Category Archives: Uncategorized

Journalists Are Not Special, Even In Ferguson

It’s unusual for me to disagree with Hot Air’s Mary Katherine Hamm, who says that national reporters are valuable test subjects for Constitutional rights.  Allowing reporters to continue in the illusion that they are something special would demonstrate the widening gap between America and her ruling elites.

Hamm acknowledges the danger in creating a tiered set of rights:

Now, it’s not that the journalists in question are super-citizens who have more rights than the rest of us (though, certainly, the coverage of them will suggest it). They are canaries in a coalmine. If national journalists are arrested at a McDonald’s in Ferguson for what can only be described (and has yet to be described by police, mind you) as some sort of reach of an infraction, how are the regular citizens in this now militarized zone faring?

The trouble is that the reporters in question think of themselves as something different from the maddening crowd of local yokels. They tend to act as if their Journalist Privilege puts them above the police, able to act outside the law because they are not part of events, but merely covering them.

In particular, a journalist might think it’s fine to question police officers about their actions in real time. “Why are you using that semi-automatic assault weapon that way?” Demanding attention while police are quelling a riot crosses a line into interference. I don’t trust journalists to know where that line is.

Journalists may sometimes deserve to spend a few moments in the cooler. They can then write about that, with a more perfect double-edged remedy hard to imagine.

While some dress up journalists in the fine garments of the Public’s Right To Know, those garments obscure the fact that most of the time journalists don’t give a tinker’s cuss about the public’s right to know, and are just trying to sell newspapers, or commercial spots, or page views. They are in business, or their employer is, to make money. The freedom of the press is not a guarantee of commercial success.

None of us is capable of separating our human desire for reward from our search to make information public. Treating journalists as some kind of dispassionate observers whose rights must be defended so that we know everyone’s rights are defended presumes that journalists act in ways no less troublesome than everyone else, a premise I refute by noting that Al Sharpton has press credentials.

Hamm continues,

And, here’s the thing. We ask more of law enforcement in a free society and we should. We don’t accept that everyone in a community must be under the gun because some of them committed crimes. Or, that journalists should be arrested while trying to cover that community…

That phrase “trying to cover” may gloss a multitude of sins, from simply distracting the police to actively encouraging or otherwise affecting the events they are “trying to cover.” It is inarguable that the presence of national media lends an element of drama that would not otherwise be there.

Being a journalist does not confer special rights, nor special status. The law, and more generally the culture, should treat everyone as a journalist, which in light of social media and ubiquitous smart phones, we are.

 

What Led President Obama Finally To Attack ISIS … A Little.

Less than two weeks after requesting that Congress rescind the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, President Obama has ordered a campaign of air strikes against the Islamic State (IS, formerly called ISIS). A need to defend the American embassy at Erbil in Kurdish Iraq, and a humanitarian mission changed his mind.

The New York Times reported in early June that the Iraqis requested that the US intervene against ISIS.  On June 15, ISIS released images of its own atrocities. The request for air strikes went public June 18. By June 20,  shiploads of US Marines were headed to Iraq to defend our embassy and help stand up the Iraqi armed forces.

That had to wait for the lawyers to work out a temporary Status of Forces agreement. President Obama blamed the lack of a SOF agreement for his complete withdrawal of troops in 2011. Critics charged that he failed to negotiate with any vigor, having made known his dislike of a US presence in Iraq since 2003.

On July 25, the House passed a resolution sponsored by Democrat James McGovern (MA-02) that said, in substance:

The President shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use

In a letter earlier that day, letter to Congress, National Security Adviser Susan Rice wrote that rather than voting not to send ground troops, Congress should rescind the AUMF for Iraq:

rice-rescind-aumf-quote

So the administration had received multiple requests from Iraq for air strikes, and had not only refused them, but has asked Congress to take away its ability to carry them out. The administration claims they don’t need Congressional authority to go to war, however. And on August 7, after an outcry over the fate of the Yazidi people in Iraq, Mr. Obama said:

I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world.  So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now.  When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

 


Failed grammar aside, the tendency to react to world events rather to shape them is a hallmark of the Obama administration.

So, about the use of military force in Iraq…
 


Yes, that pretty well sums it up.

7 Fake District Images Democrat Julia Brownley Used In Reelection Bid

Rep Julia Brownley (D-CA26) used a mailer in her reelection bid against surging Jeff Gorell (R) that appears to show community support, but does not picture anyone who actually lives in the district. Some of the images used don’t even come from the United States.

Brownley sent this mailer to voters in the district implying that she supports the various special interest groups pictured, but none of the photos in the mailer appear to be from the district. In fact, while many of them are stock photos, at least one is simply stolen from a British blog post.

