive to immigrants’ acquiring
more education or skills.
At present, a number of occupations
generally believed to employ the immigrants who “will do jobs that
Americans won’t do” are actually filled by a majority of native-born
Americans. These include the jobs of maid/housekeeper; taxi
driver; landscape worker; construction worker; porter, bellhop and
concierge; and janitor. As immigrants fill growing
these jobs, fewer of them are obtained by Americans seeking
Between 1970 and 2013, the immigrant population has more than
tripled. Concurrently, income for the bottom 90% of tax
has decreased by almost 8%. One could reasonably conclude
current immigration policy has brought about loss of income for the
bottoms 90% of earners and has actually increased the gap between
higher-and-lower earners that the Left likes to blame on
The Heritage Foundation tells us that in
2010 the average illegal immigrant family received $24,700 in Federal
benefits, while contributing only $10,300 in taxes. Hardly
Some recommend strictly limiting immigrants with
low education and skills as a way of increasing job security for those
in low-end jobs. This does not address the problem of all of
those American college graduates, many in those vaunted STEM
disciplines, who are unable to find suitable employment because jobs
are taken by educated immigrants whom employers can hire at lower
Maybe we should just pause. And take a breath.
Who Would Have
Lives Matter, Really?
We were recently shocked and dismayed to learn that
over the fifteen-year period, 1999-2014, the death rate for U.S.
whites, ages 45 to 54 with no more than a high school education
increased by 25 percent! During the same period, death rates
the same age range in other groups in America and other wealthy
countries declined. Economists attribute these deaths to
and alcohol and drug-related causes. And read again
range. These are not troubled or rebellious adolescents but,
rather, people whose age range suggests that they should be settled and
What in the world is going on?
A look at,
as a recent example, the vital statistics of Russia during the long
downfall and final collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath,
provides a clue. Over one four-year period in Russia, the
life expectancy, of both men and women, declined by five years,
overall. For men, it reached a low of 57 years. The
immediately following the end of World War II saw similar catastrophic
changes in health and life expectancy for European
and social instability; increased abuse of alcohol and tobacco; poor
nutrition; depression; and deterioration of the health care system are
causes advanced to explain these sad realities.
Right, but to
speak about and attempt to address these conditions only, without
looking for the underlying causes, is like chasing one’s
am convinced by the thesis put forward by Charles Murray in his 2012
book, “Coming Apart” that whites in America (he intentionally focused
only on whites to avoid the confounding effects of race) have become
stratified into two classes: one successful group that endorses and
lives by the founding American values of marriage, work, education, and
religion; and another group that has failed to embrace those values and
has almost no chance of success.
I am also convinced that the
root causes of this flight from virtue and success can be laid at the
feet of the cultural mavens and media celebrities who seek to dismantle
traditional norms and rules for a normal life. They wish to
eradicate gender roles and expectations about family life that allow
people to know who they are and to have an acknowledged place in the
world. They promote abortion, euthanasia, and assisted
suicide. They wage a “war on drugs” that is totally
in controlling commerce in and use of drugs, and actually causes
increased crime and death. Or they promote ill-conceived
drug-legalization schemes with far-reaching damaging effects.
They place the interests of teachers’ unions above the welfare of
children in our schools. They seek to outlaw and punish free
expression of religion and adherence to religious edicts.
insult to injury, excessive regulation, licensing laws and fees, and
complicated and costly rules about compensation and taxes make it
extremely challenging for a would-be entrepreneur to start a small
Those four values: marriage, work, education,
and religion, are simple, really. They underpinned our
and allowed the United States to be the most successful and prosperous
nation in the history of the world. Rededicating ourselves to
those values and demanding public policy that supports them may give us
a chance to get back our game.
to read a very good article: "Deadly
R. R. Reno
October 7, 2015
Pleasures versus the
Pleasures of Guilt
Most of us succumb, at least occasionally, to the lure of a too-big
slice of flourless chocolate cake; or maybe for you it is marathon
watching of a TV series; playing video games for hours; perhaps smoking
an expensive cigar; or falling prey to the latest fad in
shoes. The kinds of things that we know aren’t really good
for us, that we don’t need, that waste time, or that others do not hold
in high regard can be very tempting nonetheless and, if not indulged to
excess, these yens are harmless.
An indulgence that is truly harmful is the self-righteousness resulting
from supporting and participating in some policies touted as advancing
“fairness” or compassion but which are actually destructive in the long
run. I am thinking of the people who believe that
they are morally superior because they support allowing unrestricted
and unlawful entry into our country; confiscatory taxation that
cripples our economy; regulations that make energy crushingly expensive
and thus harm the poor; and laws that handicap economies and destroy
livelihoods in the name of protecting an endangered species or “saving
the planet.” These people, encouraged by those
currently holding the reins of power, believe that our nation is
morally culpable for the sorry state of the “third world” nations; that
somehow our economic success over the years our country has existed has
been achieved on the backs of those who have not been
successful. They fail to recognize that the standard of
living of the world in general has been improved by the unbelievably
powerful engine of growth and prosperity that has been the United
States of America. They wish to atone for this spurious guilt
by seeking to limit our wealth, our influence, and our
I say “spurious” guilt because guilt requires not only that one feels
uncomfortable as a result of an action, but that the action be one that
is morally wrong. I believe that, often, what is perceived as
“guilt” is in reality a fear of being envied or resented for what we
possess or what we have achieved. One striking example is the
case of “survivor guilt,” in which a person who was present, but
unscathed, in a situation where others suffered death or injury suffers
emotionally afterwards on account of his good fortune. I know
people who still suffer from feelings of unworthiness and “guilt”
because the lottery system did not catch them during the conscriptions
for the Vietnam War. Clearly, these people did nothing wrong,
and one would think they would feel gratitude, yet they experience what
they identify as guilt.
One can make a good case that a feeling of “guilt” over one’s good
fortune in avoiding the draft or other misfortunes; one’s higher
standard of living or superior education; or even possession of greater
health or intelligence is in reality a fear of being thought less
worthy, or of being envied and resented, and the potential social
consequences of such imagined appraisals by others.
At a deeper psychological level, we can discriminate between
“guilt” and “shame.” Shame refers to a negative feeling based
upon who or what we are, rather than what we have done.
Shame, in my view, is pretty much always an unhelpful emotion, as we
are all children of God, equally endowed with human rights and capable
of living in faith and virtue. Guilt, on the other hand,
requiring that we have done something wrong, can serve as a powerful
spur to self-examination, repentance, atonement, and growth in
Unfortunately, the big actors in the business of government include
some people who are highly skilled in the techniques of manipulating
people by inciting envy, resentment, guilt, and
shame. They do this quite knowingly in order to
advance their programs, and the current regime has the assistance of
media and academia in their grand project of social
engineering. The use of words like “social justice,”
“compassion,” and “fairness” earns an immediate endorsement from many
who do not really think through to the potential and likely evil
consequences of the policies so advertised. This group
includes many highly intelligent people, and many who have undeniably
good intentions. They often believe that what the liberal
intelligentsia thinks must be the last word, and if they align
themselves with that class, they will be well-regarded by others and
able to rest content in their own rosy self-appraisal.
The motivations of human beings are often quite complex and even
tangled. It seems to me that it is important to use our
analytical minds, informed by a careful reading of history, to decide
what leaders and what policies to support, rather than making
emotionally-fueled decisions. Oh, and a little humility
Obamacare and the
Culture of Death
Dark Night of the Animas
Around 1988, my husband and I took a road trip to the West.
In Colorado, we had the delightful experience of riding on the
narrow-gauge railway from Durango to Silverton, an old mining
town. The train tracks for quite a while hugged a vertiginous
cliff overlooking the Animas River, and we could, scarily, look down
and watch kayakers on the rapidly moving waters. It struck me
at the time that the name, Animas, Spanish for “soul,” was fitting for
this river that, if not treated with respect, could assist with the
journey of one’s soul to its final reward.
The Animas River has, of course, been in the news lately because of the
EPA’s disastrous negligence, allowing a “blowout” of toxic mine waste
that has caused major economic disruption and loss to millions of
people over a wide area.
And what are the consequences for the malfeasance of the EPA?
Nada. Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, has issued a statement
that she is “absolutely, deeply sorry this ever happened.”
Thanks for that, Gina, but there is something here that just isn’t
The EPA is shielded by federal law against prosecution of the agency
and the employees at fault. The same EPA is
entitled to criminally prosecute individuals and companies that it
finds are in violation of EPA regulations, even when the violation
occurs accidentally. Enormous fines and long prison sentences
can and have been imposed on people who have had no intent to violate
laws or regulations, even on people who have made stringent attempts to
remain in compliance with the laws. One case that was
publicized involved a supervisor of a quarrying project who was
criminally prosecuted and imprisoned because a backhoe operator
accidentally struck and ruptured an oil pipeline, allowing 1,500
gallons of oil to flow into a river. The “felon” was neither
on duty nor operating the backhoe, but since his contract said he was
responsible for safety at the site, the EPA succeeded in making an
example of him.
And, it’s not only the EPA. Government agencies at both
federal and state levels increasingly criminalize activities that
should be handled through civil law or administrative action—or
ignored. An ordinary person who is doing his best to be
respectable and law-abiding, may commit, I have read, three felonies a
day all unwittingly.
Our law is based upon English Common Law and, farther back, on the Ten
Commandments. It used to be understand that an action had to
be “malum in se,” or naturally and obviously evil; and that an
individual had to have “mens rea,” or evil intent, in order to be held
criminally culpable. The huge explosion of regulatory law,
and especially the criminalization of regulatory violations, has
brought us to the place where we truly are no longer a nation of laws,
but more a nation of men, in which certain groups and individuals are
favored over others, and one’s life and livelihood may be ruined
through government caprice.
“1984,” George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a totalitarian state,
Oceania, described the language of this country, “Newspeak,”
which was devised as a means of limiting freedom of thought, and
squelching ideas that posed a threat to the regime, such as freedom,
self-expression, and individuality. This new language served
to shape the thinking of the populace and create a political orthodoxy
that was strictly and violently enforced. Some examples
included: “goodthink,” for orthodox thought; “joycamp” for a forced
labor camp; “prolefeed” for the steady stream of mindless entertainment
produced to distract and occupy the masses; “thinkpol” for the thought
police; and “rectify” for the state’s procedures to rewrite history.
Today, we have “politically correct speech,” and many people think of
it as almost a joke. Consider the witticisms we hear about
“vertically challenged” or “non-traditional success” as replacements
for the plain-English words: “short” and “failure.” Good
laugh lines, yes, but the underlying purpose of political correctness
is deadly serious.
The movement we call political correctness started in Germany in
1923. Originally named the Institute of Marxism, the name was
changed to The Institute of Social Research because Marxism was not, at
that time and place, politically correct enough to pass
muster. The purpose of this institute was to advance the
spread of communism by finding ways to overcome the belief in the
dignity and worth of the individual, and the validity of an
individual’s ideas. In communist theory, the individual
counts for nothing, and valid ideas come only from the
collective. This group believed that the way to spread
communism was to undermine the foundations of Western Civilization by
chipping away at individual rights and traditional
institutions. One way to achieve their goal was to change
speech and thought patterns by planting the idea that expressing one’s
beliefs is disrespectful and must be avoided to make up for past
injustices. The Institute moved to the U.S. when Hitler took
over Germany, and a number of its intellectuals became entrenched in
American universities and became major influences on contemporary
Some examples of politically correct speech that clearly are intended
to bring about social change and advance the aims of the
command-and-control state are:
immigrant” vs. illegal alien
You can think of others.
“Pro Choice” vs. pro-abortion
“Privileged” vs. successful
“Provider” vs. physician or other health care professional
“Disadvantaged” vs. poor
One who dares to question the nonsensical nature of some of these
distortions of language will be shamed and vilified by those who are
bent on stealing our freedom.
Those of us who are determined to preserve our God-given rights and
defend the United States Constitution would do well to resist this new
Newspeak by, for example, calling “Affirmative Action” what it is,
which is a program designed to give preferential treatment to a
designated group; speaking of “broken homes,” rather than
“dysfunctional families;” and even “criminals” versus “behaviorally
Has anyone besides me wondered, by the way, why it is still
OK to refer to “white trash?”
people of the Right are upset with members of the legislature who do
not seem to accomplish what their constituents want of them.
complain, especially those who work hard to recruit, support, and
campaign for conservative candidates, that after those candidates are
elected and arrive in Washington or Columbus they cave to the Democrats
or fail to advance legislation in keeping with our values and concerns.
is an old saying, the “Sausage Principle,” to the effect that people
who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one
being made. The process of crafting and passing legislation
designed by our Founders to be slow and deliberate. It is
often extremely messy. With any bill, there are many
opportunities to amend it and make it more favorable—IF the members of
the legislature behave within the usual constraints and are not able to
pre-empt the process. We all have awful memories, of course,
the under-cover-of-darkness, deceptive, stonewalling tactics that were
used to push through Obamacare. This president, to
has been able to frequently circumvent the legislature by imposing
Executive Orders, and many fault Congress for failing to stop
him. We hate the cronyism and corruption that has been too
in evidence, even under Republican control of Congress. It is
objectionable that bills in Washington are written with such complexity
and at such length that legislators may not even have time to read—much
less digest—them before a vote is called. Legislators certainly should
not allow themselves to be in thrall to special interests.
when their party holds a large majority, legislators should consider
carefully the costs and benefits of strictly partisan lawmaking versus
that which will have the support of the populace and, above all, do no
Absent the hanky-panky, the process still takes time and contains a
number of steps.
the U.S. Congress and the Ohio General Assembly operate on two-year
cycles, beginning in the odd-numbered year. The Ohio General
Assembly will introduce over 1,000 bills during each session. Anyone
may draft a bill, but only members of the Assembly, or of the U.S.
Congress, may introduce and sponsor bills in those bodies.
both bodies, legislation that is introduced during a particular session
of Congress (or the General Assembly in the case of Ohio) is active
only until the end of that term. Unpassed, it dies and must
reintroduced in a new term. Many, many more bills are
than ever become law; lacking strong support, legislation “dies in
committee.” There are four basic types of
bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple
resolutions. Each is given a number, House bill numbers
by “HR” and Senate bills by “S,” and referred to a committee.
bill is placed on the committee’s calendar, and it may be referred to a
subcommittee or considered by the committee as a whole. The
committee considers likelihood of passage and, if it does not act, the
bill is effectively killed. If the bill is referred to a
subcommittee, it will be studied, and hearings held putting on record
the opinions of various experts, public officials, supporters and
opponents. In Ohio, if a bill has enough support from the
committee or caucus leadership, it is sent on to the Reference
Committee. The Reference Committee, which is run by top
legislative leaders, decides which bills will be placed on the calendar
for a full House or Senate vote. This is the stage at which
interested citizens may apply to testify for or against a bill.
committee structure, at both the state and national levels, allow for
in-depth review of issues, debate, and amendments of proposed
legislation. Members of Congress and the Ohio General
are assigned to committees by legislative leadership, and the leaders
also appoint the chairperson of each committee. Some
assignments are more desirable than others because they may offer a
member the opportunity to have a more significant impact on public
policy, give them more visibility, or give them access to a wider range
of potential contributors.
