WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, made the following statement this evening regarding the Texas Senate race and the nomination of Ted Cruz as our Republican candidate:
“This has been a hard-fought and spirited primary battle and the people of Texas would have been fortunate to have any one of these well-qualified candidates as their next U.S. Senator. But I could not be more pleased with the nomination of Ted Cruz and I offer my warmest congratulations to Ted, his wife Heidi and their two daughters. He and his team ran a remarkable race and this is a well-deserved and well-earned victory.
“Throughout his life, and his professional career, Ted Cruz has been a shining example to all of us that hard work, perseverance, and the freedom and opportunity that this country has to offer opens the doors for every American to achieve their goals.
“Ted believes, as I do, that we need to make Washington DC look a little more like the great state of Texas, and that starts with restoring common-sense, conservative values in our nation’s Capital. The Texas economy has been growing precisely because we believe in the values of freedom, personal responsibility and limited government.
“With a strong, hard-working ally in Ted Cruz, we will work to pass a balanced budget amendment, remove the federal government’s boot off the neck of our small businesses, and repeal-and-replace ObamaCare. I will do everything I can to help elect Ted Cruz in November and look forward to working with him next year.”
While we are in the big campaign season, we are going to see commercials from all the candidates about how bad the other candidate(s) are. How he/she hates kittens and kicks puppies for fun, or throws grandma over the cliff. All these commercial are about an individual and are made to create emotional ties to candidates. This is a good way to get the masses attention.
Let’s face it, there are not many political junkies as there are every day people that do not care about politics until a few months , weeks or even a few days before the elections. And most of these people will be voting the individual they like the best and may not know the basic philosophies behind those candidates. This is the majority of the population and usually picks the winner of elections.
Then there are those that pull the lever for a particular party. Be it Republican , Democrat, Libertarian or various other parties that are all over the country. In some ways this is similar to those that pick who has the closest philosophy.
Then there are those that study politics and vote for philosophical reasons. As I said before, this does overlap with those that vote just for party. But the main difference between the Party Voter and the Philosophical voter is that they know more about the basic philosophy of the Candidates. It is not just that there is an R or a D behind the name of the candidate, but understand and have vetted the candidates before voting. (This is my philosophy for voting in primaries).
These are all valid reasons to vote for candidates. And everyone has the right to vote for whoever they want. If someone wants to vote for someone because they would like to sit down and have a drink with them, so be it. That is their own way of voting. Or if you just pull the Party line, so be it. I am not here to change people’s minds.
But as a Conservative with libertarian leanings, I tend to look at the big picture when it comes to the General Elections. In the primaries, I will vote for the person that is closest to my philosophy, and they are mainly Republicans. For the Presidential primary I voted to Newt Gingrich, would have rather had Herman Cain to vote for though.
But now that we are in the General Elections, I am looking down the road and will vote for “The Lesser of 2 Evils” in this election. I know many that do not like this strategy, that is their right. But in the long run, I think it is better to get at least someone in the White House that is 80% close to me than someone that is on the total opposite of the political spectrum as I am.
I am not voting for Mitt Romney the man,I am voting for what his philosophical leanings are. Yes I know he is not the most conservative out there, and is more of a Moderate. But he has a chance to win, Johnson does not and either does any other candidate out there.
Then there is the power and the extraneous factors that come with being the President. There are going to be at least 2 maybe 3 Supreme Court Justices appointed in the next Administrations Presidency. And I think that Mitt Romney will pick justices that are closer to my philosophy on the court. And the myriad of bureaucrats that infest DC will be appointed by the next President. I think that I would rather have Mitt Romney than the guy that has appointed more Czars than the Russia ever has.
The Big Picture is to rid ourselves of the Progressive/Socialist/Whatever they call themselves this week. We need to rid the Government of the people that want to redistribute the wealth, and force regulations down the throats of small businesses throughout the country.
(Writers note: I am not trying to convince you of anything. I want you to think and form your own conclusions. You may disagree with me and that is fine. But think before you vote.)
(Las Vegas, NV) – A new ad from Heller for Senate highlights some of seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s attempts to mislead Nevadans. The 30 second ad is running statewide:
1) Claim: “Who would take credit for something they didn’t do? Hold a press conference? Alert the media? Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. She took credit for legislation she didn’t even write.”
