December 11, 2013
By Nancy Thorner -
Part 2: Riveting Facts About Common Core That Can’t Be Ignored
Common Core sounds innocent enough, but what it represents and how it is applied in teaching children from K – 12 can’t be ignored. If we do so at a local, state, and national level we are ourselves to blame for what looms ahead as to the final outcome of an experimental educational system that has been put in place lock, stock and barrel without any trial runs to test the credibility of the system.
This nation already ranks below other nation in math, reading and science, while we spend more money per child than any other nation but Sweden. It defies logic to expect that Common Core standards will succeed in advancing educational standards to duplicate those of other nations who spend far less but who get better results. And how long will it take teachers to get up to speed in learning how to teach the “Common Core way“?
It is our children who will suffer in a educational system where one size fits all in an agenda-driven system that is laced with political bias that advances liberalism and where so-called critical thinking is considered superior to memorization in Common Core classrooms.
Any one of the 10 riveting facts listed below about Common Core should set alarm bells ringing with enough intensity for concerned citizens and parents to become involved by insisting on a full accountability of what is happening in their school districts. Children should not be used as guinea pigs.
This nation’s future is in the hands of those who are not willing to sit back and see the country we love become a nation that has gone far astray from the principles set forth by our Founding Fathers. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled at the way the federal government is now taking control of so many aspects of our lives by dictating what is best for us. This is Socialism.
1. Common Core rests on the faulty premise that a single, centralized entity knows what education is best for all 55 million students nationwide. Although Common Core was approved in 2010 by 45 states, Common Core standards had yet to be written at the time states agreed to adopt Common Core. All of the 45 states initially signing on to Common Core took stimulus money from the Obama administration. Illinois signed on without hesitation.
(It does hurt that Arnie Duncan is U.S. Education Secretary. Duncan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in January of 2009 following his nomination by President Barack Obama. But before becoming secretary of education, Duncan was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools until December of 2008.
As a firm supporter of Common Core, Arnie Duncan recently created quite a furor when in speaking to a group of state schools superintendents he made this controversial statement: “White suburban moms” are upset that Common core shows their kids aren’t “brilliant.”)
2. Common Core State Standards are academic benchmarks that outline the skills a student should have at each grade level. For example: Third graders should know how to find the perimeter of a figure A fifth-grader should be able to compare and contrast two characters from a story.
(Thorner obtained copies of Parents’ Guide to Student Success at a meeting devoted to explaining Common Core to parents in Lake Forest Districts 67 (K-8) and 115 (high school). The two page guides provide an overview for each grade (Kindergarten through 8th) of what your child will learn by the end of the year in mathematics and English languages arts/literary, with additional guides providing an overview of what you child will learn during high school in Mathematics and English. These guides are a must to download, especially for those whose children attend public schools. Download the guides in color at pta.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2910 . You will be amazed, as Thorner was, at what the guides suggest!)
3. Common Core standards K-12, as applied to the classroom, place less emphasis on memorization such as rote memorization of multiplication tables, or of dates, or of historical facts, but instead critical thinking has become the hallmark of the Common Core class. Is giving up on educating students in factual history, civics, and other social studies content a good idea, despite high school and college graduates of today knowing little about the mechanics of government or knowledge of this nation’s amazing historical narrative? Instead critical thinking (what Common Core experts are calling higher-order thinking) is to serve as the preparation for life after high school?
4. Common Core basically removes away parental and local control of education. Regarding teachers, they lose their ability to be creative in the classroom, with teaching to the test becoming more important than ever.
5. Common Core tests are being developed by the same people who worked on the Core standards and who are now writing the textbooks. This is federal control of education and also of IDEAS. (Houghton Mifflin is a huge textbook publisher. It’s company website promises to be a partner who will share the responsibilities” of the Common Core. As such Houghton Mifflin has created a wide range of content, curricula, and services to support school leaders, teachers and educators, parents, and especially students with the transition.)
6. The Gates Foundation, a supporter of liberal progressive politics, is heavily involved in promoting Common Core through its generous funding. One organization funded by Gates is the ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), a membership-based nonprofit organization founded in 1943. Recently signing up a an endorser of Common Core, ASCD continues to receive funding from the Gates Foundation “to provide teachers and school leaders with supports to implement the Common Core State Standards at the district, school, and classroom levels.”
7. Common Core standards in Math and Language Arts were written first and are now being integrated into the curriculum of school districts throughout Illinois to some degrees and are at various stages of development. So 3 times 4 can now equal 11 so long as a student can effectively explain how they reached that answer.
8. Common Core’s “Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, economics, Geography, and History” was released in September. Although the 110-page “C3 Framework” took three years to develop, it is confusing, overly complicated and fails to include any content whatsoever. The Framework has “written by a committee” stamped all over it.
