Tribune “Voice of the People”, Saturday, April 28, 2012

With all the noise being made about Mitt Romney’s wealth, I don’t recall such bluster and hand-wringing over the Kennedy fortune. Or, for that matter, John Kerry’s.

Oh, wait. I just remembered. Romney is Republican. Kerry and the Kennedys are Democrats.

Also, Romney worked for his money. John Kennedy inherited his. And Kerry married his.

Never mind. Nothing to see here folks. Let’s just move along and let the above stand as inconsequential information, at least as perceived by media that delight in Republican-bashing.

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Part 2:  Failed War on Poverty Calls For ‘Practicable’ Reform

Bringing the welfare story closer to home, much money has been poured into the Southside of Chicago, yet it’s not fit to live in, with out-of-control shooting in the area.  109 people have been murdered so far this year.

On April 6 Bill O’Reilly on his Fox TV show spotlighted violent crime in the Windy City with a “Watters’ World Segment.” 

During the exchange Jesse Watter related that Chicago is three times more deadly than any other city in the nation.  There was agreement in that money is not enough.  It’s going to take family-to-family, block-to-block to not only bring the crime down but raise the value of life.

When asked by O’Reilly how Watter felt while waking the streets, Watter commented:  “It’s out of control.  I was safe though.  I said should I be scared?  And they said we don’t shoot white people you’re our biggest customer.” http://nation.foxnews.com/chicago-violence/2012/04/06/fox-s-jesse-…   

The urgency of reforming Social Security and Medicare was brought home in stark reality on Tuesday, April 24, with a report by Noam N. Levey in the Chicago Tribune Business Section which  told how the nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are siding closer to insolvency. 

Medicare is expected to start operating in the red in 2024, while Social Security will be unable to fulfill its obligations in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year.

Republicans have twice in the last two years pushed legislation to largely privatize Medicare.  Republicans are also pushing to raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 64 in another move to contain costs, while President Obama and his allies of Capitol have largely resisted any reforms.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/yourmoney/sns-pfinance-in…  

Considering that Medicare faces an unfunded liability of $38.6 trillion, and that the unfunded benefits Medicare is expected to pay over the next 75 years equals $328,404.43 for each household (as indicated by the Census bureau in 2010), will legislators keep pushing the problem down a roadway which will soon lead directly off a cliff?  http://visiontoamerica.org/9354/each-american-household-is-on-the-hook-for-328404-each-for-medicare/

If Tuesday’s, April 24 Medicare Trustees report wasn’t sufficient enough to instill fear in legislators over the massive amount of unfunded Medicare liability they are piling on future generation, then consider the following report by Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, published on April 11, 2012?  The American Welfare State, How We Spend Nearly $1 Trillion a Year Fighting Poverty — and Fail. 

In noting how the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, the highest level in nearly a decade, Tanner informs how the unpresidented poverty rate has set off a predictable round of calls for increased government spending on social welfare programs.  According to Michael Tanner, “The United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty.  That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.”

Tanner goes on to say:  “Despite nearly $15 trillion in total welfare spending since Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964, the poverty rate is perilously close to where we began more than 40 years ago.   Throwing money at the problem has neither reduce poverty, nor made the poor self-sufficeint.” 

It is way past time for legislators to reevaluate their approach to fighting poverty.  The focus should be less on making poverty more comfortable and more on creating the prosperity that will get people out of poverty. http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/michaeltanner/2012/04/14/the_american_welfare_state_how_we_spend_nearly_1_trillion_a_year_fighting_povertyand_fail

For those who believe that Social Security is a given and that the government can never take it away from you, better beware!   One of the least known facts about Social Security is that although the government does have a moral obligation to pay Social Security benefits to those who have earned them, the government does not have a legal obligation to do so.  

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that nobody has a “contractual earned right“ to Social Security benefits.  Accordingly, Congreess seems to have the right to do whatever is wants to do with regard to changing or even eliminating Social Security. http://ampedstatus.org/how-your-social-security-money-was-stolen-where-did-the-2-5-trillion-surplus-go/

It’s your taxpayer money.  You should care how it’s spent.  Yes, a safety net is needed, but not one that is endless and becomes self-defeating to those to whom the help is provided.

If our legislators ever do quit their bickering and do what is best for the people instead of their re-election, they might heed this old Chinese proverb in dealing with welfare reform:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Chi…

 

Not much attention has been given to a Cato report published on April 17, 2012 about Welfare and the War on Poverty by William A. Niskanen.  Although my print out of the article amounted to seventeen pages of material, it is worth taking the time and the resources needed to download and read in its entirety

Most telling is a statement made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1935 State of the Union message.  When speaking about his proposed social welfare program, Roosevelt added this ominous message (The Social Security Act was signed on August 14, 1935 as part of Roosevelt’s “New Deal”.).   
 
“The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.  It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy.  It is a violation of the traditions of America.” http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj16n1-1.html

A revealing history of “Social Security:  The Roosevelt Administration” can be found at the following link.  The article was part of a lecture series given by Abe Bortz, the First Historian of the Roosevelt Administration and Social Security.  Bortz likewise believed Roosevelt’s philosophy to be one that did not demand that government do everything, but that “everything practicable” must be done.  Roosevelt likewise believed that this nation needed and demanded persistent experimentation.  http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/programs/social-security-the-roosevelt-administration/

In doing further research for my article, “Poverty and Dependency in America” aptly illustrates the effectiveness of welfare since first introduced by Roosevelt in his 1935 Social Security Act.  http://www.akdart.com/poverty.html

“Decades of government intervention has only made the problem worse.  Trillions of tax dollars have been spent fighting poverty, but instead of encouraging people to get jobs and get themselves out of a financial rut, the welfare system creates conditions favorable to pregnancy, childbirth and illegitimacy.  The “safety net’ has become a hammock for the laziest people in our society.” 

During Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” trillions of dollars were spent. The most widely accepted estimates seem to be come where between 5.0 and 5.4 trillion dollars, although their are estimates that go much higher.  It was also Lyndon Johnson who decided to dip into the Social Security Trust Fund and to add Medicare and Medicaid in 1967, which some Americans still consider to be a locked box, to use for government expenses. http://www.asdart.com/poverty.html   

President Johnson also added Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 in his Social Security Act of 1965, as part of his”Great Society” program.

As we fast forward to 2013, it should be apparent that the narcotic of “continued dependence on relief” has become more destructive than first feared by Roosevelt back in 1935.   

Consider how our federal government is heralding a record number of food stamp distribution.  Meanwhile its Park Service Department is pleading  “Do not feed the animals” because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and not take care of themselves.  When chiding Newt Gingrich for calling Obama the “Food Stamp President”, Nancy Pelosi spoke of receiving food stamps as a “Badge of Honor.”  

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation objected to Gingrich’s labeling of Obama as the “Food Stamp President” on the grounds that a candidate shouldn’t just be focusing on food stamps, but on all of the expensive means-teated-governmment programs.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-22/news/ct-met-trice-welfare-201201221_food-stamp-welfare-issue-cash-assistance  

Receiving much scrutiny and ridicule by the mainstream media, Democrat pundits and Democrat legislators is Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) budget proposal.  Ryan is being accused of shredding the safety net while giving tax cuts to the rich.   

In a recent revealing interview with The Brody File, Paul Ryan was asked to inform David Brody about his views concerning morality and the debt and how it played into the way he crafted his budget.   http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2012/04/10/only-brody-f…  

It was evident to me from reading other of Brody’s posts, that David Brody believes that government should supersede those entities which are closest to the people in assisting those who need help, such as local churches, private charities, and civic organizations. 

As such Brody was demanding of Ryan that he clarify and justify his budget in light of how it seeks to reform the social welfare programs of Medicare and Social Security that Brody considers sacrosanct, as do liberals, even if the facts tell them otherwise. 

Over the next 10 years it is estimated that the Ryan proposed budget would accomplish the following, demonstrating that at least Republicans are willing to address an overwhelming, impending financial crisis that is leading this nation toward the fate of Greece and other European welfare nations.  http://www.pgpf.org/Issues/Fiscal-Outlook?2011/04/06/Analysis-of-Ryans-budget-Proposal.aspx  

  • Cut spending by $5.8 trillion
  • Cut taxes and other revenues by $4.2 trillion
  • Reduce budget deficits by $1.6 trillion
  • Significantly reduce federal debt as a share of GDP in 2012 and to 10% in 2050.  Debt projections for 2050 are based on the long-term analysis of  Ryan’s Budget Proposal by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 
  • Reform Medicare and Social Security.

Ryan’s response to David Brody as a Catholic is commensurate with what most on the Right perceive:

“The preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence.”

In tuning into Rush Limbaugh on Monday, April 23, just by chance I caught Paul Ryan discussing how his plans to reform Medicare and Social Security were addressed in his budget proposal. 

Ryan informed Rush listeners how one in six Americans live in poverty, that it isn’t the role of government to make poverty easier to live with, and that although he believes in a social safety net, it is the free enterprise system that will lift people out of poverty.  .   

One welfare program touted as being very successful by Ryan was former governor Tommy Thompson’s program know as “W-2” which was an employment program rather than a welfare program. This program is now the standard for welfare reform in the in American.  Ryan, however, told of 70 other welfare program which need to be reformed.    http://www.ontheissues.org-2008/Tommy_Thompson_Welfare_+_P…  

 

 

 

It was a cold and windy day when I walked briskly to the site of the 2012 Chicago Tax Day Tea Party on Monday, April 16th, at the Daley Plaza from Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center at  Madison and Canal Streets in Chicago to join others in downtown Chicago where the Tea Party movement began. 
 
The theme of the 2012 event was “Reform government, Cut Spending & Preserve Liberty” with its goal of making government more accountable, stopping out-of-control spending and standing up for freedom and individual liberty.  http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/29158.html
 
While some critics call the Tea Party’s “no tax” platform another version of anarchy or a feudal system of lords and peasants, supporters insists they only want to reform the tax code and lower taxes for everyone. 
 
While most Tea Party groups represent active members within the Republican Party,Tea Party participants also come from the ranks of Independents and Libertarians, with a sprinkling of moderate Democrats, all who support tax reform.  http://www.wcaminer.com/independent-in-chicago/tea-0party-to-hold-…
 
Somewhat disappointing is that there were not more participants. The estimate given was 250, but those who came out on a day when the wind chill made it feel like winter had returned in full force were rewarded. 
 
There was much flag waving as the speakers took to the portable stage in Daley Plaza.  At one point a gust of wind threatened to take down the stage, but we were told not to fear as the stage was anchored by stacks of over stuffed Tax Books. 
 
It was announced early on that Congressman Joe Welsh, U.S., 8th District, wouldn’t be speaking because he had been called back to Washington, D.C. for hearings regarding the GFA scandal to assist in turning the screws on those who frivolously partied away tax payer monies. 

Rebecca Kleefisch, in her presentation as Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, brought with her the good tiding under Governor Scott Walker’s leadership in Wisconsin.  After only 1-1/2 years $848 million was saved.  School districts are reaping rewards, but the unions are hiding the savings, not wanting folk in Wisconsin to know how fewer teachers have been laid off and class sizes have been reduced, as such positive results are adverse to the union agenda.  
 
Questioned by Kleefisch was why one of the largest teacher unions in Wisconsin just voted for raises in salary rather than hiring more teachers, if, as is often said, students come first?
 
Ms. Kleefisch spoke of the happenings in Wisconsin as being tied to the union bosses in their quest to siphon dues out of member as a means to maintain power and control.
 
There was a roar from the crowd when Kleefisch related how in fifty days Governor Scott Walker would be vindicated, making the both of them the first ever governor and Lieutenant Governor to be re-elected during their first terms in office.  For as Rebecca Kleefisch said about the union kerfuffle, “If it can happen in Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere.”  
 
