Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hoosiers Say No to Common Core

On Monday, July 29, 2013, Governor Pence sent a letter to Governing Board Chair, Mitchell Chester of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) informing him of Indiana’s choice to withdraw from the program.  PARCC supports the Common Core Standards (CC) that measures student success in school.  Pence stated that, “Indiana’s educational standards must be rigorous, enable college and career readiness, and align with postsecondary educational expectations to best prepare our children to compete with their national and global peers,” and  that “assessments must also align with these high standards.”  Hoosiers have expressed concerns about the value of Common Core Standards for months and Pence’s announcement, for many, was a welcome song.

After concerned parents, teachers and community members voiced a strong disapproval for the Common Core Standards, Pence signed HEA 1427 on May 11, 2013 into law requiring a “pause” on CC adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.  Many Hoosier parents for instance still have concerns about the nationalizing of education for their children.  Moreover, teachers have expressed frustrations with limitations set upon them and their methods of instruction for their students.  Another serious concern is the involvement of various interest groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce (amongst others) in promoting CC in Indiana.  Parents want to know, why does the Indiana Chamber of Commerce (an organization unconnected to the Board of Education) have any authority in approving or lobbying for legislation that directly affects Hoosier children?

These and many other questions from Hoosiers led Governor Pence to sign HEA 1427 in the first place.  On Monday, he reaffirmed his commitment, “I support the legislative intent of HEA 1427 and firmly believe it is the right and responsibility of the state to make independent, fiscally responsible decisions regarding standards and assessments for the good of all the people of Indiana.”  Hoosiers were preparing to address their concerns with Common Core Standards at the hearing scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2013 before Pence’s announcement this week.  Although Pence’s letter has informed PARCC of Indiana’s intention to withdraw from the program, PARCC would need a letter from Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz as well to begin the process.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Shadow Conspiracy

Indiana’s US Representative, Todd Young, spoke on the Immigration Reform Bill this week on the Garrison Radio Show.  Young mentioned that the House would not pass the Senate’s Immigration Reform Bill (S744) but work on the issues listed in S744 methodically.  He said everything one expects from an elected representative of the People---well almost everything.  It was towards the end of the discussion that Young blurted out the magical word that is the strongest indicator (to me at least) that he, as many of his counterparts in Washington, remain clueless about illegal aliens in our nation.  What was the magical word you ask?  The one word used by virtually all those who support S744:  Shadows.  Indeed, Young, following in the steps of the Gang of 8 and now Representative Paul Ryan amongst others, wants to give illegal aliens the opportunity to come out of the “shadows.”

Frankly, politicians who claim that illegal aliens are hiding in the “shadows” are either hopelessly ignorant or shameless propagandists.  If we are to believe that over 11 million illegal aliens in our country are living in the shadows (and many of them have done so for years) then how do these politicians explain the following:

Illegal aliens in public schools throughout our nation.

Illegal aliens working in the US and making money without paying taxes.

Illegal aliens receiving medicine and hospitalization.

Illegal aliens receiving welfare benefits. 

Not only are the illegal aliens not in the shadows but they are living amongst us and often receiving benefits that we pay for without contributing their “fair share.”

Senator Marco Rubio has stated vehemently that we need to do something about immigration because if we do not, the illegal aliens will have de-facto amnesty.  At the same time, he has also argued that we need to do something about immigration to allow illegal aliens to come out of the shadows.  Rubio’s position hardly makes much sense because if illegal aliens are in the shadows, how can they also have de-facto amnesty?  Moreover, if they already have de-facto amnesty, then why are we jumping through hoops to pass a comprehensive law to “help” them come out of the shadows?  Yet, these questions remain unasked and if someone does bring them up, the peddling politicians are clever at giving vague answers to avoid backlash from the American taxpayers and those they hope will become future voters:  the illegal aliens.

Young is hardly the first (or the last) politician who has chosen to misunderstand the issue.  Politicians, who believe that lawbreakers are in the shadows and that American taxpayers (through no fault of their own) owe the lawbreakers something, are grossly misrepresenting facts.  At a time when 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, why are politicians focusing on Immigration Reform?  The real tragedy is not what is supposedly happening to the illegal aliens but that which is happening to Americans by their own Government.  A Government for the People, by the People ought to work on securing the nation and improving the economy by reducing regulations on hard-working Americans before it even begins to think about helping those who have already shown a clear disregard and disrespect for our laws.  Yet, with our elected officials promoting the “shadow” conspiracy, we are unlikely to see any of them upholding the rule of law because to them the objective is not to secure liberty for the American taxpayers but to grasp advantages for the lawbreaking illegal aliens and themselves.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Brilliant Founding Fathers

At my latest speaking engagement, I asked the audience if they felt that any of our current “leaders” were as brilliant as the Founding Fathers.  To my astonishment, someone stated that quite a few were great representatives of the People.  A handful of individuals deserve credit for their support of the Constitution but whether they match the brilliance of the fFounders is quite another matter altogether.

As a student of American history, I greatly admire the founding generation.  The men who established our Republic were extraordinary indeed.  For example, George Washington remains the one and only United States President elected unanimously by the People.  John Adams was elemental in uniting the colonies during the Revolutionary War.  Thomas Jefferson’s pen brought forth a new nation.  Benjamin Franklin’s diplomacy helped win much needed support in our battle for freedom.  Alexander Hamilton devised the system of market economy we still use today.  Patrick Henry continues to remind us to guard jealously our liberty.  James Madison principally fathered the Constitution.  George Mason ensured we had a Bill of Rights.  Of course, where would we be without Samuel Adams and the Tea Party?