9. Common Core videos on Scientology spew United Nations ideas that demonize the United States and its wealth and pits the rich against the poor. Videos teach students they have the right to food, housing, clothing, medicine, even a job, five of the 30 universal human rights declared by the Unite Nations in 1945.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Permalink
December 10, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Thorner: First ObamaCare, Now ObamaCore
By Nancy Thorner -
Part 1: Common Core sows seeds of Socialism in young
For over 100 years an educational system was in place that served this nation well. Those of us who can relate back to the 1950′s and before remember a time when the curriculum was left to individual teachers, or to department personnel in larger school systems, and where textbooks were likewise selected by individual teachers or department committees from a state-approved list of school textbooks.
It was an era when if teachers weren’t doing their jobs, they were usually let go after having a chance to improve. This same accountability existed from grades K through graduate school until the 60′s when teacher unions were organized and took hold in states. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is one of the strongest in the nation. Its influence is far reaching in setting teacher salaries and in determining rules and regulations under which teachers work in local school districts.
Young men, having been educated under an educational system that some now view as haphazard, were prepared for work and for college. They further acquitted themselves well on the battle field when serving in World War I and II. After the wars these same ordinary men and women built businesses and proved to be productive in many ways.
What happened in the interim, despite all the money this nation has plowed into education, when fast forwarding to 2010 a new education program, Common Core, was conceived and created by the National Governors Association? President Obama and his administration wasted no time in embracing the new Common Core program.
Concluded by the NGA and the SCSSO was that for children to be properly educated there must be national standards, or a national curriculum, with lock-step performance testing curriculum to enable this nation to catch up with the rest of the world in science, math, and engineering. This despite that during much of the last hundred years this nation led the world in the disciplines of science, math and engineering and produced a large number of competent and brilliant scientists, doctors, engineers, architects, etc.
According to an article published on December 4th at Breitbart.com, Barack Obama didn’t simply embrace a concept that others had developed. Rather, the very roots of Common Core are in the early ideas generated by Obama and his fellow radical community organizer, Bill Ayers. It was Obama who headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 1999, a school “reform” organization founded by Bill Ayers, which funneled more than $100 million into community organizations and radical education activists.
Regarding the National Governors Association and the Council to Chief State School Officers, who are often cited and given credit for being the originators of Common Core standards, the real architect behind Common Core was David Coleman. As such, Coleman is responsible for bringing change to the entire American education system, even in the absence of any teaching experience.
In applying for a high school teaching job Coleman was turned down, after which he worked for a consulting firm where he advised public schools and became a fixture at NYC Department of Education meetings.
Coleman’s agenda: Transforming the American education system to fit his lofty ideas of what “real” education is. And it has nothing to do with learning useful skills to help you say, write a cohesive and grammatically correct resume or long division.
Of great concern is that Coleman was hired this past summer to lead the College Board organization. He is now redesigning the SAT’s and AP Program. In this position Coleman has the opportunity to tie what kids are learning to what colleges are expecting.
Part 2: Riveting Facts about Common Core that can’t be ignored
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Permalink
Saturday, December 07, 2013
By Nancy Thorner and Al Boese -
Three very different Black men — author Walter Williams, baseball player Jackie Robinson and President Barack Obama — have played very different roles in American history.
First, Walter Williams. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Walter E. Williams holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from UCLA. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College, and Doctor Honoris Causa en Ciencias Sociales from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, in Guatemala, where he is also Professor Honorario.
So Dr. Williams is not a radical, but a scholar, an historian, an economist, a professor, and also an African American. To some, Williams is an Uncle Tom.
On December 4, Williams published on Townhall.com a short piece which drew a comparison of Obama to Jackie Robinson.
Those of us old enough to remember were introduced to Jackie Robinson through baseball, a passion held by many in that bygone era. We, therefore, knew Jackie Robinson and respected him, not as a personal friend, none the less we knew him. We also know Barack Obama, and Barack Obama is no Jackie Robinson.
As Walter Williams so eloquently but briefly reminds us in Blacks and Obama:
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League. He encountered open racist taunt and slurs from fans, opposing tam players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. . . There’s no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player he had to be. (Today we can afford an incompetent black ball player.)
It was in a March, 2008 column that Walter Williams argued the importance of the first black president being of the same caliber as a Jackie Robinson, which Williams noted, Obama definitely is not. Then Williams goes on to speak of Obama’s long history of associations with people that hate our nation, further of his association with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground.
According to Williams:
. . . I’m all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president, making it a problem for future generations of black Americans.
With the death of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, December 5 at 95 years, what might Walter Williams set out to write about the behavior of the media and the White House regarding President Obama since Mandela’s death?
