Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thorner/ONeil: Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for America’s future

Gavel-640x424

By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

The erosion of our Religious Liberty through Judicial Supremacy is a major issue receiving increasing attention from a variety of sources.

Religious liberty can be described as an inherent, inalienable, and natural right of mankind. It furthermore includes the right to choose and practice one’s own faith and religious beliefs; freedom from government acts that deny or exclude the rightful and lawful expression and exercise of religious liberty in private or public life; and a guarantee of perfect toleration of religious sentiment.  It is unfortunate that a vocal anti-religious minority has chosen to attack religion and ban it from our public life.

Historically, religion in public places was common.  General Washington, with religious preachers, were the ones who lead Christian men into battle against the cold steel of the dreaded Redcoats.  Through those years, they courageously defended the cause of liberty, believing that the Bible addressed every subject, including politics. The population understood that it was the government’s responsibility to protect and defend those rights.  The brave, patriotic pastors who fought and died for freedom were known as the “Black Robed Regiment.”

How different it is today. Most church leaders to not believe it is their responsibility to address the issues their forefathers found most important.  They make excuses for their lack of speaking out against the progressive agenda that has dominated our political system for many decades.  The war for our freedom was largely won by those early Christian pastors who bravely led the attacks against our enemy, and often paid for that boldness with the loss of their homes, families, and even lives.

Today, it is rare for a church leader to even mention controversial issues such as abortion or homosexual marriage, for fear it might offend someone in the congregation or possibly have the ACLU attack.  The typical church today refuses to engage the culture on controversial issues and is so afraid of creating any negativity that many will not even allow a voter registration table to be set up outside their church sanctuary, let alone provide Christian voter guides.  The result of their decision not to engage the culture or provide information to their congregation when new bills and laws defy biblical truths if that both the church and culture are in decline.  Church leaders have all but lost what should be their responsibility of leading their congregations in a Godly manner in all aspects of their worldly existence.   Consider the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Minority Judges Excoriate Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

Consider the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.  The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, by the narrowest possible margin (5-4) that states must allow same-sex marriage, by claiming Kentucky’s definition of marriage was unconstitutional.  However, the Court’s decision was qualified by its assurance that religious freedom would not be jeopardized.  READ HERE: The Supreme Court’s full decision.  Did Justice Anthony Kennedy really mean what he solemnly intoned on June 26 about the protection of religious liberty?: “The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection. Nevertheless, the first test case failed to provide that protection.  Kentucky’s federal judge, David Bunning, sent Kim Davis to jail for exercising her religious beliefs, when she would not sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples.

Those who issued the minority opinion heaped criticism on the judges who had written the majority opinion for the same-sex marriage decision:

  • Chief Justice John Roberts: “Five lawyers have . . . enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.”. . . “Just who do we think we are?”
  • Justice Antonin Scalla: “They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
  • Justice Clarence Thomas: “This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the t4ext, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic.”
  • Justice Samuel Alito:  “[T]he Constitution simply does not speak to the issue of same-sex marriage.”

The opinions of the above Supreme Court Justices who opposed the majority decisions are largely based on the premise that Supreme Court cannot make low; their obligation is to interpret law.  It appears the Supreme Court has violated the main intent of our nation’s intent for the three branches of government.  They are to be as equal as possible:  a check and balance approach that would avoid one gaining too much power.  There is a valid concern that the judicial branch has grabbed too much power, creating judicial tyranny.  Dr. John Eastman, a constitutional lawyer, stated: “. . . the judiciary has become the most dangerous branch, virtually unchecked in its assertion of power and therefore a serious threat to constitutional government.”  That is a serious allegation that needs to be explored, especially in light of recent court cases.

Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for Nation’s health and Future Success

What can be done to restore the balance of power, that important constitutional check our forefathers provided?  The answer may be to seriously consider the remedy offered by those who wrote our Constitution. Somehow, we have been misled to believe Supreme Court justices cannot be removed, except by their own resignation or death.  Yet, our forefathers did not exclude any justices from impeachment, through words they inserted to prevent “deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature.” Judicial tyranny certainly is one that needs to be excised for our nation’s health and future success.

Andy Schlafly contends we will lose future battles if we don’t act now.  “There will come a time when our right to stand in public and pronounce that we believe in God will be prohibited.  Consider the experience of Tim Tebow who has been criticized for and rejected by football teams for his statement of faith.  There are hundreds of examples of Christians who have been fired from their jobs due to their Christian beliefs.

It is too far-fetched to surmise that there may come a time when religion cannot be taken outside the doors of a church.  In rendering their minority opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges, the justices predicted what would be the outcome of sanctioning gay marriage in every state.   Here it what Justices Roberts, Thomas and cautioned and predicted:

  • Roberts:  “Today’s decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty.
  • Thomas:  “Numerous amici . . . have cautioned the Court that its decision here will ‘have unavoidable and wide-ranging implications for religious liberty.”
  • Alito:  “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. . .[and] exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

The homosexual movement is an example of how a minority group managed to facilitate a reversal of historic public opinion, but when that elevated to the level of allowing biased judges at the Supreme Court level to exceed their authority, it is time for a very close scrutiny of what is and is not acceptable.  This has created a conversation that the time has come to reintroduce the option of impeachment for judges who ignore their oaths.

While everyone agrees we want our Country to progress, we must also be on the alert for the cavities that can destroy it.  We have grown and prospered due to the brave and brilliant who gave us our Republic and Constitution.  Have we forgotten our forefathers’ warnings?

We’re reminded of Benjamin Franklin, who upon exiting the Constitutional Convention was asked what sort of government the delegates had created.  His answer was:  “A republic, if you can keep it.”  The wise men who labored over what type of government would allow our nation to prosper knew human nature.  A healthy government is dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people.  Power corrupts and nations fall when citizens become complacent and politicians forget who and what they swore to protect.

