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Dear Readers, I am sure you will find many of the articles in this month’s Heritage Insider-Online of interest so for those who do not subscribe I am putting them on my blog for you use. I have gotten emails from many asking why I am no longer blogging. Frankly because I have said all I can say about the evil of Barack Obama and now can only sit back and cry for my country. Even if the Senate becomes Republican this November and a sane President is elected in 2016 there has been so much damage done that it will take decades to just claw ourselves back to the point we were at when this monster was first elected in 2008. Being an old lady I won’t live to see our America return to the respected place in the world and a country of independent proud people that I knew as a young woman.
I have watched the downward slide of America from the mid 1960’s with Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and his failed “Great Society”. Even at age 23 I knew that Medicare was wrong! Only 40% of elderly Americans were unable to afford health care insurance but instead of helping those individuals the insurance companies insisted that ALL the elderly must be given health insurance paid for by the younger tax payers. The same thi9ng is happening now with Obamacare—the only way the insurance companies will accept everyone with coverage regardless of health or life style or preexisting conditions is if every0ne is forced into the system. So stupid! Give help to those few who need it and let the rest of us take care of ourselves as independent decent Americans always have. It is a fact that has been proven over and over: Any thing the government gets into is badly run, in efficient, full of fraud and outright thievery and therefore very very costly to the tax payers. Medicare, Medicaid and student loans are prime examples of this rule!
I watched the schools and universities as an educator being “dumb down to the lowest common denominator by see and say reading and new math and rewriting history and replacing it with social studies and social justice.
Now during these past 6 years I have watched a President of the United States again and again ignore and violate the laws stated in the Constitution of the United States and no one stopping him! Yes, I have live thru the down fall of a great civilization and I will not live to see the rise to greatness again, but I have faith in Americans. We are a unique nation form by outstanding people who were wise far beyond their times. We today have the blood of those pioneers beating in our hearts and this is augmented daily by new blood of those who leave the old behind and come to the land of the freedom and rights of man so that they too can soar above the masses in the world in the only country on earth that allows its citizens that freedom. .I have faith that we Americans will walk proud again but after the damage done during these 50+ years it will take decades to return.
You, the readers of my blog are the people who will lead the way. God bless you. Sincerely, BB
August 9, 2014
34 studies, including a Pacific Research Institute handbook on tobacco taxation, and a Hudson Institute report on Iraq’s second Sunni insurgency
Notes on the Week
The environmental costs of delaying Keystone, What does the strategic trade lit really say about the Export-Import Bank? Is administrative law running off the rails?
Figure out what now for ObamaCare
Budget & Taxation
• The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says – The Heritage Foundation
• Abolishing the Corporate Income Tax Could Be Good
for Everyone – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Pacific Research Institute
• Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy – Tax Foundation
The Constitution/Civil Liberties
• An Originalist Future – Federalist Society
• Repression in China and Its Consequences in Xinjiang – Hudson Institute
• Private Property Interrupted: Protecting Texas Property Owners from Regulatory Takings Abuse – Texas Public Policy Foundation
Crime, Justice & the Law
• Criminal Law and the Administrative State: The Problem with Criminal Regulations – The Heritage Foundation
• The Long-Hours Luxury – American Enterprise Institute
• Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance – Cato Institute
• Do Labour Shortages Exist in Canada? Reconciling the Views of Employers and Economists – Fraser Institute
• “Middle-Out” Economics? – Hoover Institution
• How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create? – Mercatus Center
• Thomas Piketty’s False Depiction of Wealth in America – Tax Foundation
• Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-03 to 2012-13 – Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Setting a Course for Obama’s Rudderless Africa Policy – The Heritage Foundation
• The Failure of the E.U. – Hoover Institution
• Iraq’s Second Sunni Insurgency – Hudson Institute
• The Collective Security Treaty Organization: Past Struggles and Future Prospects – Hudson Institute
• Changing the Rules of Health Care: Mobile Health and Challenges for Regulation – American Enterprise Institute
• Direct Primary Care: An Innovative Alternative to Conventional Health Insurance – The Heritage Foundation
• How Obamacare Fuels Health Care Market Consolidation – The Heritage Foundation
• A Time for Reform: Close and Consolidate Texas’ State Supported Living Centers – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa – Cato Institute
• Market Solutions Should Be Central to U.S.’s Taiwan Policy – The Heritage Foundation
• Asserting Influence and Power in the 21st Century: The NLRB Focuses on Assisting Non-Union Employees – Federalist Society
Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
• “Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the
Economy – The Heritage Foundation
• Autonomous Military Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for Policy and Law – The Heritage Foundation
• Size Isn’t All that Matters – Hoover Institution
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• The Keystone Delay Is Costing us More than Jobs and Revenue – American Action Forum
• Who Watches the Watchmen? Global Warming in the Media – Capital Research Center
• Rethinking Energy: Supplying Competitive Electricity Rates – Center of the American Experiment
• A Guide to the 2014 Social Security Trustees Report – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033 – The Heritage Foundation
The environmental costs of delaying Keystone: The delay in the Keystone pipeline costs more than jobs and income. There are also environmental consequences that come from shifting pipeline transport of oil to rail transport. Catrina Rorke extrapolates what the costs may be:
If the president had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, it would have prevented the release of an additional 2.7 to 7.4 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 500,000 to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road or shutting down one coal facility. […]
From the State Department report, we know that the rail options emit 28-42 percent more during normal operations as compared to the Keystone XL pipeline. […]
Replacing the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline with rail transport risks additional oil spills and the release of up to 23,318 additional barrels of oil – nearly a million gallons of useful fuel entering the environment instead of the economy. […]
The delay in building the Keystone XL pipeline risks up to 1,065 additional injuries and 159 additional fatalities.
