Deal to free soldier, detainees perilous

Some Americans were happy to see U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl released after five years of captivity under the Taliban. But at what price?

Five high-ranking Islamic terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay were freed in the deal, certain-to-be future players in terror planning or murders of western infidels as well as their own countrymen. Past releases of murderous detainees prove this to be true.

These five men were given asylum in Qatar, but we know how that goes. It is naïve not to realize how terrorists are adept at vanishing into the netherworld to resume their sordid jihad activities.

That will likely translate to future killings of innocent people, whether they be Americans or otherwise.

The conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, reported in September 2013 that of the 603 detainees released from Guantanamo who had thus far been tracked, at least 100 were confirmed as having returned to engaging in terror or insurgent activities, with another 74 suspected of such. That’s a 29 percent rate of recidivism. That’s also 174 terrorists we had in our grips who are returning to their mission: Murder.

It is mind-boggling.

That’s like letting serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer out of prison in exchange for an innocent prisoner, knowing they will leave another trail of murder victims in their wake. Negotiators don’t consider future victims, because they cannot yet be identified. But the odds are high for future victims.

Yes, we may feel distressed about a soldier held in captivity, but it’s a higher priority to prevent more innocent people from being killed and/or kidnapped.

Now that the Taliban terrorists have achieved their desired result, we can look for more Americans being shuffled off indefinitely to some filthy hiding places in no-man’s land. Or, until Guantanamo is completely cleaned out of terrorists, returned to the world of jihad. The Taliban and al-Qaida will have reassembled their soldiers to kill more Americans.

President Obama violated his oath of office by failing to provide Congress 30 days’ notice before any detainees were released from Guantanamo. The White House cited “unique and exigent circumstances,” which is a convenient catch-all term for bypassing the law. Perhaps this is one executive order too many?

According to Wikipedia, there are only 144 enemy combatants remaining at Guantanamo out of the original 775. That’s one way to solve the problem of closing Guantanamo; create zero detainees.

It also begs the question: Why haven’t these combatants been tried in a military court?

If and when any innocent people, Americans or otherwise, lose their lives — directly or indirectly —to any one of these newly released terrorists in the future, the blood of those victims will be on the hands of those who arranged for this prisoner exchange.

This issue of questioning Bergdahl’s motives and integrity is another matter that must be investigated. But that’s a distraction. Whether he was a loyal soldier or not, this was a perilous deal. The deadly cost remains to be seen.

Every national leader in the history of the free world has repeatedly echoed the edict, “Never negotiate with terrorists.” The reasons are crystal clear. Now that is has been changed, we can only hope.

VIDEO: Morals and the Media — Reporting using a Biblical Perspective

I was honored to be invited to speak about “Morals and the Media” before the Sarasota Patriots by founder and President Beth Colvin. I was introduced by fellow US Army veteran Barbara Vaughn. I thank Barbara for her kind introduction.

Many in America are questioning if the media is doing its prime function – holding government accountable. Malcolm X said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

But is that the moral role of the media? The moral role is telling the truth, not remaking the truth. There are fundamental truths and journalists can find them in the Torah and New Testament – for you see every story, every headline, every event has been told or foretold in the Bible. The only thing that changes is the names and dates. Greed, corruption, avarice, murder and good all are in the Bible. The only headline that has yet to be printed is the second coming of Jesus Christ or for the Jerusalem Post the first coming of the Messiah.

I thank Pete Theisen for video taping my remarks. I hope you will watch the videos and, if you wish, leave a comment. Enjoy!

PART I: Reporting using a Biblical perspective

[youtube]http://youtu.be/wHNsS1-714w[/youtube]

 

PART II: Reporting using a Biblical perspective and Question and Answer period

[youtube]http://youtu.be/z5LBlCmCjfg[/youtube]

 

PART III: Last Question from a young patriot and Answer

[youtube]http://youtu.be/1C5HXwfT3u8[/youtube]

 

RELATED COLUMN: Pro-Sin America Combats Global anti-Sin Movement

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #6 – Capitalism Fosters Greed and Government Policy Must Temper It

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

20140414_Clichesofprogressivism (1)

#6 – Capitalism Fosters Greed and Government Policy Must Temper It

On April 19, 2014, the Colonial Bread store in my town of Newnan, Georgia, closed its doors after a decade in business. The parent company explained, “In order to focus more sharply on our core competencies, the decision was made to close some of our retail stores.” A longtime patron responded in the local newspaper this way: “It’s just sad. It’s simply greed and we’re on the receiving end. It’s frustrating to know there isn’t anything you can do about it either.”

Now there’s a rather expansive view of “greed” if there ever was one! Trying to make more efficient the business in which you’ve invested your time and money is somehow a greedy thing to do? And what is it that the disgruntled patron wishes should be done about it? Perhaps pass a law to effectively enslave the business owner and compel him to keep the store open? Who is really the greedy one here?

“Greed” is a word that flows off Progressive tongues with the ease of lard on a hot griddle. It’s a loaded, pejorative term that consigns whoever gets hit with it to the moral gutter. Whoever hurls it can posture self-righteously as somehow above it all, concerned only about others while the greedy wallow in evil selfishness. Thinking people should realize this is a sleazy tactic, not a thoughtful moral commentary.

Economist Thomas Sowell famously pointed out in Barbarians Inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays that the “greed” accusation doesn’t meet the dictionary definition of the term any more. He wrote, “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

Once upon a time, and for a very long time, “greed” meant more than just the desire for something. It meant the inordinate, obsessive worship of it that often crossed the line into actions that harmed other people. Really, really wanting a million bucks was not in and of itself a bad thing if you honestly worked for it, freely traded with others for it, or took risks and actually created jobs and wealth to secure it. If you worshiped the million bucks to the point of a willingness to steal for it or hire a public official to raid the Treasury on your behalf, then you were definitely a greedy person. Shame on you. If you’re one of those many people today who are willing to stoop to stealing or politicking your way to wealth, you’ve got a lot to answer for.

“Greed” also means, to some people, an unwillingness to share what’s yours with others. I suppose a father who buys a personal yacht instead of feeding his family would qualify. But that’s because he is evading a personal responsibility. He owes it to the family he brought into being to properly care for them. Does the bakery owner who closes his store thereby violate some responsibility to forever serve a certain clientele? Was that ever part of some contract all parties agreed to?

Let’s not forget the fundamental and critical importance of healthy self-interest in human nature. We’re born with it, and thank goodness for that! I don’t lament it for a second. Taking care of yourself and those you love and have responsibility for is what makes the world work. When your self-interest motivates you to do that, it means on net balance you’re good for the world. You’re relieving its burdens, not adding to them.