As with Jackie Robinson, Walter Williams would likely conclude that Barack Obama is no Nelson Mandela, even though both were the first black presidents of their countries.
As media spin would have it, there would be no Obama if not for a Mandela. The White House even had the audacity to release a photo of Obama in Mandela’s jail cell (which was a museum at the time), almost as if Obama had likewise spent 27 years himself in prison.
Concerning the political ideology of Mandela, media noted his early ties to Marxism. But as behooves the scholarly and forthright nature of Walter Williams, might he select words such as the following to describe the ideology differences between Mandela and Obama?:
Mandela was a militant Marxist turned democratic pacifist. Obama, embracing Marxism early on from his mentor Saul Alinsky, has turned into a Marxist Dictator want-a-be manifest by his alarming Executive Orders and imposition of top down planning, use of the IRS as his enforcement vehicle, and the Justice Department as his Judicial System. Finally, Mandela was modest enough to voluntarily step down after only five years in office while Obama would likely go for a third term driven by his narcissism.
In the final analysis, Mandela had more in common with Clarence Thomas than with Barack Obama. Like Thomas, Mandela believed in compliance with his nation’s Constitution, unlike Obama who makes end runs around the Constitution every day.
Saturday, December 07, 2013 at 09:40 AM | Permalink
December 4, 2013
Do you hear words being parsed?
By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold -
Jay Carney held a press conference in advance of the President’s address on Tuesday, December 3rd, which was billed as the start of a three-week push to redirect the conversation about HealthCare.gov and the health care reform law.
As on so many other occasions, the Press Secretary chooses words very carefully, seeming to say one thing but often meaning quite another. This goes beyond misleading, and the technique is used by this administration more than any others in recent history. You have to listen very carefully, and be prepared to consider what is not being said as much as the words themselves. Ask yourself, “Do I hear words being parsed?”
Although President Obama is no stranger to parsing words, and excels at it, if you listen carefully you can hear Press Secretary Jay Carney likewise exhibit proficiency in parsing his words when speaking in front of a press gaggle.
Perhaps the most egregious example occurred during the second Presidential debate in 2012. When challenged by Governor Romney over his misstatements regarding the Benghazi attack, the President interrupted with the declaration, “I recognized it as terrorism the very next day at a press conference in the Rose Garden.” He produced a document which moderator Candy Crowley quickly confirmed.
In fact, the President described Benghazi as “… an act of terrorism.” This is not the same as saying “an act of terrorists,” leaving him free to describe the event as “a spontaneous attack, instigated by an offensive video.” The President and his staff continued to mislead the public with this narrative for over two weeks.
Perhaps reporters don’t listen carefully enough either? Then too, reporters are apt to take words at face value if the words spoken don’t deviate from their held perception of the individual or situation.
Good reporters don’t insert their own opinions directly, rather use only words uttered by the speaker. (Opinions come from the selection of those words.) Despite some push back by the press media, much of the press gaggle is still enamored with Obama’s agenda.
Following are some gems from Carney’s press conference of December 3, and several examples of Obama’s parsing of words. Each statement is followed by what Carney or Obama didn’t say, but which could be construed from their parsed words. Statements credited to Carney and Obama are paraphrased:
1. Carney: Millions of people started receiving benefits of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and no lifetime benefit limits. Moreover, they don’t have to pay any more for these benefits.
Translation: They don’t have to pay more than everyone else, since the mandates apply to everyone, whether you need them or not. These two mandates alone roughly double the cost of providing health insurance. The added cost is offset by doubling or tripling the deductible amount from the benefits. Since about 62% of Americans will receive discounts on their premiums, 38% of the population must make up the difference. There’s no free lunch.
2. Carney: People using healthcare.gov aren’t getting error messages any more (in response to a reporter’s question).
Translation: Error messages have been replaced with a message advising you to wait in a queue, or try again when the system is not so busy. (Amazon routinely handles twenty times the number of simultaneous users as healthcare.gov.) Once you are in a “queue”, you never get out unless you hang up and try all over again. Error messages aren’t automatic, they’re programmed into the system. They say what the programmer makes them say. (If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
3. Obama (to Barbara Walters): People still trust me. That’s why they elected me in 2012.
Translation: They elected me, in part, because they believed my false promises about keeping their plans and doctors, while accusing my opponent of wanting to deny them health care.
4. Obama: Romney lost because he falsely accused 47% of the country of voting for me because of the promise of a free stuff that only the rich people would pay for.
Translation: The number is actually over 60%.
5. Obama: If it weren’t for the Affordable Care Act, 30 million people would be without health insurance.
Translation: According to White House emails, by the time Obamacare is fully implemented in 2017, there will remain 30 million people without health insurance. Due to mandates of Obamacare, this number is closer to 40 million in 2014.
