All posts by ScottieHughes

Not All Presidents Deserve to be Celebrated

Obama Nixon
Our country has been blessed to be led by great men of intelligence, strategy and ethics.  However, our country has also suffered during administrations, which were plagued by bad decisions and scandal.  Buchanan’s pre-civil war inactivity, Harding’s Tea Pot Dome scandal, Grant’s bought off Administration, and Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War are just a few examples of president’s whose action or lack of action in office were harmful for the country they were supposed to be leading.

This President’s Day, is it fair for Americans to celebrate all of our nation’s Presidents the same?  Does every President deserve a party or a day of festivity just because they won a national popularity contest or should American’s take the day to reflect on the good and the bad of each President?  A day to study history and what choices made by the man in the Oval Office helped our country and, more importantly, hurt our country.

Currently, as Republicans continue to investigate, we can be all but certain their efforts will be to no avail.  The reason is not because there is lack of evidence, facts or even documents. It is because there will be no witnesses or whistleblowers who will turn against the Obama Administration.  Unless some brave soul turns against the Chicagoland culture of silence and intimidation, the Attorney General will never be forced to bring charges against those at the IRS, and possibly even the White House who directly broke the law by putting the full weight of IRS auditors and bureaucrats on conservative and tea party groups.

The entire investigation into the IRS targeting scandal has been tainted from the beginning.  The House committee conducting this investigation will continue to be stonewalled. The “investigator” from the Attorney General’s office will do little to seek justice.   Barbara Bosserman is a DOJ Trial Attorney who is a known contributor to both of Obama’s Presidential campaigns.   Ms. Bosserman’s appointment makes just as much sense as appointing Chelsea Clinton as head of investigation into Benghazi or Pat Nixon to head the Watergate probe.

In the end, Ms. Bosserman will more then likely conclude that there was a handful of employees out of the IRS’s Cincinnati office that led or conducted a witch hunt on their own.  Maybe one or two will be fired, but no one will be prosecuted.  Although Lois Lerner is smack in the middle of the investigation, she will not be indicted and prosecuted. According to newly released emails, she was in charge of coordinating the assault on the Tea Party and other conservative groups. Specifically, an email dated June 14, 2012, on which Lois Lerner was CC’d, states clearly that potential regulations of dealing with 501c4 groups were being discussed off plan.  Therefore, as has been the track record with other scandals in this administration, because there is clear evidence of guilt, she will be protected at all cost.

For those who study their history, this investigation was much like the Watergate investigation in 1973.  It too was bogged down. The committee investigating the Watergate Hotel break-in was getting nowhere.  Many people refer to former Senator Fred Thompson’s famous question — “What did the President know and when did he know it?” as the key comment of the Hearings.  

But what broke open the Watergate Investigation and turned the tide of history was not any investigator or member of Congress.  It was a White House staffer named Alexander Butterfield.  During Butterfield’s questioning by the committee, he made the off-handed comment that President Nixon taped all his conversations in the Oval Office. The committee immediately requested those tapes.  This was the “smoking gun” the committee had been looking for.  

To put the icing on the cake, John Dean, the White House’s Chief Counsel, turned on the President and assisted the committee in gathering enough evidence to proceed with Articles of Impeachment.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Unlike Watergate, there won’t be a “smoking gun” that comes to light nor will a major player in the White House come forward.   President Obama has the advantage of the unflinching loyalty of his staff, especially Attorney General Eric Holder.  A loyalty, that if President Nixon possessed among his staff, would have allowed him to serve the remainder of his term.

Joe Biden’s Third World Country

Joe Biden Laughing
Last week, our nation’s genius Vice President Joe Biden offered a statement that alienated some of his most loyal fans.  “If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2:00 in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said ‘where do you think you are,’ they’d say, ‘this must be America, it’s a modern airport,’” Biden said during a speech on infrastructure in Philadelphia.

Mr. Biden had a point, though not for the reason he thinks.  The Vice President believes that the government is not spending enough money on infrastructure projects like airports, bridges and highways.  If that is the case, why not hold Old Jumpin’ Joe accountable for the taxpayer dollars which have already been put in his care?     

After all, it was he who Obama put in charge of the $872 billion stimulus package that the Democratic-controlled Congress passed in 2009.  Remember, this is a stimulus that was supposed to reinvigorate our economy while repairing and creating many of the infrastructure problems plaguing the country.