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· The Library of Congress’ congressional database THOMAS shows that Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5) introduced the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act on January 31, 2012. It also shows that Shelley Berkley cosponsored the bill a few days before she called a press conference to take credit for Quigley’s bill on March 12, 2012. (www.thomas.gov)
· At the March 12th press conference, Shelley Berkley touted the legislation as her own: “You can tell a lawmaker is in a close race when her campaign starts claiming credit for legislation she didn’t write. That’s what’s happening today with Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is running for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, as she trots out Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other Las Vegas figures to praise what the campaign is calling her proposed expansion of the visa waiver program…But the measure the campaign is trumpeting as ‘Berkley’s proposed expansion’ and ‘Berkley’s legislation’ isn’t hers: Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, wrote the bill.”
Citation: Karoun Demirjian, “Berkley touts bill she didn’t write,” Politico, March 13, 2012; Karoun Demirjian, “What her campaign calls ‘Berkley’s legislation’ isn’t really hers,” Las Vegas Sun, March 12, 2012.
2) Claim: “Her Medicare attack against Dean Heller? Named Lie of the Year by an independent watchdog group.”
Documentation: “PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members. Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.”
Citation: Bill Adair, Angie Drobnic Holan, “Lie of the Year: Republicans Voted to End Medicare,” PolitiFact.com, Dec. 20, 2011.
3) Claim: “Taking credit for something you didn’t do? Lie of the Year? And now she wants to be our Senator? Seriously?”
Documentation: No additional verification necessary.
Full stories below:
Berkley touts bill she didn’t write
Karoun Demirjian – Las Vegas Sun
March 13, 2012
You can tell a lawmaker is in a close race when her campaign starts claiming credit for
legislation she didn’t write.
That’s what’s happening today with Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is running for
Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, as she trots out Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman
and other figures to praise what the campaign is calling her proposed expansion of the
Visa Waiver Program.
An expansion of the Visa Waiver Program would make it easier for tourists from more
countries to come to the United States.
But the measure the campaign is trumpeting as “Berkley’s proposed expansion” and
“Berkley’s legislation” isn’t hers: Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, wrote the bill.
The legislation (H.R. 3855), according to Quigley, seeks to “modernize” the “outdated” Visa
Waiver Program that lets citizens of certain countries come to the United States for as long
as 90 days visa-free. So far, 36 countries have earned this distinction; by changing the way
eligibility is determined, the legislation would very likely expand that pool.
It’s an initiative Quigley has attempted to get through Congress before, and one Berkley
has long supported. But she never wrote the legislation — only signed on as a co-sponsor.
Last month, Berkley spoke on the House floor about her support for legislation expanding
the Visa Waiver Program, though she didn’t mention the bill specifically.
“Increasing foreign travel through the Visa Waiver Program will ensure that Nevada’s cities
remain among the top tourist destinations in the world,” she said.
“The answer for tourism-dependent states like Nevada is simple: It will put people back to
work,” Berkley said, as she encouraged members of the House to “join me in creating,
making job creation our top priority.”
It’s fairly common practice for lawmakers who sign on to the bill to take some credit, at least
for sponsoring and promoting the legislation. But according to the main online database of
congressional bills, Berkley signed on to this year’s bill just last Friday — the last among
the 35 co-sponsors to sign on to the bill, which was filed Jan. 31. Nevada Republican Rep.
Joe Heck signed onto the legislation in early February.
Berkley campaign spokesman Eric Koch said the recorded late registration was due to a
“mess-up in Thomas” — www.thomas.gov is Congress’s chief online record of legislative
activity. Koch confirmed that Quigley’s H.R. 3855 is the legislation she would be promoting
at her event and dismissed any suggestion that the campaign was overplaying Berkley’s
role in crafting the legislation.
“She’s a co-sponsor, and she’s promoting it,” Koch said.
Karoun Demirjian writes for the Las Vegas Sun. The Las Vegas Sun and POLITICO are
partnering to cover the 2012 presidential race.
