Somewhat Reasonable

Syndicate content Somewhat Reasonable | Somewhat Reasonable
The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
Updated: 34 min 59 sec ago

Pass the House Border Bill

August 07, 2014, 12:10 PM

Conservative and liberal media alike were all atwitter with Thursday’s midday news that the House of Representatives was going on its summer recess without passing a border-related bill because Republicans did not have the votes to pass it. The leftwas particularly pleased in the apparent inability of the new House leadership team to pass a relatively inexpensive bill that contained at least one conservative priority on an extremely visible issue.

Later in the day, we learned that Speaker of the House John Boehner and House GOP leadership are keeping the House in session until there is a vote on a bill, which may occur on Friday.

Boehner is right to do this, and the House should pass the bill under consideration.

According to Boehner’s office, key aspects of the House bill include that it:

  • Changes the 2008 law that allowed Central American children to avoid immediate deportation.
  • Stops the Agriculture and Interior Departments from curbing Border Patrol agents’ activities on federal lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Funds National Guard troops at the border.
  • Spends $659 million, about one-sixth of President Obama’s outrageous “never let a crisis go to waste” request, and offsets the spending with other cuts.
  • Adds resources like detention space and temporary immigration judges to ICE and Border Patrol operations in order to allow faster processing and deportation.
  • (If I’m reading it right) Takes money from foreign aid funds to pay for “repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”
  • States that Congress opposes housing illegal aliens on U.S. military bases.

Opposition to the bill has come from Southern members of the House, as well as from congressmen such as anti-immigration hawk Steve King (R-IA), who has said that he would only support the measure if it includes additional legislation such as the Cruz-Blackburnbill to restrict the Deferred Action for Childhood Releases (DACA) program — President Obama’s lawless creation to allow illegal aliens to stay in the United States (for at least two years) if they claim to have been brought here as children.

[UPDATE: Much opposition to the bill among congressmen and the public alike is based on an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies -- an analysis which I find quite flawed and misleading, a conclusion which I explain here.]

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been aggressively lobbying House conservatives to oppose the House bill. Alabama’s Jeff Sessions has been cheering him on.

As much as I appreciate Senators Cruz and Sessions, House Republicans should pass this bill, not least — and I stipulate to an unusually high level of cynicism here — because there is simply no chance that it will pass the Senate, or even receive a vote there.

What are the results of not passing the bill?

 Republicans open a five-week window for Democrats and their media pawns to beat them about the head and neck for being unable to pass a bill even with a substantial GOP majority. It plays into the administration’s claims, made again Thursday, that Obama must “act on his own” because Congress is impotent. It’s also a terrible way to inaugurate a new leadership team (about which more in a moment).

And the law will not change.

What are the results of passing the bill?

The Senate remains the place of gridlock, the place where bills go to die, the place where the majority party not only can’t get anything done but doesn’t even try because Harry Reid’s cynicism makes mine seem downright amateurish (and almost everyone else’s in Washington, as well, which is quite a feat). The president will look as feckless as always in his inability to corral the Democratic Party that he is the titular leader of, not that the word “leader” applies to the man in any context.

And the law will not change.

In the imaginary world in which the House bill could become law, it would be a modest improvement — perhaps even more than modest — over the current process, and at a fraction of the cost that Democrats have in mind.

The far-right wing of the Republican Party which is opposing this bill out of some strange combination of the perfect being the enemy of the good and kneeling at the altar of Ted Cruz are not just making a policy mistake but they are making a big political mistake if their goal is the good of their party and of the country rather than maximizing Ted Cruz’s political capital and turning him into the second coming of Sarah Palin.

Just as Sarah Palin is hurting Republicans with her pointless talk of impeachment (by which I do not suggest that Obama does not amply qualify for removal from office), Cruz is hurting Republicans by making them appear unwilling to do anything at all.

It’s one thing for Democrats to call the GOP the “Party of ‘No’.” It’s another thing to prove them right. And for what?