It is any wonder why both President Obama and Jay Carney become testy at times. There is power in the spoken words but their is also power behind the unspoken word. In time it becomes more and more difficult to parse words as public distrust and disbelief set in (and understanding).
Like Humpty Dumpty, who secure on the wall was shattered in a great fall and couldn’t be put back together again, will Obama, once secure and adored as president parse words one too many time, only to have his administration and his dreams come tumbling down around him?
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM | Permalink
December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
CNS News reported in October of this year that according to the U.S. Treasury the government’s federal debt had jumped by $409 billion. This equals approximately $3,546 for each of the Census Bureau’s estimated 114,663,000 U.S. households, and makes October’s spending the largest one-month jump in debt in this nation’s history.
What is troubling is that Congress is not currently restrained by a debt limit. Since October 17 when Congress enacted the Continuing Resolution (CR) with a deal that ended the government shutdown and pushed the debt ceiling level to February 7, 2014, no set dollar amount exists to restrict spending.
With nothing to stop legislators from piling even more spending and debt on taxpayers before February 7, 2014, it is folly to believe that legislators will restrain their spending, nor have they done so. Noted was how an additional $409 billion of debt was accrued through the end of October. While on October 17 the debt subjected to limit stood at $16,699,396,000,000, just $25 million shy of the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60, by October 31 the debt now subject to limit had grown to $17,108,378,000,000.
Troubling is that even with this nation’s credit card maxed out (along with taxpayers’ wallets), Washington aims to continue its spending spree. Instead of addressing future debt by controlling the growth in entitlement spending and enforcing lower levels of spending, the budget conference committee is considering an option that could increase spending by up to an additional $100 billion; that is, if a compromise deal can be fashioned to bust the sequestration spending caps by up to $100 billion.
An increase in user fees (really a disguised tax increase) would be employed to offset mandatory spending with necessary revenue. Although gimmicks are nothing new in Washington, D.C., raising user fees to pay for more spending is what has helped fuel our now $17.2 trillion national debt.
- Illinois taxpayers’ debt from borrowing = $44.3 billion
- Illinois taxpayers’ unpaid bills = $8 billion
- Illinois’ unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities = $140
Each Illinois family shoulders this debt = over $40,000 per household Moody’s rates Illinois as the worst credit risk of all the states in the nation, which raises the cost of borrowing money, which, in turn, adds billions of dollar in the repayment of bond issuances.
Later on today Illinois legislators will address in a one-day special session a pension reform deal crafted by the Illinois House and the Senate. Numerous reports about the bill leave much to be desired, making today’s exercise seemingly geared to convince the pubic that legislators are finally taking the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall seriously.
According to a report by Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, House speaker Mike Madigan’s latest proposal is just the next in a long line of disastrous pension maneuvers and does nothing more than delay real reform and keep Illinois in a chronic state of crisis.
In typical Illinois fashion, little advance information was shared with the media, the public, and legislators about a bill so critical to the financial well-being of this state. Just what might be the language of a bill that is being kept under wraps until only hours before legislators cast their votes?
In addition to federal and state tax obligations, there are also local taxing bodies that make financial demands. Significant is that Illinois has more “local” governments than any other state in the country, 6,963, which is one-thousand more than any other state when factoring in state population. As it is, Illinois residents pay the second-highest-owner-occupied property tax rates in the country, and their state is the third most corrupt.
Having so many units of government at the local level put taxpayers on the hook for unnecessary layers of government that duplicate services and cause taxes to soar. It is not uncommon for Illinois residents (61% of them do) to live under the burden of three levels of local government (municipal, township or county government), resulting in a huge outlay of funds allocated for salaries.
Lake County in northern Illinois, Thorner’s home county, ranks No. 1 for the Midwest region on Forbes’ list of U.S. counties with the highest property taxes, the average being $6,052.
Thorner also lives under a township government, that of Shields, in addition to her Village of Lake Bluff. In Shields Township a whole department exists to handle the scattered township roads and bridges whose trucks criss-cross the same area when snow plowing far fewer mile, than do municipal trucks.
Also adding to the tax burden at the local level are the high number of school districts in Illinois, 911 in all. Two hundred of them are single school districts. These single districts (Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 is a single district) cost more per student to educate than do multi-school districts.
Federal, state, and local tax liability has become a burden to many. Often asked is how much is too much to pay in taxes? Although little can be done to fight taxation at the state and federal levels, citizens have more of a say at the local level. Unfortunately many officials are opposed to doing away with the positions they hold, either elected or appointed, even if they hold positions that duplicate work done by others.
