Sunday, February 27, 2011

Public school to parent: We're in control

Chris Slavens
Chris Slavens: His father, an Army commander, was being deployed to Iraq, and 6-year-old Jack Dorman didn’t want to be in school in the first place. He suffers from separation anxiety and had been visiting a therapist. Sadly, the boy’s day got a lot worse after he drew a picture of a scene from one of his video games, which featured zombies and stick figures, wrote that he wanted to die, and was forced into a psychiatric ward by school administrators against his mother’s wishes.

“They said it was out of my hands,” said an outraged Syndi Dorman. “They said they were in control and they could do this and had already called an ambulance.”

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines refused to apologize for the incident, which occurred on February 7, and continues to insist that the staff of Taper Avenue Elementary, located in San Pedro, California, acted appropriately.

Maybe Jack needed professional attention, and maybe he didn’t. Little boys like to doodle, and, at a time when one can hardly turn on the television without encountering a show about vampires or werewolves, it doesn’t seem all that strange for an innocent 6-year-old to draw a picture of zombies. Nor is it unusual for a child whose father is being sent overseas to serve his country to feel depressed. However, it is fair to assume that Syndi Dorman knows her son better than a group of public employees, and if he needed to be removed from the classroom, home would have been a better place to send him than a psych ward—particularly since the horrified, helpless mother made it very clear that she did not approve of the administrators’ decision.

This raises an important question: Just how much control do the employees of taxpayer-funded public schools have over the students under their supervision? Enough to impose conditions on a child against his or her parents’ wishes? Enough to do whatever they want without bothering to obtain permission? Government’s power has a tendency to expand, so what’s next on the rapidly growing list of Things Public Schools Can Get Away With?

There is a fine line between intervention and kidnapping, between protecting a child and violating his parents’ rights. The LAUSD crossed that line, and will almost certainly continue to stand between parents and their children if its seemingly limitless authority is not challenged. The decision might have been legal (or not, depending on how one interprets the Bill of Rights), but was wrong nonetheless.

When an agent of the state—whether a teacher, social worker, or police officer—steps between parents and their children, the parents are fully justified in doing whatever is necessary to protect their children from the harmful influence of a nanny state that thinks it knows better. Unfortunately, unjust laws might make it impossible for the parents to do so legally, but American history is full of daring acts of civil disobedience which, in spite of inviting retaliation from the state, eventually resulted in the betterment of our nation.

The preferable alternative, of course, is for parents to resist the temptation of a “free” education. It is difficult to imagine a shocking story of this sort unfolding in a private school, where the immutable laws of the free market require administrators and educators to satisfy parents, or risk losing their business.

Finally released after forty-eight hours, a traumatized Jack Dorman did not want to return to school. “He’s afraid they’re going to take him away again,” said his mother.

One 6-year-old victim of Big Brother has the right attitude. When will the rest of us learn?

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He lives in Delaware. He contributes to numerous conservative sites including ARRA News Service, Conservative Voices, and his own blog, Slavens Says.

Tags: education, Jack Dorman, Big Brother, nanny state To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Benko: Gold, the States, and Federal Monetary Policy

Tetra Images | Getty Images

by Ralph Benko: Why are so many state legislators beginning to call for issuance of a form of gold money?

The Constitution prohibits states from coining money but allows them make “gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts….” By prohibiting everything except “gold and silver Coin” the Constitution clearly contemplates this as legitimate.

Legislators in a dozen states are looking at legislation about gold or silver-based currency, including, right now, Utah, South Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire. States haven’t issued money for over a hundred years. So … why now? There is disgust by state legislators with the federal government’s promiscuously printing money. This reflects the views of those who wrote and adopted the United States Constitution.

The transcript of the debates in the original Constitutional Convention shows the attitude of the Founders toward paper money was one of disgust. In debate one delegate, Roger Sherman, called for the insertion of an absolute prohibition against states issuing their own paper money.
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Sherman moved to insert after the words 'coin money' the words 'nor emit bills of credit, nor make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts' making these prohibitions absolute…

Mr. Sherman thought this a "favourable" crisis for crushing paper money.
The Founders voted to adopt Sherman’s “crushing” of state-based paper money.