All this is not to suggest that the Founding Fathers were demigods but to highlight their achievements.  Indeed, every one of the founders had trouble spots:  Washington and Adams were quite temperamental.  Franklin and Hamilton were the quintessential womanizers.  Jefferson and Madison were awkward in speech.  Henry and Sam Adams were overzealous.  Mason was suspicious of everything.  To say that these men were prefect would be a gross mistake.  Yet, the reason they deserve our admiration is that despite their flaws, they stuck together to fight in a common cause:  Independence.  Indeed, had they deviated from that path, history would be quite different today.

Therefore, when I look at the peddling politicians running amuck in Washington today, I find it incredibly difficult to call them brilliant.  Some of them are drunk with power and others are too afraid to confront them.  The few who are trying to rectify the problems in our country are often the ones ridiculed.  These individuals have my support and sympathy.  Yet, as exceptional as they are, perhaps even they would agree that none approach the unmistakable leadership exhibited by the founding generation.        

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Napolitano Resignation - A Clever Strategy

On Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, resigned from her position.  Napolitano announced that she intends to head the University of California System.  Many have expressed relief over the decision because of her controversial background as the leader of DHS.  Yet, before celebrating, it makes sense to consider Napolitano’s choice to take this action now.

Napolitano’s resignation comes at a time when the Immigration Reform Bill (S744) is a hot topic.  The issue has divided the nation with some Americans supporting amnesty for more than 11 million illegal aliens and others asking for more border security.  The Bill gave the Secretary of DHS explicit powers to implement and enforce border security.  Many Americans found this troublesome and notified their respective senators leading to some friction in the Senate.  Indeed, the Bill passed the Senate only after the addition of the Corker-Hoeven Amendment that emphasized border security to appease the pro-border patrol senators.  Unfortunately, the Corker-Hoeven Amendment still left the DHS Secretary in control of making decisions related to securing the border. 

Napolitano’s position on border security is hardly unknown to most Americans who are following this issue.  She has argued that border security has, “never been stronger.”  Quite a statement considering more than 11 million illegal aliens live in the U.S. today compared to 3 million in 1986.  Critics have pointed out Napolitano’s blatant disregard of the broken security system and this criticism has increased following the introduction and passage from Senate of S744.  The Bill, now in the House, must pass with passages intact (especially those related to amnesty for illegal aliens) to become law and guarantee the Progressives a victory.

Indeed, Napolitano decision to quit her position at the DHS comes at a most opportune moment for the Progressives.  By removing her as the Secretary of DHS, Progressives have a chance to kill the criticism against DHS and argue for the passage of the Amnesty Bill.  It gives Obama an opportunity to appoint yet another one of his “moderate” cronies to appease Americans for the moment.  Undoubtedly, it will be easy to make any necessary “switches” after the Bill becomes law…more Obamacare anyone?                 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Empty Promises by Empty-Headed Politicians

I had the opportunity to meet with my State Representative this week to discuss, briefly, the Immigration Reform Bill, or as I call it the Amnesty Bill.  I stood in a line along with others waiting for my turn patiently.  A young man asked Congressman Rokita about border security.  Rokita’s response was to ask the young man, “How much border security will be enough?”  When the young man tried to explain himself, Rokita bombarded him, repeatedly, with the same question.  To give Rokita the benefit of doubt, I thought perhaps he wanted to know how Americans felt about border security so that he could take our message back to Washington.  After observing his interaction with the young man, I became convinced that I was watching a politician at work instead. The young man looked at me nervously and I decided to ask the Congressman my own questions.

I began by asking Rokita if he had read the Amnesty Bill.  His response, unsurprisingly, was that “I do not have the time to read a 1200 page document.”  Indeed.  He may not have the time but it is still his job to do so.  He told me that he had “teams” who read the Bill for him and gave him the pertinent information about it.  Yet, his “teams” clearly forgot to tell him about passages from the Bill that provide illegal aliens with many benefits at the expense of American taxpayers.  When I pointed this out, Rokita admitted to being unaware of some of the specific provisions I mentioned (such as the Dream Act and the establishment of a United States Citizen Foundation) that would help illegal aliens on their “pathway to citizenship.”  Rokita asked me to send him the information so he could “look at it.”  I suppose he never looked at it when I first sent him a breakdown of the bill almost 2 months ago.  Well, at least his “team” sent me the typical form letter response faithfully.

As to Rokita’s question, “How much border security will be enough?”  Considering that the Federal Government has skipped on its previous promises to secure the border, how could anyone reasonably answer that question?  Perhaps, if we already had the promised 700-mile fence up, we could determine the effectiveness of it and decide on how to proceed with the border security issue.    

The politicians, for their part, are clever indeed.  They realize how sensitive the border control issue is for Americans.  It is precisely why Corker and Hoeven (or their “teams”) quickly wrote up their Amendment to S744 and included (amongst other things) a passage promising Americans a 700-mile fence----again.  Here is a prime example that these politicians are quick to pass laws that affect America without even reading these “comprehensive” bills.  For if Corker and Hoeven had looked before leaping (or if their “teams” had done their job), they would have known that a 700 mile fence promise is already part of the current law. 

If our representatives are unable to find the time to read bills that have the power to change America’s future, why are we presenting such comprehensive bills in the first place?  Why the mad rush to push these bills through and make them into law?  My father always said, “Read everything before you sign it.”  Apparently, the politicians missed that lesson in life.  What America needs now to reduce illegal immigration is not empty promises by empty-headed politicians, but an enforcement of laws already in place.