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Category ArchiveCulture wars

Culture wars &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 22 Jun 2011

Maryland Imposes Green Statist HS Graduation Rule

Yesterday the Associated Press reported in “Md. Board of Education approves environmental literacy graduation requirement” (via the Washington Post) that —

“BALTIMORE — High school seniors in Maryland will have to be literate on environmental matters to graduate from now on.

Maryland’s Board of Education passed the environmental literacy graduation requirement on Tuesday. Gov. Martin O’Malley says Maryland is now the first state in the nation to have such a requirement. The No Child Left Inside Coalition, which pushed for the requirement, says 48 other states are considering similar requirements, a sign of the increasing popularity of environmental education.

Under the graduation requirement, public schools will be required to infuse core subjects with lessons on conservation, smart growth and other environmental topics. School systems will be able to shape their programs, but they must align with state standards.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

At least two respected conservative commentators, Jonah Goldberg here and Daniel Horowitz here, have criticized the state Board of Education’s action.

We warned last October in our “A Sobering AEI Report on Teaching Civics.”

“Environmental Education” vs. Solid Civics

“Readers may wonder about taxpayer-supported teaching priorities (see Board of Education details in the foregoing link) after reading Lisa Gartner’s Washington Examiner article‘Maryland schools must offer environmental education.’ Who reviews the environmental science in the curricula to ensure that it is sound?  How does ‘environmental education’ comport with learning about established American property rights?  With learning about free-market solutions to important challenges? Here is a Chesapeake Bay Foundation ally rejoicing in the environmental-education development: ‘There will be an Environmental Literacy Summit co-hosted by the MDCLI Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Trust on October 20th in Annapolis.’ Do we believe that those who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming will be the stars of this ‘summit’?  How will Maryland environmental education teachers and texts discuss the human cost to malaria-ridden countries of the Rachel Carson legacy?”

Lisa Gartner also noted last September that  – –

Virginia schools must provide students a Chesapeake Bay watershed experience, as well as local restoration and protection project opportunities, in accordance with the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.”

What Then Is To Be Done?

If past performance is an indicator, the General Assembly GOP leadership is unlikely to be able to focus the public effectively on the danger of multiculturalism (cultural Marxism) or its variants, such as Green Statism, in taxpayer-supported Maryland curricula. 

Consequently the burden must fall on Maryland Tea Partyers, the conservative grass roots, and advocates like the New Renaissance in Education to get individual Maryland legislators in motion — and if necessary to have grass-roots sponsored “shadow hearings” around Maryland, illustrating how teachers are being required to propagandize.

We wondered last October —

“We may (just) be able to roll back Green Statism today, but how long can we keep doing so if new voters have no grasp of our history or are unable to see through the propaganda of statists?”

Culture wars Richard Falknor on 08 Jun 2011

Does “Culture” Matter? Shariah; Immigration; K-16.

Some on the center-right lament what they suggest is a waste of GOP time on the “culture wars,” instead urging Republicans to become more “socially liberal” while remaining “fiscally conservative.”

Jonah Goldberg wrote an illuminating and entertaining April 6, 2009 National Review article (subscription only) disputing that approach  — ‘Democrats and Businessmen, Sitting in a Tree . . . Big corporations love free enterprise, as long as it isn’t too free.’ Heavy hitter Goldberg was suggesting that some “socially liberal” Republicans were business friendly, but not necessarily market friendly.

While the socially liberal crowd were probably referring mainly to pro-life advocacy, social conservatism includes much more than traditional pro-life positions, as important as they are. The social conservative perspective also ranges from thoughtful curriculum reform in taxpayer-supported schools to protecting the Judaeo-Christian tradition underlying our civilization.

On the social and fiscal conservative side, the strategic objective must be a rejection of “multiculturalism” aka “Cultural Marxism.” This anti-freedom ideology — often bankrolled in various guises by large corporations — undermines our constitution, our defenses, and our curricula from kindergarden through graduate school.

Political Islam

All this brings us to Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques,” which Center for Security Policy head Frank Gaffney terms “an assiduously researched, peer-reviewed study published last Monday by the highly respected journal, Middle East Quarterly.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Comments former senior Reagan defense official Gaffney —

“[T]his paper describes an ominous jihadist footprint being put into place across the nation. It is made up of ostensibly religious institutions, entities that, therefore, enjoy constitutional protection. But, according to the data examined by this study, most mosques in the United States are actually engaged in – or at least supportive of – a totalitarian, seditious agenda they call shariah. Its express purpose is undermining and ultimately forcibly replacing the U.S. government and its founding documents.  In their place would be a ‘caliph,’ governing in accordance with shariah’s political-military-legal code. To be sure, some American mosques are not part of the jihadist enterprise. And most Muslims in the United States, like most adherents of other faiths, are not regular attendees at their places of worship. Still, according to this study’s two formidable authors – my colleague (and fellow Big Peace contributor), David Yerushalmi, one of the nation’s foremost non-Muslim experts on the totalitarian Islamic doctrine known as shariah, and a highly respected Israeli academic and expert on Islam and Arabic culture, Dr. Mordechai Kedar – on-site investigations of a random but representative sample of American mosques in fourteen states and the District of Columbia produced chilling insights into the threat posed by many such institutions.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Reports former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy today about this study in his “The Coordinates of Radicalism: Sharia compliance correlates with violent attitudes among American Muslims” (National Review on Line) —

“What is it that radicalizes Muslims, including American Muslims? Is it American foreign policy? Israeli ‘occupation’ of the ancient Jewish territories of Judea and Samaria? Cartoons depicting the warrior-prophet as a warrior? Korans torched by obscure Florida pastors? The life of Osama bin Laden, or, perhaps, his death? Any of a thousand claimed slights, real or imagined, that purportedly provoke young Muslims to ‘conflagrate’ — if we may borrow from the forgiving rationalizations of Faisal Rauf, would-be imam of the would-be Ground Zero mosque?

Here is the unsettling but sedulously avoided truth: What radicalizes Muslims is Islam.

Political correctness requires that we becloud this simple truth with a few caveats that, in most any other context, would be regarded as distractions by sensible people. So it is necessary to say that there is more than one interpretation of Islam. We must further note that the fact that Islam itself is the radicalizing catalyst does not mean that all, or even most, Muslims will become radicals. But here is another disquieting truth: Even the terms ‘radicalization’ and ‘radical Islam’ get things exactly backwards. The reality is that the radicals in Islam are the reformers — the Muslims who embrace Western civilization, its veneration of reason in matters of faith, and the pluralistic space it makes for civil society. What we wishfully call ‘radicalism’ is in fact the Islamic mainstream.”
(Underscoring Forum’s.)

As defense expert Steve Coughlin said last year —

“You think we are fighting a war over there.
I think we are fighting a war right here.