As for the federal government, the original draft of the Constitution included language permitting the federal government to issue unbacked paper money. The Founders objected strongly to this power. The objections were summed up by delegate Oliver Ellsworth:
Mr. Elsesworth thought this a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money. The mischiefs of the various experiments which had been made, were now fresh in the public mind and had excited the disgust of all the respectable part of America. By withholding the power from the new Government, more friends of influence would be gained to it than by almost any thing else. Paper money can in no case be necessary. Give the Government credit, and other resources will offer. The power may do harm, never good.
Those who wrote the Constitution decisively stripped the federal government of the power to issue inconvertible paper money. And stripped it stayed… until, temporarily, during the Civil War. Saving the Union was of transcendent importance. A strong constitutional argument exists for the legitimacy of paper money as an expedient. But it set a bad precedent.

For most of American history dollars were convertible into gold or sometimes silver. It is a 20th century innovation to have inconvertible money. FDR suspended domestic convertibility. And then… Richard Nixon’s 1971 suspension of the convertibility of the dollar into gold put the final nail into the dollar’s coffin. President Nixon announced this as a temporary suspension.

President Nixon made certain promises to America when he suspended convertibility of the dollar. August 15, 1971:
“I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold ….

Now, what is this action--which is very technical--what does it mean for you?

Let me lay to rest the bugaboo of what is called devaluation.

If you want to buy a foreign car or take a trip abroad, market conditions may cause your dollar to buy slightly less. But if you are among the overwhelming majority of Americans who buy American-made products in America, your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today.”(Emphasis supplied.)
Well. The dollar today is worth less than a quarter was worth in 1971.

Ralph Benko
Ralph Benko, Senior Advisor,
American Principles Project
The American people are patient but we are not stupid. We have noticed the steady erosion of the dollar’s buying power, that fact that our dollars are worth 80% less than the day of “the Nixon shock.” We have noted the bankruptcy of the assurances we were given.

Yet Washington has been curiously unresponsive to the suffering brought by its failed promise. Why? Washington has itself been a primary beneficiary of monetary depreciation.

The federal government spent $15 billion from 1789 – 1900. Not $15 billion a year. $15 billion cumulatively. Uncle Sam will spend $10 billion a day in 2011. The federal government spends more every two days than it did altogether for more than America’s first century. Although these sums are not adjusted for inflation they give a correct impression of the magnitude of the change from what our Founders set forth and our early statesmen delivered.

How does Washington get its hands on so much money? Three ways. Taxing us, on which it is maxed out. Borrowing — deficits — to which there is a growing massive resistance. And there is a third and even more pernicious way: printing dollars. Washington prints money – such as Chairman Bernanke’s massive $800B+ “quantitative easing.” Wildly printing money erodes the value of the dollar. It will damage every American’s hard-earned savings.

The power to print money at whim is wrong.

It is toxic to our personal and national wellbeing.

And it is unconstitutional.

So legislators in twelve states are exploring gold-based currency. It is reprehensible for national elites to deride those who are doing so. Whatever objections one might have to the mechanisms being considered the impulse is legitimate and even noble. State legislators are challenging the federal abuse of an unconstitutional power, challenging the issuance of unhinged paper money.

