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Texas Citizens Cleanse anti-American Bias from Public School Textbooks

On Friday, November 21st something monumental happened in Austin, Texas at the State Board of Education.  The Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) Coalition changed the perception that average citizens could have a major impact on the content of textbooks for their children.  TTT is a grass roots organization composed of average concerned citizens formed in October 2013 with a simple mission: to insure the proposed social studies textbooks are as error free as possible.

What did these 100 unpaid volunteers do?   They corrected inaccurate or misleading textbooks for 5 million Texas children and found over 1500 errors in 32 textbooks.

These are just a small sample of the errors found:

  • Publishers attempted to push the softer definition of “jihad” as the “struggle to become a better person”. TTT pointed out the facts:  the Quran, Hadith’s (Islamic scholar approved collections of Muhammad’s life) and Mohammad’s biography defines jihad as “violence against infidels in the name of Allah”.  Attempts to re-define is “spin” and not based upon original Islamic sources.
  • Conditions in Cuba are painted as highly beneficial for young people from a healthcare and education standpoint.  Misleading information and half-truths is how TTT characterized this description of life in Cuba with details of other reports and sources providing facts justifying TTT’s position.
  • “It’s easy to get depressed about Climate Change.”Telling a child what emotions to have on a topic is “agenda building”. Only one side of the issue was told. TTT urged both sides but publishers chose to pull the book as the solution. 
  • Many publishers routinely referred to the U.S. form of government as a “democracy”.  The word “democracy” is not found in the constitution nor in any of the 50 state constitutions.  Our form of government is a constitutional republic.  The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is to the Republic for which it stands, not to the democracy for which it stands.
  • Publishers claimed in several instances that Muslims were the original inhabitants of the area we know of as Israel. TTT pointed out Jews inhabited this area hundreds of years before Islam existed.
  • Multiple publishers left out the terms “Islamic jihadist”, “Muslim terrorists” even when the attackers used these terms in describing themselves; no mention that the Barbary pirates were Muslims, no mention the 911 hijackers were Islamic jihadists, the absence of the word “Islamic” when describing the terroristsin the 1983 Lebanon Marine Barrack attacks. If the terrorists know who they are, why won’t publishers use those same terms?
  • Gorbachev had more to do with the Berlin Wall falling than Ronald Reagan according to one publisher; Communism deficiencies downplayed while Western democracies marginalized; TTT was able to get re-writes on these and many other distorted areas.

Publishers attempted to claim many TTT entries were not “errors” but request for “additional content”.  A half-truth or omission of fact does requires additional content for the student to know the “full truth”, not a partial truth. Fortunately the publishers at the direction of the SBOE began to make changes.

November 21, the SBOE approved the final selection of textbooks. One publisher’s entire collection of textbooks was removed from the approval process primarily due to their failure to respond to TTT’s inputs.

Our efforts won’t stop until we analyze all of the publisher’s replies and post them on our website at www.truthintexasttextbooks.com. The public can see the final grade we put on each textbook based upon the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) compliance rate and how many of the 1500 errors are corrected.

The books will be rated as “Good”, “Acceptable”, “Poor” or “Worse”. This simple report card rating will be easy to understand and assist parents, teachers and school board members as they analyze the books to determine the best textbooks for their children.

Our final report will be out for local school districts (1200+ school districts) as they begin reviewing the 95 social studies textbooks for purchase beginning in early January 2015.  Visiting TTT’s website in the coming weeks will provide interested citizens information on the best textbooks for their children.  Each of the 32 reviews can be found here.

The secret to our success was average citizens who took the time to get trained, dedicate time to the project, accept criticism of their work and work together as a team following TTT procedures.  I can never thank them enough or pass along all the accolades passed to me for their work.

The process has been so effective eight other states have asked for TTT’s protocols to duplicate in their states. Changing textbooks requires entering the review cycle at the right time with the right team. A public conference call for any interested individuals or groups who want more information is scheduled for late January 2015. More details on precise time and call-in information will be on our website beginning in early January 2015.

Publishers want to sell books but making changes before they go to print is the key versus waiting for them to get on the shelves. Please get involved in your children’s future and education, these textbooks are the pathway to their minds and our future.

You can see the testimony of several of our volunteers and the leadership of TTT by going to these YouTube links:

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Fox News.