With the recent and untimely death of Andrew Breitbart, an icon of the Tea Party Movement, Dana Loesch, CNN contributor, Radio Host, and a Breitbart Editor received a rousing welcome.  In her opening remarks Ms. Loesch called Madison, Wisconsin, “the birthplace of the revolution” and Chicago, “the birthplace of the take back America Tea Party movement.”
 
Losesh initially asked those assembled, “What have women received from the Democratic Party?”  According to Dana Loesh, even in the White House there is pay inequality of 18% less in salary for its women employees 
 
Dana Loesch noted how Republican women effectiveness is the reason why a Democratic war on women was declared by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Representative from Florida’s 20th Congressional District and Chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the words of Ms, Loesch, Conservative women don’t need or want Uncle Sam to pay for their birth control pills.”  
 
Staying home with children is not an option for many mothers, including Dana Loesch, as the politics of the Democratic Party have made it more difficult for families to survive as the rising price of food and gas are decimating disposable family income.  Also destructive of the family unit are Democratic policies that forbid prayer in school and which tell children what they can and cannot eat. The right to bear and carry arms was further mentioned by Dana Loesch as a great equalizer of women. 
 
Joel Pollak, now Editor-in-chief of Breitbart.com, received recognition when he dared to challenge Democrat Jan Schakowsky, a known Marxist in principle, for her 9th U.S. Congressional District in the Illinois Primary Elections,   In a confrontation with Jan Schakowsky,
 
Pollak told of a very telling encounter with his opponent.  Jan Schakowsky, in revealing that she thought Obamacare was justified in the Constitution, Joel Pollak countered by asking where Obamacare was provided for in the Constitution?   Jan Schakowsky drew a blank to Pollak’s question, prompting Pollak to ask whether Schakowsky had ever read the Constitution?
 
Pollak as editor of Breitbart.com spoke of Andrew Brietbart as one who defended the Tea Party movement day in and day out.  Pollak emphasized how the Constitution must be made a part of the national agenda and that tea party members must be ready and willing to fight and debate ideas, even though the other side only wishes to engage in marginalizing and slandering those they are in disagreement with.
 
Spying a guitar on the stage, Joel Pollak couldn’t resist picking it up, and to the delight of those assembled, all joined in with Pollak to sing: 
 “Hey, Hey what do we say,  America’s Freedom is here to say, Hey, Hey what do we say, don’t tax our Freedom away!” 

Dan Proft is certainly no stranger to the Chicago scene having run for governor in 2008, and now with his current gig as co-host of the Dan  Proft and Bruce Wolf weekday show on WLS 890 AM from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.  The broadcast of their Monday, April 16 radio program was from Daily Plaza prior to the start of the Tax Day Tea Party rally. 

Emphasized by Proft was how Republicans must do a better job of story telling by telling people who we are and what we represent in our own circles of influence.

Proft spoke of Illinois as being 51 out of 50  — counting the the District of Columbia — when it comes to providing services for the needy and the truly venerable.  If the Democrat Party is really the party of the needy, how can this be?

We, as Tea Party enthusiasts, were reminded of our hard work and effort in getting like-minded candidates elected in 2010 who believed there was too much government, and Republicans took back the House. 

It is up to us to keep pushing for positive change through our story telling, so we don’t have the same Democrats in power who destroyed Illinois’s economy and the same rapper installed for a second term in the White House. 

A truism spoken by Dan Proft:  “What a society promotes it emulates.”

David From followed Dan Proft on the Daley Plaza platform.  Frum is state director of Americans for Prosperity with a membership of 60,000 here in Illinois fighting for economic freedom and opportunity. Frum emphasized that tax payers should be first-in-line in determining policy and not unions like the Service Employees International (SEIU).

Frum spoke of Illinois as having seventy tea party groups across the state with the following three principles common to all: 1) Fiscal responsibility, 2) Constitutional limited government, and 3) Free markets.  illinoisteaparty.net  

Frum expressed outrage that one million people have left Illinois in the last ten years and how Quinn is misappropriating DHS money resulting in facilities being shut down. 

Perhaps the best know speaker at the rally was Adam Andrzejewsi, who like Dan Proft ran as a Republican for governor in 2010, Andrzejewsi is now known throughout Illinois as the founder of For the Good of Illinois.   

I was so wrapped up in what Adam Andrzejewsi had to say, that I forgot to take a photo of him speaking.

Recounted by Adam was how we must return government to the Constitution.  Adam went on to remind all that our nation has always done impossible things through individual acts and deeds of conviction as those which define Washington and Lincoln.  Republicans share the same value system to tackle jobs that seem insurmountable.   

Accordingly, we can take on corruption and together work to tackle it here in Illinois, so that empowerment can be returned back to where it belongs, to its people through a limited government.

In speaking about elections, Adam bemoaned the fact that we have not chosen a better class of government figures to represent us. 

Important to the process of honest government is that of open government.  Such was the reason Openthebooks.com was founded to allow the public to be able to view the base salaries of public figures across the state, many of which are outrageous in cost, having led this state into bankruptcy.

Openthebooks.com shows the base salaries of 179,000 public sector voters.  Check the site to see what your own home town public employees are making, which, in many cases, may be more than you are making as the one footing the bill. 

In closing Adam Andrzejewsi had this caution to consider:  Although we have worked hard, we have not yet worked hard enough or given enough.  Andrzejewfurther reminding us that the upcoming election is of utmost importance because both freedom and liberty are under attack.  Followed by: “We have the opportunity to defeat first what would bring pain and anguish to the American people, if the American people are savvy enough in November to sift out the lies to arrive at the truth.       

The final three speaker of the day spoke passionately about Obamacare and its implications should the Supreme Court not strike down the mandate.

Dr. Kirk Erickson, a cardiologist, spoke of healthcare delivery as nothing more local than the relationship you have with your physician. It is not a decision that should have to wait until approval from Washington, D.C. is forthcoming.  Erickson spoke of HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius as formulating plans of action when there is nothing in her background that qualifies her to do so.

