Friday, February 26, 2016 By Nancy Thorner & Elvira Hasty –  As conservative Republicans and devout Christians, we support and endorse Donald J. Trump for President. Our views on Trump ha…

Source: Thorner/Hasty: Why conservatives and Christians can support Trump

Friday, February 26, 2016

150616192218-donald-trump-presidential-announcement-supercut-tsr-vo-00000002-large-169

By Nancy Thorner & Elvira Hasty – 

As conservative Republicans and devout Christians, we support and endorse Donald J. Trump for President. Our views on Trump have changed much in the past eight months.  We were never one of his fans; never watched “The Apprentice” and only occasionally watched him on some news shows.  His impact on us, whether liking or disliking the man, was more like neutral, having never approved of Trump entering the already crowded race. 

After the original excitement by his followers, we decided to add Donald Trump to our vetting process. And, yes, both of us vet candidates.  We followed up voting records of politicians and do as much research as possible from different internet sources, never relying on the TV or newspaper media because of their bias.  And, of course, we rely on prayer for the Lord to guide us along the right path.  Although God has given mankind the gift of discernment, but with no instructions, it is at times difficult to know how best to use it. The answer is that God had also given mankind a brain that could think, research, and find facts; in other words, we could look up and discern facts.

Through research, we discovered many surprising things about Donald Trump.

He received an excellent education having graduated from Wharton School of Business with a degree in Economics. Donald’s father taught him about hard work, making Donald learn the trade on construction sites where he worked right alongside with blue collar workers. It impressed us that Mr. Trump passed this on to his children.  They learned the lesson well, and today his three grown children are highly educated, eloquent, polite, humble, hard-working, family-oriented, and well-adjusted individuals. They were raised by billionaire parents in New York City, and yet not one of them has ever been involved in any scandal. Donald Trump and his children have never used drugs; do not drink alcohol and do not smoke.

We have also been impressed by Mr. Trump’s work ethics, by his passion for his business, and his fair treatment of his employees. He has been able to create thousands of good jobs that provide higher standard of living for many American families, who, in turn, pay the taxes and invest in goods and services that fuel our economy. That is how capitalism should work!

Trump’s personal life enters the fray 

Despite Trump’s three marriages both of his ex-wives are on friendly terms with him; his first wife, Ivana, supports his candidacy and speaks well of him. He married Melania in the Presbyterian Church which allows divorce and re-marriage. Donald Trump is also a compassionate person. He has given money to several worthy charities and has helped many people in need without publicizing his good works. Some years ago he helped a family in California who needed to fly their young son to New York for medical assistance but no airline would take him because of all the equipment, including oxygen tank, that needed to go with him. Once Trump heard about it, he sent his private plane to pick up the child and his family and bring them to NYC at no cost.

It is insulting when “pious” people treat Mr. Trump as a willful sinner and when the elitist media finds him vulgar. Have these “pious” people read the Bible?  Do they not know what Jesus said about judging? What does morality mean to them? Donald Trump is fighting against the worst immoralities we face in the world today that are akin to evil:  Islamic terrorist savages; cheating our American workers of good jobs; loss of our sovereignty and freedoms; hatred for our law enforcement; and mistreatment of our veterans.  Even so the elitist media seems much more preoccupied with “tone” and “vulgar” language than with the real dangers we face. Hypocrites!   And Christians should never forget that God chose sinners like Abraham and David (adultery) to lead His works; just as Jesus later chose Peter and Paul to spread His evangelical message.

Biased reporting

As for voters who feel most strongly about social issues, Donald Trump has consistently said he is pro-life. Just the other evening when asked about Planned Parenthood, Trump said that despite good works that it can do for women’s health, if Planned Parenthood continues with abortions he would defund the organization.

The media has even lied about Trump’s sister being appointed judge in NY because “she’s a liberal”, which she is not. The truth is she was first appointed by Ronald Reagan. According to Wikepedia:

Maryanne Barry (née Trump, formerly Desmond; born April 5, 1937) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Barry was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 14, 1983, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  A Republican, Barry was nominated to be a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Bill Clinton on June 17, 1999, to replace H. Lee Sarokin, who had retired in 1996. 

Why did Maryanne Barry’s nomination happen under President Clinton, and not that of President Reagan who had first nominated her?  President Clinton in 1998 had nominated Robert Raymar to the seat, but that nomination was never given a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Raymar’s nomination expired at the end of that year. Clinton chose not to renominate Raymar to the Third Circuit seat during the next congressional term, and elected instead to nominate Barry. Barry was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on September 13, 1999, and received her commission on September 22, 1999.

Three reasons to support Trump

This nation is now at a point of no return.  Americans need to vote smart, with logic and not emotion, remembering that “We the People” are not choosing a Saint, a Pope or a Nobel Prize winner.  What is needed is a common sense Leader!  

Listed below are three very important reasons why Thorner and Hasty, along with many Americans, have chosen to support Donald J. Trump for president:

  1. National Security/Defense.
  2. Islamic terrorism and expansion of Caliphate.
  3. Economy/Jobs/Debt.

The greatest danger to national security is our porous borders. The Democrats and establishment Republicans wish to maintain open borders and allow illegal aliens to invade us and take jobs from American workers. For the Democrats it means giving citizenship to illegal aliens that, in turn, will vote Democrat, since they come from socialized societies and are attracted to our welfare benefits. The more “illegal immigrants” our nation allows to enter illegally from south of the border, the greater the chance is for the Democratic Party to become all powerful, thereby capturing a stranglehold on winning elections. 

Why do Republicans seemingly not care?  Because establishment Republicans are satisfied as long as they can remain in office and the RNC continues to receive donations from large corporations that lobby for open borders.  For the Democrats it is about votes; for the Republicans it is all about cheap labor for their donors.  It’s a win-win situation for both Parties, but a losing situation for the American people.  Americans will not only continue to lose jobs, but wages will also suffer, even while taxes increase.  And if another Democrats succeeds Obama in the November elections, it would mean the end of the second amendment; more regulations for small businesses; Obamacare would remain; abortion money would increase the practice; police departments would go under Federal Government; and there would be a loss of freedoms, including the first amendment and loss of sovereignty.  This election is certainly about survival!

Immigration, as we have today, not only hurts our economy, but changes our culture. Demographics determine our future, whether we maintain our sovereignty, our constitutional principles, our freedom, our language, and our Judeo/Christian values. Not only are we in danger from invasion by illegal workers, but also from criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorist Islamists. Only Donald Trump has spoken out in opposition to allowing more Muslim “refugees.” We should learn a lesson from seeing what is happening to our European friends.

Strong Defense and Economy and Debt

Also impressive about Trump, while Trump promises us a very strong defense, he clearly is against going to war unless it is in our country’s interest. His solution on ISIS is more about cutting their money supply by bombing the oil fields than having boots on the ground. It is about time that the Arab Nations fight their own wars. With Donald Trump as President, there is no way Muslim groups can organize to bring on Sharia law to our court system or even dream of expanding their caliphate.

Regarding our economy and debt, Donald Trump is the only candidate who has both the educational and business experience background to impact our economy in a positive way. Not only does he know how to create jobs, but also how to cut expenses and regulations. A great example is how he is financing his campaign: he has spent the least of the top candidates and has maintained the lead for over six straight months. Spending his own money is also a great benefit to us because he will not owe special interests any favors.

As for the clamor by the Republican Party to maintain “free trade,” it has not produced the expected results. Why should a candidate have to support the current form of free trade to be accepted as a conservative? We need to do away with labels, whether it is about Party or Liberal VS Conservative, and begin to think in terms of what is best for our Country.  For years we have suffered large trade imbalances with several countries, particularly China. The American people are tired of buying only “made in China” products that are of poor quality. We need to bring back American manufacturing. Donald Trump has excelled in negotiation of business deals. He can do the same with our trade policies.

Trump well received by Pat Robertson at Regent University

For those who are concerned about the next Supreme Judge appointment to replace Scala, on Wednesday, February 24th  Donald Trump had this to say in an interview with Dr. Pat Robertson at Regent University in front of a packed theater with an overflow room on Wednesday, February 24.  During the interview, Trump also vowed to get rid of Common Core and Obama Care and to repeal Obama’s executive orders.  View here Donald Trump at Regent University with Pat Robertson in Virginia Beach, VA – Feb. 24, 2016.

  • Robertson asked Trump:  “In your selection as president, what criteria would you use to pick somebody?” 
  • Trump replied:  “Pro-life. We want– It starts with that, starts with it. A very conservative, a very, very smart, I mean like Judge (Antonin) Scalia would be a perfect He was a perfect representative,”  
  • Trump further explained:  “I’ve always said that Justice (Clarence) Thomas doesn’t get enough credit. He is a wonderful man, a wonderful guy (applause) and I’ve always said Judge (Samuel) Alito is a terrific guy. So, in that realm is what we’re talking about for me.”  Trump also spoke about getting rid of Common Core, Obama Care, and repealing Obama’s executive orders. 

Electablity positive

And what about electability?  It is the consensus of many in the Republican Party and the establishment that Trump could never be elected. They had best reevaluate their thinking.  An article by Matthew Continetti, “Seven Reasons Democrats Should Be Terrified of Donald Trump”, must be read and taken seriously by all who still look upon Cruz as being a clown and a Democrat in sheep’s clothing.   

