Part 1: Heartland Institute features John R. Lott, Jr., noted economist and author of a game-changng bestseller on guns
As part of the Heartland Noontime Author Series, The Heartland Institute presented John R. Lott, Jr. and his new book, “At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over The Edge,” on Wednesday, April 24.
Not only is John Lott, Jr. a noted economist who has held research and or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, but he is also a writer, having published 100 articles in academic journals. Lott is also an author of seven books and a Fox News contributor that writes weekly columns for the same.
When John Lott was asked why he appeared on Piers Morgan, CNN Piers Morgan Tonight on December 21, 2012 following the massacre in New Town, Connecticut, most certainly knowing ahead of time what his treatment would be, Lott explained it as a trade-off. It was Lott’s hope that he might get across a couple of points to Piers Morgan listeners that they might otherwise not have had a chance to hear.
John Lott, Jr. was introduced by Jim Lakely, Communications Director of The Heartland Institute and Co-Director of the Center on the Digital Economy, as “the hardest working man on gun control.” “More Guns, Less Crime,” a game-changing best seller, was described by Lakely as a book that “fills the hearts of liberal with dread.”
Lott’s reason for writing “At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over The Edge?” was concern over the permanent damage Obama is doing to this country. Believing this nation to be on the brink of catastrophe both economically and socially, Lott expressed hope that not all is lost but that fixes are possible. One area, according to Lott, that has seen some permanent damage is that of healthcare, where huge changes have taken place in the last four years. The cost of health insurance is sky-rocking. Leading pharmaceutical manufacturers like Merck & Company and Pfizer have likewise cut research by 50%.
A question posed by Lott was which country would individuals select worldwide if they became seriously ill? Of course this nation would win hands down! Here in the U.S. both the insured and the uninsured are satisfied with their health insurance, with the insured expressing even more satisfaction. It is inevitable that quite soon when Obamacare takes hold America’s health care will no longer be the envy of the world.
On the economy, John Lott spoke about the approaching debt ceiling limit which comes due again in May. President Obama will be ready with his usual two-prong warning retort: 1) If the debt ceiling fails to pass we will face default, and 2) slowing the rate of public spending would hurt the economy. Lott warned that if Obama doesn’t stop his spending the economy will be destroyed. Lott clings to the hope that there is a chance spending will be reduced when the May debt limit is brought up for consideration and a vote.
At the end of President Obama’s first term he promised the American people that government would be made smaller, that the huge stimulus spending was only a necessary, temporary measure targeted at getting the economy moving again. In his book Lott explains how the “stimulus’ was the most expensive economic failure in history, with consequences that could last for generations. But not so with Paul Krugman — a professor at Princeton, a columnist for the “New York Times,” and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics — who as a staunch advocate of Keynesian policies recommended stimulus spending far beyond the nearly trillion dollars.
Now into his second term, President Obama is still convinced that government can create wealth and jobs through spending programs. Since money doesn’t grow on trees to be harvested when called for, it must come from somewhere else. Whether through taxation or borrowing, both act to transfer wealth from one entity to another.
Despite the $825 billion stimulus which was supposed to create or save 4.1 million jobs (four additional smaller measures followed with the same aim), there were only 194,000 more jobs in the U.S. in October 2012 than when Obama became president. To keep up with population growth over the same period, 5.7 million additional jobs needed to be created. When compared to previous recession recoveries between 1975 and 2001, Obama’s recovery is indeed pathetic. The young, and especially those entering the job market for the first time, have been the hardest hit by Obama’s jobless recovery.
It would be prudent for the Obama administration to take note of how countries with the largest spending increases — Ireland, Iceland, Estonia, Spain, and Greece — suffered the most during the recessions. The more their deficits grew through increased spending, the worse their economies fared. It was in the frugal countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland where per capital government spending shrank on the order of 6.3% to 0.2%. Per capita GDP actually grew by an average of 7% over the three-year period, along with job growth among working-age populations.
Part Two will deal with Lott’s Heartland luncheon comments on gun control legislation.
Monday, April 29, 2013 at 09:30 AM | Permalink
April 26, 2013
In Part 1, “Immigration Reform a Monstrosity,” it was revealed that the business community and labor unions hashed out a new work-visa program to allow up to 200,000 low-skill workers to come to the U.S. Furthermore, that the legislation creates a framework for legalization of an estimated 11 million people unlawfully present in the U.S., as well as to anyone who was present in the U.S. before 2012, with no proof required to prove that applicants have been here for several years. And let’s not forget the four senate Gang of Eight members, Republicans Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and Democrats Charles Schumer and Michael Bennet, who couldn’t resist helping themselves to a piece of the pie. But what about input from the law enforcement community?
In testimony from ICE Union President Chris Crane at the Senate Judiciary Hearing on April 23, Crane made this comment
Never before have I seen such contempt for law enforcement officers as I’ve seen from the ‘Gang of Eight.’ This legislation was crafted behind closed doors with big business, big unions, and groups representing illegal aliens. Groups with their own interests. Groups that stand to make millions from this legislation. Anyone with a significantly different opinion on immigration reform was prohibited by the Gang from having input.
Crane also testified how law enforcement was treated when it tried to work its way into the process:
Last week desperate to be heard, border sheriffs, interior sheriffs, deputies and immigration agents all came to Washington, D.C. with the hope that the Gang of Eight would hear their concerns. They held two meetings on two separate days. Not one member of the Gang of Eight attended. Last week when I respectfully asked a question to the Gang of Eight at their press conference, I was escorted out by police and Senate staff. I was spoken to with anger and disrespect.
Such contempt for law enforcement could only point to deceptiveness by those who were involved in crafting the immigration reform legislation where even illegal aliens had seats at the table. Just what has been kept under the radar hidden from public attention?