As a cardiologist, Erickson reported that heart attacks were down by 25% from 2002 to 2007, despite people getting heavier.  The drop was credited with the better care patients are receiving, which would not happen under Obamacare.

Having sent a letter addressed directly to each Supreme Court justice, Dr. Kirk Erickson suggested that we should do likewise informing the justices that Obamacare is not lawful under our Constitution.

I needed no introduction to Dr. Mark Neerhof, OB/GYN, who as a top-notch candidate to replace Karen May in the Illinois 58th Representative District, lost his bid to Lauren Turelli in the Illinois March Primary Election. Neerhof represented my district; he had my full support.  It would be a great loss if Dr. Neefhofwere to drop out of the political arena and not seek to run for office again in the future. 

Besides being an attending physician at NorthShore University HealthSystem and a Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Dr. Neefhof is an Executive Board Member of Docs4PatientCare.  A plan to 1) Defund, 2) Repeal, and 3) Replace, should the Supreme Court axe the Obamacare mandate, can be found at  www.docs4patienctcare.org

I never tire of Dr. Neerhof’s personal story about his humble background and how his parents scoffed at the notion of their son achieving his dream of becoming a doctor.  As a physician, Mark Neerhof, M.D. believes that he lives in the best nation in the world with the best healthcare system in the world. 

Dr. Neerhof spoke of the American Revolution as being more than just throwing of the shackles of British rule.  It was a fight for American ideals.  That man could govern himself.  That with a smaller government our freedoms would be maximized. 

In describing the Obamacare legislation, Dr. Neerhof touched on these seven points:

1. The Obamacare bill was designed to take control of our medical system, not to improve it.

2. The 2,700 pages is a contract for bureaucrats to take charge of our healthcare.

3. The estimated cost of Obamacare has in two years gone from $984 billion to $1.76 trillion

4.  The promise to keep our own healthcare is a bogus one.  By 2014 one half of employers will place their employees in the government’s program because the fine paid will be less than what it would cost to purchase healthcare for their employees.

5.  Premium increases are already happening, as insurance companies are complying with rules that have already been set up as to what must be covered.

6. Obamacare represent the takeover of 1/6 of our economy. 

7. Government is not able to run such a massive healthcare system as represented by Obamacare, when its administration of Medicaid and Medicare is riddled with fraud, waste and abuse. 

In closing Dr. Neerhof asked each one of use to look at a quarter.  He then inquired, “What does it say?”

“In God We Trust”:  We must remember that our rights come from God. 

“Liberty”:  Gives all of us a chance to follow our dreams. 

“E Pluribus Unum”:  Latin for “Many uniting into one”, which makes the present race-baiting an affront against our nation’s motto.   

I thought about these words as I walked back to the Ogilvie Transportation Center.   Do the words imprinted on the quarter even ring true in this day and age among our government leaders or in the hearts and minds of the American people?  
 
This nation will be in big trouble come November should the status quo be re-elected, bringing with it a return to a culture that rejects accountability, believes in more out-of-control spending, and continues to hi-jack our freedoms and individual liberties in favor of statism.     
 
I came away inspired by the featured speakers.  Through my own story-telling I will continue to fight for smaller government, more freedom, and fiscal responsibility as a way to do my part to keep alive a strong and vibrant nation for our children and for generations to follow.

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For most of us April 17 represents a rather ominous date

Most dread tax day when it rolls around yearly like clockwork, except  those who don’t generate enough income to owe the government.  But even this isn’t good, for as I was once told, “Not owing any taxes means that you haven’t made any money.”

Even so, many times a tax return must be filled out and submitted.  This does take a certain amount of consideration and planning to accomplish.

On Tuesday, April 17, as anticipated, long lines formed at some post offices as procrastination resulted in a last minute rush to file 2011 income tax returns on time. 

Perhaps your 2011 income taxes were in line with your expectations, but come Jan. 1, 2013, you might be in for a big surprise when a massive tax increase kicks in which the Washington Post called “Taxmageddon.” 

Without question, the scheduled January 13 tax increases would hurt proportionally lower and middle class Americans.

Full details of all seven tax hikes can be found at the following link:   http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2012/pdf/ib3558.pdf

1.  Expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.  

2.  Expiration of once-temporary payroll tax cut will expire.

3.  Expiration of the patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

4.  Expiration of the tax cuts contained in the 2009 stimulus.

5.  Expiration of the “tax extenders,” a group of about 50 tax policies that are renewed regularly for a year or two.

6.  Death tax rate will rise from 35% today to 55% and the exemption will fall from $5 million to $3.5 million. 

7.  Full expensing of new business capital investment.

As for Obamacare, the most damaging tax increase in the law is the start of the Hospital Insurance 3.8 percent surtax on wages and salaries over $350,000 and investment income over that amount. 

While it is imperative that President Obama and Congress act promptly to stop the above enumerated tax increases from kicking in on Jan. 1, 2013, will they?  

There are good reasons for dealing with the approaching 2013 tax increases without delay even though January, 2013 is nine months off. The Heritage Foundation entertains the following reason:    

“Families businesses, and investors need to know how much tax they will pay in the future before making important economic decisions. The uncertainty caused by Taxmageddon means they are stuck in neutral while they wait for President Obama and Congress to act. This is slowing job creation and stopping many of the millions of unemployed Americans from going back to work.” 

Despite the consequences of not acting promptly to stem the approaching tax increases, it is highly doubtful that anything meaningful will be accomplished in an election year, the results of which could determine the future direction of this nation.  The question to be decided:  Will big government prevail or will the free enterprise system survive with freedom of choice as a continuing option for the American people?   

How convenient it is that none of the new taxes slated to begin on Jan. 1, 2013, are due to expire until two months after election day.  As a result, any overtures made  to fix the monumental tax increases scheduled to commence on January 1st of 2013 can’t possibly be attended to with the thoughtful and careful attention and time that would be demanded of our legislators.   