And consider the claim of political science professor Helmut Norpoth of Stony Brook University. His statistical model, which has correctly predicted the results of every election in the last 104 years, is now forecasting that the odds of Donald Trump becoming America’s next president currently range from 97 percent to 99 percent. Specifically, Norpoth predicts that Trump has a 97 percent chance of beating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders, assuming Trump actually becomes the 2016 presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

Lastly, Trump is the only candidate who has what it takes to do what is needed, that is, an alpha male!  Someone who won’t back down and can take the pressure and complaints that will pile on him from both Parties establishments, lobbyists, consultants, all DC bureaucracy. Moreover, Trump is getting support from Blacks and Hispanics, besides Reagan Democrats. 

God bless America and may He guide us during this important Election Year.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thorner/Hasty: Why conservatives and Christians can support Trump

150616192218-donald-trump-presidential-announcement-supercut-tsr-vo-00000002-large-169

By Nancy Thorner & Elvira Hasty – 

As conservative Republicans and devout Christians, we support and endorse Donald J. Trump for President. Our views on Trump have changed much in the past eight months.  We were never one of his fans; never watched “The Apprentice” and only occasionally watched him on some news shows.  His impact on us, whether liking or disliking the man, was more like neutral, having never approved of Trump entering the already crowded race. 

After the original excitement by his followers, we decided to add Donald Trump to our vetting process. And, yes, both of us vet candidates.  We followed up voting records of politicians and do as much research as possible from different internet sources, never relying on the TV or newspaper media because of their bias.  And, of course, we rely on prayer for the Lord to guide us along the right path.  Although God has given mankind the gift of discernment, but with no instructions, it is at times difficult to know how best to use it. The answer is that God had also given mankind a brain that could think, research, and find facts; in other words, we could look up and discern facts.

Through research, we discovered many surprising things about Donald Trump.

He received an excellent education having graduated from Wharton School of Business with a degree in Economics. Donald’s father taught him about hard work, making Donald learn the trade on construction sites where he worked right alongside with blue collar workers. It impressed us that Mr. Trump passed this on to his children.  They learned the lesson well, and today his three grown children are highly educated, eloquent, polite, humble, hard-working, family-oriented, and well-adjusted individuals. They were raised by billionaire parents in New York City, and yet not one of them has ever been involved in any scandal. Donald Trump and his children have never used drugs; do not drink alcohol and do not smoke.

We have also been impressed by Mr. Trump’s work ethics, by his passion for his business, and his fair treatment of his employees. He has been able to create thousands of good jobs that provide higher standard of living for many American families, who, in turn, pay the taxes and invest in goods and services

that fuel our economy. That is how capitalism should work!

Trump’s personal life enters the fray 

Despite Trump’s three marriages both of his ex-wives are on friendly terms with him; his first wife, Ivana, supports his candidacy and speaks well of him. He married Melania in the Presbyterian Church which allows divorce and re-marriage. Donald Trump is also a compassionate person. He has given money to several worthy charities and has helped many people in need without publicizing his good works. Some years ago he helped a family in California who needed to fly their young son to New York for medical assistance but no airline would take him because of all the equipment, including oxygen tank, that needed to go with him. Once Trump heard about it, he sent his private plane to pick up the child and his family and bring them to NYC at no cost.

It is insulting when “pious” people treat Mr. Trump as a willful sinner and when the elitist media finds him vulgar. Have these “pious” people read the Bible?  Do they not know what Jesus said about judging? What does morality mean to them? Donald Trump is fighting against the worst immoralities we face in the world today that are akin to evil:  Islamic terrorist savages; cheating our American workers of good jobs; loss of our sovereignty and freedoms; hatred for our law enforcement; and mistreatment of our veterans.  Even so the elitist media seems much more preoccupied with “tone” and “vulgar” language than with the real dangers we face. Hypocrites!   And Christians should never forget that God chose sinners like Abraham and David (adultery) to lead His works; just as Jesus later chose Peter and Paul to spread His evangelical message.

Biased reporting

As for voters who feel most strongly about social issues, Donald Trump has consistently said he is pro-life. Just the other evening when asked about Planned Parenthood, Trump said that despite good works that it can do for women’s health, if Planned Parenthood continues with abortions he would defund the organization.

The media has even lied about Trump’s sister being appointed judge in NY because “she’s a liberal”, which she is not. The truth is she was first appointed by Ronald Reagan. According to Wikepedia:

Maryanne Barry (née Trump, formerly Desmond; born April 5, 1937) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Barry was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 14, 1983, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  A Republican, Barry was nominated to be a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Bill Clinton on June 17, 1999, to replace H. Lee Sarokin, who had retired in 1996. 

Why did Maryanne Barry’s nomination happen under President Clinton, and not that of President Reagan who had first nominated her?  President Clinton in 1998 had nominated Robert Raymar to the seat, but that nomination was never given a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Raymar’s nomination expired at the end of that year. Clinton chose not to renominate Raymar to the Third Circuit seat during the next congressional term, and elected instead to nominate Barry. Barry was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on September 13, 1999, and received her commission on September 22, 1999.

Three reasons to support Trump

This nation is now at a point of no return.  Americans need to vote smart, with logic and not emotion, remembering that “We the People” are not choosing a Saint, a Pope or a Nobel Prize winner.  What is needed is a common sense Leader!  

Listed below are three very important reasons why Thorner and Hasty, along with many Americans, have chosen to support Donald J. Trump for president:

  1. National Security/Defense.
  2. Islamic terrorism and expansion of Caliphate.
  3. Economy/Jobs/Debt.

The greatest danger to national security is our porous borders. The Democrats and establishment Republicans wish to maintain open borders and allow illegal aliens to invade us and take jobs from American workers. For the Democrats it means giving citizenship to illegal aliens that, in turn, will vote Democrat, since they come from socialized societies and are attracted to our welfare benefits. The more “illegal immigrants” our nation allows to enter illegally from south of the border, the greater the chance is for the Democratic Party to become all powerful, thereby capturing a stranglehold on winning elections. 

Why do Republicans seemingly not care?  Because establishment Republicans are satisfied as long as they can remain in office and the RNC continues to receive donations from large corporations that lobby for open borders.  For the Democrats it is about votes; for the Republicans it is all about cheap labor for their donors.  It’s a win-win situation for both Parties, but a losing situation for the American people.  Americans will not only continue to lose jobs, but wages will also suffer, even while taxes increase.  And if another Democrats succeeds Obama in the November elections, it would mean the end of the second amendment; more regulations for small businesses; Obamacare would remain; abortion money would increase the practice; police departments would go under Federal Government; and there would be a loss of freedoms, including the first amendment and loss of sovereignty.  This election is certainly about survival!

Immigration, as we have today, not only hurts our economy, but changes our culture. Demographics determine our future, whether we maintain our sovereignty, our constitutional principles, our freedom, our language, and our Judeo/Christian values. Not only are we in danger from invasion by illegal workers, but also from criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorist Islamists. Only Donald Trump has spoken out in opposition to allowing more Muslim “refugees.” We should learn a lesson from seeing what is happening to our European friends.

Strong Defense and Economy and Debt

Also impressive about Trump, while Trump promises us a very strong defense, he clearly is against going to war unless it is in our country’s interest. His solution on ISIS is more about cutting their money supply by bombing the oil fields than having boots on the ground. It is about time that the Arab Nations fight their own wars. With Donald Trump as President, there is no way Muslim groups can organize to bring on Sharia law to our court system or even dream of expanding their caliphate.

Regarding our economy and debt, Donald Trump is the only candidate who has both the educational and business experience background to impact our economy in a positive way. Not only does he know how to create jobs, but also how to cut expenses and regulations. A great example is how he is financing his campaign: he has spent the least of the top candidates and has maintained the lead for over six straight months. Spending his own money is also a great benefit to us because he will not owe special interests any favors.

As for the clamor by the Republican Party to maintain “free trade,” it has not produced the expected results. Why should a candidate have to support the current form of free trade to be accepted as a conservative? We need to do away with labels, whether it is about Party or Liberal VS Conservative, and begin to think in terms of what is best for our Country.  For years we have suffered large trade imbalances with several countries, particularly China. The American people are tired of buying only “made in China” products that are of poor quality. We need to bring back American manufacturing. Donald Trump has excelled in negotiation of business deals. He can do the same with our trade policies.

Trump well received by Pat Robertson at Regent University

For those who are concerned about the next Supreme Judge appointment to replace Scala, on Wednesday, February 24th  Donald Trump had this to say in an interview with Dr. Pat Robertson at Regent University in front of a packed theater with an overflow room on Wednesday, February 24.  During the interview, Trump also vowed to get rid of Common Core and Obama Care and to repeal Obama’s executive orders.  View here Donald Trump at Regent University with Pat Robertson in Virginia Beach, VA – Feb. 24, 2016.