A common but misleading claim is that the Great Recession of 2008 resulted from the “greed” of the financial community. But did the desire to make money suddenly appear or intensify in the years before 2008? George Mason University economist Lawrence White pointedly explained that blaming greed for recessions doesn’t get us very far. He says, “It’s like blaming gravity for an epidemic of plane crashes.” The gravity was always there. Other factors must have interceded to create a serious anomaly. In the case of the Great Recession, those factors prominently included years of cheap money and artificially low interest rates from the Federal Reserve, acts of Congress and the bureaucracy to jawbone banks into making dubious loans for home purchases, and government entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac skewing the housing market—all policies that enjoyed broad support from Progressives but never from genuinely “free market” people.

The Progressive perspective on “greed” is that it’s a constant problem in the private sector but somehow recedes when government takes over. I wonder exactly when a politician’s self-interest evaporates and his altruistic compassion kicks in? Does that happen on election night, on the day he takes office, or after he’s had a chance to really get to know the folks who grease the wheels of government? When he realizes the power he has, does that make him more or less likely to want to serve himself?

The charlatan cries, “That guy over there is greedy! I will be happy to take your money to protect you from him!” Before you rush into his arms, ask some pointed questions about how the greedy suspect is doing his work and how the would-be protector proposes to do his.

The fact is, there’s nothing about government that makes it less “greedy” than the average guy or the average institution. Indeed, there’s every reason to believe that adding political power to natural self-interest is a surefire recipe for magnifying the harm that greed can do. Have you ever heard of corruption in government? Buying votes with promises of other people’s money? Feathering one’s nest by claiming “it’s for the children”? Burdening generations yet unborn with the debt to pay for today’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada (a favorite pork project of Senator Harry Reid)?

If you are an honest, self-interested person in a free market, you quickly realize that to satisfy the self-interest that some critics are quick to dismiss as “greed,” you can’t put a crown on your head, wrap a robe around yourself and demand that the peasants cough up their shekels. You have to produce, create, trade, invest, and employ. You have to provide goods or services that willing customers (not taxpaying captives) will choose to buy and hopefully more than just once. Your “greed” gets translated into life-enhancing things for other people. In the top-down, socialized utopia the Progressives dream of, greed doesn’t disappear at all; it just gets channeled in destructive directions. To satisfy it, you’ve got to use the political process to grab something from other people.

The “greed” charge turns out to be little more than a rhetorical device, a superficial smear intended to serve political ends. Whether or not you worship a material thing like money is largely a matter between you and your Maker, not something that can be scientifically measured and proscribed by lawmakers who are just as prone to it as you are. Don’t be a sucker for it.

Lawrence W. Reed
President
Foundation for Economic Education

Summary

  • Greed has become a slippery term that cries out for some objective meaning; it’s used these days to describe lots of behaviors that somebody doesn’t like for other, sometimes hidden reasons.
  • Self-interest is healthy and natural. How you put it into action in your relationships with others is what keeps it healthy or gets it off track.
  • Lawmakers and government are not immune to greed and, if anything, they magnify it into harmful outcomes.
  • For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/lxdrfachttp://tinyurl.com/pyvvx73, and http://tinyurl.com/lj7s2ab.

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #4 – The More Complex the Society, the More Government Control We Need

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

20140414_Clichesofprogressivism (1)

#4 – The More Complex the Society, the More Government Control We Need

Argued a college president at a recent seminar: “Your free market, private property, limited government theories were all right under the simple conditions of a century or more ago, but surely they are unworkable in today’s complex economy. The more complex the society, the greater is the need for governmental control; that seems axiomatic.”

It is important to expose this oft-heard, plausible, and influential fallacy because it leads directly and logically to socialistic planning. This is how a member of the seminar team answered the college president:

“Let us take the simplest possible situation—just you and I. Next, let us assume that I am as wise as any President of the United States who has held office during your lifetime. With these qualifications in mind, do you honestly think I would be competent to coercively control what you shall invent, discover, or create, what the hours of your labor shall be, what wage you shall receive, what and with whom you shall associate and exchange? Is not my incompetence demonstrably apparent in this simplest of all societies?

“Now, let us shift from the simple situation to a more complex society—to all the people in this room. What would you think of my competence to coercively control their creative actions? Or, let us contemplate a really complex situation—the 188,000,000 people of this nation [Editor’s note: now, in 2014, about 318 million]. If I were to suggest that I should take over the management of their lives and their billions of exchanges, you would think me the victim of hallucinations. Is it not obvious that the more complex an economy, the more certainly will governmental control of productive effort exert a retarding influence? Obviously, the more complex our economy, the more we should rely on the miraculous, self-adapting processes of men acting freely. No mind of man nor any combination of minds can even envision, let alone intelligently control, the countless human energy exchanges in a simple society, to say nothing of a complex one.”

It is unlikely that the college president will raise that question again.

While exposing fallacies can be likened to beating out brush fires endlessly, the exercise is nonetheless self-improving as well as useful, in the sense that rearguard actions are useful. Further, one’s ability to expose fallacies—a negative tactic—appears to be a necessary preface to influentially accenting the positive. Unless a person can demonstrate competence at exploding socialistic error, he is not likely to gain wide audiences for his views about the wonders wrought by men who are free.

Of all the errors heard in classrooms or elsewhere, there is not one that cannot be simply explained away. We only need to put our minds to it. The Foundation for Economic Education seeks to help those who would expose fallacies and accent the merits of freedom. The more who outdo us in rendering this kind of help, the better.

Leonard E. Read
Founder and President of FEE, 1946–1983

Summary

Editor’s Note

This was the first chapter in the first edition of FEE’s Clichés of Socialism when it appeared in 1962. Though the “complexity requires control” fallacy is not publicly expressed so boldly today, it is still implicit in the core assumptions of modern Progressivism. Almost every new innovation gives rise to some call from some Progressive somewhere to regulate it, monitor it, sometimes even ban it. Rarely will a Progressive reject new assignments for government, even though it has already assumed so many that it manages so poorly (and at a financial loss). It behooves us to point out that the more government attempts to control, the less well it will perform all of its duties, including the essential ones. Leonard Read passed away in 1983, but his wisdom as expressed here still resonates.

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LEONARD E. READ

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) was the founder of FEE, and the author of 29 works, including the classic parable “I, Pencil.”

PUBLISHERS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Downsizing Australia’s Government and Repealing Green Laws

Try to imagine a commission of the U.S. government recommending that it get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, countless agencies, and, for good measure, restructure Medicare so it doesn’t go broke. There are few Americans who will argue that our federal government isn’t big enough and many who trace our present problems to Big Government.

That is why what has been occurring in Australia caught my attention because its voters rid themselves of a political party that imposed both a carbon tax and renewable energy tax on them. The purpose of the latter was to fund the building of wind turbines and solar farms to provide electricity.