Federal officials should take these state initiatives as a cue. Federal officials have sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Let them take their oath seriously and restore the convertibility of dollars to gold.
Ralph Benko is a member of the bar of the State of New York and is a senior economics advisor to The American Principles Project and was called by the United States Department of the Treasury to testify before the U.S. Gold Commission on the constitutional history of American monetary policy. Benko is the author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is working on a new book, called "A Golden Age: the political consequences of the peace."The article which first appeared in the CNBC Guest Blog was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko

Tags: Commodities, Gold, Taxes, Politics, Government, Federal Budget, U.S., Debt, Economy, Ralph Benko To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood, the Parasite

By Chris Slavens: According to the propagandists of the radical left, the GOP launched a “war on women” last week when the House overwhelmingly agreed to yank Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. Democrats are accusing their political rivals of everything from forcing poor women to suffer, to attempting to shut the organization down. Of course, these are hollow lies designed to herd uninformed voters onto the liberal bandwagon, and are—like most Democratic arguments—easily disproved.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is a group of eighty-five independent affiliates that provide a variety of services to women, including contraception, STD testing and treatment, and abortions. It’s also an extremely political organization, lobbying against parental consent laws and pharmacists’ refusal clauses (both of which are protected by the Tenth Amendment), and supporting Democratic candidates in elections. Planned Parenthood was a strong supporter of candidate Obama in 2008.

What’s wrong with that? They’re a private organization and can do what they want, right? Er, not exactly. Although Planned Parenthood receives about one-fourth of its funding from private donors, it receives a whopping one-third from the federal government; the organization raked in $363.2 million from the taxpayers in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Federal law prohibits federal funding of abortions (with some exceptions), but Planned Parenthood openly calls for the removal of this reasonable restriction.

To put it bluntly, Planned Parenthood is a leech, a parasitic organization that feeds on Americans’ paychecks. Certainly, some citizens approve of the organization’s activities, and they are free to support it with their own money, but it is unacceptable, even immoral, to force those who do not approve to finance activities that might, in some cases, violate their religious convictions.

Isn’t there something in the First Amendment about that?

Some conservative activists oppose the very existence of Planned Parenthood simply because of the role it plays in providing abortions; it performed nearly 325,000 in 2008 alone. However, that’s not the point. Abortion debate aside, a controversial organization like Planned Parenthood should not receive a full third of its billion-dollar budget from taxpayers. For that matter, it shouldn’t receive any federal funding at all. Period. If Planned Parenthood can’t operate on the same playing field as every other private organization in the U.S. that doesn’t get an enormous check from Uncle Sam every year, then perhaps its activities aren’t quite as popular as its public relations department likes to pretend.

Far from waging a war against women, the Republicans in Congress are battling wasteful spending and defending workers’ right to decide how to spend or invest their earnings. In these difficult economic times, it’s downright absurd to argue that Person A should be forced to pay for Person B’s condoms or morning-after pills, which is exactly what Democrats are doing.

The only fair criticism of the move to defund Planned Parenthood is that it focuses on a lone vampire-like organization and ignores a multitude of others that are feeding at the public trough, as freshman Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) pointed out, following the vote. He would rather defund all organizations that provide abortions, and is not alone; survey respondents consistently indicate that they would prefer the government didn’t pay for abortions, regardless of their personal feelings about the procedure.

Last week’s vote is a tiny step in the right direction, when it comes to reducing the outrageous amount of the public’s money that the federal government doles out to various organizations and causes, but such steps are necessary if this nation is ever to be called “free” again.

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He lives in Delaware. He contributes to numerous conservative sites including ARRA News Service, Conservative Voices, and his own blog, Slavens Says.

Tags: Planned Parenthood, GOP, Republicans, Democrats, federal funding, abortion, contraception To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, February 14, 2011

GOP reveals hypocrisy with Patriot Act vote

GOP reveals hypocrisy with Patriot Act vote
By Chris Slavens

Both parties in the House failed to muster enough votes to extend controversial provisions of the Patriot Act on February 8, which required a two-thirds majority. Some commentators have chosen to focus on the lack of discipline within the parties; both the Obama administration and GOP leadership favor the extension, but neither was able to whip enough congressmen onto the bandwagon. However, the bigger story is how many Republicans—including a number of “tea party” freshmen who campaigned last year as defenders of the Constitution—voted against the Fourth Amendment, as though it is somehow less important than the others.