Obama’s Amnesty Travesty

People really need to read the U.S. Constitution. It says, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”

The Constitution makes no reference whatever to executive orders (EO). George Washington started the practice mostly because he had to. Traditionally executive orders have been treated by Congress as having the legal status of legislation, but only insofar as they apply to the management of how the government operates.

The Constitution makes it quite clear that the President has no power to enact laws, but as long as an EO does not unilaterally alter or negate existing legislation or run counter to the Constitution Congress usually accords it legitimacy. Those that do not honor the separation of powers have been struck down by the courts or by legislation that opposed them.

AA - Prez has no power to write lawAs is widely rumored and reported, if President Obama does attempt to issue amnesty to illegal aliens he would be over-riding or altering existing immigration law. He does not have the power to do that.

Such an executive order would be immediately challenged in the courts and if power in the Senate passes to the Republicans in the midterm elections, Congress would oppose it. With an eye on the 2016 elections, incumbent Democrats might not be willing to go along with an Obama amnesty EO.

Recent polls all demonstrate opposition to amnesty. In a September Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll 73% of the public said that Obama should work with Congress on immigration reform. After the invasion of an estimated 150,000 young people and others from Guatemala and San Salvador earlier this year, comprehensive immigration reform went from 54% approval last year to 48%.

When word leaked that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency had requested bids on a minimum of four million blank work permits and green cards a year for the next five years, there was an outcry in political and immigration policy circles. “There aren’t enough federal employees from here to Pluto to do adequate background checks on 34 million,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

In September, the Census Bureau released new data on the U.S. population finding that the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 41.3 million in July 2013, an increase of 1.4 million since July 2010. Since 2000, the immigrant population is up 10.2 million and double the number in 1990, nearly triple the number in 1980, and guadruple that in 1970, which it stood at 9.6 million.

It’s no secret President Obama has wanted to get as many immigrants as possible, especially those from south of the border, into America. He has winked at the laws that determine immigration and citizenship. In 2011 many believed he had “enacted” the Dream Act by EO, but he had not. His administration instead adopted a policy regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, granting them the option of applying for two-year work permits. Even conservatives could find some merit in this, allowing them to gain legal status and apply for citizenship.

The amnesty issue would play havoc prior to the November 4 midterm elections, so Obama will wait until after them to announce his intentions. I doubt he thinks an executive order will go unchallenged, but at that point it will not matter to him since he will not be running for reelection in 2016. His indifference to constitutional restraints on his power as President is well known.

On October 22 Iowa Rep. Steve King, a Republican, predicted Obama will “violate the Constitution, break the law and grant executive amnesty.”

“If the President takes this action,” said Rep. King, “ (that) he’s threatened to take we will have abandoned every pretext of the Constitution of the United States and if the American people take that setting down or lying down, then our constitutional republic has been destroyed.”

Rep. King is right, but the Obama EO will be challenged in the courts and in Congress. If that effort is opposed by Democrats in Congress, their midterm losses will barely rival what the 2016 election will hold for them.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Fallacy of “Reasonable” Gun Control Laws

The Second Amendment clause, “The right of the people,” indicates that the framers were acknowledging a right rather than granting a right. Therefore, this right “to keep and bear arms” is an inherent and intrinsic right that predates the Constitution. A preexisting right cannot ever be malum prohibitum – wrong because legislatures, courts or political correctness says it’s wrong.

Regardless of recent Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decisions supporting this legal fact, our detractors have continued to work to disparage our right. Their next assault might be to the effect that, though the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) is an individual right, it is not absolute. They will contend that even a SCOTUS mandate is not absolute and thus is subject to restrictions.

Contrary to what some over zealous pro-gunners want to believe, the antis are correct inasmuch as the RKBA is not an absolute. Stay with me, now. If it was, we would have to allow little children and prison inmates to keep and bear arms. Therefore, some limits must be acceptable. But limits do not mean anything the legislature/courts want it to be. Bearing arms is not an absolute right under all conditions anymore than free speech allows one to yell fire in a crowded building when there is no fire. The constitutional right to bear arms does have limits, but these confines are only limited to two factors: Citizenship and Other’s Rights.

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Justice Louis Brandeis, 1927.”

CITIZENSHIP: At the time of the Constitution’s inception the framers, “all men in a man’s world,” clearly gave little thought to anyone other than the man as the defender of family, property or country. Whereas, in Eighteenth-Century England, only the landed rich were empowered to defend honor and country. This concept of all men being full citizens and having the right, empowerment and obligation to self-preservation was unique to America.