(Additional citation: Karoun Demirjian, “What her campaign calls ‘Berkley’s legislation’ isn’t really hers,” Las Vegas Sun, March 12, 2012)
Lie of the Year 2011: ‘Republicans voted to end Medicare’
Bill Adair, Angie Drobnic Holan
December 20th, 2011
Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.
Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to “terminate Medicare.” A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country “without Medicare” and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: “House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal.”
After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.
PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
It’s the third year in a row that a health care claim has won the dubious honor. In 2009, the winner was the Republicans’ charge that the Democrats’ health care plan included “death panels.” In 2010, it was that the plan was a “government takeover of health care.”
A complicated and wonky subject with life-or-death consequences, health care is fertile ground for falsehoods. The Democratic attack about “ending Medicare” was a pervasive line in 2011 that preyed on seniors’ worries about whether they could afford health care.
Even when explained accurately, the Republicans’ Medicare plan was not particularly popular with the public, nor with some independent health policy analysts. But the plan was distorted and attacked again and again.
“In terms of creating a national conversation about fiscal reform, the last thing we need is demagoguing attacks against people who have put forward serious policy proposals,” said Jason Peuquet, a policy analyst with the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “It’s very worrying.”
A persistent falsehood
With a few small tweaks to their attack lines, Democrats could have been factually correct, said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “I actually think there is no need to cut out the qualifiers and exaggerate,” he said.
At times, Democrats and liberal groups were careful to characterize the Republican plan more accurately. Another claim in the ad from the Agenda Project said the plan would “privatize” Medicare, which received a Mostly True rating from PolitiFact. President Barack Obama was also more precise with his words, saying the Medicare proposal “would voucherize the program and you potentially have senior citizens paying $6,000 more.”
But more often, Democrats and liberals overreached:
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• They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare — or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.
• They used harsh terms such as “end” and “kill” when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.
• They used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan. The DCCC video that aired four days after the vote featured an elderly man who had to take a job as a stripper to pay his medical bills.
“Both parties use entitlements as political weapons,” Ryan said in an interview with PolitiFact. “Republicans do it to Democrats; Democrats do it to Republicans. So I knew that this would be a political weapon that the other side would use against us.”
Liberal bloggers and columnists contend it’s accurate to say Republicans voted to end Medicare. Left-leaning websites such as Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, and The New Republic said PolitiFact’s analysis was wrong, as did New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
“According to (PolitiFact’s) logic, if the FBI were replaced with a voucher program wherein citizens would receive subsidies for hiring private investigators to look into criminal activity, but the agency running the voucher program were still called the FBI, it would be unfair to say that the FBI had been ended,” wrote Jed Lewison for Daily Kos. “I guess it’s their right to make that argument, but it’s transparently absurd.”
In a blog post, the DCCC stood by its claim, saying the ad accurately stated Ryan’s plan would “abolish” Medicare.
But PolitiFact was not alone. Other independent fact-checkers also said the claim was false.
“Medicare would remain an entitlement program, but it would also be more costly to future beneficiaries. It would not end,” noted FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker concluded that while there’s “a worthwhile debate” about whether Ryan’s proposal should be adopted, “it is not true to claim Republicans are trying to ‘kill’ Medicare.”
The Democratic attacks struck a chord. Polls showed voters were skeptical of the Ryan plan and want Medicare to remain largely the way it is now. That may be why the plan has virtually no prospects of passing the Senate, which voted to shelve the plan. President Obama has indicated he would veto any changes to Medicare that would privatize the program and substantially shift costs to beneficiaries.
How the Ryan plan would work
Under the current Medicare system, the government pays the health care bills for Americans over age 65. Under the Ryan plan, future beneficiaries would be given a credit and invited to shop for an approved plan on a Medicare health insurance exchange. It received overwhelming support from Republicans in a House vote on a budget blueprint.
Starting in 2022, beneficiaries would receive “premium support payments” from the government to help pay for the private insurance. People who need more health care would get a little more money, and high earners would get a little less.
The plan has some guarantees for coverage, although seniors would have to pay more to get the benefits they receive today, according to an analysis completed earlier this year by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The guarantees: Ryan’s plan requires private insurers to accept all applicants and to charge the same rate for people who are the same age. The plans would comply with standards set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the health plans of federal employees. The Medicare eligibility age would rise from 65 to 67, an idea that has received some bipartisan support in the past.