Below is a summary of an article published by Michelle Malkin on April 23 in which she dissects the Gang of 8’s enforcement sham. Further reading is suggested of Malkin’s article. http://michellemalkin.com/2013/04/23/dissecting-the-gang-of-8‘s-enforcement-sham/
Three Flaws in The Bill’s Amnesty Provisions:
1. Background check are insufficient to prevent terrorists from gaining amnesty. Any illegal alien can invent a new name with a totally clean record and present that name when applying for the amnesty.
2. Absconders and Aliens who have already been deported can claim the amnesty. The bill actually allows illegal aliens who have already been deported from the U.S. to return and gain the amnesty.
3. Bill legalizes dangerous aliens who received deferred action under Secretary Napolitano’s unlawful DACA directive of June 2012. Criminals who have been a
4. Employment provisions exempt large categories of labor, signifying that many of the ways in which illegal immigrants obtain labor will no longer be unlawful. The bill also contains a huge loophole for illegal labor employed by subcontractors. Even if the general contractor learns of the unlawful labor during the performance of the contract, the contractor is not “employing” the illegal aliens, so the general contractor is not in violation in any way.
5. The bill scraps and replaces what has been a proven E-Verify system used successfully in many states. Even though the replacement to be created will not contain any significant differences, because of its prolonged phase-in requirement, it does not appear that any employers will be required to even use the new system before the newly amnestied aliens are able to be converted to LPR status.
6. The bill exempts current employees from verification, not even requiring or permitting (except when ordered by the DHS Secretary) the electronic verification of existing employees.
Six reason why the bill’s enforcement provisions are not serious:
1. The so-called enforcement “Triggers” in the bill are trivial, having no real teeth to ensure enforcement of our immigration laws.
2. The 90% metric is completely meaningless*, as it is sheer fantasy to imagine that we can calculate a percentage when we have absolutely no idea what the denominator is. Also, the 90% metric only applies to a few “high risk border sectors.” Even so, demonstrated under the current DHS leadership is that it cannot be trusted to fairly report the statistics (*Within five years of enactment, the DHS must certify that it is catching or turning around 90$ of all border crossers at high risk border sectors.).
3. The bill hobble state enforcement efforts in the workplace by the provision that guts almost all state laws prohibiting the knowing employment of unauthorized aliens. A State would not be able to fine an employer for failing to use the verification system.
4. The Employment provisions exempt large categories of labor that is “casual, sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.” Day labor fits into this category and as such no employer would have to verify the work authorization status of any such employee, nor even refuse to hire the worker if the employer has knowledge of the person’s unlawful work authorization.
5. Scraping and replacing the proven E-verify system with another only serves to delay any meaningful enforcement in the workplace.
6. By not requiring or even permitting, except when ordered to do so by the DHS Secretary, demonstrates that the bill was not really intended to protect American workers against unfair competition from illegal labor or it would subject existing employees to electronic verification.
Over the past 17 years, under both GOP and Democrat majorities, six times Congress promised to fix and create a functioning entry-exit system that would barometrically verify the identity of foreign nationals entering U.S/. airports and seaports with the capacity to generate a list of individuals who have not left the U.S. even though their visas have expired. These over-stayers represent a significant share of the undocumented aliens now residing in the United States.
As the bipartisan Gang of 8 and Washington all say they support a verifiable entry-exit system, if the system were build and operated as a “stand-along first,” after having kept one of its promises, there might be more reason to believe the promises in the other hundreds of pages of the immigration reform bill.
Not so according to David Schanzer who posted at Huffington Post: “Reform: Don’t Rush to Build Biometric Exit System.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-schanzer/immigration-reform_b_...
Putting all aside, American families cannot afford the cost of amnesty. Americans are already burdened with taxes to support a bloated welfare and overburdened entitle system that is badly in need of reform. As posted by Derrick Morgan for the Heritage Foundation “Morning Bell” on Thursday, April 25: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/25/morning-bell-immigration-american...
We have more than $12 trillion in public debt and tens of trillions of dollars more in unfunded obligations that we have no way to afford, thanks to promises made by past and present politicians. With this in mind, today’s political leaders must consider the fiscal impact of amnesty and a path to citizenship that would enable millions of unlawful immigrants to qualify for costly welfare and entitlement programs.
Not withstanding, and with food for thought, is there some sinister move underfoot by the Democrat Party? As Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told CBS News’ Jan Crawford in an interview that aired on Wednesday, April 24: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/04/24/cruz_obama_pushi...
President Obama does not want an immigration bill to pass. I think that the president wants to campaign on immigration reform in 2014 and 2016 [to win back the House so Democrats will own all three branches of government]. And I think the reason that the White House is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is because the White House knows that insisting on that is very likely to scuttle the bill.”
Friday, April 26, 2013 at 02:30 PM | Permalink
April 25, 2013
The “Gang of Eight” in the Senate has created a 844-page monstrosity. The U.S. senator seen as the lynch pin (even the game changer) in getting the massive immigration reform bill passed this time around after its 2007 defeat is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio joined the Gang with solid conservative credentials and a large following among Republicans, most likely recruited by longtime advocates of reform, Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, whose Republican credentials are less than stellar.
House Majority Leader John Boehner is in the camp that if we fix our immigration system it may actually help us understand who are here, why they’re here and what legal status they have. Contradicting Boehner is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who sees security questions arising from the immigration path of the Boston bombing suspects that must be answered before Congress moves forward.
Disappointing was the news that Congressman Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) not only endorses the legalization of illegal aliens (i.e., amnesty) as a core element of what should be in an immigration bill, but that he also supports a pathway to citizenship. The occasion of his “confession” was at a joint appearance on April 22 at the City Club of Chicago with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a leading backer of immigration reform.
