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

Friday, January 22, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

Author Patrick Wood warned us that America’s schools were in danger back in 2005. In his article “Global Schooling: The Hijacking of American Education”, he equates the virtual takeover (or hijacking) of American education to that of seizing control of a moving vehicle by use of force, in order to reach an alternate destination. The time period for this hijacking coincides with the economic plundering of America.  According to Patrick Wood, the takeover started roughly in 1973 and is still in progress today.

The success of this globalism agenda rides on the back of manipulating the minds of students to reflect patterns of global dogma. The students may be academically inferior to their 1970 counterparts, but scholarship was easily traded for the globalist-friendly character traits of a globalized citizen, one who will not question the globalist agenda but instead welcome it as an inevitable evolution of civilization.

Wood’s article takes the reader through the timetable of Phase 1 for executing the Plan: the PREPARATORY PERIOD, 1980 to 1995, when the Globalist Plan went into high gear with the establishment of the Center on Education Policy (CEP), which was founded and financed by Globalist foundation money and staffed by operators who would carry out their elite wishes. Its Statement of Purpose has the audacity to proclaim “We do not represent any special interests.” What follows, however, doesn’t jive with the previous Statement’s denial of special interests representation: “We try to help citizens make sense of the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create the conditions that will lead to better public schools.”

On the surface, President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” passed in 2002 seems to address turning the education system around, but instead it was the capstone of an effort stated in the 1980s to federalize education for all students.  NCLB achieved two major goals for global education operatives: For the first time in the history of the U.S., all education standards fell under the umbrella of the federal government. Second, it created a mechanism for mandatory national testing and data collection for children in public schools.

Through the monetary bribery of states, the Common Core curriculum had its beginnings in the Obama administration in 2010.  States were permitted to drop the highly unpopular “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB), if they agreed to accept Common Core.  Most states signed on sight unseen and before the new education program was even tested.  

Presently, Common Core curriculum has been accepted by most states.  Cause for great concern is warranted, because Common Core specifies the textbooks and curriculum that must be used in carrying out the Common core lesson plans, curriculum that contains the indoctrination material of the Global elites. Common Core’s “recommended” reading list originated from one centrally controlled location.

Why would Global elitists, through the ACLU, want all vestiges of Judeo-Christian tradition removed from the classroom?  Their Global education agenda would not and could not work as long as students could compare the elitists’ propaganda to the uncompromising Judeo-Christian ethic. In Communist Russia, Lenin and Stalin’s solution to Christianity and Judaism was simple: kill the Christians and Jews.

The Deceptiveness of Common Core

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an EducationViews Contributor, was the only English Language Arts “content expert” on the Common Core Validation Committee, She and her teammate, retired math professor John Milgram, have now become critics of the merits of the Common Core State Standards.  Stotsky claims that the Common Core writers were not qualified.  Although the states that adopted Common Core’s standards did so legally (usually by a vote of their State Board of Education), many state policymakers deliberately minimized public awareness and discussion of the standards’ academic deficits in order to ensure the passage of Common Core and its continued usage.

Some State officials chose to deceive the public about aspects of Common Core in outright defiance of the expressed will of State Legislators, who wished to revise or eliminate Common Core’s standards.  This was the situation in South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Jersey.

Dr. Stotsky’s article of Dec. 24, 2015, explains how State Departments of Education deliberately deceived parents about Common Core, apparently using a common excuse that “the end justifies the means.”  Following are some of the popular ploys used to deceive the public:

  • Giving PARCC, a national Common Core-base test, another name to minimize Common Core’s involvement.
  • Using restricted review methodology that inhibits statewide reviewers from a standard-by-standard review.
  • Stacking review committees with Common Core partisans and giving them limited purview to minimize participation by undergraduate teaching faculty in Mathematics and English. 
  • Skewing public discussion with unbalanced public forums that used speakers who were biased for Common Core.
  • Relying on rigged external reports, seemingly unbiased external reports by groups such as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Achieve, Inc., both of which are funded by the Gates Foundation that had supplied millions of dollars in the Common Core project.

Common Core given new life by a bi-partisan Congress

Lest anyone think that acts of deception about Common Core have come only from one side of the political aisle and/or specific State Departments of Education, perhaps the greatest act of deception is the preposterous claim about the thrust of the recent re-authorization of ESEA by its major author Senator Lamar Alexander.

In an op-ed in The Tennessean on December 12, 2015, Senator Alexander implied that he had “repealed the federal Common Core mandate and reversed the trend toward a national school board.” Instead, as Peter Cunningham, a former official in the USDE pointed out, “the new law that the Senator from Tennessee is so proud of, the Every Student Succeeds Act, now mandates the very thing he rails against.”

Under the new law, every state must adopt “college-and career-ready” standards. Thus, the new law all but guarantees that Common Core State Standards—or a reasonable imitation under a different name—will likely remain in place in most states.” Senator Lamar Alexander, former president of the University of Tennessee, has managed to deceive not only his constituents in Tennessee and the entire country but also himself.