By virtue of serving urbanized areas, railroads carry a certain risk to the public. A July 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec devastated the downtown and caused 47 deaths. Though this tragedy is unique in size, the paths of railways intersect frequently with population centers. The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to minimize this risk, routed to avoid sensitive, sacred, and historic sites, as well as densely populated areas. [American Action Forum, August 6]
Rewarding work: “One factor that is often overlooked in the debate over causes of income inequality is a shift in the distribution of working hours,” writes Tino Sanandaji: “The rich now work more than the poor.”
Between 1979 and 2006, the share of low-wage earners who worked long hours declined from 22 percent to 13 percent. In the same time period the share of high-wage earners who worked long hours increased from 15 to 27 percent. Results were similar when education rather than income is used to segment the labor market. Most of the change is driven by changes in hours worked per employee, not by changes in employment rates. For men lacking high-school education, one-third of the decline in hours is driven by reduced employment rates, while the rest is driven by decline in hours among the employed. Among college-educated men, the entire increase in the long hours is driven by those with employment working more hours.
And the decline of work among the poor is a tragedy, he writes:
In simple economic models, working less and having more leisure increases well-being. A common but mistaken view of this reversal in work inequality is that it has benefited the low skilled because they can consume as much as before without having to work as hard. This ignores the complexity of human psychology.
Humanist theories of happiness, starting with Aristotle, have long argued that the key to life satisfaction is living a purpose-driven life and aiming for higher goals. Modern psychology similarly emphasizes work and purpose for a full life. Abraham Maslow viewed fulfilling one’s potential or “self-actualization” as the pinnacle level of happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow,” or a complete absorption in a challenging and intrinsically motivated activity. [The American, August 4]
What does a gas company have to do with ObamaCare? If you’ve been following the debate about whether ObamaCare creates tax credits in just the state exchanges or in both the federal and state exchanges, you may have heard the word “Chevron.” What’s that all about?
“Chevron” refers to Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council a Supreme Court decision from 1984. Randolph May, observing the 30th anniversary of the decision, describes Chevron’s central holding this way: “When a statutory provision is ambiguous, if the agency’s interpretation is ‘based on a permissible construction of the statute,’ then the agency’s interpretation is to be given ‘controlling weight.’”
When there is ambiguity, why not defer to the agencies? May explains the problem:
Chevron, by virtue of giving agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions “controlling weight,” has facilitated the steady growth of the regulatory state. This certainly is a likely result because of the natural bureaucratic imperative for agencies, granted leeway to do so, to interpret delegations of authority in a way that expands, rather than contracts, their own authority. […]
To the extent that the Chevron doctrine—the counter-Marbury—in fact facilitates aggrandizement of power by government officials all too eager to expand administrative authority, there is a ready remedy. Congress can choose to legislate in a way that makes its intent unmistakably clear. Remember, absent ambiguity in the statute, a reviewing court never reaches the question of how much deference is due the agency’s own interpretation.
Congress legislating with unmistakable clarity? I understand that in the legislative sausage-making process this is an ideal infrequently realized. In many instances, Congress actually intends, whether or not it says so explicitly, to leave “gap-filling” for the agencies. That way, when an agency’s action rouses the public’s ire, Congress can blame the bureaucrats for overreaching. [The Hill, August 8
In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit relied on Chevron analysis to find that tax credits were permissible in the federal exchanges; in Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit decided that the meaning of “an Exchange established by the State,” was plain enough that there was no gap for the IRS to fill. Thus, there was no Chevron analysis needed.
The Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. For the past century or so, the federal government has been using its spending and regulatory powers to “turn states into mere field offices of the federal government,” write Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola. Their article in The Atlantic explains not only how we got here but why we should care:
A common justification for federal overreach is that it allows for administrative convenience, but the Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. Its purpose is to protect the people from government abuse. By leaving most government spending and regulation within the exclusive domain of states, the original Constitution created a dynamic framework of interstate regulatory competition. Citizens and businesses could choose to live in whatever state they wanted, a choice they could make with increasing ease as the nation’s communications and transportation dramatically improved, and states competed to offer an attractive package of services and taxation.
Just like cable-TV providers offer premium channels in pricy packages and basic cable at a cut rate, some states and municipalities offered lots of services and benefits—and higher taxes—while others offered smaller government and a lower tax bill. That larger menu meant more choices.
This interstate regulatory competition could accommodate a wide diversity of approaches, from the progressive safety blanket of Wisconsin to the frontier freedom of Texas. Vigorous interstate competition tended to punish excessive government, leading for example to higher growth rates in states with less restrictive labor laws. It also made it more difficult for special interests to wield government as a tool for extracting benefits from the rest of society in the form of hidden subsidies, cartels, and monopolies. Where special interests reign, market efficiency is lost, leaving everyone worse off.