Republican elitists are trying to persuade skeptical Republican that amnesty for illegal aliens through immigration reform holds the key to future Republican nirvana. Cited as the main reason for Hispanics voting Democratic is that they hold resentment against Republicans who oppose it. Phyllis Schlafy counters this notion as a lie in her November 28, 2023 article, “Amnesty Won’t Elect Republican,” in which she notes how two-thirds of Mexican immigrant families use at least one welfare program, which is twice the rate of native-born, non-Hispanics.
Another myth is that Hispanics will vote Republican because being of Christian and pro-family households social issues are important to them. How so when the Hispanic illegitimacy birth rate is 53%, about twice that of whites? Furthermore, polls indicate that the majority of Hispanic support gay marriage, with a whopping 83.3% believing that strong government involvement is required to handle economic problems.
The Senate Budget Committee staff estimates that costs to the U.S. taxpayers could be $40 billion a year just for Medicaid and ObamaCare. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation five years ago put the net cost of amnesty as eventually topping $2.5 trillion.
An article that made the rounds during this past week was found at POLITICO, “Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats” by Emily Schultheis. The articles begins in this way:
The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.
The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” revealed its plans for an immigration overhaul on Tuesday, April 16. Not only were there scores of illegal alien lobbying groups demanding “justice” and “pathways” and “processes” NOW, but there were also pet projects sprinkled in the Immigration Bill by four members of the Gang of Eight to help special interest group within their state. Sen. LIndsey Graham (R., S.C.) wanted more visas for the meat industry, a major employer in the state. The final bill sets aside up to 20,000 additional visas foe meat cutters and trimmers.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) pushed for special treatment for Irish workers as his state which is home to a large population with Irish ancestry. Schumer was able to weave into the immigration bill an extra 10,500 visas for Irish people with at least a high-school degrees.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) sought help for the cruise-ship industry, a big business in his home state of Florida, with a provision allowing certain foreigners to repair cruise ships made abroad, as well as other transportation equipment.
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Co.) Colorado wove in a boost for ski areas to make it easier to hire foreign ski instructors. They would come to the U.S. under the same program that professional athletes use. Current law allows those athletes to stay in the U.S. for up to a decade.
Shame on these four Gang members who couldn’t resist helping themselves!
Business community and labor unions hashed out a new work-visa program to allow up to 200,000 low-skill workers to come to the U.S Basic is that the bill creates a framework for legalization for the estimated 11 million people unlawfully present in the U.S. Anyone who was present in the U.S. before 2012 qualifies, with countless opportunities for fraud, since there is no proof required that applicants have been here for several years. several.” Michelle Malkin puts it this way on April 23 in her article, “Dissecting the Gang of 8’s enforcement sham”:
It’s time to tell politicians that their comfort and security are ‘not’ America’s number one concern. There are 23 million law-abiding Americans out of work. They come before the ’11 million’ illegal immigrants ‘in the shadows.’ There are 4.6 million legal immigrant applicants to America waiting to get in the right way. They deserve priority over the ’22 million’ who bypassed the ‘pathways’ and ‘processes’ that already exist.
The Monstrosity of Immigration Reform – Part 2 will follow.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM | Permalink
April 25, 2013
To the Editor:
What President Obama called “college and career-ready standards” during a speech before the national Governor’s Association in 2010 is in reality a federally mandated education curriculum known as Common Core, which consists of a set of requirements setting out what every child should learn in grades K-12 in math, English and other subjects.
It was in 2009 when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quickly rolled out this new national curriculum, lacking any back-up research, with $4.5 billion in “Race to the Top” stimulus spending. Basically, the administration bribed cash-starved states into adopting unseen instructional standards as a condition of winning billions of dollars in grants. Even states that had lost their bids for Race to the Top money were required to commit to Common Core.
In 2010, Illinois became one of 46 states signing up for Common Core by accepting federal funds through the Obama’s stimulus package. Over the next few years Common Core standards will substantively change what goes on in many American classrooms.
With this in mind, how has the federal government been doing with public education? Federal spending has increased by 375 percent since the founding of the Department of Education, but math and reading scores have declined, according to the Department of Education, during that same period.
The individual who was the lead architect of the Common Core standards, David Coleman, is described by Dana Goldstein in her article, “The Schoolmaster,” as “an idealistic, poetry-loving, controversy-stoking Rhodes Scholar and a former McKinsey consultant who has determined, more than almost anyone else, what kids learn in American schools.”
Goldstein wrote that Coleman “has zero K-12 teaching experience. Should we really be learning how to cook from a person who’s never been in the kitchen?”
Equally disturbing is that when Coleman shortly steps into his new position as the head of the College Board, applied Common Core standards may also affect who applies to college and how applicants are evaluated.
As with Obamacare, states were promised federal subsidies to get the program started. Questions do remain, however, as to how much and for how long those federal funds will continue to flow.
Also akin to Obamacare is that testing standards for Common Core had to be adopted before they were even known. This was part of the quid pro quo for receiving the stimulus money back in 2009. In so doing the states signed on to what amounts to an experimental learning program that has never been tried or tested as to academic achievement results.
Recently the Illinois State Board of Education began the process of informing taxpayers of the new federally bench-marked Common Core Standards Initiative. The high implementation cost for Illinois will be $733 million dollars over the next seven years. Was an Illinois cost analysis ever conducted?
How will Illinois pay for this massive cost? What is more, the legislation will not allow school districts to discontinue or modify any mandated activity regarding costs to Common Core, thereby ceding the sovereign rights of Illinois.