And so our tax burden continues to grow to keep the hungry beast that is government fed, with many legislators indifferent about the way taxpayers’ money is wasted and spent as long as it suits their own political interests to be re-elected, thereby ensuring that they will continue to enjoy all the attractive perks they have grown so accustomed to receiving over the years.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 at 01:27 PM | Permalink
December 1, 2013
One of many examples of government’s profound incompetence can be observed in the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency with its attempts to be the nation’s super-regulator of the nation’s carbon economy. Several days ago the White House announced what might jokingly be called the EPA’s “Christmas Gift” to this nation, 134 more regulations!
Noteworthy among the proposals are the agency’s move toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of its Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority and new rules for power plant regulations to curb CO2 emissions.
Perhaps the EPA should first try to regulate its own employees, at least James C. Beale, who was found masquerading as a James Bond? The ‘Spy’ Who Fooled the EPA (Under deep CIA cover at the Office of Air and Radiation) appeared as a commentary in The Wall Street Journal on Friday,November 22.
The Environmental Protection Agency allowed Beale to be absent for 2.5 years in less than 23 years of service, take expensive trips to see relatives, all the while claiming to be a CIA spy. Then Beale retires with a big sendoff and the agency forgets to take him off the payroll. Beale further received retention incentive bonuses on top of this scam. What was his punishment? In late September the Department of Justice announced a pleas agreement with John C Beale who admitted devoting most of his 23-year career to bilking taxpayers of some $900,000 in pay and expenses.
At long last the bloom seems to be coming off the rose for President Obama. The American people are catching on to how Obama lies about his lies, only to lie that he didn’t lie about his lies. Also contributing to Obama’s downfall is how he has surrounded himself with sycophants who do the same for him.
Unlike President Obama, why might Abraham Lincoln be revered and considered a competent leader? Lincoln was president during the Civil War — the worst crisis in American history – but unlike President Obama, Lincoln fired incompetent leaders when he encountered them. Half a dozen generals were fired before Lincoln found Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, who won the war after Lincoln’s fired generals had been losing it.
Yet in a recent display of utter arrogance at a private Democratic fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA, Obama touted himself and Democratic leaders for surpassing the likes of Abraham Lincoln. And this is not the first time Obama has compared himself to Lincoln. According to Obama, his administration has been the most productive in history, going on as he did to list his many accomplishments among them being: Saving the economy from a Great Depression; revitalizing an auto industry; doubling our exports; reducing our dependence of foreign oil; doubling our production of clean energy; reducing the pace of our carbon emissions; etc.
Not willing to deal with incompetency dove tails with Obama’s inherent feeling of superiority, in that Obama fathoms to know what is best for the American people. For hasn’t Obama indicated time and time again that the American people are in need of government guidance as they are incapable of making decisions on their own?
Such arrogance, President Obama, will only guarantee continued incompetency and will continue to drive your poll numbers downward.
Maybe, as Alan West suggested, this is what Obama wants? Maybe Obama feels little loyalty to this nation to care what happens to it on the world stage or to its people, or even about his poll numbers, as long as his progressive policies are set firmly in place when he leaves office in 2016, and that progressive judges are in place to see that Obama’s policies are carried out.
Those knowing the background of Barack Obama before his 2008 election should not be surprised, as Obama did promise change with a dose of hope.
What is surprising is how fast Obama’s change is happening right before our eyes with the purposeful shredding of our Constitution as Obama moves this nation rapidly down the pathway toward socialism.
What is alarming is the lack of objection or push back coming from those Americans who do understand what is happening, as Obama continues to mandate policies that Congress is unwilling to approve to achieve his goal, that of his puppet-master, George Soros.
Incompetence is not relegated to one party. Where is the Republican leadership as Obama continue to shred the Constitution? If the Republican Party continues to function as a go-along-to-get-along political party, blame and failure will also befall the Party of Lincoln. Amnesty without border security would spell the death knell for the Republican Party.
Pretending to stand for smaller government and less taxes, Republican Party leaders and pundits display incompetence, if when push comes to shove, they allow government to keeps growing and adding more debt to this nation’s already unattainable and incomprehensible debt. A billion here and a billion there means nothing any more to legislators, and speaking about a trillion no longer sounds foreign to the American people.
Throw the “bums” out is easier said than done, but these are times that demand citizen action. This nation cannot possibly survive as a viable nation under another arrogant and incompetent president with an equally incompetent administration.
One thing certain is that for the first time in the history of this nation, founded with such promise and hope and as a nation under God, what we pass along to future generations will be less than what we inherited.
Future generation might question as they look back to the “now” times: “How did our ancestors allow this to happen?” Was it laziness, indifference, too busy to care, etc.? What would be your excuse if you could have your say?