Two closing thoughts: The analysis above could be read as my being a strong supporter of both the Republican Party and the GOP’s House leadership team. I am not a Republican and don’t think much of Boehner, McCarthy, and friends — though I think better of them than many other Tea Party sympathizers and hard-core conservatives do; herding cats is a difficult, underappreciated job.

What I am a strong supporter of is turning Harry Reid into the Minority Leader in November’s elections. There is no more important short-term political imperative. And there is no alternative political party to give the Senate majority to other than the Republicans.

To paraphrase South Park’s Matt Stone: I hate Republicans but I really f***ing hate Democrats.

Thus, I care when the GOP makes such egregious and unnecessary unforced errors as Thursday’s border bill chaos.

So, my advice to House and Senate Republicans, respectively:

For House Republicans: First, do no harm. For those who don’t think the border bill goes far enough, vote “yes” anyway. There is simply no real downside to supporting the bill, and plenty of public relations downside if it fails.

For Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, regarding their meddling, I offer the Israeli cabinet’s remarkably à propos response to Barack Obama’s recent inference in their doing what needs to be done: “Leave us alone.”


[Originally published at the American Spectator]

Categories: On the Blog

Past Time for Ayers to Confess Past Terrorism and Obama Ties?

August 07, 2014, 8:30 AM

[This article was co-authored by Elizabeth Clarke]

In Thorner’s Illinois Review article of Thursday, July 31, the progressive-based education system in place today is traced back to Karl Marx in Germany to New England-born John Dewey and his tenure at Columbia University, ending with Dewey’s acolytes, the husband and wife team of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven at Columbia in the 60′s. The two produced the Cloward-Piven strategy in play today in the Obama administration.

Progressive Education explodes in the 90′s 

Chicagoan Bill Ayers’ direct involvement with progressive education, before his activities as a terrorist in the Weather Underground movement, can be traced back to his college years at the University of Michigan where he graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in American Studies. Ayers became a teacher at the Children’s Community School located in the basement of a church, a preschool with a small enrollment founded by a group of students who were enamored by theSummerhill method of education as part of the nationwide “free school movement”.

The Summerhill method had no grades or report cards and encouraged cooperation rather than competition. Within a few months, at age 21, Ayers became director of the school.  Considered a radical alternative to conventional education (or was it a form on anarchy?), the Summerhill method catered to do-as-you-like kids.

Consider what Roger Kimball – a notable American art critic and social commentator, editor and publisher of The New Criterion, and publisher of Encounter Book — had to say in his book, “Tenured Radicals,” first published in 1990 with expanded 2nd and 3rd editions.  Kimball makes the claim that yesterday’s radical thinker has become today’s tenured professor, carrying out “ideologically-motivated assaults on the intellectual and moral substance of our culture.”

Another American author, Karl Zinsmeister, wrote in his article, “The Shame of American’s One-Party Campuses,” published in the September 2002 issue of The American Enterprise while yet its editor-in-chief:

Today’s colleges and universities are not, to use the current buzzword, diverse places.  Quite the opposite:  they are virtual one-party states, ideological monopolies, badly unbalanced ecosystems…They do not, when it comes to political and cultural ideas, look like America.

Dr. Zinsmister’s 2002 article is referenced in this study.  Zinsmeister served in the White House as President George W. Bush’s chief domestic policy advisor from 2006 to 2009.

Without doubt, conservative students suffer under the intense liberal indoctrination of many colleges, but being white also proved to be a disadvantage.  In 2011, white students were targeted by a campaign sponsored by the University of Minnesota, in tandem with champions of social justice such as the NAACP, YWCA, and the League of Women Voters, to raise awareness that it’s “unfair to be white.” Its “Un-Fair Campaign” stated any success a white person has comes from “white privilege” and inherent racism instead of learning founding principles that made America great.  