See here Thorner’s published article of January 11, 2016, at Illinois Review: “Republicans Accused of Cynical Scheme that Led to Odious Education Law” (the “Every Student Succeed Act” or S1177).  Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new Federal Education Bill was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration,  Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed. 

Is Common Core a ruse to sell books?

A recent article dated January 12, 2016, defined Common Core as a disaster in terms of delivering quality and meaningful education.  Instead, it’s a system designed for Sustainable Development and Technocracy. Nevertheless, bookmakers and publishers are raking in money hand-over-fist as they replace virtually every book in the U.S. school system with the new curricula.  The same publishers will sell another round of books to put things back where they were when Common fails. Purchasing Common Core material is a must, as testing is geared to the Common Core Curriculum.

The West Coast sales manager from one of the nation’s biggest school book sellers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, told an undercover muckraker with Project Veritas that “I hate kids.  Don’t even kid yourself for a heartbeat.”  She added that “it’s all about the money. What are you, crazy? It’s all about the money.  You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education, do you? No, they’re in it for the money.”  Naturally the sales manager was fired when her remarks reached her employer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

States Common Core standards exist

This map shows the state level adoption of Common Core with its progressive and brainwashing curriculum.

States that have withdrawn:  Indiana, South Carolina.

States that never adopted Common Core:  Virginia, Texas, Nebraska, and Alaska.

Partially adoption state:  Minnesota.   

The most recent polls indicate Common Core is becoming more and more unpopular, as parents experience it and the public becomes more knowledgeable about it.  Whether you are a parent who has concerns, or a citizen who objects to a federalized education system conceived and initiated by suspicious sources with an agenda, it is important for you to speak out and let your voice be heard. 

Join the fight with millions of concerned citizens and parents who realize the new national system is not right for America.  Attend school board meetings to make public statements; contact your local, state and federal representatives to express your concerns.  Oh, and tell all those officials that our forefathers specified education was exclusively the responsibility of each State government and they need to take back their job and keep control at the local level.  That might frustrate those who promote Global education and a one-World government, but for those of us who value our local sovereignty, we will fight back against the wealthy elitists’ agenda, because we love the U.S.A.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

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Photos by Benjamin Weadick

By Nancy Thorner – 

What a feather in the cap for pro-life supporters!  Busloads arrived from surrounding states, five alone from neighboring Wisconsin, to join with fellow pro-lifers on Sunday, January 17, for the 2016 11th annual “March for Life Chicago” on Chicago’s Federal Plaza to proclaim the sanctity of human life and to call for the overturn of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.  Despite the extreme cold (-15 degrees wind chill), over 5000 pro-life advocates filled Federal Plaza.

My participation in “March for Life Chicago” began when I boarded a bus at Marytown in Libertyville, arranged by Lake County Right to Life based in Grayslake, IL. The pro-life organization is headed by Bonnie Quirke.  Accompanying me were the three oldest children (eight in all) of a Christian, home-schooled, pro-life family from Wauconda, Illinois.

Arriving at Federal Plaza, there was an eagerness to get involved, for across Dearborn, already gathered, could be seen a large congregation of pro-life individuals, many sporting signs.  Even more enticing were the yellow balloons and umbrellas dotting the landscape which added a festive aura to the pro-life celebration.

 

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Photos by Benjamin Weadick

Participation, however, was momentarily delayed, for upon stepping off the bus, riders were greeted by members of a pro-choice rally. The number of abortion activists was woefully small (although loud) in comparison to the crowd of pro-lifers assembled across the street.  Also noted was that the abortion supporters didn’t have the fortitude or the drive to withstand the bitterly cold weather. They soon abandoned their quest to shout down and embarrass the massive delegation of pro-lifers. Chicago policemen were on hand to insure that none of the pro-life protesters crossed over Dearborn to Federal Plaza Square.

Crossing over Dearborn to join the throng of hardy, dedicated pro-life individuals filling the Plaza, it was heart-warming to see the strong support present from college students and young adults. Might this bode well for the future?

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Emily Zender, Executive Director of the Illinois Right to Life and President of the March for Life Chicago, welcomed the crowd. She thanked all for coming, lightheartedly acknowledging their commitment as “pro-life popsicles,” further acknowledging that because of the frigid temperature the scheduled speakers would practice brevity in their comments. Ms. Zender shared how she wants every woman and man in an unplanned pregnancy to know that no matter what obstacles they may be facing, the pro-life family is there to support them, comments which tied in with the theme of this year’s march, “We Are Family.”

The Right Reverend Paul (Gassios), Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest Orthodox Church of America opened the event in prayer.