The subcommittees and
committees do what is called “marking up” bills, and this process of
negotiation may result in moving the legislation up the chain and
finally to the full House or Senate—or not. If not, the bill
dies, and this is the fate of most proposed legislation.
the work of the committee(s) is finished, and the bill is reported to
the full House or Senate, that body will then debate the bill, perhaps
make additional amendments, and then vote on the measure.
entire process must then be repeated in the other chamber.
the two chambers have succeeded in passing the bill, the two versions
must be reconciled. The two versions, because amendments are
likely to have been made in the second body, will likely
If the original chamber accepts the amendments from the second chamber,
the bill will be forwarded to the Executive for signature or
veto. If the two chambers disagree, a conference committee,
including members from both bodies, will be formed to work out the
differences and achieve reconciliation.
Considering the arduousness of this process, it is a wonder that so
many new laws are actually passed in a session.
is Not Lost
At our house, we joke about morning prayers
consisting, at least in part, of sitting with our coffee and the daily
newspapers, saying repeatedly, “Oh, God!”
fervency was provoked by some disheartening news about Voice of
America. Started in 1942 as a means of countering Nazi
propaganda, VOA is a taxpayer-funded broadcasting system that has as
its mission providing news that is “accurate, objective, and
comprehensive.” It broadcasts in English and 41 foreign
languages. During most of its long history, VOA has seen
as being a means of getting the truth and the light of hope to closed
societies. It did just that for many under Communist rule
the Cold War, and for people such as the Chinese dissidents at the time
of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
the VOA appears to have been turned into yet another partisan
propaganda instrument, along with the mainstream media and the academic
establishment. Sohrab Ahmari wrote for the Wall Street
about the Persian-language broadcasts to Iran concerning the Obama
administration’s nuclear deal. Coverage of the July 23 Senate
Foreign Relations Committee hearing included almost exclusively the
arguments by John Kerry and other supporters of the deal.
statements by opponents, the program shifted to a call-in show on
fashion in Iran. English-language coverage has also been
problematic, citing “experts” in support of the deal, but failing to
quote any critics to give the opposing views. Such incomplete
biased coverage cannot be encouraging to Iranis who oppose the current
regime and yearn for a freer, more Westernized way of life.
article by Matt Ridley catalogued some of the costs, economic as well
as in harm to the environment; and morbidity and mortality, of the
scare tactics and heavy-handed proscriptive regulatory measures of the
EPA. In the name of protecting the environment, radical
environmentalists and their servant, the EPA, are causing real and
sometimes disastrous harm.
Then, my eye fell on a lovely piece
written by William McGurn, “What Motivates a Modern Nun?” He
described attending and being moved by the ceremony in which eight
young women took their final vows as sisters in the relatively new
Catholic order, the Sisters of Life. The sisters of this
take a fourth vow, in addition to the traditional three of poverty,
chastity, and obedience: to protect the sacredness of every human
life. They open their convents to pregnant women who have
else to go, and support and sustain them during their childbearing
experience. These women consecrate their lives to God and
themselves to providing loving service to women who may never have
experienced love in their lives. And all without a dime of
In these days, when the gargantuan state
undermines charity, generosity, and neighborliness and instead incites
envy and resentment, it is wonderful to find evidence of people finding
joy and fulfillment in serving others.
By a Thousand Cuts
week, our dishwasher went on the fritz and, before the repair was
accomplished, the water heater sprang a leak! There’s nothing
like washing dishes by hand in cold water and taking cold showers to
make one appreciate modern conveniences.
When we went to
look at water heaters, we were surprised at how much the prices had
increased. The salesman and the installer shook their heads
said that, yes, the prices had increased by 25% due to EPA
regulations. They added, “Everything’s going up except
daughter, coincidentally, lost air conditioning in her condo, and also
had a water heater failure. Because of the new EPA regs, she
could not get an air conditioning unit that would be compatible with
her furnace, so she had to get both replaced, to the tune of $8000
plus. The price for her new water heater was even more than
price for ours. She was not happy.
We do not have choice
about paying more for dishwashers that don’t use enough water to clean
the dishes; gasoline with ethanol that gives considerably lower mileage
and harms engines to boot; toilets that give only a mini-flush—I could
So it was with chagrin that I read about findings
reported in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research
document. The authors point out that implementation of Energy
Efficiency policies in no way yields expected results in terms of
economy and emissions reductions. The predicted desirable
are based upon projections from engineering models, you see (similar to
the way predicted warming of the globe comes from computer
modeling). In the real world, as exemplified in the reported
sampling of more than 30,000 households in Michigan, upfront added
costs for “energy efficient” appliances, house weatherization, and such
were about twice the actual energy savings. The energy
projected by the engineering model were about 2.5 times the actual
savings. The investigators checked for “rebound effect,” or
increased use of energy in response to decreased costs, and they found
no evidence of significantly higher indoor temperatures in weatherized
homes. Bottom line: costs outweigh benefits, with an average
annual rate of return of about -9.5%.
Some of you will recall
the era when American auto manufacturers, in a cozy collusion, built
monster cars that guzzled gasoline and were in the shop every other
week. Then, Japan got into the market with smaller, more
efficient, and better quality cars, and Detroit got into
Free markets really do work, calling upon human ingenuity and the
forces of competition to produce products that are not only better, but
more affordable. Government types, I’m sorry, just want to
your stuff and control your life.
Government" (my eye!)
so-called “liberals” who are outraged by the Citizens United Supreme
Court decision have received a major smackdown in the Wisconsin Supreme
Court. These same people insist that there is no problem with
heavy governmental regulation on political speech; that free speech in
general is not thereby imperiled; that they only seek “good
government.” They also were, some of them, responsible for
shocking and outrageous persecution of supporters of Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker. The Democrat District Attorney of Milwaukee,
John Chisholm, “investigated” the Governor’s supporters by such tactics
as email surveillance and seizure of personal and financial documents;
SWAT-style raids of their homes, armed with battering rams and
subpoenas; and threats of reprisal should they speak about what was
being done to them. It turns out that the wife of Mr.
teachers’ union shop steward, was upset by proposed reforms of public
unions, and Mr. Chisholm “felt it was his personal duty” to stop those
The justification offered for the tactics
used by Governor Walker’s political opponents against his activist
supporters was that his supporters violated campaign finance rules that
forbid coordination between independent groups and
This theory was found by the Supreme Court to be “unsupported in either
reason or law.” I think that it is worthwhile to quote here a
lines from the decision: “The special prosecutor has
the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech
is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of
protection. The special prosecutor’s theories…instead would
assure that such political speech will be investigated with
paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and
then prosecuted and punished…It is fortunate…that the special
prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will
and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust
The “John Doe” investigations started in
2011, and they have finally been completely shut down by the high
court. The mainstream media, of course, has reacted with studied
blindness, deafness, and muteness. Spread the word.
a good day for liberty.
Silence is Not
The ongoing frenzy to remove every symbol, every artistic
representation, of the Confederacy from public view provides yet
another example of what fallen creatures we humans are.
Fallen creatures and, too often, fools as well. Politicians
and pundits of the Left, especially—you know, the ones who tell us that
we should have a “nuanced view”—are pronouncing the Confederate flag a
“symbol of hate,” and even opining that merely seeing that symbol can
incite people to racial violence, so of course it must be eliminated
from the public square.
Those who wish to rename parks, streets, even colleges; to deface or
destroy monuments (I haven’t yet heard anyone propose sandblasting away
the bas-reliefs of Lee, Jackson, and Davis on Georgia’s Stone Mountain,
but that’s coming); and to ban books and films would rather erase
history than try to understand it. They tried that
with book burnings in the Middle Ages, and it really didn’t work.
The people in the American South in the 1800’s were not
demons. They were people, living in their particular
context. Slavery was part-and-parcel of their agricultural
system at the time. It was not only morally repugnant, but
also economically extremely flawed and doomed to failure, but it was
what they had at the time, and, like most people, Southerners did not
want to have the rug pulled out from under them and lose their
self-determination and their livelihoods. We should also
remind ourselves of several uncomfortable facts. One is that
slavery had existed throughout the world for millennia. The word,
“slave” is from the word, “Slav,” reflecting the fact that most slaves
were not, and still are not, of African origin. Another is
that Africans very happily captured and sold other Africans to slave
traders for transport to other countries. Yet another is that
the United States and Great Britain were the only countries in the
world at the time to outlaw slavery, fulfilling the intent and the
promise of our Founders.
The darker aspects of this movement involve continued efforts to fan
the flames of racial animus for political gain by professional
race-baiters and manipulators who understand the weakness, laziness,
and sensation-seeking of the populace. Keeps them in a job. To the
excitable masses, getting on board with a program to eliminate the
Confederate flag can let them feel good about themselves with very
little effort. It would be so much better to stop, take a breath, and
consider the words of Matthew, “Why do you observe the splinter in your
brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own?”
Thoughts on Obergefell v.
Listening to Rush Limbaugh yesterday as I was doing some scutwork in
the house, I heard him ask why there was no public outrage, no flurry
of demonstrations in the streets, following the Supreme Court rulings
last week, particularly the one requiring all states to license and
recognize same-sex “marriage.”
For a fact, there is plenty of outrage, but I think there is also
plenty of resigned hopelessness. We saw the totally
inappropriate floodlighting of the White House with rainbow colors; an
unrestrained celebration that also sent a cautionary message to those
who would dare protest. We learned that Father Jonathan
Morris, a Fox News contributor from the Bronx, was spat upon as he
walked to dinner dressed in his clerical garb by two participants in an
LGBT celebratory parade following Friday’s ruling. We have
read how more and more nations have passed laws legitimizing something
that is really impossible and nonsensical, and we conclude that it is
futile to push back—that destruction of the basic institution of
society is inevitable, and we had better just get used to it.
We see that the “Progressive” juggernaut has thoroughly infiltrated
public education and the media; that our children are early
indoctrinated with the new orthodoxy and young people whose primary
source of news is their devices are informed by the left-leaning
As not only the definition and meaning of marriage, but even of gender
is twisted and distorted beyond recognition, one may determine one’s
status on the basis of feeling, not reason and reality. As a
mental health professional, I was there when the powers-that-be bowed
to, or enthusiastically embraced, reassignment of homosexuality to a
“normal variant” rather than a disorder. To call a condition
that afflicts less than 3% of the population “normal” constitutes
violence upon the English language. As it stands
now, people who want to undergo a sex change based on their unhappiness
with being male or female, are still officially deemed to be suffering
from a mental illness. We won’t have long to wait, I fear,
before we will have another new “normal variant.”
Marriage is much, much more than a matter simply of “who you
love.” The nature of the human person, created as male or
female, remains unchanged and unchangeable. Marriage is, of
its nature, the union of one man and one woman in the only arrangement
that brings forth children. Marriage is the institution that
connects children to their mothers AND THEIR FATHERS, providing for
their safety and for their healthy development. Marriage is
not merely an arrangement for the legitimization of inheritance and
transfer of benefits and decision-making authority—those issues can be
dealt with easily without a marriage contract. The
state should not concern itself with whether people with same-sex
attraction cohabit and designate their partners as their heirs or their
beneficiaries. Neither should five unelected lawyers presume
to turn reality upon its head.
The likely dire consequences of the tragic mistake made by the Supreme
Court last week for our First Amendment rights to religious liberty are
not difficult to predict. It has started already.
Francis George, the recently deceased Catholic Cardinal of Chicago,
said, in part, in 2010, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die
in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
It is for those of us who believe in the Constitution, and who believe
that there is objective truth and will not be distracted by the newest
shiny thing, to reach out with love and support to all people and to
promote and defend the authentic and immutable meaning of
marriage. The last sentence of Cardinal George’s 2010
statement was, “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined
society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so
often in human history.”
at Airports Too
of Those Who Do Things in
the Name of Good
Harold Hamm, chairman of the domestic Energy Producers Alliance, points
out in the June 22 Wall Street Journal that the ban on exports of U.S.
crude oil, left over from the Nixon era, has done great harm to the
American economy and is hobbling the boom in U.S. oil production due to
fracking. Fully 28% of American oil refining capacity is
foreign-owned. Producers from other countries started buying
into American refining in the 1980’s and the refineries have mostly
been configured to process heavy crude oil, rather than the light
“sweet” crude produced in the U.S. These foreign
entities have taken advantage of an ill-conceived law based on the
erroneous belief that we were running out of oil, to ensure continued
demand for their product and keep us from becoming
energy-independent. Rescinding this ban on exports, according
to Mr. Hamm, is an urgent need, not only to allow us to get out from
under the thumb of OPEC, but also to prevent our allies from being
forced, at some hazard, to buy their oil from Russia and
What jumps out at me is that this export ban is yet another example of
a law passed on the basis of insufficient or erroneous information that
ends up causing harm, rather than benefit. Some
laws of this kind are hysterical overreactions, such as the ban on DDT,
passed in reaction to Rachel Carson’s polemic, “Silent
Spring.” The DDT ban has since been directly responsible for
millions of preventable deaths from malaria. Other such laws
result from special interests convincing gullible legislators or, in
some cases, buying politicians. The mandated addition to
gasoline of ethanol, which we have seen not only harms car engines, but
consumes more energy in its production than it saves in its use, comes
to mind. Pro-ethanol lobbyists, we know, have worked very
hard to advance the interests of Midwestern corn producers.
You could probably think of a dozen or so such laws in a few
Perhaps, if we could somehow return to the Founders’ ideal of “citizen
legislators” and Congress convened for only, say, six long weekends per
year, they would do less mischief. (Sigh.)
In recent times Americans have been roiled, it seems to me, by
increasing alienation, unhappiness, anger, and unrest. By my
lights, the president who promised to bring us together has only
increased racial tension and animosity. Policies touted as
benefiting all have damaged the polity, diluted liberty, and caused
loss of opportunity and economic harm to many
The administration has made lightning-fast responses to incidents in
which people of color were killed in police actions; always assuming
that the police acted with malice and asserting that unfair or
excessive targeting of minorities by police was a matter of
course. Even after total exoneration of the officer
in the Ferguson case, influential people in government and media have
perpetuated the false “Hands up. Don’t shoot” meme. We saw
outright encouragement of lawless behavior by the Mayor of Baltimore
when she said that the rioters and looters were to be given room to
Ordinary people, owners of small businesses, have been deprived of
their livelihoods for refusing to participate in activities that are
counter to their religious beliefs. Pharmacists have been
fired for refusing to dispense abortifacients.
The apparently untouchable IRS has violated the rights of and
economically harmed individuals and groups who disagree politically
with those currently in power. Their tactic seems to be to
stonewall in the face of investigations and ride it out until the end
of Obama’s reign.
Citizens have had their property appropriated by inappropriate use of
eminent domain or suffered under crushing penalties for ridiculous
The victims of the terrorist massacre at Fort Hood were, until very
recently and under strong pressure, deprived of honors and
Almost immediately after the recent mass murder of nine people in a
traditionally black church in Charleston, the president used the event
to advance a political purpose.
Then, on Friday, there was a ray of hope when five relatives of those
killed in the Charleston church confronted the accused killer
and…forgave him! These beautiful, gracious people, exemplars
of the love of Christ, advanced their own reconciliation and healing
and provided a priceless model of maturity and constructive behavior as
they told Dylann Roof that he had wounded them gravely; that he had
done great harm; but that they forgave him and prayed for his soul.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that their great generosity will touch
the hearts of the nation and help mend our lacerated spirit.