Note: Two featured speakers covering the issue of judicial balnace at Eagle Council XLIV  in St. Louis last weekend were Andy Schlafly and Chief Justice Roy Moore. Andy Schlafly is a conservative lawyer and the fifth of Phyllis Schlafly’s six children. Andy, a former engineer, founded Conservapedia, an alternative to the liberal WikipedaChief Justice Roy Moore is celebrated for his heroic action as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Moore may best remembered for his bold position refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the Alabama Judicial building.  It should be noted in spite of the controversy, Justice Moore was re-elected by an overwhelmingly margin in November of 2012. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

385845224

By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

A very thoughtful article was published by Mark Rhoads at Illinois Review on Thursday, September 17. Rhoads took to task former Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsay Graham for their shallow answers regarding the same-sex marriage decision. Both men reasoned that Obergefell v. Hodges must be regarded as “the law of the land”, because of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) and Article III of the Constitution. Article III defines the judicial branch as such:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof,” and treaties, “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

Court opinions are not included in this Constitutional definition of Article III, notwithstanding that Supreme Court decisions are noted as such at the top of each page of any Supreme Court decision as “Opinion of the Court.” Therefore, a Supreme Court decision all by itself does not become “the law of the land”. A court opinion does not have the same weight as an amendment to the Constitution passed by Congress and ratified by the states, which accordingly affords citizens the right to fight Obergefell v. Hodges by any legal means and at any level possible.
There is good reason to believe that the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges is no more the “Law of the Land” than Dred Scott was immediately after that infamous opinion was issued. It was merely an opinion binding on the specific parties involved–a position articulated by politicians such as Lincoln.  Might Republicans take a lesson from Abraham Lincoln who repudiated the Dred Scott decision in March of 1857 as wrong and declared that it was not binding on the other branches of government or on anyone who was not a party to the involved.  In standing up against the abuse of power by federal courts, Republicans became the majority party.
It’s incumbent on the other two branches of government, and citizens, to stop the judiciary from abusing our Constitution by executing power not granted under the Constitution.  This in no way implies that a president should break laws, only that a president and congress should stand up against judicial supremacy when it has gone awry.  Unfortunately this is a stand that the present administration would never ascribe to and which Republican legislators lack the will and the courage to attempt.
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore and the Gay Marriage Decision
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore’s remarks centered on the gay marriage decision. He lamented the decision of the five unelected lawyers who decided to change the definition of marriage.  Moore referred to the decision “as a revision of the Constitution which robbed people of their freedom to govern self, and where judges reinvented the definition of words when the words are not found in the Constitution.”
According to Justice Moore, our Constitution acknowledges the sovereignty of God and that our religious liberty comes from God.  As realized by the four judges who wrote the minority opinion, the gay marriage ruling would bring the Constitution and God into conflict.  Moore further related how the first mistake made by the five majority opinion judges was their lack of understanding (or denial) of religious liberty as a gift from God.  Said Moore:  “It’s an unalienable right God gave to this nation. George Washington knew there was a God and how God reacted with government. Should we just sit silently while our rights are being taken away, or will we be like Patrick Henry who said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death?”‘?
In speaking about our national anthem, Justice Moore drew attention to how there was more than just one verse to the “Star Spangled Banner.” The 4th verse has special meaning as a reminder that our rights come from God and not from any man or group of men. Listen here to the 4th verse sung by a former marine
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave
 
Forefathers’ Intentions for This Nation

There  are those who argue our forefathers did not intend America to be a Christian nation.  Judging that premise by their decisions and actions, the very least one could derive is that America was to be a nation that believed in and honored God.  For anyone to doubt that, they would have to first explain  why our first public school lessons had biblical verses and/or scriptures throughout every subject.  There had to be a strong Christian presence to explain that prayer opened each official session of government from the federal to city level, and every courthouse had a bible on which a witness first had to hold their hand and swear to tell the truth.   Children in every public school opened the their school day with a prayer.  Our forefathers inscribed  bible verses on our monuments and buildings in Washington D.C., and throughout our land.   Every state constitution begins with a statement acknowledging God.  Our coins have “In God we Trust” , and the vast majority of our citizens identify themselves as Christians.  What we should explore is why and how we allowed a small minority of atheists and liberals to claim our forefathers did not want religion in our public places, when the facts scream otherwise.

How did we lose perspective of the emphasis our forefathers put on honoring God as a people?   Once again much blame can be put on the Supreme Court. On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment by constituting an establishment of religion. In the following year, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the Court disallowed Bible readings and prayer in public schools for similar reasons.  These two landmark Supreme Court decisions have been charged with altering  American civil society and helped usher in  the culture wars that dominate our people and country today. To be asked is if our culture is better or worse for those Court decisions?  For those of us who lived before and after the drastic cultural change, we can testify our nations’ moral standards turned in a tragic direction.  It can only be described as another classic, disastrous example of judicial overreach in which judges’ opinions are interpreted as law. Historical precedence was not even considered by a Court intent on pushing their agenda on our nation.

Our nation came into existence in large part due to church leaders identified as the Black Robed Regiment, but due to Black Robed Justices and the silence of church leaders today,  we see our nation in moral trouble and the church minimized to the point of being inconsequential in regaining what we have lost.  As a nation, citizens must intervene.   We all must demand that our government entertain the Constitutional option of impeachment for judges when they usurp their roles,  violate their oaths, and grab powers our Constitution does not grant them.   Judicial tyranny must cease and a balance of powers restored.  We also must ask our church leaders why they too abandoned their role of protecting our Christian country from its enemies, such as those who ignore our historical religious background.  Both our government and church allowed immoral laws to be enacted, and thus are responsible for allowing immorality to thrive.
 
What Congress can do
Andy Schlafly spoke of possible ways to deal with the abuse of religious freedom as exhibited in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.  Why then has no action been taken in the Republican-controlled House and Senate?    
  • An Article of Impeachment could be filed in Congress against the local federal judge for eastern Kentucky, David Bunning, for the imprisonment of Kim Davis.  Only one congressman (from a safe district) is needed from any state to file the document on the basis that Judge David Bunning exceeded his authority to do so.  This would send a messages to all the justices that Congress is starting to fight back.
  • A bill could be filed in Congress to limit funding for the incarceration of Jill.  In so doing this would encourage other county clerks, holding the same religious conviction as that of Jill, to keep the ball rolling so there are more individuals like Jill Davis.
  • Congress could take the jurisdiction away from the Supreme Courts to rule on further cases involving marriage.
Regarding the final bullet point, in Article III, Section 2:  “…the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction…with such exceptions and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”   Congress can strip the court of its power to rule on marriage, saying that it’s a right reserved to the states or the people by 9th and 10th Amendment.  Although a rarely invoked legislative tool, Cruz certainly knows about it and has referred to it many times in speeches and statements about prodding Congress to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over the issue should the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage.
For over 150 years, the Court held to the historically correct position in interpreting the First Amendment. During this period scant mention was made of Separation of Church and State, until in 1947 the court invented the distorted meaning of the first amendment, utilizing the separation of ‘church and state’ in Everson v. Board of Education. Rulings since 1947 have not reflected a neutrality toward religious denominations but a hostility toward religious thought, which have served to undermine the foundation of not only our moral code but our system of law and justice.