Bundled up in an effort to help ward off the -15 degree wind chill with scarves, hats, earmuffs, and gloves — which turned out to be an almost impossible feat for participants — the first speaker of the afternoon nevertheless received a warm response, Reverend Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago.  His message was geared toward the African American community. Despite 12.6% of the population, this is where 30% of all abortions occur.  Pastor Brooks called on Planned Parenthood to stop the targeting of African American communities.  62% of their facilities are placed within walking distance of the African American people.  Passionate words from Pastor Brooks conveyed how “Black lives matter – All lives matter -Baby lives matter.”

A very moving testimony was given by Jessica Lowen, pregnant at 19, whose “well-planned out life” was disrupted by a pregnancy. Jessica explained that her now-regretted abortion did not change the fact that she became a mother of a child that died through abortion.

Chicago’s Archbishop Blaze Cupich was again featured after his 2015 Chicago debut.  He is Chicago’s highest ranking Catholic.  As to why the event is held in Federal Plaza, Archbishop Cupich intoned:  “Abortion is a federal (national) issue and not just about Chicago.”  In speaking about protecting life worldwide: “The womb should not be their tomb.  Life is given by God and not by us.”  In speaking to the Federal government: “Make room for children in the world.”

The Archbishop drew laughter with his remark making light of the cold:  “This isn’t cold, it’s Chicago.”  Cupich then contrasted the bitter cold weather with the warmth felt in the hearts of those gathered for the unborn child.

My ears perked up when I heard the name of the next speaker, Dan Kulp, who was presented as a comedian and author. Dan is also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Manchester, near Rochester, New York. Why my interest?  My maiden name is Kulp, which is representative of a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.  Might there possibly be some ancestral connection?  Dan Kulp cracked jokes but was serious about why he and his wife have adopted three children with special needs, which included the first child ever adopted out of China having Down syndrome.  Dan and his wife Elizabeth now have a child of their own, little Emily, making them parents of four wonderfully enthusiastic children.  Cited was Kulp’s newest book, Confounding the Wise, published May 8, 2015 by WordCrafts Press.  Other books by Dan Kulp are Relationships and Family and Children with special needs. Children with special needs are not always given to those who are both willing and able to meet their needs. Kulp urged those gathered not to overlook the joy of adoption.

In a show of bi-partisan unity, Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) took the stage together to affirm their pro-life positions.  Hultgren invited those who might be attending the national “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. this Friday, January 22, to drop by his office. “We are created in God’s image.  Life is precious and valuable.  Our first right is embracing the value of life.  Fight for justice. Be there for the unborn.”  Hultgren then read this verse from Proverbs 31:8 (NLT), titled “Wisdom Calls for a Hearing”:

Listen as Wisdom calls out!  Hear as understanding raises her voice! On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, “I call to you, to all of you!”  I raise my voice to all people. You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.

Abortion survivor Melissa Ohden had a powerful story to tell, having the opportunity to be on stage only because she had survived abortion. Melissa’s biological mother was a 19 year-old college student when she had a saline infusion abortion in August of 1977 that was meant to end her life.  Although Melissa’s  biological mother thought that she was less than five months pregnant when she had the abortion, the fact that Melissa survived and weighed almost 3 pounds indicates that her biological mother was much further along in her pregnancy than she realized.  For five days Melissa fought for her life in her mother’s womb, surrounded by a salient infusion that was meant to scald her to death from the outside in. The intention was for her life to end.  Melissa charged that what was done to her mother was likewise horrible.

In a declaration meant for all, Melissa expressed the thinking of all gathered with these words: “We are pro-life, we are pro-baby, we are pro-woman, and we are pro-love.”  Listen here to Melissa Ohden’s testimony in front of Congress on September 9, 2015.

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With a sea of yellow balloons, yellow umbrellas, and signs with various pro-life messages from diverse groups representing multiple church denominations and a variety of college campuses that came together. They were from across Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio. An estimated 5000 pro-lifers walked through the Loop in a procession that stretched for blocks, exhibiting pride and warmth for the unborn, at least in their hearts.

Bear owner Pat McCaskey spoke at the official after party at the Sidebar Grille.
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Photos by Benjamin Weadick

Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: Illinois Review, March for Life 2016, prolife

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Table

By Nancy Thorner – 

While the vast majority of Americans say that their nation’s not headed in a good direction, there’s a minority that are optimistic about the future. Indeed, author Michael Lotus believes America’s greatest days are yet to come.

Mr. Lotus draws his optimistic attitude by reaching back into this nation’s history. Although a young nation, America has survived other dark periods and has emerged stronger for them. Examples stem from the Civil War and this nation’s confrontation with the 3rd Reich (Nazi regime in Germany). After these two momentous events in the life of this nation, the economy buzzed, Americans thrived as a people, and great advances were made. 