Full disclosure: I have never bought a lottery ticket; never
gone to Vegas or even a casino; never bet on a horse at Keeneland when
I have gone there to enjoy a day with friends or family. That
sort of risk-taking just does not appeal to me. It is true
that people from all walks of life and all income levels do engage in
gambling, but it is far more costly and risks far more devastating
consequences for those with lower incomes. Studies I have
read indicate that the poor are twice as likely to buy lottery tickets
than those with greater means.
Some character traits that keep many in poverty include impulsiveness,
risk-taking, and difficulty deferring gratification.
(Risk-taking and impulsiveness may also, it is true, be associated with
great success, as with some investors or an entrepreneur who risks all
in the service of developing and promoting a great idea.)
These negative traits motivate gambling for many. It has also
been shown that one motive for purchasing lottery tickets is the
perception that it is an equalizer: that a person with less income,
less education, and less ability has just as much chance of being a
winner as a rich, educated person.
Using games of chance or lotteries to raise money for good causes has a
long history. I was surprised to learn that the Jamestown
settlement was partly financed by lotteries held by the Virginia
Company of London, and that lotteries provided funding for public
works, colleges, and rebuilding after the Civil War. The
modern state-run lotteries, which usually provide some funding for
education and other public programs, are rightly seen as a tax on the
poor. Some defend them because they are voluntary, as opposed
to coerced, taxes. They are also exploitive, taking advantage
of those with get-rich-quick fantasies who have trouble saving or
allocating their money to more productive ends.
Nevada was the first state to legalize casinos and other forms of
gambling as a way to stimulate tourism. Other states have
followed, to the extent that the market is being saturated.
Privately-owned casinos, despite their being magnets for organized
crime, have at least provided jobs and large tax
revenues. Government-owned casinos are
another matter. I read that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
facing the urgent need to come up with $1.1 billion this year to pay
the public worker and teacher pension bill, wants the Illinois
legislature to authorize a Chicago-owned casino whose revenues would
exclusively fund the pensions. This desperate move would put
the taxpayers at a pretty substantial risk, as the not-unlikely failure
of that proposed casino would put them on the hook.
There are some promising recent findings concerning ways to actually
use lotteries in pro-social ways to incentivize the poor to budget and
save. That is a subject to cover in more detail
elsewhere. For the state of Illinois, the biggest problem is
the bleeding. Stanching the flow will require very tough
measures to rein in public employees’ benefits and create incentives
for business development, such as taken by Gov. Scott Walker in
Wisconsin. The alternative may be that Chicago will become
Only Broken Windows
Q. Wilson, who died in 2012, was one of America’s most consequential
political scientists. Among a number of positive
he developed the “broken windows” theory of policing which was used to
extremely positive effect by Rudolph Giuliani during his tenure as
Mayor of New York. The theory was that, if police diligently
address minor infractions of the law, such as defacing public buildings
with graffiti and minor property damage, more serious criminal acts
will be averted. This is because such pro-active policing
the feeling of lawlessness and the sense that things are out of control
in a neighborhood. Potential miscreants are on notice that
will not get a pass, and ordinary citizens feel empowered to keep their
neighborhoods livable. Most people agree that Giuliani’s
adherence to this policy led to an astonishing decrease in all
varieties of criminal behavior in New York. It was actually
possible, again, after many years of fear, to enjoy a stroll in the
City, including crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and doing some enjoyable
What a change since we now have leadership
that accuses law enforcement officers of criminality while excusing or
even encouraging infractions of the law! Did you find it
incredible when the Mayor of Baltimore asked that the rioters be given
“space to destroy?” Have you wondered how to
“Hands up. Don’t shoot” crowd who continue to promote a fiction that
seems at least partly motivated to incite violence against the
I am now reading of an upward spiral in crime
rates in a number of cities around the country. Baltimore has
a 60% increase in gun violence compared with one year ago. In
Milwaukee, Homicides are up 180% over last year. Shootings in
Louis were up 39%; robberies 43%; and homicides 25%. Atlanta,
Chicago, and Los Angeles report similar increases. One New
precinct in East Harlem has experienced a 500% increase in shootings
compared to one year ago!
These statistics are appalling,
certainly. But is it any wonder, really, when people at the
assert, against the evidence, that there is anti-Black bias in law
enforcement; reinforce “doubts” about acquittals of police officers
involved in perpetrator injuries or deaths; and discourage criminal
penalties for many crimes?
Politicians and activists who
tar “broken windows” policing as racist or unjust fail to notice or
acknowledge that the law-abiding residents of at-risk neighborhoods are
its most enthusiastic proponents. That is because, pure and
simple, it makes their lives safer and more pleasant. It
sad to consider the prospect of being unable to move about freely in a
large city without fearing for my personal safety or loss of my
THE DEFENDING THE AMERICAN DREAM SUMMIT
Defending the American Dream Summit is headed to Columbus,
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event moves around the country each year and it’s a chance for
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agenda will be
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national media personalities, who all have stories to share about the
dream and insights into how we can work to preserve it.
the 2014 Summit,
we’ve made great progress in many states, and even on some federal
when it comes to achieving our limited-government agenda. But we still
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in our communities—and it can’t happen without you!
to Columbus and
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Land of the (Formerly) Free
Americans today live under a burden of laws and regulations so complex,
convoluted, and contrary to common sense, that it is probably
impossible for anyone not confined to bed, unconscious, in a nursing
home to get through the day without breaking laws, even without the
knowledge or intention of doing so. The huge expansion of the
regulatory state has been accompanied by a corresponding explosion of
statutes and regulations including, just at the federal level, 4,500
criminal laws and 300,000 criminally punishable regulations written by
unelected bureaucrats (such as the head of the EPA.) The
Heritage Foundation describes some shocking examples of unwitting
lawbreaking, including the story of an eleven-year-old girl who saved a
woodpecker from being eaten by a cat. Her mother agreed that
she could keep the bird at home and nurse it back to health, thus
running afoul of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The mother
was fined $535.00 and faced up to one year in prison until public
outcry forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to drop the criminal
We have strayed quite far from the ideal, expressed by Thomas Jefferson
in his first inaugural address, that “good government...shall restrain
men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to
regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” It
used to be that criminal law dealt with acts that anyone who had
attained the age of reason would know were wrong, and also that one
must be shown to have had “mens rea,” or criminal intent, to be found
guilty. Today, in many cases, a person’s ignorance of the
statute or regulation, or even accidental violation, will not protect
him from a criminal conviction. The government acts to
constrain behavior that, in some bureaucrat’s mind, may possibly have
bad consequences, rather than acting to address, after the fact,
behavior that has actually resulted in harm to another.
The regulatory laws also frequently cause real harm, most often
economic, but sometimes affecting health or even life. You
have probably read about how the rash and short-sighted action to
totally ban the insecticide DDT has directly caused the deaths of
millions around the world from malaria. A newly-proposed
regulation (championed, of course by Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren)
would subject financial retirement advisors to new standards that, if
implemented, will put the advisors’ services out of reach for many
seniors because the compliance costs will force them to charge more for
their help. As a personal example of heavy handed and
ridiculous implementation of regulations: my husband once ran
a company that did, among other things, electroplating. The
EPA inspector said that the effluent from the plant contained an
unacceptably high level of copper, and the company must correct
it. Puzzling was that fact that the electroplating process
involved no copper. It turned out that the amount of copper
in the plant’s effluent was exactly the same as the amount of copper in
the water coming into the plant from the city’s water supply.
That did not matter to the EPA! The ensuing “fix” of a
non-problem, certainly cost the company money that could have been much
Licensing laws are another example of regulations that, while touted as
protecting the public, actually bar millions of people from performing
jobs, such as hairdressing, manicuring, locksmithing, interior design,
and others, because they must pay for unnecessary “training” and stiff
fees to obtain licensure. These laws are clearly meant to protect
entrenched interests by keeping out the “riffraff,” as well as
providing yet another revenue stream for the government.
How far must the Leviathan state go before people decide that enough is
Last week the Chipotle restaurant chain decided to
remove genetically modified components of menu offerings
nationwide. Whether this will turn out to be an effective
marketing ploy for Chipotle remains to be seen. It certainly
mean that their prices will have to increase.
There was also,
last week, a decision by a federal judge in Vermont declining
issue a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of a 2014 Vermont
law mandating labeling of products containing genetically modified
ingredients. This decision also will increase costs to
especially if other states follow suit and create a patchwork of
labeling laws. The judge’s rationale was that the state has
interest in ensuring food safety. In truth, the labeling law
do nothing of the sort. Genetically modified foods have been
use for decades, and there has been not a single incident of illness
caused by a GMO. All major scientific and health
that have investigated the issue have concluded that GMO’s are safe,
and that they are as nutritious as any other foods.
anti-GMO claque is one of several groups that have a need to consume
special foods. Others are those who believe that they must
gluten-free; and the rather large group that insists on purchasing only
“organic” foods. (Really, now, can you think of a foodstuff
is not organic?)
Food faddism has been prevalent in the
United States for quite a long time. In the nineteenth
one Horace Fletcher gave his name to a practice, “Fletcherism,” that
was followed by many and consisted in part of chewing each bite of food
at least 32 times as a means of aiding digestion. Nope, it
work. John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the cereal company, led
impassioned group of food faddists who, of course, believed that grains
were the most essential for health, but also enjoyed such things as
yogurt enemas. Over the last few decades, we have been told
salt was bad for us, then that it presents a hazard only for those with
a predisposition to hypertension. They said that butter
the arteries, then that the trans-fat-containing substitutes are bad
and butter is good. We were told that a low-fat diet is
for health, then we saw the increase in obesity from people
substituting high-carb foods for those with some satiating
You get the picture.
Some food faddism can be credited,
at least in large part, to marketing. Why wouldn’t food
producers, in a time of plentiful and cheap food, want to create a
market niche by convincing people that expensive “organic” foods
displayed in a special store or a special area of the produce section
are to be preferred over those readily and cheaply available to
anyone. And one can’t fault egg producers for attempting to
large numbers of people believe that they have the secret to getting
hens to lay eggs that are superior and charging at least twice the
going price to the gullible. Marketers have also had big
in convincing people that their bottled water, costing hundreds of
times more than tap water, is superior to tap water. The
secret has been that some bottled water is simply tap water, bottled.
Wanting to buy more expensive and exclusive foods is as much a mark of
high status as carrying a Louis Vuitton bag.
fear of GMO’s or “Frankenfoods” results from marketers exploiting the
human desire to deny death and disease. If only we could find
magical elixir that would allow us to have eternal youth and eternal
I’m sure all who do grocery shopping have noticed the
increased shelf space allocated to “gluten-free” foods, and perhaps
noticed how expensive they are. People who have a metabolic
disorder known as celiac disease or sprue definitely need to eliminate
gluten to the extent possible or face unpleasant and debilitating
digestive symptoms and malnutrition. Less than 1%
U.S. population, according to figures I have read, are so afflicted,
yet we have enough people wanting to believe that a gluten-free diet
makes them feel better, and willing to spend large amounts of money to
indulge that belief, that it makes sense for the supermarket to give
gluten-free products valuable shelf space.
All people have needs
for status, and spending more for a product and consuming it
conspicuously can help to satisfy that need. Many people
from uncomfortable and troubling emotions, and it is my belief that a
proportion of these people may attempt to assuage these miseries by
their food choices. Expensive, yes, but cheaper than
therapy. Who knows? Maybe it will even work, at
least for a
a Difference Three Decades
morning, I watched a 3-minute video of a speech by Ronald Reagan
lauding the self-sacrifice of American veterans. It flooded
with emotions of gratitude, admiration, national pride, grief,
awe. And nostalgia. A lot of nostalgia.
I miss the
kind of leadership that inspires; that calls on us to be our best
selves and to thereby build an ever better nation and share in growing
prosperity. That expects that we will care for our brothers
sisters, but that does not place the boot of big government ever more
heavily on our necks to take from us the fruits of our labor for
I read that our colleges are experiencing
large increases in the numbers of students who are in need of care for
mental health problems. When I was still working as a
psychologist, and regularly exposed to the professional literature, I
read some alarming things about the rising incidence of mental health
problems in adolescents, including depression and
read that, for the first time, young Americans believe that they will
not be as successful or prosperous as their
this is aside from the groups of idle, mostly young, people who are
throwing rocks and setting fires in the streets. What is
Obama campaigned on a promise of “Hope and Change.” Excuse
but are we hearing much that inspires hope, much less confidence,
optimism, or pride? Change seems to be occurring with almost
dizzying rapidity, but is it the kind of change that supports and
fosters human flourishing and maintains the health and strength of our
It seems to me that the rhetoric from the current
leadership is aimed more toward inciting envy, resentment, and anger
than encouraging patriotism, pride, achievement, and
virtue. And Mrs. Clinton, with breathtaking
us to buy her populist message while we learn more about her personal
enrichment through dealings that were almost certainly illegal and
possibly treasonous. This woman also says she stands for
families, while supporting and promoting abortion, infanticide
(late-term abortion,) homosexual “marriage,” and euthanasia.
pray that a leader will emerge who believes in the greatness of our
country and our people. Someone with vision.
Someone with a
plan. Someone with courage. Someone who will lead.
Who Will Stand
Death of Divided Government
When Iranian President Hasan Rouhani accused the U.S. Congress of
meddling in the negotiations over his country’s nuclear program, he was
simply reiterating the attitude of the U.S. President.
Rouhani said that the only parties with any right to be heard are the
seven nations involved in the talks. Now, some may say that
his speech on Iranian state television shows only that he does not
understand how our government works. Unfortunately, however,
Barack Obama has been doing quite a job of making the Congress
irrelevant, trashing states’ rights, and incinerating individual
liberties. It’s no wonder that Rouhani would get
the idea that Congress had no place at the table when clearly Barack
Obama believes himself entitled to rule by fiat.
The Executive and the Judiciary seem to hold sway, and Congress often
seems to merely carp ineffectually before ducking its
head. We learn now that U.S. Attorney for the
District of Columbia Ron Machen, on his final day in that job,
pronounced that he would not file the contempt charges made by Congress
against Lois Lerner. This, according to the Wall Street
Journal, shields Ms. Lerner from a grand jury
probe. Does this mean that the truly outrageous
offenses of Lois Lerner against ordinary American citizens will go
unpunished? How can this be?
When government assumes that it can rule us rather than serving its
assigned role of protecting us and securing our God-given rights, we
have strayed far from the essence of America’s constitutional
framework. State legislatures are hamstrung, able to pass
laws only if the federal regulators agree, or risk losing that precious
federal funding. Even K-12 schooling has been nationalized,
and the push for the Common Core Curriculum will even further advance
the loss of parental control over their children’s education.
Our legislators are the bulwark against despotism, but only if they
grow spines and do their duty to the people who have elected
them. Will people come to realize that the old joke
about one of the world’s biggest lies: “I’m from the government and I’m
here to help you” really is true, and insist that that government get
off our backs?
Was a Pretty Bad Week
it’s hard not to be dispirited. First there was the spectacle
the new fascisti persecuting and financially ruining small
business owners in Indiana in their campaign to force mainstream
acquiescence to the homosexual activist agenda. How is it
small, vicious special interest group, purportedly representing 1-3% of
the population, (though, actually, they are probably merely committed
troublemakers) gets to run over the rights of peaceable people to live
their religious values, causing absolutely no real harm to anyone?
there was the Iran “framework of a deal.” One can only
about the possible motives for the concessions that have put Iran in
the catbird seat, but it’s pretty obvious that the world is a lot less
safe because of them.