Disinformation to students from a historical perspective has been spread through Howard Zinn’s best known 1980 book, A People’s History of the United States, which has been used to instruct generations of faculty members and their own students.  In July of 2013 when Mitch Daniels was yet governor of Indiana (2005 to 2013),  Daniels requested that no public universities or high school should teach the works of Howard Zinn, a longtime Boston University professor who died in 2010, which riled the Left at the time.  Daniel’s was referring specifically to Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

Mitch Daniel was correct in his assessment of Zinn’s textbook, a textbook of choice in many high schools and colleges around the country.  Daniels described Zinn’s history textbook as “a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page. Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?”

UN advances progressive education in the 90′s

The Rio Conference of 1991 produced Agenda 21.  Chapter 36 is all about Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training.  In a lecture given by Dr. Dave Lehman   in June of this year, he talks about Agenda 21 and the history of Progressive Education, first tested in Chicago through “Mastery Learning”(Outcome-based education), geared to brainwash young, impressionable children.   Also cited by Dr. Lehman was Clinton’s Governor’s Program.

It is not at all surprising that a year after the Rio Conference, November 12, 1992, a letter known as Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” letter was written to Hillary Clinton at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock, AR by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE).  In his letter Tucker laid out his plan, supported by Hillary, “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” further coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels.”

The aim of Tucker’s progressive education plan was to change the mission of the schools from teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards. Nothing in Tucker’s comprehensive plan had anything to do with teaching schoolchildren how to read, write, or calculate; nevertheless, three laws were passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, in keeping with Tucker’s grand plan, the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The latter law established the following mechanisms to restructure the public schools now being implemented in this nation’s public schools through Common Core, Obama’s educational program:

  • Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards
  • Use a computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
  • Use “national standards” and “national testing” to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to replace the high school diploma.

Marc Tucker, still active today, ranks as #3 among the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  Noteworthy is that the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), the organization over which Tucker presides, is paid millions  by Common Core main-funder Bill Gates, to promote Tucker’s progressive ideas.  For example, Tucker hopes to remove “the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation” because he feels that over educating the masses is a waste of collective tax money.

In October, 2013 Marc Tucker addressed members of the New Hampshire legislature where Tucker was accused of telling more fibs that Pinocchio ever did.  As quoted: Tucker doesn’t know a mathematician from a mathematics educator, raising the question whether he knows what he is talking about at all.”

Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as progressive radicals, become distinguished educators

Given that many of the terrorists and radicals thinkers of the past are today’s college professors at universities and colleges, which are hotbeds of liberalism, it is not surprising that William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, after their terrorist days as Underground Weathermen, became distinguished professors, William Ayers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Bernadine Dohrn at Northwestern University in Evanston. By the same token, this also explains why many of today’s journalist espouse liberal policies — which amounts to a corrupted, one-sided media — as many journalists received their training at Schools of Journalism from liberal institutions such as Columbia and Northwestern Universities.

William Charles “Bill” Ayers was born on December 26, 1944. Ayers is known as an American elementary education theorist and a former leader in the counterculture movement that opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  In 1969 he co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group that conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings (including police stations, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Pentagon) during the 1960s and 1970s in response to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  Now a retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ayers formerly held the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar. He is married to Bernadine Dohrn who was also a leader in the Weather Underground.

Bernardine Rae Dohrn’s birth dateis January 12, 1942.  She is a  Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and the immediate past Director of Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center. As a leader and member of the Weather Underground, Dohrn helped to create a“Declaration of a State of War” against the United States government, and was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, where she remained for three years.

Bill Ayers continues to justify his terrorist background

Three Decades after the end of  the Weather Underground, Bill Ayers is still attempting to justify his actions in the 50′s and 60′s when his opposition to the Vietnam War turned violent.  It is time for Ayers to cut the sophistry and admit to his violent acts, reckoning in retrospect, that his Weather Underground activities accomplished nothing but to undermine the peaceful antiwar movement of the time.