Paramount in sustaining Lotus’ hope is a cultural formula that has remained consistent over many centuries.  This cultural foundation is technically termed the “Absolute Nuclear Family.” Lotus explained that this nation has an individualistic society, with the weakest extended family of any country in the world, making her unlike any other nation in the world. For example: In Arab-Muslim countries, traditionally the young don’t pick their own spouses. Theirs is an extremely clan-like family network. 

Lotus and crowd

That important concept was just one introduced Saturday morning, January 9, to the Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff — now it its 75th year since its founding. Club member Hillary Till introduced Lotus, her former classmate at the University of Chicago. 

Lotus and Till

Lotus is the co-author with James C. Bennett of America 3.0, Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century–Why American’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.  The book has been endorsed or favorably reviewed by many, including National Review Editors-at-Large Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan; Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner; “InstapunditGlenn Reynolds; and hailed as an “intellectually ambitious and accessible work” by The Washington Times.

America 3.0: has two sub-title: “Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century and “Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.” Mr. Lotus prefers the latter sub-title, believing that America’s greatest days are yet to come despite this nation’s high unemployment level, the existing low trust by the American people for established institutions, and how senior citizens have been impacted negatively because of low interest rates, etc.

Reasons to be Positive

The Absolute Nuclear Family foundation gave rise over the centuries to a political culture in England then in the USA. That political culture is expressed in three important American documents:

  • U.S. Constitution (described by Lotus as “a perfect code that doesn’t need to be edited”).
  • Declaration of Independence.
  • Northwest Ordinance – an achievement of Thomas Jefferson in 1787.  It established clear property rights, which were very important.  Without them nations remain poor.

English-speaking people have created wealth and innovation based on their practice of finding the most talented people they can find to build something, such as when starting a business, rather than relying on relatives.  At the same time it is not a utopia, and complaints that America can be a cold or lonesome society have some basis in fact. 

This nation has the ability to assimilate people unlike anywhere else in the world.  As such we shouldn’t panic at allowing a certain number of immigrants to come to America.  (The author took exception with Mr. Lotus on immigration. Lotus never clarified specifically whether he was speaking about illegal immigrants, those of refugee status, or those who wait for years to enter this nation legally.) 

Defining 1.0 and 2.0 America 

America 1.0 was described by Mr. Lotus as the society of our Founding Fathers, one of small scale, local government and based on agriculture.  People were free but poor.  It was based on muscle power, since machine power had not been invented.

The transition to an America 2.0 first began to be visible in the Northeast before the Civil War. The introduction of steam power began to change the entire economy and society. It was the Civil War, particularly the mobilization of men, war material, and money required that created the initial outline of America 2.0.  It was those of the Civil War generation (those who weren’t killed) who are credited as the true founders of 2.0.  The change was not without pain, as big cities grew and politics became corrupted.  Just as now, it was perceived by the American people that our nation’s Constitution had been undermined, and that America’s best days were behind her.  But America got through that transition successfully.

The railroads enabled people and goods to move more freely.  Factories sprung up and required lots of people doing things in a systematic way in order to achieve huge returns.  The automobile replaced the horse and carriage. With the development of transportation suburbs were built, offering the American people a quality of life which only the wealthy had enjoyed before.

From its onset America 2.0 required some centralization.  More rules and regulations were needed for the huge influx of people from farms into cities.  Change led to the development of a progressive political movement which took several generations to affect change.  The political framework for America 2.0 happened with the election of FDR and his “Great Society.”  Social Security came into being which led the American people to believe that government would take care of their retirement years.

In retrospect, mid-20th century America looks like a Golden Age.  Big Business thrived. WWII was won and prosperity returned to this nation.  The building of suburbs exploded where families could have their own homes and yards.  Our grandparents, and the World War II generation, built the America we grew up in, which was a very great country in its day.

Another important achievement of 2.0 were technological advances such as the Internet, which allows instant communication, and can be considered the beginning of America 3.0.  

Transitioning from 2.0 to 3.0

The transition from 2.0 to 3.0 is already underway.   The big government of today will eventually have to fail, for unable to keep its obligations, default is inevitable.  The American people will experience pain as the government sector shrinks, but hopefully the cuts demanded will be made as as painlessly as possible.  Mr. Lotus called for an open and transparent reduction of government, which he called “The Big Haircut.” 

We can only speculate what America 3.0 will bring. Lotus suggested the following things as likely:

  • Already self-employment is the growing sector. This trend will continue.
  • The factory floor will no longer require thousands of people showing up for work every day, but will exist everywhere.
  • The Internet will allow individual to work at gigs rather than at set jobs.
  • 3-D printers will create no waste. Everything manufactured will be made to exact dimensions.  
  • Driverless cars will especially help those who are no longer able to drive:  10 years when a typical woman can’t drive a car; for men it’s 6 years.  Commute time will become productive time.
  • Robotic technology will become common place.
  • Technology like BitCoin may replace money.
  • Education and healthcare, now dominated by the government, will crumble, and be replaced by competitive industries offering many choices.
  • Genetic engineering for body parts, etc.
  • DNA manipulation

As changes come and are integrated into society, the cost of living will go down.  