The CBO found that it would save the government money. But it does so by asking future Medicare beneficiaries to pay more for the same benefits.
Ryan says the plan would offer more choice for Medicare participants and increase competition among private insurers to drive down cost.
“I’m a big believer in patient-centered choice, where the beneficiary is the prime decision-maker, which drives competition and innovation, and that’s missing from the status quo, to a large degree,” he said.
It’s not the first time it’s been suggested that Medicare be changed from its current fee-for-service, where the government pays all the bills, to one that uses private insurers. In the past, some Democrats have even favored such proposals, especially if — unlike the Ryan plan – the support was linked to medical inflation, or there were an option for traditional Medicare, or there were more explicit protections for consumers.
Just last week, Ryan agreed to a new framework with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Their proposal uses Ryan’s idea for private insurers and exchanges, but it leaves traditional Medicare as an option.
Private insurers already offer Medicare plans under the program Medicare Advantage, though those plans have proven more expensive than traditional Medicare, not less.
The partisan split on health care reveals the contradictions of congressional debate. Republicans were staunchly against the insurance exchanges in the federal health care law. But they endorsed them in the Ryan proposal, even as Democrats switched to oppose the plan.
“Ryan basically proposed the Affordable Care Act for future seniors,” said Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who advised both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on health care. “I don’t understand how you can like it for future seniors but not like it for today’s needy uninsured. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an expert on campaign advertising who directs the Annenberg center at the University of Pennsylvania, says Democrats have been using falsehoods and exaggerations about Medicare and Social Security since at least 1952. She calls it the longest-running “Democratic deception.”
It fits with a core theme from Democrats that they will use government to protect seniors and needy people, while Republicans supposedly want to cut those programs, she says. It is a scare tactic that works.
“If you’re reliant on Medicare, a suggestion your benefits are going to be cut in any way is a direct, visceral threat,” said Jamieson.
Republicans actually used a version of the attack in 2010, claiming Democrats cut $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Obama’s health care law; the law actually sought to reduce the growth of future spending with a series of efficiency measures. But historically, attacks about Medicare have come from Democrats.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Democrats used images of Social Security cards being torn in half to suggest that Republicans wanted to cut the program. In 1995, Democrats said House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s plan to restructure Medicare would force seniors to pay more and would “wreck” Medicare.
President Bill Clinton vetoed the Republicans’ Medicare bill, and used the issue to pummel GOP nominee Bob Dole in the 1996 campaign.
Gingrich complained at the time that “Medicare is the one issue the left believes they can lie about and demagogue.” He described the Democrats as “totally morally bankrupt” and said, “They are reduced to scaring 85-year-olds.”
The scare tactics are effective because seniors worry about being able to pay their medical bills and Medicare is a vital program for them. Also, seniors represent a large, up-for-grabs voting bloc.
Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, “If you can scare seniors that something is going to happen to those programs, there is potentially a huge payoff in votes.”
Originally posted at Center for Security Policy By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Anderson Cooper closed one of five segments of his weeknightly CNN show that he recently devoted to attacking principally Rep. Michele Bachmann with a genuflection towards an iconic newsman, Edward R. Murrow. He deployed against her the gauntlet Murrow threw down to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in March 1954: “The line between investigating and persecuting is a [very] fine one.” If anyone has stepped over that line, however, it is Cooper himself, rather than the Minnesota congresswoman.
Night after night during the week of July 16th, the host of “Anderson Cooper 360” failed to meet even the most basic standards of investigative journalism. The irony is that, in his ill-concealed persecution of Mrs. Bachmann, Cooper has serially engaged in precisely the practices he pillories her and others for allegedly using, by his account, to destroy the reputation of the Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Muslim-American woman named Huma Abedin. Let us count the ways:
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- Anderson Cooper insists that Michele Bachmann (who he singles out for most of his criticism, despite the fact that she was but one of five Members of Congress to raise concerns not only about Ms. Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, but those of a number of others the Obama administration has enlisted as officials, advisors and/or liaisons to “the Muslim community”) failed to do her homework. Yet, Cooper repeatedly showed his ignorance of the extensive evidence cited by the legislators, even as he mentioned the website where some of it resides: the Center for Security Policy’s online video course at www.MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com.