Taxing carbon emissions—greenhouse gases—said to be heating the Earth has happily died in the U.S. Senate, but in Australia the taxes were a major reason that the Liberal Party (which is actually politically conservative despite its name) took power after a former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pushed it and the renewable energy tax through its parliament.

Gillard became the first woman PM after she challenged then PM Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party (which is politically liberal.) Like John Kerry, Gillard was against the taxes before she was for them. How liberal is Rudd? In February he was named a senior fellow of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Like Obama, Rudd came out in favor of same-sex marriage when he was the PM.

Bjorn Lomborg, writing in The Australian in late April, noted that both of the taxes “have contributed to household electricity costs rising 110 percent in the past five years, hitting the poor the hardest.” I repeat—110 percent!

It didn’t take Australians long to discover what a disaster taxing carbon emissions was and how useless renewable energy is. In both cases the taxes were based on the notion that “fossil fuels”, coal, oil and natural gas, are a threat to the environment. Despite an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Earth has been cooling for the last seventeen years. Mother Nature always has the last word.

As of this writing, the repeal of the two Green laws is in the Parliament’s Senate after having won assent in the lower House. A September 2013 election provided enough new Senate lawmakers  to ensure the repeal.

The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth largest nation by total area. It was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and New South Wales was used as a penal colony initially. As the general population grew and the continent was explored, five more self-governing crown colonies were established. On January 1, 1901, the six colonies and several territories federated to form the Commonwealth. The population is approximately 23 million is highly urbanized and lives primarily in the eastern states.

Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy making it one of the wealthiest in the world, but the environmentally-inspired taxes had a deleterious impact on its economy, particularly the mining of coal and iron. As noted, the cost of electricity skyrocketed.

The present Prime Minister is Anthony John “Tony” Abbott. He has held the office since 2013 and has been the leader of the Liberal Party since 2009. A Member of Parliament, he was first elected in 1994 as the representative of Warringah. He made a lot of news when he protested a proposed Emissions Trade Scheme and forced a leadership ballot that defeated it, becoming in the process the Liberal Party leader and leader of the opposition to Rudd and Gillard’s Labor Party.

As reported in the April 30 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott’s Commission of Audit “has recommended massive cuts to the size of government, with whole agencies to be abolished, privatized, or devolved to the states, in what would be the biggest reworking of the federation ever undertaken.”

The Commission, the Herald reported, has 86 recommendations, among which are “calls for the axing of multiple agencies and the surrender of huge swathes of responsibility back to the states in education, health, and other services.”

The Australian reported that Joseph Benedict “Joe” Hockey, Australia’s Treasurer as part of the Abbott government, said that the proposed budget would axe “the vast number of (environmental) agencies that are involved in doing the same thing.” Hockey is no fan of wind power, saying “If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they are a blight on the landscape.” That kind of candid talk, if he was an American politician, would be considered astonishing.

The best “transformation” America could undergo is not President Obama’s version, but a return to the limits set forth in the U.S. Constitution, a document that reflected the Founder’s distinct distrust of a large central government and its allocation of civic responsibilities to the individual states to the greatest degree possible, and to “the people.”

Australia is way ahead of the U.S. in that regard, learning from the errors of environment laws and the expansion of its government into areas of health and education. We would do well to follow its example.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Question: Which Louisiana Teachers Wrote Common Core?

When I debated Stephanie Deselles of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) in November 2013, she mentioned “three Louisiana teachers” who were involved in writing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Never mind that “three” is an embarrassingly low number. Deselles provided no names.

During testimony on the writing of CCSS and its test, the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) test, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member Holly Boffy is unable to readily provide the names of Louisiana teachers who participated in writing CCSS to Louisiana State Representative Jerome “Dee” Richard.

Here is a powerful one-minute video on Boffy’s failure to answer:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/adRaM05Tulw[/youtube]

 

Note that Boffy has a clear conflict of interest from her financial connection to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the CCSS license owners.

If it is only three teachers, as Deselles stated in November 2013, why is it so difficult for Boffy to offer specific names??

Today’s Totalitarianism

20140401_April2014600

FREEMAN April 2014 Edition.

When people go around armed with mobile phones and makeshift shields, what are the powers that be to do? Recent events in Venezuela and Ukraine suggest no status quo is safe when popular movements are networked and determined.

The trouble is, the world has not yet learned to be networked and determined as a permanent alternative to State control. After any revolution, a networked and determined people could be self-governing, though this rarely happens; revolutions remain as likely to usher in something not much better—maybe even worse—than what preceded them. Egypt is currently living out a version of this.

Most people still default to the idea that a more benevolent leviathan is going to make everything okay. And there are always would-be leviathans waiting in the wings. The hope that they’ll be less brutal is just that—hope. After regimes are toppled or swept aside, strongmen, puppet governments, or hostile neighbors are almost always well positioned to take and keep power. Problems return.

Further, when you strip off a dictator like removing a scab, what’s left underneath is often a factionalized people.

In the case of the Ukraine, it appears there’s a Russian-speaking faction that is sympathetic to Putin. There is a Ukrainian nationalist faction that is decidedly not into wearing any more totalitarian yokes, but that flirts with notions of ethnic purity, blood, and soil. There is yet another faction that fancies itself European and thinks the European superstate is the right umbrella. And on and on. Foreign powers may also have helped set a match to the tender—the United States, the EU, and Russia are all prime suspects.

In the case of Venezuela, however, the protests seem to have originated primarily among the young who are tired of shortages and suppressed freedoms that come from the Bolivarian state. CNN reports:

The weeks of protests across Venezuela mark the biggest threat President Nicolas Maduro has faced since his election last year. Demonstrators say they have taken to the streets to protest shortages of goods, high inflation and high crime.

Opposition protesters and government officials have traded blame for the violence for weeks.

The current Venezuelan leader argues that brutal suppression is justified; his charismatic predecessor, Hugo Chavez, thought the same thing. And in the mind of the State, it almost always is:

Think about what the U.S. government would do if a political group laid out a road map for overthrowing President Barack Obama, Maduro said.

“What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change the constitutional government of the United States?” Maduro said. “Surely, the state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong.”

Surely it is a bizarro-world justification in which such regimes appeal to any Constitution in the same breath as President Obama, who thinks of the U.S. Constitution as quaint, brittle toilet tissue. But then again, Maduro is right that the U.S. government has all the power it needs to suppress any serious popular uprising—and, one expects, wouldn’t hesitate to use it.

What about states with determined but unconnected people? North Korea is still squirming along under a totalitarian thumb, as the portly Kim Jong Un takes leads from his father and grandfather, whose advice can be summed up in the dictators’ dictum: “A weak fist wipes away tears.” The highest echelon in Pyongyang reserves its fists for striking down and holding down its people—a determined, but sadly unconnected people. Thus the Hermit Kingdom could stay in penury and subjugation for many more years.