We live in a critical time.  If we wish to be free we must fight against the judicial activism that has become problematic.   A word of caution: Whenever these words are heard, it’s the “law of the land”, consider  that phrase is simply wrong.  The judiciary branch does not establish the “law of the land” under our Constitution.  Doing so is more evidence of judicial tyranny and “we the people” must challenge what is becoming  a dangerous precedent.

Other articles featuring Eagle Council XLIV events in St. Louis, Missouri, September 10-12, 2015:
 
Thorner: Judicial Activism Criticized at Eagle Forum Conference
 
Thorner/O’Neil:  Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for America’s Future

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2015/09/thorneroneil-restoring-judicial-balance-is-essential-for-americas-future.html#more

Nancy Thorner 331 E. Blodgett Ave., Lake Bluff, IL  60044   (847) 295-1035

Bonnie O’Neil   314 Mornng Star, Newport Beach, CA   92660  (949) 645-4450

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thorner/ONeil: Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for America’s future

Gavel-640x424

By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

The erosion of our Religious Liberty through Judicial Supremacy is a major issue receiving increasing attention from a variety of sources.

Religious liberty can be described as an inherent, inalienable, and natural right of mankind. It furthermore includes the right to choose and practice one’s own faith and religious beliefs; freedom from government acts that deny or exclude the rightful and lawful expression and exercise of religious liberty in private or public life; and a guarantee of perfect toleration of religious sentiment.  It is unfortunate that a vocal anti-religious minority has chosen to attack religion and ban it from our public life.

Historically, religion in public places was common.  General Washington, with religious preachers, were the ones who lead Christian men into battle against the cold steel of the dreaded Redcoats.  Through those years, they courageously defended the cause of liberty, believing that the Bible addressed every subject, including politics. The population understood that it was the government’s responsibility to protect and defend those rights.  The brave, patriotic pastors who fought and died for freedom were known as the “Black Robed Regiment.”

How different it is today. Most church leaders to not believe it is their responsibility to address the issues their forefathers found most important.  They make excuses for their lack of speaking out against the progressive agenda that has dominated our political system for many decades.  The war for our freedom was largely won by those early Christian pastors who bravely led the attacks against our enemy, and often paid for that boldness with the loss of their homes, families, and even lives.

Today, it is rare for a church leader to even mention controversial issues such as abortion or homosexual marriage, for fear it might offend someone in the congregation or possibly have the ACLU attack.  The typical church today refuses to engage the culture on controversial issues and is so afraid of creating any negativity that many will not even allow a voter registration table to be set up outside their church sanctuary, let alone provide Christian voter guides.  The result of their decision not to engage the culture or provide information to their congregation when new bills and laws defy biblical truths if that both the church and culture are in decline.  Church leaders have all but lost what should be their responsibility of leading their congregations in a Godly manner in all aspects of their worldly existence.   Consider the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Minority Judges Excoriate Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

Consider the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.  The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, by the narrowest possible margin (5-4) that states must allow same-sex marriage, by claiming Kentucky’s definition of marriage was unconstitutional.  However, the Court’s decision was qualified by its assurance that religious freedom would not be jeopardized.  READ HERE: The Supreme Court’s full decision.  Did Justice Anthony Kennedy really mean what he solemnly intoned on June 26 about the protection of religious liberty?: “The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection. Nevertheless, the first test case failed to provide that protection.  Kentucky’s federal judge, David Bunning, sent Kim Davis to jail for exercising her religious beliefs, when she would not sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples.

Those who issued the minority opinion heaped criticism on the judges who had written the majority opinion for the same-sex marriage decision:

  • Chief Justice John Roberts: “Five lawyers have . . . enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.”. . . “Just who do we think we are?”
  • Justice Antonin Scalla: “They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
  • Justice Clarence Thomas: “This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the t4ext, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic.”
  • Justice Samuel Alito:  “[T]he Constitution simply does not speak to the issue of same-sex marriage.”

The opinions of the above Supreme Court Justices who opposed the majority decisions are largely based on the premise that Supreme Court cannot make low; their obligation is to interpret law.  It appears the Supreme Court has violated the main intent of our nation’s intent for the three branches of government.  They are to be as equal as possible:  a check and balance approach that would avoid one gaining too much power.  There is a valid concern that the judicial branch has grabbed too much power, creating judicial tyranny.  Dr. John Eastman, a constitutional lawyer, stated: “. . . the judiciary has become the most dangerous branch, virtually unchecked in its assertion of power and therefore a serious threat to constitutional government.”  That is a serious allegation that needs to be explored, especially in light of recent court cases.

Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for Nation’s health and Future Success

What can be done to restore the balance of power, that important constitutional check our forefathers provided?  The answer may be to seriously consider the remedy offered by those who wrote our Constitution. Somehow, we have been misled to believe Supreme Court justices cannot be removed, except by their own resignation or death.  Yet, our forefathers did not exclude any justices from impeachment, through words they inserted to prevent “deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature.” Judicial tyranny certainly is one that needs to be excised for our nation’s health and future success.

Andy Schlafly contends we will lose future battles if we don’t act now.  “There will come a time when our right to stand in public and pronounce that we believe in God will be prohibited.  Consider the experience of Tim Tebow who has been criticized for and rejected by football teams for his statement of faith.  There are hundreds of examples of Christians who have been fired from their jobs due to their Christian beliefs.

It is too far-fetched to surmise that there may come a time when religion cannot be taken outside the doors of a church.  In rendering their minority opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges, the justices predicted what would be the outcome of sanctioning gay marriage in every state.   Here it what Justices Roberts, Thomas and cautioned and predicted:

  • Roberts:  “Today’s decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty.
  • Thomas:  “Numerous amici . . . have cautioned the Court that its decision here will ‘have unavoidable and wide-ranging implications for religious liberty.”
  • Alito:  “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. . .[and] exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

The homosexual movement is an example of how a minority group managed to facilitate a reversal of historic public opinion, but when that elevated to the level of allowing biased judges at the Supreme Court level to exceed their authority, it is time for a very close scrutiny of what is and is not acceptable.  This has created a conversation that the time has come to reintroduce the option of impeachment for judges who ignore their oaths.

While everyone agrees we want our Country to progress, we must also be on the alert for the cavities that can destroy it.  We have grown and prospered due to the brave and brilliant who gave us our Republic and Constitution.  Have we forgotten our forefathers’ warnings?