- As he accused Rep. Bachmann of playing fast and loose with the facts, Cooper repeatedly mischaracterized the nature of the legislators’ request for five federal inspectors general to conduct investigations. He or his echo-chamber of exclusively like-minded guests complained that Ms. Abedin is accused of being a “spy” and engaging in “treason” and that she has been subjected to a groundless, bigoted and McCarthyite witch-hunt. Several of the reporters and interested parties who added color commentary (sometimes repeatedly) further demeaned Congresswoman Bachmann by asserting that she is simply engaging in partisan politics and fund-raising for her reelection campaign.
- As with the Congresswoman and to a lesser extent her colleagues, Cooper also made a point of going after this columnist. If anyone is guilty of “McCarthyism,” though, it is the journalistic poseur who specializes in shooting the messenger and buying into and tendentiously proclaiming that there are “no facts” supporting the unwanted message – rather than rigorously examining and accurately reporting on the vast amount of evidence that inconveniently does exist.
- While portraying Huma Abedin as an innocent victim of smears, Cooper engaged in his own smearing – occasionally through his rants on the subject, often by citing others who have indulged in ad hominem attacks against the congresswoman and her team. He repeatedly showcased such attacks by individuals in her own party, even though they were clearly were unfamiliar with the actual nature of the legislators’ concerns and the abundant grounds for raising them.
- One of the prominent figures in this televised persecution of Michele Bachmann was the man who kicked it off: Her colleague, Rep. Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota and the first Muslim Member of Congress. As it happens, according to the public record (recently brilliantly distilled by counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole at PJ Media http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/07/21/rep-keith-ellison-rewrites-history-on-his-muslim-brotherhood-cair-ties/), Mr. Ellison has himself been closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood – a natty problem Rep. Bachmann has noted, to Cooper’s horror.
So, the “360” host had Keith Ellison on to help deflect that charge. When the congressman blithely denied that he was a Muslim Brother or, for that matter, that he even knew very much about the Brotherhood, well, that was good enough for crack investigative journalist Anderson Cooper. Back to the persecution of Michele Bachmann, with Cooper egging on Minnesota’s Muslim congressman.[list type="arrow"] [li]
- Anderson Cooper further discredited his claim to be an independent, let alone exacting, journalist by taking at face value the FBI’s assurances that it had not dealt with Muslim Brothers or other “extremists” in the recent purge of its training materials and files. The evidence of that falsehood is readily available. Yet, the FBI statement was taken – and presented – as though gospel by a credulous host whose only skepticism was reserved for why Michele Bachmann had been charged by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers with investigating the extent of the Brotherhood’s influence operations inside the Bureau.]
- Perhaps most distressing was the service Anderson Cooper has provided to the Islamists by promoting the meme that inquiries about specific Muslims with demonstrable ties to the Muslim Brotherhood amount to attacks on all Muslims. This plays into the victimhood mantra Islamists use to justify their jihadism undertaken ostensibly for the purpose of defending beleaguered co-religionists.
Applying Cooper’s logic, every Muslim – even those whose associations (personal, familial, professional or other) with an organization like the Brotherhood that is sworn to our destruction clearly violate the government’s own guidelines for security clearances, to say nothing of the oath of office to support the Constitution and defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic – are to be given an automatic pass. That may also be the view of the Obama administration, but it is a formula for disaster for the country.
There is a particular irony to Anderson Cooper’s, well, jihad against those who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood. For an avowedly gay man, Anderson Cooper is rooting for the wrong team. If the Islamists have their way here, he will not simply be on the wrong side of the line. He’ll be toast.
Reality has a strange habit of causing pain to those who choose to ignore it. Feminists have been protesting up and down the streets for decades claiming that the ‘hetero-normative society’ is imposing its values on women and other minorities. They are stubborn that the American society is assigning exacting social roles and leaving no space for self-exploration.