But under Joe’s direction or negligence or both, the vast majority of these funds were spent as political payoffs to Democratic donors and government grants and programs that had not been receiving or were receiving very few federal dollars.  Solyndra, which was given $590 million and was bankrupt within one year is just one of the more prominent examples of these wasted funds.  The American people have not been given an accurate audit of where exactly these funds were used.  

People on both sides of the aisle ought to agree that LaGuardia needs an overhaul. America needs interstates. The electrical grid hasn’t been upgraded in decades. Major bridges are perilously close to catastrophic failures. Sewage plants in most major cities are a few breakdowns away from total collapse. 

But the reason the federal government as well as state governments can’t maintain this critical infrastructure is because they continue to spend tax dollars in places our Founders never intended government to ever be involved.  Such massive government programs such as the New Deal, Great Society and now Obamacare are sucking money out of the Federal Treasury and ultimately out of the pockets of taxpayers.  Taxes continue to rise and yet debt continues to increase as our government continues to pay for programs that cannot be managed properly or sustained.  

Politicians at the federal and state level will continue to expand these wasteful programs at the expense of infrastructure. They have no motivation or incentive to seek responsible use of taxpayer dollars because the magic wand of the Uncle Sam will always be there to sprinkle fairy dust of funds. Elected Democrats believe that the government is and should do everything for the citizens, and are willing to curry favor with key constituencies by showering dollars into entitlements, subsidies and social welfare programs.

Republicans are simply gutless.  They are not willing to cut a majority of the programs for fear that they will be negatively stereotyped in the media and public eyes.  And that stirs the greatest fear in their mind: they just might get voted out of office. The establishment Republicans are not about curbing the growth of government; they think they can manage and run it more efficiently.

For the few conservatives willing to buck the system and dismantle the growing welfare state, men like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, they find themselves as a small minority. Fighting the Bridge to Nowhere, the Woodstock Museum, shrimp on the treadmill, unemployment benefits to millionaires are just a few of the major pork battles that Senator Coburn has fought.  But after 20 years, even Coburn has had enough. Washington has exhausted him.  He is packing it up and returning to Oklahoma to return to his medical practice. 

If a stalwart conservative like Coburn is giving up, should the rest of us?  What are we to do? Should we just give up holding DC accountable and let them spend everything with hopes that one day we might personally benefit from their irresponsibility?

That would be a grave mistake, one that I’m convinced America won’t make.  At its core, America is not a selfish nation. Most of us want a better country for future generations.  If we bothered to educate our children and ourselves regarding the facts about heading down the path to financial ruin and foreign bailouts, it would become obvious that we’d be a heck of a lot better off with a few more Tom Coburns and a few less Joe Bidens in charge.

 

 

Prostitution in the Constitution

chicken_ranchBack in December, France’s lower house of parliament voted to make prostitution a crime for those who pay for sex, subject to a fine of €1,500 ($2,030) for a first offense and €3,750 thereafter.  This new law follows similar laws in Sweden, Finland and Norway to restrict prostitution.  Even Germany is now having second thoughts about its decision over a decade ago to liberalize the world’s oldest profession.

Does this mean the U.S. federal government should follow suit and start looking at its own laws regarding the sex-for money-industry? In the eyes of the federal government, prostitution is legal. There are no statutes making it illegal, which is why some Nevada counties allow brothels to operate with abandon.

For millions of Tea Party and constitutional conservatives, prostitution is a thorny issue that mixes opposition of government regulation with issues of morality,  Many of us within the Tea Party find ourselves in conflict with what our opinion should be.  On the one hand, we want the federal government to stay out of our lives.  On the other we believe in the Bible and the standards of morality it prescribes.

Prostitution is a blight on America’s social fabric.  It occurs in every state, in every city.  The only solution is a federal ban on prostitution with the resources of the U.S. government brought to bear.

While exact number are hard to find, in 1999 a study released in cooperation with The Alliance for Speaking Truths on Prostitution and The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs estimated that more then $40 million per day was spent on prostitution which totals more then $14.6 billion per year.  Yet, with that lucrative of an industry, why do most prostitutes live in poverty? Most find themselves in the bottom of the income bracket with large portions of their income being paid out to pimps or agencies, health bills and legal fees.  The majority of prostitutes virtually give up their rights when they accept this career, because who can they run to when their rights are infringed?  Who can they look to for help when they suffer abuse or neglect?