At the present time Common Core is focused on math and language arts. The plan is to complete the roll out on these two subjects and then redirect attention to science and history as well as health and sex education.
As far as standards being rigorous, the overall math requirement will drop so that Algebra 1 will move from 8th to 9th grade, making calculus unachievable by anyone but AP students before graduation. Accordingly, Common Core math standards will not produce students who are ready for college level math (Calculus is required by most four year universities.).
It is quite revealing that three state governors rejected Common Core standards from the beginning.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell recently said: “The bottom line is, we don’t need the federal government with the Common Core telling us how to run our schools in Virginia. We’ll use our own system which is very good. It’s empirically tested.”
Texas governor Rick Perry, never one to mince words, said, “The academic standards of Texas are not for sale.”
Then there is Nikki Haley of South Carolina who did not want to relinquish control of education to the federal government in her state.
State lawmakers in Michigan are seriously thinking about opting out of Common Core standards, believing that Common Core standards seem to lower the bar thereby limiting the ability to raise the bar.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has also indicated that state leaders will “take a long, hard look” at Common Core. Indiana has cited concerns over quality, cost, and loss of control. Indiana and Michigan are just two of approximately 10 states considering legislation to withdraw from Common Core.
The intent of the Obama administration’s $4.5 billion Race to the Top stimulus spending back in 2009 seems obvious, it was to break the states’ monopolies on education by using federal purse strings to bribe states into handing over control of curriculum standards to the Department of Education.
Empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates, there is every reason to fear a further radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum under Common Core standards that will do nothing to raise achievement standards.
Mirroring concerns of governors are moms, dads and even teachers apprehensive that the federal government is on the brink of dictating the contents to be taught in every school.
There is every reason to believe that the agenda will be progressive driven, as the federal government has spent billions to move Common Core forward and has put billions more on the line to fully implement.
This fear is borne out in an article by Bill Korach in which he relates some major issues that should concern all citizens about CCS:
1. The educational establishment, by training has leftist attitudes, so CCS will reflect this build in bias.
2. CCS means loss of local control of school curricula and content.
3. CCS fails to instill an appreciation of what it means to have liberty under the Constitutional form of government.
4. CCS fails to implement rigorous instruction in reading and writing.
As if the above wasn’t worrisome enough, United Nations’ “world school” standards are embodied in Common Core.
If you are uneasy about the foundational philosophy of Common Core (to create students ready for social action so as to force a social justice agenda as adults), make your voice be heard by joining those who oppose Common Core at nocommoncore.blogspot.com.
April 24, 2013
GOP-backed U.S. House PCIP bill reinforces Obamacare Th-6By Nancy Thorner – It seems like it’s the order of the day for proposed bills to be fast-tracked from their mark-ups through final votes in both houses of Congress. Currently the Democrat majority Senate, with its “Gang of Eight,” seems determined to treat the Immigration Reform Bill in such a manner.
Recently I was alerted to similar action by the U.S. House where House Republicans are in the majority. An attempt is being made by House Republicans — with support from conservative think tanks including Americans for Tax Reform and Independent Women’s Voice — to quickly expedite a bill (H.R. 1549) that would boost funding for the struggling and high-risk coverage pools for the Affordable Care Act’s Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP) to keep the program open through 2013. Earlier this year the Obama administration announced that enrollment would be suspended because it only had enough money to cover current enrollees.
PCIP was designed to help sick U.S. residents gain coverage ahead of January 1, 2014, when the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is set to take place with its ban on denying individuals coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
The GOP bill — The Helping Sick Americans Now Act (H.R. 1549) — would transfer $4 billion from Obamacare’s public and preventive health fund to reopen the PCIP’s enrollment. To note: After Obamacare bans pre-existing condition discrimination effective on January 1, 2014, the need for PCIP will be phased out. Furthermore, at the same time insurance companies will be required to coverage individuals regardless of their health status.
This is the first time Republicans have attempted to amend ACA (Obamacare) instead of repealing it, causing those who favor the bill to express disapproval toward the House GOP conference minority who oppose the bill, even chiding the minority for only wanting one vote to take place, that of repealing Obamacare, instead of finding ways to chip away at the bill as a whole.
The House Rules Committee is slated to take up H.R. 1549 today, Tuesday, April 23. A floor vote could come as early as tomorrow. Immediate action is required. Call your U.S. Congressman to urge a NO vote.
April 21, 2013
CHICAGO – The Chicago Tea Party, in partnership with Tea Party Patriots, held the 5th annual Tax Day Tea Party Rally Monday, April 15 at 12 p.m. in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. The theme for this year’s event was “Taxed and regulated enough already!”
The Chicago Tea Party’s goals continue to be: make government more accountable, stop out-of-control spending and stand up for freedom and individual liberty. It is committed to restoring America’s founding principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.
The Illinois Tea Party is likewise committed to supporting grassroots efforts and campaigns to change Springfield and Washington, D.C. The catalyst for the 2009 birth of the National Tea Party movement unfolded in Chicago on February 19 of that year when Chicago’s very own CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli launched into a spontaneous rant about the Obama administration in which Santelli shouted: “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbors’ mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bill?… President Obama, are you listening?”
This year’s 2013 Chicago Tax Day Tea Party Rally featured nationally known speakers, local liberty leaders and regular Americans who are making a difference. Those in attendance, however, were nevertheless often reminded that the real stars of the Tea Party were the people in the audience.