Even today, states with high taxes, tough zoning laws, and restrictive labor laws tend to lose out to those with a lighter footprint—witness the tens of thousands of people—especially poor people—moving to Texas every year. The easier it is for people to choose between state options, the weaker the case for federal control of markets.
That leaves heavily regulated and highly taxed states at a disadvantage in the competition for people and businesses. Those states have cleverly solved much of their problem by using the federal government to impose higher taxes and regulation across the states. Burdened by often-costly progressive policies, states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York form coalitions in Congress to neutralize the advantage of states like Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. Protection from competition is the strongest impetus for the integration of federal and state governments under an umbrella of overall federal control.
That process undercuts one of the great advantages of a modern economy: the choice that mobility offers to families and businesses. It hastens the erosion of one of our most essential constitutional protections, the separate domains of federal and state governments, each confined to its proper sphere of authority. [The Atlantic, July 31]
The courts aren’t on board with the plan for unrestrained executive power—at least not all of them, yet. To hear liberals tell the story, the most important thing to know about Halbig v. Burwell is that the D.C. Circuit Court denied ObamaCare subsidies to millions of people in the 36 states that chose not to establish an exchange. The detail that the law says the subsidies are available “through an Exchange established by the State” gets second billing if it shows up at all. Liberals thus blame the court for striking down that which Congress failed to create. What an odd way of looking at judicial decisions. As Michael Greve notes, the acceptance of the government’s arguments as at all plausible is a signal that administrative law is coming apart at the seams. He writes:
[W]ould we actually be having this overwrought discussion over a perfectly straightforward Administrative Law and statutory interpretation question—and a perfectly conventional judicial resolution—if Halbig were about something other than Obamacare? Hardly.
By way of illustration, take a look at Sierra Club v. EPA, 536 F.3d 673 (D.C. Cir. 2008), a case over Title V permitting under the Clean Air Act. In defense of a regulation that took some liberty with the language of Title V, the EPA argued that (1) the statutory language (“each” permit) didn’t quite mean what it said, when read in connection with other provisions; (2) the statutory context warranted a more latitudinarian reading; and (3) EPA’s “programmatic” reading would better serve congressional purposes. In substance, that’s the government’s Halbig defense. Sierra Club rejected all three arguments; and you can clip entire paragraphs from the opinion and paste them into Halbig without anyone noticing. (Judge Griffith wrote both opinions.) No, it’s not a conservative cabal: in Sierra Club, the enviros won. And no, it’s not an outlier: some Administrative Law textbooks excerpt Sierra Club as an example of how Chevron(Step I) analysis works.
Why isn’t the supposed error precisely a case for a “we-messed-up-and-here-is-what-we-meant” statutory override, of the sort that Congress has enacted time and again for civil rights laws, Medicaid, Medicare, and any number of other entitlement statutes? In short, why isn’t Halbig obviously right? And why isn’t that answer congenial to liberals who, from the New Deal to infinity and beyond, have extolled statutory and even constitutional litigation as a “dialogue” between the Court and the political branches, especially the Congress?
Because they no longer believe it. Obamacare was no inartful compromise; it was a brutal cramdown. There’s no kicking this back to Congress; the judges’ rulings, Obamacare supporters wail, spell the life or death of the statute. And when in doubt, the liberals say (for once), choose life. [Library of Law and Liberty, August 6]
Video of the week: Economics is everywhere, including between the goalposts. The start of football season is less than a month away. From Steve Horwitz and Learn Liberty, here’s a look at how the game’s concussion crisis reveals an important lesson about public policy:
Pulling back the curtain on Healthcare.gov: Remember the fiasco that was the launch of Healthcare.gov? The Government Accountability Office has looked into the matter and the agency recently told Congress that, indeed, there was a fiasco. Peter Suderman reports some of the details of the GAO’s testimony:
One of the big problems was that federal health bureaucrats kept changing their minds during the development process. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), which was charged with building the exchange system, “incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality.” These delays were largely due to “changing requirements that were exacerbated by inconsistent oversight.” The dithering cost time, and it also cost money. Between September 2011 and February 2014, development cost estimates blew up, from about $56 million to $209 million for the federal marketplace. Costs for the data hub, another key part of the exchange, went from $30 million to $85 million.
It was a classic bureaucratic circus. No one knew who actually had the authority to tell contractors what to do, so contractors got jerked around and sent on fruitless tasks, or asked to do work that they shouldn’t have been doing. The GAO report says that CMS improperly spent $30 million on bonus features that it didn’t technically have the authority to order.
Delays and costs piled up, with some held off until weeks before launch, and when it came time to flip the switch, no one knew if it would work. “CMS launched Healthcare.gov without verification that it met performance requirements.”
But don’t think all the problems are in the past:
CMS Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said this morning that “there will clearly be bumps” when the exchanges open for all business again in November, according to a report in Politico.
Slavitt also confirmed that the exchange still isn’t built yet, with key backend payment systems that have already been delayed multiple times still incomplete. Slavitt said that the administration doesn’t expect work to be finished on those systems until next year—after the second open enrollment period is over.