We’re reminded of Benjamin Franklin, who upon exiting the Constitutional Convention was asked what sort of government the delegates had created.  His answer was:  “A republic, if you can keep it.”  The wise men who labored over what type of government would allow our nation to prosper knew human nature.  A healthy government is dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people.  Power corrupts and nations fall when citizens become complacent and politicians forget who and what they swore to protect.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Community-school

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

We should have known America was in for major changes when Michelle Obama stated: “We are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.” A few months later, Barack confirmed by stating: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Oh, yes, there were warnings as to their plans, but who thought they had meant to change the very core of who we are as a people?

Our first major clues of the changes our president had in mind were evident in those he chose for his cabinet. Victor Davis Hanson mentioned some of Obama’s questionable liberal choices in an article that described the “worst of the worst.” However, he missed Arnie Duncan, Secretary of Education, who ushered in the controversial Common Core Standards. See here for Part 1.

Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, is now pressing forward to go beyond the controversial Common Core.  Duncan has a new plan for America’s children as outlined under S1787, which aims to amend Title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a full-service community schools grant program, specifically for those who are our most vulnerable children. This is no surprise considering Duncan has the support of President Obama who shares his liberal ideas. Duncan’s newest education plan is a huge leap towards fulfilling his radical goals, one of which is seen in this statement:

“…We have pursued a cradle-to-career education agenda, from early childhood programs through post-secondary graduation.  We have to learn to think very differently about time. I think our school day is too short.  I think our school week is too short.  I think our school year is too short.”

Diane Ravitch presents this devastating critique of Arne Duncan assigning him an F grade.  Ravitch believes it will take years to recover from the damage that Arne Duncan’s policies have inflicted on public education.

One Step at a Time Toward Federal Control

Secretary Duncan would prefer our children spend up to 12 hours a day at school and cut out most summer vacation time.  He has even discussed having public boarding schools, although it is unclear who will pay for such an expense. Suzanne Hammer explained Duncan’s philosophy in this statement:

“With this administration, the mantra of “the end justifies the means” governs these officials’ actions.  If the end is to have more control over the indoctrination of children by keeping them away from parents longer, the administration feels justified in using whatever steps are necessary to do so.  It seems the government is willing to convert and expand government controlled schools into public boarding schools, at taxpayer expense.”

Some would claim that Hammer’s opinion is outrageous, and such a plan will never happen?  Well, maybe not immediately, but it is possible when its  promoters take one step at a time. Common Core acquainted the public with a break from education being the total responsibility of the state, by first introducing and then promoting it at the federal level.  The end result was a definite reduction of local control.

We also know several states have begun increasing student school time.  President Obamas’ former Chief of Staff and Secretary Duncan’s friend, Chicago Mayor Rham Emanuel, increased public school hours in Illinois. Teachers were required to work 58 hour weeks.  However, problems occurred when teachers began complaining about the extra hours and excessive work load.  Teacher unions demanded raising salaries and/or hiring part time teachers.  Assessing the high financial costs of increasing school hours became a significant issue, as estimates indicated the need for hundreds of millions in funding, depending upon the specific number of increased hours.  Ideas as to how to procure the extra financing were discussed, but the possibility of raising the amount deemed necessary within the state proved difficult.

Other states bought into the concept of longer school hours and additional school days, and they too realized the need for additional funding.  It became obvious in order to have longer hours and more school days, additional financing would be necessary from federal sources.  Perhaps the additional funding requirements associated with adapting to Common Core, had already caused a funding crisis in their schools, which might help explain why Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown introduced S.1787:  Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2015.

As we look at S1787, which authorizes federal funding for “Community Schools” and knowing plans for these schools are already in place, we all need to take a closer look at the escalating problem of federal intervention into our schools.  It might be prudent to take another close look at dismantling the federal Department of Education.

Alex Newman in his August 12, 2015 article states:  “Obama’s ‘Community Schools’ program aims to replace parents.”  He provides facts highly critical of Obama’s and Duncan’s project, and makes it clear that children ensnared by these schools can spend virtually most of the day confined to classrooms.

Duncan’s selling point is that students will benefit by all of the ’services’ the school will provide.  The end result is that “Community Schools”, with long hours and special “services”, will make a child’s family irrelevant.”  Some say, “of course, that is one of the program’s major goals.”

What to Expect When Government Intrudes Upon Parental Rights

When schools go way beyond their role of providing a strong academic education and instead assume responsibilities traditionally expected of parents, it could be described as welfare on steroids. It is an unhealthy intrusion upon parental rights, with the possibility of families becoming addicted to another federal government welfare program.  For low income families, a school that provides for their child’s every need from academics to health care; supplying students with every meal and choosing their entertainment in the evening hours is tempting.

However, is it really beneficial to the health of our country to allow government to become responsible for raising our children?  Is it prudent to force students to be at school the whole day? The apologists for this extreme system claim it will keep “at risk” kids off the streets and have them in a safe environment.  However, what is the ultimate impact on children to have teachers as their custodians and psychologists hearing their problems?  Parents are not perfect, but they are more likely to offer a more authentic love and interest in their child than paid strangers.

Critics might ask what we recommend to solve the problem of crime in the most vulnerable cities, as they suggest a lack of education can be part of the problem. The answer is that America has endured far more difficult hardships and financial times than anything experienced in our lifetime. Previous generations not only survived hard times, they did so without government assistance. The  difficulties caused them and America to grow stronger. Family, neighbors and churches helped those in need, and that system worked best, because it was temporary assistance born out of a personal relationship with someone going through hard times.

The recipients were greatly appreciative of those who helped them, and the provider felt good about the help offered. It was a far better system than the “forced” system today. Economically, having government as the facilitator, automatically cuts into funds before reaching the needy. Even more problematic is that after years of accepting welfare, recipients have begun to  feel entitled to the steady support, and tax payers resent paying the taxes, without the reward of knowing or seeing the recipient helped. When individuals give on a one to one basis, they know who is deserving of assistance … and who is not.  The personal welfare system proved effective and also  benefited children who learned the reward of personal giving and the feeling of  gratitude when their family was helped.   Children learned life changing lessons, such as the value of a good education, because that translated into well paying jobs.

Big Government and Education Not Compatible

Proof that the government cannot solve people’s financial situations is the “War on Poverty”, in which government has already invested  fifty years of time and a whopping $22 trillion cost to taxpayers.  The result has been a colossal failure:  poverty actually increased.  The answer to prosperity is that people need to be empowered, not enslaved by easy money from the government.   Children learn life lessons best through experiences, both good and bad.