A citizen, circa 1785, was considered to be any white, American, male over the age of 21 and not a felon. The idea of civilian gun controls was unconscionable. It is was also inconceivable that a Thomas Jefferson or a James Madison would refuse to take a musket away from a drunk, a child or someone conspicuously deranged. Had one been able to ask these learned, most-sacred-document framers of the conflict of such a restrictive action; they most likely would have replied with words to the effect that the drunk or mental incompetent were, at least temporarily, not citizens. A child was, of course, not a man and a felon had forsaken his citizenship.

The controversy of the 2nd Amendment exists because, erroneously, some have insisted that the right to keep and bear arms is a state (as in Ohio, Texas, Florida) right and not an individual right. However, it is clear that the first clause: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, means a free America. The word “state” also means nation/country, such as “the State of Israel” or “the Arab States” or “Secretary of State”. In other words, the nation can best form a well regulated militia (army/navy) if its militia (originally, men between the ages of 18 and 45) are free to keep and bear arms.

With the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 19th Amendments all of-age Americans were recognized as full, ruling-class citizens. Arms possession was, AND STILL IS, the signature of being a citizen – not a subject to some monarchy and most assuredly not mentally inept, a child, a felon, or a substance abuser.

OTHER’S RIGHTS: Violating the rights of others is cause to restrict gun rights. Allowing certain persons, such as children, felons, drunks, etc., to possess firearms most assuredly creates a substantial risk of loss of someone’s life or liberty. However, restricting the RIGHT of a law-abiding, bona fide citizen from carrying a firearm that is concealed from public view where it can not induce panic or be available to a snatch-and-grab thief, does not present a substantial risk of damage to anyone. Likewise, machine guns, assault rifles, or short-barreled shotguns, while in the possession of law-abiding citizens, are of no danger to others.

Constitutional rights are only such when they don’t infringe on the constitutional rights of others. One’s right to swing his fist ends where the other person’s nose begins. Of course, if one keeps his fist concealed in his pocket he is violating no ones rights. On the same token, if a law-abiding citizen goes about his legal business with a firearm concealed in his pocket he is no more infringing the rights of any other person than the theater-goer who keeps the word “fire” concealed in his mouth.

Some citizens might wish to exercise their right to the “pursuit of happiness” by not wanting to be in the presence of guns. On their own property, not accessible to the public, they can do as they please. However, where public property is involved such as court houses, police stations and legislatures guns can be restricted by instituting the use of metal detectors and storage boxes that the carrier can store his/her gun until he/she leaves that secure area.

But, what about the reasonableness factor? Other “rights” such as those found in the Third, Fourth and Eight Amendments are subject to this doctrine of reasonableness – why not the Second? Our enemies might argue, that, under the reasonableness doctrine, it is reasonable to ban certain types of arms or exclude bearing of arms into specified locations without incorporating metal detectors/lock boxes.

Unlike other Articles and Amendments there is no such provision for “reasonableness” in the Second Amendment. Discretion is not part of the right to bear arms. In other portions of our Constitution we see the following discretionary wording:

Article I, Section 4: “Each house may determine the rules….”

Amendment III: “…but in a manner prescribed by law.”

Amendment IV: “…against unreasonable searches…upon probable cause.”

Amendment VIII: “Excessive bail….nor excessive fines…nor unusual punishments”

If the framers of the Constitution had intended for the bearing of arms to be anything other than what it says, they would have included in the Second Amendment subjective words or terms such as “reasonable,” “excessive,” “prescribed-by-law,” “upon-probable cause,” “unusual,” or “may”.

Reading discretionary or reasonableness provisions into the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights, is no different than reading the First Amendment to say: “Congress shall make no UNREASONABLE law respecting an establishment of religion…” If the legislature or the courts are permitted to insert reasonableness into the Second Amendment, what’s to prevent them from saying a national church or attending church only on Tuesdays is not unreasonable. Not in America, not yet anyway!

SUMMARY: The Second Amendment RKBA is a conditional absolute right. Conditional, insomuch as restrictive conveyances can only be based on citizenship and the rule of other’s rights. In other words, if you are not precluded from owning a gun and your exercising of this right does not infringe on anyone else’s right, you can bear any type of arm anywhere you wish.