Illegal Immigration and the “Religious Left

Veteran investigator Cliff Kincaid revealed last year in his “Catholic Money and Tax Dollars Finance Illegal Alien Rally” (Accuracy in Media)

“A group organizing a May 1 ‘May Day’ rally in favor of ‘immigrant rights’ in Lafayette Park in front of the White House is financially supported by the Catholic Church, Big Business, the federal government, and various Maryland governmental entities. It is anticipated that the demonstration will take the form of opposition to Arizona’s new law that is designed to discourage illegal immigration. The buses will leave for Lafayette Park from CASA de Maryland centers starting at 12:30, with the rally scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. So-called ‘May Day actions’ are being planned in dozens of cities around the U.S. CASA de Maryland, an illegal alien support group, is sponsoring the buses that will take hundreds of protesters to the event in the nation’s capital. CASA is considered the biggest promoter and facilitator of illegal aliens in Maryland. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which got caught funding the radical group ACORN, are listed. . . on the CASA website as being among its many financial donors and supporters. Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, issued a statement April 27 ‘in solidarity with the Catholic bishops of Arizona’ opposing the enactment and implementation of the Arizona law.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Readers may also wish to check into Cliff Kincaid’s website Religious Left Exposed. The website declares – –

“The host of a national Catholic TV talk show says that Catholic Bishops have to come clean on their funding of groups that undermine traditional values and promote radical social change. Raymond Arroyo, host of Catholic television network EWTN’s ‘The World Over’ program, says that the evidence indicates that groups funded by the Bishops through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) are actually ‘subverting’ Catholic teaching on matters such as homosexual rights and abortion. He regrets that money being spent on such causes is coming at the expense of Catholic schools and hospitals facing funding shortfalls and possible closure.”

Just last Friday, Sarah Breitenbach reported in her “Dream bill backers to counter referendum petition” (Gazette.Net)

“Other groups that rallied behind the Dream Act also are addressing their membership.

The Maryland Catholic Conference has contacted its pastors and church members, reminding them of the group’s support of the measure.

‘It’s all about the kids and the students who did not come here of their own volition and are simply trying to better themselves and pursue their dreams and their hopes like we all are,’ Catholic Conference spokeswoman Kathy Dempsey said. ‘So the petition drive is a disappointment and one that we hope fails.'” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Steve Camarota sheds light on the split between clergy and laity in his December 2009 “Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration” (Center for Immigration Studies – CIS)

“In contrast to many national religious leaders who are lobbying for increases in immigration numbers, a new Zogby poll of likely voters who belong to the same religious communities finds strong support for reducing overall immigration. Moreover, the poll finds that members strongly disagree with their leaders’ contention that more immigrant workers need to be allowed into the country. Also, most parishioners and congregants advocate for more enforcement to cause illegal workers to go home, while most religious leaders are calling for putting illegal immigrants on a path to U.S. citizenship. The survey of Catholic, mainline Protestant, born-again Protestant, and Jewish voters used neutral language and was one of the largest polls on immigration ever done.

Among the findings:

Most members of religious denominations do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration, as many religious leaders do; instead, members feel it’s due to a lack of enforcement.”(Underscoring Forum’s.)

Read it all. CIS research head Camarota has a useful February 2010 parallel study “Business and Labor on Immigration: Contrasting Views of Leaders vs. Rank and File”

“A new Zogby poll of senior executives, business owners, and members of union households finds that each of these groups thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country is to enforce the law and cause them to return home. This is in stark contrast to lobbyists for large companies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argue for legalization. The findings of the survey are consistent with surveys done by the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small enterprises, showing strong opposition to legalization. Among unions, the leadership strongly supports legalizing illegal immigrants, but the survey shows enforcement — not legalization — is by far the option favored by union members and their families.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

As most conservatives know, the enormous U.S. illegal alien burden is a civic threat and cultural (assimilation) challenge, as well as a public-safety menace, and a fiscal burden. (Click on the link attached to “civic” to see Christian Adams’ post “Yakima (WA) faces voting rights lawsuit to give illegal aliens political representation.”)

Schooling for “Sustainability& Radical University Empires

Conservatives in Maryland and Virginia (as we have written in our Hiding In Plain Sight: Collectivization by Planners, Schools) are increasingly aware of what is called the UN’s “Agenda 21” and the ongoing threat of “Sustainable Development.” These wide-reaching schemes aim to supersede the traditional property rights of Americans and to indoctrinate new generations to support this “transformation.” Typically local governments are beguiled into signing on to innocent-sounding plans for such “sustainable development.”

What may be less well known is the “indoctrination” component about which Michael Chapman of American Heritage Research in his “Education for Sustainable Tyranny” (2005) warns

“In June 1993, President Clinton signed an executive order to create the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). In 1994, the PCSD published ‘Education for Sustainability: an agenda for action,’ calling on educators ‘to serve society by fostering the transformations needed to set us on the path to sustainable development.’That same year, the EFA[Education for All Initiative]/ESD goals became President Clinton’s ‘Goals 2000,’ establishing the framework for our National Standards, Curriculum, and Assessments. All 50 states adopted Goals 2000 in order to receive the funding that came with it.

Today President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) holds states ‘accountable’ to implement their previously signed agreements. States and districts that refuse to ‘align’ their standards, curriculum, and assessments with these so-called ‘world-class standards’ will lose federal funding. NCLB requires full implementation by the end of 2014 – which just so happens to be the final year of The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. What a coincidence!” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Higher education, moreover, in Maryland and Virginia as elsewhere, is apparently in thrall to the Left Establishment.

Two years ago we warned about Radical University Empires vs. Clueless State Lawmakers “We simply cannot depend on the Republican establishments of Maryland and Virginia to deal with serious threats like the transformation of our taxpayer-supported universities into mechanisms for the dissolution of our way of life.”

Lose the long war against multiculturalism, and we will truly have a “transformed” (and quite unpleasant) America.

Common Defense &Culture wars &Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 22 Mar 2011

Congress’ War-Making Power | Chilling School Speech

This is a post about what we believe are two urgent Tea Party tasks – –
urgent because immediate corrective action is needed, and Tea Party because the current GOP Congressional Establishment may not take prompt, effective action.

Congress Must Assert Its Constitutional War-Making Power

We wrote last Sunday in our Libya, The Common Defense, and the Grass Roots — about the dangers to our freedom from the manner in which the president virtually took us to war with Libya.

Yesterday constitutional expert and former Federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy posed on National Review on Line (NRO)

“Another question for our intrepid Speaker — assuming he can spare a second away from patting congressional Republicans on the back for their fearless effort to ‘slash’ what John Hinderaker memorably figures amounts to about a third of a french fry from the Big Mac meal that is federal spending.

In admonishing President Obama that he’d better ‘define . . . what the mission is in Libya,’ he adds that this ‘better job of communicat[ion]’ must be done ‘before any further military commitments are made.’ But what about the military commitments that have already been made? They include starting a shooting war against Libya — unprovoked by any attack or threatened attack on the United States. As the leader of the United States Congress, does it not bother the Speaker just a smidge that the president felt he had to get approval from the Arab League (which has now reneged) and the U.N. Security Council, but there was no need to get the assent of the peer department of the United States government that is constitutionally responsible for declaring war and for paying for the war that Obama has launched?”

Then NRO’s Ramesh Ponnuru went to the heart of the matter with “This Unconstitutional War”–

“Andy McCarthy writes that ‘there should be no debating that absent a hostile invasion of our country, a forcible attack against our interests, or a clear threat against us so imminent that Americans may be harmed unless prompt action is taken, the United States should not launch combat operations without congressional approval.’ He’s right. If tea partiers mean what they say about adherence to the Constitution, they ought to make an issue of this.(Underscoring Forum’s.)