[Reason, July 31]
• Assess how the legal challenges to ObamaCare’s subsidies and mandates will unfold now that two federal courts have issued contrary rulings. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and Case Western Reserve University’s Jonathan Adler—the guys who noticed that ObamaCare doesn’t allow subsidies in
federal exchanges—will discuss the Halbig and King decisions. The discussion will begin at noon on August 12 in Room B-354 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
• Experience one young man’s harrowing journey to secure his life and liberty in a repressive future society. The Heritage Foundation will host a private advance screening of The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, at 7:00 p.m. on August 12. To attend, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Shoot guns, eat BBQ, and smoke cigars. The second annual Northwest Freedom Shootout is a fun afternoon event where you’ll meet other fans of the Second Amendment. The Shootout will begin at noon on August 16, at the Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club in Littlerock, Wash.
• Make your own declaration for Think Freely Media’s Great Communicators Tournament. Shoot a video in which you describe a policy issue using moral arguments to support a free enterprise or limited government. Submit it by August 15. The prize for first place is $10,000!
• Get an update on the right-to-work movement. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel featuring two teachers and a home healthcare provider grappling with union power in California, Michigan, and Minnesota. The event will begin at noon on August 12.
• Save the dates: Americans for Prosperity’s 8th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit will take place on August 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The Mont Pelerin Society will meet August 31 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong Hotel to discuss the future prospects for liberal reform in Asia.
Posted May 9, 2013on:
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I sincerely hope you all are paying very close attention to the Benghazi hearings going on now. Obama and Hillary lied and lied and lied and the voters continued to believe the Liar in Chief! and elected him. I watched the hearings Wednesday and was not at all surprised at what I heard. In fact, those of you who have been watching actually knew the story. Secretary of Defense Panetta told the same story as the three whistleblowers Wednesday if you were willing to read between the lines, or hear what he was carefully “not saying”. This isn’t over by any means and I sincerely hope it takes Obama down as some are predicting. But since it takes the Senate to dispose of a president and the Senate is controlled by Harry Reid I am not holding my breath. I do however continue to believe that even tho they claim to be Democrats there are still some decent truth seeking Senators who will simply finally had to swallow so much cess that they will revolt and demand Obama and his thugs be replaced in the White House. It really is beyond belief to have the bugling Joe Biden as President but I don’t see him as evil but simply stupid. I also see him as someone who wants to be liked so I think he will go along with some more reasonable legislation that the Republicans are offering.
The following article from Heritage is good because it offers a time line of the Benghazi cover-up that will help you understand better what is now coming out. BB
The White House might have wanted to mute its response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi for fear of inflaming Anti-American sentiment. Perhaps the President did not want to acknowledge a successful attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate on the anniversary of 9/11—right before a national election. Maybe it was just all “Keystone Kops” at the national command authority on the night four Americans were killed at their posts. It could be a bit of all three. The problem is, nine months later, we still don’t know for sure.
Dramatic hearings are expected today as Gregory Hicks, a State Department official who was on the ground in Libya during the 9/11 attack when four Americans died, talks to a House panel.
Some of his testimony from pre-hearing interviews with committee staff has already been released to the press. It includes claims that a Special Forces team that could have helped save lives and safeguard evidence and classified materials at the U.S. facility had been ordered to “stand down.” In addition, Hicks contends that from the outset, the ambassador’s team knew that they were under attack and reported that to Washington.
Hicks’s testimony follows a House Republican Conferencereport and a detailed article on the “Benghazi Talking Points” in The Weekly Standard that further call into question the credibility of the Obama Administration’s response.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that (1) the Administration bungled security before the incident; (2) the response to the assault was disjointed and inadequate; and (3) the Administration made a consistent and considerable effort to hide these facts.
The timeline still does not add up.
That Hicks is only just now being allowed to testify before Congress reinforces concerns that the Administration continues to slow-roll the truth coming out. Yet the White House continues to stick to the increasingly incredulous line that it has been forthcoming at every step.
Just recently, the White House press spokesperson defended the State Department’s internal review of the attack as “rigorous and unsparing,” even after the State Department Inspector General announced it is investigating the conduct of the panel that produced the report.
Fundamental questions about the security breakdown in Benghazi still have not been fully answered. With a White House that is still in denial about sharing the truth, it remains up to the Congress to press for answers and the press the Administration to take its responsibility of protecting our personnel overseas more seriously than protecting its political reputation at home.
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Americans were told in the early 1960’s by a funny looking short chubby Russian leader named Khrushchev that America would be defeated by Communism and not a shot would be fired. If you care to go to my right side column you will find a series of videos made in the 1980’s by a former KGB (Russia’s top spy agency) agent explaining exactly how the Communist planned to overthrow America (Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov). I am 72 years old and I watched it happen exactly as Bezmenov said it would happen and exactly as Khrushchev claimed as he banged his shoe on the podium. Many laughed and said it would never happen but here we are fifty years later and it is happening. the last brick in the wall of our American prison is being put in place with the federal CORE Curriculum that the government is forcing on states. The text books of the CORE Curriculum have completely rewritten history! Beware!
Do read carefully this article from the Cato Instutute. Then check carefuylllly and keep an eye on your own schools and what is being fed to your children. BB
May 4, 2013
The Great Education Power-Grab
Did you know that reformers intent on implementing the Core Curriculum (National Standards) have invaded public education? They do not care about kids or about individuals. Armed with statistics and vast software systems, their intent is to establish one-size-fits-all curricula and success parameters in public education nationwide. The scope of their ambitions leads this educator to the conclusion that their underlying impulse is totalitarian.