Wherever one lands on the continuum between pacificism and hostile interventionism, it is difficult not to let one’s feelings for oppressed people guide his thoughts away from either pragmatism or principle. And yet we must take care: Meddling in foreign affairs rarely ends up in any sort of postwar stability, liberation, or liberalization. It’s frustrating to see Putin get away with it. And we certainly wouldn’t want to live next to such a regime. But the simple fact that the United States could bomb or sanction Russia into even more suffering by no means guarantees a positive outcome if the United States does. The last 40 years of American military misadventures demonstrate that.

A couple of our readers challenged our publishing sentiments with respect to Ukraine. For example, we lent our pages to an anonymous Ukrainian journalist early on, when few outlets were reporting much of anything at all. Indeed, we got this story out relatively early. While we stand by any peoples longing to be free, we remain uncertain about the extent to which foreign meddlers were involved in the uprising, much less whether such meddling was warranted.

In any case, if The Freeman takes any position on matters like these, we side with peoples against illiberal States, realizing all the while that self-determination can be an imperfect process carried out in a world of opportunistic state actors and Hobbesian calculi. And of course we hope that determined and connected people can learn to do more than throw off power. We hope that someday, they can keep it and lock it away from the totalitarians forever.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of FFE and Shutterstock.

Lesson Learned: The ‘Show’ of Support for Common Core in Georgia

Pro-Common Core groups astro-turf the illusion of overwhelming support for the program.

Earlier this week opponents of the “Common Core State Standards” cautiously celebrated their first major victory as Governor Mike Pence signed legislation withdrawing Indiana from the nationalized education program.

But in Georgia, the pro-Common Core big business/big government forces outgunned the grassroots and celebrated victory on the last day of the session last week.  A look at their tricks can provide lessons for other states.

Republican State Senator William Ligon was the sponsor of anti-Common Core legislation this year and last.  The 2013 version of his SB 167, which called for a complete withdrawal from Common Core, failed to get out of committee.  This year’s bill, revised multiple times, also failed to get out of the education committee.  Parts of the bill attached as two amendments to another education bill did not get approval on the last day of the session (with some supporters switching their votes).

On the side fighting Common Core and trying to enact legislation that would withdraw Georgia from the national education standards were tea party groups, alarmed parents and grandparents, dissenting teachers, and such groups as Concerned Women for America and American Principles in Action.

But even Democratic teachers and parents who oppose Common Core would not be able to fight the pro-Common Core rent-seekers — lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, principals, teachers, superintendents, and public radio and television employees.

The only thing that passed was a resolution to form a study committee on Common Core.  But even this was too much for Georgia Democratic State Representative Alisha Thompson Morgan, now running for state school superintendent.  In February, Morgan had introduced a House Resolution affirming Georgia’s commitment to Common Core.

To even discuss Common Core in a study committee was crazy talk, she implied in her speech against the measure in the waning hours on the last day.  For evidence, she noted, “I’ve heard all kinds of things, like let’s abolish the U.S. Department of Education.”  To Morgan, the federal Department of Education protects students: “It’s the federal government’s job to ensure that we don’t violate the rights of students.”

She listed the benefits bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education: the $400 million in stimulus funds in exchange for agreement to the Common Core standards, innovation grants, and data-tracking from “preschool to Ph.D.” Morgan insisted this was not a Democratic or Republican issue.  She was speaking as “a mom” of a first-grader, and she was hearing great things from her teacher about Common Core — like developing “critical thinking skills.”

“Why are we still having this conversation?” Morgan asked.  No further discussion should be allowed: a March 5 education committee hearing on Ligon’s bill had 68 people testifying, with the vast majority, 58, opposing Ligon’s bill.

“I don’t ever remember so many people testifying,” she said: “It was the first time I recall groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Coalition of 100 Black Men joining together.”

Plus, she had been overwhelmed by emails and other communication from teachers, parents, and citizens pleading to keep Common Core, a claim she repeated from what she had said at the education committee hearings on March 5 and March 12.  These Common Core fans, Morgan said, spoke up at “listening sessions” held across the state in the months leading up to the start of the session in January.  They greatly outnumbered those who spoke against it — proof that the public supported Common Core.

In spite of Morgan’s arguments, the resolution for a study committee on Common Core passed, but it was the only — and largely symbolic — state level effort against Common Core this year.

Representative Morgan’s characterization of the groundswell of support for Common Core, however, does not fit with what documents obtained from an open records request reveal.  Those testifying against Ligon’s bill were largely members of the Chamber of Commerce — and public school employees: teachers, principals, superintendents, and administrators.  By my own count, 12 of them came from Tift County, 181 miles to the south of Atlanta, and they used school buses to get there.

They had apparently also used school buses to travel to the “listening sessions” across the state.  These were sham forums and used to present a show of openness on the issue.  In reality, the establishment, from Republican Governor Nathan Deal to the Education Committee chairman, Brooks Coleman (also a Republican), had made their decisions that Common Core was going to stay.  After the testimony of Tift County principal Mickey Weldon at the March 5 education committee hearing, Chairman Brooks Coleman thanked her and those who have been arranging the bus trips: “They bring those buses, and we appreciate them.”

RELATED STORY: Big Data Enters the Classroom

Shocker: FBI dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate crime” watchdog partner

This is indeed a shocker, as it goes against the consistent policy line of Obama’s FBI and Justice Department. But it is a most welcome development. The SPLC is one of the Left’s foremost propaganda organs, tarring any group that dissents from its extreme political agenda (such as our American Freedom Defense Initiative, and this website) as a “hate group.” Significantly, although it lists hundreds of groups as “hate groups,” it includes hardly any Islamic jihad groups on this list. And its “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously, as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes. But that is exactly what they do. Its hard-Left leanings are well known and well documented. This Weekly Standard article sums up much of what is wrong with the SPLC.

“Shocker: FBI dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘hate crime’ watchdog partner,” by Paul Bedard for the Washington Examiner, March 26:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled several Washington, D.C.-based family organizations as “hate groups” for favoring traditional marriage, has been dumped as a “resource” on the FBI‘s Hate Crime Web page, a significant rejection of the influential legal group.

The Web page scrubbing, which also included eliminating the Anti-Defamation League, was not announced and came in the last month after 15 family groups pressed Attorney General Eric Holderand FBI Director James Comey to stop endorsing a group — SPLC — that inspired a recent case of domestic terrorism at the Family Research Council.

“We commend the FBI for removing website links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that not only dispenses erroneous data but has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court. We hope this means the FBI leadership will avoid any kind of partnership with the SPLC,” Tony Perkins, FRC President, told Secrets.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s mission to push anti-Christian propaganda is inconsistent with the mission of both the military and the FBI, which is to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he added.

The FBI had no comment and offered no explanation for its decision to end their website’s relationshipwith the two groups, leaving just four federal links as hate crime “resources.” Neither eliminated group had an immediate comment.