Federal Overreach Over School Districts To Prevent “Bullying”

“Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students.” — Neil Munro – The Daily Caller

The too-often-GOP-Establishment-ignored “culture wars” are really struggles essential to keeping our freedom as we explained in March 2009 in our Will Republican Politicians Help Us Fight the Culture Wars?

We concluded in our May 2009 Radical University Empires vs. Clueless State Lawmakers unfortunately, we simply cannot depend on the Republican establishments of Maryland and Virginia to deal with serious threats like the transformation of our taxpayer-supported universities into mechanisms for the dissolution of our way of life.”

Last October in our Sobering AEI Report on Teaching Civics we declared “apparently, we can’t keep waiting for our friends in the GOP to come to grips with reforming civic education. The Tea Partyers will have to be a moving force in this effort –- as in so much else. For, as we all know, the Tea Parties are essentially about freedom.”

There is an exigent threat from the Obama Administration, in school districts across America, to school children who should not be muzzled by Federal over-reach but who should be learning about free (and civil) political discourse so that they can take their place as informed voters.

Hans Bader shines needed light on this Obama Administration menace in his “Washington Invents an Anti-Bullying Law” (Campus Watch) – –

“There’s no federal law against bullying or homophobia. So the Department of Education recently decided to invent one. On October 26, it sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the nation’s school districts arguing that many forms of homophobia and bullying violate federal laws against sexual harassment and discrimination. But those laws only ban discrimination based on sex or race – not sexual orientation, or bullying in general. The letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights twisted those laws, interpreting them so broadly as to cover not only bullying, but also a vast range of constitutionally protected speech, as well as conduct that the Supreme Court has held does not constitute harassment. In so doing, it menaced academic freedom and student privacy rights, and thumbed its nose at the federal courts.”

Bader, senior attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, alerts us that —

“According to the Daily Caller, ‘the leading advocate for the expanded’ definition of harassment contained in the letter ‘is Kevin Jennings, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings founded the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network [GLSEN] advocacy group, and raised at least $100,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008.’  GLSEN falsely claims that the letter’s examples of harassment are supported by ‘current law’ and it strongly supports its expansive interpretation of harassment law.”

Today sometime Department of Education attorney Bader followed up with his “Free speech is a casualty in Obama’s campaign against bullying” (Washington Examiner) – –

“In its zeal to invent a remedy for bullying of LGBT youth, the Obama Administration has shredded each of these [established judicial] limits on school liability for harassment. It also says that schools must take systemic responses that harm innocent students, like putting the entire student body through sensitivity training in some cases where only a few students were proven to be perpetrators.”

Bader also declared today in his Open Markets post “Obama Administration Undermines Free Speech and Due Process in Crusade Against Harassment and Bullying” that – –

“If the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) succeeds in goading school officials into punishing students for constitutionally-protected speech through its overreaching letter, it should be held legally liable for any resulting censorship.”

Tea Partyers should, in our view, review Bader’s articles here and here and here, then get together to noodle out ways to get the officials of their local school districts to respond to his analyses.

Tea Partyers might also ask their House of Representatives GOP members to take out any FY 2011 and FY 2012 appropriations for this and related muzzling and spying schemes.

Conservatives &Culture wars Richard Falknor on 02 Feb 2011

Can We Learn From a Major Conservative Blogger’s Exit?

Paul Mirengoff, a well known blogger at distinguished and conservative Power Line, has left the field. 

Dan Riehl
“Mirengoff Out At Powerline” (who initially drew our attention to the details of this matter) and Stacy McCain “Power Line Gets Scalped: Did Indian Tribe Money Influence Akin Gump Decision?” comment on the lamentable developments that resulted in Mirengoff’s departure from blogging.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection develops the story. He explains —

“So why is Mirengoff no longer at Power Line?

It all resulted from this blog post Mirengoff made after the Tucson shooting memorial service, in which the service was opened with a prayer, of sorts, from an American Indian tribal leader:

‘As for the ‘ugly,’ I’m afraid I must cite the opening ‘prayer’ by Native American Carlos Gonzales,’ Mirengoff wrote. It ‘apparently was some sort of Yaqui Indian tribal thing, with lots of references to ‘the creator’ but no mention of God. Several of the victims were, as I understand it, quite religious in that quaint Christian kind of way (none, to my knowledge, was a Yaqui). They (and their families) likely would have appreciated a prayer more closely aligned with their religious beliefs.'”

Law professor Jacobson cites the outcome at Akin, Gump

“. . .Bruce McLean, chairman of the firm, issued the following statement: ‘We sincerely apologize for the blog entry posted by Akin Gump partner Paul Mirengoff on his personal blog, powerlineblog.com. Akin Gump is neither affiliated with, nor a supporter of, the blog. We found his remarks to be insensitive and wholly inconsistent with Akin Gump’s values. Mr. Mirengoff regrets his poor choice of words and agreed to remove his post.’ “

We urge our readers to review the many comments at Cornell Law School’s Jacobson’s post, Big Law Firm Takes Down Big Conservative Blogger.

The back-and-forth in these comments gives the reader an often gut-wrenching sense of what “Big Law” in the nation’s capital is all about.  Here are three samples (scroll down in the link to see them all) from different voices.  They speak for themselves:

“Dear Professor Jacobson- I do not talk out of turn by the way. I have been involved for over twenty-five years with rather large law firms and it is absolutely de rigeur that all employees and partners are required to go through hours of sensitivity training.”

. . . . .

“I am a practicing attorney (former BIGLAW) who has conservative to libertarian leanings. Periodically I post comments on conservative websites. I only post under a pseudonym due to concerns about career issues.”

. . . . .

“Akin Gump is an amazing and amorphous creature, almost unique on the American legal scene in a number of respects . . . .I am absolutely and positively certain that Mirengoff has partners who would have been very sympathetic to his predicament. But you’re looking at the result of a negotiated compromise that presumably reflected Mirengoff’s own assessment of his relative strengths and vulnerabilities vis-a-vis Meggesto and his other partners. And as an institution, they’re superbly well experienced in juggling competing interests; they’re counsel for presidents, princes, and occasionally paupers, and they navigate conflicts like the best Olympic kayaking teams.”

Yes, we know that the Founders would be astounded at the vast governmental influence of “Big Law” — and that these giant law firms are light years from Justice Marshall’s world.

But our question is whether Big Law’s tribal ways — as inferred through these comments — are also the tribal ways of too many in Washington’s much larger Political Class.

Think of all those often quoted GOP “aides” and “consultants” who can be counted on, following the norms of the Republican wing of the Political Class, to talk down such independent legislators as Senator Jim DeMint or Representative Michele Bachmann or the former governor of Alaska.

Perhaps all the talk of “clients” and “money” in the Mirengoff case, and “electability” among the GOP branch of the Political Class, instead masks a kind of generational herd-think.

One thoughtful academic reflecting on today’s university students may also be describing a phenomenon that has already been shaping many of Washington’s younger movers and shakers for two or three decades.

“[T]hey are imbued with the idea that their highest objective should be to get credentialed and connected so that they can enter the Ruling Class so aptly described by Angelo Codevilla in the American Spectator last summer. They are also a product of a society that reinforces the baneful lessons they are taught in school; a society in which: lack of feasance to the prevailing wisdom is punished by marginalization and scorn; morals are relative and no value system is more worthy than any other; deference to professional authority is encouraged and individual curiosity, initiative and responsibility is demeaned; and respect is due to those who help one to gain entry to the Ruling Class, while contempt is reserved for those who stand in one’s way.