These reformers are driving toward the six- or seven-class-a-day high school teaching load, the 9-5 schedule for the schools (or longer), school provided free and compulsory for ages 2 to 22 (or 26), the six- or seven-day school week, and the 12-month school year (with two- or three-week vacation breaks scattered throughout the school year), all controlled by a vast bureaucracy nationwide and justified by the implementation of “national standards.” A database of answers to 400 questions by all U.S. students K-20 will be compiled and maintained at a tremendous cost to the public. Forty-six states are already on board. This 20-plus years of control and indoctrination will, if implemented, become a cornerstone of statist control.mic
Who’s doing it? These reforms are led by Bill Ayers, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City. They are also led by educational publishers such as Cengage, Pearson, McGraw Hill, and McDougal Littel. They have a host of supporters including, but not limited to, the Coalition of Essential Schools, New Visions, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and other NGOs that want to bring equality and progress [sic] to institutions supposedly failing to their very core. These “reformers” are being abetted by their so-called adversaries, the education unions: UFT, AFT, NEA, and NYSUT. Claiming to object to some of the teacher hostility expressed by the “reformers,” these unions actually are 100% in tune with the political and social agenda of those reformers. Why? Because the movement toward “national standards” by these reformers means increased membership and dues for the unions, consolidation of power, and national promotion of their left-wing agenda. The education unions become junior partners in one of the greatest power plays in the history of this country.
The key to their vision, if one can call this Brave New World and 1984 nightmare a “vision,” is to bring in a whole new class of school administrators. These administrators do not have teaching experience. Teaching experience tends to breed respect for the individual. Instead, the drive of national standards is to collectivize, to standardize, and to establish one-size-fits-all educational benchmarks, goals, and curricula. The new mandarins of education are people in their twenties or early thirties who are to come in and uproot the supposed garbage of the past. Likewise, pressures are being brought to bear on older teachers and experienced administrators to get out of the way of the “agenda of change.”
A few years ago, this writer attended a meeting to recruit teachers into the New York City Department of Education Leadership Academy for prospective principals, and the sophisticated and attractive hostess of the program was asked, “When reviewing applications to the program, do you take into account whether the applicant has written and published any articles of books?” Without hesitation, the woman answered firmly that she does not. Connection with the world of books is not part of leadership in education. On another occasion, this writer even heard one principal in the New York City Department of Education say that he is not interested in having libraries where books just gather a lot of dust; rather, he wants to replace all books with much cheaper and less space-consuming CDs. He added that students do not need literature in high school; they need only skill-sets for proper English usage. Under the Common Core, literature is being de-emphasized in favor of nonfiction, and excerpts will replace the reading of entire texts.
The thrust during Bloomberg’s years as mayor of New York City has been to recruit people with little or no experience in education to teach and to run the schools. This supposedly is to refresh a profession that has been too insulated from accountability and new ideas for too long. We saw this in Chicago, when Arne Duncan was the head of the schools. He had only had a little tutoring experience, but his goal was to renovate and revamp the failing system. As far as anyone knows, the system there is still failing.
What, then, do we find? From top to bottom, the NYC Dept. of Education is replete with administrators with little teaching experience. Often selected because they are inexperienced and willing to be as insensitive as a cactus in order to please their superiors, they come to impose themselves as “leaders” on those who are already making great sacrifices as teachers.
Then there are teaching fellows and other “career change” types who have decided they want to begin a new career path in education. They soon learn the realities of life in the schools, and many leave. Many teaching fellows are also brilliant and idealistic, and they come into education to make a difference in the lives of individuals and society as a whole. However, they find that they not only have to deal with incredibly complex and difficult classroom and building situations, but many times are being badgered by clueless administrators who are the “new breed” as described above. This author recently heard a highly regarded principal of a New York City high school say that he considered “classroom management” overestimated in importance. Right. Who needs an attentive, orderly classroom? Let students have a watered down curriculum, let them talk during class, and then give them inflated grades to support their self-esteem. This is to be the new formula for national “progress.”
We find people coming into education from facilities management, the petroleum industry, pharmaceutical sales, and lobster wholesaling and delivery backgrounds. This writer has met these people, and the likelihood that they read even one book a year is remote. Are non-readers and non-teachers suited to be educational leaders?
Many, be it for money, security, ideals, or some combination of the above seek administrative positions that they are not ready for. Why aren’t they ready? They are not ready because they have not been mentored and inculcated with core educational values that include, but are not limited to, focus on service and on educational values such as curricular innovation, creativity, knowledge, teacher morale, school tone, the family of man, student character-building, and caring/love of all for all (said list can be summed up as “the pursuit of happiness”).
The above changes are gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) being implemented in various school districts throughout the country, but national standards (Core Curriculum) are the connecting mechanism whereby the philosophy of education outlined above can be managed at the federal level. The rationale for this is that students in China, Japan, and Singapore regularly do better than U.S. students on international tests of math and science. Therefore, a more comprehensive approach (standards) needs to be taken if we are to remain competitive in the world economy.
Even accepting the highly dubious assumption that we are falling behind those countries, should our schools become as authoritarian as those schools? Are not the Judeo-Christian ideals of love and compassion still valid? Do we want the drones we find in these other cultures?
About 46 states have already signed onto “national standards.” There is movement in that direction. There are not many articles in the conservative media and blogs challenging this direction. Nevertheless, the danger to culture, to rationality (substituting what to think for how to think), to individuality, and to the tried and true is palpable.