If S1787 becomes law, parents will become increasingly irrelevant over time.  Government must have more faith in the public, and parents need to have more pride and confidence in themselves.  It is best when children are taught and raised by parents, with minimal intrusion from our government, otherwise we will appear more like a socialist state than citizens living in the land of the “free and the brave”.    America  became great through the efforts of  self-sufficient, proud, caring, and capable people. It is those attributes that will most benefit our families and successfully lead us into the future.  Let us never forget President Reagan’s famous quote:  “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Part 1: http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2015/09/thorneroneil-if-common-core-is-extremely-troubling-beware-of-s1787-part-1.html#more

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Comments

The Heartland Institute Grand Opening in Arlington Heights, Part

Part 1 set the stage for The Heartland Institute’s Grand Opening celebration in their new building in Arlington Heights August 21 and 22. Supporters and donors were able to sit in for a day of presentations on that first day explaining what the people at Heartland do, how they do it, why, and how effective they’ve been in the organization’s 31 years.

Following are several highlights gleaned from each of the five one-half hour morning panel sessions:

9:30 a.m. “Climate Change: Science, Politics, and Economics”

Panel: Jay Lehr, science director and senior fellow, motivational speaker, scientist, and author; and H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor ofEnvironment and Climate News.

  • Heartland Institute is credited with helping two states rescind their energy mandates for renewable energy. Renewable energy standards are being reconsidered as states question mandates, fret over costs.
  • Lehr opened the session by explaining to the group that they should not buy into the bad news on climate change fed the public by the media, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Left. He explained that each year he gives presentations on climate change to regular audiences who do not buy at all into the idea that man has a significant impact on the earth’s climate. He explained that we are winning the war with the people.
  • Lehr also discussed the Clean Power Plan launched by EPA which will have a severe impact on the poor – who spend 20 cents of every dollar on energy, while the middle class only spends 5 cents of each dollar on energy.
  • Lehr went on to say that EPA’s pollution of the Animus River in Colorado was proof positive of why we must phase out EPA handing over all their responsibilities to a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Lehr’s plan to get rid of the EPA was distributed to the audience.

10:00 a.m. “Transforming Education: Choice, Technology, and Unions”

Panel: Heather Kays, managing editor of School Reform News; Lennie Jarrett, project manager for school reform projects; and Bruno Behrend, senior fellow.

  • Common Core is sold under the guise of measurement and testing. The idea of a single curriculum is a horrible idea.
  • Vouchers and charter schools are the way to go. Money should follow the children for parents to use as they wish.
  • In the 21st century, there is no reason to save the 20th century education system. Kahn Academy, and others, are leading the world to an on-line learning future.
  • Any gains are lost within two or three years in the Head Start program. It serves as a way for indoctrination to begin earlier.

10:30 a.m. “Health Care: Repealing and Replacing Obamacare”

Panel: Ken Artz, managing editor of “Health Care News”; and Justin Haskins, editor and managing director, Consumer Power Report. Herb Walberg was cited for his books on education. Those with Joe.  Links must be added. Also will add about Walberg as heads of Heartland’s board.

  • Ken Artz is the newest member of Heartland’s team of managing editors, heading up Health Care News.
  • Heartland has distributed 125,000 copies of The Obamacare Disaster by Peter Ferrara.
  • Obamacare is an overreach and death by a million regulations.
  • The Cadillac tax beginning in 2018 is an excise tax on healthcare plans.
  • Keep eye on the decoupling or defunding state-based agencies. Possible “uberization” (term devised from Uber Technologies, Inc.) of healthcare? Call up a doctor on a service and they come for $99.00.
  • A litmus test is in order for Republican candidates to repeal Obamacare. Voters have a right to be angry.
  • Obamacare as a way station on the way to a single payer system.

11:00 a.m. “Budget and Taxes”

Panel: Peter Ferrara, senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy; Logan Pike, state government relations manager, and Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of Budget & Tax News.

  • Sin taxes or excise taxes on (sugar, e-cigarettes, soda, etc.) described as “a cash grab” The result: people just accept higher prices or buy goods where they are not taxed.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) praised as a program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to assist families with children under age 18, helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency.
  • Taxpayers today are paying the poorest people in America a trillion dollars a year not to work through welfare payments. And so that is what they are doing in response, which is the root cause of poverty. Elected legislators have reasons for not wanting to solve the problem.
  • What about taking away the ability of the federal government to borrow money?
  • What about tying public assistance with showing up to work?

11:30 a.m. “The Case for Constitutional Reform”

Panel: Gene Koprowski, director of marketing and Peter Ferrara, senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy.

  • Heartland announced the August 26 launch of its Center on Constitutional Reform, with an event at the Marriott City Center in Dallas, Texas. The launch event featured former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), former U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-FL), and Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast.
  • Heartland’s new Center for Constitutional Reform was created to highlight individuals and organizations working to find solutions to the nation’s constitutional problems. It will not endorse one particular path to constitutional reform, seeking instead to support and seek constructive debate on all efforts to restore constitutional order.
  • Kyle Maichle is project manager for the new center. As state legislatures across the nation are considering constitutional reform measures as a solution to stop Washington, DC’s endless thirst for power, Article V conventions, nullification, and state compact agreements are solutions lawmakers can introduce “to rein in the federal government.”
  • Constitutional Reform is needed because “America is facing a constitutional crisis. Limits on the size and power of the national government intended by the Founding Fathers and placed in the Constitution have been violated repeatedly and with devastating consequences. The national government has grown to the point that it is now a clear and present danger to American life, liberty, and happiness.”
  • Talk show host and author Mark Levin has championed the idea of holding a modern-day Constitutional convention in his book, The Liberty Amendments, but few took the possibility of it actually happening seriously.
  • Our Framers knew that we would need Article V to prevent extremists from taking over our country. The role of Heartland is to bring groups together to work for constitutional reform.

Keynote address – Congressman Randy Hultgren, 14th District of Illinois

After a lunch break, at which the Keynote address was given by Congressman Randy Hultgren representing the 14th District of Illinois (see here a separate account of Hultgren’s remarks), an amazing group of Heartland in-house staff members directly responsible for Research, Communications, Government Relations, Marketing, and Development spoke about their department’s role in the overall day-to-day operation of The Heartland Institute. Further information about each of the five day-to-day work groups within Heartland can be found by goggling Heartland’s home site, https://www.heartland.org/ .

 Unique to The Heartland Institute

It was interesting to hear from Development personnel that Heartland is getting lots of bang for the bucks it has at its disposal to spend. With a budget of $7 million, Heartland has more influence than do think tanks having budgets ten times its size.