Even though we conservatives have all done our bit to elect a largely congenial majority in the House of Representatives, we still need to take the measure of this opposing but skilled and diligent Political Class whose ways are clearly not ours.

Indeed one is struck, in contrast, by this particular comment appearing on professor Jacobson’s post —

“I’ll tell you whose career is toast: whoever values it more than truth, more than love, more than loyalty, more than duty, more than shame.”

One wonders, moreover, how much freedom of action a conservative blogging (not anonymously) would realistically have if employed in the Federal career service.

These three accounts of the Mirengoff case — Jacobson’s, McCain’s, and Riehl’s — may give us a snapshot of the prevailing Washington, D. C. mindset we face.

Let’s try to learn from this unexpected revelation as we work to turn America in the right direction!

Culture wars &Fiscal Policy Richard Falknor on 12 Jan 2011

Legislatures Underway Today:Decision Time for GOP Solons

UPDATE JANUARY 14, 2011 CBS 6 reports“Pro-Life Groups Rally on Capitol Square Del. Bob Marshall leads gathering calling on [Virginia] General Assembly and Governor to act o[n] abortion legislation.”

* * * * *

Today both the Maryland and Virginia General Assemblies convened in their state capitals.

Conservative legislators and the grass roots should carefully consider Phyllis Schlafly’s “New Year’s Resolutions for State Legislators” — a useful guide for friendly state lawmakers.

These resolutions range from “fiscal” issues to “values” issues.  Of course, this is a false dichotomy. A nation which aims to preserve its own sovereignty, protect property rights, promote free markets, and vigorously uphold individual liberties can only do so if its culture continues to support these objectives. Such a culture, unfortunately, is no longer the one often transmitted in today’s taxpayer-supported curricula.

We have written about this teaching failure both in Maryland and in Virginia in our Radical University Empires vs. Clueless State Lawmakers.

Conservative stalwart Schlafly also warns

“Bad proposals, such as resolutions to call a national convention under Article V, or to replace the Electoral College with a so-called National Popular Vote, must be rejected. Those schemes would undermine our U.S. Constitution at the expense of the American people.”

Virginia conservative voice Bob Marshall has made a parallel argument about national constitutional conventions under Article V in his critique of the so-called “Repeal Amendment.”

Election lawyer J. Christian Adams wonders why “Saul Anuzis wants to alter the way we elect presidents by supporting the Soros-financed National Popular Vote movement.”

Maryland: Getting Lawmakers’ Arms Around State Budgets

Steven Malanga in “The Politics of State Budget Cuts” appearing today in Real Clear Markets explains

Over the years public employee unions and their allies have succeeded in getting a host of different kinds of legislation passed to make it difficult to cut or restrain state and municipal budgets. Often, few taxpayers understand the impact of these laws.

One common legislative vehicle, for instance, is wage laws which demand that those companies which contract with government pay workers a ‘living’ wage, often defined as substantially above minimum wage. One purpose of these laws is often to make outsourcing of services so expensive that it doesn’t pay for government to contract with outside firms who pay market wages. Indeed, a living wage manual produced by labor groups and advocacy organizations in the 1990s to promote campaigns across the country put it simply when it said: ‘The Living Wage undercuts the incentive to privatize.'” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Should Collective Bargaining for State Employees Continue?

Author Malanga points to a major if difficult reform

“In a few places where the political climate has changed drastically, new governors and legislators are even talking about perhaps the biggest change of all, rescinding collective bargaining rights for public workers. Few taxpayers understand that in most places public workers didn’t gain the right to bargain collectively with governments regarding compensation and work rules until the 1960s and 1970s. Previously, public employees were denied that right because, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt explained, ‘a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are met.'” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Last February we asked “More Questions for Maryland GOP Gubernatorial Candidates.”

It is only fitting that parallel questions be asked of the current Republican members of the General Assembly.  Here are a few questions for state lawmakers adapted from our February 10, 2010 post and edited for today–

1.  Maryland is infamously known as being a “magnet state” for illegal immigrants. What specific steps like these here and here would you urge or co-sponsor to curtail Maryland’s attraction for illegals?

2. Taxes and regulations contribute substantially to Maryland’s rating as having one of the “ten worst business tax climates.”

3. Free-market and liberty-oriented voices see Green Statism as a menace in Maryland as well as  nationally. Maryland was (2007) number four in the “Top Ten Energy Importing States.” What Maryland governmental barriers would you urge be removed substantially to increase the Free State’s supply of energy?

4. What steps would you urge or support — like those listed here (scroll to bottom of link) — to restrain the power of the public employees unions in Maryland? They are tax consumers which have already done so much damage in New Jersey.

Obviously, GOP legislators in Annapolis have little power to advance an agenda to enactment. They can, however, probably cause more parliamentary and media trouble to the Other Team’s agenda than they have been comfortable doing in the past. 

But nearly every bill must have a hearing, and these hearings can be an opportunity for instructive theater — especially with GOP members working with independent Tea Partyers and grass-roots conservatives. This can be a very useful way to define our issues for a wider public.


John Taylor of Tertium Quids points to possible hesitation on property-rights and school-choice issues by Commonwealth legislators as the new session opens–

The 2011 GA session promises to be an important one. For the grassroots, this is put up or shut up time with regard to issues such as property rights and school choice. Without strong pressure from the grassroots, it’s highly unlikely that the legislators will pass an amendment to the state constitution that would protect private property (the foundation of liberty) from government theft. It’s also very possible that, left to their own devices, legislators will compromise on school choice by supporting a weak bill that doesn’t solve the problems in Virginia’s educational system, but does give politicians cover to ignore the issue for another decade.  Also, Gov. McDonnell has planned a “massive spending campaign” for 2011, partially funded through $3 billion in new debt. Looks like George W. Bush is back!(Underscoring Forum’s.) “[Listen Online][Download Segment]

On yet another values front, yesterday Anita Kumar in the Washington Post reports “Some sit out anti-abortion rally to avoid confronting McDonnell.” – –

“A split has emerged in the anti-abortion community over whether to pressure Gov.Bob McDonnell (R) to direct the state Board of Health to further regulate abortion clinics in Virginia. Both Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and the conservative Family Foundation declined to participate in an anti-abortion rally scheduled for Thursday outside the Capitol to avoid ‘confronting’ McDonnell after they found out that organizers designed the event to pressure the governor. Both Cuccinelli (R) and Family Foundation Chaplain Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr. had been scheduled to attend the rally, which will take place on the second day of the General Assembly’s annual session. ‘While Attorney General Cuccinelli is a long-time pro-life leader and is very supportive of the people redressing their grievances with their elected officials at a rally like this, he does not support calling on his client — the governor — to circumvent the normal public regulatory process, even for the most laudable of goals,’ Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Countered Virginia conservative leader and delegate Bob Marshall —

. . . [T]hose who think the rally is merely about criticizing McDonnell are being defensive. ‘He ran as a right-to-life candidate,’ he said. ‘Just because his Republican consultants don’t want him to do things doesn’t mean we’re bashing him. I don’t know where that comes from. He can make his own decisions.'”