In reality, the prostitution of women — and that’s who we are talking about most of the time — is a kind of violence against women.  Let’s not romanticize or glamorize what the business is. This isn’t something that is a highly-paid and exciting business for young women jet setting on yachts and five-star hotels. The majority of prostitution happens in underprivileged areas, where women are dominated and assaulted and battered.

Research shows it is not the prostitutes who control the money or have any say in the matter. It’s a business in which most prostitutes are not “free to choose” and whose rights are rarely respected or defended.  They get caught up in it and can’t leave.  The majority of those in the industry never were given the choice as some numbers suggest the majority of prostitutes were forced to begin selling themselves between the ages of 11-13.  Human trafficking and adolescent sexual abuse have become a very large problem in this Country, and any laws lessoning the punishment for sex crimes of any kind only encourages this evil to grow.

Just because prostitution may be an act between two consenting adults doesn’t mean that it’s right. It’s not a victimless crime. It’s a multibillion dollar business that exploits, debases and dehumanizes people.  I doubt too many little girls and boys begin life telling their teacher on career day that one day they aspire to become a male escort or a prostitute.

In reality, prostitution is a form of slavery for most and with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865, Congress has the power to protect all citizens against being enslaved to another citizen.

The Tea Party movement, as a whole, should traditionally only make judgments on fiscal and Constitutional issues.  It ought to leave social issues to others. Because there are no specific provisions for or against prostitution found in our Constitution, the safety net of the 10th Amendment, leaving the powers of governance to the states, is traditionally referenced to keep the federal government out of prostitution.

But prostitution is an evil that ought to be tackled at a national level.  The Tea Party, doesn’t take the position of no Government; it calls for a limited Government.  For an industry that thrives on the infringement of a citizen’s rights, the Constitution does allow for the Government to make prostitution a federal crime – as it ought to be.

 

Scottie Hughes: What the GOP Can Learn from Phil Robertson

phil_robertson_duck_dynastyThe support for Phil Robertson over the past week since his indefinite suspension from Duck Dynasty has been record breaking.

With the numerous social media pages like “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” boasting more then 1.7 million likes and petitions like “PleaseSupportPhil.com“boasting more than 35,000 signatures, this single issue alone has been able to create a call to action that only a few social movements in history could ever boast accomplishing.

A call to action, which erupted almost immediately upon the announcement of Phil’s suspension, only continues to build in momentum. The kind of reaction that almost every person who’s ever run for office could only dream of.  Yet, the number one demographic who has responded to this issue is the one group who is consistently ignored by the political party the majority of the protestors belong to. 

Should we put the blame on the GOP who, by trying to target different demographic groups over the past few election cycles, has made their base so disenfranchised that they are not motivated to rise up and show the same passion and numbers for a candidate?

There are more than 46 million Christian faith driven citizens today and yet in the 2012 Presidential Election, very little emphasis was put on the faith vote.  This might be one of the top reasons why in traditional red states like Indiana, who saw a 6% decrease in the Evangelical vote from 2008 and Kansas who saw a 7% drop in the Evangelical vote since 2004,, the faith voter is choosing to not show up on election day.   In the end it looks like the Christian vote made up ¼ of the 2012 election and yet when the dust had settled, the GOP immediately started talking about how they were going to target traditionally left leaning demographics like minorities while almost completely ignoring the easiest group to recruit.   Not only did key GOP leadership ignore the faith voters’ potential, in many cases they blamed them for the loss because of their decision to stay home.

Yet, with only 1out of 5 Christians registered to vote, is it fair to put all of the blame on the GOP for not recognizing the power of this demographic or should we look to the faithful themselves?

If anything, the past week has shown the ability of this demographic to demand attention, encourage action, and, with the recent reversal of Cracker Barrel on its decision to remove any products related to Phil Robertson, accomplish action.  Yet, while we can be motivated to write emails to corporate offices, proudly post pictures of ourselves on social media in camouflage or stand hours in line for a chicken sandwich, rarely do we ever find ourselves publically displaying this amount of passion towards putting folks in office who will help change the laws which are creating the type of hypocritical politically correct environment we are living in. 