In light of Heartland’s Rome success in May, which countered Pope Francis on Global Warming, Heartland’s Communication Department reported that another trip is being planned for the COP21 event scheduled to take place in Paris from Nov. 30 – December 11. The stakes are high, and they spell destruction and havoc for this nation’s economy and well-being should the aim of the COP21 event be reached.   For the first time, “a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us [the U.S.] to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.

The Marketing Department is a new full-time department at The Heartland Institute.  Started just six months ago, it’s a unique addition at Heartland.  Most think tanks don’t have in place an operating, full-time Marketing Department.

President Joseph Bast concluded the day with remarks explaining how effectively Heartland’s five departments work together to change policy.  Special recognition was given to the new Marketing Department, which has enabled Heartland to reach many groups and individuals through the printed, informational material it sends out.

Bast cited Wealth of a Nations by Adam Smith, published in 1776, as a breakthrough in thinking that coincided with thebirth of our nation by our Founding Fathers in 1776. Adam Smith called it the “Great Society” — when doing good in the world came to represent a moral act. As Bast explained, a moral code is consistent with doing well in the world. The more free individuals and nations are, the wealthier they become.

As with every organization, donations are important – especially so for The Heartland Institute.  Bast noted there are still naming opportunities at Heartland’s new Freedom Center in Arlington Heights for those who wish to leave a lasting legacy.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the August 22 Saturday picnic, an open house for Heartland’s new neighbors in Arlington Heights. One person who was able to attend was Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes, who cut the green ribbon officially opening the building to the public. From all reports, it was a smashing success.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Carly-fiorina

By Nancy Thorner – 

Carly Fiorina is on the rise according to the polls. She is even third in Iowa if you believe the Monmouth University poll of August 31, 2015, ahead of people like Scott Walker and Ted Cruz who have been drawing big crowds and organizing there for months. After the recent “debate” on Fox News, there has been a concerted effort by media friendly to the Republican establishment to showcase Carly Fiorina as some Republican Female Heart Throb, the perfect contrast to Hillary. This has worked to get her into prime time for the coming CNN debate, but in my opinion the truth remains that she is very much an Establishment Republican like Jeb Bush or John Kasich or Marco Rubio—and just as bad a candidate.

Carly’s biggest claim to fame before entering politics was her supposed success running big corporations. But her first major company was ruined by questionable customer financing that blew up after she parlayed her “success” into a bigger job. Then she made a mess running Hewlett Packard.  Like she did at Lucent, Fiorina cut corners at HP to make money – like supplying the Iranian Mullahs with printers through a subsidiary company in Dubai, despite the fact that a trade embargo had been in place against the Iranian regime since 1997.  Is it any wonder Carly hasn’t had a major corporate job since and why she went into politics instead?

While Carly likes to paint herself as an outsider, she worked for John McCain in 2008.  As a McCain spokesman, Carly defended the 2008 Wall Street bailout known as “TARP.” In 2012 Carly’s allegiance went to Mitt Romney.  Having endorsed Romney just before the critical early primaries, Carly went on to co-chair Mitt Romney’s California campaign.

In between the 2008 and 2012 campaigns for McCain and Romney, respectively, Carly ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. She was for Common Core and with Jeb’s position on immigration in her 2010 Senate run. Check this article that details 21 other major problems with Carly from a conservative/ethical perspective when she ran for U.S. Senate in 2010.

Carly Fiorina supports “The Dream Act” and supported Man-made Global Warming when she worked for McCain in 2008, along with Carbon Tax/Trading proposals.

As Huffington Post points out, Carly was still taking global warming seriously as recently as recently as February 2015 when she said:

“I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE ENTIRE SCIENCE. THERE IS A LOT OF CONSENSUS AMONG SCIENTISTS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, THAT HUMAN ACTIVITY CONTRIBUTES…”

Then there is Carly’s attack on Ted Cruz’ stand against Obama’s budget in 2013 and her praise of Muslim “civilization” after 9/11. Carly was also relieved when the Baltimore Cops were charged with murder in the recent riots in the protests that  followed Freddie Gray’s arrest, hospitalization and subsequent death in police custody.

Fiorina was a “fan” of Hillary before her recent conversion to female Republican attack dog.  She certainly didn’t have any trouble cavorting with the Clintons and their enablers in the past.

The following quotes from Florina appeared in a “National Review” article of May 5, 2015 by Jim Geraghty, “How Carly Fiorina managed and advised the ‘poobahs’ at Langley”:

“We [HP] did business in Russia, and we had employees in Russia…Hewlett-Packard has been at the center of a lot of change in our 62-year history. . .  “But President Putin was elected president in the first democratic transition in Russia in 1,000 years.”

Wasn’t KGB thug Putin “elected” by jailing/stifling free speech of opponents, Carly?

The National Review apparently thinks it just wonderful Carly worked with the CIA even while she was supposed to be managing Hewlett Packard—maybe that is one reason the company did so poorly under her reign.

It’s obvious the next President will have to make sure all the intelligence agencies from the CIA to the NSA don’t continue to spy on Americans without due process of law (a court order on probable cause of a crime). Can we trust the Presidency to someone who has been so servile to foreign despots in Russia, Iran/the Muslim world and so friendly to our rogue intelligence agencies?

When conservatives have come under heavy attack, as recently when the Kentucky County Clerk bravely stood for religious freedom, Carly is nowhere to be found.  Radio talk show host, Mark Levin, in his immediate push back of Carly for having sided against Kentucky Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, for refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay couples, argued that Fiorina and conservatives should rally around Davis and condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision.  For isn’t this what Democrats do when a decision goes against them? Levin further stated:

“If she were of the left and it was a different circumstance they’d be rallying around her and so would the media.” Levin further remarked, “If the clerk were told you cannot issue a marriage certificate if there are different races,” he asked, would she “be told ‘do your job or quit?’”

The only two Republican candidates not to support Kim Davis were Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The Fiorina mentality would have condemned Rosa Parks, too. No wonder Fiorina was more eager to make money than standing up for Christians and others who have suffered under the Mullahs. Obeying our D.C. overlords seems to be the politically correct thing to do these days.  For aren’t the D.C. overlords only protecting civilization, just like the Ottoman Sultans did of old!

Yes, Fiorina was pro-life when she ran for the U.S. Senate, and that wasn’t popular with the local party big-wigs. But she couldn’t have had a serious run for President as a Republican had she taken a pro-choice stance.  Except for the Trans-Pacific trade deal, on issue after issue Carly has rigidly toed the Republican Establishment line.  Except for Donald Trump, no other major candidate has done less for conservative values in the past than Carly Fiorina, but unlike Trump, Carly doesn’t really have a successful business track record, of which the Democrats would love to pound home. If you thought Bain Capital was an albatross around the neck of Romney, even Fortune magazine, hardly an anti-business publication, knows she was a lousy CEO.