One seasoned Virginia Republican told Blue Ridge Forum he sees the GOP governor aiming for a vice-presidential slot, perhaps on a ticket headed by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. If that observer is on the mark, it could explain the influence of the governor’s “consultants.” 

The good Virginia governor should weigh the costs and benefits of assuming the posture of a “ruling-class” Republican.  This might not be a negative with Virginia stalwarts, but conservatives nationally might not be so willing to give him a pass, nor so unwilling to probe the fine print of his gubernatorial record.

Stay tuned. We’ll revisit these issues, as well as such other exigent concerns as – – 

Common Defense &Culture wars Richard Falknor on 31 May 2010

Honoring Memorial Day? House OK’s Gays in Military

UPDATE JUNE 2!  The Washington Times‘ Rowan Scarborough reveals “Military chiefs split with Mullen on gays | Deal rushes repeal of ban.”

* * * * *

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives approved an amendment authored by Democrat Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania to H.R. 5136—FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act,  that, according to the Republican Study Committee – –

. . . repeals 10 U.S.C. Section 654 (the law that corresponds with the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy) despite a pending Pentagon review to determine impacts to military readiness, effectiveness, and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness as a result of the repeal. While the amendment allows for the continuation and completion of the review, it still repeals the law regardless of the results of the review. Per the amendment, the results of the review will have no influence on this policy, and our troops and officers currently serving in the military will have had no say in whether or not they approve of the repeal. As House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) recently stated in a press release; “My position on this issue has been clear – I support the current policy and I will oppose any amendment to repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. I hope my colleagues will avoid jumping the gun and wait for DOD to complete its work.” (Republican Study Committee explanation amendment #79.)

House Republicans Stand Fast

If there is any bright side here, it is that nearly all House Republicans and 26 Democrats, including veteran House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, opposed the Patrick amendment. 

Maryland’s Roscoe Bartlett was particularly outspoken – –

“A vote for the National Defense Authorization Act as amended with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell amendment abdicates Congress’ Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 8 ‘Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.’ It rejects the recommendations of the unanimously approved 59-0 bill by members of the House Armed Services Committee.”

while the Free State’s pretend centrist Frank Kratovil of cap-and-tax fame was, not unexpectedly, a supporter of major Obama-Pelosi priorities such as the Patrick amendment. Nor would Virginia’s Gerry Connolly miss a beat supporting a key Obama objective.

A Silence in the Conservative Blogosphere?

But seasoned investigator Cliff Kincaid points to a serious problem in the conservative blogosphere relating to gays in the military. As he states in his Culture Warriors Head for the Hills on Memorial Day – –

“The general silence of ‘conservative’ columnists, commentators and publications during the gays in the military debate has been astounding. In an extraordinary column, Conservative Media Fiddle While the Military Burns,‘ veteran conservative journalist Robert Knight comments that ‘…homosexual activists and their allies are muscling . . . their agenda [through Congress], with nary a peep from the nation’s conservative talking heads,’ and that ‘many conservative opinion leaders have run for the tall grass.’

Knight names names, saying that Erick Erickson’s Red State, which describes itself as the leading conservative news blog for right of center online activists, has been AWOL in the battle. I’ll name another—Hotair.com, which is owned by a Christian company, Salem Communications, is actually supporting repeal of the homosexual exclusion policy.

Into this void has stepped Senator John McCain, who has not been a favorite of conservatives on many occasions in the past and is facing a conservative challenger in the Republican Senate primary in Arizona. Perhaps for this reason—but also because he is a decorated war veteran who understands combat conditions — McCain has opposed repeal of the Pentagon’s homosexual exclusion policy, known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ McCain points out that the troops were promised a comprehensive review before any legislative change was made and it is not due until December.”

Here is Kincaid’s take on this conservative silence:

“My suspicion is that they are afraid of getting flak from the vocal and militant homosexuals in the media. The gays who run and staff such organizations as Media Matters viciously and savagely attack anybody who stands in the way of their agenda. Plus, most major media organizations, including Fox News, contribute financially to such groups as the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). So there is internal pressure to stay away from the issue or even favorably report on the gay agenda.”

Readers are encouraged to look at the details of Kincaid’s post on the possible dangers to the military blood supply from gays as well as Kincaid’s “executive summary” of a report by Dale O’Leary “Asking for Trouble” which Kincaid posts. 

Kincaid points out – –

“Soldiers on the battlefield have to rely on their fellow soldiers for blood transfusions.  The need for battlefield blood transfusions presents many different problems, many of them logistical.  But what if that blood is disease-laden? What if that blood has a disease that hasn’t yet been identified and isolated and can’t be screened through various blood tests?”

Readers should take some time to look at Kincaid’s post in its entirety as well as that of Robert Knight.

The Current Law

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness has long been fighting to maintain the current law “Section 654, Title 10, stat[ing] that homosexuals are not eligible for military service.” Last October she warned in her “Roadmap for railroading the military” about the plans of the “California-based Michael D. Palm Center, an academic gay activist group . . . recommend[ing] coercive strategies to get military leaders on board.  ‘The President should not ask military leaders if they support lifting the ban,’ said the Palm ‘Roadmap Report’.  ‘Any consultation with uniformed leaders should take the form of a clear mandate to give the President input about how, not whether, to make this transition.'”

“Zero Tolerance”

Another chilling aspect of the consequences of repealing the current law has been highlighted by a group of retired generals and admirals – –

“‘Zero Tolerance’ = Intolerance of Dissent

Advocates for homosexuals in the military are trying to invoke the military’s proud history of mandating civil rights for racial minorities.  Extension of that concept to homosexuals as a special class would require corollary policies enforcing ‘zero tolerance’ of anyone who disagrees, for any reason.

  • Men and women who try to avoid or want to complain about inappropriate actions in close quarters could face questions asking whether their own attitudes are in compliance with the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy. Many will not complain, even in cases of actual assault or abuse of rank, due to fear of career repercussions.
  • In the military, denied promotions end careers. Chaplains whose values are suddenly in conflict with official Pentagon policy may feel compelled to leave. The ensuing climate of real or perceived injustice would undermine trust and unit cohesion.
  • To change attitudes and make the new policy ‘work,’ the military will have to implement ‘diversity training’ programs designed by homosexual advocates. Mandatory sessions will attempt to overcome the normal human desire for modesty and privacy in sexual matters–a quest that is inappropriate for the military and unlikely to succeed.”

A Platoon Leader’s View

William Buchanan, however, is one strong voice from the blogosphere writing today in Human Events – – 

“My service with the United States Marine Corps in the 1960’s included deployment to Vietnam as a platoon commander. The crucible of combat taught me that unit integrity depends to a large degree on respect, confidence, trust in leaders, and teamwork. Prevailing over determined and well-armed Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units demanded total focus.

For instance, it is not difficult for me to envision the truckload of problems that would have ensued had one of my squad leaders in Vietnam been gay and had an intimate relationship with one of his fire team leaders. Would he hesitate to commit his lover’s team to a flanking maneuver during a firefight? Would passion in the fighting hole at night distract his vigilance?