Until such time as the Constitution is amended, keeping and bearing any type of arms is an intrinsic and absolute right for all citizens. While on the other hand, non-citizens do not have an absolute right to a firearm. However temporary that condition might be. The “American ruling class” (aka voters), if they so desire, can change the definition of citizen or establish some restrictions – but ONLY by amending the Constitution.

Though voters may change the Constitution and are empowered to repeal portions or amendments thereof, they may not abolish intrinsic and fundamental rights such as the right to self-protection and the means to maintain that right.

Copyright 2014 Chuck Klein

HuffPo labels Florida the “anti-gay state”! Why?

In May 2013 the Huffington Post reported, “Florida lawmakers let two important LGBT rights bills languish this year, sealing the state’s reputation as an ‘anti-gay state‘ for another 12 months. One bill created a statewide domestic partnership registry, uniting a patchwork of select municipalities that grant health care visitation, among other rights, to same-sex couples.”

FL Senator Nancy Detert, District 28.

State Senator Nancy Detert (R- District 28)  has become the champion for a statewide domestic partnership registry. She was the swing committee vote on CS/SB 196: Domestic Partners.

The Florida gay rights group pushing for the creation of domestic partnership registries is called “Equality Florida“. Equality Florida issues are: Adoption, Discrimination, Family Recognition, Hate Crimes, Student Safety/GSA and Voter Mobilization.

The Student safety issue for Equality Florida is support for the US Department of Education anti-bullying campaign in public schools. CBS reports, “University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states. He thought the results would be predictable and would show that anti-bullying programs curb bullying. Instead — he found the opposite. Jeong said it was, “A very disappointing and a very surprising thing. Our anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention does not work.”

In 2008 the Florida Definition of Marriage, Constitutional Amendment 2 passed by over 61%. The Amendment reads:

This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

The “substantial equivalent of” are domestic partnership registries say critics.

It is expected domestic partnership registries will come up during the 2014 legislative session. This gives many pause, given what has happened in other states where gay marriage has been instituted. Massachusetts, the first state to adopt gay marriage, is perhaps the best example of how the social fabric, schools, businesses, legal system and culture are fundamentally changed when marriage is redefined.

The below video provided by the pro-family group MassResistance.org provides a historical review of changes and their impact:

EDITORS NOTE: Wikipedia lists states, counties and cities that have instituted domestic partnership registries. The following are those listed for Florida.

  • Broward County (Fort Lauderdale): Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Clearwater: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Gainesville: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Key West: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Kissimmee: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Leon County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Miami Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Miami-Dade County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. The cities of Miami and South Miami also grant additional benefits to domestic partners registered in Miami-Dade County.
  • Monroe County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. County employment benefits only.
  • Orange County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Orlando: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Palm Beach County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Pinellas County: Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Sarasota: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. City employment benefits only.
  • City of St. Cloud: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of St. Petersburg: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tampa: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tavares: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Volusia County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of West Palm Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

The Battle Over Florida’s Amendment 8 Begins

On November 6, 2012 Floridians will be asked to vote on eleven amendments to the state constitution. Of these amendments Amendment 8 has become the flash point with groups favoring and opposing passage digging in their heels. The war on words has become a full-fledged battle for the hearts and minds of voters.

The proposed ballot question reads:

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support, except as required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

The proposed measure would amend Section 3 of Article I of the Florida Constitution to read:

There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. No individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

Two groups launched websites explaining Amendment 8: Say Yes on 8 and Vote No on 8.

Vote No on 8 states, “Amendment 8, the so-called ‘Religious Freedom’ Amendment, isn’t about Religious Freedom at all. Amendment 8 actually allows the government to give our tax dollars to any group claiming to be a religious organization.”

Say Yes on 8 states, “Amendment 8 preserves time-honored partnerships between government and social service organizations. Amendment 8 ensures continued delivery of social services by faith-based organizations, lowering government costs for taxpayers. Amendment 8 eliminates discrimination against churches and religious institutions that provide social services.”

Amendment 8, if passed, would take the Blaine Amendment out of the Florida Constitution. The Blaine Amendment refers to constitutional provisions that exist in 38 of the 50 state constitutions in the United States, which forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have any religious affiliation. The Blaine Amendment was originally aimed at Catholics, most notably the Irish, who had immigrated to the U.S. and started their own parochial schools.