Fiorina is hoping that her lack of a voting record, her well scripted answers to questions, her constant attacks on Hillary and being a female “corporate leader” will fool voters into thinking she is some sort of “change” from the present “Washington Cartel”, as Ted Cruz puts it. There are plenty of female Republican governors and senators if the establishment was seriously considering a woman to run for President or Vice President. Fiorina is only there to split the conservative vote and endorse the anointed “moderate” when the time comes for the establishment to get behind one candidate.

In the interim, no one–moderate or conservative–should waste a single dollar to elevate Carly’s status to that of a serious candidate, so that she might fulfill what seems to be her role in helping an establishment candidate win the Republican nomination when that time presents itself.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Header-image-whoweworkwith-lawenforcement

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

With the tragic deaths of two newscasters at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee on Wednesday, August 26 come the predictable calls for tighter gun control and keeping guns out the hands of “crazy” people. In no case, however, do the proposed solutions bear any relationship the crime itself. According to the media and progressive politicians, we have a “crime problem” and a “gun problem.”

CNN”s Don Lemon, in interviewing Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Jim Gilmore the day after the horrific Roanoke, Virginia shooting, prompted both candidates to rethink their positions.  Talking to Ben Carson, Don Lemon demanded:  “After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?”  Carson responded that guns are not at fault, rather criminals who have no regard for others, and that owning firearms is a Constitutional right.

Both ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS “This Morning” on Thursday, August 27 used the shooting death of the two journalists in Roanoke, Virginia to highlight gun control.  GMA co-host Robin Roberts talked to the boyfriend of slain reporter Alison Parker and lectured, “…When something like this happens, the conversation turns to gun control.”

Also on Thursday, August 27 the CBS Evening News seized on the deadly shooting of two local news reporters in Roanoke, Virginia to promote the idea that gun control should be treated like “a public health issue” akin to seat belts, airbags, and anti-smoking campaigns. In a tease early on in the program, fill-in anchor Maurice DuBois explained that“[s]ome public health officials say gun violence, just like car accidents and smoking-related illnesses can be prevented or at least reduced.”

Accuracy of NICS data base?

Among the proposals to stem gun violence are the elimination of background check loopholes (e.g., gun shows and private sales).  However, the shooter in Virginia bought his firearms at a local dealer, and passed the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)  He had not been convicted of any serious crime, was not a fugitive or under indictment, nor had he been committed to involuntary confinement or treatment for mental disorder. He was good to go, as far as the law was concerned.

The NICS data base is usually up to date on felony convictions and indictments. It is less accurate on orders of protection, and highly inaccurate on adjudication for mental disorders. The last is due to negligence on the part of states and courts to report these issues for a variety of reasons. Incompetence, among public officials, is not uncommon, nor is it a crime.

How far do we go in attempting to predict future behavior? What signs are sufficient to deny Constitutional rights to individuals before a crime has been committed? Are the 4the and 5th amendments any more important than the 1st and 2nd in imparting restraints on government control?

Psychological Screening Shows Dodgy Results

Progressives want to expand the types of mental disorders which would prevent a person from buying a firearm beyond the usual criteria of presenting a danger to themselves or others, subject to court proceeding. Unilateral opinions of mental health professionals would suffice. President Obama has ordered the Veterans Administration and Medicare to report patients to NICS who have difficulty managing their personal affairs, including financial issues and even mobility problems.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times in July of this year, the Obama administration even wants to keep people from collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs.

Better psychological screening to keep guns from the hands of “dangerous” people would require that HIPPA restraints be loosened. This ignores the fact that even adjudicated commitments are not consistently reported to the NICS background check system. The shooters at Aurora, CO, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and others legally purchased firearms due to this lapse. Now we see that 60% of the studies for evaluating patients are falsified.

As reported by NBC News, “Psychology Studies Show Dodgy Results.”  According to Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who led the project: “Any one study is not going to be the last word. Each individual study has some evidence. It contributes some information toward a conclusion. But the real conclusion, when you can say confidently that something is true or false, is based on an accumulation of evidence over many studies.”

Crazy people are out there.  The sad fact is that most criminal acts are easier to predict in hindsight than foresight. There is no reliable predictor of criminal acts of this nature even with better psychological screening.

Forensic Testing not Infallible

Psychology is not the only offender in this regard. Recent articles show how forensic evidence such as hair, bite marks, arson and even DNA comparisons have resulted in many faulty convictions. The field of Forensic Science has opened a lot of doors for the world of criminal investigation. While some of the methods used in forensic testing may seem infallible, a recent study on the feeding habits of vultures revealed the shocking truth about what everyone thought was a universal scale of identification. Now, a woman’s skeleton picked clean by vultures demonstrates how horribly inaccurate forensic science can be.

The Innocence Project is a nationwide legal network that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through DNA testing. Experts agree that the Innocence Project has changed the justice system for the better, both by freeing the innocent and by encouraging scrutiny of all types of evidence presented in the courtroom. The article relates how Steven Barnes served more than 19 years in prison before DNA technology could be brought to bear on his case. In 2008, a test of short tandem repeats on the Y chromosomes of sperm found on the victim showed that Barnes wasn’t a match.

But do we have a “gun problem?” In the last month several “mass homicides” were committed using knives and blunt instruments. Most recently, in Louisiana, a police officer was murdered with his own weapon while investigating a domestic incident where three family members were murdered with a knife. In California, five family members met the same fate. In China and Japan, where no private citizens are allowed to have guns, knives are the weapon of choice, and mass murders are no less common than in the United States (just less publicized). In the Middle East, explosives and fire kill hundreds of innocent people each month. The Prime Minister of Sweden was killed with an “unavailable” handgun. Criminals have no problem obtaining guns, illegally, and kill nearly 30 people a day with them in the U.S. On the other hand, about once a day an ordinary citizen uses a firearm to successfully defend themselves against a criminal assault, and hundreds more go unreported if no shots are fired.

Preventive Intervention Curtails Liberty

The real danger of “preventive intervention” is to our liberty, as seen in the actions of the VA and Medicare. Dictators routinely use “preventive” measures to abuse or murder their subjects, and mental disorders are frequently used as the excuse. It is also used to stifle dissent. The producer of “Obama’s America”, Harvard graduate Dinesh D’Souza, was convicted of a minor election contribution offense and sentenced to two years of confinement. On release, the Judge compelled him to undergo 5 more years of mental evaluation. And according to Hillary Clinton, those opposed to abortion are “terrorists” and those in opposition to the Iran Treaty are pegged as “warmongers.”