What if he came down with AIDS or some SDT during a search and destroy mission? What effect on morale would ensue if he cited his lover for a Bronze Star when it wasn’t deserved? Would he be so shattered emotionally by his lover’s wounding or death in battle that he became ineffective as a leader? Knowing he was gay, would other Marines, fearing contamination, hesitate to treat him if he was wounded?

Would violence ensue if he hit on a subordinate Marine? If a junior enlisted man rejected a gay senior NCO’s sexual advances, would he invite undesirable assignments, or lower fitness reports?”

This legislative threat to our fighting men and men now is in the lap of the United States Senate.  We need to do all we can to encourage the Senate Republican leadership to be as “obstructionist” as possible and to keep reminding them of the high stakes in play.

A well-educated highly-trained volunteer force with so many of its members following traditional values is not going to flourish in an emerging atmosphere of “zero tolerance” for anything but an all-embracing secularism.  This Obama initiative is a poison-pill for our military.

Conservatives &Culture wars Richard Falknor on 27 Apr 2010

What Are They Thinking? GOP Puerto-Rico-Statehood Fans

UPDATE APRIL 30!  Yesterday the House of Representatives approved HR 2499, the so-called “Puerto Rico Democracy Act.” Here is the vote. By our quick count, of the 55 or so Republicans who initially were co-sponsors of the measure, around 31 came to a better mind when a broad spectrum of grass-roots and national conservatives gave them a more factual perspective. Of the initial 55 Republican co-sponsors, 26 voted against the measure – –  notably such conservatives as Todd Akin of Missouri, Trent Franks of Arizona, John Shadegg of Arizona, and Joe Wilson of South Carolina, and five — notably Ron Paul of Texas – – did not vote. Readers will note that while the House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, and chairman of the Republican Study Committee Dr. Tom Price of Georgia, voted against the bill, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and Republican Conference chairman Mike Pence voted for it. By way of background, the current governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño is a political favorite of Americans for Tax Reform chief Grover Norquist:  here is an interesting Newsweek post readers will enjoy.

Tomorrow the House of Representatives leadership proposes to bring to the floor a scheme known as the “Puerto Rico Democracy Act” (HR 2499) — front-loaded to advance statehood for the Island commonwealth of around 4,000,000 people which has been under the U.S. flag since 1898.  Quick links here and here give some basic facts about the Commonwealth as it presently known.

Readers can see the House Committee on Natural Resources Report here. Page seven shows Representative Paul Broun’s defeated committee amendment requiring

“that, if Puerto Rico were to become a State, its
official language would be English and all its official business would be conducted in English.”

A Stake in the Heart of Assimilation

English is the core cement of our American Commonwealth, enabling it to prosper and its heritage of individual enterprise and freedom to grow.  It is very clear that most citizens of Puerto Rico espouse, at best, a kind of bilingualism. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, about 72 per cent of the Island “spoke English less than ‘very well.'”

The conflict on the Island over English has been going on since 1898, as as Dr. Alicia Pousada of the University of Puerto Rico explained in 1999 – –

“In 1990, the College Board reported that Puerto Rican high school students attained a median score of 390 (out of 800) on the English test, evidence of significant problems in managing the language. Torruellas (1990) investigated three different private schools, supposed bastions of English teaching, and found that the level of mastery of English depended upon the social rank of the clientele of the particular private school. Only students in schools catering to the elite were actively striving to succeed in oral and written English. Students in middle class private schools had developed a sort of ‘counterculture’ of resistance toward the language and its teachers. Attitudes ranged from apathetic to openly hostile, and ridicule and mockery were used to censure students who attempted to excel.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Other interesting findings–93% of the sample answered that they would never give up the Spanish language even if the island became a state and even if English were established as the sole official language. 91% considered themselves to be Puerto Ricans first and Americans next. 87% claimed to feel strong patriotic attachment to the Puerto Rican flag. 95% felt a strong attachment to the island . . . .”

In the meantime, the U.S. taxpayer has spent substantial treasure on the Puerto Rican education system.  According to the OMB Watch’s FedSpending.org calculations, the U.S. spent in FY 2007 about $16.4 billion in Puerto Rico on all programs, and apparently well over $1 billion on education from K through 16.

Our point is not to criticize the people of Puerto Rico for keeping a predominantly Spanish-speaking culture — they have done so in the context of their “Associated Free State” or Commonwealth. Rather it is to sound the alarm about this stealth Congressional attempt to make the United States a bi-lingual country via Puerto Rico statehood and about some leading Republicans (see co-sponsor list) treating “assimilation” as a process of no consequence.  Some of these Republican members just haven’t been paying attention or they wouldn’t have gone along with their co-sponsorships, but, we suspect, for some “assimilation” is not a goal to be taken seriously. It is merely a slogan for the GOP Establishment to jolly their conservative base.

There are many other flaws in the current Puerto Rico legislation which, if enacted, would likely ignore the preferences of a plurality of Puerto Ricans many of whom are now burdened with around 16 percent unemployment in an economy where there is one public worker for every twenty residents in a government with a fragile credit rating.

Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly has a number of cogent objections to the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, among them – –

“H.R. 2499 is stealth legislation designed to lead to the admission of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico as the 51st state, thereby making us a de facto bilingual nation, like Canada.  The U.S. Congress should not be forcing Puerto Ricans to vote on statehood, especially since the Puerto Rican people have rejected statehood three times since 1991!”

No Member of Congress who describes himself as a limited government, fiscal conservative should be casting a YEA vote for H.R. 2499, as Puerto Rican statehood would cause an immediate increase in federal expenditures, particularly for taxpayer-funded welfare state services.

Tell Congress not to override the wishes of Americans and Puerto Ricans who want to maintain the current commonwealth status of Puerto Rico by forcing a vote on rigged referenda.

Cautions Michael Barone – –

I have been following Puerto Rico issues for many years, and I think the Times misses one important point against this bill. And that is that statehood has traditionally been granted only to territories whose residents show, in referendum or otherwise, overwhelming support for statehood. There is no such support in Puerto Rico. Status—whether Puerto Rico should become a state, should become independent or should retain in current terms or somewhat modified terms the current status which in English is called commonwealth but in Spanish the more descriptive estado liberado asociado—has been the single most important issue in Puerto Rican politics since the 1940s. The electorate is closely split (as the figures cited by the Times show) between statehood and commonwealth and between the pro-statehood New Progressive party and the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic party. Only a small percentage of voters, most of them university students it seems, support independence. I think it would be very unwise to grant statehood to a territory where there is not a strong consensus for statehood, as there was in the Alaska and Hawaii territories in the 1950s.”

“The Puerto Rico Democracy Act has some serious flaws.  The votes seem to be set up in a way that favors statehood.  The two provisions that allow a plurality of Puerto Ricans to vote for statehood to be ratified and the allowing of non-resident Puerto Ricans to vote in the plebiscite is of deep concern to those who favor a fair vote and referendum on statehood.  A vote by members of Congress is not enough to indicate consent of the American people for Puerto Rican statehood.  If the Obamacare vote and secretive procedure is instructive, many Members of Congress are willing to defy the will of their own constituents.”

Of course, we expect government-enlarging, culture-corrosive legislation from the Other Team – – that is lamentably what they more and more frequently do.

What is puzzling is why some well-known Republicans (see Puerto Rico Democracy Act sponsors) endorse such unconservative moves.