Additionally, the tax issues would have to be dealt with during the “Lame Duck” session of Congress and would be voted upon, not only by members who will be around in 2013, but also by those who either decided not to run again or who were voted out of office in the upcoming November elections.

Either way, with non-action or an attempt to act during a Lame Duck session prior to the January 1, 2013, deadline, Taxmageddon would descend like a hammer upon taxpayers in 2013. 

 

 

   

It is unlikely that readers of this post are not well acquiainted with nineteen-time Emmy Award-Winner and a five-time honoree for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club, John Stossel, now the current host of a program for Fox Business Network

In prior remarks made by John Stossel at a Heritage Foundation event on Wednesday, April 11, he told of leaving ABC News after 28 years because he “couldn’t stand” being controlled by ABC News who wanted him to do only puff pieces and nothing of journalistic quality.

In  2010, with ABC’s viewer count down to 5 million, Stossel considered Fox News, recounting how he was not recruited by Fox Business, but instead asked Fox News chief Roger Ailes to please hire him.

Besides Stossel’s one-hour weekly Fox Business Network show, he also has a series of one-hour specials on Fox News and appears regularly on The O’Reilly Factorand other Fox News shows.

According to John Stossel:  “I was taught socialism, central planning at Princeton by my professors who said the government is going to fix poverty.  And it just took me years of reporting and watching government fail to see the folly of that.” 

As a promoter of free market principles, it was appropriate that The Heartland Institute should engage John Stossel in its sponsorship of “An Evening with John Stossel” on Sunday, April 15 in the Crystal Room of The Union League Club, located at 67 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.  Stossel is presently on tour to promote his book, “No They Can’t.”    

What people don’t realize is that Stossel took a 50% pay cut to go to a network who would give him the chance to be an honest and not a controlled journalist.  It’s people like John Stossel who are helping to educate people in a positive manner.

But before John Stossel was introduced to the hundred plus guests, and prior to supper being served, CEO of The Heartland Institute, Joe Bast, presented welcoming remarks informing members and non-members what was in store for The Heartland Institute in 2012.

The list of Heartland’s participatory activities cited by Bast include:  The CPAC Chicago Regional event at the Rosemont Convention Center on June 8; the Seventh International Global Warming Conference in Chicago from May 21-23; and the Annual Heartland Benefit at Navy Pier on August 9 with speaker, Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker.

New projects for The Heartland Institute include:

1.   Development of a balanced curriculum on Climate Change for school-aged children.

2.   “Operation Angry Badger” as a way to get faster access to drugs by going around the FDA.  Freetochoosemedicine.org

3.   Dave Patton Internship Program to hire 10 college students (Dave Patton was the founder and first president of The Heartland Institute.)

4.   Continuing work on the issues of Fracking and School Choice.

Supper having been served, it was finally time for John Stossel to take command of the podium. Excitement was apparent in the room as Stossel proceeded to entertain those present with his style of story-telling, combined with facts laced-with-humor, that so define his appealing and popular Fox TV personage.  

The tenor of John Stossel’s remarks dealt with what people instinctively imagine to be true. Instinct so often takes over when we are scared or want a solution by turning to government. Politicians say, “There ought to be a law.  Government says, “Yes we can.”

The following description by John’s Stossel is on the back cover of his book, “No, They Can’t,” as an explanation of why he wrote the book:

“Consider your own political instincts.  Do you routinely think that government ought to be in the business of promoting good things (maybe marriage or religious charities) and discouraging bad things (perhaps porn, pot-smoking, and violent video games)!

But it government is in the business of promoting what is good and suppressing the bad, that is a license for it to stick its nose into virtually every human activity.

Politicians — and we voters — can dream of guaranteed incomes, world peace, or green energy. But reality puts limits on our political fantasies.  The mature response to cries of “Yes, we can”! should be “No, we can’t!”  Not when “we” means government.  Government cannot, and it shouldn’t try!  Saying “no” will not win you many cheers, but we should be realistic about what government cannot do.”

John Stossel first noted his early background as being born in Chicago Heights, Illinois.  He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka to go on to Princeton University, from which he graduated with a BA in Psychology in 1969.  He overcame a stuttering problem so he could become a reporter.

Incidents such as the quick demise of the Trabant car were noted by Stossel to explain how he came from being a liberal and a socialist in his early days to a free-market oriented classical liberal,

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  ‘Classical liberalism’ is the philosophy committed to the idea of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and free markets.The term was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer ‘social liberalism.’

The Trabant was an East German car that was the result of a central planning, yet it was the best East Germany could produce.  There were waiting line in the Soviet Bloc for both the Trabant and the Hugo, but no longer after the Berlin Wall came down.  Lesson learned: Government can not compete with the free market in producing a car that people want at a price people can afford.

Stossel then went on to point out other areas where the free market system will do a much better job than government.  Government will tell its citizens how they will save us and that they must do more, when more does not produce better results and further demands more from taxpayers.

After 9/11 the thought existed that government had to take over airport security resulting in the TSA being created.  But has the TSA really kept us safer than before its creation?  Both the shoe and the underwear bomber were stopped do to citizen response.

And what about private screeners?  Why do they do better than those hired by the TSA?  Might it be because the owners have a stake in their businesses.  Private businesses even run contests and reward employees to see how fast a pipe bomb can be found in luggage and on how well they remembers details.

In reference to the OSHA act of 1971, Stossel displayed a chart showing accidents in the workplace before the OSHA act was passed (The purpose of the Act was to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by authorizing enforcement of standards developed under the Act by encouraging and assisting state governments to improve and expand their own occupational safety and health programs and by providing for research, information, education and training in the field of occupational health and safety.).

Not surprising, the graph remained unchanged after OSHA was passed as people learned through experience, and not government dictates to create safer work conditions.

Stossel further elaborated on why instinct falsely leads individuals to believe that central planning by the government is best in handling the big stuff, as when parents need to be told what their children need to learn or when individuals are made to believe that they are not smart enough to take charge of their own health care.

Instinct also leads individuals to believe that both this nation and state are wealthy, that there is no need to cut back on benefits, which elicits protest such as:  “Don’t touch our Social Security or pension payment when reaching retirement age because we deserve to get our money back.” 