Sunday, December 01, 2013 at 06:39 AM | Permalink
Saturday, November 30, 2013
With the election of President Obama in 2008, many perceived his election to be a forerunner of the hope and promise candidate Barack Hussein Obama had offered at campaign rallies meant to open up a new era of unlimited possibilities for those who had branded President George W. Bush as a failed and incompetent two-term president.
Obama’s youthfulness and his intelligence were admired by Obama supporters. Without a lull the main steam media continued its post-election rhetoric of glowing praise for Obama’s talent and skills as this nation’s 44th President and Commander in Chief, while continuing to bury Obama’s deceptions and misstatements as he advanced along in his presidency.
For those of us who were not fooled initially by the media’s messiah-like portrayal of Obama, and who now remain concerned over the direction of this nation under President Obama whose leadership resembles that of an imperialistic president, what more could be expected from one newly elected to the White House whose perceived self image is paramount and who had never before even managed a candy store?
History tells us that narcissistic pride (love) of self and the aura of superiority, such as surrounds and abides in Obama, is bound to be pierced in time. Looking upon himself as another Peter Drucker (a preeminent management guru) or a Ted Levitt (a Harvard Business School Professor of great renown) is foolish, childish and immature, if there is no their there for Obama to claim as the end result.
President Barack Obama might heed the warning of Proverbs 16:18. From the New Living Translation: Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
The incompetence of President Obama and his administration can best be described as The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight,a 1969 novel written by Jimmy Breslin. A film of the same name and based on the book was released in 1971.
Former Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) questioned on Wednesday, November 20, whether there was some “nefarious, malicious intent” behind Obama’s “Incompetence.” In speaking about Obama’s health care website glitches, his foreign policy struggles and his overall leadership, West mused:
This cannot all be happening by happenstance. This cannot all be happening by just sheer incompetence. If it is, then this entire administration needs to go away, but there has to be some questions. What’s the intent behind this? I mean no one can purposely wake up and say, ‘Let’s screw this up today.’
Through Incompetency and the absence of accountability – either by design or otherwise — Obama and his administration are currently reaping irreversible damage now five plus years into Obama’s presidency.
But what is negative for Obama is a positive development for the American people, as more and more of them are perceiving Obama to be dishonest and untrustworthy, unwholesome impressions brought about by Obama’s own arrogance in believing that his charm and rhetorical skills would win the day and cement his progressive, “redistribution of wealth” agenda.
In September of this year Charles Krauthammer rightly called out the incompetence of President Obama in his handling of Syria after Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. After issuing an ultimatum that Assad must go, Obama gladly grabbed the lifeline tossed him by Putin. The result: Obama was able to slink away from the Syrian debacle of his own making. As stated by Krauthammer: ”Such are the fruits of a diplomacy of epic incompetence.”
Incompetence, deception and the lack of accountability was brought to the forefront in the failure of the Obamacare roll out website on October 1st. As President Obama’s signature program, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) suffered the fate typical of a chief executive who seemingly designates too many of his responsibilities.
The Obamacare fiasco from its inception was riddled with deception and the lack of accountability, and its future promises more of the same. Kathleen Sebelius serves as a prime example of Obama’s incompetence and utterly failed leadership. Will Obama wait until the complete failure of Obamacare before firing Sebelius so she can be blamed for EVERYTHING?
Part 2: Will tackle the incompetency of the EPA, Obama’s arrogance in comparing self to Lincoln, and an omen for the Republican Party if legislators continue to cling to their do-nothing-to-get-along policies.
Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 09:00 AM | Permalink
November 30, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 201
By Nancy Thorner -
Having already examined the farm subsidy measure of the farm bill in an Illinois Review article published Tuesday, November 26 , it is necessary to bring understanding to the other part of the farm bill, the food stamp measure, which amount to a whopping $750 billion of the trillion dollar farm bill and where waste and fraud are rampant.
Research quickly uncovered six fairly recent noteworthy and eye-opening accounts that tell of a SNAP program (food stamps) badly out-of-control and in desperate need of reform.
- August 13: Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute: Reported how more than 2 million Illinoisans — 16.7% of the state’s population — are on food stamps. These figures represent data taken from the May, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture information. Illinois is better at putting residents on food stamps than it is at creating jobs!
- August 15: The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is soliciting people to receive food stamps in the manner of a drug dealer on a grade school playground, such as: “Psst – hey you! I’ve got something for you… it’s free…come on, try it. You’ll like it!” In many locations outreach programs are taking place. The USDA are effectively hunting people down and talking them into accepting benefits that folks never realized they needed or were qualified to receive.
- August 19: Aren’t food stamps supposed to be for food? Study by Department of Agriculture indicates how more and more food stamp recipients are using this government benefit for items other than food. Food stamps are also being turned into cash, resulting in tax dollars being spent on alcohol, cigarettes, and a host of other non-food items.