My question to the reader: Do you want American public education to become even more of an ideological monolith than it is at present?
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First off: full disclosure: I am a second generation immigrant. the legal kind however. My maternal grandparents came to america in steerage with hardly a dime in the pockets in 1910. At that time the only government program available to immigrants was public school classes in English. A program that by the way was a good one! and therefore was dropped! Immigrants were on their own to sink or swim or rely on other immigrants until they found a job. there was also none of this bringing every relative including kissin’ counsins over once the first immigrant made it into the country. Damned if my grandparents didn’t make it and even go so far as to thrive without the benefit of tax payer dollars. How dare they!!?!!
Todays immigrants just don’t have these same amenities to greet them the moment they step off the boat or plan. Todays immigrants are immediately met by your federal government officials to help them sign up for all the juicy government welfare programs and handouts that we Americans have made available to any new comers to our shores. AND, this also seems to apply to illegal immigrants. Yes I know Dear Reader, it isn’t nice and is considered an insult to call these dear people “illegal aliens” or even “illegal”. they are instead according to our own State Department to be referred to as “undocumented citizens”.
Now we have our Congressmen busy working to get the immigrants or Hispanic vote which Obama got 71% of in the 2012 election. So both parties, Republican and Democrat, are busy trying to out do each other with goodies for these people. Now please understand, I know that something has to be done about the illegal aliens we already have in this country. I also assure you that if I lived in Central America I would be one of the first to break my butt getting across the Rio Grande River! Yes I would! I have been to Mexico and the poverty is so bad that after one week I insisted my husband turn the RV around and head north as fast as possible because I simply could not stand seeing another child with a swollen belly ( swollen bellies in children is a sure sign of gross hunger!). So yes, I Brenda Bowers would move Heaven and Hell and defy every American in this fabulous country to get over here and be able to get a job and feed my family. And I would, I am pretty sure, commit a whole lot of the available low level crimes to stay here!
But speaking as an American whose grandparents were among those who left Europe to come to this land of promise and freedom, we simply can not afford any more of the “starving masses yearning to be free” out there. We need to seal off our borders RIGHT NOW. Even if it takes placing our troops on our borders. As it stands with the drug dealers and our own government passing out weapons on our borders they are war zones right now anyhow! Then after sealing our borders we need to do something to get a handle on just how amany and who the people are who are here already. Not to get them sign up for every government welfare program out there but to get a head count and to see that they begin the process of becoming Americans citizens sometime in the future, but only if they are obeying our laws and contributing to our society.
With all of the above in mind I thought perhaps you would find this latest Heritage Foundation article of interest. Sincerely , BB
Our nation is going broke, and now is not the time to increase burdens on American families.
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744)—commonly called the “Gang of Eight bill” after the eight Senators who came up with it, Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—includes amnesty for some 11 million unlawful immigrants. That amnesty would further burden taxpayers and weaken our fiscal situation. Congress should not rush to pass the bill without understanding the cost to the American taxpayer, especially when key research identifying and calculating those costs is nearly complete.
We have more than $12 trillion in public debt and tens of trillions of dollars more in unfunded obligations that we have no way to afford, thanks to promises made by past and present politicians. With this in mind, today’s political leaders must consider the fiscal impact of amnesty and a path to citizenship that would enable millions of unlawful immigrants to qualify for costly welfare and entitlement programs.
Simply put, what would this cost taxpayers, present and future? Would this make their burdens lighter, or double down on debt and unaffordable promises to be repaid by future generations?
Leaders from both parties have repeatedly failed to consider properly the long-term effects of their policies. That is why we are in such a predicament. For too many politicians, long-term thinking extends only to the next election, at most six years away. Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislative branch’s official scorekeeper, does not help much in this regard, as it often looks at costs for only the next 10 years.
We’ve seen legislative myopia again and again as politicians put off tough choices for the future or make our fiscal picture worse with new and expanded government programs we cannot afford, like Medicare prescription drug benefits or Obamacare. The biggest losers are future generations.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) once noted that three groups spend other people’s money: thieves, children, and politicians—and all three need supervision. Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation helps provide the information needed for the American people to keep watch over politicians playing with immigration laws and our tax money. Rector is most famous for his work pioneering welfare reform and enjoys a sterling reputation as one of the nation’s leading authorities on government social programs.
When he last crunched the numbers during the 2007 amnesty debate, Rector calculated that a general amnesty would cost some $2.5 trillion after considering what legalized immigrants would likely pay in taxes and receive in government assistance. With government only getting bigger (again, see Obamacare), it is likely he will calculate an even higher price tag in 2013. Hishighly anticipated research is nearing completion. His research from five years ago and the anticipated update are a central part of the debate.
Some amnesty proponents are trying to convince themselves that the immigration bill won’t cost much. On the surface, they have some good talking points, noting that “registered provisional immigrants” (the name given to aliens who entered or stayed in the U.S. unlawfully but would get amnesty under the bill) are not eligible for government benefits. Of course that would last only until, at the very latest, they become citizens. (More likely, there will be pressure in future years to speed up both citizenship and eligibility.)