  • Robertson asked Trump:  “In your selection as president, what criteria would you use to pick somebody?” 
  • Trump replied:  “Pro-life. We want– It starts with that, starts with it. A very conservative, a very, very smart, I mean like Judge (Antonin) Scalia would be a perfect He was a perfect representative,”  
  • Trump further explained:  “I’ve always said that Justice (Clarence) Thomas doesn’t get enough credit. He is a wonderful man, a wonderful guy (applause) and I’ve always said Judge (Samuel) Alito is a terrific guy. So, in that realm is what we’re talking about for me.”  Trump also spoke about getting rid of Common Core, Obama Care, and repealing Obama’s executive orders. 

Electablity positive

And what about electability?  It is the consensus of many in the Republican Party and the establishment that Trump could never be elected. They had best reevaluate their thinking.  An article by Matthew Continetti, “Seven Reasons Democrats Should Be Terrified of Donald Trump”, must be read and taken seriously by all who still look upon Cruz as being a clown and a Democrat in sheep’s clothing.   

And consider the claim of political science professor Helmut Norpoth of Stony Brook University. His statistical model, which has correctly predicted the results of every election in the last 104 years, is now forecasting that the odds of Donald Trump becoming America’s next president currently range from 97 percent to 99 percent. Specifically, Norpoth predicts that Trump has a 97 percent chance of beating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders, assuming Trump actually becomes the 2016 presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

Lastly, Trump is the only candidate who has what it takes to do what is needed, that is, an alpha male!  Someone who won’t back down and can take the pressure and complaints that will pile on him from both Parties establishments, lobbyists, consultants, all DC bureaucracy. Moreover, Trump is getting support from Blacks and Hispanics, besides Reagan Democrats. 

God bless America and may He guide us during this important Election Year.

Monday, February 22, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

The passing of Justice Scalia on Saturday, February 13, while a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch luxury resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, is a tragedy for the entire nation.

This commentary, “What Scalia Taught Us”, by Paul J. Larkin Jr., director of The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law was published on the day Scalia’s death was announced and expresses the esteem and high regard held by many upon hearing of his death:

For some, it is the painful loss of a husband or father. For those who knew him, it is the loss of a good friend. For law students, it is the loss of a justice who wrote opinions with rigorous analysis, clarity of expression, and at times an acerbic wit.

For conservatives, it is the loss of a standard-bearer and icon. For liberals, it is the loss of an opponent who always fought hard but fair.

For those who never had the opportunity to know him, it is the loss of one of our greatest legal minds, of a judge and justice who had made, and will continue to make, legal history. And to those who were privileged to know him, it is the loss of a wonderful human being.

Larkin goes on to note that 100 men and women have been justices of the Supreme Court. While Joseph Story, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, William Brennan, and William Rehnquist will be remembered for moving the Supreme Court in one direction, thereby establishing the Supreme Court as one of the most powerful institutions in our nation, fewer justices have changed the course of the law. Antonin Scalia, along with John Marshall, were cited in the latter category of judges.

Scalia voiced disapproval of a Constitutional Convention

In a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., Scalia presented the following reason why America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years:  “It is the Constitution, not bill of rights, makes us free.”  Why?  Because it is the Constitution that imposes structure upon our government.  Scalia considered the 7th Amendment — passed on April 8th, 1913, when Woodrow Wilson was President of the U.S., and which provided for the direct popular election of U.S. senators — the most profound and significant departure from our nation’s constitutional structure, contending that it removed a key plank of the constitutional structure the framers put in place to protect federalism and state interests.  Furthermore, at a time when conservative leaders and groups are calling for a constitutional convention (Con-Con), during the question-and-answer session Scalia had this to say about whether such a convention would be in the nation’s interests:  “A constitutional convention is a horrible idea. This is not a good century to write a constitution.”

If you look at issues which have divided the Supreme Court on a 5/4 basis, it is clear that all parties are not reading from the same page, to wit, the United States Constitution. This is why the death of Antonin Scalia constitutes a grave threat to our liberty. Scalia was the bastion of “originalism,” which interprets the Constitution according to the founding father’s original intent.

Cases presently on the docket could alter American life on many issues, especially in closely divided cases where Justice Scalia was expected to serve as a lynch pin of a conservative majority.  With 8 justices a majority decision would be 5-3 rather than 5-4, and if and when there’s a 4-4 split, the lower court’s decision is upheld. But there’s an important caveat to that latter point: that decision isn’t automatically considered legal precedent.  

The potential replacement of Justice Scalia by a liberal judge would shift the balance of power away from individual rights to collective rights in general, but the right to keep and bear arms in particular. Loss of these freedoms would be very difficult to recover, if ever. A liberal court would serve to keep liberals in power throughout the government by denying rights to those who oppose them. Among them, the right to support candidates by word and deed under the First Amendment.

Cases remaining on Supreme Court docket with questionable outcomes without Scalia’s voice

Following are eight important cases that remain on the Supreme Court docket and their possible outcomes without the voice of Justice Scalia.   

Abortion:  In what is considered the most significant abortion case since 1992, this term’s abortion case centers on restrictions placed on providers and clinics by Texas and will again test how far states can go to limit abortion.  The Court was expected to be divided along party lines, with Kennedy as the possible swing vote.

Health care:  Religious nonprofits, including charities, schools, colleges and hospitals, may have to live with the decisions of seven appeals courts, which ruled against their challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in Zubik v. Burwell.  How will religious freedom stack up when pitted against a woman’s right to choose?

Unions:  Public sector-unions may get a reprieve.  What appeared to be an all but certain 5-4 ruling against unions in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in regard to “fair share” fees that unions charge nonmembers to cover costs associated with collective bargaining, could end up with a 4-4 decision without Scalia.  Labor unions want to hold elections by acclamation in open meetings. They are supported in this by President Obama and the Board of Labor Relations packed with his sycophants.  Currently, elections are conducted with private ballots where everybody in the company has a right to participate.  Election “meeting,” on the other hand, are limited by the size of the hall and subject dissenters to public humiliation or worse.

Affirmative Action:  The use of affirmative action in college admissions could now survive a challenge.  If so, a lower court decision will remain in place that favors the University of Texas in using race as a factor in admissions.

Separation of church and state:  Religious schools could continue to be denied publicly funded grants. Scalia, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy had indicated a willingness to accept the argument that banning state lawmakers from funding religious schools, if a democratic majority wants to, would impede the free exercise of religion.

Climate Change:  Obama’s Clean Power Plan could return back to the hands of the D.C. Circuit Court. One of Scalia’s last official acts as a justice was to deliver a large dent in Obama’s climate legacy by providing one of five votes to stay the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from power plants. A 4-4 ideological split on the Supreme Court raises the stakes for the more liberal D.C. Circuit’s eventual decision on the Clean Power Plan.

Immigration:  Scalia’s death may not have a big impact on one of the most significant cases the court has agreed to take up: a challenge to Obama’s latest round of executive actions on immigration to be argued in April, unless the administration can win the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy or Chief Justice John Roberts.

 The Second Amendmen:  Last but not least, Justice Scalia was the foremost supporter of our rights to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision established that the Second Amendment gave individuals these rights, rather than a collective right. The MacDonald decision applied these rights to supercede state and local law, subjecting these laws to strict scrutiny in most cases. The New York Times expresses this threat in a near joyful manner. “Instead of overruling precedents outright, he said, a liberal majority might hollow some of them out, notably in the area of gun rights. “The five would narrow Heller to the point of irrelevancy,” he said, speaking of the law that said Americans had a constitutional right to keep handguns at home – Eric Segall, Georgia State”

American people must decide Scalia’s replacement, via our next president

The Founders faced nearly medieval tyranny in the form of George III, who taxed the colonists heavily in order to pay for his foreign wars, and collected these taxes under force of arms. To make matters worse, colonists were required to feed and house those troops at their own expense. The King and Parliament forbade colonists to do for themselves, rather purchase basic materials like cloth, paper and other items from England, because it suited the King to favor monopolies which he created. In order to silence opposition, it became a crime to publicly disagree with his orders (restrictions which still exist in England and most of Europe). In order to forestall resistance to these draconian orders, he ordered arms and gunpowder seized. Fortunately he wasn’t entirely successful. 

We face a different tyranny today, not from a king but from self-serving “liberals,” whose title inappropriately stems from “liberty.”   As such liberals (Liberalism) look to government for basic needs, largely as enumerated in Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights.  These items include housing, jobs, medical care and wages. If this sounds somewhat familiar, look at the UN’s version of human rights, and before that august body, the Marx/Engles “Communist Manifesto.”  

President Obama was entitled to two terms of office, won in free elections. He is not entitled to encumber the nation with 30 years of an unbalanced Supreme Court which disregards the Constitution and rights under God in favor of a worldly fabrication of “rights” which in fact stand in direct opposition to the rights our fathers fought and died for. We are better off living with a dead tie in the Supreme Court until Obama is out of office than subject ourselves to judicial tyranny from the Left.

It would be a tragedy for our Constitution if the Senate simply confirmed an anti-Constitution judge to replace Justice Scalia’s seat. Confirming a new judge the year of a Presidential election is unheard of, especially with rampant judicial activism. Democrats would never go along with nominating a Conservative judge if the roles were reversed.  It’s likewise folly to expect that Obama would nominate a judge other than a liberal one to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death.