SPLC has been a leading voice against hate crimes, and has singled out evangelical and traditional family groups as advocates of hate against gays. It has even gone after a local official, Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, who also heads a group that promotes traditional, opposite sex marriage.

In August 2012, a Washington area man guided by the SPLC’s “hate map” that cited FRC, entered the group’s headquarters and shot a security guard. The guard survived and the shooter, a volunteer with a gay group, pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism.

In their letter, the 15 conservative groups argued that the FBI website’s inclusion of SPLC as a resource “played a significant part in bringing about an act of domestic terrorism.” It added, “It is completely inappropriate for the Department of Justice to recommend public reliance on the SPLC hate group lists and data. The links to the SPLC as a FBI ‘Resource’ must be taken down immediately, leaving only official, trustworthy sources listed on the agency’s webpage.”

RELATED STORIES:

Russia warned U.S. about Tsarnaev, but spelling error let him escape

“My name is Layla Murad. I left Islam in April 2013.”

The Truth About Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

For many years I worked counter-terrorism for the American government. I was often asked to conduct analysis on terrorism intelligence Federal Agents had obtained. I had a Top Secret plus clearance. This should be no surprise to most people, but often our government puts out disinformation so as to slow the process of pending and serious issues.

Since day one our government has known where the aircraft is. They also know the disappearance is somehow related to Islamic based terrorism. Either the pilots or passengers, but most likely the pilots. Both with Islamic backgrounds.

Our government in cooperation with other governments want the people around the world to believe this airliner has been located and for the questions about it’s disappearance to cease. In other words the U.S. doesn’t want a backlash against anyone or any organization representing Islam.

History will show that this incident was Islamic based terrorism, but by the time this happens we will be focusing on other national security matters.

I will not waste your time by recounting all of the airline hijackings, murders, and other such violence committed by Islamic based people, and in the name of Islam, and after the example for all Muslims (Mohammed). There have been dozens of such atrocities in the name of Islam. So what do we do as a country and on behalf of innocent people worldwide?

I will suggest a solution, but you will not hear discussions about my solution because we have few journalists or politicians who will publicly discuss it.

Due to the increasing number of murders around the world involving Islamic based terrorist groups and their sponsors, we have to conduct more scrutiny on every person who is associated with Islam. We need more undercover operations inside the mosques, specifically in America.

We must consider the alliances any Muslim has toward Islam and Sharia law. Islam comes first, and any allegiance to a business (airlines) or to any government takes a backseat to the allegiance of non Muslims and Non Islamic based countries. All Muslims place Allah above all else. Being that this is true, then we must come to terms with ourselves and understand any practicing Muslim has the potential to commit a terrorist act if it will better the Muslim community.

We must question the psychological backgrounds of airline crews who are practicing Muslims and adhere to Sharia law. This includes airline pilots, crew, and maintenance personnel. If they are deemed to be Sharia compliant, there should be no way we allow them to be a part of the airline industry.

Many will say this is excessive and should not be discussed or distributed in any way.

I then ask each of you (liberals, conservatives, communists, etc): If you and your family were getting ready to board any major airlines and an announcement was made that the pilots were Muslim and Sharia compliant, would you allow your family under their care, and if so, would you not be worried from the time you boarded until you departed the aircraft? Be honest.

The following quote is taken from an Islamic Jihad Site:

“Jihad is the greatest deed in Islam and the salvation of the ummah is in practicing it. In times like these, when Muslim lands are occupied by the kuffar, when the jails of tyrants are full of Muslim POWs, when the rule of the law of Allah is absent from this world and when Islam is being attacked in order to uproot it, Jihad becomes obligatory on every Muslim. Jihad must be practiced by the child even if the parents refuse, by the wife even if the husband objects and by the one in debt even if the lender disagrees.” – Anwar Al Awlaki

Why Government Does Not Function

Do you have the feeling that we no longer have government from the federal to the local level that is able to function because of vast volumes of laws and regulations that have made it impossible to do anything from build a bridge to run a nursing home? If so, you’re right. The nation is falling behind others who do a better job by permitting elected and appointed officials to actually make decisions. We are living in a nation where lawsuits follow every decision to accomplish anything.

Cover - The Rule of NobodyThis is the message of Philip K. Howard in a book that everyone concerned for the future of America should read; “The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government”.

It explains why we can elect a Representative or Senator, send him or her to Washington, D.C. and still see no progress. Instead, we get the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that began as a 2,700-page law that has already metastasized into regulations that, stacked up, stand seven feet tall! And more on the way. It has destroyed the healthcare insurance industry and is destroying the U.S. healthcare system.

“The missing element in American government could hardly be more basic. No official has authority to make a decision. Law has crowded out the ability to be practical or fair,” says Howard. “It’s a progressive disease. As law grows to fill the vacuum, the wheels of government go slower every year.”

Howard points to a variety of problems that nation is encountering. “America’s electrical grid is out of date—transformers, on average, are about forty years old, and not digitized.” As vital and essential as the grid is to all life in America, “there’s no active plan to rebuild America’s electrical grid. The main reason is that government cannot make the decisions needed to approve it.”

Citing proposals that would allow the Bayonne Bridge to permit the new generation of large container ships clearance that would enable the Port of Newark to remain competitive, it took three years for environmental reviews to clear the project, but as Howard notes, “the average length of environmental review for highway projects, according to a study by the Regional Plan Association, is over eight years.” Eight years!

“Government on legal autopilot,” says Howard, “doesn’t have a chance of achieving solvency. In 2010, 70 percent of federal tax revenue was consumed by three entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—that don’t even come up for annual congressional authorization.”

Americans are in general agreement that Big Government is a big problem, but did you know that more than twenty million people work for federal, state and local government—or one in seven workers in America. Their salaries and benefits total more than $1.5 trillion of taxpayer funding each year or about ten percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Cities in America are declaring bankruptcy because they cannot afford the retirement and other benefits that their employees receive. State budgets are comparably weighed down.

We read about the often incomprehensible results and costs of the legal system affecting all levels of government. “Up and down the chain of social responsibility, responsible people do not feel free to make sensible decisions,” says Howard. “Everything is too complicated: rules in the workplace, rights in the classroom, and machinations in government. We’re bogged down in bureaucracy, pushed around by lawsuits, and unable to steer out of economic and cultural storms.”

“The point of regulation, we seem to have forgotten, is to make sure things work in a crowded society.”

What is forgotten or never learned is that there are elements of risk in everything we do. Trying to legislate risk out of our lives only leaves us with millions of rules that make it impossible to function intelligently in business, in schools, in hospitals and nursing homes, and everywhere else. It eliminates swings and seesaws from playgrounds out of fear of lawsuits.