For some reason, Iran, that “tiny”
country, according to the president, has been allowed to totally hijack
the negotiations, relentlessly violating U.N. resolutions by increasing
the number of their centrifuges from 100 to 20,000 during the course of
the negotiations; and behaving as if deigning to sit at the table, all
the while refusing to make any good-faith efforts, should be gratefully
received by us. That tiny country has shown, and has been
crowing, that it triumphed in Lausanne.
The framework is
quite problematic with regard to verifiability and
enforceability. Iran gives up none of its equipment or
facilities, and there are no firm requirements regarding proposed
constraints and inspections. Meanwhile, sanctions will be
allowing Iran to improve its economy and oh, by the way, its ability to
threaten and subdue its neighbors.
Once sanctions are lifted and
some of our European allies resume trading with Iran, will they be
quick to “snap back” sanctions when it inevitably becomes known that
Iran is in violation?
Iran’s neighbors, will likely
perceive that the United States is willing to allow a nuclear weapons
capability to a nation that they consider to be their principal threat
and adversary. A Mid-East arms race is the only expectable
outcome, and Saudi Arabia has already signaled that it will undertake
development of nuclear arms. Not only has Iran stated,
and on numerous occasions, that it opposes Western values and wishes
“death to America,” but it is also entrenched in sectarian enmities
that have endured for centuries and will not be modified by attempts at
diplomacy. Not only are Iran’s Middle-Eastern enemies put at
serious risk by this likely nuclear proliferation, but also you and me.
Whoever succeeds Barack Obama as President will have a real mess to
clean up. I don’t envy him, or her.
This is What
Leadership Looks Like
Soon: The Federal Food
NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s banning of super-size sugared soft
drinks was just the camel’s nose under the tent. The new
Guidelines for Americans” report, jointly issued by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
looks like much more than “guidelines.” We have heard
about government spying on our communications, our energy use, our
garbage recycling habits, etc. Now, this new report not only
recommends severely limiting all animal products in the American diet
(sustainability, you know), but actually says, “In order for policy
recommendations such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be
fully implemented, motivating and facilitating behavioral change at the
individual level is required. These goals will require
all levels of the social-ecological model through coordinated efforts
among health care and social and food systems from the national to the
local level.” These means of forcing compliance include
desserts, banning advertising for certain foods, sending trained
obesity “interventionists” to your workplace (!), and electronically
monitoring how long you sit in front of the
Every time I start to think that there can be no more breathtakingly
outrageous examples of government arrogance and overreach, I am made to
Setting aside that this is yet another
frontal assault on freedom, what evidence exists that these people
actually know what they are doing? We have been through quite
number of dietary recommendations that have later been found to be
ineffective and even unwise with regard to their health
Margarine used to be favored over butter, and then it wasn’t.
one time, we were all supposed to limit salt intake, then it was found
that hypertension is more a matter of genetics than diet.
for hypercholesterolemia; diet doesn’t seem to matter. The
anti-fat craze of a few years ago arguably was a major contributor to
the increase in obesity, because limiting fat in the diet makes people
hungrier. Now carbs are supposed to be bad for you.
to me that good nutrition is actually pretty simple for most people:
eat a wide variety of foods; with higher levels of animal protein if
you are still growing, healing from injury or illness; pregnant or
nursing; don’t major in foods with high concentrations of fat or sugar;
enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables, well-prepared; and above all,
The other intolerable aspect of this report is
that it is as much or more about advancing the “green” agenda as it is
about nutrition. The report states, “Current evidence shows
the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of
increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy
use, compared to (other) dietary patterns.” I am more and
convinced that the relentless push toward “sustainability” is not about
saving the planet at all, but more about increasing central command and
control over our lives.
VAT, or Value Added Tax is a national sales tax on goods and services
that is applied at each stage of production. It is widely
Europe and some other developed nations. Rates, naturally,
over time, despite politicians’ promises to the contrary. VAT
rates in Europe, according to accounting firm Ernst and Young, average
21.6%, up from 19.4% in 2008. This is on top of income
taxes! Politicians on the left side of the aisle in our
want to add the VAT here.
Of course liberals and statists love
the VAT, primarily because it is a hidden tax that can be manipulated
willy-nilly by politicians rewarding their cronies or punishing their
enemies, all the while feeding the beast. We see today the
consequences of that other stealth measure, automatic withholding, in
that unsophisticated taxpayers have no idea how much they are paying,
and actually believe that they are receiving a gift when they file and
get a tax refund. These same people will blindly and happily
for ever-increasing spending and taxes.
Proposed legislation for
the FairTax (H25, S155) has been in existence since 1995, and is slowly
gaining ground, but is a tough sell because it removes from politicians
their favorite tool, the tax code, for accumulating power and
riches. The FairTax would involve repeal of the 16th
abolishing the income tax. The Federal Government would
be funded by a national retail sales tax in lieu of, not in addition
to, the income tax. This tax would be SIMPLE, as the rate
and designed to be revenue-neutral) would be the same for all
purchases. It would be TRANSPARENT, as the amount of tax paid
would be clearly indicated on the sales receipt for all new goods and
services (used goods would not be subject to the tax.) It
be FAIR, because every consumer, including tourists, illegal aliens,
and those involved in criminal or under-the-table dealing, would pay
the same rate.
The FairTax is morally defensible, unlike
the income tax, and it also would set in motion an economic boom like
none we have seen for many years. It would also incite public
pressure for greater economy in government. I can hear the
objections coming--I have heard them all in my years of being a
grassroots advocate for the FairTax. But look it up; there
been a boat load of research on this plan which can be easily accessed
via the website: www.fairtax.org., and that will convince reasonable
people that everyone would be better off under the FairTax.
nation needs it.
The Day Fast
uproar following passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by
the Indiana legislature and its signing by Republican Governor Mike
Pence may be making you shake your head. Wasn’t the United
of America founded on principles of liberty and God-given human
rights? Doesn’t this law, which is simply the state version
the federal law signed by Bill Clinton in 1993, simply afford citizens
full protection under the law?
Actually, yes. This
assertion that this law represents a “license to discriminate” is
largely political, and represents an opening salvo in the
2016-election-related drive to paint all Republicans as driven by
hatred and compelled to discriminate against homosexuals, those who do
not hold to traditional sexual mores, and those in currently favored
groups, such as Muslims.
Do not be fooled. The RFRA
merely reasserts and makes explicit longstanding First Amendment
protections in and for the state of Indiana. It does not give
anyone the right to “discriminate” or deny service to anyone
else. All it does is ensure that religious freedom is one
to be weighed when making court decisions about the common
Under the law, plaintiffs must demonstrate that their religious liberty
has been “substantially burdened,” and the government, in its turn,
must show that its actions represent the “least restrictive” means to
achieve a “compelling” state interest.
The cases that
have been widely and hysterically reported, such as a baker refusing to
make a cake for a homosexual wedding and a photographer refusing to
provide service at another homosexual ceremony, have been ruled against
the baker and the photographer. Existing public accommodation
laws present an impossibly high hurdle for the rare individual who
might wish to deny a hotel room or restaurant service to a member of a
particular group. Tougher cases involve pharmacists being
required to dispense abortifacients against their religious beliefs or
risk losing their jobs, and employers being required to provide
coverage for abortions. Those of us who worry about this fear
day that physicians will be required to perform abortions or euthanize
terminally ill patients. (This is already happening in Canada, I read.)
The truth here, it seems to me, is that the current brouhaha
displays the extreme intolerance of the people on the left who want
everyone to endorse their anti-Christian, sexually libertine, and
anti-life views. And the cry for tolerance certainly does not
both ways. Imagine, if you will, suing an establishment that
keeps to strict Muslim dietary restrictions for refusing to cater your
party with alcohol and pulled pork sandwiches. Zero chance
such a suit would prevail.
Twenty years after the federal
RFRA was passed with strong Democrat support, the Left’s renunciation
of the same law can be explained only as a sign of intolerance and
Are More Equal Than Others
was reported yesterday that Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
warned against “blaming the victim” in the case of the fraternity
brothers falsely accused of rape at UVA. The bogus story of
rape, written by a gullible Rolling Stone writer, has been completely
discredited, though the magazine is yet to print a
just who, do you suppose, is the victim in Senator Gillibrand’s
eyes? If you said the young men, their reputations and lives
seriously affected by being falsely accused of a major crime, you would
be wrong. The victim, she says, is this misguided young woman
was apparently acting out of frustrated romantic yearning.
says that blaming her would discourage actual rape victims from coming
forward. She claims that many young women who are raped fear
engaging with law enforcement because they think that they will be
blamed or that they will not be taken seriously. As to the
suggestion that the young fantasist in question be prosecuted for the
harm she has caused, she answers, “Totally inappropriate.”
correct response to this regrettable occurrence, she says, is for
colleges and universities to work even harder to combat the “rape
culture” on campus.
This senator is actually a trained lawyer,
but she has a record of accepting allegations of rape as true without a
shred of evidence. There can be no need of due process, I
for young, hormone-crazed and narcissistic males who would as soon rape
you as look at you. These monsters apparently do not deserve
equal protection under the law.
This whole, sick story is a
piece of the radical feminist belief system that males have, throughout
history, abused women; that women are perpetual victims of the
“patriarchy.” Some even go so far as to say that there is no
sexual behavior between a man and a woman that does not qualify as
rape, even consensual marital sex. They have succeeded to a
significant degree in a campaign to denigrate males and
masculinity. We see today some of the bitter fruits of this
agenda in boys and young men who are discouraged from or punished for
engaging in typical masculine behaviors. Some collapse,
react by becoming more aggressive. I would venture that the
greatly lowered, and declining, ratio of males to females in higher
education settings has something to do with the march of radical
Some in the social sciences have striven mightily to
demonstrate that gender differences in behavior are strictly culturally
determined; efforts to prove this hypothesis have failed.
and females are different, and there is a range of attitudes, behaviors
and virtues typically aligned with each sex (though, of course, with
much overlap.) Neither is superior. We need both
~ March 25, 2015
The Army's Fort
We Get Right to Work in Ohio?
Governor Scott Walker signed a new law making Wisconsin the 25th Right
to Work state. This means that workers cannot be forced to
union or pay union dues as a condition of keeping their jobs.
Governor has not been enthusiastic about Right to Work legislation,
despite strong evidence that Right to Work law has improved the
economies of several neighboring states.
Union membership in the
U.S. reached its peak in the years after passage of the “Wagner Act”
(National Labor Relations Act) in 1935. This “progressive” legislation
was deliberately crafted to put employers at a disadvantage vis-a-vis
employees, and its creature, the National Labor Relations Board was
empowered to interpret the law and define and police “unfair labor
practices.” Under these conditions, millions of workers were
organized. The AFL/CIO, empowered and emboldened, engaged in
numerous disruptive strikes after the end of World War II, attempting
to strengthen and make permanent the gains they had made during the
war. Their excesses led to executive action, by even the
Harry Truman, to seek injunctions to break crippling strikes in the
coal and railroad industries.
Public reaction to these
too-powerful unions led to a huge Republican wave in 1946, and passage
of Taft-Hartley (the Labor-Management Relations Act) in 1947.
Taft-Hartley made it so workers could not be required to maintain
membership in a union, though they could still be required to pay the
portion of their union dues used for collective bargaining.
also allowed states to abolish the requirement that workers join a
union or pay any dues. This “right to work” provision has
vilified by unions who complain that it allows nonunion workers a “free
Today, about one third of public employees and
less than 7% of private sector employees belong to unions.
Clearly, the unions have not convinced the majority that they offer
good value for the price. Public unions survive mainly because the
employees are smart enough to realize that, being funded with a
seemingly unending stream of taxpayer dollars, their pay is high enough
to make union dues relatively trivial. That, along with the
that public union dues fund political causes that not all members like,
is part of another set of problems that deserve a second
Passage of Right to Work legislation in Ohio would force unions in the
private sector to do a reset, making themselves attractive to their
consumers, or die a natural death.
Truth Will Out
of us have long suspected that Global Warming/Climate Change (or
whatever) is a scam. Some of us, including my physicist
have known that it is a scam. Demands that we common folk
our “carbon footprint” while the elites conspicuously consume have
raised suspicions and ire. The waste of billions on subsidies
failed “green” energy upstarts like Solyndra have troubled
many. Recent pronouncements by the administration
climate change presents a greater threat to Americans than Islamic
terrorism have impressed probably most people as incredible.
short, there are more and more indications that the whole story is
Now, just in this month, I’ve seen several
articles that provide rather remarkable information countering the
On February 7, an article in the
Telegraph by Christopher Booker revealed widespread “adjustment” of
official surface temperature records to suggest much more warming than
had actually occurred. One example is of the published
temperature graphs of three weather stations in Paraguay.
actual 60-years-long cooling trend had been changed to one that showed
a marked warming. Similar “adjustments” have been found in
Africa and across the Arctic, between Canada and Siberia.
also reports that the “vanishing” of polar ice is not due to rising
global temperature at all, but rather to warmer water brought in by a
cyclical shift in a major Atlantic current.
It was reported on
February 10 in an Investors’ Business Daily editorial that Christiana
Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, said while speaking in Brussels two weeks
ago that the goal of environmentalists is not to save the planet, but
rather to destroy capitalism.
like Bjorn Lomborg, while he still asserts that the earth is warming
and that it is a problem, admits that the predicted temperature
increases and alarmist warnings about more frequent droughts and
hurricanes have just not happened. He writes these days about
greater importance of promoting economic growth in poor countries as a
means of helping them cope with natural disasters. He said,
February 2 piece in the Wall Street Journal, “...for at least the next
two decades, solar and wind energy are simply expensive, feel-good
measures that will have an imperceptible climate impact.”
that the environmentalist activists have pretty well captured the
educational establishment, and that the mainstream media are all on
board with them, information to contradict the “big lie” of climate
change is available and, we can hope, will gradually reach more people
and ease this threat to our prosperity and our position in the
~ February 18, 2015
Tax Reform Should
Be Job One
Note and Invitation From:
Kate and Ginny,
thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the Greater Dayton Republican Women’s
Club, and appreciate all of the efforts you went to so that the meeting
was so successful. I also still remember and appreciate the homemade
grilled cheese sandwich before I went to the airport :)
likely know that in addition to speaking about my book, I host a
conservative talk radio show called Ladies, Can We Talk? (LCWT), from 6
to 8PM, on 660AM The Answer every Sunday night. While the show airs on
radio in North Texas, anyone (in the world!) can tune in and hear it
live online. Information about hearing the show on
radio, online, via Phone app, and via podcast, is in the box
below. My reason for hosting LCWT is the same reason you
so many hours to political activism: to preserve liberty and our
Today I’m writing to ask you a favor: would
you share some exciting news about my show with your club members and
colleagues? Carly Fiorina will be our guest on the February 15th show
at 6:00pm, to talk about her potential presidential run! Past guests
include former Congressman and NCPA President Allen West, Congressman
Mike Burgess, Independent Women’s Forum founder Heather Higgins and
dozens of other liberty-minded movers and shakers.