Specifically, the provisions permit the federal government to spy on U.S. citizens (perhaps “subjects” would be more appropriate in this case) by using roving wiretaps in the name of combatting terrorism, allow monitoring of noncitizens, and give broad authority over records and private property.

After two years of frantic shrieking about the Obama administration’s shredding of the Constitution and unprecedented expansion of the federal government, one would think that Republican lawmakers, entrusted with control of the House of Representatives by the American people, would view such a vote as a golden opportunity to restrict government’s ability to intrude into innocent citizens’ private lives.

Yet a mere twenty-six out of 241 Republicans voted against the extension; of those twenty-six, only eight were newcomers, swept into office by a nonpartisan Tea Party that continues to demand smaller, less intrusive government. After the biggest power shift in decades, the recipients of the public’s favor show their gratitude by trampling on civil liberties.

This is not to suggest that Democrats deserve any credit for opposing the extension 122 to 67. This time last year, the Democrat-controlled Congress pushed through some of the same unconstitutional provisions with no debate, only a few years after crucifying the Bush administration for creating them, in a stunning example of ideological hypocrisy that liberal commentators conveniently neglected to notice.

But Democrats do not control the House. Republicans do. It’s up to them to defend personal liberty and deny the Obama administration the far-reaching police powers it craves. Does the GOP need to be reminded that there will be a presidential election in the near future, the importance of which cannot be overstated, and that the only way to stay in the voting public’s good graces is to practice consistent, constitutional conservatism?

Is there a rational thought process behind ignoring constituents and blatantly breaking campaign promises? Has the GOP leadership implemented a new, unusual strategy—one based on reverse psychology? Perhaps Republicans want to relinquish control of the House, and watch passively as the radical wing of the Democratic Party transforms the U.S. into an authoritarian dystopia.

If that’s the case, they’ll likely get their wish in 2012. Despite a decade of intense government propaganda, driven into American minds with the aid of a compliant pro-establishment media—“We need more power over your life to keep you safe from terrorists” is the usual theme—the average voter does not approve of Big Brother’s roving wiretaps, or snooping through private records. Ordinary people don’t like the idea of some creep with a badge listening to their phone conversations, and don’t like the politicians who authorize such unwarranted violations of their right to privacy.

The 2012 Iowa Caucuses are less than one year away. Already, potential challengers are testing the waters. Let us hope, for the sake of the republic—for the sake of liberty itself—that the 210 House Republicans who voted against the Constitution recognize the mistake they’ve made, remember why they’re in Washington, and start respecting the people who sent them there.

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He lives in Delaware.

Tags: GOP, Patriot Act, civil liberties, Fourth Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black History Month

Bob Parks, Black and Right:

Tags: Bob Parks, commentary, Black History Month, history, blacks, democrats, republicans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". H/T ARRA News Service. Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Updated Links and Comments On Judge's Ruling on Obamacare

Relevant Links via eGOPNews:
WSJ: Florida Judge Rules Against Health Law
WSJ: Read Judge Vinson's opinion (.pdf)
NYT: Federal Judge Rules Health Law Violates Constitution
WaPo: Judge strikes down entire new health-care law
Wash Times: Judge strikes down Obama health plan
LA Times: Judge rules Obama healthcare law unconstitutional

Federal Court: Dem Health Spending Bill ‘Unconstitutional’
Court says ‘Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate’
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell released the following statement Monday regarding a ruling in the U.S. District for the Northern District of Florida that the Democrats’ health spending bill is ‘unconstitutional’ and exceeds the bounds of Congressional authority: “This ruling confirms what Americans have been saying for months: The health spending bill is a massive overreach and Democrats ‘exceeded the bounds’ of Congressional authority under the Constitution in passing the law with the individual mandate. Rather than penalizing Americans if they don’t buy a particular product that Washington decides is best, we should repeal this health spending bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will actually lower costs, prevent unsustainable entitlement promises and make it easier for employers to start hiring again.”