As with electronic devices whose technology is increasing at a rapid pace, to be fully accepted requires a generation who grew up with it and take it for granted before it become universal.

Mutineers needed with personal, moral courage

Although bad things will continue to happen during the transitional period, Mr. Lotus fervently believes that only when the situation becomes bad or oppressive enough will enough people rise up to demand change.  This seems to be happening now, as millions of Americans are saving NO to establishment presidential candidates from either party in favor of candidates who are considered outsiders. The change from 2.0 to 3.0 must allow the creative powers of the American people to be realized and developed, despite a government machine that doesn’t want this to happen.  It doesn’t help that we live in a “creepy state” where government has the capacity to spy on us.  It will require political will to rein in this threat and subject it to lawful control.

Lotus enjoined all present to act as mutineers, keeping in mind that the spirit of freedom still exists within the American people to resist and reject submission, and that the nuclear family is still the norm when the American people are given that choice.

The conservative inclination is to go back to something considered more pleasing, perhaps to the 1950’s?  Some conservative even try to romanticize America 1.0, but you can never go “back” to anything. Both political parties have become corrupted. It will take personal moral courage to fix something as bad as it is now.

George Washington and the Founding Father were willing to roll the dice and make change happen.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence risked their lives knowing they could be hung as traitors. 

Like those who risked death in Colonial America, as America 3.0 struggles to be born, activists and concerned citizens must take the lead, even if the personal risk is not so great. If they don’t others will do so in their absence, and the America of the future will not be as good as it should be and can be.  The conditions are in place for change, given the excesses and the flaunting of our Constitution by our government and by cronies who benefit from it.  We must be ready to seize the day.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thorner & Ingold: Gun Control: Much to ado about nothing?

Gunshopping

By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

As we digested events from last week in the light of President Obama’s Executive Order about gun control, it became clear that gun control was secondary to his attempt to marginalize the NRA. There was lots of sizzle, but no steak in the end. Even diverting attention from Gitmo, ISIS, North Korea, China, and the Middle East played a minor, but useful role.

The NRA refused to bite, so Obama was left to debate an empty chair. According to polls, undecided voters weren’t fooled either. They overwhelmingly agree with the NRA and the Republican candidates in opposition to the President. 

Obama’s references to “Smart Guns” were vague and not picked up by the press nor the NRA, but they are available for purchase.  Not popular at the moment, nevertheless, we took the liberty to explain later in our article what Smart Guns are all about and whether it would be advantageous for you to consider one.

Perhaps the most memorable event during this past week was Obama’s confrontation with Tara Kyle at his town hall meeting at George Mason University in Virginia where Obama sat stunned.  When he couldn’t answer her question, he fell back on the old “something is better than doing nothing” trick.

Background:

The day after the December 2 assault on a Christmas party in San Bernardino, President Obama appeared on television to denounce “yet another tragic example of gun violence,” and renewed his vows to bypass Congress on gun control if they wouldn’t do as he asked. To Obama’s embarrassment, his FBI director announced that San Bernardino would be a terror investigation, not one of workplace violence as depicted by the President.

By at least one account, supposedly leaked from Obama’s inner circle, the President was outraged to be made a fool by director Comey. Accordingly, Obama, Valerie Jarrett and Loretta Lynch made plans to mitigate the situation. The next day Director Comey conducted a press conference, describing the nature of the investigation, accompanied by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

While Comey outlined the facts of the case, Lynch restricted her comments to a threat to prosecute anyone depicting Muslims as terrorists. When Comey opened the podium to questions, the video feed was suddenly cut off. Actual video of the remaining conference appeared briefly on the internet the next day, but was deleted within hours.

Scare Tactics:

In order to gain support for his forthcoming announcements, the President mentioned things like using the no-fly list to disqualify gun buyers, which has serious constitutional issues. Re-classifying who needs a license to sell firearms. Streamlining reporting of mental issues (HIPAA issues), banning high (actually standard) capacity magazines and assault weapons based on cosmetic features, and mandating weapons to have electronic safety features tying them to one user.

Actual Announcement:

When the President announced his decisions on Tuesday, January 5, they were basically as follows:

  • Directed the ATF to establish rules for licensing requirements to sell firearms. It was not an order to change the rules, rather a directive to start the rule-process, including public comment and Congressional review, which will last well into 2017.
  • Simplify the rules under which mental health professionals can report issues to NICS without violating HIPAA rules. Technically only involuntary examinations are affected, including court-ordered procedures.
  • Increase the budget for mental health research in violence by $500M (subject to Congressional approval).
  • Ask Congress to allow the CDC to study violence as a public health issue (banned by Congress in 2003, following highly questionable and biased reports).
  • Asked for more funding to study “smart gun” technology, comparing it to seat belts in cars and safety standards for toys. This escaped the notice of the press, and apparently the NRA too.