Mailer sent by Congresswoman Brownley

The Daily Caller first pointed out that the Navy-like picture had a non-US insignia.

Democratic lawmaker Julia Brownley sent a political mailer to her constituents in late July featuring a woman wearing fake military attire and a German Luftwaffe insignia — apparently unaware that the costume was not an official uniform worn by U.S. personnel.

On Monday Jeff Gorell, Brownley’s Republican opponent in California’s 26 congressional district, sent out a press release highlighting the congresswoman’s taxpayer-funded faux pas.

 

It turns out that none of these images Democrat Julia Brownley used in her reelection bid can be verified to be in the 26th district of California.

1. Portrait of an Airwoman from Getty Images.
faux-airman-camo

2. DefenceApparel.com of Northern Ireland
faux-navy

 

3. Hispanic Teacher talking to students stock photo

teacher-w-kids

4. Stock photo of family

fam-of-4

 

5. Used by Easy Choice Health Plan HMO and other publications, probably a stock photo, certainly not a constituent image.

older-couple

6. Farm Girl Stock Photo

orchard-lady

7. Stolen from a British blog post

schoolbus-girl

 

BONUS Fake District Image Democrat Julia Brownley Used In Reelection Bid

8. Cargo ship at unknown port  that doesn’t look like Port Hueneme, CA, and is probably a stock photo

ship-loader

Given that the other images in the mailer are from stock photos or used off the Internet, the port image probably is, as well. The Brownley FEC page shows the campaign paid Marshall Creative Services of Beverly Hills for graphic design services.

With $1.5 million warchest, would  it so hard to hire a graphic designer that would use photos from the district? How much more powerful would that mailer have been, Congresswoman Brownley?

 

Dishonest Democrat Michelle Nunn in #GASen

I understand that some may view “dishonest Democrat” as redundant, but it’s just a reminder that if a Democrat running for Congress says the sky is blue, grab an umbrella.

Michelle Nunn (of Bethesda, MD)(I mean Atlanta, GA) is the daughter of Sam Nunn (D-Bethesda,MD), longtime Democrat Party stalwart and Senator representing Georgia while living in Maryland. She’s a loyal, partisan Democrat. Did I mention she’s a Democrat?

Because Nunn (D-Bethesda,MD), running as a Democrat in Georgia, would rather not mention herself that she’s a Democrat.

Like all Democrats, her first vote as a Senator would be for Harry Reid as Majority Leader. If Reid won a majority, he would do whatever it took to keep Obamacare on the books and to keep punishing the American people, bankrupting us and our children for generations to come.

Nunn could show that she opposes Obamacare and the Democrat agenda by declaring that she, as a Democrat, would not vote for a Democrat as Senate Majority Leader. It would be a lie, but so is anything else a Democrat says.

Wisconsin Groups: Congrats, Legislature. You Own Common Core.

A coalition of Wisconsin over 40 education activists and groups sent a letter to every Wisconsin legislator and to Governor Scott Walker.

—————-

Congratulations. You Own It.

An Open Letter to Wisconsin State Elected Officials on the Full and Imminent Implementation of Common Core State Standards

April 23, 2014

At the beginning of April, the Wisconsin State Legislature concluded its 2014 floor sessions. Yet, Common Core State Standards (CCSS)—the single most prominent issue of the last year in Wisconsin politics—remains unaddressed. As leadership has announced that the legislature will now take a nine-month hiatus, CCSS is unlikely to see any serious opposition at the state level until at least January of 2015.

With CCSS presently retaining status as official state standards, and Smarter Balanced assessments scheduled to roll out this fall for the 2014-2015 school year, the legislature’s failure to act means that total implementation of CCSS is now imminent in Wisconsin. Smarter Balanced assessments are the enforcement mechanism that will be used to ensure compliance with CCSS and aligned curricula.

Because Smarter Balanced assessments have not been in place in Wisconsin up to now, our state has not yet experienced the full reality of CCSS. This fact has allowed several individuals in key positions on both sides of the aisle to tout the standards’ alleged benefits in a manner that few in Wisconsin currently have the experience or the courage to refute. The haze created by this well funded and heavily marketed campaign of misinformation has resulted in confusion, inaction, and even active pro-CCSS entrenchment on the part of many state legislators, district and school administrators, the business community, and even some parents and teachers. Meanwhile, the informed parents, teachers, and taxpayers who have explored CCSS beyond the superficial talking points have been championed only by a small but dedicated coterie of legislators. Those legislators who did understand and make an effort to jettison or undercut CCSS found themselves effectively sidelined by those with greater influence and higher positions of authority.