The Constitution does grant a president the right to recommend a Supreme Court appointee; however, the Constitution likewise gives the Senate power through the confirmation process to stop the process, and there is nothing the President and Senate Democrats can do about it to get the president’s nomination confirmed. 

It must be left up to the American people to decide who the next Judge will be, via our next President.  If Republicans in the Senate don’t hold the line against an Obama nominee as a betrayal of Conservatism, the Republican spirit and the Constitution, it will likely signal the end of the Republican Party as a viable political party.  If there is anger now over the way Republican legislators repeatedly cave in to Democrats, the anger will turn to pure rage and disassociation with the Party if the majority Republican Senate confirms what is sure to be a liberal Obama Supreme Court nominee. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nsf
Arlington Virginia home of National Science Foundation 

By Nancy Thorner – 

On February 10, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. 3293).  Its purpose: to ensure that the National Science Foundation (NSF) is open and accountable to the taxpayers about how their hard-earned dollars are spent.

The bill was introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and requires that each NSF grant award be accompanied by a non-technical explanation of how the project serves the national interest. This written justification is intended to affirm NSF’s determination that a project is worthy of taxpayer support. The bill passed the House by a vote of 236 – 178.  It now goes to the Senate.  As the NSF is a poster child for the sometimes frivolous nature of government-funded science in the U.S., shining a light on NSF’s grant-making is a valuable and necessary thing to do.

Following are the original cosponsors of the bipartian members of the Science Committee:  Reps. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.); Frank Lucas (R-Okla.); Alan Grayson (D-Fla.); Barbara Comstock (R-Va.); John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) Randy Weber (R-Texas); Stephen Knight (R-Calif.); Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla); Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.); Brian Babin (R-Texas); Mo Brooks (R-Ala.); Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.); Bill Johnson (R-Utah); Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.); Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas); Bill Posey (R-Fla.); Gary Palmer (R-Ala.); and Ralph Abraham (R-La.)

“Rethinking Science Funding” in 2013

Three plus years ago, September 30, 2013, Lamar Smith and Eric Cantor began to rethink science funding through their collaborative op-ed article published in USA Today titled “Rethinking Science Funding.”  At the time Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas was chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, a position he holds today, while Rep. Eric Cantor, before his re-election defeat in June of 2004 to newcomer David Brat, was the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Although the U.S. government was spending more on research and development than any other country, the Chinese were nevertheless perceived to have the fastest supercomputer, high-energy physicists were looking to research conducted in Europe more than in America, and NASA astronauts were hitching rides to the Space Station on board Russian spacecraft.  As such Smith and Cantor had cause to wonder whether China and India would soon surpass the U.S.

Smith and Cantor rightly concluded that for this nation to remain globally competitive, we needed to make sure that priorities are funded and money is being used wisely. In 2013 the National Science Foundation (NSF) was spending $7 billion of taxpayers’ money every year. While Smith and Cantor did find that the NSF spent most of its funds well, they were seeing far too many questionable grants, especially in the social, behavioral and economic sciences.  One questionable grant involved $220,000 to the National Geographic for the research of animal photos in the magazine.  Other questionable grants cited in Smith and Cantor’s USA Today op-ed are listed below:

  • Rangeland management in Mongolia $1,499,718;
  • History of Chiapas, Mexico (350 BC-1350 AD) $280,558;
  • Mayan architecture and the salt industry $233,141;
  • Bronze Age in Cyprus $197,127.

Additional Smith and Cantor op-ed reflections:  1) government employees and their agency heads must remember it’s not the government’s money; it’s the people’s money, and 2) asking questions about grants to obtain more information is reasonable to provide meaningful justification for why some grants are chosen over thousands of others.  Likewise expressed was a desire to work with the NSF to address concerns so a better process could be established for evaluating research proposals. 

Question about science funding elicits strong criticism

As might be expected, the September 30 op-ed of Smith and Cantor was subject to criticism.  One target of questionable funding was “Bronze Age in Cyprus”, which elicited a marked response from Sturt Manning because of his research interest on the topic as Classics Department Chair at Cornell University.   Manning’s anger was expressed in this article written in response to the Smith and Cantor opinion piece.  Manning further cites other article that express similar reactions and argument from his colleagues.  One such reaction and argument came from Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology at Berkley, with her article entitled, “Why fund studies of Maya architecture instead of saving lives?”

What ensued was tension between the NSF and the House of Representatives Science Committee over congressional oversight of its grant award process.  This on-going feud was settled when in December of 2014, NSF director France Cordova formally adopted new rules for increased transparency and accountability that required non-technical explanations and justifications for new grants. At the time Chairman Lamar Smith remarked: “It appears the new NSF policy parallels a significant provision of the FIRST Act approved by this Committee last fall, with its requirement that NSF publish a justification for each funded grant that sets forth the project’s scientific merit and national interest.”

With France Córdova’s commitment to work for the same legislative effort, Rep. Lamar Smith succeeded in sponsoring and then introducing H.R. 3293 to the U.S. House on July 29, 2015.  Recognition of how the federal government awards many grants that few Americans would consider to be in the national interest, led up to the formulation and introduction of H.R. 3293 on the floor of House. 

The bill requires that each NSF public announcement of a grant award be accompanied by a non-technical explanation of the project’s scientific merits and how it serves the national interest. This written justification affirms NSF’s determination that a project is worthy of taxpayer support, based on scientific merit and national interest.

National interests a qualifier for science grants

How is national interests to be defined in the legislation as having the potential to achieve? Increased economic competitiveness in the United States;

  • Increased economic competitiveness in the United States;
  • Advancement of the health and welfare of the American public;
  • Development of an American STEM workforce that is globally competitive;
  • Increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology in the United States
  • Increased partnerships between academia and industry in the United States;
  • Support for the national defense of the United States; or
  • Promotion of the progress of science in the United States.

Before H.R. 3293 was passed in the House on February 10, 2016, Rep. Lamar Smith was a featured writer in the Winter, 2016 ISSUES in Science and Technology. Click HERE to read Smith’s piece, “Fact Check: Scientific Research in the National Interest Act.”  In his article Lamar speaks of a number of falsehoods that have been spread to scare scientific community into opposing the legislation by opponents of bringing  accountability and transparency to taxpayer-funded scientific research that have been spread by opponents

Lamar sets the record straight by negating charges leveled against H.B. 3293.

  • Bill does not change or interfere with the merit review process for approving
  • Bill does not mean that research projects will be judged by the title as to whether or not they are worthy federal funding
  • Bill does not mean that research projects will be judged by the title as to whether or not they are worthy of federal funding
  • As to the bill attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, why then did NSF director France Córdova testify before the Science Committee earlier this year (Feb.16) saying that the Research in the National Interest Act is compatible and consistent with the NSF policy set forth in December of 2014?

Rep. Lamar Smith also questions the spending of $700,000 on a climate change musical encouraging transfor­mative research?  Additionally, “What is high-risk, high-reward about spending $340,000 to study early human-set fires in New Zealand?  What is groundbreaking about spending $487,000 to study the Icelandic textile industry during the Viking era? ” Lamar does concede that there may be good answers to the questions, but his committee was not able to come up with one.  When NSF funds projects that don’t meet such standards, there is less money to support scientific research that keeps our country at the forefront of innovation.

As Rep. Smith lamented, NSF is able to fund only one out of every five proposals submitted by scientists and research institutions.  When NSF funds projects are funded don’t meet set standards, there is less money to support scientific research that keeps our country at the forefront of innovation.

Taxpayers deserve science projects of merit, not frivolous ones

With a national debt that exceeds $18 trillion and continues to climb by hundreds of billions of dollars each year, taxpayers cannot afford to fund every research proposal, much less frivolous ones.

We owe it to American taxpayers and the scien­tific community to ensure that every grant funded is worthy and in the national interest.

HR 3293 has been sent to the U.S. Senate, in particular to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

Thorner/O’Neil: Have the Feds finally gone too far?

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By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

There is a growing concern among citizens that some government officials have been and are continuing to abuse their authority.  There are many examples and evidence of this starting at the very top level of our government. Will there be further conflicts, and if so will it be the catalyst for further insurgency by citizens against government?  

Linking the Ferguson example in 2004 with that of rancher Clive Bundy’s Nevada dust-up within the same year (See Article 1 published at Illinois Review, Friday, February 12), and most recently the new conflict among more ranchers and government at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that resulted in police killing one of the ranchers, seems to point toward a developing pattern. One day after Thorner and O’Neil’s article was published at Illinois Review, news media information revealed the heavy hand of law once again struck at both the City of Ferguson and rancher Clive Bundy.

Ferguson was under pressure by the federal government (Attorney General Loretta Lynch) to submit to specific demands. Ferguson officials did not think it in their community’s  best interest to comply with the new procedures demanded of them, and Attorney General Lynch’s federal boots stomped down.  Ferguson has now become a political tool for a federal power grab.  The city may well end up with a federalized police department.

In an unexpected twist, federal authorities not only arrested the ranchers who had occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but they also arrested Cliven Bundy.  At 69, Bundy was charged with “conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, obstruction, having a weapon, and other offenses stemming from his role as the leader of an April 2014 clash with federal officials at his ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada. The 32-page criminal complaint cites Mr. Bundy’s role “in recruiting about 200 armed supporters to face off with federal agents who had come to remove his cattle from the Bureau of Land Management property in 2014 over a grazing dispute.  