To understand the back story, maybe it would be profitable for readers to visit Ramesh Ponnuru’s 1997 National Review article “Buying Statehood” – –

”THERE are more lobbyists working on this bill than I’ve ever seen on anything,’ says Eric Pelletier, a counsel to the powerful House Rules Committee. ‘I get more calls from lobbyists on this bill than on anything else — whether it’s FDA reform or tax issues.’ He’s talking about HR-856, the United States – Puerto Rico Political Status Act,” which has become the subject of a fierce, mostly behind-the-scenes debate.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R., Alaska) and co-sponsored by 87 others, would have Puerto Ricans decide in a referendum whether they want the island to remain a commonwealth, become the 51st state, or declare independence. The vote could come as early as next year, the centenary of America’s conquest of Puerto Rico in the Spanish – American War.

Its supporters have a lot of clout. Speaker Newt Gingrich rarely even votes on bills, but he is the lead co-sponsor for HR-856. At least two dozen firms are lobbying for it, and both Haley Barbour and Harold Ickes are working for it. Not to mention former Sen. Bennett Johnston (D., La.) and former Rep. Robert Garcia (D., N.Y.).

Much of this politicking is tax-funded. The governor of Puerto Rico has a $250-million fund to play with, and the legislature, dominated by the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP), has given each department of the government money with which to lobby. How many of the departments push statehood? None of them, technically; all of them, practically.”

The new pro-statehood bill seems to evoke some of the same concerns the old one did.  But at least then a senior Republican – –

“House Rules Committee chairman Gerry Solomon (R., N.Y.) scuttled it in the last Congress by insisting on an official-English amendment which supporters regarded as unacceptable. That got Solomon labeled ‘a Nazi’ on the floor of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives by its Majority Leader.”

Full disclosure:  the author has worked as a Washington, D.C. aide to a statehood-oriented governor, Luis Ferre, and later as chief of staff to a Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, Jaime Benitez, a major developer of Commonwealth thinking.

Culture wars &Tea Parties &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 02 Mar 2010

No “Apology Tours”* for Tea Partiers or Other Conservatives

 “Conservatives target their own fringe” trumpeted the headline in Kenneth Vogel’s “Politico” post last Saturday where he chronicled a mixture of Left assertions, and fears of nervous Republican Party-oriented voices that the Tea Partiers are including some “fringe” activists. (We would not, however, so characterize any of the Maryland or Virginia Tea Parties we have attended.)

Anyone who was at the 2010 CPAC knows, moreover, that the giant conservative gathering had little outrageous rhetoric and was quite color-inclusive.

Again, the Tea Parties we have joined have many older, accomplished participants.  They would view as presumptuous and patronizing this quote from former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson who pontificated in his Washington Post column “A primer on political reality” —

 “Sometimes it takes courage to stand before a large crowd and proclaim that two plus two equals four.”

In his column on the conservative spectrum, Gerson shamelessly lumps together, with isolationists and left-wing extremists, those serious conservatives who opposed the former president’s deafness on immigration and confusion about US sovereignty.  Gerson mocks, moreover, the research of the analysts and investigators here and here and here who have tracked the current president’s hard-left upbringing and political development.

The Tea Parties are a spontaneous uprising against the Political Class. Why invite their voices back in as guides?

The Tea Partiers did fine without “minders” in 2009, and the political sophistication of many local participants may well exceed that of putative national “leaders”and “trainers.”

The underlying theme of the nostrums advanced by voices in the Vogel article amount to a mug’s game: apparatchiks running about to ensure that no Tea Partier says anything politically offensive. That is an approach with an outrageously demeaning implication.

For that says that local Tea Partiers are somehow not savvy enough to present their own case effectively – – and suggests a largely futile course of action because the Left will always contrive to find ways to demonize us.

As Ann Corcoran of Potomac Tea Party Report counsels – –

” . . . [T]o maintain your independence from any supposed NATIONAL Tea Party organization. . . [t]hink nationally but act locally!

There are, however, some troubling omissions Tea Partiers and grass-roots conservatives should worry about: 

The Potomac Tea Party Report highlights  a current example of grass-roots focus on illegal immigration:

 “Last Saturday [February 20] the North Central West Virginia Tea Party held a candidate forum for 6 Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District.  The Times West Virginia reports that 4 issues were at the top of the list of concerns of those attending.  Immigration was one of those.”

In Maryland, a “magnet state” for illegal aliens, there is no question that the grassroots worry about illegal immigration.

We agree with some conservative critics that trying to make the president and his administration go away by arguing that he is not a citizen is, to put it charitably, probably not a productive course. But there should be no subtext to these critics’ message discouraging anyone from looking into the many unanswered questions about the president’s upbringing, education, and Chicago life.  Here for example is respected conservative scholar Stanley Kurtz’s analysis just before last election.  For those – on either side – who want to go beyond a knee-jerk discussion, here is Andrew McCarthy’s article in NRO  “Suborned in the U.S.A. The birth-certificate controversy is about Obama’s honesty, not where he was born.

Getting Education and Culture on the Tea Party Agenda

In her pathfinding American Thinker piece *”Conservatives, End the Apology Tour,” (the theme for this post’s title) Mary Grabar tells us – –

Although various conservative advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity have kicked into high gear in reaction to the threat of government takeover of health care, I have not seen similar action in response to the takeover of education. Most of these groups target citizens already disposed to be wary of large government. But where is the program to instill the idea into a nineteen-year-old’s head that a Washington bureaucrat determining health care decisions is antithetical to our notions of freedom? Where is the program to counter the dominant pedagogy that insists that students make ‘collective’ decisions and write “collaboratively”? Where is the program that encourages independent thought?” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Scholar Grabar sums up her priorities for conservatives – –

The reaction to the rot in education and culture does not match the reaction to health care, as evidenced by town halls, where one participant told Arlen Specter, ‘You have awakened a sleeping giant.’ Indeed, hard-working, middle-class, middle-aged America has awakened from its stupor on this issue.But wouldn’t it make more sense to try to rescue the values and culture of the West and implant them in the minds of the young in a way that is associated with intellectualism (as in fact it is)?   If we did, we would not be reacting in panic to such issues as government health care (with the fires of Afghanistan, illegal immigration, and free speech popping up too). In other words, we would not simply be reacting according to a script from the Saul Alinsky playbook, but establishing our rightful place as intellectual leaders.  Then Glenn Beck and I will not be seen as isolated Jeremiahs, shouting and weeping.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

But we have one qualification to Mary Grabar’s otherwise sound recommendations on education and culture.

Obamacare must be stopped now or we won’t have much flexibility to address anything else.

Republicans: In Office or In Power?

And Mark Steyn tells us where our weak point lies right now 

“In shoving health care down the throats of the American people in the teeth of overwhelming public opposition and any sense of parliamentary decency, the Democrats are in effect taking a bet on Republican wussiness — that, whatever passes, the GOP will have no stomach to undo, no matter the scale of their victory in November. That seems to me an entirely rational calculation. The Dems will be punished; the Republicans will take over the committee chairmanships and be content, as they often are, to be in office rather than in power; and after a brief time out the Democrats will return to find their new statist behemoth still in place. From their point of view, it makes perfect sense.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

For a look at Truthers, Birthers, Oath Takers, the John Birch Society, Alex Jones, and  Lyndon LaRouche, see long-time conservative investigator Cliff Kincaid’s two posts here and here “The Media, Extremists and Conspiracies, Part One and Part Two” commenting on the same Vogel piece in Politico.