In just a short time, they would be entitled to the same massive array of government programs as everyone else, including expensive retirement income and health programs that are already severely underfunded. The average unlawful immigrant has a 10th grade education, and low-skill immigrants on average take more in government benefits than they pay in taxes at every stage of their lives.
America’s families are already burdened with taxes to support a bloated welfare and overburdened entitlement system that is badly in need of reform. This situation would get far worse under amnesty.
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day atHeritage Libertad.
ONE MORE NOTE: the two monsters who killed people in Boston, the so-called Boston Bombers were immigrants. They and their parent were brought to the United States under our all too generous program for people who felt their lives were in danger in their own country and then given every possible welfare program available. That was 10 years ago. The parents returned to Russia so apparently their lives were not that threatened. The oldest child a man of 26 who had been in the United States living on welfare all this time and at age 26 bombed and killed and injured Americans! So much for immigrants to our country in this enlightened age when we tax payers thru our elected officials roll out the welcome mat and pour our hard earned tax dollars into their open palms. Sincerely, Brenda Bowers
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Newsletter from ACT for AMERICA.
August 14, 2012
This couldn’t happen here, could it?
Dear Lew and Brenda,
Yes it could—and is.
In fact, the title of the article below (highlights added), posted at the Gatestone Institute website, could just as easily be “How Political Correctness is Transforming American Education.”
To find just one example, click here to check out the report we released earlier this year, “Education or Indoctrination: The Treatment of Islam in 6ththrough 12th Grade American Textbooks.”
You’ll learn that the typical textbook fails to note that the 9/11 terrorists were radical Muslims and fails to inform students that the state of Israel was created by a UN resolution in 1947.
Most of what is mentioned below is already beginning to happen in America. For example, a couple years ago students at a Boston-area middle school were taken on a field trip to a mosque. The boys were invited to kneel and pray while teachers stood by and did nothing. Can you imagine the outcry from faculty and the ACLU if this had happened at a Christian church?
How Political Correctness Is Transforming British Education
In Cheshire, two students at the Alsager High School were punished by their teacher for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class.
In Scotland, 30 non-Muslim children from the Parkview Primary School recently were required to visit the Bait ur Rehman Ahmadiyya mosque in the Yorkhill district of Glasgow (videos here and here). At the mosque, the children were instructed to recite the shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith which states: “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger.” Muslims are also demanding that Islamic preachers be sent to every school in Scotland to teach children about Islam, ostensibly in an effort to end negative attitudes about Muslims.
British schools are increasingly dropping the Jewish Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, according to a report entitled, Teaching Emotive and Controversial History, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills.
British teachers are also reluctant to discuss the medieval Crusades, in which Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem: lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.
In an effort to counter “Islamophobia” in British schools, teachers now are required to teach “key Muslim contributions such as Algebra and the number zero” in math and science courses, even though the concept of zero originated in India.
In the East London district of Tower Hamlets, four Muslims were recently jailed for attacking a local white teacher who gave religious studies lessons to Muslim girls; and 85 out of 90 schools have implemented “no pork” policies.
Schools across Britain are, in fact, increasingly banning pork from lunch menus to avoid offending Muslim students. Hundreds of schools have adopted a “no pork” policy, according to a recent report by the London-based Daily Telegraph.
The culinary restrictions join a long list of politically correct changes that gradually are bringing hundreds of British primary and secondary education into conformity with Islamic Sharia law.
The London Borough of Haringey, a heavily Muslim district in North London, is the latest school district to switch to a menu that is fully halal (religiously permissible for Muslims).
The Haringey Town Council recently issued “best practice” advice to all schools in its area to “ban all pork products in order to cater for the needs of staff and pupils who are not permitted contact with these for religious reasons.”
Local politicians have criticized the new policy as pandering to Muslims, and local farmers, who have pointed out that all schools in Britain already offer vegetarian options, have accused school administrators of depriving non-Muslim children of a choice.
Following an outcry from non-Muslim parents, the town council removed the guidance from its website, although the new policy remains in place.
At the Cypress Junior School, in Croydon, south London, school administrators announced in the school newsletter dated June 1, 2012 that the school has opted for a pork-free menu “as a result of pupil and parental feedback.”
The announcement states: “Whilst beef, chicken, turkey and fish will all feature, as well as the daily vegetarian and jacket potato or pasta option, the sausages served will now be chicken rather than pork.”
In Luton, an industrial city some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of London where more than 15% of the population is now Muslim, 23 out of 57 schools have banned pork.
In the City of Bradford, a borough of West Yorkshire in Northern England where there are now twice as many practicing Muslims that there are practicing Anglicans, 24 out of 160 schools have eliminated pork from their menus. In Newham (East London), 25 out of 75 schools have banned pork.
The Borough of Harrow in northwest London was among the first in Britain to encourage halal menus. In 2010, Harrow Council announced plans to ban pork in the borough’s 52 state primary schools, following a switch by ten secondary schools to offer halal-only menus.
According to the UK-based National Pig Association, which represents commercial pork producers, “It is disappointing that schools cannot be sufficiently organized to give children a choice of meat. Sausages and roast pork are staples of a British diet and children enjoy eating them. If products can be labeled with warnings that they contain nuts and vegetarian dishes can be made and kept separate from meat dishes, [we] don’t see why the same can’t apply to pork.”
Lunch menus are not the only area in which “cultural sensitivity” is escalating in British schools.