So who’s to blame; The GOP or the Faith Voter?  Easy –BOTH.

While the Republican Party should still be trying to recruit a wide variety of demographics in the 2014 & 2016 election cycle, I believe more importantly they should be spending their efforts motivating those within the Christian faith to register to vote, get involved in the election process and most importantly show up on election day for our candidates.  Not only does this have the most potential, but it is the easiest of all demographics for the Republican Party to motivate.  Just like the GOP is trying to recruit candidates who appeal to the different minority classes, they need to recruit candidates who appeal to the faith voter as well and are honest and not afraid to stand up for their Judeo-Christian beliefs.  These candidates will not be afraid to stand up and fight for legislation that reflects the laws as given to us by the Bible and will not back down in the name of being tolerant.

On the flip side, because of the Chick Fil A demonstration in 2012 and now the reaction to Duck Dynasty, those of faith have NO EXCUSE to sit at home and let this country continue down the path towards the eradication of God.

For too long, we have sat in our pews and been nice as our elected officials have been allowed to chip away at our country’s Christian foundation.  We have allowed our children’s education to be usurped by the Canninites of Common Core, our tax system to be corrupted as if it were being governed by the Romans, and our homes to be controlled as if we resided in ancient Egypt.

In each of those cases, the people of God were called to action and, in each case, they were victorious.

The GOP will not listen to us unless we make them.  They will continue to ignore our voice and more importantly our vote unless we demonstrate that they cannot win without our involvement.  In that same token, the Christians need to get out of the comfort zone of their safe sanctuary and start speaking out when it comes to controversial issues and holding the elected accountable for each vote they make.  

The Failing Business of ObamaCare: It was All Part of the Plan

ObamaDeceitful (1)

If there’s one thing Obamacare’s supporters and opponents can agree on, it’s that Obamacare is unprecedented. Never before did the federal government require every American to buy a commercial product. Never before did it attempt to use its spending powers to coerce states into implementing a federal program. And never before did it so fundamentally rewrite the rules of such a major economic industry – one that makes up about a seventh of the national economy.

With Obamacare, the federal government decided it would run not just a business but an entire industry of businesses. Imagine if the government decided it didn’t like how airline companies were running their business, so it started to require bureaucrats to choose flight routes and ticket prices. They would decide how much airlines could spend on everything from fuel to peanuts. They would use money from some fliers to pay for the travel of over fliers. And they would sell tickets on a government-run “exchange” that looks a lot like Orbitz or Expedia – except it takes days, weeks, or months to buy a ticket.

There were more than a few of us who believed the federal government was incapable of running one-seventh of the economy. This was the same government, after all, that couldn’t get water to thirsty Katrina victims and that couldn’t process the benefits claims of war heroes in under a year. President Obama had never run anything larger than a Senate office. Kathleen Sebelius had never seen any success that was not taxpayer funded. It didn’t take a Nobel Prize to realize they weren’t going to run a health care business as well as professional health care businessmen and businesswomen.

But what if failure was actually the plan all along? What if chaos was meant to be a part of the government-run business model? What if Obama and company decided the best strategy for paving the way to a single-payer system was to utterly destroy the existing system? That would explain the lack of testing of the website, the snowball of cancelled policies, and the lack of training of the navigators. It would also explain why it was so easy for Obamacare’s supporters to ignore those on the right, like Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, and almost every conservative pundit, who have been screaming about Obamacare’s recipe for disaster since day one.

President Obama told the AFI-CIO in 2003, I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal healthcare plan.” However, when he signed Obamacare, he likely thought it would take ten to fifteen years before the chaos of the industry would be severe enough for the American people to be desperate enough to surrender to full government control in order to receive relief.

The only good thing about Obamacare’s disastrous rollout is that it is allowing Americans to see the law’s catastrophe effects – or at least some of them; there are others yet to come – before it’s too late. Because the true face of Obamacare is now plain to see, conservatives have a chance to explain to the American people that if they really want to keep their health insurance, they’d better not just take the word of the President. They’d better vote Republicans in 2014 and then put a Republican in the White House in 2016.