But are we entitled to get all of our money back when most retirees (especially public service workers) get far more back in retirement than they ever put in.  Stossel went on the describe the absurdity of the Illinois pension system with its massive, unsustainable debt and the lack of will in Springfield by the party in control to advance reform.

Instinct further creates the assumption that wealth can be created by destroying it.  “Cash for Clunkers” was use by Stossel as an example of the “The broken glass theory” (why destruction, and the money spent to recover destruction, is actually not a net-benefit to society).  After the pregram ended there were less used cars available for purchase as the so-called clunkers were destroyed, which resulted in raising the price of the used cars available for purchase for those with limited financial means.

In closing Stossel related a study by Andrea Rich in which school kids were asked why America was a prosperous country and why it did so well?  Answers given were because of natural resources and democracy.

Stossel then noted that India had both, yet India doesn’t equal this nation’s standing in the world.

Hong Kong was then brought into the equation as having advanced from a third world country to a first world country in only a span of 50 years.

How did this happen?  When people are left alone prosperity is created, for the free market system will provide real wealth for a nation and its people.

Government might be a force, and we as a people do need some force, but must of the advances made for the good of society are created voluntarily through the private sector.

Considered unrealistic and counter-productive by John Stossel:

1.  Why capitalism is vilified and hated, along with big business, as this is what supplies people with what they want:  products to purchase and jobs to provide the means?

2.  Why If someone made a profit something must have been taken away from others?

Stossel objects to big government on moral grounds:  If we hear “Yes we can,” it means “government can’t.”

Stossel further described government as “something that jumps in front of the parade and then claims it is leading it.”

Free books were distributed to all, with a chance to meet John Stossel for a book signing.

The Obamacare oral argument may be over, but the Supreme Court isn’t expected to issue its opinion until June.  Until that time legal experts wil be venturing their own guesses about whether the Supreme Court will ax President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
 
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Republican Jewish Coalition Chapter meeting headed by president, Dr. Michael Menis, on Wednesday, April 11, at which time “Obama Care at the Supreme Court” was discussed by Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute.  http://www.cato.org/people/ilya-shapiro  
 
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.  Before joining Cato, Mr. Shapiro was a special assistant/adviser to the Multi-National Force in Iraq on rule of law issues and practiced international, political, commercial, and antitrust litigation at Patton Boggs and Clerary Gottieb.  http://www.cato.org/people/ilya-sapiro  
 
Given that Ilya Shapiro was heavily involved in the litigation regarding the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, having filed brief on each of the four issues argued before the Supreme Court (Shapiro was also in the Court room during the duration of the oral arguments from March 26 – 28.), his RJC presentation offered a rare first-hand look into what he observed and perceived. 
 
Before introducing Ilya Shapiro, a waiver was presented by RJC president, Michael Menis, indicating that the speakers’ views did not necessarily represent those of the RJC. 
 
Ilya Shapiro’s remarks centered on the four issues on which oral arguments were heard by the Supreme Court Justices as they deliberate the constitutionality of Obamacare: 
 
1.  Anti-injunction issue.
 
2.  Individual mandate through expansion of the Commerce Clause.
 
3.  Severability.
 
4.  Medicaid expansion.
 
In recognition that Obamacare was of utmost importance to the Supreme Court, the Court allowed an historic six hours of oral argument over three days.  Only twice before has the Supreme Court allotted this amount of time and attention to a case:  1) Brown v. Board of Education and 2) Roe v. Wade.  
 
Anti-injunction issue
 
Before reaching the issue of the individual mandate, the Supreme Court had to grapple with a rather obscure law first enacted in 1867 that bars lawsuits that seek to prohibit a tax before that tax is assessed or collected.
 
All but one of the lower courts found the AIA law to be applicable to the Obamacare statue.
 
The debate centered on the difference between taxes and penalties (assessed if individuals fail to purchase health insurance). 
 
Justice Samuel Alito provoked a rather humorous moment in a rather formal hearing when Alito inquired of Solicitor General Verrilli whether today Verrilli would be arguing that the penalty was not a tax, while tomorrow Verrilli would be back to argue that the penalty was a tax. 
 
According to IIlya Shapiro, it quickly became clear that the justices would set aside any doubts they had to get to the heart of the Supreme Court case, the mandate. 
 
The individual mandate through expansion of the Commerce Clause:
 
Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act progressed to the Supreme Court when 26 states (two more in separate lawsuits) argued that the constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce through the Commerce Clause does not give the federal government the power to force people to buy stuff as in the individual insurance mandate whether they want to or not.  It was noted that the Supreme Court in the past has determined that the government does have the power to regulate local economic activity that has a substantial effect of interstate commerce. 
 
These two examples were cited:
 
The court allowed Congress in the 1940s to punish a farmer for growing wheat on his own land for his own use, on the theory that wheat prices would be affected if everyone behaved accordingly.
 
In 2005 the Court ruled that Congress could prohibit someone from growing marijuana in her yard for her personal medical use because federal laws against drugs are a kind of economic regulation.
 
In making its argument, the Obama administration argued a more expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause in order to validate its Obamacare mandate. 
 
According to Ilya Shapiro: Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was unable to convey the government’s position of how to square the mandate with constitutional principles of limited federal government– even though Verrilli must have known this was the primary question he would face — because there just wasn’t a good explanation available for Verrilli to use as a principled reason to justify how the Commerce Clause could be expanded to mandate the purchase of insurance.
 
As explained by Ilya Shapiro:
 
1. We have a constitutional design that denies the federal government the sort of police power that states enjoy.  Should everyone be required to eat broccoli because a poor diet and lack of exercise very often leads to more healthcare spending?
 
2.  Just because Congress has the ability to concoct lots of well-intentioned national reform scheme, it doesn’t have the power to pursue those noble ends by telling individual citizen that they must act.  Such a move would change the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in a fundamental way. 
 