LCWT means success in spreading the conservative message, a goal you
and I share. I am enlisting the support of like-minded
Republicans and conservatives, asking you and your friends to please
tune in, call in to the show at 866-660-5759 (whether listening online
or radio), “Like” the “Ladies, Can We Talk” FB page and comment there,
check out the ladiescanwetalk.org website for podcasts and postings,
and follow me on Twitter at @DebbieCanWeTalk. Your forwarding
this email to your club members and friends will help to expand the
numbers of Americans tuning in, and their calls and online commentary
will add energy to the show.
Thank you for all that you do for liberty and America, and for your
producer and assistant, Lorie Medina, may periodically reach out to you
to share exciting news and developments about the show.
Can We Talk? is live Sunday
evenings, 6-8PM (CST) on 660AM The Answer, in North Texas.
anyone can hear the
show live either by online live-streaming, click HERE,
or on any mobile device by downloading the “660AM The Answer” App.
of all previous shows,
posted within 48 hours after the live show, are available by clicking HERE
Host: Ladies, Can We Talk?
660AM The Answer
Sundays 6 to 8pm
Call in to the show: 866-660-5759
Up for Class Warfare?
President’s forays into flyover country have lately involved touting
his “Middle Class Economics” programs—programs that he says are
designed to give everyone a shot at achieving the American Dream.
is, his proposals, such as universal child care and free community
college seem geared more toward expanding the dependent class than
giving a leg up to those who can thereby become
More growth of government and increased spending, accelerating the
slide into dysfunction typical of the collapsing European welfare
state, is the last thing we need.
The vast “middle”—those
between the top fifth (earning more than $105,900. in 2013) and the
bottom fifth (earning less than $20,900.) includes people who differ
tremendously in their characteristics and in their prospects.
This group has historically shown great fluidity with regard to
economic status, depending on many circumstances, some within their
control, others not. The group earning less than $40,000.
comprises what used to be called “lower middle class.” Though
many of them are hurting now because of high unemployment, they are
much more likely than the chronically poor to have a high school
diploma and the characteristics and connections that allow for upward
The political scientist Charles Murray, in his book
“Coming Apart,” identified four characteristics that are reliably
associated with success in America: marriage, work ethic; respect for
the law; and religious observance. These characteristics do
grow out of a government program, but are built in the context of
stable families and values-based education and training.
Class Economics” seems more like a way to bolster the President’s
commitment to demonizing and penalizing the “rich” and his false
promise that taking and redistributing their wealth can cure poverty,
than an effective means of building the middle class. His
apparent desire to lump everyone in the middle together and make them
all equally dependent on government largesse would likely have the
effect of impairing economic mobility within that “middle.”
and programs that encourage growth of business and productivity; that
support marriage and family; and that encourage respect for the law and
our institutions are much better ways to ensure that people can achieve
~ February 14, 2015
Media Didn't Tell
|What makes Democracy
This 90 second video is interesting - particularly the last comment.
And We Pay, and
Political Education and Legislative Chair
Published in Wall Street Journal
"I read with
interest Ms. Rabinowitz’s piece, not least because my friend, fellow
psychologist and retired Army Reserve Col. Dr. Kathy Platoni, was
present during the Fort Hood massacre. She was actually one of Nidal
Hasan’s prime targets, having been newly assigned to supervise him. By
pure luck she was in a different building when the shooting started,
but five of her people weren’t so lucky, one dying in her arms.
Platoni is a nationally recognized expert on post-traumatic stress
disorder and a passionate advocate for veterans. She has been vocal in
her outrage over the unforgivable neglect of the needs of the victims
and their families. She describes some of them having been made
destitute by their medical expenses that are not provided for them
because of the government’s refusal to designate the attack an act of
Dr. Platoni’s retirement wasn’t her choice; she was
separated from the Army as part of a downsizing, leaving the Army
Reserve with a number of mental-health professionals arguably
inadequate to meet the need. It does make one wonder when the
government seems bent on disrespecting, neglecting and even, frankly,
harming the people who actually act in the service of their fellow
Kathleen J. Burch, Psy.D.
organization that you might find interesting to investigate is the
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire) www.thefire.org. The
group focuses primarily on First Amendment rights in colleges.
of us who look into issues in greater depth than that provided by
USAToday have been aware of pervasive restrictions of free speech on
campus. Examples include establishing “free-speech zones”
are located in remote areas; sanctions and punishments for “bullying;”
and suspensions and even firings of faculty for “violations.”
particularly egregious example was in New Jersey’s Bergen Community
College, where a professor was placed on leave for posting a
“threatening” picture of his seven-year-old daughter doing yoga while
wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt. And perhaps you recall
Summer being hounded out of his position as president of Harvard
because he had the audacity to speak about research findings on gender
differences that the radical feminist coterie found
the University of Hawaii, students were barred from handing out copies
of the U.S. Constitution outside the “free speech zone;” they sued and
the university amended its policy.
The good news is that, though
Fire’s recent survey found that 55% of the colleges examined maintained
“severely restrictive” policies, that represents a decrease from a
survey seven years ago when 75% maintained severe restrictions of free
Still so much work to do….
Research Service─ An Agency You Should Know About
you for your patience as we
uploaded all of the audio and video contrent from the Summit. It is now
available for you to hear or view.
Is ‘War on Women’ Weary
By Kimberley A. Strassel
"Don’t tell Harry Reid , but the “war on women” theme is losing
political altitude. Don’t tell the entire Democratic Party, in fact,
which this year chose to elevate this attack—that Republicans are
hostile to women—to the top of its political strategy."
Click HERE to continue reading
Chair Kathleen Burch
Conservatives have been repeatedly outraged and stymied by
assaults on the rule of law during this Administration. The
president has frequently made use of executive orders, excusing his
bypassing Congress by asserting that “we can’t wait” for implementation
of his self-perceived wise and humanitarian measures. He has
illegally used the recess appointments power to appoint high-level
government officials when the Senate was not, in fact, in
He violated federal bankruptcy law to benefit the autoworkers’ union in
preference to bondholders, who had priority. He has continued
amplified the practice of appointing “czars” to evade the
Constitutional requirement that high officials receive Senate
approval. He has extra-legally granted amnesty and work
to thousands of illegal aliens. He has refused to cooperate
congressional committees tasked to oversee various parts of the
executive branch, and has prevented punishment for the perpetrators of
the IRS scandal.
The people of the Left argue that a modern,
complex society cannot be bound by an outmoded Constitution.
eschew the fixed principles as expressed by the Federalist Society
“that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of
governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is
emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law
is, not what it should be.” Rather, they align themselves
the progressive American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, which
“promotes the vitality of the U.S. constitution and the fundamental
values it expresses: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality,
access to justice, democracy, and the rule of law. The
principles are reflected in the vision of the constitution’s framers
and the wisdom of forward-looking leaders who have shaped our law
throughout American history.”
Clearly, politicians on the Left
and progressive jurists fancy themselves to be these “forward-looking
leaders.” They cite their Ivy League credentials and
by other leftist-progressive world and national figures as
certification that they are entitled to make decisions for us and rule
us. As pointed out by Philip Hamburger of Columbia Law School
a speech delivered at Hillsdale College, the extra-judicial power
exercised by this Administration and others of its ilk is absolutist in
the purest sense. He cites the central elements of the
governance that incited the American Revolution as: extra-legal (the
people are bound not by law but by other means such as pronouncements)
power, supra-legal (the king expected judges to defer to him) power,
and the consolidation of power (uniting all government
powers—legislative, executive, and judicial—in the king or in his
As citizens, we have the duty to be informed, to be
vigilant, and to exercise with integrity our voices and our
franchise. Otherwise, we are likely to lose our tradition of
self-governance and our freedom.
Anyone who is concerned about the ceaseless encroachment upon private
enterprise by the federal government should pay attention to the case
of Corinthian Colleges of Santa Ana, CA.
a video from the summer that will explain phase one of the
Administration’s program to destroy educational institutions that are
not under their complete control.
Today’s Wall Street Journal lead
editorial describes phase two.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (an Orwellian title if ever I
read one) is now trying to bankrupt the company’s shareholders and
creditors by suing the schools for “predatory lending.”
In fact, Corinthian Colleges had a student loan program that was
available to all students regardless of credit records, usually to
provide assistance in addition to that from government student loans.
The interest rate, 9%, was substantially lower than the rate on bank
unsecured loans. The school did not profit from these loans,
there has been about a 60% default rate. Apparently, students will pay
off government loans first, as the government may garnish the wages of
a debtor in default, while a for-profit may not. This is
Another complaint by the
administration is that Corinthian graduates were frequently unable to
find permanent employment consistent with their educational
preparation. Excuse me, but it seems that in this economy
new grads are underemployed, at least for a while.
The Administration is playing hardball, ordering Corinthian to cease
enrolling new students and seeking a court order for them to forgive
more than $569 million in private loan debt.
the Editor says, “All of this resembles a hyena pack dismembering a
wildebeest carcass, which seems to be the point. The Obama
Administration wants to show other for-profit operators what could
happen if they resist its new regulations. The real tragedy
that the destruction of Corinthian will make it harder for graduates to
get a job.”
Red isn’t green.
thing about Flood Wall Street, the financial-district protest that
followed the People’s Climate March: Nobody had much to say about the
climate — what they came to talk about was capitalism.
“Stop Capitalism,” “End Capitalism,” “Capitalism Kills,” the placards
the socialist Seattle city-council member who funds her crusade against
capitalism by being married to a man with Microsoft
to continue reading this great commentary, Click
How Voter Fraud Threatens Our
No. 1 issue is keeping our national, state and local elections free and
so that those elected were actually the choices of the voters.
research I did, and what I found, made me almost sick.
Not only is voter fraud
national election, but a majority of the American people believe that
our elections are rigged. Ballot
security MUST be preserved in our country.
Otherwise, who knows what
influential organizations, with lots of money, can force down our
in my state of Oklahoma, where we have the most up-to-date voting
have recently found that some non-citizens had voter ID cards!
some other states have had and continue to have problems every election
the presidential election of 2008, the city of Houston, Texas, threw
out 235,000 votes which were found to be fraudulent.
That could have swung
entire state of Texas to a different candidate.
That is HUGE, and
not to be taken lightly.
type of fraud can easily be done when no ID is required, by giving a
different name and address in multiple precincts, and then voting in
each of those precincts on election day.
(In 2010, Texas passed
of the strongest Photo ID laws in the country.)
was a man on Fox News after the 2008 election who said he registered
and voted OVER 40 TIMES in Indiana.
home/retirement home absentee voting:
In nursing homes,
with failing mental capacities make them an easy mark.
director could register and vote
by absentee for any number of guests in the home.
absentee votes in 2000 were originally not counted and it wasn’t until
a court ruling that these defenders of democracy had their votes
counted. Oregon has
gone to 100% absentee ballots, and in Maine, you can vote absentee up
to THREE MONTHS before election day.
lack of in-person, at-the-polls
accountability makes absentee ballots the tool of choice for those
commit fraud,” According to the Florida Dept. of
Law Enforcement in 1998 a mayoral election in
Miami was thrown out when
it was learned that “vote brokers” had signed hundreds of phony
state determines its own election laws.
and the cemetery vote. Every
election in some states are found to have registered pets, deceased
voters and even Mickey Mouse!
employees of the now-defunct ACORN organization submitted 1,805 names
to the King County (Seattle) Election Board.
Over 97% of those names
found to be invalid. This
also occurred in Kansas City and St. Louis,
Missouri has often been
“swing” state, so that these fraudulent votes could amount to a
complete change in the way the legal voters of Missouri voted.
Madison, Wisconsin, a college town, over 3500 people registered, using
the address of one of the college dorms.
They registered on the
the election, and these ballots were supposed to go in the Provisional
ballot box. After
the election, it was discovered that the dorm housed only 700 students,
and amazingly enough, it was also discovered that those provisional
ballots WERE COUNTED on election day and included in the results. College towns are a great
place to perpetuate voter fraud.
and Early Voting
almost everyone in the country see the three large camouflage-clad men
front of a polling place in Pennsylvania in 2008?
Their job was to
might not be voting their way.
Surprisingly, these men were
charged for interfering with a free
operatives “tend to target people who are elderly, infirm, low-income,
non-English-speaking,” says Jeffrey Garfield, Exec. Dir. Of
Election Enforcement Commission. He
noted that absentee ballot fraud has been a persistent problem in his
years, and in Hartford, eight city politicians have been arrested for
(preferably photo) ID should be required in every state. Thirty states have passed
“blue” states, we need to be able to reach out to conservative or
Democrats to show them the benefit of Voter ID.
We can point out that most
fraud can be attributed to Democrats,
but the fact is that Republicans have also been guilty of voter fraud. The moderate Democrats
should realize that
this might just hurt their party at any time in the future.
the Democrats' Tech
Sept. 21, 2014 6:55 p.m. ET
evidence exists that Francis Bacon made it to Ethiopia, but in a back
room of the Republican National Committee building there is a lot of
evidence that Azarias Reda absorbed one of the English philosopher's
more famous observations: scientia potentia est. The 28-year-old data
evangelist is helping lead the effort to transform the GOP's knowledge
of voters into the power to win elections.
"Republicans got thumped in the 2012 elections in no small part because
of a voter-data failure. The Obama team crushed the Romney campaign and
the RNC: on turnout, on targeting and in social media. Democrats are
betting heavily that their operation will once again save the
day—turning out enough voters in key states to save their Senate
majority in November
..........to read the full article click HERE
Chair Kathleen Burch
group of local women with whom I’m associated are particularly
concerned about “Agenda21,” the United Nations-led program to
bring about the end of national sovereignty in favor of global
governance by a technocratic elite. Various programs that
names like “smart growth,” “sustainability,” etc. are part of this
program. They include the use of eminent domain to confiscate
private property. The ultimate aim is to “nudge” people into
common housing in cities; to get people out of their automobiles and
onto bicycles; and to have the major part of land owned by the
government. The sad story of Mary Granato, a local woman and
family, illustrates the human tragedy attendant on this
group of women recently made this video. Please watch
Please share it with your friends. Mary’s story deserves to
stuff for the Malcontents
within us all…
Greater Dayton Republican Women's Club Predsident Robin Dodge
Here is Martha's latest offering, It is brilliant!
Brilliant in it's simplicity.
- Read the letter
the LONG or SHORT version, make it
- Go to the LIST,
find your representative. - this is Miami Valley Regional
planning, so not limited to Montgomery, Miami, Greene,
etc. or click HERE - you can find addresses for
each member in the second column of the website's spreadsheet under
- Go to the MVRPC website and
- Include that date in your
letter. "Looking forward to seeing you at the .......
- Print it off, sign it, and
to the meeting and ask questions, or smile and wave at your
representative, Wear a Mary Granato Button and tell everyone the
story. LOUDLY. works every time.
Please pass this brilliance around and do a little follow up nagging
(friends and family must forgive you).