Now is time for Republicans to band together around the policy principles that unite us, not the political tactics that sometimes divide us. We need to play and replay the smug image of Nancy Pelosi marching across the steps of the Capitol with her gavel to celebrate this deceitful legislation. We need to continue to make video and audio montages of the President saying, “You can keep your health insurance,” and replay them every chance we get. The Republican party now has smoking-gun evidence of the terrible effects of the President’s signature “achievement,” and if we can’t convince the jury of the American people to fire him and his party for bad policies, bad planning, and bad execution, then it’s our own fault.

Message to Establishment GOP: Beware of Jealousy

“Beware, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-eyed monster….” (Othello)

Three weeks after the opening of our government, I finally realized why there is so much hatred for Senator Ted Cruz and company: Jealousy. Cruz’s words and actions served as the political equivalent of Dramamine by freeing Americans from the motion sickness that comes from Washington, DC’s normal cycle of spin. Cruz’s critics are jealous of his ability to cut through their spin, grab the American people’s attention, and draw their focus to a conservative mission.

Cruz McCain

This jealousy explains the hours between the end of the filibuster and the beginning of the government shutdown. Whereas those crucial hours could have been used to seize the momentum and expose the failures of Obama’s policies, moderates instead spent that time strategizing about how to punish the honest mavericks of the party. Then, with the momentum lost and defeat assured, they blamed Ted Cruz and the Tea Party instead of taking responsibility for their miscalculations.

This is unfortunately an old refrain – a broken record the moderates never get tired of trotting out. They lead us into the desert without water or a map, and then they blame conservatives when things go wrong. In the past, their names have included Dole, McCain, and Romney. The real shocker is not that in each case we lost on election day, but rather that the next day we allowed the moderates to not only stay in power but more importantly place the blame for the loss on conservatives.

Whether you agree with Senator Cruz and his filibuster, you must give him credit for broadening the circle of engagement on a political issue and making a policy item hard to ignore for most Americans. Those who normally couldn’t even name their own Senator saw a man standing up for twenty-two hours, and I’d bet their curiosity made them probe a bit more to find his motivation. Now, as Obamacrash is continuing on its downward spiral, those same people will think back to the man who was trying to warn them. They’ll remember him and his warning every time they get a medical bill in the mail, every time they’re forced off a health plan they like, and every time they go to file their annual taxes.

This is a whole new group of people who might never before have voted Republican, and they wouldn’t have existed without Ted Cruz and the Tea Party. They’ll be there for the Republican Party in 2014 and 2016. The question is: Will the Republican Party be there for them?

The answer depends on whether we turn the reins of the party over to the Dole-McCain-Romney crowd, or whether we move the GOP to the right of center, where it belongs and where it will win. Just as Obama won two elections without being tied down by the hawkish, socially conservative wing of the Democratic Party – yes, once upon a time, it did exist – we need to cut the puppet strings of the moderates in the GOP and then make our party once again the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan – both of whom knew a thing or two about winning presidential elections by standing up for their principles and appealing straight to the people.

One of my mentors, Monica Crowley, once said that our Constitution actually set up four branches of Government. We all know of the first three: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. However, we tend to forget the most important one: The People’s Branch. It’s time for the people to reclaim the power of this branch, and the first step is to reestablish a fearless, principled, and straight-talking party of the people, which was and can be again the Republican Party.

The Horrible, Irresponsible, Catastrophic Default That Never Will Be

bigfoot

If you believe Bigfoot roams the Pacific Northwest, you might be gullible enough to believe Barack Obama’s claim that the United States will default on its creditors if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. But if you can see the President’s propaganda for the scare tactic it is, you know there was never any chance the United States would default on its creditors.

The administration and the lamestream media have recklessly repeated the mantra that if the government can’t continue to irresponsibly spend more than it takes in, this must end in “default,” as if living within their means wasn’t even an option. Well, here are some fast facts. The government is raking in, on average, $200 billion dollars per month. Interest on the national debt is around $30 billion per month. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if a default happens, it is because Obama and his ilk want it as the final and ultimate protest.

The truth is the United States Treasury takes in enough revenue to pay its creditors such as Treasury holders, bond holders and foreign creditors, and the 14th Amendment clearly states that all creditors of the United States must be paid in full. This means that before the government pays for any program, department or subsidy, the creditor must be paid first.