Significance:

In an interview with Fox News, former Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, described the President’s actions as “rearranging furniture.”  Generalities were used by Mukasey: 

  • Less than 1% of guns used in crimes were purchased at gun shows (0.7% by FBI statistics). Most guns used in crime come from illegal street sales (40%) and close relatives (30-40%), not subject to background checks.
  • Potentially criminalizes private individuals selling guns without a license, after the fact, depending on the prosecutor, not clear rules.
  • $500M for mental health research was immediately tabled by the administration, without consulting Congress.
  • No mention was made of using the no-fly list.
  • No mention was made of “assault weapon” bans
  • Mental health issues already impose a limit on who can purchase a firearm, but are not reported reliably by many states. Criminal convictions are not consistently reported to NICS either.
  • Over 2/3rds of Obama’s “gun deaths” are suicides, which occur at the same rate in countries like Great Britain and Japan where no guns are allowed at all.
  • More deaths occur on the streets of Chicago in a month than in all  “active shootings” since Obama was elected.
  • The 24/7 news cycle emphasizes incidents like San Bernardino for weeks on end, while ignoring the daily carnage in cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore and New Orleans, all run by  unrepentant liberal Democrats. NYC is still somewhat below the national average (4/100K), but climbing rapidly under DeBlasio’s liberal policies.
  • “Smart guns” restrict their use to a single person, using biometrics or an electron finger ring. The technology already exists, in case someone wants it. The acceptance has been very low, almost zero. While it keeps children from firing the weapon, failure would keep the owner from firing it too in an emergency, like an air bag which won’t deploy or a flashlight gone dead when the lights go out. The political implications are serious. At least one state, New Jersey, requires all guns to have this technology once it becomes available. The Democrats would be quick to spread this across the country, and Bloomberg would sponsor initiatives in states where they are allowed (e.g., Washington and Oregon). It would not have protected the cop in Philadelphia, who was shot with a gun stolen from the police. Any mechanism of the sort is easily disabled in a few minutes. The law would come down heavily on any citizen disabling this feature, but what does a criminal have to lose?

Town Hall Meeting:

Obama held a town hall meeting on Thursday, January 7, at George Mason University in Virginia, moderated by CNN. While packed with anti-gun activists and gun violence victims, a few surprises occurred.

Following a lecture by the President, containing familiar talking points, the meeting was opened to questions from the audience. Tara Kyle, widow of the “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, who was murdered in 2013, pointed out that homicides are at an historic low, gun ownership at an historic high, criminals don’t do background checks, and federal prosecutions for gun crimes are down by 40% since Obama took office. Why?

Making NRA the Strawman:

The NRA was invited to attend, but declined. In an interview with Fox News, NRA Director Chris Cox explained that they were allowed one pre-screened question, and would be held hostage while Obama leveled one accusation after another. In fact, that is precisely what Obama did anyway – accused the NRA of blocking this or that and of raising panic among gun owners, the classic Strawman approach. While there was a marked increase in gun purchases, the NRA had nothing to do with it. Gun owners tend to keep one ear to the ground, and the President made a lot of noise leading up to Tuesday. The NRA was surprisingly low key throughout the two weeks, waiting to discuss facts not assumptions.

It is clear that the President wants to demonize the NRA as the enemy of public safety. With a budget of about $37M, the NRA isn’t even in the top 100 list of lobbying organizations, but their members (and even more followers) are passionate about their right to keep and bear arms for personal safety. Michael Bloomberg alone spends about $20M a year in anti-gun activities, including $2M alone in the Chicago primary race to replace disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr in the House of Representatives, for a race which normally costs less than $500K. The issue – gun control.

Distracting from domestic and international stumbles: 

Throughout the last two weeks, the President has made nearly daily announcements regarding his gun control agenda. This has captivate the attention of nearly everybody, most important the network and cable news industry. This seems to be a Machiavellian attempt to control the news cycle and divert attention from the political situation in the Middle East. It also kept attention from Obama’s continued effort to close the Gitmo prison. Seventeen dangerous Al Qaeda members are scheduled for release in January, almost unnoticed by the press. By law, the Secretary of Defense must affirm (in writing) that these pose no security problem to the US or its allies. Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel all resigned in protest. Ashton Carter, who majored in Physics and Medieval History, with a career as a technical advisor, seems more … compliant in this regard.

What would work?

Criminals are going to get firearms as long as it is necessary to do what they do. They will go to the streets, suburbs, other states or other countries if necessary, and they won’t get background checks. If you can’t keep guns from the hands of criminals, why not do as much as possible to keep their hands away from guns. Prosecute them under existing gun laws!