Speaker Boehner Applauds Ruling on Job-Destroying Health Care Law, Calls for Expedited Review
WASHINGTON, D.C. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding U.S. District Court Judge Robert Vinson of Florida’s ruling that the job-destroying health care law is unconstitutional, and calling for expedited review of his decision: “Today’s decision affirms the view, held by most of the states and a majority of the American people, that the federal government should not be in the business of forcing you to buy health insurance and punishing you if you don’t.  It’s not only unconstitutional, it’s also unaffordable.  This health care law remains a major source of uncertainty for small businesses, which is why all parties involved should request that this case be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court for a swift and fair resolution.  Of course, the easiest way to protect the American people from this job-destroying health care law is to repeal it so we can start over with common-sense reforms that lower costs and protect jobs without unconstitutional mandates, new taxes, and costly penalties.  The House has passed legislation to do just that, and I hope Senate Democratic leaders will bring up the measure for an up-or-down vote.”

Griffin Welcomes Health Care Ruling
Vows to replace current law with real reform
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR-02) today issued the following statement in response to a second federal court ruling that the individual mandate, requiring Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty, found in the Obama health care law violates the Constitution: "I welcome the ruling in favor of the 26 states that sued the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care law. I voted to repeal the law earlier this month, and I look forward to continuing the process in the House to replace it with a new one that increases access, lowers costs, limits government, promotes job creation and follows the Constitution."

Arkansas Republicans Applauds Florida Ruling on Obamacare Mandate
Little Rock, Ark – A Florida federal judge ruled today in favor of a twenty-six state lawsuit claiming the provision in the President’s health care law requiring every American to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. Unfortunately for Arkansas, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Governor Mike Beebe believe the individual mandate to be constitutional and support its’ implementation.

“The Republican Party applauds today’s ruling in Florida that the Obamacare mandate is unconstitutional as it further erodes individual rights of choice,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Executive Director Chase Dugger. “Attorney General McDaniel continues to argue the suit is frivolous and costly, but he is forgetting to mention the $100 to $200 million Obamacare will cost our state. While Arkansas’ four Congressmen took a principled stand to represent Arkansas values by recently voting to repeal the harmful law, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel took a stand to oppress freedom of choice and individual liberty by not joining the lawsuit.”

Americans for Limited Government Responds
Fairfax, VA — Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government: "For the second time, the federal courts have ruled that the federal government's takeover of the health care system is unconstitutional.  Congress needs to act now to defund the regulation writing on this unconstitutional law to prevent further damage from being done to our nation's health care system. It is clear with a majority of states suing to stop the law, that it is unpopular, unconstitutional and unenforceable. Congress needs to act now to correct this mistake.

"With all Americans increasingly concerned about the unsustainable debt Obama and his cohorts have imposed on taxpayers, stopping any further advance of ObamaCare is vital to getting our fiscal house in order. First, stop any further regulation or dictates to the states. Second, repeal the law outright. And finally, move with common sense, market-based proposals to make the necessary repairs. Judge Vinson, following the ruling by Judge Hudson, has done a great service to the American people by beginning this crucial process."

Judge Declares ObamaCare "Void"
Arlington, VA - Gary Bauer, President of Campaign for Working Families:
"Federal Judge Robert Vinson, who has presided over the multi-state lawsuit against ObamaCare, today declared the individual mandate unconstitutional and struck down the entire law. In October Judge Vinson wrote, 'The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent.' Today, Judge Vinson ruled, 'Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.'

"But Judge Vinson's ruling is not a fatal blow to ObamaCare. The administration is certain to appeal, and the judge did not issue an injunction against the continued implementation of the law. Nevertheless, his opinion should bolster the determination of Senate Republicans to force a vote on repealing ObamaCare while the case works its way to the Supreme Court."

Tags: Federal healthcare law, Obamacare, Judges ruling, unconstitutional, responses, US Senate, US House, Arkansas, republicans, Gary Bauer, Bill Wilson, RPA, Tim Griffin. House Speaker, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, H/T ARRA News Service. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!