Well, Facebook is a space where people get to express themselves freely. If Facebook statistics have anything to say about these claims, they are dead wrong. Based on data collected by Facebook, American women and men seem to be making very predictable social choices. For example, the significant majorities of men choose to follow ‘manly’ activities like hunting, gaming and martial arts whereas the majority of women like dancing, cooking and gardening. A similar distinction is observed regarding their personal interests that they reveal in their profiles. Ferrari, golf and beer come on top of the Men’s lists. Women focus on marriage, pets and spa. The difference in music choices is even starker. Men sit in front of their laptops waving their heads wildly to the hardcore music of the Slayer and Iron Maiden. Women, on the other hand, counter that with relatively peaceful music by Adele and Justin Bieber.
American men and women do not want to be politicized. They are happy with their social choices and the above infograhic and Facebook data reinforce this fact.
Unemployment Rate “doesn’t tell the whole story” for California and Nevada
The Wall Street Journal reports, “California and Nevada are struggling with some of the nation’s highest rates of workers who are looking for jobs or not putting in as many hours as they would like, new government data show.
On the late Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday today, his words are truer than ever: “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.”
And the news from many parts of the country is disheartening. Despite a new school choice option for students in Louisiana, a teachers union there has threatened to sue private schools that accept voucher students this fall. Unions have fought school choice initiatives because they see options for students eroding their power structure.
The Administration is also fighting students’ best interest. Instead of promoting what works—school choice, empowering parents and students—President Obama just issued an executive order last week creating a new federal bureaucracy to single out African-American students for more government meddling in their education. The order states that:
substantial obstacles to equal educational opportunity still remain in America’s educational system. African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline and referrals to special education.
The new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans is supposed to “help expand educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes, and deliver a complete and competitive education for all African Americans.”
This is to be done “in part by supporting efforts to improve the recruitment, preparation, development, and retention of successful African American teachers and school leaders and other effective teachers and school leaders responsible for the education of African American students.”
America’s students don’t need teachers hand-picked for them by the teachers unions or by the federal government. They need the power to pick their own teachers. Parents need the freedom to send their children to the school of their choice—to find the academic and social environment that works best for them.
The old way isn’t working. The District of Columbia is spending nearly $30,000 per student “in a district that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation and produces some of the country’s lowest achievement scores,” laments Heritage’s Rachel Sheffield. This spending hasn’t changed the fact that “the graduation rate for D.C. students hovers around 60 percent, well below the nationwide average of 74 percent. Math and reading scores are also among the lowest in the country.”
D.C. is even paying students “with poor academic and behavioral records” to attend summer school, according to The Washington Examiner.
That isn’t the end of the story, however. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke reminds us that Friedman’s work on behalf of educational freedom goes on:
Today, we have a growing number of innovative school choice options—charters, vouchers, tax credits, online learning, and education savings accounts, to name a few. These options were conceived in the mind of Friedman and are being brought to life by reform-oriented governors and legislators across the country.
Funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows children from low-income homes to escape the underperforming D.C. public schools and attend a private school of their choice, was saved for a year after President Obama threatened to end it altogether.
States are implementing school choice reforms because the results are astoundingly positive. According to federally mandated evaluations of the D.C. program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. Graduation rates in D.C. public schools languish (hovering around 55 percent), and the public school system ranks last in the country in terms of academic achievement. Yet, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate.
As Friedman said, we will see improvements in education only “by privatizing a major segment of the educational system—i.e., by enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop that will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools.”
Our students deserve the best, and they will choose it when given the opportunity.
Driving The Discussion in some of the more competitive races around the country….
In Montana, the Great Falls Tribune reports that Denny Rehberg continues to link liberal Democrat Jon Tester to President Obama and his failed policies. Meanwhile, Rehberg’s campaign is doing everything in its power to link Tester to Obama, whose signature policy achievement — the Affordable Care Act — is not popular among the majority of Montana voters. Tester voted for the federal health insurance reform measure. “Sen. Tester is going to keep using misleading and dishonest attacks to try and distract Montanans from his record of 95 percent support for President Obama, but Obama and Tester are joined at the hip and voters will hold them accountable together at the polls for their shared record of higher taxes, more government regulation and less jobs,” Rehberg campaign spokesman Chris Bond said.