Eleven speakers included For the Good of Illinois’ founder Adam Andrzejewski, also a candidate for governor in 2010. Adam focused on the tool developed by his organization to hold government accountable for all of its spending. The spending for all 7000 units of government in Illinois is published information at Openthebooks.com. Now 10 million eyes can view the government’s checkbook. Before the site was set up, where tax dollars were being spent was difficult to obtain. Now, with OpentheBooks.com website, those numbers are easier to find and taxpayers may hold their elected officials responsible for how they spend the people’s money. Adam reminded all that our legacy is not higher taxes or uncontrollable spending, instead we are called upon to be champions of individual liberty.
Former Congressman Joe Walsh, who now has a radio talk show from 7 – 9 a.m. on WIND AM-560 voiced disappointment in this year’s crowd numbers. Walsh said at least 5,000 should have filled the space at Daley Plaza, and asked two basic questions: 1) What kind of country are we prepared to hand off to our kids and grandchildren?, and 2) What are you prepared to do to stop that? Walsh’s words were not about a make-believe world, but about the real world where freedoms are being taken away. And we don’t have much time left! For it was 234 years ago that God, through His Divine Providence, bestowed upon our Founding Fathers a great gift when they wrote our Constitution which has survived the ages. Walsh asked participants to pledge to do whatever it will take to preserve that freedom and liberty to save our nation, but at the same time reminded participants that we can’t keep these pledges to ourselves. “We must go out and share with others, and in so doing shake up the Republican Party,” he said.
Editor in chief and In-House Counsel for Breitbart.com, Joel Pollak, also addressed the Tea Party Rally. He ran unsuccessfully to unseat Democrat 9th District U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky in 2010. In proclaiming that this nation was wasting money, Pollak expressed dissatisfaction that the military, so essential to this nation’s security, was being cut back. Speaking about the aftermath of last November’s election and Romney’s loss, Tea Partiers were led to believe that it was time to go home (fold up our tents), but those committed to America’s freedoms refused to do so. Now liberty, the Second Amendment, and standing up to the government have become cool again, Pollak said. “Both Republicans and Democrats fear the Tea Party. With Republicans, they toe the line from time to time only because they know we are listening and will hold them accountable come election time,” he said.
Pollak then used his guitar to accompany himself as he sang a folksy-sounding song so fit for the occasion. He dedicated the song to his friend Andrew Breitbart who passed away suddenly a year ago. The words to Pollak’s chorus said, “Hey, Hey what do we say? America’s freedom is here to stay, don’t take our future away.”
Illinois Tea Party State coordinator Denise Cattoni spoke about Common Core as federal control of education. All but five states have adopted Common Core, including Illinois. The Common Core curriculum’s intent is to place world views above those of our country and its Constitution, and to ready students for future social action. The cost to Illinois is estimated at $733 million. Most disturbing is that when accepting Common Core standards, states had to agree to the creation of a huge central data system to track children from cradle to grave. Mastery of subject matter is based on tests designed by Common Core.
Co-host of WLS 890 AM’s morning drive show Dan Proft also addressed the rally. Proft emphasized the dysfunctional nature of Illinois government. When addressing Illinois’s $2.2 billion worth of fraud, Proft noted: “Illinois state government is set up with a conspiracy to defraud.” In other words, Illinois is fixed, Proft said. Proft also warned about “Fear.” As ascribed to Plato: “Know what not to fear and in it comes a certain salvation.” If lacking courage, it is impossible to have any other virtue when retreat takes over. Inexcusable to Proft, Illinois is 51 out of 50 (even behind D.C.) in providing service to those with developmental disabilities. Said also Proft, “Winning elections are the means to creating policy, but we must remain in the forefront in deciding who should be the standard bearer for Illinois.”
Jonathon Hoenig, Fox News Contributor and founder of CapitalistPig.com, spoke about the “Rebirth of America.” Hoenig described the American people as being stupid on both sides of the aisle. “They have no idea of what Americaism is all about,” Hoenig said. “Fundamental is that your life belongs to you. Your life, your liberty, your pursuit of happiness is not just a tweet. It is is what comprises Americanism.” Hoenig said 67,000 new regulations were passed in the last 20 years, averaging out to 11 a day. “We don’t need more regulations, we need more freedom,” Hoenig posed a question as to what workers are called when not allowed to keep the products of their labor? Answering that question, “They are called slaves.”
Jack Roeser of ChampionNews.net, long-time supporter of the Republican Party and conservative-leaning candidates, started off with a play on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. He began: “Four score and nine year ago . . .” Roeser said he would be 90 next month, and reminisced back to the 1930’s when it was said if a person can’t get a job in Chicago, he couldn’t get a job anywhere. Roeser said the Republican Party, as it now is in Illinois, is not adequate to finding solutions to Illinois’ problems. “We must find strong candidates who can provide solutions, and then we must do a better job of getting out the vote. Technology is good, but there is nothing better than pressing the flesh,” he said. “The Tea Party represents an important and the strong base of the Republican Party.”
Dr. Mark Neerhof approached Obamacare from a moral stand point. “The two main promises to sell Obamacare were both lies,” Neerhof said, “universal coverage for all and that costs would decrease.” Regarding universal coverage, Obamacare would still leave 30 million people uninsured at the end of the decade. In regard to premiums, premium under Obamacare were to drop on the average of $2,500, instead they are up by $3,000.” A government-run “single-payer” system will in time emerge, and people will die for lack of timely care or restrictions to medical procedures because of age. Dr. Neerhof had an answer to a better system: “Go to the free market.” Urged is that we must be ready to speak out next year to present alternatives when things start to to south next year for Obamacare.”
C. Steven Tucker said Obamacare is still evolving as new policies are being added day-by-day to the original bill that few people have ever read. Notable is that Obamacare sets up two new legislative branches: The IRS and Health Insurance Exchanges which include state-based, state-fed partnerships; and federal fallback exchanges. Significant and troubling is that the IRS will write all laws by itself without Congress. “With 60 million Americans eligible for an advance premium tax credit, those who don’t have a tax credit will be paying for those Americans to have received an advance premium tax credit,” Tucker said.