In 2002, the United States Supreme Court in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision partially vitiated these Blaine amendments when it ruled that vouchers were constitutional if state funds followed a child to a privately chosen school, even if it were religious. For a voucher program to be constitutional it must meet all of the following criteria: the program must have a valid secular purpose; aid must go to parents and not to the schools; a broad class of beneficiaries must be covered; the program must be neutral with respect to religion; and there must be adequate nonreligious options.

Billy Atwell in an editorial for the Diocese of Venice in Florida states, “Some support the work of faith-based institutions, but disagree with these institutions accepting government money. They fear faith-based groups would become beholden to the mighty arm of government. Shouldn’t these groups be allowed to serve those in need and do what they do well? It is one thing to say faith-based groups shouldn’t accept government dollars—it is entirely different to outlaw their eligibility for these funds. The current law also flies in the face of religious freedom. Singling out capable social service providers simply because they are faith-based is fiscally unsound and, without a doubt, discrimination.”

While the arguments used by each group focus on religious freedom the real issue is control of taxpayer dollars for K-12 education.

For many it boils down to money, particularly money for K-12 schooling flowing into charter or private faith-based schools. Proponents argue that parents should decide where their child goes to school and the money allocated by the state should follow the child. That is not the case in Florida. Public education fits the definition of a monopoly. This amendment would free parents from being forced into a particular public school. School choice would be empowered if Amendment 8 passes by giving the funding for the child directly to the parent.

Florida Representative Stephen Precourt, a spokesman for the Say Yes on 8 campaigns, stated, “They shouldn’t be telling a group that just because you’re faith-based organization you shouldn’t be participating in the market! Education is a marketplace.”

The ballot question boils down to: Should public funding for education follow the child?

RELATED COLUMN: North Carolina Voters Say Public Education Underperforming, On Wrong Track

RELATED VIDEO:

Raising the National Debt – Doing Evil in the Name of Good

debt

Many people see government debt, over regulation and control of individuals, families and our natural resources as necessary to the good of the collective. May I humbly suggest that this is a violation of natural law as envisioned by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution?

Debt is in and of itself not immoral if the person encumbers himself for a his purpose – expanding a business, building a home or sending a child to college. It becomes an immoral act when debt is incurred without the consent of the indebted. The National Debt is taxation of the individual and future generations without representation.

This summer President Obama will ask Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

This effort will become political theatre of the first order with the media. Both sides will be touting the good and the bad of raising the debt ceiling. I predict that the debt ceiling will be raised, which is the consummate example of doing evil in the name of good. Progressives will argue that the poor will be harmed if the debt ceiling is not raised. Their plea is that only government can sustain the poor for the poor will never be capable of sustaining themselves due to a corrupted society.

Their argument is false on its face.

It is false because it is government that defines poor, not the poor defining themselves. There have been since time immemorial those who have more and those who have less. However, it has only been recently that those with less have been defined as a “class of poor”. Charles Murray in his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” notes, “Michael Harrington’s The Other America created a stir when it was published in 1962 partly because Harrington said America’s poor constituted a class separate from the working class – a daring proposition. At the time, the poor were not seen as a class, either by other Americans or in their own eyes. The poor were working-class people who didn’t make much money.”

The public debate is all about jobs. Jobs mean a working class. The working class consists of all those working or earning a living or having a job not supported by government subsidy. The private sector working class has shrunk under both Democrat and Republican administrations. There is a growing concern that today more people vote for a living than work for a living. The private sector creates prosperity, which in turn creates jobs, which in turn allows the working class to advance and be less poor. Prosperity comes from productive work, not government welfare.

Government at every level consumes wealth and uses it for its own ends. Our republican form of government was created to protect individual property. Property was defined in broad terms by James Madison, author of the Constitution. Madison wrote, “[Property] embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right: and which leaves to everyone else the like advantage. In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property. In the latter sense, a man has property in his opinions, and the free communication of them.”

Madison believed, “As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property to his right.”

Take away a man’s property and he is no longer a man but a slave. Government at every level has created reasons to limit man in both its property right and his right to property. For decades the federal, state and local governments have instituted laws and regulations designed to smother property rights. Government at every level is becoming what Thomas Jefferson called the “feudal-ruler form of government”. In the feudal-ruler scheme according to Brian Sussman, author of “Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green Agenda will Dismantle America”, “The rights of the government become superior to the rights of citizens.”

Only when men and women own property are they truly free. We must be superior to our government or tyranny will reign supreme – forever.