It’s true that other expenditures within the government would have to be cut, but what’s so bad about that? Conservatives have been fighting for decades to cut spending. We shouldn’t fear the spending cuts we’ve been proposing for years.

If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, it would force Congress and the administration to balance a budget that hasn’t been balanced since 1998, when Titanic was in theaters, the Spice Girls were popular, and reality television meant Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. However, Democrats will never let forced spending cuts happen because they derive their power by spending more and more money to increase the scope and power of the Federal Government.

We have witnessed what happens when Senators like Ted Cruz (R- Texas) and Mike Lee (R- Utah) stand up and say enough is enough. Wendy Davis was lionized for a pointless filibuster that ultimately accomplished nothing more than a couple-days delay of a law to protect unborn children, but Ted Cruz was beaten down and belittled for an attempt to save us from a health care law America doesn’t want and can’t afford.

Last week, Obama had a (rare) press conference. I wish just one reporter had thought to ask him, “Why is it that only government must grow every year, despite the fact that taxpayers who pay their salaries have seen our incomes decline over the past several years?” The overwhelming majority of American families have had to cut back in the past five years. It would be far from the apocalypse Obama predicts if the government had to do the same thing.

Why is Violence Against Teachers Being Covered Up?

violence

Baltimore teacher Jeff Slattery struggles with fear every day. He literally has to force himself out the door as he heads to his classroom. In December 2010 at Baltimore Community High School Slattery stopped a student without a hall pass. The student got physical. Slattery let him go.

“He walked down the hallway, I turned around and went back to my classroom and he came up from behind me and once I was on the ground, he’s basically standing on top of me. He struck me multiple times. When my jaw broke, I went unconscious and I don’t remember anything after that.” The Social Studies teacher later learned it took four teachers to pull the student off him. Slattery’s broken jaw was wired shut for weeks.

Slattery’s assault by a student was just one of seven hundred that school year in Baltimore City Public Schools where its own data shows an average of four school personnel were assaulted each day in 2010. That average has held true through the past five school years with a total of nearly four thousand assaults by students on personnel — with increases in the last two years. Baltimore is one of the relatively few systems that have regular reports on such incidents.

Teachers across the country are experiencing alarmingly high rates of student violence and harassment while at school. Yet, there are surprisingly few studies of the numbers and frequency of these incidents. The reporting requirements at the school, local, state and national level are either non-existent or routinely ignored. The anemic official response to the increasing pattern of violence puts teachers in position of being victimized by the system rather than protected by it. In fact, the teachers’ union response to the Slattery attack in Baltimore was simply to encourage teachers to voluntarily fill out a form if they get attacked.

One of the few research articles conducted on this important topic was published earlier this year in the American Psychological Association’s journal, American Psychologist. The APA research found only 14 published studies that have bothered to examine violence directed at teachers in schools. The APA study found that 80 percent of the teachers they surveyed reported being victimized at school at least once in the then-current or prior year. Of those, 94 percent said they had been victimized by students – including being physically attacked, harassed, or victims of theft or property damage at school.

Governors should lead the charge to demand more comprehensive and accurate reporting of this threat to teachers as well as prompt punishment for offenders in order to provide teachers and their students with a safe working environment. The teachers’ unions should be demanding action, yet there is mostly silence from those who loudly claim to represent the interests of teachers who are being assaulted daily in American classrooms.

Some reporting requirements are already in place but are obviously ineffective. School violence directed at teachers is grossly underreported, with “official” national records claiming only 7% of teachers have been subjected to threats or violence. Other reports indicate a number much higher — in the 15-25% range. Even at 7% there would be about a quarter million teachers subjected to threats and violence each year!

Additionally, there is clearly an effort to hide the problem, whether it is the direct or indirect efforts of principals to discourage teachers from leaving a paper trail, the threat of reprisal that intimidates teachers into silence, or bureaucrats who reduce the number of reported incidents and then claim the threats and violence are receding simply because there is a lack of punishment. For example, in 2012 the Bibb County, GA school system dramatically reduced its use of evidentiary hearings that lead to expulsions, suspensions and other tough punishments for students with repeated discipline problems. One result is that more of these students remained in the classroom, often creating difficulties for teachers and other students.