Despite the dreary day with the rain holding off until later in the afternoon, there were a few rays of sunshine which peppered the day. As I left Daley Plaza around 1:45 p.m., my step was lively as I reflected on the spoken words. Will enough people care?
The Tea Party message was a good one, but it made one wonder if there are enough people willing to donate the time and effort that is needed to change the political direction of this nation? If not, the future of our country seems dim indeed, as the cornerstones of our representative government, freedom and liberty, are exchanged for a nanny state where statism reigns supreme.
Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 06:38 PM | Permalink
April 19, 2013
Education was first a local issue, then it became a state issue, now the Feds want to get total control. This transition happened over decades as collectivist agitators in our schools chipped away at academic excellence an the name of fairness, diversity and social justice. Changes that have taken place in the past 50 years include:
1. 1st graders are being introduced to the homosexual lifestyle.
2. Gay Pride Day (sometimes called “Day of Silence“) will be honored in schools across this nation on April 19th, including at my local Lake Forest High School.
3. Global warming is being taught as settled science instead of the hoax that it is — with CO2 wrongly targeted as the culprit — instead of the ideological and political issue that it is to control the populous and to raise taxes.
4. Fossil-fuels are being maligned while green sources of energy like wind and solar have become the flavors of the day, yet we can’t run this nation on sunbeams and wind power.
5. Separation of church from the state now rules because of a false interpretation of a ruling in 1962 which completely separated Christian principles from education.
6. History Classes no longer present this nation as a freedom-loving nation to be revered and respected, but instead one that deserves scorn and equal status in the world with every other nation. Likewise, that our Constitution is no longer viable in this day and age and it must be replaced by a “living” Constitution.
7. That Socialism is a fair and acceptable system of government, even though Socialism has failed wherever and whenever it has been tired in the world.
8. That capitalism is bad and big government is good and knows what is best for the American people.
A Leftist, progressive government agenda is not what many parents wish for their children, yet Common Core standards will continue to promote such an agenda. It is any wonder why many parents elect to home school their children?
We in the West are the only place in which children are indoctrinated in ideas that will destroy the very society generations worked hard (and often died) to create. It was always a country that offered opportunity and freedom to those willing to work hard, save, and even to contribute to voluntarily. People from around the world continue to wait in long lines to get visas to come here for the American Dream, yet we are considering giving amnesty to millions who broke the law by entering this country illegally.
We are allowing opportunity and freedom be stolen form us through an education system that has lost its soul through the peddling and instilling of progressive ideas and values in the minds of susceptible and gullible school children. What children are learning today will determine what the future hold for this nation.
According to Carbondale High School Superintendent, Steve Murphy, “Standards are a good think when you use them to enlighten people, but when you use those standards to control people they’re not.” (Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper. No. 87, May 2012)
You are the voice of your children. Let that voice be heard by those who think they know better than you what is best for your children. It is also essential that you know what children (yours and others) are being taught in their local schools.
Call you state legislators and tell them you want legislation to get Illinois out of Common Core.
Contact your representatives in Washington and tell them you want local control with no further federal intrusion into education in Illinois.
Lastly, join others who oppose Common Core here in Illinois and want to take action to stop a complete federal take-over of education. nocommoncore.blogspot.com
Published at Illinois Review on April 19.
In a speech to the National Governor’s Association in 2010, President Obama stated:
“I want to commend to all of you for acting collectively through the National Governors Association to develop common standards that will better position our students for success. And today, I’m announcing steps to encourage and support all states to transition to college and career-ready standards on behalf of America’s students. First, as a consideration to receiving access to Title 1 funds, we will ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college and career-ready in reading and math.”What President Obama calls “college and career-ready standards” actually is a federally mandated education curriculum known as Common Core, a set of requirements setting out what every child should learn in grades K – 12 in math, English and other subjects. Back in 2009, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quickly rolled out this new national curriculum, lacking any backup research, with $4.5 billion in “Race to the Top” stimulus spending. Basically, the administration bribed cash-starved states into adopting unseen instructional standards as a condition of winning billions of dollars in grants. Even states who had lost their bids for “Race to the Top” money were required to commit to Common Core.
In 2010, Illinois became one of 46 states signing up for Common Core by accepting federal funds through the Obama’s stimulus package.
As with Obamacare, states were promised federal subsidies to get the program started. Questions do remain, however, as to how much and for how long those federal funds will continue to flow. Also akin to Obamacare is that testing standards for Common core had to be adopted before they were even known. This was part of the quid pro quo for receiving the stimulus money back in 2009. In so doing the states signed on to what amounts to an experimental learning program that has never been tried or tested as to academic achievement results.
Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education began the process of informing taxpayers of the new federally bench-marked Common Core Standards Initiative. The High Implementation Cost for Illinois will be $733 million dollars” over the next seven years. Was an Illinois cost analysis ever conducted? How will Illinois pay for this massive cost? What is more, Illinois Bill HB-23457 will not allow school districts to discontinue or modify any mandated activity regarding costs to Common Core, thereby ceding the sovereign rights of Illinois. (Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper. No. 87, May 2012)
At the present time, Common Core is focused on math and language arts. The plan is to complete the roll out on these two subjects and then redirect attention to science and history as well as health and sex education. As far as standards being rigorous, the overall math requirement will drop so that Algebra 1 will move from 8th to 9th grade, making calculus unachievable by anyone but AP students before graduation. Accordingly, CCSS math standards will not produce students who are ready for college level math (Calculus is required by most four year universities.).