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

As alluded to in the above paragraph, in early January of this year another explosive situation developed between ranchers and the government. This incident involved father and son ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond and resulted in the occupancy of the Malheur NationaI Wildlife Refuge.  It all began over a “controlled burn” on Hammond’s land, initiated as a “clearing” of dry grass land to protect their family’s property from a potential wildfire.  The federal government initiated charges claiming the Hammonds had burned federal land in the process.  The Hammonds acknowledged the fire accidentally strayed and burned grass on federal land. The Hammonds were arrested and a trial resulted.  The judge sentenced Dwight Hammond to three months in prison and his father Steven Hammond to one year in prison, even though there was no proof of deliberate arson. 

Both men completed their sentences, but after their release from prison, a federal judge stepped onto the scene claiming the punishment of the Hammonds was not enough.  The Ninth Court of Appeals stated: “Given the seriousness of arson, the ranchers should have been given a five-year sentence; the reduced sentence was grossly disproportionate to the offense.”  Dwight Hammond called the new ruling a “death sentence,” largely due to his advanced age. The Hammonds appealed to the Supreme Court, but it would not accept the case.  Currently, Dwight and Steven Hammond are appealing to President Obama for clemency.  

Ranchers support Dwight and Steven Hammond 

The new sentence was deemed exceedingly unfair by fellow ranchers, who believed the Hammonds’ rights had already been violated by the first sentence.  Ranchers knew an arson charge was inappropriate for what was actually a common occurrence by ranchers in the area. There is always a risk with controlled burns exceeding the intended limit, but there is a bigger risk to the land and property without the “burn.”  Ranchers had reached a limit to what they would endure from officials who appeared to them as enemies just looking for ways to discourage, discredit, and harm them. 

A group of ranchers joined together in a peaceful protest near the Hammonds’ home.  Brothers, Ryan and Ammon Bundy, driven by their growing anger of perceived injustices, broke away from what had been a peaceful protest and led a group of armed militiamen to take over the unoccupied headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2, 2016.  It soon became obvious that the Refuge was being occupied by the renegade ranchers.

The following explanation was given by the ranchers occupying the Refuge:

“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds.  We’re planning on staying here for years. This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”  

Ryan Bundy further stated, “Many of the men at the refuge are willing to fight and die to protect the rights of states, counties, and individuals to manage local lands.”   Sadly, that proved to be true in the days ahead.  

FBI Challenges the Killing of a Rancher

The Malheur NationaI Wildlife Refuge occupation went viral in the media on January 26, 2016, when the mostly peaceful occupation turned violent.  Law enforcement officers shot and killed rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum as he drove on Highway 395, about fifty miles north of the occupied Malheur site. 

Not helpful was the conflict that developed in Harney County, Oregon over the nature of Finicum’s death.  In an interview the day before he died, Finicum claimed that the government appeared to be ramping up for action.  He voiced his concern saying:  “They’re doing all the things that show that they want to take some … action against us.” 

Kris Anne Hall, legal advisor for the Coalition of Western States and a defender of the armed Oregon take over, stated during an interview on The Joe Miller Show that no shots were fired by any of the protesters, but multiple shots were fired by federal agents at the protesters’ car.  Additionally, Ms. Hall claims LaVoy Finicum was “summarily executed” while on his knees with his hands in the air.  This claim was disputed by police, but there is no doubt Finicum was shot at least six times, while no shot originated from Finicum.  Further contradicting Ms. Hall are police claims that Finicum was going for his gun when shot. But there are witnesses who claim Finicum was shot multiple times, including in the face at close range after he was likely dead.

As of February 9, 2016, the autopsy report has not been released, which could prove helpful in determining whose version is most accurate. However, the FBI did release a video of the chase and the shooting on January 28, 2016, to the “Oregonian“ that carefully examined all in slow motion.  The detailed second by second account of the shooting can be viewed on this site.

In existence is another video of the police chasing Finicum’s car, taken from a helicopter overhead.  After the Finicum family viewed it, they called the shooting unjustified, even going so far as to accuse the authorities of a cover-up.  The new claims are bolstered by the account of Shawna Cox, who was riding in Finicum’s vehicle during the chase and shooting.  Another passenger, Victoria Sharp, provided confirmation that Finicum was fired upon before he left his truck.  

Conservation Plan negotiated as Beacon of Hope

What makes the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge flare-up so upsetting to stakeholders — including ranchers, environmentalists, and federal agents — was a conservation plan that had been agreed upon for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the Harney Basin.  The plan took three years to negotiate.  An agreement was reached that considered ranchers’ livelihoods, ecological concerns, and local economic sustainability.  Accordingly, the plan had become a beacon of hope in the region, as well as in other rural communities faced with similar conflicts.

Joel Webster, Western Lands Director of TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership), is credited with engineering the conservation agreement.   In an interview Webster said:

“We try to sit down with people and develop a shared vision early on in the process or at least make sure our vision isn’t stepping on theirs. You do it in a way that minimizes conflict.  Collaborative planning processes such as the one worked out in the Harney Basin are the essence of good land management.” 

Nevertheless, conflicts do arise because the economic survival of some ranchers depend on access to water on public lands located in the high desert owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), especially during the critical spring and summer months.  Some ranchers even purchase grazing and water access to BLM owned high desert public land.  Furthermore, some landowners are not as amenable to that kind of collaboration with the federal government, claiming officials seek what is called state sovereignty over public lands: a transfer of rule making an administrative authority over taxpayer property: from federal agencies to state and county authorities.

It might come as a shock to many that the federal government owns 650 million acres of land or 1/4 of all the land in the U.S.  Most of the land is in the West.

Movement growing to seize land from Centralized Agencies

Webster is concerned over a growing movement to seize land management decisions away from centralized agencies.  His concern is based on how more and more ranchers and farmers — called “radicals” by Webster — are speaking up against public lands and oppose government control of any kind.  The result is a perception of injustice.  As in the Hammond case, there is a shrinking gap between those like Bundy and moderates who want to work with the government.  Concern also exists that the desire to wrest management authority away from public representatives at BLM and FWS could possibly become mainstream.  

Webster understands why ranchers are upset, but he does not see Bundy’s’ approach as a solution.  As Webster noted:

“It clearly seems unreasonable to put somebody in prison for five years for burning 139 acres of public land. There are some legitimate frustrations out there like that.”  Webster then added:  “But we have a system of laws put in place for reasons. You get engaged if you don’t like the laws and try to change them. You don’t hold a stand-off.”  Ranchers claim they tried the legal approach without success.

Impact of Standoff Unknown

It is difficult to ascertain the kind of impact the refuge standoff will have on the freshly-healed partnerships negotiated by Webster between ranchers and federal workers in the community prior to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation.

If the November 2014 Senate campaign is an indication, in which Cory Gardner (R) defeated Mark Udall (D) for U.S. Senate, the public seems to have sided with the ranchers,  The Gardner/Udall political contest was largely about the smothering effects of government regulation.  There does appears to be a growing sympathy for the ranchers as they are perceived as hard-working, honest people who are land rich and dollar poor, challenged by continual harassment inflicted by government agencies.  The recent shooting of Finicum can only add to the community’s concern.

The standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge finally came to an end, when on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, forty-one days after the occupation of Malheur began, the last rancher surrendered to the FBI.

There are inevitable consequences when crisis situations are not successfully managed before tempers flare and situations become harder to control.  Most everyone ends up losing in the end.  

Granted, the conflict that created the situation in Oregon is far from over.  The ranchers involved have accomplished their primary goal of having their concerns made public, although not to the extent of those who rioted, thrashed, and burned Ferguson or those who marched on the streets of large cities chanting “No justice! No peace! No racist police!” 

Unfortunately in calling attention to their plight, one rancher paid the ultimate price, his life, for doing so.  Will the authorities now be more open to initiating productive discussions to hear ranchers’ concerns?  The fate of the protestors arrested and taken into custody might be an indicator of what the future might hold for the Great Basin region of this nation.

As for Ferguson, many now believe much of what transpired in Ferguson was a deliberate, orchestrated effort to federalize the police, to eliminate local independence through strong armed “consent,” and to send a message to other police departments around the country that the same thing can and will happen to them if they do not submit to federalization. It appears to be a first step to initiate the Obama “civilian national security force” that he called for in July, 2008. 

It seems prudent for all citizens to be alert to what is happening and realize this is not just about a few rare incidents; it is about protecting our Country, Constitution, and honest citizens from intrusive government actions.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thorner/O’Neil: First Ferguson, then Great Basin. Tensions mount between citizens and authorities

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Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (l), Great Basin landowner Clive Bundy (r)

By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

Under President Obama’s leadership, America has witnessed unusual, rather unexpected, serious clashes between citizens and authority.  Tension between Blacks and the police has escalated, creating a racial divide most Americans believed had been healing.  It seemed particularly odd that after the country had elected their first Black President, racial tensions would increase rather than decrease.