The use of the Constitution’s “Necessary and Proper Clause” was used by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli  to argue that the magnitude of the healthcare problem facing this nation required that there be an individual healthcare insurance mandate to fix the situation. 
 
Severability issue
 
Ninety minutes of oral arguments were scheduled for the severability issue.  If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, what would it do to the rest of the law?
 
1.  The act could be tossed out in its entirety.
 
2.  If the mandate were tossed out, the remainder of the act could be allowed to stand as is.
 
3.  The act could be stripped of some combination of its core provisions, like those which focus on health insurance reforms, Medicaid expansion, and the exchange related subsidies, with the rest of the law left standing. 
 
Proponents of the law argued that the close connection between the mandate and the rest of the law makes the mandate constitutional under the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution.
 
Noted was that if the mandate is struck down (severed) in a law that has already been passed, how can the remainder operate without the mandate?  For without the mandate requiring the purchase of insurance by all, the operational revenue source to enact Obamacare would be no more. 
 
Expansion of Medicaid
 
Even if the insurance mandate is struck down, Medicaid expansion is still part of the Affordable Health Care law. 
 
Even though no lower court has struck down the Medicaid expansion of the law, the Supreme Court did think the issue was important enough to grant it an hour or oral debate.
 
In 2014 Obamacare’s key provisions will kick in.  Among them is a huge expansion of Medicaid. 
 
Although initially the government would fund one hundred percent of individuals younger than 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, by 2017 states would be obligated to pay 5% of those costs and by 2020 state funding would increase to 10%
 
Furthermore, Obamacare forces states to continue participation in the Medicaid program by threatening them with the loss of every penny of federal funding if they try to withdraw and don’t accept the new Medicaid terms.
 
An article posed by Alyene Senger on April 5 related how the Obamacare Expansion of Medicaid will make a big problem worse:
 
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “This expansion, together with greater participation by individuals eligible under current rules, is projected to add 14.9 million people to enrollment in 2014 and 25.9 million people by 2020.
 
This means that by 2020, Medicaid enrollment will reach 85 million, or approximately one in four Americans.  This level of dependence distorts the original purpose of the government program which was intended to serve as a safety net for only the most vulnerable.”
 
It stands to reason that increased Medicaid obligations will strain state budgets, many of whom are already mired in debt as here in Illinois.  This increase in mandatory Medicaid spending will force states to limit funding for other priorities like education, transportation, and law enforcement. 
 
As Medicaid is already a broken program, allowing the Medicaid mandate of Obamacare to stand would only worsen both federal and state budgets.
 
Remarks of clarification by Ilya Shapiro:
 
1.   Obamacare can rightly be called Obamacare rather than its formal name, “The Affordable Care Act,” because President Obama used the term himself. 
 
2.   The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Obamacare will having a lasting impact upon the American people, as it will fundamentally change the relationship between the government and its people.
 
3.   Obamacare, if passed, would take over 17 to 18% of this nation’s economy.
 
4.   It is likely that the mandate will be struck down.
 
5.   The decision will likely be a 5-4 one with Kennedy as the swing vote.
 
6.   If struck down, healthcare reform will have to go back to the drawing board.
 
7.   There is no upside for the Obama administration if Obamacare is axed, for Obamacare was to be the President’s major achievement in his first  term.
 
8.   There is an upside for Republicans as axing Obamacare would energize its base and Independents.
 
9.  The  President’s words of caution for the Supreme Court were spoken as a setup for Obama to run against the Supreme Court should the Obamacare mandate fails.
 
10. Even among individuals who like Obamacare, an overall 74% majority think the mandate is not constitutional.
 
11. The Supreme Court decision, one way or the other, will be forthcoming at the and of June.
 
12.  Mr. Shapiro doesn’t see 60 votes (a filibuster proof Senate) for an immediate appeal of Obamacare should the mandate be allowed to stand in its entirety.
 
13.  The government’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, was given a high rating as a competent individual by Mr. Shapiro for having obtained this high position.
 
14.  In Shapiro’s opinion there was no reason for Supreme Court Justice Alana Kagan to have recused herself.
 
A lively and thoughtful question and answer period followed Ilya Shapiro’s presentation.  After the meeting Mr. Shapiro was available for further consultation. 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An event took place at noon on March 23rd at Chicago’s Federal Plaza.  Even though 2,500 individual showed on what was a nasty day weather-wise, the media was basically AWOL.   

The occasion was “Stand Up For Religious Freedom: Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate.”       StandUpFor ReligiousFreedom.com  

The deplorable media response can rightly be attributed to the undisputed left-of-center news coverage as the mainstream media’s confirms time and again its love feast with Chicago’s own, President Barack Hussein Obama, whose Obamacare mandate is now on trial at the Supreme Court.  

I was all set to travel by a bus hired to transport people to the event from the Libertyville area in northern Illinois, when an unforeseen event forced me to cancel my bus reservation.

What made the pro-life Chicago “Flagship” event and similar events held in 146 other cities from the East Coast to Hawaii so unique is that the event was scheduled at noon in each of the local time zones.   It is estimated that upwards to 60,000 concerned pro-life individual attended the 146 individual city event. 

Carl Lambrecht, a Highland Park resident and fellow conservative Republican, likewise a member of the Republican Assembly of Lake County and a non-Jewish member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, attended the rally and gave me a handout he received which addressed the following four question:

What is the HHS Mandate and how does It violate religious freedom?

In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) that requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections.

The ministries of institutions Ike Catholic schools, hospitals and charities–educating the young, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry–are not considered sufficiently religious to qualify for the Mandate’s narrow “religious exemption.”

Not only will such institutions be forced to provide services that directly contradict the teachings of their faith, but — more alarmingly — the federal government is claiming the right to decide for religious institutions what constitutes their ministry.

Isn’t this really all about providing access to contraception?

No:  contraceptives are already widely available.  “Access” to something does no mean having it paid for by someone else — especially against their moral convictions.