Laws only inhibit honest people. The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  Obama’s gun control agenda has failed in Congress, not because of NRA influence, but because similar measures haven’t worked in the past, and bear no relationship to the problems they seek to address. The defining word is “control.”  “Gun” is just an adjective in this context.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Header-image-whoweworkwith-lawenforcement

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

With the tragic deaths of two newscasters at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee on Wednesday, August 26 come the predictable calls for tighter gun control and keeping guns out the hands of “crazy” people. In no case, however, do the proposed solutions bear any relationship the crime itself. According to the media and progressive politicians, we have a “crime problem” and a “gun problem.”

 

CNN”s Don Lemon, in interviewing Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Jim Gilmore the day after the horrific Roanoke, Virginia shooting, prompted both candidates to rethink their positions.  Talking to Ben Carson, Don Lemon demanded:  “After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?”  Carson responded that guns are not at fault, rather criminals who have no regard for others, and that owning firearms is a Constitutional right.

 

Both ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS “This Morning” on Thursday, August 27 used the shooting death of the two journalists in Roanoke, Virginia to highlight gun control.  GMA co-host Robin Roberts talked to the boyfriend of slain reporter Alison Parker and lectured, “…When something like this happens, the conversation turns to gun control.”  

 

Also on Thursday, August 27 the CBS Evening News seized on the deadly shooting of two local news reporters in Roanoke, Virginia to promote the idea that gun control should be treated like “a public health issue” akin to seat belts, airbags, and anti-smoking campaigns. In a tease early on in the program, fill-in anchor Maurice DuBois explained that“[s]ome public health officials say gun violence, just like car accidents and smoking-related illnesses can be prevented or at least reduced.”

 

Accuracy of NICS data base?

 

Among the proposals to stem gun violence are the elimination of background check loopholes (e.g., gun shows and private sales).  However, the shooter in Virginia bought his firearms at a local dealer, and passed the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)  He had not been convicted of any serious crime, was not a fugitive or under indictment, nor had he been committed to involuntary confinement or treatment for mental disorder. He was good to go, as far as the law was concerned.

The NICS data base is usually up to date on felony convictions and indictments. It is less accurate on orders of protection, and highly inaccurate on adjudication for mental disorders. The last is due to negligence on the part of states and courts to report these issues for a variety of reasons. Incompetence, among public officials, is not uncommon, nor is it a crime.

 

How far do we go in attempting to predict future behavior? What signs are sufficient to deny Constitutional rights to individuals before a crime has been committed? Are the 4the and 5th amendments any more important than the 1st and 2nd in imparting restraints on government control?

 

Psychological Screening Shows Dodgy Results

 

Progressives want to expand the types of mental disorders which would prevent a person from buying a firearm beyond the usual criteria of presenting a danger to themselves or others, subject to court proceeding. Unilateral opinions of mental health professionals would suffice. President Obama has ordered the Veterans Administration and Medicare to report patients to NICS who have difficulty managing their personal affairs, including financial issues and even mobility problems.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times in July of this year, the Obama administration even wants to keep people from collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs.  

 

Better psychological screening to keep guns from the hands of “dangerous” people would require that HIPPA restraints be loosened. This ignores the fact that even adjudicated commitments are not consistently reported to the NICS background check system. The shooters at Aurora, CO, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and others legally purchased firearms due to this lapse. Now we see that 60% of the studies for evaluating patients are falsified. 

 

As reported by NBC News, “Psychology Studies Show Dodgy Results.”  According to Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who led the project: “Any one study is not going to be the last word. Each individual study has some evidence. It contributes some information toward a conclusion. But the real conclusion, when you can say confidently that something is true or false, is based on an accumulation of evidence over many studies.”

 

Crazy people are out there.  The sad fact is that most criminal acts are easier to predict in hindsight than foresight. There is no reliable predictor of criminal acts of this nature even with better psychological screening. 

 

Forensic Testing not Infallible

 

Psychology is not the only offender in this regard. Recent articles show how forensic evidence such as hair, bite marks, arson and even DNA comparisons have resulted in many faulty convictions. The field of Forensic Science has opened a lot of doors for the world of criminal investigation. While some of the methods used in forensic testing may seem infallible, a recent study on the feeding habits of vultures revealed the shocking truth about what everyone thought was a universal scale of identification. Now, a woman’s skeleton picked clean by vultures demonstrates how horribly inaccurate forensic science can be.  

 

The Innocence Project is a nationwide legal network that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through DNA testing. Experts agree that the Innocence Project has changed the justice system for the better, both by freeing the innocent and by encouraging scrutiny of all types of evidence presented in the courtroom. The article relates how Steven Barnes served more than 19 years in prison before DNA technology could be brought to bear on his case. In 2008, a test of short tandem repeats on the Y chromosomes of sperm found on the victim showed that Barnes wasn’t a match. 

 

But do we have a “gun problem?” In the last month several “mass homicides” were committed using knives and blunt instruments. Most recently, in Louisiana, a police officer was murdered with his own weapon while investigating a domestic incident where three family members were murdered with a knife. In California, five family members met the same fate. In China and Japan, where no private citizens are allowed to have guns, knives are the weapon of choice, and mass murders are no less common than in the United States (just less publicized). In the Middle East, explosives and fire kill hundreds of innocent people each month. The Prime Minister of Sweden was killed with an “unavailable” handgun. Criminals have no problem obtaining guns, illegally, and kill nearly 30 people a day with them in the U.S. On the other hand, about once a day an ordinary citizen uses a firearm to successfully defend themselves against a criminal assault, and hundreds more go unreported if no shots are fired.

 

Preventive Intervention Curtails Liberty

 

The real danger of “preventive intervention” is to our liberty, as seen in the actions of the VA and Medicare. Dictators routinely use “preventive” measures to abuse or murder their subjects, and mental disorders are frequently used as the excuse. It is also used to stifle dissent. The producer of “Obama’s America”, Harvard graduate Dinesh D’Souza, was convicted of a minor election contribution offense and sentenced to two years of confinement. On release, the Judge compelled him to undergo 5 more years of mental evaluation. And according to Hillary Clinton, those opposed to abortion are “terrorists” and those in opposition to the Iran Treaty are pegged as “warmongers.”

 

Laws only inhibit honest people. The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  Obama’s gun control agenda has failed in Congress, not because of NRA influence, but because similar measures haven’t worked in the past, and bear no relationship to the problems they seek to address. The defining word is “control.”  “Gun” is just an adjective in this context.