“America is losing its soul,” says Howard. “Instead of creating legal structures that support our values, Americans are abandoning our values in deference to the bureaucratic structures.” Too often, decisions made by elected officials or reflected referendums voted upon by the public have been taken over by the court system in which judges now feel free to decide these matters. The response was a growing objection to “judicial activism.” Now even the judges are distrusted.

Howard’s book explains why America is in trouble and offers recommendations to put it on the right path again. If it is ignored, the America into which I was born more than seven decades ago will not be around or livable for the next generation or two of Americans.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Turkey’s Foolhardy Twitter Ban Backfires: @TwitterTurkey

The municipal elections in Turkey  are less  than eight day hence.  Premier Erdogan  perpetrated a  foolhardy and heedless Twitter ban. He is  desperate to stave off a  possible last minute disclosure about more corruption revelations to  possibly be  released on Tuesday March 25.  With this ban Turkey joins a select group of countries who have similarly banned Twitter; China and Iran.  Within less than 24 hours  of announcing the ban at a campaign rally Thursday, March 20th  in Bursa, Turkey, it backfired.   According to  the website TwitTurk, more than 500,000 tweets were sent protesting the ban demonstrating how tech-savvy Turks  could work around the shutdown of Twitter.  Newsweek  reported:

According to TechCrunch, which compared Twitter activity in Turkey in the past few days, while the ban does seem to have had some negative effect on the number of tweets coming out of the country, it may have done Erdogan more harm than good in terms of global exposure. Before Thursday, there were about 200 tweets per day around the world that mentioned both “Turkey” and “Twitter.” On Friday, there were more than 80,000.

Globally, Twitter users have begun circulating a poster designed in the style of the Turkish flag but depicting Pac-Man eating Twitter’s bird logo.

President Gul, a co-founder of the AKP  with Premier Erdogan, sent a tweet objecting to the ban saying, “can’t be condoned”.  But then  Gul had signed a law  asserting the government’s control over the internet. The absurd part of Erdogan’s Twitter ban was his own party was poised to roll out  campaign  solicitations for the municipal elections  using the social  media.  The   AKP  deputy premier and Istanbul Mayor were  still using Twitter to communicate.   Lutfi Elvan (no relation to Gezi Park victim Berkin Elvan), the minister for communications , absurdly premised the Twitter ban  on a court ruling related to pornographic pictures.  The  opposition  People’s Republican Party (CHP)  leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the ban was hurting Turkey’s image abroad and his party would seek to overturn it.   The Turkish bar association called the ban illegal and immediately filed a criminal complaint.  Twitter had unnerved Erdogan as the social media became the source of revelations  from release of taped phone calls  to the extent of  family involvement  in money laundering, and interference with the judiciary in the swirl of corruption charges.

Erdogan’s  vain attempt at controlling social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or You Tube  might make a difference in next Sunday’s municipal elections.   His  actions denying free speech and engaging in desperate cover-ups of corruption might  unleash  a massive wave  of Turkish voters going to the polls committed  to cast votes for the opposition. That might reduce the chances of Erdogan doing a kind of ‘Putin –Medeved maneuver’ if a national referendum is passed prior to the 2015  general elections creating an executive Presidency.

Twitter Power in Turkey: the death of Berkin Elvan

The power of Twitter was evident on March 10th with the announcement by the grieving parents of  the passing  of 15 year old  Berkin Elvan using the social media  . They wrote ,” We lost our son. May he rest in peace .” Elvan  had lain in a coma  for 269 days reduced to less than 35 pounds,  after he had suffered a head injury from a tear gas canister fired by riot police during the Gezi Park protests of last June. The irony was that young  Elvan was  mortally injured on his way to purchase food for his family.  The announcement  of Elvan’s death sparked  further protests against Erdogan, as he had ordered the riot police to break up the Gezi Park sit-ins. His passing marked the sixth  death from the breakup of the Gezi  Park sit-in protests.  Those Twitter messages led to  protests by ex-pat Turkish communities organized throughout  the EU and large crowds  that swarmed  to protest rallies in Turkey.  The funeral of Elvan was attended  by thousands.   Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen offered his condolences to the Elvan family. But nothing from Premier Erdogan who had called Gezi park protesters,  “looters”. He referred to Twitter last June as a  “ troublemaker” and in February 2014 as the “robot lobby”.

Erdogan’s  pique at Twitter was because of the corruption scandals revealed  through the social media. Bloomberg  reported :

The tweets targeted by Erdogan are primarily from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastards,” and another called Bascalan or “Prime Thief,” a play on the Turkish term for prime minister.

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in the Yeni Safak newspaper, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, preemptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Twitter has become the weapon of choice seeking to topple tyranny in Turkey.  There are more than 10 million Twitter users in Turkey, a testament to the use of  social media to communicate the news. This  despite the controls imposed on both print and  other electronic media, including state TV channels.  It is the 21st Century equivalent of those computers, video recorders and fax machines sent to Poland from  the US by NGO’s. Using  secret  CIA funds  and Catholic Church support  that allowed Solidarity to  survive the declaration of the martial law regime in 1981. Those electronic devices   got ting the word out  in samizdat publications that  ultimately  defeated  the Communist government and  returned Solidarity’s legal status in 1989.

The Bursa Campaign Rally launch  of the Twitter Ban that failed

Premier Erdogan had earlier castigated  the immorality of Twitter and other social media. On Thursday at a campaign rally in Bursa he launched his failed campaign.  “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”. Within a few hours of the Bursa campaign announcement the ban began in earnest when countrywide access  to Twitter  was  blocked.

The Guardian noted the immediate responses by what it termed  tech savvy Turks:

Thursday was Twitter’s eighth birthday. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s birthday present to the social media giant, and to millions of Turks who use it daily, was to block the site. At about 11.20pm Thursday, those who wanted to use Twitter were greeted by a message from the Telecommunications Presidency referencing a court order that blocked access to it.

Within minutes, detailed methods of bypassing the block by changing DNS numbers and using VPNs were shared via Facebook, WhatsApp and text message. Hashtags using the Turkish for “Twitter Is Blocked in Turkey”, “Turkey Blocked Twitter” and “Dictator Erdo?an” began trending worldwide almost immediately. When the official Turkish account of Twitter tweeted, “Turkish users can send Tweets using SMS” and gave detailed instructions, Turks were already ahead of the game.

The Irish Times noted the swift action by  San Francisco-based Twitter and the resourcefulness of Turkish Twitter users:

Twitter sent out mobile numbers that allowed Turkish consumers to keep using its service. In another technical fix against the ban, Turkish downloads of Hotspot Shield, the world’s most popular virtual private network service, rose to 270,000 on Friday – from a daily average of 7,000.

The Turkish users’ defiance and the sheer scale of their activity suggest no immediate end to the battering Mr. Erdogan has suffered in cyberspace.