~ September 16, 2014
by OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
~ August 11, 2014
OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
The governance of Barack
Obama, consistent with his writings since his college days, exemplifies
a view of the United States as the primary cause of the world’s
problems. He criticizes and bemoans U.S. interventions as if
they were imperialist/colonialist attacks and power grabs, rather than
the responses to aggression and chaos that they actually have
been. His mental furniture has never been rearranged from the
configuration set when he was a late-adolescent Cold War dove writing
in the student newspaper at Columbia. He has used the “Cold
War” comparison numerous times in his speeches and decries a “war
mentality” when his political opponents express concern over American
inaction in Syria, Iraq, or the Ukraine; or complain about his
passivity in the face of the growing inevitability of a nuclear-armed
At a recent fundraiser in Seattle, Obama admitted, “Part of people’s
concern is just the sense that around the world, the old order isn’t
holding and we’re not quite where we need to be in terms of a new order
that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on that
sense of “common humanity.” Being on the side of “common
humanity” is great. But failing to act to defend humanity and
the forces of civilization emboldens our enemies and various bad actors
around the world to engage in terror, genocide, and
Obama’s conceit that he can solve the world’s problems through
mediation reveals a failure to understand human beings and the world we
occupy. Other leaders: Benjamin Netanyahu certainly, Stephen
Harper in Canada, and Tony Abbott in Australia, do understand that in
order to remain free and autonomous, a nation must be ready and willing
to defend itself. And for the United States to remain the
preeminent force for good in the world, we must also remain willing and
able to give meaningful aid—not just lip service and MRE’s—to people
who struggle to be free.
We have come to the sorry state where Western civilization itself is in
danger of being destroyed. It is up to Republicans to take a
stand; to educate people about the dangers we face; and to make it
clear that the United States will no longer cooperate in its own
budget deficit that
grows with each passing second!
partisan health care
plan that threatens to destroy what is left of the American middle
mess in the Middle
absolute crisis on
our Southern border that has the "smell" of something that was
intentially inflicted by a divisive, power mad administration!
Governor Rick Perry has
evidently had enough! He has elected to go it alone, in an effort to
1200 mile stretch of the border. After years of pleas for help, the
is, "Washington doesn't plan on helping!" If it is to be done, then
Texas, with hopefully some help from other states, will attempt to stem
flow of undocumented souls pouring into our country!
.... to continue reading, click
and Wave, Boys. Just Smile
by OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
~ July 14, 2014
Things Liberals REALLY MEAN
When They Cry “Racism”
Racism used to mean hating someone because of his
Today, 99 times out of 100 in politics, the word
“racist” is used purely for political reasons without any regard to
whether something bigoted was actually said.
That doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist. It CERTAINLY DOES and
sometimes it’s right out in the open, like the Left’s “Black Americans
are way too stupid and incompetent to get voter ID like all the other
races” canard. But, if we were to define “racism” as offensive
statements about someone of another race that wouldn’t be automatically
excused if Joe Biden, Harry Reid, or
Bill Clinton said
them, then there’s so little “racism” in politics that it’s barely
the full article
and let this sink in! The person in this video is a professor
Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.
The law: Click HERE
the Left do their math and show their work.
understood, all economic values are subjective. Some items have useful
applications, but the relative value of those applications is itself
subjective; there’s nutritional value in a pound of cauliflower, and
there’s nutritional value to an ounce of Beluga caviar, and the
difference in the price between the two is based on no objective
criterion. Even scarcity does not explain the difference: There are
more diamonds in this world than there are autographed photos of
Anthony Weiner, but try giving your wife the latter for your
anniversary and you’ll get a short and possibly violent lesson in the
subjectivity of value."....
~ July 3, 2014
Language of Despotism
paraphrase Thucydides, words like “borders” and “occupation” have had
their ordinary meanings changed, and been forced to take meanings that
serve tyranny and aggression. And we who accept those new meanings are
complicit in the resulting injustice that follows."........
the full article
Teachers Are Not Helping
Chair Kathleen Burch
The Common Core Curriculum was designed to impose uniform standards of
performance on students nationwide, in the hope of bringing the
achievement of U.S. students up to the level of other developed
countries. A noble goal, but what are the facts?
If declaring what students should know
would translate into their actually knowing it, things would be
wonderful. However, experience under No Child Left Behind is
that many students have failed to reach proficiency even in states with
It should be clear to anyone who thinks
about it that educational improvement requires not only standards of
performance, but also a willingness to cooperate and exert effort on
the part of the student and capability and effort on the part of the
There are cultural attitudes that
contribute to educational success. We see the examples of
students of Asian ethnicity and Jewish faith who perform at
significantly higher levels than some other groups. Here,
attitudes, values, aspirations, and work ethic inherent in the
particular subculture appear to play a primary role.
Research has shown that strong
accountability systems for teachers: rewarding effective teachers and
eliminating ineffective or harmful teachers; as well as providing for
choice by parents about where their children attend school, help in
boosting student achievement.
Unfortunately, we seen evidence across
the country of teachers unions working to eliminate or suspend teacher
evaluations and school test accountability by pleading that they need
time for teachers to prepare for the new, government-imposed
tests. The unions argue that it would be unfair to judge
teachers on student performance when the standards and tests are in the
process of being changed.
What is more important: teachers being
protected from fair evaluation and performance-based advancement (or
not); or policies that will effectively promote improved student
~ July 1, 2014
of Global Warming
Founder Explains History of Global Warming"
If you can devote a half-hour of
your valuable time to watching this video, by an impeccable authority,
you will be well rewarded. It explains the genesis and
development of the global warming campaign, as well as the link between
the environmental movement and those who want one-world government and
the role of the complicit media in advancing the agenda.
view this blog post, visit:
Have Been Warned
by OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
If the relentless progress
the ISIS jihadists does not frighten you, it should.
Sunni Iraq, the group has control of most major cities; they have taken
over the border crossings with Jordan, and they are now establishing
political and economic control. If ISIS succeeds in taking
Baghdad and fulfilling their plan to establish it as the seat of a new
caliphate, it will be the first time that has happened since the Mongol
hordes overran Baghdad in the year 1258.
this new caliphate was the life’s work of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al
Zawahiri, current al Qaeda leader, has said that a new caliphate would
turn the world “against the empire of the United States and the world’s
Jewish government.” The master plan of terrorist Abu Musab
as-Zarqawi, killed by U.S. forces in 2006, was to culminate in the
“declaration of the …Islamic state” sometime between 2013 and 2016,
which would be followed by “total war.”
If ISIS succeeds
in co-opting Iraq’s economic assets it could potentially dispense
social services to win more hearts and minds and recruit and finance a
powerful jihadist army.
In the face of this peril,
President Obama shows no sign of having a strategy or even of having a
goal of defeating ISIS. He speaks, instead, of “asking hard
questions before we take action abroad” and of refusing to “play
IRS Sent the FBI 1.1 Million Pages of Taxpayer Documents: An
"one of the
administration’s most appalling scandals has gone largely unremarked.
In the Fall of 2010, as part of its effort to stem the conservative
uprising that was occurring at that time, the Internal Revenue Service,
under the direction of Lois Lerner and Sarah Ingram, sent the FBI 21
disks containing 1.1 million pages of taxpayer filings. The IRS’s
purpose was to give the FBI ammunition with which to investigate and
prosecute conservatives." ....to read the complete article, click HERE
~ June 25, 2014
Piketty's Big Book of
This is Jonah Goldberg’s
analysis of the book that everyone is talking about.
IN THE USA
Facts about the religions
practiced in America
HERE for some surprises
Community Special Report
Commentary Special Report by Abe Greenwald - He's Made it Worse:
Obama's Middle East
complete article - a great analysis of Obama's foreign policy
in the Middle East.
Facts about the VA Scandal
by OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
anyone other than the president’s most fervent apologists believe that
accepting (probably demanding, actually) Eric Shinseki’s resignation is
anything more than a gesture? Does anyone at all believe that
president was caught flat-footed by news of the manipulation of
wait-lists and the many other scandalous instances of waste, fraud,
mismanagement, and dereliction of duty?
It has been noted and
years that the VA system is an ever-increasingly bloated and
2005, spending by the VA has increased 76%--from $32.5 billion to $57.3
billion—while the number of veterans seeking care has risen 18%.
Only one of 435 VA
2012 received a less than “fully satisfactory” review.
to the GAO, 80% of the VA’s medical providers received performance
bonuses, despite there being no discernable link with quality of
service. More and more cases of large bonuses being given to clearly
underperforming personnel are reported: including the $11,874 bonus to
the Dayton VA Medical Center Director despite confirmation that a
dentist on his staff had failed to change his gloves or sterilize
instruments over an eighteen-year span.
Two-thirds of the VA
workforce is unionized. In 2012, the VA paid 258 employees—the majority
of whom were health care professionals—to perform only work for the
union, sometimes at home in their jammies, rather than providing health
care, even as the VA struggled to fill hundreds of jobs and had to pay
overtime to other staff. Of these 258, 17 had six-figure
salaries. Union contract-related work rules contribute directly to the
unconscionable wait times. In a letter to the Editor of the
Street Journal last week, a surgeon described, among other things,
being disciplined for getting his patient’s medical records from
storage on his own after being told that the staff “couldn’t find
them.” And of course, the unions blast any attempts to “outsource,”
referring veterans to private facilities or even to non-VA union
Abraham Lincoln, in his
Inaugural Address, spoke
of the duty “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for
his widow and for his orphan…” Let us pray that our leaders
rise to the challenge and craft meaningful and effective reform.
situation in Ukraine is fluid, as the citizens attempt to maintain
their freedom and sovereignty against ongoing assaults by Russian
Petro Poroshenko, who
revolution, was elected president with an impressive majority, winning
across the country, even in the parts of the Russian-speaking east that
were allowed to vote. There were efforts by agents of
Putin to prevent voting by destroying ballot boxes and closing voting
precincts. Despite this, turnout was 60% nationwide, and the
pro-Russian candidates together won only 6% of the vote.
efforts by the separatists to cause trouble raise the likelihood of
civil war; and Kiev must regain control of its borders.
the specter of a shrinking economy and higher energy prices, Ukraine
has shown that it wants to join the West and be independent, while
co-existing peacefully with Russia.
administration help this friendly democracy defend itself against
Russian aggression, or will it allow Putin to absorb Ukraine into what
he seems to desire: a reconstituted Soviet Union?
~ May 27, 2014
Champion of Economic Freedom
Cato Institute honors Leszek Balcerowicz, free-market savior of
complete article - a worthwhile read.
Submitted to the Wall
by OFRW Political Education
Chair Kathleen Burch
“The Bureaucrat Sitting on
Doctor’s Shoulder” was a great,
first-person account of some of the life-and-health-threatening
consequences of top down, command and control health care. As
psychologist, I know the damage done to health by destroying the
doctor-patient relationship; and as a consumer, I share Dr. Pollard’s
frustration. A podiatrist prescribed orthotics to treat my
bunions. Medicare would not cover the orthotics; it would
surgery, which was not indicated and which would have had a price tag
many times higher than the orthotics (not to mention the risk, the
pain, and the weeks-long disability attendant upon bunion surgery.)
root of the problem is government interference in a sphere totally out
of its legitimate purview. Law of post-World War II vintage
allowed employers to provide--tax-free-- employee health insurance as a
hiring incentive, was the beginning of the disconnect betweenlthe
health care service and the price. As the insurance companies
grew their business and offered more and more “benefits,” patients no
longer had a need to know prices, shop for the best price, or negotiate
with the physician. This lack of a financial contract between
doctor and patient has been the main driver of the incredible upward
spiral of health care prices. In contrast, the charges for
elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, not covered by
insurance, have remained stable or fallen under pressure of competition.
government casts “greedy” physicians, other health care practitioners,
and pharmaceuticals and medical equipment producers as ready to bilk
the public unless they are regulated. Now, instead of greedy
physicians, we have greedy bureaucrats and attorneys at the
trough. We also have, as the article implies, great incentive
The answers seem clear, if wrenching to many of the
entrenched: first, repeal the abominable “Affordable Care
next, remove the tax advantage for employer-provided health insurance
and expect that people behave like grownups and purchase their own
health insurance. In this case, health insurance would
revert to what the name says, rather than remaining what it has become:
a third-party payment system that incentivizes price
The prices of health maintenance and non-catastrophic care would fall
to what the market would bear. The costs of health insurance
plans: ditto. Other details, such as providing a safety net
those who are chronically in need and uninsurable, could be worked out.
Kathleen J. Burch, Psy.D.
~ May 22, 2014
Click HERE for the WSJ article
referenced by Kate in her above letter.
...and the Beat
May 7, 2014 the House voted to hold
former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to
answer lawmakers' questions about alleged IRS targeting of conservative
groups seeking non-profit tax status.
The next step, according to Federal law,
is referral to the local U.S. attorney, a Justice Department
official. It would then be the duty of the U.S. attorney to
bring the matter before a grand jury. While that would not guarantee an
indictment, expect much resistance and obstructionist maneuvering from
the Justice Department.
Republican lawmakers believe that Ms.
Lerner violated the rights of the groups by failing to process their
requests, and there is evidence from emails that her political leanings
motivated her uneven handling of applications. There is also
evidence that Justice Department officials were working to coordinate
prosecutions with Ms. Lerner.
The House also approved a separate
resolution urging the Justice Department to appoint a special
prosecutor. Rep. Jim Jordan said, "The only route to the
truth is through the House of Representatives. That's why this
resolution is so important."
expect this to go away anytime soon.
Us All Poorer and Less Safe
You probably already know that the energy bill co-sponsored by Senators
Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH) was defeated Monday by Harry
Reid’s refusal to allow a vote on GOP-sponsored amendments.
Several of those amendments were supported by Democrats, including Joe
Manchin and Mary Landrieu. Reid’s fear was that the
would pass with bipartisan support, making the expected presidential
veto politically hazardous.
Reid’s antics have changed
the Senate from a body in which, through the amendment process,
legislation that was truly bipartisan could be passed, to a deliberate
obstacle to the democratic process of debate and political
accountability. In this most recent case, it has also further
delayed the vote on the Keystone Pipeline, harming the nation
economically and putting lives and the environment at risk.
Terry L. Anderson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, pointed out
that, contrary to the dire warnings from the EPA, oil spills from
railroad tank cars are greater than pipeline spills, despite the fact
that pipelines carry 25 times more oil than the railroads
transport. He cites a State Department report predicting far,
more human injuries and fatalities from rail transport vs.
pipeline. Pipeline spills are more easily controlled and
up than tank car derailments. The recent Lynchburg, VA
caused a 17-mile oil slick, directly disturbing the river bed and banks
and the wildlife and plants.
We all have to just
endure the environmentalist Left’s influence over the administration
until they are gone, but do not be taken in by their claims to want to
“save the planet.”
~ May 15, 2014
Take to the Barricades in Illinois
Legislative attempts to curb the
growth of charter schools in Illinois have incited mass protests at the
State Capitol. Bills being considered would limit where
schools can locate; ban them from marketing themselves; and abolish a
commission that can overrule local school boards and grant charter
licenses, among other things. The dustup in Illinois follows
similar incidents in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and New York.
Teachers’ unions typically oppose charters because they hire non-union
workers and, they argue, drain money from struggling traditional public
schools. Proponents say charter schools offer parents a
and can adopt innovations such as lengthening the school day and year,
and lay off teachers who perform poorly.
The charter school movement is growing, with the number of charters
more than doubling over the last decade. Still, with close to
6,500 charter schools enrolling an estimated 2.6 million children,
charter schools account for only about 5% of public school K-12
enrollment in the U.S.
Even Democrats have
been increasingly supportive of charters, as their performance has
outstripped that of the traditional public schools. Teachers’
union leaders claim that the charter schools “skim” higher performing
students, but this claim is not substantiated.
One mother of two charter school students who attended the rally at the
Illinois Capitol said that parents should have the right to choose the
best school for their children. “I am not going to get a lot
second opportunities when it comes to educating my kids,” she said.
We all know, don’t we, that Detroit is
the U.S. city that has suffered the worst economic collapse?