Ayers has chosen to remain an unrepentant terrorist.  Recently Bill Ayers attempted to justify his actions when he went toe-to-toe with Megyn Kelly in two explosive interviews during which Kelly repeatedly confronted Ayers about bombings and killings that the Weather Underground group was reportedly involved in. View here Kelly’s two incredulous interviews with Bill Ayers.

According to Ayers, he was a victim of a profoundly dishonest drama. Although Ayer’s Weather Underground committed symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed against monuments to war and racism, Ayers did not consider this terrorism. Bombings were surgical strikes meant to respect human life. Ayers insisted that he never killed or hurt anyone and never intended to.  As to the bombing of the Pentagon by Ayers and his cohorts, Ayers didn’t believe an apology was called for.

Bill Ayers’ comments expressed to Megyn Kelly about his Weatherman Underground involvement were in keeping with those he expressed on December 6, 2008 in an Op-Ed to the “New York Times.”  (At the time William Ayers was professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of “Fugitive Days.”).  In his Op-Ed, “The Real Bill Ayers,” Ayers bemoaned his inability to refute prior to the 2008 election an untrue casting of himself as an unrepentant terrorist with ties to Barack Obama.  It was the aim of Ayers’ article to inform the public that the character invented to serve this drama wasn’t Bill Ayers, not even close.

Part 2 will explore the nature of McCarthyism; the law passed (The Smith Act) to require college professors to take an oath of loyalty to this nation; how the loyalty oath was abandoned by a 1967 law which allowed terrorists like Ayers and Dohrn to become college professors; Ayers’ progressive ties to President Obama; and whether this nation has already become “The United Socialist States of America.”


[Originally published at Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog

Your Data is No Longer Safe Anywhere in the World

August 07, 2014, 8:00 AM

Last week a federal judge ordered Microsoft to hand over its data stores to the government, including data housed overseas. The ruling marks an ominous new chapter in Internet privacy, one that could have lasting impacts on both individuals’ privacy online and the nature of international law.

The ruling is meant to make it impossible for individuals and firms engaged in elicit practices to hide the evidence of their wrongdoing in datacenters in other countries. There is something to that, but the idea that the government should be given access to the vast trove of data housed by Microsoft and other tech firms is extremely worrying.

Fourth Amendment Online

Microsoft argued unsuccessfully that the data stored, such as personal emails, ought to be granted the same degree of constitutional protections as hard copy mail and records. The judge did not see it that way and ordered a far wider reaching handover of data than would happen in a non-digital platform. The sad fact is that the government continues to treat the Internet and the correspondence carried out on it as a piggy bank of data with only marginal legal privacy protections. That has to change.

People carry out ever larger parts of their lives, both personal and professional, online. The Internet is the new grand communications venue for people of all nations and its critical import must be recognized by law. The very notion that a court can order a business to hand over all of its data held both domestically and abroad is a monstrous violation of the Constitution and individual liberty.

An International Incident

The ruling is so sweeping in its application that it includes an order to hand over all data, including that of foreign nationals. That has, for obvious reasons, caused significant unrest in many countries. The EU has already passed data protection laws aimed at preventing the transfer of their citizens’ private data to a foreign government, and they are in the process of drafting still more rigorous laws that would likely block orders like that handed down to Microsoft.

The EU is not unreasonable. Indeed, it is quite bizarre that the federal government thought it could get away with such a brazen violation of foreign nationals’ rights. Looking at the situation in light of all the recent revelations about American spying on European allies, it is hard to understand what the government is trying to achieve. If their aim is to alienate major allies and damage further America’s already battered reputation for digital probity, then they have succeeded with flying colors.

A Dangerous Precedent

The future is a grim one if the United States succeeds against all reason to establish an international norm in which domestic businesses can be ordered to hand over data held in foreign countries. If that is normalized, countries like China and Russia would have sufficient cover to engage in similarly draconian practices.

A world in which countries mine their companies’ foreign data centers is a world in which few such data centers will exist. The world is benefited by the interconnectivity promoted by the Internet. America should not destroy it with mindless heavy-handedness.

Categories: On the Blog