The Ferguson situation, in August, 2014, was not the first indication of a growing divide, but certainly the most publicized. Media crews captured the shocking scenes of chaos:  mass looting, buildings burning, and riot police trying to control mobs of angry protestors, some of whom had weapons they used against the police. Predictably, the media gave the issue enormous coverage, thus providing the World with a front row seat to the mayhem.

The end result was a tragedy: a once decent town was left thrashed and the majority of good citizens left wondering why and how the disaster happened, because they too became victims.  Both White and Black people lost businesses, jobs, and income.  One could only speculate how one very unfortunate incident, that turned out to be far from what it first appeared, had escalated into such a tragic conclusion.  Questions and accusations emerged as to why and who stirred up what appeared to be organized protestors with weapons that were used to harm the police.

Not long after Ferguson, racial tensions and conflicts increased in other larger cities and were again highlighted by the media.  Black leaders continued to make claims of police injustices.  Protestors in various pockets of the country marched the streets chanting slogans:  “No justice! No peace! No racist police!” and “Black Lives Matter.”  The crowd again became increasingly dangerous when protestors chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops.  When do we want it? Now.”  That resulted in a Black man executing two NYPD officers while they were sitting in their patrol car.  Tension among Blacks and the police continues today in many cities throughout America. 

The problem is not exclusive to ethnic concerns. Consider what happened in April, 2014.   A serious clash occurred between ranchers and federal government agencies in the Western part of our country.  In what reminded Americans of past western movie scenarios, a serious standoff occurred between armed ranchers and law enforcement. The problem was the result of a legal dispute between the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy.  Bundy was not the only rancher who resented decisions and contract changes by the BLM that negatively impacted ranchers, but Bundy was the first to finally take a visibly bold stand against government’s intrusion into his ability to use his land, which seriously impacted his family’s life. Once again, a situation between a group of citizens and authorities received national attention.

To best understand the conflict, it is necessary to know a little about the history and area of the Great Basin , as well as the people who live and work there.   It is a high-desert region of 200,000 square miles between the Sierra Nevadas in California and the greater Rocky Mountains in Utah, running from Southern Oregon all the way to Northern Baja, Mexico.  The area is sparsely populated as water is fickle and scarce in the area, rendering the landscape fragile. Ranchers are among the very few who find the area tolerable, and for over a century have chosen to make that place home and raise their families.

Sustainable Land Management Fuels Conflict

In more recent years the ranchers and authorities have been engaged in a series of disputes over the land and new requirements.  This may be in part due to the input of environmentalists who have become more engaged in protecting the area.  The recent conflicts likely have roots in what the U.N. calls Sustainable Land Management. The World Bank defines sustainable land management as a process in a charged environment between environmental protection and the guarantee claim of ecosystem services. It is also about productivity of agriculture and forestry with respect to demographic growth and increasing pressure in land use and is defined accordingly.

Sustainable land management is the process by which resources of land are put to good effect.  It covers all activities concerned with the management of land as a resource both from an environmental and from an economic perspective.  This article will focus on sustainable land management within the charged environment that presently exists among ranchers, environmentalists, and the government.  All three have varying interests regarding the management of the land.  Their inability to compromise has resulted in tense conflicts.  The American government and the United Nations appear to have more sympathy with environmentalists about the land, because their interests regarding land use are more similar to theirs than to those of the ranchers.

Ranchers have had continuing issues with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for decades.  Numerous ranchers have claimed BLM has been taking over private lands and are using unscrupulous methods to do so, but not until recently have those complaints been widely know or have  garnered national news.  A man by the name of Cliven Bundy changed all that.

BLM vs. Bundy in 2014

The media seems to prefer and therefore covers stories which have an emotional basis. That is understandable because personal interest stories sell newspapers.  However, the media does not always provide all the facts, some of which can alter perceived judgements as to who is in the right or wrong.  That is largely the case when dealing with government and the general public  The media can be biased. They can have altruistic reasons for highlighting one argument over another.  In the case of the ranchers, they did a relatively poor job of explaining the history of the area and what forced Clive Bundy and his son to make such a bold move that defied the government and all its massive power, thus risking the reality they could be killed.  Many watching the story were unaware that the ranchers’ property line runs along that of unoccupied federal land, without any discernible fences that mark where private and federal land begins and ends. Little or nothing was mentioned about all the continuing disagreements between the BLM and most ranchers in the area, as to whether there was any substantial evidence that Bundy had deliberately allowed cattle to graze beyond what the government considers the ranchers’ borders. Was the public informed that environmentalists disliked what they perceived as ranchers violating the land and that the environmentalists had the ear of government officials?

The media likewise barely mentioned the fact ranchers believed the federal agency had been purposely targeting them for decades with a myriad of questionable actions, perceived as a way to pressure them into selling their land and/or leases to the government.  For instance, according to ranchers such as Brian Cunningham, the BLM ignored the original grazing permits each rancher had originally signed.  Starting in the 90s, the BLM began making increment changes as to what was permissible on the property, each one impacting ranchers by reducing the original rights granted them and thus hindering them from make a decent living.

According to Mr. Cunningham, the televised standoff between Bundy and the BLM was the result of complete exasperation over the continued negative government  intervention of the ranchers.  One can only imagine the jubilation Bundy experienced when other ranchers from all over the region ended up joining him in his stand to keep his property.  That they came armed and ready to defend Bundy sent a message to the BLM and all watching:  this was not just about one man and his family, it was about what the BLM had done and was continually doing to them all.   With television crews in place filming the dramatic scene, the federal deputies prudently backed off and a disaster was averted. 

That one battle forced other ranchers to realize that while their options to fight government were very few and weak, the only chance they had to keep their land was to draw attention to their plight in their on-going war among the federal government, long time ranchers, and the relative newcomer to the conflict, environmentalist.

On January 2, 2016 the stage was set for more national attention to be directed toward the ranchers’ dilemma when another ongoing problem between a rancher and the government developed.  This specific problem involved father and son ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond.

To follow is an article that will provide information about the ranchers 21-day stand-off at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the resultant tragedy.   Unlike the Ferguson story, which was televised day and night for weeks, the perceived problems encountered by the ranchers when facing the law received far less attention.  Note:  The four remaining occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuse surrendered yesterday morning, Thursday, 11, 2016, bringing an end to the standoff on its 41st day.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Thorner: Demand lawmakers enact a permanent Smart Meter opt out for Illinoisans

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By Nancy Thorner –

ComEd is investing $1 billion across its system to replace traditional analog meters with digital meters, which are said to be able to help lower bills and provide other benefits. The change is publicized as part of an ongoing $2.6 billion system upgrade to improve reliability. To date, ComEd has installed nearly 1.9 million Smart Meters and plans to have installed about four million Smart Meters on all homes and business in its territory by the end of 2018.

Although the installation of Smart Meters by ComEd has already been completed in some areas of Illinois – despite protests from concerned citizens – a recent news account alerted Lake County residents that they have been targeted next for Smart Meter installation.

An article published in the Daily Herald on January 29, 2016, stated how Libertyville, IL, is in the next round of communities in Lake County to have standard analog meters replaced by “smart” devices. Quoted in the article was David Doherty, director of the Smart Meter transformation for ComEd, who explained how “Smart Meters collect energy usage information that can be read remotely, allowing the company to determine and react to power outages more quickly.  The meters also will send a signal when a customer loses power.”

According to company literature that is distributed by ComEd to community leaders in advance of Smart Meter installation: “Smart Meters will provide consumers benefits from the new technology, allowing consumers to access their power usage online so habits can be altered, as needed, to better manage their energy consumption. Smart Meters will likewise provide access to optional pricing programs, such as switching use to times when it costs less to produce.”

Spin vs Truth

The above benefits most likely sound entirely logical to Illinoisans, especially when coupled with this canned statement frequently made by Smart Meter installers when questioned by home owners about the need for a Smart Meter:  Smart Meters will eliminate the need for meter readers.  

But Beware, Illinoisans!  What you are receiving from ComEd is spin instead of facts. It was in July of last year when I took the CUBFacts Smart Meter information (Citizen Utility Board) propaganda sheet with its ComEd supplied facts to the woodshed for its inaccurate information.  In my article, “Beware of Propaganda to Quell Inconvenient Truths About Smart Meters”, the CUBFacts Smart Meter Information sheet was evaluated for misleading statements and edited accordingly.  What is in bold in the article was taken directly from CUBFacts, followed each time by my explanation of what really is true!

It is important to your family’s health, security, and privacy to say NO to a Smart Meter installation when you are accordingly notified.  Take the op-out delay that is being offered. Realize that the opt-out choice is not a permanent one and that Smart Meter installation is just being delayed until 2018 with no opportunity to oppose installation after that. Other states offer a permanent opt-out to their utility customers. ComEd customers in Illinois do not have that option.

ComEd Lobbyist Contrived No-opt out Law

As to the history of the law that makes Wireless Smart Meters mandatory in Illinois: ComEd lobbyists wrote the law; it was passed by the General Assembly against vehement and persistent opposition from the Attorney General, AARP, and informed citizens aware of the risks. Governor Quinn vetoed the bill. ComEd spent 16 million dollars convincing the General Assembly to over-ride Governor Quinn’s Veto. When elected, Governor Rauner then signed another bill favoring ComEd over the rights of citizens to have a choice.