- Sept. 10: “Almost one in six, or 47.5 million, Americans now receive food stamps. Over 13 million more people receive the food subsidies today than when Obama took office. . . Despite spending a whopping $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues the program needs more funding. . . Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.”
- Sept. 17: Households on Food Stamps (SNAP) during the month of June outnumbered all households in the Northeast U.S.– a record 23,116,928 American households. This June figure represented 52% more households on Food Stamps than there were in the average month of the first year President Obama took office.
- Sept. 26: Even as the economy improves, food stamp enrollment continues to hit record highs. In the second-quarter of this year, despite household wealth increasing $1.3 trillion within the same time period, enrollment in the program jumped up by 211,708 people.
Food for thought by Dawen Bakst and Rachel Shefield of The Heritage Foundation, which merits serious consideration by House and Senate legislation:
Congress continues to treat agriculture as if it were 1933 instead of 2013. . . Yet every five years when the farm bill is up for renewal, many legislators, including those who claim to be pro-free market and limited government, push a farm bill that is a model of central planning. Agriculture policy continues to emphasize price supports, supply restrictions, import quotas government-subsidized international marketing programs for major corporation, and much more. Quite simply, almost any subsidy that can be dreamed of exists in one form or another in the current farm bill.
Further, food stamps should be reformed to promote self-sufficiency among able-bodied adults. Adults who are able should be required to work, prepare for work, or at least look for work in exchange for receiving food stamp assistance. This principle of reciprocal obligation does not currently exist in the program. Additionally, loopholes that have led to an increase in the food stamp rolls should be closed.
The administration of Indiana’s Gov. John Kasich rightly believes that able-bodied adults should work for food stamps. Starting on January 1st, food stamps will be limited for more than 130,000 adults in all but a few economically depressed area. To qualify for benefits all able-bodied adults without children will be required to spend a least 20 hours a week working, training for a job, etc., unless they live in one of 16 counties exempt because of high unemployment.
With Pat Quinn as governor, there isn’t a ghost of a chance that Illinois would ever echo the reform restrictions imposed by Kasich in Indians on food stamp recipients, of which there are 2 million here in Illinois!
Politically speaking, the political ruse of combining food stamps and agriculture policy into one bill has been successful in passing prior farm bills. Combining the two unrelated entities allowed urban legislators (supporter of food stamps) and rural legislators (supporters of farm programs) to form coalitions to pass farm bills lacking proper scrutiny of their merits.
According to The Heritage Foundation, substantive reform will only occur if the agriculture policy and food stamps are separated into different bills now and in the future, so each bill can be addressed independently. It is not acceptable to raise another bumper crop of agriculture subsidies and to offer food stamps recklessly and often without means testing.
After all, have legislators forgotten that it is taxpayer’s money that is being wasted and spent like there is no tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 07:05 AM | Permalink
November 30, 2013
By Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold -
As reported by Fox News on November 22, President Obama postponed the 2014 sign-up date for Obamacare until two weeks after the mid-term elections: Obamacare enrollment for 2015 to reportedly be delayed until after midterms.
On the same day, November 22, David Martosko, U.S. Political Editor at the Daily Mail, United Kingdom, reported Obama’s arbitrary change of the Obamacare sign-up date in far more strident and honest terms with this headline than were found in U.S. media account with this headline: ‘How nakedly political can you get?’: Obamacare year-two signups delayed until after 2014 election .
Following were these statements made by Martosko:
1. Voters in the insurance exchanges won’t know 11 days after the 2014 election just how much they’ll pay for coverage in 2015.
2. The Treasury department has already delayed implementation of the employer mandate, and its fines, until Election Day has come and gone.
3. Millions of Americans are receiving private-insurance cancellation letters, with many experiencing sticker shock when they learn their options.
4. One poll released Wednesday [November 20] shows that 48 per cent of taxpayers now want the Obamacare law repealed.
As was conveyed in the UK Mail headline, there was no plausible reason to postpone the 2014 sign-up date for Obamacare other than to keep bad news from reaching voters until after the General Election in November. What could they be?
As set forth in terms that put the cheese on the cracker:
- Insurance mandates for employee benefit plans were previously deferred until 2014. At that time, all insurance plans must include the ten mandates specified in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. These same mandates resulted in the cancellation of about 6 million private insurance policies, and doubled the cost of insurance of policies offered in their place. Most of the added cost comes from two popular mandates – coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of lifetime benefit limits.
- The huge price increase is concealed in two ways. Nearly half of those affected will receive subsidized health care, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense (deductible) have been doubled or tripled for most policies. Cost of these subsidies are supposed to come from higher premiums for those can afford it, resulting in a charges of up to 4 times the pre-Obamacare costs. In other words, income will be redistributed from those who have to those to do not. It is such a politically toxic term, that the term “redistribution” has been banned from the White House lexicon.