In Nebraska, liberal New York Democrat Bob Kerrey tells Nebraska Watchdog that his Social Security plan will raise taxes on middle-class families in Nebraska. REPORTER: “Is this a middle-class tax increase?” BOB KERREY: “Well it depends on where you draw the line on the middle-class. Currently the wage limit is $106,000 so it would not increase taxes on up to $106,000. REPORTER: So in some respects it is [a tax increase on the middle class].” BOB KERREY: Yeah in some respects it is.
- Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Kerrey’s plan to fix Social Security is to raise taxes and cut benefits. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey said Monday he doesn’t think it’s hard to see that fixing Social Security should involve both tax increases and benefit cuts, but it’s politically difficult to pass reforms. … Kerrey’s plan would expand the payroll tax to higher income levels, and it would gradually increase the age of eligibility for benefits to 69 in 2075.
In Ohio, the Fayette Advocate reports that Treasurer Josh Mandel met with officials in Powell to discuss his STAR Plus investment program. State Treasurer Josh Mandel met with City of Powell officials today to discuss their recent $937,500 deposit in the innovative new STAR Plus investment program. STAR Plus offers local government subdivisions the security of 100% federally insured deposits and a very competitive yield for local taxpayers, and is endorsed by Treasurer Mandel’s office. … “As a former City Councilman I know that every dollar counts when it comes to local budgets, particularly in this era of belt tightening,” said Treasurer Mandel. “STAR Plus is a win-win-win that provides full security on deposits, triples the yield over other similar investment options, and strives to keep public funds in Ohio community banks that fuel our local economies.”
In Nevada, the Associated Press reports that Senator Dean Heller will host the bipartisan Tahoe Summit. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller will host this year’s annual Tahoe Summit, being held at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline. The Nevada Republican says the Aug. 13 forum will focus on investing in the future of Lake Tahoe through public-private partnerships. … The Tahoe Summit has been held every year since 1997. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid helped organize the inaugural event that featured President Bill Clinton and brought international attention to the environmental challenges facing the lake that straddles the Nevada-California line.
In Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Associated Builders and Contractors endorsed Connie Mack and his pro-jobs agenda. The Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida has endorsed U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV for the U.S. Senate, Mack’s campaign announced this afternoon. In a statement issued by the Mack campaign, ABC-Florida chairman Pilar Willis stated, “From his proven leadership on pro-growth economic policies and energy independence solutions to the “Mack Penny Plan”, his plan to balance the budget and eliminate the national debt in just a few short years, it is clear Connie Mack is the innovative, fiscally conservative leader we need representing us in the United States Senate.”
In Pennsylvania, businessman Tom Smith is up with a new ad talking about Bob Casey’s failed agenda and his plan to bring jobs back to the Keystone State.
- Meanwhile, PoliticsPA reports that Tom Smith stumped with Senator Rob Portman yesterday. Focus then shifted to the Senate race between incumbent Bob Casey and GOP hopeful Tom Smith. Boyd threw a few darts at Casey, comparing the Senator to his father when he said, “Bobby is not Robert. That nut fell far from the tree.” In introducing Smith, Rep. Boyd called the coal-industry businessman “Lancaster County’s next favorite son in Congress.” Smith stepped up to say, “The most important part of the upcoming election is standing right in front of me. It’s you. The grassroots.” After strongly endorsing Romney, Smith said “I promise that every Republican on this ticket here in PA will work their hearts out, because we know the stakes…This is the most important election in my lifetime.”
In North Dakota, KVLV-TV reports that Rick Berg continues leading on the farm bill in the House – pushing for its passage.