Culture wars &Fiscal Policy Richard Falknor on 10 Feb 2010

More Questions for Maryland GOP Gubernatorial Candidates


Yesterday Brian Griffiths . . .

“start[ed] a new feature here at RedMaryland, where we ask Maryland Republican candidates and leaders ten questions about their races, ideology, politics, etc., and we run their answers. This feature is cleverly named: Ten Questions.”

Read all Griffiths’ ten questions here.

We commend Red Maryland for starting their interesting new feature, but we suggest a few additional questions for GOP gubernatorial candidates:

1.  Maryland is infamously known as being a “magnet state” for illegal immigrants. What specific steps like these here and here would you take to curtail Maryland’s attraction for illegals?

2. Taxes and regulations contribute substantially to Maryland’s rating as having one of the “ten worst business tax climates.”

3. Free-market and liberty-oriented voices see Green Statism as a menace in Maryland as well as  nationally. Maryland was (2007) number four in the “Top Ten Energy Importing States.” What Maryland governmental barriers would you seek to remove substantially to increase the Free State’s supply of energy?

4. What steps would you take — like those listed here (scroll to bottom of link) – – to restrain the power of the public employees unions in Maryland – – tax consumers which have already done so much damage in New Jersey? 

We have other questions as well – – and our readers doubtless can suggest some of their own – – ranging from Second Amendment concerns to undermining traditional American values.

While our four questions are, in our view, a solid addition, every center-right Maryland voter might want to ask what conservative opportunities were missed in the preceding (2003-2007) governorship – – missteps all Republican candidates might want to learn from, should one of them be elected next November.


: “I am very disappointed that Republican candidates for Governor are backing down to let Ehrlich run again.  He was so negative to his base during his last term that those of us who have been in Republican politics for years will just not vote for governor if he is the candidate.  He slapped the Central committees in the face time after time with his actions and even appointed a Democratic judge who is terrible to the district court where he will be for life. He [Ehrlich] was invited to speak at Lincoln Dinners in Allegany and Garrett counties every year and never did it once during his term. Everytime he came to the western (Republican)counties he went to see and talk to democrats in the media and in business and ignored the republican groups. We want a choice in the primary.[-]Mary Miltenberger former central committee member and treasurer of Allegany County Republican Women, President Allegany Conservative Caucus.”

“What about the Dems?
We agree that every Maryland gubernatorial candidate should be asked the questions we suggested.  In yesterday’s case, we were trying to supplement Red Maryland’s format of questions for Republicans. -ed.

CENTER MARYLAND TODAY:  “THURSDAY’S LIST: Hey Big Spender (And Not So Big Spender)” here.

We are linking to this post with the caution that we do not know all the assumptions behind this format.
How does the “list” account in current Maryland public spending  for money borrowed by the United States and allocated to Maryland under the so-called stimulus legislation?
(Bear in mind also that Maryland, in 2005 for example, was receiving $1.30 in Federal spending for every dollar paid in Federal taxes.)The Department of Legislative Services reveals: “The [Fiscal 2011] budget assumes $389 million in additional federal monies from a six-month extension of the enhanced Medicaid match under the ARRA [“stimulus” legislation]. With this assumption, reliance on federal stimulus funds to replace general funds grows from $1.1 billion in fiscal 2010 to almost $1.3 billion in fiscal 2011.” [Underscoring Forum’s.]

Faithful readers, however, will not be surprised that spending grew in the previous two administrations for they will have read the 2006 
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) study entitled “Maryland’s Fiscal Folly: The Taxpayer’s View” here which declared
– – “But how much does Maryland’s out of control spending hurt the typical taxpayer? An illustration is in order. Suppose Maryland had restricted its rising expenditures to no more than population growth plus inflation, beginning in Fiscal Year 1995. Under this scenario, spending should have grown by an average of 3.5 percent annually from 1995-2005.[14] If an inflation/population limit were applied (on a compounded year-by-year basis) to Maryland, 2005 expenditures would have been just over $21 billion (about $3,700 per capita). Governor Ehrlich’s proposed FY 2007 budget is nearly $30 billion (about $5,300 per capita). Even after accounting for the 2006 Fiscal Year, a leaner government would mean that close to $9 billion (approximately $1,600 per capita), or almost a third of the current budget request, would still be in the pockets of Maryland taxpayers in 2007. Instead, Governor Ehrlich and Governor Glendening have chosen political expediency over the best interests of taxpayers.” [Underscoring Forum’s.]

Culture wars &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 28 Oct 2009

New ‘Hate Crimes’ Law Signed: Open Arms for ‘Big Brother’

“I keep getting e-mails saying, ‘People will reach a tipping point and they’ll no longer put up with this stuff.’ I doubt it. Right now the way to bet is that once free societies will retreat incrementally, one trivial step after another, into a totalitarian hell.(Emphasis Forum’s)  — Mark Steyn on “the Nationalization of Your Children” in Britain.

Today president Obama signed  the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010” which included the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.”

Mr. Obama gave us his spin on the new legislation which was attached to the so-called “must pass” defense authorization measure. – –

“Now, speaking of that, there is one more long-awaited change contained within this legislation that I’ll be talking about a little more later today.  After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we’ve passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are.”

Six Civil Rights Commissioners:

Bill “will do little good and a great deal of harm”

But the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s special-projects counsel Hans Bader spells out the likely consequences of this legislation in his “Obama Signs Hate-Crimes Bill Into Law; Critics Say It Circumvents Constitutional Safeguards Against Double Jeopardy” here – –

“The new law dramatically expands the reach of the existing federal hate-crimes law that was already on the books, by getting rid of the requirement that a hate crime affect federally-protected activities to be prosecuted in federal court.  It also adds sexual orientation, gender, disability, and transgender characteristics to a law that was originally designed to protect racial minorities.

The hate-crimes bill was opposed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for allowing the reprosecution in federal court of people found innocent in state court.  The Commission called the new law a menace to civil liberties” because it is an end-run around constitutional guarantees against double jeopardy.

Readers are encouraged to read today’s Bader post in its entirety here.

At various times this year, for example here and here, a number of Republicans — who surely knew better — voted for the bill, notably Representative Mark Kirk of Illinois and Representative Mike Castle of Delaware. Both are running for the U. S. Senate in their respective states, and are favorites of the Beltway GOP because of their presumed ability to win their races.

The question we have is why the two voted as they did on on the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.”  What did they gain politically? Or what kind of significant blowback did they believe they were avoiding?  Should either or both become senators, could we trust them to protect our basic liberties?  Their vote for the new law, after all, is a misstep of a much larger order of magnitude than, for example, voting for last fall’s bailout, as ill-advised as many conservatives believe the bailout was.

Defense expert Frank Gaffney spells out in this video how the new law may hinder efforts to contain the growth of Sharia in the United States. And Byron York speaks plainly in his DC Examiner post “Dems undermine free speech in hate crimes ploy.”

Let’s hope that Americans will be quicker to find their “tipping points” than their British cousins on these infringements of our historic freedoms.



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