- Many insurance companies wishing to participate in state and federal insurance exchanges were required to cancel all non-conforming policies as a condition of doing business with the government
But the other shoe is yet to drop.
- Pricing for insurance offered through the exchanges is based on young, healthy participants in the insurance pool. The strategy behind the millions of cancellations this fall was to force those people into participation. However, the unemployment among this age group is very high, as much as 25% for college graduates. They simply can’t afford health insurance, and will probably either pay the fines do nothing at all. The “fines” for failing to secure health insurance are imposed on income tax refunds (the Democrats were not willing to impose them directly, or call them a “tax.”) If you aren’t working, or working at minimum wage, you probably don’t owe taxes, hence no refund, hence no Obamafines.
- The early adopters of Obamacare fall mainly in two categories – those who couldn’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions, and those who couldn’t afford insurance without subsidies. The majority of early adopters were, in fact, seeking Medicaid at no cost to themselves. The Affordable Care Act doubled the maximum allowed income to qualify for Medicaid to $32,000, which is twice the presumed poverty level. Subsidies will be granted to those making up to $62,000, four times the “poverty level,” and nearly twice the median wage ($35,000) for working citizens. Somebody has to pay for those shortfalls and subsidies.
- Finally, the deeply flawed www.healthcare.com software has greatly delayed applications through the exchanges, and unresolved security questions will keep many from even trying. This further skews the risk pool and increases the deficit.
The facts so far presented offer a grim picture. It is little wonder why so many Americans are duped, confused and running scared? With such a scenario present, Steven Hayward who writes for Forbes, made this prediction on Monday, November 11th:
Even if HealthCare.gov is fixed by the end of the month (unlikely), Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year’s election. And if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal — from endangered Democrats — will occur very rapidly. The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more. Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable.
It remains to be seen, as predicted by Haywood, whether endangered Senate Democrat up for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as this January after getting an earful over the Christmas break Unclear also is whether the delay to sign-up for Obamacare until after the November election will mask the bad news the American people will receive regarding sticker price, etc., that will follow in the election’s aftermath.
If Obamacare should remain in place and limping along, Insurance rates for 2015 will be based on a more realistic risk pool, which is weighted to those who will use a lot of health care. As a result, as many as 160 million people, including those now covered by employee benefit plans, will see those plans greatly increased in cost or cancelled altogether. This will drive up the cost of both private policies and of employer benefit plans.
If these plans exceed $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family, they will be deemed a “Cadillac” plan, and subjected to a 40% tax on the difference. Unless the quality of coverage is reduced, for example, by greatly increasing the out-of-pocket deductions, nearly all of these plans will fall victim to this surcharge. The more likely outcome is that the benefit plans will be dropped, and employees sent involuntarily to the government exchanges.
By 2016, Obama will have applied a wrecking ball to the health care industry, our lives and our fortunes. The only way out is for Republicans to gain a majority in both houses of Congress in 2014, and the White House in 2016.
Friday, November 29, 2013 at 07:00 AM | Permalink
November 27, 2013
By Nancy Thorner -
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) initially announced on November 17 that bipartisan progress was being made on the farm bill. Lucas further desired that a framework be set up when legislators met again on November 21 for the purpose of passing a House farm bill conference agreement before Congress adjourned for the year on December 13. The current 2008 farm bill expired on October 1st. The bill is up for renewal every five years. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman.
Hopes, however, were dashed that a framework agreement be reached after leaders of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, having met twice on November 21, hit a wall over food stamps cuts and other things.
About the farm bill, it consists of two separate and diverse measures – farm subsidies and food stamps. Together they represent $1 trillion dollars in government spending, with a whopping $750 billion of the trillion going for the food stamp program now know as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/agricuture/191103-farm-bill-tal...
The U.S. House did rebel earlier in the year when it managed to pass a version of the farm bill which separated food stamps from the agriculture program. It was the first time in nearly 40 years that the House had voted on and passed separate and substantive reform bills governing farm and food stamps. At the first meeting of the Farm Bill Conference Committee on October 30, U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman lead a group of 27 House members with its message to keep farm policy and food stamp policy separate. http://www.hoosieragtoday.com/stuztman-and-colleagues-urge-continued-farm-bill-separation/
According to Ed Feulner, past president of the Heritage Foundation, in a November 18th commentary: http://cnsnews.com/commentary/ed-feulner/farm-bill-name-only `
It is not surprising that disagreement exists between the House and Senate version of the farm policy measure on how to deliver the safety net to producers. After all, insurance is the most expensive subsidy in the farm program.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 06:00 AM | Permalink