The Obama Administration Is Trying To Hide Jobs Impact Of Defense Cuts
Obama Admin ‘Slapped’ Businesses, Call Layoff Notices ‘Inappropriate’
“The Obama administration slapped at defense contractors on Monday, saying threats to issue layoff notices before the election because of pending Pentagon cuts is ‘inappropriate.’” (“Obama Administration Pushes Back At Defense Layoff Threats,” The Hill, 7/30/12)
· “Behind the potential layoff notices is the 1988 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act. The law requires companies with more than 100 employees to alert workers that they may be laid off if there is a foreseeable event in the next 60 days that is likely to require the dismissals.” (“As ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms, Debate Over Pre-Election Day Layoff Notices Heats Up,” Washington Post, 7/31/12)
· OBAMA ADMIN NOTICE: “WARN Act notice to employees of Federal contractors, including in the defense industry, is not required 60 days in advance of January 2, 2013, and would be inappropriate…” (“Obama Administration Pushes Back At Defense Layoff Threats,” The Hill, 7/30/12)
UNIVERSITY STUDY: Over 1 Million Jobs ‘Would Be Lost Due To DOD Budget Cuts’
University Study: ‘[T]otal of 1,090,359 jobs … would be lost due to DOD budget cuts’ “The estimated decrease in federal spending with the implementation of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (spending for FY 2012 and FY 2013) will reduce DOD spending by a total of $56.7 billion… A total of 1,090,359 jobs with a total labor income of $46.5 billion would be lost due to DOD budget cuts in FY 2012-FY 2013.” (“Sequestration Puts 2.14 Million Total Jobs At Risk,” George Mason University, P.1, 7/17/12)
· ‘Lockheed Could Have To Lay Off As Many As 10,000 Workers Next Year,’ will ‘send pink slips to each of its 120,000 employees nationwide in early November.’ “CEO Robert Stevens told the House Armed Services Committee that Lockheed could have to lay off as many as 10,000 workers next year. … Lockheed Martin, the state’s largest federal contractor, has said it would send pink slips to each of its 120,000 employees nationwide in early November to comply with federal and state layoff notification laws.” (“Md. Defense Contractors Press Congress For Details Of Cuts,” The Baltimore Sun, 7/29/12)
· ‘Northrop Grumman … to lay off thousands.’ “Northrop Grumman Corp. says it is already having difficulty attracting bright, tech-savvy workers. The CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. told Congress this month that his company could have to lay off thousands of employees.” (“Md. Defense Contractors Press Congress For Details Of Cuts,” The Baltimore Sun, 7/29/12)
· “Pentagon officials told Congress this week that between 89,000 and 200,000 civilian employees might have to be cut.” (“Federal Budget Cuts Loom Over Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth Defense Employers,” The Dallas Morning News, 7/28/12)
SEN. LEVIN (D-MI): ‘Severely Damaging If Sequestration Occurs’
“‘I sure as hell hope that sequestration doesn’t happen,’ Panetta told a joint House panel focused on veterans issues. ‘It would be, as I’ve said, time and time again, a disaster in terms of the Defense Department, as far as our budget is concerned and as far as our ability to respond to the threats that are out there.’” (“3 GOP Senators To Tour Presidential Battleground States Warning About Defense Cuts,” The Washington Post, 7/25/12)
· SEC. PANETTA: “I think you all recognize that sequester would be entirely unacceptable, and I really urge both sides to work together to try to find the kind of comprehensive solution that would de-trigger sequester and try to do this way ahead of this potential disaster that we confront.” (U.S. Senate, Appropriations Committee, Hearing, 6/13/12)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): ‘[I]t would be severely damaging if sequestration occurs.’ “The specter of sequestration is such that businesses, local governments who have to plan are going to assume that the current law, which requires sequestration, is going to kick in. And unless there’s some clear indicator in time — and that means, to me, in the fall — that there will be some way to avoid sequestration, I think you’re going to see some decisions made in businesses and in local governments which will weaken the economy. … it would be severely damaging if sequestration occurs.” (Sen. Levin, Bloomberg Government Defense Conference, 6/22/12)
“August 1st is a day that will live in infamy for the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms and rights we as a people have enjoyed since the founding of our nation. The HHS mandate imposed on the American people is the beginning of the end of freedom as America has known it and loved it. August 1st marks the day when many family owned and operated businesses lose their rights to exercise their faith in their daily lives. The government has told them — either comply with this mandate in violation of your faith and do what we tell you, or you will pay crippling faith fines to the federal government. With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration has shredded the First Amendment and the Constitution right before our eyes.”