Actually, according to the Wall Street Journal, the numbers for Los
Angeles are far worse.
Since 1990, Los Angeles has lost 3.1% of its employment base, overall,
compared to -2.8% for Detroit and -0.2% for Cleveland. The
numbers are shockingly different between the wealthier and economically
depressed areas of the city, with West L.A. having had a payroll job
growth of 3% while the rest of L.A. took a 5.1% hit in job
Unemployment in Manhattan Beach is 3.1% compared to 8.9% for Los
Angeles County and north of 10% for the poorer east suburbs, which are
predominantly black and Latino.
unions with their unsustainable pension and benefits costs have sunk
some Eastern and Midwestern cities. In Los Angeles, the slide
appears to be due to high cost of living, low human capital, and an
unfriendly business environment. Los Angeles has also
limited new building permits, driving up housing costs and making it
harder for middle-income workers to live there. The
of the aerospace industry has resulted in mass exodus of high-skilled
workers, and the public schools have failed to produce more talented
labor to fill the gap. Los Angeles gets below-average or even
failing marks in surveys of small business friendliness, compared to
flourishing communities, such as Houston and San Antonio.
metro areas also have low-educated work forces, but they make up for it
by their business-friendly policies.
California Governor Jerry Brown claims, in his re-election campaign,
that California is resurgent. However, this does not square
the facts that Los Angeles County experienced a net domestic migration
outflow of 115,651 residents between 2007 and 2011; and that the
hostile business environment has harmed the poor and middle classes
much more than the affluent.
California’s legislature is
overwhelmingly peopled by Democrats. How’s that working out?
Rethinks Common Core
Monday, March 24, Indiana became the first state to officially dump the
Common Core standards for math and reading that have been adopted by 45
states. Governor Mike Pence said, “Indiana has taken an important step
forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers,
for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high.” The Common Core
Curriculum, written by a group of governors, state education leaders
and other experts, dictate what students should know from kindergarten
through 12th grade. While the Obama administration has used
$4.35 billion Race to the Top initiative to entice states to adopt the
standards, they have come under increasing attack in at least a dozen
states by conservatives who see them as intruding on local control and
furthering a “progressive” agenda. Supporters of the new law
Indiana also argue that the Common Core is weaker than Indiana’s
previous standards. Others emphasize the importance of states
maintaining control over their own education systems as a way of
maintaining state sovereignty. Other state governors may be
emboldened to push back against this aspect of increasing federal
control by Indiana’s example.
~ April 2, 2014
Target Women Voters
Women have become the most
powerful force in the electorate and, unfortunately, polling reveals
that women overall favor a Democrat-controlled Congress.
though the Democrat propaganda about unequal pay for equal work by
women and raising the minimum wage is manipulative and non-fact-based,
it resonates with many women voters. Many Democrat
wishing to avoid the stink from Obamacare, are hoping to attract women
to the polls by focusing on abortion rights and free birth control, as
always, but also on equal pay, a rise in the minimum wage, and
“affordable child care.”
The results of these
women have given the Democrats encouragement. In 2012, Obama
an unprecedented number of nationwide TV ads vowing to protect access
to abortion and birth control, and he carried women voters by 11
percentage points. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe promoted
same issues in 2013 and credited his win in part to a 42-point
advantage among single women.
Women are a primary focus
of a $60 million project by the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm to
register and mobilize voters to make the November turnout look like
2012, rather than like 2010.
The Employment Numbers are Improving!
job-creation number for February, 2014 was 175,000. This was
higher than the 129,000 new jobs created in January, though lower than
the prior year’s average of 189,000 new jobs per month. The
administration, of course, cited this number as evidence that its
economic policies are working to improve the economy.
The fly in
the ointment is a decline in the average workweek. In
2013, the average workweek was 34.5 hours, and it has fallen to 34.2
hours as of February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Small changes in the average workweek make for
changes in total hours worked nationwide, and this measure is a better
measure of the labor market’s strength and economic activity.
decline in the average workweek, offset partially by the increase in
the number of people working, means that real labor usage fell by the
equivalent of 100,000 jobs since September.
explanations for the declining average workweek include statistical
rounding errors—contradicted by the fact that the decline has been
small but steady over a months-long period; and the impact of harsh
winter weather. The numbers are already seasonally adjusted,
however, and the shortening of the workweek began well before harsh
weather set in. Which leaves us with the possibility that the
Affordable Care Act has had significant effects on the average
workweek. That law encourages businesses with fewer than 50
full-time employees (30 or more hours per week) to keep the number of
hours low to avoid having to provide health insurance. The
is still out.
~ March 18, 2014
herein summarized was taken from a March 17, 2014 op-ed by Edward P.
Lazear in the Wall Street Journal.)
to download a printable .pdf
file of the above folder
~ March 6, 2014
Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
March 5, the President ordered yet one more delay of the ObamaCare
mandates for individuals and small businesses—just in time to possibly
save the bacon of some vulnerable Democrats in the midterm
The previously scheduled deadline of January
1, 2015 would mean that insurance cancellations would begin in October,
in compliance with the insurance regulations that require prior notice
of cancellation. This would create, of course, some
for officeholders whose constituents would be very unhappy about
cancellation of their health care coverage.
to the rescue! It was announced Wednesday evening that the
mandate suspension has been extended until 2016.
anyone has any doubt about the political motivation of this delay, HHS
distributed information to reporters, according to the Wall Street
Journal, that noted that the new rule was “developed in close
consultation with members of Congress,” and then went on to mention by
name several very vulnerable Senators, including Mary Landrieu, Mark
Udall, Mark Warner, and Jeanne Shaheen; as well as nine House
~ March 6, 2014
Continuing IRS Circus
probably no news to most of you, but Lois Lerner again invoked the
Fifth Amendment on March 5 and refused to testify about IRS targeting
of conservative groups. The Democrats are hoping that the
controversy will just go away, and Lerner’s lawyer is complaining about
Ms. Lerner being treated unfairly by the “completely partisan” House
Oversight Committee. Even more over the top, Democrats are
calling for Chairman Darrell Issa’s removal because he adjourned the
meeting when Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight
Committee, protested that he wanted to make another
March 06, 2014
Developments on IRS targeting
of grassroots groups
On Wednesday, fighting back against the proposed new IRS regulations to
further stifle free political speech, the House passed a bill to delay
implementation of the regulations for one year. The
president, of course, threatened a veto, though the bill will not
likely even be brought to the floor in the Senate.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has said that the new
IRS rules are a blatant attempt “to legalize and institutionalize
targeting” of tea party and other groups. Civil liberties and
even environmental groups have also objected to the proposed
After the IRS targeting was exposed by a report from the IRS inspector
general, the Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel revealed his plan for
correcting the situation. Far from a remedy, his proposed
interventions would make the situation worse. Targeted groups
would be offered an “expedited” process for getting 501(c)(4) status,
that would amount to those groups agreeing to limit to 40% both the
amount of spending and time spent on political activity.
Current 501(c)(4) rules, those remaining in place for non-targeted
groups, allow political spending up to 49% and have no “time”
Even the so-called “investigation” of the IRS abuses by the Justice
Department are politically tainted, as evidenced by the selection of
Barbara Bosserman, an Obama donor, to handle it.
These shocking attempts to abridge First Amendment rights through the
use of an agency from which citizens have every right to expect
nonpartisanship, give further evidence for the dire need to replace the
current administration and its minions.
February 28, 2014
On February 21, Governor Kasich signed legislation that eliminates the
“Golden Week,” when people could register and cast an early ballot at
the same time, trimming early voting by a week and regulating the
mailing of absentee-ballot applications. The new
laws will take place after the May 6 primary election, but before the
November election. Now early voting will start only after the voter
registration period ends. The second measure requires that
absentee ballots be sent to registered voters by the Secretary of
State, not by county officials; and it requires elections officials to
disqualify absentee ballots that have an incomplete identification
Predictably, the Democrats are howling that these laws constitute
“voter suppression,” and threaten to challenge them in court.
In other news, both the Republicans and the Democrats are working to
influence Secretary of State races as a way of influencing
elections. The Democrats have launched a new PAC entitled
iVote, which aims to unseat lawmakers who support “restrictions” on
voting. They want to expand online voter registration, early
balloting, and updated electronic voting equipment.
Conservatives have established a super PAC, “SOS for SoS”
which plans to support Secretary of State candidates who are in favor
of policies like requiring voter ID and proof of citizenship, and
removing ineligible (and deceased, I surmise) voters from the
Races in focus for this super PAC include Ohio (remember Jennifer
Brunner?), Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Kansas. Republicans
currently hold 29 of the Secretary of State offices
nationwide. 18 Republican-held seats are up for election in
~ February 24, 2014
Women Really Need Unionization
in Their Homes?
to read this, and
many other great political articles pertaining to things of interest to
~ February 22, 2014
We All Just Put On
Big Girl (and Boy) Pants?
New Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, acceding to
President Obama’s wishes that the Fed pursue policies that his
administration believes will do more toward reducing unemployment,
rather than keeping prices stable, has indicated she will continue the
policies of Ben Bernanke. Many fear that economic growth is
impaired by the Fed’s bond-buying and near-zero interest rate
policy. Monetary policy should be independent from political
considerations, but it seems we are looking at further deferment of a
collision with reality---putting off higher taxes, higher prices, and
harder times for everyone--- in the service of keeping the current
administration from feeling the heat.
Ms. Yellen, testifying before
the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 11, asserted that the
inflation rate must be raised to 2%, or even higher. This
let the dollar lose more than 20% of its value each decade.
reasons, as a Keynesian true believer, that workers want the higher
nominal wages that would result, even though their increase is totally
wiped out by higher prices; she thinks it is better to accept the
illusory benefits of 2% inflation than to risk slipping into a
deflation and accompanying rising unemployment.
this “concern” for wage earners justifies money pumping by the Fed that
ultimately benefits those with hefty stock portfolios and hurts
everyone else, especially those on fixed incomes.
also be excused for feeling insulted by the condescending attitude of
the “wizards of smart” who want people to believe not only that they
know what they are doing, but that they can be trusted to look out for
our interests. As Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig
so convincingly explained, and as the historical record has borne out,
free people operating in free exchange create the greatest prosperity
~ February 13, 2014
Battle Over Taxpayer Funding
of Abortion Goes On
January 29, the U. S. House passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for
Abortion Act. This Act was brought to the floor to correct provisions
of Obamacare that Sidestep established law, including the Hyde
Amendment, prohibiting federal payments for elective abortion (except
to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest) and
federal subsidies for health plans that include coverage for abortion.
H.R. 7 codifies the principles if the Hyde Amendment on a
permanent, government-wide basis. It also provides that
language be revised to eliminate secrecy about abortion coverage so
that consumers may be fully informed about abortion coverage and
associated surcharges on health insurance plans sold on the exchanges.
Unfortunately, chances for the Act getting through Committee, or being
passed in the Senate, are deemed to be about zero.
~ February 7, 2014
Impact of Stopping
Federal Jobless Benefits
It is expected that new figures
will show that the U.S. unemployment rate fell again in
January. The expiration of federal jobless benefits has
likely led to some ceasing their search for employment, thereby taking
them out of the counted ranks of the unemployed. Others have
probably taken jobs they would have turned down if benefits had been
continued. There also may be more people finding jobs
regardless of the effect of the federal unemployment benefits ending.
The picture is quite muddled and
confusing, and the experience of North Carolina does not really provide
much help in understanding the situation. NC saw extended
federal benefits cut off in July because its unemployment insurance
program failed to meet federal guidelines. Since that time,
the unemployment rate in the state plummeted from 8.9% to 6.9% in
December, far faster than the national rate and more than any other
state. Employment increased 1.28%, compared to 0.21%
nationally. But others stopped looking, lowering the state’s
labor force participation rate down 0.8% to 61.2%. The
national labor force participation rate—the percentage of adults
holding or seeking jobs—is 62.8%.
The shockingly low rate of labor
force participation reflects unavailability of jobs, generally, and
also lack of jobs that demand specialized skills and
training. Recent data indicates that the percentage
of people working at minimum wage jobs is 50% higher than ten years
ago; 71% higher for college graduates. This includes an
estimated 30,000 people with masters’ degrees. If a person
takes a job that does not make use of his or her education, training,
and skills, it does not hurt the employment figures, but it is a
personal tragedy for that individual.
Without policies that support
investment and new job creation, the future for our nation may be grim,
~ February 3, 2014
Congressional Republicans are seeking remedies through the courts
following Obama’s assertion that he will use executive power to
accomplish his agenda against the will of the people.
actions have been initiated to challenge the president on issues
ranging from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to the
National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
lawmakers argue that the administration’s selective enforcement of
Obamacare is unconstitutional. They are specifically
targeting the contraception mandate, as well as executive decisions to
delay health insurance requirements, cap out-of-pocket costs, and
expand the employer mandate penalty. The Office of Personnel
Management is being sued for allowing legislators and their staff to
receive federal subsidies for their coverage rather than following the
same rules as the rest of the country.
Rand Paul plans to file a class action lawsuit against the NSA over its
Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul filed an amicus brief with the Supreme
Court in an effort to limit the administration’s power to unilaterally
restrict carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.
biggest drawback to legal action, according to Sen. John McCain, is
that it may take years to be resolved. The legal challenge to
Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board was
mounted in January, 2012 and is just now getting attention from the
Supreme Court, after having been ruled unconstitutional by three
federal appeals courts. In addition, there is uncertainty
about the ability to acquire standing in court.
Boehner said that Republicans, however, will not sit idly by as the
president takes unilateral actions like raising the minimum wage for
federal contractors. “…there’s a Constitution that we all
take an oath to, including him, and following the Constitution is the
basis for House Republicans,” Boehner said.
~ February 3, 2014
Are Better Off Than You
Op-ed by Kate
a distortion---or an outright lie--- is repeated enough, people accept
it as the truth. Democrats and other statists, with an eye
even further expansion of the federal government, have been pushing the
story that Americans have had their retirement income dramatically
reduced over the past thirty years. They claim that the shift
from defined-benefit pensions to defined-contribution savings plans
such as 401(k)s has caused this decline.
The story is
largely based on data from the Current Population Survey, conducted
annually by the U.S. Census Bureau. Trouble is: the
“income” used by the Census Bureau includes only payments received on a
regular, periodic basis, not withdrawals that people make as needed
from 401(k)s or IRAs. Even considering this, the resources
available to retirees is grossly misrepresented. For example,
2008, the CPS reported $5.6 billion in individual IRA income, while
retirees themselves reported $111 billion to the Internal Revenue
Service. Federal tax filings for that year showed $457
pension or annuity income, while the CPS showed only $222 billion in
pensions or annuity income.
The CPS states that
only around half of American workers are offered a retirement plan by
their employer. This estimate is based upon responses from
individuals. However, a 2011 analysis of retirement plan
by employers using tax records, done by the Social Security
Administration, found that 72% of all workers in private business in
2006 were offered retirement plans. This figure was 84% for
employing 100 or more individuals.
Despite the fact that
the Social Security Administration is aware of this under-reporting of
retirement income, the agency continues to publish summary reports
based upon the fallacious CPS data. This leads to calls for
expanding Social Security and shifting away from the 401(k) and IRA
saving systems that have performed much better than Social Security in
producing income for retirees.