It is tragic for consumers that Chicago’s powerful and politically-connected ComEd was able to convince the General Assembly to pass a law that could potentially threaten homes, harm lives, adversely impact nature, invade privacy, and, in a broader scope, undermine the state’s security by making the electric grid more vulnerable to cyber-attack.

Doesn’t every ComEd customer deserve the right to have a choice to opt-out permanently in the face of the real and present dangers that having a Smart Meter on the side of their house or business could engender? It is unjust and un-American to force Wireless Smart Meters on every home without first alerting residents to the many risks and then offering them a choice.

Reasons to Reject Smart Meters

1. Health and Environment – Smart Meters are installed in a Mesh Network which relays data from one house to another and eventually on to a collector unit, which is an additional wireless network that sends the data back to the utility. ComEd says that Radio Frequency (RF) emissions only take place 4 times a day every 6 hours.

That may be true for one household’s data measurements. However, Smart Meters also send and receive network management messages every few seconds around the clock. In a California Court the utility admitted that a Smart Meter emits from 10,000 to 190,000 bursts a day. Each burst is sending RF/microwave radiation into the home and throughout the neighborhood. The power level of each burst is about 1,000 milliwatts, making Smart Meters one of the most powerful RF radiators in a community.

What this means to ComEd Customers?:  that a Class 2B Carcinogen (the category for wireless RF emissions, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer ‘IARC” of the World Health Organization) is being mandated on ALL homes in the ComEd service territory. Even worse, there is NO PERMANENT OPT-OUT OPTION AVAILABLE.

People who have already had their Smart Meter installed are complaining of headaches, ringing in the ears, rashes, nausea, insomnia, chest pressure, heart palpitations, nose bleeds, and weakness, etc. There is a potential threat to those with medical implants and weakened immune systems. The well-being of pets is also of concern. Studies that have been done on wildlife, trees, plants, and bees show that they will also suffer from the RF/microwave emissions blanketing the state.

Breaking news on January, 29, 2016:  the Pennsylvania Utility Commission is allowing a hearing to go forward of a nurse who says Smart Meter made her sick.  What makes this so interesting is that PECO is an Exelon Company, like ComEd.

2. Privacy Invasion — Without your consent, the computer inside the Smart Meter collects private energy behavior patterns that will be available to government agencies and could be at some point be for sale to marketers. A hacker or thief could use this data to know whether or not the home is occupied and if high-end electronics are in the home.

3. Hacking and Cyber-Security – Vulnerabilities in wireless data transmission can pose national security risks to the electric grid. A former CIA Director calls the Smart Grid “really, really STUPID”. ComEd will be installing 4,000,000 access points to the Internet; every private home and business in their service territory.

4. Higher Bills – Smart Meters monitor usage 24/7 as a means of instituting Time-of-Use pricing. Due to escalating charges for peak time usage, bills can double, or worse. Time-of-Use pricing boosts ComEd profits while penalizing those who need lower electric rates the most—stay-at-home moms, the elderly, the unemployed, and those with disabilities. Anyone who is unable to change their behavior, such as washing dishes and doing laundry at off-peak hours, will not benefit from having a Smart Meter.

5. Appliances: RF Radiation and Privacy Invasion – New appliances come with mandated wireless RF transmitters that emit RF signals to the wireless Smart Meter around-the-clock. Manufacturers can also keep track of information about their appliances for future marketing through the wireless transmissions.  Because the Smart Appliance Services are provided through wireless networks and the Internet, communications could be intercepted by others.

6. Lack of Control – The utility owns and maintains 100% control over computer hardware and software upgrades inside Smart Meters. With the remote connect/disconnect switch located in each Smart Meter, a utility company can selectively turn on/off the power for an entire household.

7. Loss of Property and Safety – There has been hundreds of reports of electrical fires caused by arching and sparking within the Smart Meter. Homes with older wiring may be more susceptible to the risk of fire.

Corix, the company ComEd is using for installation, gives their employees, who have no prior electrical experience, two weeks of classroom instruction and one week of field work. In California, more than a 100 GE Smart Meters (manufacturer ComEd selected) have exploded right on homes due to a power surge. And, Smart Meters have been known to “fry” electronics.

Should you still have doubts about the dangers posed by Smart Meters, this website deserves careful study. Under the name of SkyVision Solutions, this site  (www.smartgridawareness.org) is dedicated to raising public awareness about the costs and risks associated with smart grid systems as well as the potential hazards related to Radio Frequency Radiation emissions from Smart Meters.

Here is the link to my https://youtu.be/aoodNMI3nzc appearance on a local Comcast TV cable show talking about the dangers posed by Smart Meters, with a warning about cell phones. Both wireless devices produce electromagnetic radiation. There is mounting evidence that that RF-EMF radiation is carcinogenic. The fact that exposure to our population is increasing at an exponential rate, the potential consequences are catastrophic.

Action Required 

1)  Call the ComEd Smart Meter installation line (866) 368-8326 and request a DELAY if a Smart Meter has not already been installed. If one has been installed, call and have it be replaced with a non-transmitting meter.

2)  Contact Governor Bruce Rauner and your elected Illinois General Assembly legislators. Insist the Utility Modernization law be amended and the ICC ruling requiring mandatory compliance be changed. Demand a PERMANENT TRUE OPT-OUT, NOT JUST A DELAY!

ALL WIRELESS DEVICES, INCLUDING CELL PHONES, ARE VOLUNTARY AND CAN BE TURNED OFF WHEN NOT IN USE. SMART METERS ARE MANDATORY AND ARE ON 24/7, FOREVER.

Thursday, February 04, 2016 at 09:05 AM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: Illinois Review, Smart Meters

 

Tuesday, February 02, 201

By Nancy Thorner – 

National School Choice Week is held every January. This year’s event took place from January 24 – 30, 2016. Throughout the U.S. over 16,000 events were held, with Illinois having 918 events, the most of any state. Here in Illlinois, 300,000 take advantage of personal tax credits, a form of school choice. Illinois allows families to claim credits worth 25% of their educational expenses. Worthwhile checking out is A History of School Choice from 1923 to 2015 .                      .

Those who attended the National School Choice Week Event sponsored by The Heartland Institute, 3939 North Wilke Road in Arlington Heights, IL, on Saturday, January 30, 2016, were privileged to hear a rostrum of fine speakers talk about how education choice benefits all students across Chicagoland and across the country, for doesn’t every child deserve access to a quality education?

Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education transformation at The Heartland Institute, organized the event.  For those who couldn’t attend Heartland’s stellar National School Choice Week event, the occasion was live-streamed.  Here is the link to view the entire event:  https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=3m16s .

Illinois State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), the MC for the eventView here:  https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=6m40s

Illinois State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) introduced each speaker to an attentive audience. Morrison is convinced, from his own teaching days, that when parents become more involved, the likelihood of children succeeding is much higher. Morrison further believes that the new government under Governor Rauner speaks well for a dramatic shift to take place in Illinois on the issue of school choice. As a champion of fighting for school choice in the House, Morrison sponsored HB0427 in the 99th General Assembly to require the State Board of Education to create the Education Savings Account Program.

Other poignant school choice thoughts expressed by Rep. Morrison:

  • Choice is not just about academics.  A host of other reasons come into play to explain the popularity of school choice.
  • A wide desire for school choice exists across party lines.
  • 1960 marks the year when a Renaissance of home schooling took place.
  •  Currently 1 to 1-1/2 children in this nation are being home schooled. They are doing well.  Colleges want them.

Heartland Senior Fellow Bruno Behrend – View here:   https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=10m50s

The first speaker, Bruno Behrend, J.D., a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, spoke on the current state of school choice and where it goes from here. Bruno’s involvement with the school choice issue date back to August, 2010, when he co-authored a Heartland Policy Brief with Joe Bast, CEO and president of Heartland, and Policy Advisor Ben Boychuk, titled “The Parent Trigger:  A Model for Transforming Education.”

These four words are golden to Mr. Behrend:  “Fund Children, Not Districts.”  Despite massive run-ups in educational funding, the results aren’t student-oriented when 85% of a school budget is spent on staff and teacher salaries. Bruno spoke with concern about the shifting ground of education, while concurrently expressing hope for the future of education.  Rated highly by Bruno was the on-line Khan Academy, where children can learn anything for free through 10-minute videos on every subject. To track student achievement, a Dashboard exists so students can note each positive learning experience as it occurs.

Basic to Mr. Behrend’s thinking is that it’s time to begin the process of dismantling the public school structure. This question was entertained by Bruno: “Do we really need to save or reform a 19th century system of education that existed because of an agrarian society that needed a three month break to tend the fields?”

The current educational system doesn’t need fixing or reforming, but instead we must transcend from a brick and mortar system designed in the19th century which costs way too much. Skipping the 20th century, we must progress toward a system where money follows children to an array of choices.

It is choice that is under attack. For Mr. Behrend choice constitutes a political debate, not a scientific one.  A common complaint heard from those who oppose school choice: “Don’t take money away from my district!”  But isn’t that the whole idea to fund children and not the district with money following the children?