Well done, then, to Wisconsin’s state-level CCSS advocates. You’ve won this round. You successfully convinced many that rejection of CCSS was just an issue of the “fringe” Tea Party. Despite the wishes of constituents, you ensured that a true CCSS kill-bill never saw the light of day. You ensured that other legislation that might help to undermine CCSS was watered down, marginalized, or killed outright. CCSS will proceed on schedule. Kudos to you.

But be careful about celebrating this victory.

Everything is about to change.

With the deployment of the Smarter Balanced assessments, the rosy CCSS talking points upon which you have relied are about to be exposed for what they are. CCSS is going to cause pain in this state. And in the blame game that ensues, those who have facilitated CCSS either actively or by their inaction will quickly become vulnerable.

Congratulations. You own it.

What exactly do you now own?

  • You own the unhealthy and as yet unimagined degree of pressure that will shortly be placed on Wisconsin children to perform on an unending stream of standardized assessments with little validity. http://bit.ly/tests-hurt
  • You own the fact that even students previously considered high achievers are likely to fail the Smarter Balanced assessments in droves, providing a false measure of both performance and underperformance. http://bit.ly/unending-tests
  • You own the inaccurate labeling of “underperforming schools” and the subsequent school closings that CCSS and the Smarter Balanced assessments have, in part, been engineered to ensure. http://bit.ly/underperforming
  • You own the injudicious use of student performance on Smarter Balanced assessments to judge wrongly and misleadingly the quality of teachers. http://bit.ly/teacher-quality
  • You own the shredding of the art of teaching—the reduction of teachers to proctors in their own classrooms—by means of extensive embedded pedagogy within CCSS that doesn’t just demand compliance from teachers concerning what to teach but also how to teach it. http://bit.ly/kills-creativity, http://bit.ly/demoralize-teachers
  • You own the convoluted and bizarre teaching methods embedded within CCSS pedagogy and the ways in which they will cripple many students’ ability to understand and learn. http://bit.ly/cripple-students, http://bit.ly/not-teaching
  • You own the distress of parents as they realize they can no longer assist their children with homework because not even as competent adults can they understand the methods by which their children are now being taught. http://bit.ly/parents-dont-understand
  • You own the rejection of individualism that is part and parcel of the CCSS mandate to teach the same and yield the same, regardless of the unique character, learning styles, circumstances, and aspirations of each child. http://bit.ly/different-styles
  • You own the fact that the for-profit charter schools intended to replace “failing” public schools will likewise be CCSS-based widget factories, enriching no one but the people who collect the tuition. http://bit.ly/ccss-for-profit
  • You own the fact that, under CCSS, students who want to reach farther will only be prepared for a two-year non-selective college, not a four-year university. http://bit.ly/non-selective
  • You own the coming anger of local taxpayers who will soon realize that you have essentially pushed them into an unfunded mandate—CCSS infrastructure and training costs that will likely exceed the expectations and budgets of most school districts. http://bit ly/ccss-high-cost
  • You own the additional taxpayer anger that will result when they discover that all of the spending you helped to push them into was for an initiative doomed to failure from the outset. http://bit.ly/ccss-doomed
  • You own the invasion of student and family privacy that CCSS furthers through its data gathering, data storage, and data mining components. http://bit.ly/ccss-privacy
  • You own this initiative’s disregard of the U.S. Constitution, which gives the federal government no authority over education, as well as the its disregard of at least three federal laws forbidding the federal government from involvement in school standards and curriculum. http://bit.ly/ccss-unconstitutional
  • You own the undercutting of Wisconsin children’s ability to determine their own unbounded future. http://bit.ly/biz-demands

And much, much more…

And the saddest part about this long and troubling list of items you’ve just owned?

It was all avoidable.

Apparently, it is not enough for Wisconsin to learn from the experiences of others. Instead, we must have the full experience—sacrificing the education and mental wellbeing of children, breaking the trust of parents, demoralizing teachers, and picking the pockets of taxpayers.

Even a modicum of honest research should have revealed to you precisely what we and many others have found—that despite the billions spent on marketing spin, CCSS is nothing new. It’s merely a doubling-down on every failed education reform of the past thirty years; truly the lipstick-clad pig.

Just a glance to the east would have revealed that full implementation of CCSS has already been a complete train wreck in states like New York and Kentucky, causing massive public outcry from parents, teachers, and taxpayers alike.

Conservatives and progressives are fighting CCSS hand-in-hand in those states and elsewhere, as they increasingly will be here. Are you aware that they’re taking names and working to remove people from office in New York and elsewhere over this “education” fiasco? Do you think that same thing won’t happen in Wisconsin? Do you think it hasn’t already begun?

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Common Core State Standards are all yours now.