Adverse Comments on  Erdogan’s Twitter Ban

Yesterday afternoon, “Twitter’s @Policy account tweeted that the company was opposed to Erdogan’s ban”.  White House press spokesman Jay Carney said called, the Administration was  “deeply concerned”   about Erdogan’s Twitter ban as it undermined Turkish citizens’ “ability to exercise freedom of expression.”

The EUObserver noted these instant tweets:

The EU commissioner on digital affairs, Neelie Kroes, tweeted on Thursday (20 March) that the move “is groundless, pointless, and cowardly. Turkish people and intl [international] community will see this as censorship. It is.”

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, himself a prolific user of the US micro-blogging site, noted: “Erdogan is not only damaging himself, but his entire nation.”

The EU’s former ambassador to Turkey, Marc Pierini, now an analyst at the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels, said: “Turkey is estranging itself from the world.”

Australian  film actor Russell Crowe, appearing in the latest Bible epic, “Noah” tweeted, “Turkey has banned Twitter? That is a terrible decision. I don’t understand it?”

Now, let’s see what further revelations about Erdogan’s corruption will be Tweeted on Tuesday, March 25th.  As  a takeoff  on the radio serial program from my youth, the Shadow, might say, What evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men, only Erdogan knows, and he isn’t telling”.  But Twitter soon might.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured graphic is courtesy of Twitter.

Florida: Free college tuition to all Illegal Aliens!

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) states, “Thursday, March the 13th, 2014 was a Bad Day in Tallahassee for Florida Colleges for two reasons: Governor Rick Scott declared his support for SB 1400, the Senate version of College Tuition Subsidies for Illegal Aliens and the Florida House Appropriations Committee passed HB 851 on March 13, 2014 by a vote of 19-7.

FILMEN notes that, “When immigration is viewed only racially and culturally, limits and legality will never be imposed.  The debate must focus on limitations and lawfulness, otherwise open borders will make the United States a marketplace and not a country.”

Tad Mackie in an email titled “Tuition for illegals HB 851 CS3 and amendments” to Florida Representatives Ray Pilon and Greg Steube states:

Pending Caldwell amendment, A059821, is a KILLER stroke. It’s also attached… Ya’ gotta’ read it… It’s a beautiful thing… Totally destroys the giveaway in an undeniable and ironically humorous fashion.

Pending Nunez amendment, SA216795, takes the giveaway language language out of bill section 1 (which modifies fs 1009.21) and creates bill section 5 (which adds a new section to fs 1009.26). The new bill section 5 is the same giveaway EXCEPT it requires 4 years of high school with graduation as versus just the last 3 years of HS with grad and leaves out the anchor baby freebie.

Pending Torres amendment to the Nunez SA, AS695763, takes the giveaway a step further by adding that a GED is as good as 4 years of High School with a diploma AND, in addition to the standard “within 24 months of graduation” adds, “within 24 months of July 1, 2014″… In other words, if an illegal has a FL GED, from whenever, he/she has 2 years, from when bill takes effect, to catch the freebie.

Pending second Torres amendment to the Nunez SA, AS048757, sticks the anchor baby freebie language back into it.

CS3 needs to answer a few other questions, strike the anchor baby noise and add the Caldwell amendment.

FILMEN concludes, “The bottom line nationally is that illegal immigration continues to hurt American families, take away jobs and depress wages of fathers and mothers who desperately want to support their children without going on welfare. The bottom line here in Florida is HB851/SB1400 will cause an unknown number of legal students to be displaced from college by illegal alien students. There is absolutely no estimate of the fiscal cost of college tuition subsidy for illegal aliens.”

ABOUT FLIMEN

FLoridians for IMmigration ENforcement (FLIMEN) is a group of concerned Floridians advocating for immigration enforcement. The group will also strive to eliminate illegal immigration incentives and will challenge the myths and pandering by elected officials and newspapers. Please consider signing up for free FLIMEN Alerts.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of students at Miami Dade College taken by Fredler Brave at en.wikipedia.

UPDATE: SB 1400 cleared its first committee. There’s been a committee substitute for SB1400 that has the freebie for illegals in it: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_s1400c1.DOCX&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=1400&Session=2014. The freebie starts on line 265.

Common Core: Unconstitutional, Unethical and Unnecessary

Per requests from hundreds of our concerned readers, parents, teachers, clergy and even school leaders – here is a simple and condensed version of the “3 Arguments Against Common Core”. In going through my archives of numerous notes and articles on Common Core that I have put together for the past year, I have tried to simplify this argument by coming up with these “3 bullet points” as to how know that Common Core is: 1.) Unconstitutional, 2.) Unethical and 3.) Unnecessary.

Unconstitutional

1. Education is not provided for in the U.S. Constitution, therefore, through the 10th Amendment, it is a power reserved for the states. CCSS violates the U.S. Constitution because it mandates standards from the national level.

2. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case which support the point made in (1) above.

3. Common Core is a violation of three federal statutes: (1) General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), which forbids the federal government from meddling in the state’s education programs; (2) Department of Education Organization Act (DEOA), which prohibits the federal government to develop curriculum and program of instruction, textbooks and other instructional materials, and (3) Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which prohibits the federal government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency.

4. The issue of data mining violates the 4th Amendment, in addition to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which has protected student and family privacy in the educational setting. The Obama administration unilaterally wrote this federal law without Congressional approval, violating the balance of powers inherent in our constitutional republic form of government. There are currently a few lawsuits attempting to correct this egregious violation of law.

5. CCSS violate state constitutions and statutes which empower states to develop educational policies, standards and curriculum to states and local school districts.

6. “The whole education by a national state,” Hitler wrote, “must aim primarily not at the stuffing with mere knowledge but at building bodies which are physically healthy to the core.” But, even more important, he had stressed in his book the importance of winning over and then training the youth in the service ‘of a national state’-a subject he returned to often after he became the German dictator. Folks: Common Core is a national standard education! This is not what the Founding Fathers of America envisioned for America and for good reason!

For more information on the legal ramifications of the CCSS please read this article: http://watchdogwire.com/florida/2013/09/06/the-case-against-common-core-state-standards/

Unethical

1. Stakeholders who pay taxes – parents – are left out of the equation. This is “education without representation”.

2. Similar to point (4) above under the unconstitutional illegal section, it intrudes on student and family privacy which is not only illegal, but also unethical because privacy is so delicate.

3. CCSS were implemented in an insidious way, without giving citizens a fair opportunity to weigh in on what they really were. The costs of its implementation is so hefty that it will place a strain on the state and local economies. This is unethical in that so many are already hurting. Their economic well being was not taken into consideration, and they are being forced to finance something that is completely against their interests. In the law, this is known as a conflict of interests and arguably is unethical. Read this article that touches upon the great expense that the taxpayers will have to pay to implement CCSS, which, as the article also suggests does not provide any benefit in exchange for a $1 billion price tag.