In West Yorkshire, the Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley has banned stories featuring pigs, including “The Three Little Pigs,” in case they offend Muslim children.
In Nottingham, the Greenwood Primary School cancelled a Christmas nativity play; it interfered with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In Scarborough, the Yorkshire Coast College removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar not to offend Muslims.
Also in Cheshire, a 14-year-old Roman Catholic girl who attends Ellesmere Port Catholic High School was branded a truant by teachers for refusing to dress like a Muslim and visit a mosque.
In Stoke-on-Trent, schools have been ordered to rearrange exams, cancel swimming lessons and stop sex education during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In Norwich, theKnowland Grove Community First School has axed the traditional Christmas play to “look at some of the other great cultural festivals of the world.”
Meanwhile, the politically correct ban on pigs in Britain also extends to toys for children. A toy farm set called HappyLand Goosefeather Farm recently removed pigs in order to avoid offending Muslims.
The pig removal came to public attention after a British mother bought the toy as a present for her daughter’s first birthday. Although the set contained a model of a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog, there was no pig, despite there being a sty and a button which generated an “oink” sound.
After the mother complained, the Early Learning Centre (ELC), which manufactures the toy, responded: “Previously the pig was part of the Goosefeather Farm. However due to customer feedback and religious reasons this is no longer part of the farm.”
After a public outcry, however, ELC later reversed its decision: “We recognize that pigs are familiar farm animals, especially for our UK customers. We have taken the decision to reinstate the pig and to no longer sell the set in international markets where it might create an issue.”
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As many of you know I am very much concerned with the influence Muslims are having in our country and our government. I do not consider myself a prejudiced person but after reading and studying the Koran I can not understand how any decent human being can follow a religion that is so full of hate. When someone tries to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace and love please just go to the Koran and read it for yourself. Any religion that tells its people to kill other human beings is NOT a religion of love and the Koran tells its people to kill any who do not accept the Koran.
The fact to that the Muslims have been trying for decades to take over the laws of the United States as they have the laws in several European countries and institute their own Sharia laws. The irony of this is that they are using our own laws to do this. And their activity has increased ten fold during these past three years under Obama because he is a President who looks with favor on Islam. He even refuses to allow a crime that is without a doubt an act of a Muslim acting as believer in Islam and doing what the Koran instructs in killing American non-believers a hate crime. Or acknowledging that it was a Muslim crime with the killing of 13 American soldiers by a Muslim soldier at Fort Hood! This crime isn’t even being allowed to be labeled anything but a crime of violence by an American against Americans with no religious motive!
If you doubt any of this please go to the topic cloud in the right hand column and check out the articles on this blog dealing with Muslims and jihad. Se especially the article about the Muslim text books and what they are teaching their children in their schools right here in the United States. Its chilling! BB
So I have followed closely the efforts of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and others in trying to bring investigations into the influence Muslims have in our government. Here is the latest update on their efforts:
IMPORTANT AND TIME-SENSITIVE
LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT!
ACT! FOR AMERICA GRASSROOTS MAKE THEIR VOICES
HEARD ON CAPITOL HILL: SEND OVER 10,600 E-MAILS TO
THEIR FEDERAL LEGISLATORS!
Dear Lew & Brenda,
Over the last few days, ACT! for America’s grassroots have demonstrated a massive force of support for Representative Michele Bachmann and her colleagues Representatives Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland, who recently called for investigations into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood within certain federal agencies.
See the congressional letters calling for this investigation by CLICKING HERE.
Last week, we asked you to send an e-mail to your Members of the U.S. Congress in support of the legislators’ request. We also stressed that the tangential issue upon which the mainstream media, as well as other politicos (many of whom should know better) were focusing, should not be the main focal point. The issue is whether the Muslim Brotherhood has positioned itself in our highest levels of government. The American people deserve to know.
David N. Bossie, President of Citizens United, offered what we feel is an excellent assessment of, and response to, the overall issue. We think you’ll enjoy reading it, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.
While 10,600 e-mails to Capitol Hill is a great start, we know that there are many, many more Americans who support an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence within our government. The only way our federal legislators are going to understand that this level of support exists is if they hear from their constituents. If you have not yet taken the 5 minutes necessary to make your voice heard in the U.S. Capitol, PLEASE do so now by following the simple steps below.
Please click HERE to be taken to the Contact Congress page of our website. Click on the Alert in the red box entitled: Support Members of Congress Calling for Muslim Brotherhood Investigation. From there, follow the easy directions and send your e-mails to those who represent you in the House and Senate. It should take no more than 5 minutes of your time.
Note: As you follow the directions to send your e-mail, you will see that we have provided a sample letter addressing this matter. We encourage you to modify the letter as you see fit to personalize it. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND PROFESSIONAL. OTHERWISE, THIS EFFORT WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE!
Finally, please forward this Alert to everyone you know who shares our concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood and how the U.S. Government is addressing this threat. Through our online system, writing your e-mail will take only a matter of minutes to make your voice heard. And if we ALL act together, it will be a powerful and effective voice that every Member of the U.S. Congress will hear.
Please act NOW! Thank you for all that you do.REMEMBER, YOUR VOICE COUNTS!
IF EACH OF US DOES JUST A LITTLE, TOGETHER WE CAN
ACCOMPLISH A LOT!
Posted May 18, 2012on:
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