Sincerely,

Eric Shimpach Wisconsin State Coordinator Young Americans for Liberty

Morgan Gianola Young Americans for Liberty – Carthage College Kenosha, WI

Dustin Hwang Young Americans for Liberty –  Marquette University Milwaukee, WI

Madelyn Winter Young Americans for Liberty –  UW Green Bay Green Bay, WI

Savannah Bartel Young Americans for Liberty – Madison, WI

Charles Hunt Young Americans for Liberty – University of Wisconsin UW Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI

Matt Haase Young Americans for Liberty – UW Stout Menomonie, WI

John Linné Young Americans for Liberty – UW Superior Superior, WI

Michael Cummins Dane County Campaign for Liberty Madison, WI

Alan Scholl Executive Director FreedomProject Education Appleton, WI

Duke Pesta Academic Director FreedomProject Education Appleton, WI

Mary Black Student Development Director FreedomProject Education Appleton, WI

Tina Hollenbeck The Educational Freedom Coalition Green Bay, WI

Kristi Lacroix Parent Kenosha, WI

Tracie Happel Teacher & Parent Onalaska, WI

Dan Curran Eagle Forum of Wisconsin Dodgeville, WI

Sandi Ruggles Eagle Forum of Southeast Wisconsin Menomonee Falls, WI

Jane Carpenter Suburban Republican Women’s Club Milwaukee, WI

Charles Brey United in Freedom Beaver Dam, WI

Joana Briggs Greendale Tea Party Greendale, WI

Kip Ertel We The People Sheboygan, WI

Michael Hintze Tea Party Patriots Wisconsin

Earl Hoffman Clark County Tea Party Greenwood, WI

Jackie Johnson Concerned Citizens of Dane County Madison, WI

Sidney Johnson Central Wisconsin Tea Party Marshfield, WI

James Leist Manitowoc County TEA Movement Manitowoc, WI

Andrea Lombard Sauk County Tea Party Baraboo, WI

Darin Danelski Lake Country Area Defenders of Liberty Oconomowoc, WI

Karl Koenigs Wisconsin TEA Party Committee on State Sovereignty Peshtigo, WI

Steve Welcenbach Separately for each:

Conservative Insurgency &

Menomonee Falls Taxpayer Association Menomonee Falls, WI

Ed Willing FoundersIntent.Org Caledonia, WI

Jennifer London SpotOfTea.Org

Pete Platt Columbia County Freedom Coalition Portage, WI

Ronald Zahn Northeast Wisconsin Patriots DePere, WI

Richard Parins Member of The Brown County Taxpayers Association Green Bay, WI

James Murphy Green Bay TEA Party Green Bay, WI

Greg Luce The La Crosse Tea Party La Crosse, WI

Georgia Janisch Rock County Voter Education Forum Janesville, WI

David Stertz Fox Valley Conservative Forum Appleton, WI

Kim Simac Northwoods Patriots Eagle River, WI

Joanne Terry Ozaukee Patriots Mequon, WI

Marv Munyon Rock River Patriots Fort Atkinson, WI

Kirsten Lombard The Wisconsin 9/12 Project Madison, WI

Edward Perkins Fox Valley Initiative Appleton, WI

Jeffrey Horn Prairie Patriots Sun Prairie, WI

PFOL: No, Three Million Young Adults Are Not Newly Covered By Their Parents’ Insurance

(from Pocket Full of Liberty)

The Obama administration and its lapdog media have been saying that three million previously uninsured adult “children” are now covered by their parents’ insurance. It’s not true, according to two separate analysis by health policy experts.

David Hogberg of the National Center for Public Policy Research and Avik Roy of the Manhattan Instituteeach looked at the data in different ways, and discovered that the administration had been using fishy numbers from the start.

Hogberg showed that the HHS numbers the administration used were part of a “back of the envelope” calculation, and not the kind of study on which we’d like to base budget decisions. Doing the same back of the envelope calculation using updated numbers (something the administration could have done, but didn’t), Hogberg found that at most 2.2 million young adults were now covered on their parents’ policies.

Roy did a deeper dive using Census data, and found that there had been no net change in the number of insured people between the ages of 19 and 25. That is, while anyone in that age group must now be covered on their parents’ insurance, just as many lost coverage through their employment as have gained it under Obamacare.

If we pretend that Obamacare had no other effect on the economy, the best you can say is that something less than a million young adults are on their parents’ plan who would otherwise not have been insured.

Roy also notes that there’s no such thing as a free lunch:

By the way, the ‘slacker mandate’ costs $160-480 for every other family

There’s another point to bring up. Obamacare’s under-26 mandate isn’t free. It’s a great deal for those families with “children” aged 18-25 who don’t have their own coverage elsewhere. But it’s a bad deal for pretty much everyone else with family coverage, because every family that doesn’t have children in that age range will pay higher premiums in order to subsidize the cost of adding these individuals to the insurance pool.

Once again, Obamacare drives up insurance prices for nothing.