Might something else come along, mused Bruno, that would disrupt the whole system now run by the educational cartel in much the same as what Uber did to taxis and price line did to travel agencies?  It could possibly be an app developed for a phone where parents could pick the educational system best suited for their children.  In time the established educational cartel would cease to exist when its participation rate hollowed out with fewer and fewer students participating. We have education literally falling out of the sky to free education from its traditional brick and mortar status.

Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, a member of the Dominican Sisters of SpringfieldView here:  https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=28m8s

Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, spoke with pride of Catholic schools and how they provide quality seats for school choice.  As superintendent of the Archdioceses of Chicago Catholic Schools from 2008 to 2014 (includes Cook and Lake County), Sr. Mary Paul oversaw the largest Catholic school system in the United States, with nearly 85,000 students and more than 7,000 educators in 244 elementary and high schools.

Sister Mary Paul describes Catholic schools as “private schools that have a public good.”  Accordingly, Catholic schools have an impact on the community in which they are located. If a Catholic school closes in a neighborhood, violence goes up.  Stats given:

  • Children are twice or three times more likely to graduate from high school if they attend a Catholic elementary school.
  • The graduation rate from a Catholic high school is 95%, 96% go on to college.
  • The Chicago Archduchesses is trying to raise $350 million to fund school scholarships and provide discounts.
  • 92% of 8th graders attending a Catholic schools obtain scholarships or discounts. Up to 95% of Catholic high school students receive the same.

Sister Mary Paul views it as a right and the responsibility of parents to educate their children.  The Chicago Archdioceses receives nothing in monetary gain from its Catholic schools, believing it is the right thing to do as children represent the face of God. Advanced by Sister Mary Paul is the inherent dignity of each child, along with her conviction that money should follow the child.

Unfortunately Catholic schools aren’t able to open their classroom to every special education students who might wish to attend, because of the high cost factor involved in teaching these special needs students.  Nevertheless, Sister Mary Paul does want Catholic schools to convey the following:  “You are welcome.  This is your home, and we will teach you the best we know how.”  Algebra is taught in the 7th grade. Further recognized is that unless a child learns to read by the 3rd grade, that child’s future will be negatively impacted.

Joe Walsh is a former Congressman and current radio personality on AM 560 The Answer – View here https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=39m2s

Although former Congressman Joe Walsh was listed as Keynote speaker on the notice sent out to advance Heartland’s school choice event, Walsh was not announced in this manner by Representative Morrison, nor was it necessary to do so.  In actuality, Joe Walsh, former Congressman and current radio personality on AM 560 The Answer, needed no special introduction as he took his place behind the podium.  Elected in 2010, Joe Walsh is known for refusing his congressional health benefits and pensions, sleeping in his office, limiting himself to no more than three terms in office, and holding more town hall meetings than any member of Congress.

It was surprising when Walsh related how he had worked for the Heartland Institute at its first location in Arlington Heights 22 years ago, before Heartland moved to Chicago, and now Heartland is back in Arlington Heights with its recent move.  Walsh reflected, with his usual show of passion and enthusiasm, how Blacks and Latinos support school choice, yet they don’t have it.  While Democrats are firmly planted with the teacher unions, Walsh is displeased over the failure of Republicans to grab the mantle of school choice for their own.

Walsh spoke of a disruption going on in American today.  Education is likewise being disrupted. Americans fully realize there is something very wrong and amiss happening in this nation.  If Walsh were king for a day, first and foremost, he would allow every parent in the nation to decide where their children would attend school.  This one change, reflected Walsh, would foster the most positive change for good in this nation.  Joe Walsh sees school choice all about politics, for the debate has been won.  It is now a political fight to get what is right for students, which involves empowering parents, not the system.

Walsh further mused: It’s so easy to jump on our politicians, and we should blame our politicians, but what about ourselves?   Many people aren’t sufficiently educated to understand that freedom is better than a government who tries to take care of us. Its therefore makes sense for parents to decide where their children will attend school? Teacher unions are afraid of only one thing, as commonly stated by members:  “We cannot let these kids escape.”

School choice was depicted by Walsh as the civil rights issue of our time.  It is all about where children go to school.  Sixty to eighty percent of Backs and Latino want this freedom, but teacher unions and Black leadership say NO.  Walsh believes that the only way school choice will happen is if Blacks and Latinos demand this freedom. Consider how voucher programs had their start in both Milwaukee and Cleveland. It was through Black advocates fighting for choice.

It’s an oxymoron that the Democrat Party is owned by the teacher’s union, yet Blacks vote Democrat in large numbers despite desiring better schools for their children. Republicans have been given an opportunity to get out of their think tank to advance school choice in areas that are home to many Black and Hispanic voters.

Thirty years ago Bill Bennett posed this questioned when serving in the Reagan administration as Education Secretary:  “Why is it that when you make a bad burger you go out of business, but nothing happens if the education system is bad. This same point was made by Bill Bennett to Joe Walsh at a recent meeting. Both agreed that the Republican Party must use language that can be easily understand, if the status quo of the educational cartel is to be dismantled.

Michael McHugh, a home school program administrator, lecturer, and textbook author – View here:  https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=58m24s

Gaining in popularity is homeschooling as a school choice option.  Over the past 35 years, Michael McHugh has worked as a home school program administrator, lecturer, and textbook author/editor for the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.  He has written numerous articles about home education for newsletters and scholarly journals across the United States and abroad.  McHugh lives in the Chicago with his wife and seven children and has been actively engaged in home schooling since 1988.

To Mr. McHugh school choice represents freedom, the ultimate expression of liberty. Mass government control of education is lousy education and does not consider the needs of children or family.  Home schooling, however, is not for the faint of heart.  It’s a big commitment and takes lots of hard work. You also get out of it what you put into it.  As McHugh described his own home school experience: The home schooling journey was well worth it, although not an easy one to pursue. But there is a substantial pay day, for home schools frees the minds and souls of children from brainwashing and social experimentation.

McHugh emphasized the importance of personalizing home school curriculum.  Why?  Because each child is created with a unique set of skills and must be prepared for a mission in life for which he/she is best suited.  Material must therefore be selected that best cultivates the individual potential of each child, brought home when Mr. McHugh compared children to arrows.  Initially made by hand, no two arrows were alike.  Parents can personally direct instruction to the individual needs of each child on a daily basis, not possible to do in a classroom situation. For who knows children the best but their parents, who have nurtured them from infancy through maturity?

The learning style of each child must be considered  Shared by Michael McHugh were the following:

1.  Hands on:  Learning by doing stuff such as tasting, feeling, and touching.

2.  Visual stimulation:  Learning by seeing and observing.

3.  Listening or auditory learning: Learning by having things explained.

4.  Multi-sensory learning: All of the above work equally as well.

Mr. McHugh suggests initially trying a curriculum that uses different learning experiences and then selecting the one that works best. Also to be considered:  What do you want the curriculum to do for your family?  What are your strengths?

McHugh recommends reaching out to tutors, such as retired teachers and fellow church members.  Administrating a standard achievement test is helpful to determine how your child is measuring up.  Most helpful is attending home school conventions to see and compare what is available in home schooling curriculum. This site was shared as an excellent one to help design your own home school curriculum.  Because there is a maze of excellent curriculum, the problem now lies in sorting through those offered to find the right one.  Michael McHugh believes that a curriculum promoting values is as important as what it presents education-wise, for “only a virtuous people can remain a free people.”

A very lively and engaged Q&A with all the panelists – View here:   https://youtu.be/6DJzBywtovU?t=1h15m43s

The session had a sprinkling of “friendly” clashing of thoughts, as the four speakers answered questions directed to them by attendees who wrote their questions on cards available on each table.  Noted below are some interesting responses by the panelists.

Although there are many fine teachers and they do try, Bruno Behrend believes there is no silver bullet to solve every problem; however, it is important that money follows the child.

Sister Margaret called for the need to have SGO (Choice Scholarships) here in Illinois, where the state provides funding to qualifying students that can be used to offset tuition costs at participating schools. Students qualify based on student eligibility criteria and household income.  Sister Margaret was in disagreement with Bruno Behrend on the value of traditional brick and mortar school in the 21st century.

To advance the cause of school choice, Joe Walsh suggested that a political coalition be formed with minority parents and Republican legislators to confront the existing political battle against school choice.

In winning the hearts and minds of so-called soccer moms, Bruno spoke of the need to persuade soccer moms that choice is not a threat.  Instead, choice is good for society.  Don’t suburban public school parents already have a choice with Catholic or private schools?

Suggestions to advance school choice included:

  • Become a precinct committeeman.
  • If possible, run for office.
  • Visit your district office, letting your legislator know about the need for additional school choice here in IL.  Visiting your local legislator’s office might be more productive than visiting Springfield when conducting one-on-one discussions about sponsoring school choice legislation.

Ask lawmakers who don’t want vouchers where they send their own children to school.  Also inquire if they benefited from a school other than a public school as a child.

Jim Lakely, Communications Director at Heartland, opened the program with remarks about the Heartland Institute, relating its purpose and presenting a brief summary of Heartland’s outreach to legislators throughout the U.S.

 

 

 

 


Thursday, January 28, 2016