As noted, prosecutions for federal gun crimes are down 40% since Obama took office. In Chicago, there are nearly 3500 illegal guns seized each year, but the average sentence served is less than one year. Under federal law, the minimum is 5 years and can be much longer, yet there were no prosecutions under federal law since Obama took office. It’s a lot harder for criminals to get guns in prison (unfortunately not impossible), and the public would get 5 years of relief from that individual’s depredations.

Mr. President, where is your Department of Justice? Is your reticence due to the demographics of violent crime in your home city?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Thorner: Republicans accused of cynical scheme that led to odious education law

Essa

By Nancy Thorner – 

Proponents of the “Every Student Succeed Act” (ESSA) — a bi-partisan, progressive, 1061-page “No Child Left Behind” reauthorization education bill passed by Republican majorities in both houses and signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015 – have argued that the bill is worthy of conservative support, claiming it stops Common Core, reins in Obama’s Department of Education, and consolidates a number of federal education programs.

Not so!  Instead, S 1177 represents an unprecedented expansion by the federal government into education, which contrasts the conservative view that education decisions should be made by state and local decision.

According to “Conservative Review”:

The bill retains the fundamental mandate requiring states to concoct uniform standards in reading and math that would be applied statewide throughout all jurisdictions. The bill also keeps the plethora of federal testing requirements that have been the driving force behind the adoption of Common Core, and does nothing to address the duplicate and wasteful programs funded by the Department of Education.  Although a few programs were cut, the bill retains many more programs and even adds a few, such as a pre-K program grant, which will increase spending levels increase over the life of S. 1177. And despite popular rhetoric from supporters, ESSA does not eliminate Common Core, much to the outrage of millions of parents.

Jane Robbins, a respected writer and author on education issue (including Common Core) for “Truth in American Education”, has this to say regarding the newly added ESSA’s preschool program (extending federal tentacles over toddlers) and its institution of President Obama’s pet project, “21st-century community learning centers.” 

 

“The latter means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find. But this is what the Republican Congress has given us.”

ESSA represents a further erosion of local control and the continuation of a data driven model which corporate interests will benefit from, with its data collection, competency based pay for teachers, pipeline services from birth to age 20, an expansion of data driven computer adaptive testing, and in-school mental health services which will not be protected by HIPPA privacy protection laws.

 

Laurie Higgins, in writing for Illinois Family Action  (sister organization to Illinois Family Institute) on December of 2015, sums up the most pressing problems inherent in the l061 page “No Child Left Behind” reathorization bill:

  • No provision for states to opt out of programs that fall under the ESSA through FY2020.
  • No portability for Title I public school funds, therefore, limiting parental choice of schools.
  • Authorizes $250 million for a new federal preschool program to be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
  • Education spending levels rise in accordance with the Obama-Boehner budget deal that lifts spending caps and waives debt limit.

The Heritage Foundation offers these additional shortcomings of S 1177:  

  • It doesn’t stop Common Core. 
  • It doesn’t rein in Obama’s Department of Education.  
  • It consolidates a number of federal education programs. 

It is rumored that S. 1177 bill rushed through the U.S. House with too little time for voters to read and digest it in order to protect Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign. It hasn’t helped so far.  Bush did admit to helping re-write the bill.

 

According Emmett McGroarty in his December 21, 2015 article titled, “Obama Administration Reveals GOP Leaders’ Betrayal on Common Core in Ed Bill”, Senator Lemar Alexander, Rep. John Kline, and House Speaker Paul Ryan carried out a cynical scheme to betray their constituents and give the Administration everything it wanted after Anti-Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration,  Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed.

 

The Republican betrayal was revealed by Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan — assuming Duncan is telling the truth and as a lame duck on his way out the door, why shouldn’t he?  In relating a conversation he had with Speaker Paul Ryan a month before the final Senate passage of the bill, Duncan asked whether Ryan was willing to take on the far right.  Ryan replied, “Absolutely.  We’re going to back this.”

 

So Alexander, Kline, and Ryan asked the Administration to keep quiet, not to specifically praise bill and let it get through, while they slipped policies into the bill that they would then market to their “far right” as something that overturned what has been the core of progressive education goals from Day One.  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) then fed this bill to their colleagues with talking points that it returns local control, provides more flexibility for states, and “ends Common Core.” Heard over and over again was how this bill will end the “national school board. 

 

Is it not surprising that Arnie Duncan took a victory lap after the bill was passed.  And why not? Just as the grassroots warned, the “core of the [leftist] agenda” is embodied in the unread 1,061 pages of ESSA. Every member of Congress who claims to be conservative and who voted for this, deciding to trust the establishment rather than the knowledgeable constituents who know this issue intimately, should hang his or head in shame.

 

Had members of Congress actually read the bill, they would have seen the bill for the leftist educational agenda that it represented.

Now that the damage has largely already been done, it is up to states to peel themselves away from Common Core and other unauthorized federal incursions on their programs.  In that the federal footprint has not been reduced in any meaningful way insures that ESSA will maintain its current accelerated spending pace.