Bibb County claimed that the number of “evidentiary hearings” for student misconduct had dropped from 772 during the 2010-11 school year to just 116 during the 2011-12 school year and showed “progress” in protecting teachers. Expulsions dropped from 223 to 28, and permanent expulsion and corporal punishment were eliminated!

So things are better in Bibb County, right? Not according to teachers and administrators who say they have been discouraged from — or even punished — for sending students to the office or requesting disciplinary hearings. They are not just fearful of their students; they also fear retaliation from principals and school officials for speaking up! Safe Havens International, a consulting firm hired by Bibb County to evaluate school safety, determined there was a “pervasive” problem of underreporting the violence and threats targeted at teachers.

The numbers of reported incidents in Bibb County HAVE gone down. But is it because the schools are safer for teachers or because the actual level of violence is being covered up and underreported? The same pattern is seen all across the country…violence is up but the “official” reports tell another story.

Children cannot learn in an environment of fear. When the authority figures in our schools are abused and threatened with impunity, kids do not feel protected and lose their focus and their respect for the system that cannot even protect the adults. It is past time for our nation’s Governors to ensure that our schools are safe environments for learning, which means addressing this largely hidden crisis in our schools. Covering up the problem won’t fix it.

The Other Battle to Defund ObamaCare

Once a Tea Party favorite, Ohio Governer John Kasich is under fire for promoting Medicaid expansion

Once a Tea Party favorite, Ohio Governer John Kasich is under fire for promoting Medicaid expansion

On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz began a filibuster of the worst law passed by the worst President in American history. He vowed to “speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.” And after 21 hours on his feet, in the true fashion of an “anarchist,” as Harry Reid and the mainstream media smeared him, he politely followed parliamentary procedure, yielded the floor, and exited the Senate chamber.

The Senator knew there would come a time when he could no longer stand, but Cruz is from Texas, where you can find the Alamo, the Alamo Bowl, the Alamo Inn, the Alamo Economic Development Corporation, the North Alamo Elementary School, and the Alamo Bar and Grill. In other words, Cruz and his fellow Texans know a lot about what it means to stand boldly on principle even in the face of certain defeat.

What’s not as well known is that there’s another fight to defund Obamacare, and in this other fight, President Obama doesn’t get a veto. This is a fight completely within the reach of conservatives to win. But it’s a fight too many Republican governors are afraid to wage.

I’m talking about the decision every state government faces of whether to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Democrats wanted to coerce states into expanding their Medicaid programs to achieve his vision of universal health care, so the original version of Obamacare included a huge costly punishment of states that refused to expand Medicaid. In the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision last year, it struck down as unconstitutional Obamacare’s plan to punish uncooperative states. Now, thanks to that court decision, every state has the option of rejecting the Medicaid expansion without the threat of any punishment from Obama.

Fortunately, about half the states have refused to expand Medicaid. Unfortunately, the remaining states include Republican governors. If you hate Obamacare, you should know who they are. It’s time to name names.

Republican Governors Jan Brewer of Arizona and Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota are the most egregious offenders. They represent states that voted for Mitt Romney – very red states where rejection of the Medicaid expansion would come at little-to-no political cost for them. Those states’ constituents are conservative. It’s a shame that on this issue, their governors aren’t.

Five other Republican Governors are in the second-to-worst class of offenders. John Kasich of Ohio, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and Rick Scott of Florida lead states that George W. Bush was able to carry. These are not die-hard blue states, but their governors are acting like blue-state governors by accepting Obamacare’s invitation to expand Medicaid. (Florida’s legislature has thus far succeeded in blocking Scott’s attempt at expansion, but the same sadly can’t be said elsewhere.)

Let’s be clear about what’s at stake. The Medicaid expansion is absolutely central to Obamacare. It will cost federal taxpayers at least $800 billion over the next ten years. Obamacare raises taxes by $500 billion in order to (help) pay for the expansion. Although Obamacare’s individual mandate has attracted most of the attention, there’s nothing about Obamacare, from the perspective of those of us who think government taxes too much and spends too much, that is worse than the Medicaid expansion.