It is quite revealing that three state governors rejected Common Core standards from the beginning. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell recently said: “The bottom line is, we don’t need the federal government with the Common Core telling up how to run our schools in Virginia. We’ll use our own system which is very good. It’s empirically tested.” Texas governor Rick Perry, never one to mince words, said, “The academic standards of Texas are not for sale.”
Then there is Nikki Haley of South Carolina who did not want to relinquish control of education to the federal government in her state.
State lawmakers in Michigan are seriously thinking about opting out of Common Core standards, believing that Common Core standards seem to lower the bar thereby limiting the ability to raise the bar.
Gov. Mike Pence has also indicated that Indiana leaders will “take a long, hard look” at Common Core. Indiana has cited concerns over quality, cost, and loss of control. Indiana and Michigan are just two of approximately ten their states considering legislation to withdraw from Common Core.
The intent of the Obama administration’s $4.5 billion “Race to the Top” stimulus spending back in 2009 seems obvious, it was to break the states’ monopolies on education by using federal purse strings to bribe states into handing over control of curriculum standards to the Department of Education. Empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates, there is every reason to fear a further radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum under Common Core standards that will do nothing to raise achievement standards.
Mirroring the concerns expressed by governors are moms, dads and even teachers apprehensive that the federal government is on the brink of dictating the contents to be taught in every school. And there is every reason to believe that the agenda will be progressive driven. After all, the federal government has spent billions to move Common Core forward, and it has put billions more on the line to fully implement.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Permalink
The cause celebre behind measures aimed at preventing gun violence are the incidents of random violence, where madmen attack innocent and largely helpless people in schools, malls, public transportation and theaters. These so-called “soft” targets have a high density of potential victims who are unlikely to offer much resistance, and are easy to reach. The average response time for emergency help is nearly 30 minutes, whereas the typical attack is over in less than 15 minutes. Notable are:
1. All of the “prevention” offered by lawmakers so far has the unanticipated effect of increasing the number of “soft” targets, whether by disarming honest citizens, or by expanding gun-free zones, which encourage rather than deter criminal
2. While they not be as newsworthy, the vast majority of “soft” targets are not school children, movie goers or shoppers, but those walking on quiet streets, waiting for public transportation, or sitting in the privacy of their homes.
3. The vast majority of offenders are not mass murders looking for notoriety, but thugs, opportunists, bullies and thrill seekers. No amount of “prevention” is going to screen out or disarm those bent on destruction. If we concentrate on one area, like public schools, it may have the unwanted effect of diverting attacks to other “soft” targets, not easily protected due to expense and almost unlimited opportunities for attacks.
So far, we have been spared attacks by individuals or groups prepared for a force-on-force assault, an every day occurrences in the Middle East. This may prove to be a short-lived respite?
Instead, all of the “domestic terror” attacks, except for 9/11, have been executed by people who live in a fantasy bubble, not unlike players of some video games, who wilt in the face of armed resistance. At the Clackamas Mall in Portland, OR, a day after Sandy Hook, a gunman committed suicide after killing two innocent shoppers, when confronted by an ordinary citizen with a gun.
Cho (Virginia Tech), Kazmierczak (NIU), and Lanza (Sandy Hook) committed suicide when police entered the buildings. Holmes (Aurora) waited passively in the parking lot behind the theater. That story is repeated too many times for comfort.
A lot of attention has been directed toward putting armed guards in schools, which is reasonable considering the need to protect our most vulnerable and precious resource, our children. What about parking lots, theaters, malls and sidewalks? There are fewer than 800,000 law enforcement officers of any sort in the US, about one for every 400 citizens. Would we even tolerate a more conspicuous police presence, without fearing for our freedom?
Part of the answer is already available. 49 states, with the sole exception of Illinois plus Washington DC, allow citizens to carry firearms for self defense. Of these 40 do not require any special “need”, and issue permits unless otherwise proscribed. Some, like California, New York and Maryland, issue permits only to public officials, celebrities and millionaires. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_United_States_by_state
There have been no “OK Corral” scenarios (except on the part of the NYPD), and there has been a significant and salutatory reduction in violent crime, other than homicide, in those 40 shall-issue states. Homicides have decreased about 30% nationwide since 1993, continuing to decrease unabated after the first AWB expired in 2004. Aggravated assaults, including robbery and home invasions have decreased nearly 50% in that time frame, EXCEPT in states with draconian gun control laws, where these crimes have increased nearly 20%. (In Great Britain, where nearly all private firearms were confiscated in 2006, violent crime has increased dramatically, and stands at about 5X that in the US. Home invasions are more frequent than burglary of unoccupied homes, and nearly as frequent as muggings and robbery.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States
Exactly how do we “harden” attractive targets. One way is to eliminate most “gun-free” zones, which keep licensed citizens from carrying firearms where most needed. Wisconsin enforces a 1000 foot gun-free radius around K-12 schools, but exempts all but school property for licensed carriers. Carry is permitted on college campuses, except for buildings (other than parking structures) when specifically posted by university officials. In most shall-issue states, private businesses can post their buildings under ordinary trespass law, but otherwise have no force of law.
In Utah, concealed-carry-licensed teachers and parents can carry in K-12 classrooms. In general, only courts and legislative bodies, in session, are posted. Significantly, there have been absolutely no occasions where this has caused a problem. The 2% of citizens who avail themselves of the right to bear arms in public aren’t the troublemakers Rahm Emanual and the President routinely associate with guns. On the other hand, criminals who have little to fear from prosecution, but a lot to fear from an armed “victim,” or even an armed witness to a felonious assault. Chicago has a 20% conviction rate for felony arrests. According to the FBI, there were 986 violent or “index” crimes per 100,000 Chicago residents in 2010, but there are no readily available records on the number of arrests for these crimes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Chicago
It’s time for solutions, not assaults on our freedom. If we need any law, it could be described as “Contempt of Constitution.” We can all name a few well-known politicians who deserve prosecution under such a law.