(This post uses
information from an op-ed piece in the January 24, 2014 Wall Street
Journal by Sylvester J. Schieber, former chairman of the Social
Security Advisory Board, and Andrew G. Biggs, a former principal deputy
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.)
added January 26, 2014
Findings on Economic Mobility
We have all heard lately that is has become less likely that a child
from a low-income family will eventually climb to the higher rungs of
the economic ladder. A new study being published today by the
National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that economic mobility
in the United States among people born since 1971 has remained about
the same. This will probably not deter the President from
continuing to insist that economic opportunity is the “defining
challenge” of our time, or from making the issue the centerpiece of his
State of the Union address next week.
The report acknowledges that the gap between the wealthiest and the
poorest has widened. It also shows, regrettably, that
economic mobility--viewed as key to a healthy economy--in the United
States is lower than it is in other developed
The President and Democrats call for raising the minimum wage and
expanding access to college and preschool education.
Republicans, notably Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, have called for
consolidating federal antipoverty programs and directing the monies to
the states to spend based on their needs.
Absent from the discourse is discussion of the disincentives to
economic striving of prolonged absence from the workforce and the
middle-class lifestyle possible for welfare recipients.
added January 26, 2014
Human Trafficking in Ohio
Thursday, January 9, Governor Kasich announced a public-awareness
campaign to address the serious human trafficking problem in
Ohio. Hoping to increase public awareness regarding the signs
human trafficking and to provide information about reporting and
getting help for victims, educational materials will be broadcast
statewide. The Ohio Turnpike Commission will but up posters
service plazas; the Department of Public Safety will distribute 5,000
posters; the Department of Youth Services and Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction will post materials in youth and adult
prisons; the Department of Health is making materials available in
clinics for sexually transmitted diseases; and the State Library of
Ohio will distribute posters to public libraries.
Teresa Fedor of Toledo has recently introduced House Bill 130, which
would outlaw advertising that includes depiction of a minor.
legislation is aimed at advertisements for escort services and massage
added January 12, 2014
you know that Ohio has been one of the states with highest incidence of
human trafficking? Sex slavery is not a third-world phenomenon, or even
a problem restricted to cities. Conventional wisdom has had it that
prostitutes freely choose the “oldest profession” because of moral
failings. In truth, more than 90% of prostitutes and others in sex
trades such as exotic dancers, are victims of sexual abuse and
exploitation from an early age.
There are an estimated 100,000
children in the sex trade in the U.S., and thirteen is the most common
age for girls to be introduced to the life of prostitution.
Ohio’s legislature, spearheaded by efforts by Attorney General DeWine
and Representative Theresa Fedor, has responded with two laws which
have made It easier to protect these children and to prosecute their
SB 235 took effect in 2011, and established human
trafficking as a specific criminal offense in Ohio. Sub HB 262, the
“Safe Harbor” law, signed by Governor Kasich, made trafficking a
first-degree felony and obstructing justice in human trafficking cases
a second-degree felony.
Latest, still in committee, is HB 130,
the End Demand Act, which authorizes appointment of a Guardian ad Litem
for an exploited child; prevents easy return to parents convicted of
human trafficking offenses; and imposes tougher sentences. The laws
mandates training of law enforcement officers to recognize and
appropriately deal with human trafficking cases.
There are eleven regional coalitions in Ohio dedicated to
addressing this problem, as well as initiatives in a number of cities.
Dayton, which has been a hub for human trafficking because of
the I-70/I-75 interchange, has several citizen-supported and
volunteer-staffed organizations to help victims.
235 is currently stalled -- please urge your state
and/or senator to take action in helping pass this into law.
New Approach in the "War on Poverty"?
Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty January 8, 1964 in his first
State of the Union address. Now, fifty years later, we have a
greatly expanded Federal bureaucracy and entitlements, significant
social pathology among the “underclass,” over $13 trillion in debt,
and—poverty statistics that have barely budged.
Senator Marco Rubio called for a sweeping overhaul, streamlining “most
of our existing federal anti-poverty funding into one single
agency.” He called for sending these funds to the states “so
can design and fund creative initiatives that address the factors
behind inequality of opportunity.” He also proposed replacing
earned income tax credit with a federal wage-enhancement program that
would pay a federal benefit, rather than a tax credit, to low-wage
~ By Kate
Political Education/Legislation Chair
IN COLUMBUS ─
New Program to Address Teen
Drug abuse has risen to epidemic levels in Ohio.
Unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death
in Ohio in 2007, and that trend has continued. According the
Ohio Department of Health, five people, on average, die each day in
Ohio due to drug overdose. The problem is especially and most
troublingly prevalent among youth.
Governor Kasich has begun to promote a new campaign to address drug
abuse among Ohio’s young people. Named “Start Talking,” and
operating on the belief that preventing kids from starting to use drugs
is the best way to solve the addiction problem, the campaign includes
The program is reportedly paid for with existing budgets.
Arguing that stepped-up enforcement is not enough, the Governor said,
“This is like trying to stop the flow of the ocean. You just
can’t bust enough people to solve this problem. This problem
has to be solved at the beginning.”
- “5 Minutes for Life” brings
Ohio Highway Patrol and National Guard members into high schools to
talk to athletes about remaining drug-free and influencing other
students to abstain.
- “Building Youth Resiliency”
provides grants aimed at helping schools and nonprofits in
low-income areas to launch and run drug prevention programs
- “Know!” will be a free
service to mail out email messages twice monthly to parents
and other adults about how to talk to teens about substance abuse.
- “Parents 360 Rx” is an
11-minute video developed to help adults learn about substance
abuse and give them confidence to talk to their teens about it.
~ By Kate
Political Education/Legislation Chair
January 10, 2014
website “glitches” were apparently only the beginning of the troubles
for President Obama’s signature legislation.
far, a high proportion of people signing up for new plans are older or
have existing health problems; and too few young, healthy people are
joining to pay for the care of their elders. Without
approximately 40% of healthy infrequent users of health care services
paying premiums, the whole system is financially
Being frustrated by the website glitches, and also learning, as many
have, that both their premiums and deductibles would increase, have
likely led to the failure of these young persons to enroll.
of Medicaid was predicted under the law to serve as a backup for the
poorest of the uninsured. Many states have refused to expand
Medicaid. Adding to this trouble for the Administration, a
study found that a group of 10,000 low-income Oregon residents who
recently obtained Medicaid coverage actually visited emergency rooms
40% more often than those without insurance. These
visited ER’s for all kinds of problems, including those that could have
been treated in the doctor’s office more appropriately and at much
The President has also unilaterally made
changes to the law after the fact, exempting certain groups and
changing deadlines. On December 31, Supreme Court Justice
Sotomayor ruled that a religious order was exempted from the
The confusion and uncertainty brought about by these factors would seem
to imperil the future of this unpopular law.
By Kate Burch
Political Education/Legislation Chair
IN COLUMBUS ─
On December 20, the Ohio Supreme Court gave a
victory to Governor Kasich, whose push for expansion of Medicaid in
Ohio has been opposed by many elected Republicans. The Controlling
Board voted in opposition to the legislature, which had passed a budget
that disallowed spending $2.56 billion in new Federal funds on
expanding Medicaid. The Controlling Board consists of seven members:
the Director of the Office of Budget and Management, the Chairs of the
Senate and House Finance Committees, and a majority and a minority
member from both the Senate and the House. The Controlling Board was
established as a mechanism for handling certain limited day-to-day
adjustments needed in the state budget. The Court voted 4-3 to uphold
the vote of the Controlling Board. At issue is whether the Controlling
Board exceeded its authority and harms the system of checks and
balances; or whether the Controlling Board is a necessary means for the
Governor to be able to use his veto power in the implementation of
Also in the news is an
effort by Secretary of State Jon Husted to clean up the voter rolls and
decrease vote fraud. He referred 17 cases of non-U.S. citizens
illegally voting in Ohio to the Attorney General for investigation.
Husted’s office found nearly 300 instances of noncitizens living in
Ohio and registered to vote in 2012.
~ By Kate
Political Education/Legislation Chair
HEADS UP !!!
|During Former Secretary
of State Jennifer Brunner's term the
so-called “Golden Week” (in which people can both register and vote at
the same time at
the Board of Elections - before their registration is
verified) was initiated. These provisional absentee ballots are
supposed to be checked after the
election, before being counted.
But perhaps, one may be forgiven
skepticism about the reliability of this process. Legislation to do
away with Golden Week and reduce the time for early voting to 28 days
from 35, S.B. 238, has been passed by the Ohio Senate and is currently
in hearings in the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee,
chaired by State Rep. Mike Dovilla. Your calls, emails, and letters to
the Committee in support of this legislation would be most helpful. To
contact your the members of the Policy and Legislative Oversight
Committee, click HERE Click on each member's
picture and then use that webpage to email him/her.
~ By Kate
Political Education/Legislation Chair
what is it that happened
recently in the U. S. Senate
On November 21, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeded in passing
changes to the 225-year-old Senate rules that will prevent the use of
filibusters. The “nuclear option,” requiring only a 51-vote majority to
pass on Presidential nominees (except those to the U.S. Supreme Court)
is an historic change in rules that were intended by our Founders to
maintain temperance in approving Presidential appointments.
Obama stated that the Senate’s action was necessary, accusing
Republicans of attempting to block his nominees based on politics:
“This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications. It’s just to
gum up the works.”
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked,
“…it’s a time to be sad about what has been done to the United States
Senate.” Sen. Jerry Moran, director of the National Republican
Senatorial Committee warned that Democrats would likely abuse the rule
change to fill the courts and federal departments and agencies with
advocates who would push further regulation, bureaucracy, and
government intervention. Republicans agree that this action by the
Democrat-controlled Senate makes it urgently necessary to regain a
Republican majority in that body in 2014.
The Democrats are
unlikely to be happy when the next Republican President is able, with
this rule change, to sail nominees through the approval process. What’s
sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
~ By Kate
Political Education/Legislation Chair
I am pleased to announce that 2014 calendar for the U.S. House of
Representatives is now available.
We’ve made it easier than ever to access the calendar anywhere you go —
through Google and Outlook calendars, in printable versions and online
Over the past three years, the legislative schedule has created
certainty, increased efficiency and productivity in the committee
This calendar helps ensures that elected officials never lose touch
with their constituents while completing their work in Washington. It
also allows for time back in the district for meetings with working
families, seniors, veterans, and other local communities. This is why
we will continue to provide Members with one full constituent work week
in their districts each month.
You can subscribe to the House Calendar by visiting:
House Majority Leader
find all of the members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation, their
party affiliation and all contact information,
|Know what is happening
Tell them what you think!
Eric Cantor, (R-Va) has now removed any excuse we have ever had not to
know about legislation in Congress and our ability to comment or send
opinions on it. With one click we can all follow ongoing legislation,
read the bills ourself, and share the information. Knowledge is
empowering; sharing knowledge empowers
others and this new service, via the web, gives us that knowledge to
and inform our opinions. Share the knowledge!
access the "Citizen Cosponsor
Project", click HERE.
Let Congress know what you support and why. It’s your government, make
your voice heard.
Foundation has a very good website entitled
We Fight -- The Scorecard for Conservatives"
too often, lawmakers tend to talk one way back home and vote another
way inside Washington. The hundreds of bills and many more amendments
Congress deals with every year make it tough to see through the spin
and know how Members of Congress really vote.
Our legislative scorecard does just that. And lawmakers are paying
attention. One publication covering Congress described our scorecard as
"the hugely influential cheat sheet for determining conservative bona
fides in Congress."
their "hugely influential" cheat sheet, a legislative scorecard, and
look up your members of Congress here
track bills introduced by:
during the 130th
during the 130th
What is the
The Electoral College is a
process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution
as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress
and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.
The Electoral College process
consists of the selection
of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote
for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral
votes by Congress.
The Electoral College consists
of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect
the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the
number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member
in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Read more
allocation of electoral votes.
Under the 23rd
Amendment of the Constitution, the District of Columbia is
allocated 3 electors and treated like a state for purposes of the
Electoral College. For this reason, in the following discussion, the
word “state” also refers to the District of Columbia.
Each candidate running for
President in your state has his or her own group of electors. The
electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but
state laws vary on how
the electors are selected and what their responsibilities
are. Read more about the qualifications
of the Electors and restrictions
on who the Electors may vote for.
The presidential election is
held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in
November. You help choose your state’s electors when you vote for
President because when you vote for your candidate you are actually
voting for your candidate’s electors.
Most states have a
“winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning
presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a
variation of “proportional representation.” Read more about the
allocation of Electors among the states and try to predict
the outcome of the Electoral College vote.
After the presidential election,
your governor prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of
the candidates who ran for President in your state along with the names
of their respective electors. The Certificate of Ascertainment also
declares the winning presidential candidate in your state and shows
which electors will represent your state at the meeting of the electors
in December of the election year. Your state’s Certificates of
Ascertainments are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as
part of the official records of the presidential election. See the key
dates for the 2012 election and information about the
roles and responsibilities of state officials, the
Office of the Federal Register and the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA), and the Congress
in the Electoral College process.
The meeting of the electors
takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December
after the presidential election. The electors meet in their respective
states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on
separate ballots. Your state’s electors’ votes are recorded on a
“Certificate of Vote,” which is prepared at the meeting by the
electors. Your state’s Certificates of Votes are sent to the Congress
and the National Archives as part of the official records of the
presidential election. See the key
dates for the 2012 election and information about the
roles and responsibilities of state officials and the Congress
in the Electoral College process.
Each state’s electoral votes are
counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the
year following the meeting of the electors. Members of the House and
Senate meet in the House chamber to conduct the official tally of
electoral votes. See the key
dates for the 2012 election and information about the role
and responsibilities of Congress
in the Electoral College process.
The Vice President, as President
of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the
vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any,
have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.
The President-Elect takes the
oath of office and is sworn in as President of the United States on
January 20th in the year following the Presidential election.
For more information regarding the Electoral process, click HERE, or on any link in the above
Delegates are awarded─
awards the sixty-six delegates it has been allocated from the RNC
in a proportional manner. Sixty-three of those delegates are
grabs on Super Tuesday. Forty-eight delegates are known as
Delegates” and are awarded winner-take-all by congressional
There are sixteen congressional districts in Ohio and three delegates
are allocated to each district. For example, if Mitt Romney
plurality of the vote in the 10th Congressional District on Super
Tuesday, he will receive all three of the delegates allocated to that
district. Rick Santorum failed to qualify for delegates in
congressional districts. Therefore, nine of Ohio’s delegates
the table for Senator Santorum.
remaining fifteen delegates
awarded on Election Day, known at “At Large Delegates,” are allocated
proportionally to each candidate based upon their share of the
statewide vote. In order to qualify for At Large Delegates a
must receive at least 20% of the statewide vote. If any
candidate receives more than 50% of the statewide vote, they receive
all fifteen At Large Delegates.
If you've been counting
delegates, you might have noticed that we only explained how 63 of the
66 are awarded. That's because Ohio has three more delegates who get to
back any candidate they choose. They are members of the Republican
National Committee: two RNC committee members (Jo Ann Davidson
Bob Bennett), and Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine.
Christopher Maloney, Ohio Republican Party
you have comments regarding, or requests for, specific
political education topics, please contact
OFRW's Political Education Chair Kate Burch
by clicking HERE
items on this page may be personal opinions and do not necessarily
represent the official stance of the OFRW. They are presented for
informational, educational and/or discussion purposes.
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