Republican Governors who want to expand Medicaid make two arguments. First, they say that a rejection of the Medicaid expansion in their states would mean that federal tax dollars from their citizens fund the expansion in other states. But that’s only true if there are other states that expand. If all 30 Republican governors joined with the Democratic governors of Montana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia (5 red states that voted for Romney), there would only be 15 states expanding Medicaid – which would save federal taxpayers in all 50 states hundreds of billions of dollars.

Second, at least one Republican Governor, John Kasich, has argued that rejecting the Medicaid expansion is un-Christian. Kasich told an interviewer that “we will be held accountable” by God for not expanding Medicaid because “the right way to live is to make sure that those who do not have the blessings that we have, those who are beleaguered, those who have fallen on hard times – we can’t ignore them. We have to help them. And we’re expected to do that, and I believe the Lord expects us to do that. And it’s spelled out pretty clearly in that Old and New Testament, consistently.”

Unlike John Kasich, I’ll let the Lord speak for himself, but I have three questions for Kasich and governors like him. If spending $800 billion by a government already $17 trillion in debt is actually some kind of Eleventh Commandment prescribed by the Almighty, as Reverend Kasich apparently believes, why did Kasich campaign in 2010 in favor of repealing all of Obamacare? Why did he support a suit by 26 states in 2011 challenging the Medicaid expansion’s legality? And since nothing in “that Old and New Testament” changed between then and his Come-to-Obama moment, what did?

Roe vs. Wade: The Ugly, Unknown Story

It’s not often that I agree with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but she was right for more reasons than she probably realized when she said last year that the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade went “too far, too fast.”  Roe protected almost all abortions from the democratic process and led to four decades in which, by even the most conservative estimates, 50 million American babies were aborted and pulled from their mother’s womb.

And, now thanks to a revealing book out this week called Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade by veteran attorney Clarke D. Forsythe, we know that Roe was not just one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court’s history, but also a poorly reasoned rush to judgment based on a wealth of misinformation that has since been debunked.  The first to look inside the Supreme Court Justices’ papers, Forsythe shows the liberal supporters of the decision made at least three shockingly erroneous assumptions.

First, the Supreme Court justices thought the decision was good for women’s health.  There was a widespread belief in certain quarters that “abortion was safer than childbirth.”  In the past four decades, many international studies have shown the opposite.  The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and illegitimate pregnancies is likely higher than it would be if abortion were not available on demand.  There’s also a risk of domestic violence against pregnant women who refuse to abort their babies.  It’s no wonder that expectant mothers in countries like Ireland and Chile, where abortion is highly restricted, have better health than in neighboring nations where abortion is more widely available.

Second, abortion advocates at the time of Roe were caught up in the wake of two decades of fear about a growing world population.  A widely popular 1968 book by Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over.  In the 1970s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.”  The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article warning “if we breed like rabbits, in the long run we have to live and die like rabbits.”  The titles of popular books spoke for themselves.  Ehrlich’s best-seller was called The Population Bomb.  Another was titled Too Many Asians.

In this vortex of fear about a near future in which there would simply be too many people on earth to feed, abortion seemed almost scientific, at least to those short-sighted enough to belief Ehrlich and his ilk.  But we now know there was no “population bomb” (nor are there “too many Asians”).  Yes, the population has grown, but famines and starvation did not.  Instead, life expectancy and average incomes rose due to trade, technology, and free enterprise – not population control.

Third, the Justices in Roe “thought they were riding a wave of cultural sentiment in favor of abortion,” says Forsythe.  They never anticipated the backlash – the push for constitutional amendments, the thousands of people who march on the Supreme Court every anniversary of Roe, or the way the decision dominates the nomination process for Supreme Court Justices.

The Justices made America one of only four countries where women can get an abortion for any reason after viability – the other countries are Canada, China, and North Korea – but polling for the past forty years shows that most Americans want abortion to be legal only in “certain circumstances” before viability.  In September 2011, 62% of respondents in a CNN poll supported making all or most abortions illegal.  Only 9% of Americans think abortion should be legal for any reason at any time.

Among the influences on public opinion the Justices did not anticipate is the modern ultrasound.  As the mother of two, I didn’t need a philosophy treatise to tell me that the child whose ultrasound picture hung on my refrigerator was a living human being.  It is a shame that Roe was decided by old men who had likely never seen an ultrasound photograph, and it’s unfortunate that they were subject to misinformation about women’s health, population control, and popular sentiment.