4. Common Core is actually a step in the process toward achieving a longtime goal of the United Nations and its supporters: a one-world education system. The UN has long sought to harmonize global educational standards and billionaire, Bill Gates – one of the primary figures behind Common Core – has expressed devotion to a similar agenda. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Rockefeller-allied organization with a dubious history of financing everything from “population control” and pro-abortion forces to various United Nations agencies and schemes.

If you have time, please take the time to watch this video by Robin Eubanks. It is telling, and it speaks to the issue of one-world-government and how they will use education to indoctrinate the people.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3aaw03zSPy0[/youtube]

 

5. The tax-funded “abortion giant”, Planned Parenthood, which participated in writing the National Sexually Education Standards, will be given full access to American children. They performed over 334,000 abortions in this country last year.

Unnecessary

1. It is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel of education – yet again. We should stick to the educational system that got this country to the moon! That is, a classical form of education. Reinventing this wheel is just another huge “money maker” for the parties who are dictating this form of education – and that is why Jeb & Neil Bush are pushing this harder than any two brothers on the planet.

2. It is unnecessary to create a national standard for education. What is necessary is that we abolish the Federal Department of Education. Studies show that ever since the federal government’s involvement in education has gone up, education has gone down. Again, the term Government and the term Education should never be in the same paragraph – let alone in the same business. The day that our government has total control over our education system is the day that we lost our country.

3. The increased number of assessments that will be introduced with CCSS will increase in the classroom, diminishing instructional time. This is counterproductive and actually harms the educational process. This is what awaits our beloved school teachers and as of now, they have no clue how detrimental this will be to their teaching strategies and time management.

We hope this brings some clarity and simplicity to this controversy with Common Core. Just keep in mind three powerful aspects of the makeup and face of Common Core: Big Government (backed up by the liberal Obama administration who wants to see everything “standardized” across the country). Big Money (backed up by the unethical Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who have “deeper pockets” than the Grand Canyon) / and Big Business (Planned Parenthood – the “abortion giant” – who have their eyes on every single teenager in our school system with their abortion business soon to boom when they get a hold of our beloved children).

Need I say anymore, other than, please read these messages we are sending out and share them with your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, educators, administrators, church leaders and anybody who cares about the welfare of our beloved United States of America. This is truly a TEAM effort and everybody has to do their share. I sent this same, exact message out way back in August, when the school year was just kicking off. It is still not too late to get involved. We can still “Reverse the Curse” and rid our beloved schools from this socialist disease. Please do not be left out in the cold and not know what Common Core is, as every single American citizen in our country should know by now all about this ever-controversial “unproven & experimental” set of educational standards.

And, the more experts look into it – the bigger the controversy grows, only because more and more people are now looking beyond the facade of the two other programs that lured those same 45 states into this whole mess in the first place – “No Child Left Behind” & “Race to the Top”. It was all a big, giant “smokescreen” with these two former programs posing as “baits”. Sure, the money was great and easy to collect. It was a very well orchestrated plan, and now, those “more educated” states who see “how the rabbit was pulled out from inside the hat” – want to know how that rabbit got there.

Abra Kadabra: COMMON CORE!!

And, as of recently, the Obama administration has handed out stimulus packages (e.g., “Race to the Top” grants) and handed out waivers from the “No Child Left Behind” states that have adopted Common Core. Obama has even made stimulus money available to states on condition that they would collect extensive data on children to control education decisions. A truly state-led program would not need “bullying” by the Obama administration to get support.

Since we are speaking about Education – please educate yourself and stay up on this controversial issue we call the “Curse of Common Core”. Share this message with others; try to read up on it as much as you can; ask questions at your children’s respective school; ask your children about their classroom exercises and review their homework; Be prepared and do your own homework so that there are no more “magic tricks” pulled right before your very own eyes.

And whatever you do – don’t get caught with your pants down…that’s what Planned Parenthood is counting on.

Florida: All Sixty-Seven Counties constitute Common Law Grand Juries

“In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” – Mark Twain 1904

Of course we all understand how both political parties have seriously ignored our Constitution. Some political and bureaucratic leaders from both parties are publicly brazen with their behavior that is repugnant to the Constitution and at the same time to their oaths of office If we continue to acquiesce , who else will stand up for our Constitution ? Surely no one in Tallahassee or Washington, D.C.

Let’s face it, our beloved Constitution can’t stand up and defend itself.

We have already learned that we get very weak results using the electoral process. Both Senators Rubio and Flake proved that we can continue to invest and work hard to elect Constitutionally centered candidates who, once in office, often succumb to the strong incentives to vote for bigger government, higher taxes, and more spending and reduced LIBERTY.

Of course if we continue on our current course struggling to win elections for candidates that may or may not abide by their oath of office, we are continuing to play the game with the rules the Progressives dictate, or we can decide instead to hold anybody who gets paid from the public treasury accountable to their sworn oath to uphold and defend our Constitution using our Common Law Grand Jury (CLGJ). Because our CLGJ is the highest ranking court of record in the land, not even the US Supreme Court can review its decisions. Using this approach, county by county, we can Restore Our Constitution !

[youtube]http://youtu.be/66DY0rVoG00[/youtube]

 

Since last August, a small group of dedicated Florida Patriots have been working hard to build the foundation to Restore Our Constitution by reconstituting the primary tool our Founders gave us to keep our government centered on our Constitution, our county based Common Law Grand Jury.

Since NY became the first state with all their counties reconstituted, on Saturday March 15th, 2014 we completed our first major milestone in Florida, reconstituting our CLGJ in all sixty-seven Florida counties. Additionally, on the same day both Connecticut and Rhode Island became fully reconstituted. Now we begin Phase 2, which is all about educating the public on the benefits of and how to participate in our CLGJ.

This movement is not just about holding our leaders accountable to their oaths, it is even more about putting justice back into our judicial system. Everywhere I go, I meet people who either directly or indirectly have been seriously abused by our judicial system. For me, a critical event in my learning about our defective judicial system was when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote his opinion that Obamacare is Constitutionally valid when anybody who reads Article 1 Section 8 knows it is fully unconstitutional. The lightbulb turned on in my head that the main root cause of almost all our problems is the failure of the judicial branch to hold the two other branches accountable to our Constitution.

So I conclude with my request: do you want to help Restore Our Constitution ? If yes, the time is now to jump in with both feet to help by registering as either a jurist or a County Organizer on the National Liberty Alliance website.

Please consider that all the unconstitutional initiatives like Common Core, Obamacare, gun control, Agenda 21, regionalism can all be solved simply by holding our leaders accountable to their oaths of office using our Common Law Grand Juries.

If not now, when? If not us patriotic Floridians, then who ?

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of a Federal Grand Jury in Deadwood, South Dakota.