Published initially at Illinois Review on Wednesday, April 17.
Will President Obama’s exploitation of Newtown families force Republicans to cave on gun control? After all, the Democrats want gun control, the media wants gun control, and Republicans want to be loved by the media.
Relatives of Sandy Hook shootings victims were flown to Washington D.C. on Monday, April 8 aboard Air Force One with President Obama to lobby senators to move forward on gun control. In the aftermath, the Senate approved a procedural motion (68-31) to allow debate on the bill. White House spokesman Jay Carney implied that the voices of the Newtown families may have been the decisive factor.
The sixteen Republican senators who voted to allow the firearms bill (S.649) to proceed, however, claim it was because they wanted to know what was in the bill before they needed to vote on it, especially in relation to the background-check measure, the centerpiece of S.649. But by voting to proceed the sixteen Republicans did acquiesce to Obama’s recent tilting of the gun control debate around one pivotal message centered on a public relations push, that S.649 deserves a vote. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/293709-obama-pivot-on-gu...
Michelle Obama managed to take time out from her vegetable garden to travel to Chicago on Wednesday, April 10, where she tearfully begged for more gun control in remembrance of Hadiya Pendleton, who lost her life due to gang violence. Hasn’t any one informed Michelle that despite the fact that Chicago has the strictest gun urban control laws in the nation, it has the highest urban gun homicide rate in the nation? http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/10/michelle-obama-tears-up-….
As to be expected, nobody challenged Mrs. Obama to show that background checks would have kept the gun out of the hands of Hadiya’s killers, who were prowling the streets looking for rival gang members. When they saw a group of young people seeking shelter from the rain, they circled the block and opened fire. Nobody raised the notion of moral turpitude that these thugs possessed. Nobody blamed the Chicago PD for failing to detain and search their car in any of three stops in the previous three weeks, when one was a parole violator. The Police excused their actions because the court records in their computer were not up to date several months after parole was granted. It is implied that white, suburban gun owners are somehow responsible for Chicago gang violence.
Then for continuing drama, President Obama handed the podium over to the mother of a young child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, to deliver his Weekly Address on Saturday, April 13. http://thehill.com/blogs-briefing-room/news/293699-newtown-vic...
Just why did the Obama administration spend so much time and effort to garner enough votes so debate could proceed on S.649? Might it have been because the issue of gun control ranks high on the Democrat’s agenda? The importance of S.649, which the Democratically-controlled Senate is anxious to pass with limited debate and few amendments, if any, is crucial to what has long been a dream of the Democratic Party to eventually take guns out of the hands of the American people. Legislation is essential for achieving this goal, as the American people will never willingly give up their gun!
What is at the crux of the gun debate? The familiar adage is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This seems to be upset in the assault on our second amendment rights by President Obama and the Democrats. By any reasonable measure, they wish to apply “a pound of prevention for an ounce of cure.” That is because the “prevention” proposed by the Democrats in Congress, and actually implemented in several states, including New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland, have a profound affect on law-abiding gun owners with negligible impact on gun violence.
The popular “prevention” at this time seems to be expansion of background checks for gun purchases. The talking point, proven false, is that 40% of gun purchases are made without a background check. This is based on a survey taken in 1993, before background checks were instituted, on a small number of subjects (681). The real error is in the interpretation of this data, assuming that only purchases made from gun stores incur background checks, and that gun shows and internet sales do not.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-stale-cla…
According to present law, all internet sales must go through a federally licensed dealer (FFL), who may be an individual working out of his garage or home office. The seller and buyer agree on a convenient FFL holder, and the seller delivers the firearm to that licensed dealer (or store). An FFL is required by Federal law to complete form 4473 and execute an NICS background check before transferring a firearm to the buyer. About half the states require background checks at gun shows.
Regardless of state law, most of the dealers at gun shows have an FFL, complete the paperwork and NICS checks, and comply with local laws. While this seems to constitute a loophole, a survey of Federal prisoners indicates that only about 0.8% obtained guns used in their crimes from gun shows. 40% were bought on the street from unlicensed dealers, and 40% were obtained from family members (who should have known better). About 11% were stolen. In short, background checks is a solution looking for a problem. http://www.csgv.org/storage/documents/CSGV_2007_Gun_Show_1_Percent_…
The Durbin-Kirk version of anti-trafficking measures makes it a felony to lose a firearm to theft or mishap unless you report it to the Attorney General within 24 hours. http://www.suntimes.com/news/crime/18635761-418/kirk-durbin-co-spon… – –
Another section of S649 requires owners obtain a million dollar liability insurance policy for each firearm, at enormous expense. Why? Because gun crime causes financial hardship on the victims and government. Of course, the people responsible for gun violence aren’t the same people being forced to comply (or face a $10,000 fine). Worse yet, it implies that law-abiding gun owners are responsible for gun violence, or that they should be punished for exercising their Constitutional rights. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s649/text
Suffice to say, S649 (and other gun-related bills) are bad bills which should be rejected – too many pounds of prevention, too few ounces of cure. Like vaccinations against disease, there are always bad effects which must be weighed against the advantages, but it cannot be shown that S649 will have any measurable effect on reducing gun violence. Since the right to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right, second only to the right of free speech and religion, it is doubly important that whatever we do is effective, not just easy.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 07:14 PM | PermalinkPublished initially at Illinois Review on Tuesday, April 16.