But the HHS Mandate doesn’t stop with free contraceptives:  it also requires employer health plans to provide free sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

More importantly, as described above, the American ideal of religious liberty is at stake.  This isn’t really about contraception — it’s about the First Amendment.

Didn’t President Obama work out these religious objections?

In February, President Obama offered an “accommodation” whereby insurance providers, rather than employers, would pay for the services to which religious employers have moral objections.  But this does not solve the problem.

At the end of the day, the HHS Mandate still forces all employers to provide health plans with free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

Moreover, the assault on our cherished freedom of religion — with the federal government now defining for all of us what constitutes authentic religious ministry — continues.

What can I do to help stop the HHS Mandate?

1.  Get this Fact Sheet from our website:  StandUpFor ReligiousFreedom.com.

2.  Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask your Congressman and both U.S. Senators to support ligation overturning the HHS Mandate.

3.  Vote for candidates who respect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

4.  Visit our website and sign onto the effort and learn more ways we can work together to stop the HHS Mandate. 

On March 23 John Jensen posted an excellent summary of Chicago’s pro-life event, “Chicago:  Stand Up Ground Zero.”   In Jensen’s post rally speakers are listed with their comments, along with photos.

As described by John Jensen:  “When Eric [Pro-Life Action League Executive Director and Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom Co-Chairman, Eric Scheidler] announced that the Chicago crowd was the largest crowd of any rally site that had reported in thus far, the 2,500 rally participants erupted in applause.”

Also reported is that the Chicago Rally ended with the singing of “Amazing Grace” which is the standard way of closing a Pro-Life Action League event.       http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/2012/groundzero/

 


Having posted an article previously about the scam of issuing H-1B visas by government as a way for businesses to import individuals for hi-tech jobs and also for school systems to fill positions in the teaching field when individuals are not available in American to fill the jobs, the article that follow by Phyllis Schlafly seemed mandatory to share.   http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2012/04/obamas-jobs-.

Phyllis Schlafly’s article should put a dagger of fear in the hearts of all patriots who understand how America’s destruction is even now being orchestrated by those who reside within this nation, and which will only increase as even more H-1B visas are  issued to staff questionable foreign-run charter schools, such as the Gulen Movement.

Schlafly’s article puts the “cheese of the cracker by her account of the Gulen Movement foreign-run charter schools paid for by the American taxpayer.

Here is Phyllis Schlafly’s article in its entirity:   “Look What’s Going On in Charter Schools”  http://townhall.com/columnists/phyllisschlafly/2012/04/10/phyllis_schlafly/page/full/

The charter school movement was presented to the American people as a way to have more parental control of public school education. Charter schools are public schools financed by local taxpayers plus federal grants.

Charter schools are able to hire and fire teachers, administrators and staff and avoid control by education department bureaucrats and the teachers unions. No doubt there are some good charter schools, but loose controls have allowed a very different kind of school to emerge.

Charter schools have opened up a path for foreigners to run schools at the expense of the U.S. taxpayers, without much news coverage. One of the few breakthroughs in the media was a front-page article in the New York Times (6-7-11), carried over to two full inside pages, about the many charter schools run by a secretive and powerful sect from Turkey called the Gülen Movement

Headed by a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen who had already founded a network of schools in 100 other countries, this movement opened its first U.S. charter school in 1999. Gülen’s schools spread rapidly after he figured out how to work our system and get the U.S. taxpayers to import and finance his recruitment of followers for his worldwide religious and social movement.

The Gülen Movement now operates the largest charter school network in the United States. It has at least 135 schools teaching more than 45,000 students in at least 26 states, financed by millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars a year.

The principals and school board members are usually Turkish men. Hundreds of Turkish teachers (referred to as “international teachers”) and administrators have been admitted to the United States, often using H-1B visas, after claiming that qualified Americans cannot be found.

In addition, the Gülen Movement has nurtured a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. These include the big contractors who built or renovated the schools, plus a long list of vendors selling school lunches, uniforms, after-school programs, web design, teacher training, and special education materials.

Several other news sources have started to publish information about the Gülen charter schools. In Ohio, an NBC-TV station reported that Ohio taxpayers’ money was used to recruit teachers for charter schools from overseas, especially from Turkey.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Turkish scientists, engineers and businessmen have opened several charter schools in Pennsylvania, plus 120 charter schools in 25 states, funded with millions of taxpayer dollars. Just one charter school, called the Truebright Science Academy, received $3 million from the Philadelphia School District.

According to a guest post in the Washington Post (3-27-12), Gülen’s U.S. schools are openly discussed in the Turkish press. The goal for Gülen’s schools is to “teach tens of thousands of people the Turkish language, introduce them to our culture and win them over,” and so the schools regularly take students to Turkey for “cultural immersion.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that charter schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are linked to businesses run by people from Turkey.

In Texas, 36 Turkish charter schools, called the Harmony Network, have received over $100 million in government funds. These schools now have 290 (mostly Turkish) employees on H-1B visas, about 16 percent of its workforce.

In Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, a substitute teacher named Amanda Getz reported about what goes on inside a charter school called TiZA. TiZA is a K-through-8th-grade charter school funded by U.S. taxpayers and sponsored by Islamic Relief.

The teacher says there is no clear division between the subjects studied during school and the study of the Qu’ran after school. She says that homework assignments for after-school religious instruction are written on the board right alongside assignments for math and social studies.

Ms. Getz says she was informed that, on Fridays, the Muslim holy day, there would be a school assembly in the gym after lunch. She was instructed to take her students before the assembly to the bathroom, four at a time, for “ritual washing,” and afterwards “teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap” led the students in Muslim prayers.

This school has only 300 students, but it has a waiting list of 1,500. TiZA shares its building with a mosque and also with the headquarters of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is “establishing Islam in Minnesota.”

Ms. Getz said almost all TiZA students stay after school for “Islamic Studies” instruction provided by the Muslim American Society. The religious instruction is technically not part of the school day, but the school buses don’t leave until after Islamic Studies are over.

Most American taxpayers would be mighty surprised at what their money is financing.\

ARE YOU?