 

Unfortunately, the S 1177 conference report represents a missed opportunity for Republicans to provide a contrast with the left on this important issue, and to enact legislation to significantly improve our nation’s K-12 education system.

Thorner:  Common Core alive and well, thanks to Republican support

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Essa

By Nancy Thorner – 

Proponents of the “Every Student Succeed Act” (ESSA) — a bi-partisan, progressive, 1061-page “No Child Left Behind” reauthorization education bill passed by Republican majorities in both houses and signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015 – have argued that the bill is worthy of conservative support, claiming it stops Common Core, reins in Obama’s Department of Education, and consolidates a number of federal education programs.

Not so!  Instead, S 1177 represents an unprecedented expansion by the federal government into education, which contrasts the conservative view that education decisions should be made by state and local decision.

According to “Conservative Review”:

The bill retains the fundamental mandate requiring states to concoct uniform standards in reading and math that would be applied statewide throughout all jurisdictions. The bill also keeps the plethora of federal testing requirements that have been the driving force behind the adoption of Common Core, and does nothing to address the duplicate and wasteful programs funded by the Department of Education.  Although a few programs were cut, the bill retains many more programs and even adds a few, such as a pre-K program grant, which will increase spending levels increase over the life of S. 1177. And despite popular rhetoric from supporters, ESSA does not eliminate Common Core, much to the outrage of millions of parents.

Jane Robbins, a respected writer and author on education issue (including Common Core) for “Truth in American Education”, has this to say regarding the newly added ESSA’s preschool program (extending federal tentacles over toddlers) and its institution of President Obama’s pet project, “21st-century community learning centers.” 

“The latter means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find. But this is what the Republican Congress has given us.”

ESSA represents a further erosion of local control and the continuation of a data driven model which corporate interests will benefit from, with its data collection, competency based pay for teachers, pipeline services from birth to age 20, an expansion of data driven computer adaptive testing, and in-school mental health services which will not be protected by HIPPA privacy protection laws.

Laurie Higgins, in writing for Illinois Family Action  (sister organization to Illinois Family Institute) on December of 2015, sums up the most pressing problems inherent in the l061 page “No Child Left Behind” reathorization bill:

  • No provision for states to opt out of programs that fall under the ESSA through FY2020.
  • No portability for Title I public school funds, therefore, limiting parental choice of schools.
  • Authorizes $250 million for a new federal preschool program to be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
  • Education spending levels rise in accordance with the Obama-Boehner budget deal that lifts spending caps and waives debt limit.

The Heritage Foundation offers these additional shortcomings of S 1177:  

  • It doesn’t stop Common Core. 
  • It doesn’t rein in Obama’s Department of Education.  
  • It consolidates a number of federal education programs. 

It is rumored that S. 1177 bill rushed through the U.S. House with too little time for voters to read and digest it in order to protect Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign. It hasn’t helped so far.  Bush did admit to helping re-write the bill.

According Emmett McGroarty in his December 21, 2015 article titled, “Obama Administration Reveals GOP Leaders’ Betrayal on Common Core in Ed Bill”, Senator Lemar Alexander, Rep. John Kline, and House Speaker Paul Ryan carried out a cynical scheme to betray their constituents and give the Administration everything it wanted after Anti-Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration,  Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed.

The Republican betrayal was revealed by Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan — assuming Duncan is telling the truth and as a lame duck on his way out the door, why shouldn’t he?  In relating a conversation he had with Speaker Paul Ryan a month before the final Senate passage of the bill, Duncan asked whether Ryan was willing to take on the far right.  Ryan replied, “Absolutely.  We’re going to back this.”

So Alexander, Kline, and Ryan asked the Administration to keep quiet, not to specifically praise bill and let it get through, while they slipped policies into the bill that they would then market to their “far right” as something that overturned what has been the core of progressive education goals from Day One.  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) then fed this bill to their colleagues with talking points that it returns local control, provides more flexibility for states, and “ends Common Core.” Heard over and over again was how this bill will end the “national school board. 

Is it not surprising that Arnie Duncan took a victory lap after the bill was passed.  And why not? Just as the grassroots warned, the “core of the [leftist] agenda” is embodied in the unread 1,061 pages of ESSA. Every member of Congress who claims to be conservative and who voted for this, deciding to trust the establishment rather than the knowledgeable constituents who know this issue intimately, should hang his or head in shame.

Had members of Congress actually read the bill, they would have seen the bill for the leftist educational agenda that it represented.

Now that the damage has largely already been done, it is up to states to peel themselves away from Common Core and other unauthorized federal incursions on their programs.  In that the federal footprint has not been reduced in any meaningful way insures that ESSA will maintain its current accelerated spending pace. The S 1177 conference report represents a missed opportunity for Republicans to provide a contrast with the left on this important issue, and to enact legislation to significantly improve our nation’s K-12 education system.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

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